Clinton Library Got Funds From Abroad - But which broad? Belinda Stronach? Denise Rich? Seriously, the Saudis probably gave around $10 million, which kind of puts a crimp in the "Bush family has dirty dealings with the Saudis" conspiracy theory, which is very popular with the tinfoil hat crowd.
Russia Makes 1st Nuke Shipment To Iran - "Russia
has made its first shipment of nuclear fuel to Iran's Bushehr plant,
which is at the center of the international tensions over Tehran's
nuclear program, the Foreign Ministry said Monday." Russia has also sold Iran an advanced air defense missile system. All for peaceful purposes, I'm sure.
A new report from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee lists 400 prominent scientists who have criticized the current panic over global warming. "This blockbuster Senate report lists the scientists by name, country of residence, and academic/institutional affiliation. It
also features their own words, biographies, and weblinks to their peer
reviewed studies and original source materials as gathered from public
statements, various news outlets, and websites in 2007. This new
“consensus busters” report is poised to redefine the debate."
Here is perhaps the best piece that I have read that outlines the responsibilities and actions of the UN with regard to monitoring Saddam Hussein's nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs. Bottom line: it was the UN who concluded that Saddam had not discontinued these programs, not the American CIA.
No Playboy For Plame - apparently Valerie Plame will end the sordid tradition of women caught in political scandals (Jessica Hahn, Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers) posing in the buff. As far as I am concerned, she would have been the most attractive one of the bunch:
Elect me and oil prices instantly drop, says Clinton in Iowa - I'll leave it to the readers to click on the link and try to understand her logic. It must be tough to be a Democratic primary voter -- vote for Hillary and gas prices go down; vote for John Edwards and people in wheelchairs will stand up and walk again. Such difficult choices.
The death of Benazir Bhutto was a tragedy. Bhutto's legacy was spotty -- she was a part of the old-generation wealthy ruling elite of Pakistan and her two terms as prime minister were marred by charges of corruption and by schmoozing both the Soviet Union and later Islamist radicals, possibly Al-Qaeda. But her willingness to return to her country and challenge an equally-questionable and seemingly ineffective military dictatorship must be admired. She died for what she believed in, a democratic Pakistan with free elections, embracing the 21st century and rejecting radical Islamism. And few people, regardless of who they are or what they have done, would be willing to do that.
Boston Firefighter Stabbed - "A Boston firefighter is mending from what could have
been deadly stab wounds he suffered early yesterday morning when he was
allegedly jumped in East Boston while off duty by a group of Hispanic
males who told him they 'don't want any gringo here.'"
Bay Area counties toughest on black drug defenders - "San Francisco imprisons African
Americans for drug offenses at a much higher rate than whites,
according to a report to be released today by a nonprofit research
institute." Yet another example of blacks suffering disproportionately in a city dominated by white liberal Democrats.
MTA looks at racial role in city bus attack - "Maryland Transit Administration Police said last night that they have
found no evidence that the severe beating of a 26-year-old woman on a
city bus this week was provoked and that they are investigating the
attack as a possible racially motivated hate crime ... the suspects, who have been released to their parents, are
African-American while the two originally identified victims are white.
Marzola said the suspects are also believed to have menaced an elderly
passenger, who is white, and to have assaulted the bus operator, an
African-American male who defended his passenger."
Worms infect more poor Americans than [previously] thought - Roundworms may infect close to a quarter of inner city black children,
tapeworms are the leading cause of seizures among U.S. Hispanics and
other parasitic diseases associated with poor countries are also
affecting Americans, a U.S. expert said on Tuesday.
With a hidden FBI camera rolling inside a New York hotel suite in
2003, an unsuspecting Rev. Al Sharpton, Democratic candidate for
president, spoke candidly.
Sharpton offered to help Philadelphia fund-raiser Ronald A. White
win a multimillion-dollar business deal, if White helped him raise
$50,000 for politics.
White offered $25,000. "If you bring my guys up on this hedge fund,
and I have the right conversation," White said, "I'll give you what you
"Cool," Sharpton said.
Housing changes begin to unravel Katrina victims' lives - Over two years after being forced out of New Orleans, many NOLA residents living in Houston still rely on government subsidies as the major source of their income or as their sole source of income. "... [T]he lives of the most vulnerable — the
unemployed and working poor — are starting to unravel. Once kept afloat
on federal rental assistance, these families are losing their benefits
and are ending up on Houston's streets, activists and social workers
One of the attackers was Sharon Jasper, recently quoted by the New Orleans Times-Picayune as saying, "I might be poor but I don't like to live poor. I thank God for a place to live but it's pitiful what people give you." Ironically, the photo accompanying the quote shows Jasper sitting in an apartment with apparently new furniture, hardwood floors, and what appears to be a 60" flat screen television. Laura at Pursuing Holiness pithily sums up the outsider's view of the sorry state of those in perpetual poverty who are trapped in a lifestyle defined by generational dependence on welfare:
I’ve been on welfare. I’m in favor of a temporary, limited welfare system for those who need it. People who can furnish their subsidized apartment with nice furniture and a 60 inch flat screen
TV don’t need it. Maybe the TV was a gift. If so, she should sell it,
and pay that electric bill she’s griping about in the article. That’s
how it works for the rest of us. The majority of my Christmas budget
was spent yesterday on a hot water heater. That’s life.
... Those people are not going to support themselves until there is
absolutely no other option, and possibly not even then. Part of the
current political flap is the so called “right to return”
for New Orleans “refugees.” The right to come back and be supported by
taxpayers? There are jobs going to spare here. We’ve absorbed tens of
thousands of illegal aliens and we still don’t have enough workers.
People can return anytime they please, if they’re willing to pay their
... Who’s really doing more to help poor people? Those who would continue warehousing them in places like this?
Or those who push them - however unwilling some may be - into apartments
like the one Sharon Jasper enjoys, or this new mixed-income housing?
It's difficult to understand, but with my own eyes I have seen that those who suffer in generational poverty would rather continue to suffer than to face the frightening, unknown world of self-sufficiency. I believe that part of this, particularly where blacks are concerned, stems from a century-long system in which whites could take virtually anything away from blacks at any time, with blacks having little or no hope for justice. Sadly, this has ingrained the notion that the only "safe" life is one where food, shelter, clothing, school, medical care, spending money, etc. are all provided -- guaranteed -- by the Federal government. Witness the abject panic among poor blacks whenever the sunset clause in the 1965 Voting Rights bill is mentioned, and you'll understand what I'm talking about.
The longer this myth is perpetuated, the deeper these people are mired in poverty, with their self-esteem crushed and their will to achieve destroyed. How do we end this debilitating lifestyle?
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.
"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever."
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.
It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, and many nations shall come, and say: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations far away; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore; but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended. Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified. The least one shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation; I am the LORD; in its time I will hasten it.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is
detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
As the prophets longed for the restoration of peace and justice to a sinful and hurting world, let us also pray that through our obedience, the peaceable Kingdom of God can be hastened here on Earth.
By now you've heard about the massive ice storm that has blanketed the Midwest, hitting Oklahoma City with a 1/2 to 3/4 thick layer of ice. We joined the roughly 410,000 customers without electricity at 7:20 am today. We sat around in the dark with three fidgety kids for most of the day. As of this evening, the thermostat in our home showed 50 degrees, so we will be spending the evening with friends. OG&E says that hopefully our power will be restored tomorrow. But we don't know when we will get our phone and Internet back. *Sigh*.
The survivors can tell the story much better than I can:
Twenty years old, [Walter] Becker was catching up on some laundry in one of the
ship’s engine rooms when the first torpedo hit. Even when word came to
abandon ship, Becker hesitated to leave.
“I had just a couple of
days before read an article in “Our Navy” magazine by an admiral who
said it was impossible for an aircraft to sink one of our battleships,”
Becker recalled. “I was just a kid, and if an admiral said something
like that, it’s as if the Lord said it.
“Boy, he sure got proved wrong.”
By the time the ship started listing at about a 40-degree angle, Becker decided it was time to get out.
came up through a ventilator, through the machine shop, and just as I
got to the surface, the shipped turned on over,” he said.
found himself underwater, struggling to find the surface, and
eventually lost consciousness. When he came to, he found himself in a
“I think there was probably an explosion nearby that helped blow me out of the water,” he said.
finally reaching land, Becker said he learned that many of his
shipmates were still trapped inside the ship. He said he spent the next
two days working to try and free the trapped men.
remember how many [survivors] we got out of there, but it seems like it
was about 21 or so that we got out,” he said. “I left after two days,
because there was no more rapping on the hull.”
429 officers, sailors, and Marines died in the bowels of the Oklahoma,
trapped when the ship rolled over. The trapped crewmen continued to tap on the
bottom of the hull for days, but only 32 were found alive when rescuers finally cut through the hull.
Sixty years later, there was still no memorial at Pearl Harbor to commemorate the loss of the crew of the USS Oklahoma. After visiting Pearl Harbor in 2000 and finding nothing to commemorate the loss of the USS Oklahoma, Oklahoma City artist Kevin King contacted the Oklahoma State legislature, which in turn enlisted the help of USS Oklahoma survivor Paul Goodyear, who had overseen the construction of a memorial to the ship in Oklahoma City. A petition was made to the United States government, and President Bush signed an executive order establishing the site of the memorial.
The memorial has two large granite walls at a 90 degree angle with the inscription USS Oklahoma (BB-37). Behind the granite walls are 429 white markers in echelon formation, each with the name of a serviceman who perished aboard the ship.
On Friday Dec. 7, 2007, 66 years after the Pearl Harbor attack, the memorial was officially opened. Oklahoma governor Brad Henry, along with other state dignitaries and about a dozen USS Oklahoma survivors attended the ceremony. Here is print and video coverage of the dedication ceremony from NewsOK.com, as well as a nice photo slideshow from the Honolulu Advertiser.
This week's big news story has been the new National Intelligence Estimate summary that claims that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003. This is a complete turnaround from the NIE summary released two years ago that warned of Tehran's obsession with acquiring a nuclear weapon and placed a ten year time line on that goal.
Of course the Bush Administration, and Democrats like Hillary Clinton, who must viewed as "hawkish", have been warning for some time that Iran is on a dangerous quest to develop a nuclear weapon, and that the US will not allow that to happen. Democrat leaders smelled blood in the NIE summary, and their reactions (compiled by RushLimbaugh.com) were predictable:
I would be very surprised if, when this report came out yesterday and
was made public, that the president didn't already know all about it.
The president raised the specter of World War III with Iran because, as
he said, its pursuit of a nuclear weapon, months after he had been told
by our intelligence community it's likely that Iran had halted its
RAHM EMANUEL: This report is a game changer. Okay?
I vehemently disagree with the president that nothing's changed and,
therefore, nothing in American policy has to change. I have, for two
years, advocated diplomatic engagement with Iran, and I think that's
what the president should do.
BARAK OBAMA: They should have stopped
the saber rattling, shouldn't have never [sic] started it, and they
need now to aggressively move on the diplomatic front.
I have to believe that he knew what was going on. Why was he talking
about a nuclear Holocaust? Why was he talking about all of those
This is amazing, isn't it? US intelligence is flawed, it's unreliable, it's manipulated by the Bush White House for propaganda purposes ... yet suddenly, when it seems that US intelligence can be used to damage Bush, our intelligence is inerrant and infallible. At what other time have you heard Democrats or anyone else demand that we completely alter our foreign policy based on one intelligence summary?
Let me put this in perspective. Historically, the NIE reports have been notoriously inaccurate -- for example, take a few minutes and read through this summary of the 2002 NIE report that stated that "Iraq 'is reconstituting its nuclear program,' 'has chemical and
biological weapons,' and that 'all key aspects--R&D [research and
development], production, and weaponization--of Iraq's offensive
biological weapons program are active and that most elements are larger
and more advanced than they were before the Gulf War.'" And in a summary of the August 2005 NIE summary on Iran, The Washington Post reported that "U.S. intelligence knows "disturbingly little" about Iran, and about North Korea."
John Bolton has a good analysis of the flaws and ambiguities of the report in today's Washington Post. Bolton also notes, "The real differences between the NIEs are not in the hard data but in
the psychological assessment of the mullahs' motives and objectives.
The current NIE freely admits to having only moderate confidence that
the suspension continues and says that there are significant gaps in
our intelligence and that our analysts dissent from their initial
judgment on suspension. This alone should give us considerable pause."
Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh had this conversation with a very knowledgeable woman who had worked previously in the Defense Intelligence Agency:
Look at page four. I'll read it to you. "This NIE does not assume
that Iran intends to acquire nuclear weapons." That's actually in
boldface type on page four of the NIE.
RUSH: Well, that's absurd!
It's the kind of thing... It's a Zen sort of statement. You know, you
could be communicating your stance on this and then this is what I'm
going to tell you. It's not the way... A military officer who wrote
something like that would get locked up by the commander and told to go
sit in the corner.
CALLER: Because it leaves
an invalid impression. You may lay out the exact truth with respect to
each of your supporting points and comments, but if you say up front
things that leave a misleading impression, then you should be shot.
(laughs) Well, wait a minute. Isn't it consistent, though, for them to
say, "We do not assume they're pursuing nuclear weapons"? Isn't that
consistent with the opening line in the key judgment?
Well, it leaves an impression of inconsistency, although I can tell you
that an intelligence officer who wrote this thing would come back and
say, "Well, that sentence doesn't mean that we don't think they intend
to acquire nuclear weapons. It just means that we didn't assume that
in writing this NIE."
CALLER: Well, and I can fully understand how you would misunderstand that. I wouldn't have written that sentence in that way.
RUSH: It's a CYA.
CALLER: Pretty much, yes.
It's an ambiguous CYA, so that no matter what ends up happening in the
future they can't be held accountable for what they wrote.
That's how it comes off, yes. When you are in the line of
intelligence, you learn to put your key judgment up front, meaning, "If
you take nothing else away, remember this 25-word summary of what I
RUSH: Which has got a lot of politics behind it in this case.
Exactly. I will tell you this, having worked with the DIA and the
military service agencies, the way they probably were gotten to sign
off on this is because their loyalty is to their military bosses.
They're not going to sign on to something that's misleading. I imagine
that the way they signed off on this was that it was couched in these
kind of non-accountable terms. Basically, everything CIA said is
probably technically correct as far as they know. It's the structure
of this thing that makes all the difference. ... My
bottom line on this is that, as an intelligence document, it is a
waffling document in terms of where it should be accountable and make
statements, and that's what we... Okay, if Iran halted its program in
'03, what does that mean about Iran's intentions? You know, "How was
Iran, in fact, influenced to do that?" and this document doesn't do
And that's really the big question. Why did Iran halt its nuclear weapons program? Why did they do it in 2003? Why do the Israelis still believe that Iran is set on acquiring nuclear weapons? We know that Iran has openly mocked the UN and has unwaveringly pursued its program to enrich uranium into nuclear fuel. As far as we know, they are close to mastering - or have already mastered - the nuclear fuel cycle.
Iran presents us with the perfect example of a situation in which we may endanger ourselves greatly by not "honoring the threat." Iran is a bully. She supplies munitions and training to terrorist groups throughout the Middle East. She controls the governments of Syria and Lebanon. She controls Hezbollah. She provides weapons and training to Iraqi insurgents and possibly to al-Qaeda operatives inside Iraq. And she has been philosophically and culturally at war with America for nearly 30 years. We dismiss Iran at our own peril.
In light of the recent popularity of universal health insurance proposals, writer Kevin Hall looks at President Richard Nixon's failed 1974 universal health insurance proposal, which was briefly outlined in Nixon's 1974 State of the Union address. It is interesting to speculate whether or not the Democrats' fervor in destroying Nixon may have cost America the chance to enact comprehensive health care reform over thirty years ago. John Edwards has outlined a draconian health care plan: every American would have to provide proof of coverage on their Federal income tax return. The IRS would then provide the government with a list of all those without proof of coverage. If the uninsured qualified Medicare, Medicaid, or SCHIP, they would be automatically enrolled in those programs. If the uninsured did not qualify for indigent health care, they would be automatically enrolled in the lowest-cost insurance program available for them. Insurance premiums would be garnished from their wages. This plan totally screws the working poor -- they have no choice in who their insurance provider is, and therefore no choice of doctors or hospitals, and they have no opportunity to change insurance companies or to withhold payment in cases of malpractice or fraud. Way to stick it to the working poor, Senator Silky Pony.
It's been a bad month for Global Warming "truthers." Coming on the heels of last month's sinking of the MS Explorer after it ran into heavy ice in the Antarctic, two North Pole explorers were forced to end their trip because of extreme cold temperatures and frostbite. They had planned to send back regular video reports showing evidence of global warming. Also, South America has suffered a record-setting cold winter during the past few months, with freezing temperatures occurring over a six-month time span in some areas.
An aid to Washington State senator Maria Cantwell has been charged with soliciting sex with a minor over the Internet, after he arranged a hook-up with a 13 year old boy, who was really an undercover law enforcement officer.
Finally, here is a little moonbattery and obligatory Democrat-bashing: John Hawkins of Right Wing News has compiled the Second Annual Worst Quotes From The Daily Kos. It's a smorgasbord of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Who know that the President of the United States could break up a happy marriage? And then there is this humorous little montage of Liberal Oxymorons. "I'm rich but I care about the poor," and that sort of thing.