Sometimes I Feel As If I Walked In In The Middle Of The Movie

Sometimes when I watch (or listen to) the news, I get the feeling that I’ve walked in in the middle of the movie–I have no idea what has gone on before or how it all fits together.  For any of you out there who may have that feeling about the Coleman/Franken recount going on in Minnesota, the Minnesota Star Tribune has the perfect page for you.  They have put up a page of frequently asked questions about the recount.  The most interesting part of the story–

“The recount must be finished by Friday , and the Canvassing Board will meet Dec. 16 to certify results; it aims to finish that job by Dec. 19, but will take longer if necessary. The winner is supposed to be sworn into office on Jan. 3, but that’s assuming there is a clear winner by then.”

There is a possibility of the US Senate getting involved in this (because the Democrats control the Senate, they would probably seat Franken), but this would be such a public-relations nightmare, I can’t imagine them being willing to get involved.  Minnesota is a unique state politically–these are the people who elected Jesse Ventura as governor. 

The Planning of Mumbai

The UK Telegraph has a story about the information gleaned from the surviving terrorist on the planning and execution of the Mumbai attack.  The ten men involved were fighting for an independent Kasmir.  Their plan was to kill as many civilians as possible before settling on their eventual targets.  They were recruited knowing that this would probably be a suicide mission.

Let’s take a look at this.  Targeting Americans, Brits, and Jews has no relation whatsoever to Kasmir.  Torturing civilians as documented on Power Line Blog was also part of the attack.  There was no consideration given to women and children–they were gunned down too.  According to Melanie Phillips (author of Londonistan) in the UK Spectator

“The atrocities demonstrated with crystal clarity what the Islamist war is all about – and the western commentariat didn’t understand because it simply refuses to acknowledge, even now, what that war actually is. It does not arise from particular grievances. It is not rooted in “despair” over Palestine. It is not a reaction to the war in Iraq. It is a war waged in the name of Islam against America, Britain, Hindus, Jews and all who refuse to submit to Islamic conquest.

What of the Islamists treatment of their Jewish targets? Phillips writes:

They went to some lengths in addition to single out a centre for observant Jews. Rabbi Holtzberg and his wife Rivka were murdered not because of Palestine but simply because they were Jews. That is because hatred of Jews as Jews is fundamental to the Islamists’ hatred of the west – and of Israel.”


The people who planned and committed these atrocities are no different than the people who planned and carried out 9/11.  In fact, they may be some of the same people or talking to some of the same people.  They have used young men who were unhappy about India having control of Kasmir and convinced them to take part in something that would cost them their lives and have no actual impact on the problem they were upset about.  It makes no sense.

One side effect of this episode is the fact that Pakistan now fears an attack from India in retribution.  Pakistan is moving forces away from the areas bordering Afghanistan over to its India border in order to be prepared.  This means that the pressure from Pakistan is off Al Qaeda in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.  Hmm.  This means that due to ten men who were unhappy about Kasmir, Osama Bin Laden is under a little less threat.  It is a shame that these ten men were manipulated into doing what they did, but it is a bigger shame that they were at a point where they were willing to do it.  I don’t know the cure for that kind of hate.  It concerns me that many (not all) muslim schools are teaching that kind of hate to future generations.  We may reach a point where the only answer is to lock up anyone suspected of being or communicating with terrorists indefinitely.


The Climate-Change Police

Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, who is a sceptic on climate change, will take up the rotating presidency of the European Union next year.  He is already getting bashed by climate alarmists.  According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald

“The New York Times opened a profile of Klaus, 67, this week with a quote from a 1980s communist secret agent’s report, claiming he behaves like a “rejected genius”, and asserts there is “palpable fear” he will “embarrass” the EU.”

Geologist and University of Adelaide professor Ian Plimer, one of Australia’s leading enviro-sceptics, says he has noticed audiences becoming more receptive to his message that climate change has always occurred and there is nothing we can do to stop it.  His new book, Heaven And Earth: The Missing Science Of Global Warming, to be published early next year.

As people begin the realize the cost of fighting so-called global warming and the impact that fight will have on their freedom, many are becoming less likely to blindly accept the conclusions of the scientists who promote the idea.  One of the telling things about this debate is that differing opinions and data are not allowed.  Scientists who have spoken out against the faulty science used to prove global warming have been shunned, lost jobs, or smeared in the liberal press. 

Actually, a lot of recent information supports global cooling–the lack of sunspot activity over the past five years has resulted in cooler temperatures rather than warmer temperatures.  The website generally has good information on climate change.  There is an article there right now about the glaciers in Norway and Alaska growing rather than shrinking.



The Mumbai Siege Has Ended

According to the sixty-hour siege in Mumbai has ended.  The violence began Wednesday night with a coordinated attack on 10 places.  The terrorists used blackberries to communicate and carried almonds with them to keep their energy up through a long siege.  The attack was well planned and carried out with precision.  Indian and Pakistani law enforcement teams will be investigating the incident to find out who is responsible.  The American FBI will also be helping with the investigation.  Hopefully the investigation can be done with an eye to preventing future incidents rather than India and Pakistan each trying to blame the other. 

India and Pakistan have a history of problems relating to Kashmir.  According to analysts, a circular tit-for-tat series of attacks is in motion: Pakistan supports jihadis in Kashmir; Pakistan accuses India of in turn supporting Taliban militants fighting against Pakistani security forces along the Afghan border.  This background tension makes it difficult to honestly investigate the incident. 

There is also the matter of destabilizing a country with a muslim population that has nuclear weapons.  Both India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons.  Both countries have different groups within their countries that make national unity a challenge.  I’m sure the terrorists who have been expelled from Iraq and Afghanistan would like a new home.

The Canary In The Coal Mine

Someone much wiser than I once made the comment that the way the Jews of the world are treated is the ‘canary in the coal mine’ of the state of humanity.  There is a lot going on right now that makes me fear for the safety of the canary.  There has been a rise in anti-Semitism in Europe over the past five years, there has been a rewriting of history in terms of the nation of Israel–the Jews are not occupiers–the land was given to them in 1948.  And now, there has been a large part of the Mumbai terrorism story untold.

According to Power Line Blog one of the targets of the terrorists was the Chabad House.  All hostages in the Chabad House were killed by the terrorists.  British and Americans were targets at the hotels attacked, but the Chabad House was attacked because it was a Jewish target and all hostages inside were killed.  Please read the article at Power Line for the rest of the story.

Political Correctness Gone Amok

There is a short article at Power Line Blog about the terrorist attacks during the past few days.  The article, however, has a slightly different slant–it deals with the reporting.  Power Line Blog is written by three lawyers, and sometimes they have amazing insight in what is happening in our world.  Here is a quote from the article–

“This is a screen grab of one of the Islamic terrorists who attacked Mumbai:


Reuters’ caption for the photo begins: “A suspected gunman walks outside the premises of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus or Victoria Terminus railway station in Mumbai November 26, 2008.”

Notice the object the terrorist is holding in his hands. It’s a gun. He isn’t a “suspected gunman,” he’s a “gunman.””

Do We Believe This?

There was an article at yesterday about the growing alliance between Russia and Venezuela.  The lead paragraph of the paragraph states that Russia will help start a nuclear enegy program in Venezuela and that Russia will be participating in the organization of a socialist trade bloc in Latin America lead by Hugo Chavez.

Why does one of the biggest suppliers of oil in the Western Hemisphere need nuclear energy?  Doesn’t this sound like the same logic that Iran used to start her nuclear program?  I have no idea what the right solution to the problem of Venezuela going nuclear is, but I can tell you that with Russian warships visiting her and massive purchases of Russian arms, this is going to get complicated.  This is the Cuban missle crisis on steriods.

And They Wonder Why We Don’t Want To Give Them Money

According to, the GM executives that breezed into Washington recently in their private jets have now asked that the Federal Aviation Administration remove the corporate jets of their company from its tracking service.  This would prevent the public from having access to any of the corporatate plane’s movements or any passenger lists.  According to the article–

“”We availed ourselves of the option as others do to have the aircraft removed” from a Federal Aviation Administration tracking service, a GM spokesman, Greg Martin, said yesterday in an interview. He declined to discuss why GM made the request.”

Maybe I’m just a little too cynical, but the feeling I get from this is that GM and the other American can companies are going to continue to do whatever they want to–only now they are going to do it secretly (with our money if the bailout goes through)!

Just for the record, it would surprise me if the bailout went through before Barack Obama becomes President.  The Democrats would rather ok the bailout of the auto industries under George Bush so that the Republicans would share the eventual blame, but I’m not sure that will happen.  I believe public opinion against the bailout is high, and I don’t think it will pass in a veto-proof margin under President Bush.  I don;t think Barack Obama will veto it, so it may have to wait until January (when it will be squeezed into an economic recovery package on the hope that no one will notice!).



Things I’m Thankful For

I hadn’t put this at the top of my list of things to be thankful for, but this article in the Charleston Daily Mail caused me to think about some of the things I take for granted.  We forget the difficult transition from the Clinton adminstration to the Bush adminstration.  We couldn’t afford that difficult transition then (there will always be the possibility that 9/11 could have been avoided had we not had all the political backbiting that was going on), and we certainly can’t afford it now.  Yet, if you are paying attention, you can’t help but notice that George Bush has been a total gentleman about the transition of power to Barack Obama.  He is modeling what transition should look like in a healthy democracy–regardless (or in spite of) political differences.  We take it for granted that we have gone seven years without an attack on our country.  Remember the fear after 9/11 of not knowing when the next attack would come.  We have forgotten that.  Anyway, the article reminded me of some of things I have learned to appreciate (and often take for granted) about George Bush.



By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

Christmas Books

I don’t usually do book reviews, but I have read three books recently that were very different and very thought provoking.  Depending on the person, all of them would make fantastic Christmas (or Hanukkah) gifts. 

The first is THE SHACK by William Young.  This is a rather startling book that raises some interesting questions about how we see God.  The first section of the book is very intense and somewhat difficult to read, but the rest of the book was worth the struggle.  The imagination in this story is amazing.

The second is THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS by John Boyne.  This has been made into a movie.  I bought the book because I wasn’t sure I could deal with the visuals of a movie, and I wanted to read the story.  It’s a very thoughful story, but in some places I wondered if it rang true.  There is an innocence to childhood, but I think even that innocence has limits.  The story was good and caused me to reconsider the lives of the people in Nazi Germany and the difficulties and consequences of the choices they made.

The third is THE CHRISTMAS SWEATER by Glenn Beck.  This is a very emotional story about values and second chances.  It is told through the eyes of a child dealing with a loss in his life and not knowing where to turn for answers.  I couldn’t put it down–it moved quickly through the story and left me with a feeling that all situations have hope.

For the history buff, I have a suggestion for a fourth book as a Christmas (or Hanukkah) gift.  I haven’t read it yet–only a few excerpts, but I think it would be a great book to own.  It is THE AMERICAN PATRIOT’S ALMANAC by William J. Bennett and John T. E. Gribb.  Each day has a short article on one of the events of that day in history and a list of other events on that day in history.

As I said, I don’t usually do book reviews, but these are good books and hopefully I have helped someone with his Christmas (or Hanukkah) shopping.  Happy reading!

Thank God For The Marines

Admittedly, I’m a little biased here, but this is a great story.

According to today’s Power Line Blog, in the city of Shewan, Afghanistan, 250 insurgents ambushed 30 of our Marines and lost the battle that followed.  Shewan is known as a staging area for attacks in the area and our Marines were in the area to keep a supply route open.  The encountered the insurgents at a time when they had been out on patrol and were not necessarily at their most energetic, but they came through beautifully.  According to the article–

“After calling for close-air support, the small group of Marines pushed forward and broke the enemies’ spirit as many of them dropped their weapons and fled the battlefield. At the end of the battle, the Marines had reduced an enemy stronghold, killed more than 50 insurgents and wounded several more.

“I didn’t realize how many bad guys there were until we had broken through the enemies’ lines and forced them to retreat. It was roughly 250 insurgents against 30 of us,” the corporal said. “It was a good day for the Marine Corps. We killed a lot of bad guys, and none of our guys were seriously injured.””

Say a prayer for our heroes tonight.  We are safer because they are there.

Missing Ballots In Minnesota

According to the Star Tribune, the latest wrinkle in the Coleman/Franken recount in the charge by the Franken campaign that there are several hundred ballots missing in several counties.  The article also stated that Franken recount attorney Marc Elias said he’s also bothered that counties that know they have missing ballots aren’t bothering to look for them.  This sounds more than a little far-fetched.  I’m waiting for someone to come up with a thousand missing ballots found crammed into a hermetically sealed mayonaise jar on Funk & Wagnalls front porch.  If you don’t understand that comment, you’re probably too young or you never watched Johnny Carson.  Anyway, the saga continues.

Proposition 8 And The California Courts

There is an article in today’s The Wall Street Journal about what has happened since California voters approved Proposition 8.  There have been attacks focused on the Mormon religion and those who practice it–a Book of Mormoon has been burned, envelopes of white powder have been mailed to Mormon Churches, and Mormon Churches and businesses have been picketed.  It needs to be pointed out that in California, gay Americans have marriage in every way but the name–so it’s not a matter of civil rights–it’s a matter of the name.  The California Courts overruled the last vote against gay marriage.  Hopefully, they will not overrule this one also.  If they do, what is the point of voting?

Just a note–I live in Massachusetts where judges decided that gay marriage was a good idea.  Some of us have been trying to get gay marriage on the ballot for the past four or five years, but the state legislature won’t even let us vote on it.  (Massachusetts is a one-party Democrat state).  Somehow, we have lost the ability to make our voices heard on certain issues, and because the Democrat party in Massachusetts controls the government, that is not likely to change.

Be Careful What You Wear On Thanksgiving

According to The Los Angeles Times, kindergarten students in Claremont, California, will not be dressing up for Thanksgiving this year.  In the past, the students had gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving wearing handmade headdresses, bonnets and fringed vests.  One of the mothers of a student was quoted as saying:

“There is nothing to be served by dressing up as a racist stereotype.”

According to the article, some parents were planning to send their children to school in their costumes anyway, and others were planning to keep their children home the day after Thanksgiving as a protest.

Thanksgiving is an American tradition.  There were Indians, and there were Pilgrims.  They may not have looked exactly like the costumes the children made, but I think this ‘junior reinactment’ described in the article was a really good idea–I’m sure it made history come alive for these kindergarteners.  I think the protesters need to relax a bit.

The Holy Land Foundation Found Guilty

The Holy Land Foundation, the largest Islamist charity in the United States, has been found guilty on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization (Hamas).  According to Power Line Blog:

“The charges are dramatic. According to the indictment, U.S. based members of the Muslim Brotherhood established a Palestine Committee that was ultimately charged with the task of raising funds supporting Hamas’s efforts to eliminate the state of Israel. After the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the Palestine Committee swung into high gear. At a secret three-day meeting in Philadelphia in October, 1993 (monitored by the FBI), those in attendance discussed how best to continue to support Hamas without being viewed as terrorists.”

CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) was named as an unindicted co-conspirator of the Holy Land Foundation.  CAIR has been involved in a number of lawsuits in America against airlines when passengers were denied access to an airplane due to suspicious conduct.

But I Like Barry Manilow

Every now and then someone comes up with a punishment that fits the crime.  This is one of those stories.  According to the Rocky Mountain News, a Fort Lupton Municipal Judge has been sentencing noise violators to listening to an hour of music they don’t like.  The list of music includes Barry Manilow, Barney the Dinosaur, and the Platters.  This punishment has cut down on the number of repeat offenders.  Can we apply this to the person in the car next to you whose bass is turned up so loud your car is vibrating?  I like Barry Manilow.  Does that mean that if I am every guilty of a noise violation, I have to listen to an hour of rap, hip hop,  or heavy metal?  That would be enough to prevent me from doing anything that would be considered a noise violation.  I think this is a great way to cut down the number of offenders on what is essentially a nuisance crime.

Alan Colmes to Leave Hannity & Colmes

Alan, you will be missed.  According to Breitbart News, Alan Colmes will be leaving Hannity & Colmes at the end of this year.  He will not be leaving FOX News or FOX radio, and will continue to appear as a commentator.  He will also begin to develop a weekend program.  It is a credit to the management of FOX that they do allow and encourage both sides of the political spectrum in their reporting.  Alan Colmes is a very insightful commentator, and I look forward to seeing him on other news shows when he leaves Hannity & Colmes.

Governing vs Campaigning

There has probably been more than one rude awakening for Barack Obama since he was elected.  I’m sure the first security briefing on the presidential level caused a few sleepless nights and a few second thoughts on previous ideas.  I’m also sure that the ever changing economic situation has caused him to consider options that he may not have wanted to consider previously.  For instance, Hot Air is reporting that Barack Obama is considering a postponement of his promised rollback of the Bush tax cuts.  This is actually very good new–not because of the tax cuts themselves (although they need to be made permanent), but because it seems to be an indication that he has realized that raising taxes in a struggling economy further hampers the growth of that economy.  Naive as it may be, I am taking this as an indication that Barack Obama wants to be a successful President, and if that means changing some of his ideas, he may be willing to do it.  I see this as very hopeful, and I’m praying that I won’t have to eat those words!

The Saga Continues

Yesterday’s Minnesota Star Tribune reported that the Coleman-Franken election may be determined by rejected absentee ballots.  I think it’s a good idea that all absentee ballots should be looked at carefully, but I hope that common sense will be used in reexamining them and deciding the intent (and legality) of the voter.  As of Saturday night, Norm Coleman had a 180 vote lead over Al Franken.  According to the article–

“In a race this tight, the difference could come down to clerical errors on absentee ballots or even a challenge of Minnesota’s law governing such ballots.

“Campaigns over the years have challenged anything and everything,” said recount expert Timothy Downs, principal author of “The Recount Primer” who has been involved in most major recounts over the years, including the biggest: Gore vs. Bush in 2000. Downs’ co-author, Chris Sautter, hit the ground in Minneapolis last week as part of Franken’s recount team.”

As I said, the saga continues.

Job Security–Working for the Government

Barack Obama is beginning to announce his economic plans for his Presidency.  One of this plans, according to The New York Post is to stimulate the economy with massive government programs–public works projects to overhaul the country’s infrastructure.  Not surprisingly, Congressional Democrats are willing to back the plan. 

But wait a minute.  There will be jobs created in private industry by this package–all paid for by tax money.  Therefore, even though technically more people will be employed, all of us will be paying higher taxes to pay for their employment.  These will be government programs.  There will be no chance in them for private companies to develope techniques that make their manufacturing more efficient.  There will be no chance for inventiveness in the private sector to discover new products and new uses of old products.  Since the programs will be run by the government, they will be no chance for investors to back companies financially and make money through their backing.  This program is like putting an anchor on the free enterprise system and then complaining that capitalism doesn’t work.  Capitalism does work–when it has moral underpinnings.  One of the writers of the U. S. Constitution commented that the document was designed to govern a body of people who took their morality and integrity from God.  It is becoming more and more obvious that until we go back to some sort of moral standard in this country that includes ethics and morality, we will be essentially ungovernable.  All the laws in the world will not stop dishonest people from taking advantage of any legal loophole they can find–internal morality (a conscience) will.

There Is No Honor Among Thieves

The New York Post has an article today about the Somali pirates.  They have been pretty successful (by their standards) so far this year.  But there were a lot of things I hadn’t been aware of.  According to the article–

“Pirates have made an estimated $150 million in ransoms this year, according to the Kenyan government. But the bulk of that wealth goes to the pirates’ handlers – usually Somali warlords or cartel leaders living in Europe or the Middle East.

“The Somali pirates are the ones taking all the risk and get only a small share of the reward. But even that is enough to launch them into the stratosphere of the wealthy in Somalia,” says a reporter working in the region.”

I never considered the challenges of piracy–they work for a boss just like the rest of us.  Are we supposed to feel sorry for them because they only receive a small part of their ill-gotten gains.  Even the small percent they get allows them to live like kings in Somalia.  It seems to me that, like terrorism, until we go after the source of this behavior–the people making the profit from it, we will have to endure it.  The Indian Navy has shot a number of pirates in this area this past week, we need to learn from them.  Obviously, since this is happening in their backyard, they are going to be on top of it.  To the Indians, these are the neighborhood thugs.  We have come a long way from the Pirates of Penzance and even Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean.  These are not romantic figures–they are common criminals who need to be dealt with harshly and by the world community–not just one country.

Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State

Hillary Clinton would probably be a reasonably good Secretary of State.  She is a smart woman, she knows all the right people, and she knows where the bodies are buried.  This could be a very interesting choice.  According to today’s New York Times, she will take the job.

Let’s look at this a minute.  Barack Obama is a relatively young man, but as a Chicago politician, he is hardly naive.  He did manage to win the Presidency when it was assumed it belonged to Hillary Clinton.  He has met the right people and been in the right places to advance from Chicago to Washington in a very short time.  But let’s look at some of the past ‘adventures’ of the State Department.  The State Department is generally made up of career people who serve in all administrations.  However, during the past eight years, the State Department has pretty much undermined the Presidency of George Bush with leaks to the press and other maneuvers.   For example, let’s look at the infamous Valerie Plame scandal. 

According to the facts that later came out, it was known at the beginning of the investigation that Richard Armitage was the one who inadvertently leaked the fact that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA (the fact that she drove there every day evidently was not conclusive).  Even though the investigators had this fact, they continued the investigation, trapping Scooter Libby in a process crime.  Richard Armitage was never charged with anything, and Scooter Libby was sentenced to jail (later to be pardoned by President Bush).  What happened?  Richard Armitage worked for Colin Powell, who had more than one bone to pick with the Bush Administration.  The whole scandal made George Bush look bad and undermined public trust in his honesty and competence.  The American people were manipulated.

Other incidences of the State Department undermining the current administration were the leak of the terrorist money tracking program given to The New York Times and the leak of the holding facilities for terrorists in other countries.  The list goes on.  A State Department whose loyalty is political rather than patriotic can do serious damage to an administration and to our national security.  Watch carefully for events similar to the ones described above in the new administration.  For the sake of our country, I hope we will not see this type of politics in a Barack Obama presidency..