Saturday, March 24, 2007

Change of Scenery

Sharia in Minnesota?

Radical Muslims try to initimidate moderates and us. Powerline on the efforts to push Sharia in Minnesota.

Related post: A Hijab with Your Name on it

The Surrender Party

President Bush chastises Congress for micro-managing the war. Pelosi Porkfest: The Dem "leader" buys votes with pork, while hamstringing our troops.

Some perspective here. Reports the surge is working so far. And in comparison to the "peaceful" Clinton years.

The Dems are trying to lose Iraq. The surrender party.

UPDATE: Caroline Glick on "The Road to Serfdom". Also IraqPundit, Sadr in Splinters? WSJ: "By bowing to their antiwar left, Democrats are once again showing that they can't be trusted on national security."

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Don't Forget to Look Up

Obama's Philosophical Allies

Ed Lasky, The American Thinker, writes of Obama's other anti-Israel friends (in addition to his black-separatist pastor.) I view Obama as not particularly religious, that his leftism drove his choice of church. The key point here is that those he looks to for philosophical guidance are an unsavory group:
Ali Abunimah is a well-known Chicago-based activist for Palestinian causes. He has a harshly anti-Israel attitude. He has also written that he had met Obama about half a dozen times at various Palestinian and Arab-American events, including a May 1998 community fundraiser at which the late Edward Said was the keynote speaker (there is a photo of Said with Senator Obama and his wife).

Edward Said was a severe critic of Israel; he developed a school of study about the Middle East based on denunciation of so-called "Orientalism" that has influenced many Middle Eastern professors to take an anti-Israel view. The entire field of Middle Eastern studies has been so corrupted that Congress has raised an
alarm about federal funding going to professors with an anti-American, anti-Israel agenda. These are the ideological heirs of Edward Said.
(One of Said's heirs at Columbia is Prof. Mahmood Mamdani) And Obama's recent speeches bear out this anti-Israel tilt, though he seems to mute it and distance himself from his philosophical allies when he's campaigning, as Lasky also notes in his piece. Obama speaks of the Palestinians as victims, but he has been silent on their new textbooks which wipe Israel off the map and celebrate martyrdom. Others have questioned his approach to foreign policy, his tendency toward appeasement.

Obama distanced himself (actually it was his spokesperson) from billionaire George Soros' recent ill-judged remarks, but will he turn down or return his campaign contributions this time around? Soros also has a nasty history. And Obama has a history with Soros.

UPDATE: Nation of Islam leader and Chicagoan Minister Louis Farrakhan, who traveled with Obama's pastor to Libya some years ago. Video of Farrakhan supporting Iran's quest for nuclear weapons on Al Jazeera, "The Time for the Chastisement of Allah is Here".

UPDATE: In his speech in Chicago, Obama ignored Hamas terrorism. Here's how Hamas educates their children.

Why Not More Charters?

Charter schools in Illinois have been around for 10 years and demand only grows, yet some legislators want to limit their growth, rather than raise the caps on opening new ones. Tribune:
Some 15,000 children applied to the state's 29 charter schools in 2005-06, but only about 5,000 new students were accepted, state data show. The number of children turned away--about 10,000--was significantly larger than in each of the previous two years, when roughly 5,500 to 6,500 children were not accepted.
Most charters are in the Chicago area, bringing needed innovation, and have a successful track record:
Patricia Munoz-Rocha, principal of Aspira's Mirta Ramirez Computer Science Charter School, said demand is high because parents want a safe environment and a demanding college preparatory curriculum for their children.

She said more charter schools should be allowed in Illinois. If need be, charter schools currently authorized, but still not created--in Downstate and suburban areas--should be set up in Chicago instead.

"Why is it that those charter schools can't be created in Chicago if the demand is there," she said.
Why can't we help inner city parents who can't afford a choice otherwise? Why shouldn't money taxed for education follow the child? Ask your legislator.

Previous posts: The Challenge for Schools, Dream Killers

Cook County Loses

Sun Times:
Census population estimates released today show Cook County posted the third biggest decline in the nation, losing 88,000 residents since 2000.

Only counties surrounding New Orleans, ravaged by a hurricane, and Detroit, clobbered by a declining auto industry, lost more.

Not only Chicago, but suburban Cook County lost population. Could it have something to do with the management?

The Big Sister Party

Steve Chapman, Tribune, RCP holds forth on Hillary, "The Big Sister We Can Do Without", and asks who really likes her:

It's not as though she warms the hearts of moderates everywhere. Her husband was a master of triangulating between the two poles. But Hillary's efforts to place herself in the sensible center suggest naked opportunism, not hardheaded practicality.

The candidate we all know is the one portrayed by Amy Poehler in the "Saturday Night Live" skit who, when asked about her original position on Iraq, replied with a condescending smile, "I think most Democrats know me. They understand that my support for the war was always insincere."

Unless they run as out and out leftists, Democrats are always insincere. They always try to hide the liberalism at the heart of the party. There may be a few naive freshmen, but Hillary is not in that category, (nor Obama, liberal yes, naive no--maybe just about the Clintons).

Democrats are the Big Brother, Big Sister Party, always claiming to know what's best for us, always promising big government as a solution, always raising taxes. The only reason Bill managed to triangulate so well for so long was because we had a Republican Congress to stop his excesses, (at least most of them), and because he was, as one of his own party members, Sen. Bob Kerrey described him---an unusually good liar.

Big Sister doesn't lie as well, but she embodies the Democrat Party. With her, the "naked opportunism" is revealed. Shudder.

Related posts: Obama's Technical Capacity, Hillary's Cans of Worms

UPDATE: More on the origins of the Hillary ad.

Sun Dazzles Scientists

Scientists discover activity on the sun, which was up until now thought "impossible". Scientific inquiry continues on this, as well as other hot topics like cosmic rays, and its impact on global warming.

Story and more amazing pix here.

UPDATE: Apropos story on the latest eco-centrics, NY Times, "The Year Without Toilet Paper":
DINNER was the usual affair on Thursday night in Apartment 9F in an elegant prewar on Lower Fifth Avenue. There was shredded cabbage with fruit-scrap vinegar; mashed parsnips and yellow carrots with local butter and fresh thyme; a terrific frittata; then homemade yogurt with honey and thyme tea, eaten under the greenish flickering light cast by two beeswax candles and a fluorescent bulb.

A sour odor hovered oh-so-slightly in the air, the faint tang, not wholly unpleasant, that is the mark of the home composter. Isabella Beavan, age 2, staggered around the neo-Modern furniture — the Eames chairs, the brown velvet couch, the Lucite lamps and the steel cafe table upon which dinner was set — her silhouette greatly amplified by her organic cotton diapers in their enormous boiled-wool, snap-front cover.

A visitor avoided the bathroom because she knew she would find no toilet paper there.

(Hint: no newspapers either) Mr. Mom for a year is writing a book on the subject. (maybe it will be an e-book)

Chicago version here.

Taxes an Issue for April 17th

Wilmette Life:

The Wilmette Village Board took steps March 13 toward fostering affordable housing through market forces or grants and donations, as well as possible new taxes.

But the pressure is on from non-incumbent village trustee candidates Karen Spillers, Gale Teschendorf and Mike Basil to avoid taxes to promote housing opportunity.

All three challengers panned the idea of taxing residents for affordable housing at a March 11 League of Women Voters forum, while incumbents Mari Terman and Joanne Aggens were more open to the possibility.

Terman and Aggens, as members of the Village Board's Finance Committee, recommended earlier this year that the village explore increasing unit density and other zoning changes to let developers create affordable housing free to village taxpayers. March 13, the full board voted unanimously that the Land Use Committee should explore zoning changes.

The same night, trustees referred another Finance Committee recommendation to the Administration Committee: Creation of a community land trust and an affordable housing trust fund to accept grants and donations, as well as possible tax money.

As Wilmette strives to double its stock of affordable housing, as directed by a recent state law, Aggens has favored a now-stalled "teardown tax" to help fund the effort, though she's expressing doubts since the issue drew opposition in 2006.

The election is April 17th. The league's forum is being replayed on Channel 6 at 5:30 p.m. today (Thursday), 6 p.m. Monday, 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, 5 p.m. March 29 and 10 p.m. March 30 and 31, as well as April 1.

UPDATE: Related story here. Related post here.

Conflicts of Interest

Wilmette Life:

Polan wants the assessment reduced 31.6 percent to $574,784. The Cook County Board of Review has turned down his appeal, so he's appealed that decision to the state Property Tax Appeal Board.

All such appeals of more than $100,000 trigger a notice to local taxing districts. In many suburbs, those districts react by joining to hire a lawyer to fight the appeal.

"This is money that's not going to educate the boys and girls of District 39," Wilmette elementary school district Superintendent Max McGee said Monday, referring to successful appeals. "And I personally think the assessor does a pretty good job."

The village of Wilmette and the Wilmette Park District have voted already to hire the lawyer.

New Trier Township High School District 203 hasn't voted yet. Associate Superintendent for Business Don Goers said New Trier is waiting to see whether McGee's district, which would pay 45 percent of the legal fees, backs the fight before voting to kick in its 33 percent.

The numbers are based on the districts' cuts of the tax pie.

District 39 is expected to vote on the expenditure today (Thursday).

One School Board member won't be voting, because he has a conflict of interest.

His name is Greg Polan.

Polan, a six-year board member, never votes to fight property tax appeals anyway, McGee says.

"I believe that we, as citizens of the United States, are taxed enough, and we have the right to appeal," Polan explained last week.

He said he never votes to fight a tax appeal, even of a commercial property, because he doesn't like the district picking on property owners.

"I'm a big supporter of the district and its foundation," said the owner of Skokie's Alltown Bus Service, a school transportation company that doesn't bid on District 39 business.

Ah, but last I knew, he had the District 39 PTA field trip business, and....the New Trier business.

The school board is rife with conflicts of interest. What's rare is to have someone on the board who is anti-tax. (Or anyone who is truly interested in educational excellence for that matter.)

Related posts: Public Servitude

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Scientific Smackdown

(I'm on spring break, but couldn't resist this one.)

The scientist skeptics on global warming flip the audience watching the debate to their side. Great stuff.

Ice and Open Water

The Clinton Crack-Up

R. Emmett Tyrrell's new book is out, The Clinton Crack-Up: The Boy President's Life After the White House. He knows them well.

New revelations on Bill and Hill. Excerpt here.

Kirk at Linden True Value

I meant to link to this before now, Congressman Mark Kirk held "traveling office hours" at Linden True Value in Wilmette to support the Barkemeyer family, whose son Fr. John is serving as an Army chaplain in Iraq. Previous post Thanks from Fr. John. You can make donations to support Fr. John and the troops here.

The Teardown Question

Friendly sparring on teardowns on the North Shore, the St. Barbara blog, and the Wilmette blog.

I lean toward St. Barbara's position.

Other recent local post: Wilmette adopts Kyoto Protocol

Stopping the Cycle

Christopher Hitchens, via RCP, refreshes our memory on Iraq. Key point on nukes:
To call for serious and unimpeachable inspections was to call, in effect, for a change of regime in Iraq. Thus, we can now say that Iraq is in compliance with the Nonproliferation Treaty. Moreover, the subsequent hasty compliance of Col. Muammar Qaddafi's Libya and the examination of his WMD stockpile (which proved to be much larger and more sophisticated than had been thought) allowed us to trace the origin of much materiel to Pakistan and thus belatedly to shut down the A.Q. Khan secret black market.
And this:
The Bush administration never claimed that Iraq had any hand in the events of Sept. 11, 2001. But it did point out, at different times, that Saddam had acted as a host and patron to every other terrorist gang in the region, most recently including the most militant Islamist ones. And this has never been contested by anybody. The action was undertaken not to punish the last attack—that had been done in Afghanistan—but to forestall the next one.
Now Iran has barred the IAEA, another escalation on their part. But this time, instead of being an appeaser and worse, as they were with Iraq, perhaps the Russians are serious about stopping Iran. Maybe the US will get some help in stopping the next threatened cycle of states and terrorists with nukes.

UPDATE: Latest with Gen. Petraeus on the surge in Iraq, why it's working so far.

UPDATE: Interesting analysis of some Iraq polling at Powerline. And, in case you missed it, this poll with the largest sample we've seen yet.

The Coming PC Crack-up

Up until now there's been an uneasy truce between people of faith and the public schools. If you really object to liberal proselytizing you can take your children out and put them in religious or private schools. That is, if you can afford it.

But that will soon come to an end. Already we have the spectacle of the NY Regent's exam watering down passages from literary classics so they won't offend anyone. And in Britain the politically dominant Wahhabist Muslim purportedly "moderate" group is making a move to cram their view of Islam down the throats of real moderate Muslims and other believers and non-believers in the public schools. Guidelines here. (Ah, yes, they claim they are working for the "common good". Where have we heard that before?)

It's the Taliban approach to culture, only this time, instead of blowing up Buddhas, they want to push us back to the dark ages by eliminating most music, dance and art for starters. Girls should wear the hijab. We know our kids don't really learn history anymore, the curriculum has been dumbed down, but we haven't reached this point yet. The Muslim Brotherhood is infiltrating Egypt's education system, discriminating against Coptic Christians and encouraging intolerance. It's happening in Kuwait too. And we have swimming pool shenanigans in Sweden and Canada. Yup, they want "separate but equal". Guess who would be the second class citizens in this scheme. Note current Muslim practice, most notably in the Middle-East, also here, of demanding an unbeliever tax or jizya. And do we want our kids to have report cards like this?

The UK is starting to make some rulings to address this attempt to abrogate every one else's rights. It'll be here soon.

Obviously this has broad implications for society, but the immediate effect may be to give political correctness a brain cramp. This may be what finally pushes the US to adopt widespread school choice. And let's have some academic courses on religion in the public schools, so we understand the value of tolerance as a bedrock of our Judeo-Christian heritage, and study other major religions substantively as well, so our children are literate about religion. Enough of the ignorant, patronizing, and superficial multiculti mantra the left loves. Of course, in the universities we have secular creationism, masquerading as "Women's Studies", but at least there students have a choice about whether they want to take such a brainless approach to history and society.

It's the coming PC crackup, taking the straightjacket off thought and speech, heading off a burka on the brain.

UPDATE: Related stories on education at RCP Buzztracker. One-third of DC residents are functionally illiterate, the biggest obstacle being English is a foreign language. We have to get better at integrating, not separating. The melting pot, not the salad bowl. One of the standards that must hold is learning civics and English in public or private schools. And a liberal says he has seen no evidence teachers' unions are detrimental to education. Teachers' unions are not interested in education. They are interested in job security, a point which he illustrates in his same post. Laughable.

UPDATE: Powerline on the new anti-Semitic Palestinian textbooks, and the cynicism of Democrat candidates for president who ignore the Palestinians' refusal to recognize Israel.

Spring Sprung Upon Us

Did you have this discussion in your household? Is today the first day of spring or tomorrow? Our calendars were conflicted on the arrival of the vernal equinox. Natalie Angier, NY Times:
But as I soon discovered in my attempt to resolve the calendar crisis, the vernal equinox in 2007 has the added snag of arriving at the querulous hour of just seven minutes past midnight, universal time, on March 21. Coordinated Universal Time is what used to be called Greenwich Mean Time, but the new name doesn’t make it any more universal than it ever was, and it remains a time zone centered in Britain. For those of us in the United States, the vernal equinox arrives while it is still the evening of March 20.

Whatever the date, go on and celebrate, for the vernal equinox is a momentous poem among moments, overspilling its borders like the swelling of sunlight it heralds. As with everything else about the seasons, the equinox is the result of Earth’s sizable tilt, 23.5 degrees relative to the plane of the orbit. That tilt is fairly fixed, and as Earth makes its way on its circumsolar migration and rotates on its imaginary skewer, the northern tip of the skewer always points toward the same spot in space, the bold sparkle of Polaris, the North Star.

Coordinated Universal Time? Apparently even Greenwich Mean Time has gone PC. I guess it sounded too definitive.

It's not a big deal, but sometimes our family likes to bang a few pots and pans outside in celebration of the day. So here's some music to herald spring (yeah, the French guy does stop talking). Carmina Burana. And here's another version. Happy Spring!

Obama's "Technical Capacity"

Sweet on the unofficial Obama campaign ad against Hillary. I posted the ad here. Tom Bevan, RCP Blog on Obama's "technical capacity". If he's deficient in that area, maybe he could use a little "magic".

Or maybe he could unleash that lethal charm.

It worked in New Hampshire. Sun Times (all Obama, all the time):
The crowd waited an hour for Obama to arrive and swarmed him for autographs before he spoke.

''By the way, you had us from your first hello,'' said Carol Thebarge, who went on to ask Obama about President Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq.

But more astute observers have their doubts about Obama's capacity, technical or otherwise. Leon Wieseltier on Obama:

"Nobody ever charmed anybody out of a nuclear weapon."

Previous post: Enduring Glamour of Anger, One-Sided Obama

UPDATE: Could be someone in Hillary's hometown of Park Ridge does not like her. Sounds like one of her classmates at Park Ridge High. FoxNews, via RCP:
The text to the right of the video says, "Make up your own mind. Decide for yourself who should be our next president." The ad's poster, named ParkRidge47, is anonymous except that he or she is listed as age 59.

Officials in the Illinois senator's camp say they have nothing to do with the ad. The Clinton campaign says it doesn't know where the ad came from and had no further official comment. But Clinton supporters are wondering aloud about the role of Obama's campaign even though they readily admit they have no evidence to support their suspicions apart from Obama's Web site being named at the end.
Some entertaining Dem infighting in Illinois.

Stroger's "Clean" Machine

It's Stroger's Cook County "Clean" Machine. Sun Times:
Also Monday, the county board voted 9-8 on Stroger's request to approve a no-bid contract with a cleaning company that has ties to Stroger's political organization and to Cicero-based mob figures.

We Clean Maintenance & Supply got the $357,000 contract to clean the county building for the next 135 days, replacing county janitors laid off because of budget cuts.

Company officials, citing the "security of our clients," declined to comment.

Is We Clean clean? Are they in the "security" business too?

Previous post: Cronyism for Goons

UPDATE: Related story, Sun Times:
Not even a month after the Cook County Board made massive cuts to pass a $3 billion budget, next year's deficit is already in the millions.

Cigarette sales, collection of hospital patient fees and fees from recording property deeds are all lower than officials anticipated when balancing this year's budget, records released Monday show.

Jihadi Disinformation Primer

The jihadists advise their adherents to influence the views on the war of the "weak-minded American" by pretending to be an American and posting on various websites:
“In my experience, the areas most visited in American forums... [are titled] ‘Random Thoughts’ and ‘What’s going on in your mind?’... [The former] takes priority in the American forums, and is highly popular. You should post your contribution there... This should include films of the mujahideen in Iraq, mujahideen publications in English, and images and films of the Americans’ crimes, [such as] killing unarmed civilians in Iraq... etc.”

“Invent Stories About American Soldiers You Have [Allegedly] Personally Known”

“Obviously, you should post your contribution... as an American... You should correspond with visitors to this forum, [bringing to their attention] the frustrating situation of their troops in Iraq... You should invent stories about American soldiers you have [allegedly] personally known (as classmates... or members in a club who played baseball and tennis with you) who were drafted to Iraq and then committed suicide while in service by hanging or shooting themselves...”

“Also, write using a sad tone, and tell them that you feel sorry for your [female] neighbor or co-worker who became addicted to alcohol or drugs... because her poor fiancĂ©, a former soldier in Iraq, was paralyzed or [because] his legs were amputated... [Use any story] which will break their spirits, oh brave fighter for the sake of God...”

MEMRI, hat tip LGF.

UPDATE: One of CAIR's useful idiots, freshman Congressman Joe Sestak (D-Pa). The Politico, via RCP.

Women's Work in Saudi

Arab News:

"Saudi Businesswomen Seek Greater Participation:

In the first of three audience-participation polls, 55 percent said there are obstacles hindering the participation of women in development. According to Banany, these obstacles are related to tradition and culture, unsupportive families and husbands, lack of education and work experience and mixing between both sexes.

The second poll however showed that 79 percent believed having an agent is a proof of women’s inefficiency, while 21 said it is not related. The third poll asked if having an agent to do the women’s work is part of Shariah law, 85 percent voted no, yet 15 percent voted yes. (In Saudi Arabia, a women must have a male agent or representative to obtain the paperwork to start a business.)

“Doesn’t Saudi Arabia trust us enough to manage our own businesses without having to hire a manager who may misuse our trust, though we proved we could run more than one company in different fields?” one businesswoman asked.
A related story on the same conference:
The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report measures the size of the gender gap in four critical areas of inequality between men and women: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, political empowerment and health and survival. According to the 2006 report, Saudi Arabia ranked last in a group of 115 countries in terms of economic participation and opportunity and political empowerment.
Kind of hard to believe they are last. No, Yemen is last (115). Saudi Arabia is 114. Let's see, who else is in the cellar. Iran 108, Egypt 109, Benin 110 (missing data), Nepal 111, Pakistan, 112, Chad 113. Looks like a clump in one neighborhood.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Appeal for Courage

Appeal for Courage to Congress, from our troops. Via Powerline.

The Gathering of Eagles

The eagles gathered to guard the memorials to our fallen the protesters defaced the last time they came to Washington, and to give heart to our troops serving us overseas.

More at HotAir.

Related post: A Hijab with Your Name on it.

The Last Straw with McCain

Sen. John McCain is off my list.

This morning I read he's sucking up to Europe characterizing us as "Ugly Americans" and kowtowing again to the global warming goofs, now I read he is beating up on the Club for Growth and defending that RINO fink Lincoln Chafee, who as a lame duck spitefully blocked John Bolton's nomination.

This is the last straw. No way am I voting for McCain. Only if by some fluke he wins the Republican nomination, but the way he's offending the base, it's more of a long shot every day.

By the way, he wants to move the Gitmo terrorists to a brig in Kansas.

Previous posts here and here.

UPDATE: McCain rips Club for Growth unfairly, citing Reagan not to criticize a fellow Republican. Well, the national party should stay out of Republican primaries. The Club interceded to back a challenger, nothing wrong with that. Post-primary is another question entirely. Video.

Thompson Gets It

John Fund has an excellent interview in the Weekend WSJ with former Sen. Fred Thompson. It is well worth reading. Thompson on Iraq:
The challenges, he says, are numerous. On Iraq, he admits "we are left with nothing but bad choices." However, he says the "worst choice" would be to have Osama bin Laden proven right when he predicted America wouldn't have the stomach for a tough fight. The costs of Iraq have been high, but they could be even higher "if we have another stain on America like that infamous scene from Saigon 1975 in which our helicopters took off leaving those who supported us grabbing at the landing skids."
And this is key, showing he's not afraid of engaging in substantive debate with Republicans or Democrats, with wit and supply side wisdom:
On domestic issues, Mr. Thompson says a major reason Republicans lost last November was that they aided and abetted runaway government spending. Yet Democrats, he contends, are incapable of following through on their pledges to be fiscally prudent. "Their political coalition needs more revenue like a car requires gasoline," he laughs. "Reagan showed what can be done if you have the will to push for tough choices and the ability to ask the people to accept them."

But Mr. Thompson says those tough choices shouldn't include the tax increases contemplated in the new budget released by Senate Democrats this week. "The phony static accounting the government uses has obscured just how successful the 2003 tax cuts have been in boosting the economy," he says. "Lower marginal tax rates have proven to be a key to prosperity now by Kennedy, Reagan and Bush. It's time millionaires serving in the Senate learned not to overly tax other people trying to get wealthy."

More analysis at the RCP Blog.

Fred Thompson gets it on the issues. The question is whether he will get in the race. I think he would be a welcome addition.

UPDATE: Thompson rips Iran.

Make Earmarks Public

We need the administration to approve full disclosure of earmarks by OMB. And Congress needs to live up to its promises. Robert Novak, Sun Times:
An even stronger example of the resiliency by the congressional pork purveyors is the appropriators' non-compliance with the ethics bill that has passed the Senate 96-2 but has not yet been finally enacted. Coburn last Monday delivered a letter to Byrd, saying: "The committee's failure to make earmark information public would make a mockery of recently passed earmark reforms and would suggest to taxpayers that the Senate wants to continue to earmark funds in secret."
And the Democrats are irresponsibly and shamelessly loading up a bill to fund our troops with pork. WSJ:
Thus has Mr. Bush's request for $100 billion to fund the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus $3 billion to replenish the disaster-relief fund, devolved into a $124.6 billion logrolling extravaganza. You can get the flavor from the bill's very first words on page two: "Title I -- Supplemental Appropriations for the Global War on Terror Chapter 1 Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service." Forget the Marines; send in the meat inspectors.

This bill has everything the modern military doesn't need. There's $25 million for spinach, designed to attract the vote of Sam Farr, a California farm-region liberal. Perhaps spinach growers who lost business due to last year's E. coli scare need this taxpayer bailout, but it won't intimidate the Taliban unless Mr. Farr plans to draft Popeye.

The Democrats' hold on the majority is thin. One of the reasons they won seats is voters were fed up with Republicans' failure to reign in porkbarrel spending and halt earmark abuse. The Republicans have learned the lesson. Have the Democrats? Don't count on it.

New Trier Scholars Win State

For the first time in its history, New Trier Township High School on Saturday won the Illinois High School Association's Scholastic Bowl.

After defeating three teams at the daylong competition in Peoria, New Trier beat Wheaton North High School for the championship, 325-218.

Co-coach David Reinstein, a New Trier math teacher, said the Winnetka school had finished second once before and third several times.

"We worked hard, and it paid off," Reinstein said. "Every group of students is unique. This year we had a great group that loves to learn."
(It's not bragging if you can do it:) Sounds like math had something to do with it.

Swiss Reject Single Payer

A stunning defeat for a single-payer plan in Switzerland. Consumers for Health Choices:
“On Sunday the Swiss people voted overwhelmingly to reject a Single Payer system. But there has been not a word about it in the American press – other than a single paragraph in the trade publication Business Insurance.

“The vote was on whether to replace Switzerland’s current system of mandatory health insurance coverage provided by 87 private health plans with a single payer system based on income-related premiums. It was rejected by 71% of the voters.
The Swiss like their healthcare choices. No slavish devotion to a European model by the MSM on this one.

Exploring America

Tony Blankley on the departure of most of Halliburton's operations to Dubai:
Rather than hold hearings or construct phantom conspiratorial tax evasion theories, Mr. Waxman, Mr. Leahy and their fellow ilk might consider that, since Congress won't permit American oil companies to drill for the more than 140 billion barrels of recoverable oil that exists under American ground and in our coastal waters, it only makes sense for oil-drilling companies to go where oil drilling is permitted.

I wouldn't blame Halliburton if it moved all its assets out of a country (that would be the United States) that slanders its good name rather than appreciates its world-class, vitally needed skills. What a pity if Mr. Waxman and his fellow anti-capitalists soon won't have Halliburton to kick around any more.
Since Democrats cut defense spending so sharply during the Clinton administration, Halliburton is one of only two companies in the world capable of doing what our government needed it to do. The other company is French. Of course that wouldn't bother the Democrats, but most Americans would not be comfortable entrusting our national security to the French.

But think about that number---140 billion barrels of recoverable oil under the ground in America. Iran has 138 billion barrels of oil.

We consume 21 billion barrels a day and produce only 5. Yet for years we have allowed environmentalists to lock up all this potential which would put us on a par with Iran. Unbelievable!

Our grandfathered existing offshore drilling rigs withstood Katrina, illustrating how good and safe the technology is. And the technology for drilling on land has developed to the point where it's akin to a laparoscopy through a navel.

Over 70% of Americans are in favor of offshore drilling, when the affected states are willing, and with the highest safety measures.

By all means let's look at energy alternatives, (no subsidies please) but most offer very little power. In the longer term nuclear power, a clean, green technology can be brought online, if we start building now.

Americans need to support energy exploration at home as well as abroad for our present and future comfort, security and freedom.

Wilmette adopts Kyoto Protocol

The Village of Wilmette Board of trustees has adopted the coyote (if you watched the meeting), uh Kyoto protocol "concerning global climate change and supporting the reduction of greenhouse gases".

See the last of the adopted items.

But what does it mean?

Perhaps the village will suspend the use of air conditioning and adopt an open window policy. In the winter, close the windows.

Build a nuclear power plant in the village.

A wind farm on the beach?

Computers use a lot of energy. Line item cut? And the village uses a lot of PC’s. Back of the envelope calculations 1pc is about 22 trees (planted in the tropics and never cut down). Plus if you are connected to the internet you really ought to factor in the CO2 produced by the electricity used in the server farms that allow you to surf the world wide web.

Will the village set up checkpoints to harangue drivers and hand out flyers for green cars?

Will the Glenview cows be on the agenda at the next intergovernmental meeting?

Will the village ban greenhouses?

Will coyotes rule?

P.S. I'll be happy to do my part and get a Hummer as my next car.

Related posts: What it Means to be Green, Sister Cities, Kyoto-Wilmette, Greenies, Stay Home

UPDATE: Related story, Sun Times:
A waste-hauling firm that's repeatedly been accused of having ties to the mob is still doing taxpayer-funded work and has surfaced on a government-produced list of environmentally friendly businesses.
(Joining Gore in the racket.) More on Al here.

UPDATE: The Wilmette Blog weighs in. Read it all. Here's an excerpt:
Generally Treaties are the stuff of nations, not local governments who don't seem to be able to deliver basic services. Maybe if the Trustees paid more attention to what is going on locally, the quality of life in Wilmette might greatly improve. A recent home invasion, burglaries, and wholesale disregard of the traffic laws are now common occurrences in Wilmette.
Only Village President Chris Canning voted against this lunacy.

The Right of Self-Defense

George Will, WaPo, RCP:
When Madison and others fashioned the Bill of Rights, they did not merely constitutionalize -- make fundamental -- the right to bear arms. They made the Second Amendment second only to the First, which protects the freedoms of speech, press, assembly and worship. They did that because individual dignity and self-respect, which are essential to self-government, are related to a readiness for self-defense -- the public's involvement in public safety. Indeed, 150 years ago this month, in the Dred Scott decision, Chief Justice Roger Taney said that one proof that blacks could not be citizens was the fact that the Founders did not envision them having the same rights that whites have, including the right to "keep and carry arms."
Self-respect, self-defense, enshrined in our Constitution.

Previous post: Individuals and the 2nd Amendment

UPDATE: Dennis Byrne, Tribune:
This doesn't mean that the D.C. decision applies here, but the conflicting rulings invite the intervention of the U.S. Supreme Court, where three sitting justices--Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia and David H. Souter--said in a 1998 dissent that "bearing arms" goes beyond a collective right in the context of a well-ordered militia. Combined with the votes of recent conservative appointees, the high court could sweep away draconian laws that don't even allow the possession of a handgun to protect yourself and your family in your home.
He also discusses the Wilmette connection.

KSM Mass Murderer

The left and the MSM are dismissing KSM as a braggert and a victim of coercion. But his statement dovetails with independent evidence. He is brutally credible to an honest observer. Rivkin and Lowry, via RCP:
Indeed, KSM, while complaining about his prior treatment, specifically and repeatedly told the tribunal that he was describing his activities voluntarily and without any coercion being applied. Moreover, a number of his key factual assertions could be verified based upon independent physical evidence.

For example, at the time he was apprehended in Pakistan, a number of computer disks containing details of his various al Qaeda activities were seized. And his involvement in specific al Qaeda attacks, both actual and planned, has been corroborated by other detainees.

Significantly, Sheik Mohammed did not claim that he was the leader of every single al Qaeda plot he described during the hearing. He did not allege, for instance, that he played a major role in the scheme to assassinate Pope John Paul II in the Philippines. This delineation of his various roles does not support the notion that he is a serial exaggerator, prone to boast about non-existent exploits.

Those on the left want KSM to be given a trial in our country. If he were tried in US courts, as evidence was obtained overseas, it would be difficult to get a conviction. Yet we know he is a serial mass murderer, an unlawful enemy combatant who is determined on jihad against the West:

In other circumstances, humanitarian groups and international-law mavens understand perfectly well the symbolic importance of charging individuals with grave violations of international law and laws of war. Indeed, they have insisted that individuals ranging from Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to senior leaders in Rwanda or Darfur be charged with genocide, ethnic cleansing and war crimes, rather than being slapped with national-law violations, such as murder, assault or robbery. The same logic should, of course, apply to Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his al Qaeda cohorts.
Keep KSM penned up at Gitmo. Try him there. Who calls to unleash him on our country? He doesn't even deserve our jails, and we shouldn't put our country at further risk by bringing him here.

We are still fighting the war on terror, or rather, the terrorists are still fighting a war with us, whether we like it or not. So far most of the carnage they have wrought has been overseas.

A little snippet in Saturday's Tribune.

So far.

Previous posts: "Hollywood" Goes to War--NOT, KSM Targets, CNN Blinks

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Steyn on Sunday

If it's Sunday, it's Mark Steyn in the Sun Times. Thinking about it all. Read it all.

Flimflam Plame

FoxNews Sunday transcript, via RCP:

WALLACE: I guess the question I have, Bill, is couldn't they have pushed back against Joe Wilson without outing a CIA operative?

BILL KRISTOL, WEEKLY STANDARD: Maybe. Maybe. They didn't, of course. Richard Armitage outed the CIA operative, and he was not a supporter...

WALLACE: Well, so did Libby. So did Karl Rove. So did Ari Fleischer.

KRISTOL: No. No. That's not true.

WALLACE: They didn't talk to reporters?

KRISTOL: They may have talked to reporters about the fact that his wife was at the agency as a way of explaining the trip. That's what the State Department reported. There's nothing secret about that.

Valerie Wilson attended a Senate Democratic Policy Committee meeting in early may with her husband, Joe Wilson. He was on a panel denouncing the Iraq war. She was there.

They had breakfast the next morning with New York Times columnist Nick Kristof. If she is so covert, if she was so concerned that her presence might endanger operations, why does she accompany her husband -- why does she first send her husband or help send her husband to Niger which, of course, was going to raise questions ultimately about why he was picked as a critic of the war?

Secondly, why does she attend a partisan Senate Democratic committee meeting with her husband? Why does she have breakfast with a New York Times reporter?

CIA operatives are not supposed to have breakfast with the media, incidentally. They're supposed to report media contacts. If anyone outed Valerie Plame Wilson, it was her and her husband.

Flimflam Valerie Plame.

Previous posts: Trial in Error, Trib gets it wrong, PlameOut Fallout

A Hijab with Your Name on it

So Cindy and Nancy---there's a hijab waiting with your name on it. It's already spread to a movement in Europe. Bret Stephens, WSJ:
Caroline Lucas, a member of the Green Party faction in the European Parliament, is a longtime activist in anti-nuclear, animal-rights and environmentalist causes, and not someone likely to describe herself as an anti-feminist. Yet in June 2004, she joined British MPs Fiona Mactaggart of Labor and Sarah Teather of the Liberal Democrats for a press conference in the House of Commons organized by the Assembly for the Protection of Hijab. The Assembly, better known as Pro-Hijab, is a pan-European organization formed "to campaign nationally and internationally for the protection of every Muslim woman's right to wear the Hijab in accordance with her beliefs and for the protection of every woman's right to dress as modestly and as comfortably as she pleases."
How about the protection of a Muslim woman's right not to wear one? How about protection of even more basic rights than that? In countries where a man's word is worth twice that of a woman's. Or where she can't leave the country, or even the house without her husband's or a man's permission. Or where she can't drive a car.
Or where she can be beaten on the slightest pretext or become the victim of an honor killing by the male members of her family after being raped because she is now unclean.

Or if she resists and kills in self-defense or in defense of a younger girl she can be charged with murder and face execution.

Even in America, where unfortunately Wahhabi Islam is widespread, imams counsel beating women "lightly", and we have seen at least one honor killing. And the most prominent Muslim organization in America, CAIR, is at the very least an apologist for terrorists, and there is evidence of terrorist ties. Groups like the Muslim Student Association present sweet little seminars in Kansas about how liberating the hijab is, while in San Francisco and Montreal they mob Jews.

For feminists and the left, political expediency always, always trumps principle. Victimology always triumphs over the rule of law. Because you see, they view Muslims as an ethnic minority and as such they can not be questioned. Actually the multicultural approach is not non-judgemental and egalitarian in this case---Muslims have superior moral authority as supposed victims of the West. Hirsi Ali:
As to the charges that she is an "Enlightenment fundamentalist," she points out, rightly, that people who live in democratic societies are not supposed to settle their disagreements by killing one another.

And yet contemporary democracies, she says, accommodate the incitement of such behavior: "The multiculturalism theology, like all theologies, is cruel, is wrongheaded, and is unarguable because it is an utter dogmatism. . . . Minorities are exempted from the obligations of the rest of society, so they don't improve. . . . With this theory you limit them, you freeze their culture, you keep them in place."
And apparently it's Islamophobic to ask this: "Where do you stand on the statement that a wife should obey her husband and that he can hit her if she fails to do so?", as German immigration is doing now. The morality of the feminists and the left is very blinkered. I guess this is an issue of privacy, now extended from the fetus to the wife. The effect of this is to empower bullies of women, bullies of fellow Muslims who have more gentle beliefs, and bullies of non-believers in Islam. Some have murder in mind for us, starting as always with the Jews. And eventually the extremists will probably murder the left, unless they are stopped. One of them already murdered Theo van Gogh.

So feminists, liberals and Democrats, when you decry the war on terror we are fighting for your liberty as "not in our name", think about that hijab with your name on it. Or worse.

UPDATE: Ordinary Americans gathered on the mall to take on the anti-war left in numbers that shocked the media (they still downplayed the numbers of patriots and showed unrepresentative pix). Michelle Malkin here. Rick Moran:
History ended yesterday. Or at least one version of it. Or perhaps it didn’t end as much as it was overthrown, trampled by the feet of 30,000 ordinary Americans who gathered on the mall and along the broad avenues in Washington to confront those who have, either wittingly or witlessly, given aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States for more than 40 years.
And this from another blogger who was there. Pix and video of the good guys outnumbering the bad guys:
In my opinion, this Gathering of Eagles rally has done more for the healing of the wounds these veterans have been burdened with for forty years than any wall or memorial could ever. It was if they’d finally been given the opportunity to face their oppressors. There were no sorrowful stares, no sympathetic words. It was all smiles and laughter.

All of those years of anger that had been bottled up was directed against their common enemy - moral and intellectual laziness. The world had to listen to them, the citizens who had sacrificed and paid the price and came home to the disapproval of the citizens who had never spent an uncomfortable moment in their lives.

One veteran told me, “We’re here because those guys who are fighting in Iraq deserve better than what we got when we came home. No one stood up for us, but by God, we’re standing up for them. And if we don’t, who will?”

More from Flopping Aces. And HotAir.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Wearin' o' the Green

Ireland wears green too. My last visit was pre-digital so here's a NASA photo via Wikipedia. Can you count the forty shades of green? Have a good weekend.

The Irish in the Midwest

The American Midwest, a hefty volume full of fascinating facts. (And my UW professor brother James Patrick Leary is a senior consulting editor).

In honor of the wearin' of the green in Chicago, a few of them. Though it may seem everybody's Irish this time of year, the German-Americans outnumber us (and perhaps the English, though we will just say that softly, softly.) And the first Irish in the Midwest likely came with the French to serve with their army in the posts of Detroit and St. Louis.

During the famine in the 1840's thousands came, many migrating West working on the railroads. Though most in the Midwest settled in the cities, 30 % settled on farms and in small towns in small clusters. By1880 a majority of the Irish had settled in the Northeast, but 25% were here in the heartland.

And for good or for ill, in Chicago.

MNF Iraq Engages

Multinational Force Iraq engages in the media war. Their own channel on YouTube. Hat tip RedState. One clip here.

Tom Bevan, RCP Blog with analysis on the surge so far.

Enduring Glamour of Anger

Steve Sailer, via RCP, "Obama's Identity Crisis", offers a thoughtful essay on Barack and his first book:

For the few willing to read all 442 pages, he offers important testimony about the enduring glamour of anti-white anger. It’s a bitter counterweight to the sunny hopes so widely invested in his candidacy as the man whose election as president would somehow help America finally “transcend race.”

In reality, Obama provides a disturbing test of the best-case scenario of whether America can indeed move beyond race. He inherited his father’s penetrating intelligence; was raised mostly by his loving liberal white grandparents in multiracial, laid-back Hawaii, where America’s normal race rules never applied; and received a superb private school education. And yet, at least through age 33 when he wrote Dreams from My Father, he found solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against his mother’s race.

In contrast, Tiger Woods:

Although the biracial Obama is frequently lumped with the multiracial golfer Tiger Woods as evidence of the socially healing power of interracial marriage, their attitudes are quite different. Woods turned down Nike’s suggestion that because African-American celebrities are so popular today, he should identify himself solely as black. He didn’t want to disown his mother.
Of course liberal white women are his biggest supporters.

I wish Obama would just get over himself. And not in front of us. Sigh.

Previous post: One-Sided Obama

Friends of Rod

More friends of the governor appointed to positions of responsibility in state government. This time, as head of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. Tribune:
Davis, a former Blagojevich fundraiser, formerly ran the Rock Island Co. of Chicago, a LaSalle Street securities firm that crashed in 2005 in part because of risky deals to buy out competitors.

Months after the business crashed, Blagojevich appointed Davis to the loan commission. He was then promoted to the agency's top job, which pays $180,000 a year.
He wants to sell off most of the student loan portfolio, providing cash to the state up front but jeopardizing future revenue streams. While Davis does raise a good point about 75% of the student loans being to students from other states, why should we place our trust in another friend of Governor Big?

"Hollywood" Goes to War--NOT

On the same day Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's monstrous crimes were headlined across the country, here in Illinois state Sen. Rickey "Hollywood" Hendon (Chicago, yeah) enlisted his Dem buddies to show a little non-binding resolve. Sun Times:
In a slap at President Bush, the Democratic-led Illinois Senate went on record Thursday opposing any additional troops being sent to Iraq.

"We have to send a message to Washington that it is time for us to get out," said Sen. Rickey Hendon (D-Chicago), sponsor of the resolution. "We declared victory already. We've already made it clear the weapons of mass destruction no longer exist, if they ever did, so why are we still there? It doesn't make any sense."

Perhaps Sen. "Hollywood" would rather wait until reality slaps him in the face some fine day in Chicago. What's a dirty bomb here or there. You and your Dem friends can always retreat to Springfield.

Related posts: Business as Usual, Susan Garrett Defends Sexist

UPDATE: Sun Times:

Ever since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, Mayor Daley and Chicago Police officials have denied that the Sears Tower was a secondary target.

Now the potential threat has come up again.

Suspected Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed admitted during a military hearing at Guantanamo Bay that he was "responsible for the 9/11 operation A to Z" and that the Sears Tower was supposed to be part of a "second wave" of attacks. The plan was to blow up Sears Tower by burning a few fuel or oil tanker trucks beneath it or around it, Mohammed said.