Monday, January 31, 2011

Nothing good can come of the situation in Egypt

I have held comment on the uprising in Egypt, because for the first few days, I honestly didn't really understand what was going on.

What I knew is that Hosni Mubarak has been in command of Egypt since 1981, when his predecessor, Anwar Sadat was assassinated. Since then, Mubarak has been your typical dictatorial Arab strongman. Compared to other leaders in the middle east, however, Mubarak has been downright reasonable in comparison. This is evident in the fact that he continued Sadat's wish that Egypt stay peaceful with Israel, even though this is exactly the reason that Sadat was assassinated in the first place.

The bottom line is this: no matter how honorable the intentions of the protesters who have taken to the streets against a dictator who has been in charge for 30 years, if Mubarak is unseated, any democratic reforms that might be made in the immediate aftermath of this unrest will not last.

One of these democratic reforms will inevitably be to hold elections. That right there is what will sink Egypt's current role as a moderate influence in the Middle East. The current government that is under siege may be considered moderate, but the people of Egypt are not, and any election that is held is sure to reflect the extremism of the country's people.

Headquartered in Egypt is an extremist Islamic organization called the Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational Islamic group that would like to see Sharia law in place worldwide. Many Islamic organization in the United States that claim to be "moderate" can trace their beginnings to funding and organization from the Muslim Brotherhood. Additionally, public polling in Egypt indicates that the majority of that country's citizens are extreme in their Muslim views. From Barry Rubin:
In Egypt, 30 percent like Hizballah (66 percent don't). 49 percent are favorable toward Hamas (48 percent are negative); and 20 percent smile (72 percent frown) at al-Qaida. Roughly speaking, one-fifth of Egyptians applaud the most extreme Islamist terrorist group, while around one-third back revolutionary Islamists abroad. This doesn't tell us what proportion of Egyptians want an Islamist government at home, but it is an indicator.

In Egypt, 82 percent want stoning for those who commit adultery; 77 percent would like to see whippings and hands cut off for robbery; and 84 percent favor the death penalty for any Muslim who changes his religion.

Asked if they supported "modernizers" or "Islamists" only 27 percent said modernizers while 59 percent said Islamists....
If you are wondering what this can lead to, think of the problems Israel has faced ever since Hamas was democratically elected by the extremist Palestinians in Gaza. The same thing could happen in Egypt if elections are held, and Israel could then have on their southern border what they thought they had solved with the signing of the Camp David Accords in 1978. If you think that democratic elections are wonderful and the results be damned, then you position is much like that of Jimmy Carter, who cheered on Hamas back in 2006, and whose absurd opinion was wonderfully explained by Cox and Forkum in the cartoon above.

Like I say, nothing good can come of this situation in Egypt.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Friday, January 28, 2011

25 years ago: "That's trouble of some kind."

I was in 8th grade when I watched the Space Shuttle Challenger explode live on television. It was on this day, 25 years ago. Until September 11, 2001, it was January 28, 1986 that was the day in the news that I remembered most.

Last year, a video was released on YouTube that shows a home video taken by a man from his home as he, his wife, and his neighbors watched the launch from their front yard. It is always interesting to watch an event like this through the eyes of ordinary people, rather than through the cameras and commentary of the news media:

God Bless those astronauts, and their family members who I imagine have a lot on their minds today.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another useless speech in the can

I finally figured out what it is I can't stand about the yearly circle jerk known as the State of the Union speech.

See, once upon a time, the State of the Union was sent to Congress as a written report. The Congresscritters could just read the president's remarks on their own time. It took the power of radio and, especially, television to harness the true power of the PR machine that the SotU has become.

So when I watched the president's cabinet members walk down the aisle, and then the members of the Supreme Court, and then finally the President, with his working of the congressional crowd as he made his way to the podium, it struck me: no matter what political party these people belong to, they see this night as a way to flex their power; to show everyone that they are the elite, and to, as Kate Winslet's character says of the cigar-smoking titans on the Titanic, congratulate themselves on being masters of the universe.

The one thing I was looking forward to with this speech was seeing the disproportionately-sized Republican side of the chamber, and then the Squishes from the Republican party, led by that idiot John McCain, managed to ruin that with their date night with the Democrats.

Oh, and the speech? Just more of Obama pushing his BS green and health care agendas. Yawn.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, January 20, 2011

R.I.P. Gerry Rafferty

Crap! I just found out tonight that the great singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty died back on January 4th, 2011 at the way-too-young age of 63.

I am not the world's biggest fan of music from the 1970s, but if I had to designate my favorite song from that decade, I would most likely choose Rafferty's haunting slice of perfection known as Baker Street, which was released in the summer of 1978. If you don't know the song by title alone, you will know it the second you hear it:

I never get tired of hearing that song.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Another brain-trust in Congress tries to justify the constitutionality of ObamaCare

After all the previous stumbles that Cybercast News Service (see blogroll) has effected from lame-brained members of Congress who demonstrate their ignorance of the Constitution and other founding documents while trying to explain why the individual mandate in ObamaCare is constitutional, you would think that the Dems would have a little pow-wow and get their talking points worked out.

The latest nonsense comes from Democrat Representative John Lewis of Georgia. He is often protected from criticism because was once a scion of the civil rights movement. However, that was fifty years ago. Now, he is just another scheming, mealy-mouthed politician who wants to control the lives of others, and he proves that with this clip:

After the proverbial bloodbath the Democrats in Congress experienced back in November, you wonder how a mental midget like this guy made it. Then again, I am sure that he is in a very safe district. What a shame.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Left's vilification of the Right is going to get someone killed

With the die-hards on the left trying desperately to keep the meme going that Sarah Palin and the political right is responsible for the murderous acts of an insane man with leftist leanings, it has reached the point where these efforts have become so desperate that some lefty out there just may snap after being told over and over again how violent the right is, and decide to lash out at his perceived enemies.

What doesn't help is the following political cartoon I saw today that turns Palin into something less than human. Guy Benson at wrote about this cartoon and some others that employ "heated rhetoric" against the right. Remember, it is much easier to get people to commit violence if you can convince them that the target of their violence is somehow less than human, and I believe this grotesque cartoon accomplishes the mission of dehumanizing Sarah Palin and making her someone who a disturbed person on the left would want to harm:

When I saw this cartoon today, I was instantly reminded of the dehumanizing posters of Jews that the Nazis produced leading up to, and during, World War II. Kind of like this one:

Left-wingers in the media must stop this vilification of those with whom they disagree politically, or sooner or later, some minion of the New York Times, Keith Olbermann, or the cartoonist who turned Sarah Palin into the subhuman caricature you see above, is going to start to think it is acceptable to kill or injure those who are considered to be no longer fully human.

So to these leftists in the media, I say stop the hate! Stop the heated rhetoric!

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Music to my ears

Want to hear the recently-discovered earliest known sound recording? It is of a woman singing some French song, and the recording was done in 1860! Yes, 1860! That is about 20 years earlier than Thomas Edison's early recording work.

George Mason University's History News Network has it posted.

Naturally, it's not the best sound in the world, but there is no mistaking that it you are listening to a person. Just think, the voice you hear is from someone who was living in a world where the U.S. Civil War would not start for another year.


"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Whew! At least the shooter was a "gringo"

From that taxpayer-funded bastion of leftism, National Public Radio, comes the idiotic statement of the day.

Listen as this brown brain-trust (Hey, she brought up the "brown" business!) sighs some relief that it was a white guy who carried out the horrific crime in Arizona. The takeaway line:

"It’s safe to say there was a collective sigh of brown relief when the Tucson killer turned out to be a gringo."

Wow. If the shooter had been black instead of white, would she have expressed her relief that the Tucson killer turned out to be a "nigger"? I doubt NPR would have allowed her thoughts to go on the air so easily. Saying "gringo" however? Meh.

Can we de-fund NPR now? Oh, and after listening to this, they fired Juan Williams because... why?

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Left's legacy of hate and violence

I caught a little bit of NBC Nightly News tonight, and unsurprisingly, they spent plenty of time trying, once again, to tie the murderer in Arizona to conservatives; especially Sarah Palin. Shown multiple times of course was this "crosshairs" map of Palin's that designated with geological survey markers certain congressional districts that she hoped would go to Republicans in upcoming elections. The fact that the Democratic Leadership Council and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has used similar maps using target bullseyes went unreported by NBC News.

If someone from the statist side of the aisle tries to tell you how violent Sarah Palin and those right-wing "Tea Baggers" are, I have a treat for you. Michelle Malkin has posted a stupendous compilation of the violent words and actions committed by the political left in the last ten years, including the "overheated rhetoric" - the year's first overused term - that has been uttered by our current commander in chief, that, if a Republican president or other conservative politician said it, would have Paul Krugman suffering from the vapors.

Unlike the smallest off-color comments by those on the Right, which are blasted all over the media, many of the Left's not-so-greatest hits will be news to you unless you are a frequent reader of the alternative media and the conservative blogosphere. It will also give you the intellectual ammunition - can I say "ammunition"? - to throw back in their face - can I say that? - any ignorant statements by statists who try to tell you how uniquely violent those nasty conservatives are.

I wish we didn't have to engage in this kind of tit-for-tat, "you did it too" debating, but as Malkin says, our hand has been forced. You can't just let this crap go unanswered.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

The Band has lost its lead Brother

Dick Winters, the head of Easy Company, 2nd of the 506th Parachute Infantry during World War II, has died at the age of 92.

The actions of Winters and many of his fellow Easy Co. compatriots were beautifully portrayed in Band of Brothers, the amazing 2001 HBO mini-series.

I own the entire Band of Brothers collection on DVD, and I pull one out every once in a while and view some of the most haunting and accurate portrayals of World War II combat that were faced by our American fighting men.

God Bless Dick Winters and everyone who fought for our country in the "Good War."

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, January 08, 2011

That didn't take long: Tea Party is blamed for Giffords massacre

As soon as I saw the news coverage about the shooting of Arizona congresscritter Gabrielle Giffords, I knew the first thing out of the mouths of the loony left would be to blame the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and the political right as a whole for Giffords' shooting.

And as surely as the sun rises in the east, I was right, and right, and right, and right.

Problem is, the background of the shooter is not cooperating with the narrative that the political left in this country so wants to pin on the aforementioned people and organizations on the right.

First off, as far as left-wing hate rhetoric towards Gabrielle Giffords, look no further than that hotbed of left-wing loonyism, the Daily Kos. I would link you to this article, but for some reason, the Daily Kos has scrubbed this article from their site. Good thing I screen captured it first:

What's that? Giffords is DEAD to you? So, apparently it was hateful rhetoric on the left that caused this shooter to do this? Not to mention, wasn't it our current left-wing president, Barack Obama, who, when speaking of how to engage with his political enemies, said, "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun"? See how this works? The Left is predictably going to try to pin this crime on the political right no matter what the ideology of the shooter.

Speaking of the shooter's ideology, it is becoming more and more apparent that this shooter was far from being a Tea Party sympathizer.

A high school friend of his Tweeted earlier today that he was "quite liberal," "left-wing," a "pothead," and a "political radical." Yeah, he sounds like a real right-wing nutjob.

This is nothing new as of late. Most of the political violence in our country in the last few years has been committed by the political left, even as the left-wing news media does everything it can to laughably paint it as coming from the right.

In the meantime, I pray for Gabrielle Giffords' recovery, as I also pray for the souls of the 6 people killed and the 13 people wounded by the shooter, along with the families of the fallen.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Friday, January 07, 2011

Obamacare has nothing to do with it. Just move along, move along

Interesting story in today's edition of the Sacramento Bee. It seems our state's brand new statist insurance commissioner (and former statist state assemblyman) Dave Jones is all bent out of shape that several health insurance companies in California are raising their premiums:
Only days into the job, state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones faced off with the health insurance industry Thursday, calling on Blue Shield of California to delay plans to raise premiums by as much as 59 percent on nearly 200,000 Californians who buy health coverage on their own...

Anthem Blue Cross, the state's largest for-profit insurer, recently announced plans to raise rates for individual customers by 9.8 percent on average – on top of the 14 percent hike it put into effect in October...

Health Net on Jan. 1 also raised rates, by an average of 4 percent, on 37,000 customers with preferred provider coverage in the individual market, said spokesman Brad Kieffer. About 3,000 health maintenance customers saw rates go up an average of 1 percent...
The health insurance companies are quoted in the article as blaming the premium increases on, "spiraling costs for medical care that are charged by hospitals, doctors, and other medical providers," however, a spokesperson for Blue Shield goes out of his way to insist that the newly passed ObamaCare law has nothing to do with the rate hikes:
Blue Shield said its rate increase was not the result of provisions contained in the federal health care law.

"These rates reflect trends that were building long before health reform," the company said in a statement e-mailed to reporters.
Golly, it would be so easy to take these insurance companies at their word and let them place all the blame on themselves and health care providers, and absolve government of any responsibility, but don't the inevitable costs placed on the insurance companies by ObamaCare play any role at all? How could they not, and why won't the insurance companies say so?

I know! Let's revisit the words of Obama's Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, who said last year:
"There will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a letter to the insurance lobby.

"Simply stated, we will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes and increased profits on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections," Sebelius said. She warned that bad actors may be excluded from new health insurance markets that will open in 2014 under the law. They'd lose out on a big pool of customers, as many as 30 million people nationwide....
So with a not-so-subtle warning like that from our imperial federal government, even if ObamaCare is a reason for these rate hikes (and you know it has to be), do you think the insurance companies are going to say so?

Welcome to 2011 America.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Reading the Constitution: Yes, they were serious.

Remember when a reporter from CNS asked then-Speaker (I love the sound of that) Nancy Pelosi by what constitutional authority had Congress passed the individual mandate in the Obama-Care bill? Pelosi's non-answer was, "Are you serious? Are you serious?"

I have to say, I was having quite a bit of fun this morning as hundreds of members of the House of Representatives - Republican and Democrat alike - read the U.S. Constitution from the Preamble to the 27th Amendment.

I had the most fun watching the Dems get up there and read. There were times when some of them didn't look too happy about it. You could just see the seething going on behind some of these Democrats' eyes (Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas comes to mind) as they read their excerpt from the Constitution only because they knew if the Dems boycotted this reading, they would have been pilloried even more by the American public than they have already.

I texted a buddy of mine while the Constitution reading was going on and mentioned my observations about the Democrats to him. He responded back by saying, "It's like opening the Ark of the Covenant... their skin will melt off of their faces."

The proglodytes got all bent out of shape that Speaker Boehner insisted that the Constitution be read at the beginning of the 112th Congress. If I were Speaker, I would insist that this be done at the beginning of every new Congress. For God's Sake, they took an oath to uphold, protect, and defend this document; the least we can do is ensure that they know exactly what is in it.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, January 02, 2011

And I always thought I would be the one to get groped

Ever since my wife told me back in October that we would be flying to San Diego just after Christmas to see her sister and family, I had been dreading the return flight from San Diego back to Sacramento.


Because even though Sacramento's airport doesn't have the porn-scanners that show your naked form to TSA officials, I know San Diego's airport does. And we all know the choice that is faced at airports like San Diego: Porn scan, or enhanced patdown. After all, it was at San Diego's airport where the famous "Don't touch my junk" guy introduced a new catchphrase to the American lexicon. When I ran the scenario in my mind about what to do if faced with that choice, I tended to place myself in that predicament. For whatever reason, it just seemed logical that I would be the chosen one for this 4th Amendment-busting treatment.

Fast forward to New Year's Day, 2011; which, at this writing, is still yesterday. My wife, kids, and I approached the TSA agents at the x-rays and metal detectors. Like good proles, we dutifully emptied our pockets and removed our shoes. My wife was the first through the metal detector, and it beep-beep-beeped. She was sent back through to try again, removing her watch and necklace and handing it to me first. She went back through again, and it beep-beep-beeped. She was sent back to try again. This time, there was nothing left to take off or out of her pockets. She walked through the detector a third time, and it beep-beep-beeped again. By this time, my wife was getting flustered. She was pretty sure the underwire in her bra was setting off the metal detector, but she began rightly wondering why that same bra didn't set off the detectors in Sacramento. But her fluster was mostly caused by what she knew was coming next.

Now, in the past, the security official would have wanded my wife with a hand-held metal detector, it would have beeped in the underwire area, and that would have been it. Not in Barack Obama and Janet Napolitano's America. Instead, we were ushered to a side area where a female TSA agent had my wife assume the arms-up position with which we are all now familiar, and proceeded to conduct the enhanced patdown with which we are all familiar.

It was just like you have all seen in news reports and YouTube videos: Just about every inch of my wife's body was checked. The agent used the back of her hands to check the chest area, and most uncomfortable part was the below the waist check. The agent didn't just go up the legs and stop when she reached no more room to go up; she went across the front of my wife's unmentionable area, and then worked her way down.

Meanwhile, my wife had a look that was one part humiliation, and one part resignation. I guess the saving grace is that the TSA agent had the same look as my wife. I got the feeling that this was not what the agent signed up for.

When it was over, I asked my wife if she was OK. She was a good sport about it, and said that if she would have done anything differently, she would have requested a private room. She said the patdown itself wasn't as bad as the fact that it was being conducted in front of God and everybody. It also bothered her that our kids had to watch it. I would have loved to have the kids go elsewhere, but I would have had to go with them, and there was no way I was leaving my wife by herself. After we took a seat near our gate, I made a point of talking with our kids about what they had witnessed, and planted the seed in their minds that this is not the way things are supposed to be at the airport or in our society, and that once upon a time, things were indeed not that way.

So, quite the way to ring in the new year, eh? A sad little glimpse of 2011 America.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson