Saturday, January 31, 2009

New GOP Chair Hits Ground Running

With trunk up and tusks at the ready, the Republican Party seems instantly energized by the election of Michael Steele to RNC Chair, and it may well be because the image conjured is none other than Steele himself.

He has come out swinging at precisely the time the bell sounded and he seems determined to make it a short fight. Charging enthusiastically from his corner, he has been throwing hay makers to gin up his fans in the arena.

OK, so maybe my exuberance gets the better of me sometimes, but I can't help but feel new life for my party, the party I have wistfully watched drift further out to sea as I gazed lugubriously from the pier. And while I realize that few party chairmen have historically made much difference, I also acknowledge that there are but a small number of times when they've been required to even as I'm cognizant that this is just such a time. I know it's all confusing; think how I have felt all these years.

Michael Steele spoke to Jennifer Harper of the Washington Times the other day, and here's how part of that exchange went:

"We've had a hard, cold reality check. We've had our clocks cleaned, with little to show for it," Mr. Steele told me a few days ago.

The new mantra for the party is "Republican for a reason," he said.

"What now? This I ask Republicans: Are you ready to get your game face on and fight for the principles you believe in?"

I suggested it was a call for the party to "get in touch with their inner American" — and Mr. Steele quickly agreed.

"Oh, yeah. Once, Ronald Reagan made it cool to be a Republican again. And that Reagan 'factor' still matters now, but it matters in a different way, for a different age," Mr. Steele said.

"You have to adapt good ideas of the past because politics is not static. It may be a blood sport, but it sure isn't static. You can't change your basic principles and views, but you can express them differently. That's why we saw President Obama succeed. He's translated Reagan rhetoric for this age."

I have nothing but high hopes for Steele and, as a result, our party. I also privately wonder if this development will be sufficient to drag Newt Gingich back into the fray. Watching liberals writhe at such a prospect will be akin to witnessing the squirming of vampires in the rising sun or demons before the Cross.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Turning The Corner On Race, Religion And Politics

Or What Michael Steele May Mean To The Conservative Movement

Michael Steele, the former Lt. Governor of Maryland, has achieved the mantel of Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Already, the mainstream media is maneuvering to minimize the significance of the event with the sort of social impunity to which conservatives have become far too accustomed. Conservatives have taken it on the chin with a grin because we have understood that ours is a battle fought perpetually uphill, and we have exhaustively dodged the boulders rolling towards us - released by fearful liberals at the top of the hill - with a dogged determination that would make Gandhi curse with envy. The delicious irony is not lost on me.

Being a white, middle-aged male, I have become nearly numb to the vitriol hurled my way by a foe who has enjoyed immunity from the label of hater despite the viciousness with which they have attacked those of my ilk. It simply became fashionable and thus acceptable. I get it. Now, I have the occasion to wonder whether that same foe will demonstrate a similar grace when the tables are turned.

For as long as I can remember, the minority vote has gone nearly ninety percent for whatever democrat candidate was running in whatever race, be it local, state or nation wide. And yet I have noticed that those very minorities who vote for the most liberal of candidates are, by nature of their overt religiousness, the most socially conservative amongst us. Clearly, there is some disconnect at work.

Far be it from me to accuse religious blacks of being easily duped by slick politicians, but many of my conservative brethren from "fly-over country" have been publicly excoriated by both politicians on a national scale and by television media types for that very reason. Because they were white country folks, it was considered great sport to portray them as stupid, gun-toting rednecks. Hard as I try, I cannot excuse such behavior.

We have been led to believe that the election of Barack Obama was a proud moment for blacks in the US and the world over, and I believe there may some validity to that sentiment. But I also have to wonder how many blacks would publicly agree with many of his views as pertain to God and social mores in general. In other words, blacks and whites who believe in God and morality are much more closely aligned than the opinion-shapers would like. If racial harmony was truly the ultimate goal, what better rallying cry could there be than to embrace the conservatism both races so clearly cherish? Why have we been continually kept apart and at odds?

Enter Michael Steele as RNC Chairman. There will no doubt be a concerted effort to portray him as an enemy to the advancement of blacks, and many blacks will enthusiastically cheer on this effort. They will not realize the error of their ways, at least I predict, and will gleefully join in the tearing asunder of this good and honorable man, when it should be abundantly clear he shares the values that most blacks share in their private lives.

The media will attempt to paint Steele's ascension as a token gesture of the "all-white" republican party, a misnomer to be sure. Too many will simply nod and accept that assessment, but blacks should consider what it truly means to be a conservative because many of their number fall under that description...they just may not be aware that it is perfectly fine to let it be. To be sure, it is certainly acceptable to be appalled at the antics of some pols, but our ideologies are too similar to fight anymore.

Michael Steele is a good man and a good politician (an oxymoron, I know), who can unite the conservative movement for once, blurring the lines of "race". It is okay to be a conservative.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Republicans Ready To Stop Mixing Paint

"Four years ago we raised a banner of bold colors—no pale pastels. We proclaimed a dream of an America that would be "a shining city on a hill." - Ronald Reagan

One of the reasons the Republican party enjoyed such a short ride at the controls of power in the U.S. is clearly obvious; they forgot the vision of Ronald Reagan. It was a vision he believed in and embraced convincingly, enough so that he caused a wave of hope and optimism nearly as powerful as the feelings Obama supporters felt. As one man's opinion though, I don't think President Obama believes his own vision quite as strongly as did Reagan, and I highly doubt that he will be able to deliver in the same fashion.

While Reagan set a course and steered the shortest path toward it, Obama seems to demonstrate - in his first week of the Presidency - a propensity to serpentine. The passengers aboard his bus will no doubt need dramamine in large doses if the trend continues. Of course, there is always the high possibility that he learned the tactic from watching his Republican colleagues during his truncated stay in the U.S. Senate.

As for President George W. Bush, we'll never know if he intended to govern from a conservative stance since his administration was handed a whole new direction by al Qaeda on September 11, 2001. But at least some members of congress on the right side of the aisle are learning slowly the error of their ways. Barack Obama may well have lost his bid for the White House had he faced a true conservative.

Senator Mitch McConnell, R-KY, is sending out the word that the party must change. He's also pointing out that not all conservatives are republicans; we already know that not all republicans are conservatives. He spoke to republicans at a meeting to choose the next chairman of the RNC and he said, in part, this:
"It's clear our message isn't getting out to nearly as many people as it should ... Too often we've let others define us. And the image they've painted isn't very pretty."

He is absolutely correct. Republicans have spent entirely too much time and effort trying to get democrats to just like them and all they have received as reward is a boot heel across the throat. (Side note: this should be a clear indicator to President Obama that appeasement never works). One good way to repair the damage done over the last six years would be to name former Lt. Governor of Maryland, Michael Steele, as head of the Republican National Committee.

I have heard Michael Steele on talk shows and filling in for nationally syndicated radio hosts quite frequently of late, and he seems to have all the ingredients necessary to combat this infuriating march to the left seen in politics. I firmly believe that Mr. Steele is more than capable of taking a can of paint straight off the shelf and applying it to the walls without mixing it with another hue.

Take Reagan's lead, ye politicians on the right. Paint the party with bold colors and broad strokes. Rebuild the party, and they will come.

Author's note: Accompanying cartoon used with kind permission from Brett Noel. See his work at Patriot Art.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rush In The Crosshairs

For a year leading up to the presidential election in November bloggers such as myself have been sounding the alarm regarding the radical left turn our politicians have been making. We shouted in vain that Barack Obama was an unknown quantity save for his unsavory ties to radicals of many stripes. We warned anyone who would listen or read that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid would lead the charge toward the demise of America as we once knew her, and I continue today and for as long as I remain free.

What is perhaps most frightening is that the efforts of the left are no longer scurrilously clandestine but, rather, are becoming bolder by the day. New York senator Chuck Schumer a few weeks ago, speaking about reviving the so-called "Fairness Doctrine", equated free speech with pornography, something which needed to be regulated by the government. Nancy Pelosi just this past week suggested using tax dollars to fund abortions under the auspices that such "birth control" would benefit the ailing economy. Are we heading down the same path as Red China?

The chilling prospect of our government taking control of every aspect of our lives, from what we eat or drink or smoke, moved even deeper into what we say. While there can be an argument made as to the validity of health care concerns, speech that offends is now becoming the focus of government intrusion. What's worse is when government begins targeting specific individuals.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has posted an online petition to silence Rush Limbaugh, and they didn't have the decency to quote him properly. Here is the video soundbite they used:

I guess they don't pay much attention to how things work or they would realize that anyone with a computer can simply go to Rush's website and either read the full transcript of his comments or listen for themselves.

Some will try to claim that this is an innocuous event, but it should scare the bejeebers out of anyone with cognitive reasoning. When the government trains its crosshairs on individuals at all, it should throw red flags up everywhere. When they attack broadcasters, I get even more nervous.

Fashion trends are often circular, they say. Look for brown shirts and jack boots on the runway this spring.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Enemy Triple Play

Under normal conditions the saying goes, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend". Unfortunately, in the Gaza Strip nothing is normal and the catch-phrase does not apply. No, in Gaza, we have enemies across the board which would be most fortuitous in Las Vegas or Atlantic City, so perhaps it is not so unfortunate, at least politically. I say this because I fully understand that your garden-variety Palestinian is not going to suddenly embrace Israel, but it is encouraging that they are not raging against Israel in the immediate aftermath of the onslaught in Gaza.

Now that Israel has ceased hostilities and withdrawn, and while Hamas - having learned nothing of humility - is already busy restocking armaments, Palestinians who were fortunate enough to flee are finding that their luck applies only to their lives; their property did not fare so well, and they are angry. They are angry that their homes were used as military attack zones by Hamas.

Spiegel had an interesting report on the subject. Here is an excerpt, demonstrating the object of the Palestinians' ire:

"Mohammed Sadala's rage is aimed at the man, whose remains he found in his bedroom: a Hamas fighter. He and a comrade broke into the home which had long stood empty after the Sadala family fled. The Hamas men shot at the approaching Israelis from the balcony. The soldiers fired back, killing the militants and destroying the house of the 10-strong family in the process."

Couple this revelation with the unusual reticence of the Middle East as a whole to voice loud condemnation of the Gaza offensive - not to mention the media's - and it may just be that we are witnessing a changing mindset in the region, at least in the small enclave of the Gaza Strip.

Call me hopelessly optimistic, but as we rush headlong into the 21st century, I feel that even the most archaic of ideologies may be getting caught up in the wake of modernity, having no choice but to see that 7th century ideals are something that should have been abandoned long ago. Suffice it to say, perhaps common Palestinians have been awakened to the heinous nature of those for whom they voted and will now begin to see that a civilized approach is beneficial, even to them.

Barack Obama does not corner the market on hope.

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Simply For Posterity

Since this president is so historic, I figure his first radio address will be, too. It's also the first presidential address to be broadcast on YouTube. So, for posterity's sake, I have saved it here. We can always go back to it a year or so from now, so long as it isn't scrubbed in the event of a major Obama screw-up.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

"Choo-choo". That's A Warning

There was a widely circulated video of a Gazan doctor who lost his daughters in a barrage of Israeli attacks in which he was clearly distraught and questioning how it could possibly have happened. It was a poignant portrait of the horrors of warfare, and it elicited an appropriate response from a high-ranking Israeli official.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that he cried when he watched the video, and demanded to know how anyone could not. I happen to agree with him, as I was also brought to tears by the good doctor's obvious anguish. There are those, however, who will scoff at the emotions of the Prime Minister, citing his culpability in the demise of the girls as foremost. This is where we part company, those detractors and me.

My reasoning is quite simple and straight-forward, and I answer with a question. Would someone so vehemently fault the conductor of a train that killed a child thrown onto the tracks moments before impact? I maintain that the obvious answer would be no. The person who placed the child in harm's way would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, but admittedly only after a lengthy process to determine the mental health of the same individual. Yet there is no similar mindset where the latest Gaza conflict is concerned. No one seems quite willing to lay the blame squarely where it truly belongs; on Hamas.

Israel could not have telegraphed their targets better even if Samuel Morse had somehow been reincarnated. They sent out text messages, they dropped leaflets, they broadcast their intentions to anyone who would listen, and they even diverted already-fired missiles to avoid casualties of innocent civilians.

Hamas responded by positioning themselves in the midst of the intended target areas, dragging children with them as they embedded for the coming onslaught. They effectively threw kids onto the tracks of the approaching Israeli train and hoped for sympathy from the middle-east crowd, even as Israel tooted the warning whistle.

Why is it that no one sees this plain truth but me?

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hey, Ho, Where To Go, Club Gitmo

OK, so I took a bit of literary license from Rush Limbaugh and by association, The Pretenders. If either wishes to sue, I'll gladly take donations. Heck, if Bill Clinton can have a supporter-funded defense fund, so can I. I just can't guarantee a tax deduction, sorry.

The Obama administration wasted no time in issuing its first decree, that being the termination of the terrible treatment administered by the U.S. to detainees at Guantanamo Bay. I still prefer the descriptive term "terrorists", but I'm not the new sheriff in town. That guy - the new sheriff, that is - is intent on closing down the facility in a blatant attempt to appease either the Middle East or Europe, I can't decide which at the moment. The point is, Obama has no idea where these cretins will end up or if he does, he hasn't spilled the beans as yet. Some other congress-types have begun to weigh in already, though.

John marines-are-cold-blooded-murderers Murtha said that he would be delighted to take the inmates into his district in Pennsylvania, a district that has only a minimum security prison. Murtha thinks that the Gitmo-guys are no more dangerous in Pennsylvania than they are in Cuba. While I understand that the congressman is doing nothing more than begging for a new prison construction project (see pork) for his district, the statement itself is ludicrous.

I have reflected on this conundrum for at least fifteen minutes. My first idea was to send the 250 or so inmates from Guantanamo to East Los Angeles. It would be humane and the new arrivals would be right at home in such warm climes. Lord knows we wouldn't want them to be uncomfortable, but I must admit that part of my thought process involved the possibility of an escape leading to a bunch of hard-core terrorists trying to sneak through the streets of East LA at night, avoiding the authorities, only to inadvertently smear a freshly painted Blood or Crip signature on a bridge abutment.

I scrapped that idea on the fear that either group might recruit the other. The only qualifier would have been if the San Andreas Fault finally screamed its last gasp hours after the transfer. But I've never been one to leave things to chance. So I searched for perhaps another exhausting ten minutes for the perfect place, within the U.S., to house the newly homeless terrorists, and I think I've found just the place; Snag Airport in Yukon, Alaska.

Perhaps the perfect place, Snag would bring the mistreated marauders into the American fold where they would no doubt continue to receive the treatment befitting that of any of our incarcerated, something sure to please any self-respecting leftist. The beauty of it is the fact that if an escape did occur, the escapees would freeze forty feet from the walls of the prison.

Drawbacks and - forgive me - snags, would include protestations from the anti-Sarah Palin crowd who would certainly bemoan any new construction project for Alaska and most definitely take umbrage to these poor souls having to be wards of the governor of that state. She certainly can't see Syria from her house, and I'd lay odds that she's never eaten camel.

Nevertheless, that is my suggestion, and I'm sticking to it.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Prism Of History's Distorting Effect

Yesterday, we bade farewell to George W. Bush and had our forty-third consecutive presidential transition without violence and bloodshed. That does not mean there was no ill will, as the crowd of Obama supporters made clear when the outgoing president was introduced, demonstrating bitterness and bad form in what should have been their happiest moment. That notwithstanding, however, it is still a remarkable streak in a nearly 240-year span and something of which every American should be very proud.

Now it is time for the new president to get to work on the business of the nation, but also for the historians to get busy on, well...history. What will future textbooks say about the man who guided us through the last eight years? What volumes will be written, what novels penned? As is the nature of history, only time will tell, but we have an immediate recollection of the past eight years right now. Let's go back and have a look.

It was clear from the very beginning that the left didn't want George W. Bush to be president. In fact, the 2000 election was the closest we'd ever come to not having that peaceful transition of power. The Florida debacle cost the new administration weeks of precious time in setting up shop. In the end, though, Bush prevailed and the opposition got straight to the task of tearing him down at every turn. We saw the evolution of the media from straight news reporters to propaganda propagation tools. We saw the true, venomous natures of actors we once cherished, and we saw something much worse soon after; we saw the hideous face of radical Islam up close and personal.

We saw something much more meaningful in those times, too, something that will linger in my memory for all time; we saw a true leader and a man of great compassion and love for his people and country. We saw George W. Bush for who he really was, something that is not often exposed in politicians at all, much less presidents. And we saw a fierce determination steal over his countenance.

Most of the country suddenly fell in love with President Bush and the swell of pride was palpable, but it was not destined to last long. (I remember seeing American flags on almost every car. That did not last long, either, as I now notice that aside from my own, there are very few cars on the road with a flag waving proudly.) After the Iraq War began Bush began to fade from favor despite having most of congress behind him. Politicians and people alike quickly forgot what brought us together and bitter partisanship once again ruled the day. Yet, days turned to weeks, months and years without another attack on our soil.

While not the conservative that many would have preferred, Bush has a unique Reagan-esque quality that is undeniable; it is the utter transparency of the man. We have gotten to know him as best as an ordinary citizen can know a president in eight years, and it is quite clear that there is nothing pretentious about him. He exudes the image of a favorite uncle.

For all this man has done in his eight years in office, he has been vilified every step of the way not just by political adversaries, but by a media once prized for journalistic integrity. That mantel has long vanished and I doubt it will be making a return in the foreseeable future. All I can hope is that historians do not fall into the same trap as contemporary pundits and take the time to carefully examine what I know to be true; that George W. Bush was a far better president than many are led to currently believe.

Yesterday was indeed an historic one and one that I hope helps to heal the racial divide that so many are convinced still exists, if in their minds alone. With that being said, I will miss President George W. Bush but I am ever so grateful for having lived through his two terms and appreciate his service to the United States of America. I pray that he is remembered through a regular pane of glass and not through the triangulated view of a prism.

God speed, and thank you Mr. President.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama Crowd Shows Lack Of Class

As the outgoing president, George W. Bush, arrives on stage to hand over the keys to the White House to Barack Obama, the crowd erupts into song. No, they were not singing praise. They were singing an old song from 1969 by the band "Steam", Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.

Of course, Bush just smiled.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Justice From Commutation

One of the last acts of a departing U.S. president is to issue pardons to convicted
criminals, ostensibly on the notion that they were wrongly incarcerated. Bill Clinton attained infamy in this regard, pardoning a total of 456 people, 140 of them in his final hours. Many were questionable, some detestable, but none worthy of applause.

President George W. Bush deserves wild rounds of applause for his latest commutations; setting free border patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. According to the AP, "Bush didn't pardon the men for their crimes, but decided instead to commute their prison sentences because he believed they were excessive and that they had already suffered the loss of their jobs, freedom and reputations, a senior administration official said".

Having served roughly 2 years of their sentences, they are scheduled to be released from prison in two months. Also from the AP account:

They were convicted of shooting admitted drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete Davila in the buttocks as he fled across the Rio Grande, away from an abandoned van load of marijuana. The border agents argued during their trials that they believed the smuggler was armed and that they shot him in self defense. The prosecutor in the case said there was no evidence linking the smuggler to the van of marijuana. The prosecutor also said the border agents didn't report the shooting and tampered with evidence by picking up several spent shell casings.

The agents were fired after their convictions on several charges, including assault with a dangerous weapon and with serious bodily injury, violation of civil rights and obstruction of justice. All their convictions, except obstruction of justice, were upheld on appeal.

Not mentioned was the treatment the two agents received at the hands of their fellow inmates, which included severe beatings and constant harrassment. But they are free now, as they should be. Justice has been served well. Thank you, Mr. President.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hurray For Pallywood

This is a long video glimpse of the truth behind many of the damning newscasts depicting the plight of poor Palestinians. Well worth the 18 minutes...
Kudos to mknight1.

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Flight 1549 Video Of Landing

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Timothy Geithner: Arrogance or Ignorance?

By now everyone knows about Barack Obama's pick for Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, and his failure to pay his taxes. $34,000 in back taxes is no small measure, but we're now being told that it was just an "honest mistake".

For anyone who has ever made an error on their tax return, it is painfully obvious that the IRS does not patiently await the balance of the tax due from the offender. On the contrary, they will pester you and hound you, expending perhaps more than you owe on correspondence alone, just to get you to pay up. It is not possible to forget unless you don't open your mail. One would feel assured that a financial person such as Geithner would certainly open notices received from the IRS, which he may end up heading.

Geithner worked on the IMF, which did not deduct payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare from his paychecks, but they did provide Geithner paperwork regarding the tax liability. His errors occurred from 2001 to 2003, so the liability has been hanging over his head for over five years. In all that time, he has not noticed? I again direct your attention to the IRS' relentless pursuit of money owed.

Yet, we're being fed the "honest mistake" line anyway. So the question must be asked, if Geithner was so cavalier about his obligations as a citizen, is he the right person to take control of the finances of the entire nation? And if it was not ignorance - which poses the spectre then of incompetence - but arrogance, I would submit that that would also preclude him from wielding such power.

This is not the first time we're witnessing such trivialization of serious events. Sandy Berger was "just sloppy" when he was caught stealing documents from the National Archives, an infraction that would land any regular citizen behind bars, to be sure. And Charlie Rangel was upset about his own tax fraud because it was all the fault of the media. He still sits on the House Ways and Means Committee.

So it stands to reason that democrats will not exercise due diligence in regards to Geithner's confirmation process. That makes it all the more incumbent on republicans to grill him hard. With the current state of the economy, it is crucial that a grave mistake is not made with this appointment.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Video Montage Of Flight 1549

This is a nice little clip that shows the compassion of New Yorkers who rushed out in boats to rescue the passengers of flight 1549 from the Hudson River. Put together by NYDEUCES, I think the music is perfect for the occasion.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

US Airways Flight 1549

Call it another case for angels, because the flight crew - and particularly the pilot - of Flight 1549 performed nothing short of a miracle today in New York. They ditched a US Airways Airbus A320 into the Hudson River, and saved 146 passengers and 5 crew.

Two minutes into the flight from LaGuardia International Airport(LGA)at approximately 3000 feet, the plane hit a flock of geese and ingested some of the birds into both engines, causing them to lose power. Descending too rapidly to make a dry landing at nearby Teterboro airport in New Jersey, the pilot had to think of something fast. Cruising the shoreline of the Hudson River, there was no safe way to make it to the heavily populated dry land without casualties, so the pilot landed gear-up in the frigid river.

This is no small feat because, as one can see from the picture, the A320's engines hang from the wings lower than the fuselage. If they hit the water, it would slap the nose - and hence the cockpit - down into the water violently, possibly injuring the crew and rendering them unconscious, or possibly causing the plane to dive. The pilot had to keep the nose up not only to slow the plane as much as possible through wind resistance, but also to keep the engines out of the water until their speed was sufficiently slow to bring them into the water safely.

Another aspect of the flight that may have made this miracle possible was the close proximity of the destination; the flight was headed to North Carolina. Because of this, the fuel tanks were not full, which not only reduced the weight of the aircraft significantly but also provided extra buoyancy from the amount air in the tanks, which kept the fuselage afloat long enough for first responders and anyone with a boat to evacuate the passengers.

There can be no mistake, however, that the pilot of this flight will be sought out by virtually every media outlet, both big and small, and rightly so. He deserves kudos of the highest regard. How he handles the sudden fame is something to be discussed at a later date, as this is a time for pure celebration for the souls of 151 people. Experience has taught me that true heroes never consider themselves to be such, and I suspect that this pilot will not disappoint in that regard.

All I can say is, thank God that they are all safe and that we have had such a wonderful story to kick off 2009. Maybe it will be a good year after all.

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Proof Of Israel Protecting Civilians

This is amazing. Israeli pilots, seeing their Hamas targets approaching civilians, actually divert their missiles in mid-flight.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tribute To Bill Whittle

For those unfamiliar with Bill Whittle, he is an inspiring writer who also happens to demonstrate a great love for this wonderful experiment we call America. He has a piece written during the Thanksgiving break that I found particularly heartening.

I have a link in the sidebar to his site, EjectEjectEject, and have obtained his kind permission to reproduce And Yet Again, With Feeling in its entirety, here. Please read more of Mr. Whittle's works there, and please enjoy this article with thanks to Mr. Whittle's generosity:

There is no better land to live for.

(You can view this message, rather than read it, on PJTV by clicking here. It's absolutely free and requires no registration; just select your connection speed on the left and off you go. That's how I'd prefer you see it, for what that may be worth.)

Tuesday night of last week, I got a call from a good friend of mine. I just wasn’t in the mood to take it, you know? You’ve been there. Anyway, he didn’t leave a message.

The next day got away from me, but the day after that I called his cell on the way to work just to catch up. His wife answered the phone. And then I found out that my good friend Richard had died in his sleep the day before. Just like that. Gone. He left a wife, a five year old daughter, and a son who’s not yet one.

So this is my Thanksgiving message. It’s not dreary or sad at all – on the contrary.

You see, my friend Richard worked for Boeing. He was a defense contractor, and, like so many of his fellow employees, he was a true-blue patriot who loved his country and spent his life making sure that she did not come to harm. I am thankful to him for that… to Richard and all those others, and I am thankful to live in a time where the very idea of a person in their mid forties simply up and dying is so stunning and unheard of that it takes a week just to process it. It’s because of men like Richard that we don’t have to worry about armed invasion – a fear borne by pretty much every human throughout all of recorded, and pre-recorded history. And I am especially grateful to the millions of other hardworking, dedicated people that have so far pushed the boundaries of medicine and science that death itself – which was commonplace for my father’s generation – now seems surreal and almost unnatural.

But of all the things I am thankful for on this most American of holidays, nothing surpasses the pride and gratitude I feel to live in a country where I may sit in this chair and write about whatever I damn well please, without fear of retribution or intimidation. It’s an amazing right. And I’ll continue to sit here and rail against the things I feel hurt our country and our people, knowing in my heart that the instant the people I oppose so passionately actually start to suffer the loss of their rights or freedoms I will be there defending them – armed, if necessary – and that the vast majority of them will do the same for me.

There was a headline on the Drudge Report on Tuesday about a Russian analyst predicting the break-up and fall of the USA. Don’t hold your breath, comrade. Today, all across this country, millions of people who go head-to-head on red state/blue state issues will go home, eat a bunch of turkey, and then passionately, perhaps violently, go at it again watching Auburn take on Alabama, or Florida play Florida State. And we’ll get about as hot and excited as we do about politics, and none of it will matter. Because when all is said and done, we’re all Americans, together. That’s not something that Russian analyst – or just about anyone else who’s not a part of this raucous, screaming family – has ever been able to figure out.

My office is located just a few blocks from LAX. Driving in to work today, I watched a Qantas 747 rotate, climb into a clear blue sky, and head on out to sea. I’ve been on that flight… twelve and a half hours at 85% of the speed of sound, and nothing but water after the first mile. We watch movies and eat dinner, perhaps sleep for a while, eight miles above the earth, flying through the sub-zero air with the speed of a musket ball.

This is a world of miracles. My friend Richard helped build them. We’re pilots, Richard and I, and pilots say “our friend has ‘Gone West.’” Someday, when they are older – and if I haven’t gone west myself – I’ll tell his children what kind of man their father was, and the part he played keeping this magnificent family safe and free and, for the most part, thankful.

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone. We earn it, every year.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Three Hours Of Humanitarian Aid (Reprise)

While the Israelis were standing back for three hours on January 8th to allow food, medicine and other aid into Gaza, Hamas was busy firing rockets into Israel. The launchers or their "human" minders did not fare so well...

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Friday, January 9, 2009

Message From God: Shut Up

It seems that the more vociferous global warming alarmists become about the power of Man to change the atmosphere of the entire planet, the more determined is God to prove them wrong. Last year, as Al Gore planned a speech in which he was to further pontificate on his absurd theories, God - practical joker that He is - had a better idea; how about a snow storm?

Now, as the purveyors of propaganda insist that a slight cooling is actually indicative of warming, God is intent on turning down the thermostat even more. From the link in the photo:

Fierce Cold to Grip East
Updated: Friday, January 09, 2009 10:58 AM
Beyond the weekend, waves of arctic air will plunge over the eastern two-thirds of the nation. Blustery winds will usher the bitterly cold air southward, resulting in even colder and potentially dangerous RealFeel® temperatures.

The first wave of cold will grip the Midwest and Northeast Tuesday into Wednesday. The second wave later in the week will not only encompass more places east of the Rockies, but threatens to be harsher than the first.

Alaska is not fairing much better:

Extreme Alaska cold grounds planes, disables cars

Okay, so Alaska is supposed to be cold. How about Madrid?

Madrid travel snarled by deepest snow in years

I have a suggestion for the doomsday crowd; stop making The Lord angry, already!

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Humanitarian Aid For Three Hours

On Wednesday, Israel halted hostilities for three hours, from 1:00PM to 4:00PM, to allow trucks to deliver supplies to the residents of Gaza. An hour ago, the second such pause ended and fighting has started anew. How much good these gestures will mean to the residents of Gaza remains to be seen. From reports, they will have been more beneficial to Hamas.

According to YNETNEWS Hamas has been stealing supplies meant for the Palestinian people in Gaza for their own consumption. Oh, the residents have been getting some of the supplies, but they have to pay Hamas for them. From the YNET site:

A number of reports from the Strip paint a picture of very difficult humanitarian conditions, not least because of Hamas itself. The suspicion is that the group's operatives have seized control of any supplies passing through the crossings – including those sent by Israel and international organizations.

Reports say Hamas takes a cut out of all aid that arrives, including flour and medicine. Supplies intended to be distributed without gain among the population is seized by the group and sold to the residents, at a profit to the Hamas government.

Even as Israel attempts to smash Hamas and put a stop to the rocket and mortar attacks, and as they do everything they can to avoid civilian casualties, they are thwarted by the enemy they pursue in their efforts to provide humanitarian relief in the midst of battle. As the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished, proven by the reactions of many muslims around the globe.

In Britain, muslim leaders are warning Brown that anger could spill into the streets. How much do the muslims in Britain know about Israel's efforts? It depends on where they get their information. If the source of that information is anything like in France, the chances are that the muslims are being misled, whether intentionally or otherwise.

On Sunday, I wrote about a video in Let The Propaganda Begin, a video that was being circulated on the internet and which was also completely false in its portrayal of the current conflict in Gaza. As it turns out, that video was also being broadcast on television, most notably in France.


French TV apologises over footage mix-up
PARIS: France’s public broadcaster was forced to apologise to viewers yesterday after it mistakenly used amateur footage shot in 2005 to illustrate a report on the current Gaza conflict.
France 2 television on Monday broadcast part of an amateur video presented in a voiceover commentary as showing the fallout from an Israeli air strike on a civilian area in Gaza on January 1.
Dating from September 2005, the video, which has been widely circulated on the Internet, actually shows civilians wounded in the accidental explosion of a pick-up truck loaded with Hamas rockets at a rally in Jabaliya refugee camp.

Even though France TV apologized for the faux pas, the damage was already done. One way to atone for part of the mistake would be for France TV to report on the actions of Hamas in the conflict as regards the people they are allegedly protecting. Also from YNET:

No one to turn to
These reports lead to the assumption that Hamas is attempting to exacerbate the atmosphere of a humanitarian crisis in the Strip, as this may promote an international ceasefire initiative. In any case the reports clearly show that the residents of Gaza have fallen prey to Hamas as well as the IDF.

Three hours per day of intermission by the IDF may mean little to people who have no one to turn to, but perhaps if the world media would report more accurately on the situation, Hamas will feel pressure from their current supporters.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Simple Pleasures January

I think this may become a monthly feature. Everyone needs a music break every now and then. Enjoy Don Ross.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Israel Drops The Gloves, Part II

On Tuesday, two U.N. schools in Gaza were targeted by Israeli troops within hours and, as would be expected, there is nothing but outrage being directed back at the Jewish State. That outrage, in the past, has been an effective tool used to make the Israelis back off and cease operations out of contrition under pressure. It appears that will not be the case this time around. This time the Israelis are serious, it seems, in their intention to stop this once and for all.

The people in the picture to the right are damned angry, and they are not afraid to demonstrate that anger at an alleged enemy that could obliterate them. Why? Because they know that Israeli troops will not harm them simply for their vociferousness. I would wager that the Israeli troops understand their rage and even commiserate with the demonstrators, even as they shake their heads in wonderment.

The reason that Israel is targeting U.N. schools is because Hamas fighters are taking up positions in - and firing on the Israelis from - these schools. If I was an Israeli soldier, I would be wondering why these people aren't directing their ire toward the Hamas terrorists who hide behind them in such cowardly fashion.

Two accounts from the Associated Press, as reported on, confirm Israeli claims of Hamas fighter's cowardice (Emphasis mine):

The Israeli army said its soldiers came under fire from militants hiding in the school and responded. It accused Gaza's Hamas rulers of "cynically" using civilians as human shields. Residents confirmed the account, saying militants were seen staging attacks from the area.

Two neighborhood residents confirmed the Israeli account, saying a group of militants fired mortars from a street near the school, then fled into a crowd of people in the streets. Israel then opened fire.

The sooner the Palestinian people realize that their worst enemy are terrorists and expose them to justice, the sooner they can end this latest bloodshed. It worked in Iraq.

For Israel's part, there is a limit on how many times a villain can play on the mercy and benevolence of his victims. Eventually, the gloves come off and the villain has used up his grace cards.

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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Let The Propaganda Begin

Another hat-tip to Little Green Footballs. This is stunning.

There is a video recently put out - regrettably with bad html code - by MuslimTV which purportedly depicts the aftermath of an Israeli bombardment of a civilian street market in Gaza. From the description:

Submitted By: mounir1426 on
About the video: Israel just bombed a large civilian street

The video is grainy and long, but can be found here. If you skip ahead and pause the video at precisely 4:10, then compare with this photo from CBS in 2005 you will see that the images are identical, albeit from a slightly different angle.

For more proof, click this for the CBS News image from the story of September 23rd, 2005. The carnage is the direct result of a Hamas pickup truck full of rockets accidentally exploding at a Palestinian rally. Once you have the CBS image up, right click it and then click "properties". You will see this:

I wonder if the Times will report on this disgusting slight-of-hand.

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"War Is Not A Picnic"

Ehud Barak couldn't have said it better, and it's time that people around the world remember these words. At a cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv, Barak was quoted as saying, "the operation will be expanded and intensified as much as necessary. War is not a picnic."

Even as the world press scrambles to be the first to tell us how many children have been killed, it is well to keep in mind that this whole scenario could easily have been avoided. All that was required was for Hamas to stop shooting rockets into Israel. That doesn't seem like much to ask. So why didn't they simply stop?

As I have pointed out in previous posts, the answer is simple; Hamas doesn't care about anything on this earth except for the destruction of Israel. They don't care about the Palestinian people, and they certainly don't care about the Palestinian children, otherwise they would not be hiding in mosques and hospitals to conduct their warfare.

For anyone who would venture to compare these "freedom fighters" to the American Minutemen, let's put that to rest immediately. While the Minutemen tactic of guerrilla warfare ensured the defeat of the British, they were always concerned with taking the fight away from their families and homes. Why can't Hamas follow that model?

As Israel pushes farther into Gaza throughout this Sunday, casualties will mount, to be sure. Israel has done all that it possibly could to minimize civilian casualties, something Hamas never, ever considered. The world press needs to be a bit more balanced in their reporting, as it could possibly have an important impact on the final outcome. For example, if they report truthfully on Israel's intent and tactics, i.e, not seeking to re-occupy Gaza and trying to do nothing more than wipe out Hamas' ability to launch any more missile attacks, it could assuage the Palestinians and prevent some of them from making matters worse.

Egypt has the right approach; stand back, let Israel wipe out Hamas, and hope that it is the ultimate cure for the unrest.

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Little Gaza In San Fran

Kudos to ZombieTime for compiling this YouTube video of crazed pro-Palestinian protesters in San Francisco.

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Battle For Gaza

When Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, they left the care of the place in the hands of the Palestinians and ultimately Hamas. Now they are going back in and have discovered that the weeds have overrun everything.

As the ground offensive finally began Saturday night, Israeli military spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich told CNN, "We have many, many targets. To my estimation, it will be a lengthy operation." It would seem from all indications, at least initially, that Hamas took their election victory and commenced to taking care of...well, not the Palestinian people. From Major Liebovich's assessment, it seems that Hamas got busy setting up military posts with which to do little more than strike Israel, the Palestinian people be damned, and CNN, et al, care little for them either.

Israel seems poised to eradicate Hamas from the region with finality, something that would benefit the people of Palestine who, after casting their votes for Hamas, have come to the realization that it was a grave mistake. Call it a classic case of getting what you wished for, if you will.

The point, though, is that the Palestinians seem to recognize this fact while the American media remains oblivious, content to continually steer sentiments of viewers and readers into the waiting arms of a deadly and psychopathic regime known as Hamas.

The battle for Gaza has begun regardless of how trepidatious the Israelis may operate. For the time being, they are skirting inside the border seeking out launch sites but the reactions of Hamas are somewhat less than contrite, as they indicate by intensified operations of their own. From Reuters:

Israeli officials had repeatedly warned they were prepared to step up military action if Hamas rocket attacks on southern Israel did not stop, but Hamas kept up the action on Saturday.

By the end of the weekend, we may see some important developments from the region. Stay tuned...

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Egypt Holds Israel's Robe

As Israel continues to pound Gaza, sides have been chosen around the globe, many claiming that Israel's response to continued rocket attacks from Hamas has been "disproportionate". Egypt, however, is not among such critics. The countries leaders have been engaged in a war of words with Hamas and have explicitly condemned the terror group for their complicity in the civilian casualties.

In an interview with an Egyptian television channel, Muhammad Bassiouny, the head of the parliament's foreign affairs and defense committee had this to say:

"Where are the Hamas leaders now, when the residents of Gaza are getting killed? All of Hamas's leadership is in bunkers."

Strong words, to be sure. And Egypt is not the only ally - albeit in spirit mostly - of the Palestinians; an Iranian newspaper had this to say (from

Hamas’ decision to hide its militants in hospitals and mosques would undoubtedly lead to more civilian casualties because Israel cannot be expected to refrain from attacking Hamas because its members are hiding behind a human shield: these deaths are the responsibility of Hamas not Israel.

While European and other sympathizers lament the plight of Gazans and lambaste Israel for genocide, among other things, there are Middle East countries who see the truth, and Hamas has done itself no favors. Still, Israel has its detractors out there, one such being this chap from who dares to say, "The current attacks by Israel on Gaza are disproportionate and violent, an abuse of human rights and amount to genocide," and "Only a handful of Israelis have been killed and injured by Hamas rocket attacks".

Only a handful? Are the lives that comprise that handful somehow less significant than other lives? It is important to note that "only a handful" was not by design. While Hamas has been hiding in schools and mosques and residential areas, they have been busy firing rockets at indiscriminate targets. Even more notable is that their ranges has been increasing, and it's only a matter of time before they have the capability to inflict many more deaths than a handful. I suppose that's what it would take to make the fellow from Orato happy at last.

Considering the fact that Hamas' rockets are now reaching cities that they previously could not, perhaps he will get his wish. By Tuesday, rockets from Gaza were landing in Kiryat Malachi and Beersheba, with a high population. Thankfully, it appears that Egypt is willing to hold Israel's robe as they clean up the problem that is Hamas, and other groups and countries, through their silence, seem to be okay with it.

Perhaps we're heading back to sanity after all. One can only hope that 2009, after this nasty little mess, will be the year that the Middle East finally settles into a lasting peace.

Happy New Year.

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