A Letter From Someone Who Knows The Score In Honduras

The Corner at National Review posted a letter received by Jonah Goldberg from a man who is from Honduras and still has relatives there. 

Please read the entire letter, but this is the paragraph that I thought was very telling:

“The country is bewildered that the world, especially the United States, is not on their side.  Zelaya was confident of his plans to convert Honduras into a Venezuelan satellite. The Honduran people are proud of their constitution and are proud to have a functioning democratic system. Zelaya was replaced by a member of his own party who vows to see that this November’s presidential election takes place. What happened was not a “coup” but a bipartisan effort to save the nation.”

This was not a coup.  It was an attempt to preserve a democracy.  It is my hope that Hugo Chavez will not be plotting undercover moves to destablize the country.  We need to support democracy–not tyranny.

California and Cap And Trade

Yesterday’s Investor’s Business Daily posted a speech given on the floor of the House of Representatives last Friday by Representative Tom McClintock of California’s fourth congressional district in the debate on Cap and Trade legislation.  Representative McClinton talked about the effect a similar state-wide bill has had on California.

Some highlights from the speech:

“Three years ago, I stood on the floor of the California Senate and watched a similar celebration over a similar bill, Assembly Bill 32. And I have spent the last three years watching as that law has dangerously deepened California’s recession. It uses a different mechanism than cap and trade, but the objective is the same: to force a dramatic reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.”

“…Until that bill took effect, California’s unemployment numbers tracked very closely with the national unemployment rate. But then, in January of 2007, California’s unemployment rate began a steady upward divergence from the national jobless figures. Today, California’s unemployment rate is more than two points above the national rate, and at its highest point since 1941.”

“…The city of Truckee, Calif., was about to sign a long-term power contract to get its electricity from a new, EPA-approved coal-fired electricity plant in Utah. AB 32 and companion legislation caused them to abandon that contract. The replacement power they acquired literally doubled their electricity costs.”

If the states are the laboratories to test out public policy, we need to pay attention to what is happening in the lab.  The Cap and Trade Bill passed by the House of Representatives will do serious damage to the economy if it is passed by the Senate.  We can’t afford that right now.

Honduras—To Coup Or Not To Coup?

Today’s Wall Street Journal, today’s Power Line Blog, and yesterday’s Investor’s Business Daily all have posted articles on the current situation in Honduras.  The general consensus of these articles is that what happened was not a coup–it prevented a coup.

Although President Mel Zelaya was elected democratically, he was about to make a move that would change the constitution of Honduras and allow him to run for President again even though the constitution said that he was term-limited.  This is the same strategy that Hugo Chavez used to become President-for-life in Venezuela. 

Investor’s Business Daily reports:

“Yet the U.S. administration stood with Chavez and Castro, calling Zelaya’s lawful removal “a coup.” Obama called the action a “terrible precedent,” and said Zelaya remains president.

In doing this, the U.S. condemned democrats who stood up to save their democracy, a move that should have been hailed as a historic turning of the tide against the false democracies of the region.

The U.S. response has been disgraceful. “We recognize Zelaya as the duly elected and constitutional president of Honduras. We see no other,” a State Department official told reporters.

Worse, the U.S. now contemplates sanctions on the tiny drug-plagued, dirt-poor country of 7 million, threatening to halt its $200 million in U.S. aid, immigration accords and a free-trade treaty if it doesn’t put the criminal Zelaya back into office.”

Somehow we have lost our willingness to even acknowledge that the freedom that is allowed in a democracy is worth anything.  Shouldn’t it be a red flag to us that Chavez and Castro both protested the removal of President Zelaya?

Does it concern anyone that our President and Secretary of State are siding with Fidel Casto and Hugo Chavez against the forces of constitutional democracy?  

Honduras–Not So Fast!!

The basis for this post is the Washington Times article published Sunday, June 28, and the BBC article published today.

The obvious facts are that the President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was ousted from office and flown to Costa Rica by the army.  President Zelaya was removed from office hours before a disputed consitutional referendum was to be voted on that would have allowed him to remain in office despite the constitution’s term limit.

The Washington Post reports:

“Mr. Zelaya was arrested shortly before polls were to open in a referendum on whether to change the constitution. The Supreme Court ruled the referendum illegal, and everyone from Congress to members of his own party opposed it. Critics said Zelaya wanted to remove limits to his re-election.”

The BBC reports:

“The swearing in of Roberto Micheletti – constitutionally second in line for the presidency – was greeted with applause in Congress.  In a speech, he said that he had not assumed power “under the ignominy of a coup d’etat”.  The army had complied with the constitution, he said, and he had reached the presidency “as the result of an absolutely legal transition process”.”

The thing to watch here is who supports what.  When Hugo Chavez is complaining that the rules of democracy are not being followed, I tend to be a little suspicious.  It looks to me as if the army prevented the same sort of president-for-life move in Honduras that Hugo Chavez pulled in Venezuela.

Unlike the caution and timidity shown in supporting the protests in Iran, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have come out very quickly in favor of the former president.  I do not see them as aligning themselves with the forces of democracy in either Honduras or Iran. 

I Hate To Be Picky, But…

Let Freedom Ring has a pledge on their website that you can download and send to your Senators and members of Congress.  It’s a very simple pledge–it says:


The Responsible Healthcare Pledge

Hold your Senators and Members of Congress accountable for reading any healthcare reform legislation up for vote by having them sign our pledge:

Pledge To Read

I apologize for the fact that the form did not fit correctly into the space I had, but please go to their website and take action.  We have had a few bills passed recently in Congress that our Senators and Representatives (and the American people) have not had a chance to read before they were passed.  I don’t think it’s a lot to ask of our representatives that they take the time to read legislature before they enact it.  This is not a political game–it is the running of our country, and if the people in Washington do not give us and our country the respect deserved, they should be replaced by new people!

The Stoning of Soraya M

Townhall.com posted a story on Friday about the movie, The Stoning of Soraya M set for release this weekend.  The movie is based on a true story.  The book telling the story was published move than ten years ago.  The movie is the story of:

“…Soraya (Mozhan MarnĂ², “Charlie Wilson’s War”) a woman who is in an impossible situation. Soraya’s husband wants to divorce her so he can marry a 14-year-old virgin. Given her options (live in destitute poverty with her children or sanctioned prostitution to provide for them) Soraya refuses to give her husband the divorce. But in her post-Iranian Revolution world, the men rule with an iron fist and the legal system is stacked against her.”

I suspect this is going to be difficult movie to watch, but it is a story that needs to be told.  The film does not focus on the violence of the stoning, but instead on how the stoning affects the people involved.  The movie is in limited release now, but should be in wider release next weekend.   

Follow The Money On Cap And Trade (College Edition)

According to today’s American Thinker, Ivy League endowments are investing in forest land.  They are preparing for the Cap and Trade economy that will pay them not to cut down trees.  One example of earning money by not cutting down trees is given in the article:

“The Nature Conservancy did just that last year with the Conservation Fund, a nonprofit agency that owns about 24,000 acres of redwood and douglas fir forest northwest of San Francisco. The groups changed the logging schedule on the property, and the fund expects to receive about $2 million from Pacific Gas and Electric, which participates in a regional climate initiative similar to the one that the Waxman-Markey bill would create around the country.”

Cap and Trade is about the transfer of wealth.  It will transfer money out of the hands of the American taxpayer into government hands and then into the hands of a few people who have set up carbon credit companies.  Al Gore will make serious money from Cap and Trade as will certain other well positioned friends of the Democrat Party.

So Why Are We Following Them???

Yesterday’s Washington Times explained to us that the United States will not use force to inspect a North Korean ship suspected of carrying unauthorized weapons.  According to the article:

“On Thursday, the communist regime organized a massive anti-American rally in Pyongyang, where some 100,000 participants vowed to “crush” the U.S. One senior speaker told the crowd that the North will respond to any sanctions or U.S. provocations with “an annihilating blow.””

This, evidently, is one of the reasons for deciding not to use force to inspect the ship.  The other reason given was the fact that the UN resolution did not authroize the use of force. 

To me, this is the equivalent of not disciplining your child when he does something wrong because he might throw a tantrum.  Either the UN resolutions mean something or they don’t.  If they don’t, why in the world are we supporting a multi-million dollar building in New York City (not to mention the unpaid parking tickets)?  Either the UN is going to take a stand against the spread of nuclear weapons or it is not.  Which is it?

Two Different Perspectives On Cap And Trade

Friday night The New York Times and Investor’s Business Daily both ran articles on the Cap and Trade Bill which passed the House of Representatives last night.  Needless to say, they had rather different angles on the events.

The New York Times stated:

“The vote was the first time either house of Congress had approved a bill meant to curb the heat-trapping gases scientists have linked to climate change. The legislation, which passed despite deep divisions among Democrats, could lead to profound changes in many sectors of the economy, including electric power generation, agriculture, manufacturing and construction.”

Investor’s Business Daily reported that:

“On Friday, the day of the vote, the Competitive Enterprise Institute said it was releasing “an internal study on climate science which was suppressed by the Environmental Protection Agency.”

In the release, the institute’s Richard Morrison said “internal EPA e-mail messages, released by CEI earlier in the week, indicate that the report was kept under wraps and its author silenced because of pressure to support the administration’s agenda of regulating carbon dioxide.””

The EPA is withholding information from the American public that would enable us to make more informed decisions on the actions our Congressmen are taking.  Investor’s Business Daily posted the following chart of the impact of human activity on climate change.

You have to wonder why this President and this Congress are so intent of destroying the American economy and the American healthcare system..

The Question Of Terrorists Leads to Harder Questions

Today’s Washington Post has an article saying that the White House is curently working on an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely.  As President Obama encounters numerous roadblocks in closing Guantanamo, he is looking for ways to proceed.  The problems in closing Guantanamo have come from Congress and from countries who have not been willing to allow the inmates to be transferred to their countries.

The key paragraph in the article states:

“Concerns are growing among Obama’s advisers that Congress may try to assert too much control over the process. This week Obama signed an appropriations bill that forces the administration to report to Congress before moving any detainee out of Guantanamo and prevents the White House from using available funds to move detainees onto U.S. soil.”

As much as I am not a big fan of the current Congress, they have a role to play in this process, and I don’t think it is wise to leave them out.  Here are some of the ideas for the plan of dealing with the Guantanamo terrorists:

“Such detainees — those at Guantanamo and those who may be captured in the future — would also have the right to legal representation during confinement and access to some of the information that is being used to keep them behind bars. Anyone detained under this order would have a right to challenge his detention before a judge.

Officials say the plan would give detainees more rights and allow them a better chance than they have now at Guantanamo to one day end their indefinite incarceration.”

We need to remember who these people are.  They are not simple lawbreakers–they are terrorists.  They are not prisoners-of-war.  Even if they were prisoners-of-war, they would not be released until the war was over, but since the Obama administration will not admit that there is a war on terror, they cannot declare it over! 

Integrity Needed–House Of Representatives Members Need Not Apply

According to the Washington Times, the investigation into the activities of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) during the last election cycle has been stopped in the House of Representatives.  The organization is charged with voter fraud in a number of states, i.e. registering the Dallas Cowboys starting lineup to vote in Nevada, registering Mickey Mouse to vote in Florida (at least he met the residency requirement!), and intimidating voters in Philadelphia.

According to the article:

“The groups came under fire during the campaign after probes into suspected voter fraud in a series of presidential battleground states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Mexico and Nevada.

ACORN and its affiliates are currently the target of at least 14 lawsuits related to voter fraud in the 2008 election and a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act complaint filed by former ACORN members.”

If we expect to have an honest election in 2010, I suggest that someone take a good look at the tactics of this group.  It’s a shame that Congress will not do its job and investigate them. 

The House Believes It Can Control The Climate!!

According to Politico, the House of Representatives has passed the vote was extremely close – 219-212, with eight Republicans voting yes and 44 Democrats voting no.  According to the article, Congressman did not have access to a working copy of the bill they were voting on:

“Republicans accused the Democrats of ramming the bill through the House. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), managing the debate for his party, asked repeatedly if there was even a copy of the current version of the bill anywhere in the House chamber. Democratic Rep. Ellen Tauscher – sitting in the speaker’s chair although she’s already been confirmed as Obama’s undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security — repeatedly dodged the question.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), one of the bill’s sponsors, finally rose to say that a single copy of the current version of the bill was available at the speaker’s desk – and on the Internet, which members would have to leave the floor to access.”

This bill represents a hidden tax on almost everything we as Americans do.  Hopefully, it can be stopped in the Senate.  If not, it will do more damage to the economy than the current recession.  Unfortunately, the bill may not be introduced into the Senate until the Democrats are sure it will pass.  If it does, the hidden taxes on the average American will be huge–the price of everything we buy or do will increase substantially.  It will not produce jobs or energy independence–it will produce revenue for the government.

This is the list of the eight Republicans who voted for this bill:

Mary Bono Mack California
Michael Castle Delaware
Frank LoBiondo New Jersey
Leonard Lance New Jersey
Mark Kirk Illinois
David Reichert Washington State
Chris Smith New Jersey
John McHugh New York

If you look at the Cap and Trade article published on this site on June 24, there is a map showing which states gain money from the bill and which states lose money.  That map may have changed slightly in the negotiations, but isn’t it interesting that most of the Republican votes come from states that will gain money on that map?

We’ve Lost Three Cultural Icons

In the past few days, we have lost three cultural icons.  They represent three different cultural areas of America and show us in some ways how our culture has changed over the years.  Ed McMahon died Tuesday at age 86, Farrah Fawcett died Thursday at age 62, and Michael Jackson died Thursday at age 50.  Each of them played a unique roll in American culture.

No one over the age of 35 will ever forget “Here’s Johnny” or the wonderful straight man to Carnac the Magnificant.  The Tonight Show had a different flavor than the late night shows of today.  There was political comeday, but it was less vicious than it is today.  There were jokes that pushed the envelope, but they did it gently.  America was able to laugh it itself as well as laughing at the jokes in the monologue or many skits.  Ed McMahon represented a comedic civility that we seem to have lost.

Farrah Fawcett was the pinup girl of the 1970’s.  “Charlie’s Angels” was not great drama, but it was fun and the good guys always won.  She did some more serious acting on TV later in her carreer and was nominated for Emmy awards three times.

The Washington Times commented on Michael Jackson’s contributions to the world of music: 

“Mr. Jackson, named in the Guinness World Records as the “Most Successful Entertainer of All Time,” with 13 Grammy Awards, 13 chart-topping solo singles and more than 750 million albums sold worldwide.”

The thing I remember the most about Michael Jackson was the 1985 recording of “We Are The World”, written with Lionel Richie, and recorded with most of the major music stars of the time.  Michael Jackson was a pioneer in may ways.  He fused rock and roll and funk with the concept of the music video just as MTV was becoming popular.  He had the ability to find the next step in musical entertainment during the 1980’s.  He was getting ready to tour in the coming year, and I know his fans were looking forward to seeing him.

These three people represented very different lives and lifestyles, but all contributed to our American culture, and all will be missed.

Follow The Money On Cap And Trade

Yesterday, I posted the map showing which states will benefit if the Cap and Trade Bill is passed and which states will lose money.  Today the Washington Times has posted an article showing where some of the money taken from Americans in that bill would be going.  Although Americans will pay dearly in energy costs if the bill is passed, some companies will do very well. 

According to the article:

“As part of the far-reaching climate bill, the House is set to vote Friday on a plan to pay companies billions of dollars not to chop down trees around the world, as a way to reduce global warming.

The provision, called “offsets,” has been attacked by both environmentalists and business groups as ineffective and poorly designed. Critics contend it would send scarce federal dollars overseas to plant trees when subsidies are needed at home, while the purported ecological benefits would be difficult to quantify.”

The Wall Street Journal points out:

“The hit to GDP is the real threat in this bill. The whole point of cap and trade is to hike the price of electricity and gas so that Americans will use less. These higher prices will show up not just in electricity bills or at the gas station but in every manufactured good, from food to cars. Consumers will cut back on spending, which in turn will cut back on production, which results in fewer jobs created or higher unemployment. Some companies will instead move their operations overseas, with the same result.

When the Heritage Foundation did its analysis of Waxman-Markey, it broadly compared the economy with and without the carbon tax. Under this more comprehensive scenario, it found Waxman-Markey would cost the economy $161 billion in 2020, which is $1,870 for a family of four. As the bill’s restrictions kick in, that number rises to $6,800 for a family of four by 2035.”

There are some people who stand to make a lot of money if this bill passes–as the rest of us watch our country’s economy and our family budgets struggle to keep up with the additional expense.  This is not the way to fight ‘global warming’ (assuming it exists and is man-made).  This is a way to strangle the American economy. 

The Wrong Decision At The Wrong Time

As the mullahs in Iran consolidate their grip on power, America is planning to send an Ambassador to Syria (President Bush withdrew our Ambassador after the Syrians were linked to the car-bomb assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri).

The Washington Post notes this change in diplomatic policy in its Embassy Row column this morning.  Little Green Footballs has a longer post. 

This is another example of overlooking the fact that a government sponsors terrorism.  Syria has sponsored terrorism in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East.  To extend the hand of friendship to them is unwise for two reasons–it says in so many words that American does not really stand for freedom and it says that we are not really interested in standing against terrorism.  Why are we making friends with terrorists while we are condemning Israel for settling its own land?  This administration seems to follow the pattern of treating our friends badly and being overly nice to our enemies.

The Congressional Agenda Of The Democrats

The Hill posted an article today on the Congressional Agenda of the Democrats.  Their plans for the summer were healthcare reform, cap and trade, immigration reform, and confirming Judge Sotomayer.  All three items have run into some roadblocks.

According to the article:

“Reid, for one, is quite pessimistic about Republican cooperation in the coming months on healthcare and climate change.

“No one claims the answer is obvious, but everyone knows we must work toward one,” he said on the Senate floor. “Yet if Republicans refuse to find common ground on the easy things, how will we do so on the hard ones?”

Members of the Senate Finance Committee say they will begin marking up healthcare reform after the July 4 recess, at the earliest. Meanwhile, members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee plan to extend the markup of their own healthcare proposal into July.

Democrats had hoped that both committees would finish their work by the end of June.

Preoccupation over healthcare has steered senators away from climate change.”

Healthcare reform, cap and trade, and immigration reform as proposed by the Democrats in the house are not good for the country.  Unfortunately, the House of Representatives is currently not allowing alternative bills on these issues to be heard.

According to Monday’s Washington Times:

“Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, said in an interview on The Washington Times’ morning radio show “America’s Morning News” that Mrs. Pelosi and the Democratic majority had recently authorized an unprecedented change in House rules to curb the right of the minority to offer amendments to appropriations spending bills.”

We have come to a place where one party is running our government.  We as Americans need to make sure there are some checks and balances on their power.  Good legislation is the product of debate, and right now there is no serious debate in Congress on any of the issues listed above.  The bills introduced in the House of Representatives will be a minimum of 800 pages long and will be voted on before anyone has a chance to read them.  This is not a successful way to govern.  We need to find a way to slow things down so that we are not stuck with huge federal deficits far into the future and a drag on our economy that we will never be able to overcome.  I am hoping none of this suggested legislation is passed until Congress and the American people have a chance to examine and evaluate it and decide if it is the correct solution to the problems we now face.

Cap and Trade

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has scheduled a vote Friday on the climate-change bill (Cap and Trade) co-sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D., Calif.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D., Mass.),   There are stories in today’s Wall Street Journal, yesterday’s Power Line, and Monday’s American Thinker.  The bottom line on all three stories is that this bill, if passed, will be devastating to the American economy and to the American consumer.  Power Line has the National Mining Association chart on how the bill will affect each state (the chart is based on the Congressional Budget Office Numbers):



As you can see–the bill puts most of the states in the red.  What bothers me is that Edward Markey is from Massachusetts and he can’t even write a bill that helps his own state!!!

Anyway, the bill is 942 pages long.  How many Congressmen will have read it by the time they vote on it Friday?  This is another attempt to slip something by the American people before we have a chance to object!  The bill is “The American Clean Energy and Security Act”  (H. R. 2454) and should be stopped dead in its tracks. 

President Obama said in his press conference yesterday that the bill would be paid for by the people who pollute our water and emit dangerous fumes.  What he didn’t say was that any costs put on utility companies or manufacturers will be passed on to the consumer–that’s you and me.

Unless you want to see the economy worsen and your expenses increase, please send an email to your Congressional Representative to vote against this bill.  I don’t know if it can be stopped, but it should be.  

The Wisdom Of Fouad Ajami

Fouad Ajami posted on op-ed in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal about President Obama’s handling of the events in Iran.  Fouad Ajami is a professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, and the author of “The Foreigner’s Gift: The Americans, the Arabs, and the Iraqis in Iraq (Free Press, 2007).

Professor Ajami feels that President Obama naively felt that he would be able to use his own biography to reach out to governments that previously had been hostile to the United States.  President Obama had extended an olive branch to Iran and waited for Iran to unclench its fist.  Professor Ajami compared that to another American President who felt that he could make peace with the Russians but denouncing the militarism that had come before him–the Russians answered by invading Afghanistan. 

Professor Ajami points out:

“Days into his presidency, it should be recalled, Mr. Obama had spoken of his desire to restore to America’s relation with the Muslim world the respect and mutual interest that had existed 30 or 20 years earlier. It so happened that he was speaking, almost to the day, on the 30th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution — and that the time span he was referring to, his golden age, covered the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the American standoff with Libya, the fall of Beirut to the forces of terror, and the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Liberal opinion would have howled had this history been offered by George W. Bush, but Barack Obama was granted a waiver.”

America’s silence as people are dying for the sake of freedom is not something to be proud of.  Traditionally we have supported the voices of freedom (Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia).  Keeping silent for imagined political expediency is not a positive thing.

Federal Spending Cuts Were A Good Idea, But…

According to The Hill yesterday, Congressional Democrats are pretty much ignoring the request by President Obama for $19.8 billion in budget cuts.  The House Appropriations Committee has included money in the budget for the programs the President suggested cutting.  The have said they are planning to cut spending–just not in the places the President recommended.  Actually, they are planning to cut some of the President’s projects.

“Spending bills marked up by the House have found funds for prisons for illegal immigrants, grants for public telecom facilities, and homeland security programs sending money back to local officials — all of which had been chopped by the White House.

Obama had called for $19.8 billion of cuts in discretionary spending next year, saying the reductions are “setting the right priorities with our spending.””

One of the spending cuts requested by the President was a $400 million reduction in federal spending for state prisons to incarcerate illegal immigrants.  President Obama stated that the money would be better spent on an overhaul of immigration.  Representatives from states with large illegal immigrant populations reinstated that money claiming that to cut it would create a problem for states which are already struggling financially.

Republicans have a different take on the cuts:

“Republican lawmakers are dismissing the Democrats’ and the president’s attempts to find cuts, saying they amount to small change. Even with the cuts, the proposed spending bills will increase discretionary spending by 12 percent over last year, according to an analysis by GOP appropriators.

“In no way does this represent a return to fiscal responsibility,” said Jennifer Hing, spokeswoman for Republicans on the Appropriations panel. “No matter what they say about eliminating programs, the truth is that this Congress is engaging in unprecedented rampant spending which is dangerously unsustainable.””

A budget increase of 12 percent in one year is excessive.  At some point the American taxpayer will be expected to pay for this increase.  We need to find leaders who will cut the federal budget instead of continually expanding it.

The Saga Continues In The New York Senate

According to the New York Post, Governor Paterson has called the state Senate into session at 3 p.m. to vote on 55 crucial pieces of legislation that must be passed by the end of summer to prevent taxes and other vital laws from expiring.  The Senators had asked for 24 hours to work out their differences, but the Governor turned down the request.  On June 8, two Senate Democrats voted with the Republicans to replace the Senate leader and the Senate was thrown into chaos.  They have not been able to agree on how to move forward since then.

According to the article, the Governor provided the Senate with a to-do list:

Bills to renew the 2002 law that gives City Hall control over the school system and hike the city sales tax by 0.5 percentage points were on the list.

More controversial items, such as his proposals to legalize same-sex marriage and create a new, less-generous pension tier, were not.”

The State Assembly is expected to wrap up legislative business late this morning and adjourn for the summer after passing more than 300 bills in the last week.  Meanwhile, the Senate is still trying to work out a power-sharing agreement. 

Support Trader Joe’s

According to Power Line, Trader Joe’s has been targeted by a group of anti-Israeli groups for boycotts and possibly picketing.  The groups have been unsuccessful in their attempts to get Trader Joe’s to remove Israeli products from their shelves.  Their tactic of boycotting and picketing was moderately successful in Europe and they have chosen to begin to use that tactic here. 

According to the article:

“They have selected this coming Saturday, June 20, as their initial, nationwide World Refugee Day. To understand their aims in their own words, the following is a quote from their website: “We invite you to organize in your community and deshelve, sticker, boycott, and protest the presence of Israeli products!””

One of the things that allowed these protests to be successful in Europe was the dwindling numbers of Jews in the countries targeted and the large Muslim populations in those countries.  We have a different situation here–we have a large Jewish population and most of this country sees Israel as our ally and understands that Israel is a functioning democracy in a part of the area where democracy is rare.

These are the actions suggested by the Power Line article:

“Learn more about this immediate concern by reading the report issued on the StandWithUs website (StandWithUs is a Los Angeles based Israel-advocacy organization that does outstanding work).

Please make a point of shopping at Trader Joe’s over the coming days and weeks. Please go out of your way to introduce yourselves to store-managers and to let them know that one of the reasons that you are patronizing their store is precisely because of their principled and courageous determination to continue selling Israeli products. Let them know that you know of many others who feel this way, who might not choose to introduce themselves personally, but who have determined to support Trader Joe’s all the more so because of its decision.

Wherever you may shop – for groceries and otherwise, please consider both or either (a) going out of your way to purchase Israeli products and/or (b) thanking store-managers or proprietors for carrying Israeli products.”

North Korea Is Still Threatening

It seemed to me that over the weekend, the story of the North Korean ship being tailed by the US Navy got lost because of the coverage of Iran.  Associated Press at My Way has picked up the story. 

North Korea has stated that it has nuclear weapons and will use them if it is attacked.  Meanwhile, a U.S. destroyer continued to trail the Kang Nam, a North Korean cargo ship suspected of carrying illicit weapons.  North Korea has said that the interception of a North Korean ship at sea would be considered an act of war.  At the same time, the North Koreans are planning to conduct a long range missile test aimed in the direction of Hawaii.  The article points out:

“The U.N. sanctions – punishment for an underground nuclear test North Korea conducted May 25 – firm up an earlier arms embargo against North Korea and authorize ship searches in an attempt to thwart the regime’s nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions.”

This resolution is the basis for the US attempt to seach the Kang Nam.  The US is considering asking China for help in dealing with the North Korean problem, but it remains to be seen if China will be willing to help.

Double Standard On Parade

Power Line posted an article yesterday about the New York Times handling of the kidnapping of David Rohde, one of their reporters.  Mr. Rohde was kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan seven months ago.  The Times kept the story secret and asked other news outlets who were aware of the story to keep it secret also.  This was done to protect the safety of Mr. Rohde.  It worked–he is safely home now–and the media outlets who held the story helped insure his safe return.  Great.

In December 2005, after being asked by the White House not to run the story, the New York Times ran a story exposing the NSA terrorist eavesdropping program.  This alerted the terrorists to one of our terrorist surveilance programs, making it more difficult to track terrorists, and thus making Americans less safe.  In June 2006, after being asked by the White House not to run the story, the New York Times ran a story exposing the terrorist-finance tracking program that was being used by the Treasury Department, again hampering our efforts to track and detain terrorists.

I agree with the secrecy in the case of of Mr. Rohde–he is now safe and sound.  What I don’t understand is the double standard.  The Times asked for news outlets to help insure the safety of their reporter.  When the Times was asked to refrain from printing a story to help protect the American people, it refused.  They seem to be able to understand the reasons for secrecy when it is up close and personal, but not when it applies to the country as a whole. 

Isolated Incident Or Trend?

Today’s Las Vegas Review Journal has an opinion piece by Sherman Frederick, publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and president of Stephens Media.  He has changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican.  Evidently, when you renew your driver’s license in Nevada, you can register to vote or change your party affiliation.  On June 9, Mr. Frederick changed from Democrat to Republican. 

He points out that Nevade is not a great place for Republicans right now–the governor of the state is going through an ugly divorce and Senator John Ensign has just admitted to an extra-maritial affair.  Not a good time and place for Republican politics.  Harry Reid is riding high and Obama is a rock star.  Why change?

According to the editorial:

“Republicans offer our only hope in slowing the Obama “change” juggernaut before the America of unbridled optimism and opportunity goes the way of the buffalo. I don’t want my great-grandchildren growing up in cradle-to-grave government care, where only the privileged few may afford a car, or own a home, or get non-rationed health care.”

President Obama is a very charismatic man who has a beautiful family.  He remains very popular personally, but some Americans are beginning to see the consequences of the policies he wants to enact.  I personally don’t think the Republicans are ‘all’ the answer–I think the conservative movement is the answer.  Meanwhile, I hope the more extreme policy ideas of President Obama can be blocked by the Republicans we have in office now.

Happy Father’s Day

Holidays.net is one of the places to find the history of Father’s Day.  The holiday was proposed in 1909 to honor William Smart, a Civil War veteran who became a widower when his wife died during the birth of their sixth child.  One of his daughters proposed the holiday in recognition of the sacrifices her father had made in raising his children.

The first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Washington.  Finally, in 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June to be Father’s Day.

At any rate–Happy Father’s Day!!!