"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." - Plato
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Hillary's Campaign Song
I understand that Hillary Clinton is asking fans to vote on a theme song for her campaign. Here's my recommendation.
Oh Lord it's hard to be humble
When you're perfect in every way
I can't wait to look in the mirror
Cuz I get better lookin each day
To know me is to love me
I must be a hell of a man
Oh Lord it's hard to be humble
But I'm doin' the best that I can
I used to have a girlfriend
But I guess she just couldn't compete
With all these love starved women
Who keep clamoring at my feet
Well I probably could find me another
But I guess they're all in awe of me
Who cares I never get lonesome
Cuz I treasure my own company
Oh Lord it's hard to be humble
When you're perfect in every way
I can't wait to look in the mirror
Cuz I get better lookin each day
To know me is to love me
I must be a hell of a man
Oh Lord it's hard to be humble
But I'm doin the best that I can
I guess you could say I am a loner
A cowboy all locked up and proud
Well I could have lots of friends if I wanted
But then I wouldn't stand out in a crowd
Some folks say that I'm egotistical
Hell I don't even know what that means
I guess it has something to do with the way
That I fill out my skin tight blue jeans
Labels: Hillary Campaign Song
Fred Thompson is in the Republican race for president.
Fred Thompson's red campaign pickup truck, made famous by his successful 1994 U.S. Senate run, is ready once again to leave the driveway. This time, it's pointed toward the White House.
The actor and former Republican Senator plans to form an exploratory committee in Tennessee, possibly as early as Friday, that will let him start raising funds for a presidential bid, longtime friend and political advisor Tom Ingram said Wednesday.
Thompson confirmed in an interview with USA Today published online Wednesday that he would seek the GOP nomination for president, setting the wheels in motion to transform the Law & Order star from a shadow campaigner into a viable candidate. An official announcement is expected around July 4, according to several published reports.
Labels: Fred Thompson President
Hillary: I'm Above Hypocrisy
John Edwards has a competition in the hypocrite of the year competition.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday that she followed all Senate rules when she accepted rides on a private jet from a longtime benefactor.
"Whatever I've done, I complied with Senate rules at the time. That's the way every senator operates," the Democratic presidential contender said in an interview with The Associated Press during a campaign stop in Las Vegas.
Clinton's travel, along with and consulting fees paid to her husband, the former president, have come to light recently in a lawsuit against Vinod Gupta, a Clinton contributor and chief executive of the data company, InfoUSA Inc.
The lawsuit by company shareholders accuses Gupta of excessively spending millions of dollars, including $900,000 worth of travel on the Clintons.
Sen. Clinton, who complained about corporate America's largesse and skyrocketing executive pay during campaign events Wednesday, said she did not believe her message was undermined by her acceptance of the private flights. In line with Senate rules then in effect, Clinton's campaign has said she reimbursed Gupta at the cost of a first-class flight, typically a significant discount off the expense of a private jet.
"Those were the rules. You'll have to ask somebody else whether that's good policy," she said.
Labels: Hillary Clinton Hypocrisy
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Man Bites Dog - No! Really!
Ozzy Osborune has company in Great Britain's queer cuisine circles.
A British artist ate a corgi dog, famous for being Queen Elizabeth II's favourite breed, in protest Tuesday after a group including her husband Prince Philip allegedly killed a fox earlier this year.
Mark McGowan, who has previously eaten a swan as part of a performance art show, tucked into the dog alongside Yoko Ono, the widow of ex-Beatle John Lennon, live on a London radio station.
"I know some people will find this offensive and tasteless but I am doing this to raise awareness about the RSPCA's inability to prosecute Prince Philip and his friends shooting a fox earlier this year, letting it struggle for life for five minutes and then beating it to death with a stick," he said.
The RSPCA (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is in charge of handing over evidence to British prosecutors in cases where they believe acts of cruelty to animals have been committed.
They said they found "no evidence" that any offence had taken place in January, when the incident took place.
"An independent post-mortem examination was carried out and found that the fox died from gunshot wounds -- and no evidence of other injury or trauma was found," it said in a statement.
"The only witness who could have supported the version of events reported in some sections of the media refused to give a statement."
McGowan said the dog, which died at a breeding farm, tasted "really, really disgusting," and added that Ono "looked a bit strange" as she also tasted the dog.
The queen has owned more than 30 corgis during her reign, which started in 1952, and currently owns four -- Pharos, Swift, Emma and Linnet.
I guess the good news is that no American tax dollars were harmed during this performance.
Labels: Man Eats Dog
If You Think John Edwards Is Vain....
Of course, we all know that John Kerry spent a fortune on his perfectly coiffed hair. We just don't know how much because he paid his stylist with Theresa's money rather than campaign funds, as John Edwards does.
But, we do know how much money John Kerry spent "pimping" his ride in 2004
The campaign paid nearly $225,000 to install a telephone system on Edward’s plane and more than $63,000 to apply decals to the side of Kerry’s, according to the auditors, who argue the general election campaign should pay for the customizations. They assert that since the decals identified Edwards, who is seeking the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, as Kerry’s running mate “they clearly referred to the general campaign, as the Democratic Party’s presidential and vice-presidential nominees, and not to Senator Kerry’s primary campaign.”
Hat tip: The Blogfather
Labels: John Kerry Pimp My Ride
Even the New York Times Has Had Enough of Michael Moore
When the New York Times stands up for the American health care system, you know that Michael Moore has gone too far.
CUBA works hard to jam American TV signals and keep out decadent Hollywood films. But it’s a good bet that Fidel Castro’s government will turn a blind eye to bootleg copies of “Sicko,” Michael Moore’s newest movie, if they show up on the streets of Havana.
“Sicko,” the talk of the Cannes Film Festival last week, savages the American health care system — and along the way extols Cuba’s system as the neatest thing since the white linen guayabera.
Mr. Moore transports a handful of sick Americans to Cuba for treatment in the course of the film, which is scheduled to open in the United States next month, and he is apparently dumbfounded that they could get there what they couldn’t get here.
“There’s a reason Cubans live on average longer than we do,” he told Time magazine. “I’m not trumpeting Castro or his regime. I just want to say to fellow Americans, ‘C’mon, we’re the United States. If they can do this, we can do it.’ ”
But hold on. Do they do it? Live longer than, or even as long as, we do? How could a poor developing country — where annual health care spending averages just $230 a person compared with $6,096 in the United States — come anywhere near matching the richest country in the world?
But here's my favorite part - the reasons why Cubans might have a life exptancy as long as the US:
Dr. Butler said some of Cuba’s shortcomings may actually improve its health profile. “Because they don’t have up-to-date cars, they tend to have to exercise more by walking,” he said. “And they may not have a surfeit of food, which keeps them from problems like obesity, but they’re not starving, either.”
Cuban markets are not always well stocked, but city streets are dotted with hot dog and ice cream vendors. Bellies are full, but such food can cause problems in the future, as it has in the United States.
Dr. Butler has just completed a study that shows it is possible that because of the epidemic of obesity in children, “this may be the first generation of Americans to live less long than their parents.”
In other words, if the US life expectancy is not as long as we'd like, then the primary reason is that we have too many fat pigs like Michael Moore.
Update: Apparently, nobody at ABC does any research. They don't even read the New York Times
Why John Edwards Visit Brothels
I don't know that he actually visits brothels, but Jonah Goldberg had a great line in his column about John Edwards the flim flam man.
Last week, we learned that Edwards received $55,000 to give a speech, “Poverty, the Great Moral Issue Facing America,” at the University of California, Davis. The poor students who attended were charged more than $17 a ticket. Earlier this month, it was reported that despite the fact he denounces predatory lending and subprime mortgages for the poor, Edwards made nearly $500,000 as a consultant to a hedge fund involved in that business.
The former senator defended his gig on the grounds that he took the job to learn how financial markets relate to poverty. This is a bit like saying you frequent brothels so you can learn where babies come from.
Labels: John Edwards Poverty Politics
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
The Venezuela/Al Quaeda Link?
Religion of World Domination
Monday, May 28, 2007
With Bobby Jindal leading the polls for Lousianna governor, Democrats have resorted to race baiting. After all, he's not as white as his name would suggest.
Mention the name "Bobby" in Louisiana political circles these days and most everyone will assume you are talking about Bobby Jindal, the popular second-term congressman now running at the top of the polls for governor.
But some Democrats would like to remind voters that Bobby Jindal has another name: Piyush.
In news releases, interviews and small talk, they frequently refer to Jindal by his Indian, given first name. Last week, "Piyush" popped out of the mouth of former Sen. John Breaux, D-La., who briefly considered running for governor.
Democrats say it's a way of throwing back the curtain on what they say is a "manufactured candidate" who has carefully crafted a public image that doesn't measure up to reality.
Jindal brushes it off as a "silly schoolyard tactic." Others, however, say it is a blatantly racist appeal that seeks to score political points by stoking biases many had hoped were on the wane in the Deep South.
The Worst Book of 2006
Friday, May 25, 2007
Now That's a Big Hog!
More on Rachel Carson, DDT and Malaria
From a victim.
The 2007 World Health Assembly is wrapping up and people are commemorating the birthday of Silent Spring author Rachel Carson. Meanwhile, millions of Africans are commemorating still more deaths from a disease that the chemical she vilified could help control.
I just got out of the hospital, after another nasty case of malaria. I've had it dozens of times. I lost my son, two sisters and three nephews to it. Fifty out of 500 children in our local school for orphans died from malaria in 2005.
Virtually every Ugandan family has buried babies, children, mothers and fathers because of this disease, which kills 100,000 of us every year. Even today, 50 years after it was eradicated in the United States, malaria is the biggest killer of African children, sending 3,000 to their graves every day.
In between convulsions and fever, I thought about the progress we're making – and about those who would stop that progress. I ask myself, why do some people care more about minor, hypothetical risks to people or animals than about human life?
Labels: Rachel Carsen Malaria DDT
Will Bin Laden Make Amnesty International's Poll Next Time?
In and absurd exhibition of Bush Derangement Syndrome, Amnesty asked the question: Who's worst - Darth Vader, The Green Goblin or Dick Cheney?
actually, Amnesty International took its poll down, apparently realizing how adults were veiwing it. But, do you suppose Amnesty International will have anything to say about Al Qaeda's torture manual?
I'm not holding my breath.
Rachel Carson's Lethal Legacy
Tomorrow millions of people will celebrate the 100th birthday of one of the most lethal human beings in history. No, I’m not talking about neo-Nazis recalling Adolph Hitler’s birth. And, I’m not taking about nostalgic communists reminiscing about Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara or Mao Zedong - although all certainly rank among the most murderous despots of the 20th century.
No, Sunday will be dawn with environmentalists lighting candles and reciting poetry in remembrance of Rachel Carson, author of “Silent Spring.” Silent Spring described a supposedly steep decline in bird populations she attributed to the excessive application of the most effective insecticide man has ever invented, DDT.
Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane, otherwise known as DDT, was deadly to bugs but harmless to humans. DDT was an essential tool for the eradication of malaria from North America and Europe. Malaria was well on its way to becoming an historical footnote worldwide before its use was effectively banned with more inflexibly than any of the “thou shalt nots” found in the 10 Commandments. Recently fear mongering environmentalists have raised the specter of malaria spreading into the North America as consequence of global warming. In truth, before it was eradicated with DDT, malaria was common in the United States centuries before the first SUV hauled kids to soccer games. If and when malaria creeps back up the Mississippi River, environmentalists will have more to answer for than Big Oil.
Silent Spring became the bible for the modern environmental movement and made Rachel Carson the messiah for uncompromising environmental fundamentalism. The religious fervor of the modern environmentalism has stifled progress that would actually make the earth cleaner and its people healthier. Environmental inflexibility prohibits self-defending genetically modified crops from being sown and actually forces farmers to use more pesticides than they otherwise would have to. The only tangible result of r-BST free milk is a higher price. We belch far more carbon into the atmosphere because of environmental fundamentalists’ reflexive opposition to building nuclear power plants.
In noting her upcoming birthday anniversary, The Washington Post earlier this week admitted that “numerous” deaths were directly attributed to the DDT ban and Rachel Carson’s prose. Numerous is a delicate choice of words considering that by the time you finish reading this column, several children will have died unnecessarily from malaria, a disease that was nearly eradicated before DDT was banned. In sub-Saharan Africa, children under the age of 5 years perish unnecessarily from malaria at the rate of about one every 30 seconds. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly a million children under the age of five succumb to malaria annually. Indirectly, malaria kills far more than that. The number one risk factor for premature death around the world is poverty. And malaria imposes a monstrous economic burden on sub-Saharan Africa as even its survivors are left too weak to work.
Without DDT, high tech solutions have turned to genetically modified mosquitoes that out-compete native species, but do not transmit malaria. In addition, the US Army has been investigating novel vaccine regimens. The highly evolved biology of the malarial plasmodium parasite permits it to evade immune defenses and so far frustrated traditional vaccine strategies.
But we should not throw up our hands in frustration until we can relax DDT restrictions or come up with biotech solutions to malaria. There is something we can do today to help. Nothing But Nets is a mission of the United Methodist Church, the National Basketball Association, Sports Illustrated magazine, The Mark J. Gordon Foundation, Major League Soccer, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Nothing But Nets purchases insecticide-treated bed nets and distributes them in malaria-afflicted areas of the world.
While HIV/AIDS gains the greatest media and political attention, malaria kills far more people worldwide. And while most HIV is still transmitted the old-fashioned way, through promiscuous unprotected sex, malaria is contracted during unprotected sleep. A net for a child will greatly improve that child’s chances of growing into a healthy adult.
You can learn more about this worthy campaign by navigating your browser to http://www.nothingbutnets.net. There you will learn what you can do to help fight this dreaded disease. Every minute you hesitate means that two more children will die.
And, if you are among those shedding tears for Rachel Carson tomorrow, you bear the greatest moral burden to help out.
Labels: Rachel Carson Malaria DDT
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Jacques Chirac's Secret Fortune
Anybody wanna place a bet on how much of this came from Saddam Hussein?
LONG-STANDING rumours that the former French president Jacques Chirac holds a secret multi-million-euro bank account in Japan appear to have been confirmed by files seized from the home of a senior spy.
Papers seized by two investigating magistrates from General Philippe Rondot, a former head of the DGSE, France's intelligence service, show Mr Chirac opened an account in the mid-1990s at Tokyo Sowa Bank, credited with the equivalent of £30 million. It is not known where the money came from, nor whether it is connected to various kick-back scandals to which Mr Chirac's name has been linked over the past decade.
Last year, Mr Chirac "categorically denied" having a bank account in Japan.
The seized documents have been described by the magistrates as "explosive" and are believed to contain copies of the former president's bank statements.
A magistrate close to the investigation told the satirical magazine Le Canard Enchaîné: "Subject to verification of the documents, there is enough material to open a new judicial investigation for breach of trust or for possession of money received from corruption. Moreover, the investigating judges have everything necessary to trace the network back to its ringleaders."
Mr Chirac, who was succeeded by Nicolas Sarkozy last week after 12 years as president, looks certain to be questioned about the account - as well as several other alleged corruption scandals dating from his time as mayor of Paris - when his presidential immunity runs out on 16 June.
The alleged evidence was discovered by judges Jean-Marie d'Huy and Henri Pons after they seized 112 bound files and numerous other documents from the home of Gen Rondot in connection with their inquiry into an alleged smear campaign. Dubbed "The French Watergate", it centred on whether Dominique de Villepin, the then prime minister, had asked Gen Rondot to dig up dirt on Mr Sarkozy, then interior minister, who had been wrongly accused of receiving kickbacks from the £1.4 billion sale of French frigates to Taiwan in 1991.
Claims of Mr Chirac's secret nest egg first came to the attention of the French authorities in 1996 when his friend Shoichi Osada, a Japanese banker, decided to invest £500 million in France, so triggering a routine investigation by the DGSE, which is said to have stumbled upon the then president's Japanese account.
Thrown into a panic, Mr Chirac is said to have summoned Gen Rondot in 2001 and ordered him to destroy all DGSE evidence of the account. Unfortunately for the president, the spy simply removed the notes and memos about the affair to his home, where they were seized in March last year by Mr d'Huy and Mr Pons. Since then, the judges have been discreetly pursuing an investigation, interviewing 20 intelligence officers about the affair.
Mr Chirac is reported to have struck a deal with Mr Sarkozy, whereby the latter will push through judicial reforms ensuring the ex-president escapes prosecution. However, the magistrates are expected to move before the reforms are passed this summer.
Labels: Jacques Chirac Ver
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
A Cure For Hepatitis C?
This is great news!
"This paper strongly suggests, for the first time, that hepatitis C is a curable disease," said lead researcher Dr. Mitchell Shiffman, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and chief of hepatology and medical director of the school's Liver Transplant Program. "After treatment, 99.6 percent of the patients remained virus undetectable for over five years,"
Dr. Eugene Schiff, chief of the division of hepatology and professor of medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, agrees that most cases of hepatitis C can be cured.
"In contrast to hepatitis B or HIV, this virus can be totally eradicated and cured," he said.
My mother has hepatitis C and I've seen other people die long lingering deaths from it. If this is a cure, then that is great news for the millions of people who live with this sword hanging over their necks.
Another Day, Another Religion
That didn't last long.
Paris Hilton is pulling out all stops to avoid going to prison.
She's already put in a plea to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and turned to God with church visits and Bible readings - now she’s making sure to cover all spiritual bases.
The 26-year-old has turned to Buddha to save her from her 23-day jail sentence.
Labels: Paris Hilton Buddhism
The Benefits of Following Jimmy Carter
George Bush hails Jimmy Carter as America's best former president.
"I think history will judge Jimmy Carter's post Whitehouse tenure favorably," said Mr. Bush, "As a former president, Mr. Carter has overseen the nation's longest period of growth and expansion of opportunity."
Sleeping With The Enemy, Our Soldiers
I remember reading some time back that the reason that "news" organizations were no longer embedding reporters with the military was that it made the reporting too sympathethic to "the other side," meaning that the reporters who were embedded actually wanted the US to win.
Well, a Wall Street Journal story seems to confirm this. After spending time embedded with US soldiers, foreign journalists are coming away with a great admiration for our troops as they learn that they are not the bloodthirsty monsters protrayed in our own press
It doesn't matter how skeptical of the war a journalist might be, according to an Army public affairs officer who spoke with me about it on condition of anonymity. "So often, they come out of that experience and--even if their opinion of the war hasn't changed--they're completely won over by the troops."
"I was one of those," admitted Mr. Beriain, speaking broken English and blinking away tears. "No matter what you think of the war, or what has happened here, you cannot be around the soldiers and not be completely affected. They are amazing people, and they represent themselves and the Army better than anyone could ever imagine." A retired Army officer concurred, telling me that "young troops are some of the best goodwill ambassadors we've ever produced. It would never occur to one to not tell you what he's really thinking, and they are so earnest" that it is almost impossible not to be won over by them if given enough time.
The most spectacular recent case of a journalist with an antiwar mindset being completely overwhelmed into a change of heart by American soldiers, according to the public affairs officer, was a Greek public television reporter who had been embedded with an infantry unit that became entrenched in a 45-minute firefight with insurgents. Yanked out of the line of fire by a soldier who put the journalist's life above his own, he waited under cover and in fear of his life for the almost hourlong duration of the battle, with the best view possible of American soldiers in action against an armed and murderous enemy. He credits his having lived to tell the tale directly to those young troops.
"He had tears in his eyes as he talked about it," said the public affairs officer. "He just kept saying, 'They saved my life, they saved my life. . . . These are great men; they are heroes.' Even after telling it several times, he couldn't get through the story without choking up--and this was a man who had arrived here with all of the disdain for the Iraq mission and for the American soldiers who he [like seemingly most Europeans] had seen as the bad guys in this fight."
While embedding may be decried by some for causing journalists, who claim the utopian titles of "objective" and "neutral" for their reportage, to lose their cold detachment and actually begin to see the soldiers they live alongside as humans, it is that very quality that makes the practice of embedding reporters with military units so beneficial to both parties. Rather than observing events from a safely detached distance--and thus being able to remove the human element from the equation--embedded reporters are forced to face up to the humanity of their subjects, and to share common experiences--often of the life-and-death variety--with those they are covering.
I find it interesting that our own media believes that they have to maintain a level of ignorance and distance from events to report upon them.
Labels: Embedded Journalists
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Shocking Paris Hilton News
Barbecues of Mass Destruction
The Department of Homeland Security is trying to de-weaponize propane.
'Weaponizable' Gas for Your Backyard Barbecue
By Cindy Skrzycki
Tuesday, May 22, 2007; D02
It seems like something from a James Bond film, with code names like Top Screen and "tiered security risk." Yet for the propane gas industry and thousands of other chemical facilities, this is no fiction.
Starting June 8, makers and sellers of the colorless, odorless, flammable gas and other chemicals face a new Department of Homeland Security rule requiring them to complete a secure online survey assessing whether they are a high-risk target for terrorists. If so, they must make security fixes or face $25,000-a-day fines or be put out of business.
The rule is the latest, and one of the most sweeping, of more than 150 the department has issued since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The complaints of propane manufacturers illustrate the delicate balance the department must maintain as it tries to terror-proof the nation without prohibitive expense for the industries. The department figures it may cost companies as much as $3.6 billion over three years to secure the facilities.
The rule will "reduce the safety of propane customers, hurt the environment and needlessly cost American businesses hundreds of millions of dollars on a paperwork exercise that will not improve our country's national security," said Philip Squair, senior vice president of the National Propane Gas Association. The Washington trade group represents 3,500 propane-related businesses.
Some 40,000 facilities across the nation would have to go through the initial screening, according to regulators' estimates. That's based on the 344 "chemicals of interest" listed in the appendix to the 59-page rule published last month.
The propane industry said the government estimate was too low. According to its calculations, about 144,000 propane facilities alone would be affected.
Some trade groups, including the International Dairy Foods Association (concerned about anhydrous ammonia in refrigeration systems) and the American Feed Industry Association (urea used in animal feed that could be used to make explosives), also have told federal regulators they don't present much security risk.
On the other hand, the American Chemistry Council, which speaks for 130 chemical companies including Dow Chemical, said it supports the rule. Members already have spent $3.5 billion to protect their facilities against terrorism, said council spokesman Scott Jensen.
"The interim final rule was a step forward in improving chemical facility security," he said.
Jensen suggested some smaller companies covered by the initial screening may be overreacting, since it's unlikely they will end up in the pool of 300 to 400 facilities the government thinks will have the highest risks. The risk is based on elements that include the nature of the substance and the facility's proximity to large populations.
Though other companies officially say they support the mission of the department, their preference often has been to seek voluntary compliance or stress that existing state and local storage and security requirements are sufficient.
In the case of propane, the association asked the department not to include the gas in the rule because it is "non-weaponizable." It has already been exempted from similar security requirements by the Environmental Protection Agency for accidental releases of chemicals, the trade group said.
The cost and benefits of many of the department's previous rules have been hard to assess since it is almost impossible to predict an attack, or whether one will ever occur, said Veronique de Rugy, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. The center supports free-market approaches and limited government.
Predicting the cost of the new rule is particularly difficult, because it's hard to gauge which risk level facilities will fall into. That will determine how much companies will have to spend.
It took five years to issue the chemical facility rule, even with prodding from Congress and public pressure. The department said its intent was "to work aggressively with chemical facilities presenting the very highest security risks first."
Critics said parts of the chemical industry are comfortable because it allows high-risk facilities to figure out how to meet a particular standard, rather than having the government tell them exactly what to do.
Groups critical of the rule wanted the government to mandate that companies use less-risky chemicals, instead of emphasizing security measures. They also wanted clear assurances that the federal government wouldn't overrule New Jersey and other states that already have chemical security rules in place.
"It provides cover to the chemical industry," said Clayton Northouse, information policy analyst with OMB Watch, a nonprofit group in Washington that monitors the regulatory process and openness in government. "It's woefully inadequate."
OMB Watch thinks more information about the program should be disclosed to the public and even more companies should be included in the initial screening.
The propane industry argues that it shouldn't be on the list at all. Squair said the department has dramatically undercounted the number of propane facilities that sell or store at least 7,500 pounds of the gas. (By comparison, the standard tank attached to your backyard grill is 20 pounds, containing about 4.3 gallons of gas weighing 17 pounds when full.)
Large retailers in the propane industry, such as AmeriGas Partners in Valley Forge, Pa., and Ferrellgas Partners in Overland Park, Kan., would have to use the Top Screen tool. So too, Squair said, would small businesses, hospitals, nursing homes, campgrounds, farms and homeowners who might have two big tanks in the backyard to heat a large house and a pool with a Jacuzzi.
Homeland Security regulators were nonplussed about pleadings for leniency. The government's position is that the need for a comprehensive picture of what facilities are at risk outweighs some industries' unhappiness, one official said.
Department spokesman Russ Knocke declined to comment.
Labels: Propane Weaponize
More Fred Thompson Realism
Gosh, I wish someone in a position of authority would speak as bluntly as Fred Thompson.
Thompson, speaking at the National Restaurant Association annual show, said the bill will not win the support of the American people because they don't trust senators' promises to block illegal immigrants from crossing the Mexican border into the U.S.
"Nobody believes them. It goes to the bigger issue of the lack of credibility our government has these days," said Thompson, who was greeted with hoots and applause from the 2,300 convention attendees who filled a ballroom at the McCormick Place convention center.
Thompson also was harshly critical of China, saying the military and economic threat the country poses is among the critical issues - along with untamed growth in entitlement spending - that are not being dealt with while the U.S. is fixated on the war in Iraq.
"I call it 'The Day After Iraq,' " Thompson said. "It's not a pretty picture."
He said China is "making deals with every bloodthirsty dictator they can" to feed its growing economy's need for energy.
Thompson made the meatier comments during the question-and-answer session with audience members, which followed a 45-minute tale of his path from Tennessee lawyer to Watergate prosecutor, to actor and Republican senator.
Dressed in a black suit, the towering Thompson casually leaned into the lectern and wandered away from it as he spoke in a laid-back style that was almost inaudible at times. Other times his responses were somewhat jumbled. But the crowd of restaurant professionals ate it up, giving Thompson a standing ovation as he entered and another when his remarks ended.
Kevin Mundy, who works for a Maryland restaurant company, said he thought Thompson was "being real."
"It's just what the country is looking for - somebody who is going to cut through the political jargon and get to the point," Mundy said.
Rebecca Eastham, a hotel management teacher at Oklahoma State University, found Thompson "genuine and down home."
The crowd even cheered when Thompson admitted to a questioner that he didn't know much about Indian gaming and "wasn't going to soft-shoe" on the issue.
Among the loudest ovations came when the possibility of Thompson running for president was mentioned.
On that subject, Thompson remained coy, while saying he was not being coy. Current speculation has Thompson making a decision in mid-June, a timetable that he did not dispute when one of his questioners suggested it.
The idea that it was too late to get into the race that now has 10 Republican candidates is "baloney," he said.
But he conceded that, to have a chance as a candidate, he must enter the race "in a decent time."
Thompson's next speech is scheduled for June 3 at a Virginia Republican Party gala in Richmond, two days before the next GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire.
Labels: Fred Thompson Immigration China
Fred Thompson Hits Another Home Run
One reason that I'm increasingly enthusiastic about Fred Thompson presidential candidacy is that he doesn't pull his punches. Here's another example.
I'm never particularly surprised when the United Nations seems to oppose human freedom rather than promote it. At least a third of its member nations aren’t democratic themselves. Many that claim to be, are only barely so.
An organization that treats democracies and dictators equally cannot be expected to be a pure force for good. When Fidel Castro and Kim Jong Il have as much say in U.N. matters as the entire populations of Poland and New Zealand, you’re going to have problems.
One was the Oil-for-Food scandal. We ought to remember that the U.N. let Saddam steal tens of billions of dollars — money meant to be spent on food and medicine for his own people. Much of that money was used to pay off U.N. officials and buy support for Saddam’s regime.
Still, people keep telling me that the U.N. is a force for good — and I’d like to believe it. The world could use an organization capable of dealing with international problems like slavery. According to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 people are sold across national borders annually. More are enslaved within nations. Most are women; about half are children, and the majority are sexually abused.
That’s why accusations made by former U.S. ambassador John Miller are so disturbing. Miller accuses the United Nations of promoting human trafficking by failing to punish U.N. officials and peacekeepers who have engaged in the trade.
Often, the offenders trade U.N. food and aid to desperate people for personal gain. Such incidents and the weak response to them, Miller says, cripple U.N. efforts to end human trafficking.
U.N. officials disagree, of course. They say they’ve instituted reforms; but we’ve heard this sort of thing for over 50 years. I didn’t see many resignations or firings over Oil-for-Food, so I think I’ll wait for some evidence.
Remnants of Good Sense in the Democratic Party
Bob Kerrey is in real danger of finding himself excommunicated from the Democratic Party after this one.
American liberals need to face these truths: The demand for self-government was and remains strong in Iraq despite all our mistakes and the violent efforts of al Qaeda, Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias to disrupt it. Al Qaeda in particular has targeted for abduction and murder those who are essential to a functioning democracy: school teachers, aid workers, private contractors working to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure, police officers and anyone who cooperates with the Iraqi government. Much of Iraq's middle class has fled the country in fear.
With these facts on the scales, what does your conscience tell you to do? If the answer is nothing, that it is not our responsibility or that this is all about oil, then no wonder today we Democrats are not trusted with the reins of power.
Labels: Bob Kerrey Iraq War Terror
Monday, May 21, 2007
A Solution For Poverty
We need to get every poor person on the public speaking circuit. John Edwards charges $55,000 to talk about poverty. I would think that a genuine poor person could talk more authoritatively on the subject.
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, who as a Democratic presidential candidate recently proposed an educational policy that urged "every financial barrier" be removed for American kids who want to go to college, has been going to college himself -- as a high paid speaker, his financial records show.
The candidate charged a whopping $55,000 to speak at to a crowd of 1,787 the taxpayer-funded University of California at Davis on Jan. 9, 2006 last year, Joe Martin, the public relations officer for the campus' Mondavi Center confirmed Monday.
That amount -- which comes to about $31 a person in the audience -- included Edwards' travel and airfare, and was the highest speaking fee in the nine appearances he made before colleges and universities last year, according to his financial records.
The earnings -- though made before Edwards was a declared Democratic presidential candidate -- could hand ammunition to his competition for the Democratic presidential nomination. The candidate -- who was then the head of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina -- chose to speak on "Poverty, the great moral issue facing America," as his $55,000 topic at UC Davis.
That could cause both parents and students to note some irony here: UC Davis -- like the rest of the public University of California system -- will get hit this year by a 7 percent tuition increase that likely hits many of the kids his speeches are aimed at helping.
We wondered if this is Edwards' going speaking rate, and how come he didn't offer to do it gratis for a college, particularly a public institution.
Breck Girl Can't Even Take Responsibility For His Own Haircut
Friday, May 18, 2007
Short and Fat Unite!
When Little People Step Out Of Line
Has anyone else noticed that the great bastions of liberalism are all for the little guy, until the little guy steps out of line or otherwise threatens their authority? In the last week or so, two of the most powerful leftwing institutions in the state of Washington have turned the full force of their authority upon the little people with whom they profess to stand. Union members who dare to dissent from their leaders’ political orthodoxy will find less take home money in their paychecks as their earnings are funneled into Democratic Party war chests. And a female student at Washington State University who stood up to a prominent faculty member will soon learn the consequences of challenging WSU’s power structure.
Our liberal Democrat dominated legislature, clearly anticipating an unfavorable United State Supreme Court, recently passed a law that will facilitate labor unions dipping into their members’ pockets for money to underwrite Democratic political campaigns. Fifteen years ago, an overwhelming majority of Washington voters passed an initiative that banned the union practice of forcibly taking the earnings of its membership and using it for partisan politics. Ever since, Washington’s Democrats and the labor unions have made every effort to violate the clear intent of the law.
In the early days after the initiative’s passage, our current governor, who was then the Attorney General, did her level best to avoid enforcing the law. Her motivation was pretty obvious. She is one of the most ruthlessly ambitious politicians this state has ever produced and she had her sights set higher than the Attorney General’s office. The Paycheck Protection Act reduced union political collections by 85% and an upwardly mobile politician in a position to determine the state’s law enforcement priorities could accumulate political IOU’s and keep the cash flowing into her own campaign coffers by undermining the law. So, she did exactly that until a lawsuit by a dissenting teacher forced her to do her job.
Not only did the Democrats legislate the Paycheck Protection Act into oblivion, they also attached an “emergency” provision that will prevent the voters from restoring the law they passed with a 72% majority in 1992. The little people spoke, were ignored and are now banned from speaking up again. Meanwhile Democrats, through the unions, will continue to dip into the pockets of the little people. And if the little people know what’s good for them, they’ll learn to like it.
Closer to home here at Washington State University, a student is about to experience the full force of the WSU legal juggernaut for accusing a treasured and apparently very powerful faculty member of sexual harassment. Long after the original complaint was filed, the WSU Board of Regents approved a settlement with Bernardo Gallegos, a lavishly well-paid professor in the College of Education that will essentially guarantee that the lawsuit that the student filed against him will be crushed under the nearly inexhaustible weight of the university’s legal resources.
In exchange for his resignation, the university will defend Dr. Gallegos against a lawsuit filed against him by his accuser. In effect, this will likely mean that pursuing the lawsuit will exhaust the plaintiff’s financial resources and ensure that any victory will be pyrrhic at best. In all probability, the case will have to be dropped.
The University's Center for Human Rights found merit in her complaint against Bernardo Gallegos. Certainly the agreement reached between Gallegos and the university is not the sort that gives confidence in the innocence of the accused or the benevolence of the university. In exchange for resigning his $133,000 per year job, Gallego gets $87,000 and the university’s legal representation in court.
The smell test invokes my gag reflex.
Back in the early 1990’s Florynce Kennedy, who had helped found the Feminist Party and was prominent in the National Organization for Women, gave the game away regarding the politics of sexual harassment. She said that women should never pursue sexual harassment charges against politically left-leaning men. If a powerful liberal sought sexual favors in the workplace, the proper course of action was submission.
Bill Clinton certainly knew how to exploit this principle, as it was his accusers who were ultimately ostracized. And now, it will be the accuser here who will suffer.
The message here is that liberalism requires obedience. Don’t step out of line.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Spineless in Boulder
A University of Colorado committee has recommended that Ward Churchill be suspended for a year and not fired as was the original finding.
It's a good thing that we don't have jellyfish like this running the US Congress, otherwise they'd be trying to engineer our surrender in Iraq.
Labels: Ward Churchill
The Mufti Muzzler
Hillary's Endorsement From The Porn Belt
The porno industry's number one superstar (I think, that really isn't my gig) has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.
Original interview here.
Excerpts (without revealing photos) here.
PR.com: Do you find that the climate of the adult industry changes when there is a Republican administration versus Democratic?
Jenna Jameson: Absolutely. The Clinton administration was the best years for the adult industry and I wish that Clinton would run again. I would love to have him back in office. I would love to have Al Gore in office. When Republicans are in office, the problem is, a lot of times they try to put their crosshairs on the adult industry, to make a point. It's sad, when there are so many different things that are going on in the world: war, and people are dying of genocide. It's sad that they feel that they have to target the sex industry, and not target the problems with insurance and the homeless and the AIDS epidemic. There are so many things that need to be cleared up before f***ing pornography. I look forward to another democrat (sic) being in office. It just makes the climate so much better for us, and I know that once all our troops come home, things are going to be better and I think that getting Bush out of office is the most important thing right now.
PR.com: Who's your favorite democratic front runner for 2008? Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton or John Edwards?
Jenna Jameson: I love Hillary. I think that in some ways she's pretty conservative for a democrat, but I would love to have a woman in office. I think that it would be a step in the right direction for our country, and there would be less focus on war and more focus on bettering society.
Labels: Jenna Jameson Hillary Clinton
What Are The Clintons Hiding?
Clearly, the Sandy Berger coverup continues.
Why is the media letting them get away with it? This seems far more sinister than anything Scooter Libby did.
This might actually redound to the Republicans benefit if Mrs. Clinton gains the Democratic nomination. Republicans could ask every day what it was that Sandy Berger was protecting the Clintons from and doesn't this speak to the trustworthiness of Clinton inc. and the sincerity of their devotion to national security?
It could redound to the Republicans' benefit, if there were such a thing as a Republican with balls.
Labels: Sandy Berger coverup
She Was Before It Before She Was Against It Before ....
I guess Hillary's pollsters were a little slow in telling her what she believed yesterday. This is the sort of thing that occurs when one has no principles.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton voted Wednesday to advance legislation cutting off money for the Iraq war, then refused to pledge to support the measure if it came to a vote, then said she would.
At lunchtime, the New York senator and presidential candidate was asked repeatedly by reporters whether she favored the troop withdrawal legislation that had just come up for a procedural vote on the Senate floor.
Her answer: "I'm not going to speculate on what I'm going to be voting on in the future. I voted in favor of cloture to have a debate."
By supper time, she had a different answer.
"I support the underlying bill," she said. "That's what this vote on cloture was all about."
Labels: Hillary Flip Flopping
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Well Said Rudy
I will cast my vote next year for the presidential candidate who most honestly understands what's at stake in our war against Islamofascism. This is a war that could determine the fate of Jeffersonian democracy and free societies around the world. We are only allowed to have debates on abortion and gay rights because of the freedoms that define Western Civilization.
So far, only Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson (who's not officially running yet) have demonstrated that uncompromising commitment to winning the war.
During last night's Republican presidential debate showed why I'm willing to overlook some of his other deficiencies and vote for him when the choice is to be made.
Labels: Rudy Giuliani Ron Paul
More Evidence That Democrats Are Nuts
I said this myself last year and the column attracted the most venomous reponse of anything I've ever written. Now, Jonah Goldberg has taken a look at similar data and arrived and the same, unavoidable conclusion - Democrats are crazy.
Most fair-minded readers will no doubt take me at my word when I say that a majority of Democrats in this country are out of their gourds.
But, on the off chance that a few cynics won't take my word for it, I offer you data. Rasmussen Reports, the public opinion outfit, recently asked voters whether President Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks beforehand. The findings? Well, here's how the research firm put it: "Democrats in America are evenly divided on the question of whether George W. Bush knew about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in advance. Thirty-five percent of Democrats believe he did know, 39 percent say he did not know and 26 percent are not sure."
So, one in three Democrats believe that Bush was in on it somehow, and a majority of Democrats either believe that Bush knew about the attacks in advance or can't quite make up their minds.
There are only three ways to respond to this finding: It's absolutely true, in which case the paranoid style of American liberalism has reached a fevered crescendo. Or, option B, it's not true and we can stop paying attention to these kinds of polls. Or there's option C - it's a little of both.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
MSNBC Falls for a Hoax
It's a Fred Thompson/Michael Moore Smackdown
Democrats - Terrorist Enablers
We've all seen this phrase in block letters: "REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY," followed by a 1-800 number. But if a House Democrat manages to kill a tipster-immunity measure under consideration in Congress this month, people who report suspicious behavior could be sued in civil court if the accused are not charged with a crime. November's frightened U.S. Airways "John Doe" passengers in Minneapolis are already in the crosshairs.
The lawmaker in question is Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. He thinks that granting tipsters immunity amounts to racial and religious profiling. Yes, that's the Democrats' "homeland security" pointman in the House speaking.
For two months, Mr. Thompson has deployed the profiling argument against this measure, tucked into the House transportation-security bill. The good news is that a bipartisan House majority already passed it 304-121 seven weeks ago. But sadly, Mr. Thompson is expected to strip it from the bill. He is expected to be the lead House negotiator in the coming weeks when the bill reaches conference committee, and if he is, he will have considerable sway over the final product.
Mr. Thompson would stand alone among key homeland-security players, all of whom support immunity, if he blocks it. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the Connecticut Democrat who chairs the Senate committee and ranking Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, both support it. So does Rep. Peter King, New York Republican, the ranking member in the House homeland-security committee.
How damaging it would be to leave tipsters on the hook; there could be few better ways to staunch the flow of information. Think of last week's Fort Dix tipster and ask yourself whether you would report suspicious behavior in a similar position.
The cutting edge of this debate, the case of the anonymous U.S. Airways passengers in Minneapolis, is not encouraging. These passengers observed six imams refuse to sit in their assigned seats, request metal-bearing seatbelt extensions and speak loud condemnations of the United States. After frightened passengers reported this behavior, the imams were removed from the flight. Troublemakers are routinely removed for less. But the "John Does" were sued along with the airline and regulatory authorities.
Listening to Mr. Thompson's March 27 floor remarks, it's clear that he thinks an absence of legal charges against the accused means that the tipsters can be penalized in court. This shifts the precarious balance between liberty and security much too far in one direction.
Think about this Catch-22 for a moment. The government encourages ordinary citizens to pass on potential terrorism information, as it should. But those citizens can now be sued if no charges are filed. One can literally be sued for reporting provocative behavior on an airline. We're clearly a long way from September 11. What a disgrace.
Labels: Democrats Terrorism Security
It's All About Power
The unions' power to take money from its members and give it to Democrats was restored with Governor Christine Gregoire's signature last week.
It's all about maintaining union power - the power to take money from unwilling members and give it to Democrat politicians.
Sen. Margarita Prentice (D-11th) admitted that the bill’s intent is to protect union power. “In union there’s strength, and there’s a reason why unions exist, and why they have the kind of power—and I think we need to do everything we can to preserve that,” Prentice said.
And the power that the Democrats preserved here is the power to take money out of the pockets of unwilling working people and put it into their own re-election campaigns.
Friday, May 11, 2007
20% Greater MPG?
This certainly qualifies as good news. Let's home it does better than the ceramic engine.
Researchers have created the first computational model to track engine performance from one combustion cycle to the next for a new type of engine that could dramatically reduce oil consumption and the emission of global-warming pollutants.
"We're talking about a major leap in engine technology that could be used in hybrid cars to make vehicles much more environmentally friendly and fuel stingy," said Gregory M. Shaver, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University.
A key portion of his research, based at Purdue's Ray W. Herrick Laboratories, hinges on designing engines so that their intake and exhaust valves are no longer driven by mechanisms connected to the pistons. The innovation would be a departure from the way automotive engines have worked since they were commercialized more than a century ago.
In today's internal combustion engines, the pistons turn a crankshaft, which is linked to a camshaft that opens and closes the valves, directing the flow of air and exhaust into and out of the cylinders. The new method would eliminate the mechanism linking the crankshaft to the camshaft, providing an independent control system for the valves.
Because the valves' timing would no longer be restricted by the pistons' movement, they could be more finely tuned to allow more efficient combustion of diesel, gasoline and alternative fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, Shaver said.
The concept, known as variable valve actuation, would enable significant improvements in conventional gasoline and diesel engines used in cars and trucks and for applications such as generators, he said. The technique also enables the introduction of an advanced method called homogeneous charge compression ignition, or HCCI, which would allow the United States to drastically reduce its dependence on foreign oil and the production of harmful exhaust emissions.
The homogeneous charge compression ignition technique would make it possible to improve the efficiency of gasoline engines by 15 percent to 20 percent, making them as efficient as diesel engines while nearly eliminating smog-generating nitrogen oxides, Shaver said.
Edwards Hits Bottom and Digs
John Edwards' faith in his own ability to BS people regarding his hypocrisy is getting him deeper in the doodoo.
Earlier this spring, it was learned that the filthy rich John Edwards further encriched himself by working for a hedgefund manager, The Fortress Investment Group.
This would be a strange alliance for a man who promotes himself as an advocate of the poor. He made matters worse by claiming that he took the job to gain a greater understanding of the origins of poverty.
Now it has been learned that Fortress Investment is one of those subprime lenders that Edwards has been railing against on the campaign trail.
This time, he's pleading ignorance.
Ignorance seems to come very naturally to the Breck Girl.
France Deserves Better Than Seattle
I am compelled to apologize to France. A few years ago, I insulted Washington’s left side by suggesting that we expel Seattle and give the city to France. Given the harmonic confluence of anti-American attitudes exhibited by Seattle and France’s ruling class, it seemed like a marriage made in heaven. My suggestion drew a response from the Seattle Times’ editorial page and earned me a radio interview.
Seattlistas are a humorless, thin-skinned bunch. Oh well, I got that fifteen minutes that Andy Warhol promised me.
However, I seem to have underestimated the French and overestimated Seattle. By electing the unabashedly pro-American Nicolas Sarkozy as president of the republic last weekend, the French people demonstrated that they are more pro-American than the residents living around Puget Sound or possibly the Democratic Party.
Clearly I was wrong about the French back then. I made the mistake of assuming that the public posturing of French politicians accurately represented the majority of French opinion. I now have a renewed respect for the French people that I’ve not felt since I learned of the Marquis de Lafayette’s contribution to the American Revolution in a grade school history class.
In addition, my opinion of Washington’s left side has taken another dip. It would appear that the true 21st century cheese-eating surrender monkeys reside on the soggy side of the Cascades. Governor Christine Gregoire’s capitulation to her party’s desire to postpone the graduation requirement of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning consummated an unconditional surrender by the mildew belt Democrats to the teachers’ union and the Seattle Public School District. Without any real reform, the legislature postponed the WASL graduation requirement for 5 years. I will predict here and now that 5 years from now, the graduation requirements will be shoved another 5 years or more into the future.
"Our students cannot and will not be penalized because the state hasn't done its job in our education system to ensure that they have the math and science skills they need," the governor explained. "We're going to get it right ... We're not going to give up on any student in the state of Washington."
I cannot take issue with the governor’s declaration that the state, and in particular the Seattle Public School District, have not done their jobs. But what did the legislature and the governor propose that would force the schools to bring their performance up to the standard of the WASL?
Gregoire signed anti-“cyberbullying” legislation and funded college scholarships for low-income students who manage to maintain a “C” average and stay out of jail. Let college finish what high schools fail to do. Nothing required any accountability for the quality of work done by teachers.
And so Washington will excrete another 5 years worth of high school graduates whose diplomas will be essentially meaningless, all because the legislature could not stand up to teachers and educrats who have elevated political indoctrination and boosting self esteem above reading, writing and arithmetic. For all of the rhetoric about caring for the children, this surrender was less in the interests of the pupils than it was for the teachers who would ultimately be held accountable for the shoddy quality of their work.
On the other hand, the election of Sarkozy shows that the French people possess the spine to stand up to their nation’s social left. As the election wound down, France’s socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal even threatened the French voters with civil unrest should they fail to elect her. Her supporters delivered on her threat too.
It’s noteworthy, even as it is barely remarked upon by our mainstream media, that even as Democrats insist that President Bush has destroyed our international reputation, both the Germans and the French have replaced anti-American incumbents with pro-American presidents.
All the Washington teachers’ union had to do was march around and chant slogans across the street from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction’s office to get their way. Although, there can be little doubt that the threat of withheld political contributions played a considerable role.
Washington’s left side Democrats did not simply surrender to the left, but volunteered to serve as the left’s sock puppet. Gregoire’s signing statement borrowed heavily from the teachers union’s rhetoric demanding the postponement.
Expelling Seattle still has its merits. But in light of current event, France deserves better.
Labels: Seattle France WASL
Thursday, May 10, 2007
More on Obama and Governor Kathleen Sebelius
Both Barack Obama and Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius moved quickly to exaggerate and exploit the tornado tragedy in Greensburg, Kansas. The New York Post pronounces BS on both and identifies the real culprit behind the National Guard's stretched resources.
From today's New York Post:
May 10, 2007 -- Did you hear about the tornado in Kan sas that killed 10,000 people last weekend?
Barack Obama did.
"There was a tragedy in Kansas," said Obama Monday. "Ten thousand people died - an entire town destroyed."
"Turns out that the National Guard in Kansas only had 40 percent of its equipment," he said, "and they are having to slow down the recovery process."
And where is the missing equipment?
In Iraq, fighting Dubya's war - thus blame for all the death and destruction in Kansas accrues to President Bush.
Indeed, Obama couldn't possibly have been more wrong.
Only 10 people were killed in the storm - the word "thousand" apparently popping out of Obama's mouth in his haste to exploit the tragedy, and hang another Katrina-like indictment on the president.
More to the point, tornadoes happen in Kansas - if you doubt it, rent "The Wizard of Oz."
So it would be reasonable for Kansans to expect their state government to be prepared for such an event.
Instead, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has been complaining for years of a "looming crisis" traceable to the fact that a lot of Kansas National Guard heavy equipment had been deployed to Iraq.
Complaining is always easier than discharging the responsibilities of office.
That is, if the "looming crisis" were as grave as the governor claims, why didn't she simply replace the deployed equipment out of a doubtlessly more-than-adequate Kansas state budget?
The fact is, America is at war. By law, the Army has first claim on the National Guard - its troops and its equipment.
If any president is to blame for the "missing equipment," it's Bill Clinton.
For it was on Clinton's watch - and at his urging - that the post-Cold War "peace dividend" was cashed in.
Clinton conspired with Congress to slash the Army from more than 14 divisions to fewer than 10 - with the explicit understanding that the difference was to be made up in time of war by the deployment of National Guard units with their equipment.
Well, it's wartime.
Time to pay the piper.
Sure, Barack Obama - two years removed from the back bench of the Illinois Legislature - might be forgiven for not understanding all of this (though inflating a death toll by a factor of 1,000 is a little breathtaking).
But Sebelius and other governors sure should know it.
Didn't Hurricane Katrina deliver the mother of all wake-up calls?
Sebelius, in particular, clearly recognized the problems facing her tornado-friendly state - the knowledge was embedded in her warnings.
She could have purchased replacement equipment from state resources. Yes, that might have required a bit of belt-tightening and revising of other priorities.
This is called leadership - which seems to be what's really missing at the moment in Kansas.
Sebelius was content simply to complain.
And now, to score some cheap political points.
Update, the tornado victims are very upset about the governor's political exploitation of their suffering.
While Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and the Bush administration jaw back-and-forth over the relief efforts for Greensburg, Kan., the town devastated by Friday night's F-5 tornado, town residents have chimed in and say they couldn't be any happier with the response from the government and other rescue units.
"The poor response thing is just political BS," Greensburg resident Mike Swigart, 47, who lost his house and four vehicles from the storm, told wcbstv.com in an exclusive interview. "I saw her on television and I'm disappointed in that because she doesn't know what she's talking about."
After the storm dissipated, Swigart and his family came up to find just a small portion of the structure of their house remaining. Their cars were destroyed. People were crawling from a semi-truck that rolled onto his lawn. But Swigart said there was an almost immediate response from other towns, people who had lined up to try and provide rescue efforts. He said Sebelius' comment about the lack of Humvees was unfounded.
"You may have seen her on television when she said that, and she talked about Hummers, that we needed Hummers. There were Hummers sitting in front of my house every day. The National Guard was there," he said. "I saw people from all over who came right away to help and nobody sent them, they just came because they knew it was going to be big. The response was excellent, the rescue efforts were all night long, and I even made a comment to my wife later that night when we came back into our basement that I can't imagine anyone saying we had a poor response to this tragedy, that it was so quick and it was amazing."
Swigart says the general feeling around the town is that residents were overwhelmed by the immediate response, and that the governor's fuss was for her own good. White House press secretary Tony Snow responded to Sebelius by saying that there was no request by Kansas officials for extra equipment, and that if there is anyone to blame, it's her.
"I was told she wanted to run as vice president on the Democratic ticket, and honestly, I wouldn't vote for her if they paid me because of that one thing she said on television right there. It was a political slam is all it was," he said. "It was a political statement and as far as the military thing overseas, I support what they're doing over there, and the military that came here is doing a great job too."
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Spineless Weanies at CNN
When Glenn Beck tried to play a video of a Hamas children's show that encourages suicide bombings and genocide, CNN blocked it.
Find out why.
Everything is Politics
I've heard that all politics is local. But lately, local events are nationally political.
Now, tornadoes are political.
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius says the war in Iraq has exposed holes in domestic disaster response like the one currently under way in tornado-ravaged Kansas.
The governor said about half the state's National Guard trucks are in Iraq, equipment that would be helpful in removing debris. Sebelius, who asked the Pentagon in December to replenish lost resources, said the state also is missing a number of well-trained personnel.
"I don't think there is any question if you are missing trucks, Humvees and helicopters that the response is going to be slower," Sebelius said. "The real victims here will be the residents of Greensburg, because the recovery will be at a slower pace."
White House press secretary Tony Snow said the fault was Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius'.
Has anybody demonstrated that a truch shortage has affected anything? Not that I've heard. This is just a political cheap shot.
"If you don't request it, you're not going to get it," he said.
And, the sniping is not limited to Kansas.
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is echoing comments Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius made that National Guard resources are stretched thin.
O'Malley said he is very concerned about the amount of National Guardsmen in Maryland who are deployed overseas, calling resources "greatly depleted."
Update: 10,0000 dead? Where have I heard this before?
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Mormons Don't Believe In God?
Al Sharpton dismisses Mitt Romney's faith.
I'm not surprised that Al Sharpton does not limit his religious bigotry to Jews. I will be surprised if any Democrat denounces him. Certainly he'll escape anything like the scrutiny or ostracism that was Don Imus's fate.
Hat tip to The Blogfather.
Labels: Al Sharpton Mormon Bigotry
Culture of Corruption Update
Under the Democrats' new ethics rules, if you call a lobbyist a "personal friend," then you can accept gifts from him.
Led by House Ethics Committee chair Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the House of Representatives on Wednesday unanmiously agreed to loosen strict rules on members' acceptance of free airplane rides that were adopted when Democrats took over Congress in January.
The measure, adopted on a May 2 voice vote minutes before the House of Representatives adjourned at 11:59 p.m., was labeled as an effort to "clarify certain matters relating to official conduct" of the House of Representatives.
The change stipulated that members of Congress can fly their own airplanes on official business as well as accept "personal use of an aircraft ... that is supplied by an individual on the basis of personal friendship."
Although House Ethics Committee guidelines list circumstances under which the "personal friendship" designation would apply, Melanie Sloan of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsiblity and Ethics in Washington says the change creates a "huge loophole."
"As long as you call a lobbyist your personal friend, it is apparently OK," says Sloan, who believes the ethics enforcement process is crippled because only members of Congress can file complaints against their colleagues. "I don't see a member filing a complaint against another member for flying on someone's plane, saying they are not really friends."
Tubbs Jones' congressional office referred questions on the change to the House Ethics Committee, whose spokesman declined comment on them.
Hat tip to the Blogfather.
Frisky American Youths
It's not surprising, I suppose, that we have some frisky youths here as well.
"The DVD depicted 10 young men who appeared to be in their early-20s shooting assault weapons at a firing range in a militia-like style while calling for jihad and shouting in Arabic, 'Allah Akbar,' or 'God is Great.'"
In March 2006, an FBI cooperator infiltrated the group, the FBI said, and began recording his conversations with the Shnewer.
On a laptop computer belonging to one suspect, the FBI found a file labeled "19," and "what appears to be the last will and testament of at least two of the hijackers" in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the FBI said.
On July 29, a second FBI informant recorded a meeting with the three Dukas and Shnewer, during which they watched videos on the laptop that included "armed attacks on and the killing of U.S. military personnel," the FBI said.
Three days later, the FBI said, the informant recorded a meeting with Shnewer in which he said the six were part of a "group that was planning to attack a U.S. military base."
"Shnewer explained that they could utilize six or seven jihadists to attack and kill at least one hundred soldiers by using rocket-propelled grenades," the FBI said.
NY Times Lectures Sarkozy
Don't forget to be multicultural mister!
The French (like many Americans) have grown increasingly tired of their cranky and ineffective president, Jacques Chirac. With Nicolas Sarkozy they’ve certainly gotten a very different sort of leader. A graduate of a non-elite university, and the son of a Hungarian immigrant, he won this week’s election promising sweeping change to voters impatient with their country’s long economic and diplomatic decline. But to succeed, Mr. Sarkozy will need to keep his own impatience, and his destructive penchant for divisive rhetoric, under firm control.
Mr. Sarkozy hopes to strengthen ties with Washington while pursuing a more active role in Europe. A France that is neither reflexively anti-American nor in automatic lock step with Washington would be good for both sides of the Atlantic. To start, more active Franco-American military cooperation in Afghanistan and diplomatic coordination on Sudan could make a big difference.
Then there is the vexed issue of agricultural protection, and the vexing clout of French farmers. Mr. Sarkozy and Mr. Bush are both avowed free-traders. A joint push to lower agricultural barriers could revive international trade talks and give African countries, including those with close ties to Paris, a fairer chance at development.
For most voters, the compelling issues were domestic, especially the challenge of invigorating an economy weighed down by decades of slow growth, high unemployment and suburban decay. Mr. Sarkozy’s call for tax cuts, smaller government, longer working hours and tougher labor policies won out over his Socialist rival’s contention that she could administer the needed economic jolts while preserving the security and comfort of the social status quo.
Mr. Sarkozy’s ability to carry out those changes will depend on how well his right-wing allies fare in next month’s parliamentary election and his ability to rally a wider political coalition for what will be painful and dislocating changes. Mr. Sarkozy will especially have to overcome the distrust of young urban immigrants, whom he has demeaned with insulting stereotypes and frightened with simplistic law-and-order prescriptions.
If Mr. Sarkozy means what he now says about being “president of all the French,” he needs to recognize that there are many equally legitimate ways of being French. And that the problems of poverty and unemployment require much broader solutions than simple law and order.
Of course, it is New York Times style multiculturalism, that "gorgeous mozaic" crap of Mario Cuomo that has given France this.
I'll Bet None Are Named Francois or Henri
As threatened by socialist loser Segolene Royal, those frisky French "youths" went on a rampage after Nicolas Sarkozy was declared the of the French presidential election.
Overnight Monday some 500 youths shouting "Sarko, fascist!" went on a rampage in the Bastille district of Paris, burning 10 cars, looting two stores and smashing windows, police said.
More than 200 people were detained during four hours of clashes in which protesters threw stones and other projectiles at police, one of whom was injured. Fifteen people remained in custody on Tuesday.
The flare-ups echoed Royal's pre-poll warning that a Sarkozy victory could see the country slide into unrest.
Of course, the news media are protecting us from learning anything about the neighborhoods that these "youths" come from. But, as the title suggests, I doubt that any have names anyone would recognize as French.
Monday, May 07, 2007
The Breck Girl's Blissful Ignorance
John Edwards' central issue is solving poverty. He even has a plan. The problem is that his ideas have been tried and are proven failures.
If there is a personal imprint on Edwards's plan, it is his argument for reducing racial and economic segregation -- that, as he put it in one speech, "if we truly believe that we are all equal, then we should live together, too." To achieve this, Edwards proposes doing away with public housing projects and replacing them with 1 million rental vouchers, to disperse the poor into better neighborhoods and suburbs, closer to good schools and jobs.
The idea sounds bold, but it faces a deflating reality: A major federal experiment conducted for more than a decade has found that dispersing poor families with vouchers does not improve earnings or school performance, leaving some economists puzzled that Edwards would make such dispersal a centerpiece of his anti-poverty program. Edwards said he was unaware of the experiment.
And here's the really bad news for liberals:
Standing apart from the back-and-forth has been an unavoidable fact: No program has helped lift up the poor in recent years as much as a strong economy. In the prosperous 1990s, the number of people living in high-poverty neighborhoods fell by 24 percent, or 2.5 million people. Since then, the poverty rate has increased, to higher than it was 30 years ago.
"The ultimate goal is to create tight labor markets that create opportunities for poor people," said Harvard sociologist William Julius Wilson.
Labels: John Edwards Poverty Politics
Saturday, May 05, 2007
The French Election
The Taliban endorses Royal.
Friday, May 04, 2007
The Candidate of Preemptive Surrender
I had always assumed that France had stepped over the brink decades ago. This weekend, they have a chance to show me otherwise.
There's the candidate who believes that France and her culture are worth defending. Then, there's the candidate who wishes to surrender to Islamofascism right away.
Labels: Sarkozy Royal
Valor Still Valued at the Box Office
I doubt that Hollywood ever expected to find itself on the frontlines of the Global War on Terror – unless it was on the other side. The Hollywood of recent years has dedicated itself to undermining America’s morale and convincing Americans that Western civilization is fundamentally corrupt. A visitor from another planet might point to Hollywood itself as proof of that latter charge.
Children of baby-boomers and many baby boomers themselves might find it difficult to believe that it wasn’t that long ago that the entertainment industry appreciated that its decadent self-indulgence and bohemianism depended upon a resilient culture willing to defend even its most repellent warts, such as Hollywood. And Hollywood did its part by producing movies that celebrated America and the heroes who defended her. As recently as the Vietnam War, John Wayne starred in a movie that celebrated our fighting men’s heroism and ridiculed leftwing nay-saying journalists.
But despite embracing America’s enemies, Hollywood now finds itself accused before the United Nations of engaging in “cultural and psychological warfare” against one of America’s most intractable enemies – Iran. Considering that Hollywood considers the UN’s thugocrats a more reliable fount of goodness in the world than the United States, this development must cause some consternation, at least during those brief intervals of sobriety and introspection that not even Hollywood can postpone forever.
Hollywood’s crime is the movie “300,” Frank Miller’s cartoonified retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. The real history of the event is one of heroism and, if the movie had gone on a little longer, the preservation of that spark of modern civilization that was nearly extinguished by the Persian king Xerxes and his imperial hordes. A more mature treatment of the historical events would have set serious people to trembling when they realized how near to extinction democracy came while it was still in its embryonic form. But the cartoon treatment accurately captured the spirit of heroism and sacrifice of the battle. And in truth, telling the story in comic book format might be the best way to instruct students in history these days. Students do not matriculate from our modern public education institutions prepared to absorb Plutarch or Herodotus. Most aren’t even up to Kitty Kelly.
And while the caricatures employed in 300 faithfully conveyed the majesty and heroism found in the classical treatments of the Battle of Thermopylae, the modern day descendents of Persia, today’s Iranians, are deeply offended at the treatment of their ancestors. Xerxes himself is portrayed as an effeminate giant festooned with body piercing, resembling and behaving for all the world like a typical American anti-war protester, except that Frank Miller’s Xerxes exhibited a manly side, rather like Mr. Clean.
Joining the Iranians are a fair percentage of movie critics along with leftists here and abroad who consider the film propaganda for the Global War on Terror. The first German audiences were reported to have booed as they saw Leonides as a stand in for George Bush and Xerxes as a sock puppet for Osama Bin Laden, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong Il, or whatever bellicose enemy of the west is grabbing headlines at the moment.
The New York Times’ A. O. Smith labeled 300, “a bombastic spectacle of honor and betrayal.”
California State University history professor Touraj Daryaee condemned the movie for portraying Persians as, “a bunch of veiled towel-heads who remind us of Iraqi insurgents, a group of black-cloaked Ninja-esque warriors who look like Taliban trainees, and men and women with body and facial piercings who are either angry, irrational or sexually deviant.”
Ahmadinejad complained that the movie was designed to “humiliate” Iranians.
Isn’t he the guy who’s been threatening to exterminate Jews and obliterate Israel?
These are code word complaints for the fact that this movie had unambiguous good guys and bad guys. And just like the television show “24,” the movie has enemies that are easily identifiable even though such recognition is officially condemned as racial profiling.
In my view, the real unease that this movie creates among the left is that it was enthusiastically attended and enjoyed by a predominantly young audience. I saw the movie on its first day in the theaters and I would estimate the median age at between 20 and 25. That marshal heroism was celebrated and clearly inspiring to this demographic has to give the left nightmares.
Labels: 300 Thermopylaes Iran Hollywood