Barack’s Patriotism

The Mainstream Press begins to notice what conservative bloggers did awhile ago in the wake of Michelle Obama’s statement about being proud of her country “for the first time.” To put it kindly, Barack is ambivalent towards displays of Patriotism.

Benazir: Islam Must Reform or Die

In an exclusive excerpt from the upcoming posthumous Benazir Bhutto book “Reconciliation” Benazir Bhutto states why and how Islamic states must reform to survive in the modern world. It’s sensible, thought provoking, and well-written, another clear reason to mourn her death. Here’s a sample:

The combined GDP of the member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is about the same as that of France, a single European country. More books are translated annually from other languages into Spanish than have been translated into Arabic over the past 100 years. The 15 million citizens of tiny Greece buy more books annually than do all Arabs put together.

The World Bank comparison of average incomes demonstrates a disquieting pattern. In the United States, the average per capita income is almost $38,000; in Israel it is almost $20,000. Pakistan, on the other hand, has an annual per capita income that barely crosses the $2000 mark.

No Muslim nation that is a non-oil producer has an annual per capita income near or above the world average. I find this pattern, these statistics, unacceptable.

The chain must be broken. One direct way to do that would be for the Gulf states to jump-start economic and intellectual development in the rest of the Islamic world.

Please stop by NZHerald to read the whole article, it’s well worth the time spent.

Obama on Gun Control

Buried back ten years you can get an idea of where Barack Obama stands on Gun Control from this note at Jawa.

What else do we know about Obama? Well he likes to use the words “Social Justice” almost as much as Green candidates do, he’s got a solidly liberal voting record in the Senate, and he speaks authoritatively about sweeping, general concepts that few will disagree with, but which are all sound and fury signifying nothing. Peggy Noonan points out that if you just read the transcript, it’s typical political boilerplate without content.

So is Barack just a cult of personality, or is there more to him? I suspect there’s more, but it’s stuff he doesn’t want us to know. Stuff like this, like the upcoming Rezko trial, and other things that will likely come to light if he does become the candidate. The free pass days are over now that he is the front runner for the Democratic nomination.

One other note, also from Jawa – Barack is likely to stumble more often now that he’s in the limelight, as demonstrated by his slip here, where he uses faux-journo Scott Beauchamp as a source.

Greater Hurricane Damage Caused by Population Shifts

The NOAA released a study Thursday which you aren’t going to read much about in the MSM. The study concludes that the greater hurricane damage we are seeing in coastal areas is due to population shifts to those areas rather than more or bigger hurricanes. So the greater damage is due to demographic shifts. Here’s a link to the actual paper. This basically says that a much of the damage increase that we are seeing is due to inflation and more people living in coastal regions – wingnut denialists everywhere are trying to make this out to mean that there’s no AGW, when all actual measure of climate indicate that there is AGW. This paper just means that as sea levels rise we are going to see even more damage than expected.

There’s also some concern in scientific circles regarding the sunspot cycle – normally this would have started in March last year, but so far it’s been a bust with only one abortive sunspot in early Feb this year. The sun is remarkably quiet, and we could be headed into another minimum. The record cools we are seeing recently are anecdotal so far, but they could be indicative of things to come.

Update 5/1/14 – I’ve updated this after finally tracking down the actual paper – the paper doesn’t indicate or say that the damage isn’t because of AGW, it merely states that we are seeing more costs due to several factors. Costs aren’t a measure of AGW, but it’s somewhat likely that we will see costs rise as AGW does.

Satellite Shootdown Success

400px-uss_lake_erie_cg_70_missile_test.jpgIn a great testament to the fact that “Star Wars” does work, and that you can hit a bullet with a bullet, another Reagan legacy shone tonight. The US Navy successfully shot down the failed satellite this evening, preventing a potentially hazardous hydrazine contamination. More from CNN:

An inoperable U.S. spy satellite orbiting 150 miles above Earth was struck Wednesday by a missile fired from a U.S. Navy cruiser, military sources told CNN.

The Pentagon said the window of opportunity to strike the 5,000-pound satellite opened Wednesday, when the space shuttle Atlantis landed in Florida. The Pentagon wanted to be sure the shuttle would not be struck by any debris from a destroyed satellite.

But earlier the official said conditions had to be perfect, and that was not the case Wednesday with swells in the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii running slightly higher than Navy would like. 

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said six- to eight-foot swells were reported in the area through Wednesday night and were not expected to come down until Friday or Saturday.

The United States plans to spend up to $60 million to try to destroy the satellite even though there is only a remote possibility the satellite could fall to Earth, survive re-entry and spew toxic gas in a populated area, said James Jeffrey, deputy national security adviser.

More at Space Daily, from the “US bad, no matter what” angle.

Winter Moon Eclipsed

eclipsed-moon.jpg.

Two photos of tonight’s Lunar eclipse, the first a standard focus to infinity time exposure (you can see how far Earth’s rotation blurred it by the star-trail) The second taken at 1/125th and 1600 ASA. Click the thumbnails to see the large versions.

eclipsed-moon-ii.jpg

Freedom of Speech in Canada: CHRC Investigator Resigns

Update: It’s not often that a rights case become international news  from a free, democratic country, but this one has. That’s because a fundamental freedom of individuals is being trampled by the state, and Canada has been greatly embarrassed by it’s Human Rights Commission’s pursual of this case. In the wake of the charges being dropped the commission investigator has resigned.

Original article:

By now you’ve probably heard that the case against Ezra Levant at the Canadian Human Rights Commission has been dropped by the claimant. The reason is transparent — the case was too widely publicized and likely to fail due to massive public pressure against the CRHC.

I can’t speak for Ezra, but I almost wish the case had proceded — it would have exposed the assault on freedom that the petite-tyrants in the CHRC represent, and it would have done so fully.

As it is, the bounds were exceeded by the commission pursuing the case and that needs to be looked into by either the regular courts or by the legislative bodies in Canada. In my humble opinion Ezra must take this further by filing suit against the CHRC, and by finding a legislative ally willing to call for review or censure of the commission.

Here’s what Ezra has to say about it at his blog:

A word about the actual content of the clip. My favourite part was when Syed Soharwardy explained that he quit his complaint when:

“people were looking at Ezra Levant as a martyr of the freedom of his speech” … ”taking this into a different direction that I did not want.”

Well then! I’m sorry to have been so uncooperative, by saying things that he “did not want” me to say, such as that I (and he) live in Canada, not Saudi Arabia.

Time to take one more look at Soharwardy’s complaint. Look at section F. It’s not even about the fact that I published the cartoons — it’s that I dared to try to defend that decision. It wasn’t the deed that bothered him the most, it was my unwillingness to back down. The bulk of the complaint is about me daring to speak my mind. He complains that I:

  • am “constantly advocating hatemongering cartoons in the media”;
  • “called [Soharwardy] ‘radical’”;
  • “said that the hateful cartoons are justified to be published”.

In other words, it’s not just that I published them. It’s that I didn’t submit to Soharwardy. I kept talking about my freedom. He’s still complaining about that, even now.

Sort of puts a lie to his official excuse for dropping the complaint — that he has now reconciled himself to free speech.

Pakistan Election Initial Results

I’m happy that the vote went ahead, and it seems like it was relatively un-marred. It looks like PML-N is leading by a lot in early tallies, see Metroblogging Islamabad:

MBI initial Election Results

It’s also nice to be able to write a post on Pakistan and just tag it “politics” “Pakistan” and “elections” so I’ll stop writing now.

You Only Thought You Knew How Crazed Code Pink Is

Watch this video — I mean they have a good question… what were we doing in Hawaii? (arrrrggggh!) Just a reminder: Code Pink is for Barack, not Hillary.