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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ludacris bumps Barack Obama, blasts John McCain! What a surprise...

The rapper saves some of his harshest critiques for McCain: "McCain don't belong in any chair unless he's paralyzed."

Wow. Thanks a pantload, Ludacris. I'm sure Obama's camp is just thrilled by your support and your divisive and offensive song. Just what his presidential campaign needed.

Where did Barack Obama's mojo go?

Obama's ... a legislator who's been in Washington three years now, two of them as a member of a Democratic-controlled Congress that was elected in 2006 with great promise but currently holds historically low favorability ratings.

What's Obama done for D.C. change since arriving? What's Obama done for reform back home within the historically monolithic and corrupt Chicago Democratic machine, where some up-and-comers are sent off to Congress for seasoning before advancing to the big time of City Council?

When “acknowledgment” means “perpetuation,” or Obama, liberals, and the issue of race.

Roger Kimball:

There is probably a lot one could say about the piece The New York Times ran yesterday about Barack Obama’s 12-year tenure teaching law at the University of Chicago. That Obama “never completed a single work of legal scholarship” may seem surprising given that he was teaching at a major research university where, as the Times notes, “most colleagues published by the pound.” Unsurprising is that, even back then, Obama exuded an aura of “self-absorption” and was surrounded by “groupies.” Also unsurprising is that fact that much of his teaching concerned issues of race and that, as the Times puts it, he “was especially eager for his charges to understand the horrors of the past, students say.” Just this past Sunday, at a Chicago fundraiser, he lectured his audience about the “sad,” even “tragic” nature of America’s past. “I personally would want to see our tragic history, or the tragic elements of our history, acknowledged,” he said.

Glenn Reynolds asks two pertinent questions:

(1) Does Barack Obama think that American history is unusually “tragic” as compared to the history of other great nations? And (2), what does it tell us that journalists were cheering him when he said that?

Regarding the first, how does American history stack up against other countries you know about when it comes to sadness and tragedy. Take Germany–no, that’s too easy. Take France and start in the time of Julius Caesar or, if that is too long ago, in the time of the Cathars and move forward noting the sadnesses and tragedy. Remember Arnaud-Amaury, the papal legate who over saw the siege of B├ęziers in 1209? Asked by one of his soldiers how they should distinguish the innocents from the Cathars, Arnaud-Amaury memorably replied, “Tuez-les tous. Dieu reconna├«tra les siens,” “Kill ‘em all. God will know his own.” Or take a look a French life under Louis XIV, or under Robespierre and his fellow virtucrats, or under Napoleon. Ask Alfred Dreyfus about sadness and tragedy. The Dreyfus affair is also convenient for those who thrill, as do many readers of the Times, at the prospect of an orgy of national guilt. And speaking of national guilt, let’s not forget Vichy France: there are lots of opportunities there to indulge in a bit of moral masturbation.

Not that France has a monopoly or even a majority interest in such sadness and tragedy, as a look at the history of the Balkans, or Russia, or India, or China, or Japan, or the entire continent of Africa demonstrates. Indeed, when it comes to the sort of sadness and tragedy that Obama dilated on in Chicago, America has been conspicuously on the mild end of such things. I don’t deny the sordidness of slavery, the horrors of the Civil War, and all the other blemishes one might exhibit to show that America has not been perfect and has suffered its share of historical unpleasantness. But in the scheme of things, does it not seem to be an unusually blessed society, one that has been unusually spared the sorts of sadness and tragedy that form such a grim recitative in many, maybe most other countries?

Obama mentions slavery early and often, but what is more significant: the fact that slavery existed in America in the 18th and half of the 19th centuries (as it did in many other parts of the world) or that Americans took it upon themselves to end it and that today Barack Obama is a millionaire and the presumptive Democratic candidate for President?

And as for “acknowledging” the bad things from the past, what else have we been doing for the last three decades. How much expiation does Barack Obama, or Al Sharpton, or Jesse Jackson want? Just a few days ago, the U.S. Congress formally “apologized” for slavery: I employ scare quotes, because the apology is as meaningless as it is hypocritical. Really, I suspect, what is wanted is not “acknowledgment” but perpetual obeisance to an ever receding, impossible ideal of political rectitude.

Which brings me back to the Times’s story on Obama’s career at the University of Chicago. In the course of that story, the reporter confronts the reader with “what may be the ultimate test of racial equality–whether Americans will elect a black president.”

I stopped short reading that because I think it gets the issue 100% wrong. The implication is that if Obama is not elected, then Americans fail the test. But that, I submit, is a racist idea. How many liberals do you know who plan to vote for Barack Obama because he is black, that is to say, for a racist reason? Sure, they also like the fact that he plans to institute a European-style confiscatory tax plan. They approve of his socialistic plans to increase the size and intrusiveness of the government. They share his skepticism about our presence in Iraq and contemplate his call for “civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as the United States military with equanimity, even pleasure. Really, though, all that is icing on the cake. They have closed ranks around Obama on account of the very thing that Obama pretends he wishes to transcend: the color of his skin.

Compared to the rest of the world, America has been blessed with an unusually non-tragic past.

About that Ad

The MSM and the rest of the Left are going ballistic over the Brittney Spears, Paris Hilton, Obama ad.

I liked it, especially the background chants of "Obama, Obama, Obama" so reminiscent of the adulation of Hitler.

Dean Barnett also likes it:
As you know, I haven’t exactly established myself as a robotic defender of the McCain campaign. Thus, in the spirit of a very minor league Nixon going to an even more minor league China, I will be the first member of the right wing press to unequivocally defend the McCain ad that compares Barack Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.

Former McCain aide John Weaver has settled some old scores and called the ad childish and lamented the campaign’s “tomfoolery.” As to the ad’s purported puerility, I’ll stick to assessing its effectiveness while noting that nobility seldom equates with impact in the world of political advertising. Weaver also observed that “John’s been a celebrity ever since he was shot down.” With that last critique, Weaver shows precisely why the ad is effective.

Some of the ad’s critics have noted that Britney Spears and Paris Hilton aren’t even such enormous celebrities. Tiger Woods and Brad Pitt, they rightly argue, are much bigger stars. But that analysis misses the point as far as Obama is concerned. Unlike Britney and Paris, Tiger Woods earned his fame. No one could accuse Tiger Woods of being a media sensation or being famous just for being famous.

And that’s why linking Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton is so spot on. Think back on Weaver’s strangely acid observation that McCain has been a celebrity since he was shot down. This critique tacitly acknowledges a critical difference between McCain and Obama. McCain has come about his circa 2008 fame the old-fashioned way – he earned it. Obama, on the other hand…Someone tell me precisely why Barack Obama “has become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions.” Was it because of His spectacular achievements as a community organizer? Or His stellar work as a part-time lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School? Or maybe it all boils down to those good grades He got in law school.

The point is, like Britney and Paris, Barack Obama hasn’t earned the status that He (like they) so enjoys. And then there’s the further and still more relevant issue that He’s unworthy of that status. Obama’s ranking as a Savior would be easier to handle if it turned out He had all the right stuff to handle the presidency. But repeatedly, Obama has shown Himself to be ill-informed, historically illiterate and more impressed with His own superficial analyses than actual facts.

Think about the ad this way – it has annoyed many people. Most presidential campaign ads this cycle, especially the drearily self-righteous ones excreted by the spendthrift Obama campaign, have come and gone with no one either noticing them or caring about them. Why are people talking about this one? Because it hits close to home.

The Dollar Bill Statement

Amy Holmes nails the Obama spokesperson's transparent attempt to clean up the Dollar Bill quote. So we're to believe the statement had nothing to do with race, rather it referred to Obama not having spent decades in Washington? I suppose that last week when Obama — in terms similar to the Dollar Bill quote— told the crowd in Berlin, "I know that I don't look like the Americans who've previously spoken in this great city," he was referring to the fact that JFK wasn't as tall.

Not content with mere insinuations of racism, the Obama campaign publically signals their belief that we're galactically stupid.

Barack Hitler Obama

Ross Douthat at the notes that the Obama camp is accusing the McCain campaign of making Obama's rally in Berlin look like the sort of thing that Der Fuhrer might have staged.

It's remarkable what those fiendish GOP operatives can squeeze into thirty seconds: Not only does McCain's "celeb" ad have "Barack Obama will rape yo daughters overtones," says Rick Perlstein (who's apparently under the impression that most Americans think of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears as stand-ins for their daughters), but it was edited to blatantly evoke Triumph of the Will as well - the better to freak out elderly Jews in South Florida, perhaps. Comparing the "Celeb" ad to stills from Leni Riefenstahl's work, Perlstein writes: "I actually wonder if the Republicans had a crew on the scene to capture just the right angles; for instance, the identical camera placement shooting the speaker over the shoulder at stage right." If he actually wonders that, I fear for his sanity. Here's a tip for liberals: If your candidate is going to stage enormous rallies in front of tens of thousands of chanting Germans (with monuments to Prussian military might in the background) in the middle of his Presidential campaign, it isn't the GOP's fault if the footage comes out looking a little like Hitler at Nuremberg.

When I heard those chants of "Obama, Obama, Obama" the mental image of Hitler's adoring German crowds came inevitably to mind. Only someone without any sense of history would fail to notice.

The State of the Campaign

As I predicted, this election will be a referendum on Barack Hussein Obama. John McCain is the Republican nominee because it was his turn, but he does not turn the Republican base on. Absent a compelling reason to vote for McCain, is there a compelling reason to vote against Obama? Will Americans trust Obama enough to turn a rock star into a President? I don’t think so, but I could be wrong.

The press, which has been solidly supportive of Obama, is beginning to notice that their adoration of the Messiah is beginning to irk people. It’s like a parade, where the leaders – in this case the press - is suddenly noticing that the crowd behind them has melted away, and they are beginning to look foolish and exposed.

That may be what is causing media titans like Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, Adam Nagourney of the NY Times and even Jon Stewart of The Daily Show beginning to mock the Messiah.

When your leader is in trouble, you want to deny that you adored him. So some members of the MSM are beginning to resemble the apostle Peter. You will know this process is complete when Chris “thrill up his leg” Matthews denies he was ever impressed with Obama. If that happens, you will know the election is over and Obama will lose in a landslide.

So at this point, Obama has a lead over McCain in most polls because of his rock star status. But because he is perceived as a rock star rather than a man of serious policy issues, his fall from grace could be sudden and spectacular. And the Good Lord knows that he has enough self inflicted wounds to sink him: all his old associates, his wife, his new age campaign, his disdain for the “bitter clingers,” and his too-slick-by-half habit of never admitting that he could have been wrong.

And now he’s setting himself up for serious ridicule.

His solution to the energy problem …. Inflate your tires.

by krs601

This man is not serious; he’s the leader of a rock band. He deserves to be the cover model of a fashion magazine, not in the Oval Office.

McCain ad "Obama, Obama, Obama"

The Presidency Is Not An Entry-Level Position

From Townhall:
Barack Obama’s recent op-ed in the New York Times declares, “It’s time to end this war.” (You remember that Senator McCain tried to respond, but the Times apparently wanted to give McCain his opinion rather than allow him to express his own. Every day I read the New York Times and the Bible just to see what both sides are doing.)

Is Obama right? Is it time to end this war? Maybe it is time to begin drawing down our forces and handing-off more responsibility for security to Iraqi forces. This idea is gaining favor in Bagdad and Washington.

The problem for Obama is that withdrawal, not victory, has always been his goal. Obama wanted to “end this war” when it would have meant an American defeat.

Remember that: The problem for Obama is that withdrawal, not victory, has always been his goal. Obama wanted to “end this war” when it would have meant an American defeat Recite it time and time again.

President Obama Continues Hectic Victory Tour

By Dana Milbank
Wednesday, July 30, 2008; A03

Barack Obama has long been his party's presumptive nominee. Now he's becoming its presumptuous nominee.

Fresh from his presidential-style world tour, during which foreign leaders and American generals lined up to show him affection, Obama settled down to some presidential-style business in Washington yesterday. He ordered up a teleconference with the (current president's) Treasury secretary, granted an audience to the Pakistani prime minister and had his staff arrange for the chairman of the Federal Reserve to give him a briefing. Then, he went up to Capitol Hill to be adored by House Democrats in a presidential-style pep rally.

Along the way, he traveled in a bubble more insulating than the actual president's. Traffic was shut down for him as he zoomed about town in a long, presidential-style motorcade, while the public and most of the press were kept in the dark about his activities, which included a fundraiser at the Mayflower where donors paid $10,000 or more to have photos taken with him. His schedule for the day, announced Monday night, would have made Dick Cheney envious:

11:00 a.m.: En route TBA.

12:05 p.m.: En route TBA.

1:45 p.m.: En route TBA.

2:55 p.m.: En route TBA.

5:20 p.m.: En route TBA.

The 5:20 TBA turned out to be his adoration session with lawmakers in the Cannon Caucus Room, where even committee chairmen arrived early, as if for the State of the Union. Capitol Police cleared the halls -- just as they do for the actual president. The Secret Service hustled him in through a side door -- just as they do for the actual president.

Inside, according to a witness, he told the House members, "This is the moment . . . that the world is waiting for," adding: "I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions."

As he marches toward Inauguration Day (Election Day is but a milestone on that path), Obama's biggest challenger may not be Republican John McCain but rather his own hubris.

Don't tell me the press is beginning to notice?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The New and Improved John McCain

It would be helpful if McCain gave us a reason to vote for him instead of against Obama.

Obama notes ‘tragic’ US past

American history's "sad" aspects require action, the senator tells cheering journalists

He knows his audience.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Tax Foundation Lays an Obama Egg

The Tax Foundation appears to be in the tank for Obama. They put up a post "refuting" an e-mail describing the proposed Obama tax increases. The only problem is their refutation is misleading.

Click on the link for the article.

I found out about this from TaxProf Blog who posted on it.

The Tax Foundation refutes all eight points of an anti-Obama tax screed that is circulating via the Internet and email:

28% capital gains tax rate on ALL home sales
39.6% tax rate on dividends
Restored inheritance tax under Obama (repealed under McCain)
New taxes on homes over 2,400 square feet
New gas taxes
New taxes on natural resource consumption (energy, natural gas, etc.)
New taxes on retirement accounts
New taxes to pay for socialized medicine

Here is what I replied

I agree with SmokeVanThorn. As a refutation it's weak and in some cases totally misleading.

The fact is, that Obama is very hard to pin down an anything except "Hope and Change" and those are pretty much anything you want them to be.

Even his “out of Iraq in 16 months” is subject to about 4 different interpretations. If Obama is elected he will be able to claim he is carrying out his campaign pledge no matter what he does, even if he sends in more troops.

What is totally misleading is their comment on the Obama social security tax increase. Here is what they said on 7/25:

“…while Obama may have waffled on this issue a few months ago, details have emerged from the campaign indicating that he would only raise the payroll tax (combined employer/employee) by 4 percentage points, as we blogged on earlier this month. Again, this doesn't make it a good policy necessarily, but the facts need to be set straight.”

“Only 4 percentage points?” That’s what is so infuriating about people who advocate tax increases; the increase is only a percentage point here and a percentage point there … how can you object to so small a number? Pretty soon, all those percentage points add up to 100 percentage points. And an increase of 4 percentage points from a zero base (the current rate over $102,000) is a whopping increase. For someone earning $500,000 their combined payroll tax would increase from $12,648 to $22,648. By my math that’s a 79% increase.

Anti Liberal or Anti Christian?


Police: Man shot churchgoers over liberal views
Neighbors: Accused shooter everyone's friend, questioned Christianity

The Polls

It depends on who's being polled.

Why is Obama not improving in the polls?
By Adam Nagourney Published: July 28, 2008

WASHINGTON: It is a question that has hovered over Senator Barack Obama even as he has passed milestone after milestone in his race for the White House: Why is he not doing better?

Gallup Daily: Obama 48%, McCain 40%
Obama gained ground over McCain in each of the last three tracking updates, but today's average shows no further gains and a slight drop of Obama's percent of the vote from 49% to 48%.

The Rasmussen Reports
daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows that Barack Obama’s Berlin bounce is fading. Obama now attracts 45% of the vote while John McCain earns 42%. When "leaners" are included, it’s Obama 48% and McCain 45%. Both Obama and McCain are viewed favorably by 56% of voters.

McCain gains on Obama in poll
Obama was ahead 47%-44% among registered voters, down from a 6-percentage point lead he had last month. McCain led 49%-45% among likely voters, reversing a 5-point Obama lead among that group. In both cases, the margin of error is +/—4 points.

“I’m trying to save the planet; I’m trying to save the planet,”

...after promising fairness and open debate, Pelosi has resorted to hard-nosed parliamentary devices that effectively bar any chance for Republicans to offer policy alternatives.

I see.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Paper, rapped for outing Obama note, claims campaign pre-approved leak

I don't care much about this issue. Whether the note was removed or leaked. But for those who care, here's an image.

A pretty conventional prayer. I wonder who wrote it for him.

Barack Obama's broken promise to African village

It is an extraordinary sight to walk into a basic two-room house under a mango tree in rural east Africa and discover what is essentially a shrine to Barack Obama.

The small brick house with no running water, a tin roof and roving chickens, goats and cows is owned by Sarah Obama, Barack’s 86-year-old step-grandmother. Inside, the walls are decorated with a 2008 Obama election sticker, an old “Barack Obama for Senate” poster on which he has written “Mama Sarah Habai [how are you?]”, a 2005 calendar that says “The Kenyan Wonder Boy in the US”, and more than a dozen family photos.

But this bucolic scene in his father’s village of Kogelo near the Equator in western Kenya conceals a troubling reality that, until now, has never been spoken about. Barack Obama, the Evening Standard can reveal, after we went to the village earlier this month, has failed to honour the pledges of assistance that he made to a school named in his honour when he visited here amid great fanfare two years ago.

At that historic homecoming in August 2006 Obama was greeted as a hero with thousands lining the dirt streets of Kogelo. He visited the Senator Obama Kogelo Secondary School built on land donated by his paternal grandfather. After addressing the pupils, a third of whom are orphans, and dancing with them as they sang songs in his honour, he was shown a school with four dilapidated classrooms that lacked even basic resources such as water, sanitation and electricity.

He told the assembled press, local politicians (who included current Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga), and students: “Hopefully I can provide some assistance in the future to this school and all that it can be.” He then turned to the school’s principal, Yuanita Obiero, and assured her and her teachers: “I know you are working very hard and struggling to bring up this school, but I have said I will assist the school and I will do so.”

Obiero says that although Obama did not explicitly use the word “financial” to qualify the nature of the assistance he was offering, “there was no doubt among us [teachers] that is what he meant. We interpreted his words as meaning he would help fund the school, either personally or by raising sponsors or both, in order to give our school desperately-needed modern facilities and a facelift”. She added that 10 of the school’s 144 pupils are Obama’s relatives.

Keeping your promises is not one of Obama's campaign themes. The relatives here were useful for a photo op; once out of sight they were discarded like his "typically white" granny.

A short note on casualties

Tigerhawk notes:
Suddenly the mainstream media is declaring victory in Iraq (although, as Tom Maguire says, victory has 999 fathers). I hope to have more to say on all these subjects over the next couple of days, when and if I get all my important day-job work done.By at least one famous measure of victory -- the enemy losing its will to fight -- the news is great but not definitive. Great, because in the 31 days since June 26 only five Americans have died in Iraq from hostile action. There have been no American KIAs for twelve days. It is possible that the last American soldier will die in combat before Labor Day, if it has not already happened.

A good discussion follows and I take Tigerhawk to task (scroll down).

From airports to Disney World, the fight to limit firearms continues in the courts

ATLANTA—Following the U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a ban on handguns, gun opponents are fighting to preserve or expand gun-free zones, igniting battles over whether civilians should be allowed to carry loaded weapons to places such as airports, public parks and even the Magic Kingdom.

The same day a new law went into effect in Georgia allowing people who have obtained a legal license to carry loaded weapons into restaurants that sell liquor, state parks and public transit systems, Atlanta officials declared Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport off-limits, citing security concerns. Gun proponents immediately filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the decision.

Reacting to Florida's new law allowing workers to keep concealed firearms in their vehicles in employee parking lots, Walt Disney World amusement park declared its parking lot exempt. Disney security guard Edwin Sotomayor protested the rule and said he planned to challenge it in court. Disney later fired him, saying he violated employee policies.

Gun-rights advocates are challenging the U.S. Interior Department to reverse a long-held regulation banning loaded firearms in most national parks. The department is reviewing its policy, which officials said deters illegal hunting and makes the parks more attractive to families.

The Supreme Court ruled last month that the 2nd Amendment protects an individual's right to own firearms for self-protection, fueling efforts by gun advocates to overturn gun bans in cities such as Chicago. But some law professionals said the ruling didn't specifically address how laws should be applied in particular venues, thus leaving it to lower courts to decide.

"The decision is not a model of clarity," said Jon Vernick, co-director of the John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. "There will be a bunch of lawsuits about a bunch of different kinds of federal, state and local laws. It is tragedy that resources that could be devoted to trying to prevent 30,000 gun-related deaths in the U.S. every year will instead be devoted to defending lawsuits."

Quickly after the Supreme Court ruling, the National Rifle Association filed lawsuits against cities with handgun bans. In addition to Chicago, Illinois communities included Morton Grove, Oak Park, Wilmette and Evanston.

While Mayor Richard Daley has vowed to fight against lifting Chicago's ban, Wilmette repealed its ban last week and Morton Grove, the first in the nation to outlaw handguns, is expected to repeal its ban this week.

The NRA also filed a lawsuit challenging San Francisco's ban on firearms in public housing.

Restrictions loosened
While there were calls for stronger restrictions on firearms after the shootings at Virginia Tech last year and at Northern Illinois University in February, many states, particularly in the South and West, instead have made it easier to obtain legal firearms and expanded where they can be carried.

The Georgia General Assembly last year passed legislation that went into effect in July expanding public places where guns could be carried, intending it to include non-secure areas of airports. While federal law bans guns past the security checkpoints at all U.S. airports, easing restrictions in public, non-secure areas could threaten national security, according to Hartsfield General Manager Ben DeCosta and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.

"The key here is what is the common-sense approach for the millions of people who travel in air transportation," said DeCosta, adding that Hartsfield, the world's busiest airport with 89.3 million travelers last year, is basically crime-free. "We all have a right to be safe and secure in a post-9/11 environment. But dangerous weapons carried by untrained people create a more dangerous environment."

In response to a letter from DeCosta, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), asked the Transportation Security Administration to clarify whether it has federal jurisdiction over areas outside the security checkpoints.

"The Atlanta airport is the busiest in the world, and it would be a major security vulnerability to have loaded guns on the premises," Thompson said. "My particular concern is that loaded weapons in any airport pose a security risk that should not be tolerated. Whatever authority we have in place to fix it, we should."

Thompson said he is prepared to hold congressional hearings in September to further the investigation.

TSA spokesman Christopher White said the TSA is looking closely at the issue. However, he said, the agency concentrates on areas within the security checkpoints and works with local jurisdictions that have local ordinances regarding areas outside the secure points.

While no exact numbers were available, some airports have long allowed civilians with a legal license to have firearms in the parking lot and in public areas of airports, including restaurants, gift shops and baggage claims. The rules vary from state to state and city to city.

Because Chicago has a citywide ban on handguns, firearms are not allowed at either of its airports.

"States are all over the map with regard to prohibitions in airports," said Sean Broderick, spokesman for the American Association of Airport Executives. "In general, states with concealed-carry laws are either silent on the issue, expressly prohibit guns in secure areas — which mirrors federal law and could likewise be read to allow guns in terminals — or expressly prohibit guns in airport terminals except if they are being checked for transport."

According to John Monroe, a lawyer representing gun advocates who filed the Atlanta lawsuit, more than 40 allow licensed gun owners to carry firearms in some fashion into non-secure areas of the airport.

Monroe, who successfully blocked Atlanta earlier this year from declaring city parks as gun-free areas, said, "They are making this out to be some strange anomaly, but you can carry guns in airports all over the country."

Gun-free zones
While federal law establishes government buildings and areas within 1,000 feet of a school gun-free zones, local government officials and private businesses have moved to establish gun-free zones in places such as city parks, shopping malls and workplaces. Those zones can be challenged in court if the state passes a law allowing firearms in public places, according to Vernick.

Officials at Disney in Orlando, which has been an opponent of easing gun restrictions in the state, said Disney properties would continue to be gun-free zones, despite a new Florida law that went into effect this month.

The law allowing employees with concealed-weapons permits to keep their guns locked in their cars while at work exempts companies that use or store explosives. According to Andrea Finger, spokeswoman for Walt Disney World Resorts, the amusement park, which holds nightly fireworks displays, falls in that category.

The sponsor of the bill, however, told the Orlando Sentinel that the exemption was intended for places such as defense plants and Air Force bases, not Disney. Finger said Disney supports the lawsuit filed by the Florida Retail Federation and the Florida Chamber of Commerce to overturn the Florida law.

Gun advocates, meanwhile, said they would continue challenging rules that violate the law.

"Declaring an area gun-free will not stop a criminal," said Erich Pratt, spokesman for Gun Owners of America. "You've never seen them pick a police station to start shooting. They're going to pick an area where they can be the only one there with a gun."

Stop the Presses: Blackwater Protected Obama in Afghanistan !!!

Blackwater Got the Gig Securing Obama in Afghanistan
July 25, 2008 05:00 PM ET Paul Bedard Permanent Link

Sen. Barack Obama has not been a fan of private police like Blackwater in war zones, and some news outlets even reported that they were spurned for his trip last week to Afghanistan and Iraq. But Whispers confirms that Blackwater did handle the Democratic presidential candidate's security in Afghanistan and helped out in Iraq. What's more, Obama was overheard saying: "Blackwater is getting a bad rap." Since everything appeared to go swimmingly, maybe he will take firms like Blackwater out of his sights, the company's supporters hope.

MarkJ comments:
"Obama: 'This isn't the Blackwater that I knew!'"

And LJ of California writes (after tightening the chin strap on his tinfoil hat)

The Constitution has been eviscerated by this administration.... they have their own Supreme Court and own PRIVATE army. What happens when Bush/Cheney decide they DON'T want to leave office????? When the "higher voice" tells him to stay in office.....

And the Virginian Pilot editors take more Valium.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Farc 'co-ordinator' held in Spain

Guess who she was working for.

My first guess would have been the National Council of Churches. Actually it was guess number 2, an NGO (Non Governmental Organization)

Spanish police say they have arrested the representative of the left-wing Colombian rebel group Farc in Spain.
The Colombian authorities have recently warned that large amounts of money raised from cocaine by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - or Farc - are often invested in Europe.

The BBC's Steve Kingstone in Madrid says it is alleged that under the cover of her job with a non-governmental organisation, Ms Garcia provided organisational support and funds to the Farc.

“That’s how you teach our enemies not to mess!”

On the other hand, Democrat leaders are still hoping for failure.

So, Iraq turns out to be kind of a non-loss, kind of thing, after all, huh? Well, it’s never too late to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory, is it? Or… too early:

Senator Failure

That headline in the NY Times must hurt

A Shiite Militia in Baghdad Sees Its Power Wane

The militia that was once the biggest defender of poor Shiites in Iraq, the Mahdi Army, has been profoundly weakened in a number of neighborhoods across Baghdad, in an important, if tentative, milestone for stability in Iraq.

It is a remarkable change from years past, when the militia, led by the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr, controlled a broad swath of Baghdad, including local governments and police forces. But its use of extortion and violence began alienating much of the Shiite population to the point that many quietly supported American military sweeps against the group.

What Happens When You Get To Choose the Picture

Military Source Claims Barack Obama missed five three point basketball shots before sinking the one that has been shown all over the media

Mort Zuckerman lied today on The McLauglin Group:

"Obama made his first shot!"

Obama completely missed his first five shots!

Obama only made his sixth shot!

Obama's basketball prowess is not the point. What is the point is the press willing to lie about it.

One reported dead, five critical in church shooting

Anti Christian animus is not without its costs.

Multiple people have suffered gunshot wounds in what witnesses describe as a mass shooting inside a church in West Knoxville Sunday morning.
Knoxville City Councilman Joe Hultquist tells WBIR that one victim in the church attack has died, and five others are in critical condition.

As if now, the murderer's motive has not been established, but church shootings have become increasingly "popular."

Black Radio on Obama Is Left’s Answer to Limbaugh

The NY Times has an article on something called “black radio” as the answer to Rush Limbaugh during this election. Ever ready to create racial divisions, the Times makes it appear that “black radio” will negate Limbaugh and increase black votes for Obama.

From the article:

While debate may continue over whether Mr. Obama is drawing an inordinate share of attention from mainstream news and entertainment outlets, there is generally little pretense of balance in major African-American media outlets. More often than not, the Obama campaign is discussed as the home team.

And …

The favoritism extends beyond talk radio.
This month’s Ebony magazine lists Mr. Obama first among the “25 Coolest Brothers of All Time,” alongside Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X. Caribbean stations play songs about him, like “Barack Obama” by Cocoa Tea and “Barack the Magnificent” by the calypso star Mighty Sparrow. “We spin them three, four times a day,” said Sir Rockwell, the morning D.J. at WDJA in Delray Beach, Fla.

Lest anyone get worried, the unfortunate fact for the NY Slimes is that the black vote has been in the bag for Democrats for decades and going from 95% of the black vote to 96% is not going to put Obama over the top.

The secret to the election will be who gets the “bitter clingers.” In that race, the gushing media may well find out that their over-the-top coverage is actually going to re-bound against Obama. Nobody likes a suck-up, especially the “bitter clingers.”

Obama's Not Exactly's:

1.) Selma Got Me Born - NOT EXACTLY, your parents felt safe enough to have you in 1961 - Selma had no effect on your birth, as Selma was in 1965. (Google 'Obama Selma' for his full March 4, 2007 speech and articles about its various untruths.)

2.) Father Was A Goat Herder - NOT EXACTLY, he was a privileged, well educated youth, who went on to work with the Kenyan Government.

3.) Father Was A Proud Freedom Fighter – NOT EXACTLY, he was part of one of the most corrupt and violent governments Kenya has ever had.

4.) My Family Has Strong Ties To African Freedom - NOT EXACTLY, your cousin Raila Odinga has created mass violence in attempting to overturn a legitimate election in 2007, in Kenya. It is the first widespread violence in decades. The current government is pro-American but Odinga wants to overthrow it and establish Muslim Sharia law. Your half-brother, Abongo Obama, is Odinga's follower. You interrupted your New Hampshire campaigning to speak to Odinga on the phone. Check out the following link for
verification of that....and for more.

Obama's cousin Odinga in Kenya ran for president and tried to get Sharia Muslim law in place there. When Odinga lost the elections, his followers have burned Christians' homes and then burned men,
women and children alive in a Christian church where they took shelter.. Obama SUPPORTED his cousin
before the election process here started. Google Obama and Odinga and see what you get. No one wants to know the truth.

5.) My Grandmother Has Always Been A Christian - NOT EXACTLY, she does her daily Salat prayers at 5am according to her own interviews. Not to mention, Christianity wouldn't allow her to have been one of 14 wives to 1 man.

6.) My Name is African Swahili - NOT EXACTLY, your name is Arabic and 'Baraka' (from which Barack came) means 'blessed' in that language. Hussein is also Arabic and so is Obama.

Barack Hussein Obama is not half black. If elected, he would be the first Arab-American President, not the first black President. Barack Hussein Obama is 50% Caucasian from his mother's side and 43.75% Arabic and 6.25% African Negro from his father's side. While Barack Hussein Obama's father was from
Kenya, his father's family was mainly Arabs. Barack Hussein Obama's father was only 12.5% African Negro and 87.5% Arab (his father's birth certificate even states he's Arab, not African Negro). From....and for more....go to.....

7.) I Never Practiced Islam - NOT EXACTLY, you practiced it daily at school, where you were registered as a Muslim and kept that faith for 31 years, until your wife made you change, so you could run for office.

4-3-08 Article ' Obama was 'quite religious in Islam''

8.) My School In Indonesia Was Christian – NOT EXACTLY, you were registered as Muslim there and got in trouble in Koranic Studies for making faces (check your own book).

February 28, 2008. Kristoff from the New York Times a year ago: Mr. Obama recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer, reciting them with a first-rate accent. In a remark that seemed delightfully uncalculated (it'll give Alabama voters heart attacks), Mr. Obama described the call to prayer as 'one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.' This is just one example of what Pamela is talking about when
she says 'Obama's narrative is being altered, enhanced and manipulated to whitewash troubling facts.'

9.) I Was Fluent In Indonesian - NOT EXACTLY, not one teacher says you could speak the language.

10.) Because I Lived In Indonesia, I Have More Foreign Experience – NOT EXACTLY, you were there from the ages of 6 to 10, and couldn't even speak the language. What did you learn, how to study the Koran and watch cartoons.

11.) I Am Stronger On Foreign Affairs – NOT EXACTLY, except for Africa (surprise) and the Middle East (bigger surprise), you have never been anywhere else on the planet and thus have NO experience with our closest allies.

12.) I Blame My Early Drug Use On Ethnic Confusion - NOT EXACTLY, you were quite content in high school to be Barry Obama, no mention of Kenya and no mention of struggle to identify - your classmates
said you were just fine.

13.)An Ebony Article Moved Me To Run For Office - NOT EXACTLY, Ebony has yet to find the article you mention in your book. It doesn't, and never did, exist.

14.) A Life Magazine Article Changed My Outlook On Life - NOT EXACTLY, Life has yet to find the article you mention in your book. It doesn't, and never did, exist.

15.) I Won't Run On A National Ticket In '08 – NOT EXACTLY, here you are, despite saying, live on TV, that you would not have enough experience by then, and you are all about having experience first.

16.) Voting 'Present' is Common In Illinois Senate - NOT EXACTLY, they are common for YOU, but not many others have 130 NO VOTES.

17.) Oops, I Misvoted - NOT EXACTLY, only when caught by church groups and Democrats, did you beg to change your misvote.

18.) I Was A Professor Of Law - NOT EXACTLY, you were a senior lecturer ON LEAVE.

19.) I Was A Constitutional Lawyer - NOT EXACTLY, you were a senior lecturer ON LEAVE.

20.) Without Me, There Would Be No Ethics Bill - NOT EXACTLY, you didn't write it, introduce it, change it, or create it.

21.) The Ethics Bill Was Hard To Pass – NOT EXACTLY, it took just 14 days from start to finish.

22.) I Wrote A Tough Nuclear Bill - NOT EXACTLY, your bill was rejected by your own party for its pandering and lack of all regulation – mainly because of your Nuclear donor, Exelon, from which
David Axelrod came.

23.) I Have Released My State Records – NOT EXACTLY, as of March, 2008, state bills you sponsored or voted for have yet to be released, exposing all the special interests pork hidden within.

24.) I Took On The Asbestos Altgeld Gardens Mess - NOT EXACTLY, you were part of a large group of people who remedied Altgeld Gardens. You failed to mention anyone else but yourself, in your books.

25.) My Economics Bill Will Help America – NOT EXACTLY, your 111 economic policies were just combined into a proposal which lost 99-0, and even YOU voted against your own bill.

26.) I Have Been A Bold Leader In Illinois – NOT EXACTLY, even your own supporters claim to have not seen BOLD action on your part.

27.) I Passed 26 Of My Own Bills In One Year – NOT EXACTLY, they were not YOUR bills, but rather handed to you, after their creation by a fellow Senator, to assist you in a future bid for higher office.

28.) No One on my campaign contacted Canada about NAFTA - NOT EXACTLY, the Canadian Government issued the names and a memo of the conversation your campaign had with them.

29.) I Am Tough On Terrorism - NOT EXACTLY, you missed the Iran Resolution vote on terrorism and your good friend Ali Abunimah supports the destruction of Israel.

30.) I Want All Votes To Count - NOT EXACTLY, you said let the delegates decide.

31.) I Want Americans To Decide - NOT EXACTLY, you prefer caucuses that limit the vote, confuse the voters, force a public vote, and only operate during small windows of time.

32.) I passed 900 Bills in the State Senate – NOT EXACTLY, you passed 26, most of which you didn't write yourself.

33.) I Believe In Fairness, Not Tactics – NOT EXACTLY, you used tactics to eliminate Alice Palmer from running against you.

34.) I Don't Take PAC Money - NOT EXACTLY, you take loads of it.

35.) I don't Have Lobbyists - NOT EXACTLY , you have over 47 lobbyists, and counting.

36.) My Campaign Had Nothing To Do With The 1984 Ad - NOT EXACTLY, your own campaign worker made the ad on his Apple in one afternoon.

37.) I Have Always Been Against Iraq - NOT EXACTLY, you weren't in office to vote against it AND you have voted to fund it every single time.

38.) I Have Always Supported Universal Health Care - NOT EXACTLY, your plan leaves us all to pay for the 15,000,000 who don't have to buy it.

If you are wishing for hope and change, you better know what the salesman is selling.

I received this as an e-mail.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

How my mother's fanatical views tore us apart (The sad tale of Alice Walker's daughter)

The truth is that I very nearly missed out on becoming a mother - thanks to being brought up by a rabid feminist who thought motherhood was about the worst thing that could happen to a woman.

...You see, my mum taught me that children enslave women. I grew up believing that children are millstones around your neck, and the idea that motherhood can make you blissfully happy is a complete fairytale.

In fact, having a child has been the most rewarding experience of my life. Far from 'enslaving' me, three-and-a-half-year-old Tenzin has opened my world. My only regret is that I discovered the joys of motherhood so late - I have been trying for a second child for two years, but so far with no luck.

I was raised to believe that women need men like a fish needs a bicycle. But I strongly feel children need two parents and the thought of raising Tenzin without my partner, Glen, 52, would be terrifying.

As the child of divorced parents, I know only too well the painful consequences of being brought up in those circumstances. Feminism has much to answer for denigrating men and encouraging women to seek independence whatever the cost to their families.

My mother's feminist principles coloured every aspect of my life. As a little girl, I wasn't even allowed to play with dolls or stuffed toys in case they brought out a maternal instinct. It was drummed into me that being a mother, raising children and running a home were a form of slavery. Having a career, travelling the world and being independent were what really mattered according to her.

I love my mother very much, but I haven't seen her or spoken to her since I became pregnant. She has never seen my son - her only grandchild. My crime? Daring to question her ideology.

Well, so be it. My mother may be revered by women around the world - goodness knows, many even have shrines to her. But I honestly believe it's time to puncture the myth and to reveal what life was really like to grow up as a child of the feminist revolution.

Feminism has betrayed an entire generation of women into childlessness. It is devastating.

But far from taking responsibility for any of this, the leaders of the women's movement close ranks against anyone who dares to question them - as I have learned to my cost. I don't want to hurt my mother, but I cannot stay silent. I believe feminism is an experiment, and all experiments need to be assessed on their results. Then, when you see huge mistakes have been paid, you need to make alterations.

I hope that my mother and I will be reconciled one day. Tenzin deserves to have a grandmother. But I am just so relieved that my viewpoint is no longer so utterly coloured by my mother's.

I am my own woman and I have discovered what really matters - a happy family.

Read the rest. It's sad story with a happy ending.

Christian Dissent in the Academy (Volokh Debate)

Eugene Volokh, the proprietor of the Volokh Conspiracy, a blog of legal and libertarian bent, published an essay:


I was interested because I am a Christian and I have long believed that the courts have wrongly interpreted the first amendment “freedom of religion” clause by gradually claiming that any intersection of religion and “public” life establishes a religion or leads inevitably down that slippery slope. In so doing, I believe that the courts have effectively removed the part of the constitution that guarantees the free exercise of religion. My version of the constitution does not prohibit the free exercise of religion in the “public” sphere.

As it happens, Volokh explains current law:

The government is generally free to provide broadly available student scholarships that students may use at any institution, religious or secular. Such generally available funding programs don't violate the Establishment Clause, though some earlier Supreme Court decisions had held the contrary.

The government is, however, also free to decide to limit such scholarships in certain ways, even when those ways discriminate against religious uses: The Supreme Court has held (in Locke v. Davey) that the government may exclude devotional theology majors from otherwise generally available scholarships, and that this discrimination against religious uses doesn't violate the Free Exercise Clause. The question that Locke leaves open is just what other kinds of exclusion of religious uses from generally available programs are constitutional.

Click on the link to read the entire essay.

But the Volokh Conspiracy allows readers to respond and a frequent reader is Dilan Esper. DE is a Liberal and responded thusly (in part):

But it isn't a good result, because it forces governments into a bind of either (a) funding the Regent Universities and Liberty Universities of the world, which are basically churches dressed up in academic trappings and are not committed to academic values of truth seeking and dissent…

This is simply humbug and an excellent example of the kind of religious bigotry that parades in plain view because “we all know” that Christians are some kind of inferior species who can’t be insulted because everything we say about them is true.

I responded…

Some other sites have a flag or some other method of signaling to the site administrator that some posts have objectionable comments. Since this site does not, let me direct my comment to Mr. Volokh.

I realize that this site has a Libertarian outlook, and Libertarians are not known for their religious orientation. Libertarians are vigorous advocates of free speech. However, I wonder how long it would be if a commenter made repeated references to a certain dusky race of people by identifying them as “N…..s” before some action would be taken?

Dilan Esper has made it a habit of disparaging conservative Christians, in effect assigning them to the religious version of a ghetto. He has stated that Regent and Liberty Universities are not really educational institutions, but instead are “churches dressed up in academic trappings and are not committed to academic values of truth seeking and dissent.”

That may be one man’s opinion but because these are accredited institutions of higher education, they are ignorant, bigoted and objectionable.

If I find myself in the company of people who make racist comments, I leave. But I know what kind of people who stay are and share their own racist jokes are; ditto for the kind of juveniles who tell each other smutty stories. Toleration of these things tells me a lot about the group. This blog and many others form a kind of society. The comments of its members and what is tolerated without objection defines the society.

The disclaimer at the end of the comments seem to be treated much the same way as the prospectus of a mutual fund: nobody reads it and most ignore it. The proprietors of this site should do a little more to protect its reputation.

Volokh shot back…

Moneyrunner43: Criticizing ideologies, whether religious or otherwise, strikes me as eminently legitimate in principle. Now if you think that particular criticisms are unsound, please feel free to respond to them. But I don't think that faulting Regent University -- or for that matter Howard University -- is inherently improper.

Nor do I see why even criticisms of wider religious groups are tantamount to racism. Racism is faulted precisely because people's skin color is not inherently linked to their beliefs. People's religions are inherently linked to their beliefs, and criticisms of such beliefs and those who hold them can be quite sensible (though of course, as I said above, particular criticisms might be unsound).

To which I responded…

Eugene, this is your blog and you can tolerate anything you want, but let me respond to your comments. First, religion is not an ideology although they share some characteristics. Second, criticisms are legitimate. Making derogatory comments such as the reference to certain universities as “churches dressed up in academic trappings and are not committed to academic values of truth seeking and dissent” is not reasoned criticism, it's simply an expression of anti-religious bigotry. There was no attempt to fault Liberty or Regent on a substantive basis. It was simply an ugly put-down.

Both Regent and Liberty are unabashedly Christian colleges and I am sure – without checking the actual statistics – that many students go there because they find the other students and faculty compatible with their religious beliefs. There are too many examples of colleges and universities discriminating against the open expression of religious belief, so some students simply go to where they feel more comfortable. Many traditionally black colleges are havens for students who are more comfortable with people of their own skin color. But if I were to state that Howard is a “monochrome ghetto dressed up in academic trappings and are not committed to academic values of truth seeking and dissent” that could legitimately be called a bigoted expression of racial hostility.

Third, you seem to see a difference between racial bigotry and religious bigotry. Are you stating that blacks are blacks forever, but Christians can escape religious bigotry by renouncing their religion? Or hiding their beliefs? Or letting religious bigotry pass unremarked? Like Blacks did back in the day, when they were forced to smile and ignore racist comments like being called “boy.”?

The first blacks who objected were called uppity by some and hyper sensitive by others. So be it. This Christian is a little tired of casual slurs by bigots, even bigots who don't think they are, and - like Rosa Parks - I’m not going to put on a smile and move to the back of the bus.

Fourth, criticism of beliefs may not be as reasonable a thing as you seem to think. If I believe blue is the prettiest color, some may disagree but few would criticize. Theoretical Communism is – in a universe not inhabited by humans – a wonderful system. That its implementation has led to the world’s most evil regimes is reason to criticize its real-world application. A number of communities have been established in the US run along communist lines. Brook Farm is an example. They have all failed as communities, but I can’t criticize them in the same way I would criticize the practice of Communism in places like the USSR, China, North Korea and Cuba. I don’t mind if people believe in things that I do not such as astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell’s belief in aliens. It is the actions that result from these beliefs that are the legitimate objects of criticism.

In your own field of law, I have no problem with the belief that the Constitution of the United States is embodied in the corporeal forms of 9 men and women appointed to the Supreme Court. (Hughes: “The Constitution is what the judges say it is”). I have a problem when those same men and women act on that belief and re-write the poor old written Constitution to agree with their personal preferences.

I suspect that the academy has internalized its bigotry in the same way the South did during Jim Crow. Then it was possible for whites who were racists and whites who were not racists to find the "N" word acceptable because … well … everybody called them that. "Don't take it personally, Mr. Black Man, it's just the way we talk."

Of course I recognize that visually blacks can't pass for white while Christians can pass as atheists and gays can pass as straight. I am persuaded that among certain "enlightened" groups denigration of racial and sexual differences is out of bounds, but denigration of religious groups is accepted because it's part of the culture.

Your disclaimer at the bottom of your comments says "…please, also avoid rants, invective, substantial and repeated exaggeration."
I hope that my comments are neither too far off the mark nor a rant not filled with invective. And I would hope that for those who believe that displays of religious bigotry are acceptable may re-consider.

Within those bounds, if anyone want to claim that Liberty or Regent provide a poor educational experience, be my guest.

Meanwhile Dilan Esper …

First of all, thanks to Professor Volokh for the defense of free speech. I should add that his defense applies equally to conservative Christians who want to criticize secular types.

Second, I think that there's a confusion here between (1) hatred Christian conservatives because of their religious belief, which I abhor and condemn, and (2) opposing Christian conservative political goals.

One political goal of Christian conservatives is to discredit the system of secular education as nothing more than an ideological straitjacket imposed by liberals, and more narrowly, to promote alternative conservative Christian collegs where doctrines that they disagree with are not taught and traditional concepts of academic freedom are restricted or eliminated.

I oppose that political goal. While conservative Christian groups are free to create their own universities where the central academic principles of peer reviewed scholarship, academic freedom, and diversity and dissent are not upheld, I don't believe that these institutions should be treated by governments as equivalent to traditional academic institutions. Not because they are Christian-- plenty of Christian denominations run or affiliate with institutions that follow traditional academic norms and should be funded, and I would oppose funding a Muslim or Jewish or Scientologist equivalent to Liberty or Regent.

I think traditional academic institutions have a great value to our society, that this value arises in part from concepts of academic freedom, peer review, and freedom to dissent, and I oppose any policy that affords any sort of prestige or support or equivalence to institutions that claim to be colleges or universities but do not uphold these policies.

Many conservatives tell themselves, of course, that the entire world of higher education is no different than Liberty or Regent in its demands for ideological rigidity and closed-mindedness. But that's a falsehood, and fighting that falsehood is part of why I oppose aid to the Regents and Liberties of the world.

But rest assured, my position has nothing to do with hating Christian conservatives, who have every right to participate in the political process and debate and to advocate their positions.

To which I replied….

The defense of you religious slur was certainly a defense of free speech. However, this blog expressly limits speech; see the “Important note to helpful readers.” So it seems that Mr. Volokh defends certain expressions but not others. We live in an environment of limited speech (see FIRE) and I am of the opinion that people should be as careful of religious slurs as they are of any other.

Regarding your assertion that you abhor: “hatred [of] Christian conservatives because of their religious belief” I will take at face value despite the absence of evidence. I also will take at face value that you: “…oppos[e] Christian conservative political goals” as self evident.

Based on your contentions, I believe that you have a cartoon-like concept of what “Christians” believe and what those “Lumpen Christians” want. Believe it or not, Dilan, Christians are not the homogeneous “other” so easily caricatured by the non-Christian world.

Liberals in the academy have managed to discredit higher education all by themselves with absolutely no help from Christian conservatives or anyone else. I need only refer you to the Duke Lacrosse fiasco as a recent shining example, writ large, of the view that many people have of the academy as a hive of like-minded, racist, sexist and classist ideologues leavened with the rest of the see-no-evil faculty and managed by a spineless administration. A place where “… doctrines that they disagree with are not taught and traditional concepts of academic freedom are restricted or eliminated.” Oops, that’s how you characterized evangelical Christian colleges.

Again to borrow a few of your phrases: Liberals have “…create[d] their own universities where the central academic principles of peer reviewed scholarship, academic freedom, and diversity and dissent are not upheld.” Well, perhaps these institutions do have peer review. Wasn’t Ward Churchill the author of peer reviewed articles that were later proven to be … well, false?

And it is your contention that Christian colleges do not publish peer reviewed research?

And finally, no one is asking you to fund Liberty or Regent. They are private, not public. But I object to your attempt to throttle them financially by refusing to allow students the free choice of where they want to spend their scholarship money simply because you have a political disagreement with them. That is not the way political opinions contend in a free society. I hope that it is not indicative of the kind of anti-freedom authoritarian views and actions that many believe characterize the Left and the Academy.

And that’s where it stands.

Obama “or something”

This has been obvious to me, why hasn't it been written earlier. Reflecting on the rock star reception Obama has received in Europe...
All this Obama mania is only the flip side of anti-Americanism. They’re all hoping for a president who will dismantle everything the United States stands for, and so prove them to be the intellectual and moral superiors they think they are. That may be what Jo Joffe meant when he tagged that enigmatic “or something” on to the end of his great remark.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mystery Solved: Why Did the FARC Terrorists Trust the Disguised Colombian Commandos So Completely?

Because they wore the perfect disguise.

They were dressed as reporters.

They would have dressed like Nancy Pelosi but they couldn't fit into Size 0 dresses, and they thought it might be a bit alarming to the terrorists to see a baker's dozen of Nancy Pelosis swarming around them, those freaky Firestarter-eyes staring at them blankly unblinking.

Plus, botox and implants ain't cheap.

From Ace of Spades.
Jean-Francois Julliard, deputy director of the press advocacy organization Reporters Without Borders, said authorities can endanger journalists when they pose as members of the news media.

"We think it is a dangerous practice because it puts in danger real journalists," he said.

The next time a reporter approaches FARC rebels, he said, the FARC members "will be very suspicious and maybe they will take some physical measures against these journalists because they will think that they are not real journalists."

some commenters:

"Finally, a use for journalists: decoys for counterterrorism teams."

"OK, but why would this be a bad thing?"

Obama and the Press

From today's Drudge headlines, images of that "critical" press...


and this from IBD...
Putting Money Where Mouths Are: Media Donations Favor Dems 100-1
An analysis of federal records shows that the amount of money journalists contributed so far this election cycle favors Democrats by a 15:1 ratio over Republicans, with $225,563 going to Democrats, only $16,298 to Republicans .

Two-hundred thirty-five journalists donated to Democrats, just 20 gave to Republicans — a margin greater than 10-to-1. An even greater disparity, 20-to-1, exists between the number of journalists who donated to Barack Obama and John McCain.
The contributions of individuals who reported being employed by major media organizations are listed in the nearby table.

The contributions add up to $315,533 to Democrats and $22,656 to Republicans — most of that to Ron Paul, who was supported by many liberals as a stalking horse to John McCain, a la Rush Limbaugh's Operation Chaos with Hillary and Obama.

What is truly remarkable about the list is that, discounting contributions to Paul and Rudy Giuliani, who was a favorite son for many folks in the media, the totals look like this: $315,533 to Democrats, $3,150 to Republicans (four individuals who donated to McCain).

Let me repeat: $315,533 to Democrats, $3,150 to Republicans — a ratio of 100-to-1. No bias there.

Gerald Baker has a more balanced version of the trip...
He ventured forth to bring light to the world

The anointed one's pilgrimage to the Holy Land is a miracle in action - and a blessing to all his faithful followers

And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.

The Child was blessed in looks and intellect. Scion of a simple family, offspring of a miraculous union, grandson of a typical white person and an African peasant. And yea, as he grew, the Child walked in the path of righteousness, with only the occasional detour into the odd weed and a little blow.

When he was twelve years old, they found him in the temple in the City of Chicago, arguing the finer points of community organisation with the Prophet Jeremiah and the Elders. And the Elders were astonished at what they heard and said among themselves: “Verily, who is this Child that he opens our hearts and minds to the audacity of hope?”

In the great Battles of Caucus and Primary he smote the conniving Hillary, wife of the deposed King Bill the Priapic and their barbarian hordes of Working Class Whites.

And so it was, in the fullness of time, before the harvest month of the appointed year, the Child ventured forth - for the first time - to bring the light unto all the world.

He travelled fleet of foot and light of camel, with a small retinue that consisted only of his loyal disciples from the tribe of the Media. He ventured first to the land of the Hindu Kush, where the Taleban had harboured the viper of al-Qaeda in their bosom, raining terror on all the world.

And the Child spake and the tribes of Nato immediately loosed the Caveats that had previously bound them. And in the great battle that ensued the forces of the light were triumphant. For as long as the Child stood with his arms raised aloft, the enemy suffered great blows and the threat of terror was no more.

From there he went forth to Mesopotamia where he was received by the great ruler al-Maliki, and al-Maliki spake unto him and blessed his Sixteen Month Troop Withdrawal Plan even as the imperial warrior Petraeus tried to destroy it.

And lo, in Mesopotamia, a miracle occurred. Even though the Great Surge of Armour that the evil Bush had ordered had been a terrible mistake, a waste of vital military resources and doomed to end in disaster, the Child's very presence suddenly brought forth a great victory for the forces of the light.

And the Persians, who saw all this and were greatly fearful, longed to speak with the Child and saw that the Child was the bringer of peace. At the mention of his name they quickly laid aside their intrigues and beat their uranium swords into civil nuclear energy ploughshares.

From there the Child went up to the city of Jerusalem, and entered through the gate seated on an ass. The crowds of network anchors who had followed him from afar cheered “Hosanna” and waved great palm fronds and strewed them at his feet.

In Jerusalem and in surrounding Palestine, the Child spake to the Hebrews and the Arabs, as the Scripture had foretold. And in an instant, the lion lay down with the lamb, and the Israelites and Ishmaelites ended their long enmity and lived for ever after in peace.

As word spread throughout the land about the Child's wondrous works, peoples from all over flocked to hear him; Hittites and Abbasids; Obamacons and McCainiacs; Cameroonians and Blairites.

And they told of strange and wondrous things that greeted the news of the Child's journey. Around the world, global temperatures began to decline, and the ocean levels fell and the great warming was over.

The Great Prophet Algore of Nobel and Oscar, who many had believed was the anointed one, smiled and told his followers that the Child was the one generations had been waiting for.

And there were other wonderful signs. In the city of the Street at the Wall, spreads on interbank interest rates dropped like manna from Heaven and rates on credit default swaps fell to the ground as dead birds from the almond tree, and the people who had lived in foreclosure were able to borrow again.

Black gold gushed from the ground at prices well below $140 per barrel. In hospitals across the land the sick were cured even though they were uninsured. And all because the Child had pronounced it.

And this is the testimony of one who speaks the truth and bears witness to the truth so that you might believe. And he knows it is the truth for he saw it all on CNN and the BBC and in the pages of The New York Times.

Then the Child ventured forth from Israel and Palestine and stepped onto the shores of the Old Continent. In the land of Queen Angela of Merkel, vast multitudes gathered to hear his voice, and he preached to them at length.

But when he had finished speaking his disciples told him the crowd was hungry, for they had had nothing to eat all the hours they had waited for him.

And so the Child told his disciples to fetch some food but all they had was five loaves and a couple of frankfurters. So he took the bread and the frankfurters and blessed them and told his disciples to feed the multitudes. And when all had eaten their fill, the scraps filled twelve baskets.

Thence he travelled west to Mount Sarkozy. Even the beauteous Princess Carla of the tribe of the Bruni was struck by awe and she was great in love with the Child, but he was tempted not.

On the Seventh Day he walked across the Channel of the Angles to the ancient land of the hooligans. There he was welcomed with open arms by the once great prophet Blair and his successor, Gordon the Leper, and his successor, David the Golden One.

And suddenly, with the men appeared the archangel Gabriel and the whole host of the heavenly choir, ranks of cherubim and seraphim, all praising God and singing: “Yes, We Can.”

The only way to look at Obama's followers is with pity and a grimace.


Howard Kurtz comments...

...the tone of the coverage sometimes bordered on gushing, as in this Associated Press dispatch before the appearance in Berlin:

"In this city where John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton all made famous speeches, Obama will find himself stepping into perhaps another iconic moment Thursday as his superstar charisma meets German adoration live in shadows of the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate. He then travels to Paris and London where he can expect to be greeted with similar adulation.

"It's not only Obama's youth, eloquence and energy that have stolen hearts across the Atlantic. . . . Obama has raised expectations of a chance for the nation to redeem itself."


What a perfect example of the view of the AP of America: in need of redemption for freeing Iraq from the butchery of Saddam and giving the entire Middle East an opportunity to free itself of its ageless tyranny and poverty.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Berlin Airlift: A Distraction?

A little tongue in cheek humor ... or was it?


I guess we're not supposed to think about how Obama wanted and still wants to give up on the Iraq war. Surely, if he'd been there in 1948, he would have said the Berlin airlift is hopeless.

No, no, no, no, no. Nyet!

Not hopeless at all. He would have said the Berlin airlift was a distraction.

Great Orators of the Democratic Party

• "One man with courage makes a majority."--attributed to Andrew Jackson

• "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."--Franklin D. Roosevelt

• "The buck stops here."--Harry S. Truman

• "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."--John F. Kennedy

• "So the point that I was making at the time was that the political dynamic was the driving force between that sectarian violence. And we could try to keep a lid on it, but if these underlining dynamic continued to bubble up and explode the way they were, then we would be in a difficult situation. I am glad that in fact those political dynamic shifted at the same time that our troops did outstanding work."--Barack Obama

A Tale of Two Flip-Floppers

From the Wall Street Journal. I think that Obama's assertions that he is consistent when he changes his position will hurt him in this election.

John McCain and Barack Obama have both changed positions in this campaign. That's OK. Voters understand that politicians can and, sometimes, should change their views. After all, voters do. Witness the wide swings in their answers to opinion polls.

But before accepting the changes, voters typically ask themselves three questions: Does the candidate admit he's shifting? What's the new information that altered his thinking? Does the change seem reasonable and not calculating?

Sen. McCain has changed his position on drilling for oil on the outer continental shelf. But because he explained this change by saying that $4-a-gallon gasoline caused him to re-evaluate his position, voters are likely to accept it. Of course, Mr. McCain doesn't explain why prices at the pump haven't also forced him to re-evaluate his opposition to drilling on 2000 acres in the 19.2-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. But, then, what politician is always consistent?

Mr. McCain flip-flopped on the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. He'd voted against them at the time, saying in 2001 that he'd "like to see more of this tax cut shared by working Americans." Now he supports their continuation because, he says, letting them expire would increase taxes and he opposes tax hikes. Besides, he recognizes that the tax cuts have helped the economy.

At least Mr. McCain fesses up to and explains his changes. Sen. Obama has shifted recently on public financing, free trade, Nafta, welfare reform, the D.C. gun ban, whether the Iranian Quds Force is a terrorist group, immunity for telecom companies participating in the Terrorist Surveillance Program, the status of Jerusalem, flag lapel pins, and disavowing Rev. Jeremiah Wright. And not only does he refuse to explain these flip-flops, he acts as if they never occurred.

Then there is Iraq. Throughout 2006 and early 2007, Mr. Obama pledged to remove all U.S. troops, even voting to immediately cut off funds for the troops while they were in combat. Then, in July 2007, he started talking about leaving a residual U.S. force, in Kuwait and elsewhere in the region, able to go back into Iraq if needed.

By October, he shifted again, pledging to station the residual U.S. troops inside Iraq with two "limited missions of protecting our diplomats and carrying out targeted strikes on al Qaeda."

Last week, writing in the New York Times, Mr. Obama changed again. He increased the missions his residual force would perform to three: "going after any remnants of al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces." That's not all that different from what U.S. troops are doing now.

And just how many U.S. troops would Mr. Obama leave in Iraq? Colin Kahl, an Obama adviser on Iraq, has said the senator wants to have "perhaps 60,000-80,000 forces" in Iraq by December 2010. So much for withdrawing all combat troops.

It's dizzying. Yet, Mr. Obama acts as if he is a paradigm of consistency. He told a Georgia rally this month that "the people who say [I've been changing] apparently haven't been listening to me." In a PBS interview last week he said, "this notion that somehow we've had wild shifts in my positions is simply inaccurate."

Compounding all this is Mr. Obama's stubborn refusal to admit the surge was right and that he was wrong to oppose it. On MSNBC in January 2007, he said more U.S. troops would not "solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse." Later that month he said at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that the new strategy would "not prove to be one that changes the dynamics significantly." In fact, the surge has done far more than its advocates hoped in a much shorter period.

Yet Mr. Obama told ABC's Terry Moran this week that even in retrospect, he would oppose the surge. He also told CBS's Katie Couric that he had "no idea what would have happened" without the new strategy. And he still declares, in the New York Times last week, "The same factors that led me to oppose the surge still hold true." Given all that has happened, it's hard to understand how Mr. Obama can say, as he did Tuesday in a story on NBC Nightly News, that "I don't have doubts about my ability to apply sound judgment to the major national security problems that we face."

Americans have seen both candidates flip-flop. Mr. McCain at least has a record of being a gutsy leader willing to take unpopular stands who admits his shifts and explains the new information that caused them.

Mr. Obama has detached himself from past positions at record speed. And in doing so he runs the risk of being seen as a cynical politician, not an inspiring leader. If this happens, voters in large numbers may ask -- despite his rhetorical acrobatics -- if he is the change they've been waiting for.

Obama Lies About His Committee Assignments

From Powerline we learn this:
Obama continued:

Now, in terms of knowing my commitments, you don't have to just look at my words, you can look at my deeds. Just this past week, we passed out of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, which is my committee, a bill to call for divestment from Iran, as a way of ratcheting up the pressure to ensure that they don't obtain a nuclear weapon.

But Obama is not a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. Obama just made that up so he could count the committee's action as one of "my deeds."

If committed by a Republican, this would be a gaffe of historic proportions. Even a Senator as inattentive to his duties as Obama certainly knows what committees he serves on. For him to fabricate the claim, out of whole cloth, that the Senate Banking Committee is "[his] committee," strikes me as another sign of Obama's megalomania. That, plus more evidence that he is totally at sea without a teleprompter.

This beats "I didn't inhale" by a mile. Will the MSM call him on this? Don't hold your breath.

Surging for Obama: McCain's I-told-you-so strategy won't work.

Jonah Goldberg points out a failure to frame the Iraq war correctly will be a problem for McCain.

But the catch-22 is that the more the surge succeeds, the more advantageous it is for Obama.

Voters don’t care about the surge; they care about the war. Americans want it to be over — and in a way they can be proud of.

Richard Nixon didn’t win in 1968 by second-guessing LBJ about the mess in Vietnam; he ran on getting us out with honor. McCain is great when talking about honor, but the getting-us-out part is where he gets tongue-tied. Obama, meanwhile, talks about leaving Iraq as though Americans don’t care about honor. That may have worked in the early primaries, but it won’t in the general election. Americans don’t like to lose wars.

Read the whole thing.


Ann Coulter on the NY Times treatment of McCain

I guess the party's over.

Now the Times won't even publish McCain's op-ed. I wouldn't have published it either -- I've read it twice and I still can't remember what it says -- but I also wouldn't have published McCain's seven op-eds in The New York Times since 1996.

Since McCain has gone from being a Republican "maverick" who attacks Republicans and promotes liberal causes to the Republican nominee for president, he's also gone from being one of the Times' most frequent op-ed guest columnists to being an unpublishable illiterate.

I looked up McCain's oeuvre for the Times, and if you want unpublishable, that's unpublishable. In one column, McCain assailed Republicans for their lack of commitment to the environment, noting that polls -- probably the same ones showing him to be the most "electable" Republican -- indicated that "the environment is the voters' number-one concern about continued Republican leadership of Congress."

McCain concluded with this ringing peroration: "(O)ur nation's continued prosperity hinges on our ability to solve environmental problems and sustain the natural resources on which we all depend." That's good writing -- I mean assuming you're writing hack press releases for an irrelevant environmentalist think tank.

The rest of McCain's op-eds in the Times bravely took on -- I quote -- "unnecessary regulation" and "pork-barrel spending." It's that sort of courage and clear-headedness that tells me we're going to be OK this fall.

In coming out four-square against "unnecessary regulation" and "pork-barrel spending," McCain threw down the gauntlet to those who favor "unnecessary regulation" and "pork-barrel spending." Actually, I think there's a rule that says you're not being brave if there is not a single person in the world who would publicly disagree with you.

Obama: U.S. Troops in Afghanistan Must Do More Than Kill Civilians

But don't question his patriotism or his 110% support for the troops.

NY Times 2Q Profits Drop 82%

From the Financial Times

The New York Times suffered a 16.4 per cent decrease in June advertising revenues and warned on Wednesday that the effects of high oil prices, a slowing economy and the housing crisis were likely to weigh on its prospects for some time.

“I think it’s clear that many of the advertising budgets are tightening up,” said Janet Robinson, chief executive of the New York Times Company, predicting a “tough” second half of the year.

June performance followed an 11.9 per cent decline in May advertising revenues, and suggested that an already deep erosion in newspaper advertising could be accelerating. Ms Robinson said the company would respond by raising newsstand prices for the New York Times from $1.25 to $1.50 per copy beginning in August, marking the paper’s second increase in a year.

That announcement came as the company reported that second-quarter profits fell 82 per cent to $21m, or 15 cents per share, compared with the same period a year ago, when it benefited from a $94m gain from the sale of television stations.

Excluding that and other one-time events, income from continuing operations was down 5.5 per cent for the quarter. Revenue fell 6 per cent to $742m.

The New York Times Company’s results were the latest sign of gloom from the newspaper industry, which is now feeling the effects of a slowing economy as it grapples with an ongoing migration of readers and advertisers to the internet.

Faster please.

The Rapid Decline of the New York Times
The core newspaper franchise maintains its residual magic as a brand name; and within the lush niche — urban professional high income people of sophisticated tastes and liberal politics — the Times has carefully cultivated, its name remains incomparably authoritative.

EXACTLY. The Times has become a niche newspaper catering to a niche market. In other industries this would required downsizing, which the Times is doing. But that also means that it no longer support the resources that allow it to appear authoritative to its niche. Between a rock and a hard place.

Why the Press Is Ignoring the Edwards "Love Child" Story

Slate's Jack Shaffer asks why there is a double standard at work:

Everybody had a good laugh last August when Roll Call broke the story about Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, getting arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for playing footsies in a toilet stall. The late-night talk show hosts mined the material for days; Slate produced a re-enactment of the bathroom ballet; and newspapers, magazines, and cable channels shredded Craig.

The angle taken by most reporters and commentators wasn't that Craig's restroom conduct was particularly shameful. The press doesn't object to same-sex sex at all, nor should it. Craig's true offense, said the press and the clowns, was hypocrisy, which they consider an inexcusable crime.
But if Edwards had an affair and lied about it, shouldn't he suffer scrutiny akin to that of Craig? At least three-dozen daily newspapers in the United States published the Craig news the day after the Roll Call scoop, according to Nexis, but this morning not a single U.S. daily mentioned the Enquirer piece.
So why hasn't the press commented on the story yet? Is it because it broke too late yesterday afternoon, and news organizations want to investigate it for themselves before writing about it? Or are they observing a double standard that says homo-hypocrisy is indefensible but that hetero-hypocrisy deserves an automatic bye?

That's my sense.

And Edwards is a Democrat. And everybody lies about sex because everybody has extra-marital affairs and has children by those affairs. Everybody .... right?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Inflation in Zimbabwe Reaches 2.2 Million Percent

Inflation figures are always a little slippery, but the government of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe has managed the virtually impossible feat of generating a hyperinflation that has exceeded that of the Wiemar Republic of the 1920s.

From The Rand Today:
As the woes continue in Zimbabwe, the central bank’s governor in Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono said today, “Statistics provided by the CSO (central statistical office) indicate that it is now at 2.2 (million percent).” This referring to the rate of inflation in the country. This is clearly the highest rate of inflation in the world. And this figure released of 2.2m% can not be totally accurate with many suggesting that the rate of inflation is actually much higher than this. The last official announcement about the rate of inflation was in February this year when it was said that inflation was 165 000%.

It is still anyone guess how they can actually still be able to calculate the rate of inflation in Zimbabwe with the way things our going in their economy. An inflation rate of 2.2m% really does not make sense to anyone who is not in Zimbabwe and maybe even for those in the country. If someone tells you that a cold drink is 20 billion dollars, one can not comprehend what the actual value is unless you convert it back into rands or US dollars.

Zimbabwe, once known as Rhodesia under white rule was once one of the richest countries in Africa; an exporter of food and raw materials to the world is now an economic basket case due to the kleptocratic Marxist rule of Robert Mugabe.

At independence in 1980 one Zimbabwe dollar was worth more than one US dollar. Now the Zimbabwe currency is probably worth less as legal tender than as fuel.

Much of the international community has finally faced the fact that Mugabe is a tyrant who is literally destroying his country and the poor people of Zimbabwe.

The Liberal community is trying to disassociate itself with the monster they feted a few years ago.

Michigan State University may revoke honorary law degree issued to Mugabe 18 years ago

EAST LANSING, Michigan: Michigan State University is considering stripping Robert Mugabe of the honorary law degree it gave the Zimbabwean leader 18 years ago, citing human rights violations and economic mismanagement under his rule.

But Zimbabweans have a different view:
Obert Madondo: Let Mugabe keep honorary degrees
Michael Thelwell, a professor in the University of Massachusetts Afro-American studies department, confirms this short-sightedness. In the April 5 edition of the Boston Globe newspaper, he claims: "Mugabe has become a scourge of his people and a scourge of Africa. He has degenerated as a political leader and as a human being.”
Thelwell further suggests that the University of Massachusetts “…gave it (the degree) to the Robert Mugabe of the past, who was an inspiring and hopeful figure and a humane political leader at the time. The university has nothing to apologise for in giving a degree to the Robert Mugabe of 20 years ago. And they wouldn't imagine giving an honorary degree to the Robert Mugabe of today.''

It’s worth reminding Thelwell and those of his ilk that Robert Mugabe degenerated well before he assumed power in 1980. He usurped the leadership of the independence movement. To eliminate political rivalry in independent Zimbabwe, he allegedly orchestrated the murder of fellow liberation leaders like Josiah Tongogara. After independence, when it became apparent the late Dr. Joshua Nkomo would revolve into a more astute leader than himself, Mugabe constantly harassed, once exiled and eventually killed him, politically. Then there was Gukurahundi… (read the whole thing).

I agree with Madondo. Mugabe was thug when he was awarded his honorary degrees. Recission will not remove the stain from the honor of the poeple who awarded them.
Robert Mugabe’s honorary degrees should stay. They represent a period of madness in history where a genocidal dictator went on the rampage and the international community, the West in particular, either looked the other way or cheered him on. Any university that respects human rights should never ever have awarded Mugabe an honorary degree during the 1980s or any other period. A public apology to Zimbabweans is the only sincere protest against Mugabe’s rule that these universities can offer.