Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Mind-boggling Insanity Continues ::: 16 illegals sue Arizona rancher

An Arizona man who has waged a 10-year campaign to stop a flood of illegal immigrants from crossing his property is being sued by 16 Mexican nationals who accuse him of conspiring to violate their civil rights when he stopped them at gunpoint on his ranch on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Roger Barnett, 64, began rounding up illegal immigrants in 1998 and turning them over to the U.S. Border Patrol, he said, after they destroyed his property, killed his calves and broke into his home.

His Cross Rail Ranch near Douglas, Ariz., is known by federal and county law enforcement authorities as "the avenue of choice" for immigrants seeking to enter the United States illegally.

Trial continues Monday in the federal lawsuit, which seeks $32 million in actual and punitive damages for civil rights violations, the infliction of emotional distress and other crimes. Also named are Mr. Barnett's wife, Barbara, his brother, Donald, and Larry Dever, sheriff in Cochise County, Ariz., where the Barnetts live. The civil trial is expected to continue until Friday.

The lawsuit is based on a March 7, 2004, incident in a dry wash on the 22,000-acre ranch, when he approached a group of illegal immigrants while carrying a gun and accompanied by a large dog.

Attorneys for the immigrants - five women and 11 men who were trying to cross illegally into the United States - have accused Mr. Barnett of holding the group captive at gunpoint, threatening to turn his dog loose on them and saying he would shoot anyone who tried to escape.

The immigrants are represented at trial by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), which also charged that Sheriff Dever did nothing to prevent Mr. Barnett from holding their clients at "gunpoint, yelling obscenities at them and kicking one of the women."


16 illegals sue Arizona rancher - Washington Times

Friday, May 29, 2009

Don't Mess with Texas! ::: Texas approves [campus] gun bill

Despite protests of anti-gun activists, Texas legislature has voted to allow college students and employees to carry concealed handguns on campus.

According to Houston Chronicle, the bill allows students who are at least 21 years old and licensed to carry concealed handguns to bring those weapons into state campus buildings, although private institutions will be able to opt out.

Only university hospitals and athletic facilities will remain off limits to guns, it says.

"I would feel personally guilty if I woke up one morning and read that something similar had occurred on a Texas campus," said State Senator Jeff Wentworth, a Republican, who introduced the bill after the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech, quoted by the newspaper.

However, his Democratic counterpart Rodney Ellis expressed concern that the situation could confuse police, who will not know if a person carrying a gun on campus is violating the law or not.


Texas approves gun bill | Personal Liberty Digest

I just got an odd random recorded call to take notice of the Tea Parties "today". Anyone know what's up?

No affiliation or group mentioned. Happened so fast I barely figured out what it was about. (We get a lot of weird calls on the house line...)


"You are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker."

How charming.

Charges Against 'New Black Panthers' Dropped by Obama Justice Dept. - Political News -

Charges Against 'New Black Panthers' Dropped by Obama Justice Dept.

Charges brought against three members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense under the Bush administration have been dropped by the Obama Justice Department, FOX News has learned.

The charges stemmed from an incident at a Philadelphia polling place on Election Day 2008 when three members of the party were accused of trying to threaten voters and block poll and campaign workers by the threat of force -- one even brandishing what prosecutors call a deadly weapon.

The three black panthers, Minister King Samir Shabazz, Malik Zulu Shabazz and Jerry Jackson were charged in a civil complaint in the final days of the Bush administration with violating the voter rights act by using coercion, threats and intimidation. Shabazz allegedly held a nightstick or baton that prosecutors said he pointed at people and menacingly tapped it. Prosecutors also say he "supports racially motivated violence against non-blacks and Jews."

VIDEO: Click to watch the incident on YouTube

The complaint says the men hurled racial slurs at both blacks and whites.

A poll watcher who provided an affidavit to prosecutors in the case noted that Bartle Bull, who worked as a civil rights lawyer in the south in the 1960's and is a former campaign manager for Robert Kennedy, said it was the most blatant form of voter intimidation he had ever seen.

In his affidavit, obtained by FOX News, Bull wrote "I watched the two uniformed men confront voters and attempt to intimidate voters. They were positioned in a location that forced every voter to pass in close proximity to them. The weapon was openly displayed and brandished in plain sight of voters."

He also said they tried to "interfere with the work of other poll observers ... whom the uniformed men apparently believed did not share their preferences politically," noting that one of the panthers turned toward the white poll observers and said "you are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker."

A spokesman for the Department of Justice told FOX News, "The Justice Department was successful in obtaining an injunction that prohibits the defendant who brandished a weapon outside a Philadelphia polling place from doing so again. Claims were dismissed against the other defendants based on a careful assessment of the facts and the law. The department is committed to the vigorous prosecution of those who intimidate, threaten or coerce anyone exercising his or her sacred right to vote."

Charges Against 'New Black Panthers' Dropped by Obama Justice Dept. - Political News -

Obama ::: I want her walking up those marble steps and starting to provide some justice.

Obama at his Hollywood fundraiser, May 27th, 2009:
This woman is brilliant. She is qualified. I want her confirmed. I want her walking up those marble steps and starting to provide some justice.

"Starting"? Really? Gee I'm sure all former and current SC Justices really appreciate that one.

As I've already stated... I want this "wise Latina woman" confirmed. And that was before I was told how desperately our unjust nation needed her.

Thanks to Limbaugh for the audio quote.
Shhh! Don't Tell Robert Gibbs: We're Talking About Sotomayor

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stop Making Sense! ::: Catholic Obama Campaign Adviser Wants to Replace All Legal ‘Marriages’ with ‘Civil Licenses'

( – A top constitutional law professor who served as a surrogate for then-presidential candidate Barack Obama told that he would like to see “marriage” replaced in the legal sense with a neutral “civil license.”

“As awkward as it may be, I think the way to untie the state from this problem is to create a new terminology that they would apply to everyone--straight or gay-call it a ‘civil license,’ said Douglas Kmiec, a law professor at Pepperdine University and author of “Can a Catholic Support Him?’

“The net effect of that, would be to turn over--quite appropriately, it seems to me, the concept of marriage to churches and a church understanding,” Kmiec said.

Kmiec said that one of the things that motivated the passage of California’s Proposition 8, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, “was a genuine concern on the part of religious believers--including myself--that the previous California ruling was not addressing what that would mean for religious practice.”

“After the state of California acknowledged same-sex marriage, would that mean, for example, that churches like the Catholic Church and the Mormon Church, which don’t acknowledge those relationships as a marriage by virtue of their scriptural and theological teaching--would they be subject to penalty? Would they lose public benefits? Would they be subject to lawsuits based upon some theory of discrimination?”

Kmiec said his idea would address those questions.

“One of the possible outcomes that would be good in this case, would be if the state got out of the marriage business, did their licensing under a different name--which, of course, would satisfy the state’s interests for purposes of distribution of taxation and property, but then the question of who can and cannot be married would be entirely determined in your voluntarily chosen faith community.

“We know that religions differ as to how they see that question,” Kmiec said. “But it seems to me that would be a nice way to reaffirm the significance of marriage as a religious concept--because that is a much fuller concept than just civil marriage.”

"Because, as we all know, from a standpoint of religious belief, the couple is not just making a promise to themselves, or even to their local community or their state, but they are making a covenant between themselves and their Creator. That’s something that is differently expressed in different religious traditions, but we shouldn’t lose the value of that, and this is an opportunity to heighten the value of that in order to help the State of California out of the corner it has worked itself into.”
[snip] - Catholic Obama Campaign Adviser Wants to Replace All Legal ‘Marriages’ with ‘Civil Licenses'

Don't Mess with Texas ::: Last words by would-be robber, ‘Let’s get it on.’

SAN ANTONIO – A Northwest Side pharmacy owner fatally shot a would-be robber on Wednesday morning. That’s according to San Antonio police detectives.

The robbery suspect entered the Babcock Square Pharmacy around 9 a.m. at 5824 Babcock Rd. Inside were the owner/pharmacist, his wife, and an employee. The employee saw the man had a gun and told the pharmacist, who then pulled out his own handgun.

Seeing this, the robber reportedly responded by saying “Let’s get it on.” That’s when the owner shot him. The man died inside the business.

Right now, detectives are continuing their investigation into what happened. SAPD Chief Bill McManus told News 4 WOAI the dead man may have been involved in other robberies.

Update: Police: Last words by would-be robber, ‘Let’s get it on.’ | WOAI.COM: San Antonio News

Video ::: The Simpsons: Real Life Vs. Cartoon

The Simpsons: Real Life Vs. Cartoon

Supercute. (Too wide to embed here... sorry.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Stopped Clock Award!! YouTube/Rachel Maddow: Indefinite detention? Shame on you... President Obama

YouTube - Rachel Maddow: Indefinite detention? Shame on you... President Obama

Oh noz! A rebuke! ::: U.N. set to propose new sanctions on North Korea

I'll bet it'll be a very very sharply-worded letter.

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Members of the United Nations Security Council have condemned North Korea's new nuclear and missile tests and are reportedly coming to an agreement to propose new sanctions, even as a report said the communist regime fired two missiles along its east coast on Tuesday.

North Korea state media said the country's military conducted a successful underground nuclear test early Monday, confirming earlier reports of a suspected test based on seismic data.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported Tuesday that Pyongyang fired two more short-range missiles despite condemnation of its nuclear and missile tests a day earlier.

The underground nuclear device was detonated around 10 a.m. on Monday. Seismic data indicated the explosion was larger than the one resulting from a similar device detonated in North Korea's first atomic test in October 2006.

North Korean soldiers walk on the banks of Yalu River near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong, May 25, 2009. North Korea said it successfully conducted a nuclear test on Monday, a move certain to further isolate the prickly state, which argues it has no choice but to build an atomic arsenal to protect itself in a hostile world. REUTERS/Jacky Chen (POLITICS MILITARY)


The nuclear test "poses a serious threat to not only the Korea peninsula but also to global peace and stability, including in Northeast Asia," the South Korean government said in a statement dated Tuesday.

"In close cooperation with the U.S., Japan, China and Russia ... as well as the international community, the government will urge the U.N. Security Council to take appropriate measures," it said.

The Security Council held an emergency meeting Monday in New York to issue a rebuke and discuss possible new sanctions against the already-isolated nation.

The members "voiced their strong opposition to and condemnation of the nuclear test," said Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, who also serves as this month's Security Council president.

U.N. slams North Korea test; more missiles fired - MarketWatch

Mike Judge has a New Target: Environmentalists

Director Mike Judge’s new animated television series “The Goode Family” is a send-up of a clan of environmentalists who live by the words “What would Al Gore do?” Gerald and Helen Goode want nothing more than to minimize their carbon footprint. They feed their dog, Che, only veggies (much to the pet’s dismay) and Mr. Goode dutifully separates sheets of toilet paper when his wife accidentally buys two-ply. And, of course, the family drives a hybrid.

It's also a great article on the career of Mike Judge. Read the rest here:

Creator of "Beavis and Butt-Head" and "King of the Hill" Has a New Target: Environmentalists -

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tom Ridge is a dolt ::: Republicans turn on Dick Cheney over Barack Obama attack - Telegraph

"Yeah, I disagree with Dick Cheney," said Tom Ridge, who was appointed by the Bush-Cheney administration to set up and run the Department of Homeland Security in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks on America.

Mr Ridge spoke out after back-to-back "dueling" speeches on national security by Mr Obama and Mr Cheney on Thursday. He took issue with much of what Mr Obama had to say, but particularly disliked Mr Cheney's response.

"It's just the whole notion of a Republican vice president giving a speech after the incumbent Democratic president," Mr Ridge told CNN. "It's gotta go beyond the politics of either party."

So this dimwit doesn't realize that Cheney had scheduled his speech first and that it is Obama that created the back-to-back? Really? I'm a mom-of-four far out of the beltway and I know that.

Never liked Ridge... ever since Bush put him at Homeland Security and he argued against arming our commercial
pilots. A total dud.

The party needs to purge these types if they ever wish to win again (starting with my vote). Then again they don't call them the Stupid Party for nothin'.

Republicans turn on Dick Cheney over Barack Obama attack - Telegraph

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fun read... Charlotte Allen: Why I can't stand atheists

I can't stand atheists — but it's not because they don't believe in God. It's because they're crashing bores.

Other people, most recently the British cultural critic Terry Eagleton in his new book "Faith, Reason, and Revolution," take to task such superstar nonbelievers as Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins ("The God Delusion") and political journalist Christopher Hitchens ("God Is Not Great") for indulging in a philosophically primitive opposition of faith and reason that assumes that if science can't prove something, it doesn't exist.

My problem with atheists is their tiresome — and way old — insistence that they are being oppressed and their fixation with the fine points of Christianity. What, did their Sunday school teachers flog their behinds with a Bible when they were kids?

Read Dawkins, or Hitchens, or the works of fellow atheists Sam Harris ("The End of Faith") and Daniel Dennett ("Breaking the Spell"), or visit an atheist Web site or blog (there are zillions of them, bearing such titles as "God Is for Suckers," "God Is Imaginary" and "God Is Pretend"), and your eyes will glaze over as you peruse — again and again — the obsessively tiny range of topics around which atheists circle like water in a drain.

First off, there's atheist victimology: Boohoo, everybody hates us 'cuz we don't believe in God.

Although a recent Pew Forum survey on religion found that 16 percent of Americans describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated, only 1.6 percent call themselves atheists, with another 2.4 percent weighing in as agnostics (a group despised as wishy-washy by atheists). You or I might attribute the low numbers to atheists' failure to win converts to their unbelief, but atheists say the problem is persecution so relentless that it drives tens of millions of God-deniers into a closet of feigned faith, like gays before Stonewall. In his online "Atheist Manifesto," Harris writes that "no person, whatever his or her qualifications, can seek public office in the United States without pretending to be certain that ... God exists."

The evidence? Antique clauses in the constitutions of six — count 'em — states barring atheists from office.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled such provisions unenforceable nearly 50 years ago, but that doesn't stop atheists from bewailing that they have to hide their Godlessness from friends, relatives, employers and potential dates. One representative of the pity-poor-me school of atheism, Kathleen Goodman, writing in January for the Chronicle of Higher Education, went so far as to promote affirmative action for atheists on college campuses: specially designated, college-subsidized "safe spaces" for them to express their views.

Maybe atheists wouldn't be so unpopular if they stopped beating the drum until the hide splits on their second-favorite topic: How stupid people are who believe in God.

This is a favorite Dawkins theme. In a recent interview with Trina Hoaks, the atheist blogger for the Web site, Dawkins described religious believers as follows: "They feel uneducated, which they are; often rather stupid, which they are; inferior, which they are; and paranoid about pointy-headed intellectuals from the East Coast looking down on them, which, with some justification, they do." Thanks, Richard!

Dennett likes to call atheists "the Brights," in contrast to everybody else, who obviously aren't so bright. In a 2006 essay describing his brush with death after a heart operation, Dennett wrote these thoughts about his religious friends who told him they were praying for his recovery: "Thanks, I appreciate it, but did you also sacrifice a goat?" With friends like Daniel Dennett, you don't need enemies.

Then there's P.Z. Myers, biology professor at the University of Minnesota's Morris campus, whose blog, Pharyngula, is supposedly about Myers' field, evolutionary biology, but is actually about his fanatical propensity to label religious believers as "idiots," "morons," "loony" or "imbecilic" in nearly every post. The university deactivated its link to Myers' blog in July after he posted a photo of a consecrated host from a Catholic Mass that he had pierced with a rusty nail and thrown into the garbage ("I hope Jesus' tetanus shots are up to date") in an effort to prove that Catholicism is bunk — or something.

Myers' blog exemplifies atheists' frenzied fascination with Christianity and the Bible. Atheist Web site after atheist Web site insists that Jesus either didn't exist or "was a jerk" (in the words of one blogger) because he didn't eliminate smallpox or world poverty. At the American Atheists Web site, a writer complains that God "set up" Adam and Eve, knowing in advance that they would eat the forbidden fruit. A blogger on A Is for Atheist has been going through the Bible chapter by chapter and verse by verse in order to prove its "insanity" (he or she had gotten up to the Book of Joshua when I last looked).

Another topic that atheists beat like the hammer on the anvil in the old Anacin commercials is Darwinism versus creationism. Maybe Darwin-o-mania stems from the fact that this year marks the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth in 1809, but haven't atheists heard that many religious people (including the late Pope John Paul II) don't have a problem with evolution but, rather, regard it as God's way of letting his living creation unfold? Furthermore, even if human nature as we know it is a matter of lucky adaptations, how exactly does that disprove the existence of God?

And then there's the question of why atheists are so intent on trying to prove that God not only doesn't exist but is evil to boot. Dawkins, writing in "The God Delusion," accuses the deity of being a "petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak" as well as a "misogynistic, homophobic, racist ... bully." If there is no God — and you'd be way beyond stupid to think differently — why does it matter whether he's good or evil?

The problem with atheists — and what makes them such excruciating snoozes — is that few of them are interested in making serious metaphysical or epistemological arguments against God's existence, or in taking on the serious arguments that theologians have made attempting to reconcile, say, God's omniscience with free will or God's goodness with human suffering. Atheists seem to assume that the whole idea of God is a ridiculous absurdity, the "flying spaghetti monster" of atheists' typically lame jokes. They think that lobbing a few Gaza-style rockets accusing God of failing to create a world more to their liking ("If there's a God, why aren't I rich?" "If there's a God, why didn't he give me two heads so I could sleep with one head while I get some work done with the other?") will suffice to knock down the entire edifice of belief.

What primarily seems to motivate atheists isn't rationalism but anger — anger that the world isn't perfect, that someone forced them to go to church as children, that the Bible contains apparent contradictions, that human beings can be hypocrites and commit crimes in the name of faith. The vitriol is extraordinary. Hitchens thinks that "religion spoils everything." Dawkins contends that raising one's offspring in one's religion constitutes child abuse. Harris argues that it "may be ethical to kill people" on the basis of their beliefs. The perennial atheist litigant Michael Newdow sued (unsuccessfully) to bar President Barack Obama from uttering the words "so help me God" when he took his oath of office.

What atheists don't seem to realize is that even for believers, faith is never easy in this world of injustice, pain and delusion. Even for believers, God exists just beyond the scrim of the senses. So, atheists, how about losing the tired sarcasm and boring self-pity and engaging believers seriously?

Charlotte Allen is the author of "The Human Christ: The Search for the Historical Jesus" and a contributing editor to the Minding the Campus Web site of the Manhattan Institute. She wrote this column for the Los Angeles Times.

Charlotte Allen: Why I can't stand atheists -

YouTube - Ron Paul: Current Conditions or Just a Bad Dream 05/19/2009

YouTube - Ron Paul: Current Conditions or Just a Bad Dream 05/19/2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

Line of the day, from: Stop littering National Parks with dead bodies

One of the last things former President George Bush did before leaving office was to overturn the 25 year old ban on carrying loaded firearms in our National Parks and return your right to self-defense, but only if you had a concealed handgun license and your state allowed guns in parks.

One of the first things done under President Obama's administration was to suspend that rule change, citing that nobody had done an environmental study. Apparently we need to determine which disturbs the natural order of the parks more, a few grains of lead or a shallow grave containing a raped murder victim.

Cleveland Gun Rights Examiner: Stop littering National Parks with dead bodies

Bumper sticker of the day

Krauthammer at his best ::: Obama's Deeds Vindicate Bush

Here's the spot-on conclusion:

Observers of all political stripes are stunned by how much of the Bush national security agenda is being adopted by this new Democratic government. Victor Davis Hanson (National Review) offers a partial list: "The Patriot Act, wiretaps, e-mail intercepts, military tribunals, Predator drone attacks, Iraq (i.e. slowing the withdrawal), Afghanistan (i.e. the surge) -- and now Guantanamo."

Jack Goldsmith (The New Republic) adds: rendition -- turning over terrorists seized abroad to foreign countries; state secrets -- claiming them in court to quash legal proceedings on rendition and other erstwhile barbarisms; and the denial of habeas corpus -- to detainees in Afghanistan's Bagram prison, indistinguishable logically and morally from Guantanamo.

What does it all mean? Democratic hypocrisy and demagoguery? Sure, but in Washington, opportunism and cynicism are hardly news.

There is something much larger at play -- an undeniable, irresistible national interest that, in the end, beyond the cheap politics, asserts itself. The urgencies and necessities of the actual post-9/11 world, as opposed to the fanciful world of the opposition politician, present a rather narrow range of acceptable alternatives.

Among them: reviving the tradition of military tribunals, used historically by George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Winfield Scott, Abraham Lincoln, Arthur MacArthur and Franklin Roosevelt. And inventing Guantanamo -- accessible, secure, offshore and nicely symbolic (the tradition of island exile for those outside the pale of civilization is a venerable one) -- a quite brilliant choice for the placement of terrorists, some of whom, the Bush administration immediately understood, would have to be detained without trial in a war that could be endless.

The genius of democracy is that the rotation of power forces the opposition to come to its senses when it takes over. When the new guys, brought to power by popular will, then adopt the policies of the old guys, a national consensus is forged and a new legitimacy established.

That's happening before our eyes. The Bush policies in the war on terror won't have to await vindication by historians. Obama is doing it day by day. His denials mean nothing. Look at his deeds.

Read the whole thing here:
RealClearPolitics - Articles - Print Article

SoCal Race War ::: Latino gang accused of targeting blacks near LA

HAWAIIAN GARDENS, Calif. (AP) - A Latino street gang waged a racist campaign to eliminate the city's black residents through attempted murders and other crimes, according to federal racketeering indictments unsealed Thursday.

Five indictments charged a total of 147 members and associates of the Varrio Hawaiian Gardens gang, and federal and local agencies arrested 63 of them by early Thursday, U.S. Attorney Thomas P. O'Brien said at a news conference.

Another 35 defendants were already in custody on unrelated charges. Weapons and drugs worth more than $1 million also were seized in what O'Brien called "the largest gang takedown in United States history."

The indictments detail attempted murder, kidnapping, firearms, narcotics and other charges related to attacks by the gang, which is predominantly Latino and mainly operates in Hawaiian Gardens, a city of about 15,000 in southeastern Los Angeles County.

"(Varrio Hawaiian Gardens) gang members take pride in their racism and often refer to the VHG Gang as the `Hate Gang,'" the main indictment said. "VHG gang members have expressed a desire to rid the city of Hawaiian Gardens of all African-Americans and have engaged in a systematic effort to achieve that result by perpetrating crimes against African-Americans."

The indictment alleges a string of attacks on black residents, including a shooting into a home with eight people inside. The indictment does not say if anyone was hit.

In another instance, two gang members allegedly chased a black man, yelled a racist epithet at him and then beat him with a garden rake. The same man was later repeatedly stabbed by two gang members, according to the indictment, which charged them with his attempted murder.

According to 2000 census data, the latest available, Hawaiian Gardens was roughly 73 percent Hispanic and 4 percent black.


Latino gang accused of targeting blacks near LA

Thursday, May 21, 2009

O Rly?! ::: Obama Is Said to Consider Preventive Detention Plan - The New York Times

Obama Is Said to Consider Preventive Detention Plan - The New York Times

The president was considering a system that would permit incarceration of terrorism suspects who are deemed a threat but cannot be tried.

Terrorists on the battlefield... or Janet Napolitano's home-based version?

Someone, quick, sign up to the NYX and get the rest of the story. LOL.

Karol Sikora: This health care 'reform' will kill thousands - Tuesday, May. 12, 2009

One of the more unproductive elements of President Obama's stimulus bill is the $1.1 billion allotted for "comparative effectiveness research" to assess all new health treatments to determine whether they are cost-effective. It sounds great, but in Britain we have had a similar system since 1999, and it has cost lives and kept the country in a kind of medical time warp.

As a practicing oncologist, I am forced to give patients older, cheaper medicines. The real cost of this penny-pinching is premature death for thousands of patients -- and higher overall health costs than if they had been treated properly: Sick people are expensive.

Click for Editorials & Op-Eds It is easy to see the superficial attraction for the United States. Health-care costs are rising as an aging population consumes ever-greater quantities of new medical technologies, particularly for long-term, chronic conditions, such as cancer.

As the government takes increasing control of the health sector with schemes such as Medicare and SCHIP (State Children's Health-care Insurance Program), it is under pressure to control expenditures. Some American health-policy experts have looked favorably at Britain, which uses its National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) to appraise the cost-benefit of new treatments before they can be used in the public system.

If NICE concludes that a new drug gives insufficient bang for the buck, it will not be available through our public National Health Service, which provides care for the majority of Britons.

There is a good reason NICE has attracted interest from U.S. policymakers: It has proved highly effective at keeping expensive new medicines out of the state formulary. Recent research by Sweden's Karolinska Institute shows that Britain uses far fewer innovative cancer drugs than its European neighbors. Compared to France, Britain only uses a tenth of the drugs marketed in the last two years.

Partly as a result of these restrictions on new medicines, British patients die earlier. In Sweden, 60.3 percent of men and 61.7 percent of women survive a cancer diagnosis. In Britain the figure ranges between 40.2 to 48.1 percent for men and 48 to 54.1 percent for women. We are stuck with Soviet-quality care, in spite of the government massively increasing health spending since 2000 to bring the United Kingdom into line with other European countries.

Having a centralized "comparative effectiveness research" agency would also hand politicians inappropriate levels of control over clinical decisions, a fact which should alarm Americans as government takes ever more responsibility for delivering health care -- already 45 cents in every health-care dollar. In Britain, NICE is nominally independent of government, but politicians frequently intervene when they are faced with negative headlines generated by dissenting terminal patients.

For years, NICE tried to block the approval of the breast cancer drug Herceptin. Outraged patient groups, including many terminally ill women, took to the streets to demonstrate. In 2006, the then-health minister suddenly announced the drug would be available to women with early stages of the disease, even though it had not fully gone through the NICE approval process.

A more recent example was the refusal to allow the use of Sutent for kidney cancer. In January, NICE made a U-turn because of pressure on politicians from patients and doctors. Twenty-six professors of cancer medicine signed a protest letter to a national newspaper -- a unique event. And yet this drug has been available in all Western European countries for nearly two years.

In Britain, the reality is that life-and-death decisions are driven by electoral politics rather than clinical need. Diseases with less vocal lobby groups, such as strokes and mental health, get neglected at the expense of those that can shout louder. This is a principle that could soon be exported to America.

Ironically, rationing medicines doesn't help the government's finances in the long run. We are entering a period of rapid scientific progress that will convert previous killers such as heart disease, stroke and cancer into chronic, controllable conditions. In cancer treatment, my specialty, the next generation of medicines could eliminate the need for time-consuming, expensive and unpleasant chemo and radiotherapy. These treatments mean less would have to be spent later on expensive hospitalization and surgery.

The risks of America's move toward British-style drug evaluation are clear: In Britain it has harmed patients. This is one British import Americans should refuse. - New Hampshire news, business and sports - Karol Sikora: This health care 'reform' will kill thousands - Tuesday, May. 12, 2009

Eye-rolling Ignorance ::: House votes to crack down on tobacco black market -

"We have unwittingly created a large and growing black market for smuggled tobacco products."

Yeah. Nobody saw that coming.

Does "unwittingly" unwittingly mean witless?

House votes to crack down on tobacco black market -

The Picture That Says It All ::: Adam Lambert and Kris Allen as the Idol winner is announced

Kris Allen Ryan Seacrest Adam Lambert American Idol 8 winner

Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise join A-list crowd at American Idol finale | Mail Online

For those who missed it... Jeremy Clarkson Honda Insight Hybrid review


Much has been written about the Insight, Honda’s new low-priced hybrid. We’ve been told how much carbon dioxide it produces, how its dashboard encourages frugal driving by glowing green when you’re easy on the throttle and how it is the dawn of all things. The beginning of days.

So far, though, you have not been told what it’s like as a car; as a tool for moving you, your friends and your things from place to place.

So here goes. It’s terrible. Biblically terrible. Possibly the worst new car money can buy. It’s the first car I’ve ever considered crashing into a tree, on purpose, so I didn’t have to drive it any more.

The biggest problem, and it’s taken me a while to work this out, because all the other problems are so vast and so cancerous, is the gearbox. For reasons known only to itself, Honda has fitted the Insight with something called constantly variable transmission (CVT).

It doesn’t work. Put your foot down in a normal car and the revs climb in tandem with the speed. In a CVT car, the revs spool up quickly and then the speed rises to match them. It feels like the clutch is slipping. It feels horrid.

And the sound is worse. The Honda’s petrol engine is a much-shaved, built-for-economy, low-friction 1.3 that, at full chat, makes a noise worse than someone else’s crying baby on an airliner. It’s worse than the sound of your parachute failing to open. Really, to get an idea of how awful it is, you’d have to sit a dog on a ham slicer.

So you’re sitting there with the engine screaming its head off, and your ears bleeding, and you’re doing only 23mph because that’s about the top speed, and you’re thinking things can’t get any worse, and then they do because you run over a small piece of grit.

Because the Honda has two motors, one that runs on petrol and one that runs on batteries, it is more expensive to make than a car that has one. But since the whole point of this car is that it could be sold for less than Toyota’s Smugmobile, the engineers have plainly peeled the suspension components to the bone. The result is a ride that beggars belief.

There’s more. Normally, Hondas feel as though they have been screwed together by eye surgeons. This one, however, feels as if it’s been made from steel so thin, you could read through it. And the seats, finished in pleblon, are designed specifically, it seems, to ruin your skeleton. This is hairy-shirted eco-ism at its very worst.

Jeremy Clarkson Honda Insight 1.3 IMA SE Hybrid review | Driving - Times Online

This is a terrible situation ::: Letter from a Dodge dealer

American Thinker Blog: Letter from a Dodge dealer

May 19, 2009

Letter from a Dodge dealer

letter to the editor
My name is George C. Joseph. I am the sole owner of Sunshine Dodge-Isuzu, a family owned and operated business in Melbourne, Florida. My family bought and paid for this automobile franchise 35 years ago in 1974. I am the second generation to manage this business.

We currently employ 50+ people and before the economic slowdown we employed over 70 local people. We are active in the community and the local chamber of commerce. We deal with several dozen local vendors on a day to day basis and many more during a month. All depend on our business for part of their livelihood. We are financially strong with great respect in the market place and community. We have strong local presence and stability.

I work every day the store is open, nine to ten hours a day. I know most of our customers and all our employees. Sunshine Dodge is my life.

On Thursday, May 14, 2009 I was notified that my Dodge franchise, that we purchased, will be taken away from my family on June 9, 2009 without compensation and given to another dealer at no cost to them. My new vehicle inventory consists of 125 vehicles with a financed balance of 3 million dollars. This inventory becomes impossible to sell with no factory incentives beyond June 9, 2009. Without the Dodge franchise we can no longer sell a new Dodge as "new," nor will we be able to do any warranty service work. Additionally, my Dodge parts inventory, (approximately $300,000.) is virtually worthless without the ability to perform warranty service. There is no offer from Chrysler to buy back the vehicles or parts inventory.

Our facility was recently totally renovated at Chrysler's insistence, incurring a multi-million dollar debt in the form of a mortgage at Sun Trust Bank.



This is beyond imagination! My business is being stolen from me through NO FAULT OF OUR OWN. We did NOTHING wrong.

This atrocity will most likely force my family into bankruptcy. This will also cause our 50+ employees to be unemployed. How will they provide for their families? This is a total economic disaster.


I beseech your help, and look forward to your reply. Thank you.


George C. Joseph
President & Owner
Sunshine Dodge-Isuzu

Wow ::: Gary Condit Appears Before Levy Murder Grand Jury

Gary Condit Appears Before Levy Murder Grand Jury

Posted: April 9, 2009 05:24 PM

Updated: April 13, 2009 10:37 AM

Former California Congressman Gary Condit appeared Thursday before a grand jury investigating the murder of Washington, D.C. intern Chandra Levy, a source close to Condit told News Channel 3.

The reason behind Condit’s appearance is not known. That source, though, said Condit took the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer some or all questions."

Interesting!! Backlog on Concealed Carry Permits in Texas

From the same article quoted earlier at
Texas Republic News

Only persons who are 21 years of age can apply for a concealed handgun license, and the current backlog of license approvals by the Department of Public Safety has slowed the approval process to several months.

Texas Republic News: TX Senate Passes Concealed Carry Campus Bill

Texas Republic News


by James Aalan Bernsen
Texas Republic News
May 20, 2009

The Texas Senate today gave final approval to a measure that would allow persons holding concealed handgun licenses to carry firearms on Texas public college and university campuses. The legislation now moves to the Texas House where it has strong bipartisan support.

The legislation passed despite strong opposition from student government and leaders at the University of Texas and some other schools. Many students, nonetheless, have advocated for concealed carry on campus following the Virginia Tech massacre. (See TRN story outlining arguments for the legislation here.)

The Senate passed SB 1164 by Sen. Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio) on Tuesday, with final approval Today.

“Before Texas enacted a concealed handgun law in 1995, opponents predicted it would turn Texas into the wild, wild West, there would be blood in the streets if it were passed, there would be shootouts at four-way stop signs, etc.” Wentworth said. “This hasn’t happened. Concealed handgun licensees as a population are remarkably responsible and law-abiding.”

“This bill is a matter of personal protection,” he said. “The goal of this bill is to make campuses safer places by giving persons on campus the ability to protect themselves.”

Thoughts on the Finale + YouTube - Adam Lambert - Feeling Good (studio version)

YouTube - Adam Lambert - Feeling Good (studio version)

Well, when Kris Allen's name was announced my 6-year-old daughter burst into tears. She was inconsolable until way after the last credit had rolled.

= (

My favorite moments last night...

KISS!!! Wow! That was fantastic. LOVED Adam singing Beth and Detroit Rock City was a family Rock Band favorite. Just all around awesome.

KARA!! She rocked the house. I had actually been wanting her to sing again ever since Bikini Girl's audition. And what a bod! I wasn't a fan of hers all season until then. LOL.

And I really really was waiting all season for the return of Tatiana Del Toro. Hilarious segment... and dang she really has a great voice. I loved the montage of her scenes... I'd really love to have that clip.

Beyond that I thought it was hilarious how the usic and talent of the 70s was on the display. Is it because Adam inspired the return to glam and/or androgynous rock? Or has music just really sucked since then. (Get off of my lawn!)

= )

I also loved seeing Alexis Grace again.

Enjoy the following tune. We bought it on iTunes and play it like mad. Same said 6-year-old has a whole dance worked out to it.

(Congrats Kris Allen... you're a dear sweet doll. Not trying to take anything away from you here. = )

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Source Reveals Specs And Release Date of Next iPhone! | Apple iPhone Apps


Source Reveals Specs And Release Date of Next iPhone! | Apple iPhone Apps

Recently we were approached by a source who is closely connected to Apple’s hardware development team. The source was willing to provide detailed information on the specs and release date of the next generation iPhone.

We have checked the source’s credentials to the best of our ability and at this point deem the source as reputable. Of course we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the source’s claims since Apple will neither confirm nor deny any future product releases, including if a new phone will even be released! Many of the specifics proposed by our source have been discussed in recent weeks, but many intriguing details revealed by the source have yet to be reported. Here are the specifics:

  • 32GB and 16GB to replace current capacities
  • $199 and $299 price-points to be maintained
  • 3.2 Megapixel camera
  • Video recording & editing capabilities
  • Ability to send a picture & video via MMS
  • Discontinuation of the metal band surrounding the edge of the device
  • OLED screen
  • 1.5X The battery life
  • Double the RAM and processing power
  • Built-in FM transmitter
  • Apple logo on the back to light up
  • Rubber-tread backing
  • Sleeker design
  • Built-in compass
  • Revolutionary combination of the camera, GPS, compass, and Google maps to identify photo and inform about photo locations.
  • Turn by turn directions
  • July 17th, 2009 release date

Penn Jillette: Why I’m a Libertarian Nut Instead of Just a Nut

Glenn Beck - Current Events & Politics - Penn Jillette: Why I’m a Libertarian Nut Instead of Just a Nut

Penn Jillette: Why I’m a Libertarian Nut Instead of Just a Nut

May 20, 2009 - 11:27 ET

By Penn Jillette
As Seen in Fusion Magazine

I don’t speak for all Libertarians any more than Sean Penn speaks for all Democrats. I’m not even sure my LP membership card is up to date. I’ve voted Libertarian as long as I can remember but I don’t really remember much before the Clintons and the Bushes. Those clans made a lot of us bugnutty. When I go on Glenn’s show he calls me a Libertarian, I think that’s my only real credential.

There are historical reasons and pragmatic reasons to be a Libertarian, but there are historic and pragmatic reasons to be a Democrat, a Republican or a Socialist. I don’t know if everyone would be better off under a Libertarian government. I don’t know what would be best for anyone. I don’t even know what’s best for me. What makes me Libertarian is I don’t think anyone else really knows what’s best for anyone. My argument for Libertarianism is simple - personal morality.

I start with the Declaration of Independence: “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” So, essentially our government does what they do with my consent.

I know barely enough about Max Weber to type his name into Google, but it seems he’s credited with asserting the idea that the state has a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force. I put those two ideas together (my consent and use of physical force) and figure we all give our government the right to use force. So, the way I figure, it’s not okay for our government to use force in any situation where I personally wouldn’t use force.

For example, if I’m not willing to kill a cute cow, I shouldn’t eat steak. I don’t have to kill Bessy right now with my bare hands, but I have to be willing to snuff her if I want to chow down on a T-bone. If it’s not okay for me, it’s not okay for a slaughterhouse. Asking someone else to do something immoral is immoral. If it’s not okay for me to break David Blaine’s hands so my magic show has less competition, it’s not okay for me to ask someone else to beat him up. Someone else doing your dirty work is still your dirty work.

If I had a gun, and I knew a murder was happening, (we’re speaking hypothetically here, I’m not asking you to believe that I could accurately tell a murder from aggressive CPR), I would use that gun to stop that murder. I might be too much of a coward to use a gun myself to stop a murder or rape or robbery, but I think the use of a gun is justified. I’m even okay with using force to enforce voluntary contracts. If I were a hero, I would use a gun to protect the people who choose to live under this free system and to stop another country from attacking America. But I wouldn’t use a gun to force someone to love something like say…a library.

Look, I love libraries. I spent a lot of time in the Greenfield Public Library when I was a child. I would give money to build a library. I would ask you to give money to build a library. But, if for some reason you were crazy enough to think you had a better idea for your money than building my library, I wouldn’t pull a gun on you. I wouldn’t use a gun to build an art museum, look at the wonders of the universe through a big telescope, or even find a cure for cancer.

The fact that the majority wants something good does not give them the right to use force on the minority that don’t want to pay for it. If you have to use a gun, it’s not really a very good idea. Democracy without respect for individual rights sucks. It’s just ganging up on the weird kid, and I’m always the weird kid.

People try to argue that government isn’t really force. You believe that? Try not paying your taxes. (This is only a thought experiment though -- suggesting someone not pay their taxes is probably a federal offense, and while I may be a nut, I’m not crazy.) When they come to get you for not paying your taxes, try not going to court. Guns will be drawn. Government is force.

It’s amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people yourself is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness. People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered. If we’re compassionate, we’ll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint.

I’m a Libertarian nut because I don’t want my government to do anything in my name that I wouldn’t do myself.

Penn Jillette is a celebrated magician, comedian, actor, author and producer. He is best known as the larger, louder half of Penn & Teller, a role he has held since 1975. With his partner Teller, Jillette has been awarded an Obie and an Emmy Award. Their critically acclaimed stage show spent several years both on and off-Broadway, and now has a permanent home at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Jillette can be seen weekly co-hosting the 11 time Emmy-nominated Showtime series. He also posts daily rants on his "Penn Says" VLog at Sony's site.

Great quote ::: Congress as the WWE

I’m more convinced every day that the Republicans and the Democrats are morphing into the WWE: lots of bluster, lots of “rivalry”, but everyone gets to stick around for next month’s show, and both the heroes and villains get their paychecks from the same boyz.

25 posted on Wed May 20 16:41:12 2009 by Notary Sojac (Chains you can believe in...)

Obama approves plans for US-UAE nuclear power deal

Just odd.

World news Feed Article | World news |

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has approved plans for the U.S. to help the United Arab Emirates become the first Arab nation with a nuclear power industry.

In a document released by the White House on Wednesday, Obama said the nuclear cooperation agreement is in U.S. interests. The State Department will send the nuclear power cooperation agreement to Congress, which has 90 days to either amend or reject the deal.

The UAE, a longtime ally in the Middle East, has pushed hard for U.S. support. The country wants nuclear power by 2017 to meet its growing demand for electricity. Although the emirates are flush with oil, they must import 60 percent of the natural gas they use to generate electricity.

BBC NEWS: How to fit 300 DVDs on one disc

BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | How to fit 300 DVDs on one disc

A new optical recording method could pave the way for data discs with 300 times the storage capacity of standard DVDs, Nature journal reports.

The researchers say this could see a whopping 1.6 terabytes of information fit on a DVD-sized disc.

They describe their method as "five-dimensional" optical recording and say it could be commercialised.

The technique employs nanometre-scale particles of gold as a recording medium.

Researchers at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia have exploited the particular properties of these gold "nano-rods" by manipulating the light pointed at them.

The team members described what they did as adding two "dimensions" to the three spatial dimensions that discs already have.

They say they were able to introduce a spectral - or colour - dimension and a polarisation dimension.

The scientists used the nanoparticles to record information in a range of different colour wavelengths on the same physical disc location. This is a major improvement over traditional DVDs, which are recorded in a single colour wavelength with a laser.

Also, the amount of incoming laser light absorbed by the nanoparticles depends on its polarisation. This allowed the researchers to record different layers of information at different angles.

The researchers thus refer to the approach as 5-D recording. Previous research has demonstrated recording techniques based on colour or polarisation. But this is the first work that shows the integration of both. As a result, the scientists say they have achieved unprecedented data density.

Flopping Aces: Obama Gives Iran 1Yr for “Talks” to Work; Iran Responds By Firing Missile

Great amalgamation of stories from Flopping Aces.

Flopping Aces � Blog Archive � Obama Gives Iran 1Yr for “Talks” to Work; Iran Responds By Firing Missile And Threatening Israel

Really, are there words that adequately describe the ignorance Obama’s displaying, or the naivete that his supporters have displayed in believing that talks ever had a chance with Iran?

…and no, I have not finished drafting the image for my “Don’t Let Bush Bomb Iran!” t-shirts. When I do, I expect them to be big sellers at the anti-war rallies preceeding Obama’s response to Israeli strikes on Iran. Updates to follow :)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama set a rough timetable for his diplomatic outreach to arch-foe Iran for the first time on Monday, saying he wanted to see serious progress by the end of the year.

He also held out the prospect of tougher sanctions against Tehran “to ensure that Iran understands we are serious.”

Obama’s comments came after talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which the new Israeli leader was expected to stress Israel’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.

For those few still in denial, this timetable/timeline/deadline is called a:

Iran’s response?

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran launched a missile with a range of close to 2,000 km (1,200 miles) on Wednesday and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the Islamic state could send any attacker “to hell,” official media reported.

The stated range of the surface-to-surface Sejil 2 missile would be almost as far as another Iranian missile, Shahab 3, and analysts say such weaponry could put Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf within reach.

Ya know…when even the Democrats’ Congress starts sending Obama formal, public letters saying, ‘Hey! Iran’s a real threat. Take em seriously & get us away from the brink of a world war!’ Well, that’s effectively The Clue Phone ringing.

WASHINGTON (AFP) — A vast majority of US senators on Tuesday urged President Barack Obama to mind the “risks” to Israel in any Middle East peace accord as he presses for a two-state solution to the six-decade conflict.

“As we work closely with our democratic ally, Israel, we must take into account the risks it will face in any peace agreement,” 76 of the 100 senators wrote Obama in a letter released to reporters.

Simple question:
Does ANYONE think that talks are gonna work with Iran? ANYONE?

YouTube - Adam Lambert / Noa Dori - 'The Prayer'

YouTube - Adam Lambert & Noa Dori singing 'The Prayer'-David Foster

Another great Adam Lambert performance. God's got His hand on this guy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Late Night takes on Biden's Big Yap - Breaking News, Politics, Commentary


Another gaffe by Vice President Joe Biden. Newsweek is reporting that at the Gridiron Dinner, Joe Biden accidentally revealed Dick Cheney's secret hiding place. Here's more proof you don't need to waterboard — just give Joe Biden a couple of drinks.


Joe Biden, our vice president, was yakking away over the weekend, and he gave away Dick Cheney's undisclosed hidden location where he would go in times of emergency. Top secret information, classified information. Joe Biden is living proof people can give up sensitive information without being tortured.

What's funny is that Wanda Sykes riffed on this topic at the Press Corps thingy... and that was before this latest blab.

“God forbid that Joe Biden falls into the hands of terrorists. God forbid if it’s ever a hostile situation. We’re done. Oh, they won’t even have to torture him. All they have to do is go, ‘How’s it going, Joe?” ….

“’What did you do, did you waterboard him? No, I just said, ‘nice weather,’ and he’s still talking. Can’t listen to him anymore, it’s like torture.’”

Good grief ::: Ohio Dad Calls 911 Over Politician Son's Messy Room

Ohio Dad Calls 911 Over Politician Son's Messy Room - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News -

BEDFORD, Ohio — An Ohio man who argued with his grown son over a messy bedroom says he overreacted when he called 911.

Andrew Mizsak called authorities Thursday after his 28-year-old son threw a plate of food across the kitchen table and made a fist at him.

His son, also named Andrew, lives with his parents and has a room in the basement.

The father declined to press charges and told police he doesn't want to ruin his son's political career. The younger Mizsak works as a political consultant and is a school board member in Bedford, a Cleveland suburb.

The son says he and his father love each very much and that he's lucky to be living in the house rent free. He also promises to keep his room clean.

Too cute! ::: AP: DC firefighters pluck baby ducks from storm drain

The Associated Press: DC firefighters pluck baby ducks from storm drain

(just a snippet so as not to incur the wrath of AP...)

Firefighters at Engine Company 9 noticed a duck "screaming at a storm drain" in an alley, fire department spokesman Alan Etter said. When they took the cover off the drain, they found four ducklings swimming about six feet down, he said.

YouTube - Adam Lambert - Tracks of my Tears (Studio Version Full in High Quality)

YouTube - Adam Lambert Tracks of my Tears (Studio Version Full in High Quality)

Can't wait for the show tonight!

So here... a little Lambert to pass the time...

Re: Protesters at Obama's Notre Dame speech

Just wanted to follow-up on my "tentative kudos" to Barack yesterday...

There were protesters out front of Notre Dame university, and I think that that was great. That is how - sometimes and especially if one's voice is being ignored in the media - to bring positions on policies to the attention of others. And it worked... the controversy was faced, not ignored, by a president who doesn't agree with it.

But to those who yelled at him during his speech... a big thumbs down. I didn't like it when anti-war protesters did it to Bush, and I cannot condone it in this situation as well.

The big point that Obama made, at least for me, is that someone, in a quiet and mature fashion, caused him to look at a situation in a different, gentler way. Humanized his "enemy". Brought thoughtfulness to the table.

Yelling out like Medea Benjamin wins over no one. I've given props to Stephen Covey's "7 Habits" already today... here's another plug...

"Seek first to understand... then to be understood."

ReasonTV/YouTube - Barack Obama & the DC School Voucher Program

YouTube - Barack Obama & the DC School Voucher Program

A really excellent piece.

Book of the week ::: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People By Stephen R. Covey **FIRST EDITION** SHIPS SAME DAY**(Paperback): Everything Else

I've heard about this book for years, and just started reading it. I have to say I am loving it and am totally excited about working on improving several areas in my life.

If you get the book (we got ours at a Half-Price Books for $6), here is a link to the Self Scoring 7 Habits Profile which can help show what needs to be worked on the most.

Get it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

LOL ::: Bodybuilders flee drug testers; event canceled

Bodybuilders flee drug testers; event canceled

BRUSSELS (AP) - The Belgian bodybuilding championship has been canceled after doping officials showed up and all the competitors fled.

A doping official says bodybuilders just grabbed their gear and ran off when he came into the room.

"I have never seen anything like it and hope never to see anything like it again," doping official

Cooman says the sport has a history of doping "and this incident didn't do its reputation any good."

During testing of bodybuilding events last year, doping authorities of northern Belgium's Flanders region found that three-quarters of the competitors tested positive.

Tentative kudos... Text of Obama's Notre Dame speech

Text of Obama's Notre Dame speech

I'm going to have to give Obama some props for engaging in the abortion debate during his Notre Dame address. He acknowledged the dissent and treated the "other side" far more decently than the press did. (He also mentions a "conscience clause" for medical providers.)

I don't agree with the overwhelming majority of what he had to say on the various topics he covered, but he has helped maintain dignity in the debate over one of the more emotional ones.

The relevant part:

As I considered the controversy surrounding my visit here, I was reminded of an encounter I had during my Senate campaign, one that I describe in a book I wrote called "The Audacity of Hope." A few days after I won the Democratic nomination, I received an e-mail from a doctor who told me that while he voted for me in the Illinois primary, he had a serious concern that might prevent him from voting for me in the general election. He described himself as a Christian who was strongly pro-life — but that was not what was preventing him potentially from voting for me.

What bothered the doctor was an entry that my campaign staff had posted on my Web site — an entry that said I would fight "right-wing ideologues who want to take away a woman's right to choose." The doctor said he had assumed I was a reasonable person, he supported my policy initiatives to help the poor and to lift up our educational system, but that if I truly believed that every pro-life individual was simply an ideologue who wanted to inflict suffering on women, then I was not very reasonable. He wrote, "I do not ask at this point that you oppose abortion, only that you speak about this issue in fair-minded words." Fair-minded words.

After I read the doctor's letter, I wrote back to him and I thanked him. And I didn't change my underlying position, but I did tell my staff to change the words on my Web site. And I said a prayer that night that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that the doctor had extended to me. Because when we do that — when we open up our hearts and our minds to those who may not think precisely like we do or believe precisely what we believe — that's when we discover at least the possibility of common ground.

That's when we begin to say, "Maybe we won't agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this heart-wrenching decision for any woman is not made casually, it has both moral and spiritual dimensions."

So let us work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions, let's reduce unintended pregnancies. Let's make adoption more available. Let's provide care and support for women who do carry their children to term. Let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded not only in sound science, but also in clear ethics, as well as respect for the equality of women." Those are things we can do.

Now, understand — understand, Class of 2009, I do not suggest that the debate surrounding abortion can or should go away. Because no matter how much we may want to fudge it — indeed, while we know that the views of most Americans on the subject are complex and even contradictory — the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable. Each side will continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction. But surely we can do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature.

Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words. It's a way of life that has always been the Notre Dame tradition. Father Hesburgh has long spoken of this institution as both a lighthouse and a crossroads. A lighthouse that stands apart, shining with the wisdom of the Catholic tradition, while the crossroads is where "differences of culture and religion and conviction can coexist with friendship, civility, hospitality, and especially love." And I want to join him and Father John in saying how inspired I am by the maturity and responsibility with which this class has approached the debate surrounding today's ceremony.

Is Maureen Dowd a Thief and a Liar? ... Plagiarism, Again, at the NY Times

From the HuffPo:
Maureen Dowd Admits Inadvertently Lifting Line From TPM's Josh Marshall

Okay so MoDo says:

josh is right. I didn't read his blog last week, and didn't have any idea he had made that point until you informed me just now.

i was talking to a friend of mine Friday about what I was writing who suggested I make this point, expressing it in a cogent -- and I assumed spontaneous -- way and I wanted to weave the idea into my column.

Talking? Weave?

Here's his line:
More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when we were looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Here's hers:
More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when the Bush crowd was looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq.

She didn't read his column? She heard it from a friend? Yeah... mkay...

Silly silly YouTube - Obama Girl plays Wii

YouTube - Obama Girl plays Wii

There are a couple of chuckles here.

Doh! ::: Biden Reveals Location of Secret VP Bunker

But, lest we forget, in the vice-presidential races Sarah Palin was the moron.

: |

Biden Reveals Location of Secret VP Bunker - Presidential Politics | Political News -

Vice President Joe Biden, well-known for his verbal gaffes, may have finally outdone himself, divulging potentially classified information meant to save the life of a sitting vice president.

According to a report, while recently attending the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, an annual event where powerful politicians and media elite get a chance to cozy up to one another, Biden told his dinnermates about the existence of a secret bunker under the old U.S. Naval Observatory, which is now the home of the vice president.

The bunker is believed to be the secure, undisclosed location former Vice President Dick Cheney remained under protection in secret after the 9/11 attacks.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Ever-Brilliant Mark Steyn [on torture and Pelosi] ::: Fun with Dick and Nancy

Fun with Dick and Nancy by Mark Steyn on National Review Online

Uh-oh. Nancy Pelosi’s performance at her press conference re waterboarding has raised, according to the Washington Post, “troubling new questions about the Speaker’s credibility.” The dreaded T-word: “troubling.”

I doubt it will “trouble” the media for long, or at least not to the extent of bringing the Pelosi speakership to a sudden end — and needless to say I’m all in favor of Nancy remaining the face of congressional Democrats until November 2010. But her inconsistent statements do suggest a useful way of looking at America’s tortured “torture” debate:

Question: What does Dick Cheney think of waterboarding?

He’s in favor of it. He was in favor of it then, he’s in favor of it now. He doesn’t think it’s torture, and he supports having it on the books as a vital option. On his recent TV appearances, he sometimes gives the impression he would not be entirely averse to performing a demonstration on his interviewers, but generally he believes its use should be a tad more circumscribed. He is entirely consistent.

Question: What does Nancy Pelosi think of waterboarding?

No, I mean really. Away from the cameras, away from the Capitol, in the deepest recesses of her (if she’ll forgive my naivete) soul. Sitting on a mountaintop, contemplating the distant horizon, chewing thoughtfully on a cranberry-almond granola bar, what does she truly believe about waterboarding?

Does she support it? Well, according to the CIA, she did way back when, over six years ago.

Does she oppose it? According to Speaker Pelosi, yes. In her varying accounts, she’s (a) accused the CIA of consciously “misleading the Congress of the United States” as to what they were doing; (b) admitted to having been briefed that waterboarding was in the playbook but that “we were not — I repeat — were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used”; (c) belatedly conceded that she’d known back in February 2003 that waterboarding was being used but had been apprised of the fact by “a member of my staff.” As she said on Thursday, instead of doing anything about it, she decided to focus on getting more Democrats elected to the House.

It’s worth noting that, by most if not all of her multiple accounts, Nancy Pelosi is as guilty of torture as anybody else. That’s not an airy rhetorical flourish but a statement of law. As National Review’s Andy McCarthy points out, under Section 2340A(c) of the relevant statute, a person who conspires to torture is subject to the same penalties as the actual torturer. Once Speaker Pelosi was informed that waterboarding was part of the plan and that it was actually being used, she was in on the conspiracy, and as up to her neck in it as whoever it was who was actually sticking it to poor old Abu Zubaydah and the other blameless lads.

That is, if you believe waterboarding is “torture.”

I don’t believe it’s torture. Nor does Dick Cheney. But Nancy Pelosi does. Or so she has said, latterly.

Alarmed by her erratic public performance, the speaker’s fellow San Francisco Democrat Dianne Feinstein attempted to put an end to Nancy’s self-torture session. “I don’t want to make an apology for anybody,” said Senator Feinstein, “but in 2002, it wasn’t 2006, ’07, ’08, or ’09. It was right after 9/11, and there were in fact discussions about a second wave of attacks.”

Indeed. In effect, the senator is saying waterboarding was acceptable in 2002, but not by 2009. The waterboarding didn’t change, but the country did. It was no longer America’s war but Bush’s war. And it was no longer a bipartisan interrogation technique that enjoyed the explicit approval of both parties’ leaderships, but a grubby Bush-Cheney-Rummy war crime.

Dianne Feinstein has provided the least worst explanation for her colleague’s behavior. The alternative — that Speaker Pelosi is a contemptible opportunist hack playing the cheapest but most destructive kind of politics with key elements of national security — is, of course, unthinkable. Senator Feinstein says airily that no reasonable person would hold dear Nancy to account for what she supported all those years ago. But it’s okay to hold Cheney or some no-name Justice Department backroom boy to account?

Well, sure. It’s the Miss USA standard of political integrity: Carrie Prejean and Barack Obama have the same publicly stated views on gay marriage. But the politically correct enforcers know that Barack doesn’t mean it, so that’s okay, whereas Carrie does, so that’s a hate crime. In the torture debate, Pelosi is Obama and Dick Cheney is Carrie Prejean. Dick means it, because to him this is an issue of national security. Nancy doesn’t, because to her it’s about the shifting breezes of political viability.

But it does make you wonder whether a superpower with this kind of leadership class should really be going to war at all. Over at the New York Times, the elderly schoolgirl Maureen Dowd riffed off Cheney’s defense of waterboarding and argued that, no matter when the next terrorist attack comes, the former vice president would be the one primarily responsible. He is, she said, “a force multiplier for Muslims who hate America.”

Really? Last week, while Speaker Pelosi was preoccupied with her what-did-I-know-and-when-did-I-know-that-I-knew-it routine, the Daily Telegraph in London reported what is believed to be the second mass poisoning of Afghan schoolgirls, this time at Ura Jalili High School for Girls in Charikar. Fifty students had to be hospitalized after a mysterious “poison gas” infected the classrooms. As you may recall, under the Taliban it was illegal for girls to attend school, and Afghan insurgents have made a sustained effort to make the price of female education too high. So, in an effort to identify the poison, blood samples have been taken to Bagram air base to be analyzed by the U.S. military, taking time off its hectic schedule of mass torture.

Does waterboarding so outrage the Muslim world that it drives millions of young men into the dark embrace of al-Qaeda? No. But the media fetishization of U.S. “torture” is certainly “a force multiplier” for Muslims who don’t so much “hate” as despise America, not least for its self-loathing.

One of the few U.S. commentators to pick up on the Afghan schoolgirls story was Phyllis Chesler, who wrote about it under the headline “The High Cost Of Western Idealism.” America and its few real allies fight under the most constrained and self-imposed rules of engagement ever devised, and against an enemy that rejects every basic element of the Geneva Conventions. Perhaps we are so rich, so smart, so advanced that we can fight with one arm and both legs tied behind our back and still win — eventually. Along the way many innocents will suffer. But better that than that a Gitmo detainee with a fear of insects should have a caterpillar put in his cell.

Watching the Democrats champing at the bit last week, I thought perhaps we could cut to the chase and handcuff Cheney and Pelosi to a radiator in the basement of a CIA safe house somewhere. But on reflection this would be an unacceptable level of torture. It would be ungallant to say for whom.

Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is author of America Alone. © 2009 Mark Steyn

National Review Online -

Just wow... roll camera... ::: Guatemala in uproar after lawyer predicts own murder

UTV News - Guatemala in uproar after lawyer predicts own murder

Guatemala in uproar after lawyer predicts own murder

Rodrigo Rosenberg shot two days after recording YouTube video at friend's offices in Guatemala City

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Rodrigo Rosenberg, a middle-aged Guatemalan lawyer, has become an unlikely YouTube star in macabre circumstances. In a video recorded last Friday at the offices of a friend, he sits behind a desk and talks at the camera for 15 minutes.

"If you are hearing this message," Rosenberg begins, "unfortunately, it is because I have been murdered by the president's private secretary, Gustavo Alejos, and his partner, Gregorio Valdez, with the approval of Álvaro Colom and Sandra de Colom [Guatemala's president and first lady]."

Two days later, on Sunday, Rosenberg was shot while riding his bicycle in Guatemala City. He died on the street.

"I do not want to be a hero," Rosenberg says at one point during the sensational video that was distributed at his funeral on Monday, but he has now become a martyr in a nation weary of drug running, money laundering and corruption, and with one of the highest murder rates in the world.

Rosenberg explains that he was a lawyer who would have preferred to continue quietly practising his profession, but it was the murder of two clients in April that led directly to his own death.

According to Rosenberg, one client, Khalil Musa, was a successful businessman who had been invited to join the board of the agricultural bank, known as Banrural, where he discovered that drugs money - Guatemala is a key transit point for drugs traffic to the US - was being channelled into "non-existent" social programmes run by the first lady.

Musa, his lawyer said, was a man of regular habits and so not a difficult target. In April Musa and his daughter, Marjorie, were murdered. Rosenberg claimed to have documents that connected their murders to the president, the first lady and Alejos.

The video has caused uproar in Guatemala City, where demonstrators have demanded the president's immediate resignation while equally vocal groups have insisted that Colom stay.

After a brutal military dictatorship lasting nearly 40 years to 1996, many Guatemalans believe that even a civilian president accused of murder is better than instability that could open the door to military rule. To reinforce his position, the president flew 250 mayors to the capital to pledge their support.

At a press conference, President Colom dismissed the affair as a plot to destabilise the government and said that he would not resign because "I was elected, there is no evidence beyond the video and since it's a recording, it does not count".

But he could be wrong. According to friends of Rosenberg, the lawyer was planning to present his evidence abroad. On Tuesday, the prosecuting authorities raided Banrural, but the president's case was not helped when the chief prosecutor was photographed leaving the president's office on Monday after what he insisted was a "routine" meeting. © Guardian News and Media 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

Leno on the Postage Stamp Price Increase

The price of a postage stamp has gone up to 44 cents. The government says they had to raise the price because fewer people are using the mail these days. That's government thinking for you — 'Hey nobody's buying our products . . . let's raise the price!'"

Stopped Clock Award ::: Jon Stewart on Nancy Pelosi

Creating Orwellian World-view by Machiavellianism a blog by Alaphiah: Jon Stewart on Nancy Pelosi

YouTube - Adam Lambert National Anthem

YouTube - Adam Lambert National Anthem

Make it stop! ::: NDP off to help Obama in health-care fight | NDP off to help Obama in health-care fight

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA -- NDP Leader Jack Layton is headed to Washington to try lending Barack Obama a hand in his fight for health-care reform.

Layton has gone to considerable lengths in the past to imitate Obama's cheerful campaign speeches and copy his outfits and photo-op backdrops, and now will urge Americans to imitate Canada.

Layton will tout the merits of universal health care during a three-day trip in June, where he'll deliver a public speech and meet with Democrats in the White House, in Congress and at party headquarters.

With the U.S. bracing for a political dogfight over health reforms this year, Canada's medicare system has been dragged into the debate.

An American conservative group has taken out ads -- featuring the former head of the Canadian Medical Association, Brian Day -- warning viewers against moving toward a Canadian-style system.

But Layton will use a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Institute and his meetings with U.S. politicians to defend medicare and explain how it's so popular here that politicians wouldn't dare try scrapping it.

"We would go down there to not only defend Canada's health-care system -- but encourage them to adopt similar features," said NDP national director Brad Lavigne.

"(Medicare) is one of the greatest connections we have to each other. Regardless of your economic status, if you get sick, you will get care.

"That is something that is incredibly powerful. And that is something that no Republican-type government up here has been able to severely undermine."

The NDP's founding figure, the late Saskatchewan premier Tommy Douglas, is considered the father of universal health care in Canada.

The White House appears willing to return the favour.

Obama's communications director, Anita Dunn, and senior campaign adviser Marshall Ganz will attend an NDP convention in Halifax this summer to provide campaign tips.

Lavigne said Dunn will help with the so-called air war -- the PR battles fought on TV, radio and traditional media -- while Ganz will offer suggestions for the so-called ground war, such as attracting donors and getting out the vote.

Obama's campaign helped transform the Internet into a money-making machine for political causes and attracted many new supporters who'd never been involved in politics before.

"Right now in Canada we have a huge problem with more and more people tuning out the political process," Lavigne said.

"How to involve individuals in the political process."

Layton is only the most recent Canadian politician going down to Washington to build closer ties to the Obama administration.

Several Conservative cabinet ministers have already headed down since Obama's January inauguration, and Stephen Harper's aides go out of their way to stress how well the prime minister and president get along.

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff also boasts close personal friendships to senior members of the Obama administration.

Obama appears to have a grasp of how Canada's health system works, but has suggested his proposed model will look somewhat different.

He told a town-hall meeting in March that universal health care is the aim of his administration but that the Canadian system is merely one way to go and likely wouldn't work in the United States.

"A lot of people think that in order to get universal health care, it means that you have to have what's called a single-payer system of some sort," he said.

"And so Canada is the classic example. Basically, everybody pays a lot of taxes into the health-care system, but if you're a Canadian, you're automatically covered ... you go in and you just say 'I'm sick' and somebody treats you and that's it," he said.

But he said implementing such a system in the U.S. would present an overwhelming challenge to politicians, employers and working Americans.

"The problem is, is that we have what's called the legacy set of institutions that aren't that easily transformed," he said.

The American system of employer-based health care began decades ago, he said, after Franklin D. Roosevelt imposed wage controls that prompted companies to offer health-care benefits to attract potential employees.

"So what evolved in America was an employer-based system," Obama said.

"It may not be the best system if we were designing it from scratch, but that's what everybody's accustomed to ... and so I don't think the best way to fix our health-care system is to suddenly completely scrap what everybody is accustomed to."


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