Thursday, April 30, 2009

Souter to Retire From Supreme Court in June

Apparently Supreme Court Justice David Souter will be retiring from the bench at the end of its current session in June.

It's hard to believe that Souter has been on the Supreme Court for nearly two decades.

Its even harder to believe that Ted Kennedy and John Kerry thought Souter was in the mold of Robert Bork.

So Obama gets to pick a Supreme Court justice. This isn't like Scalia or Thomas retiring because when that happens the balance on the Court will change. But with the defection of Arlen Specter and Al Franken's election all but inevitable look for Obama to pick someone so left-wing that the Republicans will only be able to look on helplessly.

MSNBC Keeps Us Abreast

MSNBC is shocked - shocked! - to learn that Carrie Prejean, Miss California had breast implants and that they were paid for by the Miss California organization.

Gee, I thought breast implants were de rigeur in Hollywood. Of course, we wouldn't be hearing about Prejean's breast implants if she had not made her opposition to gay marriage known.

Yet I do find it curious that MSNBC didn't try to find out if Barack Obama had been taking Viagra after he told Rick Warren marriage was between a man and a woman.

Now That Obama Likes Churchill....

I wonder if President Obama will ask British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to return the bust of Churchill that Obama unceremoniously returned to him in February.

The bust of Churchill had been a gift to former President Bush from Brown's predecessor Tony Blair after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

If Obama wants the Churchill bust back I say Brown should send it to him.

It would provide Brown the opporutnity to also return the 25 DVDs that he can't play because they cannot be viewed outside Region 1.

I Guess Some Blogger Really, Really Wants a Job With The Obama Administration

David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun looks like he's pining for a job with the Obama Administration. Here is part of his assessment of last night's press conference in observance of Obama's first 100 days in office:

The economy is still a nightmare. The military situations in Afghanistan and Pakistan are perilous -- and getting worse. But for all the troubles swirling around the nation these days, America has rarely seemed to be in such steady and capable hands.

That was the feeling that came across on TV Wednesday night watching President Barack Obama's 100-days press conference. Even on his best nights, John F. Kennedy did not seem as calm, confident and masterful as Obama did in an hour's worth of prime time give and take with the press.

I mean even Kim Jong-Il would blush.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Playboy" Buddy Rose, 1952-2009. R.I.P.

Former professional wrestler "Playboy" Buddy Rose died yesterday. He was 56 years old. His cause of death is unknown at present but he had been battling diabetes.

Rose, whose given name was Paul Perschmann, wrestled mostly in the 1970s and 1980s with the World Wrestling Federation, the American Wrestling Association and in his home territory in the Pacific Northwest.

He generally wrestled as a heel. Later in his career his weight ballooned significantly but he turned it to his advantage. When the ring announcer would state Rose weighed in at 271 pounds, he would grab the microphone and tell the fans he weighed 217 pounds much to their jeers. But notwithstanding his girth he moved around exceptionally well and not unlike Adrian Adonis (another wrestler who died too soon.)

His old matches are sometimes shown on Classic AWA Wrestling which airs on ESPN Classic. In the mid to late 1980s, Rose held the AWA World Tag Team Championship with Doug Somers and was managed by Sherri Martel (who also died too young.) Rose and Somers feuded with the Midnight Rockers - Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels. Yup, the same Shawn Michaels who is still going strong in the WWE in 2009. Boy, did Shawn Michaels look young back then.

Rose also wrestled in the very first match held at the original Wrestlemania at Madison Square Garden in 1985. Wrestling as The Masked Executioner he was defeated by Tito Santana.

A memorial service has not been announced.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Specter Might Come to Regret Switching Parties

When I read that Arlen Specter had crossed the floor to join the Democrats, I immediately took a look at National Review Online's The Corner.

No sooner than I thought it their managing editor Jay Nordlinger wrote, "There you have it. He thought he was going to lose."

So it's going to be Specter vs. Toomey II in November 2010.

But this time only one fighter will come out of the red corner.

In the meantime, I guess Specter and President Obama will get to cheer on the Pittsburgh Steelers some more. He'll just have to hope there isn't a Steelers-Bears Superbowl.

I know Pennsylvania is a blue state but I think this is going to backfire on Specter.

It would be one thing if Specter had lost the GOP nomination to Toomey and decided to run as an independent. The Democrats probably would have no candidate or only token opposition and would have probably been re-elected.

But I think Specter actually switching parties will anger a lot of people. I am sure there are a lot of Republicans who weren't crazy about Specter but voted for him because he was the devil they knew. They voted for him because George W. Bush and Rick Santorum vouched for him. If that is the case this will be the straw that broke the camel's back. This will be especially true if the economy in Pennsylvania isn't appreciably better in the next 18 months.

Can anyone say Senator-elect Toomey?

Obama Too Vain To Understand September 11th

I'm surprised the Obama Administration isn't getting more flak for Air Force One flying low over Manhattan yesterday near Ground Zero causing a panic.

But then again I guess I shouldn't be. Tomorrow is Day 100 and the bloom isn't off the rose. At least not now.

I hate to sound like a broken record but if this happened under the Bush Administration we would never hear the end of it.

Of course, it didn't happen under the Bush Administration because September 11, 2001 was a life changing event for George W. Bush and millions of Americans. His Presidency was defined by September 11th and everything he did, right or wrong, was driven by those events. The last thing the Bush Administration would have done is have Air Force One fly over Manhattan for a "photo-op." The Bush Administration can be criticized for many things but vanity isn't one of them.

The fact it never entered anyone the mind of anyone in the Obama White House this would cause bedlam does not speak well of its obligation to keep us safe and not cause unnecessary alarm. The tone is set at the top and I'm afraid President Obama is too vain to understand September 11, 2001.

Oh, I'm sure some flunky, most likely White House Military Office Director Louis Caldera, will resign and that will be the end of the story. But it is story that will be told again in certain other quarters. Believe me, al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations that would do harm to the United States have taken notice.

Monday, April 27, 2009

It's Been Nearly One Hundred Days & Obama Still Can't Use a Freakin' Teleprompter

Anna Siegfriedt offers this amusing ancedote when President Obama tried to go off the cuff at the National Science Foundation today.

Now in the grand scheme of things it doesn't amount to a hill of beans.

But we all know if President Bush had done anything like this it would be at the top of every newscast and in Michael Moore's next film.

The point here is that everyone makes mistakes. But that doesn't give liberals licence to call Bush a dunce while looking upon Obama as if he walks on water.

Still, one would think Obama would get the hang of a teleprompter before his 100th day in office.

Reuters' Anti-Israel Bias

I just read this article from Reuters titled, "Abbas Won't Recognize Israel As A Jewish State."

Well, if Israel isn't a Jewish state then what is it? Presbyterian?

Nevertheless, the article contends:

Palestinians fear recognition of Israel as a Jewish state could help Israeli leaders resist any return of Palestinian refugees who fled or were forced to leave their homes in a 1948 war.

Funny, it was the leaders of the Arab states with whom Israel was at war that told these "Palestinians" to leave their homes. They could come back once they had taken care of the nascent state of Israel. Only problem was that Israel won and the Arabs who listened to their leaders were out of luck. They were Arabs who chose to back a loser but they weren't any more Palestinian than I am. There was no Palestine Liberation Organization in 1948 because there was no Palestine to be liberated.

Let's be clear. The Palestinians want the right of return so they can overwhelm Israel and wipe it out by way of demography. Palestinians do not want a two state solution.

Once again, Reuters anti-Israel bias shines through.

Right Online: The New Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

Americans for Tax Reform and Americans for Prosperity’s Right Online put on a bloggers and new media panel and reception in Los Angeles on April 24, 2009, following the Heritage Foundation’s Annual Resource Bank conference for think tanks and policy groups. The lamestream media (as John Fund referred to it during the conference) didn’t bother to cover the conference, but it didn’t matter since us bloggers did.

The panel discussed where the right is at in terms in competing online with organizations on the left like The Daily Kos and which have successfully used the web for political mobilization. There was considerable recognition that the right has finally caught up, as reflected in the April 15 Tea Parties, which, contrary to spin from the left, were organized from the grassroots up using the internet and talk radio.

Eric Telford, the new media liaison from Americans for Prosperity, moderated the panel. He asked other prominent bloggers present to speak up as well. He urged bloggers to act as reporters and cover events. He relayed how a liberal blogger in Texas who runs The Burnt Orange Report is able to exert a disproportionate amount of control over the Texas State legislature by blogging live during their proceedings.

Panelist Scott Graves from Red County wanted to know whether it is has become just as beneficial to write an op-ed for a blog as it is to submit it to a major newspaper. I think it is, because many newspapers still require exclusivity, whereas if you submit an article to a blog, you can usually submit it to multiple other sites, vastly increasing the exposure. Plus many newspapers delete their archives after a period of time, or convert them to paid archives only. Some newspaper websites are so convoluted (like the Arizona Republic’s website) it is impossible to find your op-ed within them. The only advantage left anymore to running your op-ed in a newspaper is if it is a local, large-circulation newspaper and it is a local issue.

Scott observed how bloggers and journalists are increasingly becoming one and the same, pointing out how bloggers like Mary Katherine Ham have risen through the ranks to become prominent journalists. I agree, having had some of the same success to a lesser extent myself. After writing for the school newspaper in law school, I started Intellectual Conservative in 2002 and continued writing. I eventually began writing for more significant publications including The American Spectator and

Panelist Rob Neppell, an IT consultant involved in Truth Laid Bare, Porkbusters, and Tea Party Patriots (the new #dontgo), and Top Conservatives on Twitter where you’ll recognize his picture, spoke first about the social media projects he’s started. Neppell used to work exclusively in IT, so he has become a powerhouse for conservatives online now that he’s moved over to help with conservative new media ventures. One of his biggest contributions has been, which laid out the $850 billion, 1588 page stimulus bill in an easy to read and searchable format.

Panelist Todd Thurman, the Heritage Foundation’s online marketing manager who works with their blog and Morning Bell daily blog updates, spoke about how Heritage has adapted successfully to the new media; their Morning Bell's list of subscribers has grown exponentially.

Panelist Andrew Breitbart of Big Hollywood, the DrudgeReport, and the Washington Times, admitted he helped Arianna Huffington start the online successful Huffington Post before he came over to the good side. Breitbart wanted to know what to do about left wing commenters who demoralize conservative blogs with their incessant attacks. I think if you are going to allow all comments to go through (except for the obvious exceptions like obscene and racist comments) we should fight right back, barrage them right back in the comments. Our local Arizona blog Sonoran Alliance uses this strategy and it works quite well to discredit the attacks, many of which are personal, not substantive.

Breitbart pointed out that the reason was so successful wasn’t just because of its technical expertise or better bloggers, it was because popular culture promotes its values and goals. He urged conservatives to embrace the parts of Hollywood that are doing good for us, like South Park. Right now, the guys who created South Park would feel uncomfortable at a conservative online conference.

Panelist John Fleischman of FlashReport, a site that aggregates the best news for conservatives around California, asked how bloggers and think tanks can work better together. Think tanks email bloggers their policy reports, but what are bloggers to do with them? Fleischman suggested that think tanks summarize a short summary of the portion relevant to that blogger. Here in Arizona, I work well with the Goldwater Institute. They send out daily short blog posts, which I post on my local news & opinion aggregator site, IC Arizona. They give me a free pass at their events in exchange for my coverage of them later. I encourage other think tanks to reach out to bloggers and offer the same, because not only are good bloggers becoming the new equivalent to journalists, but too often these kinds of events aren’t covered at all by the mainstream media. The other way the Goldwater Institute has worked well with me is by looking into tips I give them on issues they should research. As a blogger with a full-time day job, I don’t have the time nor the resources to look into every issue I come across. But since I work in politics, I come across a lot of issues that the Goldwater Institute might not know about. I encourage other think tanks to likewise listen to tips received from bloggers.

Panelist Matthew Cunningham of the OC Blog on Red County emphasized that bloggers need to cover local issues. With newspapers going away, there is a widening void of coverage. Emily Zanotti of Sam Adams Alliance told the group that you can become famous really fast if you are the only one going in and covering county meetings, school board meetings, city council meetings etc. She explained how left wingers are mobilizing to destroy conservative blogs, through grassroots organizations funded by wealthy donors active in every state like Media Matters and Some of those efforts include urging their supporters to attack conservative blogs in the comments. Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard wrote about these stealth groups in an article called The Colorado Model. Zanotti recommended signing up for’s emails and registering with to find out what the left is up to.

Other prominent bloggers in the audience sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform included Sam Adams Alliance microblogger of the year Melissa Clouthier, who rose to prominence through Twitter. Melissa’s blog is an excellent model of how to successfully incorporate the new Web 2.0 into your website. Elizabeth Crum, from E!! The True Conservative Story, and winner of the Sam Adams Alliance Sammy for blogivist of the year, has incorporated hip online radio into her blogging, at RFC Radio, Radio for Conservatives. Her next venture is SorosWatch.

Other think tanks that actively participated in the forum and are at the forefront of blogging and new media included Accuracy in Media’s Don Irvine, the Evergreen Freedom Foundation in Washington state and the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions in Kentucky.

Afterwards, Americans for Tax Reform staff discussed why increasing taxes in one area, even “sin taxes” like those on cigarettes that Alexander Hamilton would have favored, don’t work, because people will just buy the product from another state. In 2007, New Jersey raised the cigarette tax by 17.5 cents, expecting an additional $30 million, but actually saw a net loss of $22 million after consumers crossed state lines. They also had harsh words for accepting stimulus funds; a study by Arduin, Laffer & Moore found that the federal stimulus bill will result in a net loss of 1.7 million jobs nationwide.

The next major conference like this will be Americans for Prosperity’s second annual Right Online conference in Pittsburgh on August 14-15, where the Daily Kos will also be having its NetRoots convention. Should be a wild weekend with no lack of coverage.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Red Sox Sweep Yankees, Win 10 in a Row & Ellsbury Steals Home

After starting out the season 2-6, the Boston Red Sox have won 10 straight games including a three game weekend sweep of the New York Yankees at Fenway Park.

On Friday, the Sox were down 4-2 in the bottom of the 9th with two outs when Jason Bay tied the game with a two run home run off Mariano Rivera to tie the game. Kevin Youkilis hit a walk off home run in the 11th for a 5-4 win.

Yesterday, the Sox were down 6-0 in the 4th inning. Hardly a safe lead at Fenway. The Sox scored eight unanswered runs off A.J. Burnett to take an 8-6 lead. Tito did leave Josh Beckett in too long and he gave up a game tying home run to Yankee turncoat Johnny Damon. But sometimes the best trades you make are the ones you don't make. If the Red Sox had signed Mark Teixeira instead of the Yankees, Mike Lowell would have been dealt. Instead, Lowell is still at third base. He hit a three run home run to give the Sox back the lead. He drove in six runs in all and is leading the AL in RBI with 22. Sox won 16-11. This 9 inning affair took 4 hours and 21 minutes.

Yet tonight's game might have topped them all. There were no homeruns. The game took a little over three hours. It did feature three young pitchers - Justin Masterson, Hunter Jones and the major league debut of Michael Bowden. Yankees starter Andy Pettitte did pick off two runners.

But the highlight of the game, if not the whole series was Jacoby Ellsbury's straight steal of home. What a rousing ovation Ellsbury got. Straight steals of home almost never happen. In nearly thirty years of baseball I've only seen it in a minor league game before tonight. Pettitte and Yankees catcher Jorge Posada were asleep at the switch. Pettite was shaken while Posada barely stirred. ESPN analyst and Hall of Famer Joe Morgan said there was no excuse for it with a lefthanded batter (J.D. Drew) at the plate. Drew delivered a RBI double to put away the game. Sox won 4-1.

Although straight steals of home are rare it is not the first it has been done on Pettitte and Posada. In May 2007, Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill swiped home against them. However, unlike Ellsbury, there was a right-handed batter (Jason Phillips) at the plate and the play was much closer.

It's 80 plus degrees in Boston in April made only hotter by this sweep even a swim in Walden Pond can't cool down. Of course, winning streaks can't last forever but the Sox will try to extend their winning streak to 11 games tomorrow night in Cleveland against the Indians.

Is Andrew Sullivan Taking Ahmadinejad At His Word?

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad supposedly told George Stephanopoulos that he is down with a two state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

Or at least Andrew Sullivan would have us believe:

Cynicism? Telling Stephanopoulos what he wants to hear? Or feeling pressure from the electorate and from Obama? We'll see. But if every state, including Iran, backs a two-state solution, and Netanyahu refuses, then Israel's isolation will intensify.

Well, Hamas certainly doesn't back a two state solution and Iran is Hamas' benefactor.

Besides the U.S. withdrawal from Durban II certainly didn't prevent Ahmadinejad from defaming Israel.

But Sullivan has adopted the knee jerk left-wing default position of blaming Israel even with those in kafiehs chanting, "Palestine from the river to the sea."

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Beatrice Arthur, 1922-2009. R.I.P.

Actress Beatrice Arthur, best known for her roles on the 1970s TV sitcom Maude and the 1980s TV sitcom The Golden Girls, has died of cancer. She was 86.

You might recall that 9 months ago her Golden Girls co-star Estelle Getty died. It's interesting that Getty played Arthur's mother in the series despite the fact Arthur was born a year before Getty.

I've seen a few episodes of Maude in re-runs but when I think of Bea Arthur I think of The Golden Girls which might be the best TV series of that decade. Arthur played Dorothy Zbornak. Before the series aired my Dad thought it would a cheap rip off of the movie Going In Style with George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg. But my father quickly changed his mind. He made observation that because the characters were older women they got away with saying things that would have been censored if uttered by a younger character.

Her voice had a deep resonance which she put to good use. The Golden Girls was at its best with Dorothy's sarcastic remarks toward to the flirtatious Blanche (played by Rue McClanahan) and the dim witted Rose (played by Betty White) especially when she told stories about St. Olaf.

Years ago I knew a fellow named Andrew Stone. He's written a couple of fiction books and on occasion he would show up at the Out Of The Blue Gallery in Cambridge, one of the places where I used to read poetry. Before becoming a novelist, Stone worked on The Golden Girls as a production assistant and did some writing for them as well. I recall him telling me how friendly and funny she was both on set and off. He also recounted housesitting for her.

Bea Arthur and The Golden Girls were at their funniest when sitting at a table.

Friday, April 24, 2009

North Korea Will Put Two U.S. Journalists on Trial

North Korea's state run news service (tell me what isn't run by the state in North Korea or, more accurately, what hasn't been run into the ground by state) today announced that two U.S. journalists - Laura Ling and Euna Lee - will stand trial for committing "hostile acts."

Ling and Lee were arrested near the border between North Korea and China on March 17th. The two work for Current TV, the network co-owned by former Vice-President Al Gore. They were doing a story on the trafficking of North Korean women. You would think he would intervene on behalf of his employees. But Big Green Al has been silent on the matter.

Arthur Brazzone of the San Francisco Examiner wrote an article earlier this week criticizing Gore's inaction and apparent indifference.

Even more shameful than Gore's silence is the silence of President Obama on this matter.

All is quiet on the White House front.

Obama Administration to Release Detainee Photos in Afghanistan & Iraq

Feeling the heat from the ACLU, the Department of Defense is releasing 44 photos depicting alleged mistreatment of detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Nothing good can come of it.

All the ACLU and the Obama appointed apparatchiks in the Defense Department want is to show the world the United States is a bad country and that we deserve whatever fate al Qaeda or any other terrorist organization have in store for us.

The release of these photos will serve no other purpose than to be used as propaganda by al Qaeda as well as media outlets like al Jazeera courtesy of the Obama Administration and our tax dollars.

How utterly disgraceful.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hillary: Controlling Iran and Creating a Palestinian State Go Hand in Hand

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is linking efforts to rein in Iran with Israel going back to the negotiating table with the Palestinians.

Clinton told the House Appropriations Committee:

For Israel to get the kind of strong support it's looking for vis-a-vis Iran it can't stay on the sideline with respect to the Palestinian and the peace efforts, that they go hand-in-hand.

In other words, Israel is on its own with Iran unless they pony up to the Palestinians.

The Gulf States certainly have no love lost for Iran but they are only concerned about what Iran might do to Israel to the extent that it affects their territories.

If Iran were to drop a nuclear bomb in Israel there would be dancing in the streets throughout the Arab world including Egypt and Jordan which have diplomatic ties to Israel.

The only Palestinian state that is wanted by Palestinians is one that replaces Israel not one that lives side by side with it. New Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows this all too well and has little desire to establish yet another nation state in the Middle East hostile to Israel.

Netanyahu is due to visit Washington next month and will no doubt be put through the ringer by Obama and Clinton. But if any world leader can stand up to that dynamic duo it is Netanyahu.

Obama Remembers To Forget The Lessons Of The Holocaust

President Obama was on Capitol Hill today to speak at the Holocaust Days of Remembrance ceremony.

The President said we have, "to commit ourselves to resisting injustice and intolerance and indifference, in whatever forms they may take, whether confronting those who tell lies about history or doing everything we can to prevent and end atrocities like those that took place in Rwanda, those taking place in Darfur."

Nice platitudes. Yet President Obama insists on engaging the very regime the perpetuates the lie the Holocaust never happened.

One lesson from the Holocaust he has remembered to forget is that one does not legitimize regimes bent on commiting evil.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bruins Sweep Canadiens

It is not unusual for the Boston Bruins to make the NHL playoffs.

It is unusual, however, for the Bruins to advance beyond the first round.

More often than not the Bruins are stopped in their tracks by the Montreal Canadiens.

But with the second best record in the NHL this season, the Bruins tonight swept the Canadiens with a 4-1 victory at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

Not even Canadiens fans booing the Star Spangled Banner could deter the Bruins. It isn't the first time Canadiens fans have booed our national anthem. Remember what happened shortly after the War in Iraq began in 2003?

It is unknown who the Bruins will play in the next round although it is most likely the New York Rangers. The Rangers currently have three games to one lead over the Washington Capitals in their first round playoff.

Fidel Rebukes Obama

Fidel Castro has rebuked President Obama concerning U.S.-Cuba relations.

The Obama Administration responded favorably when Raul Castro when said he was open to discussing "everything" with the United States last week.

But according to Fidel, Obama "without a doubt misinterpreted Raul's declarations." Fidel removed any doubt when he added:

When the president of Cuba said he was ready to discuss any topic with the US president, he meant he was not afraid of addressing any issue. That shows his courage and confidence in the principles of the Revolution.

Add Castro's rebuke on top of Obama's handshake with and accepting a gift from Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, President Obama looks downright foolish when it comes to engaging communists in Latin America.

If only Ronald Reagan were alive to show Obama the way.

Then again even if Reagan could lead Obama to the waters of liberty he could not make him drink.

Thoughts on Earth Day

In National Review Online's The Corner, Max Schulz of the Manhattan Institute writes:

Wow, it’s Earth Day again already? Didn't we just, er, celebrate it? Of course, it feels that way partly because of a political and media elite that wants us to think of every day as Earth Day.

Those last five words takes me back nearly twenty years.

Of course, Earth Day was established in 1970. But it wasn't until 1990 when it really started to take off in earnest. I say that because it was the first time Earth Day events were organized in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

There was an event at Hillcrest Park which was situated just above my parents' house. My father was initially going to accompany me but when he saw people holding hands in a circle he balked.

But I, as a young, idealistic 17-year-old with a bleeding socialist heart, would not be so easily deterred. So I walked out of the house and climbed the long stairway that led to Hillcrest Park.

The ceremony wasn't very long as I remember. Everyone who was in the circle got a chance to say something.

Well, I figured I should say something that would attract attention. It came to me. When it was my turn I let out the following:


It illicited mostly laughter.

But here we are nearly two decades later and it has come to pass and not necessarily for the better.

We cannot decry our dependence on foreign oil if we are unwilling to extract and develop it ourselves.

Other forms of energy are worth exploring but it remains to be seen if they are cost effective and can meet our demands.

I agree that human beings are the stewards of planet Earth and we have an obligation to take care of it for ourselves, our children and succeeding generations. Of course, how we go about it is the question.

One slogan I do like, "Think Globally, Act Locally" applies here.

What might work wonders in Boston might be impractical in Berlin. What would be disastrous for America could be heaven sent in Australia.

The best thing I think we can do for the environment is to conserve the areas in which we live and work.

We do tend to decry liberal celebrity activism with some justification. However, one celebrity who I think is doing good works is Bette Midler. In 1995, she founded the New York Restoration Project. Her organization brings together individuals, community organizations, the private sector and government to revitalize neglected city parks and open spaces. In observation of Earth Day in 2009 the NYRP in partnership with City Year New York and Bank of America are today planting hundreds of trees in East Harlem.

If these environmental activities are the sorts of projects contribute to the long term betterment of local communities then I'm all for Earth Day.

Right Wing Radical or Normal Liberal Patriot?

What Do President Obama & Miss California Have In Common?

Both President Obama and Carrie Prejean, Miss California and the runner up in the Miss U.S.A. pageant, believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

Allow me to take you back to the Saddleback Forum with Pastor Rick Warren last August:

WARREN: Define marriage.

OBAMA: I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman.

Now let's go to the Miss U.S.A. Pageant from earlier this week where gossip columnist Perez Hilton asked Prejean about gay marriage:

HILTON: Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit? Why or why not?

PREJEAN: We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised.

Hilton later said, "She lost it because of that question. She was definitely the front-runner before that."

So let me see if I have this straight.

When Miss California tells America that marriage is between a man and a woman Perez Hilton calls her a "dumb b*@ch" and states her answer cost her the Miss U.S.A.

When Barack Obama tells America that marriage is between a man and a woman Perez Hilton is nowhere to be seen or heard.

So for Perez Hilton it is perfectly acceptable for the Democratic candidate for the White House to state marriage is between a man and a woman. But it is beyond the pale for a Miss U.S.A. pageant contestant to express the same point of view.

George W. Bush & Bill Clinton To Make Joint Appearance in Toronto Next Month

I was on the phone last night with my older brother who lives in Toronto. He informed me that former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton would be having a debate at the Metro Toronto Convention on May 29th.

Well, it's not being billed as a debate. But Bush and Clinton will discuss domestic and foreign policy matters affecting both the United States and Canada.

So why Toronto?

Because the event organizers are Canadian. Andy McCreath of McCreath Communications and Christian Darbyshire of tinePublic Inc. have organized events for both Clinton and Bush in the past. They were responsible for Clinton making appearances in both Edmonton and Saskatoon in recent years. They were also responsible for Bush's appearance in Calgary last month.

Of course, Clinton has made many joint appearances with George H.W. Bush especially when they have raised funds for Tsunami relief and for those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

It will be interesting if Clinton's interaction with Bush 43 will be similarly cordial or if Clinton will try to goad Bush into an argument. Bush was criticized by Clinton during his Presidency but Bush has never publicly criticized Clinton since he left office.

One thing that can be said for certain. There will be anti-Bush protesters gathering in Toronto and there will be newspaper editorials praising Clinton and condemning Bush.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah)

Today, it is Holocaust Remembrance Day.

In Israel it is known as Yom HaShoah.

Today, it is more important than ever that we remember.

Especially so in light of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's remarks before the Durban II Conference yesterday.

There is still evil in the world and that evil would like nothing better than a second Holocaust.

President Obama's unwillingness to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb demonstrates Edmund Burke's tried but true adage, "All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

In Israel, at 10 a.m. on Yom HaShoah everything stops including highway traffic in Tel Aviv.

And then life goes on.

Obama: It's Up To Eric Holder

President Obama appears to be caving into the Left.

Since releasing classified memos on CIA interrogation techniques last week, President Obama has insisted there will be no prosecutions of former Bush Administration officials who wrote the legal opinions nor will there be prosecutions of CIA employees who carried out the interrogations. However, Obama has taken a lot of heat from the Left on this decision and it might be getting to him.

However, when reporters asked him about the matter today he apparently decided it was a question above his paygrade. President Obama now says that is a decision to be left to Attorney General Eric Holder.

Obamas told reporters, "With respect to those who formulated those legal decisions, I would say that is going to be more a decision for the attorney general within the parameter of various laws, and I don't want to prejudge that."

Eric Holder will be on Bush Administration officials and CIA employees like white on rice.

Obama added that Congress might want to take a look into the matter as well.

I guess the buck stops with Obama until he says it doesn't.

Obama Criticizes Ahmadinejad But Still Wants To Chat

While speaking with reporters during his meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah at the White House, President Obama criticized Iranian President Ahmadinejad's remarks yesterday at the Durban II Conference in Geneva.

"This is the kind of rhetoric that we've come to expect from President Ahmadinejad. ... Many of the statements that [he has] made, particularly those directed at Israel, [are] appalling and objectionable," said President Obama.

You would think the winds of caution would slow Obama's sail boat Overture towards the Strait of Hormuz.

Yet President Obama insists on talking to the Iranian government.

"Iran is a very complicated country with a lot of different power centers. We will continue to pursue the possibility of improved relations and a resolution to some of the critical issues in which there have been differences, particularly around the nuclear issue," President Obama said.

Apart from the Supreme Leader, the Assembly of Experts and President Ahmadinejad what "different power centers" is Obama talking about? What part of totalitarian state does Obama fail to understand?

For President Obama to say there are "differences, particularly around the nuclear issue" is the understatement of the year. Iran wants to build a nuclear weapon for the purpose of annihilating Israel. The United States doesn't. Or at least it hasn't until now. While President Bush absolutely ruled out Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon President Obama has no such objections. Last week, the Obama Administration stated it had no further objection to Iran enriching uranium.

If President Obama thinks Ahmadinejad's rhetoric is appalling why doesn't he also find Iran's reasons for enriching uranium appalling?

Ban Says Ahmadinejad "Misused" Durban II Conference

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon nows says that he regrets the speech Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered yesterday at the Durban II Conference in Geneva.

Ban said it was "very regretful that the conference was misused by the Iranian president for political purposes."

And exactly for what purpose did Ban think President Ahmadinejad was going to use this forum?

But Ban is shocked - shocked! - the Iranian President would make anti-Semitic statements at an international conference.

Ban said, "Before the speech I had a long bilateral meeting with President Ahmadinejad and urged him to give a balanced and constructive contribution to the conference because he was the only head of state present."

Methinks Ban was the only one talking during this "long bilateral meeting."

What ever gave the UN Secretary General the idea Ahmadinejad would "give a balanced and constructive contribution to the conference because he was the only head of state present"?

Where has Ban been for the past four years? Since when has Ahmadinejad's status as a head of state ever stopped him from making incendiary statements?

We are talking about a man, who as a head of state, has called the Holocaust a myth, called for Israel to wiped off the map and also referred to Israel as a stinking corpse.

If Ban Ki-Moon honestly thought any good would come of President Ahmadinejad's address it does not speak well if either the Secretary General nor the body he purportedly leads.

French Foreign Minister Criticizes Obama Over Durban II Boycott

France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has criticized the Obama Administration's decision to stay away from Durban II.

France is attending the conference but did walk out with other Western delegates during Ahmadinejad's speech yesterday.

Kouchner's comments are interesting.

He said, "It's paradoxical -- they don't want to listen to Iran in Geneva but they are ready to talk to them. More than a paradox, that could really be a mistake."

I like Kouchner's argument but not its reasoning.

It doesn't make a whole lot of sense for the Obama Administration to boycott a conference where the President of Iran while at the same time center its entire foreign policy around engaging him and his government. It doesn't make sense.

However, those aren't Kouchner's objections. Kouchner objects to the United States not being present at an international forum even if the international forum sanctions anti-Semitism. Kouchner and French President Sarkozy have been trying to get closer to the Arab nations who supported Durban II and thinks America should do the same. Frankly, I've always thought the French and the Arabs were too close in the first place. But Kouchner's position doesn't surprise me. Not only are the French friendly with the Arab states his government has been in direct talks with Hamas for nearly a year now. Fat lot of good its done.

Ahmadinejad Dropped Reference to Holocaust Denial in Durban II Speech

It turns out that President Ahmadinejad had planned to describe the Holocaust as "ambigious and dubious" in his speech at Durban II in Geneva yesterday but removed the phrase at the last minute.

Well, wasn't that sweet of him?

For that B'nai Brith should award him Humanitarian of the Year.

I mean it's not like anyone would ask him to go on television to bid all a Merry Christmas.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Boston Marathon as Basic Training

I went down to the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Hereford Street to watch the Boston Marathon today during my lunch hour.

There were a few troops were running in the marathon in full military gear. Now that's basic training.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Should Have Been Waterboarded 2,791 More Times

A few days ago the Obama Administration de-classified the so-called "torture memos" detailing CIA interoggation techniques utilized during the Bush Administration.

The memos reveal that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the attacks of September 11, 2001 was waterboarded 183 times.

Well, I think the CIA showed mercy on Mohammed.

The ACLU and the Left can cry in its beer over Mohammed to their heart's content.

I have absolutely no sympathy towards him.

Quite frankly he should be waterboarded 2,791 more times.

That would represent each life he and the 9/11 hijackers took on September 11, 2001.

Thrilling Finish to Womens' Race at 113th Boston Marathon

A few minutes ago, I watched an absolutely thrilling finish of the womens' race of the 113th edition of the Boston Marathon on television.

Coming down Commonwealth Avenue were defending womens champion Dire Tune of Ethiopia, Salina Kosgei of Kenya and American Kara Gaucher.

Gaucher had the lead and could have been the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon since 1985.

However, Gaucher faded as they approached Hereford Street and it became a two woman race between Tune and Kosgei.

Neck and neck, Kosgei narrowly beat Tune at the finish line by a second. Upon arriving at the finish line, Tune collapsed and was carried out on a stretcher to receive medical attention.

The TV commentators noted that Tune had foregone water at the last station.

I think I am going to head down to Comm Ave to see if I can watch the race for a few minutes during my lunch break.

There should only be a couple of million people down there.

The Vatican Sends Delegation to Durban II

Although several European states ultimately opted to boycott the anti-Semitic Durban II Conference featuring Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; the Holy See has opted to attend.

Yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI stated, "I sincerely encourage all delegates present at the Geneva conference to work together in a spirit of mutual dialogue and acceptance in order to put an end to every form of racism, discrimination and intolerance."

So I gather that "spirit of mutual dialogue and acceptance" was in full force as delegates applauded when Ahmadinejad called Israel "a racist nation."

UN Secretary General "Disappointed" With Nations Boycotting Durban II

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has publicly expressed that he was "profoundly disappointed" with the nations that opted to boycott the Durban II Conference in Geneva.

But it appears that Ban is not "profoundly disappointed" with Iranian President Ahmadinejad for calling Israel a "racist nation."

Ladies and gentlemen, the Secretary General's sentiments represent all that is wrong with the United Nations.

Ahmadinejad Calls Israel "A Racist Nation"; Some Delegates Applaud While Others Walk Out

Speaking before the UN sponsored Durban II Conference in Geneva today, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel "a racist nation."

While some Western delegates walked out upon that declaration other nations applauded Ahmadinejad.

Over the weekend the United States formally announced it would not send a representative to Durban II joining Canada and Italy who had long ago announced they would not dignify such a gathering. But after the U.S. announced its decision not to attend Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Germany and Poland followed suit.

At the beginning of Ahmadinejad's speech, he was disrupted by protesters dressed in colorful wigs who called him a racist. They might have been the most sensible people in that room.

Which begs this question. Why does the Obama Administration insist on engaging a man who insists on talking this way?

For Obama to talk with Ahmadinejad would be to reward his hateful behavior and that of his government.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ahmadinejad Plays Mr. Nice Guy

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has written a letter to the prosecutor in Tehran. He has asked that Roxana Saberi, the American journalist sentenced yesterday to 8 years in prison, has the legal right to defend herself.

Ahmadinejad asked the prosecutor, "personally make sure that the accused people enjoy all freedoms and legal rights to defend themselves and their rights are not violated."

Well, that would have been a nice gesture if he made it before Saberi was convicted.

It is also worth remembering that Saberi was imprisoned for two months without charge.

Where was Ahmadinejad's concern for due process back then?

But no matter. Ahmadinejad is doing this to convince the United States and the world that he and his government aren't such bad people after all. They want to create the impression they are as fair minded as anyone in the world (unless you are Jewish or Baha'i.) Ahmadinejad is also doing so less than 60 days before he stands for re-election.

If Saberi's appeal is successful and she is released from jail Ahmadinejad will give the appearance he is fair and reasonable. If her appeal isn't successful, Ahmadinejad will say that at least he tried and will argue Iran's judicial system is independent of the Presidency and the Mullahs.

Either way Ahmadinejad wins and he will be rewarded with an audience with President Obama.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Iran Sentences American Journalist to 8 Years in Prison

Roxana Saberi has been sentenced to eight years in prison by an Iranian court for espionage.

Saberi was arrested in January and two months later was charged with espionage. She went on trial less than a week ago.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was "deeply disappointed" with the verdict.

North Dakota's two Democratic Senators were far more blunt in their assessment. Senator Kent Conrad called the verdict "preposterous" and the charges "baseless." Senator Bryan Dorgan called the verdict "a shocking miscarriage of justice."

Saberi was born and raised in North Dakota.

Evin Prison is not a good place for Roxana Saberi or anyone else to be.

It was only last month when Iranian blogger Omidreza Mirsayafi died in Evin Prison. The Iranians claim he committed suicide. Mirsayafi had been sentenced to 30 months in prison for insulting the late Ayatollah Khomeinei and the Ayatollah Khamenei.

Don't think that being a journalist with ties to another country will be of any help to Saberi. In 2003, Zahra Kazemi an Iranian photojournalist living in Montreal was arrested for taking pictures outside Evin Prison. She soon found herself inside Evin Prison where she was raped, flogged and murdered.

When former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami spoke at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in September 2006, he blamed Kazemi's family for her fate:

Maybe if the relatives of Kazemi had not made into such a big political issue it could have been resolved a lot quicker and more to their liking.

President Obama has stated he will meet with Iran's leaders without precondition. But if there was ever a precondition that needed to met this is surely it. If President Obama is willing to meet with President Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs while Saberi languishes in prison he will have abdicated his constitutional duties in protecting American citizens abroad.

Can't anyone see that Saberi's arrest, which took place less than two weeks after Obama took office, is nothing more than Iran testing Obama to see if he is willing to sacrifice her life in order to make amends with them?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Obama to Chavez: Why Can't We Be Friends?

At the opening of the OAS Summit in Trinidad, President Obama approached Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez to shake his hand and warmly greet him.

Less than a month ago, Chavez referred to President Obama as an ignoramus. Shortly before Obama's election Chavez referred to Obama as El Negro or The Black.

Imagine if a Republican had talked that way about President Obama. Would the President be shaking his or her hand? Methinks not. The Department of Homeland Security would conclude such a person is a right-wing extremist angry about the election of this nation's first African-American President with plans to recruit returning military veterans to carry out terrorist attacks.

But foreign despots can talk anyway they want about Obama and Obama will embrace them with open arms. Clearly, Obama has no respect for the office of the Presidency, no respect for the United States and no respect for the people of Venezuela who must suffer Chavez's cruelty and foolishness.

But I gather Obama sought an audience with Chavez to prepare himself for his eventual meeting with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs.

After all sucking up to tyrants does take practice.

"The Bird" Is Laid To Rest

A funeral for Mark "The Bird" Fidrych took place this morning in his hometown of Northborough, Massachusetts.

The church was at overflow capacity with over a thousand people paying their respects.

One of the eulogizers was Willie Horton, a Detroit Tigers legend in his own right. Horton said there should be a place in the Hall of Fame for good guys like Mark Fidrych.

Yesterday, the Medical Examiner with the Worcester County DA's office ruled Fidrych's death an accident. While repairing his truck his clothes got caught in the power take off shaft. He died by asphyxiation.

Check out an interview Fidrych did with the MLB Network scarcely a month before his death. There is also a video link to the game he pitched on June 28, 1976 against the New York Yankees on ABC's Monday Night Baseball.

You can read my thoughts on Fidrych here.

Thoughts on U.S.-Cuba Relations

Days after President Obama eased travel restrictions to Cuba, Raul Castro said he wants to talk with President Obama and put "everything" on the table.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has described Castro's comment as a "very welcome gesture" and said that U.S. policy towards Cuba has failed.

On the eve of the OAS summit in Trinidad, its Secretary General is calling upon member states to reinstate Cuba after a 47-year absence.

If President Obama were to succeed in normalizing relations with Cuba it would be a big feather in his cap. But let's stop and think about this for a moment.

Under what terms would normalization be brought about? When I hear "normalization" it leads me to believe that life in Cuba won't be all that different. Oh, there might be a few cosmetic changes to give the appearance of more openness. They might allow a protest or two but they won't create an environment where a viable opposition can coalesce. The Oscar Elias Biscets of the world will continue to languish in prison and don't count on free and fair elections, either.

Why that might bring hope and change to Cuba.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Footnote to Janet Napolitano's "Apology"

Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano issued an apology to veterans today. Well, sort of.

The ire of veterans groups was raised when a report titled Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.

The report suggested that veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq could be suspectible to recruitment by right-wing extremist groups a la Timothy McVeigh.

Napolitano said, "If there's one part of this report that I would rewrite ... it would be that footnote."

But in the ten page report references were made to "returning military veterans" seven times while references to the election of President Obama were made six times.

The implication is clear. Some angry white male who served in Afghanistan or Iraq is going to be recruited by a right-wing extremist group lurking behind an alleyway, be supplied with armaments and assassinate President Obama.

A footnote my foot.

While it is the job of the federal government to monitor internal threats the language in this report is nothing more than a pathetic attempt to stifle legitimate dissent against President Obama, render him above criticism and equate all right-wing thought with hatred.

The Obama Administration needs to get over itself.

Thoughts on Susan Boyle

If you haven't heard by now a middle-aged woman from a village in Scotland by the name of Susan Boyle has taken the world by storm with her rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" on Simon Cowell's Britain's Got Talent.

Cowell, the other judges and the audience were openly dismissive of Boyle due to her modest appearance. But Susan Boyle got the last laugh.

At first, I was elated. Anyone who can put Simon Cowell (I'm surprised he isn't referred to as Simon Callow) in his place has got character.

But now I feel sadness. Not for Boyle. Regardless of whether she wins the competition it appears she is getting a record deal out of it and good for her.

Nonetheless, I do feel sadness. What does it say about the human race that Susan Boyle has to sing like an angel to be afforded even the most basic human courtesy?

Now, I did see the interview she did on The Early Show on CBS. At least she has a small circle of friends who are with her fame or no fame. But as Boyle has said she has endured a lot of unkind words over her lifetime.

But what if Susan Boyle couldn't sing a note? She would probably be completely isolated and ostracized having only the strength of her character on which to rely for sustenance.

If Susan Boyle couldn't sing a note then Simon Cowell would have mocked her without mercy and everyone watching would have had a big laugh and derived pleasure in her humiliation.

For the record, I have never watched American Idol because I cannot bear to watch people who behave like bullies.

I will only pay heed to Simon Cowell when he has something good to say (i.e. Paul Potts) which, of course, isn't very often.

Wilders to Release Sequel to Fitna in 2010

Dutch MP Geert Wilders is planning to release a sequel to Fitna in 2010.

The yet to be titled sequel will focus on the implications of radical Islam on free speech with the encroachment of Sharia law in Western countries.

The CBC was fairly derisive in writing, "Wilders claims to have been contacted by professional filmmakers based "in New York and Hollywood," who offered their services to shoot the sequel."

Whenever someone writes Wilders "claims" something it means they do not believe him and is an attempt to minimize his credibility.

The liberal intelligentsia can dismiss Wilders to their hearts content. They do so at their own peril.

Here is my review of Fitna which I wrote a year ago.

Back in February, I had to opportunity to briefly meet Wilders when he traveled to the United States to promote Fitna after having been denied entry into Great Britain. Here is my article on his visit to the Boston area.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Few Pictures From The Boston Tea Party 2009 Edition

This is fairly self-explanatory.

May be the force be with you young man.

Making a fashion statement.

Thoughts on The Boston Tea Party 2009 Edition

I just came back from the 2009 edition of the Boston Tea Party in Boston Common in front of the State House.

I would estimate there are a few hundred people gathered. There are a lot of Ron Paul folks there.

If the state of the economy is worse at this time a year from now I suspect this protest will draw more people.

I have taken some pictures of the proceedings and plan to post some of them later today.

Toomey-Specter II

Former Pennsylvania GOP Congressman Pat Toomey today officially launched his challenge of Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter for the GOP Senatorial nomination. Specter is up for re-election next year. Until earlier this week, Toomey had been President of The Club For Growth.

Toomey had previously challenged Specter in 2004 and came within an eyelash of ousting Specter. However, Specter had President Bush and his fellow Pennsylvania Republican Rick Santorum in his corner.

Well, Bush and Santorum are now both private citizens. Let us also remember that Specter was one of three Republicans who supported the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (a.k.a. The Stimulus Bill) along with Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine. Toomey stands a far better chance of prevailing this time around. However, Specter isn't going down without a fight.

As long as Specter is the sitting Senator, Republican Party entities will back him such as the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. One must also consider an organization like the Republican Jewish Coalition (of which I am a member.)

Given that is very unlikely that Norm Coleman will prevail in Minnesota, Specter becomes the only Jewish Republican in the Senate. Any move to unseat Specter is going to ruffle feathers. Now let me hasten to point out that Toomey is not objecting to Specter on religious grounds in any way. It is also worth noting that Specter visited Syria in December 2006 to meet with President Bashar Assad despite protests from the Bush Administration. After meeting with Assad, Specter proclaimed that Assad wanted to resume peace talks with Israel. Oh yes, the Syrians got right on top of that one. Frankly, Specter is far too close to Syria for Jewish comfort. But notwithstanding these things there will be uneasiness amongst some Republican Jews in removing the Senate's only Jewish Republican.

Of course, if Toomey does wrest the Republican nomination from Specter it is hardly a guarantee he will a Senatorial election in Pennsylvania. However, if the economy is worse in 18 months from now there will be growing discontent with President Obama and Democrats in general. Under such circumstances, Toomey would stand a very good chance in being elected to the Senate in 2010.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Secret Trial of an American Journalist in Iran

Roxana Saberi was tried in Iran's Revolutionary Court behind closed doors yesterday.

Saberi, who was born in America, was arrested in Iran on January 31st and subsequently charged with espionage.

A verdict is expected to be announced in the next two to three weeks.

Given that Saberi is both an American and a woman I think her fate is sealed.

We must remember than in a Sharia court a woman's word is worth half that of a man.

There is one man who could speak out on her behalf: President Barack Obama.

Unfortunately, President Obama is presently preoccupied with sucking up to the Mullahs and President Ahmadinejad to give a damn.

What About Cuba's Political Prisoners?

Obama's overture to Cuba leaves a lot to be desired.

While I understand the desire for Cuban Americans to have unfettered access to their loved ones in Cuba; I see this measure as one which strengthens the Castro Brothers because the money Americans send to their relatives will end up in government coffers.

But what I find most disheartening is that while President Obama is eager to shut down Gitmo he seems less eager to have other prisons in Cuba closed.

You will recall that Fidel Castro imprisoned 75 dissidents shortly before the War in Iraq commenced. Many received sentences in excess of 25 years in prison for "anti-government activities" as owning a typewriter.

Most of them remain imprisoned. Why won't President Obama speak on their behalf as he spoke on behalf of those detained at Gitmo?

Then again, if President Obama cannot be moved to speak on behalf of Roxana Saberi, an American journalist being tried in Iran, why would I expect him to speak on behalf of Cuban dissidents?

Feingold Blames Somali Piracy on Bush

Yesterday, Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold made a statement responding to the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips by the U.S. Navy Seals.

Of course, Senator Feingold couldn't resist taking an opportunity to blame the crisis on, who else, the Bush Administration:

While the episode involving the crew of the Maersk Alabama had a happy ending, piracy off the coast of Somalia will assuredly continue since it is a symptom of the state collapse in Somalia, which presents a much greater and more dangerous problem. For years, Somalia's growing instability was neglected by the Bush administration and the international community. The new administration must not make the same mistake.

So it's the Bush Administration's fault there is piracy by Somali pirates?

Somalia was a failed state long before George W. Bush took office. I gather Feingold longs for the days when the Clinton Administration and the UN held hands in such peacekeeping successes as the United Nations Operations in Somalia II (UNOSOM II).

It is one thing for the U.S. to take a more active role in combating piracy by Somalis on the high seas. It is another thing entirely for Feingold to think the Obama Administration can nation build in Somalia.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mark Fidrych, 1954-2009. R.I.P.

Now the baseball world is truly reeling. My heart just took a leap into my throat. Mark "The Bird" Fidrych died suddenly this afternoon. He was only 54 years old.

Fidrych was found by a neighbor at his farm in Northborough, Massachusetts. He had apparently been working under his dump truck when it collapsed on him.

In 1976, Fidrych set the baseball world aflame when he won 19 games for the Detroit Tigers. Fidrych was known for his mannerisms on the mound such as talking to the baseball before he threw it and grooming the mound in between batters. He would win the AL Rookie of the Year Award and finished runner up in the AL Cy Young Award balloting to Jim Palmer of the Baltimore Orioles.

The Tigers weren't much of a team in 1976 but Fidrych drew fans at Tiger Stadium and beyond.

In fact, it was only this past Saturday the MLB Network re-broadcast the game he pitched against the New York Yankees originally aired on ABC's Monday Night Baseball on June 28, 1976 that launched him into superstardom and into popular culture. It was not an uncommon sight to see him in a picture with Frank Sinatra or Big Bird.

Unfortunately, Fidrych's baseball success didn't last. He injured his knee during spring training in 1977 and subsequently developed a shoulder injury. Fidrych would only win 10 more big league games over the next four seasons. After being released by the Tigers following the 1980 season he tried to make a comeback in 1981 with the Boston Red Sox but never made the big league club.

Fidrych settled on his family farm and did contract work hauling asphalt and gravel. He was a cousin of one of my colleagues at work who described him as a unique, positive individual without pretensions. He is survived by a wife and a daughter.

Marilyn Chambers, 1952-2009. R.I.P.

Former adult film actress Marilyn Chambers died yesterday. Chambers was found unconscious in her home by her teenaged daughter. She would have turned 57 on April 22nd.

The cause of death is unknown pending an autopsy.

Before getting into adult films, Chambers landed small roles in mainstream movies and did commercial work most notably appearing on an Ivory Soap detergent box. When her adult film career took off in the early 1970s, Ivory Soap abruptly dropped her although she was long associated with the brand. She would retire from adult films to raise a family but would eventually return well into her 40s.

In more recent years, she had become politically active. Her political beliefs tended towards libertarianism as she stood as a vice-presidential candidate in both 2004 and 2008 for the Personal Choice Party and Boston Tea Party, respectively. Both entities were offshoots of the Libertarian Party.

Harry Kalas, 1936-2009. R.I.P.

Harry Kalas, the voice of the Philadelphia Phillies since 1971, died suddenly today. He was 73 years old.

Kalas collapsed in the press box prior today's game between the Phillies and the Washington Nationals. He was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

The game, which is the Nationals 2009 home opener, proceeded as scheduled. As of this writing, Ryan Howard has just hit a three run homerun to give the Phillies a 7-4 lead in the top of the 7th. Make that 8-4. Raul Ibanez just hit a homerun. Boy, this is the kind of game Kalas would have loved to call.

Kalas was well known for his homerun call "it's outta here." His most famous homerun call was in 1987 when future Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt hit his 500th career homerun.

Schmidt said today upon learning of Kalas' death, "I will never be called Michael Jack again without seeing his smile."

Kalas saw the Phillies in good times and in bad. In 1972, the Phillies had a won loss record of 59-103. But by the mid-1970s the Phillies had become a powerhouse winning three consecutive NL East titles and he would broadcast their first World Series triumph in 1980. Kalas got to see the Phillies reach the World Series in 1983 and 1993 though they would not win either Fall Classic. He also covered the Phillies when Terry Francona took his first stab at managing in the late 1990s and weren't so good. But Kalas tasted World Series success again in 2008.

Kalas was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame winning the Ford C. Frick Award in 2002.

He was also well known to NFL fans as the narrator of NFL Films.

Although Kalas had been complaining of respritory problems in recent weeks he continued broadcasting unabated. He threw out the first pitch of Wednesday's game at Citizens Bank Park against the Atlanta Braves. He broadcast his last game yesterday afternoon in Denver where the Phillies played the Colorado Rockies. The Phillies came back from behind to win the game 7-5. His last home run call was for Matt Stairs, whose pinch hit dinger was the game winner.

It has not been an easy week for MLB. Last Thursday, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart was killed in a car accident after pitching six innings of shut out baseball against the Oakland Athletics. Although Kalas was not a player nor a young man his death is no less shocking, especially for baseball fans in Philadelphia.

I Will Be Reading Poetry & Discussing Politics on American Soap Box Tonight

I just want to take an opportunity to plug an internet radio appearance I making this evening.

Tonight, I will be a guest on a show called American Soap Box hosted by Michael E. Quigg.

Quigg himself is a poet and recently heard one of my anti-Obama poems at the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Upon hearing my poem, he graciously invited me on the show.

He is of liberal inclination but he strikes me as a civilized fellow. But, of course, I will prepare myself for whatever comes.

The show begins at 9 p.m. EST and I should be on for about half an hour.

I'll read one or two poems and discuss the state of the world.

You can tune in this evening at

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Poem: All Barack & No Bite

Now that President Obama has finally given his daughters a puppy they have named Bo I thought I would share this canine inspired poem titled, All Barack & No Bite:

Here's my brand new dog

Look at all the tricks it can do.

Sit, Barack, sit. Good boy.

Barack, roll over for the Russians. Good boy.

Barack, lie down for Iran. That's a good Obama.

Barack, what did I say about digging a hole for yourself?

Bad dog.

Now, tell the whole world that you're sorry.

Good boy. Here's a treat.

Barack, look at the mess you made on Wall Street.

I constantly have to clean up after you.

But you look so cute with that shiny teflon coat, oh yes you do.

You're going to win that talent show again, oh yes you are.

You're going to get America to vote for you again, oh yes you can.

Oh yes you can.

U.S. Navy Rescues Captain Phillips

I am gratified to see the U.S. Navy has freed Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates.

They saw Captain Phillips in imminent danger with an AK-47 pointed at his head and the Navy acted killing three Somali pirates and capturing a fourth.

I still maintain these pirates would not have done this if Bush was in office. The rescue took nearly five days. Far too close for comfort.

But in the end President Obama gave the order to use force and it paid off.

Although it should be noted the pirates have vowed more attacks against American merchant ships one can only hope these pirates will think twice before attacking an American vessel again.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

List of slogans to use for signs at Tea Party protest

HONK … If I’m paying your mortgage
Free Markets, Not Free Loaders!
If You Think Health Care is Expensive Now, Wait Until it’s Free
I’ll pay for my house, you pay for yours
If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying taxes!
Obamanomics: Trickle up poverty
Welcome to France
Where’s My Bailout?
Your Mortgage is NOT My Problem
Why Should I Pay for YOUR Bad Decisions?

See all

Obama demotes the Jews

Professor Edward Alexander (no relation, unfortunately) observes how Obama subtly belittles the Jews while at the same time declaring "that Islam had made great contributions to America — by which he meant not the massacres of 9/11 but the fact of his having had a Muslim father."

On Jews' reaction towards Obama:
The inability of Jew to recognize political realities is one of the marvels of human nature. James Baker once, with typical nastiness, alluded to it when he responded to expressions of American-Jewish unhappiness with his Middle East policies as follows: 'F— the Jews, they don’t vote for us anyway.” Now Barack Obama seems to be saying: “F— the Jews, they always vote for us anyway.'
On Obama's choice of Charles Freeman for chairman of the National Intelligence Council:
Freeman has blamed Israel not only for 9/11 and world terrorism but for nearly every evil on the globe with the (possible) exception of bird flu.
Read the rest of the article on the Commentary blog

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Angels Carry On

This evening I watched the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim play their first game since the sudden death of pitcher Nick Adenhart.

The Angels had postponed their scheduled game on Thursday against the Oakland Athletics out of respect for Adenhart's family and to deal with their own grief.

Tonight, the Angels hosted the Boston Red Sox and played a typical Angels game with bloop base hits, stolen bases and above all else good pitching.

Prior to the game there was a small ceremony honoring Adenhart along with Courtney Stewart and Henry Pearson who were also killed in the collision. Torii Hunter (who told the MLB Network about the impression Adenhart made on his children) and John Lackey (the man whose injury gave him an opportunity to be in the starting rotation) held up Adenhart's jersey in tribute.

Before throwing his first pitch, Jered Weaver wrote Adenhart's initials onto the back of the pitching mound. Weaver pitched six and two thirds innings of brilliant baseball. He struck out eight batters while walking only two. Weaver only surrendered one run on four hits allowed.

The Angels won 6-3 and Weaver got his first win of the season.

In an interview with Jeannie Zelasko, Weaver revealed that he and Adenhart had become good friends and that he had arranged for Adenhart to move in with him this weekend.

Some nights will be more difficult than others for Weaver and company. But playing a typical Angels game was exactly the best medicine. In times of uncertainty being able to do what you do best is often the best thing possible.

A Word About Courtney Stewart & Henry Pearson & A Thought For Jon Wilhite

With all the understandable shock and dismay that has accompanied the news of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart's sudden death it is easy to remember that two other people who were not professional athletes also lost their lives.

Courtney Stewart (who was driving the car and not Adenhart as I wrote here yesterday) was a student at Cal State Fullerton, a member of the cheerleading squad and a member of a sorority. It has been reported that she was dating Adenhart. She was all of 20 years old.

Henry Pearson, a law student at Cal State Fullerton, had his life cut short at 25. Theo Fightmaster, who attended college at Arizona State University with Pearson, wrote some kind words about his friend.

There was one passenger who survived the crash. Jon Wilhite, a one time member of Cal State Fullerton's baseball team, is still in intensive care but is expected to live. Still, the greatest pain he'll endure might not be physical but rather the anguish of losing three of his friends in an instant.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Obama Is Making The World Safe For Pirates

To start with I hope Captain Richard Phillips will be brought to safety.

But what does one make of the fact that President Obama refused to answer a question concerning this incident much less demand the immediate release of Captain Phillips.

At best it demonstrates indifference and at worst it demonstrates that Somali pirates and others would who do innocent civilians harm view America under Obama as a nation of patsies to be attacked at will.

This is the first time an American cargo ship has been attacked since the days of the Barbary Pirates.

Would these modern day Barbary Pirates have dared attack an American cargo ship if President Bush were in charge?

Somehow I don't think this will be the last time innocent American civilians will be attacked by terrorists under President Obama's watch.

Now let me be clear. President Obama isn't responsible for the behavior of the terrorists. The terrorists are responsible for their own behavior. We were attacked in an unprovoked manner on September 11, 2001. With the exception of Pearl Harbor, such attacks were simply beyond our experience and our governmental appartus wasn't prepared for them. But we became prepared and now we know what those who hate us are prepared to do.

President Obama has no such excuse. He has taken a deliberate set of actions that will result in a country more vulnerable to external and internal attack. His only obligation is to protect Americans at home and abroad and as of now he is failing in that duty.

Goldwater Institute: Becoming a conservative

I always have resisted the label "conservative" because it connotes "status quo" and I have always fought for change. Of late, I haven't much wanted to be in the company of some who call themselves conservatives, particularly those who created massive new entitlements, engaged in reckless spending and earmarks, or sought to destroy capitalism in order to save it.

edmund burkeAs George Will eloquently put it, "George W. Bush presided over the intellectual disarmament of conservatism." But it was a decline that began long before Bush. Post-Reagan conservatives enjoyed their greatest moment when they defeated the "Hillary-care" national health insurance scheme on the battlefield of ideas. But before long they exchanged their philosophical victory, and the congressional majorities it produced, for an intellectually vapid effort to vanquish Bill Clinton through the impeachment process. From their quest for power as an end in itself, Republicans never truly recovered.

Had Hillary Clinton been elected president, I suspect Republicans would have reverted to the crude politics of the Bill Clinton era. But instead we have President Barack Obama, who promised to "fundamentally transform America." From a proposed budget that would create the largest deficit in history to policies aimed at nationalizing vast portions of the American economy, it is clear he intends to do just that.

In so doing, Obama may do more to unite conservatives than anything since the collapse of Soviet communism--and in the process, to return conservatives to the place of their greatest strength: the battle over ideas.

Obama made me realize that the "change" I've pursued over the course of my career has been profoundly conservative, in that it derives consistently from the basic ideals enshrined in our Constitution and Declaration of Independence. The best way to resist a fundamental transformation of America is to continue to advance those ideals in a positive and principled way, demonstrating not only that freedom is right but that freedom works. And henceforth, I will do so proudly as a conservative.
Clint Bolick is director of the Goldwater Institute Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation.

Learn more:
The History of Economic Thought Website: Edmund Burke, 1729-1797