"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt

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Friday, July 31, 2009

New Link List Added! First Up, Singapore News Links!

Okay, after posting the Honduras links a little while ago, I started thinking that maybe it would be a good idea to have a separate column that emphasizes foreign news. So, I'm going to go ahead and do that and set up a foreign news link list. That way visitors can get an idea of foreign affairs from a perspective that isn't simply the AP's or Reuters'.

To start off with I've added a couple of sites from one of my favorite countries that I've visited-- Singapore. Littlespeck.com appears to be a site emphasizing Singapore and regional events, while The Straits Times is the largest English-language newspaper in Singapore. Check them out and learn about the country from the country itself.

New Links Added!

I've added a couple of links to my Blog List for news regarding Honduras. Links to Honduras this Week and Honduras News (h/t to Legal Insurrection for both) are now up. Check them out and watch the evolution of the issues rather than simply be subjected to the MSM's soundbites convenient for slow news days.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Iranian Police Beats Mourners at Neda's Memorial

While the US has been focused on Gates-gate and Obamacare, Iran has been experiencing severe political unrest since the election June 12th. Whether it was the reformers flooding the streets claiming rigged elections, the subsequent violent crackdown by riot police, the killing of Neda, "elected" president Ahmadinejad's choice of softer Esfandiar Rahim Mashai (who had the audacity to have made friendly comments toward Israel) for vice-president and Ahmadinejad's subsequent cave-in to hardliners' demand that Mashai be sacked, Iran is in turmoil.

Today police beat mourners at the memorial of Neda Agha-Soltan. According to the Telegraph "Witnesses said police used batons and sticks to beat mourners at Behesht-e Zahra cemetery where opposition leaders are planning a memorial visit to the cemetery south of Tehran to mark the 40th day since the death of Neda Agha-Soltan."

This in spite of attempts by the government to appease Iranian protesters with the appointment (and subsequent rejection) of Mashai as vice-president and the closure of a notorious detention center.

Again according to the Telegraph: "The Iranian authorities freed 140 protesters this week and announced the closure of a detention centre amid opposition allegations of prisoner abuse. The reformist Khatami, who was succeeded by Ahmadinejad in 2005, said a declaration that illegal holding centres must be closed was inadequate. 'It is not enough to say that a detention centre was not up to the required standards and so closed. Does it mean the ventilation system was malfunctioning or the toilets were unclean?' he said on his Baran foundation website. 'No. Crimes have been committed. Lives have been lost.'"

All of this raises the question of just how powerful the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei truly is and how much authority President Ahmadinejad will actually wield. Breaks in the hardliners' ranks are evident, as is a growing popular dissatisfaction with the Ayatollah and other hardline clerics.

This all seems to be of little interest to Obama however as he engages in a beer drinking "can't-we-all-just-get-drunk-and-get-along" photo-op with Gates and Sgt. Crowley in an attempt to get his ill-fated Obamacare back on the front pages. Maybe it's unfair of me to bring this up now, but seriously when was the last time Obama even mentioned Iran? The giant gulf between what's needed right now and what Obama is pushing (Obamacare, Cap & Trade, his racial authenticity) is astonishing to me. I guess astonishment is all I'm going to get with Obama's foreign policy.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Great Thomas Sowell Essay on the "Post-Racial" President

It is hot in Oregon right now. Yesterday, it was 107 F. I don't have air conditioning.

Thomas Sowell had an interesting take on Obama, Gates-gate, community organizing and the whole "post-racial" nonsense. In the rather aptly titled essay "A 'Post-Racial' President?" Sowell sums up a lot of what I would want to say about the subject in less than half the words I would use. Gotta love his intelligent brevity. Check out Sowell's essay here.

And here's a sample from Sowell: "Those who were shocked at President Obama's cheap shot at the Cambridge police for being 'stupid' in arresting Henry Louis Gates must have been among those who let their wishes prevail over the obvious implications of Obama's 20 years of association with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Anyone who can believe that Obama did not understand what the racist rants of Jeremiah Wright meant can believe anything."

Read the whole essay. It's quite good.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mark Steyn's Take on Gates-gate

Check out Mark Steyn's take on the Gates arrest, published at the National Review Online.

Here's a couple of my favorite parts:

"The latter [the Cambridge police] 'acted stupidly,' pronounced the chief of state. The president of the United States may be reluctant to condemn Ayatollah Khamenei or Hugo Chávez or that guy in Honduras without examining all the nuances and footnotes, but sometimes there are outrages so heinous that even the famously nuanced must step up to the plate and speak truth to power. And thank God the leader of the free world had the guts to stand up and speak truth to municipal police sergeant James Crowley."

And later:

"As Professor Gates jeered at the officers, 'You don’t know who you’re messin’ with.' Did Sergeant Crowley have to arrest him? Probably not. Did he allow himself to be provoked by an obnoxious buffoon? Maybe. I dunno. I wasn’t there. Neither was the president of the United States, or the governor of Massachusetts, or the mayor of Cambridge. All of whom have declared themselves firmly on the side of the Ivy League bigshot. And all of whom, as it happens, are African-American. A black president, a black governor, and a black mayor all agree with a black Harvard professor that he was racially profiled by a white-Latino-black police team, headed by a cop who teaches courses in how to avoid racial profiling. The boundless elasticity of such endemic racism suggests that the 'post-racial America' will be living with blowhard grievance-mongers like Professor Gates unto the end of time."

Yeah... It's kind of strange that Obama denounced the Cambridge police (all the while admitting that he didn't know the details, etc.) far faster than he denounced the Iranian crackdown, and the wholesale arrests and killings of Iranian protesters. America is the only country worthy of his snap judgements, apparently. And of course Americans, whether they're doctors portrayed as greedy mercenaries cutting on our children for money or police officers portrayed as racists, are never worthy of Obama's otherwise bountiful apologies.

UPDATE: And check out Legal Insurrection's William A. Jacobson's take on Gates' sudden desire to "move on" (with himself firmly in the driver's seat) after the incident.

My favorite part excerpted from Jacobson: "I know that Obama does not like to use the word 'victory.' But the public needs a victory of truth here. Based upon what I have read, I do not believe that this was a case of racial profiling. But if the truth is that there really was racial profiling going on, then Sgt. Crowley needs to handle the truth, as do I.

"But if the truth is that Prof. Gates made a false accusation of racial profiling, and Obama accepted that false accusation without due inquiry because of Obama's own profiling of the police, then Prof. Gates and Obama need to handle that truth, if they can."

"If they can," indeed. Anyone familiar with Gates' work or has seen him talk (and not smitten with his "message" and prestige), can attest to an almost insurmountable arrogance. A trait shared with Obama. I doubt either is capable of truly admitting they were wrong about much of anything.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Added New Blog! The Middle Coast

Anne Leary of Backyard Conservative has a new blog: The Middle Coast (also on My Blog List). Check it out.

I'm not sure yet if she'll be double-posting stuff from Backyard Conservative or it it'll be a whole new blog emphasizing middle America. Either way be sure to go peruse her blogs. Leary often has interesting and insightful posts at Backyard Conservative and I expect her new blog will be up to the same standard.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Race Debate that Obama Desperately Wants to Avoid

The arrest of Henry Louis Gates, a professor at Harvard and author of The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism (an extremely influential book in literary criticism), seemed destined to be one of those short-lived hot topics that routinely make the rounds of blogs, talk shows, and college classrooms. Cries of racism echo out across the country, and those wanting to engage in (as well as those forced into) the loaded, emotional, and - above all - repetitive discussions are called upon to divide themselves into camps, posted into binary opposition. Especially juicy discussions cause teeth to gnash in anger, fists to clench in frustration, voices to be raised in exasperation. The facts of the case, if they were ever known, are lost amid the tumult that follows, and are frankly beside the point anyway-- for this is discussion about the big picture: race in America. For a few weeks tempers would periodically flare up across America and personal insults would be thrown carelessly about within classrooms and in various public and private venues, but before long both fickle camps, already bored of this most recent tussle, would settle back into their respective corners and wait. At the next prominent arrest, or the next allegation of police beating, they would spring forward preplanned talking points and the same stale arguments in clenched hand.

The situation changed, however, when reporter Lynn Sweet asked Obama about the Gates arrest during the president's prime time Obamacare PR speech. William A. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection recognized the significance (he has posted a YouTube clip of the question and Obama's entire initial response-- be sure to watch it for context, especially if you have only seen excerpts of it).

The question posed by Sweet was "Recently, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was arrested at his home in Cambridge. What does that incident say to you? And what does it say about race relations in America?" Obama's response follows in its entirety from the transcript at the Chicago Sun-Times:

"Well, I -- I should say at the outset that Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don't know all the facts. What's been reported, though, is that the guy forgot his keys, jimmied his way to get into the house; there was a report called into the police station that there might be a burglary taking place.

"So far, so good, right? I mean, if I was trying to jigger into -- well, I guess this is my house now, so -- (laughter) -- it probably wouldn't happen."(Chuckling.) But let's say my old house in Chicago -- (laughter) -- here I'd get shot. (Laughter.) But so far, so good. They're -- they're -- they're reporting. The police are doing what they should. There's a call. They go investigate. What happens?

"My understanding is, at that point, Professor Gates is already in his house. The police officer comes in. I'm sure there's some exchange of words. But my understanding is -- is that Professor Gates then shows his ID to show that this is his house, and at that point he gets arrested for disorderly conduct, charges which are later dropped.

"Now, I've -- I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that. But I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home.

"And number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcing disproportionately. That's just a fact.

"As you know, Lynn, when I was in the state legislature in Illinois, we worked on a racial profiling bill because there was indisputable evidence that blacks and Hispanics were being stopped disproportionately. And that is a sign, an example of how, you know, race remains a factor in the society.

"That doesn't lessen the incredible progress that has been made. I am standing here as testimony to the progress that's been made. And yet the fact of the matter is, is that, you know, this still haunts us.

"And even when there are honest misunderstandings, the fact that blacks and Hispanics are picked up more frequently, and oftentime for no cause, casts suspicion even when there is good cause. And that's why I think the more that we're working with local law enforcement to improve policing techniques so that we're eliminating potential bias, the safer everybody's going to be."

Anytime a politician precedes a serious statement with "I may be a little biased here" and "I don't know all the facts," it should be, hopefully, followed by: "I'm afraid I'm going to have to reserve judgement until I know all the facts." Yet Obama, like so many educated people (politicians and non-politicians alike), feels free to throw out idle speculation and leaps of logic disguised as intelligent deliberation.

Not surprisingly, Obama sides with his friend "Skip" Gates, saying that the Cambridge police acted stupidly and then tying the whole incident to police stopping a disproportionate number of Hispanic and blacks. He has not only taken a side, but expanded the argument away from Gates' arrest to that of the racism inherent in the police. No matter how Obama wants to phrase it-- whether it is "a long history" of disproportionately stopping minorities, "potential bias" in the ranks, or "race remains a factor in society (is it at all possible for it not to be in any heterogeneous society?)," the clear implication is that the police unfairly targets Hispanics and blacks because the police are bigots. Whether you believe this to be true or not, that is clearly what is being said.

Not wanting to enter into this long and complex racial argument in this relatively short post that's not actually about the specific issue of race or police, I offer no personal opinion on the matter here. Please, don't presume my belief, however-- it may be quite different than you think.

But now we have this little bit of theatrics. With his popularity already waning, below 50% prior to this incident, Obama offers up this "sort-of apology" that's actually mere damage control (I can't find a transcript yet, but a YouTube video is at Instapundit's link). My favorite Obama line: "I actually just had a conversation with Sergeant Jim Crowley, the officer involved, and I have to tell you, as I said yesterday, my impression of him was that he was an outstanding police officer and a good man, and that was confirmed in the phone conversation."

Obama said that Sgt. Jim Crowley (by all means, please use his familiar first name) "was an outstanding police officer and a good man?" When did Obama say this? Not very long after saying that the police, outstanding and good Sgt. Crowley, acted stupidly for arresting Gates. Not long after saying "that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcing disproportionately. That's just a fact." And not long after jumping at the chance to tie Gates' arrest to a "long tradition" of police bigotry. That is also just a fact. What does it imply?

Obama saying now that there was an overreaction by the police and that "Professor Gates [no more 'Skip Gates' one notices] probably overreacted as well," doesn't erase the plain fact that Obama initially took a side, presumed racism (why else bring it up during his answer), and assigned blame for the whole incident solely at the police's front door. He says nothing in his first answer about any sort of overreaction by Gates. Instead, after offering an excuse for Gates ("any of us would be pretty angry"), Obama talks about police bias for four transcribed paragraphs. It seems like he wants us all to now forget about that.

Obama brings up race and bias, inseparable from the incident in this country, and then backs away within forty-eight hours-- abruptly lauding the arresting officer's "honesty," "fine track record on racial sensitivity," and goodness. And just how many months ago did Attorney General Eric Holder say "[t]hough this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards."

Obama goes on to say during this further clarification that his "hope is, as a consequence of this event, this ends up being what's called a teachable moment." Oh, I think that this is very likely to be what's called a teachable moment. But what's really being taught by a backpedaling Obama right now?

UPDATE: check out Mark Finkelstein's rundown of early morning show's guests regarding Gatesgate at NewsBusters. Have a good laugh. To steal a line, I think there's nothing like vaudeville.

Deposed President Zelaya at Honduras' Border

According to the AP: "Ousted President Manuel Zelaya has stepped across the border into his homeland and says he will reclaim his post a month after soldiers flew him into exile.

"Zelaya says he was forced to act on his own after U.S.-backed talks failed to reach a negotiated settlement with the coup-installed government to reinstate him.

"That government has vowed to arrest him if he tries to return."

Zelaya with the backing of Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega seems absolutely determined to institute a "strong man" style of government over Honduras' constitution, congress and supreme court. This is a true test of constitutional democracy and the rule of law.

*note the language of the article "coup-installed government" and "ousted President."

Rationing Health Care According to Social Justice?

Check out this op-ed by Betsy McCaughey in the NY Post (h/t to Pundit & Pundette their take here). I haven't fact-checked the citations in the piece, but the arguments are compelling and coincide with the political mess that is created when combing politics and medicine so completely.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Obama "Clarifies" Remarks about "Stupid" Cambridge Police

We all know about Obama's statement regarding the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates. Obama, while admitting that he did not know the details, couldn't resist saying "I don’t know – not having been there and not seeing all the facts – what role race played in that, but I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home."

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs is playing word games once again, or rather is being served up as a proxy for Obama's word games once again. In this article by the AP via Boston Herald.com, Gibbs proclaims that "the president did not regret his Wednesday remarks[regarding the arrest of Henry Louis Gates], but wanted to clarify that he was not calling the arresting officer stupid."

Well, Obama not regretting his remarks is hardly news. After all, can anyone think of any of his own words or actions Obama has publicly regretted? He's backpedaled and "qualified" of course, and Obama has a penchant for touring about and ingratiatingly apologizing for others' actions (especially in foreign countries), but something that he himself has done? I'm drawing a blank.

But let's go ahead and move on, and see what Obama is saying through his spokeman. Obama said, in no uncertain terms (that he does not regret), "that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home" but that the police's arresting officer, Sgt. Crowley, who made the decision was not stupid. So Sgt. Crowley made a stupid decision, but isn't himself stupid. Huh... And just what does that mean?

I suppose the Forrest Gump adage "stupid is as stupid does" just doesn't seem to apply here, especially during frantic political backpedaling.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Science "Czar" Holdren on the Defensive

Check out this post by Michelle Malkin.

Apparently vaunted science guru, global warming alarmist, and White House science czar John Holdren is purportedly disavowing the book Ecoscience (in which forced abortions, forced adoptions, forced human sterilization, and a global regime were all advocated) authored by himself and -- what were their names again?-- oh, right Paul R. and Anne H. Ehrlich. It's too bad that people weren't so quick to forget the Ehrlichs' names back in the 70s and early 80s when their apocalyptic work was required reading in colleges and universities.

This has been a quiet disavowal, and one that he apparently won't confirm based on Michelle Malkin's purported experience with OSTP (Office of Science and Technology Policy-- the "science czar's" office) employee Rick Weiss.

And apparently Holdren's never heard of his mentor (a eugenics advocate and fellow apocalyptic science alarmist) Harrison Brown. You may have heard of Harrison Brown recently-- he's the fellow who infamously likened the human population to a "pulsating mass of maggots." There's more on Brown in Malkin's post. Be sure to read it and the links she provides.

Perhaps clarity and transparency are called for here. Maybe we should all ask Holdren to clarify his position on world population, eugenics, his views of Harrison Brown, and forced sterilization, abortion, and adoption.

I think we should follow Malkin's suggestion and contact the science czar. This is an important issue, and not something merely to pester the Obama administration about. An elitist who hold the view that certain other people are ill-defined "undesirables," and publicly proclaims that he holds human life in low esteem, should not be advising the country on the issues of science and technology.

Contact the science czar:

Office of Science and Technology Policy
Executive Office of the President
725 17th Street Room 5228
Washington, DC 20502

Director’s Office

Friday, July 17, 2009

Obamacare: Killing the Old for "Hope" of the Future

I knew that Obamacare was going to be a cruel and inflexible plan. Government bureaucracies that do not answer to the electorate, which are not affected in any way by real world results, which are completely unaffected by consumer wants, needs, and complaints, are not in any way empathetic. They cannot be. It would be like expecting a snake to fly through the air. Bureaucracies are simply not designed to do be responsive to those for whom they serve. Yet, I found this specific provision in the horrendous House version of the health care bill to be beneath contempt, even with my basement expectations. I could not let it simply pass by.

From Betsy McCaughey a former lieutenant governor of New York per the New York Post (h/t to Quite Rightly at Bread upon the Waters): "One troubling provision of the House bill compels seniors to submit to a counseling session every five years (and more often if they become sick or go into a nursing home) about alternatives for end-of-life care (House bill, p. 425-430). The sessions cover highly sensitive matters such as whether to receive antibiotics and 'the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration.'"

A person representing the sole possible provider of health coverage for this individual (the federal government) will counsel seniors on end-of-life care? A bean counter whose only purpose is to decrease costs will lecture seniors about end-of-life care? As the burden of spiraling health care costs staggers the government, can you even begin to imagine what these counseling sessions would be like? I'm thinking of something out of the movie Soylent Green (remember Edward G. Robinson's experience at the euthanasia clinic?). Sacrifice indeed...

Obama has often been lecturing us untutored and unwashed masses on the value of and need for sacrifice-- as if the concept is completely foreign to our foolish, greedy and rapacious natures. But the concept of sacrifice is not so pure as Obama's rhetoric would have us believe. Speaking in sweeping generalities amid hollow praise for patriotic platitudes (the most common recipe for Gerald Warner's "Obamaguff"), Obama's speeches and soundbites would have us believe that sacrifice is a moral quality rather than an action. It is not.

A moral quality is something that informs our actions. While we inaccurately speak of doing good, what we actually mean is to perform actions that coincide with our sense of good (wherever that comes from and whatever that sense may be-- I'm not writing this post to argue about that). In other words, we cannot actually "do good," and can only "act good." Being judged good is based on the performance of good actions or, some would argue, the lack of performing a tempting but evil act.

Sacrifice is altogether different. It is an action, as one may sacrifice. The morality of sacrifice is based upon the context of the action. Sacrificing oneself to save others (the old war movie cliche of throwing oneself on a grenade to save civilians for instance), is often construed to be a good act, while greedily sacrificing a child to save oneself (like Billy Zane in the unimpressive film Titanic) is generally thought to be bad. This is all obvious and common knowledge, I know (that's why I'm using the movie references)-- but the distinction between an action and the reason to perform an action is often overlooked and confused. It is important to understand the clarity of the line between the two.

To sacrifice is to do something-- in the sense that it is the result of a decision based on deliberation. It is the deliberation that makes the action good or not-- and not merely the performance. Even self-sacrifice is not always a good thing. Joseph Goebbels sacrificed the lives of his six children, his wife, and ultimately himself to Hitler's National Socialism. Would you construe that as a good act? Various devotees of communism willingly sacrificed their lives to the altar of Marxism (among with the vast majority of those coerced to do so) within the Soviet Union. Was their self-sacrifice to keep a tyrant like Lenin in power a good act? While self-sacrifice is often viewed as noble (especially by those who ascribe to the altar on which the devotee offers oneself up), it is important to distinguish between nobility and morality. They are not synonymous.

The intent of Obamaguff is not to blur the line between action and ethics, nobility and morality. It is not Orwellian doublespeak (a concept that couldn't actually work). That would be giving it far too much credit. Instead, Obamaguff is the direct result of Obama's own belief system that refuses to distinguish one from the other for political conveniences' sake. What is disquieting is how unquestioningly the public and media has, if not simply accepted, tolerated Obamaguff.

So, while Obama urges us to sacrifice in the midst of empty and meaningless references to Normandy and the Founding Fathers-- all amid town hall/devotional cheers-- the machinations of the federal government offers us this heavy-handed, top-down travesty of a bill to sacrifice our elders upon. We shall send out counselors to urge seniors to forgo expensive treatments and hurry them to their inevitable graves. Let them not burden the youth and the bright hope of the future. Obama's much vaunted hope is not for the hopeless it seems.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Links! (It is Friday, right?)

Hello all. Still plugging away at the book and now with the great relief that Cap 'n' Trade has been shelved until the Fall. I'm betting the bill is on it's steady way to bill heaven, but you never know.

Starting off the links today is Bread upon the Waters' blogger Quite Rightly's post regarding Maryam Rustampoor and Marzieh Amirizadeh, a pair of women currently being held in Evin prison in Iran. Read his post, and I applaud the effort to attach names and faces to the victims of Iran's repressive policies. We should not turn our back and close our eyes for convenience's sake, even political convenience, as Obama has.

Michelle Malkin has a nasty little find. It seems Obama's science czar, John Holdren, co-wrote a book in 1977 that stated:

"• Women could be forced to abort their pregnancies, whether they wanted to or not;

• The population at large could be sterilized by infertility drugs intentionally put into the nation’s drinking water or in food [from what I read, the key word is could. The passage suggests that it is unfeasible and points out several logistical problems including the fact that no drug like this exists or is likely to exist. However, it suggests that the concept is acceptable and offers no moral arguments against such a practice];

• Single mothers and teen mothers should have their babies seized from them against their will and given away to other couples to raise;

• People who 'contribute to social deterioration' (i.e. undesirables) 'can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility' — in other words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.

• A transnational 'Planetary Regime' should assume control of the global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of Americans’ lives — using an armed international police force."

Ouch. The book is called Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment and was co-authored by Paul R. and Anne H. Ehrlich.

Now to be fair, I am stating here and now that I have not read this book, nor have I researched this myself. It is, of course, heresay and Michelle Malkin herself found this by way of another blogger (Zombie) and another site (also worth a visit-- links also available at michellemalkin.com). However the time period of the book fits perfectly with the 1970s' unreasonable panic/terror of overpopulation (remember the films Soylent Green, The Three Days of the Condor [the ends suggests that in a few years we'll all be running out of food], etc.) and zombietime.com has scans and photos of the book. If it is a hoax, it's an elaborate one.

Kinda makes you rethink the whole "czar" idea doesn't it? I wonder what would've happened if this had come out during Congressional hearings? How embarrassed would Obama be? Or does he hold to this undesirables-shouldn't-have-kids notion? He's publicly said that he won't subject his own family to the rules of Obamacare (h/t to So it Goes in Shreveport). Careful Obama... your judgemental elitism is starting to show.

Pundit & Pundette also have this story. Check out their take here.

William A. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has an interesting post regarding Sarah Palin and the elite Left's rabid hatred of her. Did you know that Sarah Palin's popularity is due to "our country’s resentment, and even hatred, of well-educated, apparently affluent women [that] is spiraling out of control[?]" According to Judith Warner of the NY Times it is. Check out Judith Warner's article too. It's a wonderful and distinctly American Left mix of victimology and elitist bile.

Pat Austin at So it Goes in Shreveport... has this post on House Rep. Fleming's suggestion that Congress should pledge to adopt Obamacare health coverage. Fat chance of that happening since they view themselves as shepherds and we the sheep. Obama's proposalalooza/plate spinning act is also scrutinized.

Caroline Glick rather cuttingly analyzes Obama's views putting them into context with his visit to Russia here.

From her essay: "THERE IS NOTHING shocking about Obama's embrace of radical politics as a college student. Particularly at Columbia, adopting such positions was the most conformist move a student could make. What is disturbing is that these views have endured over time, although they were overtaken by events 20 years ago.

"Just six years after Obama penned his little manifesto, the Iron Curtain came crashing down. The Soviet empire fell not because radicals like Obama called for the US to destroy its nuclear arsenal, it fell because president Ronald Reagan ignored them and vastly expanded the US's nuclear arsenal while deploying short-range nuclear warheads in Europe and launching the US's missile defense program while renouncing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

"On Monday Obama arrived in Moscow for a round of disarmament talks with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. According to most accounts, while in Moscow Obama plans to abandon US allies Ukraine and Georgia and agree to deep cuts in US missile defense programs. In exchange, Moscow is expected to consider joining Washington in cutting back on its nuclear arsenal just as the likes of Iran and North Korea build up theirs.

"Of course, even if Russia doesn't agree to scale back its nuclear arsenal, Obama has already ensured that the US will slash the size of its own by refusing to fund its modernization. In short, Obama is working to implement the precise policy he laid out as an unoriginal student conformist 26 years ago."

Check out the entire piece.

And lastly, NewsBusters.org has this interesting piece on Green Jobs Czar (more czar news...) Van Jones' background. It turns out Jones is a former "rowdy black nationalist" (his words) communist, and anarchist-- as well as an ex-con, since he says he was "radicalized in jail." And now a member of the president's staff. Change has come. Let the hilarity ensue.

Keep checking the Honduras Abandoned blog. Nothing new as of now, but the Honduras' story continues.

UPDATE: For some strange reason both Daniel Hannan and Gerald Warner's blogs are not updating their most recent titles on this blog's Blog List. However, the links in the Blog List are still up and the top links do go to their most recent blog posts, despite the fact that tags suggest otherwise. To visit Gerald Warner's or Daniel Hannan's blogs, click on their names in the Blog List (i.e. Gerald Warner's Blog Listings) and you'll still go to their Telegraph blogs which are continuing.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Added New Blog! Honduras Abandoned

I've added a new blog to my Blog List to the side-- Honduras Abandoned.

Go check out Honduras Abandoned for some on the ground reports of the situation in Honduras from Hunter Smith (h/t to And So it Goes in Shreveport and Legal Insurrection). Plenty of photos and personal accounts, plus a great choice of blog format (*heh*).

I am personally fascinated by this blog and I think both it and the Honduras story deserve attention. I highly recommend giving it a look.

Friday, July 3, 2009

First Edition of Thursday Links!

As some may have noticed, I've been posting more often this week than in the past several. I hit a snag in my novel (not an unusual occurrence), and decided to take the week off to reorganize and reread. This 4th of July weekend, my wife and I are heading to the Oregon coast and I thought I should post my link list a little early.

Kind of heavy on Honduras this time around, but this is an important issue and seems to speak volumes on what Obama really believes is the nature of political power and the actual values and motives his foreign policy is to serve.

William A Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has this post on Obama and Honduras.

As Jacobson says: "With each passing day, the vapidness of the Obama administration's foreign policy becomes more clear. Lofty words spoken in the capitals of Europe and the Middle East were just words. From the warm embrace of the bully Hugo Chavez, to the cynical mixed-messages on the Iran protests, Obama has shown a willingness to 'work with' repressive regimes hostile to the United States while ignoring friends.

"Now it is Honduras, where Obama sides with Manuel Zelaya, a Chavez-prototype who tried to put himself in a perpetual presidency, in violation of Honduran court orders to the contrary. The evidence is overwhelming that had the Honduran military not acted, Honduras would have gone the way of Venezuela.

"When is Obama going to learn that you cannot work with the Hugo Chavez's and Mahmood Ahmadinejad's of the world. That doesn't mean military action, but it does mean standing up to them on the world stage, and supporting our friends."

Go to his site and read the rest-- and check out the links contained in his post. Don't let this situation get swept under the rug-- don't let Obama change his tune in the future and declare that he always had "unswerving support" for the people of Honduras in a month or two.

American Thinker has this post by Pamela Gellar about Obama and Honduras comparing Obama's reaction to Iran and Honduras. Nothing terribly new in the article, but still well worth your time. I would also like to add that I think that part of what colors Obama's reactions is that, despite his idiotic "small nation" declaration, Obama is afraid of Iran. And he has no fear of Honduras.

The always succinct Caroline Glick has this excellent, must-read op/ed on the Obama administration's idea of selling appeasement as realism in their foreign policy.

Per Glick: "IN STAKING out a seemingly hard-nosed, unsentimental position on Iran, Obama and his advisers would have us believe that unlike their predecessors, they are foreign policy 'realists.' Unlike Jimmy Carter, who supported the America-hating mullahs against the America-supporting shah 30 years ago in the name of his moralistic post-Vietnam War aversion to American exceptionalism, Obama supports the America-hating mullahs against the America-supporting freedom protesters because all he cares about are 'real' American interests.

"So too, unlike George W. Bush, who openly supported Iran's pro-American democratic dissidents against the mullahs due to his belief that the advance of freedom in Iran and throughout the world promoted US national interests, Obama supports the anti-American mullahs who butcher these dissidents in the streets and abduct and imprison them by the thousands due to his 'hard-nosed' belief that doing so will pave the way for a meeting of the minds with their oppressors.

"Yet Obama's policy is anything but realistic. By refusing to support the dissidents, he is not demonstrating that he is a realist. He is showing that he is immune to reality. He is so committed to appeasing the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ali Khamenei that he is incapable of responding to actual events, or even of taking them into account for anything other than fleeting media appearances meant to neutralize his critics."

Read it all. Her argument sheds a great deal of light on Obama's reactions to Honduras and Iran. She manages to say so much of I wished to, in a manner that I cannot emulate. Excellent work.

Forbes.com has an interesting article on the woes of teenagers seeking employment. Per the article: "For teenagers, the summer job market has not been so bleak in generations. During what should be the start of the bustling summer job season, the unemployment rate for 16- to 19-year-olds who want work is 24%--the worst since 1965."

Personally, I know my niece in Southern California just graduated from high school (Congratulations Kate!) and though she's currently working part-time at a job she's been in for a couple of years, she works an average of less than 10 hours a week in retail. And that is not by choice. Ouch...

Quite Rightly at Bread upon the Waters has been busy on his blog this week. He has a several interesting posts about Cap and Trade but my favorite is here about how Cap and Trade could "clobber" the poor. This would be a terrible, terrible law. While there, see his other related posts on Cap and Trade. All very interesting. See also his take on Jefferson's moving words regarding independence.

Pat Austin at So it Goes in Shereveport has this post regarding Obama's firing of inspector general Walpin while investigating misuse of funds by an Obama ally and the ensuing executive privilege claims. Chicago hardball at its finest. "Hope and Change" my @$$. Hmm. Can you tell my patience is wearing a tad thin with Obama?

Monique Stuart over at HotMES points out the inevitable cost overruns for Obamacare. Check out comment #4 while you're there. *heh* I like that idea.

Chris M at snaggletoothie of the Loyal Opposition has his usual and collection of vid-clips, one entry focusing on Meryl Streep singing. I like it.

And last but not least, a brief shout out to Jordan and all at Generation Patriot. Here's hoping for a quick return to punditry! We feel the lack.

Have a happy and safe 4th everyone!

UPDATE: Hmm... Of course today is Friday and not Thursday as I had said in this post's title. I did say I lose track of time when I begin writing, didn't I? Oh well...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Some Opinion Pieces on Honduras and its "Coup"

Just thought I'd drop in some opinion pieces on Honduras. They offer a little background on the immediate history of Honduras that many in the television MSM networks seem to be glossing over. I must confess that I know very little about Honduras' history and have never visited the country-- however I've studied the histories of various South American countries (Argentina, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, and Bolivia) for about eleven years now, so I am not completely unfamiliar with the region (yes, I know Honduras in in Central America).

Here's an op/ed by Alvaro Vargas Llosa in The Washington Post (h/t to Anne Leary at Backyard Conservative), detailing Zelaya's rather abrupt shift from center-right to socialism. From the article: "A member of the rancid oligarchy he now decries, Zelaya took office in 2006 as the leader of one of the two center-right parties that have dominated Honduran politics for decades. His general platform, his support for the Central American Free Trade Agreement with the United States and his alliances with business organizations gave no inkling of the fact that halfway into his term he would become a political cross-dresser.

"Suddenly, in 2007, he declared himself a socialist and began to establish close ties with Venezuela. In December of that year, he incorporated Honduras into Petrocaribe, a mechanism set up by Hugo Chávez for lavishing oil subsidies on Latin American and Caribbean countries in exchange for political subservience. Then his government joined the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean (ALBA), Venezuela's answer to the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas, ostensibly a commercial alliance but in practice a political conspiracy that seeks to expand populist dictatorship to the rest of Latin America."

Here's a short bit by columnist Michael Sneed of the Chicago Sun Times (once again via Anne Leary at Backyard Conservative visit her site listed in My Blog List at the side). According to paleontologist Sue Hendrickson Sneed's friend and currently residing in Honduras, sent these notes:

"• • 1. 'The event should be taken as an arrest against a Honduran citizen, Manuel Zelaya, who broke the constitutional Honduran law in multiple occasions over the last few days.

• • 2. 'This SHOULD NOT be taken as a coup d'etat.

• • 3. 'The vast majority of Hondurans firmly oppose Manuel Zelaya and are in favor of his arrest.

• • 4. 'The current news being portrayed in international networks appear to be heavily tilted toward a contrarian view of most Hondurans.

• • 5. 'The majority of Hondurans are not in favor of Manual Zelaya and are extremely proud of our congress and military for their stance in favor of democracy and peace.

• • 6. 'The events happening today were caused by an attempt by Manuel Zelaya to manipulate our country and its constitution to fulfill his ultimate goal of remaining in power indefinitely.

• • 7. 'The world should be proud of Honduras as we are the first Latin American country to stand against a tyrannical leader who has tried to topple democracy and peace in our country.

• • 8. 'Declarations made by Hugo Chavez should be discredited immediately. He should, as President Obama said, allow Hondurans to solve this issue through open communication following LEGAL processes.

• • 9. 'It is NOT ONLY in the interest of Honduras and its citizens that democracy prevails (supported by the events today and Manuel Zelaya's arrest) but also in the interest of the UNITED STATES that no other countries align with Hugo Chavez (and his puppets) to build his empire against democracy and peace.

• • 10. 'In case Hugo Chavez tries to use military force in Honduras, we hope and pray we can count on the United States to stand along side Honduras in the fight against tyranny and oppression.'"

On that last note (#10), I'm, with deep regret, not holding my breath with Obama in charge-- and neither is Hugo Chavez (without the regret, of course).

And this last opinion piece "The Wages of Chavismo" The Wall Street Journal via BARCEPUNDIT.

From the piece: "As military 'coups' go, the one this weekend in Honduras was strangely, well, democratic. The military didn't oust President Manuel Zelaya on its own but instead followed an order of the Supreme Court. It also quickly turned power over to the president of the Honduran Congress, a man from the same party as Mr. Zelaya. The legislature and legal authorities all remain intact.

"We mention these not so small details because they are being overlooked as the world, including the U.S. President, denounces tiny Honduras in a way that it never has, say, Iran. President Obama is joining the U.N., Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez and other model democrats in demanding that Mr. Zelaya be allowed to return from exile and restored to power. Maybe it's time to sort the real from the phony Latin American democrats."

Don't let this situation get swept under the rug in a month as the jobless rate rises and Obama moves on to his next "crisis." For good or ill, remember what Obama says and does regarding this incident, and let's not forget his half-hearted and late condemnation of the Iranian crackdowns either.

Obama Declares Stimulus Successful as Unemployment Reaches 26 Year High

Obama is so lost and in over his head. I would almost feel sorry for him if he didn't regularly exhibit such Mussolini-like arrogance. Instead, I just feel sorry for us duped Americans.

While Obama strides about like a preacher and rather testily declares (brief video here h/t Pundit & Pundette and read their take on this) that the Recovery Act has "done its job," the nation's jobless rate has risen to 9.5%-- a 26 year high per the AP.

My favorite Obama lines: "Don't let people fool you with this notion that somehow the reason for our deficit has to do with-- for example the Recovery Act." And then "It's [presumably the Recovery Act] a tiny fraction of our long-term deficit projections."

Hilarious. The Recovery Act is just the beginning of our projected deficits. But it's Bush's fault-- or something. Greed... that's it! Unbridled corporate greed has caused these long-term deficit projections.

Obama seems like he's completely out of his depth and he appears genuinely surprised that he can't handle things very well. I guess cocky arrogance and self-declared audacity isn't quite enough to be president. Go figure.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

To the Great Relief of Leftist Latin American Dictators

Check out this post by William A. Jacobson: Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion: Hands Off Honduras. Obama seems intent on punishing Honduras for having the audacity to throw out a burgeoning president-for-life. Maybe if Honduras was more openly anti-Israel, Obama would leave them be.

Obama seems to be doing his best to promote his brand of "progress" across the globe. I wonder who the president will be who'll have to apologize to Honduras for this junk. Obama, after all, never apologizes for his own exalted actions...