Friday, April 29, 2005

BACK FROM EXTINCTION: the IVORY BILLED WOODPECKER HOAX

I love the story about the woodpecker that came back from "extinction." Maybe it just evolved a superior means of hiding from the tree-hugging enviros and bird-watchers! "Feared" extinct is how they report it now, but I bet it was claimed as such routinely in press reports before this latest video documentation. It's also interesting how the reports of sightings or hearings of this bird during it's "extinction" were generally discredited before this. GREENIE HOAX, anyone?

LIBERAL BIAS: A SIX-PACK OF SMEARS AND SLANTS!

Today's "Political Grapevine" on Britt Hume's Special Report was indeed "the most scintillating two minutes on TV!" Mr. Hume lined up six stories about liberals having to apologize for or correct biased, sometimes even hateful statements. This is worth reprinting in full:

Colorado Democratic Senator Ken Salazar this week referred to the Christian group Focus on the Family, which supports President Bush, as "the Anti-Christ of the world." But Salazar now says he didn't mean that, saying, "I regret having used [those words]."

In an audio skit about President Bush's Social Security proposal earlier this week, a voice on Air America, the liberal radio network, said, "here's your answer, you ungrateful whelp," and then sounded three shotgun blasts. Air America is now apologizing for that, calling it a "bad" skit and insisting, "our normal vetting process failed."

The AP this week quoted the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Albert Mohler Jr, as saying that putting more evangelicals on the court will mean rulings more in tune with Christian beliefs. But Mohler never said that. The AP now says it "incorrectly paraphrased" him.

A National Public Radio host said, "a book by a conservative commentator ... has leveled ... charges [similar]" to those by Republicans that judicial activist judges bring violence upon themselves. But the book, "Men in Black" by Mark Levin, never says that. NPR now says it was just "turn[ing] to a critique of the book" from a previous subject, and "we regret any error or confusion."

An editorial page editor at the Minneapolis Star Tribune insisted earlier this week that his paper has never advocated a change to Senate filibuster rules. But after some media noted that when President Clinton's proposals were being filibustered, the paper called on politicians to "crusade for changes in Senate procedures," Editorial page deputy editor Jim Boyd now admits his paper has been "caught in a contradiction." He says he and his staff "missed" the old editorial.

And finally, The Washington Post today has a headline saying that Tom DeLay "is likely to be found culpable." But the piece accompanying it doesn't say that, instead saying that Delay is "in danger" of being found in violation of House ethics rules, but could also be "vindicated." The Post now says its headline "overstated" the situation.
- FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report

Astounding. Two newspapers, two radio networks, one news wire service, and one Democrat Senator, all either slanting against or outright slandering conservatives. Mr. Hume excellently demonstrates a pattern of media bias, and which side it's coming from, thanks to Sen. Salazar. This kind of reporting is what's missing from most of the MSM, with an emphasis on reporting. Not one opinion of Mr. Hume's was expressed in that two minutes. This is why he exemplifies FOXNEWS' "we report, you decide" credo.

Some further points: I've listened to Rush Limbaugh since 1992, and he's never done any skit as vile about Pres. Clinton, especially over a policy issue, as the one "Airhead America" did about Pres. Bush. Also, I'm happy to see that the FOXNEWS bashers in Canada have lost all credibility now that it's finally being shown on Canadian TV. The liberals are being exposed for the liars and demagogues they have consistently accused conservatives of being for many years. I think it will get worse for them for a long time before it gets better.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

AFGHAN DRUG LORD BUSTED IN U.S.

For those of us who have winced while understanding the rationale behind our military's policy of mostly looking the other way regarding Afghanistan's poppy harvest, here is a ray of hope. The BBC reports that Bashir Noorazi, an Afghan drug lord and Taliban supporter, was arrested here in the U.S. I'm sure someone will take his place, but getting this guy at least sours his current schemes, whether importing drugs or financing terror. Funny, I didn't catch this one on any U.S. news outlets, including FOX. That's why I post these things here; so you, my friends, will get all this kind of news!

Update: I saw it reported more widely the day after I posted this, but not as prominently as it should have been.

ZARQAWI ALMOST NABBED - GET THAT BASTARD!

We came this close to capturing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in February, according to this report. Two month later, terrorist attacks are rising again in Iraq. We need to get this bastard, and put an end to his acts of terrorism. NOW.

Friday, April 22, 2005

BANGING DOORS and THROWING THINGS: WHY I LIKE JOHN BOLTON, and YOU SHOULD TOO!

I've heard it said that the Democrats are "Borking" John Bolton. That was just the first step. Step two, as I see it, is closer to the Clarence Thomas hearing, when they got the extension to bring in Anita Hill. Bolton's accuser of misconduct in a Moscow hotel 10 years ago is in the M.O.B. (Mothers Opposed to Bush - a group who put out commercials featuring Edie Falco, who plays Carmella on the Sopranos) leadership. I heard a report that she is "negotiating" (why would she have to do that?) to appear before the Senate comittee.

I'm going to go out on a limb here, and predict he gets confirmation, as Justice Thomas did. I say this because there is one thing I haven't seen in the media: poll numbers on Bolton's popularity. I think the worse they make Bolton look, the more people want him as our UN ambassador. (Luckily, these aren't sexual allegations, or the Dems would bring up the UN sex scandals that they never seem to mention otherwise.) It may be that people dislike Bolton personally, but they probably dislike the UN a whole lot more. The high-minded talk of "our ambassador to the world" wears thin when facing Sudan on the UN Human Rights Comission, and other UN insults to the ideals of freedom.

We may want someone who bangs on doors and throws things at people! - even if that is a total fabrication about Mr. Bolton. I hope the Dems keep stepping in the deep doo-doo, and waste a bunch of political capital on this one. You heard it here first, and I promise an analysis of where I was wrong, if that is the case.

I support John Bolton, because all of his statements about the UN over the years have been proven right. It is time for us to get real when it comes to dealing with this massive, screwed up organization. He is the man to do it. Now is the time.

Tip of the hat to Mona Charen's piece about why the Dems hate Mr. Bolton. She sees the Republicans at fault, which they very well may be, at least in part. It's linked in the title.

LARRY ELDER on RACE in EDUCATION

Larry Elder has written one of the most blunt columns about race in education I've ever read, titled An Asian student confesses -- 'we work harder'. He really "stirs the melting pot," so to speak.

The larger point I see is that culture cannot supplant education. The multicultural movement, along with the liberalization of "mainstream" American culture has impeded education in this country for too many years to be easily reversed. Any statistical analysis will prove this conclusion, though it sounds like an opinion. Read Mr. Elder's piece, and decide for yourself.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

KERRY not helped by BENEDICT XVI

John Kerry's Presidential aspirations may be dimmed with the selection of the new Pope. The former Cardinal Ratzenberger sent a letter advising the US Bishops to deny communion to strongly pro-abortion politicians while Kerry was running for President. More Catholics voted for Bush than Kerry last time, by a slight margin. Unless the Republicans nominate Giuliani, or anyone softer than Kerry on abortion, Kerry will do even worse among Catholics. This assumes he can beat Hillary in the Democratic primaries, which is as unlikely as the Republicans nominating any Giuliani-type liberal.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

CHINA VS. JAPAN

If you weren't watching the news closely the last few weeks, you may have missed the emerging tension between Japan and China. This is serious stuff, as noted by Peter Brookes in the column linked here. The important thing to remember that the Chinese do not tolerate protest. The anti-Japanese demonstrations are government sponsored, as alluded to in this cartoon by Cox & Forkum. Do not be fooled into thinking that this is actually a popular uprising of righteous anger at Japan, which is how I've seen it reported as. It is nothing more than Chi-Com propaganda, and as such should always invite a deeper look. Brookes' piece does this, and Cox & Forkum's cartoon is also on point regarding the protests.

My analysis is this: Japan may have to go nuclear to deter China and it's puppet, North Korea. We should support them if they choose this course. Democratization is the only solution to China's belligerent behavior, and it can't be imposed from outside the country. Until then, military deterrence on the order of what we did vs. the USSR is needed. Japan is in the position Europe was in during the '80's, on the front line of the new cold war. Fortunately, Japan realizes that it will have to "do for itself" regarding China with the US occupied with the war on terror, and seems more ready to assume defense responsibility than the Europeans turned out to be.

Japan is a well-respected democracy, and China is among the most repressive dictatorships on the planet. People who worry about the economic devastation of cutting trade with China may have to start thinking about the real devastation that China (and No. Korea's) nuclear arsenal may cause. They already do in Japan.

FAT vs. TOBACCO: KONDRACKE is DELUSIONAL

Mort Kondracke, who I often agree with, has taken leave of his senses. He is proposing the government fight FAT FOODS with higher taxes, as has been done with cigarettes. He rightly rejects the McDonald's lawsuits, but cites other intrusive government regulations to support this cockamamie proposition. The one he finds least "helpful" is a Dept. of Agriculture report that recommends "60 to 90 minutes of daily exercise — so much that most people will give up before trying." Instead, he wants to tax fatty foods, whether they're bought by obese people or not. At least with tobacco, the smokers were the only ones paying the extra tax. This tax will fall on all food consumers (pretty much everybody), and like the tobacco tax, it will disproportionally affect the poorest Americans, or force them to buy less fatty foods, if you believe Mort. I don't think that this will do anything but hurt the people and the economy, and it will do less to fight obesity than recommending 60 to 90 minutes of exercise a day.

The link started going to his most recent column, so I deleted it.

JOHN BOLTON DOES THE TIME WARP!

I just couldn't resist this one. Mark Steyn writes about UN ambassador appointee John Bolton's confirmation hearings. Apparently, Bolton is not qualified for this job because he chewed out two subordinates. The funniest part is reading the testimony saying that Bolton had his "hands on hips," to which I have to ask: Maybe he was just doing the TIME WARP?

Monday, April 18, 2005

PASSING THOUGHTS like so much HOT AIR!

Pres. Bush is right on Social Security reform, especially private accounts. We'll get private accounts, maybe as an add - on, or extra tax. I would pay it, as I'm confident it would get a better return than Social Security.

Previous Medicare reforms, including the new drug benefits, need re-reforming, being in a more advanced default than Social Security is in.

The President's vision regarding immigration is close to right, but he lacks the political will (or power) to enforce current immigration law, much less propose any new policy. Only an attack through either land border would prompt action on this, if not for the Minutemen.

If the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) was lowered to 19%, and taxpayers were able to pay the LOWER tax rate when compared to the current rate system, it could be a backdoor to a FLAT TAX, according to Stephen Moore of the Club for Growth.

The judicial branch of government will respond as either other branch would to political pressure, and slow down on the amount of legislation from the bench. This will not stop the pressure, now being expressed through the President's Appellate Court apointees. The conflict will go "nuclear" before a Supreme Court nominee is considered by congress.

Representatives Frank & Blunt were on MEET the PRESS, talking about Rep. DeLay. They even made joke about a "frank and blunt discussion," leaving out the DeLay pun. Another missed opportunity. (For those of you who might not get it, the House Ethics comittee Dems are causing a delay in the investigation of DeLay - HA HA!)

It's a shame that when private property rights are such an integral part of our international efforts to spread freedom, we should be degrading them here in the U.S. The government cannot condemn and confiscate private land for other private owners, even if they do business with "the public," and can pay more taxes. Fiscal liberals tend to come down on the wrong side of this one, because of their addiction to higher tax revenues. Enviros are willing to tax us all to death, and have a passionate hatred of land/property ownership in general. This combination has driven real estate prices through the roof in some rural areas as much as the upscale cities like New York, which, by the way, is banning Wal-Mart over their "labor and immigration" problems. A shame indeed.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

FROM IRAQ: Talking with CPL. MIKE

My young friend Mike just came back from Iraq for a few weeks well-deserved leave. I got to talk with him for an hour or so, which was a real pleasure. I remember regaling him with tales of my USMC adventures when we first met, several years ago. Then came 9/11. Being 39 at the time, I felt helpless regarding my first instinct, which was to meaningfully fight the terrorists. Mike, almost 20 years my junior, joined the USMC. I never had children, but this young man gave me a sense of pride that I never felt before, and could only describe as paternal. I reassured his father that he enlisted too late to be involved in the Afghanistan campaign. He has, however, ended up guarding our embassy in Iraq.

I got some impressions from our talk, and in general terms, he was skeptical about the Iraqis' ability to "fix up their own places." I take this to be a function of how close he is to the center of the US presence, where Iraqis may expect us to take up the role of the previous Baathist government, which did not encourage private upgrading of property, to say the least.

I'm sending Mike some interview questions that I hope to post. Obviously, I can't reveal anything that might compromise his operational security, but I want to get his impression on the ground, and put it out there. Remember, there are many levels of Iraqi society, and Mike is far removed from the political class, or the emerging "elites" in that country. The people he encounters are the bricks in the foundation of democracy that is hopefully being built over there.

Men like Mike are protecting us by persevering through the tough process going on in Iraq. Pres. Bush's policy has been carried on their backs, and it appears to be successsful on a regional scale. Their sacrifices may have saved a much larger toll of lives if the Middle East had festered longer with Saddam still in power. My prayers are with Mike, who is going back for another tour. I'm proud of him, and wish I could be there too. Watch for his interview in an upcoming post.

John Paul II: CONDOMS vs. ABSTINENCE

I'm still amazed at critics who say that Pope John Paul II's preaching against condoms increased the spread of AIDS. If the people did what he preached, they would not use condoms, but they also wouldn't have sex outside of wedlock. Wouldn't this decrease the spread of AIDS more than if they had sex with multiple people, even using condoms? --Just asking.

SPOOK.COM

Mark Steyn rants about intelligence reform, and makes many good points. My favorite is his wrap-up, commenting on how little we get for our $30 BILLION intel spending:

"Anybody who watches cable news or reads an occasional foreign paper would know as much.

How about if that $30 billion was allocated to, say, a program for subsidized bicycling helmets for grade-schoolers or some other federal boondoggle, and they bulldozed Langley, and gave the CIA director 20,000 bucks to put all his agency's global ''analysis'' up on a blog — spook.com — and invite comments from readers around the world? It couldn't possibly be less informed than the CIA's decades-long record of incompetence in the Middle East. U.S. intelligence needs a fresh start, and short of buying ol' Sandypants a larger pair of trousers and getting him to smuggle out every single classified document, it's not clear how it's ever going to get it."

--as it is, there is alot of good info out there in the blogoshere, if it's linked to actual, and preferably multiple press reports. Blogs link to many foreign news stories that the US media downplay. I personaly like certain opinion pieces, as long as the facts are good from that columnist. Mr. Steyn fits that, and his column is a good read this week. The link may not last, so read it soon. I don't know the answer to intel reform, but I like the people Pres. Bush is appointing to the intel agencies (Goss & Negroponte). Maybe they can come up with something more effective than SPOOK.COM!

Friday, April 08, 2005

REBUILD THE TWIN TOWERS!

See this plan to rebuild the Twin Towers opposite the footprints of the original. This is what should be done. Compare models of this plan vs. the Freedom Tower, also known as the "I SURRENDER, PLEASE DON'T HIT ME AGAIN" plan. Also read Nicole Gelinas' excellent piece from the NY Post, which inspired this post. Nothing has been built yet. It's not to late to do the right thing, instead of what is being planned.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

"THE BLESSING OF THE TAXES"

NOW, I'VE SEEN IT ALL. I've ranted before about Bill Moyers, among others, using religion to promote their political views on taxes and entitlement programs, while bashing Pres. Bush for his "faith based initiatives." It's ironic that this post I found starts off with the words "Does this count as a faith-based initiative?" The author, Shava Nerad, posts a newsletter from the Unitarian Universalist Association, which represents a group of congregations. The letter, "adapted from the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon," states that they will be performing "THE BLESSING OF THE TAXES" at several congregations around the country between Apr. 8th and 17th. An excerpt:

"What you can do:

* Lay hands on envelopes containing tax returns or copies of returns in worship, and pray over them; or create an altar for tax returns
* Weave the blessing into sermons or pastoral prayers
* Conduct special worship services
* Conduct prayer vigils at local Post Offices on April 15 (a great and easy way to get local media attention!)
* Distribute the blessing with attached information about how taxes are used and how citizens can contact their legislators"

...Now I hear all about the right wing Christians that support Pres. Bush, but both of these TAX EXEMPT religious organizations repeatedly identify themselves as liberal, and as supporting liberal political action. I respect their religious beliefs, but aren't they against imposing them on others that don't share them? That is the main prostest against many of Pres. Bush's initiatives and policies. Unfortunately, we have an example of what a President with their views actually DID in office: Jimmy Carter. The reality is that the liberal methods of "ending" poverty have only institutionalized it on a generational scale. The "compassionate conservative" approach, which originated before Pres. Bush with welfare reform in the '90's, has proven itself even through the recession Pres. Clinton left Pres. Bush with. When the government advertises on TV for people to get food stamps, I think we need to try something radically different than what these groups espouse.

My one question: Do I have to join a Church for unregulated, tax-free political speech if the FEC takes my blog away?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

TERRORISM IN THE HANDS OF JUSTICE

There is a new show on Iraqi TV, "Terrorism in the Hands of Justice," in which captured terrorists are berated and interrogated on camera. The Washington Post has this report, including these quotes: "Sabah Kadhim, an Interior Ministry spokesman, added, 'The last few weeks have been incredible in terms of tips coming in from the public.'" and "Many of the suspects are former policemen who claim they were coerced into joining the insurgency by threats against their families. Though many claim to have attacked U.S. forces, the interviews focus on their atrocities against Iraqis and payments they allegedly received from Syrian and Saudi paymasters."

THIS IS GREAT! Just another sign of the mood of most Iraqis toward these terrorist bastards who are trying to stop the spread of freedom in that country. The paper calls it "Iraq's hottest new television program," and quotes al-Iraqiya's Baghdad station director, Ahmed Yasseri: "we have overtaken the other stations. These tapes have captured the attention of Iraqis." That's one reality show that I'd actually watch!

TWO OLD BLACK MEN: The Wisdom of Drs. WILLIAMS and SOWELL

This is a post I have been thinking of for some time; a fitting tribute to two men I've come to see as teachers. You see, I dropped out of college after one semester, and never went back. However, I never stopped educating myself, mostly from my own mistakes.

Part of my life's journey has been an evolution from a knee-jerk, bleeding heart liberal into what can only be described as a "compassionate conservative." This is where the two old black men come in.

I first heard Dr. Williams on the Rush Limbaugh radio show, and was taken aback. "BLACK, by popular demand" was how they introduced him! The radical reality that he saw was far removed from the reality I saw portrayed by most media at that time, and it was shocking. I was also introduced to the eminent Dr. Sowell, and bought one of his many books, "The Quest for Cosmic Justice." (See my STARBORN gallery as to why this title appealed to me.)

Being a former liberal, the first thing that drew me to them was that they were Black conservative/libertarians. Years before, in 1984, I was prepared to vote for Jesse Jackson! I had never heard a Black person say that the descendants of US slaves are better off than the descendants of the people (whether slaveholders or slaves) left behind in Africa, or how the logical conclusion of reparations would have the descendants of the original (Black) African slaveholders paying reparations not only to the descendants of slaves still in Africa, but to the better-off descendants of US slaves. Very strong and "politically incorrect" stuff, but the logic was right on. What if a fair standard was applied to all historical events? COSMIC JUSTICE is incalculable, as Dr. Sowell has explained. Man can only hope to learn from past mistakes, and not repeat them, especially when trying to "fix" them. "Two wrongs don't make a right" might be the simplest way to explain this philosophy.

Second was the appreciation of these men as scholars; as men who educate today's youth, and find them sorely wanting. I have already experienced being smarter than a college-educated colleague, so this wasn't as surprising to hear from them. I was always uneasy arguing economics, but no more. I actually get a brainfart if I can't do one of Dr. Williams little "quizzes" (on the Limbaugh show) in my head. The point being that these guys are teaching economics, not rocket science. It doesn't always take long formulas to understand this stuff, if you can grasp the basic concepts. This is what I learned from them. They remind me of my father, another teacher who got through to the hardest to teach students, which brings me to ...

Third: They are old. These gentlemen have lived through the most interesting times of human history, and are willing to share that experience with all of us younger people that want to learn from them. Words fail me to explain how profoundly they have influenced me. I was just kidding about the OLD crack, as they both still are at the pinnacle of their careers. I just wanted to post my little tribute to two men who I hope will continue educating us for a long time. Read their wisdom and other stuff at these links: DR. SOWELL, and DR. WILLIAMS. You won't regret it, and you can learn something.


PS: For all of us "persons of European descent," Dr. Wiiliams has a GIFT! Say "thank you!"

Friday, April 01, 2005

(Secretary) Leavitt to ACLU: KEEP IT IN YOUR PANTS!

It seems that the ACLU and some other liberal groups are pressuring the Health and Human Services Department to take down a website promoting abstinence, but HHS Sec. Leavitt (no relation) is sticking to his guns. The article linked above shows how the ACLU and others would rather promote sexual activity among youngsters than allow facts to be presented to them. The worst thing in the story was the assumption that "sexually active" teens couldn't abstain. Luckily, I know of at least 2 Leavitts that don't buy that, and one of us is in a position to do something about it. The ACLU and these other groups need to butt out, or they need to be looked at and exposed for supporting underage sex. The ACLU is already representing NAMBLA (a MAN-BOY LOVE group under Federal indictment), so this should be a no-brainer. This sick group is attacking the promotion of common sense traditional values, while defending pedophiles. This is a far cry from their mission of protecting "civil rights." They could protect a pedophile's civil rights without advocating pedophilia as a civil right.

Look at the ACLU's stance on the HHS' abstinence website: They are underminig the civil rights of parents that want to teach their children abstinence only. Why not lobby for another website? Because there are already plenty out there with the information the ACLU wants kids to have, many funded by the government. Their facts about contraception are out there, but they would deny the public acces to the facts of abstinence. They want to force their frankly dangerous opinions into every message put out to the public by the government. Someone has to draw the line.

BRAVO! to Sec. Leavitt, and continued progress.

AARP'S LATEST SCARE TACTIC, and AFL-CIO HYPOCRISY

AARP'S "Horrible Handyman"

Have you seen the latest commercial from the AARP? The one where the handyman tells the woman "your sink is clogged, so we're going to have to tear down your house," or words to that effect? A demolition crew begins doing just that, as a voiceover says that Social Security can be fixed with some "minor adjustments."

THE OPPOSITE OF THIS COMMERCIAL WOULD BE TRUE:

The commercial SHOULD be of a construction crew coming to a house with a rotting foundation and an obvious lack of structural integrity, and telling the lady "I'm here to fix the sink." The voiceover would say that "minor adjustments" will not fix the structural flaws in the Social Security system, as debris falls on the handyman tinkering with the sink.



AFL-CIO Rally for Hypocracy

The AFL-CIO, a very large investor of retirement funds in the stock market, had a rally AGAINST letting everyone else invest their money the same way the union does for it's members. Some politician at the rally claimed that private accounts were a plot to let Wall St. STEAL millions of dollars from the public's retirement funds. This is rich on two levels. One, isn't it the UNIONS THEMSELVES that keep getting caught stealing pension money? Wall St. scandals have may have wiped out retirees who were forced to invest entirely in their own company, but that is nothing like the private accounts proposed for taxpayers. Two, this politician might answer who ALREADY STOLE all of the Social Security SURPLUSES over the last half century. Hint: It wasn't Wall St, or the unions.

THAT'S RIGHT, it was the POLITICIANS! HOORAY FOR HYPOCRISY!