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THURSDAY, JULY 8, 2010
THIS JUST IN – AT 9:55 P.M. ET: San Francisco, fighting to the last against materialism and contamination of the planet, may ban the sale of pets. Even Lassie would be banned. From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Sell a guinea pig, go to jail.
That's the law under consideration by San Francisco's Commission of Animal Control and Welfare. If the commission approves the ordinance at its meeting tonight, San Francisco could soon have what is believed to be the country's first ban on the sale of all pets except fish.
That includes dogs, cats, hamsters, mice, rats, chinchillas, guinea pigs, birds, snakes, lizards and nearly every other critter, or, as the commission calls them, companion animals.
"People buy small animals all the time as an impulse buy, don't know what they're getting into, and the animals end up at the shelter and often are euthanized," said commission Chairwoman Sally Stephens. "That's what we'd like to stop."
COMMENT: Oh yes. Have a problem, enact a ban. That's the way of the left. More creative thinking from the city that banned the USS Iowa museum because it might encourage pro-war thinking.
I assume San Francisco's resident intellectuals will find a way to explain this to elderly people who need their pets as companions. But hey, who needs the elderly?
July 8, 2010 Permalink
THE UTTER HYPOCRISY – AT 7:49 P.M. ET: Silvio Canto Jr. alerts us to a piece by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, exposing the sheer hypocrisy of the administration's lawsuit against Arizona:
According to the Obama administration’s lawsuit against the state of Arizona, their new law requiring police officers to investigate immigration status for those already in some form of detention violates their jurisdiction, which is what the argument of pre-emption means. Barack Obama and Eric Holder want the courts to rule that only the federal writ runs in Arizona on immigration-law enforcement. Apparently, though, the federal writ doesn’t run in Rhode Island, where law enforcement has been doing for years exactly what the Arizona law Obama opposes mandates — without a peep from the DoJ:
But in Rhode Island, illegal immigrants face a far greater penalty: deportation.
“There are police chiefs throughout New England who hide from the issue . . . and I’m not hiding from it,’’ said Colonel Brendan P. Doherty, the towering commander of the Rhode Island State Police. “I would feel that I’m derelict in my duties to look the other way.’’
From Woonsocket to Westerly, the troopers patrolling the nation’s smallest state are reporting all illegal immigrants they encounter, even on routine stops such as speeding, to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE.
Well, that’s different from what Arizona is doing because, well, um … Arizona’s racist, or something. In fact, Rhode Island does exactly what Arizona belatedly decided to do, which is to get serious about immigration control and enforcing the law. The only difference is that Rhode Island began doing it before Barack Obama needed a distraction from a hugely unpopular ObamaCare bill and thought a fight over immigration would bolster Democrats in the midterms.
COMMENT: And, of course, Rhode Island is a Democratic state, and, just as important, a New England state, heartland of the Ivy League, where wisdom and compassion prevail in abundance. Rhode Island is pure and godly.
Let's see if the mainstream media picks this one up. Don't hold your breath for more than three seconds.
July 8, 2010 Permalink
TALK ABOUT AN IMAGE PROBLEM – AT 7:39 P.M. ET: Of all the lawyers available to the Justice Department to sue the state of Arizona, Eric Holder had to pick this one. From Fox:
The federal prosecutor tasked with quarterbacking the Obama administration's high-profile case against Arizona's immigration law is no stranger to controversy or the limelight.
Justice Department attorney Tony West is a member of the so-called "Gitmo 9" -- a group of lawyers who have represented terror suspects.
West, the assistant attorney general for the department's Civil Division, once represented "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh, a controversial move that West feared would derail his political ambitions and helped delay his nomination to the department for three months in 2009.
He helped negotiate a 20-year sentence for Lindh, an American citizen who was 21 years old when he was captured in Afghanistan in 2001. Under the deal, Lindh avoided a life sentence by pleading guilty to serving in the Taliban army and carrying weapons, and the government dropped its most serious charges, including conspiracy to kill Americans and engaging in terrorism.
COMMENT: This selection will certainly go down well with the American people, who are, according to polls, overwhelmingly against prosecuting Arizona in the first place.
Do I hear the term "tin ear"?
July 8, 2010 Permalink
THE OLDER AND WISER TURN AGAINST OBAMA – AT 10:21 A.M. ET: Obama, already losing independent support, is now seeing his strength erode among older Americans. From the L.A. Times:
This is turning into a tough election year for Democrats, and most of the reasons are familiar: The economy is stalled, President Obama's popularity is sagging and voters are in an anti-incumbent mood. There's an "enthusiasm gap" too. Republican voters are fired up and ready to vote, while liberals are dispirited.
Now add one more factor: a new generation gap. Voters over the age of 50 are leaning increasingly Republican, according to recent polling —and that includes members of the giant baby boom generation between 50 and 64.
A Pew Research poll released last week found that most voters over 50 say they favor the Republicans in November's congressional election. Voters in their 30's and 40's were evenly split; voters younger than 30 favored the Democrats. That's a big problem for Democrats, in two ways.
First, older voters are a bloc the party doesn't want to lose. They turn out on Election Day more consistently than younger voters — especially in a nonpresidential election, like this year's. About two-thirds of November's voters will be 50 or older.
COMMENT: The Democrats have made no attempt to appeal to older voters. They seem almost to feel that the elderly are a burden, a distraction from the young and the young minorities who increasingly make up the base of the party.
Wait 'til older people get the first whiff of health-care rationing. Then you'll see a defection by older voters from the Democratic Party that could be historic.
July 8, 2010 Permalink
THIS COULD BE THE START OF SOMETHING BIG – AT 10:08 A.M. ET: Please note that there is no offical confirmation of this story, but The New York Times is reporting a prisoner swap between the U.S. and Moscow that includes the "star" of the group of Russian spies arrested last week:
MOSCOW — An advocate for an imprisoned Russian scientist, Igor V. Sutyagin, said on Thursday that he had evidently been released in return for the Russian suspect Anna Chapman, in a prisoner exchange redolent of the Cold War.
The advocate, Ernst Chyorny, said Mr. Sutyagin – who has served 10 years of a 14-year sentence for espionage — had called his father from Vienna, where he was met by a British officer. Family members who met with Mr. Sutyagin this week in Moscow said he had been informed he would be transported through Vienna to Britain, where he would be freed. Mr. Sutyagin’s mother, a chemical engineer in a scientific community outside Moscow, rushed home from work when she heard the news.
“So far I don’t know what happened,” said the mother, Svetlana Y. Sutyagina. “I am in a state of suspense.”
The reported exchange was not confirmed by Russian or American officials on Thursday, though anticipation had built throughout the day.
COMMENT: Well, it's not quite redolent of the Cold War. Spies were usually held for a much longer time before being exchanged. This is probably the beginning of other swaps, but I'm a bit uneasy. The spies caught last week should have had to face some justice in this country. Instead, we can't wait to get rid of them, sweeping the whole matter under the rug.
I get the distinct feeling that the Obama administration would just like to get the spy scandal behind it to continue its "reset" with Russia, even though we're the only side doing the resetting. The Russians forge ahead with espionage, a super new jet fighter, and troublesome policies.
It may well be that the whole matter will be over within a few weeks, and the Obamans will say they saw nothing, absolutely nothing. I'm not sure some of the leftist ideologues around Obama even think Russian spying is any big deal. Hey, everyone does it. We don't want to bring back "McCarthyism," do we?
July 8, 2010 Permalink
BE ASSURED, SEEKERS OF HUMAN DECENCY – AT 8:40 A.M. ET: In regard to the arrest in Europe of planners of manmade disasters, rest assured that they will not be manhandled, as they were under BUSH (!!). Modern Europe, basking in socialist theory, knows how to protect the confused and misunderstood. From London's Telegraph:
Human rights judges have ordered a halt to the extraditions of Babar Ahmad and radical preacher Abu Hamza, both wanted in the US on terror charges.
Huh? Human rights judges? Aren't all judges supposed to be concerned about human rights? When you have special courts devoted to human rights, what do you think they'll find? Why, human rights abuses. That's what keeps them in business and their salaries paid.
The Strasbourg court said it wanted more time to examine possible human rights breaches if the men face trial on charges which could mean life sentences without parole.
I'll sleep more soundly knowing that terror suspects are so well protected.
Ahmad, a 36-year old computer expert, has been in a UK prison without trial for nearly six years, refused bail since his arrest in August 2004 on a US extradition warrant.
Radical preacher Hamza is also wanted on terror charges in the US.
Both appealed separately to the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that their treatment and potential punishment could violate Human Rights Convention provisions on the ''prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment''.
Get this gem:
...there was a real risk that, in the case of "post-trial detention", Mr Ahmad, Mr Aswat and Mr Ahsan would be held at a "supermax" jail, - the US Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum, Florence, Colorado - known for short as "ADX Florence".
That raised concerns about breaches of Human Rights Code Article 3 on torture and inhuman or degrading treatment.
I wonder if these "human rights courts" ever show concern about dictatorships, or about the human eights of terror victims. I think I know the answer.
Europe considers itself quite advanced in the "human rights" industry. Actually, some of its governments, and much of its press, are major enablers of some of the worst regimes in the world. It's the old European phoniness and hypocrisy.
July 8, 2010 Permalink
MASSIVE CULTURAL MISUNDERSTANDING – AT 8:21 A.M. ET: One again our heavy-handed law enforcement seems not to understand the various forms of cultural expression. From The Wall Street Journal:
Federal prosecutors charged a senior al-Qaeda leader Wednesday with helping to mastermind last year's attempted bombing of New York City's subway and said the effort was part of a larger plot that included a failed terrorist attempt in the U.K.
Three suspected al-Qaeda members were arrested in Europe Thursday morning in what Norwegian and U.S. officials said was a bombing plot linked to the New York and U.K. plans.
In an indictment unveiled in federal court in Brooklyn Wednesday, prosecutors said 34-year-old Adnan el Shukrijumah, described as a leader of an al-Qaeda program dedicated to terrorist attacks in the U.S. and other Western countries, "recruited and directed" three U.S. citizens to carry out suicide bombings in Manhattan in September 2009.
The indictment also charged Abid Naseer and Tariq ur Rehman, who were previously arrested by authorities in the U.K. as part of a raid in relation to suspected terrorist activity there. Prosecutors said the two cases were "directly related." The charges underscored "the global nature of the terrorist threat we face," said David Kris, assistant attorney general for national security.
COMMENT: Nothing to see here, nothing to see. All this will be cleared up once NASA launches its Muslim outreach program, at the direction of President Obama. Once these so-called terrorists get a ride in a rocket, they'll give up these silly plots.
Oh wait. We won't have any rockets under Obama's NASA. Well, look, we can give them the kids' tour of Cape Canaveral. You get little trinkets and pins.
Problem: Before NASA solves the terror problem, one of these attacks will succeed. These people only have to be lucky once.
July 8, 2010 Permalink
WEDNESDAY, JULY 7, 2010
DIDN'T HE HAVE HIS 15 MINUTES? – AT 8:30 P.M. ET: Our Iranian activist friend, Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, alerts us to the latest comeback kid. Do you remember the guy who threw the shoe at President Bush when the president was in Iraq? His name is Muntazer Al-Zaidi, and he's
Interviewer: In your view, Obama is not very different from Bush, even if he wraps the actions of the US in false humanitarian wrapping.
Muntazer Al-Zaidi: We have a saying in Iraqi Arabic – and I’m sure the Egyptian brothers living in Iraq know it. “Away goes a white dog, and along comes a black dog.” They are the same, except for the color. Away goes a white US president, and along comes a black president. They are no different.
COMMENT: Real class, huh? Apparently, this guy thinks he can become some kind of Arab hero. He didn't get the book deal the first time around. Maybe he dreams of being a commentator on MSNBC, and, given MSNBC's taste, he might just get hired.
It's time for NASA to reach out to him.
July 7, 2010 Permalink
AND NOW FOR THE NEGATIVE MEDIA NEWS – AT 8:09 P.M. ET: In the post below we reported on CNN doing something right. But don't assume that we're entering a new age of media redemption.
Fox News reported this evening that the uproar over the statement by NASA head Charles Bolden, to the effect that Obama ordered him to make "Muslim outreach" a NASA priority, was blacked out by CBS, NBC, ABC, and the print editions of both The New York Times and the Washington Post.
One of the worst forms of media bias is not reporting the news. It is essentially a means of lying by omission. If the viewing or reading public doesn't know a story exists, it advances the bias the news organization is trying to promote. There are whole areas of the news that literally don't get reported by the "respectable" mainstream media – including virtually all of President Obama's political associations as he was coming of age. And certainly you've noticed that the political backgrounds of "anti-war" or "human rights" activists are essentially left a blank, in large measure because they are often Marxist. A whole generation of journalists has been taught that exposing a political actor's Marxist background is "McCarthyism." No it isn't.
Apparently, the mainstreamers didn't think the NASA story was important. Or, they thought it was so embarrassing that it would hurt their pet causes and pet president. So, if you only watched the networks and read The New York Times, you would not know of the controversy surrounding the head of one of our most famous government agencies.
Journalists love to say that they're the eyes and ears of the public. That is rubbish. They're the eyes and ears of themselves. They don't represent us, and their attitude toward the NASA story shows that they don't share our concerns or sensibilities either.
July 7, 2010 Permalink
SOMEONE IN MEDIA DID THE RIGHT THING! PASS IT ON! – AT 7:55 P.M. ET: We told you a few days ago about the exalted CNN editor in the Mideast, herself a member of the let's-reach-out-to-them culture, who put a post on her website mourning the passing of the guy who is accused of murdering 241 U.S. Marines in Beirut in 1982.
Well, surprise of surprises, CNN has taken action. From the Weekly Standard:
Mediaite reports that CNN has fired senior editor of Middle East affairs Octavia Nasr. As Daniel Halper pointed out the other day, Nasr wrote on Twitter on July 4 that she was "sad" to hear of the death of Hezbollah's Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah--a man for whom she has "respect." Fadlallah had justified suicide bombings, is believed to be responsible for the Marine barracks bombing, and had said that "Zionism has inflated the number of victims in this Holocaust beyond imagination."
In a followup blog post last night, Nasr wrote that it "was an error of judgment for me to write such a simplistic comment and I'm sorry because it conveyed that I supported Fadlallah's life's work. That's not the case at all."
She explained that she knew about all the wicked aspects of Fadlallah's life--saying she even "lost family members" in the barracks bombing--and was simply referring to the fact that she respected Fadlallah for his opposition to "honor" killings and beating women. But saying you respect Fadlallah for opposing murdering and beating (Muslim) women is almost like saying you respect Osama bin Laden for building day care centers.
CNN doesn't think Nasr's apology makes up for what she said. "We believe that her credibility in her position as senior editor for Middle Eastern affairs has been compromised going forward," Nasr's CNN superior Parisa Khosravi said in a statement.
COMMENT: CNN has made the right decision...for a change. Ms. Nasr has freedom of expression, of course, but she doesn't have an automatic right to be employed by CNN.
I doubt if this action would have been taken had Christiane Amanpour still been CNN's chief international correspondent. Amanpour, who has jumped to ABC, was disgracefully biased in her Mideast reporting. She would have probably protected Nasr.
Maybe CNN is growing up.
July 7, 2010 Permalink
JUST INCREDIBLE – AT 10:01 A.M. ET: The great Ed Lasky, of American Thinker, alerts us to this: While the administration struts around telling us about how tough it is on Iran, its own officials are trying to undercut whatever "toughness" there is, at every turn. From Investor's Business Daily:
Voice of America's mission is to promote U.S. interests abroad, which includes freedom in Iran. But VOA's Persian newscast has been hijacked by pro-Tehran broadcasters.
The Obama administration's sole strategy for defanging the Ahmadinejad regime is talk and more talk. Only, the propaganda that VOA is piping into Iran is helping the regime — thanks to deep-seated bias in favor of Tehran by Persian editors and producers whose salaries are paid by American taxpayers.
They've banned stories that cast the regime in a negative light, such as last year's violent postelection crackdown on protesters in Tehran. They even refused for several days to air video footage of Neda Agha-Soltan, the young Iranian woman whose murder became an international cause celebre.
More, VOA has retaliated against broadcasters who've complained it's too soft on the Iranian regime. One popular Persian-speaking broadcaster lost her anchoring job, having been demoted by a managing editor who happens to be the son of one of the Iranian mullahs.
Are you believing that? The son of an Iranian mullah.
Elham Sataki, former Washington-based anchor of VOA's "Straight Talk," says she was a victim of an effort to silence her pro-American, pro-democratic-reform views. She's now suing her boss — Ali Sajjadi, executive managing editor of VOA's Persian News Network — and other VOA defendants for millions.
There is some pushback:
Recent reporting flaws have prompted calls from Congress for an investigation of VOA's Persian desk. "We implore you to investigate the anti-American rhetoric reported to be coming from Voice of America — Persian," Rep. Trent Franks earlier this year wrote President Obama. The letter was signed by 68 other lawmakers.
COMMENT: It's going to take a lot more than a letter with 68 congressional supporters. And, of course, you may be sure that the left will counter any criticism of VOA by trotting out the old "freedom of expression" argument. Except that we, the American people, own VOA, and the expression on that network should be ours, thank you very much.
July 7, 2010 Permalink
ANOTHER CLASS ACT BY THE DECEPTIVE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION – AT 8:56 A.M. ET: We judge presidents, in large measure, by those they appoint to high office. Now the Obamans are trying to sneak around the Senate confirmation process by the recess appointment of a troubling nominee. From Fox:
President Obama intends to bypass Congress and appoint Dr. Donald Berwick to head Medicare and Medicaid, the White House announced Tuesday -- filling the job while Congress is in recess to get around Republican opposition that threatened to derail Berwick's confirmation.
Berwick's supporters say he is the right man in the right place at the right time. But his opponents have lined up against him. They say that while he may be a the highly respected doctor, he is also an outspoken proponent of the British health care system, which they say is all wrong for Americans.
"This recess appointment is an insult to the American people," Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said Tuesday night. "Dr. Berwick is a self-professed supporter of rationing health care, and he won't even have to explain his views to the American people in a Congressional hearing."
It also turns out, according to the Washington Times, that Berwick has heavily inflated his resumé:
...Dr. Berwick hasn't seen a patient in years. And the two Harvard professor positions listed on his White House biography as well as another position as a senior scientist at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston are essentially "honorary professorships," which require two or three seminars or meetings a year, The Washington Times has learned.
In all, Dr. Berwick disclosed holding more than a dozen current positions on a government ethics filing, though one full-time paying job: his 40-hours-per-week position as the president and chief executive of the nonprofit Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), where he earned nearly $900,000 in salary, bonus and deferred compensation last year.
"The yawning gap between what the White House says the nominee does, as opposed to what he actually does, should raise very serious questions to the [Senate] Finance Committee," said Dean Zerbe, former senior counsel and tax counsel on the committee for Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican.
COMMENT: At least they don't claim he was a community organizer, the major qualification for the presidency.
But this episode, following many other appointments of ideologues, tell you what this administration is really about.
July 7, 2010 Permalink
WELL WHAT DO YOU KNOW, AN HONEST GUY – AT 8:27 A.M. ET: Eli Lake, of the Washington Times, is one of the best national-security reporters around. Here he reports a remarkable statement by a Mideast ambassador. Is this a hint to Obama?
ASPEN, Colo. | The United Arab Emirates ambassador to the United States said Tuesday that the benefits of bombing Iran's nuclear program outweigh the short-term costs such an attack would impose.
In unusually blunt remarks, Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba publicly endorsed the use of the military option for countering Iran's nuclear program, if sanctions fail to stop the country's quest for nuclear weapons.
"I think it's a cost-benefit analysis," Mr. al-Otaiba said. "I think despite the large amount of trade we do with Iran, which is close to $12 billion … there will be consequences, there will be a backlash and there will be problems with people protesting and rioting and very unhappy that there is an outside force attacking a Muslim country; that is going to happen no matter what."
"If you are asking me, 'Am I willing to live with that versus living with a nuclear Iran?,' my answer is still the same: 'We cannot live with a nuclear Iran.' I am willing to absorb what takes place at the expense of the security of the U.A.E."
Mr. al-Otaiba made his comments in response to a question after a public interview session with the Atlantic magazine at the Aspen Ideas Festival here. They echo those of some Arab diplomats who have said similar things in private to their American counterparts but never this bluntly in public.
John R. Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the comments reflect the views of many Arab states in the Persian Gulf region that "recognize the threat posed by a nuclear Iran."
"They also know — and worry — that the Obama administration's policies will not stop Iran," he told The Times in a separate interview.
Arab leaders, Mr. Bolton said, regard a pre-emptive strike as "the only alternative."
COMMENT: Well, there are only two nations that can carry out a strike. One is Israel, and the other is the United States. Our capabilities are much greater, but does anyone think Obama has the spine? Or the sense of history?
If we don't act, or approve an Israeli action, some of those Gulf states are going to distance themselves from us, the better to appease a rising Iran.
July 7, 2010 Permalink
INDY SUPPORT FOR OBAMA AT LOWEST EBB – AT 8:05 A.M. ET: Only a day after Scott Rasmussen reported that Mr. Obama's approval is holding steady, in the mid-40s, another survey tells us that the president's support among independents is sinking. Go figure. From Andrew Malcolm's Top of the Ticket blog at the Los Angeles Times:
Two new polls this morning augur ill for President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats who control Congress.
The worst -- from Gallup -- finds that for the first time since Obama took the oath, his support among independents, a key voter segment in his decisive 2008 coalition election win, has fallen below 40%. The new tracking finds that Obama's support among all voter segments has declined in the past year, but nowhere more than among independents.
Only 38% now support him, an 18-point drop from 52 weeks ago, when polls first began showing the nation's rapidly-growing population of independent voters peeling off, as Obama relentlessly pushed his healthcare plan and ignored polls saying jobs and the economy were uppermost on voters' minds.
In that same time span, support for the Democrat has fallen 9 points among Democrats (from 90% to 81%) and 8 points among Republicans (from 20% to 12%).
Collectively, only 46% of Americans approve of the president's job performance, just 1 point above his worst approval of 45%. Obama's approval has not been above 50% since February.
Other recent presidents suffered similar low ratings in their second year -- Jimmy Carter (40%), Ronald Reagan (42%) and Bill Clinton (43%).
And each of those presidents' parties lost substantial numbers of congressional seats in the ensuing midterm elections...
...Reagan and Clinton recovered in the second half of their first terms to easily win reelection; Carter did not.
That's because Carter was running against Reagan, a superb candidate. Clinton ran against Bob Dole and Reagan against Walter Mondale, two dull chaps. Who the opposition puts up is the key issue.
Also out this morning, a new Harris Poll of 2,227 adults finds widespread dissatisfaction and disenchantment with leading Democrats in Washington.
Republicans should gain in November, but the goal is taking control of both houses of Congress. Close is not good enough. Think next Supreme Court appointment, and what will happen if the Dems still control the Senate, which must confirm that appointment.
July 7, 2010 Permalink