Friday, April 30, 2010

Pic Of The Week :: Grannies Pose, SWAT Team Blows

I really can't believe I never posted these shots... I laughed over and over looking at them. I mean, to tears.

How embarrassed must these cops be?!

More pix and lols to be had here: Gateway Pundit

Facepalm! :: U.N. Elects Iran to Commission on Women's Rights

Oh, those jokers at the U.N...

NEW YORK — Without fanfare, the United Nations this week elected Iran to its Commission on the Status of Women, handing a four-year seat on the influential human rights body to a theocratic state in which stoning is enshrined in law and lashings are required for women judged "immodest."

Just days after Iran abandoned a high-profile bid for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, it began a covert campaign to claim a seat on the Commission on the Status of Women, which is "dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women," according to its website.


As word of Iran's intention to join the women's commission came out, a group of Iranian activists circulated a petition to the U.N. asking that member states oppose its election.

"Iran's discriminatory laws demonstrate that the Islamic Republic does not believe in gender equality," reads the letter, signed by 214 activists and endorsed by over a dozen human rights bodies.

The letter draws a dark picture of the status of women in Iran: "women lack the ability to choose their husbands, have no independent right to education after marriage, no right to divorce, no right to child custody, have no protection from violent treatment in public spaces, are restricted by quotas for women's admission at universities, and are arrested, beaten, and imprisoned for peacefully seeking change of such laws."

The Commission on the Status of Women is supposed to conduct review of nations that violate women's rights, issue reports detailing their failings, and monitor their success in improving women's equality.

Yet critics of Iran's human rights record say the country has taken "every conceivable step" to deter women's equality.

Awesome. Maybe we can go global with edicts such as this: Women With Suntans Will Be Arrested, Iran Police Chief Warns

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Leftist Activist Defends Her Rapist (TSUCMU)

This article is really The S- You Can't Make Up. If there was a right-wing version of The Onion, this one would put them out of business.

By Amanda Kijera, civic journalist and activist in Haiti

Two weeks ago, on a Monday morning, I started to write what I thought was a very clever editorial about violence against women in Haiti. The case, I believed, was being overstated by women’s organizations in need of additional resources. Ever committed to preserving the dignity of Black men in a world which constantly stereotypes them as violent savages, I viewed this writing as yet one more opportunity to fight “the man” on behalf of my brothers. That night, before I could finish the piece, I was held on a rooftop in Haiti and raped repeatedly by one of the very men who I had spent the bulk of my life advocating for.

It hurt. The experience was almost more than I could bear. I begged him to stop. Afraid he would kill me, I pleaded with him to honor my commitment to Haiti, to him as a brother in the mutual struggle for an end to our common oppression, but to no avail. He didn’t care that I was a Malcolm X scholar. He told me to shut up, and then slapped me in the face. Overpowered, I gave up fighting halfway through the night.

Accepting the helplessness of my situation, I chucked aside the Haiti bracelet I had worn so proudly for over a year, along with it, my dreams of human liberation. Someone, I told myself, would always be bigger and stronger than me. As a woman, my place in life had been ascribed from birth. A Chinese proverb says that “women are like the grass, meant to be stepped on.” The thought comforted me at the same time that it made me cringe.


I went to Haiti after the earthquake to empower Haitians to self-sufficiency. I went to remind them of the many great contributions that Afro-descendants have made to this world, and of their amazing resilience and strength as a people. Not once did I envision myself becoming a receptacle for a Black man’s rage at the white world, but that is what I became. While I take issue with my brother’s behavior, I’m grateful for the experience. It woke me up, made me understand on a deeper level the terror that my sisters deal with daily. This in hand, I feel comfortable in speaking for Haitian women, and for myself, in saying that we will not be your pawns, racially, politically, economically or otherwise.

It goes on. And on.

Please note that I'm not mocking the author, I really actually feel genuinely sad for her. She has the right heart, but her brains are out to lunch.

Definition of a 'barking moonbat'? Someone who sacrifices sanity for the sake of consistency.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Disgusting. ::: Host hurls Tebow ‘Nazi’ remark

These leftists are beyond pathetic.

A Boston sports-radio host yesterday likened former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow’s NFL draft party to a “Nazi rally,” a remark one media observer called an “amazing double standard.”

Fred “Toucher” Toettcher said yesterday on 98.5 The Sports Hub, “It looked like some kind of Nazi rally. . . . So lily-white is what I’m trying to say. Yeah, Stepford Wives.”

Station spokesman Cha-Chi Loprete said the station “received no inquiries regarding” the morning drive-time show and declined further comment. Efforts to reach Toettcher for comment were unsuccessful.

Dan Gainor, vice president for business and culture for the Media Reseach Center, a Washington, D.C.-based media watchdog group, said it’s “stunning” that Toettcher didn’t lose his job.

“It’s an amazing double standard,” Gainor said. “The left has decided to hate Tim Tebow for nothing more than the fact that he’s a good guy who tries to live an ethical and religious life.”

Conservatives have been repeatedly accused of racism for opposing President Obama’s initiatives, while conservative talk show hosts often face demands that they apologize or be fired for tasteless remarks.

Here's a photo of said Nazis.

DRAFT PARTY: Tim Tebow, center,...
Photo by AP

Source: Host hurls Tebow ‘Nazi’ remark -

Friday, April 23, 2010

Reclaiming Language, In One Image

"Social justice" defined isn't "theft". It is "liberty for all".

Bless the patriot made that sign.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Larry Elder :: Tea Party: Why the Left Doesn't Get It

The Sage From South Central knocks one out of the park.

Larry Elder - Columnist

"Hello, fellow racists."

That's how I greeted the gathering at the Tax Day Tea Party rally in Sacramento, Calif. Several people dropped their hoods and sheets in laughter. After a thorough search, I can report that I detected no secret handshake, security guards or minority-sniffing German shepherds to alert blacks that our presence was unwanted.

An MSNBC reporter at another Tea Party rally actually asked a black man whether he "felt uncomfortable." "No," he laughed. "No, these are my people -- Americans." The man appeared far too polite to ask, "You ever felt uncomfortable working for MSNBC?" I once appeared on a television show where a black pundit accused former President Ronald Reagan of racism. When I asked for proof, he said that Reagan "was uncomfortable around black people." I replied, "I'm uncomfortable around you. What does that make me?" So in the black tea partier's case, his presumed discomfort around whites made them racist. In Reagan's case, his presumed discomfort around blacks made him one. It does get confusing.

A more serious criticism of the Tea Party movement goes like this: When George W. Bush and the Republicans controlled the House, Senate and Oval Office, where were the complaints about spending?

One TP critic put it this way: "During these Tea Party protests conservatives are showing why the word 'hypocrite' should be part of the dictionary definition of conservative. They said nothing and did nothing while Bush and the Republican Congress were getting the country into deeper and deeper trouble. The conservatives who organize the Tea Party protests sat on their hands and did nothing. They did nothing when the balanced budget was destroyed, nothing when Bush exploded the deficit, nothing when Bush cut taxes instead of raising them to pay for the war he started."

As to Bush's non-defense, non-homeland security domestic spending, people did complain -- lots of them and frequently. Why isn't this more widely recognized? When a conservative criticizes Rush Limbaugh, that's news. The left hates Limbaugh. When a conservative criticizes Bush's spending, that's not news. The left loves domestic spending. For liberals, Bush's No Child Left Behind program "wasn't fully funded." The prescription bill for seniors contained a "doughnut hole," which made it insufficiently generous.

Conservatives, pundits and talk show hosts routinely blasted Bush for domestic spending. In 2003, after the passage of the Medicare prescription bill, a member of The Heritage Foundation said, "The president isn't showing leadership, and conservatives are angry." Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, said, "The conservative, free-market base in America is rightly in revolt over this bill."

In 2003, then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., made a bizarre accusation, condemning Bush for "undoing the New Deal." That December, I wrote: "Does she not see the steam blasting from the ears of principled conservatives flatly astonished by President George W. Bush's and his Republican colleagues' willingness to spend, spend and spend? During Bush's term in office, excluding defense and homeland security, non-war government expenditures increased at a rate faster than under former President Bill Clinton. By this time in his term, Reagan vetoed over 20 bills, Bush none."

So if people were unhappy with Bush's spending, then why are folks only now assembling, carrying signs and holding rallies in opposition to bigger government?

Fair question. Better late than never. More importantly, things are much, much worse. Government bailouts, "stimulus," ObamaCare, etc., now push the nation's deficit to record non-World War II levels and debt to an all-time high.

Bush-bashing left-wing New York Times columnist Paul Krugman inadvertently explained why today things are different. In March 2006, he wrote about Bush's (nonexistent?) conservative critics who were "rushing to distance themselves from Mr. Bush." But he pointed out that a lot of Bush's increased domestic spending came from entitlements on automatic pilot. He accused Bush's critics of creating a "false impression" that Bush was a "big spender": "The great bulk of this increase was accounted for by increased spending on defense and homeland security, including the costs of the Iraq war, and by rising health care costs." In other words, as to increased domestic spending, Krugman argued that Bush wasn't as bad as his conservative critics claimed.

Bush, the so-called fiscal conservative, irresponsibly increased domestic spending, including the decidedly non-fiscally conservative prescription benefits bill. But under Obama, the Democrats and some unprincipled Republicans, Americans now bear dramatically increased, brand-new domestic spending. With ObamaCare, taxpayers now support 30 million people who are guaranteed health insurance. Taxes must go up, and the middle class is not spared. Economics adviser Paul Volcker, along with others, even floats the idea of a European-style value-added consumption tax -- on top of the current taxes.

Tea Party supporters, at least many of them, did complain about the size of government pre-Obama. Now things have changed -- for the worse. Government is larger than ever -- with no sign of abating unless and until this administration is stopped.

As Vice President Joe Biden so eloquently put it, "This is a big f---ing deal."

Larry Elder : Tea Party: Why the Left Doesn't Get It -

Don't Mess With Texas! : Citizen shoots man attempting to hijack bus after multiple wrecks

Lots of people talk the talk, this man had the courage to walk the walk. Hero citizen.

HOUSTON – A wild crime spree ended in gunfire Tuesday when a citizen shot a suspect who was trying to hijack a Metro bus, Houston police said.

According to HPD, it all began at about 5:30 p.m. when Henry Hankston III, 37, carjacked a person who was visiting friends at a residence in the 5200 block of Fair Green in southeast Houston.

"Suspect had approached them, appeared to be under the influence of some kind of drugs, apparently came up and started assaulting the person and took his vehicle from him," said Sgt. Robert Torres, with HPD’s Homicide Division.

He said Hankston did not have a weapon, but used objects that he had picked up on the street.

"We were told that he was possibly on PCP, or his behavior was consistent with that of somebody who was on PCP—really hyper and extremely strong," Torres said.

Hankston fled northbound on Martin Luther King. About a block away from the carjacking, he struck the first vehicle and continued driving, Torres said.

"When he got to the intersection, he hit three other vehicles until he got to the point where his vehicle was disabled, got out of that vehicle and ran up to a bus that was turning through the intersection," Torres said.

Torres said the suspect entered the bus and began assaulting the driver, in an apparent attempt to hijack the bus, until the driver of a car idling behind the bus noticed what was happening.

"This person is a licensed concealed handgun carrier. He got out of the vehicle [and] went to the bus to try to intervene in the assault that was taking place," he said. "He did pull the suspect away from the driver and engaged in a physical confrontation with the suspect."

As the two men struggled, the gun discharged and struck the suspect in the upper abdomen, Torres said.

"He got up and went and sat in his own car which, by the way, was on fire, and waited there, shot, and he was still there when the police and paramedics got here," Torres said.

Hankston was transported to Ben Taub Hospital, where he was in surgery Tuesday night. He was reported to be in stable condition. The bus driver was also hospitalized with injuries to his face and head. His injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Sabbatical for AnnaZ

Just an FYI... I announced this on the show last Friday, but JIC you missed it and care... lol... I am going on a sabbatical from blogging and podcasting for a while to concentrate on a feature-length documentary project.

From time to time I might post something irresistible here, but probably only if Drudge hasn't linked to it already.


More news as events warrant. xo!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Perfect Song For An Obama Rally:: Monster Magnet - Powertrip

I can just hear them chanting now.

YouTube - Monster Magnet - Powertrip

Good Grief! Face of the Iceland volcano revealed

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

This impressive picture was taken with a special camera on board the Icelandic coastguard’s TF-SIF research plane. The picture shows three craters in the Eyjafjallajokull volcano. The craters are each 200 to 300 metres wide.

The picture undeniably looks like a face: some sort of monster which has broken its way out of the earth and is now spewing fire and sulphur into the atmosphere.

Unspun w/AnnaZ:: That's A Wrap: My Summer Sabbatical. Live @ 3E or Podcast/ Blog Talk Radio

Today's show will be the last podcast until the end of summer, more than likely. We'll discuss the regular latest congressional madness, and our exciting upcoming feature-length documentary project.

Plus+ Iceland no more, border madness, and a little more SUCMU, just for good measure.

Live at 3pmE/2pmTX/NoonP

Listen to the show here.

Call-in number: 347-327-9710

Missed it live? Listen anytime afterward... show archives and downloads available here, podcasts available at iTunes here.

Thats A Wrap My Summer Sabbatical. 4/16/2010 - Unspun with AnnaZ on Blog Talk Radio

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dear God, Somebody Stop Them::: Congress looking into smokeless tobacco use by major leaguers

Is there anything Congress doesn't know or doesn't need to stick its nose into?

And in Henry Waxman, have they found a nose!

WASHINGTON -- After hounding Major League Baseball and its players union over steroids, Congress now wants the sport to ban smokeless tobacco.

"Good luck," San Francisco Giants reliever Brandon Medders said. "Guys do what they do. We work outside. It's been part of the game for 100 years."

At a hearing Wednesday, House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, and Health Subcommittee chairman Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat, called on baseball and its players to agree to bar major leaguers from using chew, dip or similar products during games.

MLB executive VP Robert Manfred and MLB Players Association chief labor counsel David Prouty told lawmakers they agree that smokeless tobacco is harmful -- Manfred said a ban in the majors is "a laudable goal" -- but both pointed out that any ban would have to be agreed to through collective bargaining.


Congress looking into smokeless tobacco use by major leaguers - ESPN

Corporate Takeover of Food Production Continues::: Small meat plants feel threatened by USDA's new regs

One would think that there was a plan to remove all independence from food production. The agriculture bill from hell (HR 2749) passed the House too, which some say will kill the private organic market.

Soon only the huge corporations will be able to stay in business with the government, and if it's pleasing government that's the most vital part of being a successful business, then the government has really really grown just too damn big.

EAGLE GROVE - Across the U.S. small meat processing plant owners are hoping for an 11th hour development that will prevent the U.S. Department of agriculture from implementing a new set of regulations that will force them out of business.

The new regulations, proposed by the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service will require an extensive battery of testing for meat processing products, intended for commercial retail, to validate each plant's effectiveness in assuring food safety.

On the surface, it sounds like a good thing. But for plant owners like Paul Bubeck, of Lewright Meats in Eagle Grove, and thousands more like him, the new layer of testing will be cost prohibitive.

Bubeck and wife, Barbara, took over operation of Lewright Meats in 1981. Barbara Bubeck's family started the plant in 1936. In 2009, Ethan Bubeck, the couple's son and his wife, Shanae, joined the company.

Bubeck said all meat processors, regardless of size, already follow an exacting array of procedures and monitoring protocols to assure food safety, and cannot understand the need for the expanded tests.

According to Dr. Gary Johnson, bureau chief for the state's meat and inspection department, a division of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the new regulations are designed to validate if the existing protocols are working.

The problem is that a large amount of meat products must be shipped to inspection labs for a battery of expensive tests for which the plants themselves must cover the cost.

In Bubeck's case, the initial tally for the extensive tests will cost $455,592. That would be followed by an annual ongoing series of tests tallying $140,182.

He said there's no way he could afford those tests.

"I won't do it," he said. "I'll close the place down first."


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Rationalist Philosopher Who Shockingly Changed His Mind... RIP: Professor Antony Flew

Antony Flew


Flew always described himself as a "negative atheist", asserting that "theological propositions can neither be verified nor falsified by experience", a position he expounded in his classic paper Theology and Falsification (1950), reputedly the most frequently-quoted philosophical publication of the second half of the 20th century.

He argued that any philosophical debate about the Almighty must begin by presuming atheism, placing the burden of proof on those who believe that God exists. "We reject all transcendent supernatural systems, not because we've examined or could have examined each in turn, but because it does not seem to us that there is any good evidence in reason to postulate anything behind or beyond this natural universe," he proclaimed. A key principle of his philosophy was the Socratean concept of "follow the evidence, wherever it leads".

When Flew revealed that he had come to the conclusion that there might be a God after all, it came as a shock to his fellow atheists, who had long regarded him as one of their foremost champions. Worse, he seemed to have deserted Plato for Aristotle, since it was two of Aquinas's famous five proofs for the existence of God – the arguments from design and for a prime mover – that had apparently clinched the matter.

After months of soul-searching, Flew concluded that research into DNA had "shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved". Moreover, though he accepted Darwinian evolution, he felt that it could not explain the beginnings of life. "I have been persuaded that it is simply out of the question that the first living matter evolved out of dead matter and then developed into an extraordinarily complicated creature," he said.

Flew went on to make a video of his conversion entitled Has Science Discovered God? and seemed to want to atone for past errors: "As people have certainly been influenced by me, I want to try and correct the enormous damage I may have done," he said.

But believers waiting to welcome this most prodigal of sons back into the fold were to be disappointed. Flew's conversion did not embrace such concepts as Heaven, good and evil or the afterlife – let alone divine intervention in human affairs. His God was strictly minimalist – very different from "the monstrous oriental despots of the religions of Christianity and Islam", as he liked to call them. God may have called his creation into existence, then, but why did he bother? To that question, it seemed, Flew had no answer.


Source: Professor Antony Flew - Telegraph

Monday, April 12, 2010

Chilling Read! ::: Are We Sure It Was An Accident? (Poland's Plane Crash)

I'd really rather this not be right. But this is a must-read.

Has anyone thought that maybe the Russians did it?

This plane crash over the weekend, the one that killed the Polish president and decapitated the Polish government, are we completely sure it was an accident?

Because, if it was, it was an accident that did the Russians a lot of good. And if it wasn’t an accident, it fits right in with Russian ambitions for renewed empire.

No, I’m not a conspiracy nut and, yes, I did grow up during the Cold War and, yes, I do believe Reagan got it right when he called them an Evil Empire.

And, yes, if I was the president of the United States, or of some European nation, I would be nervous.

Here’s the history and the situation.

Russia has been a nation and culture bent on conquest for centuries. It has repeatedly through time dominated, invaded or conquered any number of peoples and countries across portions of Europe and Asia. The Soviet Union, the last such Russian empire, collapsed less than a generation ago because of pressure from the United States, inherent defects of socialism and communism, bankruptcy and a thirst for independence among its chattel states.

With Poland in the lead.

It was the Poles who first effectively stood up to Russian communism. That resistance was one point in a long and savage history of Russian oppression of Poland. Ironically, but maybe not coincidentally, the Polish leaders flying to Russia over the weekend were doing so to commemorate the anniversary of a Russian attempt to decapitate the Polish government and society. Allied with Hitler early in the Second World War, the Russians gathered together more than 20,000 officers of the Polish army and systematically killed them all. It was an attempt at cultural and national genocide, hoping to strip Polish society of its leaders and thereby render Poland easier to conquer.

It worked, and there’s a part of me that wonders if Russia has tried it again.

Because Russia clearly wants back the nations it held captive during the Soviet era. And it is engaged in violent conflict to get them back.

In Krygystan within the last week, for example, mobs many believe were armed and goaded by the Russians have toppled a pro-West president, trapped more than 1,000 American airman at a U.S. air base, declared alliance with Russia and called for the closing of the American base – an important military supply route to Afghanistan.

Russia is also involved in ongoing military tensions with the Republic of Georgia, tensions which include a Russian military invasion and occupation of parts of Georgia.

And then there’s Ukraine, where the president was the target of an assassination attempt – he was poisoned with dioxin – that many believe was arranged by Russian agents.

Notice the trend. Ukraine, Georgia and Krygystan were friendly to the United States. They all were once in the Soviet Union. They all have been in the targets of Russia.

Which brings us to Poland and its president.

Lech Kaczynski was pro-American. He rejected the influence of both the European Union and Russia in favor of alliance with the United States. He actively sought membership in NATO and he very much wanted to be under the umbrella of an American anti-missile shield. He wanted to be out from under the threat of Russian nuclear attack.

Kaczynski was embraced by George W. Bush but rebuffed by Barack H. Obama, and the nuclear arms-reduction treaty that Obama signed just last week with the Russians came with the public proviso that the Russians would abandon the treaty if America developed any technology to protect itself or anyone else from Russian nuclear bombs.

And now Lech Kaczynski is dead. With him are the senior commanders of the Polish military, the leader of the nation’s central bank, leaders of parliament, top businessmen and social leaders.

Poland is decapitated.

In the same town where it was decapitated 70 years before.

Poland’s pro-American leadership has been wiped out. As the last major former-Soviet vassal to want friendship with the United States, Poland’s government is gone. Like Georgia and Ukraine, it has met misfortune.

In a plane crash that was, before any sort of investigation, immediately declared the result of pilot error. The Russians have said that the Polish pilot repeatedly ignored the advice of Russian air traffic controllers and flew into trees and the ground.

That seems unlikely.

Pilots obey air traffic controllers, pilots avoid flying into the ground, it is extremely rare for a plane to crash.

And it has been more than 50 years since fog has been an impediment to modern instrument aviation.

And to top it all off, Vladimir Putin is in charge of the crash investigation. That’s the same Putin who was a career officer in the KGB and who ordered Russian troops into Georgia, and who would have ordered any attack on the Ukrainian president.

So forgive me for being suspicious.

But Russia won big this weekend.

And history teaches us that that’s not usually an accident.

- by Bob Lonsberry © 2010

Source: Lonsberry

Friday, April 09, 2010

Unspun w/AnnaZ + guest Walter E. Williams! Slip Out The Back, Jack : Podcast live at 3pmE

Did you miss Professor Walter E. Williams's article in IBD this week? Titled Does U.S. Need To Split Along Political Lines? he revisits an old question of his, one which is a recurrent Unspun theme... how do liberty lovers and statist nannies live the lives they desire and remain united? (Article posted on FR here.)

Plus+ IRS rules go global, iPods get naked, Maoists run rampant, and TSUCMU.

Live at 3pmE/2pmTX/NoonP

Listen to the show here.

Call-in number: 347-327-9710

Missed it live? Listen anytime afterward... show archives and downloads available here, podcasts available at iTunes here.

"The problem is all inside your head", she said to me
The answer is easy if you take it logically
I'd like to help you in your struggle to be free
There must be fifty ways to leave your lover


She said it grieves me so to see you in such pain
I wish there was something I could do to make you smile again
I said I appreciate that and would you please explain
About the fifty ways

Pause Briefly : Russia mourns 39 dead in subway attacks

Hey, did you know 39 people were blown up in Russia the other day?

I did. It was several headlines worthy, so I glanced over at least one article. But there's just so much going on there's no time to reflect. Until an image pierces through the fog of competing storylines.

About 5 years ago I had the same reaction to some photographs, snapshots accompanying news of death and misery. I was still numb from 9-11 and Beslan, so it was gonna take a lot to throw me after such brutality and heartbreak. Therefore, to be quite honest, a bomb going off in London or Baghdad didn't grip me.

Until I saw pictures of the ones who mourned.

I even got all Al-Gore-y and wrote a poem, if you can believe it. (It's called Anguish2, and it and one of the photos that brought it on are posted here, if you're really curious.)

But back to Russia. Never gave the recent bombing much of another thought, until I came across the following photo this morning at the Austin Capital Times.

And then I remembered. One death is a tragedy.

A man grieves near the flowers and candles placed in memory of the subway blast victims at the Lubyanka Subway station, which was earlier hit by an explosion, Moscow, Monday, March 29, 2010. Two explosions blasted Moscow's subway system Monday morning as it was jam-packed with rush-hour passengers, killing at least 37 people, emergency officials and news agencies said. (AP Photo)

Blessings of comfort and peace to all who mourn.

Russia mourns 39 dead in subway attacks

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Walter E. Williams (This Week's Guest!): Does U.S. Need To Split Along Political Lines? - IBD/

The good Professor will be my guest tomorrow on Unspun where we'll discuss the following topic, among others, I'm sure:

Ten years ago I asked the following question in a column titled "It's Time To Part Company":

"If one group of people prefers government control and management of people's lives and another prefers liberty and a desire to be left alone, should they be required to fight, antagonize one another, risk bloodshed and loss of life in order to impose their preferences or should they be able to peaceably part company and go their separate ways?"

The problem that our nation faces is very much like a marriage where one partner has broken, and has no intention of keeping, the marital vows. Of course, the marriage can remain intact and one party tries to impose his will on the other and engage in the deviousness of one-upmanship. Rather than submission by one party or domestic violence, a more peaceable alternative is separation.

I believe we are nearing a point where there are enough irreconcilable differences between those Americans who want to control other Americans and those Americans who want to be left alone that separation is the only peaceable alternative. Just as in a marriage, where vows are broken, our human rights protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution have been grossly violated by a government instituted to protect them.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Chávez Is At It Again:: Justice arrested in Venezuela: by Václav Havel

Great piece by Havel (if you're not familiar with him, his wiki is here).

The arrest of Oswaldo Álvarez Paz, a former president of Venezuela's Chamber of Deputies, governor of the Venezuelan state of Zulia, and presidential candidate, should concern the entire world because it demonstrates just how far President Hugo Chávez's regime is willing to stray from democratic norms. Standing silent as democracy atrophies in Venezuela is now not only immoral, but is becoming increasingly dangerous for all of Venezuela's people.

Álvarez Paz has a worldwide reputation for being an honourable man devoted to democratic principles. He has bravely sought to alert the world to the persecution that opponents of Chávez and his regime constantly suffer, as well as to the decline of democracy in his country over the decade of Chávez's rule. Indeed, his arrest on 22 March is compelling evidence of the truth of his testimony about the regime's nature, and of the danger that it poses to Venezuelans, whose freedoms apparently are being systematically stripped, and to Latin American more broadly, owing to Chávez's example to other would-be autocrats.

The seeming trigger for Álvarez Paz's arrest appears to have been his statements on Aló Ciudadano (Hello Citizen), a talk show broadcast by the private TV Channel Globovisión. Álvarez Paz commented on a resolution passed by the National Court of Spain (Audiencia Nacional de España) about alleged relations between the Venezuelan government, the Colombian guerilla group Farc, and the Spanish terrorist group Eta. Álvarez Paz rightly called for these allegations to be examined.

But, after simply calling for the law to be enforced and criminal activity investigated, Álvarez Paz was arrested on charges of conspiracy, spreading false information, and incitement of hatred. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.

The arrest is important evidence of the promiscuous abuse of the legal system by Chávez and his functionaries in order to persecute, intimidate, and silence those who criticise his government. It also corroborates reports published by international organisations and institutions such as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, and Freedom House about the increasing deterioration of political liberties in Venezuela.

Under Chávez's rule, a radical form of state-sanctioned lawlessness has taken hold in the country. You could say that Venezuela now exists as a "lawless legality", a political system within which officials deny that in making or interpreting laws they are bound in any way by the spirit of justice that underpins those laws.

But the idea of arbitrary power exercised by any leader or political movement, no matter how much he or it claims to represent the poor and downtrodden – as Chávez does – is alien to all concepts of liberty. It is the legalism of the barbarian, and the instinctive political philosophy of all who are in revolt against democratic norms of behaviour.

The world must demand of Venezuela's authorities that they release Álvarez Paz immediately. The Organization of American States and other regional bodies must now forcefully insist on the effective restoration of constitutional norms in Venezuela. Only by doing so can they defend the principles established in the Inter-American Democratic Charter. The OAS needs to act soon, because Venezuelans are due to vote for a new parliament this coming September.

Last year, Chávez won a referendum that he had called to abolish term limits for presidents and other senior elected officials. Now, opinion polls are showing unprecedented levels of discontent over crime, inflation, and power and water shortages. There were big antigovernment protests in Caracas after a privately owned cable television channel, RCTV, was shut down. Venezuelans appear to be prepared to stop their country's steady drift toward dictatorship, which may also explain why Álvarez Paz was arrested.

Everyone who believes in and supports the democratic tide that swept Latin America following the fall of communism in Europe must affirm their commitment to monitoring the weak state of freedom of expression and democratic governance in Venezuela. It is not too late to recall Venezuela to the camp of free and democratic nations. To speak out for the freedom of Álvarez Paz is to defend the freedom of all Venezuelans.

This article is co-signed by Mikhail Kasyanov, a former prime minister of Russia; Francisco Bermudez, a former minister of national defence, Guatemala; Garry Kasparov, a former world chess champion and current opposition political activist in Russia; Javier Loaiza, a consultant and political analyst in Colombia and Don McKinnon, a former secretary general of the Commonwealth

• Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2010

I wonder if Sean Penn wants Havel arrested too.

Justice arrested in Venezuela | V�clav Havel | Comment is free |

"poor subsidizing the leisure pursuits of the rich":The fat lady must learn to be a little thinner

This is a very cleverly written piece from over the pond on public funding of the arts. A great read.

This is an excerpt:

Can we just bypass the “is it art?” debate? It’s a giant, misshapen rollercoaster- type thingy, with a sort of sub-Eiffel Towery feel. It may or may not symbolise the twisted dreams of our country’s financial capital or Man’s doomed striving for the sky on his meandering path towards the grave. Or something. But let’s just call it art and be done.

The Anish Kapoor-designed, ArcelorMittal Orbital will soar above the London Olympic Park, dividing opinions, enraging taxi drivers and garnering nicknames. Personally, I love 84 per cent of it — the bit that was paid for by ArcelorMittal, the company owned by the steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, which is spending up to £16 million on it. I am substantially less enamoured of the £3.1 million bit that we are paying for. Could it just be a few feet shorter with the company picking up all the bill?

We are deep in an era of big public works of art and expensive subsidies. The four arts councils for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland receive £521 million of taxpayers’ cash and £168 million from the lottery.

Total spending on culture in the UK amounts to 1 per cent of the NHS budget. But taxpayer-funded art, unlike brain surgery, is a luxury. Art is a glorious and welcome by-product of a healthy, capital-creating economy. Our economy is as crooked and twisted as Kapoor’s tower, in no shape to fund anything except recovery.


Those in favour of taxpayer-funded art base their argument on two pillars — the notion that a life without art is a dull, spiritually undernourished one, and the more topical argument that the creative economy is a thriving one that will help to pull the country out of its fiscal doldrums.

The problem with arts subsidies, however, is that it’s difficult to escape the notion that the poor are subsidising the leisure pursuits of the rich. At the Royal Opera House this week for Janácek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, it seemed utterly absurd that the well-heeled audience was subsidised in any way by the taxpayer. Spiritually nourished this crowd may have been; poor it was not.


Brilliant::: Harsanyi: Waxman: No speech for you - The Denver Post

It's almost depressing how ridiculous this whole situation is. More than almost, I guess.


So Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is demanding that citizens justify their political speech under oath. Nervous Nellies will doubtlessly characterize this as an "overreach." Crybabies will grouse about the "chilling" effect or the "muzzling" of dissent.

Yet, in these heady days of change, it's all about context. In this case, you'll be relieved to know, we're talking about CEOs. These people take home considerably more pay than I do. Accordingly, they deserve to sit through hours of absurd inquires from sanctimonious politicians as a matter of karmic justice.

What they don't deserve is free speech. The president ably expounded on the matter in the State of the Union address: Corporations should not be entitled to the same constitutional protections as the rest of us.

With this in mind, it should surprise no one that Waxman has requested the "personal testimony" of a few CEOs who have reported billions of dollars in negative impact to their businesses — per Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure requirements — due to the passage of health care reform.

In the letter, Waxman asserts, "The new law is designed to expand coverage and bring down costs, so your assertions are a matter of concern." And everyone knows that it is impossible for legislation to have unintended consequences.

Who are you going to believe: numbers or Joe Biden?

This cabal of profiteering is headed up by AT&T ($1 billion first-quarter charge), Boeing ($150 million), John Deere ($150 million), Caterpillar ($100 million), 3M, AK Steel, Verizon, Prudential, the lodging industry . . . and so forth and so on, until we hit on every single company affected by the elimination of a tax break on retiree drug benefits. It will likely cost employers and thus consumers an estimated $14 billion — not counting the new Medicare costs.

Boy, if only these corporations had something akin to a Congressional Budget Office. Bean counters could conceal costly programs on separate balance sheets and add bogus cost-saving measures to the ones they present to shareholders.

Then again, what works for Congress amounts to a prison term out in the corporate world. So for now, businesses rely on Arabic numerals (lest we need another reason to question their patriotism) and arithmetic (in this case, lots of subtraction).

Some may wonder if Waxman has any lawful grounds to bully anyone into accepting his view of Obamacare. Even if corporations, typically snuggling up to Washington for crony capitalistic favors, had joined in a twisted political conspiracy to make Barack Obama's legislative masterpiece look as terrible as it is . . . so what? Since when is making a law look bad a criminal act?

The ironic part of Waxman's abuse of power is that he also demands that CEOs show up with "any documents including e-mail messages, sent to or prepared or reviewed by senior company officials related to the projected impact of health care reform."

Would it not be helpful for Congress to first provide taxpayers with any documents — including e-mail messages, sent to or prepared or reviewed by elected officials — regarding this historic health care reform bill?

Maybe if Congress applied a fraction of the transparency it demands from corporate America to its own dealings, it wouldn't have to rely on pompous bullies like Waxman to stifle free speech.

E-mail David Harsanyi atdharsanyi@denverpost.comand follow him on Twitter at @davidharsanyi.

Harsanyi: Waxman: No speech for you - The Denver Post

Sunday, April 04, 2010

He is risen! ::: Seven Stanzas at Easter :: John Updike

I read this on the show on Friday... figured I might as well post it. I read it every year. I think it's a masterpiece.

Seven Stanzas at Easter :: John Updike

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that–pierced–died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

Seven Stanzas at Easter :: John Updike � a few words


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