Sunday, February 28, 2010

Doing the Right Thing No Matter What Has Tremendous Power

 Reposted from Redstate:

Grace Beyond Comprehension

I’m not taking the Lord’s name in vain in the title here - this is literally the only reaction you can have to reading Matt Labash’s Weekly Standard profile of Father Rick Frechette and his work in Haiti. Labash’s trademark humor and eye for detail are in evidence here, but the power of the story is all Father Rick. You should, must, read the whole thing. One anecdote will do:

One afternoon, he says, he was going to visit some nuns. On his way there, he saw a teenaged boy burning in the street. A group of thugs had set him on fire. He was already dead, and Frechette could do nothing for him, but he drove ahead and asked the nuns for five buckets of water. He went back to the scene, hauling eight of the sisters with him. They got out of the truck, took the buckets, and extinguished the flames consuming the boy’s body.
“I can still hear it. I can still smell it,” Frechette says. “The sizzle like frying steak.”
“Then we put him in the back of the truck, and do what we always do. Have a prayer right there. To make a counter-witness by our own behavior. The gang that set him on fire stood there and watched as we did these things.” His missions’ role, whether through doctoring or teaching, bringing food or burying the dead, Frechette has written, is to help “repair the damage done … to make grace present, concretely, in our world.
Later, the mother superior called Frechette telling him a trembling, crying woman came to the sisters and asked for her. When she came outside, the woman fell to her knees and kissed her hands. The mother superior didn’t understand. It was the mother of the boy who’d been burned. Someone had run to tell her, “They’re killing your son and setting him on fire.” She raced out of her shack, and when she was within view of her son, was so horrified, that her legs froze. She couldn’t move them, neither to run toward him, nor to run away. “She was frozen in hell,” Frechette puts it.
She told the mother superior that she saw a truck go by, and then slow down, and then keep going. Then she saw it come back. And the people in it got out, and “put out my son like I was wishing I could put out the fire on my son’s body.” Then they picked him up until he was clean. Then they prayed for him. “Everything she tried to do was done in front of her, by absolute strangers who didn’t know her or her kid.”
Of all the emotions the woman was entitled to, he wouldn’t guess gratitude would be high on the list. And yet there she was. “It made her able to live with it,” Frechette thinks. “It’s like God sent someone to help her, like it restored her faith in humanity again … I call it the countersign. The terrible thing that’s in front of you, you hurry, and offset it right away. Before what happens is too taxing and too poisonous … Sometimes with horrible things, you really feel there is nothing you can do. Nothing. You’re just useless. But over time, you start seeing that to do the right thing no matter what has tremendous power.”
If you happen to say a prayer tonight for this man and his ministry, well, I’m sure he can use it.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Going International: UK's First Tea Party at Brighton Today (Updated)

Hey, a great idea is a great idea.

Daniel Hannon has invited British opponents of excessive taxation to join him at Great Britain's very first Taxed Enough Already Party. The demonstration, UK style, will take place in Brighton, a city on the south coast of Great Britain, which Hannon represents as a Member of the European Parliament (Conservative Party), and will start at 5:30 p.m. GMT (12:30 p.m. EST).

Taxes are undeniably high in the UK, and British membership in the democratically unaccountable EU raises that historically thorny issue of "no taxation without representation."

A commenter to Hannon's UK Telegraph blog named Y Rhyfelwr Dewr asked his American wife what Americans would do if a state charged 17.5 percent sales tax at the till like they do in Cardiff, Wales, and she replied, "There'd be a revolution." Some British folk (I'm predicting a number that will surprise UK politicians as much as their US counterparts were surprised by the growth of the Tea Party turnouts here) are more than ready. A commenter who calls herself UK Debt Slave is rising to the challenge: "It's going to be an uphill struggle. There's no time to waste. You have 2 choices: 1. Do something. 2. Accept slavery."

But Hannon's also been having to defend his plan from criticisms that the first Boston Tea Party was directed against the British Crown. The comments of Torchlight are one particularly polite example:
How sad that you can’t find an authentically British way of expressing your political dissent. Instead you give us imported American theatrics inspired by what, historically, was an attack on a British ship, a prelude to an attack on the British state in a war that cost many British lives.
The fact is, of course, that most of the American Revolutionaries started out as loyal subjects of the British Crown. As Hannon pointed out:
In their own minds, all they were asking for was what they had always assumed to be their birthright as freeborn Englishman.
Part of that birthright was liberty from unjust, arbitrary or punitive taxation.


The American Revolution, in other words, was inspired by British political philosophy and – more to the point – by British political practice. American patriots saw themselves as part of a continuing British tradition, stretching back through the Glorious Revolution, back through the agitations of Pym and Hampden, back even through the Great Charter to the folkright of Anglo-Saxon common law.
Naturally enough, once the fighting started, the rebel leaders began to use nationalist arguments, and subsequent historians in the US have tended to play these up. But the idea, in 1773, that Britain was a foreign country would have struck most Americans, patriot or loyalist, as ridiculous. A large majority of the British population sympathised with the arguments of the colonists. So, indeed, did the greatest British parliamentarians of the age.

“I rejoice that America has resisted,” proclaimed William Pitt the Elder setting out the case against the Stamp Act in 1766. “Three million people so dead to all feelings of liberty as voluntarily to submit to be slaves would have been fit instruments to make slaves of the rest [of us]”
Famously, Benjamin Franklin himself sought relief for the colonies from the Stamp Act when he appeared before  the British Parliament in 1766. A record of his testimony is available here. Below is an excerpt:

Q. What was the temper of America towards Great Britain before the
year 1763? 

A. The best in the world. They submitted willingly to the government of
the Crown, and paid, in all their courts, obedience to acts of
Parliament. . . . 

Q. What is your opinion of a future tax, imposed on the same principle
with that of the Stamp Act? How would the Americans receive it? 

A. Just as they do this. They would not pay it. 
This is the kind of history that gets remembered when people get pushed too far. There is undoubtedly much encouragement for the British Tea Partiers coming from this side of the Pond, even if the chief organizer is a politician. As commenter Beloved wrote:
Whatever it takes, do it. I started out as a lone tea partier at town halls in Aug 2008, before we took up the name tea party. One Tea Partier becomes five, then 500, then 5,000 etc…The message resonates across party lines with thinking people. 
The Tea Partier writing this blog just wants to add (in American lingo): Go for it!

Update: Early reports: The place was packed. No visuals yet, though.

Update:  From Conservative Home via Autonomous Mind:
It was standing room only at the Boston Brighton Tea Party organised by the Freedom Association early this evening at which Dan Hannan was guest speaker. He said that it was time to "bring sanity and order back to the public finances" an that had to be done by reducing expenditure rather than increasing taxes.
He referred to the time when Ronald Reagan was asked how he could  justify cutting taxes when the deficit was so large, and he recalled the President's reply:
"I'm not worried about the deficit - the deficit is big enough to look after itself".
In other words, if you bring down taxes there will be economic growth, revenues will rise and the deficit will be reduced. Reagan took a massive gamble, he recalled, and it worked, with Margaret Thatcher doing much the same thing in Britain. "We have lost sight of that wisdom," he lamented.
Hat tip: Backyard Conservative

Friday, February 26, 2010

Some things can't be improved on . . .

Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) confronting Barack Obama at yesterday's Health Care Summit: 

"There really is a difference between us.... And it's basically this: We don't want the government to be in control of all this. We want people to be in control."

Watch the change in Obama's expression as he confronts the reality of Ryan. This is serious mano-a-mano.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sometimes It's Tea Parties, Other Times, Potluck Suppers

One year ago today, as I was just starting this blog, I could not have predicted that today--joy of joys--I would be welcomed to a blog prepared by an incredible group of stand-up Conservative women. It's called Potluck.
Since I'm new to this neighborhood, I've been dropping in on my new neighbors to see what they're up to. 

Today's Health Care "Summit" was on most everybody's minds. I found Pat Austin of And So it Goes in Shreveport poring over the Summit roster, reading Charles Krauthammer, and otherwise preparing to take in the spectacle. While Fuzislippers at Fuzzy Logic was contemplating American solutions to health care, Jill of Pundit and Pundette was taking in news that the Democrat machine won't admit to: polling shows that nearly three-quarters of Americans want to throw out both ObamaCare and the bathwater (stinky stuff, that). Then Pundette started in on an analysis of the effectiveness of the GOP versus the DEMs: "substance versus anecdote" was the way she put it.

MarySue from Ruby Slippers observed that Independents distrust ObamaCare almost as much as Republicans, and that Republican Paul Ryan hit the nail smack on the head when he patiently explained to the Dems that "all the answers don't lie in Washington." Politicaljunkie Mom, fresh from an examination of Obama's cover-the-Earth obsession with the Big O graphic, unleashed her inner art critic with a review of today's Obamabuki Theater. One Ticked Chick, the Coffee Milk Conservative, took a peek at what they are thinking of the Health Care Summit on the other side of the Pond.

These women really know how to prepare for Congress watching! Over at Adrienne's Corner, Adrienne got in shape by pruning her dogwoods before putting out her Congress-watching gear, including a good supply of Pepto-Bismol. Obi's Sister spent a day practicing gratitude and then reviewed some of the happenings at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Jeb Bush fan Carol Tackett, at Carol's Closet, focused on not letting Florida Governor Charlie Crist get her down.

Shout First, Ask Questions Later relaxed with a few old hits by Maurice Chevalier before taking on the question of whether it's a good idea to be "the party of No." Ann Leary, the Backyard Conservative, got in shape for Summit viewing by watching Olympic ice hockey, then got down to brass tacks: "Look. Everyone has compassion. The question is, how can we afford to pay for this?"

Oh, and No Sheeples Here! reported on CPAC, demon sheep, and standing guard over liberty before setting up a live feed from the Summit.

This is one amazing neighborhood. Drop in and join the discussion.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Closet Conservative Meets Kindred Spirits

Conservatives living in Progressive enclaves all learn one lesson: you can have all the friends you want, as long as you don't tell them what you are really thinking. 

Keeping one's political thoughts under lock and key is an exhausting enterprise, to say the least, so, a little more than a year ago, I set about the task of changing my fate. I got online to search for Conservative groups somewhere in my area. No such luck. I easily located more than 100 local groups devoted to a wide variety of interests. But groups for Conservatives? Nada.

Finally I came across a blog posting about my very own little corner of Progressive Paradise. It was called, A Place Where Only Liberal Speech Is Protected, and it was written by William A. Jacobson. In it, he observed:
I often joke that the directions to my house in Ithaca  read as follows:  Take a right at the fifth Obama sign, a left at the third "Impeach Bush" placard, bear right at the "Support Our Troops, End the War" poster, and we are the house just after the "There's a Village in Texas Missing its Idiot" banner.
The joke was, of course, that every house in Ithaca could be reached by following similar directions. One visit to Jacobson's blog, and I was hooked. Legal Insurrection, filled with Jacobson's incisive observations, became my port in the Progressive storm, and that storm certainly was raging. In Ithaca, Conservatives became officially recognized as the city's only unprotected minority:
On October 1, 2008, the Ithaca, NY, Common Council declared Ithaca a "Community of Sanctuary" for protestors against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but denied sanctuary status to supporters of the wars. 
Gradually, it came to me that I no longer needed to keep my own observations prisoner: I could start a blog of my own. One day I published a post, in which I made my intentions clear:
Times being what they are, I am casting this small loaf upon the waters of the Internet, in the certain knowledge that there are many other conservatives like myself with few kindred spirits at hand with whom to have what Ben Franklin's sister Jenny referred to as "suitable conversation." 
Miracle of miracles, the next time I looked in on Legal Insurrection--one year ago today--I found that William Jacobson had written about my new little blog: "Another fed-up, closet conservative has started a blog, Bread Upon The Waters. Check it out."

That started it, and I have since benefitted enormously from "suitable conversation" with, and inspiring reading of, incredibly smart, kind, and good people. Grateful thanks to Yukio Ngaby at Critical Narrative, Mad Minerva, Constant Conservative, How's That Obama Vote Working Out for You???, Gathering of Eagles: NY, snaggletoothie of the Loyal Opposition, There's My Two Cents, Nickie Goomba and the rest of the Mob, Pat at And So it Goes in Shreveport, Wax Lips, Pundit and Pundette, Jo-Joe Politico, and AJ at The Strata-Sphere. More grateful thanks to a welcome from new friends, whom I'll introduce tomorrow.

No one could have better company than that!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

RyanCare: A Republican Fix for the Mess We're In

I found this over at There's My Two Cents and it's way too good not to pass along:
Imagine your family's finances if you spent and borrowed like Washington: you'd owe $60 in credit-card loans for every $100 of income. Every month you'd pay back a little but borrow even more. In 10 years, you'd owe $87 for every $100 you made. At some point you'd hand off the debt to your kids. If they worked until 2035, they'd owe more than $180 for every $100 they earned. In 2050, your grandkids would owe more than $320. By 2080 they'd owe seven times their earnings. Of course, lenders would cut them off well before then, and your family would be ruined. But this is the path your government is on right now.
The author of this remarkably clear picture of our country's catastrophic indebtedness is Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Medicare, he pointed out, "is short $38 trillion of what it promises to provide your parents, you, and your kids. In five years, the hole will grow to $52 trillion. Your family's share: $458,000." Let's not even discuss Medicaid.
With Social Security's surplus "already gone" we're looking at 30% higher payroll taxes or 25% less in Social Security benefits.

Ryan has proposed a solution to our debt woes, which he calls "A Roadmap for America's Future." According to this plan, individuals (not the employer or government) would own their own health plans, helped by tax credits. People over 55 would remain in the current Medicare program, but those under 55 would join a health-care program "like the one enjoyed by members of Congress," in which they would buy into insurance programs that suit their needs. Folks with lower incomes and higher health costs would get government help. Those over 55 also would remain in the existing Social Security program, but those under 55 could either stay in the current program or "invest more than a third of their payroll taxes into savings accounts they will own." Under Ryan's plans, eligibility ages for both Medicare and Social Security would gradually increase.

Americans would also have the option to pay "a simple, low-rate, two-tier personal income tax"--no loopholes, no double taxation of savings and investment. Corporations would pay "a simple 8.5 percent business consumption tax."

Wow. As Ryan writes:
The plan unapologetically applies our nation's founding principles—individual liberty, limited government, and free enterprise—to the challenges of today. And the Roadmap does this in a way that honors our historic commitment to strengthening the social safety net for those who need it most.
For what it's worth, Ryan actually worked in the private sector, for a short while at least, as an economic analyst. Toby Harndon, the US editor of the UK Telegraph, recently tagged him the 9th "most influential US conservative":
Paul Ryan has it all – including time on his side. He entered Congress at the tender age of 28 and doesn’t turn 40 until this year. A budget hawk, he is now the senior Republican on the House Budget Committee and is holding the Obama administration’s feet to the fire just as he challenged the Bush administration to return to fiscal conservatism. Undoubtedly a future presidential prospect, he hails from a swing state and won re-election in 2008 even though his district went for Obama – an illustration of his powerful crossover appeal. A Catholic and strong social conservative, Ryan is happily married with three children and is a keen bow hunter and fisherman. His website outlines his plans to rewrite the entire federal tax, healthcare and Social Security system. 

Increasingly a national figure, he recently endorsed Marco Rubio in the Florida Senate primary, saying that “Marco’s record of conservative leadership offers convincing evidence that he will hold Washington accountable, prevent government from wasting our tax dollars and lead a new generation of Republicans”. Showed he is not afraid to go against his party’s hierarchy. A former Senate aide, he wrote speeches for Jack Kemp, Republican vice-presidential candidate in 1996. He is the fifth generation of his family to live in Janesville, Wisconsin. Used to hold constituency hours in an old truck that he would drive to remote towns and villages. Has a populist touch, recently penning an essay for Forbes entitled Down With Big Business, railing against lobbyists, “crony capitalism” and the “record profits” of rescued banks.
Get a closer look at Ryan's plan at

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm So Glad the Gov't Knows How to Spend Our $$$ (Updated)

Two million fortune cookies are being stuffed with messages promoting the U.S. Census, courtesy your tax dollars.

From the Seattle Times via My Two Census:
“Put down your chopsticks and get involved in Census 2010,” reads one message. “Real Fortune is being heard,” reads another.

It’s all part of a broader effort by the Census Bureau to spread the word about the upcoming population count on April 1.
Bessie Fan, co-owner of the fortunate fortune-cookie factory that landed the government contract said that it is a “great thrill to partner with the census for such an important effort."

Meanwhile, back in New York State, officials are telling residents that they might delay sending out state tax returns, which will hurt many families, and are planning to close many state parks, which will hurt families and small businesses and destroy jobs that depend on tourism.

Update: And then there's that little matter of Obama's new iteration (released this morning) of his plan to increase health care costs beyond the country's ability to pay for it. Read William Jacobson's observation: Obama's Plan in Two Words.

I'm waiting to get the fortune cookie message that says: "The government will stop wasting your hard-earned money." No word on who is going to partner with the Obama administration on that effort.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Obama Debt Commissioner: If America Knew, We'd Have a "Total Cremation"

Last Thursday, President Obama created a commission to "study the growing U.S. deficit," in other words, buy more time for Congressional Big Spenders. The guys heading this group will be a former Clinton chief of staff, Erskine Bowles, and a former Republican senator, Alan Simpson. Obama explained his action this way:
Federal debt has exploded, the trajectory is clear and it is disturbing, but the politics of dealing with chronic deficits is fraught with hard choices and therefore it is treacherous to office-holders here in Washington.
You can't say the man doesn't have a sense of humor. 

Here's the scenario: Washington politicians were just innocently sitting in their offices, minding their own business, when suddenly--KABOOM--the federal debt exploded, making the path "treacherous" for those guileless "office-holders."

The heroic 18 members of the federal debt clean-up squad, otherwise known as the "National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform" will, in Obama's words, “attempt the impossible," that is, attempt to put America on the path to fiscal responsibility by 2015. The Great HopeMaster, try as he might, can't seem to summon up hope for coming to terms with debt. In my experience, that's a common problem for Big Spenders.

Maybe the messengers of fiscal responsibility aren't quite as valiant as President Obama is making them out to be. Even merely advisory proposals of ways to balance the budget (nothing the Commission advises will have to go to a vote) are still mighty touchy incendiary devices for those who have based their elections, year after year, on votes bought via big government programs paid for by mostly small-pocketed taxpayers. has reported that Commission head Alan Simpson told an interviewer:
[W]e don’t dare put out a report before Election Day or it’ll be total cremation and we’ll have to move to the top of Mount Somewhere -- Erskine and I -- somewhere living up there like hermits.
Let me see if I got that right. If a Democrat and a Republican submit their ideas for getting America on the track to fiscal responsibility between now and Election Day, Congressional incumbents--both Democrat and Republican--can kiss re-election goodbye?

I think that's what many Americans already have in mind. 

Hat tip:


Saturday, February 20, 2010

MIT Profs Duke It Out Over Global Warming: Good Guy Wins

A few days ago, MIT prof and hurricane specialist Kerry Emanuel went out of his way to call the rascally shenanigans of the IPCC "alleged," as though IPCC officials have not already admitted to falsely threatening the world with imminent melting of the Himalayan glaciers and destruction of the rain forests due to rising temperatures, hiding the decline of global temperatures for more than a decade, and labeling the growth of Antarctic ice as "insignificant." 

More important, Emanuel claimed, are the "compelling strands of scientific evidence that have led almost all climate scientists to conclude that mankind is altering climate in potentially dangerous ways." 

Quick reality check:

"It is easy," said Emanuel,
"to be critical of the models that are used to make such predictions - and we are - but they represent our best efforts to objectively predict climate; everything else is mere opinion and speculation. That they are uncertain cuts both ways; things might not turn out as badly as the models now suggest, but with equal probability, they could turn out worse.
Emanuel is right that it "is easy to be critical of the models used to make such predictions." Far too easy. Garbage in, garbage out, as almost everybody knows, and it is no longer a secret that much of the data and computer coding that comprise the models were garbage. Where most of us non-"climate scientists" come from, putting "garbage in" does not represent "our best efforts." If this were not the case, there would be no such thing as ClimateGate. 

The real head-scratcher for me in Emanuel's statement is why we should accept a total (and totally painful) "remaking" of the world economy on the likelihood that the future might turn out either better or worse than a handful of self-proclaimed experts predict. If rapid global warming is a reality, and Siberia and Northern Canada blossom into breadbaskets for the world and Irish farmers start growing wine grapes, will that be "better" or "worse" for humankind?

Moreover, "everything else" not covered by the IPCC's model is not "mere opinion and speculation" as Emanuel claimed. IPCC officials already have admitted that a number of the tall tales they spun and then presented to world policymakers as "settled science" were, in fact, regurgetations of unproven opinions of global warming advocates (not scientists) based on speculation and hearsay, not data.

"We might begin," Emanuel concluded, "by mustering the courage to confront the problem of climate change in an honest and open way."

"Open and honest." That would be a welcome change indeed.

Perhaps that's why I was mighty glad to read this response to Emanuel by another MIT prof, atmospheric physicist Richard Lindzen (via Watts Up With That):
KERRY EMANUEL’S Feb. 15 op-ed “Climate changes are proven fact’’ is more advocacy than assessment. Vague terms such as “consistent with,’’ “probably,’’ and “potentially’’ hardly change this. Certainly climate change is real; it occurs all the time. To claim that the little we’ve seen is larger than any change we “have been able to discern’’ for a thousand years is disingenuous. Panels of the National Academy of Sciences and Congress have concluded that the methods used to claim this cannot be used for more than 400 years, if at all. Even the head of the deservedly maligned Climatic Research Unit acknowledges that the medieval period may well have been warmer than the present.
The claim that everything other than models represents “mere opinion and speculation’’ is also peculiar. Despite their faults, models show that projections of significant warming depend critically on clouds and water vapor, and the physics of these processes can be observationally tested (the normal scientific approach); at this point, the models seem to be failing.
Finally, given a generation of environmental propaganda, a presidential science adviser (John Holdren) who has promoted alarm since the 1970s, and a government that proposes funding levels for climate research about 20 times the levels in 1991, courage seems hardly the appropriate description - at least for scientists supporting such alarm.
There exist paltry computer models that can be manipulated by a handful of fallible human beings, and there exist natural systems whose powers are beyond human comprehension, but, as Lindzen pointed out, which do exhibit processes that can be "observationally tested" to challenge predictions based on computer model results.

For example, in contradiction to years and decades of global warming projections based on what Emanuel called "compelling strands of evidence," snowfall in the Northern Hemisphere has been extending farther and farther south ever since the start of the decline in temperature that the IPCC and others worked so hard to hide. Almost everyone in the Northern Hemisphere has observed this phenomena, often with snow shovel in hand. Here's the graph:

That's what I call a "compelling strand of evidence."

Friday, February 19, 2010

American Buddhists: Obama Doesn't Want Your Support!

In fact, he doesn't want your support if you are simply an American who believes in common courtesy.

How do I know? Here's photographic evidence of Obama putting the Dalai Lama out with the trash:

Classless. Clueless. Infuriating. Heartbreaking.

I've seen thousands of photos of the White House, but I don't recall ever seeing a photo of the White House trash. Have they always piled up trash at one of the doors of the nation's Executive Mansion?

Here's George Bush with the Dalai Lama:

Now that's more like it.

In Obama's mind, though, some people obviously are more equal than others:

Hat tip: Gateway Pundit via There's My Two Cents.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Links between Fort Jackson and DC-Area Terrorist Wannabes?

As is being widely reported on the blogosphere, CBN News has broken the story that five Muslim translators were arrested just before Christmas for trying to poison the food supply of their fellow soldiers at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. The group, now being called the "Fort Jackson Five," are suspected of having been in contact with five young Muslims from the Washington, DC area who traveled to Pakistan to wage jihad, but instead were captured by Pakistani police.

Since December, I have been following reports on the five U.S. nationals being held in Pakistan, namely, Pakistani Americans Umer Farooq and Waqar Hussain; Ethiopian Americans Aman Yamar and Ahmed Abdullah Mimi; and Egyptian American Ramy Zamzam.

CBS ran the following report on them back in December, immediately after their arrest. Since then, the "DC-area Five" have been formally charged by Pakistani officials with attempting to target important installations in Pakistan, fight in Afghanistan, and embrace martyrdom. The five also have made claims that they have been tortured while in Pakistani hands, a move right out of the terrorist playbook.

Pakistani officials claim that there is a connection between the DC terrorist wannabes and al Qaeda, which, if correct, also establishes a link of some sort between the Fort Jackson wannabe poisoners and al Qaeda.

Why is the news of the attempted poisonings being released a month and a half after the event? Among several other reasons that leap to mind, one is that the arrest of 5 Muslim soldiers attempting a terrorist act on a U.S. Army base would not support the "lone extremist" theory favored by Barack Obama.

Why does the president want Americans to believe in the "lone extremist" explanation of Islamic terrorism?

That's another question.
Related posts:

Obama Tells NASA: Space Programs For Muslims

WASHINGTON — NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said Tuesday that President Barack Obama has asked him to “find ways to reach out to dominantly Muslim countries” as the White House pushes the space agency to become a tool of international diplomacy.
“In addition to the nations that most of you usually hear about when you think about the International Space Station, we now have expanded our efforts to reach out to non-traditional partners,” said Bolden, speaking to a lecture hall of young engineering students.
Specifically, he talked about connecting with countries that do not have an established space program and helping them conduct science missions. He mentioned new opportunities with Indonesia, including an educational program that examines global climate change.
“We really like Indonesia because the State Department, the Department of Education [and] other agencies in the U.S. are reaching out to Indonesia as the largest Muslim nation in the world. We would love to establish partners there,” Bolden said.
As a presidential candidate, Obama espoused a space program that invited more participation from the international community and Deputy NASA Administrator Lori Garver said recently that the next time NASA lands on the moon it would be part of an international exploration effort.
Former astronaut Charlie Bolden, Jr. got his job as leader of NASA from Barack Obama and has been managing NASA's missions and goals for 7 months. In that brief time, NASA's moon mission has been cancelled, the space shuttle program is being abandoned (with the U.S. hitching rides to the International Space Station), and the satellite program is being pressed into service as a lackey for the discredited Global Warming Doomsday tax scam. Now, Muslim nations in space--at US taxpayer expense.

What could go wrong?

After all, today President Barack Hussain Obama telephoned the astronauts aboard the International Space Station and told them, ". . . my commitment to NASA is unwavering."

As First Mate Piggy said to Captain Hogthrob: "I think your landings are hard and your brain is soft."

Related post: Will NASA Dare to Go Where Japan Has Been Before?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Climate Change: Texas Sues EPA Over CO2 Claims

Last December, the tip of the Iceberg ClimateGate was just visible above the waterline, and two of the world's apparently unsinkable vehicles of international taxation and wealth redistribution, the HMS Copenhagen and the USS Cap'n'Tax were racing toward it, preparing for dual head-on collisions.

With those left in the West's taxpayer base destined to learn that Global Warming/Climate Change Doomsday claims were founded on doctored data, the time to divest them of their money was getting very short.

As the clock ticked, Obama's EPA did what they could: They launched what they hoped would be a truly "unsinkable" vehicle to halt the warming of America, this time a ruling that carbon dioxide endangers human health. According current law, that ruling is thought to mean that the EPA can force carbon-emissions "regulations" down America's throat without a single Congressional vote. And even without legitimate scientific evidence.

But even the invincible EPA is now headed for the Iceberg.

From Ed Stoddard at Reuters:
Texas and several national industry groups on Tuesday filed separate petitions in federal court challenging the government's authority to regulate U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
Texas said it had filed a petition for review challenging the EPA's "endangerment finding" with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Texas has also asked the EPA to reconsider its ruling.
"The EPA's misguided plan paints a big target on the backs of Texas agriculture and energy producers and the hundreds of thousands of Texans they employ," Texas Gov. Rick Perry said.
The National Association of Manufacturers, the American Petroleum Institute, and the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association also said on Tuesday they filed a petition challenging the EPA in federal appeals court.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and U.S. iron and steel makers have also signaled they would file lawsuits.
These petitions challenging the EPA's CO2 "endangerment finding" are mighty welcome. The EPA has painted their "big target" not only on the backs of Texas farmers and oil and natural gas drillers, but on each and every American destined to pay for the de-carbinization of a planet occupied by carbon-based life forms.

It is unconscionable that the EPA, headed and staffed by unelected officials driven by an ideological and political agenda, could sign, seal, and deliver economy-killing regulations based on scientific claims now being recanted by their very authors.

What about the argument that Texans should be concerned about their contribution to global warming? Check out this, from Stephen Goddard at Watts Up With That?
Brenham, Texas is a relatively rural area (population 13,500) centrally located between San Antonio, Houston and Dallas.  They have a good temperature record extending back nearly 120 years. According to USHCN records, Brenham was at least as warm 100 years ago as it is now. 

Yet the race continues. Will the EPA manage to issue its economy-strangling regulations before it hits Iceberg ClimateGate?

Not if the American people remove enough Democrats from office in the upcoming elections.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Democrats in Congress: A Walk in Their Shoes

If you want to understand someone, the advice goes, walk a mile in their shoes.

There isn't much chance that I'll ever plant my feet in whatever footwear is today's fashion in the halls of Congress, but I'm willing to do the thought experiment, if not for a mile, at least for a few yards. Here goes:
I'm a Democrat legislator, which is to say that my skill set is heavily centered in the smooth-talking, looking good, negotiation, and power-grabbing areas. I'm good at making promises that are appealing to folks and at getting people to like and trust me enough to vote for me, despite my shortcomings, which I'm pretty good at either covering up or popularizing. I have unimaginably large amounts of "government" money at my disposal to encourage people "like" and "support" me, and I, in turn, define their "like" and "support" in terms of the financial and other benefits they provide to me.

In short, I've devoted my life to making a sow's ear look like a silk purse, and I'm pretty good at it. I may have learned these skills from the cradle, under the counsel of parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents all expert at the game of politics. If I need to find a legal needle in the legislative haystack to pass a bill taxing everyone in the country except Congress (and our good buddies), I can do that pretty much in my sleep. I've had to do that many times, in good political times and bad.

The strictures imposed on me by my political party are pretty narrow, in that I have to vote and speak along party lines that I may have had little part in creating.

In other ways though, I enjoy enormous freedoms unavailable to most mortals who hold positions of responsibility. For example, I don't have to tell the truth, ever. Increasingly, I don't even have to look like I'm telling the truth. There are travel perks, too: my staff will round up a free (to me) luxury stay in Copenhagen or wherever for my family and friends at a moment's notice.

Now I--someone who has made a fat living from staying alive in the competitive game of "who's going to dole out the money and hold the reigns of power"--must wake up every morning to find that the Obama administration has completely squandered the political dream of dreams: a supermajority in Congress, and they managed to do it in only 10 months. Ten months.

Every day, I get to indulge in imagining what I could have done with a supermajority in Congress, a flattering photo of myself on every magazine cover with an even more flattering article inside, enough money to pave a road to the moon (or is it Jupiter?) and back, and crowds of people cheering and fainting at my feet. 

And then I get to look at what the current administration has done with that wealth of possibility. 

Really, it's enough to make a halfway competent politician sick.
I'm glad I performed that little thought experiment.

Now it seems easier to predict what's likely to happen inside the Democrat Party.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Evan Bayh: If You Can't Stand the Heat, Get Out of the Kitchen

Word is spreading fast: Indiana Senator Evan Bayh is retiring. Bye bye, Evan Bayh.

My first reaction is elation; second reaction, suspicion.

Call my first reaction of elation schadenfreude. I'm glad to see any evidence of weakness in the Democrat party. The Democrats have hideously squandered their supermajority in the Senate. Instead of working to safeguard Americans and further our prosperity, more and more of us feel cornered and ill-used.

Call my second reaction of suspicion the natural result of observing the current crop of Democrats at work. Their modus operandi has been to do whatever they want--in secret--lie about what they are doing (when they even know what they are voting on), and then smear anyone who'd like to put the brakes on or have actual public "dialog" about their bills. Democrats have promoted "dialog" with Ahmadinijad but not with Independents and Republicans, or even with Democrats who attempt to stray too far from the Obama line.

Some pundits are guessing that Bayh, a Democrat, might not want to work as hard as necessary to keep his seat in the current atmosphere of disappointment, dissatisfaction, and anger among many American voters. Others think that he wants to get out of the fray relatively unscathed so that he can return to politics later, maybe as presidential candidate. Some wonder whether he's getting out now because he sees something coming down the road that the rest of us don't see yet.

William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection is giving Bayh more credit:
I think it would be a mistake to view this decision solely or even primarily as a reaction to election chances.

Rather, Bayh has seemed sick of the whole process the past year.

I have commented before that Bayh was largely missing in action, or in hiding, during the health care debate when one would have expected him to be front and center. Back in mid-December, just before the Senate health care vote, I asked:
Where is Evan Bayh? His silence has been deafening.
I even issued an Amber Alert for Evan Bayh.

We have found Evan Bayh, and he apparently didn't want to be found.

Or how about this, "Evan Bayh didn't leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left Evan Bayh."
I hope Jacobson is right. If he is, if Evan Bayh's retirement is an acknowledgment of his loss of the Democrat Party, his leaving the Senate is the honorable thing to do. And it's smart. One way or another, Bayh's decision means he's following Harry Truman's famous advice: "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

In America's political kitchen today, we need people with the courage to stand up for what they believe, while they still can.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

How Many Terrorists Really Are in U.S. Prisons? Compare and Contrast

We know that we can prosecute terrorists in our federal courts safely and securely because we have been doing so for years. There are more than 300 convicted international and domestic terrorists currently in Bureau of Prisons custody including those responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the attacks on embassies in Africa.

~ Attorney General Eric Holder before a Senate Judiciary Committee, Nov. 18, 2009.

Attorney General Holder used the 300+ prosecuted terrorists figure in an attempt to convince Americans that giving Kalid Sheik Mohammed a civilian trial in New York City would be pretty much routine. The argument goes: "Hey, we've done it hundreds of times! Where have you been?"

I know you thought that number seemed high. Although the MSM uses some pretty fancy footwork to stamp out discussions of the T-word, it didn't seem likely that they had managed to submerge from public view the public trials of several hundred international and domestic terrorists.

Ready for the real figure of Islamic jihadists convicted in federal court of serious terrorism-related crimes comparable to many of the Guantanamo detainees who got federal convictions?

Less than a dozen.

These include:
Richard Reid, the "shoe bomber"; Bryant Neal Vinas, an American convicted of supporting al-Qaida plots in Afghanistan and the United States; Mohammed Jabarah, a Canadian who was active in al-Qaida and convicted of terrorism-related offenses; Shahawar Matin Siraj, a Pakistani-American who plotted to bomb Herald Square in New York; and Mohammed Junaid Babar, a Pakistani-American convicted of terrorist-related offenses in New York, and who testified in 2006 against a group of men accused of plotting bomb attacks in London.
The other convicted felons Holder was talking about number less than 200, according to Human Rights First, a nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington, D.C. Andrew McCarthy of the National Review has pointed out that these felons "often are would-be terrorists who have, for example, been convicted of relatively minor offenses such as immigration fraud or giving false information to federal authorities, or who have helped to finance a terrorist organization." Legal scholar Karen Greenberg, author of "Terrorist Trial Report Card: September 11, 2001-September 11, 2009," found that "[M]ost of those cases do not involve people affiliated with a radical Islamist organization, but rather with such groups as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, a group of Marxist guerillas."

Dangerous people of this sort should be in the slammer at the very least and their crimes should not be taken lightly. No doubt this list does include wanna-be jihadists who, given a little more time and a little more rope, would have murdered Americans in cold blood. Maybe in great numbers.

But civilian court appearances by immigration law violators whose crimes would have been winked at by U.S. authorities if the violators had not gotten mixed up with South American revolutionaries should not for one minute be confused with court appearances by Islamic terrorist mass murderers at war with the U.S. civilian population.

And the person causing the confusion should not be the Attorney General of the United States, or his boss.

H/t: Nice Deb

Dean Martin: That's Amore

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Getting Taxpayers to Foot the Bill "Is Easier Than Ever"

Income tax time is on its way, with the inevitable question for about 60% of the U.S. adult population, "What are they doing with my money?" (The other 40% pay zero federal income taxes.)

From Libertyblog:
Self-reliance narrowly averted:
A decade ago, New York City officials were so reluctant to give out food stamps, they made people register one day and return the next just to get an application. The welfare commissioner said the program caused dependency and the poor were “better off” without it.
Now the city urges the needy to seek aid (in languages from Albanian to Yiddish). Neighborhood groups recruit clients at churches and grocery stores, with materials that all but proclaim a civic duty to apply — to “help New York farmers, grocers, and businesses.” There is even a program on Rikers Island to enroll inmates leaving the jail.
“Applying for food stamps is easier than ever,” city posters say.
Juan Diego Castro, 24, is a college graduate and Americorps volunteer whose immigrant parents warned him “not to be a burden on this country.” He has a monthly stipend of about $2,500 and initially thought food stamps should go to needier people, like the tenants he organizes. “My concern was if I’m taking food stamps and I have a job, is it morally correct?” he said.
But federal law eases eligibility for Americorps members, and a food bank worker urged him and fellow volunteers to apply, arguing that there was enough aid to go around and that use would demonstrate continuing need. “That meeting definitely turned us around,” Mr. Castro said.
Thank heavens he followed Obambi and Twofer’s advice to avoid the dreaded private sector and not his parents’ warning. Otherwise, taxpayers wouldn’t have the privilege of paying both his “stipend” and his food bills.
There's always "enough aid to go around," until there isn't:


And here are the foreign countries making sure that there's "enough aid to go around," until they don't:

Reality check: The top 5 foreign providers of loans to pay for all those "continuing demonstrations of need" are Mainland China, Japan, the UK, Oil Exporting Countries, and Caribbean Banking Centers.

Those lenders are going to want to keep getting their interest payments on all that money--and whose supposed to pay those payments? Surely not the lenders themselves. And surely not the people on food stamps. Must be all those "farmers, grocers, and businesses" who can't quite keep their doors open unless their customers use food stamps. Plus the government workers who won't have jobs unless there's a food stamp or other entitlement program to work for.

Something doesn't add up.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Families Walk the Last Miles of Flight 3407

One year ago today, a Continental Connection commuter plane, Flight 3407, dove from the sky as it approached the Buffalo Niagara International Airport and crashed into a home in Clarence Center, New York, killing fifty people, the forty-nine on board and a man in the home destroyed by the aircraft.

Today, an estimated 800 people symbolically completed the failed flight by walking the 10-mile distance from the former site of Douglas and Karen Wielinski's home to the airport.

From Jerry Zremski at The Buffalo News:
Local residents stepped out of their homes, and workers stepped out of their offices to wave at the marchers and to wish them their best.
At Nativity of Mary School in Clarence, all the students from Pre-K through eighth grade stood outside, handing roses to family members and giving high fives to people walking with them.
Along Goodrich Road, Mary Jane Jentz of Lancaster stood alone and said "God bless you" to every passerby.
"There is nothing I can do except to say a prayer for those lost," Jentz said.
The huge crowd of people, many wearing red hats and scarves and photos of their lost loved ones hanging from their necks, left the Clarence Fire Hall about 9:30 a.m.
A large contingent of police accompanied the walkers and closed the streets on their route. The walk's first stop was the small vacant lot on Long Street, where a house stood until the plane crashed into it a year ago.
Family members laid a wreath on the site, said a prayer and set off to complete the journey their loved ones never finished.
The symbolic walk to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport honors the 50 victims of the crash, but also is intended further the cause the families took up shortly afterwards: promoting aviation safety to prevent any such tragedy from happening again.
And Jeffrey Skiles, the co-pilot of the USAirways jet that made an emergency landing on the Hudson River last year, will be with the families for the whole day.
"I'm here to support the families and to support this issue," Skiles said. "We're all doing this to make some changes, to make sure this sort of tragedy is never visited upon another community and other families."
Scott Maurer, who lost his daughter, Lorin, in the crash, praised Skiles for his efforts on behalf of the families.
"Jeff has been a phenomenal supporter of our efforts," Maurer said. "He exemplifies the importance of experience in the cockpit and has the results to prove it. Hopefully, the Senate leadership will take note of his message and act decisively to raise the unacceptably low standards for pilots to be hired commercially today."
Those standards came into sharp relief last week as the National Transportation Safety Board issued its report in the Clarence crash, blaming it primarily on the crew's actions.
Colgan Air, the regional airline that operated Flight 3407 for Continental, hired the pilot of Flight 3407 without knowing he had a history of flunking flight tests.
And as Flight 3407 approached Buffalo for landing last February, the pilot, Marvin Renslow, let the plane get too slow and then mishandled the stall warning, the safety board said. Meanwhile, the co-pilot, Rebecca Shaw, inputted the wrong speed settings into the plane's controls and put the flaps on the wings in the wrong position once the plane encountered trouble.
That history has haunted the Flight 3407 families since the safety board held hearings in the crash last May. 
May they rest in peace.

DOD Says Global Warming Is a Threat, Not Islamic Radicalism!

Last week, as required every four years, the US Department of Defense released its Quadrennial Defense Review, a review of threats to the nation's security which it supplies to Congress. The idea is to help Congress understand and plan for US security.

From James Corum at the UK Telegraph:
The 128-page Defence Review says some important things. It outlines the problems with maintaining the US military’s technological lead over potential adversaries. It discusses the need to counter terrorism. The threat to Western cyber systems is noted. The proliferation of Russian high-tech anti-aircraft missiles around the world is noted as a problem.

However, it’s not what is in the document that surprises the reader – it’s what was left out. There presence of two elephants in their living room apparently escaped the notice of American’s top civilian and military leaders. Islamic radicalism does not receive any mention whatsoever in the American Defence Review and the threat posed by a nuclear Iran is mentioned in only one general sentence at the end of a document (page 101). To put this lack of discussion in proportion, contrast this non-discussion with other security issues mentioned in the document. For example, the security effects of climate change are highlighted and discussed in depth in eight pages of the document.

I would not have thought it possible that one could publish a book-length assessment of America’s security challenges and responses and NOT address the problem of Islamic radicalism or the Iranian bomb – but that’s just what Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mullen have done. From this one can draw one of two possible conclusions: these men are really, really stupid (not very likely), or they have deliberately minimised the current security threats to please the Obama administration and support the President’s desire to cut defence spending. The smart money is on the latter explanation.

Obama’s plan is to spend, spend, and spend on domestic entitlement and welfare programmes. His next budget contains a deficit of $1.6 trillion – almost as much as Bill Clinton’s whole government budget of 2000. But Obama is under pressure to make some budget cuts somewhere. Clearly the massive domestic budget with really necessary items like a $35 billion General Motors bailout can’t be touched without offending essential groups such as the United Auto Workers Union.

However, President Obama HAS finally found the place to cut waste – defence! In late January he demanded that Congress cut $2.5 billion from the defence budget for the purchase of C-17 transport planes. Obama declared the money for military transport was “waste, pure and simple”.

Of course, “waste” is a matter of interpretation. No one says that the C-17 is a bad aircraft or doesn’t do its job very effectively. In fact, it’s probably the best and safest large transport plane in the world today, and has done sterling service in Afghanistan and Haiti. But, according to Obama’s Pentagon officials, there is just no need to maintain such a large military transport fleet. If the Pentagon’s own assessment determines that there are not too many threats out there – and you can do that if you ignore minor things like Iranian nuclear weapons and the radicalisation of millions of followers of Islam – then you can feel safe in cutting defence expenditures and free up even more money for the President’s domestic agenda.

It’s a neat political trick to ignore the elephants in your living room. But Obama is making a huge gamble and betting the lives and security of Americans that these particular elephants will remain perfectly behaved for the next four years.
Is it too harsh to note that it's easy to gamble with something you really don't care about?

In any case, prepare for much more global warming nonsense. Much more.

But keep your snow shovel near the door. Just in case.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Big $$$ in Global Cooling, Too--Meet a Green "Super-Company"

Hey, the Obama government's got you covered--six ways to Sunday--as long as you buy into their constant propaganda about the need for green. And I do mean buy.

Check out this John Stossel report, via Joaquin at one of my favorite blogs: How's That Obama Vote Working Out for You?:

The Energy Department's weatherization boss sleeps with the policy boss of Serious Materials, the only window company in the U.S. to get a special "green" tax credit.

Hey, it's perfectly legal. They're even married!

Isn't that cosy?

And stimulating.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Climate Change: Michael Mann Global Warming Lecture Snowed Out

In the Mann-Caused Global Warming Department, "IRONY ABOUNDS." Thanks to Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit:
A reader emails: “Today, Michael Mann was scheduled to give a colloquium on climate change at the University of Pennsylvania, where I am a graduate student. As you may know, Philadelphia has been hit by multiple snowstorms in the past week. Today, for what I am told is the first time since the mid-1990s, the university suspended normal operations due to snow, and his colloquium on climate change has been postponed.”
The screen shot below is from the Web site of the University of Pennsylvania. "It's hard to find anything in the history books of these types of storms back-to-back," said National Weather Service meteorologist Stephen Konarik."

"Essential personnel" of course, means the snow-removal crew.

Heh, heh, heh.

Maybe the Gore Effect is contagious.

Or maybe Somebody Up There has a sense of humor.

Related: What You Did Was Such a Crime

Or He Could Move to NY, NJ, or CA and Pay Taxes . . .

From the UK Telegraph comes word about Austrian self-made millionaire Karl Rabeder, who "is giving away every penny of his £3 million fortune after realising his riches were making him unhappy." 
"My idea is to have nothing left. Absolutely nothing," he told The Daily Telegraph. "Money is counterproductive – it prevents happiness to come."

Instead, he will move out of his luxury Alpine retreat into a small wooden hut in the mountains or a simple bedsit in Innsbruck.

His entire proceeds are going to charities he set up in Central and Latin America, but he will not even take a salary from these.
The 47-year-old businessman who grew up poor and made his fortune selling interior furnishings and accessories is selling his £1.4 million luxury Alpine villa and his £613,000 stone farmhouse in Provence. He's already sold his collection of six gliders and his Audi A8, and is giving his money to charities that help small businesses get started.
The tipping point came while he was on a three-week holiday with his wife to islands of Hawaii.

"It was the biggest shock in my life, when I realised how horrible, soulless and without feeling the five star lifestyle is," he said. "In those three weeks, we spent all the money you could possibly spend. But in all that time, we had the feeling we hadn't met a single real person – that we were all just actors. The staff played the role of being friendly and the guests played the role of being important and nobody was real."
Suddenly, he realised that "if I don't do it now I won't do it for the rest of my life".

Since selling his belongings, Mr Rabeder said he felt "free, the opposite of heavy".

Rabeder has placed his mountain retreat up for raffle at a price of 99 euros per ticket. If you'd like to purchase one, you must be an EU citizen and buy your ticket by February 28. Your chance of winning? One in 21,999,  the number of tickets being sold.

If, on the other hand, you'd like to buy his house in Provence, contact the real estate folks there.

Worker bees, dream on.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Record Snows Embarrass New Gov't "Climate Service" (Updated)

R Street, NW, Washington, DC  February 6, 2010, 7:00 a.m.  Photo by Tom Brown

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a new division called the NOAA Climate Service. (Hat tip: Instapundit)

This is what they are predicting for the USA: "sea-level rise, longer growing seasons, changes in river flows, increases in heavy downpours, earlier snowmelt and extended ice-free seasons in our waters." The new Climate Service's job is to offer "relevant and timely information" about the effects of global warming in our "own backyards."

It seems that the Climate Service folks might be placing a little too much trust in their own prognostications. Just as they were about to hold a big press conference announcing the launch of their services, 30 inches of snow fell on their own backyards and on the National Press Club where the press conference was scheduled to be held. Another 10 to 20 inches is predicted to follow.

For the safety of all concerned, the press conference was held by telephone.

Not to worry, though. The Climate Service wants to reassure you: Global warming is advancing as advertised.

After all, climate is not weather.

Uh huh.

And carbon credits are not an energy-rationing scheme designed to create a huge new revenue source for governments and fat cats everywhere. 

UPDATE (4 p.m. Eastern): And now this time-lapse video of the DC storm, via the ever-scintillating Mad Minerva:

Philly, NYC, Boston, and the Cape: "Get ready, Teddy."