Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

Crime and Punishment

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

This past Saturday, the Washington Post ran an editorial titled “Christmas Day negligence”. It began reasonably enough:

UMAR FAROUK Abdulmutallab was nabbed in Detroit on board Northwest Flight 253 after trying unsuccessfully to ignite explosives sewn into his underwear. The Obama administration had three options: It could charge him in federal court. It could detain him as an enemy belligerent. Or it could hold him for prolonged questioning and later indict him, ensuring that nothing Mr. Abdulmutallab said during questioning was used against him in court.

It is now clear that the administration did not give serious thought to anything but Door No. 1. This was myopic, irresponsible and potentially dangerous.

Whether to charge terrorism suspects or hold and interrogate them is a judgment call.

And then this

We originally supported the administration’s decision in the Abdulmutallab case, assuming that it had been made after due consideration. But the decision to try Mr. Abdulmutallab turns out to have resulted not from a deliberative process but as a knee-jerk default to a crime-and-punishment model.

Well, I have to say that I am surprised at the Post editorial board’s surprise. I mean, this seems like a lot of ass covering to me. What does the editorial board think is meant when critics speak of a pre-9/11 mindset? What does the board make of Obama’s renaming of the War on Terror to ‘Overseas Contingency Operations’? (And what is the implication of “overseas”, anyway? What about the homeland?) What about the decision to try terrorists in federal court, in New York City of all places? What does the board think of the administration’s response – when presented with assertions that waterboarding has led to significant actionable intelligence – that we might have gotten the same intelligence through other means.

Where is the “deliberation” in these policies instituted by the Obama administration? To me, these all smack of a “crime-and-punishment model”. They all seem to be “knee-jerk” policies designed to appease a certain constituency.

Sure, as the Post states, “whether to charge terrorism suspects or hold and interrogate them is a judgment call” in the sense that the President must exercise his prerogative (and you have to hope that he exercises sound judgment). But just because judgment may be applied when arriving at a conclusion does not necessarily mean that good judgment is applied.

Potverdorie!

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Well, Amsterdam has decided to beef up airport security due to the actions of the paardenlul known as the Fruit of the Boom bomber.

Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport began using new body-scanning machines at security checkpoints on Tuesday, the first major airport to use the technology to find metals and explosives hidden under clothing.

Other similar stories indicate that this new policy is just for those traveling to the United States.

Upon hearing this, my initial reaction was verdomme. I mean, do they have to scan everybody that travels to the United States? Jeetje! On the other hand, this will make it more difficult for jihadists to hide bomb making materials behind their klootzak.

Can’t they scan only those that are a little bit suspicious? For example, those who pay for tickets with cash, who check no luggage, who are on terror watch lists, who post on message boards about how lonely they are (maybe a little neuken would be in order for AbdulMutallab) and whose father alerted the CIA and numerous other security agencies of suspected radicalization. Or would that be…profiling? I guess it would.

I’m just fed up. The only thing left to say on this subject, and it hardly needs to be said, is potverdriedubbeltjesa!

Fruit of the Boom

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Let me see if I get this straight. The father of Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab – a former government minister who went on to head the First Bank of Nigeria – contacted the U.S. embassy in Nigeria six weeks ago to report his fear that his son had become radicalized. Based on this information, Umar Farouk was placed on a terror watch list but not on a no-fly list. And he was permitted to board a flight even after paying with cash and checking no baggage on the international flight.

Wow. I’m afraid that someone, and perhaps several people, are going to have to be shitcanned over this obvious f-up. The fear is that Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano are going to focus more on how explosives were permitted on board the aircraft (in Umar Farouk’s shorts) and less on why he was permitted on the plane in the first place.

Let Me Be Clear

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

Well, it has been quite some time since I last posted. What can I say…I sort of lost steam there. But I have been observing the situation in Washington with some amusement. I think it is possible that we have seen the apogee of the Obama presidency. The latest gaffe from Obama was his remark regarding the Cambridge police in acting “stupidly” by arresting Henry Louis Gates read. Here is what most of the appalled left says about this:

  • How could someone be arrested in their own home?
  • There was racial profiling.

In Gates’ arrest, what seems clear to me is only this: Crowley did not give Gates the benefit of the doubt; he did not cut Gates much slack, if any. Beyond that, I don’t know much of anything, other than people are arrested in their own homes all the time. Have you ever seen an episode of Cops? See Crowley’s police report here.

Now this matter of racial profiling is interesting. Frank Rich, writing in the New York Times, gives mad props to the woman making the 9-1-1 call because she was not racial profiling. This was due to the fact that she did not mention that the suspects were “black”. Huh? Is this now the definition of racial profiling? According to Wikipedia, racial profiling

is the inclusion of racial or ethnic characteristics in determining whether a person is considered likely to commit a particular type of crime or an illegal act or to behave in a “predictable” manner.

As Obama might say, let me be clear: there is no evidence of racial profiling in this incident. Not the woman, not Crowley, not nobody. Not even close. Maybe Obama can carve out some time in this learning moment and explain this to the race baiters.

The way I see it, Gates acted toward Crowley just like any other belligerent asshat does that tries to strap on the po po. Gates was nothing extraordinary to Crowley. Gates asked Crowley if he knew who he was “messing” with. Well, as a matter of fact, no. It may come as a surprise to Gates, Obama, and others, but practically nobody in the US knows who Gates is. His name is vaguely familiar to me, but I could not pick him out of a lineup. Sure, he is well known in academic circles, and I’m sure his reputation is well deserved. But the man on the street would not know him from Adam. And Crowley acted toward Gates in a manner that was foreign to Gates. Crowley was not some fawning, brown-nosing graduate student. He was not some faculty member looking to curry favor at the next tenure meeting.

To be as charitable as possible toward Gates, he acted like he was tired after his long travel back from China. Maybe he had a few drinks on board the plane. Who knows.

But what we do know is that Obama’s gut reaction places him squarely in the Rev. Wright camp. What a surprise.

An Insult to Neanderthals?

Monday, December 29th, 2008

John “Chip” Saltsman, who fancied himself a candidate for the Republican National Committee Chairman, has caused a stir when he distributed a CD gift that included a song parody called “Barack the Magic Negro”. Saltsman and others try to defend the parody by pointing out that the LA Times ran an article by David Ehrenstein back in March of 2007 titled Obama the ‘Magic Negro’. According to Ehrenstein

…it’s clear that Obama also is running for an equally important unelected office, in the province of the popular imagination — the “Magic Negro” http://canadianviagras.com/pill/kamagra-oral-jelly-canada/.

And more

The Magic Negro is a figure of postmodern folk culture, coined by snarky 20th century sociologists, to explain a cultural figure who emerged in the wake of Brown vs. Board of Education. “He has no past, he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist,” reads the description on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_Negro

There’s plenty more by Ehrenstein in the article and in other articles, cited by Ehrenstein himself in this blog entry. To say that Ehrenstein is not happy with Republicans and Obama is an understatement

As everyone knows Whites feel no guilt about America’s racist history whatsoever. All they care about is the appearance of politesse — the slimy veneer of “good manners.”

Clearly the Republican party (racist to its very core) is “split” over what to do in the wake of having lost so much political capital. Chip and his ilk want to continue making childish attacks. Others in the party seek to turn chicken shit into chicken salad by claiming Obama is the second coming of Ronald Reagan.

And they may well be right. He’s certainly not a liberal. And as he’s made clear through Warrengate, he’s certainly not MY President.

No wonder I didn’t receive an invitation to Ehrenstein’s New Years Party. But I digress.

I hope, and expect, that Saltsman’s future in politics is about as bright as a black dwarf. What on earth was Saltsman thinking by sending out the CD? This seems like a particularly bad time to introduce racist tones into the Republican party and the competition for the RNC Chair, not that there is a good time. Cutting away all of the chafe, it might be interesting to explore the motivations of white voters vis-a-vis America’s history and slavery. But to do so by introducing the “Magic Negro” as Ehrenstein does, and by distributing a song parody whose title includes the same charged term, seems like the work of a Neanderthal. On second thought, that’s not fair to Neanderthals.

Chip Saltsman

Chip Saltsman

Is That You, Chip?

Notice the Similarities?

Peaceful Solutions Are In Contradiction To The Principles

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

Israel continues to carry out its tactical plans against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. These particular operations were occasioned by sustained rocket attacks, launched from Gaza, coincident with the end of a six month temporary cease fire, brokered by Egypt in June.

Gaza

Gaza

The total deaths in three days of bombings is approaching 300. The United States refuses to condemn the operations and Barack Obama has only slightly moderated his rather tough talk from earlier this year. The usual suspects have called for an immediate cessation of hostilities. And brave Hamas leaders who are living in luxury outside of Gaza have called for what amounts to the third intifada. If an intifada does materialize – and maybe even if it doesn’t – look for Israel to inflict significant punishment in the few weeks remaining prior to Obama’s inauguration. News stories suggest that Israel would not want to be engaged in hostile action at the time of the Inauguration, though this seems like small potatoes compared to the other challenges that Obama will face.

Hamas is an open book. Here is the Hamas Covenant of 1988. There are a total of 36 articles.

Here is Article 8 of the Covenant, also known as “The Slogan of the Hamas”

Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.

Here is Article 13 of the Covenant

Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse directed against part of religion. Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that. For the sake of hoisting the banner of Allah over their homeland they fight. “Allah will be prominent, but most people do not know.”

Now and then the call goes out for the convening of an international conference to look for ways of solving the (Palestinian) question. Some accept, others reject the idea, for this or other reason, with one stipulation or more for consent to convening the conference and participating in it. Knowing the parties constituting the conference, their past and present attitudes towards Moslem problems, the Islamic Resistance Movement does not consider these conferences capable of realising the demands, restoring the rights or doing justice to the oppressed. These conferences are only ways of setting the infidels in the land of the Moslems as arbitraters. When did the infidels do justice to the believers?

“But the Jews will not be pleased with thee, neither the Christians, until thou follow their religion; say, The direction of Allah is the true direction. And verily if thou follow their desires, after the knowledge which hath been given thee, thou shalt find no patron or protector against Allah.” (The Cow – verse 120).

There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with. As is said in the honourable Hadith:

“The people of Syria are Allah’s lash in His land. He wreaks His vengeance through them against whomsoever He wishes among His slaves It is unthinkable that those who are double-faced among them should prosper over the faithful. They will certainly die out of grief and desperation.”

I remember when Hamas was the surprise victor in the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections (winning 76 seats to Fatah’s 43). There were many that viewed the election as a major setback to the Bush administration’s push for democracy. Here is one example from the Council on Foreign Relations. I never saw it quite that way. I saw the convincing victory of Hamas as, foremost, the Palestinian electorate’s endorsement of terrorism. I actually thought this was a good thing, because we know where the electorate stood. The “cost” for terrorism shall be borne by the electorate in this case, as it should. There can be no pussy-footing or hand-wringing in these matters.

Undoubtedly, we will see reports of many “innocent” people among the victims of Israel’s actions. But when a government is chosen for a specific purpose such as jihad (see the Covenant…”Jihad” appears 11 times), and when a government is chosen to carry out terrorism, I have difficultly in applying the term “innocent”. Unfortunately, some victims are truly innocent – the children. Full blame for the death of innocent children rests squarely on Hamas and the Palestinian electorate.

War in Defense of Virginia

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

About 15 years ago, after purchasing 3,000 acres of land, the Disney company gave up plans to put a history-themed park five miles from the Manassas Battlefield. The battlefield is some 35 miles west of the District of Columbia. According to Making Economic Sense by Murray Rothbard (and as serialized on the Ludwig Von Mises Institute website)

Many conservatives and free-marketeers believe that an inherent conflict exists between profits, free-markets, and “soulless capitalism,” and money- making on the one hand, as against traditional values, devotion to older culture, and historical landmarks on the other. On the one hand, we have bumptious bourgeoisie devoted only to money; on the other, we have people who want to conserve a sense of the past.

The latest ideological and political clash between capitalist growth and development, and old-fogy preservation, is the bitter conflict over the Manassas battlefield, sacred ground to all who hold in memory the terrible War Between the States.

The theme park was opposed by two camps. Those that felt that building the park so close to the hallowed grounds of the battlefield as to desecrate the memory, and those that felt that the Walt Disney Company was trying to extract too many economic concessions from Virginia taxpayers (such as about $160 million in road and infrastructure improvements).

Now, 15 years later, we have a continuation of sorts. Only now it is Wal-Mart instead of Disney. And it is the Battle of the Wilderness instead of the Battle of Bull Run. This article in the Washington Post tells of plans that Wal-Mart has for building a new store in Orange, Virginia, near the battlefield of the Battle of the Wilderness. And it tells of the forces arrayed against this aggression. The foes are quick to point out that “it is not Wal-Mart”. They are only concerned about the growth that would be occasioned by the opening of the Wal-Mart. The article cites the efforts of preservation groups and trusts to purchase properties that are historically significant. This is something that I favor. The parcel contemplated by Wal-Mart is currently zoned for commercial development. It seems that the preservation efforts should have been waged to prevent this zoning in the first place. In the difficult economic times of today, the Orange County Board of Supervisors will find it difficult to dictate terms to Wal-Mart.

I am generally sympathetic to the goals of the preservationists, but I would like to see their tactics focused on the purchase of land. And I would like to see them make the case against commercial zoning to the planning and zoning office prior to the need to chase away successful corporations.

Walmart

Wal-Mart in Orange

Powell Is On Fire, And So is Palin’s Church

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

On Sundays, I typically try to post something that is uplifting. Not this Sunday.

In the past 24 hours or so, we have learned one thing and possibly two. The one thing we do know is that Colin Powell has his camo briefs in a bunch. Who is the cause of this bunching? Why, Sarah Palin, again, that’s who. Powell continues to present himself as a Republican concerned about the direction of the party caused by Polarizin’ Palin. Apparently, when Palin describes small town values as good, this is polarizing. But when Obama (Democrat, Illinois) describes these same people as clinging to their guns and bibles, this is not polarizing. Nor, apparently, is it polarizing when John Murtha (Doofus, Pennsylvania) refers to these same people as racists and rednecks. Or when Jesse Jackson (Nut Cutter) referred to New York as “Hymietown”. Or when Robert Byrd used the “N-word” on the floor of the Senate. Come on Colin, for the love of God, please think. You have a lot of history to be proud of right there.

Palin is to Powell as Israel is to Jimmy Carter. Some kind of taproot of an evil tree. One gets the impression that Powell is chaffed because Palin is still in the news. Powell is miffed because, after his magnificent articulation of his Obama endorsement, he would have thought that Sarah would return to Wasilla, never to be heard from again.

Powell asserts that the Republicans must do a better job of attracting blacks and hispanics. But, um, Colin, wasn’t the 2000 presidential nomination yours for the taking, from the Republicans? Didn’t GWB appoint black and hispanic members to his cabinet, and weren’t these folks partly responsible for his success as Governor of Texas? In other words, they were in his inner circle before he took the high office. Contrast this with, say, Clinton, who made a point of explaining check-a-box search for a cabinet that “looked like America”. Isn’t Michael Steele being mentioned as a possibility for RNC Chairman? Didn’t the Republicans nominate a relative moderate – who didn’t really excite the base – but who has a history of reaching across the aisle, often to the chagrin of his party leadership (as opposed to someone who said he does, but offered no real evidence)? If, as Obama says, there is no black America and no white America, why does Powell insist that Republicans must do a better job of attracting blacks and hispanics? Shouldn’t Republicans simply do a better job of attracting Americans?

I have heard Powell’s name mentioned as a possible Secretary of Education. Here is a good example of an area where logic would dictate that blacks and hispanics might lean Republican, assuming that they care about education, that is. Democrats prefer to measure inputs, a very government thing to do, as a measure of success. Whereas, output is what really matters. So much in the thrall of the education lobby, Democrats oppose things like vouchers while Republicans and Bush, through efforts like No Child Left Behind, are trying to measure and improve actual educational results. Maybe if Powell spent a little less time worrying about Palin and a little more time drawing important distinctions in areas like education…

Now, I understand that many are concerned with the apparent populism that Palin brings to the Republican party. I have heard that the Republican party needs to recast itself as the party of ideas. Or the party of simple competence. Let us hope that the party is successful in rebuilding. But, frankly, in the current climate, I don’t think the people are listening for ideas; they are pining for utopia where cataclysmic events do not exist. They are understandably drained from the series of events over the past 8 years: terror, war, natural disasters, and financial meltdown.

The second thing we have learned is that Sarah Palin’s church in Wasilla Alaska was victim to suspected arson this past Friday night, so Powell’s timing for this second round of scolding could not have been better.  I will stop short of saying that the media’s treatment of Palin – including Powell’s treatment of Palin – would make it easy for a weak-minded individual to justify an act such as church arson. But I’d certainly like to hear Powell weigh in on this event and spread some of his genius. I’m not holding my breath.

Colin Powell, Thinking Hard

Thinking Hard, Or Hardly Thinking?

Chinanimadigans

Friday, December 12th, 2008

I wasn’t feeling well today and so stayed home from work. This morning, on Fox News, I watched a news conference that featured Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General, explaining her action of filing a motion with the Illinois Supreme Court for a Temporary Restraining Order that would temporarily remove that &%@* head Rod Blagojevich from office and elevate the lieutenant governor “…so the business of the state of Illinois can go forward.”

Chicago

Chicago

Madigan is approaching the high court because it is quicker than impeachment. The thinking is that impeachment could not occur before the end of December, and, on January 4th, a new state legislature will be seated. The AG is arguing that the &%@* head Blago is unfit to serve. But the rule under which the AG is acting is intended to cover cases in which the governor has some debilitating illness. So it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Shenanigans

Shenanigans

The AG explained that that the state is facing billions of dollars in unpaid bills for the likes of Medicaid patients, hospitals, pharmacies, nursing homes and schools. Madigan explained that in order for Illinois to meet these obligations, the AG must certify that there are no legal proceedings that threaten the ability of the governor to hold his office. Of course, such certification would be difficult to make at this time, even in Chicago.

Lisa and Michael Madigan

Lisa and Michael Madigan

Madigan is very comfortable in front of the cameras, and came off as very smart and on top of things as she fielded questions. In fact, Madigan has aspirations for higher political office, and here is where things get even more interesting. From 1998 to 2002, Madigan was in the Illinois state senate and was a friend of Barack Obama and had an office down the hall. She was elected AG in 2002 and again in 2006. Madigan is considered a possibility for the US Senate or the Illinois Governorship. In fact, there is speculation that Madigan is Candidate #2 in the Blago tapes. Madigan’s father, Michael Madigan, is the Illinois Speaker of the House. He is, apparently, a fiscal conservative and has clashed with that &%@* head Blago over state spending. And finally, Madigan is mentioned in some circles as potentially the first female president of the US should Hillary Clinton fail in her bids.

Chicago + Shenanigans + Madigans = Chinanimadigans

Point And Shoot Couldn’t Be Easier

Monday, December 8th, 2008

A Maplewood NJ company, Constitution Arms, is taking pre-orders on a new Palm Pistol.

Don't Squeeze Too Hard When You Pick It Up

Palm Pistol

According to the site

The Palm Pistol is an ergonomically innovative single shot double action only defensive firearm chambered in 9mm that may be fired using either hand without regard to orientation of the stock. Suited for home defense, concealed carry or as a backup gun. It is also ideal for seniors, disabled or others who may have limited strength or manual dexterity. Using the thumb instead of the index finger for firing, it significantly reduces muzzle drift, one of the principal causes of inaccurate targeting. Point and shoot couldn’t be easier.

Because it is “ideal for seniors, disabled or others who may have limited strength or manual dexterity”, Constitution Arms has apparently submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration asking that the Palm Pistol be classified as a medical device, thereby qualifying purchasers for reimbursement from Medicare. Over the past several days, there have been numerous pieces on news channels and on-line claiming that the Palm Pistol had been approved by the FDA. However, the news of today is that FDA has rejected the application after all. Constitution Arms claims that this is a reversal due to political pressure.

If the FDA had given approval, and if Medicare provided coverage, the Palm Pistol would have required a doctor’s prescription. It would give a whole new meaning to “2 caps q4h”.

Maybe the rejection isn’t such a bad thing. I mean, we already have The Scooter Store. If the FDA had granted approval, could The Shooter Store be far behind?