Monday, May 30, 2011

The Meaning Of Memorial Day

On this Memorial Day, I thought it was fitting to remind us just how this day came to be. It isn't just to give folks a long weekend, after all, though for many of us, that is what it has become. That, and the official beginning of summer.

The history of Memorial Day is a long and storied one, beginning shortly after the Civil War ended:
[snip] Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in hisGeneral Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 - 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

In 1915, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields," Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

(Michael) then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms.Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children's League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans' organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their "Buddy" Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.

The piece above continues on by highlighting those who have upheld this tradition religiously for years, and more recent actions, too:
[snip] Since the late 50's on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye's Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years. [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

Saturday, I attended the funeral of a dear friend's father. It was a lovely service, attended to by Air Force Honor Guard as his father served proudly. It was incredibly powerful as the Honor Guard removed the flag, and folded it. One of the members then walked off a short distance, and played Taps. And so, I add Wayne's name to those who have passed on, and who served this nation.

On this day, allow me to offer my deepest thanks to those who have served this nation in uniform and have passed on. And to those whose lives were lost while serving, paying the ultimate sacrifice, thanks are hardly sufficient. I am indebted to you all, and honor your memories today. Thank you.

Copyright © 2011 by Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"A Little Bit Of This, And A Little Bit Of That"

Those are some lyrics written by Woody Guthrie which the incomparable Jonatha Brooke put to music. And since it's Saturday night, time for a little break from the realm of politics.

So, here is Jonatha Brooke performing "The Works," the lyrics by Woody Guthrie. This is for my Okie friends:

Great song, and she is so much fun to see in concert. She used to be a dancer, and it shows when she's on stage.

Now for a real classic, a song I played a lot on my old guitar when I lived up North. From the one and only, James Taylor:

One might wonder why James Taylor would be singing about "Carolina." His father was a professor at UNC - Chapel Hill. When my sister was there, she'd see him cruising around campus.

You may know that Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris have made a couple of cds as "Trio." Talk about an embarrassment of riches. Each one is phenomenal in her own right, but put them all together, and it is just a blessing. Here they are performing "High Sierra":

This next song is for my friend, Rob, who buried his father this morning. For Rob, and his mom, and his beautiful partner, this is for you:

And now, friends, this is open to you. Add a song, if you wish, or share whatever else is on your minds.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I Have Some Questions **UPDATED**

On Thursday, Obama signed - via computer - an extension for the Patriot Act, after it was passed by the House and Senate. This allows it to be in effect until June 1, 2015.

You remember the Patriot Act - it is the one many of us were furious about when the Bush Administration came up with it. It is the one that permits warrant-less wiretapping on US citizens. The very one Obama, as Candidate Obama, took time out from pandering to the masses to vote to extend the last time, though Senators Clinton and McCain were opposed to it.

And you may recall, Obama's minions were adamantly opposed to the Patriot Act. Adamantly opposed. When he pulled that stunt, going to vote for it, their eyes glossed over, their ears closed, and their brains shut down so they wouldn't go into apoplexy. My younger brother, a stalwart Obamabot, said it was "disappointing" that Obama voted for it. "Disappointing." Right.

So, what is it now that President Obama has signed an extension, huh? Where is NOW? Where is Code Pink? Where is DailyKos? I'm just wondering.

Another question I have is, why does Barney Frank not think it is a conflict of interest for him to push his then-lover to work for Fannie Mae? He doesn't think there are any "ethical" problems with it at all:
[snip] “If it is (a conflict of interest), then much of Washington is involved (in conflicts),” Frank told the Herald last night. “It is a common thing in Washington for members of Congress to have spouses work for the federal government. There is no rule against it at all.”

Frank said he helped his former longtime companion, Herb Moses, land a job at Fannie Mae in 1991 after Moses graduated with a master’s degree in business administration from Dartmouth College. Frank said he was approached by a Fannie Mae executive and vouched for Moses, who formerly worked as an economist in the Department of Agriculture. [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

Uh huh. Yeah, this is just how Washington does it, so what's the big deal? Well, this is:
[snip] OK. But Barney’s problem with this latest “bias and vitriol” is that it doesn’t come from the Herald. It comes from a New York Times [NYT] reporter, Gretchen Morgenson — a Pulitzer Prize winner — in a new book, “Reckless Endangerment.”

Morgenson accused Barney of getting a job for his boyfriend on a show a couple of days ago on, of all places, National Public Radio.


Can anyone dispute that the New York Times/Boston Globe protects and venerates Barney Frank? And yet here is what the Times’ Pulitzer Prize winner says:

“Frank actually called up the company (Fannie Mae) and asked them to hire his companion, who had just gotten an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business (at Dartmouth). . . . Of course the company was happy to provide a job for his companion and rolled out the red carpet in a series of interviews with a variety of executives, and it ultimately did hire the man.”

Another nationwide search!

“And he stayed there for, I believe, seven years.”


The Pulitzer Prize winner from the Times interviewed Barney about his Significant Other, and Mr. Hot Bottom assured her he never, ever went to bat for his boyfriend’s employer at congressional hearings. Not true, says the NYT reporter.

“The record shows that he was very aggressive and really tough on those who were testifying in Congress about reining in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

True love is what it was. Later on, Barney had an epiphany about Fannie Mae’s corruption. But as Morgenson puts it, “He had been a vocal supporter for so long that it was sort of an odd turnabout.” [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

I'll say it was. And if you recall, Fannie and Freddie have had wide ranging, far reaching, effects on our economy. So, thanks a lot for that, Barney. And of course, you did NOTHING wrong. Ahahahahahaha. Right.

Update below, and it is a doozy about Fannie and Freddie.

And then there is this final, sillier, question: why would the new DNC Chair, Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, feel compelled to attack Republicans for not supporting throwing money at GM and Chrysler, thus not supporting American cars, when she drives an Infiniti? I'm just asking, since she said this:
[snip] "If it were up to the candidates for president on the Republican side, we would be driving foreign cars; they would have let the auto industry in America go down the tubes," she said at a breakfast for reporters organized by The Christian Science Monitor. [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

I'd also like to know why Obama is wanting to shell out billions of OUR taxpaying dollars to go to Egypt and other so-called "Arab Spring" countries? I understand he wants to send money there for job creation? What about job creation in his OWN country??

And not for nothing, but this money will be going to groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, the "rebels" in Libya, who are not all freedom loving would be Democrats. Not at all, since some of them have ties to Al-Qaeda. And we are going to help fund them WHY, exactly?

See, I have questions, though the above are just the beginning. Anyone have some answers?

UPDATE: I just saw what the Obama Administration has paid the six top executives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the past two years - $34.4 MILLION. Yes, you read that right. Read more here:
[snip] Over the last two years, the Obama administration has approved a whopping $34.4 million in compensation to the top six executives of the financially troubled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage giants, and lacks the necessary protections to ensure such compensation is even warranted.
The largesse flowed to the six executives even though the two companies they run struggle to staunch billions of dollars in losses, remain in government conservatorship, and must compensate taxpayers for assuming the companies’ liabilities during the mortgage crisis. To compensate taxpayers, Fannie and Freddie are tapping Treasury Department funds to pay required 10 percent dividends each quarter to the U.S. government.[snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

These two mortgage behemoths have helped to throw this country into an economic tailspin, and are still bleeding money. And WE are paying them that kind of money?? This is insane. It is absolutely insane. Wow...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Better Use Of One Hundred Thousand Tax Paying Dollars...

Instead of paying for a "Teleprompter Coach" for the White House might be an actual, honest-to-goodness protocol officer. Someone who knows protocol or can at least familiarize themselves, and thus the president, before a State function in another country.

Seriously. What is wrong with Obama? You may have seen his faux pas at the State Dinner with the Queen the other night when he continued blathering on after asking everyone to rise - once the Queen is standing, the anthem is played. But watch closely at the 3:36 mark (or so). She has to tell Obama to put down his damn glass (H/t to Creeper00):


And notecards? Really, Obama? If you are SO damn smart, like your minions keep telling us you are, you cannot remember 3 1/2 minutes of a TOAST? Hell, Bill Clinton recited his entire State of the Union address when his teleprompter went out early on, and you can't remember a little quote from Churchill? Good grief.

If only this was the FIRST breach of protocol and decorum, but it is not. It is a continuing series of breaches by this Administration (remember the box of dvds for Prime Minister Gordon Brown as an Official State Gift? The iPod loaded with Obama's speeches for the Queen?). But hey, that's what happens when you surround yourself with people like this:

(Photo credit to

Yep, those are a bunch of White House Staffers at a Georgetown bar winding down. Just to give you some context, this was taken at the height of the BP oil spill.

And in case you forgot, one of the guys above, is Jon Favreau, the Chief White House Speechwriter. You know, the guy on the left:

Yeah. That's the kind of people we have in the White House.

You know, we have a saying down South - when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. It's one thing when you do that in your personal life, but quite another when you are representing the United States of America. To be so completely clueless when dealing with foreign heads of states is inexcusable. But that's what happens when you are clueless, and then surround yourself with a bunch of know-nothings who are just too cool to bother with manners or decorum.

Not for nothing, but royalty have been around for quite some time - centuries, in fact - and there are set rules for how one conducts oneself while in their company. It is incumbent upon the president, and his Administration, to know these rules. Maybe instead of playing a little ping pong himself while hanging out in the UK, Obama could have familiarized himself with the basic rules of a State Dinner in the UK. Just a thought.

And hey, that suggestion was free of charge, Obama.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"O'Bama? Oh, Puh-lease!"

That is the headline of this entertaining, and accurate, assessment of Obama's Ireland visit by James Delingpole, "O'Bama? Ph, Puh-lease!". Many of us saw his visit there as overblown, but only someone in the UK could pull this off:
Ah Bejaysus and Begorrah! Oi’ll be swearin’ boi the auld shrine to the Vorgin with the shamrocks growin’ round it next to the hill where Cuchullain slew the Great Leprechaun of Kildare on St Patrick’s Day that Barack Seamus O’Toole Flaherty Joyce O’Bama is the most Irish US president that ever set foot on the Emerald Oisle, so he is, so he is.

Except, when he’s in Africa, of course, when he disappears into the dry ice and re-emerges with a grass skirt and a bone through his nose and declares himself to be Mandingo, Prince of the Bloodline of the Bonga People, Drinker of Cattle Urine, Father of A Thousand Warrior Sons, Keeper of King Solomon’s Mines, Barehanded Slayer of Lions, Undaunted Victim of the Evil Colonial British Empire.


Tony Blair used to do this trick too, his accent mutating from broad Glaswegian to genteel Edinburgh to Mummerset to Estuary to Richard E Grant to Sarf London Grime – often in the course of one Downing Street reception – the better to persuade his target audience that he was their kind of guy. And it is, of course, the hallmark of an unutterable charlatan.

I’ve argued before that Tony Blair and Barack Obama have an awful lot in common. Both are lawyers; both are snake-oil-salesman; both claim to be post-partisan, and Third Way and consensual; both play the acceptable, moderate-seeming public face of a regime chock full of Communists, class warriors, single issue rabble rousers, malcontents, communitarians and eco-loons hell bent on destroying every last vestige of what once made their country great. And both do (or did) the things dodgy political leaders always do when the going gets tough at home and their domestic audience finally wises up to how totally useless they are: they hop on the plane and pose as international statesman instead.

No kidding. Is it any surprise that Obama went abroad given the very, very brief bump in his poll numbers, and the continued Spring of Discontent in this country? I am only surprised he didn't go to the West Bank after his disastrous speech about Israel.

Perhaps he knew that Netanyahu's speech to Congress was going to be better received than Obama's was from the State Department. And that Netanyahu would get more standing ovations than Obama did for his State of the Union address. Ahem. Perhaps that is why he felt compelled to get the hell out of Dodge and to get some of that adoration he thrives on so much...

It is all about the spin, isn't it? Like the spin the MSM is putting on the special election up in NY State. They are making it sound like the Democrat, Kathy Hochul, won by a landslide, and that it is a HUGE referendum on The Republicans' position on Medicare.

There are two problems with this logic: 1. Hochul had all of 4% more votes than the Republican, Jane Corwin; and 2. the alleged Tea Party candidate, Jack Davis, siphoned off 9% of the votes. Do the math.

And about Davis, I think it is safe to say that Davis, who has run a number of times as a Democrat in that region, was a spoiler, and a successful one at that.

The major spin here, though, as Dana Perino pointed out, is that The DEMOCRATS cut $500 million to Medicare in the DEMOCRATIC passage of Obamacare. How is it that they are now going to be the ones to save it from those evil Republicans? Good grief.

It is clear, though, that this is how the MSM is going to spin it - it is the primary headline for a number of outlets. Wow.

This kind of hoodwinking and bamboozling seems to be the stock and trade these days, and is certainly a hallmark of Obama's. Along those lines, I will leave the conclusion to Mr. Delingpole, who sums up Obama's trip to the UK, and his presidency in general, beautifully:
[snip] Obama can’t stand Britain (his wife likes us even less): he made that clear enough when he sent back Winston Churchill’s bust and dissed our Prime Minister with those dodgy DVDS. He blames us for what happened to his grandfather during Mau Mau. He doesn’t believe in the Special Relationship. Are we honestly supposed to believe in that during the subsequent year in office, Obama has since acquired such wisdom and insight that he suddenly realises how special we are?

Of course he hasn’t. Obama is just doing now what all bullies and losers start doing when they realise how unpopular they are and that everyone is abandoning them. They suck up to anybody and everybody. They whore themselves piteously before enemies they once considered beneath their contempt. Fain will they fill their bellies with husks that swine eat – but which no man will give them: and serve them jolly well right, too!

By all means let us enjoy watching Obama smarm and grovel and ingratiate himself like seome presidential Uriah Heep. But for heaven’s sake let us never give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s a cold fish and would certainly never show any mercy towards us were the roles to be reversed.

Amen to that...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Obama's New "Truthiness*" Office

* As Stephen Colbert might say.

Mr. Transparency has added yet another position to the White House. That would be the Director of Progressive Media & Online Response. The point of this position? Well, it would seem to smack down any negative story that might arise about Obama. We can't have THAT, after all.

I am not kidding. This new position will be directed primarily at the online community:
[snip] The post is a new one for this White House. Rapid response has been the purview of the Democratic National Committee (and will continue to be). Lee's hire, however, suggests that a portion of it will now be handled from within the administration. It also signals that the White House will be adopting a more aggressive engagement in the online world in the months ahead.

Lee has played that role in the past, including writing a semi-infamous White House blog post that said Fox News' Glenn Beck was lying about the administration on his show. His new gig comes with its own Twitter account, precisely for the purposes of disseminating push back.

An equally telling requirement of Lee's new job, however, is that of crafting strategy for outreach to the progressive community. Lee has been tasked with that responsibility in his previous incarnations, both as a member of the DNC online team during the '08 election and as a senior new media adviser with then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).[snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

Oh, yes - we cannot have anything negative to say about The One, can we? I mean, really - no one can acknowledge when the Emperor Has No Clothes.

Along those lines, you likely know that Obama is off on another European Vacation, including going to Moneygall, Ireland to meet a very distant relative. (I am pretty sure my Irish connections are far closer than the 8th cousin Obama will be glad-handing, but hey - I would have to pay for my own damn trip to Ireland., so...) While there, he and Michelle went to a pub and tossed back a pint of Guiness:
(May 22, 2011 - Photo by Pool/Getty Images Europe)

Huh - rather a somber look for someone hanging out in a pub, but whatever. Ahem. He did lighten up, but I thought that photo was intriguing...

But get this - the White House INSISTED upon taking its own water to - wait for it - Buckingham Palace. In London. That one. Where the Queen of England lives. Not just that The Emperor would not drink the water there, he wouldn't even drink THEIR bottled water. Again, I am not making this up - how could I? I never would even DREAM of something like that.

It is LONDON, not East Jesus, Timbuckto, for heaven's sake. What is WRONG with this man? His people were worried it might upset his tummy, is the explanation for this (new) slight. He can toss back a Guiness, but not accept a bottle of water from the TRUE Royals. Now that takes some chutzpah, doesn't it?

Well, who knows how much longer bloggers like me will be able to write these kinds of things before the Office Of "Truthiness*" rains down hard making sure everyone still believes the Emperor has clothes? I guess I better get them in while I can, huh?

One last thing - just what kind of bottled water IS it that His Highness requires? I'm just wondering. Is it laced with gold, frankincense, and myrrh? What do you think?

Monday, May 23, 2011

How Dare She?!

You are never going to believe this. A woman in Saudi Arabia had the AUDACITY to get behind the wheel of a car. The nerve of her! Who does she think she is, wanting to drive herself. Good grief, what IS the world coming to, I ask you?!

Ahem. I wish I could tell you that this is just some "Onion" type parody, but it is, in fact, true. Yes, Manal Al-Sherif, was detained by the religious police because she got into the driver's seat:
Authorities detained a Saudi woman on Saturday after she launched a campaign against the driving ban for women in the ultraconservative kingdom and posted a video of herself behind the wheel on Facebook and YouTube to encourage others to copy her.

Manal al-Sharif and a group of other women started a Facebook page called "Teach me how to drive so I can protect myself," which urges authorities to lift the driving ban. She went on a test drive in the eastern city of Khobar and later posted a video of the experience.

"This is a volunteer campaign to help the girls of this country" learn to drive, al-Sherif says in the video. "At least for times of emergency, God forbid. What if whoever is driving them gets a heart attack?"

Human rights activist Walid Abou el-Kheir said al-Sherif was detained by the country's religious police, who are charged with ensuring the kingdom's rigid interpretation of Islamic teachings are observed. [snip]

Al-Sherif has a point - at the very least, women should know the basics of driving a car for emergencies, but also because, well, it's assholic for them to be barred from something so many of us take completely for granted. Especially since the only reason they are barred from driving is their gender.

But wait - there is more:
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world to ban women - both Saudi and foreign - from driving (emphasis mine). The prohibition forces families to hire live-in drivers, and those who cannot afford the $300 to $400 a month for a driver must rely on male relatives to drive them to work, school, shopping or the doctor.

Women are also barred from voting, except for chamber of commerce elections in two cities in recent years, and no woman can sit on the kingdom's Cabinet. Women also cannot travel without permission from a male guardian and shouldn't mingle with males who are not their husbands or brothers.


Dressed in a headscarf and the all-encompassing black abaya all women must wear in public, al-Sharif said not all Saudi women are "queens" who can afford to hire a driver. She extolled the virtues of driving for women, saying it can save lives, and time, as well as a woman's dignity. Al-Sharif said she learned how to drive at the age of 30 in New Hampshire.


"We want to live as complete citizens, without the humiliation that we are subjected to every day because we are tied to a driver," the Facebook message reads. "We are not here to break the law or demonstrate or challenge the authorities, we are here to claim one of our simplest rights." (Click here to read the rest.)

Well, golly gee - that's just a little demanding, isn't it? Wanting to live as "complete citizens" in their own country? Pushy, pushy, pushy...

All snark aside, isn't it just remarkable that in the 21st century, one of our allies treats women as subhuman based on religious practices? We engage with Saudi Arabia on a regular basis (they have oil, you know). Hell, our president bowed down to their king (!) as if he was one of his subjects. (There is more we are doing for them, too, about which you likely have not heard about in terms of the US crafting a "private security force." My friend, Diamond Tiger, has the story at her blog, Logistics Monster. Check it out.)

And yet, women there do not have the most basic of rights, ones we take for granted every single day. How would we fare if women in this country had to have a driver, or take a taxi, to work, to school to pick up the kids, to go grocery shopping, to do ANYTHING?? Never mind should an emergency arise. I reckon the women in Saudi Arabia are just SOL.

But, hey, they are our allies, religious police notwithstanding. Heaven forfend we expect better from them in their treatment of half the population. Don't want to upset them, after all. That would be politically and culturally insensitive of us. I mean, we're just talking about women, right? Right?

I don't know if the action al-Sharif and the other women there will be successful or not, but I sure hope so. I wouldn't expect a whole lotta help from the US on this - it isn't like we have been adamant that women have more rights there anyway. Oh, we acknowledge there are problems, but when our president bows to their king, I just wouldn't hold my breath if I was them. Would you?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Little Night Music

A few of us were *talking* over at No Quarter about how nice it would be to just have an internet folk coffeehouse of sorts. I think it is a great idea. We all need a break from the world of politics, troubles across the country from tornadoes to massive floods to continuing high unemployment, and eruptions around the world.

I firmly believe that music is salve for the soul, balm for the heart, and enables a calming of the mind. So here are a few of my favorite folk singers and some of my favorite songs of theirs.

First, is Shawn Colvin. She is just a brilliant songwriter, and in this clip, she is accompanied by another favorite of mine, Alison Krauss. The song is a classic, "Shotgun Down The Avalanche":

Staying with Alison Krauss, a renowned bluegrass fiddler, and her band, Union Station, here is "Lucky One:"

I have been fortunate enough to see Shawn Colvin, Alison Krauss and Union Station, and my next favorite, in concert (Alison Krauss and her band will be in Charleston this summer, too - you better believe we'll be going).

My next fave up is Mary Chapin Carpenter. Get this - I got to see her, Shawn Colvin, Dar Williams, and Patty Griffin TOGETHER doing an acoustic set. They had four regular old chairs on the stage, and just sang together. It was freakin' awesome.

Staying with luck, here is "I Feel Lucky":

Finally, in case you have not heard of Dar Williams before, this song of hers just makes me smile. I can't help it. I love it:

So, what sounds would you like to add on a Saturday night/Sunday morning? Folk? Jazz? Classical? Eighties? Whatever you are in the mood for, let's have it. And if you are inclined to say why you picked that particular piece, that would be cool, too. Have a good evening/morning...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Obama V. West, And What About Hillary?

President Obama made quite the speech Thursday on the Middle East, including Israel, our ally, right before Prime Minister Netanyahu visits. And oh, what an, um, interesting speech it was.

If you have the time, inclination, and intestinal fortitude to watch Obama deliver this 35 minute long speech (he does go on), here it is:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Former IMF Head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, A Serial Offender?

By now, I am sure everyone has heard about the alleged rape of a Sofitel maid in Manhattan by IMF leader, Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Strauss-Kahn is currently being held at Riker's Island, in New York. The list of charges against him include first degree rape, and kidnapping. He's in a boatload of trouble, and finally resigned his post as the head of the IMF Wednesday. (As of this writing, Strauss-Kahn is at court on a bail hearing, hoping to get out on a $1 million bail, and ankle bracelet monitored 24 hour home imprisonment.)

But here's the thing - this man apparently has a history of treating women horribly. From another maid in Mexico, to a reporter doing an interview, to prostitutes in New York City, he has a history of rape in the worst cases, and rough treatment in the cases of the prostitutes (provided by the same madam, Kristin Davis, who provided prostitutes to former NY Governor, Eliott Spitzer).n A recent book details the rape of the maid in Mexico (which went unreported), along with 14 other women who claim sexual assaults by this man.

Aforementioned madam, Ms. Davis, would not provide any more prostitutes to Strauss-Kahn due to his abusive behavior. The last time was when Strauss-Kahn was going to NYC for a conference with President Clinton:
[snip]Kristin Davis said she provided young women for the IMF chief in 2006, as he ran for the French Socialists' presidential nomination, and that one complained about his "aggressive" behaviour.

"He was a client of my agency," she told The Daily Telegraph. "When men abuse women I'm no longer going to protect their identities".


Miss Davis, 35, who claims to have a long list of celebrity clients, said Mr Strauss-Kahn called her directly on her mobile phone and paid $1,200 cash for two-hour sessions in hotel rooms.

"He wanted an 'All-American girl', with a fresh face, from the mid-West," she said. "A girl in January 2006 complained he was rough and angry, and said she didn't want to see him again".

In September 2006, Mr Strauss-Kahn travelled to New York for a conference hosted by Bill Clintonn September 2006, Mr Strauss-Kahn travelled to New York for a conference hosted by Bill Clinton. Miss Davis claims that month, she sent him a Brazilian-born prostitute who reported that "he was rough", said Miss Davis, adding: "She told me not to send any new girls to him." [snip]

Well, I would think not. Sheesh.

As to the other women, I do have a nagging question, which the author of this Telegraph article alluded to, as well:
A deluge of fresh allegations of sexual misbehaviour engulfed Dominique Strauss-Kahn yesterday.

The 62-year-old International Monetary Fund chief, who is accused of the attempted rape of a chambermaid, is said to have targeted young students, ‘behaved like a gorilla’ with an actress and had flings with the widow of an Italian academic.
As Strauss-Kahn languished on suicide watch in New York’s Rikers Island prison following the alleged sexual assault at a Manhattan hotel, the new claims sent further shockwaves reverberating through France and the financial world.

The revelations will trigger more questions about how the IMF’s managing director escaped censure during his rise to become one of the world’s most powerful money men and a potential president of France.[snip]

NO FREAKING KIDDING. That is what I would like to know. With all of these women, in a number of countries, being on the receiving end of, at best, inappropriate advances, and at worse, rape, how is it that NO ONE went after this man?? Go check out this article, and see the long list of women that we KNOW about who had dealings with Strauss-Kahn, just to give you an idea:
[snip]The mother of Tristane Banon, a Parisian novelist who claims to have been subjected to a frenzied sex attack by Strauss-Kahn nine years ago, used the Facebook website to deliver a scathing attack on her daughter’s alleged aggressor.

[...] French socialist politician Auriele Filippetti said the IMF chief had groped her in 2008 and from then on vowed to make sure she was never alone in a room with him.

Piroska Nagy, a Hungarian economist who had a brief affair with Strauss Kahn when both were married in 2008, told investigators that he had a problem and that she felt coerced into sleeping with him because of his senior position and aggressive advances. [snip]

Now that is a story we have heard all too often, isn't it?

And what was the response to Strauss-Kahn's arrest in France? Now, let me just say - I love France. I have had great interactions with the French when I have visited there, so this is disturbing to me:
[snip]President Sarkozy is said to have rolled his eyes and said ‘We did warn him’ after hearing of his arrest.


Most French people believe fallen Strauss-Kahn is the ‘victim of a plot’ over the charge that he tried to rape a hotel chambermaid.

A poll found that 57 per cent of French people think he was ‘framed’ in a bid to ruin him.

Among socialist voters, 70 per cent believe the Left-wing politician has been set up. (Click here to read the rest.)

I guess that answers my question as to why no one has censured this man, or brought charges against him before: because they will not be believed, and he will be held blameless, considered the "victim" of some nefarious plot, not as an (alleged) rapist/serial sexual abuser.

Though the President of France saying they "warned him" is telling - about just what DID they warn him? And was their concern for HIM, or for the WOMEN? I think we can guess the answer to that, can't we?

Well, hopefully he will not get away with it this time, though. It is far past time, if these claims are accurate (and I have no reason to believe they aren't, especially since they are coming from all different sectors from a number of different women in a number of different countries). I would not be at all surprised to see more women come forward to levy charges against Strauss-Kahn. Thank heavens for the courage of the maid in NYC, though had other women done so previously, perhaps she would have been spared this horrendous fate, at least at the hands of Strauss-Kahn (allegedly).

Perhaps now, he will get his comeuppance, not just a roll of the eyes and a "warning." One can hope, anyway...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Want To Opt Out Of Obamacare? Try Nancy Pelosi's District **UPDATED**

Update below.

I am sure this will be a shock to you, but fully 20% of Obamacare waivers are in Nancy Pelosi's district. (Okay, I cannot restrain myself - how much does it look like Obama is telling Nancy, "don't you worry, sweetie, I will always love you" or something along those lines? Feel free to add your own caption below.)

You are just not going to believe this. Well, maybe you would, but it is just a tad aggravating, as The Daily Caller reports:
Of the 204 new Obamacare waivers President Barack Obama’s administration approved in April, 38 are for fancy eateries, hip nightclubs and decadent hotels in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Northern California district.

That’s in addition to the 27 new waivers for health care or drug companies and the 31 new union waivers Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services approved.


Other common waiver recipients were labor union chapters, large corporations, financial firms and local governments. But Pelosi’s district’s waivers are the first major examples of luxurious, gourmet restaurants and hotels getting a year-long pass from Obamacare.

Gee, aren't you also surprised to learn that union chapters were also getting waivers? Oh, I am so sure.

But allow me to give you a glimpse into the kinds of restaurants these are in Former Speaker Pelosi's district getting waivers:
For instance, Boboquivari’s restaurant in Pelosi’s district in San Francisco got a waiver from Obamacare. Boboquivari’s advertises $59 porterhouse steaks, $39 filet mignons and $35 crab dinners.

Then, there’s Café des Amis, which describes its eating experience as “a timeless Parisian style brasserie” which is “located on one of San Francisco’s premier shopping and strolling boulevards, Union Street,” according to the restaurant’s Web site.

“Bacchus Management Group, in partnership with Perry Butler, is bringing you that same warm, inviting feeling, with a distinctive San Francisco spin,” the Web site reads. Somehow, though, the San Francisco upper class eatery earned itself a waiver from Obamacare because it apparently cost them too much to meet the law’s first year requirements.

The reason the Obama administration says it has given out waivers is to exempt certain companies or policyholders from “annual limit requirements.” The applications for the waivers are “reviewed on a case by case basis by department officials who look at a series of factors including whether or not a premium increase is large or if a significant number of enrollees would lose access to their current plan because the coverage would not be offered in the absence of a waiver.” The waivers don’t allow a company to permanently refrain from implementing Obamacare’s stipulations, but companies can reapply for waivers annually through 2014. [snip] (Click here to read the rest of this story.)

Not to be too cynical or anything (!), but sure seems like a bit of a payback for Pelosi shoving through this monstrosity of a bill. But that's just a guess on my part.

And if THESE companies are struggling to pay for Obamacare with their high dollar menu, what does this administration think is going to happen with small business owners who AREN'T charging comparable rates for comparable services? Will they, too, get waivers? I wouldn't hold my breath on that one, if I were them. Well, unless they happen to be in Nancy's district, and likely a place she frequents (okay, I made that up, but c'mon, it's pretty likely, isn't it, that she patronizes the restaurants mentioned above? I think so.), otherwise, they are just SOL.

Just like the rest of us are.

Once again, this is a glaring example of just how much this is less about the people of this country, and more about political payback. All I can say is I hope the courts do the right thing for US and rule this new law un-Constitutional.

Caption time - what is Obama saying to Pelosi? And consider this an Open Thread. Feel free to talk abt the Govinator's love child, why this IMF chairman, Dominque Strauss-Kahn still has his job after raping someone but Wolfowitz lost his for a consensual relationship, or Trump, Obama's bin Laden bounce already bouncing away, or whoever/whatever is on your mind...

UPDATE: I advise you to not be drinking anything when you read this. Ready? Okay - so, HHS is claiming that Pelosi had NOTHING to do with the 20% of waivers granted in April going to HER district. Nope, zippo, zilch, nada, the big donut hole. Huh uh, nothing at all. Oh, you believe them, don't you? After all, they're the government - they wouldn't lie to you, would they?! Wow...

Monday, May 16, 2011

The End Of An Era For Endeavour

The Endeavour Space Shuttle, commanded by Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, blasted off for its final voyage this morning. Rep. Giffords was able to make the trip back to Florida, and watched her husband take off into space.

The liftoff of Endeavour was, in short, spectacular:

I love that this video shows how fast Endeavour is moving through space. It is just mind boggling.

"Expanding our knowledge, expanding our lives, in space."

It is impossible, at least for me, to not be moved by the liftoff itself, and for what this voyage of Endeavour represents - the second to last space shuttle liftoff. One final launch of the Atlantis in July, and the program is ended. At this point, future plans for our space program are still a bit uncertain. No doubt, the corps of astronauts will continue to be reduced, and space enterprises will become private affairs (think Richard Branson), less US Government:
[snip] It's the beginning of the end of the US astronaut corps as generations of Americans have known it. Fifty years after its birth, the astronaut program – one of America's most iconic ventures and an integral part of the nation's self-image – is undergoing a transformation.

The program, to be sure, won't vanish. But as the final two shuttles – the astronauts' main ride into space – are retired and funding for space ventures dwindles, the nation's astronaut corps will become smaller, its role redefined, and more of the space duties likely turned over to private firms.

The move will accelerate the corps's transition from a group once dominated by test pilots to one increasingly made up of scientists and specialists who can live on the International Space Station (ISS) for extended periods, conducting experiments and doing everything from cleaning air filters to cooking meals.

Nor will the astronauts likely be as visible. In the early years of the space program, they were national heroes – John Waynes in moon suits. Virtually everything they did was pioneering – the first American to journey around the Earth, the first American spacewalk, the first human on the moon. To this day, Neil Armstrong's line – "One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" – is one of the most quoted phrases in the English language. The astronauts graced the cover of magazines. Books were written about them.

With the advent of the shuttle program, journeys into space became more regular, the feats more commonplace. Today, as the astronauts undergo another transition, their identities may become even more anonymous, their work more quotidian, to the extent working 210 miles above Earth can be quotidian. Yet the astronaut corps remains a source of fascination to many Americans – and will remain an integral, if diminishing, part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.[snip] (Click here to read the rest of this informative article.)

As this period of space exploration comes to an end, I cannot help but think of the president who first supported its development, and the subsequent results:

As Buzz Lightyear would say, "To Space, and Beyond!" I hope that the opportunity to do so will long continue...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

There's A Lesson To Be Learned Here

I have friends visiting from NY, just for the weekend. In anticipation of their arrival, I had worked on a post, and scheduled it to go up while they were here. Well, Blogger had other plans. Let's just say, it ate my post. Argh. In the slim chance it is resurrected, I'll hold off re-writing it - it was pretty time consuming anyway, and I just don't have the time this weekend.

But then I started to think, maybe this is just the universe's way of saying a little shift in focus wouldn't be bad. A blessing in disguise, if you will. So I thought about something my cousin sent me recently by the acclaimed chef, Robert St. John, out of Mississippi, and a discussion a bunch of us were having over at my other home, No Quarter, about being Southern.

First to Chef St. John. A while back, he wrote a piece entitled, "My South," inspired by an insipid person who seemed to think the South had no fine dining establishments, well, ANYWHERE, much less Mississippi. Chef St. John took a bit of umbrage at that, and listed all of the things "My South" has. He has since come out with "My South II," some of which I will share with you here:
As far as Hollywood is concerned, the South is still one big hot and humid region full of stereotypes and clichés (they got the humidity part right). We are either Big-Daddy-sitting-on-the-front-porch-in-a-seersucker-suit, sweating and fanning while drinking mint juleps beside a scratching dog— or— the poor-barefooted-child-in-tattered-clothes, walking down a dusty-dirt road beside a scratching dog. There is no middle ground. Most of the time, we are either stupid or racist or both.

[...] The South of movies and TV, the Hollywood South, is not my South. [snip]

~~In my South little girls wear bows in their hair.

~~In my South banana pudding is its own food group.


~~In my South the back porches are screened and the front porches have rocking chairs and swings.

~~In my South the ham is as salty as the oysters.

~~In my South everyone waves.


~~In my South we use knives, forks and spoons, but we let cornbread and biscuits finish the job.

~~My South has tar-paper shacks but it also has tall-glass skyscrapers.

~~In my South people will put crabmeat on almost anything.

~~My South has tire swings hanging under live oak trees.

~~In my South grandmothers will put almost anything inside a mold filled with Jell-O.

~~In my South “cobbler” is a dessert, not a shoemaker.

~~In my South the only things that “squeal like a pig” are pigs.

~~In my South ice cream is made on the back porch instead of in a factory.

~~In my South grandmothers always have a homemade cake or pie on the counter.

~~My South has bottle trees.

~~In my South we give a firm handshake.

~~In my South “sopping” is an acquired skill and could be an Olympic sport.

~~My South is oleander and honeysuckle.

~~In my South we celebrate Easter a month-and-a-half early with a two-week long party called Mardi gras.

~~In my South fried chicken is a religion with its own denomination.

~~My South has sugar-sand beaches, pine forests, plains, hills, swamps and mountains.


~~In my South it’s OK to discuss politics and religion at the dinner table. As a matter of fact, it is required.


~~My South has shrimp boats and multi-colored sunrises.

~~In my South we move slowly because we can.

~~My South has covered dish suppers and cutting-edge fine dining restaurants.

~~In my South young boys still catch fireflies in washed out mayonnaise jars.

~~In my South 50% of the dinner conversation deals with someone’s genealogy. [snip]]
(Click here to read the rest, and read the first one, too. It's good!)

Yep, that's my South, too. Right now, I have the windows open, and the breeze is carrying in the smell of the ocean a few miles away, with a hint of the gardenias blooming down below the deck. My friends are out for a walk in this 77 degree weather (it isn't even 10:00am yet), enjoying the birds singing, the Spanish moss swaying, marsh grass smelling day.

That's my South. This is too:

So there is a lesson to be learned. Sometimes, having one's homework (as it were) being eaten by some nebulous entity is a good thing. Sometimes, it makes one just slow down a bit, and smell the gardenias. Sometimes, it is more important to just enjoy the day, the people, the weather, the South, than to deal with some political issue. That day is today.

One more tune for you to send you on your way today, whether you are lucky enough to live in the South, or not (!). We only have this one life in this incarnation, and sometimes we just need to Slow Down:

Have a great day, friends. And feel free to add to the list above, or start a new one for your part of the country. Take your time...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Obama Seal Action Figure?

Blogger has been acting up, which is why this post disappeared. Sorry for any inconvenience!

I barely know what to say about this:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Obama Can't Claim Credit For This...

As predicted, Obama is running around the country preening and strutting about HIS getting Osama bin Laden. Amazing since he wasn't even in the room when the decision was made, but whatever. And hypocritical since his Brain, Valerie Jarrett steadfastly told him NOT to order it. Well, she got her wish, he didn't, but he is basking in the light of the work of others anyway. What else is new?

Oh, and you knew it was coming - he is using bin Laden's death already in his re-election bid. And is "renewing Muslim Outreach" so they won't be too mad at him.


Below is something for which Obama can claim no credit whatsoever, especially since he can't dance. This is a celebration of the recent nuptials of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. And it is just fun:

I hope this brought a smile to your face and a respite, even if a brief one, from the Obama Show.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

If You Can Read This...

Chances are 50-50 you probably aren't from Detroit.

As it turns out, about half of the adult population in Detroit is functionally illiterate. Almost HALF. That is a staggering number.

How in the sam hill can that possibly be? I am serious - how in the world, in the United States of America, can this be? Here are just some of the issues they face:
“The National Institute for Literacy estimates that 47% of adults (more than 200,000 individuals) in the City of Detroit are functionally illiterate, referring to the inability of an individual to use reading, speaking, writing, and computational skills in everyday life situations,” a report from the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund reads.

Karen Tyler-Ruiz, the Fund’s director, explained the difficulties this presents to the average illiterate.

“Not able to fill out basic forms, for getting a job — those types of basic everyday [things]. Reading a prescription; what’s on the bottle, how many you should take…just your basic everyday tasks,” she said. “I don’t really know how they get by, but they do. Are they getting by well? Well, that’s another question,” she told WWJ Newsradio 950. [snip]

Uh, yeah - not being able to fill out basic forms is a bit of a problem.

Who is to blame for this deplorable condition? Well, depending upon whom you ask, it is either the teachers' union, or the city. Let's start with the union:
In a town where unions rule, some have pointed to the teachers’ union as a possible reason for the city’s high illiteracy rate.

Andrew J. Coulson, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom, told The Daily Caller that the teachers’ union monopoly has contributed to much of the educational deterioration in the city.

“Apparently [the school system is] not learning that the cause of the problem is the monopoly because they would have gotten rid of it by now. That is the big message from this report, [it] is not what this particular organization is doing to try to alleviate the problem,” Coulson told TheDC. “What they need to do is get rid of the monopoly.”

According to Coulson’s calculations, Detroit spent $15,945 per pupil for the 2010-2011 school year. By comparison, the average per pupil expenditure during the 2007-2008 school year nationally was $10,259.

It is embarrassing as hell for a city, and its teachers, to have this result, especially since they pay over a THIRD more per student in Detroit than the national average. Sounds to me like they are not getting their money's worth there. Ahem. Wow.

Who do the teachers blame? The city:
The Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT), however, is adamant that the problem actually lies with the city’s failure to effectively enforce school attendance.

“I don’t think that that the teachers’ union has a responsibility for making sure that adults can read,” DFT president Keith Johnson told TheDC.

“I think the unfairness of the criticism [against the union] comes from the fact that there is a direct correlation between student attendance and student performance,” Johnson added. “During the 2008-2009 school year, the average Detroit school student — you ready for this — missed 46 days of school. That was on average. There were 10 percent of our students that missed 100 days or more. It may shock you to know that Detroit public schools do not have an attendance standard.”

According to Detroit’s attendance policy statement in their “Orientation Kit,” students are expected to attend 92 percent of classes, or miss no more than 14 days annually. Johnson believes there have to be harsher consequences for those who miss significantly more days.

Uh huh. Okay. Well, there may be some truth in that since students do need to be there.

But there's one more group who deserves some blame:
Some say the responsibility for the absentee epidemic falls at the feet of parents who fail to supervise their children. Richard Rivers, a counselor at Cody’s Academy of Critical Thinkers and Medicine and Community Health, said that the best way to fix the literary problem is to get parents involved.

“I talk to truants all the time, and I call their parents,” he told the Detroit Free Press. “I do believe that truancy can be prevented when parents are working with me to get the students to school every day and on time.” [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

Indeed, parents must be active participants in the education of their children, especially when it is something so basic, so necessary, as literacy.

It sounds to me like there is plenty of blame to go around. The citizens of Detroit are certainly not getting their money's worth, not with this outcome. Whatever the truancy policy is, it sounds like it might use some revamping. And parents need to get involved with their own children and what they are learning (or not). Regardless of with whom the lion's share of blame lies, something needs to change, and now.

Speaking of reading, I just have to quickly share this article with you. My aunt sent it to me yesterday, and I just could not believe my eyes. Here is the headline: ‘Burn a Bush’? Michelle Obama Invites Rapper Common To A Poetry Reading.

Say wha? Oh, yes:
[snip] First Lady Michelle Obama has scheduled a poetry evening for Wednesday, and she’s invited several poets, including a successful Chicago poet and rapper, Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., AKA “Common.” However, Lynn is quite controversial, in part because his poetry includes threats to shoot police and at least one passage calling for the “burn[ing]” of then-President George W. Bush.


By the way, ‘Uzi’ is slang for a compact machine gun:

A Letter to the Law

Dem boy wanna talk… [indistinguishable]

Whatcha gon do if ya got one gun?

I sing a song for the hero unsung

with faces on the mural of the revolution

No looking back cos’ in back is what’s done

Tell the preacher, god got more than one son

Tell the law, my Uzi weighs a ton

I walk like a warrior,

from them I won’t run

On the streets, they try to beat us like a drum

In Cincinnati, another brother hung

A guinea won’t see the sun

with his family stung

They want us to hold justice

but you handed me none

The same they did to Kobe and Michael Jackson

make them the main attraction

Turn around and attack them

Black gem in the rough

You’re rugged enough

Use your mind and nine-power, get the government touch

Them boys chat-chat on how him pop gun

I got the black strap to make the cops run

They watching me, I’m watching them

Them dick boys got a lock of cock in them

My people on the block got a lot of pok* in them

and when we roll together

we be rocking them to sleep

No time for that, because there’s things to be done

Stay true to what I do so the youth dream come

from project building

Seeing a fiend being hung

With that happening, why they messing with Saddam?

Burn a Bush cos’ for peace he no push no button

Killing over oil and grease

no weapons of destruction

How can we follow a leader when this a corrupt one

The government’s a g-unit and they might buck young black people

Black people In the urban area one

I hold up a peace sign, but I carry a gun.

Peace, ya’ll.”

Wowie zowie. Gosh, so glad the Lefties got Laura Bush to cancel HER scheduled poetry reading of Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, and Walt Whitman, those crazy rabble rousers (and I oughta know. Cough, cough.)

Who here is surprised by this? Yeah, me neither. As my aunt noted, such a classy, classy bunch the Obamas are. Not. And, I might add, this is what passes for poetry these days? Yikes. I'll stick with my Maya Angelou, Willa Cather, Emily Dickinson...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Want To Know Who Really Ordered The Mission Against Bin Laden? It Wasn't Obama...

"The operation was at this time effectively unknown to President Barack Obama or Valerie Jarrett and it remained that way until AFTER it had already been initiated. President Obama was literally pulled from a golf outing and escorted back to the White House to be informed of the mission. Upon his arrival there was a briefing held which included Bill Daley, John Brennan, and a high ranking member of the military. When Obama emerged from the briefing, he was described as looking “very confused and uncertain.” The president was then placed in the situation room where several of the players in this event had already been watching the operation unfold." So says the White House Insider as told to Ulsterman (H/T to NQ regular, Noogan, for linking to the initial report after bin Laden's killing). Can one say, "Deep Throat"?

Wow. I am not surprised by this news, though, in all honesty. The photo released by the White House as the Powers-That-Be watched the mission unfold (or at least some of it), made that abundantly clear:

From the get-go, it looked to me like Obama was sitting in the "Kid's Chair," while the adults were around the big table. If the White House Insider is accurate, and Larry Johnson is now stating after intel he's received that the insider is at least 80% accurate, that's exactly what was going on here. The decision had been made, and not by Obama. As the Insider stated in a previous interview, it was a coup, a term the insider stands by in the update on May 3, 2011 to SocyBerty.

Make no mistake - this is huge. Huge.

So, who did give the order to go after Osama bin Laden? It was Leon Panetta, backed by Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, David Petraeus, and Jim Clapper. Not Barack Obama, despite his taking credit for it (though that is not a surprise, either - that has been his MO for years and years). If you have not had your fill of Obama BS, just watch his "60 Minutes" interview in which he blathers on and on about his "plan." As you will read below, there was no such plan, at least not from him.

There is so much to this interview, and I urge you to read the complete post, but here are some key components:
Q: You stated that President Obama was “overruled” by military/intelligence officials regarding the decision to send in military specialists into the Osama Bin Laden compound. Was that accurate?

A: I was told – in these exact terms, “we overruled him.” (Obama) I have since followed up and received further details on exactly what that meant, as well as the specifics of how Leon Panetta worked around the president’s “persistent hesitation to act.” There appears NOT to have been an outright overruling of any specific position by President Obama, simply because there was no specific position from the president to do so. President Obama was, in this case, as in all others, working as an absentee president. (Emphasis mine.)

I mentioned above who was doing the overruling - a star-studded group if ever there was one (well, except for maybe Jim Clapper - you remember him - the Director Of Intelligence who seemed woefully ignorant of Intelligence, who claimed the Muslim Brotherhood was "largely secular." Yes, that guy.). Anyway, it was this group against Valerie Jarrett, and her puppet, Obama:
I was correct in stating there had been a push to invade the compound for several weeks if not months, primarily led by Leon Panetta, Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, David Petraeus, and Jim Clapper. The primary opposition to this plan originated from Valerie Jarrett, and it was her opposition that was enough to create uncertainty within President Obama. Obama would meet with various components of the pro-invasion faction, almost always with Jarrett present, and then often fail to indicate his position. This situation continued for some time, though the division between Jarrett/Obama and the rest intensified more recently, most notably from Hillary Clinton. She was livid over the president’s failure to act, and her office began a campaign of anonymous leaks to the media indicating such. As for Jarrett, her concern rested on two primary fronts. One, that the military action could fail and harm the president’s already weakened standing with both the American public and the world. Second, that the attack would be viewed as an act of aggression against Muslims, and further destabilize conditions in the Middle East.

Wow. Yes, those should be our primary concerns when it comes to National Security, would it make Obama look bad, and angering Muslims? Good grief. That does confirm what many of us have thought, though. Our National Security has been couched by how it will appear to Muslims around the world, not about what is best for the United States of America. There is something seriously, seriously wrong with that.

The interviewer then asked about how they got Obama to change his opinion, to which the insider said they didn't - Obama didn't HAVE an opinion. The complete response is too long to include here, but the term "masterful manipulation" was used to describe how Leon Panetta made this happen. Here is just part of the response by the Insider:
[snip] Basically, the whole damn operation was already ready to go – including the specific team support Intel necessary to engage the enemy within hours of being given notice. Panetta then made plans to proceed with an on-ground assault. This information reached either Hillary Clinton or Robert Gates first (likely via military contacts directly associated with the impending mission) who then informed the other. Those two then met with Panetta, who informed each of them he had been given the authority by the president to proceed with a mission if the opportunity presented itself. Both Gates and Clinton warned Panetta of the implications of that authority – namely he was possibly being made into a scapegoat. Panetta admitted that possibility, but felt the opportunity to get Bin Laden outweighed that risk. During that meeting, Hillary Clinton was first to pledge her full support for Panetta, indicating she would defend him if necessary. Similar support was then followed by Gates. The following day, and with Panetta’s permission, Clinton met in private with Bill Daley and urged him to get the president’s full and open approval of the Panetta plan. Daley agreed such approval would be of great benefit to the action, and instructed Clinton to delay proceeding until he had secured that approval. Daley contacted Clinton within hours of their meeting indicating Jarrett refused to allow the president to give that approval (emphasis mine). Daley then informed Clinton that he too would fully support Panetta in his actions, even if it meant disclosing the president’s indecision to the American public should that action fail to produce a successful conclusion. Clinton took that message back to Panetta and the CIA director initiated the 48 hour engagement order. At this point, the President of the United States was not informed of the engagement order – it did not originate from him, and for several hours after the order had been given and the special ops forces were preparing for action into Pakistan from their position in Afghanistan, Daley successfully kept Obama and Jarrett insulated from that order. [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

At this point, you may be wondering just who Valerie Jarrett is, and why she has so much influence over Obama, more so than a number of top Cabinet officials. Well, she is the Senior Advisor to the President now, but prior to that worked for Mayor Richard Daley, and hired Michelle Obama as an assistant to the mayor. Oh, but get this - only after " Michelle's fiancé, Barack Obama, that the job was right for her." Gee, sexist much?

Anyway, here are some of the ways in which she has been described:
Chicago businesswoman Valerie Jarrett has earned all sorts of nicknames as an aide to President-elect Barack Obama — from "First Friend" to "big sister" to "the other half of Obama's brain." As co-chair of his transition team, Jarrett has spent the past week denying rumors, parsing policy changes and insisting that she doesn't know where she'll end up in the new administration (although Beltway gossip suggests she may be appointed to Obama's seat in the Senate). Of her relationship with the 44th commander-in-chief, Jarrett says simply: "He is my dear friend. I would do anything the President of the United States asked me to do." [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

And apparently, she has a tremendous amount of sway over Obama in terms of policy, foreign and national. That is quite something for someone who was not elected, or had to pass Congressional scrutiny.

But that is not all there is to Valerie Jarrett (or Michelle Obama). There is more that is not so glowing:
[snip]But not a word about Jarrett’s involvement in Michelle Obama’s patient-dumping scheme at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where Jarrett sat of the board of directors.

And not a word about Jarrett’s involvement in Grove Parc — the Chicago slum complex managed by Jarrett’s company, Habitat, Inc. To this day, Jarrett refuses to answer questions about the dilapidated housing development. [snip](Click here to read the rest.)

Yeah, she's a piece of work, the embodiment of a Chicago-style politics. But she also is someone who has WAY too much power in the White House, and way too much power over affairs of State.

Again, if only 80% of what the White House Insider says is true, this is damaging stuff, indeed. It explains a lot, though, including Obama's look while sitting in the Kiddy chair while the mission unfolded, and how fortunate we are that there are actual grown ups in this Administration willing to stick their necks out to protect our nation. One thing is for sure - that does not include Obama or Valerie Jarrett. When push came to shove, Obama continued to cave to Jarrett rather than listen to the people in positions to know better. His incompetence is dwarfed only by his narcissism for taking credit for results for which he had no involvement whatsoever.

One thing is crystal clear - Obama is not presidential material, and he sure as hell should not be president again. At least that's what I think. How about you?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

To All The Mothers

In truth, mothers should be appreciated, and celebrated, every day. But in the day to day hustle and bustle, it is often too easy to take our mothers, blood, surrogate, or chosen, for granted.

So on this day, for all of the love, support, understanding, lessons learned, and setting us on our paths, thank you. Those two words may seem small, but their meaning is large - thank you for all you have done to rear us, and let us go.

For those of us who have lost our mothers, whether recently, or long ago, may your memories comfort you, bring a smile to your face, and warm your heart. While she may be gone, she is never forgotten, nor far from the heart.

This is for you:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Another Honor Killing In The USA, Though You Probably Didn't Hear About It

Yes, this past week, in the midst of all of the bin Laden coverage, and bungled PR from the White House (seriously, how can they mess up something like that? As Kirsten Powers said on the Fox News All Stars 5/6/11, that is PR 101.), there was yet another "honor" killing here in the United States.

Oh, no, you shouldn't be surprised if you haven't heard about it. It was hardly reported at all. Only a few people picked it up, including Phyllis Chesler. You can imagine while we are busy trying to appease Muslim extremists for killing bin Laden, that this was not going to be Front Page news. Not even close.

This one occurred in Michigan by Rahim Alfewahi, who lives in Minnesota. There is little doubt as to why he killed his stepdaughter, Jessica Mokdad:
A Minnesota man is accused of killing his 20-year-old stepdaughter in Michigan because she left home and wasn't following Islam, police said Tuesday.

Rahim Alfetlawi, 45, was being held without bond Tuesday in the Macomb County Jail after being charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jessica Mokdad on Saturday at her grandmother's home in the Detroit suburb of Warren. [snip]

That is to say, there is little doubt that this was an "honor" killing.

There's more:
[snip]Warren Police Detective Lt. Michael Torey said Alfetlawi went to police in neighboring Center Line to report the shooting. Torey said Alfetlawi told police the gun discharged accidentally when he pulled it out, but police believe he intentionally shot Mokdad in the head.

Torey said Mokdad had left her mother and stepfather to live with her father near Flint in Grand Blanc because she did not like their rules.

"He's a strict Muslim, she was more Americanized," Torey said. [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

Sigh. Another young life lost to what can only be described as a barbaric belief system in which women, and girls, are treated as property, at best.

As far as I can tell, only The New Agenda highlighted this incident by running Phyllis Chesler's post, "Jessica Mokdad, 20, Killed by her Stepfather — When Will the Media & Muslim Groups Break Their Silence on This American Honor Killing?"

It begs the question, why? Why does the mainstream media, and women's organizations, Muslim or otherwise, continue to ignore these kinds of horrific events? How many more women are going to die in this country (or any country, for that matter), before these groups, and the media, fully cover this despicable practice?

Again, it begs this question - WHY? Why are these "honor" killings going under-reported?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Seems Some Folks Aren't Happy About Bin Laden's Death

That would be Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood, to name just two.

Yep, Hamas has "condemned" the killing:
While many Middle East leaders welcomed America’s military action, the mixed reaction across the region cast a shadow over both the “Arab Spring” and the future of talks between Israel and the Palestinians.


The Hamas prime minister of the Gaza strip, Ismail Haniya, said: “We condemn the assassination of a Muslim and Arab warrior and we pray to God that his soul rests in peace.

“We regard this as the continuation of the American oppression and shedding of blood of Muslims and Arabs.”

The Hamas reaction put it immediately at odds with Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, with which it is due to sign a unity deal today to join the Palestinian government.

Oops. Still, good to know where they stand, isn't it? Not that I really expected anything different from Hamas.

And how about its parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood? (And yes, Hamas grew out of the Muslim Brotherhood as its "political arm in December 1987...") Well, this headline pretty much says it all:
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Sticks With Bin Laden Uh, yeah. That does pretty much say it all, but of course, you know there is more, beginning with the lovely slogan behind the head of Mohamed Badie below:

Mohamed Badie, the leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, talks during a news conference in Cairo on November 30, 2010. The banner in the background reads: "Islam is the solution." By Amr Dalsh/Reuters

Oh, yes - they are such a moderate group, that Brotherhood, aren't they? Ahem.

Back to the article:
[snip] Most of yesterday's headlines proclaiming the death of Osama bin Laden used epithets like "terror mastermind" or "bastard" to refer to the internationally feared mass murderer. (That latter headline is from the New York Post.) But in its first public statement on the killing of bin Laden, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood used the honorific term "sheikh" to refer to the al-Qaeda leader. It also accused Western governments of linking Islam and terrorism, and defended "resistance" against the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan as "legitimate."

The Muslim Brotherhood's response to bin Laden's death may finally end the mythology -- espoused frequently in the U.S. -- that the organization is moderate or, at the very least, could moderate once in power. This is, after all, precisely how Muslim Brothers describe their creed -- "moderate," as opposed to al-Qaeda, which is radical. "Moderate Islam means not using violence, denouncing terrorism, and not working with jihadists," said Muslim Brotherhood youth activist Khaled Hamza, for whom the organization's embrace of "moderate Islam" was the primary reason he joined.

Yet the Muslim Brotherhood's promise that its "moderation" means rejecting violence includes a gaping exception: the organization endorses violence against military occupations, which its leaders have told me include Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bosnia, and Palestine -- in other words, nearly every major conflict on the Eurasian continent. "I never fought in Afghanistan," Mehdi Akef, the former Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, told me in January, just before the revolt. "But I encouraged them and sent money to Bosnia and Palestine until now." Muslim Brotherhood leaders have endorsed attacks on Israeli civilians as an exception to their no-violence-except-against-occupation exception, viewing all of Israel as an occupation. "Zionism is gangs," said Akef. "It's not a country. So we will resist them until they don't have a country."

Huh. So, let's recap - the Muslim Brotherhood fancies itself "moderate" because they are not "jihadists," yet they have a jihad against the United States, and think it is A-Okay to target Israeli civilians. But they are "moderates." Got it.

Get this, though - there are even more contradictions for the Muslim Brotherhood to deal with in its propaganda attempts. Oops, I mean, in stating their credo:
The attacks of September 11, 2001, however, created a real problem for the Muslim Brotherhood's paradigms, since it was a violent attack against civilians on territory that could not be considered occupied. Rather than denounce the attacks, however, the organization chose to argue, outrageously, that Islamists were not responsible.

In some cases, Muslim Brothers have simply expressed doubts about the "theory" that al-Qaeda was behind the attacks. "I don't believe it was jihadists. It was too big an operation," said Abdel Monem Aboul Fotouh, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Office who is often touted as one of the organization's reformers. "This was done by a country, not individuals. It's not a conspiracy theory -- it's just logical. They didn't bring this crime before the U.S. justice system until now. Why? Because it's part of a conspiracy."

Uh huh. So, even though Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda took credit for 9/11 (and a bunch of other attacks), we aren't to believe them, or retaliate for them because the Muslim Brotherhood thinks it's some cockamamie conspiracy theory? Hmm. How do I respond to that? Oh, I know - they can bite me.

Oh, but wait - it gets worse. Guess who they actually blame? This should not be a surprise:
More frequently, Muslim Brotherhood leaders blame a more predictable target. "The Jews and the Zionist lobby," Muslim Brotherhood legal thinker and former parliamentarian Sobhi Saleh declared to me one March afternoon in his Cairo office, when I asked him who was responsible for the attacks. "And this study is well-known in America and it's on the Internet. And a Christian preacher in Lebanon gave me a book on this at a conference. And it was a scientific research."

But of course, it's all Israel's fault. That's right. Sure it was. I mean, really, how can one disagree with such blinding logic? I jest - this is not logic. It's something (fill in the blank), but logic it ain't.

Finally, check out the Muslim Brotherhood's statement on the death of bin Laden. Pay close attention to their victim-hood claims:
[snip]"The whole world, and especially the Muslims, have lived with a fierce media campaign to brand Islam as terrorism and describe the Muslims as violent by blaming the September 11th incident on al-Qaeda." It then notes that "Sheikh Osama bin Laden" was assassinated alongside "a woman and one of his sons and with a number of his companions," going on to issue a rejection of violence and assassinations...


In a way, the Muslim Brotherhood's statement is vintage bin Laden: it's Muslim lands, not America, that are under attack; it's Muslims, not American civilians, who are the ultimate victims; and, despite two American presidents' genuine, effusive promises to the contrary, Islam is the target. It's an important indicator that despite its increased responsibility in post-Mubarak Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood may well remain deeply hostile toward even the one of the most basic and defensible of American interests in the Middle East -- that of securing Americans from terrorism. (Click here to read the rest.)

Indeed. Poor pitiful things - everyone is SO mean to them. Blech.

Their claims against violence are a bit of a stretch, are they not? Especially when Hamas is a part of this very organization, and they have declared Jihad against the USA, as well as violence against Israeli citizens. Honestly, though, it still boggles my mind how many Americans happily went along with this group taking over Egypt, and how many were even DEFENDING them. But you know, you just can't make some people see reason or accept facts. One would think, though, that as long as groups like this keep speaking up, those Americans who had/have no problem with the MB might just think again.

Hey, a woman can dream, can't she?