Massachusetts Schedules Special Election For January 19th

The Hill is reporting today that Massachusetts has scheduled a special election for January 19th to fill Edward Kennedy’s vacant Senate seat.  The question of whether there will be an interim appointment is still up in the air.  According to the article:

“Despite his endorsement, the governor acknowledged the fate of Kennedy’s request ultimately rests with the state legislature, which is currently away on recess. Although House and Senate lawmakers agreed today to expedite hearings on the proposal, Patrick emphasized during the press conference that the bill’s passage was all but certain.

“On the merits, the proposal seems to me reasonable and wise,” Patrick said. “I hope the members of the legislature, regardless of party affiliation, will see that too, and consider utmost the needs of our citizens to be represented in Washington over the next five months.””

According to the facebook page of Michele McPhee, a local radio talkshow host:

“…Jeremy Gillis (is) the Town Clerk in Easton,and a member of the Executive Board of the Mass Town Clerks Association. He writes: Over the past week, clerks have been reaching out to the governor asking that the date of January 19th not be chosen, as it fell the day after a federal holiday, the financial implications of having 2 elections is bad enough…it goes on to say the Dems “made this mess.” Idiots.”

By having the election on the day after a federal holiday, the people who set up the polls have to be paid holiday wages.  This greatly increases the cost of the election.  It will be interesting to see how this all works out.  It is my belief that there will be an appointment by the governor to fill the seat, but all bets are off as to who will be appointed.

Tedy Bruschi, We Will Miss You

Today’s Boston Globe is reporting that Tedy Bruschi announced his retirement today after playing in the National Football League for thirteen years.  Normally I don’t do football stories, but this man is a class act.  He is known locally as a wonderful example of a family man and a man with a fantastic work ethic.  He has played for the New England Patriots during the entire thirteen years of his football career. 

According to the article, Coach Belichick said:

“I’ve coached a lot of great players, and Tedy is up there with all of them . . . above them,” said Belichick, who remarked that Bruschi always did the right thing on and off the field. “He’s the epitome of everything you would want in a football player . . . I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player do what he’s done.

“How do I sum it up? How do I feel about Tedy Bruschi in five seconds? He’s a perfect player. He’s helped create a tradition here we’re all proud of. He’s a perfect player. He’s a perfect player.”

“That’s something you’ll never hear during your career,” Bruschi said as he and Belichick laughed. “To have him say that to me is probably the best compliment he could ever give me.””

Best wishes to Mr. Bruschi in whatever he chooses to do in the future.  With his fantastic work ethic, I am sure he will be extremely successful in whatever he does.

Breaking An Important Promise

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted a commentary on the fact that America has decided not to install a missle defense system in Poland because of Russian objections.  I am truly sorry to hear this.  First of all, this was a promise made to Poland before President Obama took office; to break that promise raises the question of whether promises made by America will be honored after an election.  Secondly, with Iran about to go nuclear, it is in everyone’s best interest to have missle shields in place to avoid nuclear blackmail.  Thirdly, why are we letting the Russians dictate American foreign policy?

The editorial points out:

“This is a stark reversal of past policy and reneges on promises made by the current administration. Worse, it shows weakness. We got into a staredown with the Russian bear and we blinked.

“President Obama has vowed to support missile defense, provided it was “pragmatic and cost-effective.” Well, the Congressional Budget Office rated the system going into Poland and the Czech Republic as the most effective of the alternatives.

“As for promises to our allies, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton just this month said the U.S. would offer our allies a “defense umbrella” against threats from a possible Iranian nuclear weapon.

“Now, all that high-sounding defense rhetoric is out the window.”

What we are seeing now is the action of a very inexperienced and naive president and state department.  Theoretically, because we have agreed not to put up the missle shield, Russia has agreed to help us deal with the problem of Iran having nuclear weapons.  I don’t like being cynical, but I just don’t see that happening.

I Know That Every Politician Is Not An Honest Upstanding Citizen, But Could We Please Deal With The Ones That Are Not!

Congressman Charles Rangel had added a new dimension to the expression ‘found money.’  The Wall Street Journal posted an article on Friday about Congressman Rangel’s latest financial difficulties.  Unlike you and me, to whom the definition of a financial difficulty would be owing money, Congressman Rangel’s financial difficulty is finding an extra one million dollars or so that he had neglected to report on his Congressional Financial Disclosure Form.  Wow, all of us should have those problems (not the neglecting to report–just the finding part!).

The article reports:

“Among other issues, Mr. Rangel is currently under investigation regarding his use of four rent-stabilized apartments at New York City’s tony Lenox Terrace and soliciting donations with his official letterhead for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at City College of New York, which was itself built with a $1.9 million earmark. Yet another part of the probe is his failure to report $75,000 in income from a rental villa at the beachfront Punta Cana Yacht Club, in the Dominican Republic.

“Mr. Rangel blamed that last one on the language barrier because he doesn’t speak Spanish. We can only imagine what language he speaks with his accountants and tax attorneys.”

Congressman Rangel is the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.  That is the Committee that oversees tax law.  Shouldn’t he also be required to follow tax law?

It’s time for the Democrat Party to be the ethical people they claim to be and remove Congressman Rangel from Congress.  

Never Pick A Fight With Someone Who Buys Ink By The Barrel

I understand that politics sometimes can get heated and that sometimes we disagree on things with our elected representatives and vice versa.  However, manners are important, and bullying is out of place in any circumstance.  There is also some wisdom in what your mother taught you–if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything.  Well, some basic rules of how to treat people were broken in Las Vegas last week.  I guess that’s not a shock, but here’s the story.

Senator Harry Reid was speaking at the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce luncheon.  Before his speech, Reid joined the chamber’s board members for a meet-‘n’-greet and a photo.  Bob Brown, the Review Journal director of advertising was one of the people in line.  The report of this luncheon in the Review Journal includes the following:

“Yet, as Bob shook hands with our senior U.S. senator in what should have been nothing but a gracious business setting, Reid said: “I hope you go out of business.”

Later, in his public speech, Reid said he wanted to let everyone know that he wants the Review-Journal to continue selling advertising because the Las Vegas Sun is delivered inside the Review-Journal.”

How rude!  Newspapers are there to report news.  They also editorialize and have editorial views, that is also part of their job.  To be so rude to an advertising salesman who is not even involved in the writing of the newspaper is ignorant and inexcusable. 

It’s time to send Mr. Reid home from Congress so that he can remember that he is supposed to represent all the people in his state and also brush up on his manners!

Justice Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

The Washington Times ran a commentary by Cal Thomas this morning on the decision to investigate the CIA’s interrogation policies after 911.  Mr. Thomas points out that up until now, anyone who disrupted a terrorist plot was regarded as a hero, now that person will be put under investigation and possibly charged with a criminal act. 

The article quotes Senator Joseph Lieberman:

“Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent, one of the few liberals who comprehends what we face, issued a statement: “I respectfully regret the decision by Attorney General Holder and fear our country will come to regret it too because an open ended criminal investigation of past CIA activity, which has already been condemned and prohibited, will have a chilling effect on the men and women agents of our intelligence community whose uninhibited bravery and skill we depend on every day to protect our homeland from the next terrorist attack.””

I don’t consider it a coincidence that Eric Holder’s former law firm is representing many of the terrorists at Guantanamo as they seek freedom.  Meanwhile, the Obama Administration Justice Department has chosen to overlook the violation of voting rights that occurred when Black Panthers stood outside Philadephia voting places with billy clubs intimidating voters.  Despite the fact that there is a video of their actions up on YouTube, they will not be prosecuted.

According to the Washington Times yesterday, the Justice Department will not pursue a criminal case against Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico.  We might remember that Bill Richardson was running in the Democrat Presidential Primary against Barack Obama.  He dropped out of the race in January 2008 and endorsed President Obama in March 2008.  Mr. Richardson was originally nominated to be Commerce Secretary in President Obama’s cabinet, but withdrew his name because of the federal grand jury into his actions. 

It seems that our justice department has forgotten the concept of equal justice under the law.  The move to investigate the CIA will hurt us in the war on terror, the question is how much.

A Personal Note On the Anniversary Of Hurricane Katrina

Today is the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  At the time of the hurricane, my oldest daughter, her husband, and their children and cats were living in New Orleans.  I will never forget the early Sunday morning phone call that told me they were on the road heading for my sister’s house in Tennessee.  Little did any of us know that they would not be back in their house until two days before Thanksgiving–they were some of the lucky ones.  Their next door neighbors did not get into their house until the following spring.

I was in New Orleans the summer following the hurricane and then again in late October.  The difference in the city in those six months was amazing.  The city was gradually coming back to life.  There were problems staffing some of the restaurants because there was a shortage of housing, but the city was coming back–the zoo and the aquarium had reopened and some of the restaurants in Jackson Square were up and running.

The people of New Orleans have shown amazing courage in rebuilding their city.  I wish the people of that great city the best as they continue in their task.  There are many good books written about the hurricane and its aftermath.  I just finished one called SUGARCANE ACADEMY, which dealt with the creative way that a group of people made sure some of the children evacuated had a good education while they waited for the schools to get reestablished. 

My children still own their house down there, although the military has moved them elsewhere.  I look forward to the day they will be back in New Orleans and I can visit them again.

We Live In A Dangerous World reported yesterday that the United Arab Emirates seized a North Korean ship carrying weapons to Iran.  The cargo included explosives, detonators, and rocket-propelled grenades.  According to the article:

“The UAE two weeks ago notified the UN Security Council of the seizure, according to the diplomats, who spoke on condition they aren’t named because the communication hasn’t been made public. They said the ship, owned by an Australian subsidiary of a French company and sailing under a Bahamian flag, was carrying 10 containers of arms disguised as oil equipment.”

President Obama has set the end of September as the date for Iran to respond to his request for new talks regarding its uranium enrichment program.  Iran claims to working on proposals for those talks.

It seems to me that this is an indication that what President Bush referred to as the ‘axis of evil’ has not changed its tune.  I sincerely hope that we do not negotiate with Iran–it is obvious that our negotiations with North Korea have brought us nothing but trouble, and I see no reason to believe that negotiations with Iran would be any different.

Something I Missed On Parents’ Rights

The Alliance Defense Fund, an alliance of Christian attorneys formed for the purpose of defending First Amendment rights, is defending the right of a New Hampshire mother to homeschool her 10-year-old daughter.  According to the article:

…”the court agreed the child is “well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising, and intellectually at or superior to grade level” and that “it is clear that the home schooling…has more than kept up with the academic requirements of the…public school system,” he nonetheless proposed that the Christian girl be ordered into a government-run school after considering “the impact of [her religious] beliefs on her interaction with others.””

The court has ordered the girl to attend a government-run school in Meredith.  The court also stated:

“In the process of renegotiating the terms of a parenting plan for the girl, the guardian ad litem involved in the case concluded, according to the court order, that the girl “appeared to reflect her mother’s rigidity on questions of faith” and that the girl’s interests “would be best served by exposure to a public school setting” and “different points of view at a time when she must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of belief…in order to select, as a young adult, which of those systems will best suit her own needs.””

There are a few things about this case that bother me.  Why is it necessary to move a child out of an academic and social setting where she is thriving?  Who brought this case?  Is this a matter of a non-custodial parent trying to create a problem that isn’t there?  The only thing that is clear in this case is that parents should be free to educate their children as they see fit as long as the children are meeting the academic and social requirements legally established by state law.  Since this is obviously the case, I don’t think the fact that the child has a strong sense of morality should be a problem–it seems to me as the child approaches her teenage years that might be a blessing!

Freedom Of Speech???

CNET News posted an article today on the beginning of curbing freedom of speech on the internet.  The bill, S.773, includes the following according to

“Directs the Secretary to develop or coordinate a national licensing, certification, and recertification program for cybersecurity professionals and makes it unlawful to provide certain cybersecurity services without being licensed and certified.

“Requires Advisory Panel approval for renewal or modification of a contract related to the operation of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority.

“Requires development of a strategy to implement a secure domain name addressing system.

“Requires the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support specified types of research and to establish a program of grants to higher education institutions to establish cybersecurity testbeds.

“Amends the Cybersecurity Research and Development Act to expand the purposes of an existing program of computer and network security research grants.

“Requires the NSF to establish a Federal Cyber Scholarship-for-Service program.

“Requires NIST to establish cybersecurity competitions and challenges to recruit talented individuals for the federal information technology workforce and stimulate innovation.”

I’m not very good at interpreting gobbelty gook, but the bottom line here seems obvious to me–the government wants control over the internet.  I firmly believe that if President Obama’s healthcare bill is defeated, there will be an attack on freedom of speech in talk radio and the internet, and cable news will attacked shortly thereafter.  All of us who value freedom of speech need to be aware of what is happening around us and ready to combat it.

The Rest Of The Story…

Yesterday’s Washington Times posted a story yesterday about Rifqa Bary, the teenager from Ohio who converted from Islam to Christianity then fled to Florida because she feared for her life.  When this news story broke recently, I was not sure what the situation was or what the media coverage would be.  The Washington Post, however, has posted some of the details of the story that I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Mohamed and Aysha Bary, Rifqa’s parents, declared themselves indigent and were given court-appointed lawyers paid for by the taxpayers, but Mr. Bary reported to Dun and Bradstreet that his business does $237,561 yearly.  Mr Bary dissolved his business on July 29, after hearing of his daugher’s conversion to Christianity.  He was planning to move the family back to Sri Lanka. 

I have a few questions.  Why are the taxpayers paying for a lawyer for someone who just sold a business worth $237,561 yearly?  Does anyone honestly believe that Rifqa would have been safe in Sri Lanka?  Thank God the courts did not send her back to her parents!!

We have had honor killings in America.  The murder of Aasiya Zubair Hassan , who was beheaded by her husband in Buffalo, New York, early this year is an example of one.  She was seeking to divorce her husband at the time she was murdered. In my limited experience with Muslims, I have met a woman who had to have her identity changed because she had left an abusive marriage and her brother was trying to find her to kill her because she had disgraced the family.  In America, murder is illegal and you go to jail for it.  That is probably the reason Mr. Bary was planning to move the family back to Sri Lanka.

I have no objection to Muslims practicing their religion in America, but where the culture of that religion clashes with American law, the law must prevail.  I am very glad that the courts made the right decision in this case.



Law? What Law?

The current law in Massachusetts says that if a Senate seat becomes vacant during a Senator’s tenure, a special election must be held no sooner than 145 days and no later than 160 days after a vacancy occurs.  This law was passed in 2004 when John Kerry was running for President and Mitt Romney was the governor of the state (a Republican).  Up until that point, the governor would appoint a replacement to fill the seat until the end of the term.

The New York Post posted a story today about the jockeying for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat that is currently going on in the state.  The Boston Herald also ran a similar story today.  I have a prediction–it’s really not a very dramatic one–it’s pretty obvious.  Governor Patrick will sign a law that allows him to appoint a Senator from Massachusetts to fill Ted Kennedy’s seat.  That person will vote for healthcare reform.  The laws of the State of Massachusetts will be changed to accommodate the Democrat political desire of the moment.  This is obscene!

Government Programs Never Quite Work The Way Americans Were Originally Told They Would Work

Yesterday, CBS News reported a small provision on the healthcare bill that might have been overlooked so far in the debate:

“Section 431(a) of the bill says that the IRS must divulge taxpayer identity information, including the filing status, the modified adjusted gross income, the number of dependents, and “other information as is prescribed by” regulation. That information will be provided to the new Health Choices Commissioner and state health programs and used to determine who qualifies for “affordability credits.” “

Great.  More people with access to our personal financial information.  Along similar lines, on July 14, 2009, Slate posted an article on the risks of using Social Security numbers for identification.  The article reminds us that:

“Ten years after the SSN debuted, the feds added a clarification to the card in capital letters: “FOR SOCIAL SECURITY PURPOSES–NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION.” By that point, it was already too late. Three years earlier, President Franklin Roosevelt had issued an executive order allowing other federal agencies to use SSNs rather than launch their own systems. Within 20 years, the IRS, the Civil Service Commission, and the military were all using the numbers to identify people.”

The advantage of using a Social Security number for identification is obvious–it is a unique number that theoretically will attach to only one person–but it was not originally intended for identification–it just evolved into that.  What sort of monster will this healthcare system morph into if another branch of government is given free access to the financial records of American citizens.  This gives new meaning to the joking description of the new healthcare plan as “All the compassion of the IRS with the efficiency of the Post Office!”

What Are We Thinking?

The Corner at National Review has a post today by Andrew McCarthy about the Obama Administration’s policy toward terrorism.  Mr. McCarthy quotes a Wall Street Journal article which listed the successes of enhanced interrogation:

“The most revealing portion of the IG report documents the program’s results. The CIA’s “detention and interrogation of terrorists has provided intelligence that has enabled the identification and apprehension of other terrorists and warned of terrorist plots planned for the United States and around the world.” That included the identification of Jose Padilla and Binyam Muhammed, who planned to detonate a dirty bomb, and the arrest of previously unknown members of an al Qaeda cell in Karachi, Pakistan, designated to pilot an aircraft attack in the U.S. The information also made the CIA aware of plots to attack the U.S. consulate in Karachi, hijack aircraft to fly into Heathrow, loosen track spikes to derail a U.S. train, blow up U.S. gas stations, fly an airplane into a California building, and cut the lines of suspension bridges in New York.”

This report mentions the name Binyam Muhammed (who was planning to detonate a dirty bomb).   Mr. McCarthy points out that Binyam Mohammed was released outright by the Obama administration in February. He is now living freely in England. 

Mr. McCarthy’s evaluation of the situation:

“…Release the terrorist who planned mass-murder attacks against U.S. cities but investigate the CIA agents who prevented mass-murder attacks against U.S. cities. I suppose that’s what happens when control of the Justice Department shifts from the lawyers who spent the last eight years going after the terrorists to the lawyers who spent the last eight years representing the terrorists. That certainly is Change.”

Just for the record, Andrew McCarthy is a former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.  He led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others for the bombing of the World Trade Center.  He has been involved in many areas of anti-terrorism since the 1990’s.

Who Is Telling The Truth?

Today’s Washington Examiner posted an article by Mark Tapscott on the proposed healthcare bill and the debate as to whether or not it covers illegal aliens.  Well, according to the Congressional Research Service, it does.  The article points out:

“Under H.R. 3200, a ‘Health Insurance Exchange’ would begin operation in 2013 and would offer private plans alongside a public option…H.R. 3200 does not contain any restrictions on noncitzens–whether legally or illegally present, or in the United States temporarily or permanently–participating in the Exchange.”
CRS also notes that the bill has no provision for requiring those seeking coverage or services to provided proof of citizenship. So, absent some major amendments to the legislation and a credible, concrete enforcement effort in action, looks like the myth on this issue is the one being spread by Obama, Reid, Pelosi, et. al.” 
It seems to me that if there are no restrictions on noncitizens, they are covered under the proposal.  Why are the President and leading members of Congress who support the bill lying about its content?  What else are they lying about in the bill? 

Senator Edward M. Kennedy Dies At 77

Senator Edward M. Kennedy died last night at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.  Senator Kennedy had been in the Senate since 1962.  My sympathies go out to his family. 

In looking at Senator Kennedy’s record in the Senate, there are a few things that should be mentioned.  Senator Kennedy was a powerful member of the Senate and worked tirelessly to enact programs that agreed with his vision of America.  He also personified the politics of personal destruction used against Republican Supreme Court nominees.  He was the driving force in the 1987 defeat of Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court.  Senator Kennedy made a speech forty-five minutes after Robert Bork’s nomination declaring:

“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is — and is often the only — protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy… President Reagan is still our president. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and the next generation of Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice”

The charges were totally unfounded, but the speech worked, and America lost a truly great Supreme Court Justice.  This was the beginning of the politicalization of the nomination process.  The campaigns of personal destruction were attempted again with Clarence Thomas and others, but failed.

Ted Kennedy spent his life working for what he believed would be a better America, that is to his credit, but he also played a very strong role in the loss of civility of American politics.

Doctor Zero On Ferocity

Yesterday’s Hot Air posted an article by Doctor Zero on the necessity for democracies to be ferocious.  In speaking of the defense of democracy needed by America, he states:

“To suggest that enduring six months of Obama has made the CIA more hesitant to conduct effective intelligence operations is an understatement. Democrat political double-dealing is a crime that strikes at the heart of our venerated belief in civilian command of the military. We respect this arrangement, in part, because we believe it is proper for the civilian government to exhaust all peaceful, diplomatic avenues before we commit to war. You don’t send Marine recon units to conduct subtle diplomacy. The Bush Administration did its duty in this regard – for all the liberal caterwauling about “Bush’s rush to war,” it took a hell of a lot longer than Barack Obama’s rush to nationalize the health insurance industry and triple the deficit.”

We need to seriously consider the consequences of Eric Holder’s appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate the CIA.  This is an action more befitting of a banana republic than a democracy.   The actions of the CIA saved American lives–now they are being investigated for their heroism.  There were a few instances that we not within the guidelines, but they have been dealt with.  Why are we investigating something that has already been sorted out? 

Doctor Zero ends his article by pointing out:

“A few weeks ago, Eric Holder saw nothing wrong with Black Panthers using billy clubs to intimidate voters. Today, he thinks intimidating terrorists with cigars is a crime. Holder is the one who should be answering tough questions under oath.”

There is something seriously wrong with this picture.

The Double Standard At Work

Yesterday’s Washington Times is reporting that at the same time the House of Representatives was protesting bonuses given to corporate executives, they were quietly making arrangements to have their staff’s college loans repaid with taxpayer money.   According to the article:

“The change, which took effect in May, means House employees earning up to $168,411, or the top level, are now eligible for government-funded subsidies to help pay down their student loans.

“House officials defend the change as a job-related benefit necessary to keep the government competitive in the hiring market – the same argument corporate chieftains used to defend their own pay scales.”

Let’s go back to the time when government did not feel entitled to tell people how much they could earn.  If Congress wants to complain about bonuses paid in businesses, they should clean their own house first!

Another Reason To Avoid Government Healthcare

Yesterday Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted a story about a computer error at the Veteran’s Administration that resulted in 1200 veterans erroneously being told they were dying of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a 100% fatal condition.  Ed Morrissey points out:

“The notifications went out in a letter intending to inform ALS sufferers about the benefits available to them through the VA.  At that time, one of those benefits was end-of-life counseling and access to “Your Life, Your Choices,” the booklet that refers veterans to the Hemlock Society when they feel life is no longer worth living.  I wonder how many of these veterans were given the booklet?”

We have all had some sort of adventure with bureaucracy, whether it be the state registry of motor vehicles, the post office, or (gasp) the IRS.  We need to remember these experiences as we consider whether we should turn our health care over to a large bureaucracy.  The frustrations of dealing with the post office, the registry of motor vehicles, or the IRS are nothing compared to the life-and-death issues healthcare involves.  What would have happened if the coding error that caused the veterans to be told they had a fatal disease had not been found?  What would have happened if a former soldier who thought he was dying decided to seek end-of-life counseling?  There are states in this country where assisted suicide is legal.  This could have been a problem much bigger than waiting in line at the post office or registry of motor vehicles.

There are small steps that can be taken to reform healthcare–making insurance accessible to everyone at a reasonable cost, tort reform, changes regarding pre-existing conditions, and the ability to buy healthcare across state lines.  None of these changes require the 1100 page monstrosity that is currently being proposed.

Look Under The Ruckus

As people become aware of what is in the healthcare bill, the Obama administration attempts to turn people away from the bill.  Pay attention.  There may be a very quiet attempt to ram this legislation through Congress next month.  Meanwhile, the administration is attempting to distract us from healthcare and from another report that was released yesterday.

The Washington Post is reporting that Eric Holder has hired a special prosecutor to investigate the actions of CIA interrogators.  Just for the record, these actions have already been investigated and the guilty parties reprimanded.  A second investigation is just for show.

In related news, the government has released the CIA documents showing the results of enhanced interrogation.  The Weekly Standard posted its evaluation of the success of the techniques used.  Generally speaking, no one was harmed (only frightened) and American lives were saved.  If frightening terrorists becomes illegal, what in the world do we say about what terrorists do?  What about the frightened people in the World Trade Center?

Yesterday, the Weekly Standard posted Dick Cheney’s statement about the release of the CIA documents on enhanced interrogation and the coming investigation.  This is the statement:

“The documents released Monday clearly demonstrate that the individuals subjected to Enhanced Interrogation Techniques provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about al Qaeda. This intelligence saved lives and prevented terrorist attacks. These detainees also, according to the documents, played a role in nearly every capture of al Qaeda members and associates since 2002. The activities of the CIA in carrying out the policies of the Bush Administration were directly responsible for defeating all efforts by al Qaeda to launch further mass casualty attacks against the United States. The people involved deserve our gratitude. They do not deserve to be the targets of political investigations or prosecutions. President Obama’s decision to allow the Justice Department to investigate and possibly prosecute CIA personnel, and his decision to remove authority for interrogation from the CIA to the White House, serves as a reminder, if any were needed, of why so many Americans have doubts about this Administration’s ability to be responsible for our nation’s security.”

Intelligence gathering is our main weapon in the war on terror–to handicap it is foolish and dangerous.

I’m Not A Fan Of Leon Panetta, But He May Be Right On This Issue

ABC News is reporting today that CIA Director Leon Panetta is threatening to resign.  According to the article, CIA spokesman George Little stated that the report was “wrong, inaccurate, bogus and false.”   Not so fast.

The article states:

“Panetta was reportedly upset over plans by Attorney General Eric Holder to open a criminal investigation of allegations that CIA officers broke the law in carrying out certain interrogation techniques that President Obama has termed “torture…”

“Another source of contention for Panetta was today’s public release of an investigation by the CIA inspector general on the first two years of the agency’s interrogation and detention program. The report has been delayed by an internal administration debate over how much of the report should be kept secret.”

As I said, I am not a fan of Leon Panetta, but it looks as if he is trying to protect the CIA.  He was not in charge of the organization during the time period that is being investigated, so any findings will not affect him.  Mr. Panetta is simply trying to protect the CIA from partisan politics, and that is in the best interest of American security.

What In The World Is Happening To Our Freedom ?

I am in total agreement with the concept that celebrities need a certain amount of privacy, but I also agree that people eating in a restaurant have their basic rights also.

On August 7, Page Six of the New York Post reported that when Mrs. Obama and her two daughters stopped at Spike Mendelsohn‘s Good Stuff Eatery in DC for cheeseburgers, the cell phones were confiscated from patrons at the restaurant in order to avoid anyone taking pictures of the First Lady and her children.  That’s awful.  If the First Lady does not want pictures of her or her children taken by people around them, she should avoid public places.  There are no laws against having a cell phone in a restaurant (although sometimes there should be!).  This oversteps the basic rights of people out innocently eating in a restaurant.  I wonder what would have happened if anyone had refused to turn their cell phone over.

The Electric Car And The Law Of Unintended Consequences

Planet Gore at National Review has a post about the adventures of someone who has driven an electric car.  He points out that once your lithium battery runs down, you have ‘a tiny engine pulling a big car with a dead battery–you’ll be the worst car on the road.’

The friend of the writer recounds his adventures in a Telsa roadster:

“After a few days of motoring around without recharging, I drove to San Francisco to conduct some interviews and suddenly realized that I had only forty miles left on the battery’s original 240-mile charge. So I drove to my sister’s house and plugged the car into a 110-volt outlet in her garage. Two hours later, the car had gained nine miles. On Highway 101 back to Menlo Park, I eyed the gauge the whole way, trying to suss out the optimal energy-conserving speed. . . . When I arrived at my hotel and left the car in its parking lot, which, like almost all the world’s parking lots at the moment, lacks charging equipment, I had nine miles to spare: exactly the amount I’d gained through my sister’s outlet. The next morning, magically, the car’s battery had gained eight more miles. This seemed worrisome, somehow.”

There is an entire infrastructure that we will have to redo in order to move away from the gasoline engine.  Somewhere in the process, we need to realize that electricity is energy too.  Consider the fact that according to Energy Information Administration, in the past two years half of our electricity has come from coal.  With this fact in mind, does an electric car produce any less total pollution that a gasoline-powered car?

If That’s REALLY What You Want, Senator Kennedy

Jeff Jacoby in today’s Boston Globe has posted and editorial asking Senator Kennedy to resign.  He points out the Senator’s recent efforts to change the law in Massachusetts so that the Governor will appoint his replacement when he leaves office, rather than leave the state with only one Senator until an election can be held.  It all sounds very noble until you remember that up until 2004 the law stated that the Governor would appoint a Senator if a Senate seat became vacant for some reason.  Senator Kennedy strongly campaigned to change that law in case John Kerry was elected President–he did not want a Republican Governor appointing Senator Kerry’s replacement.  Now we have a Democrat Governor so it’s different.  Do we have to change the law every time the Governorship changes parties?

Anyway, Mr. Jacoby points out that:

“For well over a year, Massachusetts has not had the “two voices . . . and two votes in the Senate” that Kennedy says its voters are entitled to. Sickness has kept him away from Capitol Hill for most of the last 15 months. He has missed all but a handful of the 270 roll-calls taken in the Senate so far this year. Through no fault of his own, he is unable to carry out the job he was reelected to in 2006. As a matter of integrity, he should bow out and allow his constituents to choose a replacement.”

It is somewhat disingenuous to change the law according to which pollitical party holds the governorship.  I really don’t care which way the law is written–both ways of replacing a Senator have problems–look at what Illinois has gone through in the past year!  I do wish, however, that once the law is written, it will stay that way, regardless of who is sitting in the governor’s mansion.