Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Last Titanic Survivor Dies

Millvina Dean, the last Titanic survivor, has died. She was only nine weeks old and of course remembers nothing, but grew up with the stories.

See this BBC story for more details.

I teach my 10th graders about the Titanic in my English class when we do a non-fiction unit. They are always enthralled by the story, as are many people.

What is it about the tragic, sad story of the Titanic that continues to draw such interest. There's something morbid about yet, yet still fascinating.

Obama Makes More Concessions to Castro

I am stealing this video from Gateway Pundit. It's of Cuba in the 1930s before the Castro regime destroyed it. It's eight minutes well spent! What a lovely place it was!

Reuters is reporting this morning, "The United States and Cuba have agreed to resume direct talks on migration, last held in 2003, and open discussions on establishing direct mail service between the two countries, a U.S. official said on Sunday.Cuba presented a diplomatic note to U.S. officials on Saturday agreeing to a U.S. request made last week to resume the migration talks, which President George W. Bush suspended."

George W. Bush defended his position on Cuba when he was in Canada at an appearance with Bill Clinton on Friday. Asked about Obama's Cuban policy changes, Bush said, "Holding that embargo in place is important," he said. By easing it, "you're propping up a regime who puts people in prison based upon their political views. So my view is, if they empty out the prisons and give people a voice, then we change our strategy with Cuba — but not until then."

I'm not sure what Obama thinks he's going to gain by his recent moves on Cuban policy. Everything he's done so far will only serve to help the Castro regime. It's hard to argue with Bush's point on leverage, and the Castro regime has made no moves to release any political prisoners. In fact, in April Fidel Castro said that Obama misinterpreted any signs that Raul may have given as to releasing prisoners or cutting taxes on dollars that people send to Cuban relatives.

It seems that Obama is making all the concessions here and it's the people of Cuba who get to suffer. It's time to ask for something in return from the Castro regime before giving in to their tyranny any further.

Update: The NYT adds this: "Cuba also agreed to cooperate with the United States on counterterrorism, drug interdiction and disaster relief efforts" but no word on the political prisoners who continue to be held or the continual squeezing of the Cuban people.

And Bablu Blog is not impressed: "Who knows -maybe this new round of talks will magically turn all refugees trying to escape the totalitarian regime into migrants and will have the US Coast Guard patrolling the Cuban coastline to prevent any would-be escapes from the island concentration camp?"

(Photo: The Real Cuba)

Another Look at Obama's Date Night

Call me sheltered and provincial, but I've never heard of The Blue Hill restaurant before BHO took Lady M. there last night. In order to broaden my horizons I looked it up and found the menu. Part of it is pictured, right. This is from the Blue Hill Stone Barns menu.

The menu listed for May includes Fiddlehead ferns, Ramps, Soft-shell crabs, morels, Baby Swiss Chard, Asparagus, Purple Kohlrabi, Baby lamb (sorry, but isn't that redundant?), Green garlic, Spring parsnips, Easter Egg radish, Dandelion greens, Ice plant, Brook trout, Galisse, Spinach, Stinging nettles, Stone Barns Berkshire pigs, Agretti, Hakurei turnips, Baby mustard, Garlic chives, Alaskan Coho salmon, Honeycap mushroom, Mizuna, D'Avignon radishes, Hudson Valley poussins, and Blue Hill Farm Yogurt.

There's even a nice little video included of sheep running in a field, presumably the same ones you are about to eat.

I'm no gourmand, but I seriously had to look some of this stuff up. I mean, if I'm in a mind to eat dandelion greens, I really don't have to fly off to New York to do that. There are lots of 'em in my backyard. I buy Roundup and it takes care of that for me. No need to eat them.

I went to a foodie blog to learn about Stinging nettles (pictured right). Sorry, it just doesn't sound appetizing. I'd have stayed in DC and gone back to Five Guys for a burger if I knew I was going to have to eat Stinging nettles.

Another foodie blog enlightened me on Fiddlehead ferns. If you'd like to go harvest some in your backyard and make soup, there's a recipe on that blog for one. I'm sure this is some folks cup of tea, but not mine. (Can you make tea with ferns? Just a thought).

Blue Hill Restaurant in New York has a menu that's a little less on the "green" side. It is here, and includes all of the above delicacies but also Wreckfish and Braised Lamb Belly.

After such a dinner if you wanted to go see Joe Turner's Come and Gone, like BHO and Lady M., you can go here for tickets. The cheapest one will cost you about $68, the most expensive about $125. Summary of the story? From, "Set in 1911, Joe Turner's Come and Gone tells the story of Herald Loomis who, after serving seven years hard labor, journeys North with his young daughter and arrives at a Pittsburgh boarding house filled with memorable characters who aid him in his search for his inner freedom."

Sounds like a lovely evening I guess. I'm not sure why anyone would pay that much money to eat weeds and "baby lamb," but like I said, I'm no foodie. I'd have been tickled pink to eat a steak off the grill and have a cold beer. I'm a cheap date.

Update: Aahhh, the NYT never disappoints. Never misses a chance to lift up The Won and blast down George and Laura:

"The Obamas’ choice of it does, though, show taste. And it affirms their interest in participating in the current conversation and in the cultural moment — on the subject of food as on so much else. That wasn’t always the case with their predecessors in the White House. On a date night in Manhattan of their own, George and Laura might as easily have ended up at Smith & Wollensky."

Are they insinuating that George and Laura have no "taste"?! And WHAT, pray tell, would be wrong with a steak from Smith and Wollensky? For my money, their menu looks a lot more appetizing and there's not a single stinging nettle on it.

Update 2: The Daily Mail has done a cost analysis.

(Much more at Memeorandum)

Where Am I?

Quick! Where am I?

Fast food take out.
Ocean view.
Tropical breezes.
Recreation fields.
Communal living.
Computer Lab with brand new laptops.
Sudoku puzzle books
Sketch pads and colored chalk
Multilingual library.
Language classes
Picnic area.
Air conditioned housing.
Sports equipment.
Activity Area w/DVD, VCR & stereo.
Satellite TV - including al Jazeera
Specially prepared high calorie meals.

So......where am I?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rule 5 Sunday and Linkage

Your gratuitous Rule 5 Sunday photo this week is of non other than Eric Clapton. Not beefcake, but certainly HOT. Have I mentioned that I will be going to see Mr. Clapton in 23 days? AAAAAAAA!!!!!

It's been a busy news week and I was too busy to blog much, so here are the links and posts that kept me going and informed all week.

The ever witty Stacy McCain has the latest on Ted Rall turning on Obama. Seriously, Ted Rall! Babalu blog also weighed in on the subject.

No Sheeples Here has a lovely post on Cary Grant. I *heart* him! So suave!

How do you feel about cookies for terrorists? Gateway Pundit will clue you in.

The Daley Gator has a post on Mancow's faux waterboarding.

Fausta shows you how to determine what your glass-hold says about your personality. What kind are YOU?

Donald Douglas looks at Sotomayor on the issues; she's a "disaster," he says. He's also got some Mary Louise Parker Rule 5 action. Jimmie at The Sundries Shack also has a great Sotomayor post.

Snaggletoothie had some neat pictures this week; I loved the pictures of his neighborhood here, and I also loved the old Chesterfield ad pictures. That's what my mom continues to smoke, believe it or not. Gag.

Legal Insurrection warns of the "stealth nominee" which makes for interesting reading.

Suzanna Logan wanted to be a porn star? Oh well. If you can't spell, what other options are left to you?!

TrogloPundit weighs in on global warming and overpopulation. He's also got some hot Angie Rule 5 action.

Little Miss Attilla has the greatest post on the White House silencing dissent policy. If anyone could make me laugh on THAT topic, she did!

Senator Cornyn wants us all to SHUT UP! See what Doug Hagin has to say at Not One Red Cent!

Bride of Rove has had it with Team Obama. In fact, she'll tell you, "Monty Python is in the White House." I tend to agree.

Texas Rainmaker sounds off on the Black Panter story (with video).

Doug Ross has fantastic coverage of the DealerGate story.

SaberPoint has a post on Rush Limbaugh and self censorship that you should read. He makes a good point about Republicans and the Hispanic vote.

That should keep you going for a bit.

Susan's Finals Performance

Uighurs NOT Coming to America?

Obama's plans to close Gitmo got a new kink Friday night. As reported by NRO's The Corner, the Obama Justice Department is now arguing that the Chinese Uighurs have no right to be released into the United States. Read the whole thing (go on, it's not long.)

As the Weekly Standard points out, "that this has the potential to put a major kink in the Obama administration's Gitmo diplomacy. European nations are clamoring for the U.S. to accept some of the Uighur detainees in return for accepting some themselves. Now, the Obama administration has conceded that the Uighurs have no right to be released in the United States."

The fact remains that to accept them into the United States violates immigration laws because of their terrorist ties.

This should enrage the left as they had been expecting, thanks to Eric Holder, that the Uighurs would soon be coming to America. Is the Obama administration feeling the push back from the right on this issue? Why the reversal? With Obama, you must always ask WHY?

(More at Memeorandum.)

Silencing Dissent from The White House

Via Hot Air, this is an interesting post from the White House blog (emphasis mine) regarding dissent of the Porkulus bill:

First, we will expand the restriction on oral communications to cover all persons, not just federally registered lobbyists. For the first time, we will reach contacts not only by registered lobbyists but also by unregistered ones, as well as anyone else exerting influence on the process. We concluded this was necessary under the unique circumstances of the stimulus program.

Second, we will focus the restriction on oral communications to target the scenario where concerns about merit-based decision-making are greatest –after competitive grant applications are submitted and before awards are made. Once such applications are on file, the competition should be strictly on the merits. To that end, comments (unless initiated by an agency official) must be in writing and will be posted on the Internet for every American to see.

Third, we will continue to require immediate internet disclosure of all other communications with registered lobbyists. If registered lobbyists have conversations or meetings before an application is filed, a form must be completed and posted to each agency’s website documenting the contact.

Silencing dissent? Seriously? What country did I wake up in? What happened to the First Amendment? Go read Doug Ross - we're "As close to a dictatorship as this country has ever seen."

Speaking of Returning to Grassroots Conservatism...

One of the issues that Not One Red Cent raises is a return to grassroots conservatism. We believe it's important to distinguish our party from the Democrats and return to those core values that we believe are important; some would even contend that it was straying from those values in the first place that led us to the losses we sustained in recent past elections. As Marco Rubio told Sean Hannity this week, if the Republicans can't be distinguished from the Democrats then what need is there of us?

To that end, I've been keeping an eye on the 2010 Texas Attorney General race. Since Senator Cornyn, and the NRSC, was so quick to endorse Crist in an attempt to hold Republican Senate seats, I'm curious to see whether Cornyn will have a position on the AG race in his own state. Granted, it's just an Attorney General race, but a race like this one is where we spot and lift up our up and coming Republican stars. Ted Cruz seems to be one of those stars.

Jay Nordlinger, Senior Editor of National Review, wrote an introduction to Cruz on May 12. Nordlinger knows Cruz personally and is familiar with his compelling story. Nordlinger is almost giddy over the possibilities of Ted Cruz.

Talk about your "compelling life story," Cruz has it. (Maybe we can nominate HIM to the Supreme Court.) In short, his father is a Cuban immigrant who fought alongside Castro as a teenager. He was captured by Batista forces, imprisoned, tortured and was finally released due to efforts of his father (Ted's grandfather). They came to America.

Ted came along, went to high school, discovered the Free Enterprise Institute, became a great debator and learned a great deal about politics and public speaking. From Nordlinger's article, Cruz says, “The two things that had the greatest impact on me were, number one, my dad, and then this experience” — the Free Enterprise Institute. Of his father, he says, “He drilled into me the value and importance of freedom. He used to say to me all the time when I was a kid, ‘Look, when we were facing oppression in Cuba, we had a place to flee to. If we lose our liberty here in the United States, where do we go?’ So, when I was a kid, there was an urgency to politics.”

Ted went on to Princeton and to Harvard Law School. He distinguished himself and was an editor of the Law Review. He clerked for Judge Mike Luttig on the Fourth Circuit and then Rehnquist. Cruz later served in the Justice Department during the Bush 43 years and the Federal Trade Commission. Nordlinger points out that during his time as solicitor general in Texas, Cruz wrote over 70 U.S. Supreme Court briefs and presented eight oral arguments in that court.

And now he is running for Attorney General in Texas. One issue that has come up this week with regard to the Sotomayor nomination has been that Republicans ought not to fight this nomination because she's Hispanic and Republicans need to court the Hispanic vote. I personally think that race and ethnicity have no place in discussions of qualifications, but the fact remains that some think that it's going to be seen as racist if Republicans oppose her. The issue has also been raised in the Crist/Rubio race - that is, if Republicans need Hispanic favor so much, why would Cornyn endorse Crist over Rubio, a true conservative who happens to be Hispanic.

And so here comes Ted Cruz. There's the whole issue, which Nordlinger addresses in his article, about whether Cuban Americans are considered Hispanic. But if Republicans want to be seen letting Hispanics into the Big Tent, then take a look at the compelling stories of Cruz and of Rubio. But more importantly, take a look at their politics.

Though Cruz has not yet held elected office, we know his position on important issues. With regard to gun rights, Nordlinger points out that Cruz has "successfully defended for 31 States the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, winning in a 5-4 landmark decision before the U.S. Supreme Court" (Nordlinger quotes from the Cruz website).

On border security, Cruz "authored a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief on behalf of 10 States in Lopez v. Gonzales, urging the strictest enforcement of laws punishing those with prior felony convictions who entered the country illegally." There is more on the Cruz website regarding his stance on abortion, property rights, tort reform, etc.

If a "compelling life story" is the issue by which we are now judging qualifications, Cruz has that one covered, as does Rubio. If ethnicity is now our guide, they both have that one as well. So does Bobby Jindal, (R-La.) for that matter, who the RNC pushed out front a bit too early. But if conservative values and political positions are the guides by which we choose to judge our candidates and our future stars, take a look at both Rubio and Cruz.

(Cross-posted at Not One Red Cent!)

Stories I Wanted to Write About this Week and Didn't

I'm officially done with school for the summer. The kids got out Thursday and we had inservice and closing up activities yesterday. I turned in my grade book, unplugged my computer, turned off the lights and was off. Last night I hit the wall of exhaustion and did nothing. Too tired to blog! But a good friend came over and she made Steve and I watch this movie:

I'd never even heard of it, and after watching it, I know why. It's the story of "Dewey Cox" (ugh!) and is a spoof of "Walk the Line". There was even a cameo appearance by Jackson Browne, Lyle Lovett, and Jewel. It had a few comical moments but, well... let's just move on.

There were some really big things going on I wanted to write about over the past few days but didn't feel energetic enough to do them justice so I'm going to point to a few of my friends and the fine job they did covering them. I'll be more prolific over the next few weeks than I've been this past week! Go read these:

Stacy McCain has a great post on the DealerGate issue regarding the squeezing out of Republican auto dealers. Doug Ross has done some great work on this story. This is going to be big.

Gateway Pundit posted on the Pravda story. I continue to be befuddled as to why the left thinks BHO is doing such great things for this country and I still can't come up with anything other than that they think socialism isn't so bad. This is the answer I got from them during the election when we told them this was coming. Now they've got it. Bride of Rove also did an excellent post on this.

Little Miss Attila has a post on the "Not One Red Cent" / Crist-Rubio situation. She has posted a response she received from a Senate aide about it which is important. I continue to believe that Rubio is a better candidate. I simply don't think it's all about winning, and I do realize how important it is to keep and gain Republican seats, but were I in Florida, there's no way I could bring myself to vote for Crist. None. The point that Not One Red Cent makes is that the NRSC should stay out of the primary. If they want to endorse Crist after that, fine.

Red State has an excellent post on Obama's "presidential privilege" with regard to his trip to Las Vegas "on the taxpayer dime" where he told others back in February that they couldn't do that.

Professor Jacobson has the latest on the Sotomayor nomination. It doesn't get any better than his analysis!

Okay - those are the stories I wanted to write about this week and just couldn't. I think they're important enough to read about though, so go read them. But come back here because I'm working on something else that you'll want to see later!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Marco Rubio Speaks to Sean Hannity

Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio was on Sean Hannity's radio program this afternoon. The interview was very brief but Rubio made some important points.

He told Hannity that he believes politics "can't be about popularity anymore" and that, as conservatives, we must regain our focus on the issues. Remarking on his low poll numbers, Rubio said that most Floridians simply don't know who he is just yet, but that he expects that a year from now the polls will be very different. I agree with that! Especially after Crist just broke his promise in Florida not to raise taxes.

Hannity asked Rubio how he feels about Crist and why he decided to enter the race. Rubio explained that he disagrees with Crist standing on stage and applauding Obama on the Stimulus. "I have four children," he said, "and it's absolutely unfair what we're doing to their generation." He said that for the first time, children will be inheriting a country worse off than what their parents had.

Rubio then said that the reason he believes Obama won is because "he stole our language"; Obama used the language of the right when he talked about middle class tax cuts. "The more Republicans are like Democrats then the less need there is for Republicans." He also added that both parties are to blame for our current economic situation.

Rubio is an excellent conservative candidate and it becomes more clear with each passing day that Cornyn and the NRSC spoke too soon in their endorsement of Crist. I'm with Rubio - I can't wait to see what the polls indicate a year from now in Florida.

(Photo credit: DavidAll06)

Quote of the Day

"I think the attenuation of the early principles of this country has made America vulnerable to the most opportunistic ideology of the day, the strange and complex ideology of modern day liberalism."

William F. Buckley Jr.
Up From Liberalism

School's Out!

Well, one more day of inservice, but kiddos are free as of today at 2:15!

Turn it up loud!

Queen Feels Snubbed

The queen is NOT amused. The NYT reports that Queen Elizabeth is decidedly ticked off at being left out of the upcoming D-Day commemoration to be attended by BHO and Sarkozy. Prime Minister Gordon Brown will be there, but not the queen. The French are blaming the snafu on Brown for not seeing to it that she was invited. The British are blaming the French, saying Sarkozy wants the spotlight for himself and that he will be focused on hosting Obama.

From the NYT: "The queen, who is 83, is the only living head of state who served in uniform during World War II. As Elizabeth Windsor, service number 230873, she volunteered as a subaltern in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, training as a driver and a mechanic. Eventually, she drove military trucks in support roles in England."

Maybe Obama could find a way to smooth this over and make amends for previous snubs instead than adding this one to the list. Or maybe not.

(H/T: Red State)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Quote of the Day

"FDR, believing in his personal charm and powers of persuasion, was convinced that if he could just sit down with King Saud of Saudi Arabia, whom he considered to be the leader of the Arabs, he would be able to iron out the Palestine situation....Back in Washington, the economist and White House consultant Herbert Feis was amazed that Roosevelt 'cherished the illusion that presumably he, and he alone, as head of the United States, could bring about a settlement -- if not a reconciliation -- between Arabs and Jews.'"

From A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and
the Founding of Israel

KTBS Honor Air Special

If you're interested in the KTBS Honor Air special that aired on Memorial Day, go here. I'm not sure how long the link will stay up - so catch it while you can! I will say it brought a tear to my eye more than once.

Update 6/7/09: Go here to learn about one of the guys that went on an Honor Air trip. Good stuff! And pictures!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Harry Reid Flips on Guantanamo

Harry Reid has changed his position on Guantanamo; a week ago he declared none of the prisoners should come to America. Today, Supermax is just fine.

Via Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic, consider this excerpt from an interview between Harry Reid and Jon Ralston regarding the closure of Gitmo.

"Reid, who has been criticized for his contradictory positions on Guantanamo Bay, said some prisoners will be put in maximum security prisons on U.S. soil, emphasizing the safety of those facilities:

"'A maximum security prison in the United States, there has never been a single escape.'"

"JR: 'You think eventually the plan is going to be to put them in maximum security prisons here in this country, correct?'

"'I think some. Keep in mind, Jon, there's so many different issues. There's no question that a number of these people who are there are not guilty of anything. The Uighurs, these are a group of Muslim Chinese who are guilty of nothing. They were arrested, put in there. They are there. They are doing nothing. We're going to have to find someplace to put them. We can't send them back to China. Should they go into a maximum security prison? Probably not.'"

This is the same Harry Reid who on May 19, on said this:

REID: If people are -- if terrorists are released in the United States, part of what we don’t want is them be put in prisons in the United States. We don’t want them around the United States.

and then this:

REID: I’m saying that the United States Senate, Democrats and Republicans, do not want terrorists to be released in the United States. That’s very clear.

QUESTION: No one’s talking about releasing them. We’re talking about putting them in prison somewhere in the United States.

REID: Can’t put them in prison unless you release them.

QUESTION: Sir, are you going to clarify that a little bit? I mean (OFF-MIKE).

REID: I can’t -- I can’t -- I can’t make it any more clear than the statement I have given to you. We will never allow terrorists to be released in the United States. I think the majority -- I speak for the majority of the Senate.

So what has changed in seven days? Seven days ago he didn't want the Guantanamo terrorists anywhere near the United States, much less released into the United States. Now he has totally reversed that and says that they'll be just fine in a Supermax, thanks. It even appears that he's softening on the release issue as well for some of them, specifically the Uighurs.

In the Ralston interview, Reid makes it sound as if the Uighurs were simply rounded up at random and stuck in Gitmo. Never mind that they, by their own words, were training in a Tora Bora al Qaeda camp. Never mind that they had desires to wreak havoc in China.

Thomas Joscelyn cites four reasons why it is dangerous to assume the Uighurs are not dangerous. The reasons are listed below but go here to read his explanation.

"First, the Uighur detainees are alleged, for good reasons, to be members or associates of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM). The ETIM is a designated terrorist organization affiliated with al Qaeda."

"Second, many of the Uighur detainees have freely admitted during their tribunals and hearings at Guantanamo that they were trained by two known terrorists: Hasan Mahsum and Abdul Haq."

"Third, the Uighur detainees’ training took place at a camp in Tora Bora, Afghanistan -– a known stronghold for al Qaeda and the Taliban."

"Fourth, the Uighur detainees’ training makes them a potential threat not just to the Chinese government/military forces."

So as I see it, Reid is faulty on two counts here - his reasoning that the Uighurs have done nothing wrong is quite dangerous, but his total reversal on the Guantanamo issue is also troubling. One statement in particular bothers me - Reid now seems to be comfortable with the Supermax idea because "there has never been a single escape."

What is bothersome about this statement is the naivete of the idea that escape is the only problem with bringing terrorists here (Uighur or otherwise). Andy McCarthy outlined the other problems at The Corner on NRO. We know that terrorists can recruit, plan, and execute attacks from within prison walls. This has been documented. See the McCarthy article for the specific citations.

In addition, just because they can't escape doesn't mean the prisons won't be targeted by terrorist organizations to get them out. One specific example McCarthy cites is this: "So, for example, when the WTC was bombed in 1993, the other top project on the cell's agenda was breaking Nosair out of Attica. When the WTC bombers were arrested, their co-conspirators plotted several atrocities (a conspiracy to murder Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on a trip to New York and a plot to bomb New York City landmarks) which, in part, were designed (as they discussed in recorded conversations) to induce American authorities to release the prisoners. "

Also, consider this information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act regarding attacks on prison guards at Gitmo. Those guards are trained military professionals - not civilians. I don't mean to imply that Supermax prison guards aren't trained or professional, but dealing with prisoners of this sort is a whole different experience. How will your average civilian prison guard fare against terrorists who can turn the most common thing, like an iguana tail, into a weapon?

There is this incident from the above referenced report: "Nicolucci said one of the most serious incidents occurred this May, too recent to be recorded in the Pentagon's released reports. A prisoner staged an apparent suicide attempt while his inmates slicked the floors with human waste, seeking to overpower guards when they slipped, he said. 'We provide fans in order to keep them cool,"Nicolucci recalled."And they were using the basket, or the grate of the fan as a shield, the blades as machetes, the pole as a battering ram.'"

Harry Reid seems to conclude that escape is the only real problem with keeping the terrorists in prisons inside America but that tells me he hasn't done his homework. Or he's just clueless, which is also a possibility.

McCarthy raises the concern that eventually, once in our Supermax prisons, these people would have to be released: "I note that in 2001, the Supreme Court (in Zadvydas v. Davis) concocted a due process right for even deportable/excludable aliens to be released on bail, in the U.S., if the government fails to deport them within a statutorily prescribed period. Eventually, Gitmo detainees brought to the U.S. would get the benefit of this ruling — bet on it."

So again, I ask, has Team Obama thought this thing through? Clearly they have no plan. And clearly Harry Reid changes his mind fairly often. So isn't this an issue that should be better considered by the administration? Or is a campaign promise more important than national security? Just askin'.

Uighur Release Coming Soon
The Chinese Uighurs
Obama's Speech on National Security
Richard Clarke on the Gitmo Video

Norks Test Another Missile?

Breitbart is reporting that the Norks have tested another missile. Counting the two yesterday, that makes three in two days, plus the nuclear test from a couple of days ago, despite Obama's strong condemnation of yesterday.

I don't think they're listening to him.

Update: Now Fox is also reporting a possible launch.

Rubio Statement on Sotomayor

Every blog in town seems to be talking about the Sotomayer nomination and I'm not sure I have much to add at this point. I haven't done my homework on her yet to the degree where I'm comfortable commenting on that. However, I HAVE done my homework on Marco Rubio, the Florida Senate candidate, and here is the statement he released on the nomination:

"I look forward to hearing more about Judge Sotomayor and her views about the proper role of the courts and judicial activism. The role the Supreme Court is to interpret the Constitution, not to make law. Given this, I am deeply concerned about Judge Sotomayor's past comment that the courts are 'where policy is made' and look forward to hearing her explanation and defense of that view.

"Judge Sotomayor deserves a fair hearing and respectful treatment, but there is much in her legal background that is troubling and demands scrutiny and honest discussion. I hope that a serious examination of her record and beliefs will not be shelved or cast aside simply so Democrats can attempt to claim political credit for a 'historic' court nomination."

Taking the advice of Robert Stacy McCain, I'm linking some of my favorite posts on Sotomayor from today: American Power, theblogprof, The Other McCain, Don Surber, Pundit and Pundette, Critical Politics, and Hot Air to name a few. Go on over to Memeorandum where you'll find lots of links - both left and right.

I agree with Rubio's statement in that Sotomayor deserves a fair hearing. I also agree that there are some troubling things there, but I'm not that's a shocker for anyone. Bring on the hearings!

Monday, May 25, 2009

How I Spent Memorial Day

Steve and I headed down the highway to Ed Lester's Farm today for fresh veggies. It's about an hour due south in Coushatta. It's a beautiful place right on the Red River. As I posted earlier today, check out their website. They also have a veggie cam! I told Steve, if they'd had an Abita Root Beer in their cooler, I'd have parked myself on one of the inviting benches or swings under that huge live oak and listened to the music for a while. Today Frank Sinatra was singing to us. Last time we went, it was jazz.

It's a bit early for things like peas and tomatoes, but we bought baby carrots, HUGE radishes, lots of tiny new potatoes, green beans, yellow squash, some small, early peaches and super sweet Armistead onions. We also made friends with a yellow lab named Cricket. Good times.

We puttered around Coushatta for a bit (didn't take long) and then headed back home.

Once home we grabbed a quick hamburger then headed over to
Greenwood Cemetery where they have a large veterans section. The flags were out and we walked through and read some of the stones. The American Legion had put out the flags and it was all very lovely.

While we were there the ladies from the American Legion Auxillary came to pick up the flags (can't leave them out after sunset!) and we helped them gather the flags up for next year.

From there we headed over to Forest Park cemetery and placed flags on my father and grandfather's graves. We had some extra flags and placed those on the graves of some vets near my dad.

We came home and fired up the grill - chicken, pork & alligator sausage and then green beans and potatoes that we had bought from Lester's.

The local news channel ran a documentary about the Honor Air program. Go here to the KTBS site for reports of their Honor Air trips. I'm hoping they post the documentary on their site soon because it was fabulous.

All in all, it was a nice day. Tomorrow it's back to work; we have finals this week. So does The Teenager. Stress.

Memorial Day 2009

It's Memorial Day so take a moment and remember the reason for the day. There are lots of good posts in commemoration - Michelle Malkin has a lovely one. My friend Sarah went to the cemetery in Marietta, GA and has some awesome photos. Pundette remembers the Medal of Honor recipients. And Peggy Noonan had an awesome article in Friday's WSJ about Audie Murphy and Alvin York.

Steve and I are headed to Coushatta to visit Ed Lester's Farms - aka the most awesome vegetable stand anywhere. Check out their site. The plantation is right on the Red River and it's a lovely drive and a beautiful place. It's only about an hour from here so we'll be home in time for Steve to shell peas for dinner!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Susan Boyle - Memory

Rule Five Sunday and Linkage

My Rule 5 Sunday picture this week, in honor of Memorial Day, is the team of Operation Redwing. Remember the reason for the day.

"Navy SEALs (Sea, Air, Land) operating in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. From left to right: Sonar Technician -- Surface 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew G. Axelson, 29, of Cupertino, Calif; Information Systems Technician Senior Chief (SEAL) Daniel R. Healy, 36, of Exeter, N.H.; Quartermaster 2nd Class (SEAL) James Suh, 28, of Deerfield Beach, Fla.; Hospital Corpsman Second Class (SEAL) Marcus Luttrell; Machinist Mate 2nd Class (SEAL) Eric S. Patton, 22, of Boulder City, Nev.; LT (SEAL) Michael P. Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y. With the exception of the lone survivor, Luttrell, all were killed June 28, 2005 by enemy forces while supporting Operation Redwing 050628-N-0000X-001."

On to some fabulous linkage:

On the subject of Memorial Day, please start with Pamela Gellar's post about Obama's upcoming Germany visit. Seriously. Don't miss it.

Stacy McCain put up a wonderful defense of Mark Levin this week. Levin often gets heat for his abrasive style, and he certainly drew some this week with an insult or two that he delivered on his show. Stacy has the other side. Also, be sure to stay tuned into Not One Red Cent, which is picking up steam (and attention) daily!

I'm going to agree with The Other McCain and say that Carol at No Sheeples Here! has such a great blog; her photoshop work is off the charts and I'm shamelessly lifting her Memorial Day art just so maybe you'll go look at the rest of it. And her Full Metal Jacket Reach Around post just Rocks!! It's always a pleasure to look at her site. And for the record, she tells us that that's banana ice cream in the cooler. Yum!

Jimmie at The Sundries Shack has a round-up of the Pelosi-Palooza. William Jacobson also has an excellent post dealing with the RNC video.

Gateway Pundit is keeping us up to date with Susan Boyle!

Troglopundit made my day with these pics! This post is a keeper! Go check it out, even though he called me a "he" on his post about Not One Red Cent, and once tried to change my name to Sue.

If you can stand any more Meghan McCain, Vets on the Watch had a great post. I'm going out on a limb here, but I don't think he's a fan!

If you've been following Darrell's baby raccoon rescue, he has new pictures! The little fellas are growing and getting cuter every day.

Pundette wrote about the Cheney/Obama dueling speeches. Her take is well done!

If you're a fan of Marco Rubio, add this to your blogroll.

Snaggletoothie addresses the health care issue and the Garafalo issue all at the same time. He also helped smack a few trolls on my blog this week so I totally *heart* him!

Generational Patriot had a great post on credit card reform.

Fist Bumps for World Peace? Only by Donald Douglas! With photos!

Erick Erickson goes after Tom Ridge!

Yukio has been quiet this week but that's because he's busy writing. Wish him luck.

Sippican Cottage has a lovely Memorial Day post about Uncle Bobby. I'm tellin' you, if you haven't checked out this blog, you're missing something.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Weekend Update

Busy weekend around daughter & her husband are coming in for the evening from Dallas. We're all headed to a birthday party-crawfish boil. Can't wait!

I did manage to get a post up at Not One Red Cent this morning. Floridians want their Senate primary back; you know, the one that Cornyn hijacked. Go check things out over there.

Hope you all enjoy a nice, long, Memorial Day weekend and remember the reason for the day

Friday, May 22, 2009

On Obama's Speech on National Security

Fred Barnes wrote an assessment of yesterday's Obama speech which, of the many posts about the speech that I've seen, was the one that was closest to what I was feeling as I was listening. I listened to the speech and then printed off the text because there were some moments there that I was just stunned to hear coming from an American president.

This is what Barnes said (emphasis mine):

"While insisting 'we need to focus on the future,' President Obama devoted much of his speech on terrorist detainees today to denouncing the policies of President Bush's administration. He faulted everyone in Washington for 'pointing fingers at one another,' yet pointed his own finger frequently, and critically, at the Bush administration. Obama said America's problems won't be solved 'unless we solve them together'--in a divisive and partisan speech certain to alienate Republicans and conservatives.

"If any president has gone to such lengths to attack his White House predecessor as Obama did today, I don't recall it. True, presidents have blamed the prior administration for problems they inherit, but I can't think of a president who did so as aggressively and with such moral preening as Obama."

Barnes nails exactly what I had been thinking as I listened. I have NEVER heard commentary of a previous president as petulant and as arrogant as Obama's yesterday. To me, it totally demeans the office. I can't in my wildest dreams imagine anyone with the class of say...Reagan, for example, doing such a thing.

As Barnes goes on to say, of course Obama is going to have differing policy than his predecessor. That's politics and is to be expected. Nobody faults Obama for that. Conservatives knew from the beginning that there were going to be differences. We all did. But he's been in office some four months now; it's time to quit campaigning against Bush. And it's time to quick looking back and pointing the finger which he is so quick to advise everyone else to stop doing as well.

Barnes points out that in his speech Obama said the Bush war on terrorism "likely created more terrorists around that world than it ever detained" but he offers no proof of this. I find this completely irresponsible and a dangerous thing to say. "Likely"? Not "certainly"? Not "We have evidence that..."? "Likely" indicates a huge assumption of unsubstantiated fact that is dangerous to assert as we fight two wars.

This was the paragraph of Obama's speech that got me:

"I knew when I ordered Guantanamo closed that it would be difficult and complex. There are 240 people there who have now spent years in legal limbo. In dealing with this situation, we don't have the luxury of starting from scratch. We're cleaning up something that is, quite simply, a mess -- a misguided experiment that has left in its wake a flood of legal challenges that my administration is forced to deal with on a constant, almost daily basis, and it consumes the time of government officials whose time should be spent on better protecting our country."

First of all, how can he call Gitmo a "misguided experiment"? The poor-pitiful-me-we-have-to-clean-up-after-the-Republicans tone is so wholly unpresidential and so lacking in leadership quality that it stuns me. He campaigned hard for this job. He knew that Guantanamo was an issue that he would be dealing with because he said during the campaign that he would close it. To whine about it being a part of his job now is simply incredible.

If closing Gitmo is such a huge problem for him on "an almost daily basis" then keep it open. The Attorney General has called it a model prison. The people that work there are trained to deal with terrorist prisoners. Their special dietary needs are already tended to, their religious needs, and their medical care. Obama can continue with his revamped military commissions, try the ones he can, and detain the ones he can't. The ONLY reason to close it is for a campaign promise and to presumably improve our moral standing. If Obama is such a great orator then he should be able to make the case worldwide for its continuance.

And this statement: "For reasons that I will explain, the decisions that were made over the last eight years established an ad hoc legal approach for fighting terrorism that was neither effective nor sustainable...". I've got to disagree with that. How can he say that the Bush decisions for fighting terrorism were not effective? We have not been attacked since 9/11. That sounds pretty effective to me.

At any rate, I'll leave further parsing to others. My whole objection to the speech was that it was petulant, angry, false, self-serving, and in many cases, not true. An American president should lift his country up and should be proud of its successes. I know that Guantanamo is not a success in the eyes of everyone, but it's hard to argue with the fact that we had to detain terrorists somewhere and that, through a combination of decisions, we have been kept safe ever since.

For Obama to continue four months into his term to stand before the American people and continue to criticize President Bush is not leadership. It's whining. Leave it to the pundits and critics to bash away at whomever they wish. He needs to move on.

Krauthammer and the Obama-Bush Policies

It's Friday so that must mean that Charles Krauthammer's new column is out. As one might expect, Krauthammer is taking a look at Obama's speech from yesterday.

Obama is taking some punches from the right, and from a disgruntled few on the left, for keeping many of the same Bush policies that he blasted in the campaign. From a conservative's viewpoint his about-face is a good thing. We're glad he decided not to release the photos, for example, of detainee interrogation.

The issue of military commissions is also a page from the Bush book. It's a little disconcerting that Obama suspended the commissions when he only came back to reinstate them, but I'm not complaining because in the end it simply keeps that many more enemy combatants out of civilian courts. The ones who are complaining are those who see it as delayed justice. The families of the USS Cole have long been ready for these guys to be tried and brought to justice.

Obama's excuse for delaying the commissions is that they were "flawed" and needed his supreme guidance to clean them up. On this, Krauthammer is not convinced:

"Cosmetic changes such as Obama's declaration that 'we will give detainees greater latitude in selecting their own counsel.' Laughable. High-toned liberal law firms are climbing over each other for the frisson of representing these miscreants in court.

"What about disallowing evidence received under coercive interrogation? Hardly new, notes former prosecutor Andrew McCarthy. Under the existing rules, military judges have that authority, and they exercised it under the Bush administration to dismiss charges against al-Qaeda operative Mohammed al-Qahtani on precisely those grounds."

The whole subject of Guantanamo is one I've followed closely and blogged about ad nauseum. Pundits saw it as a great victory when the Senate voted 90-6 to reject funding the closing of Gitmo. In the end it doesn't really matter because Obama has the authority to move those guys anywhere he wants to whenever he wants to. The vote is mostly a CYA move for those who want to be able to go back home and vow "Not in my backyard!"

What will happen to the detainees remains to be seen but under no circumstances should they be allowed to enter the United States. One needs only to read, or listen to, the speech Cheney gave yesterday to understand how dangerous these people are. I continue to reject the notion that these are poor innocents rounded up for bounty or political expediency or whatever excuse.

As long as Obama continues to adopt the policies of Bush, maybe he'll see the light on this one as well and find another home for them besides this one. As of yet, though, he doesn't have a plan on that one.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Joe Klein Grovels

Joe Klein has issued an explanation (I hesitate to call it an apology) of his distasteful comments in Politico today regarding Charles Krauthammer who is a brilliant writer, doctor, and commentator, among other things, and is also a quadraplegic as a result of a diving accident. You might remember Klein's name as the hack that anonymously pubished Primary Colors.

This is the Politico passage Klein is now groveling over:

"He became ground zero among the neo-cons, but he's vastly smarter than most of them," said Time's Joe Klein, an admirer and critic who praised Krauthammer's "writing skills and polemical skills" as "so far above almost anybody writing columns today."

"There's something tragic about him, too," Klein said, referring to Krauthammer's confinement to a wheelchair, the result of a diving accident during his first year of medical school. "His work would have a lot more nuance if he were able to see the situations he's writing about.

Klein opens his "apology" with, "The usual neoconservative malingerers [sic] have been hammering me about a quote I gave to Politico, regarding Charles Krauthammer's limitations as a columnist. Obviously, I didn't mean to imply second-class status for disabled people. On the contrary, the distance and perspective that comes with physical deficits often leads to enhanced insight and abilities."

"Limitations as a columnist"? Krauthammer's prose is as distilled and insightful as it gets. He has a clarity of style that Klein only aspires to.

"I didn't mean to imply second-class status for disabled people"? Of course he did; at least in the case of Krauthammer, he did.

Klein goes on: "So it is possible to write brilliant, nuanced commentary—on the war in Iraq, for example—without visiting there. But it sure does help to understand a complicated situation in an unfamiliar culture if you can see it for yourself." I'm sure that actually being in Iraq or Afghanistan brings a certain perspective to your work if you are a war correspondent, but it's not a precondition or prerequisite for writing well about policy.

Krauthammer writes in opposition to Mr. Obama's policies. Must he actually see the West Wing or the Oval Office to do this well?

And then Klein accuses Krauthammer of some kind of mass murder or genocide: "And while Krauthammer's skills are impressive, his commentary has been dangerously bellicose, arrogant and wrong. Given his influence with the Bush Administration, his unflinching support for American unilateralism--his invention of the notion of a unipolar world--did extensive damage to our nation's security and reputation overseas, and caused the unnecessary loss of life" [emphasis mine].

I was unaware that Krauthammer's influence over Bush was so powerful; all along I thought it was Dick Cheney we were supposed to be afraid of.

Klein's closing line is why I hesitate to call this an apology: "In the end, Krauthammer's deficit is not a matter of body, but of judgment." You can't really apologize to someone when you insult them on the backside.

It's not just Krauthammer, of course, that Klein insults here. It's an entire population of disabled people who can't "see for themselves" the things that Klein is so privileged to be able to experience. It's reminiscent of Obama's crack comparing his bowling skills to the Special Olympics.

Somebody is falling down on their diversity and tolerance training.

(Photo credit: John Shinkle)

Crying Babies

Sister Toldjah posted the portion of the Obama Notre Dame speech - the part with the crying baby in the background. It called to my mind a different speech.

About halfway through this Obama clip, as he is prattling on about himself, his website, his campaign workers, his abortion stance (me, me, me), a baby starts to cry. In this audio it's hard to hear, but you can hear it. He ignores it.

It made me think of the speech Sarah Palin gave in October. A baby was crying in the background and Palin stopped her speech, smiled and said, “Don’t worry one bit about any crying baby,” Ms. Palin said. “That’s the sound of life. I love it, that’s good. I say that, too, because the next one crying could be my son.”

I thought her response was lovely. His, not so much.

Not One Red Cent! Goes Viral

The Not One Red Cent site has gone viral. We are everywhere! The site has had over 3800 visits so far and counting!

Marco Rubio is the real deal. Watch the video. No Teleprompter. The only notes he appears to use is when he quotes the Kennedy speech. The poll that came out today indicating high numbers for Crist is likely to change dramatically as Rubio's name recognition swells and if this aggregation is any indication, Rubio is to be taken seriously:

Moe Lane: Watchmen on the Wall of World Freedom
Red State: Watchmen on the Wall of World Freedom

Hot Air: What Charlie Crist is Up Against

Robert Stacy McCain: What Charlie Crist is Up Against

Pundit and Pundette: Marco Rubio Video: Do Not Ever Forget the Greatness of America

Erik Erickson: The Problem with the NRSC's Crist Endorsement

John Hawkins: Bloggers to the NRSC: Stay Out Of Primaries!

Matt Lewis: Conservative Blog Hopes to Defund NRSC

The Sundries Shack: Marco Rubio is the New Hotness: NRSC Is, Well, Not

Hyscience: Marco Rubio Video Shows Why NRSC's Endorsement of Charlie Crist in Florida Senate race Was a Stupid Move

The Hill's Blog Briefing Room: Conservative Bloggers Petition NRSC to Stay out of Florida

Riehl World View: Conservative Bloggers and the NRSC

Townhall: WOW! Marco Rubio: Future of the GOP -- If the GOP Doesn't Get in His Way

Fausta's Blog: Listen to Marco Rubio

Weekly Standard: Marco Rubio vs. Charlie Crist

Right Wing News: John Cornyn Ducks and Covers to Avoid Taking Questions About the Crist Endorsement

And the Memeorandum links are growing and growing...

Quick Links

A couple of quick links this morning:

Politico has a profile of Charles Krauthammer.

IBDeditorials on the auto announcements yesterday. It all makes me want to go out and buy a bug heavy car. Or at least take better care of my Crown Vic.

Mary Katherine Ham went to listen to Ayers/Dohrn so we don't have to.

Meanwhile, I'm off to give my Caesar final today. We're wrapping things up for the year, now. Final exams next week.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

HuffPo Does P.R. for Uighurs

I am in total accordance with Jammie Wearing Fool on this one: what kind of goofy PR is HuffPo doing for the Chinese Uighurs in Gitmo?

"Chinese Muslims known as Uighurs, detained for more than six years and counting at the American prison at Guantanamo Bay, are firing back at Newt Gingrich, who has accused them of terrorist ties and says that releasing them into the United States would endanger the country.

"The seventeen Uighurs told their translator, Rushan Abbas, how they felt when they heard Gingrich's remarks. Abbas has been working with them in Guantanamo since 2002, initially contracted by the Department of Defense. The Uighurs' rejoinder to Gingrich is the first quasi-interview with detainees still imprisoned in Guantanamo."

The Uighurs undoubtedly do not want to be released to China because they would certainly be tortured or executed as terrorists. They certainly see the benefits of being released onto American soil so image rehabilitation through the media is their best shot. Now, all of a sudden, we're supposed to believe they are not terrorists at all but just misunderstood choirboys picked up by bounty hunters for no good reason.

In a recent column, Newt Gingrich claimed that" '[b]y their own admission, Uighurs being held at Guantanamo Bay are members of or associated with the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), an al Qaeda-affiliated group designated as a terrorist organization under U.S law.

"No, they have never admitted that, says Abbas, adding that the Uighurs call the claim 'baseless, factless slander against them.' Abbas returned from Guantanamo Monday. She now works with the Uighurs' defense attorneys, but said that her comments to the Huffington Post were not intended as advocacy on their behalf.

"The Uighurs call relatives in the United States and Europe often, she says, so stay up on the news. They were surprised to hear the accusation from the former Speaker of the House.

"Why does he hate us so much and say those kinds of things? He doesn't know us. He should talk to our attorneys if he's curious about our background," Abbas relates. "How could he speak in such major media with nothing based in fact? They were very disappointed how Newt Gingrich was linking them to ETIM which they never even heard of the name ETIM until they came to Guantanamo Bay."

Factless slander? As I've posted before, Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu made many trips to Gitmo in the course of researching and writing his book, Inside Gitmo. His research included interviews with prison officials and review of legal documents, among other sources.

Cucullu writes, "Just to be clear, these men are not choirboys who strayed on the path home from church services. They were captured in al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, in which they were by their own admission undergoing training so that they could return to China to be terrorists supporting an independent uighur Islamic nation" (140).

But now, according to HuffPo, this is all a fallacy. They never admitted this.

Just what exactly does the media think goes on in an al Qaeda training camp? What exactly does the media think these people are training for? To be cashiers at Wal Mart? They train people to be terrorists in al Qaeda training camps.

This idiotic assertion was also made in the case of John Walker Lindh who put himself in an al Qaeda training camp but then wants to claim the victim role and pretend like he was just there to study religion or some such nonsense.

Based on the HuffPo article, and on Cucullu's book, the Uighurs actually have it pretty good at Gitmo, relatively speaking. Not as good as a free ride in the United States, but better than they had it in Afghanistan. They have big screen TV, a personal diet plan, better medical care than some American citizens, an ocean view and "they call relatives in the United States and Europe often."

But they do have that nasty Newt Gingrich picking on them. "Why does he hate us so much?" they asked. Maybe because most Americans have a low tolerance for terrorists. We don't need to give them an engraved invitation, an escort into the country, and wait for them to attack us to know that they are terrorists.

Meanwhile, HuffPo is handling their PR.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Not One Red Cent!

I have a new post at Not One Red Cent!. Go read it. In fact, read all the posts there. Some really smart people write there. I'm lucky to be invited.

The Swine Pox

BAH! I got tagged by Pundette! The only way to get rid of it is to post eight random facts about me, like ANYbody cares!, and pass it on. Here we go.

1. I am a total softie when it comes to dogs; I love my dog more than a lot of people.

2. I love teaching but I'm looking forward to the summer when I can write full-time. By fall, I'll be ready to teach all day again!

3. I eat Hot Tamales cinnamon candy and Diet Coke for breakfast. Every. Single. Day.

4. There are currently eight different kinds of beer in my refrigerator. Mostly dark beers.

5. I do NOT exercise. Ever. At all.

6. I love great writers. One of my favorite writers is E. B. White - I prefer his essays and letters, even though I loved his fiction as a child. My favorite Hemingway book is The Sun Also Rises. I'm not trying to suck up here, but I love the way Stacy McCain writes when he gets on those long rants. I aspire to write as well as these people but fear I never will.

7. I never considered being anything other than an English teacher.

8. My mother is my best friend; she cracks me up. (Steve is my best friend too, just different.)

Gee that was fun. Thanks Pundette. I'm going to pass this to Sarah, Nikki, and The Vegas Art Guy.

Sunday, May 17, 2009