Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Possibilities Of A Stable Iraq

Having turned a major corner in Iraq, there are some real possibilities for the future of the Middle East. Sure, the setbacks were not always pleasant to hear about. Yes, there have been times I had my doubts on positive outcomes.

But overall pessimism has been replaced by optimism, thanks to Gen. Petraeus and the surge that many said would not work. This is the surge that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi once said would not, could not, and was not working. This is the one that Obama said he wouldn't support even now in the face of success.

This does not mean that all is won of course. But for some intelligent expostulation, VDH's weekly column examines the real possibilities of a stable constitutional Iraq can have on the region (with some considerable caveats, as well).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Losing A Gift

To illustrate some of what I have been saying for a long, long time, just take a look at this story:

More than 1,800 people showed up to help ABC's "Extreme Makeover" team demolish a family's decrepit home and replace it with a sparkling, four-bedroom mini-mansion in 2005.

Three years later, the reality TV show's most ambitious project at the time has become the latest victim of the foreclosure crisis.

After the Harper family used the two-story home as collateral for a $450,000 loan, it's set to go to auction on the steps of the Clayton County Courthouse Aug. 5. The couple did not return phone calls Monday, but told WSB-TV they received the loan for a construction business that failed.

I have said time and again, if you were to redistribute all of the wealth in the world so that everyone was truly equal, the people that have it now would get it back again.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Obama Timeline On The Surge

January 10, 2007 - Obama declares his opposition to the surge. He says it won't work.

During the surge, he says it isn't working.

Now that the entire world can plainly see the surge has drastically reduced sectarian violence in Iraq, he says he still wouldn't support the surge.

Is this the man you want carrying around the nuclear codes?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Black Eye On Beijing

Despite efforts to curtail air pollution in China's capital ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games, it's still there.

Less than two weeks before the Olympics, Beijing's skies are so murky and polluted that the authorities are considering emergency measures during the Games beyond the traffic restrictions and factory shutdowns that, so far, have failed to clear the air, state media reported on Monday.

For the past five days, Beijing has been a soupy cauldron of humid, gray skies. Local pollution ratings have exceeded the national standard for acceptable air since last Thursday, despite a temporary air pollution control plan that began on July 20.

Looking at the picture on the other end of the link, tells more of the story than any words can.

The thing that stands out to me is a pretty morbid detail that we need to watch out for: The people with titles, offices, desks, and pens that have been charged with cleaning the air up will probably be executed when the crowds go home.

On the chance that I am wrong here - it could be that the Chinese government is more concerned with security, than air quality. But even at that, there are those that think the Chinese are playing up the terror threats to justify themselves for the heavy police presence that is actually more concerned with dissidents to the regime than jihadists.

I hope the people that call our government a bunch of fascists for their efforts against terrorism will take note. What they will see during these games will be real fascism, not politically perceived.

Obama Trip Fails To Convince

This has to be enormously frustrating for the Obama camp. After spending a lot of money making a worldwide campaign commercial, he comes home to three new polls that only budged him slightly against McCain. Gallup shows him up by 8%, Rasmussen has him up by only 3%. The interesting point is the Gallup Poll shows him down 1% from the last one. Rasmussen shows him losing 2%, from its previous poll. The MSM doesn't seem to be highlighting this little tidbit too much.

This means, McCain had an uneventful week, spent little money doing it, and he still gained on his Democratic rival. Obama's camp must be beside themselves, right now.

As we discussed in the last post, not all foreign correspondents have been impressed with the image Obama has carved out for himself. There are some in the American media that have truly made this man, a political god-like image. They love him 24/7 and worship him as they would any deity, so much so that the foreign press is noticing.

See this video, if you haven't already:

Funny, yes. But in a way, it's so sad that people are being taken in by this farce called Obamania.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Obama Watch: What The Media Isn't Highlighting

Obama's history making tour has come to an end. Europe is now mesmerized and the euphoria is high. Or so we think.

irst up, there's a little thing that happened in Berlin that Media Obama will not share on the same stages as the other things that get plastered on the headlines. Before the speech by Obama in front of two hundred thousand people, there were two very popular stadium packing bands performing for FREE. I cannot help but wonder how many young impressionable people would show to a McCain rally, if a band like U2 were to perform for free.

Last May, something very similar occurred in Portland. I guess there's a good reason Obama is getting compared to a rock star. Anyone can do it. Just have a big free outdoor concert with a band that will attract tons of fans that produce very little, with no expendable income, and no real purpose in life.

bout that euphoria, Christiane Amanpour noticed something was lacking following the Obama Berlin speech that was preceded by a rock concert. Euphoria.

WOLF BLITZER: Did you get a sense, Christiane, that he actually delivered with his presentation, with his speech, his appearance in Berlin? Did people walk away seemingly satisfied or disappointed?

AMANPOUR: Well, I don't think they were disappointed, and I'm not sure that they were thoroughly satisfied. I did ask some people as they were leaving what they thought. Everybody said good, good. But I was surprised that there wasn't this sort of euphoria afterwards, given how many people had come to listen and how much it had been anticipated.

(HT for this coverage goes to Advance Indiana.)

Not all are pleased with Mr. Obama's performance overseas.

manpour reports that the Europeans aren't too enthusiastic about Obama's stance against free-trade. (That is if doesn't flip-flop on it before November, like other issues.)

The top EU trade official is already offering this caution to Obama on NAFTA: stop the crowd pleasing rhetoric, and be serious about U.S. commitment to free trade and unfettered markets.

Europe is looking forward to seeing an internationalist in the White House, no matter who wins the U.S. election in November.

While the American press seems to be under Obama's spell, there is word this isn't necessarily so with Europe's press.

He hasn't, as yet, given an interview to a foreign newspaper. He doesn't, as far as I know, have any foreign press on his plane on this trip. He has received many requests by foreign journalists to accompany him on his travels in the US, but has turned them all down.

This is strikingly different from John McCain.

Perhaps Obama doesn't want to face the sort of questions he fears might be put to him - on free trade, on Iraq, and on how his foreign policy would differ from George Bush's.

I don't know why this is surprising. So far, he has yet to put himself into any kind of arena that would challenge his positions, his flip-flops, or his overall intellectual integrity. Why would he sacrifice that free campaign advertising? Here in the US, we are used to it.

Not all are pleased here in the States, either.

nderneath the sheep's clothing is a wolf.
Take healthcare for instance.

While on the county payroll, a top urologist at Cook County Hospital solicited nearly $1 million from drug companies over the last decade for his private foundation.

Dr. Paul S. Ray's pitch was that the money would go toward medical research and education.

But most of the money hasn't gone to health care at all. Instead, Ray invested it -- mostly in Tony Rezko.

This has yet to gain a prominent slot in the story rotation, on NBC's Nightly News. Obama claims to be some kind new politician that makes news journalists' legs tingle. But when one does some research, he is just another politician that has a supportive media suppressing his skeletons.

(For the hat tip and more on this, check out Advance Indiana.)

s for his greeting when he gets home, I suspect part of that greeting will include some questions about why he decided to cancel a visit with some wounded troops while in Germany. The Obama camp blames the Pentagon, the Pentagon says not so. But more than anything, he could have left the cameras behind if he had truly felt his visit would have politicized the visit too much. As one pundit said over the weekend, it is always appropriate to visit the troops whenever the opportunity arises.

Another Blast From The Past

When we mention prolific bands, one that will most always come in the course of the conversation is Genesis. Most can recognize that this was a band that spawned two of the biggest solo acts ever, Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins. But the forgotten Genesis spin-off act is one that has also enjoyed a decent amount of success. Since this is the Brickyard weekend, PYY is only too glad to feature the music and talent of Mike and the Mechanics.

This first tune is my favorite. It has a theo-political theme to it which can be applied to our time, despite the fact it was written and recorded in the 80s. Here is Silent Running:

One song that got a lot of airplay on rock stations in the 80s was this next one. This one is entitled, All I Need Is A Miracle:

Mike's distinctive Genesis sound comes through on this next one. Here is Nobody's Perfect:

Finally, we have a tune where new age meets rock. This is a mellow uplifting song called, The Living Years:


The State Of Education And The ICLU's Newest Protected Class

Many times schools do not meet standards and need some corrective action. One of those actions can include adding school days to the calendar to catch students up in areas where they are deficient. John Marshall High School and three others are in this category, locally.

Last Monday was the first day of the new school year. It is estimated that 800 kids will be in attendance this year, but as of Monday only 400 were enrolled and only 300 actually showed up.

Enter Lawrence Township Trustee Mike Hobbs and his solution to the problem:

Parents of truant John Marshall High School students will find it difficult to collect financial aid from the Lawrence Township trustee's office if their kids don't get to class.

Trustee Mike Hobbs said he would stall poor relief payments to guardians of children who are supposed to be attending John Marshall's early-start school year, but aren't.

By Wednesday morning, he had put holds on two such cases.

With no magical solution to this problem, one man decided he would try something drastic. Amazingly, there has been some improvement in attendance by the week's end.

But this is not where the story ends. According to a local radio talk show host that usually gets good information out on the reporting trail, the Indiana Civil Liberties Union has threatened legal action against Hobbs if he makes good on his promise.

We already have protected classes galore, in this country. But now, we have Indiana's version of the ACLU calling the poor a protected class. But somehow in all of this, I just cannot help but think the ICLU has missed the point here.

If we are ever to have any hope for children to get out of that sense of hopelessness/despair that our liberal friends say causes so many problems (to include crime), getting their asses into the classroom has to be the beginning of such an undertaking.

This alone will not be the only component to solving this problem, but it has to start somewhere. And while many of the schools are on the wrong path to educating our children, attendance is not the responsibility of the schools. It is the responsibility of the parents to make sure their kids are where they are supposed to be, when they are supposed to be there. And if parents disagree with the way schools are educating their kids, one must ask: How many school board meetings they have attended and what kind of school board members have they voted for in the past?

In the end, No Child Left Behind may turn out to be a dismal failure. From what I have seen so far, it hasn't been overly successful so far. But this isn't too surprising when you consider, nothing that comes from the federal government has ever been shown to be very effective. Certainly, this program is no different. If we want to trace the current set of problems in the schools today, just go back to the creation of the Department of Education and work your way forward. Do the math and you will see.

Still, this is no excuse for not attending. True, there may be little hope for Johnny getting a quality education and getting out of the cycle of poverty, as it stands now. But that hope index drops to zero if he is at home, sleeping in until noon, playing video games and watching Jerry Springer on TV.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What The 60s Hath Wrought

There is a group of people here and elsewhere in the world that look at the 60s as an era that brought a new social order, which at that time was supposed to change the world and make it a beautiful place. It was billed as nothing less than utopia and featured a group of people that believed Marxism was the future, which would bring this whole fantasy to fruition. Down with the establishment, up with the movement (whichever one was protesting at the time).

LBJ promised us the Great Society, where hunger and poverty would someday be eliminated. But instead, it has brought government dependency and laziness, and poverty is still every bit as problematic today. If the Great Society legislative programs of 1965 were so successful, why were radicals so restless in their protests in 67, 68 and 69? Did we not hear how the Watts riots were a direct result of the despair and frustration of being black and in poverty?

If this notion that people can truly be equal by simultaneously eliminating the rich and the poor if it were possible, wouldn't it stand to reason that the Soviet bloc would still have the same economic system as they did in the 60s? Wouldn't they be dominating the markets right now under those weak and unnatural systems? Would not China and the USSR be the dominate forces in the world now? They may be someday, but socialism has played no role whatsoever in their resurgences. But capitalism has.

Today we have Obama desperately trying to convince us he is the agent of change and can best take us into the future. if this is the case, why is his campaign trying to repeat the magic of JFK in Berlin. Why are they invoking the 60s as their measuring stick of influence? To me, it sounds like they are looking to the past and not the future.

Victor Davis Hanson's latest essay features some interesting aspects of the 60s, all of which are difficult to refute unless one has their thinking clouded with lysergic acid diethylamide. His take is more poignant than mine and features a recurrent theme that has some pretty strong roots in that same 60s era. It's known as hypocrisy.

Give it a read when you get a chance.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

European Governments Say "Not So Fast "To Obama

Despite the throngs of mesmerized starry-eyed Europeans that are expected to greet Barack Obama in Europe, there are those serving in the governments of these nations who are not willing to swallow the bait whole. Surprisingly, this story is coming from Reuters.

European fans will cheer on U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama as he visits Berlin, Paris and London this week, but governments wary of his inexperience and evolving policies fear the euphoria is overdone.

But that isn't about to stop the hoards of people that think he is the world's savior from showing up, just to be in some great campaign photo-ops.

Democrat Barack Obama’s entire traveling campaign apparatus is in place. He will speak Thursday at an historic site in Berlin that could draw tens of thousands of spectators. And chief campaign strategist David Axelrod might even assemble film crews to gather footage of it, possibly for a TV commercial.

But senior aides engaged in a bit of rhetorical gymnastics Tuesday as they faced reporters who questioned their resistance to acknowledging the political aspects of Obama’s week-long, high-profile tour against the backdrop of an intense American presidential campaign.

Not surprising, since this entire trip is nothing but a campaign trip. But back to the Politico article:

At a morning background briefing, reporters parried with senior advisers on the characterization of Obama’s speech Thursday in Berlin as a campaign rally. The outdoor speech at the Victory Column could draw thousands of people, similar to the size of Obama events in the United States.

“It is not going to be a political speech,” said a senior foreign policy adviser, who spoke to reporters on background. “When the president of the United States goes and gives a speech, it is not a political speech or a political rally.

“But he is not president of the United States,” a reporter reminded the adviser.

Sounds like someone is counting chickens before they hatch here.

Some reporters are not pleased with the way this is playing out. NBC's Andrea Mitchell is one of them:

This really isn't too hard to follow for those of us who think for ourselves.

Obama's world tour hasn't impressed anyone except those that are already duped into believing this guy is qualified to lead the most powerful nation on earth. The objective here is to make him look presidential, but it will only succeed in making him look like Europe's gullible citizenry has been eaten up with Obama fever. They love him, but they loved John Kerry too.

The European masses that hate confrontation had better beware of their affections. If Obama is elected and is given the opportunity to lead the most powerful nation in the free world, the safety and security of western civilization will be severely compromised.

And if this is the case, Europe had better be willing to step up to the plate. Because Obama will not be there for them. This is precisely why Obama makes Europe's governments so nervous.


It looks like I am not the only one that feels this Obama tour is a sham. Read this essay.

Still more troubling is how Obama handled his first interview. What he says and how he says it should be troubling to anyone that has any sense. This man has no military experience whatsoever and wants to lead the military. This ought to scare the hell out of anyone.

New York Times Shows Bias (Again)

There are a lot of people crying "foul" after revelations of the NYT rejecting an Op-Ed piece from John McCain, one week after publishing one from rival Barack Obama.

Like most I have heard and read, my thoughts were instant.

Let's think about this a second. Can anyone say they are truly surprised by this? This is the same publication that accepted payment for and printed the now famous "General Betray Us" ad. And if that was not enough, they refused to allow an ad for rebuttal at the same rate charged to the MoveOn.Org cult, who was behind the ad that attacked the integrity of the general.

The Times claimed it had given a bulk rate to Move On, for more than one ad. If those wanting a rebuttal ad to be placed for the same rate, they would have to buy the same package. Shrewd business practices, yes. Fair and balanced journalism, no.

So here, we have Obama's essay out in the open and the Times refuses to allow McCain the opportunity to publish his own in the same forum. Likewise, we have another weak excuse from the Times for not allowing an opposing viewpoint to be articulated on its pages. Meanwhile, the Times continues to show their partisan colors and clearly demonstrates one of the major reasons their circulation is declining at a faster rate, than other publications in the industry.

Newspaper bias is nothing new. Traditionally, papers have had a liberal or conservative slant in their editorials and other writings. But those that exercise journalistic integrity have no problems giving those with opposing viewpoints, an opportunity to communicate their disagreements. Whereas once the NYT was one of those publications, they are no longer a member of that club.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Here I sit all befuddled and confused. I attempted to upgrade my blog and it would seem I have been successful. But, it would appear that I have lost my blogrolls in the process. (Oh joy.) But do not worry, stew, or fret. I will be spending some time in the near future putting up a new one. If you were on that one, you will be on the new one.

Meanwhile, any suggestions on how I can retrieve the old information would be appreciated. But in the interim, it is my fear that some of you will tell me it's lost forever. So whatever the truth would be, I can take it. Let me know, if you know.

Thanks for reading.

Britain's Cutlery Problem

Like Indianapolis, Britain is dealing with an upsurge of homicides these fine summer days.

Britain is struggling to get to grips with a surge of fatal knife attacks, which analysts say reflects a growing sense of insecurity on the country's streets.

While some say young people are increasingly carrying knives as a fashion item, others say it is simply because they are scared of being attacked and so make sure they are armed.

Outrageous!! Something has to be done, and fast.

PYY calls for the the carrying of a concealed weapon to be a crime. By outlawing of all knives (except for law enforcement), the citizens will be safer from knife violence. Anyone caught with a knife should be thoroughly punished. At very least, the government ought to require all knife owners to be registered (after taking government approved knife safety classes, or course).

Iran's Generation Landslide

Generation Landslide was a 1973 Alice Cooper song that had some meaning for the era it was written. But today in Iran, it may have some real meaning.

Here's a WSJ article you may have missed along the way.

(Emphasis is mine)

When Hassan Bakhtiar couldn't find a job last year, his mother told him to pray and read the Quran.

Instead, the 25-year-old aerospace engineer dropped in on a packed appearance by Alireza Azmandian, Iran's most famous motivational speaker and self-help guru. Now, he meditates by staring at a flickering candle and chants Mr. Azmandian's inspirational catch phrases.

Religion doesn't offer me answers any more," Mr. Bakhtiar says, after listening to Mr. Azmandian at a public auditorium in a shabby neighborhood of South Tehran. But, he says, "this seminar changed my life."

The self-help craze -- long part of life in the Western world -- is taking the Islamic Republic by storm. Iran is one of the world's youngest nations, with 70% of its 65 million under the age of 30. There's widespread disenchantment among young people with Iran's strict theocratic regime, which requires headscarves for women and bans alcohol. And jobs are scarce.

It has been my firm belief for many years now, Iranians are the most forward thinking people in the Muslim world. However, the problems we are currently facing with Iran do not originate from the rank and file citizenry.

No folks, the actions that threaten world peace and and seek to oppress artistic and cultural freedom within its own borders, lie squarely on the shoulders of a backward thinking government. This is a government that reversed almost all of traditional Persian influences that go back much further, than the implementation of Islam as the official religion and certainly the current regime.

As the article claims, the demographics of current day Iran are dominated overwhelmingly by younger people. As many of us already know, they can get restless when they see inefficiency and hypocrisy. And today, we are seeing just that in the Iranian leadership. So if it is so plain to those of us on the outside, you know they see it and live it on the inside.

With this in mind, I can see why the youth of Iran will someday reverse the backward courses that the firmly entrenched Islamic mafia-like government has taken the nation (that once sported Zoroastrianism as a religion and a Hebrew queen). I can see why they turn to anything that is not buried in a violent ideology that is rooted in hate and oppression.

It's only a matter of time before these dinosaurs die off or get so old, they cannot hang onto power. It's only a matter of time before these youth are empowered enough to assert their wishes and desires upon the older generation that has created a model of death and despair. The only problem I see with exercising patience is the advent of a nuclear weapon in the hands of these aging dinosaurs, and whether they want to go out with a bang. A big bang.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Another Blast From The Past

In the summer of 1970, yours truly was in his teenybopper stage of development. But believe me, I was far from a fan of the Archies. AM radio still played music while FM was just starting to get its foot in the door, and there was an evolutionary renaissance of music beginning to take hold in the music world.

Spending a lot of time at the local American Legion pool (where there was a jukebox strategically stationed), these were a few of the songs I loved to hear and waited for with a good deal of anticipation.

This one made it to #3 on the Billboard chart. Here is a great pool song for winking at the girls. This one was sang by Tony Orlando & Dawn, it was simply named Candida:

Another great song that reminds me of that pool was this tune by Freda Payne, entitled Band Of Gold:

Some of the folk music of that era became more mainstream and made some excellent crossover pop songs. Melanie was one artist that was able to make that transition well. Here is her 1970 hit, Lay Down:

The next artist was the lead singer for Paul Revere and the Raiders. Here is a 1970 solo project by Mark Lindsay, that got its share of playing time. The song is Arizona:


Friday, July 18, 2008

IUPUI's Affirmative Action Office Out Of Control

Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis is located in the heart of Indy, just outside of downtown.

Recently, there was a flap over a man working for and attending IUPUI for reading a book (on his break in a breakroom) entitled, Notre Dame vs. The Klan: How The Fighting Irish Defeated The Ku Klux Klan. What followed was something totally outrageous and another fine example of how this racial card is be played at every drop of a hat.

Much of it is explained in this WSJ Op-Ed piece.

The story began prosaically enough. Keith Sampson, a student employee on the janitorial staff earning his way toward a degree, was in the habit of reading during work breaks. Last October he was immersed in "Notre Dame Vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan."

Mr. Sampson was in short order visited by his union representative, who informed him he must not bring this book to the break room, and that he could be fired. Taking the book to the campus, Mr. Sampson says he was told, was "like bringing pornography to work." That it was a history of the battle students waged against the Klan in the 1920s in no way impressed the union rep.

The assistant affirmative action officer who next summoned the student was similarly unimpressed. Indeed she was, Mr. Sampson says, irate at his explanation that he was, after all, reading a scholarly book. "The Klan still rules Indiana," Marguerite Watkins told him – didn't he know that? Mr. Sampson, by now dazed, pointed out that this book was carried in the university library. Yes, she retorted, you can get Klan propaganda in the library.

As anyone can plainly assess from this synopsis of the situation, there are many out of control elements at this and other universities across this nation. Here, we have a book that explains how the Klan's influence was significantly diminished at one prestigious university and we have a group of paranoid race-baiters at another university, making an illogical determination that this book is offensive. (Maybe the Klan would find this offensive too, because they came up on the short end of the stick in this one.)

How can anyone learn the Klan's thinking is wrong, except they read about it in an academic setting? How can anyone learn that power can be stripped from hate organizations like the Klan, except they read about one example where it was? How can there be any inspiration to do such a thing, except a story be told?

Never mind this book was found in the university library, this book was deemed offensive by those with a union mentality and an official complaint was lodged at the request of some ignorant being. From there, some radical "chip on her shoulder" university Affirmative Action Officer gets involved and proceeds to demonstrate that some people have no business in positions of authority and influence.

But here's a twist, found later in the WSJ piece. The ICLU (Indiana's version of the ACLU) eventually did something uncharacteristic. They got involved on the side of Mr. Sampson.

The result was, frankly, surprising to me and many other cynics in this area. It seems the chancellor has officially apologized to Mr. Sampson.
Here is the PDF version of the letter, Sampson received.

But in my opinion, this is not enough. If I had any say whatsoever, the union leadership and entire Affirmative Action Office at IUPUI would be re-educated. Additionally, I would require both AAO officials that took this overzealous and ill-conceived action to meet personally with and officially apologize to Keith Sampson as part of (and in front of) an open forum open to all students. If they refused, I would fire them.

How these idiots ever got a degree, is beyond me. But that's another post.


Upon further investigation, it appears that AAO Director Lillian Charleston has retired in the time since this case played out. For her bio, take a quick peek here. Note that her studies were centered in Urban Studies, where much of this kind of thinking is taught and glorified.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

There's No One Answer To Energy Crisis

The premier issue this fall will be the energy crisis, more specifically the cost of it. I maintain right here and now, the one that wins this Presidential race will be the one that can develop, and then, effectively promote a cogent and workable energy policy.

I listen to those on the left and the right make their cases everyday on what is wrong and what needs to be done. Over and over again, we hear the pundits screeching their way is the way and the opposition's plans are worthless and will not work.

The right says drilling for more oil domestically, developing more nuclear power plants, and reviving coal as an alternative source are all valid answers. Paradoxically, the left believes that punishing the oil companies, conservation, and alternative sources that involve businesses which are lobbying the left, who they think will guide us out of this mess.

Both think they are right, the other is wrong, and there is no in between. This is known as politics as usual, and resembles nothing of the "change" that is so highly touted by everyone, who has a vested interest in government and/or those that stand to profit (one way or another).

Simply put, here is what must happen if we are to ever succeed at getting a handle on this situation:

1. We must drill. We should let the oil companies drill at ANWR and anywhere else that has oil deposits. But, it must be done in the most environmentally safe method possible and we must insist that refineries are built to accommodate the extra oil that should be flowing in a few years. Additionally, it must be stipulated that oil companies do not sell the oil on the open world market. If we do not have refining capacity for this new oil or we open it up to bidding, we will see no real benefit.

2. Detroit must start reducing fuel consumption by designing cars that use less fuel. Whether it is hybrids or just autos that get better MPG, this has to be done for any real progress can be made.

3. We must develop alternative forms of energy. To rely on one source (and one source only) is about the stupidest thing any civilization can do, if they want to ensure a crash and burn scenario. In the true spirit of capitalist competition, all forms of alternative energy that do not involve the food supply should be looked at carefully and circumspectly.

Some of the forms that should be looked at are:

A. Nuclear Power - Three Mile Island happened almost 30 years ago. Technology has greatly improved since then. So what's the problem? Environmentalists that are paranoid of another TMI accident scenario playing out. Europe knows how to do it, why can't we?

B. Coal - The same thing applies here. Find a way to use it in an environmentally sound way and this resource can make a reasonable dent in our energy demands.

C. Wind Power - We have wind out the wazoo in the bread basket. Want to see how? Check this presentation out.

D. Oil Shale - This is a tough sell, from what I understand it's a tougher process to convert this resource into energy. But, this still affords us all an opportunity to reduce dependency on crude.

E. Hydrogen and other abundant gases - I am not a scientist but surely there other elements that can fill some of the void.

F. Solar Power - It's there, it's free. I cannot see it going away anytime soon.

All these things are nice and will go far, but there is one thing that has to be part of the equation, no matter how we attack this:

4. We must reduce our demand, by good old conservation. It must be voluntary, but I have no problem with creating incentives to do so.

Again I say to all, there is no one solution. The person that can include all of these things as part of a comprehensive energy policy, will be living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue next year. But he must not promise and fail to deliver. There is no guarantee that either of these candidates will come through. And if neither will get on the train, in four short years we will be in worse shape than ever before.

(HT for the Wind Power link goes to Mustang at
Social Sense, for e-mailing it to me)

The Functional Identity Crisis Of America?

If you haven't guessed by now, my favorite essayist on the internet today is Victor Davis Hanson. It's not because his essays help me post something on days that otherwise would be slow or days that I am extra busy.

Believe me, he does make it easy for me when those things happen. But the real reason I like him, he makes so much damned sense.

His latest hits the nail right on the head again. It should cause our elected leaders, as well as those the vote for them, to think about the direction America has taken and appears to be headed again in this election cycle. Granted, not many will read his wisdom and if they do, they will not heed his advice. But know this, their lack of interest in what he has to say does not mean his words are any less true.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Terminally Ill Susan Atkins Parole Denied

I know that several of my readers have disagreed with me on my stance on the death penalty in the past. I have attempted to articulate my reasoning for being against it in the past. One one hand, I understand the arguments for it. I do think there are many cases whereby execution is well-deserved. On the other hand, there are two reasons I am against it:

1. It gives those that deserve it an escape. By that I mean, I think it's better to be put to death than to sit in prison for the rest of one's natural life.

2. Of all of the penalties meted out by our criminal justice system, it is the one that has the greatest potential for abuse by the state, should the state ever assert itself in creating a true despotic regime. One only need look at post-revolution France, to see what I mean.

Today, there is a report that Manson family member Susan Atkins has been denied parole.

No compassionate release for terminally ill Charles Manson follower Susan Atkins, who murdered actress Sharon Tate almost 40 years ago, the California parole board has decided. Doctors and prison officials made the request because she is dying of brain cancer.

Atkins has only about three months to live, doctors say. Her husband told the California Board of Parole that she cannot sit up in bed, her left leg has been amputated and she's paralyzed on her right side. "She literally can't snap her fingers," he said. "She can put sentences together three or four times a day, but that's the extent of it," he said.

As you may recall, Atkins was originally sentenced to death. But later, her sentence and the sentences of other death row inmates at that time (to include Manson) were commuted to life in prison in one of those California moments. Had she been put to death, she would be out of her misery and would never have suffered a damned thing (certainly nothing like suffering she put her victims through).

Now, she is in misery in her illness, cannot be made reasonably comfortable in a prison setting, and her attorneys are asking for her release. To their credit the California Parole Board has rejected that request. Maybe she has given her life to God and truly repented for her evil deeds of 40 years ago. Who knows for sure except her and her Maker?

If she has, good for her. But for this moment, there is still a debt she owes. And if it means her dying in prison never being free on this earth again, so be it.

Some Perspective

Here and in other forums, we talk about some things that we all deem to be pretty important. And the truth be known, they are. But in the grand scheme of things, there are times when these things shrink exponentially in size. It is at that time, they become unimportant.

If you really want to read something important and want to put some real perspective into this thing we call life, take a moment and read this essay by Mike Gallagher.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Recap: The War On Terror

For those that have been in Rip Van Winkle status, here is a recap of a current news story that has been active for almost seven years.

News Flash:

US invades Afghanistan to remove Taliban from power.

Anti-War Crowd's Response:

We can't win in Afghanistan.

News Flash:

US invades Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

Anti-War Crowd's Response:

We can't win in Iraq.

News Flash:

US sustains losses in Iraq campaign.

Anti-War Crowd's Response:

See? We told you so. We can't win in Iraq.

News Flash:

US to employ troop surge to curb Iraqi violence.

Anti-War Crowd's Response:

Won't work, we can't win in Iraq.

News Flash:

Violence decreases in Iraq, increases in Afghanistan.

Anti-War Crowd's Response:

We can't win in Afghanistan.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Are There Cracks In The French Social Model?

I have read many accounts written by Frenchmen that truly believe that the American social model could take lessons from that of France. To hear them tell it, France is a model and panacea for the entire world to take note of, if they want to achieve the high level of social justice and equality in which the French have always believed they stood for.

Not all are convinced, this is the case here.

Here is an essay that analyzes a book which makes some pretty bold claims.

That France's famed social model is economically inefficient and morally flawed--as opposed to being economically inefficient but morally virtuous--is an argument brought home with eloquence and vigor by Timothy Smith in his book France in Crisis (Cambridge University Press, 2006). Originally published in 2004, the book has not received the attention it deserves.

To say that France's social model is far from perfect is an understatement: in spite of the state absorbing more than 50% of GDP, France has suffered, since the 1980s, from rising child poverty rates, persistently high unemployment, a chronic sense of economic malaise, and the continual enrichment of the system's "insiders" at the expense of the system's "outsiders." More importantly, France's social model fails to deliver precisely what it proclaims to: economic justice, inter-generational fairness, economic opportunity and social protection, particularly to young workers entering the labor market, minorities, immigrants, middle-aged women and other vulnerable groups.

The article goes on to elaborate further and is not kind in its overall conclusions. Whether this book by Smith or the review that the essayist puts forth is accurate or not, the bottom line from where I stand is simple:

If this is what France wants, so be it. This must be determined by the French people, and them alone. I care very little for how their system works, pass or fail - if they like it, I like it. I am not going to benefit, nor suffer, if it does either. But know that I do not wish to see it implemented here, because i firmly believe it cannot work here.

France is smaller than the US. And for whatever benefits are perceived to be available to the French citizenry, it will not automatically translate to the American social and economic models. No one wants to be in the 50% tax bracket to pay for the perks. Can you blame us? The federal government cannot manage anything with any efficiency, as it is. Everything they touch turns into a nightmare and a bureaucratic mess. So why would we suddenly be able to achieve this pipe dream with a larger influx of cash flow?

The ultimate goal of socialism in its purest form is equality. No rich, no poor, no class distinctions, everyone is the same. Everyone lives in a harmonious bliss. It sounds noble, but in reality it's not achievable. The New Harmony experiment is a microcosm of what we could expect from a greater theater. If that is not enough, ask those that lived under the Soviet system, and you'll see that not all are looking back at that social model with endearing eyes. The USSR experiment sounded noble on paper, but it was nothing more than a sales campaign that did not deliver and went bankrupt.

In both cases, apathy replaced enthusiasm. This being the case, it's hard for me to understand why the status quo must be maintained in this instance, and why some people in America think the French system is so great they want it here.

Maybe I am wrong, but are the headaches generated by high taxation and high levels of entitlements to those that are on the inside, worth it? I mean, talking about a flawed theory (based on emotions) while thinking it can work is one thing. Making it work is an another. Is it a good system? Doesn't sound like it from this perspective. But like I said, I do not live in France. I live here and from what I hear, there are certainly mixed reviews.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Another Blast From The Past

Most of the regulars here already have a pretty good feel for my tastes in music, by now. If you share some of my tastes, I feel safe betting you will like PYY's featured artist this weekend. It's one that you may have missed along the way, it's an obscure band that may be one of the best acts to never make it in America. Had I not been in Germany in the late 70s, I may have never had the pleasure of hearing their unique and versatile sound.

Here are some great tunes by Sad Café.

First up is a somewhat mellow song that had a distinct Rolling Stones influence, but with a little bit more wax and polish. Here is My Oh My:

If you ever have doubts about how much the Beatles influenced music for a decade or two after their break-up, this next one may convince you. It sounds like a typical 70s typecast song that was written for and sung by Ringo, with some background vocals from John Lennon. With a combo of blues and funk added in for good measure, here is Strange Little Girl:

One of their mellower tunes was their biggest hit in Britain. Here is Everyday Hurts:

Certainly indicative of the true 70s rock sound, their first album had one song that had some real meat to it. This one is named, Fanx Tara:

One song that you may have heard was one that got some airplay in America, but it wasn't quite enough to catapult them into any kind of success. This one is known as, Hungry Eyes (Not the one by Eric Carmen):


Friday, July 11, 2008

Indianapolis In Midst Of Crime Wave

The city of Indianapolis is reeling from criminal charges of a few of its police officers, men that have betrayed the public trust. To add insult to injury, it is suffering a wave of homicides that is historically significant. If that's not enough to anger a citizen, yesterday one of Indy's finest was shot trying to capture a suspect that is believed to have committed one of those senseless killings, which was the cold-blooded murder of a good samaritan trying to prevent a woman from being attacked.

A 29-year-old Indianapolis police officer was shot in the head and clinging to life late Thursday after a gunbattle on the Eastside that also wounded the suspect -- a man police believe killed a 69-year-old retiree earlier this week.

It's one thing to know you have a bunch of depraved bastards roaming the streets (nothing new under the sun, there) and it really outrages a person to find out that some that have been entrusted to protect the people from such people are out on the take. But when those that are not engaging in criminal activity are harmed in the line of duty, it really makes a person's blood boil.

A handful of miscreants can and often do create havoc on a community. In this case, one of them has ruined two lives forever, not to mention the lives of those that love(d) them.

The puke that shot the officer was not suspected of the murder of the good samaritan, but was suspected of brutally beating a 69 year old man in his own home. The one suspected of killing the man trying to help a friend is a 16 year old and has been arrested.

Here is a look at the bastard that shot the officer. Truly, from the sounds of things, he is worthless as mammary glands on a boar hog. The same goes for his worthless parents. Read the article to see what I mean.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Obama's Pronounced Triangulation

Call it triangulation, vacillation, flip-flopping, or whatever you want. The truth is it is inconsistency at its finest. Obama's miraculous move to the center is the subject of VDH's latest piece and worthy of a look.

This is risky for Obama, as it will not set well with his left-wing base that helped propel him into the big stage. But beyond that, independents may very well abandon him for reversing himself too much. (SEE: 2004 Kerry Campaign)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

News In Brief (And The Usual Opinionated Commentary)

Sen. Boxer Accuses White House Of Climate Change Cover-Up

A leading U.S. Senate Democrat accused the Bush administration on Tuesday of a "cover-up" aimed at stopping the Environmental Protection Agency from tackling greenhouse emissions.

"This cover-up is being directed from the White House and the office of the vice president," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, the California Democrat who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

We've come a long way, baby. Before this, there were accusations about WH cover-ups on WMDs, the WTC attacks, and the Valerie Plame affair. Now we have this. But that's not the funny part to all of this. The irony here lies with the fact that Boxer is a member of an institution which is currently pulling in only a whopping 9% favorability rating, in a recent Rasmussen performance poll.

With the ironic part out of the way, we can feel free to consider the sad part of this tragic tale: Most of these clowns will be re-elected.

Iraq Insists On Time Tables For Withdrawal

Iraq's national security adviser said Tuesday his country will not accept any security deal with the United States unless it contains specific dates for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces.

Assuming this bozo has any authority in this area, I say fine. If that is what they want, let them have it.

I wouldn't make the specifics public, but if they want time tables for withdrawal, I say give it to them. In fact, pull the damn troops out now for all I care. And when their country comes under siege from Iranian-backed insurgents, don't come crying to us. If Al Qaeda or other such outfits become emboldened and begin wreaking havoc on the Iraqi people and, killing their children again, they can solve the crisis themselves.

Personally, I am sick of helping people that do not appreciate it. Let them milk the EU for assistance, let them see how far that gets them. The US needs to start negotiating from a position of power, and that includes tactics like calling other nations' bluffs.

Obama To Give Acceptance Speech At Mile High Stadium

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will leave the hall of the Democratic National Convention in Denver and deliver a rock-star-style acceptance speech at nearby Invesco Field at Mile High, quadrupling his live audience, the party announced Monday.

The speech, in the stadium that is home of the Denver Broncos, will be on the fourth and final night of the convention, Aug. 28.

Adding to the historic resonance of the first nomination of an African-American for president, that date is the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech.”

The move means additional expense for the television networks, where executives are having a conference call Monday to discuss the logistics of moving their cameras and anchors to the new location after months of planning for a finale in the smaller Pepsi Center, where the rest of the convention will be held.

Delusions of being the next JFK aside, Obama is now convinced that by showing 75,000 screaming fans he can further use the media to paint an exaggerated image of his support base. This is a base that may become more disenchanted with him for triangulating toward the center before the convention ends.

Will he pack the stadium? Probably. Will it win him the election? Maybe, maybe not. It's too early to tell right now.

The real question (come November) will be, can he articulate a coherent plan to implement the grandiose ideas he and his campaign have been fervently promoting throughout the campaign, thus far? So far he hasn't. And until he learns to take hard questions from not so enamored journalists, he will be nothing more than a straw man that the media has built. But unfortunately, this may be just enough to sway weak-minded individuals that cannot see through the rhetoric and empty words he uses, to mesmerize the dumb masses.

The Power Of Words

Intelligent people seek to edify themselves by learning new things. They are not pleased with stagnation, nor do they seek to regress. For those of you that seek to expand your horizons by adding new words to your vocabulary, Mustang has a new feature at Social Sense that will assist you in this noble quest, and will likely quench your insatiable thirst for knowledge.

His first installment of this new series will educate and enlighten, but only if you try to use the word in a sentence everyday and make it a part of your everyday conversation.

Objective: Irrelevance. Goal Met.

After four days of fun and not giving a damn about anything that was in the news, I come home to find this this ridiculous story on the web:

Toddlers who say "yuck" when given flavorful foreign food may be exhibiting racist behavior, a British government-sponsored organization says.

So, let's just say we have a white American kid that is offered some Scottish haggis and he/she instantly sneers and says yuck. According to the idiots that make up the London-based National Children's Bureau, these kids may be racist.

Kids say yuck to anything that doesn't sound appealing to them during the toddler years (and beyond). Green beans, peas, and carrots were guaranteed to get a yuck, no matter how they were cooked and presented to my kids at that age. They aren't racist.

It seems to me that a lot of elitist organizations have nothing more important to do than to sit around some conference table in some bureaucratic conference or symposium, talking about things they know nothing about and have no bearing on reality, whatsoever. The organization we now know as the National Children's Bureau has reached this milestone and can be mentioned in the same breath as other useless organizations like the UN.

Congratulations to this organization for attaining the coveted title of "grand masters of irrelevance".

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Happy Independence Day

Just wanted to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday weekend.

On vacation again, we will be in Atlanta for a few days. Here's a short version of Another Blast From The Past to mark the occasion, this one features Charlie Daniels:

The Devil Went Down To Georgia

And because it's Independence Day, here's one of Chuck's signature songs we all know and love:

In America

Enjoy and please be safe.

News In Brief (And The Usual Opinionated Commentary)

Here's how it went down, according to this BBC report.

For months it has been reported by Hugo Chavez that he was working hard to secure the release of these people. Notice how Chavez had nothing to do with any of this. Hard work and perseverance from Colombians and Americans got this job done.

It's the market, stupid.

With all of the buzz about the Fairness Doctrine, the reported $400 million deal that Rush Limbaugh just pulled down must really be rankling proponents of that bogus proposal. I do not listen to Rush, but great for him if someone is willing to pay that much to him. It shows he is generating some revenue, somewhere. Other than Ed Schultz's liberal show, none of the previous attempts could not generate the amount needed to ensure their longevity. So the liberals, in desperate moves to get their message, out must circumvent the market to force networks and stations to equalize things.

Put on a show that will generate listeners and they too can draw this kind of money.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Wesley Clark's Fallacious Words

Gen. Wesley Clark (July 29, 2004):

John Kerry has lived the values of service and sacrifice. In the Navy, as a prosecutor, as a senator. He proved his physical courage under fire. He's proved his moral courage, too. John Kerry fought a war and came home to fight for peace - his combination of physical courage and moral values is my definition of what we need in a Commander-in-Chief.

With only four months of service in Vietnam, John Kerry was deemed to be qualified for the highest office in the land. And yet, five years of captivity after being shot down, doesn't qualify John McCain?

“That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded — that wasn’t a wartime squadron.”

Moderator Bob Schieffer, who raised the issue by citing similar remarks Clark has made previously, noted that Obama hadn’t had those experiences nor had he ridden in a fighter plane and been shot down. “Well, I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president,” Clark replied.

1. McCain was in command of the other POWS, being the highest ranking prisoner in that prison, certainly more challenging than Kerry commanding a small boat for four months.

2. JFK's boat was sunk and everyone believed him to be a war hero when he was elected. Brave and courageous, he certainly was. How is this different from McCain?

But Clark's inability to put cogent thoughts together in a sentence isn't what really bothers me. I have come to expect that of him. What really disturbs me is the fact that the left calls him a war criminal. I have very little respect for a soldier that puts politics above truth and dignity. I have absolutely none for those that twist meanings of a war criminal to suit their radical agenda. None.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

"Race" For The Presidency

Reuters News Service has evidently decided that blacks in America have historically gotten a raw deal in the world of politics over the years, and Barack Obama being the Democratic nominee is just the thing to turn this injustice around.

For black Americans, the road to political inclusion that has allowed Democratic candidate Barack Obama to make a serious bid for the White House has been long and difficult.

After the Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery in 1863, a series of laws and amendments to the U.S. constitution allowed Hiram Revels to be elected to the senate in 1870 in Mississippi as the country's first African American congressman.

But only a small number of black Americans have entered the U.S. senate or become state governors since then and most of those who have found a slot on a presidential ticket had no chance of winning.

Maybe in some areas of the country, there is a measure of truth to this. But allow me to call your attention to the 2006 Pennsylvania Governor's race. Republican Lynn Swann (a black man) lost a landslide election to Democrat Ed Rendell (a white man) by a 60.4 - 39.6 margin. If that's not enough for you, maybe we can recall the 2006 US Senate race for the state of Maryland. Republican Michael Steele (a black man) lost to Democrat Ben Cardin ( a white man), by a margin of 54.2 - 44.2. Since neither Swann nor Steele are well-adept at playing the race card for votes and other forms of sympathy, it would appear they do not stand a snowball's chance in hell of getting elected in two fairly liberal states, with large black populations. And Steele had to endure some pretty nasty racial remarks from Democrats, many from other blacks.

Isn't it funny how neither of these gentlemen are even given a mention in this article? Evidently, they are not black enough. Evidently, they did not get the Sharpton/Jackson "seal of approval", when they were running their campaigns. Evidently, the blacks that live in their states didn't vote for them when the election was being held.

This gives us all just another reason to shake our heads in disbelief, when the soft bigotry of low expectations rears its ugly head, for all to see. That is, all but the MSM. They only see what they want to see in their narrow tunnel visions (and damn the rest).