Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The heatwave is suppose to last through Friday (31 July).
The Seattle Times explains:
As I mentioned in yesterday's post, the reason why so many Western Washingtonians are so uncomfortable in this heat is because the vast majority of homes don't have air conditioning.
The demand for manufactured cool air skyrocketed and lines formed around hardware places like Home Depot and Lowes, making these stores look like multiplexes showing the newest Harry Potter movie.
Here's a KING-5 TV video on the AC run (you may have to scroll down and look for the thumbnail "Customers Line Up for..."):
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
(Both charts were taken from the Conservative Outpost originally posted by John Allison III)
Most Americans, 72-80% depending on the polls, are happy or at least satisfied with their current healthcare plan.
But according to Obama's commissars our country's current healthcare system, primarily relying on private enterprize, must be entirely revamped to get 50+ million unsinsured access to decent medical care.
There are several problems with this bill:
1. It's $1 trillion+ price-tag.
2. It's so complicated that even its author--Obama (Hillary?)--can't explain it to the general public's satisfaction, no matter how many press conferences he holds.
3. The idea that government run bureaucracy is more efficient than private enterprise is inaccurate, to say the least.
4. Even a compromise "partial program" will eventually drive-out the private insurance companies because they can't compete against the US Treasury.
5. Congressmen, especially the Democrats in favor of this, haven't read the entire 1,018 page bill--and they're hell-bent on ram-rodding this down everyone's throats.
6. Advocates for this bill haven't observed the poor quality-of-care the UK's NHS (National Healthcare System) provides it's subjects. Or maybe they have. While Canada's healthcare system is no better.
One of the issues pointed out is that such a government-run healthcare system warps the relationship between the citizen and the government. "Citizens" are turned into "wards of the state" with little incentive to change the status-quo for fear of disrupting their link to healthcare.
Mark Steyn explains:
There's also a number of disturbing items tacked-on to this bill, un-read by so many.
Like being fined by the IRS if you can't prove you're enrolled in a healthcare plan.
And that at some point the elderly are required to attend some "end-of-life" counselling to discuss "other options."
Betsy McCaughley of the New York Post explains and cites page numbers on this bill:
So the year 2022 is not far off--in more ways than one...
As the healthcare firefight continues, the Democrats in Congress invoked an Orwellian PC censor order on their Republican opponents. Supposedly, Republicans are being told not to refer this as a "governement-run healthcare plan," but a "public-option healthcare plan." Which of course isn't being imposed by a "Democrat-led Congress" but by a the "house majority."
Republicans of course are crying "1st Amendment foul."
Here's a 7-minute video from FOX's America's Newsroom:
Once again, we're reminded that terrorism just doesn't take place in scorched, far-off lands. Islamic terrorists continue to hatch plots here within our neighborhoods--like the one in pictured above in Willow Springs, NC. (Photo by Associated Press).
Daniel Boyd and his two sons Zakariya and Dylan, along with 4 others were arrested yesterday and charged with plotting violent jihad abroad.
This story is currently unfolding with some news sites only posting a paragraph's worth of information. Here's the tale so far according to FOX News:
Monday, July 20, 2009
One of my friends sent us this article a couple of days ago. His comment: "Gump, you're a God-d*mned genius!"
My like-minded friends and I are amazed how some of Obama's anti-terrorist policies don't stir-up the same emotions as Bush's did--which is often hard to tell the difference between the two.
Official: US may create terror interrogation unit
By DEVLIN BARRETT, Associated Press Writer Devlin Barrett, Associated Press Writer –
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is considering creating a special unit of professional interrogators to handle key terror suspects, focusing on intelligence-gathering rather than building criminal cases for prosecution, a government official said Saturday.
The recommendation is expected from a presidential task force on interrogation methods that plans to send some findings to the White House on Tuesday.
The official said the panel, which has not completed its work, has concluded that the unit of intelligence and law enforcement agencies should be created. The task force is unsure which agencies should have a role, though the CIA and FBI are expected to be important players, according to the official. He was not authorized to publicly discuss the panel's work and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Ben LaBolt, a White House spokesman, said President Barack Obama has not reviewed the task force's recommendations. LaBolt declined to discuss any findings. The recommendation about the new unit was first reported in Saturday's Wall Street Journal.
The unit's structure would depart significantly from such work under the Bush administration, when the CIA had the lead and sometimes exclusive role in questioning al-Qaida suspects. The task force has not reached a conclusion as to which agency should lead the unit or where it should be based, the official said.
Such a unit would not alter the Obama administration's decision banning harsh interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, which simulates drowning, that were authorized by the Bush administration. The Obama task force is examining what other techniques could be used, the official said.
Obama signed executive orders when he took office in January calling for government task forces to recommend future policies for interrogating and detaining suspected terrorists. The deadline for those recommendations is Tuesday, but the work will take more time than that.
The coming week also marks the halfway point to Obama's deadline to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center: During his first week in office, he ordered the military-run center shuttered within a year.
That goal has been complicated by reluctance of U.S. allies, particularly in Europe, to take significant numbers of the remaining detainees. In addition, Congress, wary of transferring detainees to this country, even to maximum security prisons, has voted to withhold money to pay for the shutdown until the administration produces what it considers an acceptable relocation plan.
More than 90 percent of the detainees held at the U.S. military base in Cuba when he signed that order remain there. To its critics, "Gitmo" is a concrete-and-steel symbol of an American gulag; to supporters, it is as a critical safeguard against terrorism.
Guantanamo's detractors and defenders both say the administration's efforts so far suggest that deadline may lapse.
LaBolt said the administration is "making steady progress in reviewing the status of each Guantanamo detainee and in strengthening the military commission system to ensure that the detainees are brought to swift and certain justice."
He noted that Bush administration "succeeded in prosecuting only three detainees in more than seven years."
When Obama became president in January, there were about 245 inmates at the facility. After six months, the U.S. has relocated fewer than 20. Most of those were sent to other countries; one has been brought to U.S. to face trial in a civilian criminal court.
The administration has reviewed more than half of the remaining 229 detainee cases at Guantanamo.
The government hopes to transfer many of the detainees — including up to 100 Yemenis — to other nations for rehabilitation or release. A much smaller number is expected to be brought to trial by the Justice Department, and a separate group will be tried in military commissions.
A final group probably will be held without formal charges, subject to some form of regular judicial review.
The Bush administration created the Guantanamo facility after the Sept. 11 attacks. The intent was to deal with what U.S. officials called "the worst of the worst" among suspected terrorists. But over the years the U.S. released or transferred more than 500 of the inmates once held, including a number who clearly didn't fit that description.
Obama campaigned on a pledge to close Guantanamo. As president, he has seen members of his own party abandon him on he issue when Republicans mounted vocal opposition.
Democrats and Republicans alike voted joined in the vote to withhold funding — the first serious legislative setback of Obama's presidency.
"It demonstrates the president's first executive order was a fundamentally flawed judgment," said Rep. Peter King, the senior Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee who recently joined the House Intelligence Committee.
"I have no doubt the average American wants terrorists held in Guantanamo — they want tough policies against terrorism," he said.
Jonathan Hafetz, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the legal issues surrounding Guatanamo too often have been pushed aside by politics.
"There's been an ugly, angry backlash in Congress that's based on a mix of fear-mongering and misunderstanding. Obama has pledged to restore the rule of law and abide by the rule of law, and he needs to act out of principle, not political pressure," said Hafetz.
Hafetz argued the administration is subverting its own cause by pressing ahead with what he calls weak cases against particular prisoners. "That's inconsistent with their stated desire to close the prison within a year," he said.
Here's a series of videos from Space.com commemorating this historic event:
NASA of course is celebrating in style:
I was 8 years-old when Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin touched down in the Sea of Tranquility.
This and the subsequent Apollo missions were big events for us grade-schoolers. The teacher would wheel-out the big black & white classroom TV and if timed right, we'd watch the lift-offs, landings and any other news items surrounding the missions.
It's been 40 years since those epic space flights. Today, the space shuttle Endeavour's crew conducted a spacewalk outside the International Space Station. Inside the space station, the crew dealt with a more "mundane" problem--fixing a back-up toilet:
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Today I just got around to opening a bag of Easter-themed Peanut Butter M&Ms. I'll buy holiday candy when it goes on sale after the holiday and then it will take me several months to get through all the junk. In fact I finished my Christmas Candy just before Easter.
A couple of months ago, my sister took part in a podcast and they were giving one of the members a hard time about eating Easter Candy a month after the holiday.
As a retired military member I'm all-too familiar with MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat). One of the best treats inside the vacuum-sealed packets were M&Ms. However, I never noticed any expiration dates on any MREs I've eaten.
Sealing all the items in thick plastic--with no noticeable expiration date--didn't stop some of the aging process. The M&Ms found in MREs was often so old the chocolate became completely dehydrated. Mmmm. It was like eating candy-coated chocolate dust.
So eating candy that's "merely" a few months old is no big deal for me. I still have half a bag left of these Easter M&Ms. But this isn't the last of my Easter candy. I have an unopened bag of Cadbury Mini-Eggs left. I should get around to polishing these off before Labor Day...
My wife teases my about my ability to keep such holiday treats for so long. But this wasn't always the case.
Before I turned 40, I could eat what I wanted and as much as I wanted. Or as I called it the "eat like crazy/workout like crazy" fitness plan. However, by the time I turned 46 I found myself 20 pounds heavier. So I cut out eating junk food until I got back down to my original weight.
I still get cravings, but I found certain foods help me resist the siren song of chocolate and other goodies. This morning I came across about some of the very foods I eat to help get me through most days without falling off the dietary wagon:
Monday, July 13, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Or is he?
According to ABC's Good Morning America (GMA), the incriminating still photo is merely part of Obama's motion as her turns to help another young lady down the stairs. (The one behind him in the black blouse & white & blue skirt).
Here's the GMA news story via YouTube:
Other YouTube videos identify the woman in the sheer purple dress to be Mayara Tavares, a 16 year-old junior delegate.
For you rappers out there, here's this video:
So it might indeed be a case of mistaken indemnity for Obama.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, on the other hand wasn't so subtle.
Well, he is French after all.
However, no one's explained this photo yet...
My favorite two commentators had the most insightful articles on the subject.
First, Mark Steyn:
I love Mark's observation about the transition to local-state politics (suited for most normal folks) to national politics which is more suited for people born into politically connected families. Or as Mark calls them: Our Political Ruling Class.
Victor Davis Hanson, or "VDH" as we call him, discusses the hypocrisy of those afflicted with PDS--Palin Derangement Syndrome:
Friday, July 10, 2009
The signing ceremony in Moscow was a grand affair. For Barack Obama, foreign-policy neophyte and “reset” man, the arms-reduction agreement had a Kissingerian air. A fine feather in his cap. And our president likes his plumage.
That’s the cause of the collapse of our relations. Not drift, but aggression. Or, as the reset man referred to it with such delicacy in his Kremlin news conference: “our disagreements on Georgia’s borders.”
— Charles Krauthammer is a nationally syndicated columnist. © 2009, The Washington Post Writers Group
The "Usual Suspects," Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro and Barack Obama, along with the Useless Nobodies (the UN) and Organization of Alligned Sychophants (OAS) condemned the "coup."
Here's the 29 June story as it appeared in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ):
While Obama was nearly silent about the protests in Iran, he's definately taking a stand with Honduras--the the former Thug-in-Chief Zelaya. It seems that our Apologizer-in-Chief feels that by maintaining the world's status-qou he'll be in a better position to wow world leaders with his star-power. Although Obama received a chilly reception in Russia--and it wasn't due to the weather.
Michael Waller of Political Warfare made several suggestions on how conduct a successfull coup:
Unfortunately, Honduras didn't follow Michael's advice and is still on the outs with Obama and the rest of the cabal of international community organizers. But as most of us already realize, the reality on the teeming streets of Tegucigalpa is quite different than what is being portrayed beyond the Honduran jungles. Pajamas Media's Roger Simon writes about the upside-down view of Honduras:
Comrade Karla, rolled-in:
Regardless of the finer points of political and legal argument, the media role in all of this has been shown, once again, to be fraudulent at the very least. Also interesting the last comment…notice how coverage of Iran has dropped off the radar, and "The One" pretty much has thrown the protestors under a bus once and for all.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
And we have the first family setting an awesome example while overseas:
One of Karla's friends had a great response, along with a bit of ideological trivia:
I have asked probably a hundred people wearing the "peace sign" over the years what the symbol actually meant and have NEVER had a single person able to correctly identify the specific meaning of it. the answer is always "it means peace" or some derivative of that, never "nuclear disarmament" and certainly never why that particular symbol means nuclear disarmament. FYI, for the record the symbol is the semaphore letters "N" and "D" superimposed on one another.
It goes to my general belief that most leftists are more wrapped around empty slogans than any real understanding of what they are talking about. Style over substance, much like our current administration.
Here's an illustration I found:
Clifford Levy and Ellen Barry of the New York Times observed:
One telling quote:
“We don’t really understand why Obama is such a star,” said Kirill Zagorodnov, 25, one of the graduates. “It’s a question of trust, how he behaves, how he positions himself, that typical charisma, which in Russia is often parodied. Russians really are not accustomed to it. It is like he is trying to manipulate the public.”
Comrade Karla's response:
American's shouldn't be accustomed to it, either.
Agreed. Americans should always be skeptical of politicians--even the ones they vote for.
The other day, while Michael Jackson was being laid to rest among much fanfare, Obama was busy cutting a deal with the Russians on reducing the nuclear arsenal of each nation.
Comrade Karla forwarded the above picture of Obama. Looks like Obama was seated at the kiddie's folding table during Thanksgiving Dinner. I wondered if during the negotiations, the Russian flag was bigger than the American one.
While the idea of renewing the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) is being hailed with much hype by the Democrats, one key element is being left out: Obama is not providing any funding to maintain, let alone update our aging nuclear warheads. If this continues, the US will unilaterally disarm by neglect.
Ralph Peters rolls-in on this in the New York Post:
By RALPH PETERS
July 7, 2009 --
PRESIDENT Obama went to Moscow desperate for the appearance of a foreign-policy success. He got that illusion -- at a substantial cost to America's security.
The series of signing ceremonies in a grand Kremlin hall and the litany of agreements, accords and frameworks implied that the United States benefited from all the fuss. We didn't.
We got nothing of real importance. But the government of puppet-master Vladimir Putin (nominally just prime minister) got virtually all it wanted. In Moscow, this was Christmas in July.
Ignore the agenda-padding public-health memorandum and the meaningless "framework document on military cooperation" (we've had such agreements before; the Russians always just stiff us). The main course in Moscow was arms control.
President Obama's ideological bias against nuclear weapons dates back to his undergraduate years. Yet those weapons kept the peace between the world's great powers for 64 years. A few remarks about deterrence notwithstanding, Obama just doesn't get it.
He agreed to trim our nuclear-warhead arsenal by one-third and -- even more dangerously -- to cut the systems that deliver the nuclear payloads. In fact, the Russians don't care much about our warhead numbers (which will be chopped to a figure "between 1,500 and 1,675"). What they really wanted -- and got -- was a US cave-in regarding limits on our nuclear-capable bombers, submarines and missiles that could leave us with as few as 500 such systems, if the Russians continue to get their way as the final details are negotiated.
Moscow knows we aren't going to start a nuclear war with Russia. Putin (forget poor "President" Dmitry Medvedev) wants to gut our conventional capabilities to stage globe-spanning military operations. He wants to cut us down to Russia's size.
Our problem is that many nuclear-delivery systems -- such as bombers or subs -- are "dual-use": A B-2 bomber can launch nukes, but it's employed more frequently to deliver conventional ordnance.
Putin sought to cripple our ability to respond to international crises. Obama, meanwhile, was out for "deliverables" -- deals that could be signed in front of the cameras. Each man got what he wanted.
President Obama even expressed an interest in further nuclear-weapons cuts. Peace in our time, ladies and gentlemen, peace in our time . . .
We just agreed to the disarmament position of the American Communist Party of the 1950s.
The Russians also enjoyed our president's empathy for their position on missile defense. Apparently, Eastern Europe really does belong to the Kremlin's sphere of influence.
Not least, Obama fell for the sucker offer of the year: The Russians will generously allow us to fly our troops and weapons through their airspace to Afghanistan.
This ploy is utterly transparent: Putin intends to lull us into dependency on a trans-Russia supply route -- giving him a free hand in Georgia, Ukraine and elsewhere.
By Putin's calculus, we'll complain about further aggression on Russia's frontiers, but take no action that would jeopardize our new supply line. Meanwhile, we serve as the Kremlin's proxies, protecting its sphere of influence in Central Asia against Islamist influence from the south and working on the Russians' Afghan heroin problem.
What did our president get in return? Russia will import more American meat products (which Russia needs). And we can re-open our Moscow office investigating the cases of POWs and MIAs from yesteryear's wars. Well, I served in that office 16 years ago. Even during the Yeltsin-era "thaw," the Russians stonewalled us. And Putin's no Boris Yeltsin.
Our president also got some generalizations about North Korea and Iran, but no hard commitments. Russia -- which designed many of Iran's nuclear facilities -- wouldn't even promise to permanently deny Iran the sophisticated air-defense systems that would make it harder to hit Tehran's nuke sites.
And you could read something else in President Medvedev's imperious bearing behind his podium yesterday: Moscow longs for the world to view Russia and the United States as equals again, as joint arbiters of a global condominium, reviving the Kremlin's Cold-War status (for which Russians feel passionate nostalgia).
They got that, too. And we got nothing, nothing, nothing. Unless you think trading our military superiority for hamburger sales is a winner.
There's been a debate in the Obama administration between veterans who learned the hard way not to trust the Russians and the new, unblooded idealists. Now we know who won.
Great news for the Russian Federation. Bad news for America. Until an adoring media spins it, of course.
This generated some discussion among my friends. (Comrade Karla's comments are in red).
Ralph's somewhat over blown on his arguments (as he sometimes is), but more importantly he misses bigger picture issues:
(1) Missile Defense - Obama is quietly strangling it. This is bad for both defense of the U.S. at a time when North Korea and Iran are developing missiles that can hit the U.S. and also because backing out of the deal in Eastern Europe is going to be a tremendous long-term foreign policy disaster. Rightly or wrongly, we strong-armed Poland and the Czech Republic into accepting anti-missile sites, which earned them the wrath of Russia. If we back out, those countries are going to feel screwed and go from the most pro-U.S. countries in Europe to something less friendly.
Unfortunately, the west has a long and strong tradition of screwing both Poland and the Czechs.
(2) Nuclear warheads - yes, he talks about numbers, but he misses the real, longer-term issue -- he has cut 100% of the funding for a new warhead design. We are heading for a situation where the only warheads left will be for Trident II and even those have a nominal 20-30 year lifespan which will be greatly exceeded (there is some work to try to extend that to over 50, but no one knows how relaible they are going to be by then). We may unilaterally disarm ourselves by refusing to modernize our arsenal. The Russians, of course, are busily developing new warheads and delivery systems. That is the real danger!
Also unfortunately, I think he knows exactly what he's doing where this is concerned.
On the "good" news front, Russia is likely to suffer more in the long term form anuclear Iran than we are, but they are too stupid and blind to realize it. Cold comfort, however!
Less stability--I still can't figure out why so many on the left seem to love unstable/dangerous international political landscapes. Where they don't exist, they go out of their way to foster them, it seems.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Sarah consulted with her entire family prior to making this announcement and they all agreed with her. The Palins are keeping mum about mom's motive for resigning.
So as of now, 4 days after the announcement, speculation is running rampant. Some say this is Palin's "cunning plan" to position herself as a presidential contender in 2012.
But normally no one likes a quitter. However, many feel Palin and her entire family have been heinously mistreated by the mainstream media (MSM) and other liberal organizations, so they're willing to cut her some slack.
On Laura Ingram's website her daily poll showed a split 50/50 as to whether or not Sarah Palin made a good decision about resigning. If of course, she does plan to run for the presidency.
Eventually we'll find out.
My opinion, for what it's worth, is this: Sarah Palin was hoping to go back to Alaska and be forgotten--until she made her bid for the Republican presidential candidacy. But the pundits and the MSM wouldn't leave her alone. Then when David Letterman made his distasteful joke about Palin's 14-year old daughter, along with the Vanity Fair article, I think Palin reached her "F--k this!" point.
Michelle Malkin rolls-in on Letterman's apology (of sorts):
The Vanity Fair article: