Friday, January 29, 2010

This Is Not From The Onion ::: Justice Dept.: President Obama's administration may take action on BCS

Reading this just makes me embarrassed for all parties.

And then I just want to scream.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration is considering several steps that would review the legality of the controversial Bowl Championship Series, the Justice Department said in a letter Friday to a senator who had asked for an antitrust review.

In the letter to Sen. Orrin Hatch, obtained by The Associated Press, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote that the Justice Department is reviewing Hatch's request and other materials to determine whether to open an investigation into whether the BCS violates antitrust laws.

"Importantly, and in addition, the administration also is exploring other options that might be available to address concerns with the college football postseason," Weich wrote, including asking the Federal Trade Commission to review the legality of the BCS under consumer protection laws.

Several lawmakers and many critics want the BCS to switch to a playoff system, rather than the ratings system it uses to determine the teams that play in the championship game.

"The administration shares your belief that the current lack of a college football national championship playoff with respect to the highest division of college football ... raises important questions affecting millions of fans, colleges and universities, players and other interested parties," Weich wrote.

Weich made note of the fact that President Barack Obama, before he was sworn in, had stated his preference for a playoff system. In 2008, Obama said he was going to "to throw my weight around a little bit" to nudge college football toward a playoff system, a point that Hatch stressed when he urged Obama last fall to ask the department to investigate the BCS.

Weich said that other options include encouraging the NCAA to take control of the college football postseason; asking a governmental or non-governmental commission to review the costs, benefits and feasibility of a playoff system; and legislative efforts aimed at prompting a switch to a playoff system.

Weich noted that several undefeated teams have not had a chance to play for the national championship, including TCU and Boise State this year and Utah last year.

"This seemingly discriminatory action with regard to revenues and access have raised questions regarding whether the BCS potentially runs afoul of the nation's antitrust laws," he wrote.

Hatch, a Utah Republican, was steamed that his home state team was deprived of getting a chance to play for the title last year.

Here We Go Again ::: Erasing Ezekiel's Jewish identity (Iraqis To Build Mosque On Grave)

This is going on continually wherever the religion of peace and tolerance gets its way. The Temple, Joseph's tomb, churches all over Kosovo, and now this.

Iraq removing Hebrew inscriptions from tomb, mosque to be built on grave.

For centuries Jews, Christians and Muslims came to Al-Kifl, a small town south of Baghdad, to visit the tomb of the Prophet Ezekiel and pray.

The distinctive Jewish character of the Al-Kifl shrine, namely the Hebrew inscriptions and the Torah Ark, never bothered the gentile worshipers. In the 14th century a minaret was built next to the shrine, but the interior design remained Jewish. The vast majority of Iraq's Jewish community left some 60 years ago, but Shi'ites took good care of the holy site.

Until now.

Recently "Ur," a local Iraqi news agency, reported that a huge mosque will be built on top of the grave by Iraq's Antiquities and Heritage Authority, while Hebrew inscriptions and ornaments are being removed from the site, all as part of renovations.

Prof. Shmuel Moreh of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, winner of the 1999 Israel Prize in Middle Eastern studies and chairman of the Association of Jewish Academics from Iraq, speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, confirmed the report.

"I first heard the news of tomb desecration from a friend of mine who is a German scholar. After visiting the site he called me and said that some Hebrew inscriptions on the grave were covered by plaster and that a mosque is planned to be built on top of the tomb. He told me that he found the changes at the tomb disturbing and warned me that I'd better act quickly, before any irreversible damage will be inflicted," Moreh said.

"I had contacted Mr. Shelomo Alfassa, US director of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, and told him about this situation. Then I saw the report from the Ur news agency, mentioning the decision of the Antiquities and Heritage Authority to build a mosque and to erase the Hebrew inscriptions and ornaments," Moreh said.

He asked friends to check out the developments at the site. The most recent to visit the shrine said that some of the inscriptions are now hidden by a layer of plaster.

Iraqi press reports claim that the building must be destroyed because of its poor condition. However, Alfassa believes that Iraq's Antiquities and Heritage Authority "has been pressured by Islamists to historically cleanse all evidence of a Jewish connection to Iraq - a land where Jews had lived for over a thousand years before the advent of Islam."

According to the Baghdad-born Moreh, many of the Muslims who visit the tomb today are unaware Ezekiel was a Jew.

Iraq, the biblical Aram Naharaim, is rich in Jewish religious sites. Not only Ezekiel is buried there, but also Ezra, Daniel, Nehemiah, Nahum and Jonah. (Another tomb attributed to Ezekiel is located in Dezful, in southwestern Iran.)

Soon after the US-led invasion in 2003, Iraqi authorities indicated that they intended to take good care of the Jewish sites, which might become an powerful tourist magnet. In May 2009, the Tourism Ministry declared that it intended to preserve all of Iraq's heritage sites, regardless of creed, and would soon begin the renovation of Ezekiel's tomb.

But the future of Jewish sacred sites looks grim in the intolerant current climate of post-Saddam Iraq, where only eight Jews are left, the Christian minority is severely persecuted by the fundamentalists and ancient Shi'ite mosques are blown up.

"Let's hope that the Jewish sites will be spared, but someone must intervene before it's too late," Moreh warned.

Erasing Ezekiel's Jewish identity

A Few Lolz To Be Had ::: Jon Stewart on Chris Matthews: Speech Therapy Post-Racial

At least someone is talking about Chris Matthews's outrageous statement about "forgetting Obama was black for an hour". I wish Limbaugh would have said it so that we could have discussed at length the insanity behind such a ridiculous remark.

The Left is the side more obsessed with race, always and forever. One of these days that truth will be commonly accepted. I hope.

Hulu - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Speech Therapy Post-Racial

Stossel: Try Googling It, Mr. President

Seems simple enough of a suggestion.

During the President's State of the Union, Obama laid down a challenge to opponents of his health care plan:

If anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know.

This is a tiring theme from the President: Pretend your opponents don't have their own ideas. As Reason's Peter Suderman put it, "Here, Obama, Let Me Google Some Health-Care Reform Alternatives For You":

It's simply not true that reform opponents haven't offered solutions. Here's what I could come up with in about two minutes on the Google:

In The Wall Street Journal, John Mackey suggested eight reforms that would make health insurance more competitive, more affordable, and more responsive to consumer demand.

... In The New York Times, Ramesh Ponnuru explained why mandatory universal coverage isn't likely to be the best way to solve our health-care problems and suggested, instead, that we break the link between employment and coverage and drop state coverage mandates.

There's more out there from smart policy analysts like Arnold Kling and Michael Cannon, as well as from business-minded thinkers like Regina Hertzlinger and David Goldhill.

No, not all of these essays and books come with thousand-page pieces of legislation attached (thanks goodness!), but every one of them offers innovative ideas for how to administer health-care and how to pay for it—ideas that, by and large, Obama has ignored.

These ideas would "bring down premiums" in the individual insurance market, which would help "cover the uninsured" since this is generally the only market available to the uninsured. Obama's plan would raise premiums on the uninsured, but address that problem by forcing them to buy it and apply for a federal subsidy.

These ideas would not add to the deficit, which is something you cannot say about Obama's plan, even though Obama feels comfortable repeating that falsehood.

For a president that is credited as a consensus builder, someone who listens to arguments on all sides before coming to a decision, he is remarkably resistant to free-market reform. It's as it he stuck his fingers in his ears and sang "la, la, la, I can't hear you" whenever anyone tried to tell him about a health reform plan that did not involve expanding the scope of government or making millions of Americans dependent upon the federal government.

Try Googling It, Mr. President : John Stossel

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Governor Rick Perry: On the Tea Party Movement, Senator Hutchison, and Debra Medina

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to ask the Governor a few questions. We discussed his support for the Tea Party movement and his 2010 primary challengers.

YouTube- Governor Rick Perry: On the Tea Party Movement, Senator Hutchison, and Debra Medina: ""

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

ROTF ::: The UltiMeme T-Shirt

State Hopes To Harness Power Of 'Three Wolf' Shirts [NH]

But Of Course ::: Hugo Chavez calls using Twitter “terrorism”

Even under 140 characters, the "pen" is still mightier than the sword.

And somewhere in D.C., on the taxpayer's dime, Mark Lloyd is taking notes.

For a man intent into taking Venezuelan into the Dark Ages, it was a remarkable admission that modernity can be a threat to Hugo Chavez and his fake revolution. As students used the Internet and its tools like Twitter as wel as other modern tools like SMS messaging to mobilize and communicate strategy instantly, Hugo Chavez made his second attack on the Internet in a single week,calling the rumors and use of this technology “terrorism”:

A week ago Chavez had said that his supporters had to watch out for the Internet and tonight he came on TV wearing a suit, rather than his usual red garb and began reading messages (which were too long to be from Twitter), calling it terrorism (right at the end, minute 3:50 or so)

I almost miss the beret. (rolls eyes)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Obama and the PortaPrompter

Yes! ::: Immigration Judge: Homeschoolers' Basic Rights Violated

This poor family has been put through hell. This is a Nazi-era law Germany has been enforcing, and they should be rightfully embarrassed by this outcome.

Waiting for the bully media to cover this story. lol.

Immigration Judge Says Germany Violating Basic Human Rights

In a case with international ramifications, Immigration Judge Lawrence O. Burman granted the political asylum application of a German homeschooling family. The Romeikes are Christians from Bissinggen, Germany, who fled persecution in August 2008 to seek political asylum in the United States. The request was granted January 26 after a hearing was held in Memphis, Tennessee, on January 21.

“We can’t expect every country to follow our constitution,” said Judge Burman. “The world might be a better place if it did. However, the rights being violated here are basic human rights that no country has a right to violate.”

Burman added, “Homeschoolers are a particular social group that the German government is trying to suppress. This family has a well-founded fear of persecution…therefore, they are eligible for asylum…and the court will grant asylum.”

In his ruling, Burman said that the scariest thing about this case was the motivation of the government. He noted it appeared that rather than being concerned about the welfare of the children, the government was trying to stamp out parallel societies—something the judge called “odd” and just plain “silly.” In his order the judge expressed concern that while Germany is a democratic country and is an ally, he noted that this particular policy of persecuting homeschoolers is “repellent to everything we believe as Americans.”

‘Embarrassing for Germany’

“This decision finally recognizes that German homeschoolers are a specific social group that is being persecuted by a Western democracy,” said Mike Donnelly, staff attorney and director of international relations for Home School Legal Defense Associaton. “It is embarrassing for Germany, since a Western nation should uphold basic human rights, which include allowing parents to raise and educate their own children. This judge understood the case perfectly, and he called Germany out. We hope this decision will cause Germany to stop persecuting homeschoolers,” he added.

The persecution of homeschoolers in Germany has been intensifying over the past several years. They are regularly fined thousands of dollars, threatened with imprisonment, or have the custody of their children taken away simply because they choose to home educate.


This Is Getting Ridiculous. Teleprompter Shot of the Day

I mean, really.

Teleprompter Shot of the Day [Rich Lowry]

Here's Obama dropping in for a chat with his middle-class task force. And people made fun of Reagan because of his notecards!


One more time from the top...

LOLZ ::: Jon Stewart on Obama's Teleprompter

Thankfully TOTUS showing up in a classroom couldn't escape the minds at the Daily Show.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Obama Speaks to a Sixth-Grade Classroom
Daily Show
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Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Awesome ::: Rubio Up; Crist, Obama Down in Fla.

Crist needs a long vacation, and Florida and America need Marco Rubio.

If there wasn’t already enough evidence of the energy on the right, Quinnipiac has a Florida poll out today that captures both the conservative surge and ongoing anti-incumbent sentiment sweeping the country.

For the first time, Quinnipiac finds the former state House Speaker Marco Rubio leading the formerly very popular — and still well-known — Gov. Charlie Crist by a margin of 47% to 44%.

“Who would have thunk it? A former state lawmaker virtually unknown outside of his South Florida home whose challenge to an exceedingly popular sitting governor for a U.S. Senate nomination had many insiders scratching their heads,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “He enters the race 31 points behind and seven months later sneaks into the lead.”

“And, the horse race numbers are not a fluke,” Brown added. “Rubio also tops Crist on a number of other measurements from registered Republicans, who are the only folks who can vote in the primary. Rubio’s grassroots campaigning among Republican activists around the state clearly has paid off.”

And we suspect the poll is only telling part of the tale for Rubio because the energy is on his side.

The survey is also chock full of bad news for Democrats. President Obama is seen unfavorably in the Sunshine State these days by 49% of the people, versus 45% who still see a positive leader.

And in the Senate horse race, Rubio now tops Rep. Kendrick Meek 44% to 35%.

Read more:

Rubio Up; Crist, Obama Down in Fla.

"Come And Take It" ::: Governor Perry and I Compare Boots

And his are cooler.

Thanks to Robbie Cooper for the camera work. My interview with the Governor will be posted later today.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Giving Mark Lloyd More Ideas... : Six TV stations forced off air in Venezuela

A whole lot of crazy in this one.

An opposition TV station in Venezuela along with five others were taken off the air early Sunday for violating rules issued by President Hugo Chavez's government, a station spokeswoman said.

The new rules require stations to air Chavez's speeches, among other mandates.

A spokeswoman for opposition channel RCTV, Gladys Zapiain, said all Venezuelan cable television providers dropped the station and the other channels from their line-ups.

"We have just been taken off the air," said Zapiain. "There was no prior notification."

Mario Seijas, president of the Venezuelan Chamber of Cable Television, told AFP that in addition to RCTV, the dropped channels include Ritmo Son, Momentum, America TV, American Network and TV Chile.

The providers argued that they had failed to comply with a government regulation issued in December, Zapiain said.

Under the measure, every television or radio station whose programming is at least 30 percent Venezuelan-made is considered a "national" media outlet.

As such, they are obligated to carry speeches by the president and other officials, as well as official government announcements.

Chavez critics view many of those speeches, which can last for hours, as government propaganda.

On Saturday, RCTV failed to comply with the regulation for a second time.

That day, Chavez addressed thousands of followers in western Caracas, demanding "absolute loyalty" and telling them he embodied the heart and soul of the Venezuelan people.

"I am not an individual, I am the people," Chavez told a crowd of supporters. "It's my duty to demand respect for the people.

The president asked for voters to renew the ruling party's control of both National Assembly houses in upcoming elections in order to be able to "continue building our new socialist state."


Lest we forget... a big fan of his works in our FCC. Niiice.

Six TV stations forced off air in Venezuela - Yahoo! News UK

Oh FGS ::: Obama to reintroduce himself during State of the Union

Will it ever end?

Populist or professor? Contrite or uncompromising?

President Obama will have a chance Wednesday to reintroduce himself to the nation when he delivers his first official State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress.

The prime-time speech, which will be aired on all major TV networks and cable stations, could hardly come at a more critical time for a president grappling with double-digit unemployment, sinking poll numbers and the possible collapse of his top domestic policy priority, an overhaul of the nation's health-care system.

"As often as the president has spoken over the past year, critics on the right and left have largely defined him," says University of Notre Dame American studies professor Robert Schmuhl. "For the State of the Union, he needs to redefine himself, who he is politically and what his core principles and policies are."

Yeah... that's the problem right there... we haven't heard you talk enough.

Source: Obama to reintroduce himself during State of the Union - ABC News

Best Obama Photo Of The... Ever! ::: TelePrompter And Seal For Grade School Visit

I just giggle and giggle every time I look at this:

It's really ridiculous.

Now on to finding the best photoshops of it. It's begging to be mercilessly mocked.

Gateway Pundit

Andrew Breitbart: Time To Start Returning The Punches Of The Bully Media

I had the opportunity to interview Andrew Breitbart during the Perry Blogger Summit. Here he discusses the rage directed by the left and their complicit media at George W. Bush and Sarah Palin.

This interview took place at the Perry Blogger Summit in Austin, TX.

More videos to come.

YouTube - Andrew Breitbart: Time To Start Returning The Punches Of The Bully Media

Breitbart's Challenge To New Media: Destroy Those Who Would Destroy You

Andrew Breitbart issues a challenge to bloggers and the alternative press to change the narrative in media and save western civilization in the process. I taped this during the Perry Blogger Summit.

YouTube - Breitbart's Challenge To New Media: Destroy Those Who Would Destroy You

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Merciless Editorial ::: (John Edwards) Zero pity for sorry, sleazy ruin of a man

Not that he doesn't deserve it. If you don't ask for grace you're gonna get stuck with karma. And it's a b----.

By Charles Hurt

A normal, compassionate human exposed for the first time to the debauchery that remains of John Edwards' dishonest life and career could be forgiven for feeling a little sorry for the pathetic cad.

The world now knows just what a self-absorbed lunatic he is married to. He has dealt with terrible tragedy in his life. He juggles two families.

Opulently ensconced in one of the Two Americas he told us so much about, he built himself and one of his families a 28,000-square-foot mansion fit for a king, with a built-in squash court.

But he is exiled to the doghouse.

He is a failure as a father and a husband and even managed to disgrace the business of being a politician, which is pretty hard to do these days.

Today, he is completely isolated, wandering the planet with his work gloves and T-shirt, building houses for the poor as he searches for something.

Or someone, perhaps, who might cheer for him again and think he is as great and beautiful and charitable as he reveres himself to be.

Perhaps he should have held on to that little vanity mirror seen in that famous YouTube clip as he fussed for long minutes with his hair. No doubt he was the object of his first and greatest love affair.

Now his is a sad and lonely existence.

Reporters lurk outside the hotels he checks into. They take pictures of him through lacy curtains and chase him into the bathroom, where he locks the door -- all alone. They prowl around and rummage through his garbage in search of more dirt on him.

But here is why a normal, compassionate human being would be wrong to pity the guy.

One of the most sordid and shocking little details from the whole sordid and shocking saga was Edwards' effort to deny that a little girl belonged to him -- a little girl he had conceived shortly after announcing his wife had incurable cancer.

According to Andrew Young, the former staffer who has penned an upcoming book about the whole sordid affair, Edwards urged him to steal a diaper from the baby so he could secretly do his own DNA test to determine whether the child was really his.

And once it became clear the child was his, he offered a fix only the sleaziest of lawyers could think of.

"Get a doctor to fake the DNA results," he said, according to this disillusioned loyalist.

After all, who minds a little perjury? It is not like you were not warned.

This is a man who made millions as a legendary personal-injury lawyer, destroying honest careers and bankrupting good doctors before turning to politics.

When the shoe that everybody knew was coming finally dropped yesterday, Edwards was hiding again.

In his place, he dispatched one of his longest-serving flunkies to make his apologies on camera.

The timing, also, is curious, coming tightly on the heels of Democratic annihilation in Massachusetts and the arrival here of Scott Brown, the next rising heartthrob politician.

When Edwards finally did surface yesterday, he was in earthquake-shattered Haiti. In his work gloves and T-shirt, still searching.

And he proved once again that he still has a future as a personal-injury lawyer, for there is no tragedy or misfortune that Edwards will not exploit for his own personal advantage.

Zero pity for sorry, sleazy ruin of a man -

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mischa "Matron" Barton Channels Sophia Loren

Am I too hard on this poor girl?

Mischa Barton

Kate Hudson sparkles at 16th Screen Actors Guild awards in Los Angeles | Mail Online

White House Wants "Timely Intelligence" and "Early Warning" To Prevent Future... Scott Browns!

Great priorities in "our" White House.

This article is a gift that keeps on giving. New York Times, of course:

— President Obama is reconstituting the team that helped him win the White House to counter Republican challenges in the midterm elections and recalibrate after political setbacks that have narrowed his legislative ambitions.

Mr. Obama has asked his former campaign manager, David Plouffe, to oversee House, Senate and governor’s races to stave off a hemorrhage of seats in the fall. The president ordered a review of the Democratic political operation — from the White House to party committees — after last week’s Republican victory in the Massachusetts Senate race, aides said.

In addition to Mr. Plouffe, who will primarily work from the Democratic National Committee in consultation with the White House, several top operatives from the Obama campaign will be dispatched across the country to advise major races as part of the president’s attempt to take greater control over the midterm elections, aides said.

“We are turning the corner to a much more political season,” said David Axelrod, a senior adviser, who confirmed Mr. Plouffe’s role. “We are going to evaluate what we need to do to get timely intelligence and early warnings so we don’t face situations like we did in Massachusetts.”

It goes on... : Obama Moves to Centralize Control Over Party Strategy -

Friday, January 22, 2010

Perry Carries... I Love Our Gov

Well I had the privilege to chitchat a bit with the Governor on Friday evening... he had just returned from the shooting range with a bunch of bloggers (around for the Perry Blogger Summit [pdf]) and supporters where he had fired his own weapon that he personally carries (paraphrase: "I know I have a bunch of guys around, but if something goes down I'm gonna be in on the action").

We also discussed (along with Robbie Cooper of Texas's lack of open-carry freedoms (the Governor personally has nothing against it, 'though prefers concealed carry "I don't want the bad guys to know"), and the recent BATFE fishing expedition at a local gun show.

On Saturday I was able to interview Governor Perry on camera, as well as Matt K. Lewis and Andrew Breitbart (they're calling for revolution, lol). Should have video posted soon.

FR discussion here.

Unspun w/AnnaZ: Victory and Strategy, with guest Fran Porretto: 3pmE or Podcast

What a difference a week makes. Now, what do we do.

The Curmudgeon Emeritus of Eternity Road joins me to discuss the shifting tide in politics and culture, from Scott Brown to The Book of Eli.

Live at 3pmE/2pmTX/NoonP

Call-in number: (347) 327-9710

Listen LIVE here.

Show archives available here, podcasts available here.

Doctor claims he has evidence of the afterlife

Love this stuff.

By Michael Inbar contributor

The near-death experience story is so common that it has become a bit of a cliché: A medical patient, hanging in a murky limbo between life and death, is drawn through a tunnel of bright light, meets their maker, and is told they must return to the land of living.

But that scenario played out letter-perfectly for Mary Jo Rapini. And her story is getting firm backing by a doctor who has studied some 1,300 near-death experiences. Medical doctor Jeffrey Long chronicles Rapini’s story, along with his own research, in a new book: “Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences.”

In the book, Long contends his study shows that accounts of near-death experiences play out remarkably similarly among the people who have had them, crossing age and cultural boundaries to such a degree that they can’t be chalked up simply to everyone having seen the same Hollywood movie.


In his book, Long details nine lines of evidence that he says send a “consistent message of an afterlife.” Among them are crystal-clear recollections, heightened senses, reunions with deceased family members and long-lasting effects after the person is brought back to life.

Long noted that he was especially fascinated that very small children who have near-death experiences almost always recount the same stories as adults, even if the concept of death isn’t fully formed in their minds.

“My research involved experiences of young children age 5 and under, and I found the content of their near-death experiences is absolutely identical to older children and adults,” he told Vieira. “It suggests that whether you know about near-death experiences, what your cultural upbringing is, what your awareness of death is, it doesn’t seem to have any effect on the content of the near-death experience.”

Rolls Eyes ::: World misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown

This whole thing is like a really bad joke now. I'm actually now embarrassed for them. Kinda.

A WARNING that climate change will melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 is likely to be retracted after a series of scientific blunders by the United Nations body that issued it.

Two years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a benchmark report that was claimed to incorporate the latest and most detailed research into the impact of global warming. A central claim was the world's glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035.

In the past few days the scientists behind the warning have admitted that it was based on a news story in the New Scientist, a popular science journal, published eight years before the IPCC's 2007 report.

It has also emerged that the New Scientist report was itself based on a short telephone interview with Syed Hasnain, a little-known Indian scientist then based at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.

Hasnain has since admitted that the claim was "speculation" and was not supported by any formal research. If confirmed it would be one of the most serious failures yet seen in climate research. The IPCC was set up precisely to ensure that world leaders had the best possible scientific advice on climate change.

Professor Murari Lal, who oversaw the chapter on glaciers in the IPCC report, said he would recommend that the claim about glaciers be dropped: "If Hasnain says officially that he never asserted this, or that it is a wrong presumption, than I will recommend that the assertion about Himalayan glaciers be removed from future IPCC assessments."

World misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown - Times Online

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Finally ::: Court Rolls Back Campaign Spending Limits (WSJ)

Dang, it's a good week.


WASHINGTON—A divided Supreme Court struck down limits on corporate political spending, overturning two precedents in a ruling likely to affect campaigning in the 2010 elections.

President Barack Obama called the decision a victory for big oil, Wall Street and other interests, and said he would work with lawmakers to craft a "forceful response."

The ruling underscored the impact of former President George W. Bush's two appointments to the court. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito joined the five-justice majority in ruling that a central provision of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign-finance act violated the First Amendment by restricting corporations from funding political messages in the run-up to elections.

"The government may regulate corporate political speech through disclaimer and disclosure requirements, but it may not suppress that speech altogether," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority in a 57-page opinion.

The McCain-Feingold law aimed to rein in independent campaign spending by corporations and unions—that is, advertisements that the corporations or unions buy on their own to advocate for or against a candidate.

McCain-Feingold required that they channel their campaign spending by creating a special fund, known as a political action committee, which can accept donations from employees, shareholders and other affiliates. Advocates argued that the law was a valid way to prevent special-interest funds from distorting elections.

But Justice Kennedy wrote that the effort to divide corporate political spending into legal and illegal forms chilled political speech. "When government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought," he wrote. "This is unlawful."

Federal law has long barred corporations from contributing directly to federal political candidates, and Thursday's ruling keeps that restriction in place.

The decision voids a key provision of the signature legislative achievement of Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee who worked with Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin to draft the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 that informally carries their names.

Justice John Paul Stevens—part of the majority in the two opinions that were overruled—led the court's four liberals in a dissent that stretched to 90 pages.

He called the majority opinion "a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have…fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt." Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor joined the dissent.

Mr. Obama, in a statement Thursday, said: "The Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. This ruling gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington, while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates."

The case before the court, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, originated in a 2008 feature-length movie critical of then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Citizens United, a conservative advocacy group, wanted to promote the film, but the election commission called it an "electioneering communication" subject to McCain-Feingold restrictions.

While nonprofits can be exempt from campaign-finance regulations if they limit their fund-raising to donations from individuals, Citizens United fell under McCain-Feingold because it accepted business contributions. Many nonprofit advocacy groups that have corporate form are also affected by Thursday's ruling, as well as labor unions and for-profit corporations.

A lawyer for Citizens United, Theodore Olson, said, "The vast majority of corporations are either nonprofit advocacy groups--like Citizens United--or small businesses." The ruling, he said, "enables individuals of limited means to band together to counterbalance the political speech of the super-rich."

In 2003, the Supreme Court upheld the provision that was struck down Thursday, in a 5-4 decision that, in turn, relied on a 6-3 opinion written in 1990 by Justice Thurgood Marshall upholding a similar state campaign law.

Justice Kennedy dissented from the 1990 decision, and his opinion Thursday overruling it vindicated the position he took then. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who also dissented in 1990, had changed her view by 2003 and joined the majority to uphold the McCain-Feingold provision. Her successor was Justice Alito, who provided the fifth conservative vote to make Thursday's majority.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Unspun w/AnnaZ: Interview with "The Cartel" Filmmaker Politics R Local: 3pmE or Podcast

Filmmaker Bob Bowdon joins me to discuss his award-winning documentary The Cartel, an exposé of the problems behind the current state of our public education system. (I've written a review of it here.)

Plus! All Politics Are Local with a special call-in from Florida, Your Tax Dollars at Work, and The Stuff You Can't Make Up featuring WA state silliness and The Blind Leading The Blind... literally.

Live here at 3pmE/2pmTX/NoonP, available afterward on-demand here, or at iTunes.

Unspun w/AnnaZ: Interview with "The Cartel" Filmmaker Politics R Local: 3pmE or Podcast

Film Review: The Cartel

How bad is the state of public education in America? There are few people who deny the glaring discrepancy between money put in and product put out. Plenty of people have plenty of opinions about where the blame ultimately lies... with what can tend to be a monolithic amalgamation of special interests and powerful politics, the causes are myriad. Or are they?

Enter filmmaker Bob Bowdon's excellent feature-length documentary The Cartel. I had the privilege of viewing a screening of it last night at an event hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Already a winner of 5 festival awards, the film will be released this spring in over a dozen major American cities.

Focused mainly on the education system in New Jersey, the film follows many avenues of thought regarding the main culprits in the struggle for success in the public school system. While of course there are plenty of good schools and good teachers, the numbers of dropouts are staggering and the national test scores belie the notion that more money equals more better.

The film is quite brilliantly made... well-paced, superbly edited, many times hilarious, and also often quite poignant. And infuriating. Yes, there are many causes of the problems, from corruption and cronyism to apathy and ignorance, but, like many other issues facing our nation, the solution really might be as simple as this: let the free market reign.

This film is a great reminder that a monopoly -- a cartel, if you will -- of interests designed to limit competition also limit freedom, hope, and success, and it gives the viewer something so many clearly and sadly lack... a really good education.

For more information about how one can see the film, sign up for updates here.

I will be interviewing the filmmaker live today at 2pm, and will post a link to that here later as well.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Salvation Army Aid worker: Most horrific thing I've ever seen + Donate Now!

I have always preferred using the Salvation Army as a conduit for aid... and you can use PayPal on their site to do so. Go here to help out.

The following video is from MSNBC... a tragedy of epic proportions has taken place. I don't think many Americans will ever suffer like people are suffering in Haiti right now. Watch this, and then please send a few bucks their way.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Headline Of The Day ::: Weight Watchers floor collapses

The stuff you can't make up.

VAXJO, Sweden, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Members of a Swedish Weight Watchers clinic said a floor collapsed from under a group of about 20 dieters participating in a weighing event.

The participants said they were gathered at the Vaxjo clinic Wednesday night to measure the amount of weight they had lost with the help of the program when they heard a loud noise shortly followed by the collapse of the floor, Swedish news agency Tidningarnas Telegrambyra reported Thursday.

"We suddenly heard a huge thud; we almost thought it was an earthquake and everything flew up in the air. The floor collapsed in one corner of the room and along the walls," one of the members said.

The group said the floor then gave out in other parts of the room and the smell of sewage spread throughout the area.

"We're going to have to find a replacement premises," Weight Watchers consultant Therese Levin said.

The participants, who were not injured, said they finished weighing one another in a nearby hallway.

Weight Watchers said the cause of the collapse is being investigated.

Yes... please investigate... we're all weighting...


Weight Watchers floor collapses -

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

ROTF!!! ::: Why I Believe Printers Were Sent From Hell To Make Us Miserable

I laughed 'til it hurt with this little photo essay. I've been contemplating hurling my printer against a tree for the past few weeks I'm so in awe of its uselessness and desire to torment me.

I have found my people... definitely click here: Why I Believe Printers Were Sent From Hell To Make Us Miserable - The Oatmeal

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Bitingly Brilliant Mark Steyn: Obama can't say who we're at war with

Out of the park.

Not long after the Ayatollah Khomeini announced his fatwa against Salman Rushdie, the British novelist suddenly turned up on a Muslim radio station in West London late one night and told his interviewer he'd converted to Islam. Marvelous religion, couldn't be happier, Allahu Akbar and all that.

And the Ayatollah said hey, that's terrific news, glad to hear it. But we're still gonna kill you.

Well, even a leftie novelist wises up under those circumstances.

Evidently, the president of the United States takes a little longer.

Barack Obama has spent the past year doing big-time Islamoschmoozing, from his announcement of Gitmo's closure and his investigation of Bush officials, to his bow before the Saudi king and a speech in Cairo to "the Muslim world" with far too many rhetorical concessions and equivocations. And at the end of it the jihad sent America a thank-you note by way of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's underwear: Hey, thanks for all the outreach! But we're still gonna kill you.

According to one poll, 58 percent of Americans are in favor of waterboarding young Umar Farouk. Well, you should have thought about that before you made a community organizer president of the world's superpower. The election of Barack Obama was a fundamentally unserious act by the U.S. electorate, and you can't blame the world's mischief-makers, from Putin to Ahmadinejad to the many Gitmo recidivists now running around Yemen, from drawing the correct conclusion.

For two weeks, the government of the United States has made itself a global laughingstock. Don't worry, "the system worked," said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Incompetano. Don't worry, he was an "isolated extremist," said the president. Don't worry, we're banning bathroom breaks for the last hour of the flight, said the TSA. Don't worry, "U.S. border security officials" told the Los Angeles Times, we knew he was on the plane, and we "had decided to question him when he landed." Don't worry, Obama's counterterrorism chief, John Brennan, assured the Sunday talk shows, sure, we read him his rights, and he's lawyered up but he'll soon see that "there is advantage to talking to us in terms of plea agreements."

Oh, that's grand. Try to kill hundreds of people in an act of war, and it's the starting point for a plea deal. In his Cairo speech, the president bragged that the United States would "punish" those in America who would "deny" the "right of women and girls to wear the hijab." If he's so keen on it, maybe he should consider putting the entire federal government into full-body burkas and zipping up the eye slit so that, henceforth, every public utterance by John Brennan will be entirely inaudible. Americans should be ashamed by this all-fools' fortnight.

On Thursday, having renounced over the preceding days "the system worked," the "isolated extremist," the more obviously risible TSA responses, the Gitmo-Yemen express checkout and various other follies, the president finally spoke the words: "We are at war." As National Review's Rich Lowry noted, they were more or less dragged from the presidential gullet by Dick Cheney, who'd accused the commander in chief of failing to grasp this basic point. Again, to be fair, it isn't just Obama. Last November, the electorate voted, in effect, to repudiate the previous eight years and seemed genuinely under the delusion that wars end when one side decides it's all a bit of a bore, and they'd rather the government spend the next eight years doing to health care and the economy what they were previously doing to jihadist camps in Waziristan.

On the other hand, if we are now at war, as Obama belatedly concedes, against whom are we warring? "We are at war against al-Qaida," says the president.

Really? But what does that mean? Was the previous month's "isolated extremist," the Fort Hood killer, part of al-Qaida? When it came to spiritual advice, he turned to the same Yemeni-based American-born imam as the Pantybomber, but he didn't have a fully paid-up membership card.

Nor did young Umar Farouk, come to that. Granted the general overcredentialization of American life, the notion that it doesn't count as terrorism unless you're a member of Local 437 of the Amalgamated Union of Isolated Extremists seems perverse and reductive.

What did the Pantybomber have a membership card in? Well, he was president of the Islamic Society of University College, London. Kafeel Ahmed, who died after driving a burning jeep into the concourse of Glasgow Airport, had been president of the Islamic Society of Queen's University, Belfast. Yassin Nassari, serving three years in jail for terrorism, was president of the Islamic Society of the University of Westminster. Waheed Arafat Khan, arrested in the 2006 Heathrow terror plots that led to Americans having to put their liquids and gels in those little plastic bags, was president of the Islamic Society of London Metropolitan University.

Doesn't this sound like a bigger problem than "al-Qaida," whatever that is? The president has now put citizens of Nigeria on the secondary-screening list. Which is tough on Nigerian Christians, who have no desire to blow up your flight to Detroit. Aside from the highly localized Tamil terrorism of India and Sri Lanka, suicide bombing is a phenomenon entirely of Islam. The broader psychosis that manifested itself only the other day in an axe murderer breaking into a Danish cartoonist's home to kill him because he objects to his cartoon is, likewise, a phenomenon of Islam. This is not to say (to go wearily through the motions) that all Muslims are potential suicide bombers and axe murderers, but it is to state the obvious – that this "war" is about the intersection of Islam and the West, and its warriors are recruited in the large pool of young Muslim manpower, not in Yemen and Afghanistan so much as in Copenhagen and London.

But the president of the United States cannot say that because he is overinvested in a fantasy – that, if only that Texan moron Bush had read Khalid Sheikh Mohammed his Miranda rights and bowed as low as Obama did to the Saudi king, we wouldn't have all these problems. So now Obama says, "We are at war." But he cannot articulate any war aims or strategy because they would conflict with his illusions. And so we will stagger on, playing defense, pulling more and more items out of our luggage – tweezers, shoes, shampoo, snow globes, suppositories – and reacting to every new provocation with greater impositions upon the citizenry.

You can't win by putting octogenarian nuns through full-body scanners.

All you can do is lose slowly. After all, if you can't even address what you're up against with any honesty, you can't blame the other side for drawing entirely reasonable conclusions about your faintheartedness in taking them on.

After that cringe-making radio interview, Salman Rushdie subsequently told The Times of London that trying to appease his would-be killers and calling for his own book to be withdrawn was the biggest mistake of his life. If only the president of the United States was such a quick study.


Source: Mark Steyn: Obama can't say who we're at war with | president, obama, war - Opinion - The Orange County Register

Friday, January 08, 2010

Fighting Jihad With Lipstick On w/Guest Phyllis Chesler 1/8/2010 - Unspun with AnnaZ/ Blog Talk Radio

Writer of books and columns, Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies, lecturer and activist ​Phyllis Chesler​ joins me today to discuss feminism in today's turbulent world. ​

​Plus: Brit Hume's greatest sin and more bias from the (cr)AP.

Call-ins for the second half are encouraged... (347) 327-9710


Listen live here, or catch up with on-demand shows here or on iTunes.

Fighting Jihad With Lipstick On w/Guest Phyllis Chesler 1/8/2010 - Unspun with AnnaZ on Blog Talk Radio

Pain. Ful. ::: Napolitano Shocked Al Queda Using Individual Bombers

Great piece by Connie Hair.

The White House today released its unclassified review summary of the administration failures surrounding the latest terrorist attack on U.S. soil, the Christmas underwear bomber. Delayed twice reportedly over exactly what should and should not be declassified, President Obama made remarks at the release of information that for all intents and purposes told little or nothing new.

At a presser following the release of the report, Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano were asked what they found most shocking about the declassified review.

“We didn’t know they had actually reached the point of launching individuals here, and we have taken that lesson and we’re all on top of it,” Brennan said.

“I think following up on that, not just the determination of al Qaeda and al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula but the tactic of using an individual to foment an attack as opposed to a large conspiracy or a multi-person conspiracy such as we saw on 9-11,” Napolitano added. “That is something that affects intelligence.”

Ya think? Madame Secretary is shocked having just figured out that al Qaeda is determined to kill Americans and they’ll use individuals (as well as groups) to attack us. The biggest shock out of the report is that Napolitano -- with her utter lack of qualifications to deal with intelligence matters -- is one of the nation’s chief intelligence officers. She is in charge of America’s physical national security on home soil.

Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) gets yesterday’s award for prescience, calling for Napolitano’s resignation even before her latest shocking admission.

“It is imperative that we have a secretary of Homeland Security who understands the reality of the global war on terror and who has the resolve to implement a strong and effective system that stops terrorists before they act,” Tiahrt said. “This may be a wake-up call for the Obama administration but the wake-up call for the rest of America was September 11, 2001. It is unacceptable that our president needed additional evidence to take the global war on terror seriously. There should be no second chance for his cabinet members when it comes to protecting our citizens and homeland.”

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), a former FBI agent and current member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, succinctly summed up the Obama administration’s underlying, fundamentally flawed approach to combating terrorism.

“The report provides a productive though incomplete picture,” Rogers said. “I believe the larger issue stems from the White House's policy change to treat terrorism as a law enforcement issue instead of a proactive intelligence issue. As a former FBI Agent, I know that a law enforcement approach is necessarily slower and more deliberate than an intelligence approach where action can be taken on less information and fewer connected ‘dots.’ For the safety and security of Americans and their families and our allies, we must restore our intelligence-centered approach to terrorism.”

Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, pointed out the Obama administration is still suppressing information and Democrat leaders in Congress are ducking their oversight responsibilities.

“I welcome the administration’s decision to publicly release its report on the Detroit attack, and believe it should release the Fort Hood attack and Guantanamo Bay terrorist detainee recidivism reports as well,” Hoekstra said. “It is striking that the same factors and actors involved in the Fort Hood attack seem to be at issue in the attempt to bring down a plane over the city of Detroit.”

Earlier this week, the Pentagon said that the recidivism rate of released Gitmo detainees has increased from 14 percent to 20 percent.

“I warned after the Fort Hood terrorist attack that we needed tough congressional oversight and hearings to understand the intelligence lapses that happened then to help prevent future attacks,” Hoekstra continued. “The White House still has not shared its Fort Hood report with Congress or the public, but the one thing that seems clear is that the administration did little after it received the report on Nov. 30 of last year. Congress needs the analysis of both attacks to fully understand the shortcomings that need to be addressed to help prevent the next attack.”

“The American people should not have to rely on luck and passengers’ sheer determination to stop terrorist attacks,” Hoekstra said. “They need a government that is working together on the executive and congressional levels to help keep our homeland safe. This did not happen after the Fort Hood terrorist attack, and it is still not happening after the Detroit terrorist attack. The end result, we are not coordinated, and our nation is still vulnerable.”

Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-Minn.) called for Obama to change his approach and deny Miranda rights to enemy combatants.

“How can we honestly believe the President when he says he will not rest until he finds out all who were involved in the attempted Christmas day bombing when we’ve already given Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab the right to remain silent?” Bachman asked. “We should be using all legal means necessary to push this terrorist to release all his information, not allow him to lawyer up. He should not be afforded the rights of American citizens like you and me. He is a terrorist, and he should be treated like one. Abdulmutallab’s actions were an act of war and not akin to breaking and entering. Thus, they must be treated as such.”

Connie Hair is a freelance writer, a former speechwriter for Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and a former media and coalitions advisor to the Senate Republican Conference.

Source: Napolitano Shocked Al Queda Using Individual Bombers - HUMAN EVENTS

'God's hand is in it' FOX News’ Lauren Green analyzes Handel’s Messiah

I should have had this up for Christmas, but it's interesting nonetheless.

Lauren Green was third runner up in the 1985 Miss America contest and a winner of the talent competition for playing immaculately a Chopin etude, "Opus #4 in C Sharp." She continued her music while working as a television journalist in Minnesota, Chicago, and New York: She entered the Van Cliburn Competition and has written a fascinating theoretical essay about the connection of music, physics, and faith.

Green grew up going to church and Sunday school. Today she goes to Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York and is a FOX News religious correspondent. One continuity throughout the years, since she was 17 and first heard Handel's Messiah, is her love for the piece that is played and sung in hundreds of cities every December.

One reason for her fascination: The Messiah "is the only piece of music that has the narrative of redemption put to music. It's all scriptural; it is God's plan for humanity and it's the only piece like this in the world." She notes that Handel wrote it when he was "at the end of his rope. After being the toast of England he became a broken man, financially, physically, and emotionally."

She recalls many legends about how Handel wrote the three-hour oratorio in about three weeks. One is that "when Handel was composing the 'Hallelujah!' chorus, his servant came in on him (he had been locking himself up in his study) and found Handel weeping. He said to his servant, 'I do believe I've seen the gates of Heaven.' I believe he did, because when you study the musical tonality of it and how it affects us, you say, 'this is more than just a nice piece. God's hand is in it.'"

When she analyzed the "Hallelujah!" chorus, she found "this incredible tonal center that was being uplifted. That made sense, because when you look at the Ten Commandments, everything is defined first by its relationship to God and second by its relationship to everything else. The Ten Commandments are a hierarchical system in which the First Commandment is primary, and everything else falls in line because of it. You can't break Commandments 2 through 10 without first violating No. 1, which is, "I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods before Me."

How does that connect with music? There "you have a fundamental note that has overtones, and the overtones are created when a string vibrates. When a string vibrates, it vibrates in the half, the quarter, the third, and all the way up, and these vibrations create overtones according to a mathematical equation related to the fundamental note. These overtones help form the harmonic series, or the major scales. . . . So when you write something like Handel's Messiah, which has an incredible working out of that harmonic system, you create stronger and stronger tonal centers."

She concludes, "In Bach's time, which is Handel's time as well (they were born the same year), they tempered the scale so that every note is the same distance apart. I realized, 'It's glorifying the tonal center. That's exactly what's going on. If you go to psychologists they will tell you that in man's innate nature he needs to glorify, he needs to worship and pour out his soul into something outside of him. Music creates this opportunity, not just because it creates these tonal centers, because it's vibratory. It resonates within us. Even if you're deaf, it still resonates."

WORLD Magazine | 'God's hand is in it' | Marvin Olasky | Dec 19, 09

Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself

This is from an article about the evolution of wikipedia's editing policies. I can never resist the Milton Friedman quote that made the title. Some great stuff here:

Winston Churchill understood that freedom is a messy thing. He noted, "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried," but that "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." That brings to mind William F Buckley's, Jr.'s admonition that, "I would rather be governed by the first 2000 names in the Boston phone book than by the Harvard faculty".

Milton Friedmon understands, "A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that... it gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. The existence of a free market does not of course eliminate the need for government. On the contrary, government is essential both as a forum for determining the "rules of the game" and as an umpire to interpret and enforce the rules decided on. What the market does is to reduce greatly the range of issues that must be decided through political means, and thereby to minimize the extent to which government need participate directly in the game. Capitalism and Freedom

Martin Luther King, Jr. chastised his friends, "I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." Letter from Birmingham City Jail

Freedom does not occur in a vacuum. Freedom occurs in community, and its preservation is a daily struggle.

Read the whole piece here: Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself | Swamp Fox


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