Friday, April 25, 2008

Questioning Libya's Credentials

While it may surprise some, Libya does indeed hold a seat on the U.N. Security Council. Now, before you immediately shout, "That's absurd!" look at the reasons behind it. Libya is a sovereign nation, and giving Libya greater legitimacy could curb the influence of terrorist organizations in Libya.

These may sound like good reasons, but isn't Libya a bastion of terrorism? CNS News has an interesting article about this issue, with a twist.
"A day after Libya's deputy envoy compared Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip to those of the Nazis -- sparking a walkout by several ambassadors -- Ibrahim Dabbashi went a step further Thursday, telling reporters that Israel's policies were in fact "worse" than those of the Nazis in their concentration camps."
I'm not sure if Dabbashi is high on drugs, or if he truly expects the rest of the world (excluding Iran and Syria) to buy this stuff. Giving a nation like Libya a spot on the Security Council is like giving Charlie Manson parole, a chain saw, and the key to a nursing home; any guesses as to what he would do?

My favorite part of the article is when a high ranking person that actually possesses a set of intact testicles, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman, says, "This is what happens when the security council is infiltrated by terrorists." GASP! Did he really say that out loud?

I can't imagine that Dabbashi's antics really come as any surprise to anyone. I'd still like to buy Gillerman a beer.

Friday, April 18, 2008

American Embassy in Iraq

NBC news sensationalized this story about the expense and expanse of the new American Embassy on Iraq. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but the criticism of the facility seems to parallel the issue of our military presence.

The State Department and the Department of the Defense are two different entities. There are over 170 U.S. Embassies in foreign countries and yes, they are expensive to build and operate. We dropped over $300 million in the late 80's on our embassy in Moscow.

Is it really unreasonable to have a gym, a pool, and housing for a closed compound that will be a home to 600 people?

Reporter Andrea Mitchell states " makes it look like the US will be occupying Baghdad forever." Occupying? Oh Andrea, The US is NOT occupying Iraq. Can someone tell NBC that the occupation of Iraq ended in June 2004? Yes we still have a large military presence there, but if you are going to report on it, get your facts straight.

Supreme Court Exercises Common Sense In Death Penalty Ruling

Apparently, death can potentially be painful. Amazingly enough, our Constitution does not mandate that executions (gasp...death penalty!) be completely painless. Despite the efforts of the more sensitive folks, the Supreme Court has ruled that lethal injection is okie dokie:
"The Supreme Court yesterday upheld Kentucky's use of lethal injections for death-row inmates in a 7-2 vote, describing the process as "more humane" and ending a national halt on executions.

Opponents had argued that the three drugs used to render an inmate unconscious, then paralyze him and finally induce a heart attack — sodium pentothal, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride — constituted cruel and unusual punishment if not properly administered. The drugs have been used in more than 1,000 lethal injections.

Justice Ginsburg, in writing the minority opinion, said it was "undisputed" that the second and third drugs used in Kentucky's lethal injection protocol would cause "a conscious inmate to suffer excruciating pain" if not properly administered."

Well, let us hope that Ginsburg's grasps at straws are unfounded, and that no inmate that has been sentenced to death suffers an improperly administered dose of pain killers. That would break my heart! I'm still trying to figure out why Ginsburg is discussing the effects of the drug on a conscious inmate...isn't that what the first drug is for? Silly me.

This debate could go on for centuries. Executions do indeed get botched from time to time. This is not a new concept. Making death completely painless is not the solution to this problem. The Constitution doesn't guarantee painless execution as it is. Standardizing executions is what we truly need. We need to administer executions by a mechanical means that can be regulated and standardized (and publicized). If the death penalty was completely painless, how great of a deterrent would it be? Let's not get started on the lack of deterrent effect due to long times spent on "death row." That's another post in itself.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Imaginary Amendments

The Constitution of the United States of America madates a separation of church and state, right? Wrong! The First Amendment to the Constitution states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise therof." Nowhere does it state that a coach who bows his head during his athletes' student led prayers is in violation of anything:
"A federal appeals court ruled a New Jersey high school football coach who bowed his head while students on his team led prayer broke the law. The school concluded while it could not infringe on the students' constitutionally protected right to pray, it could limit the actions of coaches, who are public employees and whose participation allegedly would violate "the separation of church and state."

What in the world does a high school coach bowing his head have to do with Congress passing laws? Absolutely nothing. Once again, a chosen few are grasping at straws in a feeble attempt to protect us from ourselves. How pathetic.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Stupidity On a Grand Scale

Apparently, there are more important things in life than raising a child with a strong moral, which gang should that child "claim" when they learn to walk and shoot.

I was unsure of the seriousness of the article when I saw the headline but, remarkably, it was a real story. A couple was actually fighting over which gang their child would eventually join. The "father" is a member of the "Westside Ballers," while the alleged mother is a member of the "Crips." How quaint.

The father ended up storming into the mother's place of employment and causing a scene (and some damage to property) and was later arrested. I'm still wondering what the proper etiquette is for rival gang arguments, which caliber of weapon is most appropriate, etc.

I've heard it said in the past that we should require licensing in order to breed; these two people are a strong argument in favor of that idea. Perhaps we'll luck out, and these two will manage to get themselves added to the short list for the Darwin Awards before they can breed any more.

You can read the full article here.

Friday, April 11, 2008

You're paying the bill

Both the Star Tribune and 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS published a story about Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, or TIZA.

Azad Zaman is a Muslim Imam, and the executive director of the school. The Minnesota school is sponsored by the California based organization, Islamic Relief USA. TIZA receives state and federal funding while allegedly functioning as an Islamic school. Zaman claims that the school does not violate state or federal regulations concerning separation of church and state.

"The questions came after substitute teacher Amanda Getz taught at TIZA last month and told the Star Tribune about things she observed that day that shocked her.

"I've been in a lot of schools and I've never been in a school where they had washing rituals, or they had prayer, or where they had a room where you had to take your shoes off," Getz said.

"It is most likely that this substitute teacher was sadly mistaken," said Zaman.

"We're required under the federal guidelines to allow students to pray when they wish to do so. And as Muslim students, they're allowed to pray around 1:30 p.m., so we allow them to do that," Zaman explained.

"TIZA requires all students to learn Arabic as a second language, as well as English."

"State law requires the school to fly an American flag during school hours, however no flag flies outside of TIZA Academy."

"Zaman told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he didn’t know how to work the flagpole."

I don't really want to pay the taxes to support legitimate public schools. I certainly don't want to pay for the operating expenses of an Islamic mosque.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Does Anybody Care About the Olympics Anymore?

It's no surprise that countless groups are in an uproar over the lack of human rights in China and Tibet. I'm not sure why they appear surprised that a far left government doesn't embrace human rights, but I digress...The Olympic games are slated to be held in China, and the professional victims are nearly up in arms over it.

San Francisco, that bastion of freedom (just ask the Marines), had to have police officers escort the runners carrying the Olympic torch; protesters made it too dangerous for the runners. Protesters in Paris (yes, French people actually stood up for something) caused the torch to actually be extinguished. Hillary has even asked our President to boycott the opening ceremony.

All I can do is ask, "Why?" What possible good do these protesters think they are doing by soiling an age old gathering of amateur athletes? The debacle of Olympic boycotts should have taught us a lesson (as should the rest of Carter's presidency). Apparently, some groups are very slow learners. The only thing that Olympic boycotts accomplish is skewing the competition. Aside from that, it accomplishes absolutely nothing.

All of the people that are readily making asses of themselves over the Olympics will look back on this and, unless they're too high on drugs to think clearly, realize that they wasted their time and efforts. Cooler heads will prevail and, thankfully, allow our athletes to compete in the Olympic Games. Does anyone even care about the games anymore? These protesters need to realize that their beef is with the Olympic Committee, and not the runners carrying the torch.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hyper-sensitivity Vs. Common Sense

The Chicago Sun Times has an interesting article (get it here) about one of Obama's delegates being asked to "step down." Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski has been asked to step down from her post as one of Obama's delegates over a remark that she made to her neighbor's children.

When Ramirez-Sliwinski looked out of her window and saw her neighbor's two children playing high in a tree, she feared for their safety. Instead of ignoring it, she went outside and told them to,"quit playing in the tree like monkeys." What was so awful about that? The neighbor and her children are....gasp!...African-American!

Here's a tasty tidbit from the article:
"'The tree was not on Ramirez-Sliwinski's property," Carpentersville Police Commander Michael Kilbourne said. "Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski said she saw the kids playing in the tree and didn't want them falling out of the tree and getting hurt. She said she calls her own grandchildren 'monkeys,' " Kilbourne said."

Police? Police? Why on earth were the police involved? This is the most asinine situation that ever made the news-- yet another prime example of someone hoping and searching for something to potentially be offended about. Ramirez-Sliwinski was given a citation for disorderly conduct. I hope she learned her lesson. Next time, if those that she is concerned about are easily offended (or their idiotic parents are), leave them be and let them fall!

I'm From the Government, and I'm Here to Help

To some, those words would sound comforting, for some strange reason. That should be Hillary's campaign slogan. She's already made it clear that she'll do everything in her power to repeal Bush's tax cuts. We all know that those tax cuts only benefit the rich (like me)!

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting piece (see it here) regarding the Clintons and taxes. It describes how the Clintons not only made almost 110 million dollars over the last eight years, but how their "charitable" contributions (and tax deductions) were mostly to Clinton run charities (that haven't paid out much money at all).

Hillary was quoted as saying, "We didn't ask for George Bush's tax cuts. We didn't want them, and we didn't need them," and with tax breaks like theirs, they indeed didn't need them.

In the "pot calling the kettle black" department, the article points out how Hillary has been crying out against the wealthy ever since she began her Presidential bid. With the Clintons being in the top %.01 of America's wealthy, they "know of whom they speak."

The end of the article makes a keen suggestion when discussing Hillary's plan to repeal the tax cuts:
"If the former first lady feels so strongly that she should pay more taxes, we suggest she lay off the middle class and instead write a personal check to the U.S. Treasury for the difference between the Clinton and Bush tax rates. She and her husband can afford it."

Monday, April 7, 2008

Let's Have a War

Our great leaders of America have long picked a variety of topics to wage war on. The War on Poverty, The War on Crime, The War on Drugs. Now we have the War on Terror. What a ridiculous little tagline to incite fear and political policy support from the public.

Isn't it obvious that the perpetrators of 9/11 are our enemies?

Haven't we always fought against militant groups that used violence to forward their ideological goals?

I don't need a scary title to remind me that the United States has battles to fight. I don't need a sexy mantra to coerce me to serve my country.

Unfortunately, when the fear and excitement ensued by the word "terror" fades, leaders will need to give it a new name. What's next on the list to keep Americans nervous?

Hollywood Ignorance

Does ignorance plague Hollywood? It would seem that when it comes to politics and foreign affairs, it's either ignorance or insanity.

Thor Halvorssen has an interesting article ( available here ) that discusses some Hollywood icons' seemingly insane love affair with Hugo Chavez. Of particular curiosity is the alleged reasoning of actor Sean Penn. Halvorssen writes:

"I assumed Penn was probably ignorant about the human rights record in Venezuela in that he broke off relations with the San Francisco Chronicle in mid-January calling them a "lamebrain paper" over their use of the word "dictator" to describe Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. "

Dictator seems to be an apt word, given Chavez's tactics, including the forceful subduing of any who speak against his socialist mantras. When questioned about his blind support of Chavez, Penn reacted in true Hollywood fasion:

"On Oscar night Penn and I [Halvorssen] had an unpleasant exchange about the political prisoners of the Chavez government which he ended by walking away and repeating, like a mantra, the name of one of the evening’s Academy Award recipients, “Daniel Day-Lewis,” over and over again in what seemed like the equivalent of a child putting his hands over his ears and belting “la-la-la-la-la-la! I can’t hear you!” Undaunted, I scribbled a note inviting him to learn more about the appalling stories of Venezuelan dissidents in prison for doing nothing but criticizing the government. The invitation is still open."

While Penn isn't the only curiously misguided person in Hollywood, he does seem to be the most entertaining, and I'm not talking about his movie performances. What makes Hollywood such a bastion of cluelessness? I believe that it's mostly due to the fantasy lives that most actors, actresses, and successful directors live. Many of the Hollywood elite are raised as wealthy, or at least very well off, children, and grew up in households that than conservative (think 1960's era, and southern California). Upon making their own way in Hollywood, they became grossly wealthy by continuously playing fictional roles (aka: lying). I suspect that many of them have merely lost touch with reality. They've grown incredibly rich, while, in most cases, remaining mostly uneducated and ignorant in regards to politics and foreign affairs.

It's absurd to assume that actors and actresses, who have spent the majority of their adult lives submersed in the fantasy world of Hollywood, could have much to offer in terms of astute political commentary. Of course, this is not completely true, but seems to be more of the norm than an exception.

Sean Penn, you need to turn up the voltage on those shock treatments buddy; they're not working.

Fitna Parts One and Two

This is the movie by Geert Wilders that has Muslims in an uproar. It dares to...wait for it...point out what the Koran says! How awful! Actually, it is quite awful; see for yourself. It also has footage of Muslims stating their goals very clearly...goals that the good folks at CAIR will readily deny (as will most Democrats that want to "establish dialog" with the Muslim community)

Part One

Part Two