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Guess Mrs. Pelosi Will Want to Investigate Miss USA

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 9:15 pm - August 20, 2010.
Filed under: Pelosi Watch

This headline might infuriate the House Speaker, “Our Muslim Miss USA Thinks ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ Should Move!

Those Broad-Minded Opponents of “Ground Zero Mosque” Critics

I have so far not weighed in so much on the “Ground Zero Mosque” as I have on the debate surrounding its construction.

But, the one that strikes me more than anything is the haughty tone of its defenders, well, actually, I should say the critics of its opponent for they’re not so much defending the construction of the mosque as attacking the rubes who oppose it.  It seems that they’re tripping over themselves to label those critics “anti-Muslim” both for the self-satisfaction that comes in showing just how tolerant they are and the self-righteousness they feel when showing just how much more broad-minded they are than those narrow-minded bumpkins, many of whom are their perennial ideological adversaries.

Once again, the Apollo of punditry, so cool and clear-headed in his thinking so completely gets it:

Where the president flagged, however, the liberal intelligentsia stepped in with gusto, penning dozens of pro-mosque articles characterized by a frenzied unanimity, little resort to argument and a singular difficulty dealing with analogies.

The Atlantic’s Michael Kinsley was typical in arguing that the only possible grounds for opposing the Ground Zero mosque are bigotry or demagoguery. Well then, what about Pope John Paul II’s ordering the closing of the Carmelite convent just outside Auschwitz? (Surely there can be no one more innocent of that crime than those devout nuns.) How does Kinsley explain this remarkable demonstration of sensitivity, this order to pray — but not there? He doesn’t even feign analysis. He simply asserts that the decision is something “I confess that I never did understand.” (more…)

Bottom News Story of the Day

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:00 pm - August 20, 2010.
Filed under: Climate Change (Global Warming)

UN Links Pakistan Floods to Climate Change

(Via Top News at AOL.)

In First DNC Midterm Ad, Dems Obsess (Yet Again) Over Bush

Seems Democrats are so filled with animosity against the immediate past president of the United States that they’ll ignore polling data and just assume all Americans share the sentiments of themselves, their friends and associates. In its first 2010 TV Ad, the DNC is raising the specter of Bush once again, leading one blogger to quip:

Remember, according to the Dems’ own polling, Dubya is six points ahead of our global messiah in frontline House districts. But since they’re going to try to wring one more election cycle out of blaming Bush, I think it’d actually be hilarious if GWB granted their wish and came out in favor of the Ground Zero mosque — eventually. He should wait until their anti-Bush messaging is at fever pitch, then throw them a wicked curveball by weighing in on their side.

Somehow, I just don’t think attacking George W. Bush is going to win over wavering independent voters.

It is, Donald Lambro writes when telling us about the Republican leanings of the Buckeye State this fall, “an axiom of American politics that elections are about the future, not the past. Ohioans are going to vote on the economy in November and not on George W. Bush“.  (Via Battle ’10.)

And as goes Ohio, so goes the nation.  And it’s been that way since 1964.

Coincidence? I don’t think so:
Correlation Between CA’s High Taxes and High Unemployment

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:18 pm - August 20, 2010.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,California politics

Last year, at Gay Pride,

I caused my State Assemblyman, [Democrat] Mike Feuer, to do a double take . . . .  As others cheered, I cried out, “Cut My Taxes.”  He turned at me and aked, “Just your taxes?”

“No,” I replied, “Cut taxes across the board.  We have the highest taxes* in the nation and the highest unemployment rate**.  There’s a correlation.”

As I acknowledged in the footnotes to that post, I wasn’t entirely right about our taxes being the highest, but well, we do have the third highest rate (via Instapundit) and as we learned this morning that “California has the third-highest jobless rate in the nation.

I wonder if Mr. Feuer will take notice of these stats.

Once Again, Ma’am, Where are the Jobs You Promised?

Back in the glory days when the Senate passed the “stimulus” and, Barbara Boxer, the junior Senator from the (once-)Golden State promised 400,000 jobs in our state alone, we were all so filled with the spirit of hope and change that we just knew things would work out.

Well, we just learned that California lost jobs last month:

Economic recovery remained elusive in California in July as employers cut 9,400 jobs from payrolls, keeping the unemployment rate constant at 12.3%.

The state lost jobs in the manufacturing, leisure, and professional and business services sector, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday.

The state now has the third highest unemployment rate in the nation.  So, Ma’am, you’ve helped ring up record debt and our state is still in the economic doldrums.

VICTORY IN IRAQ BY US FORCES

Under the command of two Commanders-in-Chiefs, our US Armed Forces have performed brilliantly since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.  The last full combat brigade left Iraq left Wednesday with little of the media coverage that began with “Shock and Awe”, “Baghdad Bob”, and eventually saw Saddam cowering in a spider hole.

When the men and women of Fourth Brigade, Second Infantry Division deployed to Iraq in April 2007 as part of President Bush’s surge, American soldiers were being killed or wounded at a rate of about 750 a month, the country was falling to sectarian mayhem, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had declared that the war was “lost.”

On Wednesday, the “Raiders” became the last combat brigade to leave Iraq, having helped to defeat an insurgency, secure a democracy and uphold the honor of American arms.

The classic lament about the war in Iraq is that it achieved little at a huge cost in American lives, treasure and reputation. That view rests on a kind of amnesia about the nature of Saddam Hussein’s regime, his 12-year defiance of binding U.N. resolutions, the threat he posed to its neighbors, the belief—shared by the Clinton and Bush Administrations and intelligence services world-wide—that he was armed with weapons of mass destruction, the complete corruption of the U.N. sanctions regime designed to contain him, and the fact that he intended to restart his WMD programs once the sanctions had collapsed.

Those were the realities when the coalition marched into Iraq. In supporting the war on the eve of that invasion, we noted that “the law of unintended consequences hasn’t been repealed” and that “toppling Saddam is a long-term undertaking,” while warning that “liberal pundits and politicians are fickle interventionists” who were “apt to run for moral cover” when the going got tough. As they did.

Their opposition might well have led to defeat had not Mr. Bush defied Congress and the recommendations of his own Iraq Study Group in favor of the 2007 surge, which history will likely recall as Mr. Bush’s finest hour. To his credit, President Obama has also delivered on the “responsible withdrawal” he promised in his campaign.

This admirable American effort has now given Iraqis the opportunity to govern themselves democratically. We supported the Iraq invasion primarily for reasons of U.S. national security. But a successful war also held the promise that it could create, in a major Arab state, a model for governance that would result in something better than the secular or religious dictatorships that have so often bred brutality and radicalism—which has increasingly reached our own shores. The fact that Iraq has a functioning judiciary, and that Iraqi voters have rejected their most sectarian parties at the polls, is cause for hope that the country is moving in that direction.

This is true despite the five months of political stalemate that have gripped the country since March’s parliamentary elections resulted in an effective tie between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his principal challenger Ayad Allawi. Political gridlock is frustrating, but it is sometimes a function of democratic politics. We will soon learn if Iraqi politicians can meet the responsibilities of the democratic moment that American and British blood and treasure have given them.

They will have to do so despite the continuing spoiler role played by Iraq’s neighbors—Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran—who fear a democratic, or Shiite-led, state in their midst. The withdrawal of U.S. combat forces will only increase their ambition to create more trouble.

That makes the mission of the 50,000 U.S. troops that will remain as trainers, advisers and special-ops forces until the end of 2011 all the more crucial. It should also provide incentive for Washington and Baghdad to negotiate a more permanent U.S. military presence, both as a balancing force within the country and especially as a hedge against Iran. Having sacrificed so much for Iraq’s freedom, the U.S. should attempt to reap the shared strategic benefits of a longer-term alliance, as we did after World War II with Japan and Germany.

On the eve of war in 2003, we wrote: “About one thing we have no doubt: the courage of the Americans who will fight in our defense.” Along with all of their comrades in arms, the men and women of Fourth Brigade, Second Infantry have fully vindicated that conviction. Somewhere down the road, we trust that August 18, 2010 will be remembered as Victory in Iraq day.

August 18 SHOULD be VICTORY IN IRAQ DAY if for no other reason than to mark then end of the success that our original mission, further supplemented by the brave decision by President Bush to launch the surge in 2007, is complete.  Yes, US forces will remain as advisors for another year.  But “The War” in Iraq is over.

Where are the homecoming parades?  Where is the outpouring of love of nation toward our brave men and women who were thrust out of their lives when this phase of the Global War began on September 11, 2003?

We’ve made mistakes.  We found no WMD that the entire world’s intel apparatus said we would.  As in past wars, America leaves no imperialist governance behind.  We helped formed a democratic state in the Middle East that now must continue to bloom on its own.  We stole no oil.  We will only leave Americans in Iraq at the behest of its people, or where the blood of the brave have fallen into the hot sand and are never to be returned to the homeland.

We should be celebrating this week.  But we are not.  There are many reasons why.  But when you see a uniformed member of our Armed Forces this Summer and Fall — please stop them and thank them for their and and their families sacrifices.  They are our Greatest Generation and will most likely be called on again to defend and protect the United States of America.

BE PROUD AMERICA:  We liberated a nation of 18 million oppressed people from a satanic dictator who hijacked the Muslim faith for his own glory and power.  BE PROUD!

Thank you to President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretarys Rumsfeld & Gates, and General Petreaus.  You won the war as our leaders.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Is White House now acknowledging that Obamacare Won’t Lead to Lower Costs for Healthcare?

Yesterday, over at Politico, Ben Smith reported something that were it about a shift in messaging from a Republican White House, it would be the talk of the three broadcast networks news programs while CNN ran panel discussions on how this was a sign of an Administration in disarray.  Instead, right now, it’s only getting some notice on (mostly) right-of-center web-sites.

Key White House allies are dramatically shifting their attempts to defend health care legislation, abandoning claims that it will reduce costs and deficit and instead stressing a promise to “improve it.”

The messaging shift was circulated this afternoon on a conference call and PowerPoint presentation organized by Families USA — one of the central groups in the push for the initial legislation. The call was led by a staffer for the Herndon Alliance, which includes leading labor groups and other health care allies. It was based on polling from three top Democratic pollsters: John Anzalone, Celinda Lake and Stan Greenberg.

Emphasis added.  Every American represented by a Democrat who voted for this legislation should ask his Representative or Senator about the White House change of tone.  They might report that individuals who pay for their own health insurance have seen premiums skyrocket while large companies will get hit with 9% increase in health costs.

David Freddoso calls this “Abject panic at the White House“. Allahpundit seems to agree:

But even so, the fact that they’re now so far in retreat that they’re willing to make rhetorical concessions even on their idiotic core plank about bending the cost curve shows just how worried they are that the GOP (a) will be making big, big gains in November and (b) might just have the public support needed to get a serious pro-repeal movement going among the electorate. This is pure defense.

Watch for the number of Americans favoring repeal to climb above 60% as stay there — as they see their healthcare bills rise and notice how the Democrats change their tone on the “cost curve.”

People don’t always take a man’s faith on faith

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:28 am - August 20, 2010.
Filed under: Random Thoughts

Barack Obama is not a Muslim even if 24% of Americans believe that he is.

That said, as Byron York reports

. . . the number of Pew respondents who say Obama is a Christian . . . has declined from 51 percent in October 2008 to 34 percent now. And the number of people who say they don’t know Obama’s religion is growing, from 32 percent back then to 43 percent today.

(Read the whole thing to see why York believes Obama has himself to blame for the misconception about his faith.)

Unlike Bill Clinton who very publicly went to church every Sunday, Obama does not regularly attend a place of Christian worship.  Amanda Terkel may scoff at those in the media who say  “the President should go to church more frequently and more openly to show the public that he truly is Christian“, but seeing is believing.

We don’t always take it on faith to believe a man’s commitment to a particular faith.

The Wisdom of Tiresias

As I conclude the first draft of the last primarily myth-based chapter in my dissertation, I am struggling with where exactly to place Tiresias.  I had intended to include him in this chapter where I consider the role Athene played in the journeys of the various non-Homeric heroes, but, well, the mythological mortal most renowned for his wisdom just doesn’t really belong there.

You see, most of the heroes in this chapter are the kind of heroes we liked to read about when we were boys, you know, bold and daring men who wrestle lions with sword-proof skins, fight many-headed dragons, tame man-eating horses, behead ugly witches, grapple with supernatural half-human, half bovine creatures, confront fire-breathing monsters with body parts of different animals and outwit sphinxes.

But, Tiresias never battled any of these beings.  And the only time he had anything to do with a serpent is when he saw two snakes, well, um, getting it on.  And that lead to his own transformation.  For seeing such a site, he became a woman.  Seven years later, he saw the same thing again and back he went to his masculine self.

Stories differ as to how he gained his wisdom.  In one version, he was called before Zeus and Hera to settle their dispute about who enjoyed sex more, the man or the woman.  When he replied that a woman does, Hera struck him blind.  Because one Olympian could not take away one gift (or one punishment) that another had given, Zeus gave him the gift of prophecy.

In another version, Tiresias, restored to his masculine form, caught Athene bathing naked.  More gracious than her half-sister Artemis, she merely blinded him, but then feeling she had acted too rashly (even she could not take back her own “gifts”) gave him the gift of wisdom.

So, there have it, the mortal from Greek mythology most renowned for his wisdom was the only Greek mortal to have lived as both a man and a woman.