Monday, August 30, 2010

The Real “Radicals”

By Bill Wilson
There was a time in the not-too-distant past — 234 years ago to be precise — when the ideas articulated by the tea party movement would have rightly been considered “radical.”
Not just radical in their ideological composition, either, but radical in the more “irrational” sense — in that advancing these ideas was a good way to wind up dead. And that’s exactly what happened to more than 25,000 American Revolutionaries — patriots who gave their lives in order to provide the liberty we enjoy today (and which we now aspire to pass down to future generations).

From its founding documents to the blood that was shed on its battlefields, the American Revolution was by definition “radical.” According to Merriam-Webster, that means it was “marked by a considerable departure from the usual or traditional,” and “tending or disposed to (making) extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions.”

It was also quite clearly “advocating extreme measures” to bring about a new “state of political affairs.”
Get full story here.

The “Green” Stimulus Fails in More Ways than One

By Rick Manning
June, July and August were supposed to be the months. Democrats clinging to re-election hopes just knew that between the artificial job gains from Census Department hiring, the impact of their almost $900 billion in “stimulus” spending, and the tens of billions spent in other programs, that the economy would be roaring, people would be working, and the path to November would be made easier. Their so-called “Recovery Summer” was going to save the day.

Now, as we approach Labor Day, the results are in. Big Government has failed.

Gross Domestic Product, which is the standard measure of economic growth in the country, was revised downward in the second quarter of the year from 2.4% to an estimated 1.6% as private sector employers are opting against expansion in favor of a cautious course.

It’s no wonder. Companies are staring in the face of a basic cost of business increases anticipated in 2011 due to the passage of the health care law.
Get full story here.

Krugman’s Attack on Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap” Perpetuates Entitlement Myths

By Kevin Mooney
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has offered a comprehensive, highly detailed plan for financial and economic renewal that has inspired small government activists across the country. It has also earned positive media coverage from left leaning sources that are normally hostile toward free market concepts.

But the New York Times is not part of this mix. Columnist Paul Krugman claims Ryan’s plan is an unrealistic giveaway to the rich. He is agitated, if not panicked. An audacious proposal aimed at reforming collapsing entitlements, reducing debt and alleviating burdensome taxation has been on the receiving end of positive press coverage.

It must therefore be taken down and discredited as an unrealistic sham replete with tax favors for the rich. Even as The Washington Post and other left-leaning publications provide readers with a balanced and comprehensive critique, it is instructive to note that The New York Times feels a need to perpetuate entitlement illusions.

Get full story here.

In AL Central, Manny Shifts Balance of Power & Balance of Braids

mannyramirezinatimbrownjersey.jpg The honeymoon in Chavez Ravine, as they say, is over. I'd say the writing is on the wall, but for some time, the writing has actually been removed from the left field wall: Manny Ramirez is leaving Los Angeles after leading the team to the promised LCS for two straight seasons and heading eastbound and down to the second place White Sox. I'd like to call this a trade, but with no players heading west, it's a complete and total salary dump. It's four point three million dollars that the McCourts can put towards some more useful expense, like phrenology.

Along with general manager Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen, Manny fills out the third slot in the South Side triumvirate of crazy minorities; he replaces owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who could never truly approach the level of "what's he going to do next?" questioning. All Reinsdorf ever did on that dumb White Sox reality show on MLB Network was share a bowl of matzoh ball soup with Bud Selig. Boring. Manny is here now to up the wackiness and sell some grills.

Odd, isn't it, that on the same weekend the Manny Ramirez trade to Chicago was getting the final touch-ups and signatures that Jim Thome, the former White Sock spurned by Kenny and Ozzie who signed instead with the division-rival Twins, was pulled from two games with a bad back. Thome's been nothing short of magnificent for the first place Twins this year. But it is not outside the realm of possibility that Manny, at DH in a tidy hitters park in Chicago, makes up for five Thome-less months in just four short weeks.
Because after choosing not to sign Thome, the White Sox instead have marched out a series of crappy DHs that rivaled anything the weak-hitting Royals could produce. When "Mendoza Line" Mark Kotsay is getting the plurality of DH at-bats for your favorite team, you begin wishing that American League pitchers would just start hitting again. Manny needs the designated hitter position as much as the DH needs Manny. It just makes sense.

Manny Ramirez brings no guarantees in his carry-on luggage from L.A. and the White Sox make no promises to their fans. They're four and a half games behind the Twins and possess but a mere 8.6% chance to make the playoffs. Fortunately for the ChiSox, they have three remaining games left against the Twins. Unfortunately for the ChiSox, they have seven remaining games against the Red Sox. Fortunately for the ChiSox, they have thirteen remaining games against the Royals, Tigers, and Indians. Unfortunately for the ChiSox, the frogurt is also cursed.

Conclusion: all I want to see is a close race in the AL Central, and Manny at DH in Chicago might make that happen.

Arson at site of Islamic center in Tennessee

We may not know who did this, but I think we know what caused it (and who, ultimately, is behind it):

Federal officials are investigating a fire that started overnight at the site of a new Islamic center in a Nashville suburb.

Ben Goodwin of the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department confirmed to CBS Affiliate WTVF that the fire, which burned construction equipment at the future site of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, is being ruled as arson.

Special Agent Andy Anderson of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told CBS News that the fire destroyed one piece of construction equipment and damaged three others. Gas was poured over the equipment to start the fire, Anderson said.

It's anti-Muslim bigotry, of course, but at this time, with conservatives like Palin and Gingrich screaming about the "Ground Zero mosque" and targeting Muslims as the anti-American Other, as jihadists to a man, woman, and child, is it any wonder we're seeing more of this lately? 

Palin, Gingrich, and their right-wing ilk -- and there are many of them, showing up regularly on Fox News and spewing their venom wherever they can -- may not have set the equipment on fire, but they certainly provided the gas.

(For more, see Greenwald.)

Beck Versus Sharpton ...Whose Dream?

Today saw two diametrically opposed rallies in by FOX News and talk radio personality Glenn Beck dubbed the Restoring Honor rally and another by 'activist' Al Sharpton designed specifically to counter Beck's rally called 'Reclaim the Dream.'

The name of Sharpton's rally comes from the fact that today was the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's famous "I have a dream " speech.

In view of that, it's worth looking at what occurred at the two rallies and the speakers who were there, the nature of the media coverage and most importantly, which rally best mirrored the ideals espoused by Dr. King.

Beck's event was deliberately non-political in nature. He focused on honoring America's military, calling on the nation to revitalize its religious faith and honor the principles on which the country was founded.

It was also a charity event that raised $5.5 million, for the veterans' charity Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

The speakers included Beck, Cardinal's star Alfred Pujols, Sarah Palin and Dr. Alveda King, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s niece.

The message of all of the speakers was largely religious and patriotic in tone, with little or no political content.

There were references during the rally to Mr. King's famous appeal in 1963 that people be judged by their character rather than their skin color. "We are a nation that has terrible, terrible scars, but we must look past them,'' Mr. Beck said. "We must look at the person inside.''

Taking the stage early as the warm up, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, told the crowd that she was speaking not as a politician but "as something much more -- the mother of a combat veteran."
"May this day be the change point," she said. "Let's stand together. Let's restore America."

Beck called for America to set itself back on course. "We must advance or perish," he said. "And I choose advance."

He predicted that the rally would "start the heart of America again."

Glenn Beck's full speech is here

Crowd estimates? between 300,000 and 500,000.

Now let's look at Reverend Al's counter demonstration.

The crowd consisted of 2,500-3,000 sullen activists and rent-a-bodies from the SEIU, the NAACP and Sharpton's own group, the National Action Network.There were so few people there that Sharpton instructed the line to march single file for the cameras to appear larger.

"Like Dr. King, we believe that the bank of justice is not bankrupt," she said. "We thank you God for raising up President Barack Obama as a small down payment on that dream." - Barbara Skinner-Williams, Head of the Skinner Leadership Institute.

"We will not stand silent as some seek to bamboozle Dr. King's dream... We reclaim the dream of Dr. King for the 21st century." - Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League.

“Shame on them. We still have a dream. We are here to let those folks on the Mall know that they don’t represent the dream. They sure as hell don’t represent me. They represent hate-mongering and angry white people. The happy white people are here today. We will not let them stand in the way of the change we voted for!" - Jaime Contreras, local SEIU president

“They (referring to the Beck rally) want to disgrace this day. We won't let them..

“They may have the mall, but we have the message. They may have the platform, but we have the dream. The dream was not about state's rights..and those that are trying to take his place are trying to nullify." Al Sharpton

So let's compare the two rallies again.

We have a charity event that raised $5.5 million for a veteran's charity, drew 300,000 - 500,000 people and focused on non-political themes of unity, faith and patriotism.

And then we have another rally that drew 2,500 - 3,000 people that focused on racial bean counting, divisiveness, grievance mongering and partisan politics.

With that in mind, let's look at how the dinosaur media and the flacks for the Ruling Class portrayed Al Sharpton's little circus. Just a few examples:

From the Washington Post: 'Sharpton's 'Reclaim the Dream' event brings thousands to honor MLK'

From Newsday: 'Beck rally draws big crowd as Sharpton leads thousands honoring King'

From the Government sponsored Voice of America: Civil rights leaders criticize 'Restore Honor' rally

From the Baltimore Sun: Glenn Beck's Rally: Stealing King's moral authority

From CNN: Sharpton-led rally recalls King's "Dream" speech

From Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times:Boorish Beck Makes Mockery of King's Dream

In the end, it comes down to who really exemplified Dr. King's ideals.

Whatever one might say about Glenn Beck, he has never publicly used racial or anti-Semitic slurs, never deliberately exacerbated racial divisiveness, never led a pogrom against Jews in a place like Crown Heights, never falsely libeled a state prosecutor over a cooked up phony race baiting scheme and has not made a career out of leaching off other people's money.

What does it say about these people when they're willing to look at a race pimp and anti-Semite like Al Sharpton and applaud him for the color of his skin (and his politics) over the content of his character?

Hurricane Earl Aims For East Coast

Hurricane Earl was upgraded to a "major category three" storm this morning by the National Hurricane Center. It looks like Labor Day Weekend could be rather wild for some of us. The last hurricane to hit the northeast was 1991's Hurricane Bob.

Teen's Life Tragically Ended At Today's MotoGP Race

The life of 13-year-old Peter Lenz tragically came to an end today during a warm-up event for younger competitive motorcylists at today's running of the MotoGP motorcycle race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Lenz was struck by another young motorcyclist after he spilled his bike in the fourth turn of the track. According to WTHR, Lenz had already won nine national championships, countless awards and more than 100 wins during his short career. His father posted the following message on Facebook after the tragic loss of his son's life:

"Peter passed away early this morning when he was apparently struck by another rider. He passed doing what he loved and had his go fast face on as he pulled onto the track. The world lost one of its brightest lights today. God Bless Peter and the other rider involved. #45 is on another road we can only hope to reach. Miss you kiddo. - Dad"
A number of riders complained after Saturday's qualifications for today's MotoGP race that track conditions were bad and led to a number of crashes. WTHR reported on the competitor's complaints:

"Seventy percent of this track needs to be resurfaced - not just that; it really needs to be ripped up, smoothed out again and resurfaced. The curves on this joint, we don't need all those draining points in there. You may as well be riding around the streets and I'm sure that except for around here a lot of streets would be a lot smoother than this joint. So it's not much of a race track," said Casey Stoner.

"The conditions of the track are quite difficult for everyone. It's so bumpy, the track, compared to a normal track, especially to the last track in Bruno. The conditions don't give you the best confidence," said Jorge Lorenzo.
Spain's Dani Pedrosa won today's MotoGP race at the Speedway. News reports indicated attendance at this year's event like other events held this year at the IMS were down considerably over previous years.

No One Can Say He’s Shai By Joe Siano

I had the honor of participating in a forum on the immigration issue on Thursday evening.  The meeting was produced by Today’s News NJ and moderated by Richard Lee of the Hall Institute of Public Policy.

Joining me on the panel were:

·         Adrianne Knobloch of Tax Revolt NJ and a realtor by trade
·         Dr. Gayle Kesselman co-Chair of NJ Citizens for Immigration Control
·         William Garces, Esq, founder and managing partner of Garces & Grabler
·         Shai Goldstein – Executive Director NJ Immigration Policy Network

Ms. Knobloch and Dr. Kesselman kicked off the discussion from what I would characterize as a conservative perspective.  Both offered compelling accounts of the social and economic challenges that undocumented aliens bring to New Jersey.  Ms. Knobloch spoke mostly from first hand experience stemming form her real estate business while Dr. Kesselman based her presentation on mostly secondary statistical data.

I have no doubt that the problems that they presented are very real.  My main objection was to their conclusions that the problems that they outlined were the fault of the immigrants.  I see the issue as one of a failed welfare state combined with statist no-growth economic policies that create misery for everyone.

Mr. Garces took a human interest approach by relating the inspirational story of his own father who arrived in America unable to speak English, took a janitor’s job, got an education and worked his way up to being a top research scientist at a major corporation.  While Mr. Garces was very sympathetic to the plight of immigrants, he is also cognizant of the threats that unbridled immigration poses to taxpayers within our current welfare state.

My presentation was based upon the precepts of Classical Liberalism that inform our founding documents as well as free market Austrian economics.  From a libertarian perspective, I support the free movement of people to better their lives.  However this must be balanced with the reality that America cannot afford to provide no-charge social welfare services to millions of undocumented aliens who are not paying into the system.  In a nutshell, my position reflects Milton Friedman’s axiom that, “You cannot simultaneously have free immigration and a welfare state…As long as you have a welfare state, I do not believe you can have a unilateral open immigration.”

Then came Mr. Goldstein.  His performance did nothing to edify us the audience regarding immigration policy.  But it did teach us plenty about demagoguery.

His first tactic was to claim “victimhood” by asserting that he was being ganged up on by a panel that was stacked against him 4-1.  Clearly not true.  As you can see from the above the breakout was, at worst, 2-2-1.

His next parry was to question the veracity of the two female panelists by denigrating their presentations as “lies, damned lies and statistics”.

He followed up this with an impressive combination of cheap shots and low blows that were reminiscent of vintage Bruce Lee in their speed, fury and intensity.  These included:

·         Name calling by inferring that other  panelists were “bigots”, “fear mongers” and perhaps even “white supremacists”
·         Playing the race card by saying that the forum was skewed because there were no African-Americans present.  In fact there were several in the room who voiced opinions that did not sit well with Mr. Goldstein.  Therefore he discounted them.
·         Distraction and divisiveness by introducing the libertarian position on drug policy and trying to use it as wedge between me and the other panelists.
·         Discrediting the panel’s competency to even discuss the issue by claiming that this topic should only be legitimately addressed by an authority figure with an advanced degree in Urban Studies.
·         Misrepresentation by inferring that Richard Land and the Southern Baptist Convention supports open immigration while, in reality, their approach is more in keeping the common sense libertarian position that I advocated.
·         Being just plain rude, talking over, shouting down and trying to intimidate everyone in the room.  There is just no excuse for bad manners.

Once his tirade was completed, Mr Goldstein ran home for cover well before the discussion was concluded.  In fact, Mr. Goldstein completely disregarded the moderator’s instructions to give an opening statement outlining his position and to refrain in that statement from commentary on the other panelists positions.  He simply went straight into attack mode.

Mr. Goldstein, we are still waiting to hear a well reasoned and dispassionate discourse on your immigration policy.  We promise that we will listen respectfully.

However, we do thank you for a vivid demonstration of what statists do when they have no reasonable or defensible positions to put forward.

Libya’s Gaddafi upsets Italy with bid to convert women to Islam

gaddafi 1 
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s attempt to convert dozens of young women to Islam during a visit to Italy led to an angry reaction from Italian media on Monday. The mercurial Gaddafi invited a large group of young women hired by a hostessing agency to an event at a Libyan cultural centre in Rome on Sunday and tried to convert them to Islam.

“What would happen if a European head of state went to Libya or another Islamic country and invited everyone to convert to Christianity?” asked the daily Il Messagero. “We believe it would provoke very strong reactions across the Islamic world.”
(Photo: Italian woman with Koran at Gaddafi meeting, 30 August 2010/Max Rossi)
gaddafi 2Press reports said three women had converted, but there was no way to verify if that was true. The event, due to be repeated on Monday, followed a similar reception involving some 200 women on a previous visit by Gaddafi to Rome last year.
Italy is now Libya’s biggest trading partner and buys much of its oil and gas from the energy-rich North African state. Libya is also a big investor in the Italian economy. But many commentators were not happy. “The national interest does not justify and certainly does not require anyone to agree to playing host to grotesque acts of clowning,” wrote La Stampa in an editorial.

Leading Israeli Rabbi and Shas Party Leader Calls for a Plague on President Mahmoud Abbas and The Palestinian People Before The Start of Negotiations

Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef called for a lethal plague on the head of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian people — shortly before the start of negotiations with the Palestinians.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday distanced himself from Yosef’s comments. A spokeman said that praying for death and plague on the Palestinian people (and specifically its president) does not “represent the views of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu or the Israeli government.” That is reassuring. It makes negotiations a bit awkward when you are waiting for a plague to kill the guy across the table and all of the men, women and children in his country.

According to reports, Yosef used his weekly sermon to call for death of Abbas and all Palestinians — praying for “the Lord strike them down.”

Yosef has been known to make other shocking statements, including his recent denouncing of the secular education system and calling some secular people “fools” who behave like “animals.” He later added that parents who send their children to secular schools will be punished in both this world and the afterlife.
Source: JPost


Mel B & Stephen Belafonte Divorcing?

Mel B and Stephen Belafonte pics Mel B & Stephen Belafonte Divorcing?
Mel B is remaining tight-lipped about marital problems but her hubby, Stephen Belafonte, reportedly spoke to Britian’s Mirror paper saying the marriage is over.  Read what Stephen Belafonte said below.

Film producer Stephen Belafonte told the Mirror,  “Dude, it’s over. Mel’s coming back to the UK soon – but I won’t be coming with her.”

Belafonte has reportedly spoken to lawyers in Los Angeles about getting a divorce from the former Spice Girl.

Mel B, whose real name is Melanie Brown, and Belafonte wed in 2007 just six months after Mel’s divorce from comedian/actor Eddie Murphy.

And now it looks like they will be divorcing after three years of marriage.  Belafonte stated,  “There’s been problems lately. I don’t know what’s happening.”

A friend of Mel’s stated,  “They’ve not been happy for a long time and there’s been rowing.  Mel’s been talking about getting out. They’re still talking to see if things can be worked out. But she’s making plans to come back to the UK on a more ­permanent basis. Stephen hasn’t been ­mentioned as joining her and has been consulting lawyers.”

Another source said, “Part of the problem is jealousy. They are both livid when the other one gets ­attention for another person. They constantly want to know where the other one is… it’s been an ongoing problem right from the start.”

Gulf Coast slowly rebuilds five years after Hurricane Katrina

By Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Five years after the devastating effects of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, rebuilding efforts are still very much a work in progress. Many, but not all, Gulf Coast residents have returned and although many homes and buildings have been rebuilt, more still needs to be done.

Amid the ongoing recovery, many exasperated locals say they just want to move on, especially as the nation remembers the five-year anniversaries of Hurricane Katrina, which slammed into the Gulf Coast Aug. 29, and Hurricane Rita, which made landfall in Texas and Louisiana Sept. 24.

Moving past the collective grief and frustration of Katrina is the impetus behind a scheduled ecumenical service at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Parish in Chalmette, La., Aug. 28 dubbed "a funeral for Katrina." The church is located in the largest city in St. Bernard's Parish, a civil entity just east of New Orleans that was almost entirely flooded from the breached levees and has yet to completely recover. According to U.S. Census Bureau reports, the region is only half as populated as it was before the storm.

New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond and other religious and community leaders were to direct the service where participants will be invited to write their feelings on strips of paper and toss them into a casket. After the service, the casket will be loaded into a horse-drawn vehicle and a high school jazz band will lead the funeral procession to the local cemetery to place the coffin in a newly built Katrina memorial vault.

A parish bulletin announcement of the event said: "It is time to move on with our lives and put Katrina to final rest. Many of us have already moved on, and the community is experiencing renewal and much growth."
A big part of moving on depends on the help people received and continue to get after the largest natural disaster in U.S. history. Catholic Charities USA outlined the broad extent of its outreach in a new report "Katrina & Rita: Five Years Later."

The report notes that the national organization raised $163 million for hurricane relief. Of these funds, $116 million went to Louisiana, $23 million to Mississippi and $13 million to Texas. Five other jurisdictions -- Florida, District of Columbia, Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee -- received more than $1 million for their assistance to evacuees.
In the five years since Katrina, Catholic Charities New Orleans alone distributed $55 million in direct financial assistance to those in need, provided 335,000 nights of shelter, gutted and rebuilt 3,200 homes, distributed 250 million pounds of food and provided counseling for 900,000 people.

Since Katrina, the organization has increased its efforts on preparing for future disasters.

"Now we've got a plan for whatever comes our way," said Carol Spruell, communications coordinator for Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has told reporters that his office is similarly better prepared for a major disaster after being severely criticized five years ago for a perceived slow response.

In the days before Katrina's fifth anniversary, U.S. government officials announced more than $25 million in aid for newly approved Gulf Coast rebuilding projects, which includes $11 million to the state of Louisiana to help rebuild the student center at Xavier University in New Orleans -- the country's only historically black Catholic university.

Xavier University was virtually underwater after Katrina. When floodwaters subsided, they left behind layers of mildew and mold along with damaged books, furniture, carpeting and a buckled hardwood gym floor. The storm also destroyed buildings and ripped off roofs.

Since then, the university has focused on getting back on track. This fall semester it opens a new wing at its College of Pharmacy and starts construction on a chapel in honor of the university's founder, St. Katharine Drexel. It is also starting work on a new student center and other campus building renovations.

President Barack Obama was scheduled to speak at the school Aug. 29. Members of his Cabinet and other administration officials were making several stops in New Orleans and at least one stop in Mississippi to mark the storm's anniversary and emphasize recovery and restoration efforts.

Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, planned similar visits to local Catholic Charities agencies.

Sarah Comiskey McDonald, director of communications for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, told Catholic News Service that FEMA had given the archdiocese about $61.9 million by the end of 2009 for rebuilding, repairs and alternate projects. The archdiocese anticipates receiving another $108.1 million for ongoing repairs and upgrades.

Although Mississippi has received less attention than New Orleans, the state's coast was devastated when the hurricane hit and some areas are still struggling to recover. In the Diocese of Biloxi, schools and churches damaged from wind and severe flooding are slowly being repaired.In some cases destroyed or damaged schools have merged and some churches will not be rebuilt.

When Katrina hit Mississippi, the sign outside Our Lady of the Gulf Church in Bay St. Louis read: "Sometimes, you have to lose everything in order to do anything."

The irony of the message is not lost on the pastor, Father Michael Tracey. In the Aug. 20 edition of the Gulf Pine Catholic, diocesan newspaper of Biloxi, the priest said the electronic parish sign will reflect the same message this Aug. 29.

"This time," he said, "rather than being providential or prophetic, it may be a sign of realistic hope, lessons learned and providential care."