Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Lawmakers Beware?

You probably have heard of the search of one Alaska's Senator's home as part of an ongoing investigation. It's been plastered everywhere. But now, it seems there are more being looked at a little closer, as well. Could this be a new trend in federal law enforcement? One can only hope.

The article cited has one name we have all heard, mainly because he was caught taking bribe money on video tape. The article also cites some others that have been mentioned in previous reports for various other things, similar in nature. But as I look at the list, I cannot help but wonder why there aren't more under scrutiny. Can any intelligent person really believe that this list is a comprehensive one?

I am sure that many have been doing this kind of thing for a long time and are good at covering their tracks. One thing I will say with a fair amount of conviction is, these people are not the only ones that have had dirty dealings. Corruption knows no party lines and in my view is rampant, in both the Senate and the House.

I certainly hope that more investigations will be opened up soon. Both Democrats and Republicans have taken the support of the American people for granted, for a long time. Both feel they can do as they please, without fear of being held accountable. But with that thought in mind, both seriously need to wake up and realize that they work for us and misbehavior/corruption will not be tolerated at any level.

When one or the other is faced with investigation or prosecution, the partisans will always point to the other party's misdeeds as some weak excuse that garners no validity. This has to stop. It's high time for the American people to hold everyone accountable and stop rewarding long time crooked politicians with reelection, when they are clearly on the take.

In short, we need a heavy-handed shake-up in Washington. And it's primarily up to the voters to make it happen. But, a little help from the feds would be nice too.

A Change Of Opinion?

The NY Times has a way of featuring op-ed pieces that are critically scathing towards the administration's policies on Iraq. But now, if you read this piece, it seems there's more optimism about the surge.

No time to comment right now, but do give this a read.


This report seems to lend some support to the thoughts expressed in the NYT piece.

Granted, a lower death toll does not necessarily indicate success. It could be that there is somewhat of a lull, because many of the insurgents are laying low due to the increased presence. It could be that there is a new strategy by the terrorists that has yet to be fully implemented. But regardless of the reasons behind it, it is lower. And for that, we can be thankful.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Tony Stewart Wins Brickyard 400

The first half of the race looked more like the Wreckyard 400 than the Brickyard 400. But in the end, Tony Stewart of Columbus, Indiana had the strongest and fastest car on the track. (Complete results here.) He was not going to be caught.

After living here for years, this was my first race, at the track. Getting in wasn't as bad as I had thought it would be, but getting out was a hassle. Everyone trickles in throughout the morning, but most everyone exits at the same time, creating a massive logjam. Knowing the shortcuts through town helped me get out faster than I would have otherwise been able to do.

The crowd was huge, but surprisingly there were a lot of open seats where we sat (right as they go into the third turn). I was equally amazed at how much beer was being consumed all around me, with very few people getting rowdy. There were a couple of instances where the yellow shirts (track security) had to step in. One appeared to be a domestic thing, possibly with two exes involved. Another was some creepy looking guy, I am not sure what the hell his problem was.

Overall, I found the NASCAR crowd very mannerly and far more subdued than the Indy 500 group is known to be, and certainly, far less snobby than the Formula One crowd. It's not something I would want to do again soon. But next year, who knows? Now that I know what to expect, I will be in a better position to negotiate the process.

The most awesome part was clearly watching how fast these guys go, assuming it wasn't one of the 8 or so caution flags in the first 30 laps, or so. The roar was earth shaking to the point that my water bottle vibrated and you could feel the sound waves on your chest. In short, it was breath-taking. Having been to Indy 500 qualifications, I think I can now say that NASCAR cars are nowhere near as loud as Indy cars.

So, here I am, a bit sunburned and very tired from the day. Hope all of you had a good weekend, too.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Another Blast From The Past

Jeff Gordon and his crew, during a pit stop.

If you read my previous post, you know just how lucky I am to have free tickets to the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, one of NASCAR"S richest races. So this week, the theme will be the Brickyard 400. How will I pull this off, you ask? I am not sure I will, but here goes anyway.

NASCAR's roots go back to the bootlegging days of Prohibition. Those early good ol' boys did their best to outrun the authorities in cars, with a stock of fresh white lightning stored in the trunk. So what better way to start this off, than with the song Good Ol' Boys (Theme song from the old Dukes of Hazzard TV series), by Waylon Jennings:

Now for some comic relief. No NASCAR Blast From The Past tribute would be complete without this hilarious song by comedian Tim Wilson. Here is The NASCAR Song:

And while we are on the subject of Tim Wilson. Mrs. Sunsett and I had the pleasure of meeting him after one of his performances here in Indianapolis, a few years back. This guy is truly one of the funnier southern comedians, ever. His mind can rip off funny stuff in his sleep.

His latest song is about some of the celebrities we are all sick of. I will warn you though, this next song is R-Rated for some very salty language. So if you are at work or around children, be discreet while listening to it. Here is But I Could Be Wrong:


Of Luck And Fortune

Hi. My name is LASunsett. Many of you may not know this, but the LA stands for Lucky Ass. Here's why:

As many Americans already know, this is the weekend that the "good old boys" are coming to Indy. The second most prestigious race in the NASCAR Nextel circuit (and third major event of the year at the IMS) is scheduled for Sunday,
the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.

First let me say this: Whenever a race comes to town, I have always felt compelled to look around and find the side shows and events that accompany the race. They are as much fun if not more so than dealing with the mess, the big show seems to create. Because of this well known fact, it has never been my desire to go to the race, itself. The high volume of traffic and people that one must endure is astronomical, and I simply enjoy smaller events (like NFL or NCAA games) much better.

Secondly, I am not the biggest fan of the NASCAR circuit, even though I follow it in the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday papers. I read the results and the standings. The only reason I show it much interest at all is: Everyone around me, almost everywhere I go, has a fair share of racing knowledge, and they talk about it. So, if I didn't have some workable knowledge, there would be down moments in the flow of conversation.

But with all of that said and despite my lack of standard enthusiasm for these kinds of things, I just want to tell you all how lucky I truly am. I am the kind of guy that could register to win anything that I would enjoy immensely, and that would be it. No call, no mail. Just a thank you at the time I drop my entry into the box, and a goodbye is all I ever get. It's all I have ever gotten. It's all I ever expect.

But the if truth really be known, I did win something. Once. I did win two tickets to see Foreigner and the Doobie Brothers, in concert about 14 years ago.

I really wanted to go, because as my faithful readers all know, I love music. The contest was being held in a local convenience store right around the corner from me at the time, and the lady (who knew I was a regular) told me not many people had entered and I should take a shot. So, I took half of a stack of entry forms home with me. I filled out about 30 or so and took the stack back later and dropped them off. About a half hour later they called and said I won. So, that one doesn't count.

Anyway, after saying all of this, I am proud to announce that I didn't enter a contest to see the Brickyard, nor any other race ever. No, sir. Not one, not ever. Meanwhile, up until just yesterday, I figured this would be just another race Sunday, at home, maybe taking a glance or two during the course of the race. That's all I had in mind this time. Peace, serenity, you know, the kinds of things Sundays are made for.

How wrong, I was. You see, it turns out I do not have to enter a contest to find out how lucky I really am.

Mrs. Sunsett's friend, just last evening, called and informed us that she won two tickets to the race. How nice for her, she sounded lucky. The trouble of it all was, she already has her own. Well okay, maybe not so lucky after all. So as a philanthropic offer , she thought she'd offer them to us, since she likes us and considers us good friends. By the way, did I mention that my wife answered the phone?

Well, she did. And I am now going to the race. And I have been ordered to have fun. And fun I will have (for I am an order-taker, not an order giver).

So, many many thanks go to Mrs. Sunsett's friend, Marsh Supermarkets, Tony George, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for making me feel so lucky, by giving me Sunday, a day to remember. Creeping into the area for miles at a 5 mph crawl, spending an hour or two parking the car, and getting to the track by foot four hours before the race begins, is bound to create a lot of memories. And it will no doubt cause me to stop, pause, and think of just how truly lucky I am.

No sirree, Bob. I am lucky and I am going to have fun. Just leave me the names of some good hearing aid companies, if any of you know any. What didn't get taken care of by years of rock concerts and artillery fire in the Army, will likely be finished off by Sunday evening.

So if you happen to watch it on TV, watch for me. I'll wave to you. Don't yell to me, because I won't hear you. But you'll know it's me, I'll be the one having fun and looking like I am a man of great fortune.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to say:

Go Jeff Gordon #24.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Another Weak Argument Easy To Refute

The Nation's John Nichols is one of America's well-known and loved progressive writers, who most of the time gets it dead wrong. Once again he does not disappoint, as is evidenced in this essay.

After throwing around the usual tired cliches and catch-phrases often used by the Left, one thing remains clear. He hasn't made his case.

Here is but one example of his folly, from this piece:

The burgeoning movement for impeachment is a rational response to a moment when polls tell us that roughly three-quarters of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Sounds good if you one of the people that suffer from BDS, and repeat every left-wing talking point you hear. But this is as faulty a statement as telling someone grass is pink.

From Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution comes this bit of information that Mr. Nichols should reacquaint himself with before making such outlandish statements:

The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

That's a far cry from what John claims is cause for impeachment. Nowhere does it say that a President can be removed for taking the country in the wrong direction. You may not like the President, you may hate his guts, and you may hate his policy. But that is not sufficient cause for impeachment, period.

Read Mr. Nichols' weak and faulty arguments thoroughly, and then show us all where there has been a crime committed by the President. I cannot find any, but maybe I am missing something.

The New Brat Pack

You have to love the headline in this story:

Star of 'Simple Life' Heads Behind Bars

And then of course, there's the opening line of the article:

Nicole Richie today became the second "Simple Life" star to be sentenced to time in the slammer.

But then we read further and see:

Richie, like her co-star and friend Paris Hilton, was sentenced to four days in jail after pleading guilty to driving under the influence of drugs.

That doesn't seem to be such a story. Unless, you (like me) fail to see where the message is being driven home.

I seriously doubt Paris Hilton has learned her lesson. Right after she was released, she went on Larry King and lied her ass off. We all know now that Lindsey Lohan, didn't learn a damned thing from her first DUI. Britney has been reported to have been on some kind of mind-altering substance in a recent photo shoot, and apparently has defied court orders that her children not be taken out of the state of California.

These girls are essentially out of control and if their behaviors are not curtailed soon, they run the risk of killing someone, someday. They just don't get it. They think they are above the law and thumb their noses at the justice system, flagrantly and often.

But that's not the half of it. These instances are just the ones we know about. How many more times have they driven drunk or high, and not gotten caught?

It's too late to spank them, which is what they surely needed when they were younger (and probably didn't get). But it's not too late to make them do some serious time for their offenses. (Unless we would like to wait for them to kill someone innocent, first.)

Tattle Tale, Tattle Tale.

By now you have probably heard of Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County Sheriff in Arizona. He's the one that houses his prisoners in a tent city, without the usual amenities that come with incarceration at the county level.

Well, now he has a hotline for citizens to call in tips on illegal immigrants. And as you may have guessed it's not so popular with some people. So as the old adage goes, for every action there's a reaction:

Some Latino advocacy groups will launch a hot line of their own to take tips from people who believe they've been unfairly reported to Arpaio's hotline, said activist Mary Rose Wilcox, a Maricopa County supervisor.

Basically what this says: If you tell on me, I'll tell on you. But there is a bit of a twist and it is evident: Not only will we tell on you, we'll have the ACLU or some hotshot attorney file a suit against you, too.

News In Brief (And The Usual Opinionated Commentary)

Too much going on (at a personal level) for any real writing, so let's take a look and see what the PYY news desk is following.

Dow Drops Big

I wouldn't worry just yet. In spite of what naysayers always say when this happens, the oldage of "what goes up must come down" applies. This happens every so often, so as to flush the turkeys out. The important thing to note is the trend has been continuing upwards, despite the occasional corrections. As for the housing market being the cause, why would anyone want to build a new house for $300,000, when they can get a repo for $225,000?

Clinton, Obama Continue To Spar

This may get bloody, politically speaking. One thing they will have to be careful of doing? Beating each other up too much, ruining either's chances in November. And if they keep it up too long, throw out the theory of them being running mates. (Just for the record, I think Hillary is right on this one and Obama is dead wrong. We cannot cozy up to rogue states without some pre-conditions or any real hope of making some reasonable, meaningful progress.)

Islamists Occupy Red Mosque

Just when you thought this was over, here comes a new dilemma for the Pakistani government. Musharref will need to squash this one and fast or this will become more common, each time he acts against these radicals.

And finally:

If you like animals, did you see this one? It's a purr-fect tale of intuition, sensitivity, and compassion, all wrapped into one.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Colorado University Fires Ward Churchill

While the irrational Left will make this sound like a "blow to free speech", the real reason the former CU professor was fired has nothing to do with his repugnant, irresponsible remarks he is best known for. Mr. Churchill was fired for plagiarism, which is a big no-no in the world of academia, no matter how highly esteemed the educator may be. But despite this well-known academic taboo, there are those that are appalled by this decision.

From the Denver Post:

The nearly unanimous decision to fire professor Ward Churchill stirred discontent among some faculty Tuesday, many of whom vowed to fight the decision.

Many professors said they saw the decision coming and said they were crushed by what it might do to recruiting creative professors to the campus.

Looks good on paper, but I submit to you another argument: Allowing plagiarism to go unchecked will do more damage to a university, than firing a professor regarded as a (so-called) champion of free speech. What the Churchill supporters won't tell you is that Mr. Churchill was not just accused of one instance of plagiarism. In fact, just read this 125 page report, if you really want to see just how big of a phony this guy is.

No folks, this isn't about the little Eichmanns comment. People say the most irresponsible things in the world and still get to keep their jobs. (SEE: Congress) But when a university doesn't take action against someone that copies other people's works without giving proper credit, it leaves a black mark on the university and will do more damage than anything else.

So, the only question that remains is, what took them so long?

Adm. McConnell On Security

In case you missed Meet The Press on Sunday, here is the transcript from the show. In case you have never listened to him or read his statements, let me say, Mike McConnell is one smart guy and people should feel good that he is in the position he is in. He knows what he's doing.

If you are truly interested in being informed, I'd read the entire interview. Here is a snippet of that interview:

MR. RUSSERT: Let me read another key judgment. “Although we have discovered only a handful of individuals in the United States with ties to al-Qaeda senior leadership since” September 11th, “we judge that al-Qaeda will intensify its efforts to put operatives here.” But there are people in the United States, you are saying, who have direct ties to al-Qaeda senior leadership?

Admiral McCONNELL: And the way I would describe it is we have strategic warning. We know what al-Qaeda, in their safe haven in Pakistan, intends to do. We’re watching them train and recruit, and their effort is to put someone inside the United States. There have been some clues in some cases where there would be a tie. But we do not have tactical warning currently. There are sleeper cells tied directly to al-Qaeda inside the United States. So we have the strategic warning, not the specific tactical warning, but we know their intent.

Note how the Adm. McConnell draws the distinction between strategic warning and tactical warning. I point this out because many times there are questions about specific warnings, when the government states there is a heightened state of alert. This is all well and good, mind you, as we would all like to know specifics. But sometimes, answering specific questions about specific tactical warnings is not in the best interest of the people. If a specific tactical warning is not kept under the hat, the terrorists will shift their tactical intentions. In short, if they think we know what they intend to hit and we announce it, they will change their plans, possibly to something we do not have information on. This will increase the risk of an attack being successful.

So, I say to all, do not get discouraged when you do not hear specifics, and do not get scared. Just go about your business and keep your eyes peeled for anything that doesn't look right. That's all a person can do.

There's a reason we haven't been hit. A lot of people are working their asses of to make sure we don't. Still, there are many areas that need attention, the borders being at the top of the list.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Who You Calling Dictator, Willis?

Here's a real gem, I ran across.

President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that foreigners who publicly criticize him or his government while visiting Venezuela will be expelled from the country.

Chavez ordered officials to closely monitor statements made by international figures during their visits to Venezuela _ and deport any outspoken critics.

"How long are we going to allow a person _ from any country in the world _ to come to our own house to say there's a dictatorship here, that the president is a tyrant, and nobody does anything about it?" Chavez asked during his weekly television and radio program.

Let's see if I have this straight. If anyone calls him a dictator or a tyrant, they get kicked out. Right? That's showing them. But what about his last trip to the UN, where he called Bush "the devil"? Or any other foreign national that comes here and bad-mouths our leaders? They do not get kicked out from here. It's called freedom of speech, something that dictators do not tolerate.

Sounds like Brother Hugo is a dictator, a tyrant, and now a hypocrite.

Reviewing The Review

On a previous post, a good friend of PYY, Anonim, has linked to an essay that critiques two books that seem to be making some waves in the world of political ideological discussions, Al Gore's The Assault On Reason and Walter Laqueur's The Last Days of Europe.

This is not a hatchet job on either book, but rather a sincere review of both, by what appears to be someone who has read both with an open mind. This is not to say that any of you will necessarily agree with his assessment. But there is no angry prose, no hyperbole, and no phraseology that would give the impression this is a result of any political hackery.

From the article:

The flipside of his focus on an omnipotent media is his view of the public as essentially passive and gullible. In the section of his book that discusses the American electorate, Gore is inconsistent: he has an idealised view of an educated public but also believes that people uncritically internalise the lies and propaganda that are thrown at them.

Sadly, I think the writer hits it spot on, here. But, he fails to address the fact, there a significant amount of people that can make a lot of angry noise in the current political world. These same people are still upset that Gore was not sworn in on January 20, 2001 and they have not let any of us forget it for the last six (and some change) years.

In some cases, these are educated people that I would not consider stupid in the least. But their hatred of George Bush is so deeply seeded, they cannot have reasonable debates about policy or principles, without blaming him for everything that has gone wrong since his inauguration. These are the people that Gore appeals to most of all and they honestly believe that very word he puts forth is considered gospel, and every word the President puts out is a lie. They appear to be incapable of scrutinizing or critiquing the content, based on the merit of the information they have at hand, all because they worship at the First National Church of the Hate Bush Society. They just do not disagree with him, they allow their seething hatred of the man to drive their every opinion.

Gore’s obsession with the impact of the media on people’s thought patterns leads to a one-sided and technical analysis of the erosion of public life in the US. There’s no doubt the media have considerable power in determining how political and social problems are framed and discussed. But the media rarely succeed in brainwashing their audience or making people nod along to their messages. Indeed, Americans, like people around the world, selectively choose what they accept and believe.

One prime example of this is:

The entire Global Warming issue has become media driven at the behest of Gore and his sycophants. According to them, there are enough scientists who have made their views known that this is a man-made phenomenon. They totally disregard the growing numbers of those scientists that are critical of this and often label them as scientific quacks or tools of the Bush Administration, as means of discrediting them.

I have read a few blog postings here and there that actually claim this theory Gore offers up, as fact. They refer to the group of those that worship at the First Mutual Global Warming Church, as a consensus (when it clearly does not meet the dictionary definition). I cannot consider it as such. When I read intelligent opposing views that consider warming trends in history that were definitely not caused by carbon emissions (because there was no burning of carbon-based fuels), I have to lend much more credence to those that are critical of Gore's group than those that have decided to blindly accept something they know little about.

I know there are many that would take issue with my assessment. But honestly, this is what I see. This is my perception.

Laqueur argues that integration has failed in part because immigrants were just not very interested in integrating, and also because they have been inadvertently encouraged, by the politics of multiculturalism, to establish parallel communities.

This is what the ideology of multi-culturalism does. It does not create a melting pot. It creates a mosaic, with each piece of the whole separated from the others. One piece does not articulate or touch the others, despite the fact all of the pieces make up the entire picture.

There are some merits to honoring one's cultural heritage. I personally see nothing wrong with practicing old-world customs at home, but there must be some attempt to blend in on a social level. Frankly, I do not see it happening very often, these days. I do not see it here. And from the sounds of things, it doesn't sound like it's happening in Europe either.

Anyway, give the review a look, especially if you want to read either book

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Another Blast From The Past

My apologies to those that look forward to this feature, for not getting this up sooner in the weekend. Unfortunately, personal and family issues must get attention before a non-revenue generating hobby.

Last week, PYY featured the most successful of the Traffic alumni, Steve Winwood. This week we look at two others. While they were less successful in their solo ventures (in record sales), their music and songs were certainly no less artistic and creative.

Dave Mason had a couple of songs that got some airplay back in the late 70s, one was a hit and has since become a staple of the Adult Contemporary radio format. You might remember it, here is We Just Disagree:

The other song that was not a hit, but got some good rotation on album rock stations all over. Here is what I think is the best Dave Mason song ever, Mystic Traveler:

The other lesser known member of Traffic that had a hit as a solo artist was the late Jim Capaldi. Here is a catchy little tune that got some airplay, Livin' On The Edge:


Friday, July 20, 2007

Shay Shouts At Capitol Officer

Here is the scoop, per the Politico.

On Thursday afternoon, Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) got into a loud, angry dispute with a U.S. Capitol Police officer at the security checkpoint inside the entrance of the West Side of the Capitol. On Friday, Shays, a veteran lawmaker, offered a public apology for the incident, and said that he wants to meet with the officer personally to reiterate how sorry he is.

Shays reportedly grabbed the officer during the dispute over whether the officer should allow a group of tourists to enter the building, said several sources. Tourists are not allowed to use the West Front entrance, but Shays was trying to bring the group through that entrance anyway. The officer refused to allow them to come inside, and Shays then "yelled and screamed" at the officer, including using profanity, the sources said. It is unclear whether Shays actually touched the officer.

Despite what some may think, PYY does hold everyone's feet to the fire, when they screw up. (It's what we're here for.)

At a time when we have an investigation looking into whether or not Iraqis are being smuggled into the U.S., it seems that people would have a better understanding of what it means to lead by example. People cannot take security personally, it has to happen, in order to ensure people are safe. And when we look to the government for leadership, I cannot help but think of the most important principle it takes to become an good leader: A willingness to lead by example.

It isn't there in any feasible number, on either of the aisle.

If someone is going to make their case for the need for a border and support measures that make for effective national security, they need to be willing to set the kind of example that inspires people to buy into what needs to be done. By making this kind of a scene, Shays has negated any future arguments he could make, for the causes that are really important in today's dangerous world.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Great Iraqi Smuggling Caper?

We can't say this is unexpected.

The FBI is investigating an alleged human smuggling operation based in Chaparral, N.M., that agents say is bringing "Iraqis and other Middle Eastern" individuals across the Rio Grande from Mexico.

Some think I am paranoid and some think I am xenophobic. But, those same people will now have to rethink this.

I am telling you, right here and now: There are terrorist camps in the Middle East teaching Mexican culture and the Mexican dialect of Spanish, just so they can blend into the Mexican masses that are pouring into the U.S., like there is nothing there to stop them. That's because there isn't anything to stop them. And I fully expect that when we do get hit again, it may well be traced to Middle Eastern terrorists coming across the porous southern border.

Does it concern you? Or is life too comfortable to care?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Libyan High Court Lifts Nurses' Death Sentences

From the IHT comes this report:
Libya on Tuesday lifted death sentences against five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor convicted of deliberately infecting children with HIV, paving the way for them to be freed after eight years in prison.

The ruling by Libya's highest judicial body, made possible by a financial settlement of $1 million each to the 460 HIV victims' families, fell short of a hoped-for pardon for the medics, who insist they are innocent.
PYY applauds this move, despite the fact this was probably a bogus case from the beginning. In my wildest imagination, I could not believe that these nurses would purposefully and deliberately infect the children they were committed to helping.

Not only was this the right move for the Libyan court to make, it was a smart one. But what they really need to do is get a little smarter. They really need to commute the sentences or pardon them immediately, if they ever expect to receive competent outside medical help in the future.

What many people do not understand is, HIV transmission from healthcare worker to patient is very rare. So to determine that it was inadvertent and accidental is still highly unlikely. In fact, far more healthcare workers are infected by their patients than patients are by healthcare workers.
If this is hard to believe, I urge you to take a look at this 2003 position paper put out by the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

With this in mind, I would urge all people in this country and abroad to educate themselves on HIV and how it is spread. This includes gaining an understanding of the population that is at the highest risk.
Here in America and other developed nations, the conventional wisdom has advanced far enough that many of the early myths about this infection have now been effectively dispelled. Yet, I am sad to report there are still many people all over the world that still do not have the most basic understanding, due to ignorance or outright refusal to accept the data that supports this position.

You cannot get it from casual contact, toilet seats, or other benign methods. After all of the research and studies performed on this subject, we still find that drug addicts sharing dirty needles and unprotected sex are still among the highest risk groups.

So I think it's fairly safe to assume that unless you are promiscuous and are not using adequate protection or are sharing needles with your friends, you really have little to worry about. Even cases of transmission by blood transfusions using tainted blood have all but been eradicated, because all donated blood goes through an intensive screening process (at least in this country, it does).

With education and new drugs, AIDS deaths are down, after peaking in the mid 90s. Still we have a long way to go before this disease is eradicated. Certainly much more needs to be done in the way of research, but for now, the best way to not acquire HIV or die from AIDS is to alter lifestyle and prevent its transmission.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Biased British Media Jumps Again

The recent remarks by the first Muslim Congressman has finally made its way to the Left-Wing British media.

America's first Muslim congressman has provoked outrage by apparently comparing President George W Bush to Adolf Hitler and hinting that he might have been responsible for the September 11 attacks.

Addressing a gathering of atheists in his home state of Minnesota, Keith Ellison, a Democrat, compared the 9/11 atrocities to the destruction of the Reichstag, the German parliament, in 1933. This was probably burned down by the Nazis in order to justify Hitler's later seizure of emergency powers.

"It's almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that," Mr Ellison said. "After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it, and it put the leader [Hitler] of that country in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted."

But that's not the clincher. In the Telegraph's article, you will note the caption under Rep. Ellison's photo reads:

Keith Ellison, a convert to Islam, has cultivated a moderate image since being elected last November

I know of no moderate that claims 9/11 was an inside job, I know of no moderate that really and truly believes that Bush is comparable to Hitler. So, we can chalk this up to more skewed information at the hands of those that want America to be presented in the worst possible light. We can chalk up another biased piece of hyperbole to both Keith Ellison and the Leftist media that loves to hear this kind of misrepresentation.

I do not use the term here very often. But I will reiterate that whoever coined the term moonbat, deserves royalties.

UPDATE: Here is the video of Rep Ellison making these comments. As I have already stated, I hear nothing moderate about his comments.

Promotion Of Biofuels Yields Unintended Consequences

For Progressive types that want to see biofuels used more in place of carbon based, here is something you may want to consider in your reflections:

A surge in the production of biofuels derived from corn, wheat and soyabeans is helping to push up food prices so sharply that the World Food Programme, the United Nation’s agency in charge of fighting famine, is finding it difficult to feed as many hungry people as it has in the past.

This means that more people go hungry and the UN is already feeling the pinch, before this technology is even fully developed.

So to all of the members of the Global Warming Church I say, remember this, when famine becomes more widespread. Remember that it was you that put everyone on such a course.

It was you that scared people into believing that mankind is responsible for the ills of everything, to include warming. And the next time I hear a sob story about a village in a third world nation that is starving to death because the UN cannot provide relief, I will be reminded that it was all so Progressives could feel good about changing the world for the better.

Maybe some of them can go to that village and explain why it's more important to keep food out of their mouths, over some unproven theory.

Who Says American Media Is Always Anti-French?

This post is for all of my French readers that think the American media is dead set on presenting the French people in the worst possible light. Sure, there are some that are not willing to give the French respect for what they have done over the years, many do not want to give them a lot of respect for their contribution to the founding of this nation.

But on Saturday, Bastille Day, there was a local gathering here in my fair city and here are the details as put forth by the Indy Star.

There is not a large group of French people living and working here. But there are many in this state that can trace their heritage back to France, based on the western part of the state being under French authority before the Louisiana Purchase. Both Vincennes and Lafayette Indiana are former French settlements that do not deny nor do they disrespect their French roots.

Read the article, there is not a disparaging word in it. I realize that there are some articles that are written with anti-French sentiment here in America and I also realize that not all French believe that all Americans want to see the French presented in negative terms. But at least this will help to show those that have thought Americans to be anti-French, not all are this way.

New Post At PPTG

Don't faint, but I have a new post up at PPTG (rather quickly after the last). It has to do with the recent Papal stink. Again, if you are so inclined, take a look at it and feel free to comment.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Another Blast From The Past

This week we feature an extremely talented and multi-instrumental musician/artist that has been in the rock music world for a long time, Steve Winwood.

In the early days of his career, he was the lead singer of the Spencer Davis Group. They had a couple of hits. If you are as old as me, you will remember one of them well, if you listened to the radio, half as much as I did. Here is Steve in 1997 performing Gimme Some Lovin:

After the Spencer Davis days, he joined forces with Dave Mason, Chris Wood, and the late Jim Capaldi to form the band Traffic. Most of their music was in the "album rock" genre and didn't generate a ton of hits, but one song did manage to get some airplay on album rock stations. Here is Steve as a solo artist, performing Dear Mr. Fantasy:

After Traffic split, he had the opportunity to team up with Eric Clapton for a short run in a band called Blind Faith. Here he is performing one of the songs off of their only album. It's called Can't Find My Way Home (with old "Slow Hand , himself):

In the 80s, Steve had the good fortune of stepping out into the world of solo artistry and made another indelible mark in the rock world. He had a string of hits that are still heard today on classic rock stations everywhere. The following tune is one of my favorites, a jazzy little rock tune that infused several influences into the mix. Here is Roll With It:

Enjoy and have a great weekend.

Think Gas Is Outrageous? Get A Load Of This.

A famous line generally attributed to PT Barnum is certainly applicable, in this story.

It goes:
"There's a sucker born every minute...and two to take 'em."

This is amazing when you think about it. When we see a product that is so ridiculously over-priced as some of these are, you have to consider that there must be a market for it. Even more so is the fact that somebody has actually paid what they are asking.

I guess some people want to be the first on their block to do anything, these days.

Streamlining The Debates?

You can read about it here. If your hearing is good, you can hear it here. If want to hear the outrage, you can read this.

From the first article, we can see what the fuss is about:

Democrats John Edwards and Hillary Rodham Clinton consider themselves among the top presidential candidates.

They were caught by Fox News microphones discussing their desire to limit future joint appearances to exclude some lower rivals after a forum in Detroit Thursday.

On one hand, Hillary has a point. There are a lot candidates and not much time to get to the meat and potatoes of the issues, when so many people get to answer questions (assuming that they actually answer them and not stonewall). We can also understand that realistically, there are some that have no real chance of being nominated.

But on the other, the debates do not belong to the front-runners. They belong to the people that want to learn more about the candidates. Not only that, how else can the lower tier candidates have a say in how the party platform is shaped?

It's double edged sword, no matter how you look at it.

NY Times Propaganda Debunked

I think Victor Davis Hanson is one of the more intelligent essayists around right now. His latest picks apart the usual Left-Wing robotic rhetoric form of editorial that has become common in the writings of Leftists, everywhere. It gets old. The reason it does is, they seldom come up with anything new.

The reasons we went to war are always a favorite of the irrational Left. If we were debating on whether or not to go to war, this would be fair game. But, the authorization has already been given. In spite of the fact that many now want to re-write history for political purposes by changing their vote, that argument is over.

I could make a list of irrational claims made by this bunch, but if you peruse the PYY archives, they will all be there, somewhere, in some form of fashion. So just give Mr. Hanson's piece a look and see what you think.

The Costs Of Impeachment

You know, there was a time I thought the GOP was mean-spirited and seething with anger and hostility - all over the fact that their candidates didn't win an election. I argued with many Republicans at that time, over the way they went after Clinton. Whether someone liked him or not, I still felt there was no reason to impeach him, especially because there was not enough votes to remove him. And even though the charge was perjury, taking it forward just for show was not a valid reason to tie up the nation's business in a meaningless action. But more importantly, I thought his sex-life was something that was not important enough to make an issue of, to begin with. In short, it simply was not wise to blow $12 million and waste months on the people's nickel, on what turned out to be consensual sex.

With that said, let's fast forward to today.

We now know, we can count Sen. Barbara Boxer along with joining the irrational Bush haters and calling for the impeachment process to begin. And so, once and again, we may see millions and millions of taxpayer dollars, blown away, in order to (ab)use a process, for nothing more than partisan political reasons. And the reason for my thinking this way is simple. They know they do not have a true case for anything that is impeachable.

The infamous sentence commutation?

Where did the President break the law? History already bears out the use of the pardon as a reward. No crime committed, long story short, problem solved. Next.

Starting a war?

How quickly some of us forget who advocated for it, supported it, and voted for it. The resolution that was passed, was passed for the specific purpose of authorizing the President to use force. He was given permission to do it, by Congress. Congress said he could. No crime.

Lying to start a war?

Where's the proof? Where's the crime, even if he did. He wasn't under oath. No perjury, no crime, absent solid proof. Many Democrats believed that the guy had WMDs, they had been making speeches and even bombed them for effect, when it was necessary to divert attention. It was very much believed widely, by many officials on both sides of the aisle, for the entire time Clinton and Gore was in office. What? Now they want take-backs? Do overs?

Taking civil rights away?

Listening to phone calls of those suspected of being involved with terrorist organizations would have been done, had FDR been president. He suspended his share of civil rights along the way during WWII, namely those of Japanese-Americans. His administration certainly restricted the press, and generally did many things that normally would not have been done had there not been people that were trying to harm the nation in some way. In fact, you'd have a hard time persuading me to believe that HST, JFK, and LBJ would not have done the same thing, as well. Nope, precedent has been set for this long ago. Nothing there. Not a crime.

For outing Valerie Plame?

Earth to moon, earth to moon. Bush didn't do leak her name. Someone under him did it. Bush can't be legally charged with something, he didn't actively do. There's a whole list of names that were embroiled in this whole stinking mess, to choose from. Libby was charged and convicted, but to date no one else has been tried. And if you think there is enough legal evidence to prove that Bush or Cheney gave the order, you'd have to think again. There just isn't. Even if either did give the order, it cannot be proven unless you go after the ones that actually did it and cut them deals to testify against the President. So far, that hasn't happened.

So meanwhile, it's now July and Congress hasn't passed much of anything to benefit the American people. In short, they haven't done a damned thing to earn their salaries this year. But rest assured, they sure have been fixated on bringing down another President, for payback purposes.

Think about this for a moment. One can make the ethical argument, one can make the moral argument. And they can do it (all day long) in their little sound bites, their posturing moments, and their campaign speeches. But that is not enough to legally bring any charges against Mr. Bush. With things as they are at present, there just is no good sensible or reasonable case that can be made, to tie up the legislative process for the period of the upcoming campaign.

After you have thought about that, then, let's take a trip down memory lane and remember some things.

In my lifetime I have seen impeachment hearings against two Presidents. The Democrats drew first blood.

In the case of Nixon, one can argue there was good cause or reason to set a standard. And while I think the only reason he got caught was the fact that he made too many enemies along the way, he was to blame for much of his trouble, for covering it up.

Still freshly empowered (to the point of delusion) over that victory, the Dems had hoped to perform this again with Reagan, in the Iran-Contra affair. It didn't lead to impeachment, but it was looked at as a possibility, if (and only if) North or Poindexter would have implicated the President for a deal. Do not think for one moment that it wasn't looked at and hoped for, despite the fact it didn't happen.

Then, it was the GOP's turn with Clinton. (SEE: Opening Paragraph)

Now it's time for payback on the payback? It's very much sounding like it is.

Where will it all end? Is this what we really deserve? I know we always say we get the government we deserve, but why do we insist on letting these clowns keep wasting taxpayer money so they can spend the entirety of their terms getting something on someone, just because someone does not like or agree with him/her? Why do we still keep voting for them?

At this rate, we won't need to worry about the Jihadists. We have an entity that has taken on the form of an out-of-control beast, which is also self-serving, corrupt, and guilty of the same hypocrisy, as those they try to smear. We seem to have the ability to destroy ourselves slowly and painfully.

So, you know what? When I see all of this happening day after day, week after week, I often think of something:

When some future civilization's archeologists' dig up the rubble and ruins of Washington DC, I highly suspect they will all be astonished at what they are likely to find. There will be many skeletons found in their natural state and they will all be found, pointing their fingers.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Says Goodbye To F-1

Last month I posted a piece on what could have been the last U.S. Grand Prix to take place at the most famous speedway in the world. Today, it has been announced that it was to be.

From the Indy Star:

A stormy eight-year relationship between Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Formula One ended today with the announcement the international racing series would not return in 2008.

IMS chairman Tony George and F-1 boss Bernie Ecclestone could not reach an agreement on a sanctioning fee to continue the U.S. Grand Prix.

George had set today as a deadline for a new contract.
"Unfortunately, and to my great disppointment, Formula One will not be back next year," George said today at a press conference at IMS.

So, as they often say in these types of situations, "que sera, sera".

Don't get me wrong here. I am disappointed that I will not have the opportunity to meet and speak with Europeans on such a large scale in Indy, all during the course of a summer weekend. There will be no more impromptu conversations with them at a local restaurant or pub, the night before the race. No more gestures of friendship and goodwill be traded either. No more opportunity for Europeans to experience the warmth and hospitality that the people of America do offer, to those that come to visit.

On a larger scale, there will be no more significant boost of the local economy, taking in the vast amounts of stable Euros that are brought with them. It will be a loss, but certainly not a crippling one.

On the other side of the coin, there are many Europeans that live and work in the United States, who will not get to see their favorite drivers, in a sport that they have loved, since they were children. Now, they will be relegated to seeing the F-1 races on Speedvision at 8:30 AM or tape delayed, after the outcome has been well known.

If I might interject one more thought into this, I would say, Mr. Ecclestone has long suffered from a delusional thought process that he is royalty. He also seems to think that he can just make Tony George jump through any kind of hoop possible, bring his traveling circus into town with very little promotion (to speak of), and people will just come running and beat the doors down to get in, all because they are Formula One Racing.

It just doesn't work that way.

So, if it were up to me, I'd say:

My dearest Bernie,

You, sir, are not royalty.

Therefore, please forgive us, if we don't bow or kiss your feet as if you are. Tony George isn't going to, neither are race fans that have had the privilege of watching the Greatest Spectacle in Racing all of their lives. You had a golden opportunity to take America by storm and create one of the most loyal fan bases in the world, and you blew it.

In the 60s, the British Invasion brought a unique style of rock and roll music to this country and won over the hearts of rock fans everywhere, from coast to coast. They did it with charm, wit, and grace. They did interviews, went on Ed Sullivan, and other channels that let the people know they were here. They did not take subsidies from the government, as you have done with your enterprise.

If you were any kind of an intelligent businessman that you claim to be, you'd know this. You'd also know that Americans are not easily won over, but once they are, they are the most loyal fans that you could ever ask for.

So, enjoy those government subsidies you rake in from other nations that bow to your every whim. (Subsidies that ultimately come from the taxes taken from the hard-working people, while racing to small crowds, unlike what you were able to see at the IMS.)

Good riddance, sir.

From a former fan,


Understanding The Purpose And Potential Outcome Of The Current Surge In Iraq

As Congress begins round two of a heavyweight fight to bring home the troops from Iraq, there are many things to consider along the way. Things are not as black and white as the partisans of both sides would have us all to believe. So for you, the PYY reader, it is my hope to explain some things that sorely need to be considered in this mess. Despite what the ideologues tell us, the gray areas are not getting enough of the sound bites (mainly because the gray areas are far too complex for short 10 second Michael Moore-like snippets).

The hardcore Bushies are bent on telling us all about the consequences of pulling the troops out and give the surge a chance. This usually comes in response to something someone on the opposite end of the spectrum has said. And it's true, the potential consequences are certainly very real. Many Iraqis know this. Why else would they be begging us to stay?

But the question on everyone's mind is: Is the surge working? Better yet: Will it ever?

Before we can answer these questions, we have to understand what the surge is supposed to accomplish and some of the methods to be used to get us to that point. For an enlightening look at some aspects of this objective, I recommend reading this piece, Understanding Current Operations In Iraq by David Kilcullen, who is a Senior Counterinsurgency Adviser in Iraq. (HT: Mustang of Social Sense. He e-mailed this to me and I am sure that if you were to ask him, he will tell you he's no expert at Military Operations. But that's just his nature. Truth be known, he knows a hell of a lot more than most people that claim to have some understanding, to include me. Warfare has changed greatly since the time I served.)

So if the article is to be given some credence and in all fairness to the proponents of the surge, the surge is not necessarily a wide-sweeping operation that is designed to make insurgent strongholds a a pile of rubble. The time for that has passed. This is one of the graver errors made by Rumsfeld, when he was in charge. If it had been me, the Sunni Triangle would now be a tourist attraction (rivaling the Grand Canyon in depth, contour, and beauty).

But what about the measurement of success? It looks like it isn't working, at least on the surface. Much of this may be because the necessity of keeping the specific details from the media, outweighs the public's right or need to know (at least at this point in time). As history plainly demonstrates, one of the reasons FDR was successful in WWII was because he knew enough about the public, to understand the need to keep certain things away from them. He was smart enough to know that people would would weary of the fight, if they were exposed to the harsh realities that war brings if brought to them in real time and on a daily ad nauseum basis.

It is true that he had help. There were no 24 Hour News Channels, no internet, and no reporters embedded in their hotel rooms, bringing in skewed views from the locals of how the war was playing out. Today, we have that. And in my estimation, it has severely hindered the ability for the decision-makers in this conflict to execute the plans and strategies set forth, to win.

If you have read the article by Mr. Kilcullen and are still with me so far, there's more to be considered. If you have found some comfort in this article, don't. It might not work and the writer even says so:

It will be a long, hard summer, with much pain and loss to come, and things could still go either way. But the population-centric approach is the beginning of a process that aims to put the overall campaign onto a sustainable long-term footing. The politics of the matter then can be decisive, provided the Iraqis use the time we have bought for them to reach the essential accommodation. The Embassy and MNF-I continue to work on these issues at the highest levels but fundamentally, this is something that only Iraqis can resolve: our role is to provide an environment in which it becomes possible.

All this may change. These are long-term operations: the enemy will adapt and we'll have to adjust what we're doing over time......

The question that I have in my mind with all of this is: Do the Iraqis want this to work? Because until we can know the answer to this question, the rest will all come down to partisan speculation. It may very well be that they do not care. It might be that after years of oppressive rule by a megalomaniac dictator, they just do not know how to act in a relatively free society. This is a question that those in support of us being there, will someday soon have to give some serious consideration to.

When I was in Army Basic Training many years ago, we were under total control by the drill instructors for the first few weeks. As time went on, they gave those of us that earned it, short passes to experience some rest, relaxation, and a much needed break from the pressure that had been exerted on us in those same first few weeks. Does anyone care to wager a bet as to how many trainees used their first pass to get "falling down" drunk? Rather than use the time to relax and enjoy a cold beer or two with some good food for a change (and maybe play some pool), these people tried their best to down them at a rate of 3-4 an hour, mostly on empty stomachs.

Why do I bring this into the mix? Because the same thing applies to the Iraqis. The trainees didn't do well with the opportunity the DIs had afforded them. They could not conduct themselves in an honorable manner and it showed almost instantly, when they began chugging the beers. Likewise, the Iraqis are not doing well with the opportunity we have given them, in the short amount of time they have been able to experience it.

So based on what Mr. Kilcullen claims is the nature of this surge, it may very well be that it will not work, after all is said and done. That's a viable argument to make, but one that sorely needs to be made when the time comes for evaluation. What we do not need is more posturing and rhetoric coming out of the naysayers in Washington, because there is an election next year (at least not until it is apparent that this will not work). Which is in effect, pushing forward the evaluation process. Think of how you'd feel, if your annual evaluation was moved up two months or a teacher were to post your grades for the semester, well before the semester was over.

I hear the today's Left commend FDR as one of the greater leaders in the history of this nation. And in my view, he was. But honestly I cannot imagine that if he were the one in charge today, he'd want this turned into the Mickey Mouse Club Show that today's Left has been content to make it, thus far.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I don't know about all of you but I'd be willing to listen to this bunch.

If they would cut to the chase and bring up some names of some intelligent people that would do the right thing, I'd be willing to hear what they have to say. On the other hand, if they were just going to put some goofball that is popular, I'd say no way.

But for those of you that may be salivating for a statesman to rise up and show some real leadership in 08, don't get your hopes up too high just yet. This could very well turn out to be some BS outfit that has disaffected people from both parties for the sole purpose of turning it into another party that pulls the same stunts, as the other two.

If you missed them and are interested, here are some reasons that a viable third party is almost impossible to launch and sustain over the long haul:


Part One

Part Two

Part Three

It won't be easy to do it. But, if it will get done it needs to be done right, with the right motives and intentions, or it will certainly fail. So, if anyone from this outfit sees this post, you need to read these posts and know what needs to be done to restore some reasonable amount of confidence back into the system. If there is to be success in this venture, it will have be on the level with the voters.

The President's approval rating is at a low and the Congress is too.

The timing is right. The big question is, is there a will? A means? An opportunity?

We going to keep out eye on this here. But without grandiose expectations.

News In Brief (And The Usual Opinionated Commentary)

Still under the proverbial gun around here, so here are a few things the PYY news desk is keeping an eye on:

If anyone thinks Michale Moore is in anyway a credible source, one only needs to see this video clip, of him making a total ass of himself on Blitzer's show yesterday. It's no secret what I think of socialized medicine, but I do not think that Michael Moore did much to convince anyone that may be on the fence with it.

Here's a report that is quite concerning. It involves the massing of troops along the Iraq border, by Turkey. Is it a defensive posture to prevent attacks by the PKK? Or is it something else? Stay tuned.

How hard is it to win ratings on Saturday night? They have the lousiest shows of any other night, it shouldn't be too hard to come in and zap the usual schedule, should it? But evidently, Al Gore's baby didn't dazzle anyone. I think it's partly because people felt the whole thing was hypocritical. Massive amounts of jet fuel were used to fly the performers in and the kilowattage used was probably in the zillions. This doesn't set well with people that are being asked to alter their lifestyle. Add to that, no real heavy hitters were on the bill. Stadium packers like U2 and others were missing.

I guess I am a traitor to this country. RFK Jr, who hobnobs around in a private jet, thinks I am.

"Get rid of all these rotten politicians that we have in Washington, who are nothing more than corporate toadies," said Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the environmentalist author, president of Waterkeeper Alliance and Robert F. Kennedy's son, who grew hoarse from shouting. "This is treason. And we need to start treating them as traitors."

Well, I am not a politician. But I still think he's wrong.

So color me a traitor too, Bobby.

Th-th-tha-that's all folks.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Monday Shortcut

Mustang has another excellent post up over at Social Sense. I highly recommend reading it, if you truly wish to expand your horizons a bit.

In the meantime, I have been busy all weekend and had little time to blog other than to do quick looks, here and there. But, I have something short and sweet to share with you on your Monday, so you can chew on it throughout your day:

If it seems like there is something is wrong, there usually is. Clarify, qualify, and validate. - LASunsett

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Another Blast From The Past

This week, besides being late, we will step away from the rock genre in favor of opera and jazz. This past week we lost two icons in both worlds.

Now, I am not an opera fan by any stretch. But Beverly Sills was a household name and in her day was the best known soprano. Here is a opera spoof she did many years ago with Danny Kaye, I think you'll find funny:

Boots Randolph used to blast out of my dad's stereo. He played for a lot of people and is probably best known for his best known hit Yakety Sax, which is also the music used on the Benny Hill show. Here it is:

Both will be missed.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Europa Dopa?

Flocon, an occasional commenter here at PYY and frequent guest poster at Super Frenchie, has stumbled onto a good essay and has written some thoughts about it in a post over there. I know most of my European readers have probably already read it, but for my other readers that do not frequent SF's blog as often as I do, this will be an interesting read.

No time for me to post my assessments on this at this time. But if you want, read both the essay and the thoughts by Flocon; and then, feel free to post your own in the comment section. We can take up the discussion from there.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Variation As A Constant

We've had some discussions in the past, on Islamists and what kind of people the message they put out, seems to attract (most recently here). So, anyone who has deemed this kind of thing interesting enough to explore it further, here is an article that is worthy of some consideration.

The article is quite extensive in for a short space of words. It attempts to look at many of the inconsistencies that exist in the jihadist world, as it describes the different socioeconomic backgrounds that have found their way into this movement.

While some of us maintain economic reasons are a primary source of motivation, I can agree that it is a factor in some cases but not all. There have been many Palestinian suicide bombers that come from families that are very common and some cases in poverty. But if we are to lend any credibility to this article, we must also accept that the brains of the operations are not uneducated and underprivileged people. Many do have college degrees in field that require some intelligence to master, enough to acquire this education. In addition to this, they also had to have the financial resources to pay for it. I am not sure there are extensive government programs for poor people in countries like Syria, Iran, or others.

The other interesting thing to note in this is, it is starting to look like al-Qaeda (et al.) is trying to adjust their strategy a bit. Knowing that a common misconception is now permeating the conventional wisdom, knowing there is a misunderstanding of what is a typical terrorist, they have decided not to employ these people except maybe as decoys. They seem more willing to use people that have become disaffected for reasons other than economic ones.

But more than anything, it is very important to understand something. With all of these inconsistencies that we can identify and analyze, there still is one constant. The people that are taking up the jihadist struggle, all claim Islam as their religion. Whether they are or whether they are not, is irrelevant. They all claim it and claim it proudly.

By expanding their use of all types, they can widen the circle of suspicion and file more lawsuits when the authorities try to investigate them. They all can complain to CAIR that more people of their faith are being targeted unjustly.

And as they adjust, so must we.

We must be prepared to realize that there is not one leading indicator other than these people all claim to be doing the will of Allah by killing infidels. With that in mind, we should know that variations in backgrounds, nationalities, and other demographics will be the constant.

Understanding these people and why they do what they do is important, and with time we are learning more and more about them. But, there are things we already know, things that some are still not ready to accept. More importantly, we must allow ourselves the ability to stop these people before they cause harm. When we do this, it is then we learn things that can help us understand the profiles of such people, by tracing their paths backward.