I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.
For those who want further information about the topics covered in this blog, I recommend the following sites. I will add to this as I find additional good sources.
Libya, the West and the Narrative of Democracy
Excerpt: Forces from the United States and some European countries have intervened in Libya. Under U.N. authorization, they have imposed a no-fly zone in Libya, meaning they will shoot down any Libyan aircraft that attempts to fly within Libya. In addition, they have conducted attacks against aircraft on the ground, airfields, air defenses and the command, control and communication systems of the Libyan government, and French and U.S. aircraft have struck against Libyan armor and ground forces. There also are reports of European and Egyptian special operations forces deploying in eastern Libya, where the opposition to the government is centered, particularly around the city of Benghazi. In effect, the intervention of this alliance has been against the government of Moammar Gadhafi, and by extension, in favor of his opponents in the east. The alliance’s full intention is not clear, nor is it clear that the allies are of one mind. The U.N. Security Council resolution clearly authorizes the imposition of a no-fly zone. By extension, this logically authorizes strikes against airfields and related targets. Very broadly, it also defines the mission of the intervention as protecting civilian lives. As such, it does not specifically prohibit the presence of ground forces, though it does clearly state that no “foreign occupation force” shall be permitted on Libyan soil. It can be assumed they intended that forces could intervene in Libya but could not remain in Libya after the intervention. What this means in practice is less than clear.
Cost of military campaign in Libya could wipe out GOP's spending cuts
Excerpt: U.S. military operations in Libya could wipe out a significant chunk of the budget cuts won by congressional Republicans in recent weeks, defense analysts say.
GOP leaders have trumpeted enacted spending reductions that amount to more than $285 million per day since the beginning of March.
Republican says action in Libya is an 'affront' to the US Constitution
Excerpt: A senior Republican on the House Armed Services Committee escalated his party's attacks on the Obama's administration's military action in Libya, calling the move unconstitutional. “The United States does not have a King's army," Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) said in a statement released Monday evening. "President Obama's unilateral choice to use U.S. military force in Libya is an affront to our Constitution." (Well, Obama used to think that too, saying in 2007, : "The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation..” But that was before he realized that bombs are sold in interstate commerce, so the Commerce Clause gives him the authority to bomb anybody. Like, Canada, if they won’t revise NAFTA. ~Bob.)
Webb critical of Obama’s Libya operation: ‘This isn’t the way that our system is supposed to work’
Excerpt: “If we’re going to discuss what’s going on in Libya now and in the future, we have to start with three basic considerations,” Webb said. “The first is we have a military operation that’s been put to play, but we do not have a clear diplomatic policy or clear statement of foreign policy that has accompanied this military operation. The second and the questions you were just asking are some that I’ve asked on the Foreign Relations Committee and the Armed Forces Committee, we know we don’t like the Gaddafi regime, but we do not have a picture of who the opposition movement really is. I’ve asked this repeated to State Department officials including Sec. [Hillary] Clinton in the past couple of weeks. And the third is yes, we got a vote from the Security Council, the United Nations Security Council in order to put this into play, but we had five key abstentions in that vote – Brazil, Russia, India, China and Germany and we have not put this issue in front of the American people in any meaningful way. The president is in Rio. The Congress is out of session. So before we even get in to the command structure of this, I think it’s very clear to put the marker down that moving forward we need to get more involved in terms of anything that goes from this point forward.”
Stumbling into the Libyan War
Excerpt: Last month, the Libyan people rebelled against their 42-year oppressor, Col. Muammar Gaddafi. The rebels liberated most of their country and were on the verge of overthrowing their tyrant; all that was needed was a bit of air support for the final push into the capital Tripoli. But we waited more than a month for France, Britain, the UN, and the Arab League to lead. In that time, Gaddafi used his air force to crush the uprising, reclaim the liberated territory, and encircle the rebels in the city of Benghazi. So in the eleventh hour we have decided to bomb Libya. (Well, to be fair, it wouldn’t have been constitutional to go to war until the UN approved. ~Bob.)
The Horrible Libya Hypocrisies
Excerpt: There's nothing like a foreign-policy crisis, real or imagined, to ignite the worst among world leaders and foreign-policy experts. Out pop the nuclear weapons of the trade: phony analogies and unabashed hypocrisy. The manufactured crisis in Libya is a prime case in point. No foreign states have vital interests at stake in Libya. Events in this rather odd and isolated land have little bearing on the rest of the tumultuous Mideast region. Also not to be dismissed, there are far, far worse humanitarian horrors elsewhere. Yet, U.S. neoconservatives and liberal humanitarian interventionists have trapped another U.S. president into acting as if the opposite were true. (A view from the Left, through strangely warped glasses. Although voices across the political spectrum asked for some—almost any—clear US policy, the only ones mentioning no-fly zones were from the Left. As it became clear our policy was to do nothing except sit on our hands, many pointed out hand-sitting isn’t leadership in anyone’s book. When the Arab League made a strong condemnation of Libya and the UN Security Council agreed, President Obama—with the strong support of his Cabinet and staff—didn’t consult with Congress as required by the Constitution and the famous War Powers Act, he simply ordered in the fighters and bombers. The only voices raised asking questions have been those on the Right trying to get compliance with those existing laws and a handful of Lefties who oppose all military actions because they don’t believe anyone has any right to oppose violence with violence (a suicidal version of “turn the other cheek,” but carried to its ultimate absurdity). Where were the voices in the media saying “Oh, no, Mr. President, don’t get involved in Libya!” I didn’t see any. Like a drunk with a hangover the next morning, the Left—along with the Arab League—now has regrets. Sorry. Obama gets to wear THIS albatross around his neck like the Ancient Mariner. He owns it. He got it the old fashioned way. He earned it. Ron P.)
Did Obama lose Congress on Libya?
Excerpt: President Barack Obama is facing growing anger from lawmakers who believe he overstepped his authority by launching missile strikes into Libya without first seeking the consent of Congress. The criticism is from all directions: from moderates, like Sens. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Dick Lugar (R-Ind.); from those on the far left and right, like Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Ron Paul (R-Texas), who believe the president acted outside the Constitution; and from the establishment on both sides, including House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson of Connecticut and Republican Rep. Candice Miller of Michigan, a self-described “hawk.” What it adds up to is this: The president, already taking heat for a perceived lack of engagement on pressing domestic matters, will arrive home from South America needing to justify to Congress and the public his decision to use force in Libya without seeking approval.
Worth reading: Our Libyan March Madness
Excerpt: The Obama administration’s Libyan strategy is a paradox — resulting from the president’s belatedly announcing that Moammar Qaddafi must go, using military force against him, and then denying that our objective is to see him leave. The president seems more knowledgeable about the tournament chances of two dozen college basketball teams than he does about the Libyan labyrinth. So let us review what follows from a campaign that has not been approved by Congress and is not supported by the American people — but which we must now hope works, given the commitment of American troops….The Obama administration, after over two weeks of unrest in Libya, grandly declared that Qaddafi had to go. Why? I think because it seemed then almost certain that the rebels were just about to throw him out. We did not wish to seem calculating, opportunistic, and on the wrong side of history, as we had when we belatedly piggy-backed on the rather easy departures of dictators/not dictators — and former allies — Hosni Mubarak and Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.
America's descent into strategic dementia
Excerpt: The US's new war against Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi is the latest sign of its steady regional decline. In media interviews over the weekend, US military chief Adm. Michael Mullen was hard-pressed to explain either the goal of the military strikes in Libya or their strategic rationale. Mullen's difficulty explaining the purpose of this new war was indicative of the increasing irrationality of US foreign policy. Traditionally, states have crafted their foreign policy to expand their wealth and bolster their national security. In this context, US foreign policy in the Middle East has traditionally been directed towards advancing three goals: Guaranteeing the free flow of inexpensive petroleum products from the Middle East to global market; strengthening regimes and governments that are in a position to advance this core US goal at the expense of US enemies; and fighting against regional forces like the pan-Arabists and the jihadists that advance a political program inherently hostile to US power.
Obama's Libya decision likely to further weaken his re-election allure
Excerpt: The fierce, American-led air assault on Libya is coming under growing political fire both at home and abroad, throwing the White House on the defensive and raising potential problems for President Barack Obama as he plans his 2012 re-election campaign. High-altitude bombers from an international coalition pounded Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi's air defense and other military facilities for the third night Monday as the White House juggled another foreign policy crisis: the mounting challenge to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime in Yemen, which has been a crucial ally in U.S. counterterrorism efforts against al-Qaida.
Iran Orders Attacks on Saudi Interests Worldwide
Excerpt: Since the Iranian Revolution, the ayatollahs’ mission has been to export their ideology throughout the world. Their agents have been infiltrating the Shiites in Bahrain and inciting the Shiite majority to overthrow the Sunni government, which has a strong relationship with the U.S. that includes being host to the headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet. (If true, not good news. –Ron. P.)
The Future of Jordan
Predicting the Middle East is not that hard. You just say, “Things will get worse,” and you are right often enough to be viewed as wise. ~Bob. Excerpt: "The Tunisian and Egyptian hurricane will come to Jordan, sooner or later," said a statement signed by 36 tribe leaders. "We express regret over the fact that the regime has surrounded itself with a group of corrupt commercial partners. Jordan is suffering from a regime and government crisis, as well as a crisis of corruption." The statement is seen a huge challenge to King Abdullah II: these tribes have always been known for their blind and unwavering devotion to the royal family. Some Jordanians fear that radical Muslims have managed to "infiltrate" many tribes, inciting them against the monarch and turning them into a tool in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood. But the tribes' discontent with the monarchy is not the only challenge. The king also needs to be worried about the "Palestinian problem" in his kingdom.
You shall not kill!
Excerpt: Most predictably, we have not heard Mr. Erdoğan saying "You shall not kill" in Arabic, and we probably never will. That’s hardly surprising since we have never heard Mr. Erdoğan speaking “indiscriminately” in the past against the killing of children and defenseless people in Itamar, or elsewhere in Israel – for Saturday’s attack in Itamar was not the first of its kind. In May 2002, a Palestinian killed a 14-year-old boy and wounded another teenager in the same settlement. A month later, another Palestinian killed a woman and her three children. In July the same year another Palestinian stabbed and wounded a couple. And in August 2004, a Palestinian killed a resident of Itamar.
Foreign Affairs Chair Ros-Lehtinen says U.S. should leave UN Human Rights Council
Excerpt: House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) is calling on the U.S. to leave the UN Human Rights Council, and is expected to propose legislation that would put more distance between the U.S. and the Council, along with other reforms. (A good step, but should have put a period after “Leave the UN.” We can no longer afford to fund an anti-American, anti-freedom, anti-civilization debating society. ~Bob.)
Yemen’s leader battens down the hatches as defections mount
Excerpt: Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh clung to power by a thread Tuesday, after the country’s most powerful military commander threw his support behind protesters and opposition political groups seeking Saleh’s ouster and scores of government officials, diplomats and other senior army figures resigned their posts. Saleh took refuge inside the presidential palace while those outside — including in Washington — debated anxiously whether he would make a last stand with troops who remain loyal, be overwhelmed by the forces arrayed against him or “face the inevitable” and resign, a senior Obama administration official said. Asked on Tuesday if the United States still supported Saleh, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates declined to give a direct answer. “I don’t think it’s my place to talk about internal affairs in Yemen,” Gates told reporters traveling with him in Moscow. “We are obviously concerned about the instability in Yemen. We consider al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is largely located in Yemen, to be perhaps the most dangerous of all the franchises of al-Qaeda right now. So instability and diversion of attention from dealing with AQAP is certainly my primary concern about the situation.” (If CNN starts calling al Qaeda “brave freedom fighters,” he better head for the bunker—the jets are coming. ~Bob.)
Always worth reading: Obama Administration is Following 'The Detroit Pattern' by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: Random thoughts on the passing scene: They say that records are made to be broken. President George W. Bush set a record by adding $3.2 trillion to the national debt over the course of his eight years in office. But Barack Obama has already beaten that record with $4.4 trillion in just his first three years in office. People who thoughtlessly give money to panhandlers on the street seem not to realize that this is making installment payments on the degeneration of America. Don't mention "municipal golf courses" to me. It sends my blood pressure up through the roof. What earthly excuse is there for spending the taxpayers' money subsidizing a golf course? Politicians can't even invoke "the poor," as they do when trying to justify other government boondoggles. The vocabulary of the political left is fascinating. For example, it is considered to be "materialistic" and "greedy" to want to keep what you have earned. But it is "idealistic" to want to take away what someone else has earned and spend it for your own political benefit or to feel good about yourself.
Japan: Whatever Happened to the Nuclear Meltdown?
Excerpt: Amazing, isn’t it, what a little light military intervention can do to a nuclear crisis? One minute, the world is facing nuclear meltdown armageddon to rank with – ooh, Three Mile Island at the very least, and quite possibly Chernobyl. A few (shockingly expensive) missile strikes over Benghazi and Tripoli later, though, and the Japanese nuclear crisis has all but vanished from the face of the earth. Maybe we should start small wars more often. Or maybe – even better – the MSM could learn to start reporting on nuclear incidents like journalists instead of activists from Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.
10+ days of crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant – 22 March 2010
Excerpt: Things continue to develop slowly, but I think now to an inevitable conclusion — barring any sudden turn of events, a cold shutdown (reactor temperature below 100C) should be achieved in units 1 to 3 within the next week (or two?). The other priority is to get the spent fuel ponds can sufficiently covered with water to make them approachable (and ideally to get AC power systems restored to these ponds, as has been the case already for units 5 and 6). The clean up, diagnostics, and ultimate decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi, of course, will take months and years to complete. (…) According to the NEI: TEPCO believes the tsunami that inundated the Fukushima Daiichi site was 14 meters high [~46 feet—RGP], the network said. The design basis tsunami for the site was 5.7 meters [~19 feet—RGP], and the reactors and backup power sources were located 10 to 13 meters above sea level. The company reported that the maximum earthquake for which the Fukushima Daiichi plants were designed was magnitude 8. The quake that struck March 11 was magnitude 9. (As things appear to have calmed down, this site is planning future updates only every few days. Understandable, this guy has to be tired. Ron P.)
New Plan to Charge Entry Fees for Travel to U.S. Gets Cold Shoulder From Canada
Excerpt: Canadians looking to visit the United States, arriving via air or sea, may soon pay more for the privilege. A $5.50 border fee proposed for the 2012 budget would net millions for the American coffers, funding security measures. However, many of our neighbors from the north are not thrilled with the move, including Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper who said in February: "I think in terms of the economic recovery, we want to make sure that trade and travel between our two countries is easier, not more difficult."
How the war on obesity went pear-shaped: With increasing evidence that a big belly probably won’t lead to an early death, it’s time to call a ceasefire.http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/printable/10294/
Pizza for lunch today! ~Bob. Excerpt: Since the anti-obesity campaign is allegedly motivated by scientific findings, it would seem reasonable and prudent to make doubly sure that those claims are factual and trustworthy. Yet, we continue to find that the case against obesity is significantly flawed. Not only are the claims of an obesity epidemic often wildly exaggerated, but the science linking weight to unfavourable mortality outcomes is also frequently nonexistent or distorted. For example, a study published in The Lancet medical journal last week has driven an empirical stake through the heart of the conventional wisdom that being ‘apple shaped’ increases one’s risk of a heart attack. The study found the risk of heart attack was not increased by fat being concentrated around the waist, which flatly contradicts earlier research that said overweight people with fat deposits in the middle of their body – or, to put it another way, having apple-shaped bodies - were three times as likely to suffer heart attacks than those with more generally distributed fat.
Are Reusable Shopping Bags Environmentally Friendly?
I have a green bag that says, “My reusable bag makes me better than you.” Much of the “greenie” movement is people getting rich selling warm, fuzzy feelings not based in fact. ~Bob. Excerpt: A new study from the United Kingdom entitled the "Life Cycle Assessment of Supermarket Carrier Bags" is casting doubt on the supposed environmental benefits of reusable shopping bags, reports the Heartland Institute. The study, published by the U.K. Environment Agency, found the potential of reusable shopping bags to benefit the environment depends on how many times they are used before being discarded. Real-world data show the bags are currently harming the environment instead of helping it. "Whatever type of bag is used, the key to reducing the impacts is to reuse it as many times as possible," the summary states. "The paper, low-density polyethylene (LDPE), non-woven polypropylene and cotton bags should be reused at least three, four, 11 and 131 times respectively to ensure that they have lower global warming potential than conventional high-density polyethylene (HDPE) carrier bags that are not reused." In other words: Grocery shoppers must use their cloth bags 131 times to see the environmental benefits of using reuseables that environmentalists tout. On top of that, shoppers who reuse their plastic grocery bags aren't committing the environmental cardinal sin to the level that alarmists claim.
San Fran set to implement tough local-hire law
Descending into the abyss of central planning for “social justice,” where better qualified workers will be economically disadvantaged in the name of fairness. I assume “economically disadvantaged” includes people breaking the law by being in the country illegally. ~Bob. Excerpt: The law was modeled in part after a similar mandate enacted in Cleveland, Ohio, but it goes a step further by also requiring that a set percentage of work hours on be performed by economically disadvantaged workers. The requirements apply to municipal construction projects worth more than $400,000 within 70 miles of the city. Supporters say the law will create much-needed jobs as San Francisco grapples with a 9.5 percent unemployment rate and prepares to award an estimated $27 billion in public works and improvement contracts over the next decade, including 128 planned projects in the coming year. "Local hire will not only boost our local economy and get San Francisco families back to work, but it will translate into a reinvestment in our city that will help pay for parks, public safety and social services," said Mayor Edwin Lee, who singled out the law as a top policy priority of his one-year interim term. Supervisor John Avalos, who spearheaded the legislation, described it as part of a larger, ongoing fight for equitable labor practices. "My efforts to strengthen local hiring is not just about addressing San Francisco's high unemployment rate, but also about addressing the historical exclusions of certain communities, and opening up job opportunities for everyone," Avalos said in an e-mail.
Hermene Hartman: Obama 'has not been loyal' to an old friend
Excerpt: Hartman, who met Obama when he was trying to get her magazine to review his book “Dreams From My Father”, says the president is “not necessarily loyal.” Hartman added that she’s gone the extra mile for Obama, having gotten Reverend Al Sharpton to support him during the 2008 presidential primaries before rival Hillary Clinton dropped out. “In Chicago politics, that’s rule number one: be loyal; dance with the one who brought you,” Hartman said. “I was very loyal to Barack, but he has not been loyal to some of the people who were there for him from day one…That’s my personal disappointment in him. Did you outgrow us, or did you forget?” (Since when does a god have to explain his actions to a mortal? ~Bob.)
Sex, Gender and Civilization
Interesting discussion thread. ~Bob. Excerpt: All the rights that women have or might want to have — or the rights held by anyone else, for that matter — do not trump the rights of the larger community. When any given personal right, if fully exercised by large numbers of people, threatens the existence of the community or the culture at large, then that right is forfeit. It’s unfortunate, but true: your right to do X without restriction is worthless if the simultaneous practice of X by millions of people leads to the destruction of society. Then the barbarians — who summarily execute people who practice X — take over, and the whole question becomes moot.
Exaggerating U. S. Border Violence?
Excerpt: After a decade of playing one on television, a few months ago, my brother, Aaron, and I [Chuck Norris] were blessed to become real Texas Rangers, in the presence of Gov. Rick Perry, fellow Texas Rangers and many others. Gov. Perry mentioned at that induction, "As the drug cartels have turned up the heat on the other side of that border over the past few years, we have invested significant state resources to secure our border, looking to local police departments, county sheriffs, game wardens and even Texas military forces. However, when it was time to take the fight to the bad guys, there was only one choice to lead our efforts, so we formed our Ranger recon teams. It is reassuring to know that our Rangers are on the job, especially in light of ongoing reports of deteriorating conditions with kidnappings, assassinations and terroristic acts just miles from Texas communities."
CAUGHT ON TAPE: Former SEIU Official Reveals Secret Plan to Destroy J P Morgan
Excerpt: So a bunch of us around the country think who would be a really good company to hate we decided that would be JP Morgan Chase and so we are going to roll out over the next couple of months what would hopefully be an exciting campaign about JP Morgan Chase that is really about challenge the power of Wall Street. And so what we are looking at is the first week in May can we get enough people together starting now to really have an week of action in New York I don’t want to give any details because I don’t know if there are any police agents in the room. (Let’s destroy Wall Street so there is no investment in companies to create jobs in the private sector and everyone has to work for the government and pay dues to SEIU. The nihilists are winning. ~Bob.)
New York high school teachers take crash course in Marine boot camp
A few years ago, Riddick Bowe, a heavyweight champion, joined the Corps. Couldn’t take it and dropped out after 11 days, thus demonstrating that every Marine is tougher than a heavyweight champ. ~Bob. Excerpt: Dozens of New York high school teachers have taken a crash course in Marine boot camp to learn what to tell kids thinking about joining up. They endured the drill sergeant's 0500 hours roar, squeezed off M16 rounds and even took a few fighting-stick head shots to come away converts to the Marine mantra that their way is not for everybody….Even a U.S. senator choked up at the sight.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said, "I just wanted to be down here for him." His grandson, 19-year-old Pvt. Michael Franklin, had just become one of the few, the proud, who will earn a monthly $1,447.20. (The change is forever. The Few...the Proud...the Marines. One of, if not the most significant days in my 64 years was when I sat in the reviewing stands on November 16, 2007 and watched my oldest grandson march along the same parade route that I did some 42 years earlier as he graduated from Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island. To add to his legacy, his entire series finished The Crucible and were presented their Eagle, Globe and Anchor the previous Saturday, which was the Marine Corps Birthday. OOH RAH!! --MasterGuns)
Excerpt: Since Walid Shoebat was not invited to Peter King’s hearing on Islamic radicalization in America he has submitted his own testimony in absentia. It’s a very good read (emphasis mine): For the Record my name is Walid Shoebat, I used to be a radicalized Muslim willing to die for the cause of Allah until I converted to Christianity in 1994. I was involved in terror activity, a member of the PLO, was imprisoned in Jerusalem for three weeks where I was recruited to plant a bomb in Bethlehem in which thank God no one was injured. My Mother was an American and my father a Palestinian Arab. My parents sent me in 1978 to United States to study at the Loop College in Chicago Illinois. There I was recruited at a hotel “terror conference” by Jamal Said a founder of the IAP (Islamic Association of Palestine) and the Imam at one of the largest mosques in Chicago. The IAP was a forerunner to today’s Hamas terror organization and also to CAIR (Council for American Islamic relations). This was in the early 1980s when I was being trained for Jihad activities in the USA along with many other young foreign students and US citizens.
Worth reading: M. Zuhdi Jasser, a Q & A
Excerpt: Homegrown terror from Muslims is increasing exponentially, and we are failing. I have been willing to frankly and publicly discuss the root cause of political Islam and work against it. I think the committee appreciated that forthrightness and presentation of tangible solutions like the "liberty narrative" that can inoculate Muslim youths against radicalization. 3. How did American Muslims respond to your testimony? There has been an overwhelming positive response from many American Muslims. The American Islamic Leadership Coalition, our alternative to Muslim grievance groups, has now grown exponentially in the past week. On the opposite pole, the hate speech against our work from Islamists nationally and locally has spiked with epithets against me like "Uncle Tom."
This qualifies her to serve in the Obama Cabinet or as an ObamaCzar. ~Bob. Excerpt: Any way you slice it, $287, 273 is a lot of money, especially in this economy. For one-term Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., up for re-election in 2012, that's the amount of personal property taxes she failed to pay since 2007 on a plane she and her husband, a millionaire businessman, partially owned. "I have discovered that the...personal property taxes on the plane have not been paid," McCaskill told a small number of reporters on a conference call Monday. "There should have been a reporting to the county of the existence of this airplane...There are people I could blame for this, but I know better. As (a former) auditor, I know I should have checked for myself.
Worth reading: When Governments Attack!
Excerpt: The Journal’s formulation embodies one of the great delusions of our age — that there are bad governments but no bad peoples. “Not all Germans were Nazis” — but enough were and enough of the rest strung along that the qualification is irrelevant. Not all Afghans are Taliban — but the real problem in that wretched land is not “the Afghan government” but the Afghan people. A dozen pages of a Flashman yarn has a sounder grasp of the Afghan psyche than nine years of multilateral “nation-building.” Which is why we’re going round and round in circles in an almighty Groundhogistan where a man gets sentenced to death for converting to Christianity under a court system created, funded, and protected by us. In the Middle East, likewise: There are bad governments but no bad peoples. One hopes that in his involuntary retirement the unlovely Mubarak, who sold himself to successive U.S. administrations as a restraint on the darker impulses of his citizenry, retains enough of a sense of humor to appreciate posterity’s little jest. Even as one of their own (Lara Logan of CBS) was sexually assaulted by a gang of 200 in Tahrir Square in the very hour of the tyrant’s fall, the Western media assured us that this was “the Facebook revolution.” Ninety-one percent of Egyptian women have undergone female genital mutilation. Not a lot of that on Facebook.
Fission Products and Radiation
Excerpt: Although most fission products are considered waste, some are very important to the operation of a nuclear reactor and have specific uses. Two of the fission products, xenon-135 and samarium-149, are prolific neutron absorbers (called “neutron poisons”) and can substantially affect control of the fission reaction during normal operation. Others, especially molybdenum-99 which eventually decays to technetium-99m, are used to produce “medical isotopes” that are essential for diagnostic testing for numerous life-threatening illnesses. Each year, 40 million people worldwide undergo necessary testing with technetium-99m. If you’ve ever had a nuclear medicine procedure, the chances are high that what they put into your body came straight out of a nuclear reactor – and if they hadn’t put it into your body, it would have been considered nuclear waste!
Joy Shall Be In Heaven Over One Sinner That Repenteth
Excerpt: You will not be surprised to hear that the events in Japan have changed my view of nuclear power. You will be surprised to hear how they have changed it. As a result of the disaster at Fukushima, I am no longer nuclear-neutral. I now support the technology.
America's Navy and the rise of China
Excerpt: Scholars at the Naval War College here probably nodded in vigorous agreement with a recent lecture delivered at another military institution 130 miles away. Speaking at West Point to leaders of tomorrow’s Army, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that “any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it.” This underscored Gates’s point that “the most plausible, high-end scenarios for the U.S. military are primarily naval and air engagements — whether in Asia, the Persian Gulf or elsewhere.”
About the Defense - 8 Points
Excerpt: Why is this lawsuit so important? Why is the situation at McMaster University so alarming? And why must you give to fight the lawsuit against award-winning journalist/author Paul L. Williams? Consider the following: 1. McMaster has harbored leading al Qaeda operatives, including Adnan el-Shukrijumah, Jaber A. Elbaneh, Abderraouf Jdey, and Amer el-Maati. This finding was a result of the interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, who was taken into custody in Karachi by ISI officials on March 3, 2003. A BOLO for these operatives was issued by former US Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI director Robert Mueller on March 21, 2004. A reward of $5 million has been posted for each of these agents. Adnan el Shukrijumah has been described by the US Justice Department as "the next Mohammad Atta" who has been commissioned to commandeer the next attack on U.S. soil. McMaster is an ideal location for these operatives to study since it houses a 5 megawatt nuclear reactor, one of the largest reactors for educational purposes in the western hemisphere.
Egyptian Constitutional Referendum Passes Amid Reports of Voting Irregularities
Excerpt: Over 18 million Egyptians cast their ballots on March 19 in a referendum on a controversial package of constitutional amendments to nine articles from the previous Constitution. According to the Election Commission, 77 percent of the voters (14 million) voted in favor of the referendum, 22.8 voted against. There were reports of election rigging by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), the Salafists and former members of the Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP)…. Manar Mohsen, who was a poll monitor for the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, said that Islamic groups claimed that voting yes is a "religious duty" and were telling voters they should vote yes to keep Article Two of the constitution, which states that Sharia is the principal source of Egyptian law. "They also told voters to approve the amendments if they wanted to keep Coptic Christians out of government," Mohsen said.
Harrassed [sic] Gay Couple Takes Mayor to Court
I think they are out of luck. Muslim is now more PC than Gay, though it’s hard to keep track. ~Bob. Excerpt: A gay couple from Utrecht is holding the municipality, the police and central government liable for the financial and emotional damage they suffered as a result of intimidation and violence of Moroccan youths. The couple have made official police reports to the Utrecht police eight times in the past years. On no single occasion was a suspect arrested. Meanwhile, the two men have moved to another municipality.
Excerpt: Montreal police are investigating a student who made threats against a conservative club at McGill University, even though university officials determined the student’s threats about jihad and wanting to “shoot everyone in the room” were harmless.
A spokesman for the Montreal Police Service told the Toronto Star they take the threat allegedly made by Haaris Khan seriously. Khan attended a viewing of the documentary “Indoctrinate-U,” sponsored by Conservative McGill, a student organization affiliated with Canada’s Conservative Party. During the viewing, Khan is accused of making death treats using his Twitter account.
Islamic Law Used To Dodge Stamp Duty
Excerpt: Insha’Allah, I, too shall find a way to avoid taxes and fool Allah about paying interest. ~Bob. Excerpt: Sharia law is being used by house buyers posing as Muslims to dodge stamp duty, it was revealed yesterday. A scheme, brought in by Labour in 2005, allows followers of Islam to buy property without paying the tax. Paying interest is banned under Sharia law, so Muslims are allowed to buy a house and then sell it on to an offshore financial company.
Zionist rock: FPI sets its eyes on underground music
Excerpt: He cited the lyrics of John Lennon’s song Imagine as Zionist music, although Lennon was not Jewish and was not considered an idol of the underground music community. “People keep singing his songs without realizing the meaning behind it,” he said. He suspected that the song — about a hypothetical state of the world where religion, state and ideology did not exist — carry a pure Zionist message. Farid also said some underground musical outfits had promoted Satanic messages. He said bands like Sepultura, Metallica and Lamb of God were satanic bands that could turn young Muslim fans away from religion.
Two Killed in Explosion Outside Church in Jos. Nigeria
If your bomb goes off early and you don’t, therefore, actually murder any Christians, will Allah still give you some virgins? Theology can get complicated when you belong to a “Religion of Peace.” ~Bob. Excerpt: Two people were killed in a bomb blast outside the ECWA Church, Nasarawa Gwom in Jos, a city in Nigeria’s Plateau state, a region beset in recent months by sectarian violence, a government official said. “We suspect the two men were trying to plant a bomb outside the church while Sunday service was on when the bomb exploded, killing both of them,” Gregory Yenlong, the Plateau State commissioner for information in a telephone interview. “A major tragedy was aborted today, because there was a very large congregation.”
Blasphemy suspect’s trial to start on 29th
Excerpt: According to the interim charge-sheet, the controller of examination of the Board of Intermediate Education, Karachi (BIEK) in his written complaint stated that the suspect appeared in the first year science group annual examination 2010 and it was reported by a professor that he wrote some blasphemous remarks in the answer sheets of Physics and Islamic Studies papers. It stated that a writing sample from the suspect was collected in court and sent it to the handwriting expert along with the copies of the answer sheets for an analysis. An initial medical examination of the suspect was conducted in the psychiatry ward of the Civil Hospital Karachi since one of his uncles said that the suspect was mentally ill, it added…..The 17-year-old suspect was picked up by the police from his Malir residence on Jan 28. (Another use of the “insanity defense” to escape the death penalty. ~Bob.)
Jihadists, Narcoterrorists and the Chavez Connection
Excerpt: President Obama's visit to South America could help focus attention on Iranian-Venezuelan terror collaboration, according to Roger Noriega, former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs under President George W. Bush.
Noriega (who also served as U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States) writes in the Washington Post that both regimes "are conspiring to sow Tehran's brand of proxy terrorism in the Western Hemisphere."
Top 10 Rejected Obama Mission Names
Apparently the White House tossed out a number of perfectly good names before arriving at "Operation Odyssey Dawn":
10.Operation Nine Months In The Senate Didn't Prepare Me For This
9. Operation Organizing for Libya
8. Operation Double Standard
7. Operation FINE! I'll Do Something
6. Operation Enduring Narcissism
5. Operation So That's What the Red Button Does
4. Operation France Backed Me Into A Corner
3. Operation Start Without Me
2. Operation Unlike Bush Wars This One Is Justified Because Hey Look A Squirrel
1. Operation Aimless Fury
9. Operation Organizing for Libya
8. Operation Double Standard
7. Operation FINE! I'll Do Something
6. Operation Enduring Narcissism
5. Operation So That's What the Red Button Does
4. Operation France Backed Me Into A Corner
3. Operation Start Without Me
2. Operation Unlike Bush Wars This One Is Justified Because Hey Look A Squirrel
1. Operation Aimless Fury
13 Illegal Immigrants Apprehended in U.S. Marine Uniforms
Excerpt: Clad in U.S. Marine uniforms, the illegal immigrants were apprehended at the Campo Border Patrol Westbound I-8 checkpoint at 11 p.m. on March 14 near Pine Valley, Calif., according to a March 15 report by California's El Centro Border Intelligence Center. Officials at U.S. Customs and Border Protection are investigating a report that 13 illegal immigrants who were disguised as U.S. Marines were apprehended in a fake military van last week. Clad in U.S. Marine uniforms, the illegal immigrants were apprehended at the Campo Border Patrol Westbound I-8 checkpoint at 11 p.m. on March 14 near Pine Valley, Calif., according to information received by California's El Centro Border Intelligence Center. After the suspicious white van was subjected to secondary inspection, it was determined that the driver of the vehicle and its front seat passenger were U.S. citizens who were attempting to smuggle 13 illegal immigrants into the United States. All of the vehicle's occupants wore U.S. Marine uniforms, reportedly emblazoned with the name "Perez."
Judge places California's global warming program on hold
Excerpt: In a 35-page decision, Judge Ernest H. Goldsmith said the Air Resources Board had failed to consider public comments on the proposed measures before adopting the plan, which affects a broad swath of the state's economy. In particular, the judge noted, officials gave short shrift to analyzing a carbon fee, or carbon tax, devoting a “scant two paragraphs to this important alternative” to a market-based trading system in their December 2008 plan. The air board said it would appeal the judge's decision, which was filed late Friday and released Monday. (…) The California lawsuit was filed by six environmental groups that represent low-income communities, including the Association of Irritated Residents, based in the San Joaquin Valley, and Communities for A Better Environment, which fights pollution around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. (Temporarily hobbled by their own. It’s better than no delay at all. Ron P.)
I Deserved My Combat Pay
Excerpt: I don’t dispute the conditions on VBC that Mr. Cummings describes. But I don’t believe that means that troops there, or on other forward operating bases (FOBs), do not deserve combat pay. I can also sympathize with Mr. Cummings when he writes, “The documentary ‘Restrepo,’ about the Korengal Valley experience, illustrates why men there deserve way more than 225 bucks a month, the same amount earned by generals who live at VBC.” And like Mr. Cummings, I agree that we shouldn’t just complain about a problem; we should offer solutions to it. Therefore, I suggest that if members of Congress feel that some troops deserve more combat pay than others, they should consider raising the deserving troops’ combat pay instead of reducing the combat pay of the rest. (Congress currently is considering increasing combat pay in general, so now is an excellent time to address this issue.) (In Vietnam, you got “Combat Pay” if you were getting rocketed at Khe Sanh, or if you were in a Navy Ship that spent a few days a month inside Vietnam’s coastal waters. ~Bob.)
Air Cover for Libyan Rebels, None for Cuban Freedom-Fighters
The Cubans were pro-American. Makes a difference. ~Bob. Excerpt: “Where are the planes?” kept crackling over U.S. Navy radios 50 years ago. The U.S. Naval armada (22 ships including the Carrier Essex loaded with deadly Skyhawk jets) was sitting 16 miles off the Cuban coast near an inlet known as Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs.) The question—bellowed between blasts from a Soviet artillery and tank barrage landing around him--came from commander, Pepe San Roman, who led an amphibious force of 1500 Cuban freedom-fighters. “Send planes or we can’t last!” San Roman kept pleading to the very fleet that escorted his men to the beachhead (and sat much closer to them than the Sixth Fleet sits to the Libyan coast today). Meanwhile the barrage intensified, the Soviet T-34 and Stalin tanks closed in, and San Roman’s casualties pile up.
A plea for a return to science on the nuclear power issue
Excellent essay and well worth reading. --Ron P. Excerpt: The great minds that accompanied me through my studies were Planck, Sommerfeld, Bohr, Einstein, Heisenberg, and a host of others who, for us physicists, are still very much alive today. They are great thinkers who contributed to unravelling the puzzles of nature and the forces which keep the world together through the most minute structures. I devoured the stories of Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner, of Enrico Fermi and Edward Teller – to name a few – and on how they created completely new technologies from theoretical concepts, how the energy stored in the nucleus of an atom could be used for the good of man and how it became possible in a single process to tap into this source of affordable, clean and plentiful energy on a large scale as never seen by man. Electricity illuminates our world, drives our machines, allow us to communicate over great distances, thus making our lives easier and more comfortable. It is a source of energy that staves off poverty and enables prosperity. Electricity: manufactured by splitting atomic nuclei with neutrons, gained through the direct conversion of mass into energy. It is the principle by which (via the reverse process of fusion) the stars twinkle in the night sky, a principle by which our sun enables life on our planet.
Smart Democrats will follow Joe Manchin
Excerpt: There are 23 Senate Democrats facing re-election battles next year. One of them, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, has only been a senator for a few months, having won a special election last November to complete the late Robert Byrd's last term. (Manchin will be seeking his first full six-year term in 2012.) Despite the brevity of Manchin's Washington tenure, Democrats who hope to win next November would do well to pay close attention to the West Virginian, who said Monday that he will vote against raising the national debt ceiling if it is not coupled with a bipartisan, long-term plan to get federal spending under control. That declaration puts Manchin solidly at odds with President Obama, who predicts cataclysmic consequences if Congress does not increase the debt ceiling when the current limit of $14.3 trillion is exceeded in April.
Ill. state Senator leaves for Texas: 'I'm tired of subsidizing crooks.'
Excerpt: Roger Keats, a former Illinois state senator and Cook County Board president, is packing up and leaving the Land of Lincoln for good. The 62-year-old Keats was a good government reformer who helped clean up the rampant corruption in the Chicago-area courts uncovered by Operations Greylord and Gambat. But now he’s throwing in the towel, and he and his wife are heading for Texas. “I am tired of subsidizing crooks," Keats told the Wilmette Beacon. In “Good Bye and Good Luck,” a letter to all the friends and political supporters he’s leaving behind after 60 years, Keats says he is leaving what he calls “the most corrupt big city…and most corrupt state in America” with “a heavy heart.”
Robert A. Hall