Friday, April 18, 2008
Three trillion dollars is a lot of cash. You know that, but it's more than you think: For the last three hours I've tried to spend $3 trillion and I barely cracked a trillion. Can you do better?
My playground was 3Trillion.org, an antiwar Web site set up by Robert Greenwald'sBrave New Films.
In his new book, the economist Joseph Stiglitz estimates that the Iraq war will cost, in total, $3 trillion. The Greenwald site aims to illustrate the opportunity cost of the war -- other things we might have done with the money.
How clever. Aside from the dubious figure of three trillion which many question, and the tiny number that represents compared to our GDP, and the fact that the money spent on the war is ABOVE the ordinary military budget and not in the domestic budget (would it still be doing the supposed damage to the economy if it was domestic spending?) I find the list of all the things the author would spend the money on enlightning. A "mooning gnome" is a good symbol for the lefts idea of security.
Apr 16th, 2008 NEW ORLEANS -- Displaying a portrait of Jesus in the foyer of a Louisiana courthouse is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled this week, siding with civil libertarians who sued over the display.
But inserting Jesus within a group portrait of historic figures at the courthouse is permissible, the judge said. (full story)
NEW YORK — Pope Benedict XVI met with leaders of other Christian faiths on Friday evening, telling them that only by "holding fast" to sound doctrinal teaching can they confront secular ideology and the individualism that "undermines or even rejects transcendent truth."
Although each of these churches split from Roman Catholicism across centuries, the pope talked about their common birth and unity in belief in the Holy Trinity — God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit — and their common concerns in a world where "the very possibility of divine revelation, and therefore of Christian faith, is often placed into question by cultural trends widely present in academia, the mass media and public debate.
"Christians are challenged to give a clear account of the hope that they hold," he said. (full article)
Thursday, April 17, 2008
One of the meat and potato moments last night reference the capital gains tax from USNews:
1) If Obama is correct and the economy (where the current jobless rate is 5.1 percent vs. recessionary peaks of 8.8 percent in 1975, 10.8 percent in 1982, 7.8 percent in 1992, and 6.3 percent in 2003) is "in a shambles" and "teetering not just on the edge of recession, but potentially worse," why would he want to nearly double the capital-gains-tax rate, which is a tax on savings, investment, and, yes, housing?
In the YouTube moment of the debate, comoderator Charlie Gibson of ABC News asked Obama twice why he wanted to raise capital-gains taxes since such a move would both 1) hit the middle class and 2) produce less government revenue. Obama—who didn't seem to know that middle-class people pay capital-gains taxes, since he had just moments earlier promised not to raise taxes on people making under the $200,000-to-$250,000 range—gave this answer: (read it here)
While Pope Benedict XVI's historic visit to Washington received wall to wall coverage, Sen. Barbara Boxer briefly held up a Senate resolution welcoming the pontiff because she objected to language about how the pope values "each and every human life." (full story)
They sound bitter to me. More proof that the Dems are out of touch. Every reasonable person should be able to agree with this. No doubt the Dems have evolved past reasonableness.
Claims that there were no links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda are wrong. Documents just released by the Pentagon prove it.
In March 2008, the Pentagon released a document that details some of the classified documents from Saddam's regime. This document called the Iraqi Perspectives Project Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents Volume 1 (Redacted) is an overview of "more than 600,000 original captured documents and several thousand hours of audio and video footage archived in a US Department of Defense (DOD) database. As of August 2006, only 15 percent of the captured documents have English translations." This document provides insight into how Saddam operated his regime and his ties to terrorism. (full story)
Tell your friends...
Perhaps Monckton is capable of distortion, but certainly no more distorting than Gore and others. I guess we can play the "gotcha" game ad nauseum, what with the news that NASA was off on it's temps, problems with computer models,and the "snow job" that appears to be the case with the Kilimanjaro data. But my point is, and always has been, more of a cry against the shrillness and false certitude that global warming folks seem to have about the issue. It smacks of an agenda beyond science that I distrust especially since in my lifetime the pendulem of media alarmism has swung full scale from ice age predictions to the current global warming hysteria. Where is the open discussion of the matter that good science would seem to demand? We simply do not know if we have caused the warming or if it is part of the natural cyles, or indeed, whether we are warming at all. After all what is the earth's "normal" temperature? The whole discussion seems to have evolved into hubris masked as certainty.
From the Dumblittle man website
Higher income and superior work outcomes; better quality work
Larger social rewards such as longer marriages, more friends
More activity and energy
Better physical health; lower stress and less pain
“Pleasure-seeking, quick fixes, and self-gratification are proven to have limited long-term effects on true happiness.”Forget about buying the new outfit, the fancy car, or the latest gadget as ways to achieve happiness. Purchases simply satisfy the short-term need for self-gratification. Things do not produce a happy life…you do. (full story
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The case, scheduled for oral arguments Thursday morning, is being argued by Mathew Staver, chief of Liberty Counsel, on behalf of Lisa Miller, a woman who left a lesbian relationship to become a Christian, and her now-6-year-old daughter.
The other part of the now-terminated relationship, Janet Jenkins, has alleged that because of Miller's Christian parenting practices, she no longer is a fit mother. (full story)
A California mother of five has told members of a legislative committee their plan to criminalize spanking by concerned parents would mean that misbehavior and rebellion no longer could be corrected, and she could face arrest.
Sarah Berke appeared today before the Democrat-controlled Assembly Public Safety Committee, whose members listened to her, then advanced the plan to criminalize spanking with any "implement," such as a wooden spoon, little paddle, rolled-up newspaper, switch, belt or brush.
The proposal is a rerun of last year's attempt to do the same thing, criminalize parents who spank their children, by redefining it as child abuse. full story here
Oh and you better arrest me too, and my dad, and mom and their mom and dad and...
This week when history demanded his voice, Obama once again opted for silence instead of courage. Democratic and Republican Congressional leaders have strongly condemned Jimmy Carter's planned meeting with Khaled Mashal, head of the Hamas terrorist organization. Both Democrats and Republicans demonstrated their leadership in a bipartisan letter to the former president entreating him to refrain from using his stature to undermine U.S. policy and negotiate with Hamas. (Hamas is committed to the complete eradication of Israel and has forsworn any negotiations in favor of violence.) Among Democrats speaking out on the House floor was Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), "In light of Hamas' continuing violence and calls for the destruction of the State of Israel, I strongly urge President Carter to reconsider his decision." Others warned that meeting with Hamas would not only undermine U.S. policy and the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, but lend legitimacy to the group that thwarts all efforts for peace.
Obama, stunningly, declined to take a moral stance and instead chose silence. He said it was not his place to criticize former President Jimmy Carter... "I'm not going to comment on former President Carter. He's a private citizen. It's not my place to discuss who he shouldn't meet with," Obama (Reuters April 11, 2008) (full story)
Research has suggested vitamin supplements do not extend life and could even lead to a premature death.
A review of 67 studies found "no convincing evidence" that antioxidant supplements cut the risk of dying.
Scientists at Copenhagen University said vitamins A and E could interfere with the body's natural defences. (full story)
spcifically, vitamin E may be linked to lung cancer (here)
HILLARY CLINTON and Barack Obama get another chance to explain their policies on the big issues in a televised debate from Philadelphia on Wednesday April 16th. Who is better placed to beat John McCain in the election? In a head-to-head contest on the big issues, according to The Economist's weekly poll, voters appear to be aligned most closely with Mr McCain on law and order, taxes and trade. Mrs Clinton comes top on the budget and health care. Mr Obama comes second on most issues, impressing only on fuel prices.
See the full results of The Economist/YouGov poll.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
China may have been hoping to garner positive global attention in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, but the issue of Tibet has shattered its image. A new poll shows that Europeans now see China -- not the US -- as the biggest threat to global security. full story
If the President and Congress make the right decisions over the next 10 years, America will have the optimal military to keep the nation safe, free, and prosperous while responding to the emerging national security challenges of the 21st century. Achieving the ideal composition and capabilities of U.S. military forces will require:
Building a robust complement of capabilities for the spectrum of missions the armed forces will face,
Ensuring adequate funding for ongoing operations,
Maintaining a trained and ready all-volunteer force,
Preparing for the future, and
Fundamentally reforming manpower and procurement policies. (full article)
..Mr. Berry underscores that physical love is not enough to sustain an intimate relationship. In order to last, human sexual life “must enflesh itself in the materiality of the world—produce food, shelter, warmth or shade, surround itself with careful acts, well made things.” True sexual love also binds these lovers into “the cycles of fertility and the seasons,” into “life and death,” where they find the “deepest solemnity” and the “highest joy.” More broadly, just as “agricultural fertility is...the survival of natural process in human order,” natural human procreativity finds its ordered setting on the small, function-rich farm... rest here
A father and daughter who had a child together say it is society that has a problem with their incestuous relationship and they are OK with it.
John and Jenny Deaves from South Australia caused controversy after admitting on national television last week that they had a 9-month-old daughter together.
"It's everybody else out there in society that has the problem, we don't have the problem," Jenny Deaves said on Australia's "60 Minutes" Sunday night.
"If you've got something to say, say it for Christ's sake," her father, John, said. "Don't go attacking the kids or the car or anything else, it's not the Australian way." (read the rest here)
"We don't have the problem?" Good grief. This is beyond comment.
A sermon last Friday by a prominent Muslim cleric and Hamas member of the Palestinian parliament openly declared that "the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital," would soon be conquered by Islam.
The fiery sermon, delivered by Yunis al-Astal and aired on Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV, predicted that Rome would become "an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread though Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, even Eastern Europe." (article here)
Back in February, reports came to light that an laptop with extensive information on Iran’s covert nuclear program had fallen into the hands of U.S. intelligence in 2004. Comprehensive and alarming stories about what was contained in the laptop appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.
The deputy director general of safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency briefed member states, including Iran, about the contents of the laptop in February. The briefing notes have now been posted online by the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington D.C.
The IAEA official describes, among other things, instructions on how to communicate within the Iranian program using only first names and the “timing of firing devices-leading to an explosion at an altitude of about 600 meters.” The IAEA’s evaluation of Iran’s “Tests of High Power Explosives” is unambiguous:
The high-tension firing systems and multiple EBW detonators fired simultaneously are key components of nuclear weapons.
There are a limited number of non-nuclear applications (high performance technique for exploratory drilling).
The elements available to the Agency are not consistent with any application other than the development of a nuclear weapon. (link)
Monday, April 14, 2008
So it is with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, two of the lamest presidential candidates ever to wander into Washington, yet whose battle for Democrat nomination is utterly compelling.
For months, this pair has been trading gaffes, errors and slip-ups like a couple of Zen blundermasters.
Neither can land a punch except on him or her self.
Meanwhile, in the wings, enjoying this epic episode of America's Most Maladroit, is Republican nominee John McCain - saying little, doing little, and with each day moving closer to the White House. (read it here)
Specifically Barack Obama wishes to pass "ENDA" the employment non-discrimination act. Or so it's called. What it really consists of is the most diabolical way ever conceived to punish every voice in America, who under present law, have every right, to speak to their houses of worship, family, and spouse as to the scientific, mental health, and diseased ridden drawbacks of engaging in homosexual behavior. So stifling would ENDA be in fact that if a Youth Pastor who works with young boys in a church program got caught in an inappropriate relationship with them, ENDA would make it nearly impossible for the church involved to fire the youth pastor. ENDA would directly challenge and seek to limit religious expression, doctrine, theology, and practice. (article here)
In the land of the free, where we revel in our ability to live, work and worship as we wish, few public policy arguments pack a greater punch than appeals to individual liberty. That fact is not lost on gay-rights activists, who increasingly frame their bid for greater legal rights for same-sex couples in terms of sexual liberty and the "freedom to marry." Lately, this public-relations ploy has hit a roadblock. High-profile clashes among religious groups and gay-rights activists have highlighted the uncomfortable fact that the expansion of sexual liberty for same-sex couples tends to result in a loss of religious liberty for their critics....
But if same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land, religious institutions that hold to the traditional definition of marriage could be regarded in federal law as the equivalent of racist organizations....
Such scenarios should frighten freedom-loving citizens of any creed. That they already are unfolding across America should persuade us to look past the libertarian rationale for same-sex marriage to the troubling hints of religious repression to come. (full article)
The American military makes an enormous amount of information available to the public, but in forms and formats that most non-specialists find difficult to understand, let alone synthesize into a coherent picture of what is happening on the ground. The Iraq Report and its derivative products and briefings seek to mediate between the military and the American public and leadership by translating the specialist information provided by the military into language and formats accessible to a more general audience. In this way, the Institute for the Study of War works directly to help policy makers and individuals understand what is happening in Iraq. (more here)
Sunday, April 13, 2008
On Tuesday Iran announced it was installing 6,000 more centrifuges -- they produce enriched uranium, the key ingredient of a nuclear weapon -- in addition to the 3,000 already operating. The world yawned.
It is time to admit the truth: The Bush administration's attempt to halt Iran's nuclear program has failed. Utterly. The latest round of U.N. Security Council sanctions, which took a year to achieve, is comically weak. It represents the end of the sanctions road.
At home, the president's efforts to stop Iran's nuclear program were irreparably undermined by November's National Intelligence Estimate, whose "moderate confidence" that Iran has not restarted nuclear weaponization -- the least important of three elements of any nuclear program -- has promoted the illusion that Iran has given up the pursuit of nuclear weapons. Yet uranium enrichment, the most difficult step, proceeds apace, as does the development of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.
The president is out of options. He is going to hand over to his successor an Iran on the verge of going nuclear. This will deeply destabilize the Middle East, threaten the moderate Arabs with Iranian hegemony and leave Israel on hair-trigger alert. (full story)
Charles Krauthammer lays out the case today for a U.S. nuclear guarantee to Israel. “It’s time to admit the truth,” he writes. “The Bush administration’s attempt to halt Iran’s nuclear program has failed.” He proposes instead that George Bush should take a leaf from the Cuban missile crisis and issue a ringing declaration that:
“It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear attack upon Israel by Iran, or originating in Iran, as an attack by Iran on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon Iran.”
This should be followed with a simple explanation: “As a beacon of tolerance and as leader of the free world, the United States will not permit a second Holocaust to be perpetrated upon the Jewish people.”
Such an approach has its undeniable appeal, but would it suffice to assure Israel’s security needs, or even survival, in the face of a nuclear-armed Iran? (full story)
When preeminent philosophical atheist Antony Flew announced in 2004 that he had come to believe in God's existence and was probably best considered a deist, the reaction from both believers and skeptics was "off the chart." Few religious stories had this sort of appeal and impact, across the spectrum, both popular as well as theoretical. No recent change of mind has received this much attention. Flew responded by protesting that his story really did not deserve this much interest. But as he explained repeatedly, he simply had to go where the evidence led. (full review)
A Christian law firm will appeal a ruling by the New Mexico Human Rights Commission fining a photographer who refused to take photos of a homosexual commitment ceremony.
Elaine Huguenin and her husband Jon, who co-own Elane Photography in Albuquerque, New Mexico, are both Christians. So when a lesbian couple asked them to photograph their "commitment ceremony" in Taos, the Huguenins politely refused. In response, Vanessa Willock filed a complaint with the New Mexico Human Rights Commission claiming the Huguenins discriminated against her because of her "sexual orientation." On Wednesday, the Commission found the Christian couple guilty of discrimination under state anti-discrimination laws and ordered them to pay more than $6,000 in costs. (full story)
Thou shalt not speak well of Iraq. That was the commandment imperiously handed down by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week, in anticipation of General Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker’s testimony before Congress. Alluding to the recent clashes between U.S. and Iraqi forces and rogue Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr’s militia, Pelosi preemptively reproached the general: “I hope we don’t hear any glorification of what happened in Basra.” It was a vivid illustration of what has become the calcified consensus of the Democratic Party: When it comes to Iraq, all news is bad news. (whole story)
according to the New York Post:
April 10, 2008 -- A GAMBLE that proved too costly.
That's how analysts in Tehran describe events last month in Basra. Iran's state-run media have de facto confirmed that this was no spontaneous "uprising." Rather, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) tried to seize control of Iraq's second-largest city using local Shiite militias as a Trojan horse. read the whole story here