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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Friday, October 15, 2010

WORD AROUND THE NET

"Politics is ultimately not reasonable."
-PJ O'Rourke

Geert Wilders, outspoken and sometimes radical opponent of Islam, has been on trial for a few weeks for daring to put out a movie that criticizes the religion. He was arrested for "hate speech" for putting out a movie made almost exclusively of statements by Muslims, showing pictures of Islamic rage and violence as well as the signs they carry in protests. He was charged with
  • Group defamation (article 137c of the Dutch Criminal Code).
  • Inciting hatred against people, i.e. Muslims, on account of their religion (article 137 of the Dutch Criminal Code).
  • Inciting discrimination against people, i.e. Muslims, on account of their religion (article 137d of the Dutch Criminal Code).
  • Inciting hatred against people, i.e. non-western ethnic minorities and/or Moroccans, on account of their race (article 137d of the Dutch Criminal Code).
  • Inciting discrimination against people, i.e. non-western ethnic minorities and/or Moroccans, on account of their race (article 137d of the Dutch Criminal Code).
Wilders made a statement about free speech and then sat down, waiting for the trial to get on. Now, the Dutch prosecution is calling for a full acquittal. Leon DeWinter has the whole story at Pajamas Media.

Here's just one indication of how bad its gotten for Democrats in many states around the US. Democrat Oberstar has represented Minnesota in the House since 1992, serving nine terms. This election cycle he has a grand total of one donor, as in a single person, in his own district. All other donations have come from PACs, out of state, and native American tribes.

Another sign of how bad things are going for Democrats: in an effort to be reelected, Democrat Representative Bill Owens of New York is running an ad bragging about how often he voted the same as House Minority Leader and Republican John Bohner. Yeah, that John Bohner, the one the White House was attacking last week. Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit has the video, and points out that he voted against Bohner on the Government Health Insurance Takeover Act... and pretty much every big spending bill.

Why are people so upset at Democrats? I could write all day on that topic, but here's just two recent examples:
  • Nancy Pelosi flew 85 times on military jets with her family and staff. Not in her career, but since 2009. Total cost? Over $2 million.
  • Barney Frank flew to the Caribbean Islands with a special friend who just happened to be a recipient of TARP bailout funds. The plane ride and vacation was all expenses paid, naturally.
  • Maine Representative Jim McGovern said "I think the Constitution is wrong" at a debate when the campaign finance ruling by the SCOTUS was brought up.
Worry not, though. The Democrats have a plan on how to salvage this election. The first prong of their attack is recounts; as early as June, the Democratic Party's Congressional Committee began the process of hiring lawyers to start the recount fight for any close contest. Sure they lost in Florida in 2000, but they won in Minnesota and Washington State, and 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Prong number two appears to be military ballots. New York's failure to mail out absentee ballots in time for overseas military to vote in time is already known by readers of WATN, but now it seems Illinois did the same thing. Not just parts of Illinois like New York, but the entire state. The Justice Department is actually looking into this case, unlike others. When 70%+ of the military absentee votes are for Republicans, Democrat-controlled states have a lot of incentive to accidentally misplace ballots or mail them out too late to count.

Washington dealt a crushing blow to Democrat hopes in that state by upholding a ban on felons voting. A previous court had ruled the law unconstitutional, but the higher court overruled that decision.

Bizarrely contradicting iits previous months-long narrative, the New York Times recently admitted that, yes, Arizona is actually a really friendly place for immigrants... as long as they are legal. The article by Jason DeParle is behind a subscription wall but it notes that while illegals are being dealt with by the state government - over the opposition of the Obama administration and leftists everywhere - legal immigrants are embraced and beloved by Arizonans, and thus the state is not racist.

Recently Tom Maguire at Just One Minute looked at the strange criminal trial of terrorist suspect Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani. The judge in the case threw out a chunk of evidence because the interrogation techniques used by the military were too strong for civilian trial, but the court and the Obama administration both assure everyone that it won't matter, he still will be found guilty. Why the trial at all? Even if he's found not guilty of the charges he'll still be returned to Guantanamo Bay as a non uniformed combatant. What's the point of this again?

Jerry Brown might have agreed with and endorsed his aide's characterization of gubenatorial rival candidate Meg Whitman as "a whore," but the revelation of this didn't stop the National Organization of Women from endorsing Brown anyway. Because the NOW isn't about women, its about leftist dogma. Which is probably why they can barely pull a few dozen people at their rallies and conventions these days.

Hamilton College requires all freshmen boys to attend a special "men are evil rapists at heart" course or they are throw out of college. Girls need not go to any such course; one wonders if they know Hamilton is deliberately recruiting and admitting people they think are brutal rapists. I wonder if the boys knew they'd have to go to this before they laid down tens of thousands of dollars to attend.

Oath Keepers are a patriot group which fit in the Neapolitano "right wing extremist" group definition issued in early 2009. They're being treated as a militia, but their statement of intent reads like this:
Oath Keepers is a non-partisan association of currently serving military, reserves, National Guard, veterans, Peace Officers, and Fire Fighters who will fulfill the Oath we swore, with the support of like minded citizens who take an Oath to stand with us, to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, so help us God. Our Oath is to the Constitution.
Horrific. The Obama DHS officers were so dismayed by this statement, which is very close to the military and congressional oaths (not to mention presidential) that they are investigating Oath Keepers. Well maybe they can refrain from murdering members like the Clinton Justice Department did in the 90s. So far it only appears they have taken a baby away from an Oath Keepers home and forced the parents to take "violence therapy" classes.

Bedbugs are annoying and unpleasant, but there are worse things on the horizon. Robert Preidt writes at USA Today about how Dengue Fever is on the rise.
Health officials monitoring residents of Key West, Fla., for exposure to dengue virus were alarmed to find that more than 5% of the population (about 1,000 people) were exposed to the pathogen in 2009.
...
Dengue — the most common virus transmitted by mosquitoes — causes up to 100 million infections and 25,000 deaths worldwide each year. Between 1946 and 1980, there were no reported cases of dengue acquired in the continental United States, and there hasn't been an outbreak in Florida since 1934, the CDC said.
I'm sure there's no connection between this and the bans on various pesticides that kept the mosquitoes down as well as the need to build around "wetlands" where they breed.

Sharia-compliant Superheroes who represent various aspects of Muslim faith sounds like an interesting concept for Muslim comic books, but The Hub (formerly Discovery Kids) wants to run the series on cable TV. One has to wonder if they'd welcome Christian superheroes - we've already got a Shinto superhero group with Avatar.

Chevy Volt is an electric car that costs too much but it has always been touted as a huge mileage car that would drive long distances. Except when actually tested by someone other than GM and government publicists, the claims sort of fall apart. Ray Wert at Jalopnik reports:
In August of last year, we heard GM's then-CEO Fritz Henderson claimed with all the marketing might it could muster at a Detroit-area press event, that the Chevy Volt would get 230 MPG in city driving conditions. Now, as the Volt's being tested by the auto trade press, we're seeing some surprisingly low fuel economy figures amid the expected lavish praise buff books are heaping upon the Volt.

Let's see what they've found out. Popular Mechanics saw just 37.5 MPG in city driving.
Other problems? The gas motor runs for more than just charging the engine as they claimed and the range is a fraction of the original claims (around 25 miles). No word yet on speed of recharging, another big claim made by GM.

Seattle is doing something I wish they'd do here. We get at least five phone books a year, and throw all but one out to recycling. The city council of Seattle has approved an "opt out" system in which you can tell phone book providers you're not interested in getting theirs. Providers supposedly have opt out systems available but there's no indication of that in the phone books and no one is aware of them if they actually exist.

Crony "capitalism" rears its hideous head again. This time it's General Electric, megacorporation which owns NBC (and in turn just got bought by even bigger Comcast) who is so strong in their support of President Obama and Democrats that their president has tried to silence and manipulate news that hurts his buddies. In turn, they were given almost $25 million in "stimulus" grants for various projects, according to Fred Lucas at CNS News. That didn't stop the company from laying off 18,000 workers over the last year, however. I guess they were unstimulated.

Speaking of protecting Democrats, a reporter who asked Rahm Emmanuel tough questions at a news conference was bodily threatened by a fellow reporter. Dana Loesch at Big Journalism reports:
In the video you see them physically move to shield Emmanuel from Kelly’s questioning, as though their backs alone would deflect the questions. Kelly is berated and shoved by mainstream media journalists, but the scene stealer is when CBS2’s Jay Levine (who has not responded to my requests for comment) screams at Kelly, “Let him finish or I’m gonna deck you!”
The full video is at Big Government for you to watch. Hard to believe people don't trust the legacy media any longer.

President Obama thinks that the reason there's so much opposition to the Government Health Insurance Takeover Act of 2010 is that he didn't campaign enough on it. Mark Hemingway quotes President Obama at Beltway Confidental:
“We probably spent much more time trying to get the policy right than trying to get the politics right."
Yeah, they spent so much time on policy that no one read the bill, and so little time on politics he only made 54 health care speeches traveling around the country promoting the bill.

Meanwhile, President Obama admitted at The Caucus that there never really were any "shovel ready" jobs like the ones he kept saying the "stimulus" package was going to fund and claimed it was already funding weeks after it passed.

John Hawkins at Right Wing News recently had an interview with writer PJ O'Rourke who said this personal life is conservative but his voting and politics tend to be more libertarian. He also explained why he thinks the trade deficit with China isn't such a big deal:
Adam Smith was the first to point this out in the Wealth of Nations. The common wisdom at the time, mercantilism was the name it went by, was that the way a nation got rich was by exporting things. In return for the exports they'd get gold. And Smith's going, I'm paraphrasing broadly here, "You can't eat gold, you can't kiss gold, and gold won't keep you warm at night. Gold is just gold."

He said the exports, that's real stuff, and you're giving it away in favor of gold. He said imports are the good thing. Imports are when you're getting something you like. You're getting French wine. You're getting American tobacco. You're getting furs from Russia, getting whatever they were getting back in those days. He said exports are the way you pay for those imports. So imports are Christmas morning. Exports are January's Visa bill.
All this and a lot more in the interview with one of the best political writers of our day at RWN.

When word came down the pike that the Army was considering retiring the A-10 "Warthog" close support plane, many like me were very dismayed. Although its slow and not pretty, the A10 is infantry's second best friend after a ticket home, and it is an amazing piece of nearly-indestructible machinery with awesome destructive power. Strategy Page reports that the Army has extended the Warthog's use until at least 2028, which is just great news from where I sit.

Finally, the Congressional Oversight Committee of the treasury's handling of the TARP bailout is finding plenty of problems. The report by this committee finds two major problems, as reported in a Washington Examiner editorial:
First, Treasury has essentially turned over management of TARP to nearly 100 private companies, awarding contracts totaling $434 million. That approach, according to COP, "creates significant concerns about transparency and potential conflicts of interest." Every official document that ends up in a contractor's file is thereby put out of reach of the Freedom of Information Act. Treasury officials have consistently refused to make public documents concerning the performance of these contractors, as well as the terms of the government's contracts with them.
...
Second, the COP panel eviscerates Treasury for its reliance upon Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for major management functions under TARP. As COP Chairman Kaufman explained, "the largest TARP contracts, provided to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, raise particular concerns. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have a history of profound corporate mismanagement, and both companies would have collapsed in 2008 were it not for government intervention. Further, both companies have fallen short in aspects of their performance, making errors and missing deadlines."
Not many people think about this, but it was TARP that triggered the Tea Party Movement. The bailouts drove people nuts as they watched their homes depreciate, lost money, lost houses, and were foreclosed on and saw big business and finance being given a massive bailout by tight cronies in congress. It was, as they say, the last straw after decades of frustration and fury at how the federal government was acting.

And that's the Word Around the Net, October 15, 2010.

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