Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It Was Bound to Happen Sooner or Later

Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania announced today that he would switch his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat. This does not come as a surprise to anyone who has been watching the political scene, as he had been behaving and voting like a Democrat in everything but name for some time already.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mutant Swine Flu Strain Threatens USA! (Revised)

We are aware of reports that swine flu has mutated in Mexico into a form that targets young people in their prime, like the killer influenza of 1918 that took more American lives than World War I. Here are some points I wish to emphasize:

1. Don't panic. You won't be of any use to yourself, your family or your friends if you do.

2. When in doubt, wash your hands, especially if you're going to come in contact with other people or handle food or drink,

3. Stay informed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has pushed swine flu to #1 on its top ten. The President and/or the Surgeon General (when another one is appointed) and other public health officials have started addressing this issue a few hours after this public service announcement was first posted.

4. If you notice flu-like symptoms outside the regular flu season, see a doctor. Tamiflu or Relenza may help if applied early enough.

5. Cover your coughs.

6. You may be told to avoid concerts, church services, and other public events if the epidemic gets any worse.

7. Beware of illegal immigrants. This blog is against illegal immigration, but there is a practical reason for this rule of thumb: they are not subjected to even the most cursory health checkup and could be carriers.

8. Recent visitors to Mexico are another high-risk group.

9. You may need to stock up on food, in case the epidemic gets worse or affects you personally, and you can't leave your home.

10. Although we mentioned this before, we cannot tell you enough times: WASH YOUR HANDS!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Word to the Wise: Do Not Leave a Memory Stick About Covert Drug Operations on a Bus in Colombia

According to this Times Online article, a British spy committed the following blunder that cost millions of pounds and put many lives at risk by losing a "computer memory stick said to contain a list of undercover agents’ names and details of more than five years of intelligence work. It happened when the MI6-trained agent left her handbag on a transit coach at El Dorado airport in Bogota, Colombia. Intelligence chiefs were forced to wind up operations and relocate dozens of agents and informants amid fears the device could fall into the hands of drug barons."

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Dark Side of Apple: "Baby Shaker" Game Removed from iPhone

What were they thinking? According to this AP news story, Apple has just removed a 99-cent Sikalosoft game in which one silences a virtual crying infant by shaking the iPhone. Organizations such as the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome and the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation were outraged and demanded a public apology.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Equality of Sacrifice?

Yes, it's true. President Obama has asked his Cabinet departments to cut $100 MILLION in spending while running up a $1.75 trillion deficit! You do the math. Welcome to La-La Land.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Right-Wing Extremist Illustrated

In case you're wondering what a right-wing radical looks like, Hippie Critic has thoughtfully provided some concrete examples. Once again we see that 1 picture = 1000 words. You may need to refer to the original source to get a better view and read the inevitable comments.

CAUTION: 1 illustration may not be appropriate for viewing at work.

UPDATE: Dr. Thomas Sowell has a few choice words of his own in a Townhall.com column, saying such an all-encompassing definition is part of a power grab.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Beware of Bogus Threat Assessments

I, who worked in the intelligence field and should know a threat assessment when I see one, confess that my B.S. detector went off big-time on the Dept. of Homeland Security's "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment." It contains nothing that can be described as "actionable intelligence," i.e., information that identifies individuals or groups that may cause trouble in the future. The report reveals more about the biases of the authors than about the likely direction of domestic terrorism. We have learned from bitter experience in Iraq and Afghanistan that even insurgents of limited education are capable of adapting to new technologies and changing their tactics whenever it is expedient for them to do so. I'm inclined to agree with Lance Fairchok, when he wrote:

"If this DHS Assessment is an example of the kind of analysis our decision makers receive from our intelligence agencies, we are in far worse straits than I had imagined. It is amateurish, poorly written and its logic is absurdly shallow. It sounds as if it was cobbled together from bits and pieces of dated research to quickly fill a short notice requirement. I suspect it was not intended to inform or educate law enforcement first responders and decision makers, so much as it was designed to shape their perceptions in the information war the Left is waging on the American people."

Michael Reagan has a few choice words to say about this report, which is vaguely worded enough to entagle millions of people (so much for its predictive value).

UPDATE: Big Dog gives us an example of reductio ad absurdum by listing the many ways we fit the Dept. of Homeland Security's definition of "right-wing extremist."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Colorado Springs Tea Party Photos

Our reward for contributing canned goods to the food drive: $500 in Monopoply money!

Singing the National Anthem.

Pikes Peak looms in the background.

Rep. Doug Lamborn proudly announces, "I have never voted for a tax increase - and I never will!"

Even this dog got into the spirit of the occasion.

Typical sampling of homemade signs.

Former state Sen. Ed Jones whipped the crowd to a light froth, to the point where some of his supporters were urging him to run for governor.

Doug Bruce, father of TABOR (Taxpayers' Bill of Rights), recommended that citizens take political action to curb the excesses of politicians.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hooah! Navy SEALs Take Out 3 Pirates, Rescue Capt. Phillips!!

We are pleased to report this AP/Yahoo news story about the daring rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips. The SEALs had to wait for several days for an opportune time to strike, but when they carried out this mission, they moved quickly, killing 3 pirates and capturing the 4th.

Bluegrass Pundit contradicts the AP story by saying that the snipers acted on standing orders to take action if the captain's life was in danger, and that President Obama did not personally authorize this action.

On the other hand, FOX News reports that President Obama gave his approval twice as it became obvious that Capt. Phillips' life was in imminent danger.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Harvest of Political Cartoons

If You're Planning to Attend a Tea Party on 15 April...

Blogger Roger L. Simon has this word to the wise:

Back when I was semi-card-carrying leftie, we used to spend a lot of time speculating who was the agent provocateur - read: FBI agent - at the demonstration. Usually we thought he was the most extreme character, the guy most obviously shredding his draft card in full view of the media while tossing a cherry bomb at an American flag already heavily doused in kerosene, maybe adding a little defecation into the mix. The theory was the more “out there” the acts, the more likely the motive was to discredit our “righteous” cause. This often included yet more extreme provocateurs inside the more violent groups like the Panthers and the Weathermen where real bombs, not the cherry sort, were involved.

But times have changed and for once the formerly quiescent right is gearing up to demonstrate on April 15. The left has not had to deal with something like this in recent years. Fuddy-duddy as they and their ideology may be, they have had the demo scene pretty much to themselves for decades. An element of distress (envy? nerves?) is in the air. According to Newsbusters derived from the Cavuto Show and other sources, in a startling role reversal, ACORN and the Huffington Post are planning to infiltrate the Tea Parties.

On Fox News Channel’s April 7 “Your World,” host Neil Cavuto reported that the Tax Day tea party protests on April 15 will be “infiltrated” by their political opponents and led by left-wing activist organizations. He specifically named Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

“Only eight days before a nationwide tea party, some over-caffeinated crashers aiming to lay waste to it,” Cavuto said. “Reports of very well-organized infiltrators trying to mix in and rain on this parade. Talk about taxing.”

Of course, in the parlance of a more centrist liberal, this all depends on what your definition of infiltrate is. The HuffPo is planning, like PJTV and Pajamas Media, to send citizen reporters. If that’s true, more power to them. Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom, I always say. But if they intend to participate and shape events while hiding their identities, well, that’s another matter. The same is true of ACORN. I would say to them welcome. Demonstrate, counter demonstrate, do your thing. This is America. But if someone’s out to play the agents provocateurs game, trying to make the Tea Party movement seem to be what it’s not, painting libertarians as racists or similar nonsense, well, that deserves to be exposed and countered vigorously.

So my recommendation to Tea Party demonstrators as a former leftie is to tear a leaf from my old book. Keep your eye out for the most extreme characters and then ask yourself: Is that real? Is that person who he or she says he is? Cui bono, who profits, here from what they are saying or doing? Draw your conclusions (carefully!) and then act accordingly and completely within the law.

Cyberchondriasis Obsessive Disorder Identified

An article by Dr. Dave Hnida cautions that searching the Internet for medical information has its pitfalls.

A Pew Internet study found four more than seven million Americans go online every day to research medical information but a group of them are more likely to do themselves harm than good.

That group is dubbed "cyberchondriacs" and it happens when people see only the worst cause of symptoms, not the most likely.

There are some symptoms for cyberchondriasis. Most cyberchondriacs are never satisfied with what they find and spend hours on the Internet. In some cases they will even stop doing other tasks to search again.

Medical Editor Dr. Dave Hnida says there are ways to get more out of your Internet search such as sticking to reliable websites like WebMD or the Mayo Clinic.

James Lewis Says It's a Blast from the Past (1979)

Capt. Richard Phillips (left)

Let us thank the Somali pirates
James Lewis

Flashback: It's 1979, and President Jimmy Carter is facing a hostage crisis, with American diplomats being kidnapped by Islamist "students" in Tehran. Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew our Cold War ally, the Shah of Iran, with the tacit of the Carter Administration, because it thought of the murderous Ayatollah as "some kind of saint," in the words of former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young.

Jimmy and Zbig have been trying to explain their disastrous ignorance ever since; and because they are mentally stuck in appeasement thinking, they have infected the Obamanites with the same plague bacilli.

Flashforward to 2008 [correction: 2009], and an American merchant marine captain is being held hostage by Islamist pirates off the coast of Somalia. It's a repeat of 1979, and the world is watching to see if Obama is going to be any more effective than Jimmy Carter was.

Obama may think this is a "distraction". The rest of the world sees it as a test. And so, far Obama is flunking. The world will draw its own conclusions very quickly...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Why Did Sheriff Arpaio Say, "He [Al Sharpton] can stick that in his pipe and smoke it?"

This just in from Doug Ross' blog:

Dawn Teo, writing at the usually execrable PuffHo [Huffington Post], offers a reasonably balanced look at an Arizona controversy over supposed racial profiling. Al Sharpton and ACORN have called on Sheriff Joe Arpaio to resign... "or else".

Civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton and ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis jumped into the fray Tuesday, threatening to bring their vast national networks to march in the streets of Phoenix if Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), does not resign immediately.

In a national press event held via teleconference, civil rights leaders railed about Arpaio's immigration enforcement tactics, charging that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) engages in racial profiling, police brutality, and human rights violations. Speakers included Sharpton, Lewis, NAACP leaders, and other well-known civil rights activists.

Sharpton and Lewis vowed to come to Arizona personally if Arpaio does not resign immediately. Arpaio called a press conference in response and told local media that a small group of vocal opponents is trying to intimidate him by publicly calling him and his officers racists.

Arpaio seemed not to know Al Sharpton, saying, "What is his name? Sharpton? He wants me to resign? Have I got news for him. He can stick that in his pipe and smoke it."

Arpaio went on to say that Sharpton is "living in a fantasyland," adding, "I will never resign."

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Senator McCain Visits Hanoi Hilton as a Free Man

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has come full circle - he had a chance to revisit Hoa Lo ("Hanoi Hilton") Prison, escorting Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

In 1993, the Vietnamese knocked down most of Hoa Lo and built an office and residential tower where the prison once stood. One wing remains (it has been turned into a museum), but McCain's old cell is no longer there.

The museum features a display of what is supposed to be McCain's former flight suit, but the senator said the boots didn't look like the ones he wore and his old name tag wasn't on it.

See the rest of the article in Newsmax.com

Sunday, April 5, 2009

History Repeating Itself?

The following cartoon appeared in the Chicago Tribune back in 1934:

With a little bit of luck, history could repeat itself. This comment accompanied the cartoon: "Those who fail to heed the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. 1930’s demonstrated that FDR's spending programs failed to turn the economy around. Unemployment dropped slightly & rose again in the late thirties to more than 15%. WWII reversed the trend. It took the stock market 25 years to recover from 1929."

Thursday, April 2, 2009

How Resilient Are You? [Quiz]

I scored 8 out of 9! Try your luck at WebMD.

Church-Shopping: As American as Roast Turkey and Corn-on-the-Cob

Check out this excerpt from a Slate Magazine article:

"Church shopping, marketing, and the not-so-sanctified practices that go with them make easy targets for criticism. But competition among churches for worshippers has always been fierce in the United States, to the benefit of American religion and individual churchgoers. The prohibition against establishing an official state religion helped give us the shoppers' paradise that is our religious marketplace."