Monday, January 31, 2011

Looters And Vandals Break Into The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities In Cairo

As the riots continue to rage in Cairo, and other parts of Egypt, one of their targets was the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities (aka, Cairo National Museum):

I had the opportunity to go to the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities back in April, 2009 (I still have my ticket stub, too. It is beautiful.). It is an incredible building in and of itself, but it is what is contained inside that is just breath-taking. This sphinx stands guard:

This museum is jam-packed with antiquities, the likes of which many of us, myself included, have only read about in history books, or seen on television. One could literally spend months in there, and not see it all.

One of the most amazing exhibits contained within this museum is the complete burial chamber of King Tutankhamun. The entire thing is there. Think of a rectangular nesting doll, with the largest one as large as a good-size room. Each one contained artifacts of tremendous value, and each one was set apart. One room alone was dedicated to the jewelry and riches contained within the burial chamber, including this famous image:

Below is a shot of the Entry to the Burial Chamber:

The following is the actual coffin for King Tut:

All of this, and so much more - more than you can possibly imagine - are housed in this museum in Cairo (unfortunately, cameras were NOT allowed inside the museum, so I am unable to show you any personal photographs of the National Museum). That this unbelievable treasure - the entire museum, that is - had been unguarded is shocking. While the looters may not have gotten away with much, it is a shame they ever had the opportunity to even gain access to this museum at all. Sadly, the vandals did do some damage to these ancient artifacts.

Thank heavens there are some Egyptians who stepped in to protect their national, global, antiquities. Who knows what could have been had they not done so, and had armed guards not finally been called in? I am grateful that we do not have to find that out.

And while I cannot show you what was inside, I can show you that I was there (I do hope guards are protecting the Pyramids and the Sphinx):

To say this is a disturbing time in Egypt is an understatement. Curfews continue to be ignored, tanks are rolling into the city of Cairo, and protests continue to rage. But for now, while the future for this country is uncertain, at least the history is safe...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Has It Really Been A Year Already

Since my mom died? Yes, indeed it has. Today, Sunday, is the one year anniversary of my mother dying. It is still hard for me to believe she is gone. Still hard to believe I cannot just pick up the phone and call her, to tell her about a book I read, or what is going on with the construction (or lack thereof). I still check the answering machine when I come in to see if she has left a message.

There is so much I learned from my mother (that's my younger brother and me with her), things that pop into my head completely unbidden. Like her voice telling me the best way to prepare a particular dish, for instance, as I am working in the kitchen. Or when I glance and see one of her treasured cookbooks on the shelf. Mom was a great cook - everyone loved her food, and she always made plenty for everyone. I remember, as a very small child, "helping" Mom make biscuits in the kitchen. She had a stool for me to stand on, and gave me a bottle cap so I could make child-size biscuits to her grown-up ones. Or how I helped her make fried okra (if you think you don't like okra, it's just because you haven't had it fried until it is crunchy - yum).

My love of animals no doubt came from my mother. From early on, she helped convince my dad to let us have a pony, then a horse, plus numerous cats and dogs. I remember walking home from junior high school with a kitten someone found at the school. Mom never turned away an animal, and somehow, smoothed it over with Dad. If I was sick, Mom would take care of my horse, not one of my four siblings, but Mom. She just loved animals, a love and interest we shared.

We have two of her pets with us, one we got when he was a kitten (Bug) because he was too crazy for my dad. (That's Bug in the photo above, whom we refer to as "Bugs Buddy." I cannot tell you the number of "dog" people who have fallen in love with this cat. He is something else, that's for sure - convinced we built our log home as his own private jungle gym.)

The other pet of Mom's we have is her beloved dog, Dorothy, on whom Mom doted. Mom was just crazy about this dog. One of the nicest things about the very nice facility in which Mom finished out her days after her stroke was that they allowed people to bring in pets. We were able to take Dorothy to see Mom a couple of weeks before Mom died.

We got our horse, Jordan, with Mom. Every time we talked about Jordan, or she saw him, she would always said, "He is SO big!" At 16.2 hh, he is a pretty big horse. Good thing he's such a sweetheart (um, Jordan is sticking his tongue out in response to my partner explaining to him I was not with her because I had just had surgery on my knee). Mom loved Jordan, as she did all horses, a love she definitely passed on to me.

There is so much I learned from Mom, so much I appreciated about Mom, and so much I miss about Mom. She was a lovely, gracious, funny, artistic woman with a heart of gold. She never met a stranger, and all were welcome in her home. The lessons she taught me will remain with me always. And I will always miss her. I love you, Mom.

Friday, January 28, 2011

So It Continues - Racism And Sexism In 2012!

All in one post! Whee!! Ahem. Yes, once again, racism is being touted as the cause for the landslide shift in the 2010 election, according to Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA). Good grief.

Yes, Rep. Moran made this ludicrous charge in an interview with an Arab TV station (honestly, I am having a hard time writing this, I am just so incredulous that this is his delusional rationale for the Election results. WOW.). Here is what the Representative from Virginia said:
[snip] The Virginia Democrat told Alhurra that Republicans gained 63 seats in the House "for the same reason the Civil War happened in the United States."

"The Civil War happened because the Southern states, particularly the slaveholding states, didn't want to see a president who was opposed to slavery," Moran said. "In this case a lot of people in this country, I believe, don't want to be governed by an African American, particularly one who is inclusive, who is liberal, who wants to spend money on everyone and who wants to reach out to include everyone in our society." [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

Can you believe this shit? Bringing up the Civil War as a justification for this absurd, obscene, ridiculous charge? What the hell is wrong with Moran?

Let me help you understand what happened in 2010, Rep. Moran. The reason for the huge shift was your party shoving a massive, costly health care law, that none of you bozos bothered to read, down the throats of Americans after we screamed our heads off telling you in every way we could we DID NOT WANT IT. It is because Unemployment in this country is still EXCEEDINGLY high, currently being touted at 9.4%, but that does not include the underemployed. It is because foreclosures in this country are expected to hit a record high in 2011. It is because the debt you and your cronies are running up just this year is $1.5 TRILLION dollars, added to the over $14 trillion we are in debt, a debt that has escalated under your party's, and Obama's, "leadership."

I could go on and on, but it is clear you aren't listening to what the people have been saying. No matter how clearly we have been telling you. This isn't about race, this is about one party dominating the political landscape and doing what they wanted to do, and not what they people who sent them to DC wanted them to do. Seriously, using a charge of racism in the face of the reality of what is going on in our country is delusional at best. Using a charge of racism, or Nazism, as your colleague, Rep. Cohen (D-TN), did recently, is offensive, gutless, and an attempt at silencing all opposition.

With all due respect (as much as I can muster for someone who uses such a ridiculous charge), you need to look in the mirror, look at your party, look at what you are doing to this country, rather than cast aspersions. The Democratic Party has no one to blame but itself for what happened in 2010, and it has zero to do with race.

And now to the sexism portion of the post. I received a lovely email from a faithful No Quarter reader, Candy*, who wrote about the way Google organizes responses to a search on Sarah Palin. She noted that the primary results are largely negative, with only a few favorable ones tossed in here or there. I have no doubt she is right. (Photo credit: October 22, 2010, Photo by Matt Stroshane/Getty Images North America)

For instance, if you did a search right this minute, one of the very top articles is one that made me throw up in my mouth a bit. Here is the headline: "Tracy Morgan: Palin Is 'Good Masturbation Material,'" complete with video of Morgan saying this. TNT was quick to apologize for this remark on their show, "Inside The NBA," after they started getting emails about it, that is. But hey, still, they did apologize. One of the hosts, Ernie Johnson, did try to change the topic quickly, and to cut Morgan off, but it was already out there. Wow.

Many of us remember all too well how Google operated during the 2008 campaign. Many people complained about the bias way it presented its search results. Apparently, with some justification, as this article in Politico would indicate, "Obama-Google Connection Scares Competitors." Uh huh, I bet. Though I would not hold my breath for any official acknowledgment, as the article makes clear:
[snip] Google says that Schmidt was acting on his own, and his politics don’t reflect the company’s official stance.

“Eric’s endorsement of Sen. Obama was a personal matter, and as a company Google was neutral in the campaign,” said Adam Kovacevich, Google’s senior manager of global communications and public affairs. “We look forward to working with the new administration and congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle to keep the Internet open and to promote economic growth.”

Obama’s transition team declined comment. [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

Show of hands - who believes the Google guy? Anyone? Anyone? Yeah, me neither. Especially since Obama's own team declined comment. Many of us remember having to grab snapshots of images before they got scrubbed from Google (yes, they may have gone up initially, but often got taken down). And, many of us remember Google not allowing anti-Obama blogs during the 2008 campaign. I am going to guess there may be more of the same now, especially given the close relationship between Obama and Google's owner, Eric Scmidt.

But hey, don't take my word for it. How about a little exercise - do a search on Google for Sarah Palin, and see what comes up. See how far you have to go to find something positive on her that does not come from, say, Fox News or American Thinker. Better yet, try to find a site for photos of her that do NOT have sexually suggestive photo-shopped pictures. Then try another search engine and see what happens. I am curious to see what you all find. Please feel free to share.

Finally, here's a challenge for the Democrats as they gear up (or continue) the campaign for Obama for 2012: Please refrain from calling those who do not support Obama racists, or Nazis, or any of the other smears you have used against us in the past. Our opposition has absolutely nothing to do with the color of Obama's skin, but with his policies and actions (along with the actions of many others in the Democratic Party, like Nancy Pelosi, who helped to craft Obamacare). Instead of using such highly charged rhetoric, try listening for a change at why people in this country are unhappy. Try looking at what is really going on with the economy, with the deficit, with people's very lives. You know, what you were sent to Washington to do. Just a thought.

*Candy, thank you so much for the email. I appreciate your taking the time to write me, and appreciate your kind words. Thank you!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Touch Me? Sue YOU, Touch Me"

That is the revised philosophy of "Screw me? Screw You, Screw Me" since the institution of Government Sanctioned sexual assaults by TSA agents. At least as far as former Governor, Jesse Ventura is concerned.

Yes, recently the former governor of Minnesota suffered the indignity others of us have had to endure, and his response is to sue the Department of Homeland Security and TSA for unlawful, warrantless search. And why was the good former governor given the TSA assault treatment? He had a titanium hip replacement.

Welcome to my world, Governor.

Yes, like me, rather than use a wand to search the former governor, he was subjected to the same sexual assault numerous other Americans have had to suffer. He had this to say about it:
[snip]Rather than being scanned with a hand-held wand, he says he was subjected to an intrusive pat-down that "exposed him to humiliation and degradation through unwanted touching, gripping and rubbing of the intimate areas of his body."

Ventura, who was governor of Minnesota from 1999 through 2002, says such searches not only intrude on his "personal privacy and dignity" but cause him to be concerned about his "personal health and well-being."

Ventura asked a federal judge in Minnesota to issue an injunction so he would no longer be subjected to "warrantless and suspicionless" scans and searches. [snip]

Right there with ya, brother. Ventura's lawyer, David Olsen, cites these reasons for the lawsuit:
[snip] "He's made a decision that someone needs to make a stand and he's not one to back down from a fight," said Olsen. "He sees the erosion of civil liberties here and he's willing to stand up not only for himself, but for others."

The suit names Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and TSA Administrator John Pistole as defendants. [snip] (Click HERE to read the rest.)

Good for Governor Ventura. This kind of treatment of law-abiding citizens simply because they/we have purchased an airplane ticket and had to suffer from a joint replacement should not also have to suffer this kind of indignity, this assault. There is no other word for it but that.

I was curious, given the outrage and brouhaha over these illegal searches if Obama would mention it in his SOTU address, you know, like maybe they were going to stop doing them, and return to using a wand should the need arise.

Well, Obama said something about it alright:

Ahahahaha - so very funny, President Obama. What a freakin' jokester you are. For those of us who have been sexually assaulted by the TSA, elderly people, children, folks with joint replacements, colostomy bags, et. al, this is no laughing matter. Add to that people who have been sexually assaulted previously in their lives. This kind of thing, this public assault and indignity, can make those assaults fly to the fore of someone's life, doubly victimizing them.

And Obama makes a joke about it. That is just cruel. Cruel and mean-spirited. That is one of the big problems with Obama - he has no compassion, or certainly does not appear to have any.

The ACLU is none too happy about this little "joke" of Obama's either. The ACLU is collecting information from travelers, including me, about these "pat-downs," and is working on a case to end this un-Constitutional practice.

As for me, I wish I could join in with Governor Ventura on this lawsuit. I wish I had thought quickly enough to have my partner photograph these assaults/pat-downs. And, for our next upcoming trip, we will be driving - from the Charleston, SC area to Miami, FL (for a cruise) rather than flying. I cannot, I WILL not, go through that again, certainly not so soon after the last indignity.

That the Dept. of Homeland Security, specifically Janet Napolitano, continues to assert this is the way to go, and that the president of the United States, rather than ceasing this horrendous practice, makes a joke about it, is telling indeed. What it says is that our leaders do not have our best interests in mind. That they do not care about our civil liberties being trashed by the very people who have sworn to up hold them. To them, this is a joking manner.

Mr. President, government sanctioned sexual assault is no joke. Shame on you for even treating it as such. This practice should be ended, and now. Oh, and try something new and different next time, like a little bit of compassion, would you? Just a thought...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Birthers! Truthers! Mama Grizzlies! Tea Partiers!

(Or the more offensive, homophobic term for Tea Partiers.) Crosshairs! Targets!

The list could go on of the labels attached to groups of people or concepts by the media when they want to discount, demean, belittle, discourage discussion, demonize a group, or frame the issue how they want it to be, rather than how it is.

We saw this just recently with pundits rushing to frame the Tucson shootings as ratcheted up Republican rhetoric - falsely, as the facts later showed - from big time sources like the NY Times (Paul Krugman), Huffington Post (Arianna herself), DailyKos, and on and on. The shooting of Rep. Giffords and the other 18 victims was immediately put in the context of Republican political rhetoric being to blame for the actions of the shooter within a few hours of the event. Now, even though this meme has been proven wrong, pundits continue to say things like, "rightly or wrongly, the issue of civility is now front and center." Well, it is WRONGLY, but every time they mention it, they continue to perpetuate this false meme. Civility had nothing to do with it at all, but now, whenever this issue comes up, like Pavlov and his dogs, that is what we think.

This ratchet response, ingrained in us by the media, is coming up again this week in terms of Obama's birth certificate. A couple of articles have surfaced in which the Governor of Hawaii, Neil Abercrombie, in an attempt to dispel once and for all the allegations that Obama is not a natural born citizen, was unable to find his birth certificate. Oops. Apparently, there is a notation of Obama's birth, but no long form has surfaced.

Additionally, a former Hawaii elections official, Tim Adams, has sworn, under oath, that neither hospital in Honolulu has a record of Obama's birth. He doesn't stop there - he goes on to say he was told there was no long form, and also to stop mucking around in this issue.

I am not getting into whether or not Obama is, or is not, a natural born citizen. That is not the point here. Check your response to what I wrote. Even bringing up this issue, no matter how or what has been discovered, is generally discounted as a crazy conspiracy theory, and that it is CRAZY to even mention it.

And that is because that is what we have been told by the media to think (pant, pant, pany, as Pavlov's dog would do). The mere mention of Obama's birth certificate brings derision and scorn upon whomever has the temerity to mention it. For the first time, for as long as I can remember, a presidential candidate was not required to present this document, one routinely required for a number of less important jobs. Yet requesting this one piece of paper has created a maelstrom of gigantic proportions.

We all know that by the mere fact of requesting this document, the requester is crazy. The media told us so. So, there.

Just like they told us Hillary was a cold, heartless Iron Bitch.

Just like they told us Sarah Palin was at the root of the Tucson shootings, or is a crazy "Mama Grizzly," or that she could see Russia from her house (i.e., she's stupid, got it? C'mon, only a MO-RON would think something like that. Never mind she never said it. Picky, picky.).

Just like they told us Tea Partiers are a bunch of racist yahoos (someone might want to tell Representatives Tim Scott and Col. Allen West that they are racists for belonging to the Tea Party. Ahem.).

I am sure you get the idea. The media is not reporting the news, they are shaping what they want people to believe. Even now, CNN and MSNBC continue to perpetuate this whole civility/Republican rhetoric meme for the Tucson shootings, regardless of the facts. That is not news - that is propaganda.

We learned of the JournoListers coordinating efforts to advance Obama's candidacy for president, keeping important stories that might impact his chances out of their respective mediums. That was behind closed doors.

But now, media personalities are getting more blatant about it. Just recently, the Washington Post's Dana Milbank calls out for a "Palin-Free February." Yes, he has put a call out to his fellow commentators to not write or talk about Sarah Palin at all in the month of February.

Now, what kind of responsible journalist, or commentator, for that matter, would even consider such an action, except to continue to shape opinion about this figure? In his article (which you can read if you really want to give him the traffic), he makes some other (predictable) snide comments about Sarah Palin. That is the meme, after all - she is to be derided, demeaned, and ridiculed at every step, dontcha know, lest anyone start to take her seriously as a potential candidate. We cannot have THAT, after all. Rather than straight reporting, or basing commentary on, oh, I don't know, let's say, FACTS, now we just make shit up as if the person said or did it, then attack him/her for it mercilessly until the person become a mere caricature, and should anyone else still actually like them, they are nothing but a bunch of ignorant gun-totin' hayseeds who likely don't have a row to hoe anyway, so who cares what they think? Stupid heads.

And that is where our media is today. They set up these ratchet responses to labels, and dare anyone to stray from their definition or their insistence on who/what those labels represent, tearing down anyone who is foolish enough to disagree. They attack, deride, persecute until the person breaks, then respond with a, "see?? We TOLD you they were x, y, z..." They create the meme, then do everything in their power to make it true.

So, I reckon since I mentioned the whole Obama Birth Certificate thing now, no matter what I did or did not say, I will, forever after, be labeled a Birther. So, what the hell - for good measure, the government carried out 9/11!!! They did! There is no evidence of a plane at the Pentagon! Tea Party members are racist America-haters! Sarah Palin is personally responsible for the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, and should be thrown in jail immediately!!! (Snark, snark, snark - just in case that was not abundantly clear.)

Hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right? Wrong. We must stop this insanity with our media. When (formerly) great newspapers like the Washington Post and the New York Times become rumor-mongering rags, we are in serious trouble. Legitimate questions deserve legitimate answers, not derision. Serious investigative journalism must be restored to our media outlets, not regurgitating press releases from this or that party. Rather than allowing loud-mouthed pundits to determine the news, how about having some actual journalists (if you can still find them) to report the news, rather than craft the news? We must stop allowing them to silence us if we do not agree with their manufactured outrage and meme.

Just a thought. But hey, I am just a Birther/Truther/Tea Partier/Mama Grizzly Wannabe/Crosshair Target-er. So what do I know?!

Monday, January 24, 2011

They Lied To Us, And Now We Are Footing Their Legal Bills *Updated*

Who would that be, exactly? Oh, you are going to love this. We, you and I, American taxpayers, are footing the LEGAL bills for the Fannie Mae/Freddie mac executives who drove our economy into the ground for fraud suits filed against them starting 10 years ago. Who would that be, exactly? Oh, you know, people like Obama's good buddy, Franklin Raines, and Timothy Howard. Interestingly, though, this isn't even for their efforts to bust the housing market. Nope. It has to do with the financial side of things.

Here is Stuart Varney explaining it all:

Yes, you heard that right - $160 MILLION dollars we have shelled out for these folks thus far. It is in their contract. Nice.

Fannie and Freddie are STILL dragging us down, be it through paying for these executives, or continuing to lost money on mortgages. To recap, in 2008, Fannie Mae lost $58.7 BILLION dollars, and Freddie Mac lost $50.1 BILLION dollars. And we are already in the red to the tune of $145 Billion now since 2008. One can only hope that the bleeding of money from these two institutions will be stanched, and SOON. Until then, though, it is the mother of bailouts since we owe 80% of the two now. You don't even want to know what the anticipated amount is to fix them. If you can stomach it, click here.

But I am not holding my breath that Fannie and Freddie will get their comeuppance, which is long overdue. Considering Obama is expected to assert he wants to keep his spending ways when he gives the SOTU Tuesday night, I sure don't see him taking on these two F's.

Speaking of Obama, why is everyone acting like his actually getting a 50% approval in a few polls is the greatest thing since sliced bread? Is this an indication of our poor performance in mathematics that we see that as a GOOD thing? Many polls still have him below 50%, which is not exactly a glowing recommendation in my book (unless someone is a meteorologist, and then being right half of the time isn't so bad. Ahem.).

I don't get it. But that is the meme going into the SOTU - how Obama is doing SO well. Being crappy half the time (or more) at your job is NOT a good report, people, no matter how the pundits might want to spin it. I believe that would qualify as an "F" by most (all?) academic standards. Or at least it was back when I went to school (we didn't get the "well, even though you failed at your homework, and failed your test, we are still going to pass you because we don't want to hamper your self-esteem" pedagogy. We had to earn our grades, had to pass our tests, had to do WAY better than 50%, if we wanted to move on. Just sayin'.)

So, we continue to be bilked by Fannie and Freddie. They will continue to get our hard earned tax paying dollars to continue to operate in the red. Obama will continue his spending, deficit increasing ways, and ALL of this is passed on to us.

Gee - and he's getting close to 50% approval? I guess some people don't mind throwing their money away, especially to bail out a bunch of guys who lied, lied, and lied some more. But I do. How about you?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

This Is "Church" For Me Today **Updated With Fun Facts*

From the time I was a child, I was fascinated by the Lipizzaner horses, as I was with most horses. But there was just something about them, as I poured through the history books reading about them. I never dreamed I would be able to see them in person. But I have had that opportunity a couple of times now, and will have it again this afternoon. Watching these horses, and their riders/trainers, is truly poetry in motion. And it continues to be a childhood dream fulfilled.

Here is some of what I will see today:

It is a remarkable connection the rider has with the horse. The two are paired up, and remain so as long as that horse is used in these shows. They develop a true bond, and become one.

And in case you need to see more of these amazing horses, I am happy to oblige you:

The thing about actually being there is hearing the horses breathe, hearing the creaking of their tack, admiring the skill of both the rider and the gorgeous Andalusian horse, as they both, working together, change leads, and "dance" across the arena. The Lipizzan horse is simply breathtaking...

Yes, this is "church" for me, being able to see these magnificent creatures doing what they are meant to do, and to be able to do so in person. Wow.

And while I am talking about seeing horses, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Zenyatta, and her owners, as she won Horse Of The Year for 2010. Did she ever deserve it - what an incredible horse she is. Just listen to the poem written about her by Priscilla Clark, who runs Tranquility Farms, a home for retired thoroughbreds (racers and breeders), and read by one of Zenyatta's owners:

Indeed, Zenyatta is the Horse of the Year, the Decade, and likely to be remembered as one of the all-time greats. At least she is in my book...

I hope that you, too, are able to have whatever is "church" for you today, from actually going to a place of worship, or to take a walk outside, be with friends and or family, whatever touches your heart and nourishes your soul. As for me, I am off to see these horses...

UPDATE: The Lipizzan horse does not start training until he is four years old. His first years are spent simply being, playing, growing, and doing horse things. Training starts then, not teaching him tricks, but teaching him to do what horses naturally do, but on command with the rider. The stallion trains for only 45 minutes a day. That's it - just 45 minutes. And the stallion will train for anywhere from 6 - 9 years before it is ready to show in public.

And speaking of a show, the big Friesian, Elvis, stole the show when he came out dancing to Big Band music. The Lipizzaners perform to classical music, so this was quite the departure. This big, beautiful horse with wavy long mane and tail, had a few steps in his repertoire, and really excited the crowd. He was something else.

The Lipizzaners were as beautiful as ever. Their coats brushed to such a sheen, they looked soft as velvet. Just gorgeous, gorgeous animals to behold. What a day!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Is A Very Good Day

Today, Friday, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was transported this morning to a rehab facility, TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital, in Houston. This follows her standing on her own, going outside (on the roof of the hospital) for some fresh air, stroking her husband's face, and generally making remarkable, truly remarkable, progress.

What a blessing. This is just the kind of good news that is welcomed as we continue to deal with a struggling economy, political bickering, severe storms across the country, creating all kinds of havoc. Wow.

Here is some of what Rep. Giffords can anticipate while in rehab: [snip]
(Dr. Edwardo) Lopez said that for patients with traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, there is a basic comprehensive method that almost all rehabilitation centers follow, which is exactly what Giffords and her family can expect in her continuing recovery.

“This phase of inpatient rehab provides the patient stability because the patient still requires day to day nurse care, this is the best time for her to begin a structured program,” he said.

Before Giffords’ current doctors at University Medical Center in Tucson were able to consider moving her into a rehab program, Lopez said there are certain criteria that a patient in her condition must meet, with the most important being medical stability.

“The patient must be able to tolerate at least three hours of daily therapy. There can be breaks and resting periods. The first phase would be to see how her tolerance to upright activity is without any major changes in the cardiovascular system or to vital signs,” he said. “The goal is gradual build up of endurance.”

Once Giffords is transported successfully to TIRR Memorial Hermann and settled into her room, there will be a number of medical professionals she will deal with on a daily basis, Lopez said.

“She will of course continue receiving physical therapy, which is anything related to mobility and strengthening of her body. The use of various equipment and devices facilitates this process,” he said.

Lopez said she will also get treated by occupational therapists. Their job is to deal with activities of daily living, like personal hygiene, dressing and bathing, as well as other cognitive components. They try to get patients to develop their attentiveness and ability to respond to questions. It will also be the duty of the occupational therapists to work with Giffords’ surgeons and decide what kind of therapy her damaged eye requires.

Speech therapy for Giffords will address all language and speech issues. It will also help her in her ability to swallow.

“A neuropsychologist team will provide a more formal type of testing to where the patient is cognitively in regards to sensory and motor function as well as arousal,” Lopez said.

In addition to daily therapy with a physical, occupational and speech therapists, Lopez said TBI units definitely have vast experience in the use of psychopharmacological agents that might help in the healing process and the deficits that patients may have. [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

This is great news, indeed. I hope, and pray, for the Representative's full recovery, and for all of those who were injured in this horrible attack.

And while we are talking about Tucson, and the shooting, here is a tidbit from the Fox News All Stars discussing the "civility" issue, the one the Left was able to frame this attack as being the root cause of Loughner's insanity. With no evidence then or now to justify this meme. Pay particular attention to Dr. Krauthammer's response, and then the discussion with Stephen Hayes:

Um, so what's the deal with SEIU?? Their behavior has been outrageous for quite some time. Who could forget their showing up on the door of a Bank of America bigwig, banging on the door, and terrorizing a 14 year old boy? That poor child had to hide in the bathroom. And that was after they had assaulted a Tea Party member down in Florida.

But apparently, they didn't get the memo that Obama put out, on this ginned up issue about civility. Even discounting that manufactured issue, how about Michelle's connection to WalMart, about which I wrote just this Thursday?? Oopsy daisy - is there a little disconnect between this SEIU (ACORN) union? Possibly. Still, their tactics have been out of control for some time now, and this is just one more illustration of the same violent behavior they have exhibited for a while. That they continue to be tolerated is shocking in and of itself.

Wow. Who knows, maybe this crafted "civility" issue will be the beginning of their undoing. One can hope. And one can hope that Rep. Giffords continues down the road of recovery.

It's Friday. Thank heavens!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Clinton/Obama Trip Down Memory Lane With WalMart

You may recall during the 2008 Democratic Primary Campaign, Hillary Clinton was attacked by Barack Obama about her connections to Wal-Mart while First Lady of Arkansas. Oh, yes, he got just a tad testy as she was highlighting his constant "WORM"-ing (What Obama Really Meant). So he lashed out at her.

In case you forgot that little window into how quick Obama is to hurl accusations, here it is:

And the media, already well into Obama's pocket, did this "expose" on Hillary Clinton's connection to WalMart:

Gee - if they could actually do some investigative reporting on HER, and send a legion of AP reporters to Wasilla, how is it they could not be bothered to do anything of the kind to Obama? Oh, right - I forgot - the JournoListers who were protecting him from any hard writing on his unsavory connections. Silly me.

Had the media actually bothered to do their jobs, instead of reacting with glee when Obama reacts so defensively, perhaps they could have taken a little look see at what Obama's wife's connection was to WalMart. But, no. Why would they do anything to impede their narrative of Obama's holiness, or in any way shift his blame off of Hillary Clinton.

So, let's just see how the media deals with this new announcement, as reported by the Washington Post, "Michelle Obama, Wal-Mart Announce Healthy Food Campaign." Now, on the face of it, that looks like a great thing. Except for the arrogant, condescending way Barack Obama talked to Hillary Clinton for having had ANYTHING to do with this company, and Arkansas based company, while her husband was governor. Yet, here is ol' Michelle, teaming up with that very same company. As far as I have heard, not a whole lot has changed with Wal-Mart, how it treats women, how it treats its workers in general, or any of the other general complaints about this company.

Now to the article:
First lady Michelle Obama joined Wal-Mart executives at a Southeast Washington community center Thursday morning to announce a campaign by the low-priced retail giant to offer more healthful foods and push its suppliers to do the same.

Obama has made fighting childhood obesity and increasing nutritious food options in poor neighborhoods a top priority. She will join Wal-Mart, which recently announced plans to open its first stores in the District, to announce "a major initiative to provide its customers with healthier and more affordable food choices," Wal-Mart said.


Wal-Mart said it will make thousands of the packaged food items that it sells more healthful over the next four years, make healthful food choices more affordable and more clearly labeled, build more stores in underserved areas and increase its charitable donations to nutrition programs.


Wal-Mart praised Obama's "spirit of collaboration," and called her a "catalyst that helped make today's announcement a reality."

Wal-Mart has drawn criticism from advocacy groups in the District and elsewhere because of its anti-union policies.

Obama resigned from the board of a Wal-Mart vendor in 2007, days after her husband - then vying for the Democratic presidential nomination - said he would not shop at the store. [snip] (Click HERE to read the rest.)

If you needed any more proof of Michelle's connection to WalMart during the campaign, that last line should suffice. If her board position was NOT closely aligned, there would be no need for her to retire, would there?

Yes, it is amazing what just a couple of years will do. Now the once hated, despised, union busting, women hating Chinese-product selling behemoth is now the shining light for the First Lady's pet project (not that there is anything wrong with healthy eating - I am all for it - it is the hypocrisy that bugs me).

I cannot WAIT to see how Obama's supporters are going to spin this one. Any guesses? Feel free to talk about that, or anything else on your minds today!

NOTE: Friends, my partner and I are embarking on a major construction project at our home starting Monday, Jan. 24th. I am not sure how much this will impact my writing, but I am assuming it may affect the regularity of my posts. That is to say, I will write when I can, but no promises about how often. Thank you for your support since the beginning of this blog - I appreciate it more than I can say!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Your Tax Dollars At Work In Tucson And Elsewhere

In the ensuing days after the Tucson shooting, the Federal Government has sent a slew of people there to work with the locals in trying to figure out just what the heck was going on with Jared Loughner, as this Washington Post article highlights:
A team of 250 federal investigators and 130 local detectives trying to understand why Jared Lee Loughner went on his alleged killing spree has conducted more than 300 interviews with family, friends and neighbors since the shooting. But they remain stumped about what ultimately prompted the 22-year-old's descent into violence. [snip]

What? There wasn't a ton of Tea Party pamphlets in Loughner's bedroom? He didn't have an "I Heart Sarah Palin" tattoo or anything? Out of all of those interviews, explosive rhetoric from the Right did not jump out at all of these investigators??

Wow. Imagine that.

The article continues:
Investigators have had little success gaining information from either the uncooperative Loughner or his parents, who have told authorities that they had little recent contact with their son, law enforcement sources said.

With so little help coming from the immediate family, investigators are probing associates and witnesses for details that could help them fill out a portrait of Loughner, a task one source described as completing a "jigsaw puzzle."


It could take weeks for investigators to fully determine Loughner's state of mind in the days leading up to the rampage, the sources said. Virtually every member of the FBI's 200-person Phoenix field division, coupled with 50 additional agents from Washington and Tucson and more from the Capitol Police and the U.S. Marshals Service, have fanned out across southeastern Arizona. About 130 detectives from the Pima County sheriff's office also are involved.

Investigators have had little success gaining information from either the uncooperative Loughner or his parents, who have told authorities that they had little recent contact with their son, law enforcement sources said. [snip] (Click HERE to read the rest.)

There is a clear answer as to why this young man did this - he is mentally unstable. That is the only snap assumption to be made. It had nothing - nothing - nothing to do with any of those folks targeted by the Left. What they did was cruel, irresponsible, and amounted to hate mongering.

Sarah Palin was on The Hannity Show, Sean being another target of the Left. I do not watch him, as a rule, but do make exceptions, like when Sarah Palin is on, which she was on Monday night. Despite the immediate framing by some on the Left that she has now been made small (gee - I wonder who set out to do THAT?), she seems resolute, clear, articulate, and, well, sad. In case you missed it, here is part of the interview:

I have to say, whenever I see her speak, I gain more respect for her. Who among us could be so reasoned, so calm, so solemn, after the vicious, hateful, mean spirited attacks on not just HER, but her family, as well. After what she went through just in the past 10 days, after being demeaned and belittled for defending herself, being accused of "interjecting" herself after those on the Left falsely accused her of contributing to this heinous crime, her tone was just right.

And to hear that her children have also received death threats is nothing short of shocking. What the hell is wrong with people???

Wow. I must say, when Gov. Palin said, "If the Left didn't have double standards, they would have no standards at all." Well, it sure seems that way, doesn't it?

Love her, hate her, be indifferent to her (I swear, I said the same thing about Hillary Clinton, didn't I? The media/Leftists did the same thing to her to a degree.)), she does not deserve this kind of horrendous treatment. No one does. The hue and cry if this kind of attack was directed at any one news personality or Democratic governor would be deafening. But when it comes to Palin, the only thing that is deafening are these hellacious attacks on this woman with the sole purpose of destroying her, and her family as well. It is reprehensible.

It will be a relief is when this meme, this lie, about what caused Loughner to go off, is put to rest once and for all. Since so many FBI agents and local personnel have found no link whatsoever to Palin, Hannity, the Tea Party, or others, surely this must put an end to this lie. Those who continue to perpetuate this false, destructive, meme should get their comeuppance, and it cannot come soon enough for me.

Frankly, I think Palin should sue the shit out of the ones who put this out there. What they have wrought against her, and her children, is obscene, and they should be held to account.

Yuck. I don't know about you, but after hearing about the kinds of attacks Palin, and her family, have endured, I feel like I need a break. In case you need a bit of a break, too, I have another way in which you can view your taxpaying dollars at work. I got the following from my niece, whose husband is a Gunnery Sergeant, and stationed in the Middle East for a year. Anyway, I hope you enjoy:

After dealing with this craploa, the raging hatred, the cruelty, of those who, unfortunately, have access to the MSM, and are using it to attack someone, this was a welcome relief. Or at least it was for me. How about you?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Today Is A Day To Honor

One of our great Americans, Martin Luther King, Jr. So much has been written about him, there is little for me to add. His life, his work, made, and continues to make, a tremendous impact on our country. Our nation is better for him having lived, for his words, his actions, and his example.

The day would not be complete without seeing the following video, one of the greatest speeches of the Twentieth Century, to be sure:

Martin Luther King, Jr., said:
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Amen to that. I can only add, may the same be true regardless of gender, sexual orientation, and physical ability.

What a great man. What a great leader, choosing love over violence. How much we can learn from him still.

If I may, while honoring a great man, I would also like to honor the victims of the tragedy in Tucson. The last victim, Gabe Zimmerman, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' aide, will have his memorial service today. From all accounts, service was a driving force behind this young man's life.

And in death, the family of Christina Taylor Green, chose life. With a tremendous act of love, they chose to have Christina's organs donated. What a gift, what compassion, that even in their suffering, they were able to look beyond themselves, knowing that Christina's senseless death could restore health, restore life, to someone in need. As someone whose mother's life was extended over 20 years by the gift of a liver, I cannot overstate what a loving, kind, gift this was to the families who will have their loved one with them longer as a result. What an act of love, what a gift.

Those lost were: Gabe Zimmerman, Judge John Roll, Christina Taylor Green, Phyllis Schneck, Dorwin Stoddard, and Dorothy Morris. Each of these people had stories that would make your heart break, some that would make you laugh. To hear their stories, you remember, once again, how different we are, yet so much the same, with great experiences, joys, and sorrows. They lived - they lived their lives. And they were all, each one of them, loved.

For the families, friends, and loved ones of all who died that day, this is for you. I hope it brings even a little comfort:

Amen, and amen...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

While We Were Distracted This Week With Faux Outrage Over Rhetoric

What did we miss in the news? Well, a bunch of things, actually. And perhaps this is why this whole ginned up "civility" discussion has been the primary focus of the talking heads.

I hasten to add, the stories of the six victims in Tucson, Judge John Roll, Christina Taylor Green, Giffords Aide Gabe Zimmerman, Phyllis Schneck, Dorwin Stoddard, and Dorothy Morris, need to be held in the fore, our prayers going out to their families. The continued updates regarding Rep. Giffords miraculous improvements, as well as the condition of the other 13 injured, is also important to keep in the fore.

But here are some of the things you may have missed. Amy Siskind of The New Agenda had a very interesting post about Obama, and the number of women in his cabinet/inner circle. Bottom line, it is low, as her post, "After Arizona, Will Obama Learn to Include Women?" indicates:
[snip] Yes, just as I was snapping to, Air Force One would be landing back in D.C. Senator Gillibrand and Congresswomen Wasserman Schultz and Pelosi would deplane and return to their 17% minority. President Obama would be head back to the White House — or should I say, the “fraternity house”: his inner-circle is composed almost exclusively of men.

Yes, to the president’s credit, he did appoint two women to the Supreme Court. That’s the end of the good news for women. Here’s the bad news:

* Obama’s cabinet picks are just 25% women.

* Obama’s czars are only 12% women.

* No women have leadership roles in running our country’s economy.

* Obama has only one woman in his inner-circle: Valerie Jarrett.


Paradoxically, Speaker Boehner in his opening days seems quite comfortable with women. One of his first symbolic gestures: to build a women’s restroom near the House floor. Next, Boehner shocked even me: he officially endorsed a woman for RNC chair (Maria Cino). And here’s a prediction: Boehner’s ability to cry in public will make it easier for women candidates to do the same in the future. Hey — I gotta admit — although I agree with Speaker Boehner on very few issues, I like the guy! He walks the walk for women on the right.


So I say this to our president: yes, let’s live up to the dreams of Christina Green, the nine-year-old who was tragically and senselessly killed in the Arizona shooting. The girl who was interested in politics and therefore came to see Congresswoman Giffords, Arizona’s only female representative in the U.S. House or Senate. Why don’t we have more women in leadership for girls like Christina to see and model after? And President Obama, what will YOU do to live up to her expectations? (Click HERE to read the rest.)

Yes, I can see why so many "feminists" wanted to support Obama over Hillary Clinton. He is SO good on the women's equality issue - not.

But wait, there is more. Once again, LGBT groups are unhappy with Obama. Yes, yes, I know he signed the bill to repeal DADT, but he did blessed little to get that to come about, and did exactly what I thought he would do - have it in the Lame Duck session so he could blame the Republicans in case it didn't pass.

Well, that is exactly what he did in terms of DOMA, but not before his Justice Department did this:
Supporting DOMA: Gay rights advocates are criticizing the Obama Justice Department after its attorneys filed a court motion Thursday in support of the Defense of Marriage Act despite the president's view that the law should be repealed.


The Justice Department says it's obligated to defend U.S. policy regardless of the president's personal beliefs. The department made the same case after it had to, awkwardly, fight a judge's ruling against "don't ask, don't tell" in the months before it was repealed by Congress.

But that's no salve to the gay rights community, which has called on the administration to show more resolve against laws like DOMA. [snip]
And it is not true, either. Other Administrations have stood up to laws they thought were un-Constitutional, not continuing to defend them, as the Obama Administration has done repeatedly with DOMA. Indeed, it continues in that same vein in this filing:
[snip] "All families deserve the recognition and respect of their government. We know the president supports us. It's time for him to help lead the American public toward full equality for all Americans," Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said in a statement. The gay rights group said the Justice Department should at least "acknowledge that the law is unconstitutional."

It does not. In its filing, Justice Department attorneys said the law was "not unconstitutional under this court's binding precedent." The Justice Department argued that the law "reflects Congress's reasonable response to this still-evolving debate among the states regarding same-sex marriage."
Why Solmonese, that Hillary Clinton backstabber, continues to act all insulted is beyond me, but I will spare you my diatribe on him this time around.

But here's what I knew would happen with Obama:
[snip] "The Department of Justice has long followed the practice of defending federal statutes as long as reasonable arguments can be made in support of their constitutionality, even if the administration disagrees with a particular statute as a policy matter, as it does here," the brief said.

"Indeed, the president supports repeal of DOMA and has taken the position that Congress should extend federal benefits to individuals in same-sex marriages. But a consensus behind that approach has not yet developed, and Congress could properly take notice of the divergent views regarding same-sex marriage across the states," it said.


He told a gay-and-lesbian magazine last month that while a repeal of DOMA may not be possible, particularly with Republicans in control of the House, "that's something that I think we have to strategize on over the next several months." (Click HERE to read the rest.)
Yep, like I expected, Obama will blame the Republicans if it doesn't get changed now. The Democrats were in control of the entire Congress for FOUR years, and now it is all the Republicans fault...(Civility? Oh, that is only for Conservatives, not Democrats.)

Here is a whopper of what came out this week. It was foretold by none other than Sarah Palin back in November when the government was looking to buy more bonds:
"All this pump priming will come at a serious price. And I mean that literally: everyone who ever goes out shopping for groceries knows that prices have risen significantly over the past year or so. Pump priming would push them even higher. And it's not just groceries. Oil recently hit a six month high, at more than $87 a barrel. The weak dollar -- a direct result of the Fed's decision to dump more dollars onto the market -- is pushing oil prices upward."
I intentionally withheld the title of that article: "What Sarah Palin Gets Wrong About Inflation." And that would be what, exactly? Haven't all of those things, along with foreclosures setting another record high in 2010, and an increase in unemployment claims, come to pass? Yes.

In that same article, though, there was this (condescending) response:
[snip] Sudeep Reddy of The Wall Street Journal pointed out that Palin didn't seem to be quite up on what's been going on with inflation. In fact, he noted, grocery prices haven't risen that much. "The consumer price index's measure of food and beverages for the first nine months of this year showed average annual inflation of less than 0.6%, the slowest pace on record (since the Labor Department started keeping this measure in 1968)." [snip]
Hey, Reedy - guess which one of you is wrong here? I'll give you a hint - it is not Palin. No need to take my word for it. Here is Stuart Varney discussing this issue:

These are just a few of the issues that have been going on this week (I know, Daley came onboard on Friday, but the massacre on Saturday pretty much knocked that way down, as it should have). Women still are underrepresented, Obama's Justice Department is still targeting gay people, and we are increasingly in an economic world of hurt.

We cannot forget the victims of last week's shooting, but nor can we allow ourselves to allow the political smoke and mirrors to distract us from what else is going on in our country.

What else happened this week that was low on the media totem pole? Consider this an Open Thread.

Friday, January 14, 2011

They Got JUST What They Wanted

Once again, revising history, and having their baseless meme become the theme of the week. That would be the Left, beginning with "Heckuva Job" Sheriff Dupnik, who kicked off the "report" of the shootout in Tucson as being the result of rhetoric.

Oh, yes, you may not know this, but President Obama called Sheriff Dupnik to thank him. I just bet he did, since Sheriff Dupnik got the ball rolling blaming Gov. Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and other Conservatives, for this heinous crime. There continues to be no evidence whatsoever that rhetoric had anything to do with this - in fact, quite the opposite.

Surprisingly, though, some of the bigger media outfits refuse to correct the original unsubstantiated claims against Palin, et. al. I am not kidding. People like George Stephanopoulos refuses to issue a correction. Sadly, pathetically, he is not alone. How about this one:
[snip] CNN’s Piers Morgan, who takes over longtime television newsman Larry King’s timeslot next week, tweeted, “This now deleted image from Sarah Palin website will be reason this terrible shooting has huge political ramifications,” linking the map Palin made of targeted congressional districts for the 2010 midterm elections. [snip}

Or this from Candy Crowley to Dick Durbin:
[snip] CNN’s State of the Union anchor Candy Crowley asked Senator Majority Whip Dick Durbin, Illinois Democrat, “I guess that the undertow — and certainly it’s not an undertow on the Internet — but the undertow with politicians now speaking publicly is, well, the Republicans and the Tea Party and Sarah Palin have gone way too far in their rhetoric; it’s been violent rhetoric, and therefore this sort of thing happens. Are you making that direct connection?”

She asked Durbin that in response to Durbin saying, “we live in a world of violent images and violent words, but those of us in public life and the journalists who cover us should be thoughtful in response to this and try to bring down the rhetoric, which I’m afraid has become pervasive in our discussion of political issues. The phrase ‘don’t retreat, reload,’ putting crosshairs on congressional districts as targets, these sorts of things, I think, invite the kind of toxic rhetoric that can lead unstable people to believe this is an acceptable response. And I think that we all have an obligation, both political parties — and let me salute the senior senator from Arizona, John McCain, whose statement yesterday was clear and unequivocal that we are not accepting this kind of conduct as being anywhere near the mainstream.” [snip] (Click HERE to read the rest.)

Uh, yeah. Way to walk back this fallacious meme there, George, Candy, and Piers.

Yet now, "Civility" has become the catch phrase of the week, used by Obama in the so-called "Memorial Service" on Wednesday night. Yes, it is being used as a way not to encourage civil debate, but to stifle any debate at all.

This is quite a coup. Especially as the House is getting ready to begin a new session, with their first order of business being the repeal of Obamacare. Now the discussion by the pundits is how the Republicans are going to handle this, will everyone be separated at the State of the Union, or will they break with tradition and sit all together, and on, and on, and on.

I am not opposed to civility in the least. I am a Southerner, after all, and many of us do still have manners down here. We know it is better to bite our tongues sometimes instead of giving a tongue lashing. But that is done out of respect, not out of a desire to censor. It seems to me that what is going on post-Tucson is more of the latter, than the former, especially given the way the entire discussion (if one can call baseless, horrendous allegations a "discussion"). For some reason, it only seems to apply to one side. Guess which one? Again, that is not being civil, that is silencing - there is a world of difference.

Speaking of Obama's campaign speech in Tucson, I have to say this. I am beyond disgusted that the whole event has been framed as being about HIM, about what he will say, will this bump up his approval numbers, etc., etc. This service was SUPPOSED to be in honor of those whose lives were senselessly taken from them. Not about President Obama and if he could take yet another shot at "defining" his presidency. Because you know Fort Hood didn't count.

And not that it should - I don't think ANY funeral/memorial service should be used for this kind of political gain. It is disturbing how so many are comparing this speech to Clinton's Oklahoma City bombing speech, a clear ideological attack on our government. Or Bush's speech after 9/11, a clear, orchestrated, attack on our country. This heinous crime was neither of those things. Rather, it was the actions of one deranged man, who, by all accounts, had no ideological gripe.

Obama is getting praise heaped upon him for taking advantage of this horrible shooting by giving a campaign speech. Sarah Palin, on the other hand, the primary target of Paul Krugman, Keith Olbermann, DailyKos, and too many other personalities and blogs to list here., is getting nothing but scathing attacks for her attempt to defend herself from these scurrilous attacks. She is not supposed to speak out, she is not supposed to respond, she is supposed to shut up and go away. That was the point of these baseless assertions in the first place, to so discredit her, to claim, as Michael Daly did, that she had "Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' blood on her hands..."

Ah, yes - so civil this discourse from the Left.

This is so disturbing to see how this tragedy has been shaped. My ridiculous "representative," Jim Clyburn, had the audacity to play the race card in putting down Sarah Palin's response. Oh, yes he did, and he was sexist to boot:
[snip] "You know, Sarah Palin just can't seem to get it, on any front. I think she's an attractive person, she is articulate," Clyburn said on the Bill Press radio show. "But I think intellectually, she seems not to be able to understand what's going on here."

"I have some experiences that maybe she does not have," he said. "When I see and hear things today that are reminiscent of that period of time, I am very, very concerned about it, because I know what it led to back then, and I know what it can lead to again." [snip] (Click HERE to read the rest.)

Wow. Let me just say, Clyburn is by far NOT the sharpest knife in the drawer, so for him, of all people, to make that assertion about Palin is just laughable. Clyburn continues to stoke the flames that the Tucson shooting had anything to do with Palin at all. That is not just wrong-headed, it is plain wrong to incite people against someone based on lies, rumor, and innuendo. Clyburn is the worst kind of "offender," too, attacking her for her rhetoric while not minding his own. What a piece of work he is.

But Clyburn got what he wanted, with Obama's willing assistance - to transform this tragedy to essentially be a put down of Sarah Palin, and conservatives in general. The media is their willing accomplice, from Fox to MSNBC (not surprisingly, the viewers of MSNBC are far more likely to believe Palin, et. al, ARE responsible for what happened to Rep. Giffords and the other victims. And they claim Fox is biased? Spare me.).

To think this all started by an unprofessional sheriff placing blame where it didn't belong, and a bunch of opportunists jumping on the bandwagon. Wow. And no amount of facts to the contrary will alter THEIR rhetoric. That is unethical, immoral, cruel, offensive, and hypocritical. But they got their way, so what do they care?

At least the majority of Americans see through this political ploy, yet it continues to be played up to the hilt by the media, and the politicians. Unfortunately, they are the ones with the loudest voices, and they won't leave this alone until we all accept their lie as the truth...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Memorial Service That Wasn't, And Celebrations

Wednesday night's Memorial Service for the victims of Jared Loughner's shooting rampage was widely framed as being a "defining" moment of Obama's presidency. I am not sure why that was the meme, which continues to be perpetuated the day after, but there it is. For some reason, the service for the fallen soldiers gunned down by Major Hasan, was not. No, this one was compared to Bill Clinton and the Oklahoma City bombing, and George W. Bush after 9/11. Neither of those is a true comparison, IMHO. If anything, George W. Bush speaking to the nation at Virginia Tech after the horrible massacre there would be a better comparison.

Regardless, this should not have been all about Obama. It SHOULD have been about the victims whose lives were lost, and those who continue to overcome their gunshot wounds, particularly Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

But no. The Memorial Service was not so much a service as it became a pep rally, even a campaign rally. I have conducted a number of memorial services in my life, and I can say that none of them have had a slogan like, "Together We Thrive." Nor have there ever been any "souvenir" t-shirts handed out to the first 20,000 mourners. Neither has there been hooting and hollering, booing (of Gov. Jan Brewer when she took the stage), or a eulogy interrupted by applause and whistles. Nope, nary a one.

Now some folks have said that the locale was to blame, and one commentator (Allyson Camerota) who said the room just seemed to get away from Obama, that he, too, seemed surprised by the responses. Well, here's the thing. Rather than allowing them to dictate how the service would go, and falling back into his campaign-speech mode, one would think the Leader of the Free World could lead. HE could have demonstrated the appropriate manner in such a service. He could have asked for people to please hold their applause. There are any NUMBER Of things he could have done. That is the responsibility of the person at the podium (or pulpit). Ministers deal with it all the time - President Obama could, too.

Instead, one of the most played moments is his intoning, "And Gabby opened her eyes. {PAUSE} Gabby opened her eyes." Now, that is an amazing occurrence, and one of the Celebrations to which I am referring in the title of this post. It is fantastic news. I am DELIGHTED that she is making that kind of progress, What a miracle, what a blessing, what a gift that must have been to her husband and friends as they spent time with her. Here is Obama describing what happened:

But Obama did not cause that to happen. It was not about HIM. It was about HER. Rather than allowing that newsflash to fill the room, Obama slipped into his campaign mode. That was unfortunate.

I don't know who chose the venue, I don't know whose big idea it was to make this a Slogan/t-shirt moment, and who PAID for those t-shirts (us??), but I do know whose responsibility it was to infuse the service with a sense of decorum, and that was the speakers, particularly President Obama.

In comparison, and I admit I did not watch this at the time because you know I was NOT a fan of George Bush, I felt compelled to see how Bush responded to the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007. In my opinion, this is an appropriate way for a president to act at a memorial service:

It was good that Obama made the comment he did about civility in discourse. I hope his own people are listening. As I reflect on all that happened with his campaign, and then his Administration from 2007 on, I am just a bit skeptical. And it was good that he affirmed this horrible tragedy was not the least bit connected to discourse, but even doing so continues to make the connection that never existed in the first place.

I still do not know why this was supposed to be about Obama, since the focus should have been the six lives that were lost that fateful Saturday. I do not know how it became a pep (campaign) rally, and I find that unfortunate. It sullies whatever good things may have been in Obama's speech by his demeanor, and that of the crowd. It was not a Memorial Service, that is for sure. And that is unfortunate.

But there is some good news from Wednesday. Rep. Giffords did open her eyes, moved her arm, her leg, and seemed to be aware of what was going on around her. That is exceptional news, and gives us all hope that she will recover from this horrible attack.

Another celebration occurred in the State of South Carolina when we swore in our first woman, and first minority, governor. Yes, Nikki Haley, all of 38 years old, took the oath of office on Wednesday. Her husband was by her side in full dress uniform (he is an Army officer). Expectations are high for our first woman governor, and so far, she has not disappointed in her choice of cabinet members, including an African American woman, Lynne Rogers, to run the Probation, Parole, and Pardon department. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)

SC is not alone, though. New Mexico, and the nation, got its first Latina governor, Susana Martinez this week. Oklahoma also got its first woman governor this year, Mary Falin.

Congratulations to all three women, and to the states whom they will serve. It's about damn time.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What Is Time's Mark Halperin Smoking, and Palin Speaks Out **UPDATED**

There is no need to rehash the numerous assaults on Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, or those lumped together and labeled "Conservatives" (presumably, anyone who does not have a LD - Lefty Democrat - after their name), in the wake of the Tucson shooting. From the very first press conference with Sheriff Dupnik, rhetoric, presumably only conservative rhetoric, was blamed for this horrible tragedy. Many, many blogs, news organizations, and pundits, including the economist, Paul Krugman, jumped on the "Blame Palin!!!" bandwagon (though Mr. Krugman might do well to stick to his area of expertise). Yes, even as they claim, "we don't have any evidence to support this yet, BUT it is all Palin and Limbaugh and Beck's fault..."

Indeed, we have heard it all, from my ridiculous representative Jim Clyburn calling for the restoration of "The Fairness Doctrine," which isn't all that fair, to calls for limited Freedom of Speech (who gets to decide what can and cannot be said?), to insisting Palin used "Crosshairs!!!" on her map, akin to the bullseye used by the Democrats, but essentially meaningless in a culture that frequently uses military imagery ("war room," "marshal our forces," "hit the target," etc.) as common parlance, particularly in the political arena. We heard it over and over again: it is all the fault of Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, Beck, that this heinous act was committed in Tucson.

After all these blatantly false charges have been levied, what does Time Magazine's Mark Halperin think Palin and the Conservatives should do about these offensive comments being hurled their way? Turn the other cheek. That's right, he thinks they should do nothing about it, not stand up for themselves, not defend themselves, not retort, not say a peep. Ah, yes - that Freedom of Speech thing gets another gratuitous hit from those in the media.

Now I know people might think, me being a minister type and everything, that I would concur with Halperin's assessment. I do not. There is such a thing as disparaging another person's character, abusing them with words, bullying them, all of which has happened in the public arena, with the mindless assistance of the MSM. For someone to then expect that person, in this case, Palin, to just take it, remain silent, be mute, is an insult to the divine within the person who has been maligned. No victim of abuse, of lies, of rumor and innuendo, should be expected to take the abuse silently. No one. And that is just what he is asking Palin to do.

Thankfully, Palin refused to accept the silencing Halperin (and others) wanted to impose upon her. No. This morning, Governor Palin made a statement regarding the recent tragedy in Tucson, and the attempts to connect her to the actions of a madman:

Well said. And a very measured response, I might add. No wonder they are so afraid of her.

But of course, those on the Left are not happy with this statement, oh no. Piling on with Halperin is former Clinton/Gore advisor, Peter Mirijanian, who just this morning attacked this statement because Palin didn't APOLOGIZE for what happened in Tucson. Not only that, she waited too long to come out with a statement (I guess he missed that she said she took time to reflect on the tragedy that had occurred). Most importantly, though, she didn't grovel for forgiveness for the actions of someone who took matters into his own hands out of his own mental illness.

Again - there has been ZERO connection between what Loughner did in Tucson and ANY political rhetoric. None. Absolutely none. Yet that is not stopping some of these folks from continuing to demand Palin apologize.

But apologize for what? Seems to me, they are demanding that she apologize for her very existence. And once she has done that, she needs to be quiet, and just go away.

This is the same thing they did to Hillary Clinton, by people in her own party. This is the same thing too many women in this country endure: the powers-that-be wanting to silence us. If there is any correlation between what happened to Giffords and Sarah Palin, it is that they are both strong, outspoken women. And for that, Giffords has paid a horrendous price, though one from which we all hope and pray she recovers (thank HEAVENS doctors now think her survival is guaranteed).

Palin is paying a price, too, at the hands of those who claim they are now speaking out for civility. In their very claims, they are being uncivil, leveling false charges against a political opponent in an attempt to silence, demean, destroy her. But she will not be silenced. And for that, I salute her.

So, what do you think? Is Mark Halperin smoking something? What did you think of Palin's statement? Is it a leap to make this about women? Let's hear it!

UPDATE: So while those on the left are sanctimoniously calling for more "civility" in language, would you like to guess what the result has been of their followers toward Sarah Palin? If you guessed DEATH THREATS, you would be right. Below is a video compilation of some of the threats Palin has received. I warn you - this is NOT for the faint of heart:

Such "civil discourse," indeed. This is just frightening. Talk about "unhinged" (President Clinton) and ratcheting up political discourse. If something happens to Sarah Palin, will Markos be apologetic? Arianna Huffington? Sheriff Dupnik?? Yeah, I didn't think so, either...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


That is the word Dr. Charles Krauthammer used to describe the attempt by the left to blame Sarah Palin and the Tea Party for the horrible tragedy in Tucson, an action carried out by a mad man. It seems rather an appropriate term, not just for their unfounded claims, but for some of the claims that have followed by those in the media.

Here is the All Star Panel discussing this very issue, and how the media is continuing to ratchet up antagonism against the right under the guise of moderating our rhetoric:

As Baier highlighted, I have seen a number of reports in which people are doing exactly as he suggested, "There is no evidence of this lunatic being influenced by Palin, the Tea Party, or Republicans at all, BUT let's blame them anyway, and try to squelch free speech while we are at it."

I wrote recently about my ignorant representative, Jim Clyburn, blaming the Tea Party/Palin/Republicans, AND wanting to cut back on Freedom of Speech. And all of this is under the guise of wanting to decreasing violence in speech.

Tuesday, Arianna Huffington, she of HuffPo creation, wrote a post, "Arizona Shootings: Our Moment of Silence Needs To Be Followed By More Than Just Lowered Voices." I suppose I should have warned you in case you were drinking something at the time - my apologies. Anyway, in Ms. Huffington's post, she writes this:
[snip] And while we don't know all the facts yet and the story is still unfolding, we know enough to know that we need more than a little soul searching.

The fact that the gunman is clearly mentally unbalanced does not absolve us of the responsibility to consider the atmosphere in which the shootings occurred. "Shootings of political figures are by definition 'political,'" writes James Fallows. "That's how the target came to public notice; it is why we say 'assassination' rather than plain murder."

And the atmosphere in which this horrible tragedy was born, nurtured, and carried to its wretched fruition is toxic. Of course, there are always going to be unbalanced people, just as there are always going to be viruses in our environment -- but what most determines whether those viruses make us sick is the strength of our immune system. When it is stressed and compromised, infections can easily take hold.

And there is no doubt that our collective immune system is worn down, making us more susceptible to the kind of infection that turned that Arizona parking lot into a killing field. While there has never been a golden age in our democracy's history, there have been many times in which our national immune system was much stronger. [snip] (Click here if you want to read the rest.)

This is not just scurrilous, it is the height of hypocrisy. Many of us remember all too well how our "immune systems" got weakened by vitriolic speech. A lot of it happened right there at Huffington Post to those of us who had the audacity to support Hillary Clinton over The One. We were bullied, berated, attacked, and essentially banished from the site for our refusal to capitulate on the best choice for president. Sure, there have been a few posts here and there in support of Hillary Clinton since Obama took office (do I really need to explain that one?), but the fact remains, this blog has been at the forefront of vitriolic rhetoric.

Just last month, in December, Huffington Post allowed the once-great Aaron Sorkin to post an almost unintelligible screed against Sarah Palin, laced with profanity, and twisted facts throughout. His attack on her was completely unprovoked. He just couldn't help himself in his desire to attack, attack, attack, and demean this woman. And Huffington Post allowed him to do so. One month later, Huffington has the nerve to talk about "toxic" rhetoric? Spare me the sanctimony. has joined the chorus as well, asking its members to sign a petition to our Congress with this as the petition text: "I call for an end to all overt and implied appeals to violence in American politics. We must debate, not hate." Are they for real?? The same organization who referred to General Petraeus as "General Betrayus" is now acting as if they are some honest broker in restoring civility to speech? Again, I remember just how they conducted themselves during the 2008, 2010 elections. They have no leg on which to stand in tryin gto claim this moral high ground.

Neither does Obama Sycophant, Jonathan Alter, who, in the spirit of Rahm Emanuel, wants Obama to make sure he makes political hay out of this horrible tragedy. His headline says it all, "Can Obama Turn Tragedy Into Triumph?" Alter writes:
[snip] But silence will not be enough. This horrific event offers the president a chance to show leadership qualities that he’s inexplicably hidden away in some blind trust. The shootings and the resulting debate over the climate of incivility play to his strengths as a calm and rational leader. Just as Bill Clinton’s response to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings helped him recover from his defeat in the 1994 midterms, so this episode may help Obama change—at least in the short term--the trajectory of American politics. [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

Perhaps Alter was just mistaken that Obama ever embodied the leadership he is "inexplicably hidden away." That was Alter's mistake for making that leap based on little data, just like others have done with this tragedy. But even more disingenuous is this rampant implication by those on the left that they engaged in NONE of this vitriolic rhetoric. It is, again, scurrilous, for someone like Alter, who regularly appeared on Olbermann, trashing Clinton AND Palin, to now act like he and his cohorts were just meek little lambs in their political discourse. The hypocrisy is just staggering.

I cannot possibly go through all of the instances of the Left's treatment of Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Primary in their blind desire to elect Obama. The unsubstantiated attacks, the theft of votes, the fraud perpetrated in the caucuses by the Obama camp, all with tacit approval by the DNC, along with the most misogynistic shirts, slogans, sayings, and ads put out by the Obama camp. And now they are trying to act like they were harmless in their rhetoric? It would be pathetic if not so infuriating.

And then there was what they did to Palin. This Primer by Michelle Malkin gives you just a quick glimpse into the "moderate" language of the left about this governor.

And now, these same people, who attacked these candidates, and their followers, relentlessly, are now blaming inflammatory rhetoric on the RIGHT as the primary reason this maniac tried to assassinate Rep. Giffords. Moreover, they would seek to limit our speech as a result of this attack.

We cannot, CANNOT, censor ourselves with an eye to not upsetting some deranged lunatic. That essentially allows the crazy people to determine our discourse, which is, in and of itself, crazy. It is over-functioning to a pathological degree to try and tiptoe around our nation in fear that someone somewhere may just lose it. That kind of walking on eggshells is a horrible way to live, and does, by its very nature, make us prisoners of our own making. We cannot stop talking, or writing, or protesting, or arguing, just because it might set some psycho off on a rampage. We cannot know what will be the next trigger, and we cannot live our lives in constant fear of "upsetting" someone so much they will go off the rails. It is a destructive path down which some would have us go.

And it will strip us of our very freedoms. I, for one, am not willing to give up my freedom to appease some nut-job. How about you?