There Are Many Ways To Filter News

One of my favorite websites in the Power Line Blog.  Yesterday, they posted the IDF videos Israel released as their entry into the propaganda war that is being fought along with the regular war in Gaza.  You Tube had posted the videos but then took them down.  I am told they are back up, but only for registered viewers over 18.  Anyway, yesterday Power Line Blog was attacked by what is called a ‘denial-of-service attack’.  I have no idea exactly what this is, but I do know that every time I tried to link to Power Line yesterday, my computer acted like it forget how to load anything.  The bloggers at Power Line Blog know the attack on their website came from six places in the U.S., but that’s all.   They have taken steps to prevent future instances.

This story make me think.  I don’t know if we will see the ‘fairness doctrine’ or its less evil cousin ‘local programming act’ under Barack Obama.  If either one of those is enacted, conservative talk radio will in all likelihood be driven to satellite radio or internet radio.  I guess if conservative talk is driven to the internet, there will have to be steps taken to prevent ‘denial-of-service attacks’.  It will also be interesting to see how much of any opposition to Obama comes from the right and how much comes from the left.

Voters vs. Vote Counters

The Wall Street Journal has an opinoin piece about the Minnesota Senate election recount.  The Minnesota recount can be compared to the Washington state governor’s race of a few years ago.  It took two recounts to steal it, but the Democrats (with the help of union and far left money) managed to walk away with a victory.  It involved ‘enhancing’ votes to allow machines to read them.  It involved counting votes that mysteriously appeared after never having been secured.  Ballot reconcilliation reports were falsified (election workers were disciplined), and generally the whole process became fraudulent.  We are watching a replay in Minnesota.  The only way to avoid this is to avoid close elections.  I do wonder how many people in Minnesota wanted to be represented by Al Franken in the Senate.

Israel’s Forever War

When Israel was declared a nation in 1948, the first thing her neighbors did was attack her.  Things have not changed a whole lot since then.  The war in the Middle East (and the war on terror–both are related) is a propaganda war as well as a ground and air war.  When Palestine was actually given to the Jewish people after the San Remo Conference in 1920, the amount of land they were given was about three times what it is now.  About two thirds of that land was later taken from the Jews and given to Trans-Jordan.  The Jewish people have never really occupied all of the land they were given by the League of Nations after World War I.  Since the British left Israel, the neighboring countries have waged an unending military and propaganda war against Israel to rid her of the land she does hold. 

Palestinian children are taught that the Jews are occupiers of Palestinian land and need to be killed.  I hate to be a pessimist, but the two-state solution will not work if one of the states wants to destroy the other one.  The only way to establish peace between Israel and Hamas is to destroy Hamas before they destroy Israel.

Speaking of the propaganda war, the Israeli Defense Forces are opening up a new front in that war.  There are a number of videos on YouTube that have been blocked at various times today.  Commentary Magazine has a link to one of the videos, plus the stories about the videos being blocked on YouTube.

Democrats In The Senate Will Not Seat Obama’s Replacement

According to Senators Harry Reid and Dick Durbin have released a statement saying that they would not seat Former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris as Barack Obama’s Senate replacement.  They have stated that they feel that the taint of scandal would follow any appointment made by Governor Blagojevich and would not be acceptable.

Governor Blagojevich has denied the charges against him and has been unwilling to resign as Governor of Illinois.

Technically, Senators Reid and Durbin do have the right to refuse to seat Attorney General Burris and politically it is probably a very smart move–it shows that they are taking a stand against corruption.  However, Governor Blagojevich has not been convicted of any crimes, and the charges against him have not really been detailed.  His ‘selling’ of a Senate seat may have crossed the line, but as far as we know, he never actually sold it.  Chicago (or Illinois) politics is not know for its openness and honesty, I do wonder about the timing of this whole dust up and why Blagojevich seems to be singled out.  I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop!

Minnesota Recount Part Whatever 4

I have a feeling we will still be reading about this in July.  Anyway, there is a rather lenghtly article in today’s Minnesota Star Tribune today concerning the ongoing recount.  Remember, when the voting ended and the machines were tallied, Norm Coleman led by 200+ votes.  Now Al Franken is in the lead, although the amount of that lead varies according to who is reporting it.  I would like to point out that the change in the lead has to do with the interpretation of ‘voter intent’.  Fox News ran pictures on their website of some of the ballots that had been counted by county officials trying to interpret ‘voter intent’.  The interpretations of these ballots was not consistent–there were not standards–and some of the counting was totally amazing.  If there was an “x” next to Norm Coleman’s name, the ballot was counted for Al Franken.  Nevermind that there were more than two names on the ballot.  If they were unwilling to count the vote for Coleman, why did they think it belonged to Franken?  When the process moved from machines to people, it lost its objectivity.  I wish Minnesota luck in getting honest elections back.

The Ten Worst Economic Predictions For 2008

Yahoo News posted an article listing “The Worst Predictions About 2008”.  Some of the predictions included were:

“AIG (NYSE:AIGNews) “could have huge gains in the second quarter.” — Bijan Moazami, analyst, Friedman, Billings, Ramsey, May 9, 2008

I think this is a case where Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRENews) and Fannie Mae (NYSE:FNMNews) are fundamentally sound. They’re not in danger of going under I think they are in good shape going forward.” — Barney Frank (D-Mass.), House Financial Services Committee chairman, July 14, 2008

“No! No! No! Bear Stearns is not in trouble.” — Jim Cramer, CNBC commentator, Mar. 11, 2008

 “In today’s regulatory environment, it’s virtually impossible to violate rules.” — Bernard Madoff, money manager, Oct. 20, 2007

A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can’t Win, the title of a book by conservative commentator Shelby Steele, published on Dec. 4, 2007.”

Keep the accuracy of these predictions in mind as you listen to the predictions for 2009!!!

Iraq, Part 2

The American Thinker has published the second part of an article by Randall Hoven on the War in Iraq.  This section details the alternatives we faced, the choices we made, and the consequences of those choices.  He reminds us of the amazing amount of corruption in Iraq’s military and police forces under the rule of Saddam Hussein.  One of the problems we faced according to the article:

“Jerry Bremer informs us that “in almost every police station, there’d been a rape room, and one of the busiest had been at the Baghdad Central Police Academy.”  These were the kinds of forces in place under Saddam.  Would you want to re-constitute that?  And if you did, what would be the chances of the Shiites and Kurds going along with it?”
It’s easy to forget how bad things were in Iraq before we went in and toppled Hussein.  It’s also easy to forget that in his generations of terrorist rule, Saddam Hussein had killed anyone who might have had the brains or inclination to be a leader.  Most of the educated people who would have been able to construct a new government quickly were either executed or fled the country.  This provided many challenges in setting up an Iraqi government.
Professor Hoven also reminds us of the war the state department waged against the Bush presidency during George Bush’s term.  The choice of Jerry Bremer was a result of this war.
The article also observes:
“And even what I do think I know is only in hindsight.  Even Jerry Bremer did well enough, considering his circumstances.  It was not really he and his decisions; it was the fact that we had a US viceroy running the country of Iraq at all.  The Sunnis were defeated in about every respect they could be defeated, and then we kicked sand in their face.  You would think professional diplomats, of all people, would know not to do that.  While our soldiers were giving Iraqi children candy and soccer balls, our diplomats were telling senior and seasoned Iraqis to sit down and shut up.  We’d have been better off letting some Marine Captains run the place.

I am perfectly willing to shut up about this and say everyone did about as well as could be expected.  Would everyone else please do the same?”
Iraq is free.  Libya has given up her nuclear program.  The world in our generation may never be a safe place–there are terrorists enclaves in many places–but we have taken a first step toward Middle East peace.

Iraq, Part 1

The American Thinker blog has an article on what went right in Iraq written by Randall Hoven, who is an adjunct professor in the Engineering School of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.  He will have an article on what went wrong in tomorrow’s blog.  But he brings up some interesting points that sometimes go unnoticed in the debate.

For example, there have been civilian casualties in the war in Iraq, and that is unfortunate, but the rate of civilian casualties in the war is lower than the number of civilian casualties caused by Saddam’s wars on his neighbors.  During Saddam’s rule and his  twenty years of war on his neighbors, he killed an average of 70,000 people a year including his own people.  Many of his own people he buried in mass graves.  During the five years of the war in Iraq, the civilian death count is listed as approximately 95,000.  That’s a lot less than during the reign of Saddam.

The article cites the statistics of the economic recovery that Iraq is making and the growth of its economy.  It also points out that the majority of the provinces of Iraq have been stable for quite some time.  The growth of a wide variety of news media rather than just Baghdad Bob is also mentioned.  In some ways, they may be doing better than we are!

Anyway, the article is interesting to read in that it reminds us of the big picture.  I am looking forward to reading the other half of the story tomorrow.

Things Are Never Exactly What They Seem To Be

In the past, when Israel was involved in any military action to defend itself or respond to  attacks from its Arab neighbors, it was totally condemned by all the Arab nations around it.  This time it’s a little different–and not because Israel was justified in its attack on Hamas (which it was). 

The biggest threat to peace in the Middle East right now is Iran–not only because of its pursuit of nuclear weapons, but also because of the terrorism it is sponsoring in the region through control and funding of Hamas and other terrorist organizations.  Iran is not an Arab nation–its people are Persians.  Iran is a Shiite Muslim nation–most of the countries around Iran are Sunni Muslims.  The damage to countries in the region caused by Iranian-backed terror has not gone unnoticed by Iran’s neighbors.  Thus, according to Power Line Blog, the response to the Israeli attack in Gaza has not followed past patterns.

According to the article:

“Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit held a press conference in Cairo yesterday for the Arabic press in which he extended condolences to the Palestinians killed in the attacks but blamed Hamas for ignoring warnings that Israel would attack if rocket fire from Gaza didn’t cease. Aboul Gheit’s comments follow last Thursday’s report in al Quds al Arabi, in which Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman reportedly told Israeli officials that Egypt would not oppose a short operation to topple Hamas.”

“Mohammad Abdallah Al Zulfa, member of the Saudi Shoura Council said on the Alhurra Arabic TV news program on December 17 that “Iran is the big threat in today’s world, supporting all the terrorists from Hamas to Hezbollah to some other terrorists that we don’t know their names yet” and “Iran destabilized the region by supporting all the illegal activities and activists such as Hamas.””

And finally:

“Ironically, the Iranian regime’s “New Middle East” — not the version that had earned President Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat a Nobel Prize — could leave Israel in a stronger regional position if it beats Hamas into the ground, and uproots its terror infrastructure. It would be called a humiliating defeat for Hamas’ leadership and its Iranian overlords and it would lever up Israel’s position with Arab neighbors who have been paralyzed from acting against the same Iran that threatens their very existence.

If Israel continues to avoid Palestinian civilan causalites and uproot Hamas, the Arab states will honor Israeli power and Israel’s will to use it, that in this case protects their future too.”

The denial of Iraq to Iran as a terrorist staging ground, along with the gradual recognition by Iran’s Arab neighbors that Iran is not a ‘team player’, should make for serious positive changes in the Middle East this year.



The Global Warming Debate

The ‘Global Warming’ debate continues.  It was a bit awkward just before Christmas when temperatures across the country hit record lows, but things have temporarily warmed up, so the facts are not currently too much out of line with what we are being told. 

Power Line Blog is reporting on some correspondence between William Katz of Urgent Agenda and physicist and mathematician Frank Tipler at Tulane University.  Urgent Agenda    posted his letter on December 22 of this year. Professor Tipler points out that the debate isn’t over–scientific debate never really ends–there are new things discovered every day.  He also points out the lack of logic in the claim that cooling temperatures also prove global warming.  This is a serious case of ‘the emporer’s new clothes’–no one seems to be able to explain how global cooling is the result of global warming–it’s just something we are supposed to understand.  He also points out that the relationship between sunspot activity and global temperatures is supported by past climate information and future predictions based on this have generally proven accurate.

Professor Tipler also points out the politics and government involvement in the ‘science’ of global warming.  Professional tenure and study grants have been denied to people who do not agree with the concept of global warming. 

It’s time to take a look at who will profit if all of us buy into the concept of drastic global warming.  Let’s see.  Global warming allows the government to regulate commerce and industries to a greater degree–to tell car companies what they can manufacture–to tell energy companies how much and what kind of fuel they can produce and use.  There have been suggestions that household thermostats would have a sending unit on them to tell the utility company how warm you are keeping your house.  If you are using too much energy, the power company will turn your thermostat down.  Generally speaking, global warming theory carried to its natural end will limit the amount of freedom we have as Americans to make decisions about our own cars, house temperatures, travel, eating habits, and general well being.  Global warming believers will limit our economic freedom while increasing their own wealth through corporations collecting money for ‘carbon credits’ and other such enterprises.  This is a dangerous junk science.

Walter Williams Gets It Right

I have always been very partial to Walter Williams–he was the speaker at the college graduation of one of my daughters, and I was impressed.  He is a logical, down to earth, practical thinker.

Walter Williams has an article in today’s Washington Times about the myth that is being taught to the American people on global warming.  There is still a lot of disagreement on whether global warming is happening and what is responsible for it if it is happening.  Mostly it is being used as a justification for more government control in our everyday lives–the cars we drive, eventually the temperatures we keep our houses at, and the use of America’s own energy resources.  The best site I have found with actual scientific data on what is happening with worldwide climates is which also shows you where some of the temperature sensing devices are located.

Walter Williams points out in the article that more scientists are beginning to be aware of the possibility of ‘global cooling’.  For me, the bottom line is the fact that the jury is still out on exactly what is happening, and thus, what we should do about it.  There have been articles written on the lack of sunspot activity in recent years that would account for a cooling trend.  This makes sense, but it also points out to us that we are not in control of the climate.  To think that we are is just extreme pride on our part.  I am all for being good stewards of the earth, but I don’t think paying ‘carbon credits’ or not using our own energy resources falls into that category.  I will believe the ‘global warming’ alarmists when their lifestyles reflect the panic they are trying to create.  At the last global warming conference, most of the attendees arrived in private jets.  I’m not impressed.

Some Things Just Sound Better Than They Are

Charles Krauthammer has written an article in January’s edition of The Weekly Standard suggesting an increase in the gasoline tax and a decrease in the payroll tax.  Charles Krauthammer is a much more intelligent person than I am, and normally I am amazed by the brilliance of his ideas.  This time I think he is out to lunch.

First of all, never allow the government to raise any tax, regardless of what they promise in return!  I live in Massachusetts.  We still pay a ‘temporary’ income tax that was instituted at least ten years ago (only for a year or two).  The citizens of this state were too timid to vote to abolish the state income tax last year because they were told it would devastate their state.

Does anyone remember George H.W. Bush raising taxes on luxury items (the Democrats praised his bi-partisan spirit at the time, then used it against him in the next election)?  When people stopped buying luxury items, the people making them lost their jobs.  When the people making luxury items lost their jobs, they stopped buying things and going out to dinner.  It caused a recession.

Most Americans live at least two miles from a grocery store or a department store of some kind (or a shopping mall these days).  We are not going to walk, and we are not going to ride our bicycles.  Some of the ‘green’ cars would not be in good shape after a collision with a truck or SUV.  Some of the ‘green’ cars require a hazmat team if they are in an accident.  Charles, I love you, but I think you are wrong on this one.

Terrorism Side Effects

According to the Washington Times Pakistan has pulled some 20,000 troops away from the Afghanistan border and moved them to the Indian border.  This is in response to the attack on Mumbai last month.  The U. S. had been pressuring Pakistan to increase troops in the tribal regions along the Afghanistan border in order to help with the war on terror.  It is believed that Bin Laden is hiding in the area, and dealing with him would help weaken terrorism around the world. 

Both India and Pakistan have said that they do not want war, but India wants Pakistan to crack down on the areas along the Indian border where terrorism flourishes.  It seems as if Pakistan has problems with terrorists in areas near both borders.  It also seems as if the government of the country has never been truly serious about paying the price to end terrorism.  Actually, it may not be the government, some of the military people in Pakistan have ties to Bin Laden and his people.  Until all of that is sorted out, Pakistan is caught in the middle between two countries that are attempting to curb terrorism within their borders and blaming Pakistan for its leaky borders.

Minnesota Recount Part Whatever 3

According to Power Line Blog the Minnesota Supreme Court did not rule on the issue of counting votes twice because they felt that the issue would be better decided in a longer hearing which would include evidence and fact-finding.  Evidently, they felt that the ‘abbreviated proceeding’ did not allow the issue to be resolved.  The question they are trying to resolve has to do with machine malfunctions and handwritten ballots–some handwritten ballots were cast when the machines did not work properly.  These ballots need to be matched up so that one person’s vote is not counted twice.  The other issue in this recount is that the standards of ‘voter intent’ vary a great deal with each voting district, and two ballots with identical markings may be counted differently depending on the district and the counters.  However, I go back to my original statement–if it hadn’t been close, this fiasco would not be happening.  Minnesota, if you wind up with Senator Al Franken, it’s because you have earned him.

A Different Perspective

Christmas has many different aspects, and people seem to pick and choose which aspects they celebrate.  That’s OK–we’re all individuals, but I found one article on Christmas that had a very unique and insightful way of looking at the season.

On Christmas Eve, in The Daily Beast, there is an article entitled, Jesus Made Me a Better Jew by Benyamin Cohen.  If you follow the link, please read the whole article–the ending is a bit of a twist.  There is some real insight here about the children of religious leaders of any faith.


Despite some Jewish ancestry, I am almost totally ignorant of the celebration of Chanukkah.  So I did the obvious thing–I googled it.  I found a website called Judaism 101: Chanukkah.  According to the website:

“According to tradition as recorded in the Talmud, at the time of the rededication, there was very little oil left that had not been defiled by the Greeks. Oil was needed for the menorah (candelabrum) in the Temple, which was supposed to burn throughout the night every night. There was only enough oil to burn for one day, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. An eight day festival was declared to commemorate this miracle. Note that the holiday commemorates the miracle of the oil, not the military victory: Jews do not glorify war.”

I make no claim of understanding all there is to know about the celebration, but I know enough to say:


Happy Chanukkah!!

The Day That Split History

As you finish your last-minute preparations for Christmas, has it occurred to you that sometime between 5 am and 11 am tomorrow (depending on the ages of your children), the majority of the chaos will be over?  It seems like a lot us rush around like crazy from Thanksgiving to Christmas with a list of never-ending errands.  Then by Christmas afternoon, most of the fuss is over.  It seems like an awful lot of effort for one morning–but wait a minute-this is the day that splits history.

According to David Harper, Ph.D., F.R.A.S., in A Brief History Of The Calendar, a monk named Dionysius Exiguus in Russia was calculating the dates of Easter.  In the process, he referred to the years in his calculations Anni Domini Jesu Christi.  That was the beginning of the concept of A.D.  Our history is split according to the birth of Jesus.  As long as we are dividing time with the abbreviations A.D. of B.C., we are acknowledging the fact that Jesus’ birth was the most significant event in hisory.  So as you go about your errands and last minute chores, remember that even though it seems as if all the effort will be for a few hours, the reality is that we are celebrating the day that split history.

Merry Christmas! 

The Rest Of The Story

One of the challenges of being a news consumer (or a political junkie in my case) is trying to decide if what you are reading is the real story or someone’s made-up story.  This issue has come up in a recent (December 5, 2008) op-ed piece in The New York Times by William Ayers.  Even reading the editorial as someone who doesn’t remember all the details of the 1960’s, it doesn’t quite ring true.  Larry Grathwohl, who was an FBI informant during those times. submitted a rebuttal letter to the Times, which was rejected.  That letter is posted at Pajamas Media.  It tells a very different story than the Times op-ed piece.  The problem is not as much with the fact that there are two sides to the story–but with the fact that the Times was unwilling to publish the other side of the story.  Read both, and draw your own conclusion.

The Whitewashing of the Mortgage Mess History

Sunday’s New York Times ran an article pretty much blaming the mortgage crisis on the Bush Administration–failing to mention Chris Dodd or Barnery Frank.  Today’s New York Post has the rebuttal article pointing out all the facts the Times conveniently left out.  The best and most understandable history of the current mess can be found at You Tube in a video called “Burning Down The House.”  The video has footage of the House and Senate hearings where Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were discussed and anyone can see for themselves who said what.  I strongly recommend the New York Post article and the You Tube video.

Where Did The Bailout Money Go?

Where did the bailout money go?  To the bank executives of course!  I don’t begrudge anyone wages paid for a job well done, but this is ridiculous.  I am reminded of a previous post citing a Swiss bank that paid its executives in illiquid paper–if the paper regained its value, they would get nice bonuses.  Little Green Footballs has more details on the money that went to executives and the banks that were not willing to account for the money they received.

According to the article:

“The Associated Press contacted 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in government money and asked four questions: How much has been spent? What was it spent on? How much is being held in savings, and what’s the plan for the rest?

None of the banks provided specific answers.”

It’s time to take a good look at all the people who are supposed to represent us in Washington and to throw a majority of them out.

The Minnesota Recount Pictures

Fox News has an article on the Minnesota Senate race recount showing pictures of disputed ballots along with the decision regarding the ballot.  It becomes very obvious very quickly that an equal standard is not being used.   Al Franken has taken the lead in what was once a 700+ vote victory for Norm Coleman.  This election is about to be stolen due to the group of people evaluating challenged ballots who have chosen to change their standards with each ballot.  I hope the people of Minnesota will find a way to protest this.

Terrorists Among Us

The New York Post has an article today on the conviction of the men who intended to enter Fort Dix in New Jersey to kill American soldiers.  According to the article:

“The government said after the men’s arrest in 2007 that an attack was imminent and that the case underscored the dangers of terrorist plots hatched on U.S. soil. Although investigators said the men were inspired by Osama bin Laden, they were not accused of any ties to foreign terror groups.”

The fact that they were not accused of any ties to foreign terror groups is both scary and reassuring.  It’s scary to know that people who voluntarily came to this country can hate America so much as to want to kill its soldiers.  Wouldn’t is be easier just to go home?  It’s reassuring to know that these men acted on their own.  They obviously did things that brought them to the attention of the authorities and allowed them to be caught.  Had they had foreign assistance, they might have avoided the clumsiness that resulted in their discovery.

The article in the Post details how they were caught and how the evidence against the men was gathered.  Even though the evidence seemed obvious, the jury took 38 hours to reach a verdict.