Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Flying to Phoenix on US Airways

So, tonight I am flying to Phoenix on a US Airways flight. Normally I don't worry about flying, and I really am not "that" worried.

But, I have to ask, if you are a US Airways Pilot, and you are on final approach in a Boeing 737, Airbus 320 series or a Boeing 757, don't you usually keep your hands on the yoke (or stick in the Airbus case)? If you are reaching around the cockpit, isn't that usually just to flip a couple of switches on the overhead or maybe to retard the throttle? I realize that cockpits are pretty automated, but shouldn't a pilot on final be pretty busy?

So what in the WORLD could have happened to allow a US Airway's Pilot's pistol to discharge on final???? Should I wear Kevlar when I fly tonight?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Community College Considering Armed Security

A good first step for Johnson County Community College. Perhaps a next step would be to consider allowing Concealed Carry Permit holders to carry on college Campuses.

From Kansas Progress:

“On university campus you see a world view that in my opinion does not deal with reality. I think they deal with the reality of evil two ways on campus. One, they pretend it doesn’t exist, and two, to the extent that they do believe it exists they believe that human reason and the power of the human mind can combat all evil. I just don’t think that’s where most Americans are on the issue.

“We lock our doors at night, we teach our daughters self-defense practices, just in case something happens, we know that evil is out there and we need to protect ourselves from it.

“In the event that we have an unfortunate incident on campus I don’t believe it would be in the best interest of the taxpayers that we would have to wait for outside forces to come before we could react in kind.”

-State Representative and JCCC Board Trustee Benjamin Hodge


Emergency Powers Bill Passes Kansas House

From the NRA....Emergency Powers legislation, House Bill 2811, was passed to final action Thursday, March 20 in the House and a vote will likely take place on Monday, March 23. HB2811 would prevent the State of Kansas from confiscating, registering, or regulating the lawful sale, possession, transfer, transport or carry of firearms during a state of emergency, such as occurred in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. This bill would protect Kansans' right to self-defense, even during a declared state of emergency.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

DC v. Heller- The Oral Arguments

The official transcript of the oral arguments from District of Columbia v. Heller can be downloaded here.

Far be it from me to second-guess "the Court," but based on my reading of the oral arguments in DC v. Heller, I am optimistic that the DC ban on handguns will be overturned.

It seems to me that Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Scalia, Justice Kennedy, and Justice Alito will come down on the side of Heller, against DC. Justice Thomas, who rarely ever asks questions during argument, has somewhat libertarian views, and will, I am sure, down on the side of Heller as well.

The only other Justices that I a believe I am sure of are Justice Stevens and Justice Souter. There is no doubt in my mind that he will side with DC. Justice Stevens spent time during the arguments going back to the 1700's and stressing that only two of the original states had SPECIFIC clauses in their constitutions which acknowledged an individual right.

Justice Breyer and Justice Ginsburg, by my reading, may take the view that yes, there is an individual right to keep and bear arms, but that the District of Columbia ban is reasonable. Justice Ginsburg seemed to be suggesting this in her statement to Solicitor General Clemet:
"If we're going back to the English Bill of Rights, it was always understood to be subject to the control and limitation and restriction of Parliament. And I don't think there's any doubt about that. And that's what we're talking about here, are legislative restrictions." (Transcript 34:2)
The biggest question that I now have is what the Court will decide on the issue of how laws are to be scrutinized going forward assuming the Court rules that the Second Amendment is an individual right.

Justice Scalia seemed to me to favor strict scrutiny, while the Chief Justice asked why that needs to be decided now and why would they decide it now.

So, now we wait until June to find out what the Courts opinion really is.

A couple of interesting notes-- When Alan Gura, arguing for Mr. Heller, was using the Miller case to discuss types of guns that would be allowed stated that even though Gura was being faithful to Miller, that "Miller may be deficient"(62:22).

Another was Justice Scalia on a limit to the number of guns a person may have:
"You mean you can't have any more arms than you would need to take with you to the militia? You can't have a -- you can't have a -- you know, a turkey gun and a duck gun and a 30.06 and a 270 and -- you know, different -- different hunting guns for different --" (88:8).
It is nice to see that at least one of our Justices hearing this case, can actually name the caliber of some guns.

UPDATE: I just ran across THIS article at Concurring Opinions. It is a very good article to read.

Monday, March 17, 2008

DC v Heller: What Did the Founders Really Mean?

Tomorrow District of Columbia v. Heller will be heard before the Supreme Court. Tomorrow, at the beginning of the 21st Century, the Nine members of The Court, all born in the 20th twentieth century, will listen to argument and debate over what the members of the Constitutional Convention meant in the 18th Century, when they arranged 27 words and 3 commas into the 2nd Amendment.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed

After over 200 years, it is amazing that we, as a people, do not appear to know what these words mean.

I remember grade-school US History. I remember having to memorize what each of the 10 Amendments in the Bill of Rights were. Things were simple. We have freedom of speech, religion, press, the right to bear arms, trial by jury, etc. These were our Rights. They were from God. They were non-negotiable.

In High School and College classes discovered that what I learned in grade-school was not exactly true. I learned that The Court said that what the Founders wrote was not exactly what the Founders meant. I learned that "The Court" has looked at the words the Founders wrote and answered the question "what did they REALLY mean."

However, has "The Court," when looking at the MEANING of what the Founders SAID, left out what the Founders REALLY meant?

The Court has looked at what "freedom of speech, press, and religion" has meant. But, did The Court forget too look at the FIRST five words of the Amendment and forget what THEY really meant?

"CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW…." I am not a legal scholar, but a plain text reading to me says, "Congress shall make NO LAW…" To me that means "Congress shall make NO LAW" regarding freedom of speech or religion or freedom of the press or of the right to petition the government.

Over hundreds of years and hundreds rulings, The Court has created a situation where every one of the rights listed in the Bill of Rights now has an "asterisk." Free Speech only means Free Speech under certain circumtances. The Right to Bear arms, according to some, does not mean that at all. Police can go "door to door" to search for guns and drugs because it is "voluntary." The powers not EXPRESSLY granted to the Federal Government are reserved to the States or to the people, except when the Federal government wants to create new regulations.

Tomorrow the Court will look at the Second Amendment and argue over the first 23 words. However, I would venture to say that the last FOUR words, will be ignored. The last four words of the Second Amendment are just as important. The words "SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED" should specifically limits to what the government may do with regard the "right of the people to keep and bear Arms."

So I return to the central question: What did the Founder's Really Mean?

In my opinion, I think the Founders would say, "Look at what we wrote-It's simple: The People's rights--all of them--SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. PERIOD."

Missing WWII Battle Cruiser Found

HMAS Sydney- Lost 11-19-41The HMAS Sydney, missing since November 19, 1941 has been found. She went down with all 645 hands during a fight with the German DKM Kormoran, who had been disguised as a Dutch merchant vessel. The Kormoran was also sunk in the battle, although 317 of her 397 man crew survived and were taken prisoner when they rowed to shore in Australia.

HMAS Sydney was found in 8,100 feet of water sitting up-right. She was the largest vessel from any country to be lost with all hands during WWII.

Kormoran survivors had reported that they had last seen the Sydney ablaze but heading toward Perth. Although it was assumed that she had sunk, there was no confirmation of this and her exact fate had not been known.

The Sydney was found by David Mearns.
Eternal Father, Strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bid'st the mighty Ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to thee,
for those in peril on the sea.

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walked'st on the foaming deep,
and calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea

-Eternal Father [The Navy Hymn]


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Juan Williams On Obama

Link: sevenload.com

Saturday, March 15, 2008

"May I Search Your Home?- It is Completely Voluntary"

It is early evening. You have just pulled perfectly cooked "Nathan's Hot-Dogs" off the grill. There is the usual pre-dinner rush in the kitchen as the meal is being brought to the table. The kids are washing their hands. You usually keep the TV off during dinner, but tonight is an exception. There is a baseball game on and your team is doing well this season. You decide to grab a beer from the fridge. You smell the apple pie your wife has put into the oven for desert. Your dog is sitting patiently beside the table, knowing that sooner or later one of the kids will drop something from their plate-or hoping that you might give in and let him have that last bite of your second hot-dog.

You look around you. Baseball, hot-dogs, your family with you, your dog at your side, the smell of apple-pie in the kitchen- there is nothing that can ruin this All-American, Norman Rockwell moment- Except the three rapid knocks at the door that jolt you back to reality.

You get an uncomfortable feeling in your gut. The knocking was loud- with a purpose, not the way salesmen knock, or the way the next-door neighbor kid knocks, when she comes over to tell you about the latest reason she is selling candy for school or that her mother would like to borrow an egg. No, this knock was confident and definitely had a purpose.

You reach the door. Outside you hear a voice, but it is mixed with static. You realize the voice is coming from a two-way radio. You peer out the peep hole and see two men dressed in blue and the badge of your local police department. The uncomfortable feeling in your gut grows. What could be wrong, you wonder. Has their been an accident? Has someone died?

You open the door. "Can I help you officers," you ask with a hint of concern in your voice.

Both officers smile. One of them takes a slight step forward. "Good evening," he says. "We are here in your neighborhood as part of the "Safe Homes Initiative." We would like to know if we can come inside and perform a quick walk through of your house as part of "Safe Homes." We would just like to help you out by verifying that you don't have any guns that are not locked up in the house and help you check to make sure that your kids haven't accidently picked up a handgun in the park and hidden it from you. I am sure you are concerned about your kids safety and making sure you home is safe. You won't mind if we come in and take a quick look around? We are checking all the homes in the neighborhood. And this is completely voluntary."

You stand there staring at both officers, unsure of what to do next. Both officers are smiling, but you notice their hands are resting on their service pistols.

The second officer reaches into his shirt pocket and pulls out his note pad. "Can I get your name please," he asks. "just for my paperwork of course."

So now what? Do you let the police in to do a "voluntary" search of your home? Do you refuse, and then wonder if you have made some "list?"

Think this can never happen here? It starts, in the District of Columbia, March 24, 2008. To me, this sounds like something from a 1930's Gestapo playbook.
District of Columbia police will be asking parents/guardians for permission to conduct "voluntary" searches of their homes and children's bedrooms to search for firearms and drugs. Supposedly the search will only be for illegal firearms and drugs. However, I am sure that these searches will lead to prosecution for other matters, based on what they see in plain sight, even though some amnesty is supposed to be involved for the voluntary search. If a found gun has been used in a crime- prosecution will follow.

I have huge concerns about this program. Will people be too intimidated by the police to not allow them into the house? What happens if people refuse? Will the cops just say, "Thanks, have a great day" or will the next question be "Do you have something to hide?"

DC already has the strictest gun control laws in the nation, and NOW they need to go door to door to perform warrantless searches.

Boston and Philadelphia-- Guess what guys, You are next…. (Boston program starts this month, Philadelphia is still working on their program).

Friday, March 14, 2008

Psoriatic Arthritis- Starting Methotrexate

Earlier this week I wrote about being diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis.

I saw the doctor again today. After a lot of discussion we came up with a treatment plan that will hopefully keep me from loosing the use of my hands and keep me out of a wheelchair-- Enbrel and Methotrexate. Enbrel is an injection that I will take twice a week… it suppresses the immune system. Methotrexate is oral. It is a chemotherapy drug for certain leukemia's, lung cancer and some other cancers, but it also works for Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Psoriatic arthritis (PsA). I take six pills over the course of 24 hours and then no more for a week. I have to wait for the insurance to approve the Enbrel, plus there is a bunch of blood tests, a chest X-ray, TB test and other stuff they have to do before I can start taking it.

So, I started my first course of Methotrexate today. All I can say is I wonder if the cure is worse than the disease. The literature was right about the nausea, achiness, being worn out, feverish (low grade), dizziness. Fortunately, from what I have read, I only need to put up with these side affects for 24-36 hours, then I will be back to normal.

Unfortunately, one of the other side affects is slow hair loss. Hopefully that one won't affect me.

If there are any of my readers out there who have PsA or have taken methotrexate, please feel free to email me if you are comfortable. If you have found this post because you have PsA or think you might have Psoriatic Arthritis, again, please feel to email or comment below and I will gladly share any information I know or experiences I have had.

No Sunspots- Sun Still Quiet

Again this week Sunspot activity has been next to (if not at) zero. This quiet has persisted for the entire month and according to reports, it may continue for some time to come.

The NOAA 'low view' is projecting Sunspot activity to be at zero for the rest of the year!

I am really beginning to wonder about what is happening. NASA heralded the arrival of Cycle 24 in January. Yet all of the sunspots that have occurred since the January announcement have been from Cycle 23. Nothing has been seen of Cycle 24 since the sunspot in January.

The NOAA report and projections are indicating the possibility of a minimum last through December 2008 with activity not starting until January of 2009. Others at NOAA (in the same report) are saying that the minimum has passed and that we should start seeing activity in April.

With global temperature and solar activity linked, I am wondering what does this minimum mean for temperature for the balance of the year? NOAA reported that this winter was the 54th coldest since they began keeping records in 1895. Is this a sign of things to come?

Are we in fact now heading for another Maunder or Dalton Minimum?

(This Post has a "near real time" picture of the Sun and Sunspot Activity from the SOHO Satellite)

Obama's Free Pass: How Much Longer

How much longer will Barack Hussein Obama get a free pass and when will the public wake up to the fact that this guy is bad news.

He get takes office as a US Senator in 2005. A few months later his wife gets a 200% salary bump from her employer and then her employer gets a $1 Million earmark, courtesy of Barack Hussein Obama. (The Hospital of course says the two were not related.)

He is old friends with "the Weathermen."

He does land deals with Tony Rezko and his staffers get great jobs.

Now we find that his "spiritual advisor," friend, and Pastor is a blatant racist that blames 9/11 on US Support for Israel. He states that blacks should not say God bless America, the should say God damn America. This "pastor" is spewing the same sort of crap as Fred Phelps!

However, if ANY Republican candidate said that Fred Phelps was their pastor and that they had consulted him before running for office, they would be crucified by the press and would be resigning the campaign the next day. I am not the only one who thinks so!!

How much longer does Barack Hussein Obama get a free pass?

Benjamin Franklin put it best: "He that lies down with dogs, shall rise up with fleas."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

U-Va: Children of Illegals Not Legal Residents

The University of Virginia is telling students that if your parents are illegal aliens, they are NOT legal residents of the state and therefore out-of-state tuition should apply.

The Virginia AG's office last week said that the schools in Virginia must consider parents legal status because students are considered dependant until age 24. However, the University can review cases to determine if a student's status should be considered separate from the parents.

Despite what I am sure the left will say, this is NOT a bad thing. A parent's legal residence has ALWAYS been an issue when determining a student's residency status. Schools have always been strict on this issue. If the parent is NOT a LEGAL RESIDENT AND TAXPAYER of the state, why should they get tuition breaks for their kids.

I sure wish Kansas would get the message.

Congress: Sell Israel the F-22

Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor- Image from Lockheed Martin
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) plan on making anther bid (I didn't know they made previous bids) to purchase the Lockheed-Martin F-22 Raptor next month. Apparently, they were denied previously due to a congressional restriction on selling the F-22 overseas.

There are several reasons why we SHOULD sell the F-22 to Israel.

First- We need the jobs in the US. Increasing the production of the F-22 would increase jobs in the US- plain and simple.

Second- I am sure the Israeli's will do a great job "testing" the F-22 in "adverse conditions"- just like they tested the F-16 back in June of 1981.

Third- Stealth will make it much easier to take out Iranian Nuke facilities… But I am sure that this has never crossed anyone else's mind.

Fourth- We need the jobs!!! (ok, I may have mentioned that one already)

Call or write Congress. Ask them to support lifting the restriction on the sale of the F-22. Tell them to let Israel buy the F-22 and create US jobs.


DC v. Heller- 5 Days To Go

It is now less than five days to go before oral arguments are heard in the case, District of Columbia v. Heller. Oral arguments before the Supreme Court will be heard on March 18, 2008 and I will provide a link to the audio and transcripts just as soon as they are available.

This morning Robert Novak wrote an interesting article about the case and some of the "Washington Insider" information that he always seems privy to.

Mr. Novak states that the President was fully aware, and gave his blessing, to the Vice President signing on to the Amicus Brief from the Congress in support of Heller, despite the fact that this brief is contrary to the "government" position. Mr. Novak also states that the Solicitor General will "amend" his brief during oral arguments on Tuesday. There is some speculation as to whether that will actually be the case.

There has been a lot of attention paid to this case, and this case is generating a variety of questions that probably never occurred to Mr. Heller or his counsel when they first filed.

As I have previously written, this is the case of a generation. There is certainly not another case on the Court's docket this session that is more significant and I do not believe there has been another case in the last several years that has the potential to fundamentally decide the meaning of the Bill of Rights.

The decision of the Supreme Court in this case will be a landmark in the political landscape. This case will be the "Roe v Wade" of the twenty-first century. If the Court rules for DC, the "Right" will be "up at arms," so to speak. There will be cries for new Justices and a new litmus test for candidates as well as for the Supreme Court.

Should the Supreme Court side with Heller, the "Left" will be equally frustrated, and cries will go out for new Justices and a new Litmus test.

This case will truly be the case of the decade.

Click Here for More from The Carden Chronicles on DC v. Heller.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Don't Avoid the Doctor

I usually do not use this blog to post personal information, but I feel the need to share with everyone what is going on and encourage readers not to put off doctor's visits or avoid the doctor.

This week was given a "life changing" diagnosis from my doctor.

Several years ago, I discovered that I had psoriasis. Psoriasis is an auto-immune skin disorder that causes patches of redness and causes areas to build into a silvery scale and flake. Mine is fairly mild and certainly not as bad as many other cases. Generally, I use a topical ointment that keeps it under control and, up until a few months ago, I never really gave it much of a second thought.

A few months ago, I started noticing joint discomfort. This would come and go. The discomfort was in my fingers, my shoulders, and other joints, but I always had an excuse for it. I would think, "oh, I just typed to much," or "I need to clean out my laptop bag," or things along that line. At first, it would last a short while and go away. I avoided the symptoms. I ignored the symptoms. I hoped the problem would just go way. Then, I noticed that it was virtually constant. I also noticed that this was no longer discomfort, it was pain.

Finally, after a lot of encouragement from my wife (and pleading and arguing), I gave in and went to the doctor.

We discussed the pain I was having. He poked and prodded. He went over my history with me. Then he said, "it looks like you have psoriatic arthritis… I'm going to refer you…" This started me down a path of researching what this condition was and what I needed to do.

Psoriatic Arthritis (PA) is a condition that occurs in 10 to 30% of people who have psoriasis. It is somewhat similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis. PA can cause a variety of symptoms. Joint pain is common These symptoms can include deterioration of the joints, deterioration and fusing of bones in the spine, swelling of fingers to a "sausage" appearance, swelling and inflammation of the whites of the eyes (conjunctiva), deterioration of the bones in the fingers, inflammation of the lungs (pleurisy), inflammation of the heart and inflammation of the kidneys. Sometimes people with PA eventually need knee or hip replacements because of the damage to the joints. PA symptoms can be treated, but it cannot be cured or reversed. Treatment will slow, but not stop, PA.

After reading about all of this, I was, needless to say, not pleased. I am still young (I will turn 40 this year) and I enjoy being active. I enjoy hunting, backpacking, camping, and all sorts of outdoor activities. Additionally, I work in Information Technology. Typing is a big part of my profession and livelihood. Having a condition that will cause deterioration of my fingers is not something that will help career growth. To say I was upset about the diagnosis would be a bit of an understatement.

I am not giving in to this diagnosis. I am learning everything I can about PA and things I can do to make my life better. I am seeing a couple of specialists and making some lifestyle changes to be a healthier person.

I will continue to write. There are days when typing is not easy to do or comfortable to do. However, this is something that I love doing. So, there may be days where I do not write much, but it is not because I am not wanting to write. Rest assured, on those days, I will write what I can, and I will continue to research, read and look for material that will hopefully encourage thought, discussion and debate.

In the mean time….

Readers, especially men, don't put off that physical or trip to the Doctor. I am thankful that for me, the delay did not cause irreparable damage. But, there are other conditions and other symptoms that men tend to ignore or avoid. Putting off a doctor's visit can make things worse and can even be deadly. When you hear your wife or significant other say, "you really need to see the doctor about that" take the suggestion to heart. Avoiding the doctor will probably not make symptoms go away…and putting up with a bit of discomfort at the doctor's office may just save your life.

ACLU: NO Regulation of Prostitution

Governor Spitzer has resigned. As far as Gov. Spitzer goes, for me this is simple. Spitzer violated state law and he should have resigned and should be prosecuted. I would also question if he may have abused his office and cut any back room deals. He was prosecuting prostitution rings at the same time he was seeing prostitutes. That leads me to wonder if there was something "fishy" going on.

But, since Gov. Spitzer brought up the issue, it is appropriate to discuss the issue of prostitution and the published views of the ACLU.


However, I do not believe that prostitution should in any way, shape or form be federally regulated. This would fly in the face of the 10th Amendment.

State regulation is another matter. If the people of a given state decide that they want to regulate prostitution, then, the will of the people should prevail. Historically, prostitution has been regulated dating back to ancient times. Rome had various laws and taxes surrounding prostitutes and prostitution. This regulation has historically played an important role in the protection of public health.

The people at the ACLU have a different opinion. They seem to believe that prostitution should be legalized and unregulated. From Stop the ACLU:
The ACLU's Policy 211 is straightforward. "The ACLU supports the decriminalization of prostitution and opposes state regulation of prostitution". They base their argument on several points, including that existing laws are discrimination against women, and the right of individual privacy. They argue that what two consenting adults in private do is their own business. However, when you also oppose zoning laws, and regulation you can hardly argue that prostitution is a private business.
This yet another issue that the ACLU is on the wrong side of.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Here We Go Again: Free Speech and School

Miller's Anti-Terrorist Gun Shirt-Lancasteronline.comFreedom of Speech, the Second Amendment, Draconian Dress Codes, Anti-terrorism, Patriotism, School Authority vs. Student speech, Post-Columbine Panic, and Prior Precedent where the ACLU was on the same side as the NRA-- This case has it all!!! I am almost giddy! This will be another case to watch- another case about Free Speech vs. Public Schools. This case is MILLER v. PENN MANOR SCHOOL DISTRICT et al.

Donald Miller III, 14, wore a T-shirt to Penn Manor High School in Pennsylvania last December, depicting a semi-automatic pistol with the words, "Volunteer-Homeland Security-Special issue Resident Lifetime License — United States Terrorist Hunting Permit — Permit No. 91101 — Gun Owner — No Bag Limit." The shirt, which Donald says he wore to support his uncle who is a soldier in Iraq, violated the "vague Orwellian policy" of the school and Donald was asked to turn his shirt inside out. Donald refused, and received detention. The parents have filed suit in the Pennsylvania Eastern District Court.

If ANY of this sounds familiar, it is because this has all happened before. The case I refer to is Newsome v. Albermarle.

In the Newsome case, Alan Newsom wore a "NRA Shooting Camp" t-shirt to his middle school in the Albermarle School District in Virginia. He too was told to turn his shirt inside out because the shirt showed pictures of people shooting guns and the teacher who saw it immediately had visions of Columbine. Alan complied, after being warned that he should not refuse.

The parents filed suit, saying that this was a violation of the First Amendment. The lower court basically said, no harm was done and ruled against Newsome. The parents appealed. The Virginia ACLU joined the suit in favor of Newsome. The 4th Circuit ruled that in fact, the schools dress code was too vague and that Mr. Newsome's rights had been violated.

In their opinion, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals pointed out, "Ironically, Albemarle County High School, which is located across the street from [the middle school where Newsome attends], uses the image of a patriot armed with a musket as its own mascot. Various clothing depicting support for the University of Virginia and Albemarle County High School by way of the schools’ mascots would be banned under the 2002-2003 ... Dress Code."

Further the Circuit Court of Appeals said, "Similarly, [the dress code] would prevent a student from wearing a t-shirt bearing the insignia of many of the fighting units engaged in overseas operations in which parents or siblings may serve," and went on to state that banning support for an institution that just happens to have a weapon in their logo is "hardly related" to maintaining a safe school.

Because Newsome was a 4th Circuit case, and Pennsylvania is not in the 4th Circuit, I do not believe that the precedent will directly apply as case law, but I am sure the case will be mentioned.

(I have not been able to find out if the ACLU is going to do the right thing in this case as well.)
I personally wonder when these liberal school districts will realize that just because THEY don't like the War, guns, and the Second Amendment, they do not have cause to violate the First Amendment.

This is definitely a Case to Watch!

Followup: Teen Faces Execution if Amnesty Refused

UPDATE 3/13/2008- The Washington Post is reporting that the UK will "re-evaluate" Kazemi's case and that for the time being, he will not be deported.

The case of Mehdi Kazemi, 19, got worse for him today. Dutch officials are now deporting him back to Great Britian.

Kazemi had applied to Great Britain for political asylum because he (rightfully) fears execution if he his forced to return to Iran where he is from. When Great Britain denied his request, he fled to The Netherlands. Now, the Dutch are returning him to Great Britain, where he faces deportation to Iran, and then death by strangulation from a noose.

Kazemi's crime is that he his gay. His former boyfriend has already been hung by the Iranians.

His family is planning an appeal in Great Britain.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Politicians: Eventually They Learn

It looks like Prime Minister Gordon Brown is now having to admit that he has learned a hard truth. Political campaigns and Political Reality are two different things. Like the some of the Democrats here in the United States, Gordon Brown campaigned for the PM seat saying that he would bring the troops home.

Now, it looks like military and political reality is setting in. The British will NOT be bringing troops home early according to a story in the Telegraph.
Apparently, Mr. Brown is discovering that the Ministry of Defense and real world security concerns trump political promises and that candidates don't always have all the answers.

I wonder when the Democrats will learn the same thing?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Kuwait Analyst: Best if Israel Takes Out Iranian Nukes

It is called Realpolitik. It is defined as "politics based on practical and material factors rather than on theoretical or ethical objectives." In other words, "we may disagree, but there are practical matters to consider."

I have heard stories of Saudi or Kuwaiti intelligence services being trained by Mossad, some Arab countries privately expressing thanks and relief when Israel took out Iraq's reactors in 1981 and other incongruities in the complex relations of the Mideast. This appears to be another one.

A Kuwaiti Analyst and former government adviser said in an interview with Al-Siyassah that having Israel take out any Iranian nukes would not be a bad thing and that it would be much better for the region for Israel to take action than for the US to do it.
"Honestly speaking, they would be achieving something of great strategic value for the [Gulf Cooperation Council] by stopping Iran's tendency for hegemony over the area," he said, adding that "nipping it in the bud by Israeli hands would be less embarrassing for us than if the Americans did it"
GCC countries are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain.

There is no way that this comment was just made arbitrarily. This has got to be a back-door signal to the Israeli Government. I don't think that "freedom of the Press" rates as high in the Mideast as it does here.

So, sometime in the future, Israel may send F-15 I's to Iran. The mission will be secret until the moment it is carried out. There will be no leaks. The Israeli Air Force will be completely successful. Iran will protest. The UN will meet in emergency session. The Security Council will vote to condemn Israel- but stop at a condemnation. The US and Great Britain might abstain if they don’t veto.

But, quietly, the leaders of the world, and the leaders of Arab countries in the Middle East will call Israel, and say "Great job! Thanks…." And the world will breath a sigh of relief.

Maybe President Ronald Reagan's immediate reaction to the 1981 Israeli attack on Iraq said it all. When he was told of the attack, his said, "Well, Boys will be Boys!"

Teen Faces Execution if Amnesty Refused

UPDATE: See my followup with news from 11 March 2008.

This is one of those cases that I am sure will give heartburn to some of my readers, however, I ask everyone to take a deep breath and look through the surface issue and look instead at the barbarity of Iran.

Mehdi Kazemi, 19, came to Great Britain in 2005 to attend school. However, his situation has changed from being a student to running for his life. Kazemi is gay. His boyfriend was arrested, tortured and then hanged by the Government of Iran- not for murder, or rape, but simply because he was gay. Now Kazemi has been told by his father, that if he returns to Iran, he will be tortured and hung as well.

Kazemi applied for asylum in Britain but was denied. Now he has fled to The Netherlands. where the Dutch police are holding until he can be returned to Britain where he faces deportation to Iran and certain death.

Kazemi wrote to the British Home Secretary,
"I wish to inform the Secretary of State that I did not come to the UK to claim asylum. I came here to study and return to my country.
"But in the past few months my situation back home has changed. The Iranian authorities have found out that I am a homosexual and they are looking for me."
This is not a case about this kid being gay. I could care less who he sleeps with or what he does in bed. This is a case about the BARBARITY of a TOTALITARIAN REGIEME. This a case about a THEOCRACY that will EXECUTE anyone that disagrees with it. This a case about BARBARISM from a religion that calls itself the "Religion of Peace."

This is a case where all of us, no matter our personal feelings or personal opinions need to stand up and call on Great Britain and the Netherlands to save this poor kid's life and stop this execution.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Missouri Lawmakers Want Official Beer

Why Not?

Missouri State Representative Curt Dougherty has proposed that Budwieser be named the "Official Beer" of the State of Missouri.

From the Kansas City Star:
"We've got a state dinosaur, a state frog, a state reptile, a state flower, a state nut, but no one has given a thought to a company that's been in Missouri for many, many years and is bring prosperity to our state and manufacturing a product in our state that many people enjoy," Dougherty, D-Independence, said Friday.

This is one Democratic piece of legislation that I will support...

Lefty Judge Crosses the Line

Flag of the Peoples Republic of CaliforniaA judge in the Peoples Republic of California has decided that foster children should not be allowed to join the US Marines.

From the LA Daily News.:

"The judge said she didn't support the Iraq war for any reason why we're over there," said Marine recruiter Sgt. Guillermo Medrano of the Simi Valley USMC recruiting office.

"She just said all recruiters were the same - that they`all tap dance and tell me what I want to hear.' She said she didn't want him to fight in it."

Apparently this is not the first time that this judge has pulled this kind of stunt. She also denied a request of another person to join the US Navy, according to the the story.

This type of left wing legislation from "the bench" and using a court room as a political soap box must be stopped.

Of course, then again this did happen in the Peoples Republic of California.

For more on this see Stop the ACLU and Gribbit's Word

Oil Prices Down Before Elections?

The International Affairs Director of the Iranian National Oil Company today said "In view of the US presidential elections and considering the fact that the US is the world's biggest oil consumer, we expect oil prices to drop late summer."

So the question becomes just who exactly are they trying to influence?

When Asked If You are a Civilian Jet Say YES!

A crew from a Lufthansa jet is in a bit of hot water this morning in Israel. Apparently they failed to identify themselves when they entered the airspace of Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. This was probably not the smartest thing that an aircrew can do.

The Israeli Air Force "showed they cared" by sending up a pair of fighters to provide the Lufthansa bird with a "warm welcome" to Israeli Airspace. Y'Net states that the crew will be "questioned" at the airport.

No word on whether the flight crew needed to change their shorts after being "approached" by IDF fighters.

February Cool- Solar Minimum Continues

Current Sunspot Activity from the SOHO Satellite-NASAFebruary was another cool month with only a very slight increase in temperature over January.

Anthony Watts breaks down the data and shows that there was a change of .062°C upwards.

The Sun is still very quiet, with no visible sunspots as of today.

I personally hope this solar cycle starts soon… Costco has already put all its winter gear away!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Causus Belli? Shots Fired From Venezuela to Columbia?

It's all over-- Nothing to see-- Move along--- Peace has broken out-- See Updates Below--

This is just Breaking (14:26 CST):

Fox news is reporting that shots have been fired by Venezuela across the boarder into Columbia and that Venezuelan troops have crossed the border into Columbia and may have returned back to Venezuela.

Apparently Columbia TV is showing Video of the troops crossing the border.

UPDATE (15:19 CST):
There is now confirmation from Columbia that they have killed FARC leader Ivan Rios.

“We can confirm that Ivan Rios, a member of the FRAC’s secretariat, died in this
operation by the army and the CTI,” said a Colombia official.

This from Fox:

Local Colombian media showed live pictures from the border where a few
Venezuelan troops allegedly crossed into Colombia and fired shots.

UPDATE (16:20 CST):
The BBC is NOW reporting that everything is now fine in South America, and that the leaders of Columbia, Venezuela and Ecuador are all going to sit down and sing "Kum-By-Ya." (Ok, I made up the Kum-By-Ya part) I guess I can start my weekend in peace.

UPDATE (16:24 CST):
Now Nicaragua is getting into this Give Peace a Chance/Kum-By-Ya moment... They have re-established diplomatic ties with Columbia.

Hamas Claims Responsibility

Those of the "Religion of Peace" known as Hamas have now claimed responsibility of the vile and brutal attack on the school in Jerusalem yesterday. Most of those killed were just kids.
From Haaretz:
"The Hamas movement announces its full responsibility for the Jerusalem
operation. The movement will release the details at a later stage," the official said.
At this point President Bush should walk into the Rose Garden, grab the nearest microphone and state very plainly, that since Hamas has now claimed responsibility for this, the US will FULLY SUPPORT any action that Israel would like to take, and that Iran better just shut up or they are next.

READERS: Go to WhiteHouse.gov, Senate.gov and House.gov. Call or Email the President, The Vice President and your Congressmen. Tell them to FULLY SUPPORT ANY action that Israel will take. As your Congressmen to call for a Joint Resolution that supports ANY AND ALL action that Israel takes against Hamas.

Remember, this Hamas scumbag targetted children and walked through this House of God CONFIRMING HIS KILLS. Remember, these were mostly children.

Doron Mahareta- age 26. Murdered by HamasAvraham David Mozes- age 16. Murdered by HamasYehonadav Haim Hirshfeld- age 19. Murdered by Hamas

Read first hand reaction/aftermath from Israelly Cool.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Skewed Reporting in Jerusalem Massacre

It seems that some of the Jerusalem Massacre has been skewed, making the event seem less horrific than it was and placing a slant on how the Massacre was stopped.

Some of the reporting has called the school a "college" or a "seminary." While these descriptions may be "technically" accurate, they present the image of an educational institution that is full of "older" students- at least in their early twenties. Little of the US reporting that I have seen has discussed how old the victims really were. Two were 15 years old. Two were 16, two were 18, one was 19 and one was 26. (Source here and here). I was actually was surprised that CNN seemed to get the ages right.

These were CHILDREN. These were CHILDREN IN SCHOOL that were gunned down by Terrorist who follow the "Religion of Peace."

Additionally, reporting has stated that the "gunman" was killed by an off-duty army officer. Only Fox reported that a STUDENT shot back. From Fox News:
One of the students, Yitzhak Dadon, said he shot the attacker twice in the head. "I laid on the roof of the study hall, cocked my gun and waited for him. He came out of the library spraying automatic fire," he said.

Could it be that some of the media does NOT want Americans to get the idea that Concealed Carry on College Campus may be a GOOD idea? It has actually been proposed in the Arizona Senate. It sure seems to have worked in Jerusalem.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that news has been skewed as it relates to Terrorists and Israel.


Terrorist Attack on Jerusalem School- Student Kills Terrorist

The basics are that so far, at least 8 Israeli Students at Mercaz Harav yeshiva were killed when two or possibly 3 terrorists dressed in jeans walked into the dining hall of the religious school and fired 300 to 500 rounds from an AK-47. Dozens have been wounded, some seriously. Most of the students that were attacked were high school aged.

At least one terrorist is dead. Israeli police are searching for the others.

Although US Press is reporting differently, Israeli reports(both Y'net and Jerusalem Post) are that a student at the school capped one of the terrorists... Says he dropped him with his pistol with two shots to the head! From YNet-

“We realized something happened so I cocked my handgun,” Yitzhak Dadon told Ynet Thursday evening.

“I went up on the roof and waited for the terrorist. Meanwhile, I saw blood and shattered glass,” Dadon said. “The terrorist continue firing in the air, so I waited to see him again, and then I shot him twice in the head.”

During the attack, terrorists also opened up on rescue workers responding to the scene. There where 80 or so gathered in the dining hall where the attack occured.

Of course, there was rejoicing in Gaza over the attacks.

This whole situation leads me to wonder how much worse this situation could have been. This situation is NO DIFFERENT than the campus shootings that we have seen in the US- except for ONE BIG FACTOR.

The School was not in a "[Law Abiding Citizens Only] Gun Free Zone." The liberals who come up with these "Gun Free" areas are perhaps the craziest people on the planet. These Liberals need to get a clue-- BAD GUYS DON'T CARE IF YOU SAY THIS IS A GUN FREE AREA! The ONLY people who will not carry a firearm in a gun free zone are law abiding citizens.

Yes, this is a tragedy, but it could have been MUCH worse. However, a STUDENT who was armed capped a terrorist. Maybe US Colleges can learn from this.

One last thought-- I wonder what pistol the student was using? I am sure it was one that was Made in Israel-- Probably the same one that is sold in the US as the Baby Eagle from Magnum Research... Maybe MR should adopt the slogan, "Baby Eagle- Made in Israel by Israeli Weapon Industries- Combat Tested....Daily"

If anyone is wondering, I have been wanting the Baby Eagle in .45 ACP to use as my carry weapon.

More Coverage:
The Jawa Report- Who always has exceptional coverage and discussion of stopping terrorists
Israelly Cool- Who has been live blogging the events of today as they unfold.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Russian Bomber Plays Chicken with USS Nimitz

F/A-18 Escorts Tu-95 Bear away from USS Nimitz

It seems that the Soviet Union Russia is trying to resurrect the days of the Cold War. For the second time in the last 30 days, Soviet Russian bombers have approached the USS Nimitz carrier group while it has been operating near Korea.

Today, a Soviet Russian bomber flew within 3 to 5 nautical miles and 2100 feet of the USS Nimitz. The carrier group "showed they cared" by sending up some F/A-18's- just in case the Soviet Russian bomber was lost, had old faulty navigation equipment or was just sight seeing, and helped the bomber find its way to different airspace.

Last month, two "Bears" approached the same carrier group. The Nimitz responded by sending up F/A-18's to escort them from away from the carrier. (Photo is a US Navy released photo of an F/A-18 escorting a Soviet Russian Bear that approached the Nimitz on February 9, 2008).

The Soviet Russian Government has said they want to regain the strength they had as the Soviet Union. The US Navy says it was neither worried or concerned (or in other words, "yeah, right, whatever! Why don't you get some REAL bombers instead of those 50 year old prop jobs! At least OUR 50 year old bombers have JET engines!").


Arab League to Israel: Ssshhh! Don't Tell!

This is perhaps the most insane piece of diplomatic news I have heard in a while. "Don't Ask-Don't Tell" has reached the Mid-East-- But not in regard to sexual orientation-- in regard to Israeli Nuclear Weapons.

The Arab League released a statement today from its meeting in Cairo. The statement said that if Israel ever officially announces that it has nuclear weapons, members of the Arab league will withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and ask the UN to have Israel destroy its Nukes.

Why is this insane? Because everyone KNOWS that Israel has nukes-- Including the members of the Arab League. They are not saying, if we DISCOVER that Israel has nukes, or if we have OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE that Israel has nukes, or if we SUSPECT that Israel has nukes, we will take action. The Arab League stated that if Israel ADMITS it has nukes they will take action…

In other words, Yes, we all KNOW that you have Nuclear Weapons, just PLEASE, keep it quiet and don't ever tell us and we will all just get along. We won't ask, and you won't tell!

Israel of course responded with "Nukes? What Nukes?"

Free Speech OUTSIDE of School

There is perhaps nothing that gets me more worked up than a case of a Governmental Entity, particularly public schools (which are TAX DOLLAR SUPPORTED) blatantly violating the First Amendment.

I believe that this is what has happened in a case heard before the 2nd Circuit yesterday. The case is Doninger v. Niehoff. This is a case to watch as it may re-define Freedom of Speech for Students and on the Internet.

Background on Case
Avery Doninger was a student and class officer at Lewis S. Mills High School in Burlington, CT. Avery organized a "jam fest" as part of a school sponsored event. There was a series of re-scheduling and changes to the event by school administration. After a series of meetings with the administration, to no avail, Ms. Doninger wrote on her personal blog, hosted at livejournal.com, "'Jamfest' is canceled due to douchebags in central office," and encouraged other students to start an email campaign to "piss off" the administrator.

Two weeks or so after the blog post, the school administration became aware of what she had written on her blog and told her she would not be allowed to run for class office as punishment. Despite this, Avery won election as a write-in candidate. The school told Avery that she was being punished for her blog entry and would not be allowed to serve.

A suit was filed in District Court. U.S. District Judge Mark Kravitz ruled that he believed that the punishment was valid because, "the blog was related to school issues, and it was reasonably foreseeable that other LMHS students would view the blog and that school administrators would become aware of it" (see Slip Opinion).

The case was appealed to the 2nd Circuit and arguments were heard yesterday.

DiscussionThe Supreme Court has restricted student speech under certain circumstances, but the Tinker case stated that students do have some rights to Free Speech. Fraser said that sexual-innuendo at a school assembly was not protected. Hazelwood further clarified by stating that a school sponsored could be censored for legitimate educational reasons by the school as it is sponsored by the school. The most recent case decided by the Supreme Court, Morse v. Frederick decided that a students speech could be restricted at a school sponsored event off school grounds if it advocated illegal activity such as drug use (the "Bong Hits for Jesus" case).

Even with these cases in mind, Judge Kravitz appears to be writing his own law!

Yes, the blog entry was related to school issues, but it was written away from school, on private bandwidth/internet access and was not written on a school network system.

The school argues that the web has changed the way students communicate in that they can reach hundreds of people at a time. Counsel for the school stated, If vulgar speech relates to the school or a public event, the school should be able to regulate it.

This argument of the school is in MY OPINION vulgar. It borders on totalitarianism What is next? If a student sends an instant message over AOL while at home to another student that says "Mrs. Smith is a bad teacher" will that now be punishable? Can a student therefore be punished because they send an SMS Message from their cell while at the Mall that says, "Principal Jones is a bastard?"

What next? Will students be punished because they told their Parent in the privacy of their own home that they think a teacher is an idiot? Will Students be suspended because they THOUGHT something MEAN to a Teacher?

THIS IS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. What a student types on their own computer at home away from school should be protected speech, NO MATTER HOW MUCH IT OFFENDS THE SCHOOL.

Having the Right to Criticize our Government and Government Officials (school officials are Taxpayer paid and sometimes elected and are therefore Quasi Government Officials) is FUNDAMENTAL to being American--

Or at least that's what the Founding Fathers thought.

UPDATE: Maybe the school officials and their lawyer got their views from another "Government" that punishes free speech on the web- COMMUNIST CUBA-- See Cyber-rebels in Cuba defy state's limits

Sending Tax Dollars to France- The Airbus Tanker Deal

Last week, the US Air Force awarded a huge contract to Northrop-Grumman/EADS (Airbus) to build a new generation of tanker aircraft to replace the KC-135.

Yes, Northrop is a US company, but the aircraft that the new tanker will be built on is the Airbus 330- a FRENCH aircraft.

What has bothered me most about this deal is not that the new tanker is built on the 330. The 330 is a good aircraft. What bothers me is that my tax dollars are going to a country that has not been the most "cooperative" in the past. What bothers me is that the contract could have gone to an AMERICAN company- Boeing. Boeing did have a lower bid. What happened to AMERICAN jobs? Yes, I know that Northrop says that EADS will be assembling the aircraft (or at least part of it) here, but why not have the entire aircraft built in Wichita and Seattle? What happened to the idea that we did not want critical military equipment built overseas in case of War?

It is of course ironic that we are letting France build US Military Aircraft when France has denied US Military Aircraft access to their airspace.

Now the EU says they will open their defense contracts to US Companies-- OVER THE OBJECTION OF FRANCE!!!! Anyone want to bet how "fair" the selection process will be to Boeing?

Terrorist Group Planned to Lobby Barack Hussein Obama

During the Columbian Air Force raid on FARC (terrorist) over this past weekend at least a couple of laptops were grabbed. Columbia has been quick to provide the data from the laptops as it supports the view that FARC has been being supported financially by Hugo Chavez.

Today, though, I came across interesting information that has come out regarding FARC's plan to lobby Barack Hussein Obama.

According to a communiqué sent from Reyes, 48 hours before he became a corpse, the "Gringo" associates of FARC were scheduling a sit down with Barack Hussein Obama, to lobby him to communicate his "interest in discussing these topics" ("comunicara su interés en conversar estos temas"). The communiqué goes on to say that the "gringo" associates of FARC believe that Barak Hussein Obama will be the next President and that he will not support the "Plan Columbia" or the Columbia Free Trade agreement. Reyes says that he told the "gringo" associates that he is glad to meet with all governments but that he wants a "public announcement" that the US is willing to talk.

Does this indicate that Barack Hussein Obama has done anything wrong? No, but it raises questions that I personally would like answered.
Who are these "Gringo" (presumably "American") associates of FARC?
How do these "Gringo's" rate a "sit down" with a Presidential Candidate? Isn't that privilege usually that is reserved for big-time contributors?
Did the "Gringo's" make a campaign contribution? If so, how much? And where did the money come from?
Mr. Barrack Hussein Obama, did you know that you were being lobbied on behalf of terrorists? Or that a terrorist organization is wanting a sit-down?
Where is the main-stream media on this?

Digital copies of the documents from the Columbia Government can be found by scrolling through this linked page.

More Good Reading on this:
Stop The ACLU and Gribbit's Word

H/T- Ace

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Terrorists with Uranium? US Involved in Attack?

Tensions are running high. Troops are gathering at the border. Cross border strikes against terrorists. Terrorists attempting to get Uranium.

The Middle East? No, it's South America.

The news coming about the conflict between Columbia, Venezuela, and Ecuador is not good. The US is backing Columbia, while Cuba is supportive of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela and Ecuador. Add to all of this, allegations of Hugo Chavez funding terrorists (FARC).

However, the most interesting questions that are coming from this situation so far are, how involved was the US and did FARC manage to obtain Uranium?

As far as US involvement goes, the US Southern Command said that it would "neither confirm nor deny" any involvement and then added that "We do provide intelligence support to partner nations but I can't get into details on operations." This could be a legitimate denial, however, Columbia has said that its Air Force was able to pinpoint and hit the camp with missile strikes because of satellite-telephone intercepts. This to me sounds very much like the same methodology that has been used in the past by the US to take out Al Qaeda. Add to this the fact that the US had placed a $5 Million bounty on "Raul Reyes" who was killed in the attack and to me it looks like Columbia may have gotten an assist from the Signal Intelligence guys at Fort Huachuca.

This leaves us with the biggest question of all- Did FARC obtain 50 Kg of Uranium and what did they want to do with it?

There are conflicting reports on this issue. Some reports have stated that FARC DID purchase the 50 Kg of Uranium and others are saying that they TRIED or WANTED to purchase 50 Kg of Uranium.

WHICH IS IT?????? Do we have a terrorist organization out there with a brick of Uranium that they are planning to make a dirty bomb with? Or do we just have a terrorist organization out there with a brick of Uranium that thinks a sale would be a great way to make some extra cash?

Terrorists and Uranium are not words that I personally like putting in the same sentence. These two words together usually mean something VERY bad.

Either situation could be disastrous. FARC having a dirty bomb would allow them to hold a city ransom, or even a small country. FARC having Uranium to sell to the highest bidder --who would probably be another terrorist organization and not the local electrical co-operative-- is also not a scenario I would want to see played out.

While the question of US involvement makes for great spy vs. spy discussion and perhaps the plot of a Clancy book, the question of the Uranium is far more important and needs to be answered.

Do they have it? Did they have it? What are, or where they going to do with it?

See Also: South American "Dust-Up?" Chavez Sells Uranium to Terrorists?

Sen. McCain Locks GOP Nomination- Huckabee Drops Out

It appears that Senator McCain has now officially won the GOP nomination, while the fight for the DNC nomination may drag on for some time.

The question becomes, what will Senator McCain do next? According to the coverage that I am watching on FOX, Senator McCain only narrowly won the conservative vote in Texas, but there was an alternative to Senator McCain for conservatives to cast a vote for (Huckabee).

Senator McCain must now bring the GOP together.

My gut tells me that Senator McCain will likely make some minor moves to the "right," but that he will not make any grand overtures to the conservative wing of the GOP. My gut says that he will count on the fact that Republicans will prefer him to any Democrat. While this may be true, Senator McCain needs at least inspire the GOP base enough to show up on election day.

Maybe Senator McCain will be able to select a good VP candidate that will pacify the GOP base. The smart move would be for him to select someone that will appeal to the right side of the party, but not scare off independents.

Fortunately for the Republican Party, the primary season is over, while the Democrats keep slugging it out and fighting with each other for the nomination.

South American "Dust-Up?" Chavez Sells Uranium to Terrorists?

While most of the world is concentrating on the "Horse Race" between the Clinton Political Machine and the "short term" Senator who seems to only believe in "the future and change" --whatever that is-- the "Dogs of War" seem to be straining at their leashes in South America.

Venezuela has now closed it's borders with Columbia. This, after a recall of their diplomats and a severing of diplomatic ties with Columbia and expelling their diplomats. Ecuador has also withdrawn its diplomats from Columbia.

The "Madman" Chavez is massing troops at his boarder. According to reports, some TEN Battalions of Venezuelan troops are now at, or en route to, the Columbian-Venezuelan border.

Ecuador's President, Rafael Correa said over the weekend, "The situation is extremely grave and the Ecuadorean government is disposed to go to the ultimate consequences."

Columbia is now wanting to bring Hugo Chavez to the International Criminal Court on charges of financing and supporting terrorism. Columbia is also alleging that Chavez sold the terrorist organization FARC 50 KILOS of URANIUM. Columbia says captured documents show that the uranium was purchased this month. Chavez is also accused of providing $300 million in funding to FARC.

Columbia says it will submit its evidence to the Organization of American States for forensic analysis.

These events were set in motion over this past weekend when Columbia bombed a terrorist base (FARC) in Ecuador. FARC or the "Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia" is a terrorist organization according to the US and EU.

During the raid, Columbia killed "Raul Reyes," the second in command and spokesman for FARC. The US had offered a $5 million bounty for the arrest of Reyes.

This is looking like it has the makings of something serious that may draw the entire western hemisphere into taking sides and drive the price of oil even higher.

End to Global Warming? Return of An Ice Age?

Last week, articles began to surface discussing how the US National Climatic Data Center was reporting that January's temperature was 0.3F BELOW the average temperature from 1901-2000. Additionally, the Arctic sea ice, that the Global Warming Fanatics said was gone for good, is not only recovered, but it is actually thicker than it was last year.

Even the New York Times has taken note of the "extraordinary" weather, although they do put their own spin on it.

This from Fox News:

Now there is word that all four major global temperature tracking outlets have released data showing that temperatures have dropped significantly over the last year. California meteorologist Anthony Watts says the amount of cooling ranges from 65-hundredths of a degree Centigrade to 75-hundreds of a degree.

That is said to be a value large enough to erase nearly all the global warming recorded over the past 100 years. It is reportedly the single fastest temperature change ever recorded — up or down.

There is even discussion of a lawsuit against Al Gore and those who sell "Carbon Offsets."

The interesting thing to note in this cooling is that it corresponds to a Solar Sunspot Minimum. We are currently in between Solar Cycle 23 and Cycle 24. In fact, Solar Cycle 24 is very late in starting. There are some prediction that the next few solar cycles could be very weak, possibly indicating a return of a Dalton or Maunder Minimum.

Is this the end of Global Warming? Are we heading into another Little Ice Age? Or was the whole global warming thing just a load of crap?

For more reading on all things weather, I HIGHLY recommend Anthony Watt's page, "Watt's Up With That."

Monday, March 3, 2008

Mohammad Munaf's Conviction Overturned in Iraq

The conviction and death sentence by hanging of Mohammad Munaf, a "dual" citizen of the US and Iraq has been overturned by the Courts in Iraq. According to SCOTUS Blog, who has a copy of the letter from Counsel to the US Supreme Court, Munaf's conviction was overturned due to technicalities and errors by the lower court and lack of establishing Munaf's exact role in the kidnapping for hire of three journalists. The Cassation Court who vacated the sentence has returned the case back to the Investigation Court to re-hear the matter.

Fortunately, this "person" remains in US Military detention in Iraq, although he has appealed that detention to the US Supreme Court.

The GOOD NEWS of all of this is that this is a sign that Iraq has changed and that Due Process of Law does work in a country that was formerly a totalitarian régime.

Now when he is re-tried, convicted and hung, there will not be any question that he did not have due process.

Crosswinds and Walking Away

On Saturday, an Deutche Lufthansa SAS Airbus 320 attempted a crosswind landing at Hamburg. The video below shows what happened. 131 Passengers and crew were aboard. No word on how many had to change thier shorts. The aircraft is now back in service.

Of course-- Any landing you can walk away from....

H/T: Ace