Sunday, December 30, 2007

Hezbollah & North Korea Connection

It is most diffcult for me to truly understand the thinking of Kim Jong-il, but then I am not a loony dictator with a bad hair day, everyday ruling over a starving country.

What is really perplexing to me is that anybody would think they would have any sway with that fruitcake.

Of course this has everything to do with the only nation with any power that knows how to use this useful idiot.

Report: N. Korea gave Hezbollah aid when IDF quit Lebanon in 2000
By Haaretz Service and News Agencies

The Lebanese-based Hezbollah organization received military aid from North Korea after the Israel Defense Forces left south Lebanon in 2000, Army Radio reported on Thursday, quoting a recent report by the U.S. Congressional Research Service.

According to the sources referenced in the congressional report, North Korean experts trained guerillas from the Syrian and Iranian-backed group in building bunkers and storing weapons, food and medical supplies.

The report said the aid "significantly improved Hezbollah's ability to fight the Israelis" during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, according to the radio.

An IDF soldier standing beside a Hezbollah bunker in southern Lebanon during the war last summer. (Yarom Kaminsky)

The CRS document also cited a report by a prominent South Korean academic, Moon Chung-in, that the Mossad intelligence agency believed that "vital missile components" used by Hezbollah against Israel came from North Korea.

Both Hezbollah and North Korea are reported to have military ties with Syria. During last summer's fighting in Lebanon, Hezbollah received direct intelligence support from Syria, using data collected by listening posts jointly manned by Russian and Syrian crews.

Hezbollah was also fed intelligence from new listening posts built on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, which are operated jointly with Iran.

North Korea, which has been embroiled recently in an international row over its nuclear development program, was accused by a senior U.S. official of sending secret suppliers to Syria to provide it with nuclear equipment.

In September 2007, the Israel Air Force struck a target in Syria which was later reported to have been a nuclear facility built with North Korean know-how.

The Syrian ambassador to the U.S., Imad Moustapha, vehemently denied the reports of North Korean nuclear assistance, calling them "absolutely, totally, fundamentally ridiculous and untrue."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Political Correctness: How To Avoid It.

I have been looking for something that shows just how disgusting the Arab media is.

It all started way back when the nation was in the depths of depression. But like any government giveaway once started it never goes away.

With commodity prices at record highs now would be a nice time to wean the millionaires off the public teat from what has really become a public scandal.

Feeding at the trough
Reformers still lack the votes to end subsidies for mega-farms

Senators left Washington to adjourn for the year bearing a gift for every U.S. consumer.

Unfortunately, it was a lump of coal: the Farm Bill.

Congress had an opportunity to wean large commercial farming operations from taxpayer subsidies, and treat agricultural entities as businesses, rather than recipients of corporate welfare.

It didn't. The House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill must still be reconciled in a conference committee. Yet neither version signals a major departure from the dysfunctional status quo. So unless President Bush vetoes the final legislation, it's possible that farm programs will continue to produce abundant cash harvests for the well-to-do, and higher food prices for American consumers.

To be sure, roughly two-thirds of the Farm Bill's spending covers food stamps and other nutrition programs. But the Senate had several opportunities to truly limit subsidy programs and it balked.

It could have phased out direct payments to farm operations altogether, as an amendment by Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., would have done.

Lugar points out that over the past decade, 70 percent of all farm subsidies - totaling $120 billion - have gone to 6 percent of farms. Lugar's amendment would have ended those payments - which flow to farmers even if they're earning profits on their operations - by 2014. It would have also set up a true crop insurance program: Farmers would receive payments only when yields or revenues fell by 15 percent in an entire county.

A system like this would minimize taxpayer costs and, over time, sunset the Depression-era subsidy programs. It got only 37 votes, including the support of Colorado Republican Wayne Allard.

Even more modest reforms didn't fare much better. Senators could have set caps on payments; once individual farms reached those limits, they could no longer collect financial support from taxpayers. An amendment, by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., would have capped yearly payments at $250,000 per married couple.

It passed, 56-43. The four Democratic senators running for president returned to Washington to vote for it. Even Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who's rarely met a farm subsidy he couldn't embrace, supported the amendment.

But Democratic leaders insisted that any amendment receive 60 votes, so even a majority of senators were unable to dislodge wealthy subsidy recipients from the taxpayer trough.

What the Senate passed makes a mockery of reform, and by some measures is worse than its House counterpart. The Senate version would by 2010 cut off agricultural payments to absentee owners and others who get more than a third of their income from non-farm sources if their adjusted gross income exceeds $750,000.

But if you're a full-time farmer, the Senate doesn't care how much you earn - you can collect subsidies even if you rake in millions annually. At least the House version would immediately end payments for "real" farmers who earn $1 million or more a year.

The Senate bill is a sham. And since the House bill isn't much better, President Bush should veto whatever eventually reaches his desk.

The support Dorgan's amendment received, however, shows there is a constituency for reform in Washington that the subsidy-addicted farm lobby should no longer be allowed to silence.

Price of Ethanol

Ethanol, A Good Choice?

Use ethanol or not, we still pay the bill at .51 cents a gallon for those who power their automobiles. Maybe I wouldn't mind if that was reflected at the pump but the money goes straight into the pockets of the producers.

I am all for looking at alternate ways to create power but should we be putting so many eggs in the ethanol basket?

Ethanol Craze CoolsAs Doubts Multiply
Claims for Environment,Energy Use Draw Fire;Fighting on the Farm

By LAUREN ETTERNovember 28, 2007;

Little over a year ago, ethanol was winning the hearts and wallets of both Main Street and Wall Street, with promises of greater U.S. energy independence, fewer greenhouse gases and help for the farm economy. Today, the corn-based biofuel is under siege.

In the span of one growing season, ethanol has gone from panacea to pariah in the eyes of some. The critics, which include industries hurt when the price of corn rises, blame ethanol for pushing up food prices, question its environmental bona fides and dispute how much it really helps reduce the need for oil.

A recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development concluded that biofuels "offer a cure [for oil dependence] that is worse than the disease." A National Academy of Sciences study said corn-based ethanol could strain water supplies. The American Lung Association expressed concern about a form of air pollution from burning ethanol in gasoline. Political cartoonists have taken to skewering the fuel for raising the price of food to the world's poor.

Last month, an outside expert advising the United Nations on the "right to food" labeled the use of food crops to make biofuels "a crime against humanity," although the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization later disowned the remark as "regrettable."

The fortunes of many U.S. farmers, farm towns and ethanol companies are tied to corn-based ethanol, of which America is the largest producer. Ethanol is also a cornerstone of President Bush's push to reduce dependence on foreign oil. But the once-booming business has gone in the dumps, with profits squeezed, plans for new plants shelved in certain cases, and stock prices hovering near 52-week lows.

Now the fuel's lobby is pleading with Congress to drastically boost the amount of ethanol that oil refiners must blend into gasoline. But formidable opponents such as the livestock, packaged-food and oil industries also have lawmakers' ears. What once looked like a slam-dunk could now languish in pending energy legislation that might not pass for weeks, if ever.

Ethanol's problems have much to do with its past success. As profits and production soared in 2005 and 2006, so did the price of corn, gradually angering livestock farmers who need it for feed. They allied with food companies also stung by higher grain prices, and with oil companies that have long loathed subsidies for ethanol production.

The U.S. gives oil refiners an excise-tax credit of 51 cents for every gallon of ethanol they blend into gasoline. And even though it's the oil industry that gets this subsidy, the industry dislikes being forced to use a nonpetroleum product. The U.S. ethanol industry is further protected by a 54-cent tariff on every gallon of imported ethanol.

Ethanol prices peaked at about $5 a gallon in some markets in June 2006, according to Oil Price Information Service. The price soon began to slide as the limited market for gasoline containing 10% ethanol grew saturated. New plants kept coming online, increasing supply and dropping prices further. Today, the oil refiners that purchase ethanol to blend in need pay only about $1.85 a gallon for it.

The low ethanol prices help some oil refiners. "I'd pay a hell of a lot more for ethanol than I am right now.... I'm getting a windfall because it's priced so much less than its value to me," Lynn Westfall, chief economist for refiner Tesoro Corp., told investors recently. The ethanol tax credit will bring refiners an estimated $3.5 billion this year. Some oil companies use ethanol to stretch gasoline supplies or meet state requirements to make gasoline burn more cleanly. Ethanol that's voluntarily blended into gasoline reached a high this month, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The low prices reflect soaring output. Global ethanol production has grown to a projected 13.4 billion gallons this year, from 10.9 billion gallons in 2006, according to the International Energy Agency. The U.S. production is more than half of that total, or about seven billion gallons this year, up 80% in two years. It equals less than 4% of U.S. gasoline consumption.

Analysts expect U.S. production capacity to keep growing, encouraged both by high oil prices and by the hope that Congress will stiffen the mandate for refiners to use ethanol. Some observers regard the profit squeeze as part of an ordinary industry shakeout that will ultimately leave the best producers in a position to thrive. As ethanol prices were pushed lower and corn prices stayed high, ethanol profit margins dropped from $2.30 per gallon last year to less than 25 cents a gallon.

Turning Up the Heat

This year, even as the production glut was driving down ethanol's price, critics and opposing lobbyists were turning up the heat. Environmentalists complained about increased use of water and fertilizer to grow corn for ethanol, and said even ethanol from other plants such as switchgrass could be problematic because it could mean turning protected land to crop use.

Suddenly, environmentalists, energy experts, economists and foreign countries were challenging the warm-and-fuzzy selling points on which ethanol rose to prominence.

"Our love affair with ethanol has finally ended because we've taken off the makeup and realized that, lo and behold, it's actually a fuel," with environmental and various other drawbacks, says Kevin Book, an analyst at Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group Inc.

Against all the criticism and lobbying, "we're David in this fight," says Bob Dinneen, the ethanol industry's top lobbyist. Mr. Dinneen says the industry has been made a scapegoat for food price increases that are due to many factors, including higher oil prices and growing overseas demand for grain.

He also faults the lack of a mature U.S. distribution network that would make it easier for consumers to get ethanol. His group, called the Renewable Fuels Association, and the National Corn Growers Association have formed a coalition to "unify the voices" in the ethanol community, he says.

Back in early 2005, President Bush gave ethanol a boost in his State of the Union speech by calling for "strong funding" of renewable energy. Energy legislation that summer required oil companies to blend a total of 7.5 billion gallons of "renewable" fuels into the nation's fuel supply by 2012.

The legislation also effectively extinguished ethanol's chief competitor as a clean-burning additive, methyl tertiary-butyl ether, which had groundwater-pollution issues. The bill anointed ethanol as the default additive and instantly created demand nearly double what was produced that year.

"That was when the floodgates started coming open," says attorney Dan Rogers of the Atlanta law firm King & Spalding LLP, which arranges financing for ethanol plants. Hedge funds, private-equity investors and East Coast bankers started pouring money into ethanol. Producers such as VeraSun Energy Corp. and Pacific Ethanol Inc. went public. Mr. Dinneen, the lobbyist, hopscotched the country attending ribbon-cuttings at new plants that popped up in corn-growing states.

Local farmers who'd invested soon were cashing handsome dividend checks, even as new demand pushed up the price of corn. After languishing roughly in the $2-a-bushel range for three decades, corn jumped to above $4 early in 2007. So far this year, it's averaging $3.35.
In the past, livestock farmers supported ethanol because it was good for the overall farm economy. But now they began to complain that the higher corn price cut sharply into their profits. A meat-producer trade group called the American Meat Institute took a stand against federal support for biofuels last December, joined soon after by the National Turkey Federation and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

The farm fissure widened when livestock, meat and poultry groups started coordinating their lobbying with the oil industry, in discussions helped along by former Texas Congressman Charles Stenholm, who now lobbies for both industries.

Packaged-food companies, too, began pushing back, as one after another blamed biofuels' effect on grain costs for hurting earnings. In June, Dean Foods Co., H.J. Heinz Co., Kellogg Co., Nestle USA, PepsiCo Inc. and Coca-Cola Co. sent a letter to senators saying that requiring greater use of ethanol would affect their "ability to produce competitively available, affordable food."
Ethanol's opponents also began to highlight reasons why ethanol might not be such a boon to the environment, citing some recent research studies.

Strain on Water Supplies

One by the National Research Council said additional ethanol production could strain water supplies and impair water quality. A spring 2007 report by the Environmental Protection Agency said that "ozone levels generally increase with increased ethanol use."

A study coauthored by Nobel-prize-winning chemist Paul Crutzen said corn ethanol might exacerbate climate change as the added fertilizer used to grow corn raised emissions of a very potent greenhouse gas called nitrous oxide. The ethanol industry replies to that one with an Energy Department study concluding that use of ethanol reduces greenhouse-gas emissions by 18% to 28% on a per-gallon basis, provided that coal isn't used to run ethanol plants.

Opponents of ethanol also have hammered on an Agriculture Department projection that by 2010, less than 8% of the U.S. gasoline supply will come from corn-based ethanol -- and 30% of the corn crop will be used to make it. That suggests to some that the tradeoff between food and fuel is unbalanced.

At the same time, some foreign countries have been increasingly questioning ethanol. Mexico blamed it in part for contributing to rising prices of corn-based tortillas. China barred new biofuel plants from using corn, and Malaysia trimmed its biofuels production mandates.

Cuban President Fidel Castro has called using food crops for fuel a "sinister idea." President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela ordered troops to secure his oil-producing nation's grain supplies, saying corn was to be used for food, not fuel.

The government of Quebec, which has offered loan guarantees for corn ethanol plants, recently decided not to initiate any new ones. Instead it will turn its attention to so-called cellulosic ethanol, which would be made from switchgrass, wood chips or other plant matter. It concluded that "the environmental costs of corn ethanol are higher than expected," says a spokesman for the province's minister of natural resources.

In recent months, U.S. lawmakers appear to have become more receptive to the anti-ethanol arguments. "People never thought they would have to make a trade between energy security and food security," says Jesse Sevcik, a lobbyist for the ethanol-opposing American Meat Institute.

The ethanol industry, accustomed to getting its way in Washington, hadn't faced such opposition before. It may not have helped that Mr. Dinneen, in a close echo of former Vice President Spiro Agnew's famous line, for months brushed off his foes as "nattering nabobs of negativity."

Mr. Dinneen says arguments about ethanol driving up food costs are overblown, in part because corn farmers will produce so much grain that corn prices will ease. But even though U.S. farmers this year planted their biggest crop since World War II, prices have stayed well above $3 a bushel, thanks to rising demand in developing countries and poor weather in some grain-growing nations.

The price is expected to stay well above $3 next year as farmers shift some land from corn to two other crops whose prices have risen sharply, wheat and soybeans.

Bigger Plants

New and bigger ethanol plants, spurred by money from investors far from the Corn Belt, have contributed to production capacity that's expected to approach 12 billion gallons next year. But annual U.S. demand stands at just under 7 billion gallons.

So it's easy to see why the industry supports the Senate version of pending energy legislation, which includes a requirement that gasoline blenders use 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022. Up to 15 billion gallons of this would come from corn-based ethanol. The rest would come from cellulosic ethanol -- an industry that now barely exists -- or other fuels. A similar bill passed in the House has no such provision.

Mr. Dinneen, who has been lobbying on ethanol so long he's known as the "reverend of renewable fuels," says he's "reasonably confident" Congress will raise the ethanol mandate. He says he's talking with the military, labor groups, Southern black churches and others about how ethanol can help them. "We've got to build the biggest, baddest coalition we can."

Monday, December 24, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

TV Ad: My Christmas Story

It seems this election cycle we are treated to paid commercials telling us something about themselves, or what they want us to think of them and Christmas.

Of course it is no surprise that Senator McCain draws on his years as a POW.

Rudy Giuliani's Web Holiday Video

OK, it is Christmas and why not have a little fun.

Hillary's Presents, Who Paid?

I Can anyone think of a worse commercial for a person running for President?
Does she think that we are too stupid to know who pays for the presents?

Mike Huckabee - Christmas

I am not a fan of Mike Huckabee, but darn, what is the problem?

A bookcase in the background, image of a cross.

What else would you expect?

Isn't any complaint really another example of the Left's effort to eliminate religion form the Public Square?

Give me a break.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Earmarks, Wasting Our Money

One of my biggest gripes against President Bush is that he has not used his veto pen to control spending.

I suppose a lot of that has to do with Republicans having control of both the Senate and House of Representatives. While his popularity plummets a hard political reality is he wouldn't want to tick off his own party.

So what happens is the taxpayer gets soaked as our representatives use the federal treasury as a personal fund to garner popularity among those who benefit from this abuse of power.

Well, a funny thing happened which puts a smile on my face.

An attachment to $516 billion omnibus spending bill in place by house and Senate committees are vulnerable to simply not being spent.

We can thank our Founding Fathers for this small relief from this free spending by Congress.

I would rather see a battle royal bringing the issue of "earmarks" to national attention, in the meantime may as well take what we can get.

The End of Earmarks?
December 20, 2007

For those of us fated to watch annual State of the Union addresses, the most entertaining moments are when the Members all rise to cheer and applaud a Presidential statement they know is popular but they also know will never happen. Such a moment occurred in January, when President Bush declared:

"Over 90% of earmarks never make it to the floor of the House and Senate -- they are dropped into committee reports that are not even part of the bill that arrives on my desk. You didn't vote them into law. I didn't sign them into law. . . . The time has come to end this practice."

The Members whooped it up, with wide ironic grins, and even Mr. Bush had to smile at the spectacle. Well, here's an idea: How about if Mr. Bush now demonstrates that he meant what he said by making the Members live up to their applause?

The President has the opportunity to do this as part of the $516 billion omnibus spending bill that Congress passed this week. That bill contains 8,993 special-interest earmarks, but most of them aren't even in the language of the law itself. Instead, they are part of an accompanying 500-page "committee report" compiled by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and staff. We doubt most Members have even seen the report.

Mr. Bush has said he'll sign the actual spending bill, but that doesn't mean he and his executive branch must spend that money on the earmarks in the committee report. A December 18 legal analysis by attorney Todd Tatelman for the Congressional Research Service concludes that "because the language of committee reports do not meet the procedural requirements of Article I of the Constitution -- specifically, bicameralism and presentment -- they are not laws and, therefore, are not legally binding on executive agencies." In plainer English, this means committee reports have not been formally passed by both houses and "presented" to the President for signing.

This means Mr. Bush has the legal authority not to fund these projects, which lack the force of law. Mr. Bush's own budget office has asserted this authority before. Earlier this year, then budget director Rob Portman instructed federal agencies that they could disregard committee report language on earmarks. "Unless a project or activity is specifically identified in statutory text, agencies should not obligate funds on the basis of earmarks contained in Congressional reports or documents," Mr. Portman wrote. That's why there were fewer earmarks last year.

Federal agencies would still be obligated to spend the money appropriated by Congress. But they could choose to spend those dollars on higher priorities that would benefit all taxpayers, rather than on favors for special interests or political donors. For example, the $700,000 for a bike trail in Minneapolis could be used to rebuild the collapsed bridge in that city and to strengthen others.

We hear the White House is exploring this option and that some in the Senate are urging him to take it. This won't make the President popular with Appropriators in either party, but it isn't as if he needs to store political capital for a reform agenda in his last year in office. Taxpayers would be grateful that someone is finally trying to discipline an earmark process that wastes money and has a record of inviting corruption. Mr. Bush has both the law and public opinion on his side.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Is torture ever justified?

I would say so.

With that said I would cast a frown on methods of popular imagination which really gives no results, meaning "I will tell you anything, just stop it."

Waterboarding has proven not only productive, but leaves the suspect in good health.
What is waterboarding?

Give a listen.

Now, the hate America "Holier than thou" crowd (Democrats) who always seem to want to dismantle our national defense are outraged.

But wait, "What did they know, and when did they know it" comes to haunt them.

Waterboarding: Congress Knew
December 11, 2007; Page A26

After three days of screaming headlines about the CIA destroying videotapes in 2005 of the "harsh" interrogation of two terrorists, it now comes to light that in 2002 key members of Congress were fully briefed by the CIA about those interrogation techniques, including waterboarding. One member of that Congressional delegation was the future House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.

The Washington Post on Sunday reported these series of briefings. While it is not our habit to promote the competition, readers should visit the Post's Web site and absorb this astonishing detail for themselves as reported by Joby Warrick and Dan Eggen in "Hill Briefed on Waterboarding in 2002: In meetings, spy panels' chiefs did not protest, officials say."
Porter Goss, the former chair of the House Intelligence Committee who later served as CIA director from 2004 to 2006 is explicit about what happened in these meetings: "Among those being briefed, there was a pretty full understanding of what the CIA was doing. And the reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement."

In all, the CIA provided Congress with some 30 briefings on waterboarding before it became a public issue.

Why would the CIA want to tell the most senior members of Congress about anything so sensitive? No doubt in part because senior officials at the CIA, not to mention the interrogators themselves, assuredly did not want to begin any such policy absent closing the political and legal loop on it.

The Congressional briefings touched the political base, and a Justice Department memo at that time deemed the interrogation methods legal. Most crucially, bear in mind that when pressed about all this at his confirmation hearings, Attorney General Michael Mukasey pointedly said he would not make a post-facto condemnation of the techniques, thereby putting the "freedom" of the interrogators at risk, "simply because I want to be congenial."

At the time, we wrote that this was a sign of Judge Mukasey's character. That word would not spring to mind in describing what the Post's account says about Congress.

One certainly may hold as abhorrent the idea of aggressively interrogating any terrorists ever, either for fear of what they might do to our people, as John McCain does, or because one thinks this violates our values. What one may not do -- at least not if one wants the system to function -- is assent to such a policy in 2002 and then, when the policy is made public, put up the pretense that one is "shocked" and appalled to learn of it.

This is bad faith. Worse, it risks setting in motion the ruin or eventual criminal prosecution of CIA employees who in 2002 did what the Bush Administration, Congress and indeed the nation wanted them to do to protect the American people from another September 11.

It has been widely reported by now that waterboarding was used on only three individuals -- Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who planned the airliner attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon; Abu Zebaydah, an Osama bin Laden confidante captured in Pakistan 2002 and described as a director of al-Qaeda operations; and a third unidentified person. If Speaker Pelosi and her colleagues want the handling of such terrorists conformed to what they call "our values," then she should define that and put it in an explicit piece of legislation. Then let the Members vote yea or nay, in public, on the record.

But don't sign off on such a sensitive policy at a moment when the nation's "values" support it, then later feign revulsion when you can't take the heat from the loudest in your political constituency. There was a time when politics at least assumed more backbone than that.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

111907 - Bush Pushed for BP Pardons

What is wrong with this picture?

(CBS/AP) President Bush granted pardons Wednesday to 14 people, including a member of the mineworkers union who was convicted for his role in bombings at a West Virginia coal mine, a counterfeiter and a bootlegger.



Sunday, December 9, 2007

Muslim Lunacy in Sudan


This idea of a North American Union should go the way of the dodo.
Anyone who wants to know what it would be like just look at the European Union where national sovereignty no longer exists and there is no redress of grievances by the people.
We don't need our continent ruled by swell headed elites.
We have too much of that already as evident by the fact that practically nobody here knows of this idea, a North American Union, being foisted on us.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Hugo Chavez, Cornered Rat

A clear indicator that a dictator feels he has something to worry about is when he starts yelling about conspiracies to remove him from power.

Chávez Bluster Surges Ahead of Referendum

CARACAS, Venezuela, Nov. 30 -- On the eve of a referendum that President Hugo Chávez has cast as a plebiscite on his rule, the populist leader is escalating his verbal assaults on foes real and imagined, picking a fight with neighboring Colombia one day and assailing Catholic Church leaders as "mental retards" the next.

This is really a fun story.

. . .a few weeks ago the proposals had been expected to receive easy approval, polls released last week showed that the opposition could ultimately prevail in a tight contest.

"He's decided that his best tactic to recover the control of his movement is to instill fear in his people that there's a world conspiracy against Venezuela," said Demetrio Boersner, a political analyst and former diplomat. "It's a tactic that uses histrionics as a weapon to unite the people so they vote for him on Sunday."

"There's an offensive to criminalize Venezuela, to say that Venezuela is falling into an abyss, that it's a country of dictators, of Castro-style communism, a country that helps terrorists," Bernardo Alvarez, Venezuela's ambassador in Washington,

Yea, well it is a country of dictators, of Castro type madness.

In speech after speech, Chávez avoids dwelling on unpopular proposals for change, including one that would permit him to run for office indefinitely and another that would give him the power to appoint provincial governors. Instead, he depicts his opponents as conspirators out to crush his self-styled revolution.

See what I mean?
That rat feels cornered.

Mark Feierstein, an American who has polled in Venezuela for years, said the president's supporters, known as Chavistas, also tire of the rhetoric.

Maybe time to find a new speech writer.

The president's behavior has been making international headlines since early this month when, at a summit in Chile, he called former Spanish prime minister José María Aznar a "fascist." After a long diatribe by Chávez, the king of Spain, Juan Carlos, became so agitated that he leaned across a table and said to the Venezuelan: "Why don't you shut up?"

That is hilarious.

"There will not be a million kings who will want to keep my mouth shut, because I speak in the name of Venezuela," Chávez later said.

The guy doesn't know good advise when it is offered.

Then, after President Álvaro Uribe of Colombia last week ended CChávez's role in mediations with that country's guerrilla group, Chávez said that Uribe's actions were "brutal" and disrespectful of Venezuela -- even if Chávez had sidestepped diplomatic protocol, as Uribe contended.

Chávez withdrew his ambassador from Bogota and, in televised comments Wednesday, said Uribe was capable of "barefaced lies." "If he does that to me," Chávez said, "imagine how he is with the poor Colombian people."

This guy Hugo needs a mirror.

On Friday, a day when an estimated 200,000 people in Caracas rallied in support of Chávez, officials saw yet one more possible sign of conspiracy. Toilet paper is in short supply -- as are milk, eggs and other staples.

This is righteous, the great toilet paper conspiracy.

"We know there are sectors hiding toilet paper," Finance Minister Rodrigo Cabezas said on state television. "A group of business leaders are playing mean, playing dirty." He said it was designed to "create the sensation of product shortage during the election."

Venezuela's Participatory Democracy

Venezuela has a disease. It is called Hugo Chavez.

Political coups don't always wear khaki. Sometimes they take the form of populist politicians who use "democracy" to consolidate their power. That's the case in Venezuela, where President Hugo Chávez is promoting a national referendum this Sunday that would give him vast new authority.

Voters are being asked to approve 69 "reforms" that amount to an overhaul of the country's constitution. Mr. Chávez has promoted the vote, despite the view of many constitutional scholars -- some of whom are his former allies -- that these amendments require the election of a constitutional assembly. No matter. The president announced the referendum and had his rubber-stamp Congress approve it.

This is ironic, since Mr. Chávez all but wrote the 1999 constitution himself. But he has tired of its checks and balances, especially its decentralized power. He now wants to restore more authority to his central government. Communal councils will rule locally, but their members will no longer be elected; they will be appointed by the Chávez government. His name for this is "participatory democracy," which he prefers over the "representative" kind.

I've never heard of Participatory Democracy so I looked it up.

Participatory democracy strives to create opportunities for all members of a political group to make meaningful contributions to decision-making, and seeks to broaden the range of people who have access to such opportunities.

Somehow I don't believe this is what Mr. Chavez has in mind. This BBC article explains the nuts and bolts of the changes Mr. Chavez wants to make. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see through this chrade.

What are the main changes proposed?

Mr Chavez initially proposed amending 33 articles of the constitution, but the National Assembly added another 36 changes.

Among some of the main changes are:

Allowing the indefinite re-election of the president - not applicable to any other political post

Increasing the presidential term from six to seven years

Introducing changes to the country's administrative structure

Ending the autonomy of the central bank

Placing the president in charge of administering the country's international reserves

Reducing the maximum working week from 44 to 36 hours

That BBC article is worth checking out.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Salt, Do Gooders and the Nanny Government

Here we go again.

"The deaths attributed to excess salt consumption represent a huge toll - the equivalent of a jumbo jet with more than 400 passengers crashing every day of the year, year after year,"

And I thought guns were a big problem. Kinda makes drunk driving look small in comparison.

Golly, bin Laden and his Islamo Fascists colleagues can take a back seat to this terrible tragedy.

Of course the Good Doers have the answer, more, bigger government.

Oh and let’s not forget the tort lawyers hitching their band wagon to lighten citizens hands of a few more millions of dollars.

Is this crazy?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Achmed The Dead Terrorist

Don't Call Them Muslims

Rioters in Paris can be called Arab, black, North African, anything except the one thing that all have in common,

They are Muslims, is that so hard to say?

Reading the front pages of several newspapers I can't find that word. One might ask what does that have to do with anything, and I will tell you everything.

You hear of the Muslim angle when they are making excuses for their direct attack against authority,

against culture.

How long must Western Civilization put up with this before we wise up?

EEOC, Pelosi and the English Language

Incredible that there is even an argument.

Two employees who refused to learn English were fired by the Salvation Army.

Once again the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is sticking its nose where it does not belong. Only by the thinnest thread of legal logic does that commission squash the employer’s right to require employees to speak English on the job.

To stop the out of control EEOC Senator Larmar Alexander attached an amendment to a spending bill to protect businesses.

Most businesses are small and just don't have the recourses to protect their rights against the federal government.

This bill was passed by both houses, but then what does that matter as House Majority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi caters to the Hispanic Caucus.

American rights be damned.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Texas Man Shoots Burglars

The only reason this make any interest is because it is recorded on a 911 emergency tape.

I am not shedding any tears for the burglars but this guy should have stayed indoors.

In Texas it is legal to use deadly force to protect property, only at night and this happened at 2:00 p.m., broad daylight.

If I saw somebody breaking into my neighbor’s house I would call the police and that’s it. I am not going to risk my safety for my neighbor’s property.

You can hear the full tape on either link.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Right to Bear Arms, Supreme Court

Finally the United States Supreme Court is about to hear a case that considers the basic right of Americans to own firearms.

This question should be clear to any American.

Our right has been wildly obfuscated by people who don't understand the basic principle which is the ability to protect oneself, and others from the vermin that haunts our streets and possible government intrusion of our other rights.

If nobody else gets it, the founders of our country understood.

They trusted the common man.

That is why we have the Bill of Rights.

The following commentary is outstanding and worth a read.

Second Amendment Showdown

The Supreme Court has a historic opportunity to affirm the individual right to keep and bear arms.BY MIKE COXFriday, November 23, 2007 12:01 a.m.The Supreme Court has agreed to take up a case that will affect millions of Americans and could also have an impact on the 2008 elections. That case, Parker v. D.C., should settle the decades-old argument whether the right "to keep and bear arms" of the Constitution's Second Amendment is an individual right--that all Americans enjoy--or only a collective right that states may regulate freely. Legal, historical and even empirical reasons all command a decision that recognizes the Second Amendment guarantee as an individual right.

The amendment reads: "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." If "the right of the people" to keep and bear arms was merely an incident of, or subordinate to, a governmental (i.e., a collective) purpose--that of ensuring an efficient or "well regulated" militia--it would be logical to conclude, as does the District of Columbia--that government can outlaw the individual ownership of guns. But this collective interpretation is incorrect.

To analyze what "the right of the people" means, look elsewhere within the Bill of Rights for guidance. The First Amendment speaks of "the right of the people peaceably to assemble . . ." No one seriously argues that the right to assemble or associate with your fellow citizens is predicated on the number of citizens or the assent of a government. It is an individual right.

The Fourth Amendment says, "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated . . ." The "people" here does not refer to a collectivity, either.

The rights guaranteed in the Bill of Right are individual. The Third and Fifth Amendments protect individual property owners; the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments protect potential individual criminal defendants from unreasonable searches, involuntary incrimination, appearing in court without an attorney, excessive bail, and cruel and unusual punishments.

The Ninth Amendment protects individual rights not otherwise enumerated in the Bill of Rights. The 10th Amendment states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people." Here, "the people" are separate from "the states"; thus, the Second Amendment must be about more than simply a "state" militia when it uses the term "the people."

Consider the grammar. The Second Amendment is about the right to "keep and bear arms." Before the conjunction "and" there is a right to "keep," meaning to possess. This word would be superfluous if the Second Amendment were only about bearing arms as part of the state militia. Reading these words to restrict the right to possess arms strains common rules of composition.

Colonial history and politics are also instructive. James Madison wrote the Bill of Rights to provide a political compromise between the Federalists, who favored a strong central government, and the Anti-Federalists, who feared a strong central government as an inherent danger to individual rights. In June 1789, then-Rep. Madison introduced 12 amendments, a "bill of rights," to the Constitution to convince the remaining two of the original 13 colonies to ratify the document.

Madison's draft borrowed liberally from the English Bill of Rights of 1689 and Virginia's Declaration of Rights. Both granted individual rights, not collective rights. As a result, Madison proposed a bill of rights that reflected, as Stanford University historian Jack Rakove notes, his belief that the "greatest dangers to liberty would continue to arise within the states, rather than from a reconstituted national government." Accordingly, Mr. Rakove writes that "Madison justified all of these proposals (Bill of Rights) in terms of the protection they would extend to individual and minority rights."

One of the earliest scholars of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, Justice Joseph Story, confirmed this focus on individuals in his famous "Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States" in 1833. "The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms," Story wrote, "has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of republics, since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers . . ."

It is also important to consider the social context at the time of the drafting and adoption of the Bill of Rights. Our Founding Fathers lived in an era where there were arms in virtually every household. Most of America was rural or, even more accurately, frontier. The idea that in the 1780s the common man, living in the remote woods of the Allegheny Mountains of western Pennsylvania and Virginia, would depend on the indulgence of his individual state or colony--not to mention the new federal government--to possess and use arms in order to defend himself is ludicrous. From the Minutemen of Concord and Lexington to the irregulars at Yorktown, members of the militias marched into battle with privately-owned weapons.

Lastly, consider the empirical arguments. The three D.C. ordinances at issue are of the broadest possible nature. According to the statute, a person is not legally able to own a handgun in D.C. at all and may have a long-gun--even in one's home--only if it is kept unloaded and disassembled (or bound with a trigger lock). The statute was passed in 1976. What have been the results?

Illegal guns continue to be widely available in the district; criminals have easy access to guns while law-abiding citizens do not. Cathy L. Lanier, Acting Chief of Police, Metropolitan Police Department, was quoted as follows: "Last year [2006], more than 2,600 illegal firearms were recovered in D.C., a 13% increase over 2005." Crime rose significantly after the gun ban went into effect. In the five years before the 1976 ban, the murder rate fell to 27 from 37 per 100,000. In the five years after it went into effect, the murder rate rose to 35. In fact, while murder rates have varied over time, during the 30 years since the ban, the murder rate has only once fallen below what it was in 1976.

This comports with my own personal experience. In almost 14 years as prosecutor and as head of the Homicide Unit of the Wayne County (Detroit) Prosecutor's Office, I never saw anyone charged with murder who had a license to legally carry a concealed weapon. Most people who want to possess guns are law-abiding and present no threat to others. Rather than the availability of weapons, my experience is that gun violence is driven by culture, police presence (or lack of same), and failures in the supervision of parolees and probationers.

Not only does history demonstrate that the Second Amendment is an individual right, but experience demonstrates that the broad ban on gun ownership in the District of Columbia has led to precisely the opposite effect from what was intended. For legal and historical reasons, and for the safety of the residents of our nation's capital, the Supreme Court should affirm an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Mr. Cox is the attorney general of Michigan.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Democracy in Pakistan?

OK, they had elections, so to speak and Musharraf' can take off his uniform put on the suit and tie then we can pretend all is fine and well in that country.

Still in control by emergency rule is there any doubt that Musharraf is calling the shots irrespective of any parliament?

I can't say the election was stolen as it was a farce in the first place.

Court Dismisses Legal Challenge Against Musharraf
Move Clears Way for Leader to Serve Another Presidential Term

President Pervez Musharraf's script for a tightly controlled political transition moved ahead on cue Thursday, as his hand-picked Supreme Court dismissed the final legal challenge to Musharraf becoming president for another five-year term

"All the issues making the politicians agitate will be resolved," said Tariq Azim Khan, the deputy information minister. "General Musharraf will take off his uniform and become Mr. President. The emergency definitely will be short-lived. The people should begin preparing for elections and let the best man win."

This is hilarious.

Yet even as the military-led government continued to free thousands of civilian protesters and opposition leaders detained in recent weeks, it intensified a crackdown on press freedoms and issued a decree that declared the permanent legal validity of Musharraf's emergency measures.

Off to a good start?

The decree, an amendment to the now-suspended constitution, appeared aimed at ensuring that no future court could find his actions illegal. Musharraf has refused to say whether he will lift emergency rule, which bans most civil liberties, in time for the planned elections.

We need a stable Pakistan; does anybody think this is the best option?

All we can do is watch this soap opera from a distance.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Indian Illegal Immigration in the United Kingdom

In my country illegal immigration is nothing new but also has been something of a great controversy because our government has turned a blind eye to it for quite some time.

I wonder what if anything the British government will do about this?

Panel to investigate immigration from India

LONDON: A British parliamentary committee will conduct an inquiry into illegal immigration into the UK from India, its chairman Keith Vaz, a leading NRI MP, said.

Vaz, a former minister for Europe, said the home affairs select committee would probe how a sizeable number of Indians, mostly from Punjab, were still coming to the UK via Turkey. He was speaking after the screening of Shores Far Away , a film on illegal immigration from Punjab into the UK. Vaz said British immigration minister Liam Byrne would visit India next month leading a high-level delegation when the issue of illegal migrants might figure in his talks.

Last year 2,500 Indians illegally came to the UK via Austria. "We have got very big problem. It is impossible to convince the people not to take the illegal route as a vast majority of them in the past had managed to get regularized. On an average 100 people come to me and of them 15 people complain of being duped by unscrupulous agents," said Jassi Khangura, MLA from Punjab, who was present on the occasion.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Political Felonies?

Petition the government go to jail?

By itself out of control Attorney Generals are not news but this case should be noticed. This guy, Attorney General Drew Edmondson is a typical government hack. He has no problem using taxpayer money and recourses to intimidate citizens who dare cross his big bucks financers.

Oklahoma's Most Wanted

The latest thing in political felonies: a petition drive.

A veteran political activist is facing 10 years in prison and a hefty fine for attempting to petition government for redress of grievances. The latest news from Pakistan? No, this is happening in Oklahoma.

Last month Paul Jacob, the former head of U.S. Term Limits and current head of Citizens in Charge, was led out of an Oklahoma City courtroom in handcuffs after pleading not guilty to charges that he conspired to defraud the state. Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who's overseeing this bizarre prosecution, has accused Mr. Jacob and two fellow petition organizers--Rick Carpenter of Oklahomans in Action and Susan Johnson of National Voter Outreach--of bringing out-of-state petition gatherers to Oklahoma to collect signatures.

The article goes on to point out that the petition gatherers had contacted the state offices that oversee such activities and were told that anyone can come to Oklahoma and declare residency.

Another article,

points out that

officials on both the State Election Board and in the Secretary of State’s office. This information was also consistent with the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s ruling in a previous case challenging a 2001 petition drive on the basis of residency.

Seems clear to me that what is being done is political on behalf of those who have their fingers in the public purse.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Pakistan, Democracy?

Global Warming Scam

I love people who buck conventional wisdom.

As much as I hate being scammed I detest somebody trying to pull a fast one.

Weather Channel founder: Warming 'greatest scam in history

Taking aim at Al Gore and other "climate change" activists, the founder of the Weather Channel says the campaign to promote the theory of man-made global warming is "the greatest scam in history."

Taking aim at Al Gore and other "climate change" activists, the founder of the Weather Channel says the campaign to promote the theory of man-made global warming is "the greatest scam in history."

John Coleman, now a meteorologist for San Diego TV station KUSI, calls it a "manufactured crisis" by "dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives" who have "manipulated long-term scientific data to create an illusion of rapid global warming."

Now, Coleman says, "their ridiculous, manipulated science has been accepted as fact and become a cornerstone issue" for the Democratic party, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, school teachers and television networks such as CNN, CBS, NBC and "well informed but very gullible environmentally conscientious citizens."

"Only one reporter at ABC has been allowed to counter the global warming frenzy with one 15-minute documentary segment, Coleman writes, referring to John Stossel's piece on the network's news program "20/20."

As the predicted temperature-increases, polar ice cap melting, coastal flooding and super-storm patterns all fail to occur, he says, we "will come to realize we have been duped."

"The sky is not falling," contends Coleman. "And, natural cycles and drifts in climate are as much if not more responsible for any climate changes underway. I strongly believe that the next 20 years are equally as likely to see a cooling trend as they are to see a warming trend."

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Illegal Immigrants Working Security in the U.K.

I suppose we Americans should not feel alone.

This is reported from the United Kingdom by the BBC.

Security staff employed illegally

The Home Office has admitted illegal immigrants have been mistakenly cleared for jobs as security staff.

Ministers have ordered new checks to be carried out on hundreds of thousands of people vetted by the Security Industry Authority over the past three years.

I want to laugh but it really isn't funny.

The Home Office says the SIA did not check applicants were entitled to work in the UK before granting licences.

According to the Sunday Mirror, illegal immigrants are working at airports, ports and the Metropolitan Police.

The newspaper claimed 5,000 illegal immigrants were estimated to have been employed in posts such as security guards and bouncers.

I bet they learned that from the U.S.

Muslim Profiling Effort

Is it any shock that the Los Angeles Police isn't spending a lot of effort looking into the Amish community?

LAPD defends Muslim mapping effort

The LAPD's plan to map Muslim communities in an effort to identify potential hotbeds of extremism departs from the way law enforcement has dealt with local anti-terrorism since 9/11 and prompted widespread skepticism Friday.

In a document reviewed Friday by The Times, the LAPD's Los Angeles Police Department's counter-terrorism bureau proposed using U.S. census data and other demographic information to pinpoint various Muslim communities and then reach out to them through social service agencies.

What possible argument can there be against this?

"We learned our lesson early on," one retired FBI counter-terrorism official said Friday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, questioned the logic of the mapping program, reasoning that the wholesale plotting of Muslim communities -- rather than zeroing in on suspected extremists -- could drain counter-terrorism resources and alienate Muslim residents at a time when they are crucial to law enforcement efforts.

I understand it may not be the best use of police recources and I expect that if it becomes evident the police department will stop.

"I realize that there are many concerns with a potential mapping project related to profiling, privacy and civil liberties," center Director Detlof von Winterfeldt said in a statement.

Oh no, the sky is falling.

"Anytime the administration talks about attacking Iran, anytime they start to float ideas like these, we are pushed more toward extremism," Mohammed Abdul Aleem, 49, of Culver City said. "Every time our president opens his mouth, there are more people joining Al Qaeda."To Aleem, the LAPD's plan to map out the city's Muslim community will do nothing more than "fuel the fire."

Sounds like a threat. Non-the-less doing nothing is not acceptable.,0,3960843.story?page=1&coll=la-home-center

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Huck Finn and Nigger Jim

Every once in a while, this happens.

Some illiterate gets his hackles up over the classic book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

HALTOM CITY -- The Birdville school district superintendent will apologize in writing to a student offended by a lesson on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and teachers will get cultural sensitivity training.

This is backwards!

17-year-old Ibrahim Mohamed, his parents and a coalition of activists offended by the teacher's repeated use of a racial slur that is in the text of the classic 1884 Mark Twain novel.

I am offended by ignorance and petty complaints.

The school district has removed the book from the Richland High School student's class and has allowed him to enroll in a different English class, but his parents say they will now go though a process of requesting that the book be removed from the district's curriculum.

Fine, now everybody can experience the joys of ignorance.

And while the group wanted the teacher to be required to do community outreach work with black and Muslim communities, school district officials cannot comment on what, if any, disciplinary measures might have been implemented, Thomas said.

What a bunch of narrow minded pushy ass bastards.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


It is no secret that the use of torture to attain information today is a debated subject. The following commentary is far better than I can ever explain.

Waterboarding and Hiroshima
Did the Allies in World War II "lower themselves to the level of their enemies"?

Whatever side one takes here, the important point is that the debate fundamentally is about results. Note the difference with the current debate over waterboarding, where opponents argue that the technique is unconscionable and inadmissible under any circumstances, even in hypothetical cases where the alternative to waterboarding is terrorist attacks resulting in mass casualties among innocent civilians. According to this view, it is possible to wage war yet avoid the classic "choice of evils" dilemmas that confronted past statesmen such as Churchill and Roosevelt. Or, to put the argument more precisely, it is possible to avoid this choice if one is also prepared to pay for it in blood--if not in one's own, than in that of kith and kin and whoever else's life must be sacrificed to keep our consciences clear.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Paul Tibbets, American Hero

Paul Tibbets, commander of the B-29 which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima died.

Serving in Europe and the Pacific he proved to be a most outstanding pilot, serving his country and our cause well.

I will never forgive those who tried to slander his good name and bravery.

Pilot of Plane That Dropped A-Bomb Dies

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Paul Tibbets, who piloted the B-29 bomber Enola Gay that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, died Thursday. He was 92 and insisted for six decades after the war that he had no regrets about the mission and slept just fine at night.

"I knew when I got the assignment it was going to be an emotional thing," Tibbets told The Columbus Dispatch for a story published on the 60th anniversary of the bombing.

"We had feelings, but we had to put them in the background. We knew it was going to kill people right and left. But my one driving interest was to do the best job I could so that we could end the killing as quickly as possible."

"I sleep clearly every night."

Funeral Protest Suit, Pastor Doesn't Get It

To ordinary people the logic of people like Pastor Fred Phelps is truly a mystery.

OK fine, he preaches against homosexuality, that is his right. So what happened? Did he come to the stark realization that all the preaching in the world can't change the fact that for whatever reason there are always going to be homosexuals?

Is it out of shear frustration he can't change reality that he strikes out in a most bizarre way?

$11M Verdict in Funeral Protesters Case

BALTIMORE -- Members of a fundamentalist Kansas church ordered to pay nearly $11 million in damages to a grieving father smiled as they walked out of the courtroom, vowing that the verdict would not deter them from protesting at military funerals.
Members promised to picket future funerals with placards bearing such slogans as "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "God hates fags."

"Absolutely, don't you understand this was an act in futility?" said Shirley Phelps-Roper, whose father founded the Westboro Baptist Church.

The group believes that U.S. deaths in the Iraq war are punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality. They say they are entitled to protest at funerals under the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and religion.

It is a wonder that somebody hasn't beat some sense into these fools but that shouldn't be a surprise, somebody has to act like a grown up.

My prediction is that eventually restraining orders will be filed against this group. Feeling just and righteous they will violate the orders and do God's work, sitting in jail.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Kill the Bloggers!

It used to be kill the lawyers, but now governments are taking real notice of the blogosphere.
I can only suppose that lawyers are now in the pockets of the government, or as more my experience government is now the provience of lawyers.

It is with great note that we should pay attention to this article from the British National Party about the efforts in Italy to stifle free speech.

Blogs may not have yet toppled dictatorial regimes or solved the world’s environmental problems but they have a devastating effect on governments which try and stifle democracy as the recent events in Burma have shown.

As quickly as the Burmese authorities were closing down websites of dissidents, new ones were launched by freedom loving supporters in neighbouring countries and beyond.The same attempts to stifle freedom of speech carried out by the military junta in Burma appear to be replicated 5000 miles closer to home in the form of a new law proposed by Ricardo Franco Levi, undersecretary to the President of the Council in Italy, and approved by the Council of Ministers on 12 October.

And what does this law say?
I'll clue you in.

The proposed law states that anyone with a blog or a website has to register it with the ROC (Registro degli Operatori della Comunicazione), part of the Communications Authority, produce certificates, and pay a tax, even if they provide information online without any intention to make money.

Well, I do not live in Italy, but how long will it take to become law in for the European Union?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Syria Cleans Away Evidence

Target, left, has been razed, according to satellite image of lot where some U.S. officials believe Syria was building nuclear reactor.

My only question is if it wasn't a facility to begin creating nuclear weapons, then what is the hurry?

Syria with nuclear weapons is a chilling thought.

Alleged Site of Israeli Attack on Syria Cleared

A mysterious Syrian military facility that was reportedly the target of an attack by Israeli jets last month has been razed, according to a new satellite image that shows only a vacant lot in the place where Syria was recently constructing what some U.S. officials believe was a nuclear reactor.
The new photograph, taken by a commercial satellite yesterday, suggests that Syrian officials moved quickly to remove evidence of the project after it was damaged by Israeli bombs on Sept. 6, said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a nonprofit research group.

"They are clearly trying to hide the evidence," Albright said in an interview. "It is a trick that has been tried in the past and it hasn't worked."

Jewish Temple Never Exised?

Where can I find a Muslim that I can take seriously?

'Western Wall was never part of temple'

The former mufti of Jerusalem, Ikrema Sabri, has made the claim that there never was a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount, and the Western Wall was really part of a mosque.

"There was never a Jewish temple on Al-Aksa [the mosque compound] and there is no proof that there was ever a temple," he told The Jerusalem Post via a translator. "Because Allah is fair, he would not agree to make Al-Aksa if there were a temple there for others beforehand."

I have a hard time taking this guy seriously.

Suppose the Romans were a little more than confused when they sacked Jerusalem.

This mufti should get a grip. We do not live in the Middle Ages. Today everybody has access to all kinds of information and the ability to read is common place, even in Muslim countries.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Two Year Old Contributes $2,300 to Campaign

Must be one smart kid.

Elrick Williams's toddler niece Carlyn may be one of the youngest contributors to this year's presidential campaign. The 2-year-old gave $2,300 to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

Maybe it is just me, but this just doesn't seem right.

So did her sister and brother, Imara, 13, and Ishmael, 9, and her cousins Chan and Alexis, both 13

It is gratifying to see America's youth take such an interest in politics.


Altogether, according to newly released campaign finance reports, the extended family of Williams, a wealthy Chicago financier, handed over nearly a dozen checks in March for the maximum allowed under federal law to Obama.

Such campaign donations from young children would almost certainly run afoul of campaign finance regulations, several campaign lawyers said. But as bundlers seek to raise higher and higher sums for presidential contenders this year, the number who are turning to checks from underage givers appears to be on the rise.

Anyone besides me think our campaign finance laws are a bit screwy?

Although campaign finance laws set a limit of $2,300 per donor per campaign, they do not explicitly bar donors based on age. And young donors abound in the fundraising reports filed by presidential contenders this year.

Seems to me it would be so much more honest to just allow people give what they want.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Achmed the Dead Terrorist

It touched my funny bone.

Campaign Finance Laws

Our campaign finance laws are an unrealistic infringement on free speech. It is insane that candidates must spend most their time groveling for money as opposed to addressing voters.
It is also a bonanza for lawyers to figure out ways to evade these restrictions.
When all else fails, why not just turn to fraud or worse?

An unlikely treasure-trove of donors for Clinton

NEW YORK -- Something remarkable happened at 44 Henry St., a grimy Chinatown tenement with peeling walls. It also happened nearby at a dimly lighted apartment building with trash bins clustered by the front door.


Clinton has raised more money than any candidate in history. Those dishwashers, waiters and street stall hawkers are part of the reason. And Clinton's success in gathering money from Chinatown's least-affluent residents stems from a two-pronged strategy: mutually beneficial alliances with powerful groups, and appeals to the hopes and dreams of people now consigned to the margins.

Clinton has enlisted the aid of Chinese neighborhood associations, especially those representing recent immigrants from Fujian province. The organizations, at least one of which is a descendant of Chinatown criminal enterprises that engaged in gambling and human trafficking, exert enormous influence over immigrants. The associations help them with everything from protection against crime to obtaining green cards.,0,1976718,full.story

I wonder by what stretch of the imagination this type of campaign financing is and improvement?