Thursday, March 31, 2011

Trump's Birther Buffoonery

I don't know if Donald Trump will seek the GOP nomination. Quite frankly I hope he doesn't because he really comes across as quite a buffoon. This was especially evident when he was discussing President Obama and the birther issue with Bill O'Reilly last night. I couldn't believe it when he said he had never seen a birth announcement. I guess that means he's never seen an obituary either.

The objective for 2012 is to see that President Obama is defeated at the ballot box. So let's say for argument's sake that Trump is a presidential candidate whether as the GOP standard bearer or as an independent (because he can certainly afford that option.) I can't see how Trump gets to the White House by questioning whether Obama was born in this country. Yes, of course, there are people who believe Obama wasn't born in the United States and we know that those people aren't going to vote for him anyway.

But what about the people who voted for Obama in 2008 but voted for Bush in 2004? What about the young people who cast their first vote for Obama and might now be having second thoughts? And what about first time voters who might be on the fence? You are not going to convince these people to cast a ballot for Trump if he insists on talking about where Barack Obama was on August 4, 1961. In fact, the more Trump talks about it the more he comes across as an unserious person who will ensure Obama's re-election. Whether we like it or not, Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. If Republicans and conservatives are serious about ensuring there's no second term then we would be wise to focus our attention on what Obama has said and done from January 20, 2009 onward.

Sarah Palin hit the nail on the head last month when she said questions concerning Obama's birth were distracting and annoying. The same could be said for Donald Trump.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Obamas & School Choice

With regard Joe Lawler's post about the Obama Administration's opposition to Speaker John Boehner's efforts to restore funding to the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) why is it that the Obamas can send their daughters to the school of their choice but would deny the same opporunity to their neighbors in the District of Columbia? If the Obamas truly believed in public education they would send their daughters to a public school. But when it comes right down to it President Obama doesn't really believe in the efficacy of public education. His support for public education begins and ends with the teachers' unions. In the grand scheme of things, it is a classic case of public education for thee but not for me.

UN Secretary General Bashes Israel

Yesterday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon lambasted Israel at a regional UN meeting in Uruguay.

So what else is new?

Ban specifically called on Israel to stop expanding settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as well as to ease the blockade on Hamas in Gaza. The Secretary General stated, "Actions that prejudge the outcome of the process must stop." If that wasn't enough Ban also praised the efforts of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank "to establish viable State institutions."

Frankly, I don't know what "viable State institutions" in the Palestinian Authority to which Ban was referencing. But the Secretary General made no mention of Mahmoud Abbas' overtures to Hamas, made no mention of its culpability in the massacre of the Fogel family, made no mention of the recent bombing in Jerusalem nor did he make any mention of the escalating rocket attacks into Israel from Gaza. I guess Ban doesn't deem Palestinian behavior constitute "actions that prejudge the outcome of the process."

Will Qaddafi Be Lured By Uganda's Healing Waters?

Yesterday, I asked who on earth would want Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi to come live in their country.

Well, today, a spokesman for Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni stepped up and said Qaddafi was welcome to come and live amongst that nation's healing waters. However, at this point, there's no word from Tripoli if Qaddafi is planning a one way trip to Kampala.

I should note that shortly after I submitted yesterday's post a reader was kind enough to provide a link to an article written on AOL by Lauren Frayer speculating as to which countries would be amenable to granting Qaddafi asylum. Curiously, Uganda was not amongst them.

Assad: Uprisings Are An "American-Israeli Plot"

In his address to the Syrian parliament, Bashar al-Assad called the protests in Deraa an "American-Israeli plot." And to think that Assad is Hillary Clinton's idea of a Middle East "reformer."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Who The Hell Wants Qaddafi?

In his assessment of President Obama's speech on Libya, Quin Hillyer thinks it's not beyond the realm of possiblity that Qaddafi could leave office through diplomatic efforts:

Also, I warn conservatives not to be too quick to belittle Obama's goal of a regime change via diplomacy. With Qaddafi, it might just work. The man is a coward. When Reagan bombed him, he stayed mostly silent for 15 years -- apart from Lockerbie, which he denied having anything to do with. When we overthrew Saddam, he got so scared that he turned over all his nukes and lots of other weapons. I can EASILY see Qaddafi accepting some sort of arrangement like the shah did, as in a life in safe exile somewhere, with some of his wealth still available along with his retinue of bodyguard babes.

I agree that Qaddafi is a coward but I think he feared Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush far more than he does the Libyan rebels. As for NATO, they are also saying the mission is not to remove Qaddafi from office. In which case, one must ask how long are NATO members prepared to commit to this mission? Qaddafi could very well be in a position to wait them out. One doesn't hold onto power for four decades plus without a lot of patience and the money to go with it. But let's suppose Quin is right and Qaddafi does want to go into exile. Who the hell is going to want him?

Meanwhile in Syria

The Syrian cabinet resigned this morning. Of course, this isn't nearly as impressive as it sounds. After all, the Syrian cabinet is nothing more than a rubber stamp for Assad and this rubber stamp had outlived its usefulness. Assad is planning to make an address on Syrian state television tomorrow to say that he is large and in charge.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Veena Malik is One Very Brave Woman

Yesterday, both Andrew Stuttaford of National Review Online and Mark Hemingway of The Weekly Standard made a point of drawing our attention to a video (courtesy of MEMRI) of a Pakistani actress named Veena Malik standing up to a Pakistani Muslim cleric who had called her immoral for appearing last year on a reality show called in India called Big Boss (based on Big Brother.)

In Big Boss, Malik was physically affectionate with a Bollywood actor named Ashmit Patel. Malik drew anger in Pakistan not only because she embraced Patel but because Patel is Hindu. Relations between Muslims and non-Muslims are forbidden (unless, of course, the non-Muslim converts to Islam.) For these actions, Malik has been accused of humiliating "the whole country and also the good name of her motherland."

The confrontation took place on Pakistani television in January. Malik's willingness to stand up to a Muslim cleric is no small feat. Pakistanis who speak out for religious tolerance have been assassinated or under threat of assassination. Indeed, on January 4th, Punjabi Governor Salman Taseer was assassinated by one of his own bodyguards for his opposition to Pakistan's blasphemy laws. Shortly after Taseer's assassination Sherry Rehman, another Pakistani politician, went into hiding for her efforts to amend the blasphemy laws. Earlier this month, Shahbaz Bhatti was also assassinated for his opposition to the blasphemy laws. Bhatti was Pakistan's only non-Muslim cabinet minister. Suffice it to say that Veena Malik is one very brave woman.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The New York Times at a Crossroads

There's a lot of moving and shaking at The New York Times since announcing back in February that it would be overhauling its editorial pages.

Yesterday, Bob Herbert announced he was leaving The New York Times after 18 years to "write a book and expand my efforts on behalf of working people, the poor and others who are struggling in our society."

Earlier this month, Frank Rich wrote his last column after more than thirty years with The Gray Lady. He will be joining New York Magazine in June.

Does this mean Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd will soon also be leaving for greener pastures? And by greener I don't mean more environmentally friendly.

Geraldine Ferraro, 1935-2011. R.I.P.

Geraldine Ferraro passed away this morning of complications from multiple myeloma. She was 75.

Ferraro is, of course, best remembered for having been plucked from relative obscurity by Walter Mondale to be his running mate in the ill-fated 1984 Presidential election. Prior to her selection, Ferraro had been a three term Congresswoman from New York's 9th District. Despite the Mondale-Ferraro ticket winning only Mondale's home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia she nonetheless made American history as the first woman to appear on a presidential ticket. She also made history as the first (and only) American of Italian heritage to appear on a presidential ticket.

Ferraro later made two unsuccessful bids for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in 1992 and 1998. In between those attempts, President Clinton appointed her as Ambassador to the UN Commission on Human Rights.

Three years ago, Ferraro became the center of controversy when she said that Barack Obama would not be in the position to win the Democratic Party nomination if he were a white man or a woman of any color. Ferraro subsequently resigned from her position as a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. For her part, Ferraro said the Obama campaign should have apologized to her for accusing her of racism.

Personally, I didn't agree with her observation. After all, Obama was able to generate a broader appeal than Jesse Jackson could never attain in his two bids for the White House. Nevertheless, I didn't believe her opinion was intended to be malicious.

Indeed, when I occasionally saw Ferraro on the Fox News Channel I found her take on things well grounded in reason and absent of animosity. While she clearly disagreed with conservatives her criticisms were generally constructive. She wasn't disrespectful towards conservatives. Unfortunately, the same could not be said of her fellow liberals.

With that here are Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin appearing together for the only time at the Fox News election desk during the mid-term elections last November.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Book of Mormon Debuts on Broadway

Last night the curtain rose on The Book of Mormon to rave reviews. This marks the Broadway musical debut of South Park co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone who collaborated with Robert Lopez of Avenue Q fame.

As a fan of South Park, I am sure The Book of Mormon is laugh out loud funny without being demeaning as they amply demonstrated with their "All About the Mormons?" episode which originally aired in 2003. Who knows? I might even try to get a ticket on my next trip to New York next month.

For its part, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints issued a statement last month which neither praised nor condemned the production. It is worth noting the contrast in the reaction of the Mormon church to that of the group Revolution Muslim. Nearly a year ago, one of Revolution Muslim's leaders Zachary Chesser (a.k.a. Abu Talhah al-Amrikee) encouraged violence against Parker and Stone for their two-part episode about the Prophet Muhammad. His threats were sufficient for Comedy Central to not only pull the Muhammad episodes but to also pull the 2001 episode "Super Best Friends" which also featured Muhammad. Chesser was recently sentenced to 25 years in prison in part for his threats against Parker and Stone.

I remind people of this incident to illustrate that while it is possible in this culture to create a Broadway musical about Mormons it is not possible to do the same with Muslims. Now I am sure that if Parker and Stone could do such a thing they would but they cannot. Even if they were prepared to stand up to death threats I doubt anyone in the world of Broadway would stand with them. It is amazing how our willingness to defend freedom of speech and freedom of expression recedes in the face of violence or even the threat of violence.

Canadians Appear Headed for the Polls

It looks like Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority Conservative government is going to fall today. The Liberals have introduced a motion of non-confidence in response to the federal budget that was submitted earlier this week by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. If the government falls, Canadians will elect a new parliament sometime in May.

Frankly, I don't understand why the Liberals have decided to topple the government now. After all, a poll that was released last weekend by Nanos Research had the Conservatives leading the Liberals by double digits (38.6% to 27.6%). Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff is also the least trusted of the three major national political leaders. Ignatieff is well behind both Harper and New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jack Layton on that score. As late as yesterday, an Ipsos-Reid poll had the Tories ahead of the Liberals by nearly 20 points (43% to 24%).

It is also worth noting that according to another Ipsos-Reid poll, half of all Canadians do not want an election at this time. Indeed, if the Tory government falls it will be the third election in a little over five years.

Now I could understand Ignatieff doing this if the Liberals were up in the polls by double digits and if he was the most popular leader in the country. But it seems to me that if half of all Canadians don't want an election a lot of them aren't going to vote Liberal. Now I realize that a week in politics is a lifetime. Harper could make a mistake and Ignatieff could capitalize. But unless Ignatieff becomes Prime Minister in the next 60 days or so then his political career is done.

So methinks Stephen Harper will remain Prime Minister. The only question is whether Harper will lead another minority government or if he and the Conservatives will be given a chance at majority rule.

UPDATE: Prime Minister Harper met with Governor General David Johnston this morning to advise him to dissolve Parliament. Canadians will go to the polls on May 2nd.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Is Romney Really a Tea Party Favorite?

I am sure I am not the only one who shares Jim Antle's skepticism about the Pew Research poll which has Mitt Romney as the favorite potential GOP presidential contender amongst Tea Partiers.

Take note of the wording in the poll. It reads, "Among those who say they agree with Tea Party movement, 24% say Romney would be their first choice, 19% say Huckabee, 15% say Gingrich, 13% say Paul and 12% say Palin." One should also take note of the Tea Party question itself. It asks, "From what you know, do you agree or disagree with the Tea Party movement, or don't you have an opinion either way?"

So what exactly does it mean when someone says they agree with the Tea Party movement? It could mean that they like the Tea Party's positions on certain issues or that they like the fact that they are making their voices heard in the public square. But just because someone agrees with the Tea Party doesn't necessarily make that person a Tea Party activist. I think there's a world of difference between someone who admires the Tea Party from afar and someone who is intimately involved with the Tea Party.

There are few things that Tea Party activists hold in higher disdain than Obamacare. The idea that the architect of Romneycare has any resonance with Tea Party activists just doesn't pass the laugh test.

It is also curious that Michele Bachmann, a big Tea Party favorite who now appears to be forming an exploratory committee for a White House bid, did not appear on the Pew list of possible Republican presidential candidates.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thoughts on Scott Brown & Planned Parenthood

With respect to Senator Scott Brown's unwillingness to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, John Guardiano writes, "Sure I understand that Brown faces re-election in overwhelmingly liberal Democrat Massachusetts. No one expects him to be a stalwart advocate for unborn children. But is it really asking him too much for him to oppose appropriating taxpayer funds to subsidize abortion?"

But is it really fair to say that Brown supports appropriating taxpayer funds to subidize abortion? Consider Brown's statement on the matter 48 hours ago:

I support family planning and health services for women. Given our severe budget problems, I don't believe any area of the budget is immune from cuts. However, the proposal to eliminate all funding for family planning goes too far. As we continue with our budget negotiations, I hope we can find a compromise which is reasonable and appropriate.

While Brown opposed to federal funding for abortion during his Senate run last year I don't think anything in his statement changes that position. Even if one objects to Planned Parenthood for providing abortion services it isn't the only service they provide. Thus it is entirely possible to continue to oppose federal funding for abortion but to continue to support federal funding for other services such as breast cancer screening.

Of course, the flip side to that argument is if federal funds are allocated to Planned Parenthood what is to prevent them from diverting funds intended for mammograms into abortion services? Well, nothing really. So while it's possible that Brown might not intend for Planned Parenthood to receive federal funding for abortion whatever compromise he might be involved with could end up doing so anyway.

For his part, Guardiano isn't calling for conservatives here in Massachusetts to dump Brown - at least not yet. He writes, "At some point, after all, conservatives must conclude that it is better to lose on principle than to win by jettisoning core beliefs."

It might very well come to that. But do Bay State conservatives really want Deval Patrick or Mike "Let's Get a Little Bloody" Capuano to be their next Senator?

Gene Simmons Gives Israel Boycotters a Tongue Lashing

Gene Simmons, currently in Israel filming episodes of his A&E reality show Gene Simmons' Family Jewels, has taken some of his fellow musicians to task for refusing to perform in Israel. The Kiss bassist has called musicians like Elvis Costello "fools" for boycotting the Jewish State. In an interview with the Associated Press, Simmons said, "The countries they should be boycotting are the same countries that the populations are rebelling."

You could say that Simmons has given them a well-deserved tongue lashing.

Explosion at Jerusalem Bus Stop

An explosion at a bus stop in Jerusalem has wounded 25 people, four of them seriously. No fatalities have been reported as of this writing.

The explosive appears to have been placed into a bag and then detonated.

This attack follows the resumption of rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel. On Saturday, Hamas fired more than 50 rockets into Israel.

UPDATE: One woman was killed as a result of the bombing.

Elizabeth Taylor, 1932-2011. R.I.P.

Actress Elizabeth Taylor passed away this morning. She was 79.

Taylor burst onto the Hollywood scene at the age of 12 with her performance in National Velvet. The peak of her career took place from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s as she was nominated for five Academy Awards and won two Best Actress statues for BUtterfield 8 and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

In later years, Taylor became better known for her marriages and health problems than for her acting. In all, she was married eight times to seven different men. She was twice married to Richard Burton and once married to former Virginia Republican Senator John Warner.
I remember Taylor being a frequent target of Joan Rivers in the early 1980s because of her weight although the two did eventually bury the hatchet. As I recall, they joined forces for an AIDS benefit. Taylor became associated with raising money for AIDS charities after her friend Rock Hudson went public with his condition.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Palestinians Don't Want Their Children Learning About The Holocaust

The Hamas government in Gaza has angrily reacted to a plan by the UN to teach Palestinian schoolchildren about the Holocaust.

Hamas Education Minister Mohammed Asqoul stated, "Playing with the education of our children in the Gaza Strip is a red line." Well, of course it would. The Hamas narrative is that the Holocaust was cooked up the Jews themselves. Besides if Palestinian schoolchildren were actually taught about the Holocaust it might interfere with their daily chants of "Death to Israel!!!" and "Death to the Jews!!!" during recess.

The Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank also opposes the UN plan. This should also come as no surprise. Let us not forget that the "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas wrote his doctoral thesis on Holocaust denial describing the deaths of six million Jews as a "rumor."

Open Season on Conservatives & Jews at McGill

Apparently, it's open season on conservatives and Jews at McGill University in Montreal.

Earlier this month, the McGill Conservative & Libertarians clubs sponsored a screening of the film Indoctrinate U, a documentary about left-wing bias on university campuses in North America. A student named Haaris Khan was amongst those in attendance. The film must have made quite the impression because Khan took to Twitter and said amongst other things "I want to shoot everyone in this room," and "I should have brought an M-16." Khan also described the documentary as "a Zionist/Conservative propaganda film." It should be noted that the screening was sponsored by McGill's Conservative & Libertarian clubs. The day after the screenings, Khan tweeted, "The jihad begins today."

Incredibly, McGill declined to discipline Khan. Montreal police, however, are continuing their investigation into the incident. However, I would be surprised if criminal charges are forthcoming. For his part, Khan has issued your standard non-apology apology in which he insists he is not anti-Semitic because his sister-in-law and niece are Jewish but proudly declares, "I am an anti-Zionist."

Mookie Kideckel, an editor at The McGill Tribune, is not surprised by the turn of events:

The morning before we published the story about Haaris Khan's tweets last week, I think I startled one of my fellow editors. She was convinced that the story was a huge deal, that there would be a unanimous outcry, that this was one of those things that transcends politics and gets right to the roots of how people are supposed to treat each other. I was a bit more blasé. Sure, I said, this is some scary stuff. But we're talking about words that mention Jews here. That's not "real racism." A lot of people will be upset about this, but many will find ways to dismiss it as nothing, thinking that so much as printing that article is little more than another conservative attack against innocent Muslims daring to question Israel's hegemonic power. She disagreed, and I hoped my cynicism would be disproven. Unfortunately, in this case, I think I turned out to be right.

Not only is Kideckel right but I think we will not only see more incidents like this on college campuses but we will also see more university administrations unwilling to do anything about them.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sheriff Sarkozy

John Guardiano praises French President Nicolas Sarkozy as "the new sheriff in town" with regard to initiating military action in Libya. I think Guardiano is correct in his assessment becaue without Sarkozy I still think there would be much dithering.

Guardiano notes that both Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron got spooked with what was happening on the ground in Libya given that Libya "is in their backyard." He also notes that it is not coincidental that both men are conservatives. But I would point out that Libya is every bit as much in Germany's backyard and that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is surely as conservative as either Sarkozy or Cameron. Yet Germany opposed the no-fly zone from the outset and abstained during the Security Council vote.

As for the Brits, I think they would have been on board with this action regardless of whether a Conservative or a Labour government was in power.

But could you imagine Jacques Chirac (or for that matter his old Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin) leading a military campaign in Libya much less supporting one? Sarkozy and Chirac have both led the Union for a Popular Movement but never has one political party produced two more diametrically opposed leaders.

Indeed, who could have imagined that France would produce a President more pro-American than our own?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thoughts on Libya

I have to confess that I was surprised that UN Security Council authorized a ceasefire with provisions for a no-fly zone over Libya yesterday. After all, the no-fly zone over Iraq was undertaken at the initiative of the United States, the United Kingdom and France, not the UN.

So when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week that the UN not the US had to take the lead with regard to a no fly zone on Libya I don't think she envisioned the UN Security Council would actually go ahead and take the lead.

Which is why I find it curious that some like Mark Krikorian thinks the United States is in for an open-ended commitment in Libya. Not only do I think an open-ended commitment isn't in the plans but I also think President Obama is still reluctant to commit to any action at all as evidenced by his declaration this afternoon that he will not send in ground troops despite his threat of military action. Let's not forget that this is the same man who a year ago wouldn't let our flag at U.S. military compounds in Haiti because it would "send the wrong message." If President Obama was afraid to send the wrong message while providing relief supplies to earthquake victims in Haiti you can be sure he is worried about sending the wrong message where it concerns Libya even if it would prevent a mass slaughter of innocent civilians.

The other thing to consider here is what kind of military commitment the U.K., France and the Arab League are prepared to make and for how long. If David Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy and Amr Moussa are prepared to take the lead and are willing to see things through to a satisfactory resolution then by all means. But if that were to be the case then I think it would reflect poorly on President Obama and the United States if Britain and France and members of the Arab League were willing to protect innocent civilians from a tyrant while we sat on the sidelines. We should never forget that this was the tyrant whose regime was responsible for the deaths of American civilians on Pan Am Flight 103. So even if the Obama Administration doesn't want to take the lead in Libya I don't think it can sit it out altogether.

Aristide Returns to Haiti

Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has returned to Haiti after seven years in exile apparently over the objections of President Obama. Aristide's returns comes 48 hours before Haitians go to the polls to elect a new President.

I wonder if Haitian authorities will charge Aristide with corruption as they did with Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier following his return to Haiti in January after nearly a quarter century in exile.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Thought for Tarek Fatah

Last August, Tarek Fatah, one of Canada's most prominent Muslim public figures, received a good deal of attention in this country when he co-wrote an article with Raheel Raza in The Ottawa Citizen opposing the Ground Zero Mosque.

Back in the late 1990s, when I was still living in Canada and active with the New Democratic Party (NDP), I was acquainted with Tarek when we served together on the Ontario NDP Resolutions Committee.

Today, it came to my attention that Tarek was diagnosed with spinal cancer last month. I learned this when I read an article written by his daughter Natasha, who is a radio producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. At present, she reports her father remains hospitalized and unable to walk. But she also points out that he is still able to think as clearly as ever and is writing his thoughts on Facebook from his hospital bed. I am sure he has a long road ahead of him but it looks like he's won half the battle.

So let me take this moment to wish Tarek a full and speedy recovery. Voices of reason in the Muslim world aren't easy to come by and Tarek's voice is surely needed now more than ever. I mean it isn't everyday that a Muslim writes a book titled The Jew Is Not My Enemy.

Palin to Visit Israel

On Sunday, Sarah Palin will travel to Israel along her with husband Todd. They are expected to stay for about 48 hours. Amongst other things, Palin will visit with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Prior to her arrival in Israel, Palin will speak at a conference in New Delhi, India.

Palin has long been an admirer of Israel. When she was Governor of Alaska she kept an Israeli flag in her office. It is also not unusual to see Palin sporting a lapel bearing both the American and Israeli flags. She has also frequently criticized President Obama for his policies towards Israel particularly where it concerns Israeli settlements. Not only does not she not agree with a settlement freeze she believes there should be an expansion. It was one year ago yesterday that Palin called upon the Obama Administration to reset its relations with Israel after they embarked upon a row with Israel over settlement construction in East Jersualem. Consider her words of wisdom:

Once again, the Obama Administration is missing the boat on a very, very important issue. They need to go back to basics and acknowledge Palestinian leaders have not progressed any peace process since President Obama was elected. As Israel makes concessions (and is still criticized by the Obama Administration), Arab leaders are just sitting back waiting for the White House to further pressure Israel. The Obama Administration needs to open its eyes and recognize that it is only Iran and her terrorist allies that benefit from this manufactured Israeli controversy.

Amen to that.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Marty Marion, 1917-2011. R.I.P.

St. Louis Cardinals legend Marty Marion died yesterday of natural causes. He was 93.

Marion was arguably the best shortstop in baseball during the 1940s. He was an integral part of those Cardinals teams that went to four World Series in five seasons between 1942 and 1946. Of these four World Series, the Cardinals won three of them. To give you an idea of how good the Cardinals were in the early to mid-1940s, no National League team has reached the World Series in three consecutive seasons since the Cards did it from 1942 through 1944.

Marion was selected to seven consecutive National League All-Star teams between 1943 and 1950 (there was no All-Star Game in 1945.) His best season came in 1944 when he was named the NL MVP. Now if one were to look at Marion's offensive output that year it doesn't exactly scream MVP numbers - .267 batting average, 6 homeruns and 63 RBI. His teammate Stan Musial hit .347 that season. However, Musial was in the early part of his career and was several seasons away from becoming The Man. Back then it was Marion who was the leader in the Cardinals clubhouse. Although Marion's offensive numbers were modest it was his defense that saved runs and consistently won games for the Cards. At 6 feet, 2 inches, Marion covered a lot of ground. In the past three decades ago with shorstops like Cal Ripken, Jr. and Alex Rodriguez big shortstops aren't so unusual. But back in the '40s it was unheard of. Hence the nicknames like Slats and The Octopus.

Marion became the manager of the Cardinals in 1951 before he moved to the crosstown rival St. Louis Browns to be player-manager for the 1952 and 1953 seasons. Unfortunately, Marion has the ignomanious distinction of being the Browns last manager as they went 54-100 in 1953 before hitching up stakes and moving to Baltimore the following year where they would become known as the Orioles.

However, Marion would get another chance to manage with the Chicago White Sox late in the 1954 season. He would guide the Chisox to third place finishes in 1955 and 1956. However, he would resign following the '56 season when he learned the team was seeking to replace him with Cleveland Indians manager Al Lopez. As it turned out it was a good move as Lopez guided the White Sox to the AL pennant in 1959. (Here's an interesting article that was written in Sports Illustrated about Marion while he was managing the Chisox during the '56 season.)

There are those who believe Marion should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. His numbers are comparable with those of Phil Rizzuto, the New York Yankees shortstop who was inducted by the Veterans Committee in 1994. However, as recently as 2007, Marion was unable to persuade enough members of the Veterans Committee to elect him to Cooperstown. It is possible however that Marion could get on the Veterans Committee ballot to be considered for induction into the Hall of Fame in 2012.

Too bad there isn't a Marriage Hall of Fame because Marion and his wife Mary were married for 74 years. They would have been elected on the first ballot.

Luis Salazar is a Lucky Man

Luis Salazar has lost his left eye.

All things considered, Salazar is a lucky man. A week ago, Salazar was standing on the railing at the top of the Atlanta Braves dugout during a spring training game between the Braves and St. Louis Cardinals when Braves catcher Brian McCann hit a line drive that struck Salazar in the face and knocked him unconscious. Salazar had to be airlifted to a medical facility in Orlando. In addition to losing his left eye, he also sustained multiple facial fractures. But Salazar is optimistic that he will recover and be able to manage the Braves Class-A affiliate in Lynchburg, Virginia.

I can't emphasize enough that Salazar is a lucky man. Mike Coolbaugh, who was a first base coach with the Colorado Rockies Double-A affiliate in Tulsa, was struck in the head by a line drive during a game in July 2007 and died as a result of his injuries. Coolbaugh's death resulted in all first base and third base coaches at all levels of professional baseball being required to wear batting helmets on the field.

I used to watch a lot of Detroit Tigers games in my teens and I remember Salazar when he played for the Tigers during the 1988 season. He was a guy who could play both in the infield and the outfield and had a decent bat. Salazar made a good career of being a utility player and spent 13 seasons in the majors. In addition to the Tigers he also played for the Chicago Cubs, the Chicago White Sox and the San Diego Padres. In fact, Salazar was a part of the Padres 1984 National League championship team.

Salazar will undoubtedly have a lot of challenges in recovering from this injury. But Salazar is a baseball man. He will find a way to return to the baseball field and make the most of this second chance.

Abbas Reaches Out to Hamas

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is reaching out to the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip and may visit Gaza before the week is out.

Would the Obama Administration care to explain how Israel building settlements is "an obstacle to peace" while Abbas meeting with Hamas, an organization that opposes any peace process with Israel, isn't an obstacle to peace?

Where is The Liberal Outrage Over Itamar?

Shortly after I learned about the murder of a Jewish family in the West Bank settlement of Itamar by Palestinians I was compelled to write my thoughts.

At the time, I did not know their names. Well, now I know they were all members of the Fogel family. Killed in cold blood were Udi & Ruth Fogel along with three of their children Yoav, aged 11; Elad, aged 4 and Hadas, one month old. Their bodies were found by their 12-year-old daughter who was not home at the time of the attack.

Now understandably much of the world's attention has been focussed upon Japan where 10,000 are believed to have died as a result of last Thursday's 9.0 earthquake. But I want to take this moment to thank Dennis Prager, Bret Stephens, Jeff Jacoby and Glenn Beck for not allowing us to forget what happened at Itamar. Because what happened at Itamar was pure evil.

But, of course, those who commit evil acts seldom take responsibility for their actions. Indeed, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is telling his Fatah supporters the Israeli government is unfairly accusing Palestinians of responsibility for this act. Moreover, the state run Palestinian Authority is suggesting the murders were committed by a mysterious "foreign worker" as well as raising the possibility that this was an "inside job." In other words, they are blaming the Jews. Well, not that's it stopping Palestinians from celebrating the deaths of the Fogel family by handing out candy.

All of which brings me to these questions. Where is the liberal outrage over Itamar? Who amongst their ranks have written or spoken about what happened to the Fogel family and the Palestinian response? But then again can one be surprised at their muted response when CNN put the words terror attack in quotation marks?

Now to be fair, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney did describe the events as "a terrorist attack" but the effect of that condemnation was neutralized when after the attack the Obama Administration continued to call Israeli settlements "illegitimate." If the Obama Administration continues to be believe that the settlements aren't legitimate then why would they view the settlers themselves as legitimate? When you couple the Obama Administration's insistence that Jewish settlements are illegitimate with the Palestinian Authority's relentless incitement against Jews and Israelis I fear it will only spur Palestinians to murder more Jewish children in their sleep.

Bachmann, Palin & My Stomach

Yesterday, I mildly criticized Michele Bachmann over the AmSpec Blog for reminding people she had placed Lexington and Concord in New Hampshire rather than Massachusetts.

Needless to say I am not surprised that many who have taken the time to comment believe she is above criticism even if it is of the constructive variety. Case in point:

I'll tell you why Goldstein is sweating the small stuff: Because he is just like the elite "conservatives" who cannot stomach the thought of Sarah Palin leading the party. Obviously, the courageous, brave, honest and very bright Michelle Bachmann simply doesn't pass muster.

He doesn't like the cut of Michelle's jib, don't you know, and so he's trying to undermine her - under the guise of offering friendly advice.

But if I cannot stomach the thought of Sarah Palin leading the party then why would I go to the trouble of defending her at every possible turn? Anyone who is disinclined to give me the benefit of the doubt on that score can check for yourself here, here, here, here and here. I'll go further than that. If Sarah Palin decides to run for President she has my unconditional support. I hope this clarifies matters.

As for Bachmann, if I didn't like the cut of her jib I would say so. Despite not having a formal leadership position within the House GOP caucus, Bachmann is arguably the most well known member of the House of Representatives in the entire country. That takes some doing and she wouldn't have done it without having the ability to resonate with her constituency and beyond. If Bachmann can take that resonance and attain higher office then more power to her. But criticism comes with the territory and she should expect those slings and arrows which will only intensify if she actually seeks higher office. Most of the criticism, of course, will be unfair and undeserved. Yet even in the face of a such a barrage one does have to choose one's battles carefully.

So when Bachmann gets accused of complicity in the Arizona shootings then, of course, she should vigorously defend herself and dress down the liberal media. Nothing she said or did caused Jared Loughner to commit mass murder. But when Bachmann is criticized for her an error of her own making she needs to walk a finer line. Instead of saying that the media is only interested in criticizing conservatives when they err she ought to have said something along the lines of, "You got me. I messed up my geography. My fault. My apologies to the good people of Massachusetts. Next time I'll do better. I only hope the media will scrutinize President Obama with the same diligence and vigor the next time he tells us there are 57 states in the Union."

Now one might argue that this is nitpicking. But there is a time to hit back hard and there is a time to hit back with finesse. Or let me put it this way. If President Obama had said the first shots of the American Revolution were fired in New Hampshire rather than in Massachusetts I and other conservatives would have excoriated him for it and rightly so. If we are unwilling hold our fellow conservatives to the same standards then what does that say about us?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bachmann Misfires

In an interview with Laura Ingraham's show (with Raymond Arroyo guest hosting), Congresswoman Michele Bachmann blasted the liberal media for their coverage of her gaffe over where the first shots of the American Revolution were fired. (H/T Katrina Trinko of National Review Online)

Last weekend, Bachmann gave a speech in New Hampshire in which she said, "You're the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord." Except the state in question in Massachusetts. Today, Bachmann told Arroyo, "We all know there's a double standard in the media ... as we know all 3,400 members of the mainstream media are part of the Obama press contingent...Only if a conservative makes a misstep is it considered interesting." She also pointed out what little scrutiny Barack Obama received when he said during the 2008 presidential race that he had campaigned across the 57 states.

While we're at it let us also not forget when Joe Biden told Katie Couric that Franklin Delano Roosevelt had gone on TV after the 1929 stock market crash despite the fact neither a FDR presidency nor television was yet in existence. But imagine if Sarah Palin didn't know who FDR's Treasury Secretary was (that would be Henry Morgenthau) the liberal media would fall all over themselves. So Bachmann is absolutely right in her assessment as is amply demonstrated in this editorial by The Boston Globe. She confirms what us conservatives already know all too well.

Yet I don't think Bachmann is doing herself any favors by making this assertion. Whatever the shortcomings of the liberal media, she can't change the fact that this was her mistake and a big one at that. The Tea Party movement rightly takes pride in its celebration of early American history. Bachmann hurts both her credibility and that of the Tea Party movement when she makes such an egregious error. If Bachmann makes her voice heard in the public square then she has an obligation to exercise due diligence and make sure she has her i's dotted, her t's crossed and her u's curved. Yes, the liberal media holds Bachmann to a higher standard than it does Obama. Is that fair? Absolutely not. But life is unfair and it's all the more reason for Bachmann to avoid factual errors in her public presentation.

Bachmann also draws unnecessary attention to herself by reminding people she made this mistake. While Bachmann can't change the past she does herself no good by dwelling on it. Bachmann admitted her mistake. The best she can do is to pick herself up, dust herself off and move ahead.

IDF Seizes Missiles on Ship Headed for Gaza

Today, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) seized missiles and other weaponry aboard a ship which was headed for Gaza.

The weapons are believed to have come from Iran via Syria. It was noted that the missiles had an instruction manual written in Farsi.

Had the weapons reached Gaza they could have been used against both Israeli military and civilian ships.

The No-Fly Zone Won't Fly

During a meeting of G-8 Foreign Ministers in Paris, both Russia and Germany voiced their opposition to the proposed no-fly zone over Libya.

When you couple this with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's comment last week that the UN rather than the US should take the lead on the no-fly zone I think it's fairly safe to conclude that the no-fly zone won't fly.

Ronnie Hammond, 1950-2011. R.I.P.

Ronnie Hammond, the former lead singer of the Atlanta Rhythm Section, passed away yesterday due to heart failure. He was 60.

While Hammond was not a household name if you listened to the radio in the late 1970s you would have most certainly heard his distinctive voice over the airwaves. The Atlanta Rhythm Section's blues inspired Southern rock was an antidote to the disco music dominating the charts. Take a listen to Hammond's sweet vocals on their biggest hit "So Into You."

Mitchell Page, 1951-2011. R.I.P.

Former major league player turned coach Mitchell Page passed away on Saturday at the age of 59. The cause of death is unknown but Page had long battled alcoholism.

Originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1973, Page was acquired by the Oakland A's prior to the 1977 season. When Page arrived in Oakland, the A's were no longer the team that had won three consecutive World Series with a cast of Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi, Sal Bando, Catfish Hunter and Rollie Fingers. A's owner Charlie Finley just didn't care anymore and his ballclub was now emerging as one of the worst teams in baseball. Notwithstanding these circumstances, Page had a sensational rookie season hitting .307 with 21 homeruns, 75 RBIs and 42 stolen bases. He would finish runner up in the American League Rookie of the Year balloting to Baltimore Orioles slugger Eddie Murray.

Unlike Murray however, Page did not go on to have a Hall of Fame career. His offensive production steadily declined and the A's eventually finally gave up on him after the 1983 season. Page returned to the Pirates for a handful of games in 1984. In later years, Page turned to coaching and served as a hitting instructor on both the major league and minor league level. From 2001 to 2004, Page was the hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals and was with the team when they won the National League pennant in 2004 only to be swept in the World Series by the Boston Red Sox. He also served in that capacity with the Washington Nationals in 2006 and the early part of the 2007 season. Unfortunately, Page was unable to continue in these roles due to his alcoholism. The Cardinals did give Page another chance last season with their Class A affiliate in Quad Cities but departed only a month into the season.

Mitchell Page was Ben Mankiewicz's favorite baseball player during his childhood and has written a touching tribute to Page.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Last Temptation of James Frey

Shawn Macomber's take on James Frey's supposedly cutting edge Messianic novel is pretty darn amusing.

Who knew the Second Coming would take place in the South Bronx?

Yet the plotline seems awfully deriative of The Last Temptation of Christ. Nonetheless, Frey will be lauded in The New York Review of Books, be forgiven by Oprah and be the toast of the town. I mean it's not like Frey has to worry about a fatwa.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Palestinians Slaughter Israeli Family in West Bank

Following the Sabbath, a family of five including three children aged 11, 3 and one month were stabbed to death inside their home in Itamar, a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

Although the Palestinian Authority has arrested three Hamas members in connection with the attack the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack. They are affiliated with the Fatah movement led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. For his part, Abbas has publicly condemned the attack as has P.A. Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu isn't letting Abbas, Fayyad and the Palestinian Authority off so easily. Netanyahu said, "A society that allows wild incitement like this, leads to the murder of children."

Uzi Landau, Israel's Minister of National Infrastructure, went a step further and held Abbas responsible for the attack. Landau said, "Behind the murderer of the family in Itamar stands Abu Mazen (Abbas), the "peace partner," who founded the official educational system in the Palestinian Authority, which teaches hatred of Jews and presents child killers as role models."

Back in October, Jonathan Chait of The New Republic described Abbas, Fayyad and the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank as "blessedly moderate." Here is what I wrote in response to Chait:

There is nothing either blessed or moderate about Mahmoud Abbas or Salam Fayyad.

If Abbas and Fayyad were "blessedly moderate" then they would not permit garbage like this to go over the airwaves of Palestinian Authority state run television suggesting "all mothers should sacrifice their child for Palestine."

There's something deeply wrong with Palestinian civil society when a mother's highest ambition for her child is that he become a martyr or a shahed instead of being a doctor or a lawyer.

Well, we have this blessed moderation to thank for the deaths of this Israeli family who were sleeping peacefully inside their homes. The day I believe that Abbas, Fayyad and the Palestinian Authority want to live peaceably with Israel is the day they take they remove all anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli imagery from their televisions, their schools and their mosques and replace them with messages of acceptance and respect of Jews and Israelis. Until that day, I strongly maintain that the Fatah run Palestinian Authority wants to destroy Israel every bit as much as Hamas does.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cry Me a Jihad

When I saw Minnesota Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison's over the top waterworks during his testimony before Peter King's committee on Thursday my instant reaction was that he was shedding crocodile tears.

Suffice it to say I am not the only one who was left with this impression. Here are Pamela Geller's thoughts about Ellison's performance.

Erik Rush at WND: Why media ignore black conservatives

Check out this great analysis from Erik Rush over at WorldNetDaily. The lamestream media virtually ignores black conservatives as if they don't exist. An excerpt -

"The answer to why the nascent black conservative movement is being disregarded by the establishment press lies in the lack – or complete absence – of coverage they have given other highly newsworthy issues of late: Black conservatism threatens the pre-eminence and perceptual validity of their ideology."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

WaPo's Marcus Defends King Hearings

You can find my thoughts on the IC mainpage with regard to Representative Peter King's hearings on the radicalization of Muslims in the United States which are scheduled to take place tomorrow.

Well, King's hearings have an unlikely defender in Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post. While Marcus does criticize the New York Republican's language and temperament ("His manner is blustering verging on crude.") she does defend the legitimacy and necessity of the hearings.

Marcus begins the article by taking us back to when Attorney General Eric Holder testified before the House Judiciary Committee last May. During the hearing, Texas Republican Lamar Smith pressed Holder about the role radical Islam played in the Fort Hood massacre, the attempted Christmas underwear bombing aboard Northwest Flight 253 and, of course, the attempted car bombing of Times Square. Holder held out as best he could before grudgingly acknowledging "it's possible that people who espouse a radical version of Islam have had an ability to have an impact" on the Nidal Malik Hasans, the Umar Farouk Abdulmutallabs and the Faisal Shahzads of the world:

The roots of Holder's reticence are admirable: He wanted to avoid tarring an entire faith with the sins of a few extreme adherents. But the unavoidable fact is that, however much violent terror reflects a distortion of the tenets of Islam, it is not only practiced by adherents of the religion but practiced in its name.

To ignore the religious nature of the terrorist threat is to succumb to politically correct delusion. To ignore the homegrown religious nature of the terrorist threat is to succumb even further.

Well, I don't think I would characterize Holder's reticence as particularly admirable. Holder and the Obama Administration do our country a disservice by pretending radical Islam doesn't drive these terrorist attacks or attempted terrorist attacks. But otherwise Marcus' observations are spot on. The Obama Administration would thus be wise not to dismiss King's hearings out of hand.

Hillary: UN not US Must Take Lead on Libya No-Fly Zone

In an interview with Britain's Sky News, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States must not lead an effort to establish a no-fly zone over Libya. (H/T to Mark Hemingway of The Weekly Standard).

Clinton said, "I think it's very important that this not be a US-led effort, because this comes from the people of Libya themselves." She went on to say, "We think it's important the United Nations makes this decision, not the United States and so far the United Nations has not done that."
And therein lies the problem. If the first Bush Administration had waited back in 1992 for the UN to make a decision then there would have been any no-fly zones in Iraq. The no-fly zones, of course, were organized and administered by the United States, Britain and France (until it withdrew in 1998).

John Yoo is right to argue that we don't need the UN's permission to save lives in Libya.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Why is NPR Really Appalled?

In response to the hidden camera video shot by James O'Keefe of former NPR Executive Ron Schiller calling members of the Tea Party amongst other things "seriously racist" and "xenophobic", Dana Davis Rehm, NPR's Senior Vice-President of Marketing, Communications and External Relations issued a statement indicating that NPR is "appalled by the comments made by Ron Schiller in the video, which are contrary to what NPR stands for."

Yet I suspect that what Ms. Rehm and company at NPR are really "appalled" by is Schiller's additional commentary that NPR "would be in the long run better off without federal funding."

Frankly, I would be shocked if an NPR Executive didn't believe the Tea Party was seriously racist and xenophobic.

The time has come for NPR to compete in the marketplace just like every other radio network in the country.

Social media for lawyers -- do lawyers need to be afraid?

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Give Cowboy Poetry a Chance (Though Not a Government Grant)

I agree with Philip Klein that Harry Reid probably isn't doing cowboy poets any favors. But let's not hold that against the cowboy poets.

Take it from someone who has attended hundreds of poetry readings over the past decade. I have heard far too many poems which use the phrase f*#k Bush, f*#k Palin or f*#k Jesus (possibly all three simultaneously.) And lest I forget all those zombie poems. So hearing about poetry inspired in part by rural landscape and life on the ranch sounds both literally and figuratively refreshing. Given that cowboy poetry originated during the Civil War I think it's worth giving it a second look.

Needless to say, there aren't exactly a lot of cowboy poetry readings in New England or New York. In fact, I would be hard pressed to say if there are any at all. So if I found myself in Elko, Nevada next January I would be inclined to attend The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Perhaps cowboy poetry will have to do without a government grant. Who knows? With all the attention perhaps it will spread across the country like "Wildfire". (Hey, it's not like the opportunity readily presents itself for me to make a reference to Michael Martin Murphey.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Romney's Survival

Philip Klein's assessment of Mitt Romney's prospects is spot on.

I particularly like Klein's point about the immigration albatross that hung around John McCain's neck until the McCain-Kennedy bill died. McCain not only benefited when the debate turned to Iraq but because he backed the surge not only when the Harry Reids of the world had declared the war lost but other GOP candidates were downright skittish on the matter.

Now as Klein also points out that unlike the immigration bill, Obamacare passed. Romney cannot escape the fact that he established a statewide health care program with an individual mandate. The only way Romney wins the GOP nomination is if someone or something changes the subject very dramatically. Klein suggests that another downturn in the economy which would be well suited to Romney's business acumen. But who knows? Herman Cain has an impressive record in the private sector and could be a sleeper candidate. And if Donald Trump enters the race then all bets are off.

What Romney has to do is embrace a policy a) popular amongst conservatives and b) the other GOP candidates are, for whatever reason, hesitant to support. At the moment, it is difficult to see what that policy could be. But that's essentially what Romney needs to do to win the nomination.

Things Aren't What They Sheen

While I am pleased that Robert Stacy McCain has seen fit to keep us up to speed on the trials and tribulations of Charlie Sheen I cannot help but wonder if all this drama is leading up to an elaborate April Fool's Day joke.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Huckabee's Baby Talk

Mike Huckabee is not having a good week.

First, he asserts that President Obama was raised in Kenya (he spent part of his childhood in Indonesia). Then he goes after a pregnant woman.

To be precise, Huckabee criticized actress Natalie Portman while appearing on Michael Medved's radio show earlier this week. Portman, of course, received an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Black Swan on Sunday.

Huckabee stated, "One of the things that's troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlit who boasts "Look, we're having children. We're not married, but we're having these children and they're doing just fine."

Except that Portman never actually made any such statement. And if that weren't enough Portman is actually engaged to be married. Oops!!!

Now for his part, Huckabee has walked back his statement - sort of. Huckabee insists he did not "slam" or "attack" Portman. Of course he did. Huckabee attributed statements to Portman she never made and misrepresented her marital intentions. If Huckabee is a gentleman he will apologize to Portman.

Besides if Huckabee so virulently objects to out-of-wedlock children then why didn't he admonish Bristol Palin? I'll tell you why. Because The Mama Grizzly would have torn Huckabee to shreds. And if there was anything left of him I would have added my two cents.

I also think Huckabee miscalculated. Remember Huckabee made reference to "Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlit." Except that Natalie Portman isn't Britney Spears. Portman's public behavior has been exemplary and it makes Huckabee's remarks that much more cheap.

But let's assume for a moment that Huckabee was being 100% sincere in his comments. Assuming Huckabee is going to make another bid for the White House does he intend to turn his personal views into public policy? Do we really want the federal government telling pregnant women they have to be married?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Two U.S Airmen Gunned Down in Germany

Earlier today, two American Air Force personnel were shot and killed outside Frankfurt International Airport.

German authorities have the suspect in custody and he has been identified as Arif Uka, a citizen of Kosovo.

According to The New York Times, witnesses report Uka shouting "Allahu Akbar!!!" (H/T National Review Online)

UPDATE: Here is the headline over at The Christian Science Monitor:

Motive unclear in killing of two U.S. airmen at Frankfurt airport

Already the denial is setting in.

But It's The Only Thing

I am glad Jim Antle has drawn our attention to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's comments to Rich Lowry about his immediate political future. The long and short of which are Christie knows he could beat President Obama in 2012 but doesn't think he's ready for the job.

Now one could praise Christie for the kind of candor for which he has become so well known. Yet I think Christie unnecessarily backs himself into a corner. If in three months time, Christie decides to seek the GOP nomination then it will beg the question how in ninety days did he suddenly become ready for the highest office in the land. Now I'm sure if anyone could come up with a sound explanation for such an about face it would be Christie. Yet any Republican who wants to be President in 2012 would be daft not to pounce on Christie.

But let's assume for a moment that Christie wins the Republican nomination despite this criticism. He might not be so fortunate in the general election. Instead of President Obama's competence and performance being at issue the spotlight will shine brightest on Christie's admitted lack of readiness. President Obama might be in over his head but he would never, ever under any circumstances admit to not being ready to be President of the United States. In fact, one could easily see Obama saying, "I was born ready."

What troubles me most about Christie's comments is that not only is he telling us he isn't ready to be President of the United States but that he isn't ready to stop Barack Obama from fundamentally transforming our country beyond recognition. If in his heart of hearts Christie knows he can defeat Obama in 2012 then it is his duty to do so. With the stakes being so high winning isn't everything but it's the only thing. But if Christie is in fact genuinely not ready for the Oval Office then he would have been wise to have kept that to himself.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Palin Still in The Crosshairs

I have read Jeff Lord's post about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker supplanting Sarah Palin as "the most hated conservative in America" with both great interest and amusement.

Now I realize there was a lot of tongue-in-cheek in play but I would have to agree with Lord that Walker has become public enemy number one amongst conservative haters - for now.

It is worth noting that Palin has kept a lower profile since her statement on the Tucson massacre in January and other events most notably in Egypt, Libya and Wisconsin have kept her out of the spotlight. But if Palin announces a White House bid then the liberal media (along with some condescending conservatives) will be on her 24/7. It will make the 2008 campaign look like a leisurely stroll. And if it looks like Palin has a chance to win the nomination then it's going to be a very bumpy ride.

So even though Walker is now in the spotlight look for his detractors to increasingly link him to Palin as evidenced by recent statements from Wisconsin Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Moore and other left-wing blogs.

Make no mistake. Sarah Palin is still in the crosshairs.

Jane Russell, 1921-2011. R.I.P.

Hollywood legend Jane Russell passed away yesterday at the age of 89 due to respiratory failure.

Russell quite literally burst upon the scene in Howard Hughes' 1943 classic The Outlaw and soon became a pin-up girl for WWII servicemen. The buxom brunette was perhaps best known for co-starring with Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes a decade later.

I remember Russell as the spokeswoman for the Playtex "cross your heart" bras in the early 1980s.

Despite her image as a sex symbol, Russell was a devout Christian. She was also an unabashed conservative. In a 2002 interview, Russell said, "I want to save America. I do not want a one-world order, a one-world government, at all. I think that our Founding Fathers had exactly the right idea, and we've got a great country, and let's go back to God."

Amen to that.

Frank Buckles, 1901-2011. R.I.P.

Frank Buckles, the last surviving American veteran of WWI, died on Sunday at the age of 110.

Buckles, who served as an ambulance driver and medic in France, also spent 3½ years as a civilian P.O.W. in the Phillipines during WWII.

With Buckles' passing this leaves only two surviving WWI veterans in the entire world both of whom are British. Florence Green, who served with the Women's Royal Air Force, turned 110 last month while Claude Choules, who saw combat in both WWI and WWII, turns 110 on March 3rd.

Soon there will be no one tell us what happened in the war to end all wars. Yes, we have movies, books, photographs and even their letters. While they give us some insight into what happened it is no substitute for a living, breathing human being who experienced it all firsthand to tell the story to someone who has never heard it before.

While we honor Buckles' service to this country we should also be mindful of the fact that a vital part of our country's history is forever gone. So as the veterans of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq pass on we must not only keep their memories alive but we must remind ourselves and inform succeeding generations why they fought for the United States of America. It is a matter too important to cede to the agenda of others.