"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


One of Salem Oregon's Unofficial Top 1000 Conservative Political Bloggers!!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

RIP Chris Monson aka snaggletoothie

Chris Monson (1948 - 2011)

This morning I was greeted with very sad news. Chris Monson, a fellow conservative blogger and on-line friend, has passed away recently.

From his on-line profile:

"I was a nurse until 3 years ago. I worked on psychiatric and chemical dependency units. I am now disabled because of spinal injuries. I cannot walk very well. My use of my hands improved enough so that I can type and open some jars. I do a conservative political opinion blog with music and poetry. I am nearing the launch of a blog that will be devoted to discussion of the classic great books from Homer to Joyce and Faulkner.

According to Pat Austin at And So it Goes in Shreveport...:

"I received an email from Chris's father this evening telling me of his son's death. Chris suffered a seizure Monday, fell and hit his head, and by the end of the week he was in a coma. He died Friday afternoon."

Chris was an early follower of this blog (as he was of Pat's). I had several online discussions with him on many blogs and found him to be kind, witty, intelligent, and well-informed on a wide variety of subjects. We shared a fondness for literature and several times Chris directed me to informative articles about my writings' subjects-- articles that would have completely escaped my notice otherwise. The novel I'm currently working on changed significantly because of one of his suggested readings. When my hard drive failed and I lost a draft of my last book, he was one of the first to encourage me to get back to writing. It was a small thing, but I appreciated it a great deal.

His own political blog, Snaggletoothie of the Loyal Opposition, was always a joy to visit, full of videos-- topical and informative or, at times, just fun. His literary blog The Chinese Jar was likewise a frequent place for me to wander about. Chris was in the midst of posting video readings of Shakespeare's sonnets.

Again from Pat:

"His dad requests that any memorial or donations be made to the charity of your choice in Chris Monson's name. Or just snaggletoothie.

"His dad's blog is here and his post on Chris is here, should you like to leave a message."

My deepest sympathy goes out to Chris' family. Those of us out here on the internet who came to know Chris will feel the lack of his wit and kindness.

Rest in peace, Chris Monson. You will be missed.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Challenger Disaster 25 Years Later

Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik. Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobeem Ronald McNair.

Not forgotten.

Time: Obama is Just Like FDR... No Wait... Obama Loves Reagan!


(photo from Gateway Pundit)


Are you kidding me?! Obama and Reagan are regular ideological buddies... Yeah, right.

How are you going to shill for Obama, Time? Is Obama the new FDR or Reagan's best friend? Make up your mind already.


Oh, and as Gateway Pundit noted, all three major networks described Obama's lackluster State of the Union Address as "Reaganesque." I'm sure it was just a coincidence.

South Sudan Votes for Independence; No Surprise




"THE preliminary official results from southern Sudan’s independence vote prove unsurprising to Sudan-watchers. Figures posted over the weekend on the referendum commission’s website show that more than 99 percent of voters in the south’s plebiscite want secession for their oil-rich but everything-else-poor homeland.

"The vote has already been praised by observers, and there is little doubt that the process is indeed representative of the will of the Southern Sudanese people. Thanks to the commission’s efforts to keep its website up-to-date with the latest results as they are processed, it is easy to track voter turnout across the south and to see the how many favour unity and how many secession. But a cross-check between the number of votes cast per county and the number of voters listed for each county in the final voter registry reveals discrepancies in more than half of the south’s ten states.

[...]

"Minor hiccups aside, the nearly four million people who voted in the referendum will almost certainly see their wishes realised. However, several key steps remain before the Juba government can declare independence come July. Aside from securing international recognition of the vote, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement must address a range of thorny issues related to its imminent divorce from the National Congress Party in Khartoum. They range from the division of $38 billion of debt to the demarcation of a contentious border to agreeing upon the future status of Abyei, an oil-soaked strip of land straddling the border between the two halves of Sudan. Northern and southern officials will need to find common ground—and fast—at the negotiating table if a definitive agreement is to be reached before the 2005 north-south peace deal expires on July 9th this year.

"At the same time, the Juba and Khartoum governments both have 'domestic' issues to contend with which could distract from the all-important north-south negotiations: rising food prices in both regions plus a discontented populace in the north and a hopeful one in the south mean both governments will have their hands full in the run-up to the country’s split."

It's hard to say what the future of South Sudan is. Some people are optimistically hailing this as a step toward lasting peace. That's very unlikely. As I've said before, South Sudan is made up of many ethnic groups, and violence across ethnic and tribal lines is very common. Additionally, a partial reason for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's capitulation was due to fear of the U.S.


"In 2004, led by then president George W. Bush, the US cast a giant shadow throughout the world. The US military's lightning overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime frightened US foes and encouraged US allies. The democratic wave revolutions in Ukraine, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Lebanon were all fuelled by the world's belief in US's willingness to use its power to defeat its foes.

"Bashir's regime is closely linked to al-Qaida, which he hosted from 1989 until 1995.

"When the US demanded that he accept the south's victory, he probably didn't believe he could refuse."

Certainly, the US is neither feared nor respected today in the same manner as 2004. Obama's amateurish apology speeches and promises to not act unilaterally made great strides in presenting the US as timid, shaky, and bursting with self-doubt.

Unfortunately, I think the most likely scenario is that the official split will be held up past July 9th by the issues The Economist describes, and then there will be a return to open hostilities. After all, Khartoum has had a number of years to re-arm and reassess.

I hope I'm wrong. Maybe the South and North Sudan will be able to hammer out a deal. Maybe Sudan is tired of bloodshed and will extend the peace deal past July 9th. Maybe the West will not lose interest (but haven't they already?) and keep up the pressure for a peaceful resolution. We can all hope.

So How's the New START Treaty Working Out?


Obama's amateur politics in action...


"The treaty, known as the 'New START', is the centrepiece of President Barack Obama's much-hyped 'reset' in relations with the Kremlin.

"It limits each country to 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200, and brings back a system of joint monitoring that ended when a previous nuclear arms treaty expired at the end of 2009.

"Anatoly Serdyukov, the Russian defence minister, told Russian senators that the treaty would not damage Russia's interests and would have little impact on its nuclear arsenal however.

"'The limits on delivery vehicles and nuclear warheads outlined are substantially more than our current possibilities,' he said. 'We do not possess so many (warheads and delivery vehicles).' The treaty's future hung in the balance towards the end of last year when Republicans, who are sceptical about the agreement, won more seats in the US Senate.

"But Mr Obama managed to get the senate to approve it in December in the face of strong resistance. Republican sceptics argued that it gave too much to Russia and was not in America's national interest.

"Mr Serdyukov has appeared to bolster that suspicion in the past, telling Russian MPs that the Kremlin would not have to actually make any real cuts in its arsenal.

"On the contrary, he told them it allowed Russia to beef up its nuclear deterrent substantially whereas Washington would have to make cuts in its own stocks.

"Russia is in the midst of a massive £450 billion rearmament programme that will also upgrade its nuclear strike capabilities. Mr Serdyukov said on Wednesday that Russia was working on its own nuclear defence shield but gave no details."

Huh... Obama said that "American leadership can also be seen in the effort to secure the worst weapons of war. Because Republicans and Democrats approved the New START treaty, far fewer nuclear weapons and launchers will be deployed. Because we rallied the world, nuclear materials are being locked down on every continent so they never fall into the hands of terrorists."

I guess what he meant was fewer American nuclear weapons and launchers will be deployed. I mean, the Russian defense minister is saying it won't effect them. I'm sure Obama just misspoke. Blame it on the teleprompter...

Monday, January 24, 2011

35 Killed by Suicide Bomber in Moscow Airport




"A suicide bomber killed at least 35 people at Russia's busiest airport on Monday, state TV said, in an attack on the capital that bore the hallmarks of militants fighting for an Islamist state in the North Caucasus region.

"President Dmitry Medvedev vowed to track down and punish those behind the bombing, which also injured over 150 people, during the busy late afternoon at Moscow's Domodedovo airport. The dead included some foreigners.

"Islamist rebels have vowed to take their bombing campaign from the North Caucasus to the Russian heartland in the year before presidential elections, hitting transport and economic targets. They have also leveled threats at the 2014 Winter Olympics, scheduled for the Black Sea resort town of Sochi, a region some militants consider 'occupied.'

[...]

"The prosecutor's office said the bomb had been classified as a terrorist attack -- the largest since twin suicide bombings on the Moscow metro rocked the Russian heartland in March.

"'The blast was most likely carried out by a suicide bomber.'

"State television said the blast was the work of a 'smertnik,' or suicide bomber. State-run RIA, quoting Markin, said the bomber most likely had a belt laden with explosives.

[...]

"A decade after federal forces drove separatists from power in Chechnya in the second of two wars, the mainly Muslim North Caucasus is wracked by violence.

"Medvedev, who has called the Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus the biggest threat to Russian security, wrote on Twitter: 'Security will be strengthened at large transport hubs.'

[...]

"No group has yet taken responsibility for the attack, but dozens of Internet surfers, writing in Russian, praised the suicide bomber on unofficial Islamist site kavkazcenter.com.

[...]

"Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who shares power in a 'tandem' arrangement with the less influential Medvedev, has staked his political reputation on quelling rebellion in the North Caucasus.

"He launched a war in late 1999 in Chechnya to topple a secessionist government. That campaign achieved its immediate aim and helped him to the presidency months later; but since then insurgency has spread to neighboring Ingushetia and Dagestan.

"'It does not ... bode well for Russian ties to the North Caucasus and is yet another sign that what Putin started in 1999 by invading the rebellious republic of Chechnya has come home to roost again in the Russian capital,' said Glen Howard, president of the U.S. Jamestown Foundation research institution.

"Tensions between ethnic Russians and Muslims -- at 20 million they make up one seventh of Russia's population -- flared dramatically last month in a string of clashes, which involved thousands of Russian nationalists who attacked passersby of non-Slavic appearance, many of whom were from the North Caucasus.

"Analysts say rebels are planning to increase violence in the run up to 2012 presidential elections, that may well see Putin returning to the presidency.

"'It is a clear jab at the FSB (Federal Security Services) and at the elections,' said Adil Mukashev, an independent expert on terrorism issues."

Quite a problem Russia has had for the past ten years or so. No clear end, and no real solution in sight.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Added New Links to Blog List! Just a Conservative Girl and Hillbuzz

I've added a couple of blogs to my Blog List.

First up is one of the women over at Potluck, Just a Conservative Girl. I'm a little late in adding her blog. For some reason I'd thought that I already had, but I was wrong. Right now she's got post up about a protest against a proposed Walmart in Washington DC, complete with footage she shot herself. It's dark but the sound is good, and you can see enough to get the idea.

The second site is the guys over at Hillbuzz. I've quoted, referenced and linked to them before, but for some reason I never put them on my Blog List. That error is now corrected. Right now they seem buzzed about Sarah Palin in 2012 and have an especially amusing piece in the Obama Democrat idea of civility, such as the image of smashing a video of Hillary Clinton's face with a hammer in a revamp of that famous old Apple (I believe) Superbowl commercial.

As I always say in these posts, I like to link to people who link to me. If you're linked to me and I don't have you on my Blog List, leave a comment and I will likely link back.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

House Votes to Repeal ObamaCare-- More than Half the States Join Lawsuit Against ObamaCare



"The House voted on Wednesday to repeal the sweeping healthcare law enacted last year, as Republicans made good on a central campaign pledge and laid down the first major policy marker of their new majority.

"The party-line vote was 245-189, as three Democrats joined all 242 Republicans in supporting repeal.

"Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the healthcare law on the books would increase spending, raise taxes and eliminate jobs.

"'Repeal means paving the way for better solutions that will lower the costs without destroying jobs or bankrupting our government,' Boehner said in remarks on the floor before the vote.

"'Let’s stop payment on this check before it can destroy more jobs or put us into a deeper hole.'

"The vote to roll back the president’s signature domestic achievement of the 111th Congress just 10 months after its passage underscores the deep divisions that still surround the new law. But whether House action will signal the beginning of a rapid dismantling of the healthcare overhaul or serve merely as a historical footnote remains to be seen.

"Democratic leaders in the Senate have vowed to shelve the repeal bill, and President Obama has said he would veto repeal if it ever reached his desk.

"With those threats in mind, GOP leaders dared the Senate to take up the measure, and they promised to fight the healthcare law in other ways if repeal failed."

As Jeffrey H. Anderson at The Weekly Standard notes ObamaCare passed the House by 7 votes, while the repeal passed by 56 votes ten months later.

"Reflecting the clear and strongly held views of the vast majority of Americans, the House has voted overwhelmingly to repeal ObamaCare.

"Last March, the House voted to pass ObamaCare by a tally of 219 to 212 -- a margin of 7 votes; today it voted to repeal ObamaCare by a tally of 245 to 189 -- a margin of 56 votes. Ten months ago, the vote was 51 percent to 49 percent -- a margin of 2 percentage points; today it was 56 percent to 44 percent -- a margin of 12 percentage points. So the margin for repeal was 49 votes and 10 percentage points bigger than the margin for passage.

"Many have described this as being merely a symbolic vote. But, in truth, the 112th House will never pass a more important bill. It seems quite strange, moreover, that anyone would ever call legislation to repeal a 2,700-page law, which also happens to be the President's centerpiece initiative, anything other than substantive."

This comes on the heels of the announcement that more than half the states have joined a lawsuit challenging ObamaCare.


"Six more states joined a lawsuit in Florida against President Obama's health care overhaul on Tuesday, meaning more than half of the country is challenging the law.

"The announcement was made as House members in Washington, led by Republicans, debated whether to repeal the law.

"The six additional states, all with Republican attorneys general, joined Florida and 19 others in the legal action, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said."

Change?

Evergreen's Exodus to China Illustrates how Green Technology Doesn't Create Many American Jobs




An interesting follow-up came from Edward L. Glaeser in the again in the NYT. I certainly agree with some of it, but Glaeser does come clean on the "Green jobs" myth. Read the whole thing at the link above. If he'd had the courage to write about this two years ago, I'd be more impressed. Still...

From Glaeser:

"Evergreen's factory had received more than $40 million in subsidies, which led many to see the plant closing as lesson in the futility of green energy and industrial policy. But what does Evergreen's story really teach us about solar energy, public subsidies and the future of American manufacturing?

[...]

"Evergreen Solar's move to China was supported by a $33 million loan from the Chinese government, and it has suggested that the Chinese production was cheaper because 'solar manufacturers in China have received considerable government and financial support.'

"But surely China's skilled, low-wage labor force is a far more important source of its low costs. Japan's success in the 1980s was also attributed to its activist industrial policy, but subsequent research found that government subsidies backed losers more often than winners.

"Joshua Lerner's superb book 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams' (Princeton University Press, 2009) reviews public efforts to support start-ups and entrepreneurship worldwide and reminds us that 'for each effective government intervention, there have been dozens, even hundreds, of failures, where public expenditures bore no fruit.'

"I suspect few readers will really think that Evergreen Solar was shortchanged by American governments. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory contracted with the company in its early days. More recently, Massachusetts agencies gave tens of millions of dollars to the company. Conservative critics, such as Michelle Malkin, argue that the Devens closing provides a warning about green energy: 'the myth that "green jobs" are a boon to the economy keeps getting pierced by failed green jobs boondoggle after failed green jobs boondoggle.' But it was always a mistake to think that clean energy was going to be a jobs bonanza, and we should be investing in green technology whether or not it produces jobs.

"America has had many high-tech breakthroughs over the past half-century, but those innovations have rarely provided abundant employment for the less educated workers who need jobs most. The Devens closing reminds us that even when ideas are 'made in America,' production is almost always cheaper in China.

"Failed public investments, like the money spent in Devens, reflect both the fact that public officials are rarely skilled venture capitalists and that governments pursue many objectives that lead them away from solid investments. It's easy to see why any governor would be excited about a green-energy manufacturing plant in a less prosperous area of his or her state. But the same forces that made Devens political catnip meant that it was unlikely to be a long-term success."

Glaeser illustrates one of the many problems with government subsidies so touted by the Left, and that is that so little of it is invested wisely. Losers, which is wasted money, abounds. Of course, since the return that is realistically expected is political and not monetary, this matters little to the government in the short-term. The frenzied result can be seen throughout Washington and state capitals, and within the lobbying industry. It's a problem that should be limited, not expanded as Obama and the Left preach.

It would be rather revealing if Glaeser were to expound on why we should continue to invest in green technology whether or not it produces jobs. I guess we really need those cheap solar panels so we can make miles and miles of solar farms and divert incredible amounts of water (those solar panels need cooling) into the American Southwest, and we should be prepared to pay, through the nose, to get them. Gotta save the world from global warming... or something.

Thirdly, it would be nice if people went into a little as to why manufacturing costs are so much lower in China. Much of the Chinese labor force comes out of rural China, where young people are housed in government-run hostels in which the living conditions vary from "bad to unspeakable." These should not be confused with the South Korean or Japanese workers' dormitories. The Chinese hostels have much, much worse living conditions.

Oh, those evil capitalists exploiting their workers... oh, wait... I mean those good government people that want what's best for all their charges. Umm... Huh.

It would be nice if Washington would actually come clean over "green jobs" and then see how the public reacts to subsidizing America's "idea people" (is that really all the US has left?) and Chinese workers.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

AP Touts Support for ObamaCare Repeal is Lessening with Flawed Poll-- Numbers of those Favoring ObamaCare Repeal Remain High



Oh AP! There's always something wrong with you...


A widely reprinted AP story, based on a recent AP/GfK poll, is entitled, 'Opposition to health care law eases.' Don't believe it. What has eased isn't the level of opposition to Obamacare, but rather the level of effort that AP/GfK has made to ensure that its polling sample is representative of American voters.

"When the AP/GfK poll screened for likely voters a couple of weeks before the election, it estimated that 48 percent of voters leaned Republican and that 42 percent leaned Democratic (which the election showed to be about right). In its latest survey -- the one that serves as the basis for the AP story -- AP/GfK didn't screen for likely voters and didn't screen for registered voters. Instead, it merely surveyed 1,001 adults. The result? The percentage of Democratic-leaning respondents stayed the same (42 percent), but the percentage of Republican-leaning respondents dropped by 12 points, to 36 percent.

"As one would expect -- with the same percentage of Democratic-leaning respondents having been surveyed both times -- the level of support for Obamacare remained essentially unchanged: 41 percent supported it previously; 40 percent support it now. Just as unsurprisingly, when the percentage of Republican-leaning respondents dropped by 12 points, the level of opposition to Obamacare dropped by 11 points (from 52 to 41 percent).

"Moreover, despite its gross under-representation of Republican-leaning respondents, the current AP/GfK poll still shows more people opposing Obamacare than supporting it, even greater opposition among those who feel strongly, overwhelming opposition to the individual mandate, and more support for repealing Obamacare in its entirety than for keeping Obamacare as it is. There's no story here, even though AP wrote one."

I would wonder if the AP has any shame-- but I know the answer to that one.

As the Quinnipiac polls show as reported by Jim Geraghty, ObamaCare is as unpopular as ever:

From Quinnipiac:
"The key to the public support for repealing the new health care law is among independent voters who want it taken off the books 54 – 37 percent. Republicans agree 83 – 12 percent, while Democrats support the health care reform 76 – 16 percent. Men want it repealed 53 – 40 percent, while women are split with 46 percent in favor of health care reform and 44 percent for repeal. White voters support repeal 56 – 37 percent, while black voters say let the law stand 75 – 15 percent and Hispanics want to keep the law 51 – 28 percent.

"'The Republicans pushing repeal of the health care law have more American people on their side. They may not have the votes in the Senate, but they have many on Main Street,' said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. 'While President Obama’s poll rating has improved in recent weeks, the coalition against his health care plan remains and is quite similar to the one that existed when his numbers were at their nadir [emphasis mine].'"

You go AP! Keep pushing the false narrative! It's not like anyone's ever going to find out...

US Solar Panel Maker Moving to China-- After $43 million in US Assistance

Do you remember when green energy and green jobs would lead us out of the recession?

From the NYT article by Keith Bradsher (h/t Nickie Goomba):

"Aided by at least $43 million in assistance from the government of Massachusetts and an innovative solar energy technology, Evergreen Solar emerged in the last three years as the third-largest maker of solar panels in the United States.

"But now the company is closing its main American factory, laying off the 800 workers by the end of March and shifting production to a joint venture with a Chinese company in central China. Evergreen cited the much higher government support available in China.

[...]

"The Obama administration has been investigating whether China has violated the free trade rules of the World Trade Organization with its extensive subsidies to the manufacturers of solar panels and other clean energy products."

[...]

"Evergreen, in announcing its move to China, was unusually candid about its motives. Michael El-Hillow, the chief executive, said in a statement that his company had decided to close the Massachusetts factory in response to plunging prices for solar panels. World prices have fallen as much as two-thirds in the last three years — including a drop of 10 percent during last year’s fourth quarter alone.

"Chinese manufacturers, Mr. El-Hillow said in the statement, have been able to push prices down sharply because they receive considerable help from the Chinese government and state-owned banks, and because manufacturing costs are generally lower in China."

So Evergreen is moving from one government's subsidies to another. It's kind of like corporate welfare hopping. I wonder how long that business model can last?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hollywood's Aaron Sorkin: "elite is not a bad word, it’s an aspirational one"



Hmm. I wonder what Sorkin thinks of the word "pretentious"?

Such political acumen from the writer of such insightful classics as "The American President," "Charlie Wilson's War" and creator of that crackerjack show of Leftist wistful dreams "The West Wing."



"'And I want to thank all the female nominees tonight for helping demonstrate to my young daughter that elite is not a bad word, it’s an aspirational one. Honey, look around, smart girls have more fun, and you’re one of them.'

"Because we all know how grounded and at peace with himself the elitist Aaron Sorkin is.

"Yep, if we were handing out life advice to impressionable young children, you can bet Mr. Sorkin would at the top of the list. No demons or bitterness or mercenary impulses there. Just the kind of sunshine and gumdrop elitism that turns you into the kind of person who, during misogynist rants undoubtedly crafted while wearing elitist eyeglasses that have been conspicuously absent during awards season (self-conscious much?), wishes hunters would accidentally shoot one another.

"Sorkin’s Golden Globes shout out to all those actresses is likely nothing more than a cynical plea to the Academy to forgive a screenplay [The Social Network] many criticized as — like his sexist rants against Palin — anti-woman:

"'Missing from what critics are calling the defining story of our age are female characters who aren’t doting groupies, sexed-up Asians, vengeful sluts, or dumpy, feminist killjoys[.]'

"Sorkin wants that Oscar so bad he can taste it like the cool, round edges of a glass pipe."

And people wonder why Hollywood is losing money and its markets...


But hang in there Hollywood elitist! Truly, you're a legend in your own mind.

$1.1 Billion Yacht Designed; Result is Collision of Gaudy and Disneyland Artificiality




"A lavish new yacht recreating the billionaire's playground of Monaco is set to become the world's most expensive.

"The staggering 155-metre Streets of Monaco yacht is expected to cost over $1.1 billion to build and is modelled on a section of Monte Carlo.

"Currently in the design stage, the super-ship will feature smaller versions of the state’s famous landmarks such as the Monte Carlo Casino and racetrack, as well as swimming pools, tennis courts, a cinema, a go kart track and a Hotel de Paris.

"Instead of traditional decks the one-of-a-kind ship will have buildings, and instead of a swimming platform it will have a beach."

As you can see by the picture, this thing is incredibly ugly. If the Disney "imagineers" designed an aircraft carrier, the results would be similar.

I guess this just proves that bad taste and poor aesthetics have an unlimited price range. Although a fair amount of contemporary art has already proven that...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Misleading AP Headline of the Day

First the AP headline is:

"Muslim group: US teen not allowed to leave Kuwait" although the Yahoo link just said "US teen not allowed to leave Kuwait."

Kind of makes it sound like the evil Kuwaitis are holding an American teen against his will, keeping him in Kuwait or something.

Now here's the story beneath the headline in its entirety (link is here):

"A Muslim rights group says a U.S. teenager held in Kuwait was not allowed to board a flight back to the United States.

"An attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations said Sunday that 19-year-old Gulet Mohamed's brother bought him a plane ticket home at the request of a Kuwaiti deportation official, but that he was not allowed to board the plane after being taken to the airport.

"CAIR attorney Gadeir Abbas says the Alexandria, Va. teenager is on a no-fly list and the group plans to file a federal court challenge claiming the United States is wrongly blocking the return of a U.S. citizen."

So, actually the Kuwaitis are not allowing a person they're trying to deport and is on the U.S.'s no-fly list to board a plane to the U.S. That's a little different story than what the headline suggests, isn't it? Conspicuously absent are the details as to why Gulet Mohamed is being deported, and why he's on the U.S.'s no-fly list.

Nice job AP.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Obama's Arizona Memorial Slogan Recycled from Old OFA Rallying Cry





Ah, yes. "Together We Thrive." That slogan was emblazoned on the DNC blue t-shirts at the memorial/Obama pep-rally. And it also was the title of a piece by John Berry IV from a community blog on the Organizing For America website (see pics above). Berry's piece was an anti-free market screed (complete with Marxist language and tenets) calling for the working class to unite behind Marxist doctrine-- er, I mean Obama.

From Berry, dated Feb. 11, 2008:

"For too long Americans have been set one against the other, it is a side affect of a free market society. How can profits be maximized, how can I get the work done for the lowest possible costs. This continually sets one group against the other, especially in the blue collar sectors of America. It has become a part of the American Business model, whether it was indentured servants, slaves picking cotton, sharecroppers, the industrious people that built the railroads or todays migrant workers. As long as we remain divided, fighting for the scraps that America has to offer it will be one group against the other.

"What I see in Obama is a chance for a revolution. A chance for every group to participate and be heard; A chance to live the American dream that has been denied to so many. Together we can and will change the world and return America to the shining beacon of Hope and Prosperity that we were and that we can be again. Only when we work together do we accomplish feats that rival any ever accomplished in the history of mankind."

Hmm. I suppose Berry was expecting Obama to put an end to share-cropping and indentured servitude. When Berry says he believes America can return to being "the shining beacon of Hope and Prosperity that we were and that we can be again," I wonder precisely when in history he means. After all, when you take away the times of slavery, share-cropping, and the trusts, what's left? The roaring 20s, the Depression, World War II, the Fifties, the counter-culture, the 70s, and then Reagan. I don't suppose that Berry wishes to return to the salad days of Ronald Reagan...

So the rally and OFA blog entry use the same slogan...

Coincidence? Maybe.

Or was the whole thing a publicity stunt/pep rally for damage control and promoting retreaded '08 Obamaism? Maybe.

One way or another, the rally was certainly full of inappropriate whoops and cheers. The tone was completely wrong for a memorial. Obama's speech, while containing words that placated most conservatives, was full of qualifications. Obama made sure to not really wed himself to anything that he said.

While the mainstream media was quick to hail this a saving moment of the Obama presidency (almost as quick as they were to follow the Left's blogosphere into laying the blame on Palin/Angle/Limbaugh/Beck/Tea Party/etc.), it appeals to me as being more smoke and mirrors. Obama was forced into a response as the Left went into almost comical (in other circumstances) overload to exploit this tragedy and twist it into a smear campaign for their favorite targets.

It seems that the effort was a mixed result. While Obama's speech said some of the right things, it was just words-- qualified words at that. But some people optimistically accept his words. I think a lot didn't though. Cheering crowds of college students did little to demonstrate this as being anything more than a campaign rally with surreal timing. The political tone in this country hasn't changed significantly, which is bad news for the Left.

UPDATE: According to Judi McLeod of the Canada Free Press, those "Together We Thrive" t-shirts handed out at the "memorial" were also imprinted with the “Rocking America and Rocking the Vote” DNC slogan at the bottom.

From McLeod:

"If you were a mourner who took home a 'Together We Thrive' T-shirt have a look at the bottom of your shirt. 'Rocking America and Rocking the Vote' is a common theme of the DNC, and it’s right there on your Memorial T-shirt memento.

"Welcome to the era of Obama, where cheering and standing ovations, for the first time in history, became part of the Requiem for the Dead."

If true, it's another low-blow from the Democrats.

How desperate they are... The more we learn about this pep-rally the more warped and surreal it is becoming.

UPDATE 2: According to Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit, the inappropiate cheers were also prompted by the school's Jumbotron. What is this, China?

True? I suspect so. There are pictures.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Paul Krugman Makes Fraudulent Claim Against Michelle Bachmann in NYT-- Not a Surprise

The New York Times' Paul Krugman is reasserting that he's on par with Ed Schultz. In the wake of the deranged Loughner's shooting spree, Krugman has taken up the cause to slander political opponents and mislead the public. Disguised as an opinion on "hate speech" (in other words anything not in line with the Left's political agendas), Krugman's column self-righteously disparages political opponent and spreads lies.

On Monday he wrote this:

"It's hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be 'armed and dangerous' without being ostracized; but Representative Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the G.O.P."

As James Taranto in The Wall Street Journal points out:

"As we noted in yesterday's column, in October then-Rep. Paul Kanjorski, a Pennsylvania Democrat, mused about assassinating a fellow politician. Not only was he not ostracized; he was rewarded with a spot yesterday on the op-ed page of Krugman's newspaper."

Yet, the quote, or phrase actually, attributed to Bachmann was cherry-picked from any sort of context and then grossly warped to fit Krugman's needs.

This is the actual quote from Bachmann via blogger Dave Evers at Fish Fear Me (with audio available at the link):

"We met with Chris Horner last week, 20 members of Congress. It takes a lot to wow members of Congress after a while. This wowed them. And I am going to have materials for people when they leave. I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us, having a revolution every now and then is a good thing, and the people--we the people--are going to have to fight back hard if we're not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States and that's why I want everyone to come out and hear. So go to bachmann.house.gov and you can get all the information."

Yup. Telling people to be armed with facts about energy taxation is just about the same as inciting people to violence-- like let's say the band Rage Against the Machine's songs performed for arrestables just prior to a protest. Does Krugman really expect us to believe this?

Taranto continues:

"Krugman, who recreationally burns politicians in effigy, described Bachmann's comment as 'eliminationist rhetoric.' That is flatly fraudulent.

"If the broader claim--that the 'rhetoric' of Republican politicians and the nonliberal media was to blame for last Saturday's act of mass murder--is true, why can't it be presented without false factual assertions? Krugman's little lie undermines the big lie he and his newspaper are attempting to purvey.

"Krugman and his colleagues on the Times editorial board are not skilled enough to be effective liars. That is far from the worst thing you can say about newspapermen. But when did the people who run the New York Times forget that their job--their duty--is to tell the truth?"

This sort of nonsense that Krugman and many others are indulging in has to stop. The Left is walling itself in by making up it's own facts, isolating itself by printing obvious, and easily researched, distortions. While that's politically advantageous for the Right, it is ultimately damaging to the country as a whole.

I have to wonder if this is not the natural outgrowth of the Marxist belief that if you control the media, you control the people. It's a myth of course, as any study of Soviet Union, Eastern Bloc countries, and China can easily confirm. Hardly anyone believed the official line, and what resulted was simply that facts and truth became lost between rumor-mongering and cynicism.

The American Left (so keen on imitating policies that have repeatedly failed in foreign countries) seems intent on following this path-- even without a state-run media. The results for America will be the same-- pessimism, cynicism, distrust, and a loss of the truth.

UPDATE: Heh. The guys over at HillBuzz.org have a couple of choice quotes from Krugman.

"You know that Republicans will yell about the evils of partisanship whenever anyone tries to make a connection between the rhetoric of Beck, Limbaugh, etc. and the violence I fear we’re going to see in the months and years ahead. But violent acts are what happen when you create a climate of hate. And it’s long past time for the GOP’s leaders to take a stand against the hate-mongers".

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, January 2011

"A message to progressives: By all means, hang Senator Joe Lieberman in effigy".

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman – December 17th, 2009

Now to be fair to Krugman (which is far more than he does for his opponents) this is the context of his hanging Joe Lieberman in effigy statement:

"A message to progressives: By all means, hang Senator Joe Lieberman in effigy. Declare that you're disappointed in and/or disgusted with President Obama. Demand a change in Senate rules that, combined with the Republican strategy of total obstructionism, are in the process of making America ungovernable.

"But meanwhile, pass the health care bill."

Yup. It's the old America-isn't-governable-by-Leftist-political-elitists-unless-they-are-given-power-to-rule-by-decree theory--like Venezuela. That's a Woody Allen favorite, by the way. If only we could go a step further and get rid of those pesky, smelly, unintelligent, gun and religion clinging, ungovernable voters...

You may notice that Krugman's own 2008 election night party in which political effigies were burned is not mentioned. Hey, nothing eliminationist about that. No hypocrisy here. Nothing to see. Move on.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

South Sudan, the Abyei Problem, and the Coming War


Caroline Glick has an excellent op-ed regarding the South Sudan referendum. I highly recommend clicking on the link and reading the whole piece.


"On Sunday, the southern Sudanese began voting on a referendum to secede from the Republic of Sudan and establish their own sovereign nation. By all accounts, they will soon secede from the Arab, Islamic country and form an independent African, Christian and animist state.

"The consequences of their actions will reverberate around the world.

"This week's referendum takes place in accordance with the US-brokered Comprehensive Peace Treaty between the Khartoum government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement signed on January 9, 2005.

[...]

"The South Sudanese referendum will not settle the issue of control over all of southern Sudan. Numerous flashpoints remain. Most importantly, the disposition of the town of Abyei remains undetermined. Abyei is where most of Sudan's oil deposits are located.

"Unlike the rest of the south, its population is a mix of Arabs and Africans and its residents are split over the issue of separation from Khartoum. If there is war after independence, Abyei will likely be its cause.

"Abyei's residents were supposed to vote on a referendum to determine the disposition of their town at the same time as the rest of the south. But fuelled by their conflicting interests, they could not agree on how to run the poll, and so it did not take place.

[...]

"But then, last Friday, pro-Khartoum militias attacked anti-Khartoum targets in Abyei. By Monday, 23 people had been killed. According to South Sudanese military spokesmen, militiamen captured in Abyei said they were ordered to attack by Khartoum.

[...]

"In its 54-year history, Sudan has suffered from civil war between the north and south for 39 years. Some 200,000 south Sudanese were kidnapped into slavery. Two million Sudanese have died in the wars. Four million have become refugees.

"But the fact is that with the West openly supporting southern Sudanese independence, a new war's consequences will not be limited to Sudan itself. Therefore it is worth considering why such a war is all but certain and what southern Sudanese independence means for the region and the world.

"There were two main reasons that Bashir agreed to sign the peace treaty with the south Sudanese in 2005. First, his forces had lost the civil war. The south was already effectively independent.

"The second reason Bashir agreed to a deal that would give eventual independence to the oil-rich south is because he feared the US.

"In 2004, led by then president George W. Bush, the US cast a giant shadow throughout the world. The US military's lightning overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime frightened US foes and encouraged US allies. The democratic wave revolutions in Ukraine, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Lebanon were all fuelled by the world's belief in US's willingness to use its power to defeat its foes.

"Bashir's regime is closely linked to al-Qaida, which he hosted from 1989 until 1995.

"When the US demanded that he accept the south's victory, he probably didn't believe he could refuse.

"Today, the US is not feared or respected as it was six years ago. And according to a recent article in the online Small Wars Journal by US Army Lt. Col. Thomas Talley, Bashir's current dim perception of the US makes war inevitable.

"Talley argues that without Abyei, South Sudan will be rendered an economically nonviable failed state. South Sudan, he claims is too weak to secure Abyei from Khartoum without outside assistance.

"According to Talley, the deterioration of the global perception of US power has convinced Bashir that the US will not protect Abyei for the south and so his best bet is to invade the town or at a minimum prevent the south from securing it."

This is a reality ignored by Obama, and rarely reported on by the American media. Obama's exaggerated shows of weakness, his apologizing and attempts to ingratiate himself to foreign leaders and people, have placed American allies in a very difficult position across the globe. Obama's incessant need to satisfy the Left's self-serving vanity is tantamount to betrayal for American allies and has and will continue to cost many lives.

Glick continues:

"THE FACT of the matter is that the Arabs have reason to be concerned about what is happening in Sudan. If South Sudan becomes an independent nation, it will be the first case of rollback of Arab imperialism since World War I.

"One of the central aspects of Middle Eastern politics that is overwhelmingly ignored by scholars is Arab imperialism and the role it has played in shaping the region's politics.

"Both during the post-World War I breakup of the Ottoman Empire and with the breakup of the British and French empires after World War II, British and French imperial authorities colluded with Arab imperialists to guarantee the latter's nearly uninhibited control over the Middle East.

"For the Kurds, Shi'ites, Druse, Alawites, Copts, and other non-Sunni, non-Arab, or non-Muslim populations in the region, the end of Western rule meant the end of their relative freedom.

"In the case of southern Sudan, during the half century of British rule, the south was administered separately from the Arab north.

"But when the British withdrew in 1956, in their haste to leave, they placed the south under Arab rule. Fearing disenfranchisement and oppression, the south began the first Sudanese civil war in 1955 - the year before independence.

[...]

"AGAINST THIS backdrop of Western perfidy towards the Middle East's non-Arab minorities, the West's support for South Sudanese independence is nothing short of miraculous.

"Unfortunately, the West's support for South Sudan probably owes to Western ignorance rather than a newfound Western will to defy Arab imperialists. That is, it is likely that West is doing the right thing today in Sudan because it doesn't understand the ramifications of its own policy.

"If the West doesn't understand its policy, then it is unlikely to understand the significance of a challenge to that policy by Khartoum and its allies. And if it fails to understand the significance of a challenge to its policy by Khartoum, then it is unlikely to defend its policy when it is challenged.

"Against this backdrop, it is important to recall Lt. Col. Talley's claim that Bashir will attack Abyei because he does not believe that the US will defend South Sudanese control of the border town. The shallowness of Western support for South Sudan will lead to war."

It is crucial to understand America's place in the world, and the influence it exerts upon foreign nations-- something Obama both loves to deny and works mightily to reduce. Likewise, it is important to understand the history of the regions in the world in which much flux and chaos currently takes place. Reducing the world around us to two sides (often in opposition-- West vs. East for instance) is ridiculously simplistic and leads to terribly skewed world views and easily avoidable mistakes.

As a side note, I wonder if George Clooney will notice or care when war breaks out in South Sudan? Who will he urge to come to the rescue? Surely not Obama...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Shot During Killing Spree; Predictably Blame Flies

Yesterday 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner embarked upon a shooting spree killing six, and critically wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords an Arizona Democrat. Among the six people killed were a nine-year-old girl and Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court Arizona John Roll (a George H. W. Bush appointee). The tragedy of the incident should speak for itself.

Predictably and shamefully, what has followed has been a mad dash to politicize the event.

Legal Insurrection has a decent sampling of some of the comments offered up by Leftists bloggers including the tweet from Daily Kos creator Markos Moulitsas.

The AP attempted to blame the Republican candidate Jesse Kelly defeated in by Giffords in the election-- although no scrap of evidence suggests any link between Loughner and Kelly. Tom Blumer has an excellent piece regarding the AP's atrocious handling of the story.

CBS pushed Palin-blame as reported here.

New York Times' columnist Paul Krugman has leveled blame at the GOP in general and Sarah Palin in particular.

Inconveniently, nothing ties the shooter Loughner to the Republicans, Palin, nor the political Right at all. Merely the fact that Giffords was a Democrat was all that was needed for Lougher to immediately be depicted as a crazed Fox News/Palin junkee murderer. Indeed, as more is learned of Loughner, the more he appears to be mentally unbalanced and separated from reality to such an extent that political labels are absolutely meaningless.

From the Arizona Daily Star article by Tim Stellar:

"A former classmate of Loughner at Pima Community College said he was 'obviously very disturbed.'

"'He disrupted class frequently with nonsensical outbursts,' said Lynda Sorenson, who took a math class with Loughner last summer at Pima Community College's Northwest campus.

"Sorenson doesn't recall if he ever made any threats or uttered political statements but he was very disruptive, she said. He was asked to leave the pre-algebra class several times and eventually was barred from class, said Sorenson, a Tucson resident.

"Another Pima classmate, Lydian Ali, said Loughner would frequently laugh aloud to himself during the advanced-poetry class they attended. Only about 16 people were in the class, so Loughner's behavior stood out, Ali said.

"'It almost seemed like he was on his own planet, because his comments would have nothing to do with what we were talking about,' Ali said.

"MySpace, YouTube and Facebook accounts maintained by Loughner suggest he has spent most of his life on the northwest side: His profile says he attended Thornydale Elementary, Tortolita Middle School, Mountain View High School

"The online accounts also contain bizarre discussions of a new currency and literacy, as well as threatening and despairing messages.

"'WOW! I'm glad i didn't kill myself. I'll see you on National T.v.! This is foreshadow .... why doesn't anyone talk to me?..' he posted on MySpace Dec. 14.

"On Dec. 13, he wrote: 'I don't feel good: I'm ready to kill a police officer! I can say it.'

"In a posting on YouTube, Loughner wrote repeatedly about a new currency.

"'I'm thinking of creating a new currency,' he wrote. 'Therefore, I'm thinking of a design for my new coins size, shape, color, material, and image to start a new money system.'

"He also wrote repeatedly about literacy. In a written message on YouTube, Loughner said: 'The majority of people, who reside in District-8 are illiterate - hilarious. I don't control your English grammar structure, but you control your English grammar structure.'

"In a message posted on his MySpace account, titled 'Goodbye friends,' Loughner said: 'Dear friends...please don't be mad at me. The literacy rate is below 5%. I haven't talked to one person who is literate.' It was unclear when it was posted.

"In a MySpace profile, Loughner said 'My favorite interest was reading, and I studied grammar. Conscience dreams were a great study in college.'

"He lists among his favorite books 'Mein Kampf" and 'The Communist Manifesto'. But he also includes a broad variety of other titles, including: 'Animal Farm,' 'Brave New World,' 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' and 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'.

"In another YouTube message, Loughner said: 'I know who's listening: Government Officials, and the People. Nearly all the people, who don't know this accurate information of a new currency, aren't aware of mind control and brainwash methods. If I have my civil rights, then this message wouldn't have happen.'

"'In conclusion, my ambition - is for informing literate dreamers about a new currency; in a few days, you know I'm conscience dreaming! Thank you!'

"In a YouTube video dated Dec. 15, titled 'Introduction: Jared Loughner' the accused gunman describes himself as a U.S. military recruit who had applied to join the Army. The Army, however, said it rejected Lougher as a recruit in 2008."

Obviously Loughner was unbalanced. No where is it mentioned that Loughner had any connection to Sarah Palin, Fox News, Glenn Beck, Tea Party, Rush Limbaugh, Republicans, nor any other political Right target that the AP, CBS, Left blogosphere, and a NYT columnist have accused. No where.

The tragedy itself is senseless, the result of a pathetic little wretch obsessing over "conscience dreaming" a "new currency," and some bizarre idea of "literacy."

Yet, the ensuing media frenzy in the aftermath of this attack is a sad reflection on the state of politics in this country. So desperate is the Left and powerful aspects of the MSM that within 16 hours they overlay innuendo, conjure "evidence," level accusations, wag fingers, and erase their own heated rhetoric, for political gain. It is pathetic, and it is distasteful.

Friday, January 7, 2011

CBO Says Repealing ObamaCare Would Reduce Net Spending by $540 Billion

Sure, but why would we want to reduce government spending during a fiscal crisis? Let's continue to spend our way out of debt. It worked so well for the Japanese...

From the The American Spectator piece by Philip Klein:

"The Congressional Budget Office, in an email to Capitol Hill staffers obtained by the Spectator, has said that repealing the national health care law would reduce net spending by $540 billion in the ten year period from 2012 through 2021. That number represents the cost of the new provisions, minus Medicare cuts. Repealing the bill would also eliminate $770 billion in taxes. It's the tax hikes in the health care law (along with the Medicare cuts) which accounts for the $230 billion in deficit reduction [emphasis mine]."

The full CBO e-mail is at The American Spectator link above. Check it out.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

South Sudan Referendum Begins on Jan. 9th


This story hasn't been overly exposed in the American media, but in five days (Jan. 9th, 2011) South Sudan will begin to vote on a referendum to stay a part of Sudan or to split, creating a new autonomous country. Voting will continue until January 15th. This vote comes as part of the 2005 peace agreement between Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement, following the very bloody Darfur conflict.

It would be extremely surprising if the South Sudan did not vote for independence in a fair election. Yet, the population of South Sudan are far from a unified people, with great differences in ethnicity, customs, language (over 400 dialects are spoken in this small area), religion, etc. Violence across clan and ethnic lines is very common-- although that's hardly unusual for Africa.

Hillary Clinton has called the South Sudan Referendum "a ticking time bomb."


"The referendum on independence for Southern Sudan is a 'ticking time bomb', US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.

"The vote is due in January and Mrs Clinton said the outcome was 'inevitable' - backing for secession."

Later Clinton says: "But the real problem is, what happens when the inevitable happens and the referendum is passed and the south declares independence. What happens to the oil revenues?"

For what it's worth, the UN has given its stamp of approval on the referendum on Dec. 22.

"'Based on our observations so far, we believe that a credible referendum can take place,' said Benjamin Mkapa, the chair of the Panel and a former President of Tanzania, at a news conference in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, at the end of the team’s third visit to the country since October."

The situation may not be as dire as Clinton portrays. However, one of the factors that has kept violence from raging out of control in the area has been international scrutiny and public opinion. Foreign interest in Sudan outside of the immediate region has waned though, and is unlikely to return unless further violence breaks out. The foreign press loves to report and criticize third-world violence, but doesn't focus on nation building and life after peace resolutions with quite as much zeal.

What happens next? We'll see very soon. Doubtlessly, there will be protests, claims (likely from Khartoum) of a lack of consensus, improper polling, and so forth.

It is a place to watch, especially for the next two weeks or so.

Monday, January 3, 2011

House ObamaCare Repeal Vote Scheduled for Jan. 12



That date is according to William Kristol at The Weekly Standard.

Of course it won't even pass the Senate, but it's a start at getting rid of this economically Fascist law. Chip away the support and don't let it drop.

And as Jacobson at Legal Insurrection wrote: "There are several vulnerable Democratic Senators up for reelection in 2012. Make them vote on repeal of Obamacare as an entirety, and in pieces.

"And then run the advertisements early and often."

Gov. Schwarzenegger's Shameful Commute of Sentence for Political Ally's Son

On his last day in office California's governor Schwarzenegger commuted the sentence of the son of a political ally. Former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez had worked with Schwarzenegger on a variety of issues when Speaker, and had, by all accounts, become close to the governor. Fabian's son, Esteben Nunez, had plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the stabbing death of Luis Sanchez near Sand Diego State University and was sentenced in June, 2010. Just before leaving office, Schwarzenegger shaved more than half of Nunez's sentence. (h/t to Michelle Malkin's coverage of this story)

From the June 25, 2010 AP article:

"Ryan Jett, 24, and Esteban Nuñez, 21, son of former state Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, were sentenced to 16 years in prison, the steepest punishment available under the law. The men had previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

"Sentencings for two others involved in the brawl were postponed until Friday.

"'Everything you do in life has a consequence,' Judge Robert O’Neill told Nuñez and Jett. 'People are judged by the company and they keep and the actions they do.'"

A nice sentiment, but of course that's all reversed now. Thanks, Gov. Schwarzenegger.

The AP article continues:

"The four defendants, all from Sacramento, were originally charged with murder and assault. Nuñez and Jett pleaded guilty in May to voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon. They also admitted using a knife in the incident and causing great bodily injury.

"Rafael Garcia, 20, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to destroy evidence and faces a possible prison sentence of up to three years. Leshanor Thomas, 21, pleaded guilty in February to assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit assault with a deadly weapon. He faces a sentence of up to four years and eight months.

"Deputy District Attorney Jill DiCarlo has said the four men became angry in the early-morning hours of Oct. 4, 2008, after they were kicked out of a fraternity party. They roamed the SDSU campus 'looking for trouble' and eventually challenged Santos and his friends to a fight on 55th Street near Peterson Gym.

"'It’s sadly pathetic that Luis wasn’t even at that fraternity party and yet he paid the ultimate price,' said Kathy Santos, the victim’s mother. The family lives in Concord.

"Prosecutors said Jett fatally stabbed Santos and that Nuñez is legally liable for the death as an aider and abettor. The prosecutor said Nuñez stabbed two other victims, one in the left shoulder and the other in the stomach and back. A fourth man was seriously injured when Thomas punched him in his right eye.

"Defense lawyers have argued that their clients were not the aggressors in the alcohol-fueled brawl and instead acted in self-defense. Nuñez’s lawyer, Brad Patton, said witness statements indicated that Santos may have had a gun.

"Prosecutors have said Santos was not armed.

"After the fight, Thomas drove the men back to Sacramento. According to witness testimony, Jett, Nuñez and Garcia drove to the banks of the Sacramento River where Nuñez placed a plastic bag on the ground containing clothing. Jett doused the bag with gasoline and set it on fire.
Prosecutors said the men tossed knives into the water."

An ugly incident, all the way around. Yet, hardly something worthy of a being commuted... unless your dad is a politically-connected buddy of the governor.

From the L.A. Times article by Evan Halper and Tony Perry:

"In his final night before leaving office, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger commuted the prison sentence of the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez who had pleaded guilty to taking part in the slaying of a college student.

"Schwarzenegger announced the move in a batch of eleventh-hour press releases e-mailed to reporters. He also announced he was granting several other commutations and pardons and giving plum government appointments to political allies and the spouse of his chief of staff.
Esteban Nuñez, who was sentenced to 16 years in prison for his role in the October 2008 stabbing death of college student Luis Dos Santos near San Diego State, had his prison term commuted to seven years by the governor. In a statement, the governor noted that Nuñez, while involved in the fight, did not inflict the fatal knife wound to Santos' chest. He cites a finding by the court that it was a friend of Nuñez who stabbed Santos through the chest, 'severing his heart.'

"'I do not discount the gravity of the offense,' Schwarzenegger's statement said. 'But given Nuñez's limited role in Santos' death, and considering that…Nuñez had no criminal record prior to this offense, I believe Nuñez's sentence is excessive.'

"Fabian Nuñez, a Democrat, grew close to the governor while speaker. The two worked together to pass the state's landmark global warming law, which was a signature achievement of Schwarzenegger's time in office. Fabian Nuñez is a business partner of the governor's chief political advisor at the consulting firm Mercury Public Affairs.

[...]

"Santos, a software engineer in Concord in Northern California, said Esteban Nuñez 'had already gotten lucky once' when prosecutors accepted a plea bargain that allowed him to avoid standing trial on murder charges, which could have led to a life sentence.

"He said the family was not warned about the impending commutation and learned about it Sunday from reporters. 'The governor did not even have the courtesy to notify the victim’s family,' he said. 'This is dirty politics: cutting backroom deals. I guess if you’re the son of somebody important you can kill someone and get all sorts of breaks.'"

Well, Schwarzenegger certainly thinks that you should get all sorts of breaks...

Schwarzenegger's justifications are nonsense and seems to boil down to "I mean sure Nunez stabbed a few people, but he didn't kill anyone... " Nunez wasn't a guy just waiting in the car. He picked a fight, stabbed two people during the fight, and clearly aided and abetted Jett in the killing of Santos.

As Malkin points out, "This is bipartisan political cronyism at its worst."