According to the Boston Herald, WTKK talk show host Jay Severin has been indefinetly suspended for offensive remarks about illegal aliens and the swine flu. Good Grief!! Illegal aliens are illegal. They are breaking the law. That makes them criminals according to the laws of this country. We can argue how serious the crime is, but it is still a crime. The swine flu came into this country from Mexico–illegally or legally–it doesn’t matter. We need to be aware that it is here and use common sense in reacting to that fact. I have no idea what he said, but to suspend him indefinitely for voicing an opinion on people who break the law seems a bit odd. If you don’t like what the man is saying, change the station. There are all levels of offensiveness on the radio at any time of day.
I am not the world’s biggest Jay Severin fan. I listen to him occasionally because I think he is incredibly well informed and insightful on today’s events and what they mean. I turn him off occasionally because he sometimes offends me. That’s why there are other stations on my radio–I have the right to make that choice.
The Hill is reporting today that the Democrat-sponsored bill that would have allowed bankruptcy judges to rewrite mortgages (changing principle and interest payments–known in the industry as ‘cramdown’) has been defeated in the Senate. The White House supported the bill, the financial industry strongly opposed it. The bill would have played havoc with contract law–the bank or mortgage company contracts signed with consumers would have been worth nothing if they could be changed by a judge. Financial institutions would have to charge more for mortgages to allow for the possibility of changes to the mortgages in the future without the input of the financial institution.
The interesting part of the defeat of this law is the list of the Democrat Senators who voted against it. According to the article:
“Democrats voting against the measure were: Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Robert Byrd (W.Va.), Byron Dorgan (N.D.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Tom Carper (Del.) and (Arlen) Specter.”
Well, Democrats, welcome to the world of Arlen Specter!
Yesterday the House of Representatives passed a law to exend hate-crimes laws to sexual orientation. The Washington Times this morning has an editorial about this law. The editorial reminds us that harming any person, regardless of their sexual orientation, is already a crime. Why do we need a law against hate? Admittedly, hate is not a constructive thing, and it would probably be better if all of us avoided it, but why make it a crime? Who determines exactly what ‘hate speech’ is? The Bible speaks out against sexual promiscuity (both gay and straight), if I mention that, is it hate speech? If my pastor mentions that, is it hate speech? If this law passes the Senate, it could result in a degree of censorship that all of us would regret.
This is one of those stories you may not see in too many places. It’s a Minnesota story, but it concerns me because I believe it is an attempt to control what our children learn about the war on terror (which the Obama Administration does not acknowledge). According to Power Line, A coloring book from southeastern Minnesota, designed to help children deal with disasters, has been removed from the federal government website because of complaints about its content. This is the controversial picture:
Have we forgotten? Do we want our children to be ignorant of this event?
Arlen Specter is seventy-nine years old. He is a fighter. He has defeated cancer twice, and won six terms in the US Senate. He does not like the idea of losing. Therefore, it is pretty easy to understand why he has switched parties. His evaluation of his chances of defeating Pat Toomey in the Republican primary in Pennsylvania showed him losing by a considerable margin. That is why he stated that he was not willing to let his performance as a Senator be judged by Pennsylvania’s Republican primary voters. It seems to me that the Republican primary voters put him in the Senate last time, was their opinion valid then?
Power Line posted an article speculating what sort of deal was made in order for Specter to switch to the Democrat party. It is interesting that President Obama has already endorsed him as the Democrat candidate for the Senate in Pennsylvania despite the fact that there were already other people running against him! It will also be interesting to watch his vote on ‘card check’. Card check is a union activists dream and Pennsylvania is a big union state. This could be interesting.
In my (sometimes less than) humble opinion, there are a few people to watch as this drama unfolds. The theory is that Arlen Specter gives the Democrat party a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. I wonder if they can count on Specter’s vote any more than the Republicans could. There are also a few other people to watch in this current situation. In the porkulus budget bill recently passed, there were three Democrats who did not vote yes. Robert Byrd did not vote. Evan Bayh of Indiana voted no. Ben Nelson of Nebraska voted no. I believe that Evan Bayh has his eye on the White House. If President Obama’s policies are obviously awful by 2012, I believe he could be challenged in a Democrat primary by either (or both) Hillary Clinton and Evan Bayh. Keep an eye on Evan Bayh’s votes and on his appearances on TV news shows on Sunday mornings. We have three and a half years to watch this show!
Prayers and condolences to the family of the young child who has died of swine flu in Texas. The Washington Post has the details. However, there are a few things that are interesting about this story. Some questions have answers, some don’t.
The child had traveled by plane from Mexico City to a Mexican town near the US border on April 4. He crossed the border into Brownsville to visit relatives and developed symptoms on April 8th. He was admitted to Brownsville Hospital and later transferred to a Houston hospital when he did not improve. OK, here come the heartless questions and observations.
1. Did the child enter the country legally?
2. Did you notice that American hospitals treat people from other countries? We have the best and most generous healthcare system in the world. There is no mention of any sort of health insurance.
3. The story says his relatives are healthy and have not shown any symptoms. How long is the incubation period on this disease and should we quarantine them knowing they have been exposed?
According to an article in the Baltimore Sun:
“Meanwhile, the commandant of the Marine Corps said a Marine in southern California might have the illness and 39 Marines were being confined until tests come back. General James Conway told a Pentagon briefing an initial test indicated the sick Marine — who was not identified — might have swine flu but his illness did not appear life-threatening.”
As usual, the military’s response to this situation is much more logical than that of the people currently in power in Washington. As other countries are restricting or putting up travel warnings regarding Mexico, we are leaving open a very porous border. The Mexican border needs to be closed until we learn more about the disease, how long the incubation period is, and how long people with it are contagious.
You Tube has a short (less than two minutes) video with the best explanation of the current federal budget and budget cuts I have seen. Take the time to watch it. It really puts the whole thing in perspective.
In recent years, some of the detainees who were held at Guantanamo have been sent to Saudi Arabia for ‘reeducation’ after they were released from Cuba. Little Green Footballs posted an article about this reeducation program yesterday.
The Saudi authorities treat them well, give them ample food, recreation and classes designed to persuade them that they may have had good intentions, but that they had made the wrong choice. (Just for the record, Guantanamo gives them good food and recreation also. Meals at Guantanamo are prepared to be in keeping with Muslim food requirements.) This quote from the article shows the success rate of the program:
“Now I know the rules and regulations for jihad,” Hammami said. “First, it needs the consent of the government. Second, the consent of my parents.”
Notice that there is no concept that killing innocent people is wrong–just the concept tht parental and governmental permission is needed. Keep in mind that Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti (former ruler or Iraq) was paying the families of Palestinian suicide bombers $25,000 for each suicide bomber. In that part of the world that amount of money combined with the extreme religious teachings made for an attractive offer. I have no idea how to change that mindset, but it may explain why we have killed or captured many of these people on the battlefield after they have completed the program.
Today’s New York Post has a great editorial on the upcoming battle for universal government health care. The White House and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill are planning to block debate on health care reform by using ‘reconciliation’, which would mean that rather than needing 60 votes to pass (avoid a filibuster), the legislation could pass with 51 votes. Since the Democrats have 58 Senate seats, that shouldn’t be a problem. According to the article:
“‘Reconciliation’ is a parliamentary device originally intended to limit Senate debate over the budget. Only 20 hours of debate are permitted; filibustering is not allowed, and the number of amendments is also limited.”
By including his $634 billion so-called “down-payment” on national health-care “reform” as part of this year’s $3.5 trillion-plus budget, President Obama can avoid a full debate on the actual changes he will be making to American health care.
It might be wise to remember that America presently has one one the best healthcare systems in the world. In the immortal words of Yogi Berra, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”.
This is the link to the You Tube video of the public reaction to the 747 and two fighter jets that flew low over New York City yesterday for a photo op, Air Force One Flyby Of Goldman Sachs Tower. I don’t even have the words for how insensitive it was not to tell the people of New York City and Jersey City that this was going to happen. In many ways, most of us have forgotten the horror of 911, but the people who were living or working in New York City at the time or who lost loved ones that days will never really forget. To set up a situation where they felt that kind of fear again because you chose not to announce what was going to happen is cruel.
According to Breitbart.com, today ninety-one protesters were arrested outside the White House. They were asking the President to support legislations that would give people with disabilities in need of long-term care alternatives to nursing homes. I am sure that there is a real need there, but why is the government being asked to address it rather than the private sector? If the need is real, what is stopping an entrepreneur from starting up appropriate places, why in the world do we want the government involved? An entrepreneur would bring jobs into the private sector, he would spend money in the private sector to support people that would aid him in his business. Are we so overregulated that starting a business in this country is not possible?
Part of the problem with our economy is the fact that we have forgotten how to be America. We began as a country of innovation. There were no paved roads going west. No one knew what was really on the other side of those mountains (and that river). I remember hearing stories as a child about my great grandmother dealing with drunken Indians on the back porch (she eventually returned to Philadelphia to raise her family), but imagine the courage it took to go west. Where is our courage to innovate? We cannot and should not rely on the government to supply anything that we ourselves are capable of creating!!! That’s not how we became America. The job of the government is to defend our country–it is not to harass or spoonfeed its citizens.
Let’s see. Today we are hearing more than we want to know about the swine flu. Two fighter jets escorted a Boeing 747 from the Air Force One Fleet and caused a bit of a panic in New York City and some buildings were evacuated (this was done for a photo op). Next, according to the website Wired.com, Fort Detrick, the Army’s main biodefense laboratory has lost its samples of Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis (VEE) virus. Not to worry, the samples were rather small. The virus only causes a flu-like illness; it can be fatal due to brain inflammation, but that is rare. There is supposedly only a small sample of this virus, so it’s quite possible there was just a glitch in the system that tracks these things. The virus could have died in the refrigerator and someone threw it out without making note of the incident. That happens in my refrigerator all the time. Beam me up, Scotty!
I have no idea how seriously to take the reports of the swine flu outbreak, but here is the link to the map showing where the cases are at google.com. The map is updated frequently.
Yesterday’s Washington Post ran an op-ed piece by George Will regarding the current Supreme Court case involving the city of New Haven, Connecticut, and firefighter exams given in 2003. The exams were given to 118 candidates, 27 of them black. There were 15 available promotions, and none of the black candidates had scores high enough to qualify for these promotions. Because no black candidates qualified, no one was promoted. The case is now before the Supreme Court.
Promoting the top 15 candidates, regardless of their race, would not have been discrimination–it would have been giving the job to the most qualified applicant. Giving the job to someone less qualified or denying anyone the job because the test did not produce the results wanted is discrimination and leads to a lower quality of work in general. Anyone who runs a business will tell you that hiring the most qualified people allows his business to run more efficiently and more profitably.
Admittedly the city of New Haven is not a business, but wouldn’t we all be better off if our government ran more effeciently and more fiscally responsibly?
According to the Canada Free Press, Al Gore lied about his financial interest in ‘global warming’ legislation during his Congressional testimony. During the house Energy and Environment Subcommittee hearing on the Waxman-Markey climate bill, the former Vice-President stated that all the money he made from his business activities went into non-profit efforts. Not quite true. According to a March 6, 2008 Bloomberg Report:
“Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore left the White House seven years ago with less than $2 million in assets, including a Virginia home and the family farm in Tennessee. Now he’s making enough to put $35 million in hedge funds and other private partnerships.
Gore invested the money with Capricorn Investment Group LLC, a Palo Alto, California, firm that selects the private funds for clients and invests in makers of environmentally friendly products, according to a Feb. 1 securities filing. Capricorn was founded by billionaire Jeffrey Skoll, former president of EBay Inc. and an executive producer of Gore’s Oscar-winning documentary film on global warming.”
Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn confronted Mr. Gore about his profiteering from global warming legislation and obvious conflict of interest concerning his testimony before the subcommittee. Combined with the rescinding of the invitation to UK’s Lord Christopher Monckton (a global warming skeptic) to speak before the committee, I’d say that Mr. Gore’s obvious unreported conflict of interest is a pretty good indication that this subcommittee isn’t really interested in pursuing the truth on global warming. I suspect they have already drawn their conclusions without having to deal with any inconvenient facts.
The Washington Examiner on Thursday ran a column by Byron York which gave Ted Olson’s perspective on the upcoming investigations that will follow the release of the ‘torture’ memos. Ted Olson was investigated for legal advice he provided the Reagan Administration, so he has some feel for the process. He became the target of a Capitol Hill investigation and an independent counsel. He was ultimately proven innocent, but that was many millions of our tax dollars (and his legal fees) later. He is quoted in the article:
“Olson, who served as Solicitor General in the Bush Justice Department but was not involved in War on Terror policy decisions, knows all the figures involved. “What they were doing was endeavoring in every legal, conceivable way to protect people from being slaughtered,” Olson said. “I’m not going to comment on whether it’s good or bad to do things like this, but from what I understand, there was a very high level of concern regarding credible threats of imminent terrorist attacks that justified efforts to seek additional methods of interrogation.””
At some point, I really think you have to look at this whole issue in the context of 911. We were caught off guard because of a wall someone had erected between the CIA and the FBI. The wall seemed like a good idea at the time, but look where it got us. The choices being made now regarding ‘enhanced’ questioning of prisoners may look noble, but are they going to result in another 911?
Yahoo News is reporting that an Italian cruise ship thwarted a pirate attack off Somalia Saturday. The ship carried an Israeli security force that fired on the pirates and drove them away. Whether you are dealing with pirates or terrorists (they are closely related), the Israelis are the best people to have fighting with you!! The ship, the Msc Melody, carried roughly 1,000 passengers and 500 crew members. None of them were hurt.
According to the article:
“Domenico Pellegrino, head of the Italian cruise line, said Msc Cruises hired the Israelis because they were the best trained security agents, the ANSA news agency reported.”
The article noted that the pirates are moving their attacks further away from the coast of Somalia, which is seen as an indication that they are improving their skills.
Yesterday’s Washington Post ran a column by Porter Goss, director of the CIA from September 2004 to May 2006 and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 1997 to 2004, regarding the release of interrogation memos by President Obama. His view is that the information was made public for partisan reasons–President Obama was hoping to gain political advantage.
Mr. Goss recalls that in the fall of 2002, senior members of Congress were specifically briefed on the interrogation techniques that had been developed and would be used. The Chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees were briefed and understood what the CIA was doing, gave bipartisan support, and gave the CIA funding to carry out its activities.
Mr. Goss points out:
“Our enemies do not subscribe to the rules of the Marquis of Queensbury. “Name, rank and serial number” does not apply to non-state actors but is, regrettably, the only question this administration wants us to ask. Instead of taking risks, our intelligence officers will soon resort to wordsmithing cables to headquarters while opportunities to neutralize brutal radicals are lost.”
I am truly sorry President Obama chose to release the secret documents on questioning terrorists. We need to remember that we were dealing with known terrorists (very few people were subject to intense questioning–it was used only on people we knew had planned and orchestrated previous attacks). We need to consider whether the discomfort of a terrorist is more serious than the loss of thousands of innocent people in a terrorist attack. We can call it noble to spare the terrorist any discomfort, but what will we say to the families of those who die because we decide to be ‘noble’?
How strongly do you believe in our national sovereignty? Sounds like a hypothetical question, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s not. According to Breitbart.com:
“The U.S. is obligated by a United Nations convention to prosecute Bush administration lawyers who allegedly drafted policies that approved the use of harsh interrogation tactics against terrorism suspects, the U.N.’s top anti-torture envoy said Friday.”
Manfred Nowak, who serves as a U.N. special rapporteur in Geneva,, listed what he considered the requirements the US must meet in dealing with the issue of torture. He stated that to fail to prosecute the CIA operatives who conducted the interrogations violates the UN convention against torture. Nice can of worms you have opened, President Obama.
This is the question–do we retain our sovereignty and handle the matter internally (keeping an eye on the circumstances surrounding the interrogations) or do we give up our constitution and surrender to the UN? I wonder if we would be having this discussion if the UN building had been hit instead of the World Trade Center buildings. Hmmm.
Ed Thomas at American Thinker has an interesting post today on the Somali pirates. His question is simply, “Who gains from their piracy?” He states that:
“The piracy in the northern Indian Ocean raises large sums of money for fundamentalist Mullahs and puts a big hurt on Suez Canal traffic.”
Anwar Sadat was assassinated for being moderate. The Muslim extremists have had their eye on Egypt for some time–take a look at the relationship between Egypt and the formerly Israeli terroritories now held by the Palestinians. Egypt has been willing to deal with Israel as a sovereign State for some time now, and that does not sit well with the Muslim fundamentalists who use the existence of Israel as an excuse for their terrorism.
The article concludes:
“Egypt needs those canal revenues and the benefits of being a regional center for trade. Other primary targets are the more progressive governments of the Middle East, with Western interests as secondary targets. We must avoid fighting the enemies involved here on the terms and ground of their choosing and definition. The governments of the region that are the real targets must step up to the plate instead of using the military forces of the west as their proxies. This puts the real stakeholders in the field, (with our backing), to protect our mutual self interest.
If we can break this daisy chain of being a wicked terrorist piñata, wracked with western guilt, and quit being suckered into being the Great Satan, we could be an honest ally to our deserving regional friends, then we will have made much progress. The pirates are an enemy flotilla and must be treated as such. Keelhaul ’em!”
The pirates are part of the war on terrorism. We need to treat them as such!
Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I am skeptical about the human effect on climate change and more specifically on the concept of global warming. There are a lot of reasons for that, but one of them is the fact that the people who are totally hysterical about the concept of global warming are making very large amounts of money from people who believe them. The cap and trade concept that President Obama wants to push through Congress will make most Americans considerably poorer (much higher energy bills) while making a few Americans much richer (Al Gore conveniently owns a company that sells carbon credits). Last week Congress began a debate on global warming–but they only allowed one side of the debate!
According to Climate Depot and wattsupwiththat.com, UK’s Lord Christopher Monckton, a former science advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, has stated that the House Democrats refused to let him testify on Friday, April 24, when Al Gore was testifying on global warming. He stated that Democrats rescinded his scheduled joint appearance at the House Energy and Commerce hearing on Friday. This is Lord Monckton’s statement:
“Once again I’m most grateful to Anthony Watts and his hard-working team for their kindness in exposing the less than democratic tactics of the Obama Democrats. The story circulated by the indefatigable Marc Morano is – as one would expect – accurate in every particular.
There is further information on this at scienceandpublicpolicy.org. Please read the information and draw your own conclusions.
According to ABC News the Obama Administration will be turning over to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) 44 photographs showing detainee abuse of prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq during the Bush administration. The ACLU attorney has stated that the potographs “only underscore the need for a criminal investigation and prosecution if warranted”.
Have we forgotten what happened to us on September 11th? Have we forgotten OUR intellegence failures that led to September 11th? When the ‘wall’ between the CIA and the FBI was put it, it seemed like a good idea. It was only in hindsight that it proved to be a total disaster. I fear that the hysteria we are exhibiting now in relation to terrorist interrogations will be as much of a disaster in hindsight as the ‘wall’ was.
Today’s New York Times reports that the Obama Administration will use the “reconciliation” procedure on its health care program in order to get it through the Senate without it being filibustered. This is not a good idea. The changes the Administration proposes are drastic, and the public needs to be aware of the specifics so that they can weigh in with their Congressmen. According to the article:
“Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota has advised using against reconciliation, saying it does not lend itself to such a complex issue as health care. But he came under intense pressure from the White House, his own leadership and the House to agree to include it.”
What happened to the transparency that the Obama Administration promised? Where are the details of the new health care program posted so that the American people can see what the program is?
Cliff May at the Corner at National Review Online has a short information column on the current debate about waterboarding and torture of terrorists. He details the supervision that extreme interrogations were under and the restrictions on the people in charge of the questioning. The article also puts to rest the idea that waterboarding was used often on prisoners and details what the numbers that have been released regarding waterboarding actually mean. It’s an interesting read simply because it clearly explains what went on and shows how some of the media has totally distorted what actually happened.
There’s another aspect of this ‘torture’ debate. First of all, none of the torture victims had their heads chopped off or were treated the way our soldiers have been treated when the terrorists manage to capture them. But the aspect of this that has not generally been voiced can be found at Little Green Footballs. According to their website:
“VIENNA – The U.S. is obligated by a United Nations convention to prosecute Bush administration lawyers who allegedly drafted policies that approved the use of harsh interrogation tactics against terrorism suspects, the U.N.’s top anti-torture envoy said Friday.”
If this prosecution happens, we have essentially turned our national sovereignty over to the United Nations, and guess what, they don’t give a hoot about preventing terrorism in America. This is another reason we should end our support of the UN and ask them to leave the country. We will be investigated for mistreating terrorists while the terrorists and their actions will be ignored.
Recovery.org is a website dedicated to showing us where our tax money is going. It is run by Onvia. Please check it out for information on where your money is going. It has charts, graphs, and all sorts of bells and whistles. Great website!!
Early this week the Democrats told the Republicans they would have a “celebrity witness” for this morning’s hearing on the Waxman/Markey Bill, but they would not say who. The Republicans immediately contacted me and asked if they could tell the Dems they too were putting forward an undisclosed celebrity witness – me.
When the Dems eventually revealed that their “celebrity” was Al Gore, the Republicans told them I was to testify at the same time. The Dems immediately refused to allow the Republicans their first choice of witness. By the time they had refused, my jet was already in the air from London and I did not get the message till I landed in the US.
At first the Dems tried to refuse the Republicans the chance to replace me with a witness more congenial to them, but eventually – after quite a shouting-match – they agreed to let Newt Gingrich testify. The former Speaker of the House gave one of his best performances.
I attended the session anyway, as a member of the public, and tried to shake hands with Gore when he arrived, but his cloud of staffers surrounded him and he visibly flinched when I called out a friendly “Hello” to him.
His testimony was as inaccurate as ever. He repeated many of the errors identified by the High Court in the UK. He appeared ill at ease and very tired – perhaps reflecting on the Rasmussen poll that shows a massive 13.5% swing against the bedwetters’ point of view in just one year.
My draft testimony will be posted at http://www.scienceandpublicpolicy.org shortly, together with a brief refutation of Gore’s latest errors.
Finally, I have never said what one of your less polite correspondents has said I said about HIV. However, in 1987, at the request of the earliest researchers into the disease, I wrote articles in journals on both sides of the Atlantic recommending that AIDS should be treated as a notifiable disease, just like any other fatal, incurable infection. Had that standard public-health measure been taken – immediate, compulsory, permanent, but humane isolation of the then rather few carriers – many of the 25 million (UNAIDS figures) who have died and the 40 million who are currently infected and heading for death would have been spared. Sometimes, unfashionable points of view are right, and sometimes ignoring them can be a matter of life and death.”