The Judicial Branch may be one of three co-equal branches of the federal government -- but it certainly is not when it comes to funding.
This statistic comes from an article on Chief' Justice Robert' year-end report on the state of the Judiciary.
Only about two-tenths of one percent of the federal budget goes to the judicial branch of government, which includes district, appeals, and bankruptcy courts, along with the Supreme Court and other probation, pretrial and administrative services.
Seems to me that this is an indication that the rest of the federal government may be doing more than it ought.
By the way, the rest of the article is a good read, as is the report itself.
I despise drunk drivers.
I think we need to harshly penalize drunk drivers.
Indeed, I think we need to up the current penalties for drunk drivers.
But I find efforts to catch drunk drivers like these to be troubling.
They are doing it in Florida.
Florida is among several states now holding what are called "no refusal" checkpoints.
It means if you refuse a breath test during a traffic stop, a judge is on site, and issues a warrant that allows police to perform a mandatory blood test.
And they are doing it in Texas.
Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed announced plans this week to extend "No Refusal" weekends to every weekend in 2011 as opposed to certain holiday weekends, like New Year's and the Fourth of July.
Here's my problem with these programs. The law (not to mention the Constitution) gives you the option of refusing a breath test. The law also permits you to refuse a blood test. Now there is a penalty for such refusals, but the law allows for them. How, then, can these programs be justified, given that a judge simply overrides the statutory (and, arguably, constitutional) rights of those who exercise them? Where is the probable cause? After all, invocation of one's statutory and/or constitutional rights does not constitute probable cause for a warrant. Seems to me that there may be some serious civil liberties issues with these. And while these programs may arguably make us marginally safer, it seems to me that they also make us incrementally less free.
For the record, I make this argument as someone whose total alcohol consumption for the year 2010 would be insufficient to get me to the point that I would blow a 0.08 on a breathalyzer. I'm in no danger of getting caught up in such a dragnet, because my alcohol consumption is negligible. But I do fear what the next step down the slippery slope will be. What will be the next "justifiable case" in which we will see the invocation of one's rights turned into probable cause for having it revoked by a judge in the pocket of the local cops and prosecutor?
I've been following this story most of the afternoon -- after all, it is taking place not too far from my home.
PEARLAND, Texas - Police say both suspects responsible for an attempted bank robbery and hostage situation are in custody. No serious injuries were reported after the five-hour standoff.
The incident began in Pearland, southeast of Houston, around 11:30 a.m. Friday.
Police were called to the Chase Bank in the 1900 block of North Main. The first officer was on the scene within two minutes and witnessed two masked suspects attempting to flee. When the robbers saw the officer, they exchanged gunfire and went back inside.
Inside the bank were seven hostages, not including three bank employees who hid in a back room.
Pearland police quickly blocked off Highway 35 at McHard Road and set up a perimeter.
Now here's my beef on this. It isn't with the cops. It isn't with the robbers or their hostages. It isn't even with Houston's generally pretty lame media (Got that, Houston Chronicle?). No, my beef is with the folks who came out to be spectators at an honest-to-God "shots have been fired, SWAT has been deployed" bank robbery/hostage situation!
Yeah, that's right -- frickin' spectators. News crews are doing reports, and a bunch of high school kids are hanging around behind the reporter, making faces, gestures, and taking cell phone video of the TV crew taking video. Yeah, I mean you, tatted-up Hispanic freakazoid with the half-dollar size spacers in your ears. What the heck are you and your buddies doing hanging out where there is an armed standoff? Oh, yeah -- trying to get your loser face on the television!
And let me not get started on the parent I saw with their small child hiked up on their shoulders, watching the whole scene. Why do you have your SMALL CHILD with you? This is your kid. Why take the kid to someplace where one could reasonably foresee more gunfire -- you know, a shootout. This is not a freakin' game of cops-n-robbers! You are certainly one of the finalists for parent of the year in my book -- yeah, buddy.
Folks, back during my grad school years, one of my buddies drove an old Toyota with a quarter-sized dent in the fender. How did the dent get there? A bullet. Fired during an armed standoff between police and a guy who tried to rob a store. Over half-a-mile away from his apartment. Imagine if such a shot were to have happened today -- and you (or your child) were in its path.
Because after all, we can't punish lawbreakers who have broken laws the Democrats don't like -- especially when it might cost them future voters after an amnesty.
Governor Paterson has made one more major policy decision before he leaves office tonight. The Democrat is announcing a deal with the federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to take a hands-off approach to illegal aliens without serious criminal records. The agreement calls for ICE to move to deport illegal immigrants charged with felonies--instead of those whose only crime is illegally crossing the border.
Just remember -- illegal aliens are only here to break the laws that Americans (and legal immigrants) can't or won't break.
It didn't make sense that black Democrats were trying to keep Bill Clinton out of the Chicago mayoral election, citing "the legitimate political aspirations of the black community" as a reason for him not to come campaign for a white candidate.
Well, now it does.
[T]he strong reaction to Clinton from the black community — as "parachuting in" for the "anointed" candidate — also serves as a harsh reminder to the Windy City's native son President Barack Obama, who cut his political teeth in Chicago, hired Emanuel as his chief of staff and gave Emanuel his blessing to run for mayor, that getting involved with politics here can be complicated.
Despite strong ties to the Windy City — it is widely reported to be the home base for his 2012 re-election campaign — and his 80 percent approval rating among African Americans, the president likely won’t travel home to campaign for his former chief of staff. Chicago's mayoral race has exposed long-standing friction between the city’s white political power base and its black community after years of tenuous but productive peace under the stewardship of outgoing Mayor Richard M. Daley.
The warning was not to Clinton, who has no political races left to run. It wasn't a threat to Hillary's future political goals -- after all, she's said she is not running for office ever again. No, it was a direct thrust at Barry Hussein and his goal of getting reelected in 2012 -- coming from a community with a history of arguing that America's first black president isn't black enough for the liking of some.
Who knows -- maybe they will join Rush Limbaugh in calling him a Halfrican-American.
I'm not surprised by this headline.
Families Bear Brunt of Deployment Strains
Nor am I surprised by the information in these paragraphs.
The work of war is very much a family affair. Nearly 6 in 10 of the troops deployed today are married, and nearly half have children. Those families — more than a million of them since 2001 — have borne the brunt of the psychological and emotional strain of deployments.
Siblings and grandparents have become surrogate parents. Spouses have struggled with loneliness and stress. Children have felt confused and abandoned during the long separations. All have felt anxieties about the distant dangers of war.
Apparently social scientists are only now becoming aware of what I could have told them by the time I was six; that the realities of military service, especially when it comes to deployment in combat zones, are hard on the families left behind as well as on the deployed men and women in uniform.
When I was 11, we figured out that my father had been deployed more than half my life -- either in Vietnam or on various deployments of his ships around the world. I remember one afternoon in San Diego, probably about the time I was 5 -- my mother had left my brother and I in the car while she ran in to the post office, and had left the radio playing. A news report came on about a local Navy officer being killed in Vietnam -- and my mother returned to the car to find two hysterical little boys crying because they were afraid it had been their daddy. And as I look back from a distance of over 4 decades, I realize something very clearly -- my mother was a much stronger woman than I would ever have realized at that age as she ran her little family in my father's absence, and in so many ways was every bit the hero making sacrifices for this country at home as my father was serving abroad.
It was my great privilege to meet the admiral when I was a boy, when he walked over to talk to a young Navy wife and her two sons while they were all waiting to be seen at Bethesda Naval Hospital the during the Vietnam War. As I look back, I remain struck by the man's kindness and gentleness -- and the strength of personality in a man already into his 70s. He told my brother and I to be proud of our father who was, like him, a destroyer officer, because our father was doing some of the most important work there was -- defending our country.
To those whose loved ones are serving in the military -- at home or abroad, in war zones or in safer duty stations -- I extend those same words:
Well, more like speculation.
Indications are that Texans owner Bob McNair plans to keep Gary Kubiak as his head coach and hire Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator.
Unless something like a blowout loss to Jacksonville in Sunday’s game at Reliant Stadium causes him to have an 11th-hour change of heart, McNair will bring back Kubiak for his sixth season, two people familiar with the situation said Thursday.
McNair has declined to comment on Kubiak’s job situation since Dec. 15, but three people close to the owner said he’s angry, disappointed and frustrated with the Texans’ 5-10 record that includes eight losses in nine games.
They say, however, that McNair believes the offense is in good hands with Kubiak overseeing it, but that he wants to improve the defense dramatically.
Personally, I'd rather see Wade Phillips as head coach -- but McNair's loyalty to Kubiak seems boundless. And with the lockout looming, it might be better to avoid a major coaching change that would result in a new coach having little time to put a new system in place once the players return for a shortened season.
But failure by the Texans this weekend might change everything...
The era of the FEMA trailer - a symbol of the prolonged rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina - might be drawing to a close in New Orleans.
Citing the remaining 221 trailers as blight, New Orleans officials have told the last remaining residents to be out by the start of 2011 or face steep fines
On one level, I'm glad to see that these "temporary" relief measures will be a thing of the past. It is long past time for folks in New Orleans to move on after the disaster that overtook the city because of the failure of state and local leaders to adequately plan for disasters, act when the storm was looming, and implement recovery strategies effectively.
But a part of me again wants to scream about the solicitude shown towards those who were impacted by Katrina as opposed to those of us who were left homeless by Hurricane Ike.
Many homes in our area were rendered unlivable by Hurricane Ike -- but FEMA would not even consider giving trailers to most folks (God knows I tried to get one). Indeed, in my neighborhood the only trailer went to the disabled lady next door -- and FEMA threatened to throw her out on the street little more than a year after she got it despite her home repairs being incomplete before they "generously" offered to let her rent the thing for more than her monthly mortgage payment. And don't forget that we are still on the hook for housing assistance for Katrina ne'er-do-wells as a result of recent Democrat wheeling-and-dealing. Enough all ready!
But don't question Colman McCarthy's patriotism or values, even as he calls for those warped values at colleges and universities.
I admire those who join armies, whether America's or the Taliban's: for their discipline, for their loyalty to their buddies and to their principles, for their sacrifices to be away from home.
WHOA!!!!!! You admire the members of the Taliban, who brutalize and oppress, just as much as you do American soldiers who liberate and provide humanitarian relief around the world? You are kidding me, Mr. McCarthy, aren't you? Or are you really such a morally bankrupt fool that you can no longer tell the difference between good and evil? Tell me, sir, do you also hold members of the Waffen SS and the Wehrmacht in the same regard as the members of the Greatest Generation who put an end to the genocidal Nazi regime those German soldiers served? Were the Japanese pilots at Pearl Harbor every bit as admirable as the American soldiers, sailors, and Marines they attacked that Sunday morning nearly seven decades ago? Come on, Mr. McCarthy -- answer the questions and show us exactly how your enlightened pacifist moral sensibilities weigh good and evil in the balance -- not that the one sentence above from your column doesn't provide us with a pretty clear idea of your views.
And then there is this almost Orwellian notion in the final paragraph.
ROTC and its warrior ethic taint the intellectual purity of a school, if by purity we mean trying to rise above the foul idea that nations can kill and destroy their way to peace.
In other words, rather than being places where all ideas are welcome and subject to being weighed, challenged, and found to be worthy or not, it is your contention that certain ideas and points of view ought to be minimized, marginalized, and excluded from academia. How very closed-minded of you, Mr. McCarthy! What other ideas would you like to blacklist as you work to turn the colleges and universities of this nation into undisguised indoctrination centers for your ideological point of view rather than places where there is allegedly an interplay of ideas and views designed to enlighten rather than propagandize? After all, we need to know the full extent of your proposed Neo-McCarthyism.
By the way, if you want an idea about what Colman McCarthy thinks is the proper content of academic study, please read this old post of mine about the course he offers at a suburban Maryland high school. if this is what he views as "intellectual purity" at an academic institution, heaven preserve us from his ever having any real control over what is taught on any campus anywhere -- he is an intellectual and academic FRAUD.
Sure looks that way, if there is any truth to the content of this New York Post article.
These garbage men really stink.
Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts -- a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles, The Post has learned.
Miles of roads stretching from as north as Whitestone, Queens, to the south shore of Staten Island still remained treacherously unplowed last night because of the shameless job action, several sources and a city lawmaker said, which was over a raft of demotions, attrition and budget cuts.
"They sent a message to the rest of the city that these particular labor issues are more important," said City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens), who was visited yesterday by a group of guilt-ridden sanitation workers who confessed the shameless plot.
Halloran said he met with three plow workers from the Sanitation Department -- and two Department of Transportation supervisors who were on loan -- at his office after he was flooded with irate calls from constituents.
The snitches "didn't want to be identified because they were afraid of retaliation," Halloran said. "They were told [by supervisors] to take off routes [and] not do the plowing of some of the major arteries in a timely manner. They were told to make the mayor pay for the layoffs, the reductions in rank for the supervisors, shrinking the rolls of the rank-and-file."
New York's Strongest used a variety of tactics to drag out the plowing process -- and pad overtime checks -- which included keeping plows slightly higher than the roadways and skipping over streets along their routes, the sources said.
The snow-removal snitches said they were told to keep their plows off most streets and to wait for orders before attacking the accumulating piles of snow.
This is the best example of the worst excesses of public employee unions that operate on the assumption that they have a moral right to more and more of the taxpayers' money. Let this be the event that leads Americans -- and American political leaders -- to say "ENOUGH!" and crush these rapacious criminal conspiracies.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg needs to unilaterally repudiate all labor agreements with the union, terminate every member and make them reapply for their jobs -- after criminally charging the union bosses and their plow-driving thugs who put their own self-interests ahead of those of the city that pays them to do a job.
We know of one child dead because of the malfeasance of the unions -- how many others were killed by the greed-induced indifference of the union?
PARSONS, Kan. — An unlikely pilgrimage is under way to Dwayne’s Photo, a small family business that has through luck and persistence become the last processor in the world of Kodachrome, the first successful color film and still the most beloved.
That celebrated 75-year run from mainstream to niche photography is scheduled to come to an end on Thursday when the last processing machine is shut down here to be sold for scrap.
In the last weeks, dozens of visitors and thousands of overnight packages have raced here, transforming this small prairie-bound city not far from the Oklahoma border for a brief time into a center of nostalgia for the days when photographs appeared not in the sterile frame of a computer screen or in a pack of flimsy prints from the local drugstore but in the warm glow of a projector pulling an image from a carousel of vivid slides.
And, of course, the obligatory Paul Simon video of the tribute to the film that was a staple of photography for so many years.
You give us those nice bright colors
You give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah!
Just imagine -- a program of classical music is planned featuring leading classical musicians. Why, then, would anyone be troubled that rappers, punk rockers, and country bands are excluded from the program? After all, they don't do what the event is about. To include them would change the nature of the event into a mockery of its stated goals and purpose.
That is my reaction to this silly press release regarding the pre-inaugural prayer service for Washington's new mayor excluding atheist, agnostic, and humanist groups that do not recognize the existence of God and therefore do not pray.
December 28, 2010 (Washington, D.C.) – Atheists, agnostics, humanists, and other nontheistic Washington, D.C. residents will have no representation at Mayor-Elect Vincent Gray’s first official inaugural event—an ecumenical prayer service entitled “One City … Praying Together” at 8 a.m. Sunday, January 2, 2011.
“We would prefer that a government function such as an inauguration not be entwined with religion,” said Amanda Knief, a Humanist Celebrant and government relations manager for the Secular Coalition for America (SCA). “However, we find it overtly discriminatory when we request to be part of an ecumenical prayer service that is supposed to unite the entire city and are told there is no place for nontheists.”
Within hours of learning about the prayer service through a public press release on Monday, December 20, SCA contacted the mayor-elect’s transition team to request that a Humanist Celebrant be included. After two days of repeated requests, a representative told SCA that the program for the prayer service was set and that nontheists would not be included.
Apparently they wanted to have non-prayerful words of encouragement from that "Humanist Celebrant". All well and good, but given that the specific purpose of the event was PRAYER, it didn't belong there, anymore than a group of cloggers belong on stage during a performance of Swan Lake.
Compare this to how Bill Clinton got a pass for his sexually predatory behavior.
Former President Moshe Katsav of Israel was convicted of two counts of rape by a Tel Aviv court on Thursday, capping a four-year spectacle that began with accusations of sexual misconduct against him while he was still in office.
The sordid details dont matter. The point is that Katsav got treated as any other accused citizen. Here in America, Bill Clinton was permitted to obfuscate, lie, and obstruct justice -- and then negotiate a slap-on-the-wrist from the investigators that resulted in minimal punishment for actions that would have brought fines, jail, and permanent ignominy to any ordinary American.
TalkLeft brought this little bit of information to my attention (yeah, I do peruse some LeftWing blogs).
My personal thought on the potential first sentence? "Mr. Assange, having been found guilty of espionage against the United States, this military tribunal imposes a sentence of death, to be carried out immediately."
Well that, or perhaps this -- "Holy shit -- that Predator drone just launched a Hellfire missile!"
An athletic and academic standout in Lee County said a lunchbox mix-up has cut short her senior year of high school and might hurt her college opportunities.
Ashley Smithwick, 17, of Sanford, was suspended from Southern Lee High School in October after school personnel found a small paring knife in her lunchbox.
Smithwick said personnel found the knife while searching the belongings of several students, possibly looking for drugs.
“She got pulled into it. She doesn’t have to be a bad person to be searched,” Smithwick’s father, Joe Smithwick, said.
The lunchbox really belonged to Joe Smithwick, who packs a paring knife to slice his apple. He and his daughter have matching lunchboxes.
“It’s just an honest mistake. That was supposed to be my lunch because it was a whole apple,” he said.
The short answer here, of course, is that the girl did not have a weapon -- she had a tool, namely an eating utensil. Secondly, it is clear that she did not have any intent to actually bring the knife to school. What you have is a foolish administration applying a blanket rule designed to cover asses rather than actually handle a situation in a manner that is appropriate to the facts of the case.
I commented on such matters a few years ago, and what I said then remains true today.
[I]n the interest of making sure that no parent complains that their child has been discriminated against after their child starts hacking up classmates with a samurai sword, possession of anything that bears a vague resemblance to a dangerous weapon (including a harmless kitchen utensil) must be banned and harshly punished.
I'm glad my state dealt with this sort of situation legislatively several years ago.
San Francisco has finished installing free Wi-Fi in its public housing facilities as part of a citywide housing improvement initiative.
Found it yet?
It's right there.
It is the sixth word.
The Wi-Fi is not free.
The taxpayers are paying for it -- both the infrastructure and the bandwidth.
Now I know that there are many good, decent, and even hard-working people who find themselves temporarily in public housing. Indeed, my own wife spent a chunk of her childhood in the projects after her dad died -- it took a few years of scrimping and saving for my dear departed mother-in-law to move the two of them up to the local trailer park as she worked to make sure that her daughter had a good life and got a good education. But I also know that she was the exception then and would be the exception today -- and that generally speaking this constitutes just one more freebie for the least productive among us.
And it does lead one to ask the question of how folks who qualify for public housing have the spare cash to buy a computer in the first place -- or will the next initiative be "free" computers for public housing residents.
Scandinavian intelligence chiefs said they had foiled a plot Wednesday to massacre staff at a Danish newspaper which published caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed and had arrested five suspects.
The head of Denmark's PET intelligence service said that his officers had detained four men while a spokeswoman for Swedish intelligence agency Saepo said a fifth man had been arrested in Stockholm in connection with the same plot against the Copenhagen-based Jyllands-Posten daily.
Several of the suspects could be described "as militant Islamists with connections to international terror networks," PET supremo Jakob Scharf said in a statement.
"These arrests have successfully stopped an imminent terror attack, where several of the suspects ... were going to force their way into the (building which houses the Jyllands-Posten) in Copenhagen and kill as many people as possible," he said.
This isn't about blasphemy. It isn't about respect. It is all about limiting the freedom of non-Muslims to speak and act on their beliefs while allowing the Religion of Terrorism to oppress us and limit our freedoms -- even in parts of the world where we are in the majority and our institutions guarantee us the freedoms found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights rather than the slavery imposed by sharia law.
Now let's remind everyone what this thwarted terrorist attack was about. The folks can judge for themselves whether these jihadi swine were right or wrong to seek to engage in murder in the name of their false god and pedophile prophet.
Speaking for myself, I make this proud declaration -- "I WILL NOT SUBMIT!"
And one more message that I proclaim proudly.
لا إله إلا الله، ويسوع المسيح هو ابنه الوحيد.
يسوع هو واحد مع الله ، ولكن محمد لم يكن رسولا من عند الله.
It is always sad to read about feuding within the church -- especially when it is between two congregations sharing one building. But when it comes right down to it, I think the dichotomy between the two pastors makes it really clear where the problem is and why one congregation grows while the other is stagnant.
The church, at 4614 Fourth Avenue, built more than a century ago by Norwegian immigrants, offers plenty of opportunities for tension. There is a language barrier: few of the Chinese speak English, and even fewer speak Spanish. The space is cramped and in need of repair, and each group pursues a different mission.
Mr. Laporta, 55, hails from a church tradition of social action. He attends rallies for rent control and calls for immigration reform in his sermons. He says Mr. Peng ignores the plight of the illegal immigrants in his congregation.
Mr. Peng, 48, focuses more tightly on Scripture. “The people need the Word,” he said. He contends that Mr. Laporta has left his members spiritually hungry. “If the congregation needs to learn the policy, they can read the newspaper,” Mr. Peng said. “That’s why their congregation doesn’t grow.”
Sadly, too many pastors want to be political leaders rather than spiritual leaders. Sounds to me like Laporta is in the mold of Jeremiah Wright, while Peng has the humility to recognize that the personal ambition f political activism must take a backseat to the primary job of a pastor -- bringing the Good News.
Is this a problem that exists on the Right? Yeah, at times I think it is. But my experience is that it is more true on the Left, where the Social Gospel gets replaced with the Gospel of Socialism.
The latest winner is the Diversity Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists -- who don't want to offend the alien invaders who violate our nation's sovereignty with impunity.
The Diversity Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) is seeking to “inform and sensitize” reporters nationwide about how “offensive” the term “illegal immigrant” is to Latinos.
Diversity Committee member Leo Laurence announced the campaign against “illegal immigrant” and “illegal alien” terminology in the latest issue of the organization’s magazine, Quill, writing that those who have not obtained citizenship but have entered the country without any prior approval should be called “undocumented workers” or “undocumented immigrants.”
In his report, Laurence quotes SPJ Diversity Committee chairman George Daniels as saying, “this is not about being politically correct,” but about aiming to “minimize harm,” when reporting. When Daniels says “minimize harm,” he is referring to one of the major tenets of SPJ’s code of ethics, which many journalists nationwide follow.
You know what? Folks who illegally enter the United States in violation of our nation's laws and sovereignty and then compound their offense by working here in violation of the law and consuming a great many taxpayer supported services offend me and the vast majority of other Americans -- but the SPJ doesn't care about us being offended -- or the negative impact on the United States of the border-jumping immigration criminals who continue to invade the United States.
UPDATE: Excellent editorial from the Washington Times smacking down the SPJ Diversity committee.
UPDATE 2: Looks like the SPJ is backing away from this with a disclaimer added to the article:
CLARIFICATION: The following article is an opinion piece and does not reflect the views of SPJ, its membership or its Diversity Committee. The committee itself has taken no official initiative on the use of the phrase “illegal immigrant.”
You've got to read the post at Patterico's Pontifications that notes this -- it has an absolutely devastating argument against the so-called "constitutional argument" against using "illegal alien".
If this ends up being supported by further discoveries, it may be that the Book of Genesis is in some ways closer to where human life began than the theories found in anthropology works over the last century.
Israeli researchers claimed to have found eight human-like teeth in the Qesem cave near Rosh Ha’Ayin, 10 miles from Israel's Ben Gurion airport.
Archaeologists from Tel Aviv University said the teeth were 400,000 years old, from the Middle Pleistocene Age, which would make them the earliest remains of homo sapiens yet discovered in the world.
If true it overturns the belief that homo sapiens, the direct descendant of modern man, evolved in Africa about 200,000 years ago.
Now you may be asking how I came to the conclusion that Genesis would be closer to reality than the various scientists have been. Well, consider this from the second chapter of Genesis:
8 The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.
9 And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10 Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads.
11 The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.
12 And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there.
13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which goes around the whole land of Cush.
14 The name of the third river is Hiddekel; it is the one which goes toward the east of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.
15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.
Now am I espousing a fundamentalist, creationist view of the origins of life? No, I'm not. But I am suggesting that, as has often happened, we may be discovering that there is more historical truth in the Bible than the skeptical scientists are willing to concede. Not only that, but it would also help explain why the earliest civilizations began in the very region where Genesis puts the beginning of human life -- because that is where the earliest humans came into being.
But the interesting results are not the top spot, but the runners up for "Most Admired" male and female.
Some very interesting things have emerged in Gallup’s 2010 “Most Admired” survey. That America’s most admired man is Barack Obama is not one of them. He is the president, you know. And even when his job-approval ratings took a dramatic downward turn, polls continued to show that Americans liked him as a person, policies aside. May he figure out how to turn this enduring admiration into collective and sustainable national purpose.
Now for the fun part: Guess who has the No. 2 spot. None other than George W. Bush. Normally, there’d be nothing remarkable in the last president being the second-most admired man in the country. But because the anti-Bush attack machine had so doggedly tried to paint him as a frightening historical outlier it’s stunning to see him treated like any American president. So much for the validity of an eight-year long, millions-strong politico-cultural movement. Bush only goes up from here.
And speaking of ex-presidents, Bush beat out Bill Clinton for the No. 2 spot. The modern-day superhero of American politics came in third, one point behind the recent embodiment of political evil (Among independents, Clinton beat Bush by one percentage point). Amazing what two years of bad liberal policy will do to sharpen the assessment facilities of the American people.
* * *
And speaking of the 2008 election, the Democrats’ national nightmare, Sarah Palin, came in second to Hillary. Palin beat out none other than omnipresent cultural goddess Oprah Winfrey, who came in third (Both beat out First Lady Michelle Obama, who came in fourth).
So much for the American public rejecting Bush and Palin. Seems to me that we are starting to see more of the GOP recovery -- and that barring major changes in the course of the economy and our political life, the Democrats are in big trouble.
My best friend from high school (God -- has it really been 30 years since graduation???) sent me this. Enjoy -- and keep your outrage at the appropriate level (which should be high).
It certainly appears that advocates for border jumping immigration criminals want to see them exempt from all manner of laws that mere US citizens and legal aliens are expected to follow as a matter of course.
Two local advocate groups for undocumented immigrants have publicly accused the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sherriff's Department of using DUI checkpoints to legally seize thousands of cars.
The Southern California Immigration Coalition and the South Central Neighborhood Council claim DUI checkpoints are strategically placed in and around Hispanic communities as a trap to catch unlicensed and undocumented drivers.
* * *
"In one impound, four cars were impounded because of drunk driving and 60 cars were impounded because of a lack of a license," said Julia Wallace of the South Central Neighborhood Council. "It's obvious to us that for one, these things are targeting working class people, undocumented immigrants, that do not have a license but are really just abiding the law otherwise and are not drunk."
In other words, these people are upset that illegals are expected to be sober when behind the wheel, licensed to drive and (presumably) properly insured, just like you or I would be. Those three expectations are too much for the sainted "undocumented immigrants", who only want to come here to "do the jobs Americans won't do" (and break the laws Americans are forbidden to break, apparently).
Apparently, the advocates for rampant criminality want the government to facilitate the criminal behavior.
The two groups want the city of Los Angeles to adopt a policy similar to the policy in Oakland, where undocumented or unlicensed drivers are allowed to pull over and wait for a licensed driver to come and get their vehicle rather than have their vehicle impounded.
But if you are a citizen or legal resident alien, no such breaks for you! Your car will be towed immediately. After all, you are not nearly so special as our uninvited "guests" (actually, our alien invaders) -- if you break the law, you will feel its full force.
Dare I suggest a different policy? When you catch one of these folks, arrest them, call the friendly folks at immigration, and begin the process of removing them from the United States -- better yet, simply ship them back without any due process of law whatsoever, since they have no legal right to be here in the first place.
I commented the other day that Obama was reading a biography of Ronald Reagan over his Christmas vacation in order to learn how to be a successful president.
Tom Brokaw seems to implicitly agree with me.
After two years, Barry seems to have no idea how to do his job. he certainly lacked the skill set necessary to do it when he was elected. Too bad that the media didn't vet this man during the 2008 campaign, instead of simply falling down to worship him.
A leader of Somalia's Islamist insurgency threatened to attack America during a speech broadcast Monday.
"We tell the American President Barack Obama to embrace Islam before we come to his country," said Fuad Mohamed "Shongole" Qalaf.
Al-Shabab has not yet launched an attack outside Africa but Western intelligence has long been worried because the group targeted young Somali-Americans for recruitment. About 20 have traveled to Somalia for training and at least three were used as suicide bombers inside Somalia.
The Portland Christmas Tree Bomber was a Somali. So have several young people from the Minneapolis area known to be participating in al-Shabab's activities in Somalia. Let's find out how the radical pipeline is operating and shut it down.
Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle is devastatingly accurate.
After six games, only three teams had fewer losses than the Texans, who were 4-2. Now only four teams have fewer wins. Hey, at least they might get a top-five draft pick.
Yes, DeMeco Ryans has been gone for weeks. Yes, Mario Williams is on IR. Yes, Andre Johnson was too hurt to play today. But really folks, none of that matters -- this team has been finding new ways to lose in the final minutes of games all season. Our offense boasts three of the top players in the league at their respective positions. Johnson, Arian Foster, and (let's be honest) Matt Schaub. And when he's healthy, Owen Daniels fits in that category as well. That alone should be good enough for a break-even season. But when our defense is putting up numbers that make it the worst in pass defense in a quarter century -- and the fourth worst in NFL history -- you have to recognize that there are serious problems.
If -- and it is a big if -- we beat Jacksonville next week, we end up 6-10 after starting 4-2. And if we don't win next week, that will be 5-11. Whether it is only one win or two wins since the bye week, the result is equally pathetic.
So, where does the team go from here? What hole needs filling with that top-five draft pick?
And by "We", I mean the entire 2010 membership of the Watcher's Council.
We're pleased to announce the winners of the 2010 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards, the most prestigious new media awards anywhere. Or at least in the 993 area code.
These awards recognize a variety of blogs and websites operating in the conservative hemisphere of the Internet, all of which have worked tirelessly to protect America from Statism -- some in very unique ways.
Best Blog Ring
The Watcher's Council (all 2010 members of the Watcher's Council are winners)
Congratulations to all of my current and former Watcher's Council members over the last year.
Here are the results of this week's vote:
Congratulations to one and all!
When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over "death panels," Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1.
Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.
Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor like the one in 2009 when Republicans seized on the idea of end-of-life counseling to argue that the Democrats' bill would allow the government to cut off care for the critically ill.
While the new law does not mention advance care planning, the Obama administration has been able to achieve its policy goal through the regulation-writing process, a strategy that could become more prevalent in the next two years as the president deals with a strengthened Republican opposition in Congress.
Congress didn't pass the laws that der Führer wanted, and so his bureaucratic minions will simply impose by regulation that which he could not get by legislation.
I guess that what seems to be jackboots goose-stepping down the street is just the sound of Hope'N'Change.
UPDATE: It would appear that others are beginning to take notice of the duplicity of the Obamunistsregarding the Obamacare legislation and its implications.. But then again, this is precisely the tack they took with "net neutrality", too -- though there they have defied a federal appellate court as well.
Hence the choice of Obama's vacation reading material.
But, of course, it is the multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-religious state of israel which is attacked as intolerant and discriminatory.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Saturday that when a Palestinian state is established, it would have no Israelis in it.
“We have frankly said, and always will say, if there is an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, we won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli in it,” Abbas told reporters in Ramallah.
Abbas and his fellow practitioners of the religion and politics of terrorism seek to fulfill the dream of a certain 20th century leader -- the removal of Jews from their midst. We all remember what that effort looked like, don't we?
This Christmas, two dear friends of my wife and I are battling cancer. Each has faced more than her share of setbacks and complications . And in the last couple of years, we've lost several dear friends to cancer -- some after long battles, one quickly as an aggressive form of the disease took him in under a year. Others have won the battle, but only after a long struggle.
So it is with great joy that I link to this report from one of my favorite bloggers and on;ine friends, GM Roper, about his wonderful news -- five years cancer free!
On my birthday, Sept. 20, 2006 I got the results of a CT scan and PET scan and the results were AWESOME… no cancer cells identified anywhere and I posted on it here. What a birthday gift that was. Each CT scan since then has also been negative, then Wednesday, December 22, 2010 I got more good news. I made the magic 5th year (well, actually it won’t be till February 6, 2011, the anniversary of my surgery, but who’s counting?
So, the purpose of this post is to say Thank you God, Thank you Family, Thank you friends and in equal measure, thank you to all my readers, both long term and short who have been in this fight with me. I couldn’t and wouldn’t have made it without all of you.
Congratulations, my friend, on this good news -- and my God continue to bless you and your loved ones with life and health and all good things.
I asked this question a couple of years ago, so I'm glad to see people catching up with me.
So what is there to say that the pre-industrial era climate is really the optimal climate?
Of course, there is not a single "pre-industrial era climate". We know that there has been a constant cycle of climate change throughout recorded history. Written records note it. The scientific record shows it. What is the optimal global climate? That of the "Medieval Warming Period"? Or that of the "Little Ice Age"? Or is it some point in between?
And may you and all of yours have a Christmas filled with love, joy, and the blessings of God.
I received this via Facebook from a Leif Olson -- I hope that it is found to be illuminating by all of you and will perhaps spur some of you to action. It is related to the way that Houston, like many cities, have found a way to tax churches and other tax-exempt entities -- impose a "fee" for services that are traditionally funded by taxes. These are, of course, nothing but taxes by another name -- but somehow the courts have allowed the semantic gerrymander stand so that these tax-exempt organizations have to pay them.
Earlier in my feed, I posted a link to a Houston Chronicle story about Mayor Annise Parker's callous disregard of the human cost of the recently enacted Proposition 1, which will impose a fee on nearly every landowning entity in Houston, including nonprofits like my church, Trinity Lutheran Church. In that story, Parker states, "I have yet to talk to any entity where there is any evidence that (the ordinance) will financially cripple that institution." I suppose it depends on what she means by "cripple."
Trinity's governing board estimates that Proposition 1 will cost the church more than $100,000 per year. Will we be "crippled"? Well, we won't have to declare bankruptcy and liquidate, if that's what Parker means. We will, however, have to cut more than $100,000 out of an already-lean budget, a challenging task, even for our talented leadership. What does that mean for Trinity and the community to which we minister?
- Ministries that cost money will almost certainly see cuts. This includes our lunch ministry to the homeless; our car-care ministry to those who can't afford regular vehicle maintenance; and our meal ministry to the homebound.
- Our educational ministry may see cuts. That means the church's support of our school, Trinity Lutheran School - Downtown, through scholarships and otherwise, will drop, as will its support of Trinity Lutheran Children's Center. In the alternative, of course, the school and daycare may have to raise tuition or fees to offset the new costs imposed by Proposition 1. We may also see cuts in the college scholarships we offer to church members who plan to enter the ministry -- I hope not cuts in monies already pledged, but who can say with regard to future scholarships?
- Our support of the many programs and ministries offered through LINC Houston, Lutheran Social Services, and Lutherans for Life -- toys and educational materials for underprivileged youth, foster care, adoption support, pregnancy counseling and prenatal care -- may have to be curtailed.
- Our support of other missions, at home and abroad, may need to be curtailed. This includes not just evangelical missions to spread the Gospel, but missions to bring clean water, medicine, food, medical care, and clothing and shelter to the impoverished.
- Our workforce may have to be curtailed. Full-time employees may be dropped to part-time status; part-time employees may need to be laid off; employee benefits--insurance and the like--may need to be reduced or cut.
So, no, Trinity won't be "crippled," if Parker means that our congregation won't have to dissolve. But Parker shouldn't be believed when she implies that this new fee isn't going to impair the work that Trinity Lutheran Church and other non-profits, religious or otherwise, do in Houston (and around the world from a home in Houston). Whether it's loss of jobs, loss of employment benefits, loss of educational opportunity, loss of food, loss of medical care, loss of childcare, or loss of opportunity to be reformed through the Gospel, Proposition 1 -- which Parker championed -- is going to cause people to lose. It's going to cause some people -- not massive corporations or wealthy real-estate barons, but the poor, the elderly, and the struggling; people who need the charity of others -- to lose big.
I've made this note one of my few "viewable by everyone" postings on Facebook. Feel free to share it. If you, unlike me, are in the city of Houston, please write to your city council member, the five at-large city council members, and Mayor Annise Parker to urge them to exempt entities like Trinity from this substantial impairment of all the good that they do -- good that they do not just in Houston, but around the world from their Houston homes.
God bless, and merry Christmas.
Of course, this isn't the only sort of "fee" that cities and towns are creating and imposing on traditionally tax-exempt organizations. I wonder how long it will be until some tax-and-spender around here will try this neat trick, which as applied amounts to a tax on church attendance. After all, the notion of cutting budgets and reducing spending seems never to have seriously entered anyone's mind.
Illinois state Sen. James Meeks withdrew his candidacy for Chicago mayor on Thursday, and he urged other African-American candidates to follow his lead and rally what he called a divided black community around a single candidate.
The surprise Christmas week announcement came a day after he met to discuss the idea of a unity candidate from the city's large African-American community with fellow Democratic candidates U.S. Rep. Danny Davis and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, both of whom are black.
"My friends, I come before you today to say that our city - and our community - is divided," Meeks said in a statement. "As long as our community remains divided and splintered - to the specific advantage of the front-running, status quo candidates - we will never see things improve. We need to speak with one voice.
Seriously -- just consider how folks would have responded if, in 2008, Hillary Clinton had issued such a statement before the first Democrat primary and called upon all the members of the "white community" to rally around one candidate in order to stop the front-runner. Or if, in 2012, a similar appeal were made to white voters to rally around a single candidate simply on the basis of race, in an effort to unseat Obama. There would be holy hell to pay, and anyone who associated themselves with such a movement would be properly deemed a racist. Hell, opposition to Barack Obama has already been deemed racist despite the notable lack of focus on his race by the president's opponents -- a true race-based appeal would be positively radioactive!
So let me note the words of one of my favorite Americans, a man for whom overcoming racism was a life's work and who had a dream of a society where race was unimportant.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream, too, that one day the race-baiters of all races will be condemned by men and women of good-will who believe in equality and the reality that the fate of all of Americans, regardless of race, are bound up together by our love of country, not fractured and splintered by racially-tinged political posturing by political hacks. And I therefore condemn James Meeks, who has already shown himself to be an equality-rejecting racist of the lowest sort.
Now there is dispute over whether glo-BULL warming is happening at all, and also over whether or not it is caused by human beings. There is dispute about whether or not polar bears are endangered. But let's assume that the earth's climate is changing and the polar bears are dying -- so what? Columnist S.E. Cupp makes the point that there is a perfectly natural Darwinian basis for allowing the polar bears -- and other species as well -- to die out.
But here's a question that's rarely asked: Why should we necessarily bother saving a species - any species - from extinction? And what's so gosh-darn special about the polar bear? Yes, animals are dying. But death - of a single animal or a whole species - is a part of life.
At least, that's what Darwinists tell us. In fact, if you think hard about it, animal conservation should actually be anathema to the Darwin-loving liberal agenda, which holds up evolution - and not altruistic compassion - as the final word on the survival of a species.
Sure, it's possible that we're crowding out the polar bear - but aren't we animals, too? And don't animals sometimes crowd each other out? Isn't it entirely possible that the polar bear is simply going extinct, like countless species before it?
The crass and sometimes violent coming and going of species proves evolution's central logic. So why, then, do polar bear activists insist that another species - that would be us - tamper with Darwin's grand design and swoop in to save an animal that simply wasn't fit enough to make it in the cutthroat world of biological survival?
Why indeed, my fellow believers in Darwinian evolution? Isn't this simply the way of the world? Do we really have the right to interfere with how the world is supposed to work -- and has always worked?
Indeed, there is only one good argument in favor of saving the polar bear and other species. it is that there is something special about creation, and that we humans are mere stewards of the planet. But that would imply that we are stewards for someone. And that would imply the existence of God, and of our duty to maintain the world he gave us as he gave it to us.
As a believer in a Divine Creator, I can accept that argument -- but it puts me outside of the realm of acceptable belief for the ardent embracers of scientific Darwinism. But the hard core Darwinists -- the ones who insist we must save the polar bear -- reject the notion of a Divine Creator having anything to do with creation or evolution. But in doing so, they find themselves in a hypocritical box -- when the evolutionary system works to the detriment of another species, they demand that our species intervene to save that species, despite the fact that under their own theory we are supposed to let that other species die out and be replaced by species better adapted to the world as it is today. And that means a death sentence for the polar bear as a species -- because after all, some species lose in Darwin's grand game.
Just remember -- Islam must be tolerated, ESPECIALLY when it is intolerant of those who follow other faiths.
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on December 16, members of Al-Shabaab, an Islamic militant group, destroyed a Christian library in the Luuq district of Somalia.
The militants destroyed the library and brought Bibles, Christian books, and audio/video materials to the city center and burned them after the Muslim noon prayer. The guardian of the library fled the area hours after the library was found by the Islamists. His whereabouts are unknown.
Al-Shabaab’s district commissioner in Luuq, Sheik Farhaan Abdi Elmoghe, described the discovery of the library as “a blow to the misguided Somali Christians.”
* * *
Speaking from Mogadishu to ICC, a leader of an underground church said, “The library served as an underground Somali Bible college, [and it’s] one of the biggest and the most comprehensive Somali Christian libraries in southern Somalia.” He further added that the destruction of the library would not stop the Somali Christians from studying the scriptures.
Now Barack Obama made some of his most impassioned statements on religious liberty (indeed, virtually his only statement on religious liberty) when the obscure pastor of a small congregation threatened to burn a Quran. Don't you think he might have a few words of outrage over the destruction of a Christian library by a Muslim terrorist group that controls much of a country? Or is it that Obama is so concerned about protecting the faith of his father that he can't be troubled to defend the faith that he claims to have voluntarily embraced as an adult?
And what of the Ground Zero Imam, who tells us that Islam is a peaceful, tolerant religion that should be permitted to be freely practiced everywhere -- especially where his fellow Muslims murdered infidels in the name of Allah. Doesn't he have some words in defense of the right of Christians to practice their faith where they choose, especially since they and their co-religionists have done no harm to anyone? Or are we seeing that Islamic tolerance is simply a one-way street.
In the early days of my blogging life, I wrote a lot about "zero tolerance" policies in education and the sort of absurdity that such policies wrought. Well, I never expected to see something this goofy come out of one, but now we have one where War on Christmas intolerance meets No Weapons insanity.
They call themselves the “Christmas Sweater Club” because they wear the craziest ones they can find. But they also sing Christmas songs at school and try their best to spread Christmas cheer.
But now all 10 of them are in trouble because of what they did at their school, Battlefield High School.
“They said we were maliciously wounding other kids. But nobody intentionally tried to do that, or did,” said Zakk Rhine, a junior at Battlefield.
The boys say they were just tossing small two-inch candy canes to fellow students as they entered school. The ones that are in plastic wrap and are so small they often break apart.
Skylar Torbett, also a junior, said administrators told him, “The candy canes could be used as weapons by sucking on them and making them have sharp points.” He said neither he nor any of their friends did that.
And pencils can be made into weapons by sharpening them -- then using them to stab someone. I had that happen a few years back, when a kid drove the point of his pencil into my hand when I leaned on his desk to reprimand him because he was drawing gang sign on his paper instead of doing his work. Somehow the school administration retained control of their bodily function and didn't bring in trained canine units to sniff out graphite and haul every kid with a pencil off to the local juvenile detention facility. But if they had done something so absurd, they still would not have reached the absurdity of the administration at Battlefield High School.
I realize that liberals have declared tears by a man to be a sign of mental instability now that prominent conservative men have shown they are in touch with their emotions like liberals said men ought to be (back when only liberal men cried), but here is one of those stories that brought tears to my eyes and made me cry unashamedly. It is a story of love, of loss, and of the willingness of a stranger do do what is kind and decent with no questions asked -- Angel gives dying father special wedding moment
FCC Gives Government Power to Regulate Web Traffic
Now hold on just a minute. We The People give power to government. The Constitution spells out what powers are delegated to government by We The People. I've double-checked, and here is no provision in it conferring power on a government agency to give power to the government.
What's more, as is pointed out here -- this unconstitutional delegation of power to government by government (dare I call it "government of the people by the government for the government") flies in the face of a court ruling that specifically states that THE FCC DOES NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO REGULATE THE INTERNET.
The Federal Communications Commission does not have the legal authority to slap Net neutrality regulations on Internet providers, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.
A three-judge panel in Washington, D.C. unanimously tossed out the FCC's August 2008 cease and desist order against Comcast, which had taken measures to slow BitTorrent transfers before voluntarily ending them earlier that year.
Because the FCC "has failed to tie its assertion" of regulatory authority to an actual law enacted by Congress, the agency does not have the power to regulate an Internet provider's network management practices, wrote Judge David Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
So what does the FCC do less than a year after this ruling was made by a federal court that is one step below the Supreme Court? It tells the judges of that court to bugger off, and enacts new regulations of the very sort that the court has already ruled are beyond the scope of its authority!
Here's hoping that someone seeks a contempt citation against each FCC commissioner in his/her personal capacity and that the judges of the DC Circuit orders that US Marshals drag each and every one of the sons/daughters of bitches off to jail until they agree to overturn the regulations illegitimately passed yesterday AND resign from their posts as unfit to hold any office.
UPDATE: It is times like these i am proud to have Kay as my Senator.
Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jerry Eversole pleaded not guilty to federal bribery and income tax charges today.
Eversole is charged with accepting a bribe from developer and former Harris County facilities director Mike Surface. Details of the alleged bribe were not immediately available.
Eversole also was indicted on a single count of conspiracy and two counts of filing false statements on his income taxes in 2003 and 2004.
Surface, a longtime friend of Eversole, was indicted on one count of conspiracy and a count of paying a bribe. He pleaded not guilty.
Both men were freed on $100,000 unsecured bonds following their appearance in U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Johnson’s court.
If convicted, Eversole could face a maximum punishment on the bribery charge of 10 years in prison. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum five-years in prison; the income tax charges carry maximum prison times of three years each.
Time for you to go, Jerry -- indeed, it is long past time.
Excuse me, but the people of Harris County made it quite clear that we don't want Loren Jackson on our payroll, so why is the County Commissioner's Court going to let one of the few remaining Democrat incumbents in the county do an end-around the will of the people AND the county's hiring freeze in order to give his political buddy a newly-created job?
District Clerk Loren Jackson, who was defeated by Republican Chris Daniel last month, will likely stay in county government when his term expires on Dec. 31. Sheriff Adrian Garcia proposes hiring him as his chief of information technology.
Jackson is not named on the Commissioners Court agenda, but he is "the special assistant" candidate the sheriff has submitted for the Court's approval.
County government has had a hiring freeze for more than a year, but the Court has been approving on a case-by-case basis some replacements and new positions like the one Jackson would fill. Jackson said recently that he has personally approached the commissioners seeking their OK before his hiring was put on the agenda.
Sorry, but this is nothing more than feathering the nest of a political crony. Why are the two GOP county commissioners and the GOP county judge going to go along with this corrupt deal at a time when we need to be cutting costs, not adding positions?
In this article here, based upon the fact that the Roberts Court court has ruled for businesses 61% of the time.
As the New York Times documents, a Lee Epstein/Landes/Posner study found that the Roberts court ruled in favor of business 61% of the time. Does that mean that it’s pro-business?
Hardly. Remember that the Court is a reviewing court. All a 61% “pro-business” rate tells us is that the Supreme Court is more pro-business (or less anti-business) than the courts it is reviewing. Thus any of the following scenarios may be true:
* The Supreme Court is pro-business;
* Lower courts are anti-business, and the Supreme Court is neutral; or
* Lower courts are anti-business, and the Supreme Court is also anti-business, but not as anti-business as the lower courts.
But even then, I have a problem with the analysis. Isn't the proper question for us to as a little bit different? Rather than asking "is the decision pro-business or anti-business?", shouldn't we instead be asking "did the justices get the decision right?" After all, the standard for judging the court should not be which "side" won -- it should be whether or not the decision was faithful to the law and the Constitution. Any other point of view requires that we accept the notion that justice should not be blind, but should instead make its decision based upon some biased view of who ought to win.
Looks like they had a Christmas present planned for the people of the UK.
In the latest of several European terrorism alerts, the British police arrested 12 men before dawn on Monday in raids in three cities under counterterrorism laws — the biggest operation of its kind for months.
The action, designed “to ensure public safety,” as the police put it, followed a suicide bombing in Sweden earlier this month and alarms in Germany over the reported threat of a terror attack modeled on the onslaught by gunmen in Mumbai.
* * *
The BBC said the 12 men arrested on Monday were involved in a plot to bomb unspecified targets in Britain, inspired by Al Qaeda. Some of the suspects were said to have Bangladeshi origins. John Yates, Britain’s ranking counterterrorism police officer, said the detained men were from London, the Welsh city of Cardiff and Stoke-on-Trent in the English Midlands.
So, how many of these perps do you think will have some variation of Muhammad in their name?
Consider the numbers here, and tell me that there isn't a "Muslim problem" facing the civilized world.
Nearly one-third of Muslim college students in Britain support killing in the name of religion, while 40 percent want to live under Islamic law, according to a secret cable from the U.S. Embassy in London that reviewed public polling data and government population predictions.
A survey of 600 Islamic and 800 non-Islamic students at 30 universities found that 32 percent of the Muslims believed in religious killing, while only 2 percent of non-Muslim students felt religious murder was justified, the cable said, referring to a poll conducted by the Center for Social Cohesion.
The embassy cable, released by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, said the same survey revealed that 54 percent of Muslim students want to be represented by an Islamic-based political party.
The poll also showed that 40 percent of Muslim students endorse Islamic, or Shariah, law, which can impose the death penalty for religious heresy and adultery, often by stoning, or the amputation of hands for theft. Since 2008, Britain has allowed Muslims to follow Shariah law in civil cases, but not in criminal trials.
I wonder what we would find if we surveyed students at American universities? Would the results be something similar? Might such a survey be a good idea prior to Rep. King's hearings on Islamic radicalism in the US? Might such information be seen as a legitimate part of the desire of the voters of places like Oklahoma to ban the consideration of sharia law by its courts? Or are concerns about Islamic radicalism merely an excuse for a witch hunt?
In other words, Assange can leak anything he wants, even if it is likely to get people killed, but the leaking of information about Assange is a human rights violation (or something).
Bjorn Hurtig, Mr Assange's Swedish lawyer, said he would lodge a formal complaint to the authorities and ask them to investigate how such sensitive police material leaked into the public domain. "It is with great concern that I hear about this because it puts Julian and his defence in a bad position," he told a colleague.
"I do not like the idea that Julian may be forced into a trial in the media. And I feel especially concerned that he will be presented with the evidence in his own language for the first time when reading the newspaper. I do not know who has given these documents to the media, but the purpose can only be one thing - trying to make Julian look bad."
Mr Assange is facing criminal allegations in Sweden over claims by two women that he sexually assaulted them while he was in the country earlier this year.
Yeah, it is embarrassing to have the whole world know that he is a lousy lover with a small penis who engages in criminal sexual behavior. But then again, the damage done to Assange is significantly less than what has been done to the US by his leaks -- and to those in Afghanistan whose cooperation with the US was exposed by WikiLeaks last summer and who consequently ended up dead. So I will refrain from tearing up over Stubby's legal difficulties, and instead cry for the real victims.
Like I could resist this little bit of absurdity.
SONIC booms created by Israeli air force planes breaking the sound barrier have stimulated the sex drive of a group of crocodiles on a local farm.
The males have already begun their mating calls, described by the newspaper as "the sound a vehicle breaking," normally reserved for the crocodiles' spring mating season, Israeli newspaper Maariv reported.
Oh -- but wait. There are no effin' crocodiles on the farm, just crocodiles engaging in their mating call. Apparently they are waiting until spring to "get their freak on."
If he said nothing else in this interview, this single sentence would be sufficient to tell me that his policies would be the sort that I could support.
“Individual liberty is the whole purpose of political life, and I thought it was threatened back then”—in 1964—“and I think it’s threatened now.”
Time and again I have made similar points here on this blog. To have a credible candidate for the GOP nomination come out and say it makes possible for me to embrace that individual as my early favorite for president.
Note -- the article is not yet available at National Review Online. Atlas Shrugs has at least a part of it -- I'll have to get my hands on the full thing as soon as possible and link to it here.
UPDATE: Bolton has posted the article in its entirety on Facebook.
If today's technology had existed back then.
“Republican conservatives have a chance to demonstrate they truly embrace the party of Lincoln,” the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said on a conference call Thursday. “To continue to punish these children is nothing less than anti-Christian, anti-Hispanic and anti-American.”
That , Sammy-boy, is a flat out lie, and a fundamental violation of the Ninth Commandment, which tells you not to bear false witness against others -- including those who oppose a piece of flawed legislation that you support.
Let's break it down. Scripture itself, which does admittedly tell us to welcome the aliens among us, also places upon the aliens the burden of following the law -- something seen in both the Old and New Testaments. Border-jumping immigration criminals -- even the cute little ones -- do not fulfill that obligation, and are therefore not to be welcomed. To argue that opposing amnesty -- even for the cute little ones -- is somehow unChristian is to set oneself up in opposition to the requirement laid upon Christians to to follow the law of the land found in Romans 13:1-2. So much for opposition to the DREAM Act being un-Christian.
What's more, the argument that support for border security is somehow unAmerican is logically absurd. America has a right to protect its borders and to regulate immigration -- indeed, Article I, Section 8 gives Congress the power to regulate naturalization, and the regulation of immigration would be a necessary and proper extension of that power that logically follows from that power. The carrying out of such Constitutionally delegated authority is not un-American -- even when applied against the cute little illegals.
As for being anti-Hispanic, I again have to argue that is another example of bearing false witness. I know of no one who wants to keep Hispanics out of this country. I sure don't. The problem is that, unfortunately, geography makes it easier for Hispanics to violate our immigration laws than it does for member of other ethnic groups. Does that mean that supporting the enforcement of our nation;s immigration laws -- even against the cute little illegals -- is somehow anti-Hispanic? No, it doesn't -- the problem is clearly a lack of respect for the law by members of that group, not the enforcement of the law against the violators (including the cute little ones).
So you see, it isn't those opposed to the DREAM Act who are "anti-Christian, anti-Hispanic, and anti-American." One can argue that support for the DREAM Act is objectively both anti-Christian and anti-American -- and, one could argue, anti-Hispanic in that it assumes that Hispanics are somehow less able to follow the law than members of other ethnic groups. Not that I'm willing to apply those labels to supporters of this piece of legislation -- while they are wrong, I don't feel the need to play their game of tarring the opposition with accusations of racism, apostasy, and lack of patriotism.
By the way, I might be able to support a different version of the DREAM Act in the future, provided that it is amended to deal with certain problems. Mark Krikorian offers some ideas in regards to fixing the DREAM Act in a manner that is more acceptable to those of us who want to see secure borders for our nation that will stop the flow of these law-breakers, remove the incentive for breaking America's immigration laws in the future, and not implementing a scheme of mass deportations.
What it tells us is that America's standing in the world has dropped so far under the Obama Regime that it not only can it not manage top secret data, but it is impotent to stop or punish its publication.
It was only a matter of time before conspiracy theorists came out of the woodwork to suggest that Israel is behind the publication of the WikiLeaks trove - and is manipulating the information coming out to help Israeli interests.
"Where is the real dirt on Israel?" these conspiracy theorists - messaging back and forth in the blogosphere - are asking one another.
* * *
Meanwhile, Al Haqiqa, an Arabic language webzine, citing disgruntled WikiLeaks volunteers, adds more details to the conspiracy, suggesting that this "secret agreement" between Assange and "the Mossad," which allegedly took place in Geneva, involved Assange's promise not to publish any document that "may harm Israeli security or diplomatic interests."
"The Israel government, it seems, had somehow found out or expected that the documents to be leaked contained a large number of documents about the Israeli attacks on Lebanon and Gaza in 2006 and 2008-9 respectively," adds an anonymous blogger on IndyMedia. "These documents, which are said to have originated mainly from the American embassies in Tel Aviv and Beirut, were removed and possibly destroyed by Assange, who is the only person who knows the password that can open these documents, the sources added."
Forget the "blame the Jews" impulse of some of the bloggers claiming that Israel actually masterminded the release -- what is telling is the argument that Israel could stop Assange from publishing information damaging to Israel. That would imply that the Israeli government is either sufficiently competent or sufficiently intimidating to prevent an international espionage kingpin like Assange from doing harm to its interests -- and that the US government under Barack Obama is not. I don't know about you, but I think that says it all right there.
Here are the results in this week's exercise in blogging excellence!
Well, where is the ACLU on this one – after all, this should be an open-and-shut case.
PERKINS, Okla. -- A small-town bank in Oklahoma said the Federal Reserve won’t let it keep religious signs and symbols on display.
Federal Reserve examiners come every four years to make sure banks are complying with a long list of regulations. The examiners came to Perkins last week. And the team from Kansas City deemed a Bible verse of the day, crosses on the teller’s counter and buttons that say "Merry Christmas, God With Us." were inappropriate. The Bible verse of the day on the bank's Internet site also had to be taken down.
* * *
Specifically, the feds believed, the symbols violated the discouragement clause of Regulation B of the bank regulations. According to the clause, "...the use of words, symbols, models and other forms of communication ... express, imply or suggest a discriminatory preference or policy of exclusion."
The feds interpret that to mean, for example, a Jew or Muslin or atheist may be offended and believe they may be discriminated against at this bank. It is an appearance of discrimination.
Unfortunately, that interpretation of that particular rule seems to run afoul of this:
AMENDMENT I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
As applied, this rule clearly establishes atheistic secularism as the preferred religion of the United States by prohibiting the free exercise of religion by the owners and managers of the bank and abridging their right to engage in religious speech. And since the First Amendment of US Constitution trumps the Federal Reserve’s Regulation B this action must fall as a dramatic case of over-reach by out of control bureaucrats.
Mayoral challenger James Meeks scrambled Thursday to put out a political fire touched off by his suggestion that only African Americans should be eligible for city contracts set aside for minorities and women.
Meeks made the statement on Wednesday during an interview on WVON-AM (1690). It happened during a discussion of why African-American businesses got a 7 percent sliver of Chicago’s $1 billion spending pie through Aug. 31, down from 8 percent a year ago.
“The word ‘minority’ from our standpoint should mean African American. I don’t think women, Asians and Hispanics should be able to use that title,” he said. “That’s why our numbers cannot improve — because we use women, Asians and Hispanics who are not people of color, who are not people who have been discriminated against.”
The problem is that there has not been any actual discrimination against any of those groups in decades. The problem is the inability of some of these businesses to perform work of sufficient quality at a reasonable price so as to make them competitive. What’s more, I’m old enough to recall the ruling made by a court regarding Chicago’s minority contracting program that forbade terminating a contract awarded to one such firm that proved itself unable to do the work for which it was being paid – said the court, if minority contractors were able to meet the ordinary standards for competitive bid contracts, they wouldn’t need set-asides. Seems to me that nothing has changed in the last quarter century, which proves that the program itself is a failure that should be done away with for the public good.
Am I alone in finding this to be well beyond the bounds of propriety?
As a convicted felon, he now can't legally run for office. And he can't vote on Election Day.
But state Rep. Ismael "Kino" Flores, the Palmview Democrat who was sentenced to five years of probation earlier this week on felony ethics charges, remains a legislator in good standing in the Texas House.
He's still entitled to his $600-a-month, taxpayer-paid salary as a legislator.
The reason: There's no law or rule that prohibits convicted felons from serving in the House if they are convicted while in office.
Now if there is one bit of good news, it is that Flores will be leaving office anyway when his term expires the second week of January. But still, the judge should have required his immediate resignation as a condition of accepting the plea bargain that rendered him a convicted felon – and still made the filing of amended ethics reports a condition of successfully completing his probation.
The city is Washington, DC, and the jobs would come from four Wal-Mart stores that the company wants to build.
Neighborhood activists, affordable housing advocates and labor unions are mounting campaigns aimed at thwarting Wal-Mart's plan to open its first stores in D.C.
A handful of residents of Brightwood, an Upper Northwest neighborhood that includes Georgia Avenue, wrote members of the D.C. Council this week to oppose a proposed Wal-Mart on Georgia Avenue. The group has also created a Web site, Ward Four Thrives, to spread the word.
Thursday night, about 20 activists staged a protest at the home of a development executive planning the store, walking in circles on the snow-covered sidewalk chanting "Keep D.C. Wal-Mart free."
As part of a national strategy to serve more urban markets, Wal-Mart announced last month that it planned to open four stores in the District. The company said it would sell fresh food and create 1,200 jobs with competitive wages. Wal-Mart has not signed any leases and has met with residents and city council members to boost support.
Absolutely incredible. The city is in financial ruins and has a high unemployment rate among its mostly minority residents. Now you have a company wanting to change that – and the left-wing activist community want to avoid that at all costs.
But then again, what do you expect? After all, they all voted for Obama.
Would it be the words of Rush Limbaugh, which Rev. Al Not-So-Sharpton claims will be subject to a McCarthyite attack by Barry Obimbo's FCC?
Al Sharpton said Thursday he spoke to the Federal Communications Commission about holding public hearings next year that Rush Limbaugh would be forced to attend to explain so-called "racist" statements he's made on the air.
Chatting with MSNBC's Ed Schultz, Sharpton said he had a "very good meeting on Tuesday" with FCC officials and that "some of the commissioners" were interested enough in following up on his concerns that this could come to fruition in the coming months....
Of course, the "racism" in question would be Rush's satirical attacks on President Obimbo and "civil" "rights" "leaders" (three falsehoods in one phrase) intended to comment upon the lack of devotion to true racial equality on the part of those he skewers. The apparent goal is to circumvent the First Amendment by declaring the expression of certain points of view and public expressions of disdain for public figures of a darker hue to be outside the bounds of acceptable discourse on the public airwaves.
Or would Schultz instead object to calls for violence and extortion against leaders of America's business community, as expressed in this particular vision regarding how President Obimbo should deal with business leaders he is going to meet at the White House, as expressed by his producer, James "Holmy" Holms?
HOLM: The president is going to speak with business leaders that are sitting on $1.9 trillion dollars -- $1.9 trillion dollars. Maybe what we should do is put a gun to their head and just say, give us that $1.9 trillion dollars, you don't need to read anything, just hand it to us!
The answer? Ed Schultz believes that government show trials of more successful ideological opponents designed to drive them from the airwaves AND gun violence against American citizens controlling America's largest businesses are both absolutely hunky-dory! What's more, he and his listeners believe such things to be patriotic and the very sort of "progress" that America needs to implement their vision for what the country should be. Seems to me that this vision is akin to a whole host of leaders of the Left.
You remember the Clinton Doctrine from the 1990s, don't you? It was invoked against Paula Jones and other women who attempted to expose President Bubba's history of sexually predatory behavior. At the time, i described it as follows:
Liberals and liberal icons who engaged in sexually predatory behavior must be excused and their accusers destroyed because the goals of liberalism are too important to let unimportant things like the dignity and rights of the victims of such sexual predators interfere with the greater goals of liberalism.
Well, Michael Moore has invoked the Clinton Doctrine in an effort to exonerate WikiLeaks spy Julian Assange, who faces charges of having sexually assaulted at least two women.
For those of you who think it’s wrong to support Julian Assange because of the sexual assault allegations he’s being held for, all I ask is that you not be naive about how the government works when it decides to go after its prey. Please — never, ever believe the “official story.” And regardless of Assange’s guilt or innocence (see the strange nature of the allegations here), this man has the right to have bail posted and to defend himself.
I love the translation offered by Tiger Beatdown.
In other words: Never, ever believe the women who are accusing Assange of rape. Never, ever believe the allegations that he forcibly held a woman down and raped her, never, ever believe that he raped a woman while she was unconscious. “Regardless of his guilt or innocence” — and it’s clear that Moore has chosen to believe in his “innocence,” despite the fact that Assange’s working to avoid being tried for the crime — help him. Don’t believe anything you hear about the charges, don’t believe the official story, despite the fact that Assange’s people have been caught lying — it turns out there is no such crime as “sex by surprise” in Sweden as Assange’s lawyer Mark Stephens alleged, it is not worth a fine of $715 because it doesn’t exist, and there is also no Swedish law against having sex with a broken condom; what is against the law in Sweden, it turns out, is rape, which is what Assange has been charged with — and a reasonable person might assume that they are the ones it’s unsafe to believe. Don’t believe them. The allegations are “strange.” (They sure did seem that way, when they were being inaccurately reported all over the place, thanks in part to misinformation spread by Assange’s defense.) Believe Michael Moore.
Sady has that one precisely right. As I said not long ago regarding this case:
Julian Assange is a hero for our times -- just as Maureen Dowd waxed eloquent about "presidential kneepads", these folks believe that a secular saint like Assange ought to be able to have his way with women without their full consent.
And ultimately that is what this case is about -- the fullness of consent on the part of the accusers. And for all the jokes about "sex without a condom", consider -- these women consented to protected sex, and Julian Assange forced something other than that on them without their consent. It truly is a sexual assault, just as if he had pulled out of their vaginas and proceeded to perform anal sex as they struggled and screamed for him to stop. Just as "date rape" is rape, so is "sex by surprise" a true sexual assault. We can debate where the offense ranks on the scale of severity, but there should be no question that a serious wrong was done here.
But apparently the self-proclaimed "pro-woman" Left believes that the victims in this case should have given it up against their will for the greater good of the world.
Clinton. Polanski. Assange. When the left loves you, any woman or girl, no matter how unwilling or incapable of giving consent, is your rightful prey under a twisted, latter-day version of droit de seigneur.
Fresh from the presses:
Drone kills white al-Qaeda pair in Pakistan mountains
A pair of white British Muslim converts who joined al-Qaeda have been killed in a drone attack in a mountainous region of Pakistan, according to reports.
Making three points in one.
Now, can we discuss precisely what the problem is with Islam that leads its followers to again and again seek to kill in its name?
That is my response any time we start getting proposals like this one.
Term limits ceased to be a practical political possibility when the 1994 Republican congressional majority failed to fulfill their Contract with America promise on the issue, right?
Wrong on both counts. The GOP Congress did vote on the issue, but the vote was rigged to insure that no concrete progress was achieved. And term limits, which continue to enjoy massive public support in 2010, CAN become a reality despite the previous setback.
Paul Jacob, who was a key leader of 1994 term limits campaign has posted an important Common Sense column suggesting that the incoming House Republican majority could take major steps on the issue right now.
Now you may object to my comment, but it is true. We do have term limits. They are called “elections:, and no person my serve if the people of the appropriate state or district refuse to reelect them. Any effort to put a blanket term limit amendment into the Constitution deprives the American people of the right to select those who would serve in government, and puts more power in the hands of unelected bureaucrats. That some politicians serve longer than we would like to see is evidence not of a broken system, but of an incompetent electorate which finds it easier to vote for a familiar name rather than actually become informed voters making rational choices. We showed this fall that we can “term limit” any number of politicians when we put our minds to it – so let’s do it rather than strip ourselves of the ability to choose the leaders we truly believe are best.
It has been over five years – isn’t it time for us to expect these people to become self-supporting rather than wards of the government?
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., came to the Senate floor Wednesday to announce a "mistake" in the legislation. She said a program to extend low income housing tax credits for people who lost homes during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita was left out of the bill even though it was a deal that all sides approved.
I didn’t get so much as a penny from FEMA after Hurricane Ike despite an 8 month displacement from our home, and my neighbor was forced out of her FEMA trailer before repairs to her home were finished. Indeed, the Texas Gulf Coast was notably neglected by both the Bush and Obama Administrations. Yet somehow our tax dollars are still being funneled down a Louisiana rat-hole on the basis of the basis of the storms of 2005. Enough, already!
This sounds like the height of responsibility to me, not improper behavior.
Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon sent an e-mail to staff last December offering guidance on how to handle the climate debate, three weeks after the Climategate scandal broke and in the midst of the Copenhagen climate summit.
“Given the controversy over the veracity of climate change data,” Sammon wrote, “we should refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question. It is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies.”
Good grief, he’s exactly right on this one. And given that standard journalistic practice is to talk about alleged perpetrators of alleged crimes and their alleged victims, even when we have the entire incident caught on video, it seems to me that there should be at least as much deference given to much more legitimate questions regarding an unproven – and scientifically disputed – theory on climate change.
Odd -- I thought that 2010 was supposed to be a busy hurricane season. We saw how that worked out.
So why are we thinking about tropical storms at the onset of winter? Two of the earliest forecasts for the storm season that begins June 1 are chilling. They predict another busy season, much like the one just concluded, but indicate the U.S. is unlikely to escape unscathed as it did in 2010, when a seemingly invisible shield shunted the big storms into Mexico, the Caribbean or the North Atlantic.
With the caveat that such early forecasts have a low accuracy rating compared to projections at the beginning of next season, consider that the well-known team of William Gray and Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University is predicting 17 named storms, nine hurricanes and five intense cyclones. While that's slightly less than this year's 19-12-5 count, the CSU study predicts significantly higher chances of a major hurricane striking the Gulf and East coasts of the United States.
As recounted by Dr. Jeff Masters in his blog on the Weather Underground Web site, the British private forecasting firm Tropical Storm Risk also predicts a busy season, with 15.6 named storms, 8.4 hurricanes and four intense ones. More sobering is their expectation that the U.S. will be hit by five named storms in 2011, including two hurricanes.
In other words, predictions like this one are little better than wild-ass guesses, but since they allow for more alarmist reporting and editorializing by the local rag, they'll flog the info for all it is worth.
The reality is that in a typical year there are 10 named storms in the North Atlantic, with 6 becoming hurricanes. Two extra hurricanes constitutes a "busy hurricane season" -- even though that is within one standard deviation of the norm. But such predictions allow for press hysteria -- or page-filler on slow news days. Not, mind you that I'm arguing against preparedness -- the experience of Hurricane Ike is still fresh in my mind -- but these predictions are like barroom predictions made in December about the results of next October's World Series.
Holy Gorgonzola, Batman!
At least one person in Gov. Christie's entourage really likes Gorgonzola cheese - so much so that he and/or she twice paid 99 cents for extra Gorgonzola on roast beef sandwiches.
That fondness for zesty Italian cheese is one of few details that can be gleaned from 66 pages of heavily redacted travel documents released by the Governor's Office in late November in response to a request by the Democratic Party.
The Democrats, who made the records available Monday, sought information pertaining to trips by the governor and his staff since Christie took office Jan. 19. The request was submitted last month through the Open Public Records Act (OPRA).
Any port in a storm, I guess. I'm sure that there will soon be intensely covered legislative hearings regarding Gorgonzola-gate in New Jersey, with the media presenting this flagrant abuse of taxpayer dollars as the sort of scandal that will forever derail the national ambitions of Gov. Christie.
The first of at least two expected party-switchers really puts the Texas GOP in the catbird seat in the Texas House.
Republicans in the Texas House will have carte blanche to do pretty much whatever they want.
A decision over the weekend by Democrat Allan Ritter to switch parties means the GOP should hold 100 of the House's 150 seats when lawmakers return to work next month.
In last month's election, House Republicans posted huge gains in ousting 22 Democrats. They need only a victory in a pending special election – to replace a GOP member in a heavily Republican Hill Country district who died last month – to enjoy almost total sway in the chamber.
"It's a psychological hurdle that's been overcome," Republican consultant Todd M. Smith said of the supermajority.
As noted, there is the formality of a special election to replace a recently deceased member of the chamber – but given the conservative nature of the district, it is unlikely that there will be much chance of a Democrat victory there. And rumors abound that there will be at least one more defection -- Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg, is likely to come over to the GOP in the coming days.
This switch does, however, make it more likely that Joe Straus will remain Speaker – Ritter has been a Straus ally, and is expected to support his retention in the post that the Democrat minority and 11 Republicans gave him during the last session of the legislature.
UPDATE: No sooner do I post than I get the word that Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg is now Rep. Aaron Peña, R-Edinburg. It is officially a supermajority, no matter how that special election turns out. And the Democrats in the Texas House are now nothing more than decorative accessories for scattered around the chamber like so many throw pillows.
UPDATE II: By the way, folks, this party-switching is part of a national trend.
I have no conception of how the man can be this delusional.
Former President Jimmy Carter says his biggest failure during his term in the White House was that he didn't get to spend another four years there. "I guess my biggest failure was not getting reelected," he said in an interview with Big Think, referring to the 1980 presidential election.
Of course, those of us who lived through those awful days remember this
You know – the whole Iran Hostage Crisis and the deaths of American troops in the course of the botched rescue attempt belatedly engaged in by a man who had clearly proved himself to be a failed president.
And strangely enough, Carter does, too.
Carter, 86, said the loss taught him "not to ever let American hostages be held for 444 days in a foreign country without extracting them." He added, "I did the best I could, but I failed."
So got that – Carter finds the taking of hostages and death of the men sent to rescue them to be a failure only by virtue of their contribution to his electoral defeat at the hands of Ronald Reagan, not as more stupendous failures in their own right. What a miserable, pathetic, rotten, disgusting scumbag those comments show Jimmy Carter to be!
Now those who are familiar with this blog know that I tend to be very supportive of individuals seeking religious accommodations by employers under the 1964 Civil Rights Act and subsequent legislation. That is true across the board, including for Muslims. However, I think that the federal government has it dead wrong in this case, and that the demands of the employee in this case go far beyond what the law requires.
The federal government sued a suburban Chicago school district Monday for denying a Muslim middle school teacher unpaid leave to make a pilgrimage to Mecca that is a central part of her religion.
In a civil rights case, the department said the school district in Berkeley, Ill., denied the request of Safoorah Khan on grounds that her requested leave was unrelated to her professional duties and was not set forth in the contract between the school district and the teachers union. In doing so the school district violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by failing to reasonably accommodate her religious practices, the government said.
Now the facts of this case make it clear that Khan’s request was not a reasonable one. Not only was this untenured teacher in only her second year in the district insisting that terms of the district’s union contract be set aside to allow her to make the hajj, but she was demanding to be allowed out of the classroom for THREE WEEKS. And it is this last point that I leads me to the conclusion that the accommodation she sought was unreasonable.
One of the things that every educator recognizes is that student learning decreases when their regular teacher is not present in the classroom. That is why districts try to avoid taking teachers out of the classroom for workshops and in-service days, and strongly encourage teachers to schedule appointments with doctors for outside of school hours. Quite bluntly, the quality of instruction students receive declines when the teacher is not there and is replaced by a substitute – after all, most substitutes are not trained in the teacher’s subject area (and may have as little as one semester of college credits – or less), and even if the teacher leaves detailed lesson plans the substitute will not do as good a job teaching the students as the teacher does. A three week teacher absence will do grave harm to the students in that teacher’s class – and while such absences are sometimes time sensitive and unavoidable, this one was not.
Given the fact that the dates of the hajj move – and that there is not an obligation to make the hajj in a particular year or by a certain age – it is not unreasonable for the district expect that Khan would wait until the dates of the hajj more closely coincide with the realities of the school calendar rather than disrupt the academic environment.
Now that may sound harsh, but remember that the law only requires that an employer make a reasonable accommodation for the employee. If she were looking to take a day or two of her personal leave – or even seeking a day or two of unpaid leave of absence – then I would agree that it would constitute a reasonable accommodation of her religion. A three week absence by a teacher that can be avoided is, in the end, not a reasonable accommodation that a district ought to be expected to make in light of the sort of negative impact it will have upon the students in Ms. Khan’s class..
If kids get more than half their calories at school (and shouldn’t schools teach kids instead of feeding them?) and they are fat, then the government — not parents — is to blame.
Logic would dictate that the government is irresponsible and incompetent when it comes to feeding children.
A few years back, I joked that the day might be coming when schools would be deemed responsible for providing each with a bowl of ice cream as an evening snack, as well as a mint on the pillow and a kiss on the forehead as they are tucked into bed.
It appears that Michelle “Big Mama” Obama wants to implement just such a program – though she will substitute a cup of plain, unsweetened yogurt and a celery stalk for the ice cream and the mint.
Is that a stick of dynamite in your pocket or are you just glad to get screened?
There are no words adequate to describe this level of incompetence.
Tim Ely, a retired Army officer who once commanded a military police unit in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, filed an online complaint after a Nov. 20 confrontation at RDU. He was subjected to an intimate pat-down because of a false alarm from the body scanner.
After an agent groped around his genitals from in front and from behind, Ely challenged him to explain what sort of anomaly had turned up on his full-body scan.
"He said there was something suspicious hanging from between my legs," Ely, 63, wrote in his RDU online comment. "I told him that something suspicious was my [genitals], you dummy."
How much longer will we allow ourselves to be subjected to such nonsense when it so obviously fails to provide any real protection from terrorist threats. We need to adopt an Israeli-style screening procedure NOW – and we need to remove from the public payroll any politician, bureaucrat or judge who tries to stop it from happening
That is the only legitimate way to interpret this.
The Obama administration no longer has to worry about an immediate legal challenge to its policy of targeting terrorists, including American citizens, for assassination. A federal judge threw out a lawsuit brought by the father of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen hiding in Yemen who is on the government’s target list. He said the father had no standing to sue.
But the administration should remain very worried about the moral implications of its policy, which were sharply questioned by the judge, John Bates of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, as he dismissed the suit. Among the many unanswered questions raised by the lawsuit, he wrote, is this one: “Can the Executive order the assassination of a U.S. citizen without first affording him any form of judicial process whatsoever, based on the mere assertion that he is a dangerous member of a terrorist organization?”
Judge Bates deftly nailed the most problematic aspect of the government’s policy — acting as judge and jury, choosing terrorist threats and killing them with little outside scrutiny. President George W. Bush routinely abused that kind of discretion, and though there is little evidence that President Obama has done so, the potential for serious abuse remains. Though this judge said he felt powerless to impose a solution, other judges may be more aggressive if the administration does not work with Congress to allow some form of judicial review.
In other words, making a target of a particular military or political leader of the enemy during time of war is unacceptable. So much for deciding to take out Hitler. Forget making an effort to decapitate the military or political chain of command of the Confederacy. They deserve their day in court – unlike, for example, the grunts on the front lines who are just so much cannon fodder for the generals and politicians to use to water the sacred ground of places like Normandy or Gettysburg.
Frankly, this editorial makes it clear that Ann Coulter got it right some years ago when she said it was too bad terrorists didn’t take out the New York Times instead of decent, patriotic American citizens.
Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Breyer said history stands with the dissenters in the court’s decision to overturn a Washington, D.C., handgun ban in the 2008 case “D.C. v. Heller.”
Breyer wrote the dissent and was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He said historians would side with him in the case because they have concluded that Founding Father James Madison was more worried that the Constitution may not be ratified than he was about granting individuals the right to bear arms.
Madison “was worried about opponents who would think Congress would call up state militias and nationalize them. ‘That can’t happen,’ said Madison,” said Breyer, adding that historians characterize Madison’s priority as, “I’ve got to get this document ratified.”
Therefore, Madison included the Second Amendment to appease the states, Breyer said.
“If you’re interested in history, and in this one history was important, then I think you do have to pay attention to the story,” Breyer said. “If that was his motive historically, the dissenters were right. And I think more of the historians were with us.”
But that is true of the entire Bill of Rights – the Constitution would not have been ratified without a guarantee of such additions. Indeed, this should make it necessary to conclude that the guarantees of those first ten amendments (including the oft-ignored Ninth and Tenth Amendments) ought to be given great deference due to their organic nature as a part of the original understanding of the Constitution.
But if the argument is to be made that the compromise nature of these amendments makes some of them a dead letter, then surely there must be some principle for guiding the understanding of which amendments are null and void? Why the Second Amendment and not the First? Is the string of cases arising from the Fourth and Fifth Amendments – considered to be among the most important precedents of the Warren Court – erroneous? Or is there something about those amendments that makes them binding while rendering the Second Amendment irrelevant? Surely this latter-day Solon, this modern Blackstone, can elucidate the standard for making that determination.
Or, perhaps he is just a contemporary dictator, imposing his will on the American people without their consent. If that is the case, he has good reason to fear the Second Amendment – after all, it was designed to provide last-resort recourse to the American people against those who would take our liberties in violation of our Constitution as amended.
Maybe -- but no matter how today's ruling goes, this is a dispute that will ultimately reach the US Supreme Court for a final ruling on the matter.
A Virginia federal judge is expected to rule Monday on whether the Obama administration's health law violates the Constitution, opening a new stage in the administration's defense of its biggest legislative achievement.
The ruling by District Judge Henry E. Hudson is perhaps the most significant so far among a slew of state-based legal challenges to the law, which also faces attack by newly resurgent Republicans in Congress. More than 20 federal lawsuits have been filed against the health overhaul since President Barack Obama signed it in March.
With the White House admitting that the government mandate is unseverable from the rest of the package, this has the potential to stop the abuse of the Commerce Clause to classify the failure to engage in commerce as commercial activity subject to regulation by Congress.
Better it happened in the middle of the night than during the middle of a game.
Here are this week’s full results:
Well done, one and all!
But don't you dare call him a mindless partisan hack making threats -- these are promises.
Since the Democratic Party's "shellacking" in last month's midterm elections, speculation has been growing about a possible 2012 presidential primary challenge to President Obama launched by his party's disgruntled left. Talk of a primary challenge has only ratcheted up following Obama's announcement of the tax deal he cut this week with congressional Republicans.
Warning: If the Democratic left does to Obama in 2012 what it did to incumbent President Carter in 1980 via Ted Kennedy's damaging Democratic presidential primary challenge - or what the Republican right did to incumbent President George H.W. Bush in 1992 with Pat Buchanan's entry into the GOP primary - the Democratic party as a whole will find itself paying a steep price for years to come.
That's a promise, not a threat.
What's more, Colbert King even plays the race card, threatening revenge from the nation's African-Americans if liberals dis Obama by running a candidate against him in the primary.
Because you know, voting your skin color is only racist if you are white. But opposing a black president is racist -- even if you do so on principled grounds (just ask the conservatives labeled as racist for opposing Obama over the last two years).
The comment in question is really is not nearly as serious a thing as it may appear at first glance.
One unidentified lawmaker went so far as to mutter “f— the president” while Rep. Shelley Berkley was defending the package the president negotiated with Republicans. Berkley confirmed the incident, although she declined to name the specific lawmaker.
Well, folks, my super secret sources have identified the specific lawmaker. It was Barney Frank -- and he was answering a question about what his ideal Christmas present would be.
I know that sounds harsh, but what else can you say about this story.
More than 609,000 jobs disappeared during Gov. Granholm's eight years in office, and Michigan lead the country with the highest unemployment rate for 49 months. Now, she is giving advice to the country … about how to create jobs.
Words fail – but not as badly as the Michigan economy.
It would be because of certain judges elected in 2008 allowing offenders easy access to deferred adjudication
So we wanted to know, who is giving the long leash? Our first stop was District Attorney Pat Lykos.
"We've recommended deferred adjudication in 8.3 percent of all the burglaries," Lykos said.
The records do show that more than 90 percent of the time, it is the judge who made the decision to defer.
"We can't prevent someone from pleading guilty and having the court assess punishment,” Lykos said. “It drives me insane sometimes."
The I-Team discovered some judges stand out from the rest, like Kevin Fine in the 177th and Shawna Reagin in the 176th District Criminal Courts. Under Judge Fine, the rate of burglary deferred adjudications grew by 27 percent, and under Judge Reagin, it jumped by 35 percent.
Both declined to go on camera, but in written statements, both said deferred adjudication allows them to order offenders into drug treatment to deal with what is often the source of the criminal behavior. Both judges also said deferred adjudication permits them to order the maximum possible prison sentence allowed.
Care to guess what the judges in question have in common? It would be the D after their name, when the drug-addled Fine and soft-on-crime Reagin were elected by the mindless Obamatrons chanting “Yes We Can". Well now the ones chanting “Yes We Can” are the felons marching straight from the courtroom to your bedroom, where they are gonna rob you blind. I sure Hope that we will be able to Change things in 2012 and put some more solid Republican judges in place like we did in 2010.
You have to wonder how much alcohol was involved.
A Swedish couple's attempt to make things more interesting in the bedroom ended with a man stabbed in the thigh and his girlfriend in police custody, the Expressen newspaper reported Tuesday.
Police believe alcohol may have contributed to the sexual mishap that began when a 47-year-man cut off his girlfriend's stockings with a knife.
He then handed her the blade and she attempted to slash through his underwear. But the encounter turned from pleasure to pain when the 36-year-old woman accidentally stabbed her lover in the thigh.
"From what we understand, it was a sex act that went a bit wrong," a police spokeswoman said.
I have to wonder if the spokeswoman managed to say that with a straight face.
It would appear to be the Democrats -- at least if you believe this Democrat Congressman.
Minnesota 5th District Congressman Keith Ellison said Thursday that Democratic lawmakers "need to create a real crisis" to force Republicans to renegotiate the tax cut compromise.
* * *
"I think that we need to create a real crisis here so that the Republicans will have to answer for denying Americans unemployment benefits on the eve of the Christmas holiday," Ellison said. "We let them off the hook, in my opinion."
Now let me see -- the goal of the Democrats must be to create a crisis in order to force the GOP to enter new negotiations? Doesn't that mean that Ellison is proposing that the Democrats take America hostage -- and to subject the American people to harm? After all, to paraphrase the words of President Barack Obama,
“It’s tempting not to negotiate with hostage takers unless the hostage gets harmed… In this case, the hostage [is] the American people.”
I wonder -- will Obama stand up and call these folks hostage takers? Will he compare America's first Muslim congressman to a terrorist? Or will he let Ellison and his fellow Democrats off the hook, even if that means that the unemployed lose their benefits, the poor and middle class see their taxes raised, and the American economy spins into a full scale Depression?
For the umpteenth time since 9/11, a guy named Mohammad (or a variation thereof) has been arrested on terrorism related charges. This does not include the many guys named Muhammad (or a variation thereof) who have successfully sent themselves off in search of their 72 virgins.
A man was arrested Wednesday for plotting to blow up a military recruitment center in the Baltimore area, authorities said.
Antonio Martinez, a Muslim convert who called himself Muhammed Hussain, was arrested and is expected to appear later Wednesday in federal court, Fox News confirms.
Martinez, a U.S. citizen, was caught in a sting operation as he tried to detonate a phony bomb at an Armed Forces recruiting station in Catonsville, just outside Baltimore, officials said.
Now, either there is an incredible string of coincidences that so many guys with a version of the same name would be involved in the same sort of terrorist activities. I wonder if there is some sort of common trait that they share that would account for their murderous deeds -- and if we could find one, I wonder if we could use it to help develop a terrorist profile that would enable us to better select targets for scrutiny in counter-terrorism activities.
But I'm sure the connection isn't being a Muslim -- after all, we've been repeatedly assured that Islam is a Religion of Peace and that there is no connection between that faith and terrorism. And we all know that neither our government nor the press nor Islamic groups would ever speak falsely on such an important matter.
My darling wife has always wanted to take a cruise to Antarctica. This morning I got a text from her during my first period class.
Have u seen that Antarctic cruise ship footage? I’ve marked that off my bucket list!
Officials say an Antarctic cruise ship with 160 passengers aboard has lost an engine in high seas, but is limping safely to its scheduled port.
The Argentine Navy says the Clelia II is heading for the port of Ushuia at the extreme south of the country at 4 knots (about 5 mph). It says all passengers are safe and it is being accompanied by an Argentine naval vessel.
The ship declared an emergency on Tuesday when it was northeast of the Shetland Islands and about 500 miles from Ushuaia. A massive wave damaged one of the ship's engines, causing an electrical outage that reduced power to the ship.
Oddly enough, she had emailed me a link for the next sailing of this same ship she had found on a discount cruise site just a couple of weeks ago, so I’m rather amused by the whole thing, thinking “this could have been us!”
Personal note to readers -- for anyone wondering how I'm blogging during the school day, I'm taking a half day so I can take my darling wife to see a doctor. Unlike some unethical bloggers, I don't do my blogging from work.
Over at Commentary’s Contentions blog, Alana Goodman points to the controversy over a thesis accepted at University of Toronto.
The University of Toronto has come under heavy criticism for accepting a master’s thesis from an anti-Israel activist that accuses the Jewish community of deliberately using Holocaust-remembrance programs to create a false impression of Jewish victimhood, in order to make it easier for Jews to push “racist” and “apartheid” policies in Israel:
The thesis, titled “The Victimhood of the Powerful: White Jews, Zionism and the Racism of Hegemonic Holocaust Education,” was written by Jenny Peto, a Jewish activist with the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid. It denounces the March of Remembrance and Hope, for which young adults of diverse backgrounds travel with Holocaust survivors to sites of Nazi atrocities in Poland, and March of the Living Canada, which takes young Jews with survivors to Poland and Israel.
Peto argues that the two programs cause Jews to falsely believe they are innocent victims. In reality, she writes, they are privileged white people who “cannot see their own racism.” The “construction of a victimized Jewish identity,” she argues, is intentional: It produces “effects that are extremely beneficial to the organized Jewish community” and to “apartheid” Israel.
Maybe we can't call this thesis Holocaust denial or historical revisionism, but I believe it qualifies as something worse -- the shift from the moral imperative that the world "Never Forget" the Holocaust to the insistence that remembering is racist and historical amnesia is the morally superior course.
By the way, some argue that the thesis should not have been :
The Canadian Jewish Congress, the March of the Living, and Irving Abella, Jewish history professor at York University, said the thesis should have been rejected. “It’s not scholarship, it’s ideology,” said Abella, a former CJC president. “It’s totally ahistorical; I found it full of untruths and distortions and held together by fatuous and very flabby analysis. It borders on anti-Semitism. . .I’m appalled that it would be acceptable to a major university.”
Frankly, I’m not shocked at all. The degree was awarded by Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education (SESE) of the university’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE. If ever you wanted to find an academic department devoid of serious scholarship, it is a department of sociology. Add the fact that this department oversees all the ethnic grievance programs, and you can be certain that intellectual rigor is not a feature of anything studied there.
We can’t get my preferred option through the Senate right now. As a consequence, if we don’t get my option through the Senate right now, and we do nothing, then on January 1st of this — of 2011, the average family is going to see their taxes go up about $3,000.
Hold it. There it is. After telling the American people for the last few years that the bush tax cuts were for the wealthy, President Obimbo finally acknowledges the truth – everyone paying taxes (and some who don’t – think about the refundable tax credits) benefited when the Bush taxes passed and would be harmed if they were allowed to expire. I don’t know about you, but I consider $3000 a year to be a pretty significant chunk of change, and I can’t afford to lose it. So when he and other Democrats talk about the “Bush tax cuts for the rich”, they were lying to the American public in an attempt to gin up a bit more class warfare.
And remember – it wasn’t too long ago that the president and his congressional minions were talking about letting the entire tax cut package expire. So when, exactly, did preserving that $3000 tax savings become a priority for him?
Came across this comment at a liberal site.
Hmmmmm. . . isn’t that statement rather racist? Wouldn't Al Sharpton demand another meeting with the FCC in an attempt to ban conservative talk radio if Rush had said such a thing? Why, then, didn't the liberals at the site condemn the statement -- and why did they instead agree with it? Could it be that they are simply airing out their white sheets now that their black president is disappointing them?
But why are we surprised -- the same tactic was used against women who made accusations against Bill Clinton. Apparently the Left's modus operandi in cases of sex crimes committed by their heroes is to attack the victim.
It now seems that the smears in the Julian Assange rape case are bidirectional, from the exceptionally flimsy charges accusing the WikiLeaks boss of being a sexual predator to the increasingly loud and incoherent conspiracy theories suggesting that his two accusers are working on behalf of the CIA.
Before Assange was remanded to custody in the United Kingdom, awaiting a possible extradition to Sweden to face multiple sexual assault charges, his most credulous supporters switched tactics, from attacking the overly broad Swedish conception of rape to suggesting one of his alleged victims moonlights as an American agent; downshifting from Camille Paglia to Three Days of the Condor.
Here’s how an evidence-free, innuendo-filled personal attack on a rape accuser trespasses the mainstream political debate. On his Twitter feed, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann (162,000 followers) links to a rambling blog post arguing that Anna Ardin, the Swedish feminist who accused Assange of rape, is an anti-Castro activist with connections to CIA front groups. Elsewhere on the Internet, NYU professor Mark Crispin Miller, the popular liberal website FireDogLake, Bianca
The First Post (a British news website “brought to you by The Week”) all circulated the charges without an ounce of skepticism.
Got it -- all the malign forces of leftism are lined up against the accusers in this case. After all, Julian Assange is a hero for our times -- just as Maureen Dowd waxed eloquent about "presidential kneepads", these folks believe that a secular saint like Assange ought to be able to have his way with women without their full consent.
And ultimately that is what this case is about -- the fullness of consent on the part of the accusers. And for all the jokes about "sex without a condom", consider -- these women consented to protected sex, and Julian Assange forced something other than that on them without their consent. It truly is a sexual assault, just as if he had pulled out of their vaginas and proceeded to perform anal sex as they struggled and screamed for him to stop. Just as "date rape" is rape, so is "sex by surprise" a true sexual assault. We can debate where the offense ranks on the scale of severity, but there should be no question that a serious wrong was done here.
But apparently the self-proclaimed "pro-woman" Left believes that the victims in this case should have given it up against their will for the greater good of the world.
“It’s tempting not to negoitate with hostage takers unless the hostage gets harmed… In this case, the hostage was the American people.”
Quite frankly, this is the sort of language we expect out of Third World dictators and petty tyrants, not the President of the United States. Indeed, if it were any other world leader I would express hope that his people would rise up and overthrow him. But this is America, and I love my country so much that the notion of such a thing happen hears is unacceptable to me. Instead, I offer my sincerest hope that Barack Obama can be driven from office in two years, to live out the remainder of his contemptible life in ignominious obscurity, a sad and pathetic footnote in the glorious history of the free people of this great nation.
Elizabeth Edwards, the political wife whose public battle with breast cancer, coping with marital infidelity and continued advocacy for the downtrodden raised her profile above that of her husband, died Tuesday.
Edwards, 61, died at her Chapel Hill home, where family and friends had gathered in recent days after doctors informed her that her cancer had spread and recommended that she not undergo further treatment.
"Today, we have lost the comfort of Elizabeth's presence, but she remains the heart of this family. We love her and will never know anyone more inspiring or full of life," the Edwards family said in a statement. "On behalf of Elizabeth, we want to express our gratitude to the thousands of kindred spirits who moved and inspired her along the way. Your support and prayers touched our entire family."
This is a sad and tragic moment for one American family, and they are in my prayers this night. May each one who reads this lift them up in prayer as they mourn the loss of their loved one, and may they come to know the consolation that comes from the God who loves and watches over us all.
Only a handful now remain -- the young men they were on that morning now hidden behind the mask of age. Today we still honor their heroism -- and the sacrifice of too many of the comrades of their youth.
My own family has an interesting connection to the events of December 7, 1941 -- and I write about it here.
There is a place where politics stops, and human compassion begins. This is one of those places.
Elizabeth Edwards, estranged wife to former presidential candidate John Edwards and a driving force behind his political career, has "taken a turn for the worse" in her battle against cancer, sources loyal to Elizabeth Edwards told Fox News, and her family released a statement saying that she had halted treatment.
"Elizabeth has been advised by her doctors that further treatment of her cancer would be unproductive. She is resting at home with family and friends," the family said.
So let each of us, in whatever form or fashion they take, lift up our prayers, thoughts, and best wishes for Elizabeth Edwards and her loved ones at this time. Cancer is a horrible disease, and she has fought a valiant, inspirational fight through the most difficult of personal times. Whether God chooses the miracle of healing or the grace of a final call home, may she be strengthened for what lies ahead.
At the fourth quarter meeting of the Harris County Republican Executive Committee, the assembled Precinct Chairs unanimously adopted the following resolution regarding the process for selecting the Speaker for the next session of the Texas House of Representatives.
WHEREAS the 2010 elections resulted in a historic number of Republicans swept into office across the nation; and that the Texas House of Representatives constitutes a shining example of that Republican electoral tsunami; and
WHEREAS this unprecedented success was based upon the people of the United States, and the state of Texas in particular, embracing a conservative approach to governance; and
WHEREAS there exists among the people of Texas a profound discontent over the traditional “pledge” method of selecting the Texas Speaker of the House; and
WHEREAS this year’s election of a historic majority has resulted in multiple Republican candidates for the position of Speaker coming forward for consideration; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED that the Harris County Republican Party calls for the release of all members of the Texas House of Representatives from any pledges, promises, or commitments made to support any candidate for the office of Speaker so that a special caucus for the purpose of selecting ONE Republican candidate for the office of Speaker of the House may be held, at which time a secret ballot of all Republican members of the House elected or reelected in 2010 shall be conducted; and be it further
RESOLVED that the Harris County Republican Party calls for each member of the Republican Caucus pledge to support the winner of this vote when the full assembly votes for Speaker at the beginning of the new session so that the majority party, rather than the minority party, shall determine the Speaker for the upcoming legislative session; and be it also
RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be delivered by electronic and US mail to each Republican member and member-elect of the Texas House of Representatives.
This is a big deal, coming as it does from the largest, and one of the most conservative, counties in the state of Texas. Of special importance are the calls for a secret ballot and for all members to be released from earlier pledges to support one candidate or another, so that they can vote based upon principle and the urgings of their constituents. Every member of the Texas House of Representatives -- especially those whose districts are partially or completely within Harris County -- would do well to heed this call from the grassroots.
As an aside, it was my privilege to be the primary author of this resolution -- but it was certainly not my work alone. At its heart, it is the distillation of the content of a letter signed by nearly 150 precinct chairs, in which we called for such a caucus. Particular assistance in molding, tightening, and editing it came from Dale Huls, Paul Simpson, Dennis Hayes, Helena Brown, John Randall, Robert Westover, Larry Lane and several others (my apologies to anyone I left out), as well as the kind support of Josh Flynn, who embraced our resolution over one he had written and gotten passed by the Harris County Republican Party Advisory Board. I'd therefore like to thank all involved for their encouragement and support -- their part in organizing this effort and rounding up support was more important to passing this resolution than my contribution of its text.
The party establishment should not be participating in contested primaries – even to defend an incumbent.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, put GOP senators on notice that they should be prepared to fend for themselves in contested primaries.
"Every incumbent needs to be prepared in their own right in a primary," Cornyn said during an appearance on MSNBC.
"I think people who have been in the Senate for a while, they're going to encounter a whole new political landscape in 2012, much as our candidates did in 2010," he later added.
If the grassroots are rejecting an incumbent, then it is just wrong for the institution to fund them. And interestingly enough, one of those who most needs to be aware of this is Cornyn’s own Texas colleague – Kay Bailey Hutchison.
I frankly think this makes more sense for the GOP than seeing her run for the nomination in 2012.
The Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips has sent a letter to former Alaska GOP Gov. Sarah Palin asking her to run for chairman of the Republican National Committee.
"In order for the Tea Party/Conservative movement to be successful, we have to have someone conservative running the GOP," Phillips told POLITICO. "She is the perfect candidate. If she does not try, I am afraid we will end up with just another establishment flunky running the party and the [Republicans in name only] will control the party again."
"She has a track record of cutting wasteful spending, which has occurred under the watch of Michael Steele," he added. "Finally, she is simply a rock star. She can raise money like no one else out there that I can think of."
Frankly, I think Phillips has it about right. She is the fundraising rock star of the Right. She does have a track record of dealing with wasteful spending and candidate recruitment. More to the point, a successful term or two in this position will five her a different sort of credibility than any other candidate – and ought to overcome her main negative, namely her resignation as governor.
After all, Gary Kubiak is a decent guy, a truly nice man. Unfortunately, he has not done for the Houston Texans what we fans -- especially those of us who shell out for season tickets year after year -- expect of him after nearly five full seasons as head coach.
Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle puts the matter into perspective.
The Texans have gone from the bad old days under Dom Capers, when they were 5-7 after 12 games (in 2003 and 2004), to today, when after 12 games they are, um, 5-7. As they were last year. And the year before that. And the year before that.
That is not progress.
Sadly, it isn't good enough to justify keeping Kubiak around. Indeed, the only thing that might justify keeping him is the impending lockout and the question of whether any coach can improve things when/if play resumes in shortened season.
But then again, if Kubiak is allowed to stick around for whatever snake-bit season is coming in 2011, it likely means that he will be back in 2012. After all, the argument will go, how can you hold him or any other coach responsible for the failings and foibles of a team that had minimal preparation for a handful of games?
No, Gary Kubiak needs to be fired after this season -- even if the Texans win the next four games and salvage a winning record.
How big a farce was the censure of the New York Democrat? The answer is clear in the comment he made over the weekend.
In all fairness, I was not found guilty of corruption.
Really? You are seriously arguing that failure to pay taxes, faking your financial disclosure reports, and using your office improperly does not qualify as corruption? Or is it merely the fact that you were not expelled from the House of Representatives that makes you think that you are not corrupt?
Do these folks really not understand that this information is now in the public domain, and that forbidding people to read what is publicly available is not only impossible, but idiotic?
In a classic case of shutting the barn door after the horse has left, the Obama administration and the Department of Defense have ordered the hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors not to view the secret cables and other classified documents published by Wikileaks and news organizations around the world unless the workers have the required security clearance or authorization.
“Classified information, whether or not already posted on public websites or disclosed to the media, remains classified, and must be treated as such by federal employees and contractors, until it is declassified by an appropriate U.S. Government authority,” said the notice sent on Friday afternoon by the Office of Management and Budget, which is part of the White House, to agency and department heads, urging them to distribute it to their staff.
So, Barry, how do you plan on enforcing this one?
Here are the results of this week's exercise in blogging excellence:
I've written about the Texas Speaker's race -- but here's a lovely video that sums it up quite clearly. Joe must go -- do you get the message, Republican legislators? And yes, that does mean you, John Davis.
This quote sums up my philosophy well.
“I’m not going to settle for a Republican House, a Republican Senate, and a Republican governor,” Haley says. “It’s about a conservative House, a conservative Senate, and a conservative governor. It doesn’t matter how many Republicans seats you take if you don’t have conservative seats. So we have to watch the officials being elected.”
That said, I would add one caveat -- always* vote for the Republican if he/she is more conservative than the Democrat, because you will be happier with the result. You can always primary an unacceptable Republican later.
Not on the movie review page -- on the editorial page.
And the concluding paragraph is one to emblazon in the national consciousness so that it becomes an indisputable element of the historical record -- and so that those who do seek to dispute it are known to have the credibility, intellectual accuity, and moral standing of Holocaust deniers.
Hollywood has a habit of making movies about historical events without regard for the truth; "Fair Game" is just one more example. But the film's reception illustrates a more troubling trend of political debates in Washington in which established facts are willfully ignored. Mr. Wilson claimed that he had proved that Mr. Bush deliberately twisted the truth about Iraq, and he was eagerly embraced by those who insist the former president lied the country into a war. Though it was long ago established that Mr. Wilson himself was not telling the truth - not about his mission to Niger and not about his wife - the myth endures. We'll join the former president in hoping that future historians get it right.
In a more decent world, every single participant in the making and promotion of this film would be permanently blacklisted and unable to find work in any communications industry.
Alaska’s largest provider of abortions will be selling holiday gift certificates good for services including abortion in a fundraising effort during a Jewish bazaar on Sunday.
The certificates are being sold in Anchorage as part of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest’s effort to raise funds for their organization.
Since they see fit to profane Christmas and Hanukkah with this monstrosity, perhaps next year they would consider offering these certificates in conjunction with Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Here it is, summed up in the words of one of its own religious leaders.
hardline Pakistani Islamic cleric has offered a reward to anyone who kills a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy against Islam.
Maulana Yousef Qureshi made the announcement Friday at a rally in the northwestern town of Peshawar.
He said his mosque would give $6,000 to the person who kills Asia Bibi.
"We will strongly resist any attempt to repeal laws which provide protection to the sanctity of Holy Prophet Mohammad," Qureshi told a rally of hardline Islamists.
"Any one who kills Asia will be given 500,000 rupees in reward from Masjid Mohabat Khan," he said referring to his mosque.
Remember – Asia Bibi’s crime was refusing to convert to Islam and making the outrageous statement that “Jesus lives, but Muhammad is dead.” For stating a religious truth taught by Christianity for two millennia (Jesus lives) and a historical fact acknowledged by Muslims since 632 AD (Muhammad is dead), these buffoons insist that a Christian woman must die. What sort of decent human being affiliates with such a malignant cult?
You want an explanation of why the Houston Texans lost the game against the Eagles last night? You want the explanation of why a team with some of the top talent in the league is mired in mediocrity? Here it is.
Well, maybe not literally – but the backup quarterback being unable to find his helmet to come into the game at a crucial juncture is emblematic of what is wrong with the team this season ticket holder has lived and died with since the very beginning of this franchise. Too many members of the team don’t have their heads in the game and lose focus at critical moments. The Houston Texans should have won last night’s game – they had the momentum and had taken the lead in the game despite being given no chance of winning by anyone – and then began urinated it away with incompetent play through the fourth quarter, because in their minds they already had all the victory they needed. The result was a pair of unanswered touchdowns that turned a major upset into one more debacle.
Man, this one about NASA’s much-anticipated astrobiology press conference is just too good to let go.
One has to wonder – when interviewed, did it say “Hola, me llamo Juan” and demand the passage of an amnesty bill?
A Connecticut man has been sentenced to death for the killings of a woman and her two daughters in a gruesome home invasion.
Steven Hayes apologized for the crimes just before New Haven Superior Court Judge Jon Blue pronounced the sentence Thursday morning. A jury that convicted Mr. Hayes in the killings condemned him to death last month.
Mr. Hayes sexually assaulted and strangled Jennifer Hawke-Petit. Authorities say he and Joshua Komisarjevsky tied Hawke-Petit's two daughters to their beds, poured gasoline on or around them and set fire to their home in Cheshire.
UPDATE: This quote from the murderer's paid mouthpiece makes me believe that there are cases where the defense attorney merits the same sentence as the client.
Defense attorney Thomas Ullmann said the crime caused unimaginable loss, but he condemned the death penalty.
"Today when the court sentences Steven Hayes to death everyone becomes a killer," Ullmann said. "We all become Steven Hayes."
No, Mr. Ullmann -- and your tactics before, during, and after this trial have made you every bit the moral monster that your client is. Pray for a God who shows you more mercy and less justice than you deserve when you appear before his Judgment Seat.
A Muslim imam who lectures on non-violence and advises the German government on interfaith issues has been arrested in Germany for beating up his wife.
Sheikh Abu Adam, 40, is now on remand in Munich while his wife, 31, is being guarded by police.
She was allegedly assaulted so badly that she suffered a broken nose and shoulder and numerous cuts and bruises.
Well, she is lucky that her husband takes a moderate approach to sharia marital relations, unlike “Mo the Model Moderate Muslim” from Buffalo.
Oh, why did non-violent Sheikh Abu Adam beat his wife so brutally? She apparently expressed interest in living like a
whore free human being with equal dignity as a man and full human rights.
Media reports claimed the woman, who has borne one of his ten children, wanted to live a more 'western' lifestyle and was allegedly attacked after telling her husband.
* * *
Adam is alleged to have shouted a verse from the Koran at his wife as he beat her.
The line said: 'Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them.
'As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them.'
Don’t you just love that Religion of Peace – coming soon to a sharia-enforcing court near you, courtesy of Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange.
Get a restroom for female lawmakers put right next to the House chamber, just like male lawmakers have.
Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-Ohio) intends to commandeer a swanky office space adjacent to the House floor and build a women's restroom for female lawmakers.
For years, men have had the luxury of using facilities located adjacent to the House floor, just outside the Speaker's lobby. But women have had no such option.
If women need to powder their noses, they must instead go downstairs or to a restroom several halls away from the chamber.
But Boehner wants that to end, and plans to direct the Architect of the Capitol to construct a women's bathroom in the space currently occupied by the House Parliamentarian.
No doubt Speaker Nancy Pelosi had her own private restroom located close to the House floor, so she didn't care about the rest -- so it is left to a Speaker of the evilmeanrhomophobicracistsexist GOP to do what should have been done years ago.
Andrew Sullivan's headline:
The Dickishness Of The GOP
Well, as a promiscuous gay man, Andrew is certainly an expert when it comes to. . . .
I guess that abortion is the only medical issue that Democrats want to leave between a patient and a doctor.
Texans having blood drawn as part of any routine medical testing would be screened for the infection that causes AIDS under proposed new state legislation.
The bill, filed Wednesday by Texas Sen. Rodney Ellis, would require that health care providers inform patients that an HIV test will be performed on their blood unless they opt out. The bill is based on a 2006 recommendation by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that such testing become more routine for people 13 to 64.
"I'm trying to take the stigma out of HIV-AIDS testing," said Ellis, D-Houston, who timed the filing to coincide with World AIDS Day. "If we can make HIV testing as commonplace as getting a physical or a flu shot, I think we can reduce the toll of this disease in Texas."
While there are many fine arguments for getting tested for HIV, this should be a personal decision between a patient and their doctor. But more to the point, Ellis' bill is precisely the reason that we have the sort of medical cost crisis that we do today. What government mandates in health care costs money -- and when it does not provide that money from tax dollars, it comes out of the pocket of the consumer either in the form of higher prices for procedures or higher prices for insurance. That's the flaw of Obamacare, and the flaw of this bill.
Besides, I can see the absurdity of this law if implemented. Last week, on Monday, my wife had a routine blood draw as a part of a routine physical. On Tuesday, she awoke with a serious pain consistent with several different medical conditions, including UTI -- which resulted in a second blood draw. And on Wednesday, because of an anomalous result, one the routine tests from Monday was ordered again (it came back normal). Tell me -- did she really need three tests for HIV in 48 hours? And regardless of if she did or didn't need it, did she really need for Rodney Ellis and the Texas Legislature to be ordering it instead of our family doctor?
And yet there have been no words of condemnation from Barack Obama, even though one of the attacks involved desecration of Jewish religious texts. I guess he is too busy condemning those thinking about burning a Quran or suggesting that there might be a better place for a mosque (to be built with Taxpayer Funding) than in a building damaged by Islamic Terrorism.
Three new attacks on Jewish targets at Indiana University, following two earlier incidents, included the desecration of holy texts.
A rock was thrown Tuesday morning through the window of an apartment above the Chabad Jewish student center, located just off the university campus, nearly hitting a student and putting a hole in the opposite wall. Four non-Jewish students live in the Chabad apartment.
Less than an hour later, a rock was thrown at the staff directory glass display case for the Robert A. and Sandra B. Borns Jewish Studies Program, causing damage.
On Monday evening, eight religious volumes in Hebrew removed from shelves at a university library were urinated on in eight different bathrooms in the library area, according to reports.
Of course, there is a description of the perpetrator – one that certainly makes one wonder.
Bloomington police reportedly have a description of a suspect, allegedly seen at the site of one of the incidents. Reportedly it is a bearded male aged 40 to 50.
I’m just wondering which of the following is going to most closely resemble the perpetrator.
Rep. Artur Davis (D-Alabama) notes the following.
“There’s no question in my mind white Southern voters will vote for a black candidate if they believe they are sympathetic to their viewpoint,” Davis said. "Tim Scott's election in South Carolina is powerful, overwhelming evidence that even conservative southern white voters will vote for a black candidate, but they will not vote for someone who disagrees with them on every issue under the sun."
Sadly for Davis, the same is not necessarily true of Democrats. He made a run for the Democrat nomination for Governor in Alabama this year – and was defeated by a white candidate in the Democrat primary. It's a good thing that there are white liberal Democrats around to protect black men like Artur Davis from evilracistRepublicans like Tim Scott and Allen West.
I'm always amused when the Left uses overwrought language to provoke alarm over perfectly reasonable words and ideas put forth by conservatives. For example, there is this headline in today's TPM:
Cantor Urges 'Open Mind' On VA Legislature Plan To Blow Up The Constitution
Got that -- conservatives want to "blow up the Constitution". How? By using provisions contained in the US Constitution -- indeed, provisions written by Madison and the other Founders themselves at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 -- to amend the Constitution! I don't know about you, but that hardly sounds like a plan to "blow up the Constitution".
Now we can discuss the wisdom of the proposed amendment -- the so-called "Repeal Amendment", which would allow for 2/3 of the states to overturn a federal law by acts of their legislatures. And one can dispute the wisdom of using a convention rather than Congress to propose this and other possible amendments to the Constitution. But neither of these constitutes "blowing up the Constitution", unless one wants to similarly argue that the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments "blew up the Constitution" because they emancipated slaves and made blacks citizens, or that the Seventeenth Amendment "blew up the Constitution" by taking power out of the hands of the state legislatures by establishing popular election of the US Senate.
For a good discussion of the Repeal Amendment, see this post by Sister Toldjah. And I've discussed the notion of a second Constitutional Convention in this post. And for clueless, overwrought rhetoric about "blowing up the Constitution", here's the original TPM article.