Thursday, August 31, 2006

War of Word -- Fascists and Their Appeasers

To the American Legion Convention in Salt Lake City, President Bush made the following comments:
Opponents of the war in Iraq who are calling for a plan to bring home troops would create a disaster in the Middle East. "Many of these folks are sincere and they're patriotic but they could be - they could not be more wrong," the president said. "If America were to pull out before Iraq could defend itself, the consequences would be absolutely predictable, and absolutely disastrous. We would be handing Iraq over to our worst enemies - Saddam's former henchmen, armed groups with ties to Iran, and al-Qaida terrorists from all over the world who would suddenly have a base of operations far more valuable than Afghanistan under the Taliban."

"The war we fight today is more than a military conflict," Bush told thousands of veterans at the American Legion convention. "It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century."

"As veterans you have seen this kind of enemy before. They are successors to fascists, to Nazis, to communists and other totalitarians of the 20th century. And history shows what the outcome will be. This war will be difficult. This war will be long. And this war will end in the defeat of the terrorists," Bush said.


It is a war of words between the administration -- Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice -- and the anti-administration -- Dean, Reid, Pelosi, Lemont. This is really a choice between sane (former) versus insane (latter) people. I do not agree with everything the admin does -- I dislike and distrust government as a rule -- but the left is dead wrong on their anti-war and appeasing rants. And yes, I do question their patriotism.

I question the patriotism of the protesting SLC Mayor Rocky Anderson, who thinks it is better to "spit" on the President rather than "shake his hand". Anderson called President Bush a "dishonest, war-mongering, human-rights violating president" whose time in office would "rank as the worst presidency our nation has ever had to endure." I say this mayor is deranged.

Heaven help us if the libs ever get in power. Hezbollah, Hamas, al Qaeda and Ahmadinejad will be so happy. Finally, they will have someone they can "negotiate with in a humane manner."

"Satanic" Graffiti on LDS Church in Tomsk, Russia

Richard Armitage the Leak

Former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage has acknowledged that he was the person whose conversation with Robert Novak in 2003 that prompted the long, politically laden criminal investigation in Valerie Plame / CIA leak case.

Is this news? Nope. The question is when did the Sun-Times, New York Times and the other Bush hating media know that Armitage was the leak. Was is months or years ago?

This was a political witch-hunt from day one. How high could they take this ... Cheney, Bush? They hate them so much they will stop at nothing.

These things sicken me. Individuals, regardless of their political persuasion, involved in these falsifying actions should be given one-way tickets to their favorite UN nation. This investigation never should have happened.

Motor Vehicle Crash Fatalities & Injuries for 2005

The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) made it presentation of the Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Fatality Counts and Estimates of People Injured for 2005. These findings were based on The Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and The National Automotive Sampling System General Estimates System (NASS GES). In 2005

-- 43,443 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes (a 1.4% increase from 2004; the highest level killed since 1990
-- 2,699,000 people were injured (a 3.2% decline from 2004)

People Killed and Injured In Traffic Crashes, by Year












Fatality Rate Per 100 Million Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), by Year

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

TOOL - SLC 2006

Not your typical MOP entry here. But I am a rocker and big TOOL fan. Last night I went with my 17 year old son, his cousin, brother and sister-in-law. For me, my second TOOL show (I saw the Lateralus tour a few years back with my older son who has less than three month remaining on his mission in Siberia.) For the others, it was their first TOOL show; and they all loved it.

The set-list was:
-- Stinkfist
-- The Pot
-- 46 and 2
-- Jambi
-- Schism
-- Rosetta Stoned with Faaip De Oiad (sans the Art Bell sample)
-- Opiate
-- Sober
-- Lateralus
-- Vicarious
-- Aenema

My favorite songs were "46 and 2" and "Lateralus". "Rosetta Stoned" is a really good song -- not a killer rocker but real quality.

The stage was great. Jones (guitar) on the left, Chancellor (bass) on the right, Maynard back center left and Carey (drums) back center right on small risers. The stage was a glossy white. A 6'-7' shear wall covered the entire back of the stage, from the far left to the far right. Rear projectors created the light and TOOL imagery, reflecting off the white stage. The band, especially Maynard, performed as silhouettes -- Maynard looked like a stick figure at times. The traditional spotlights on the band members was virtually none existent.

I am glad Maynard kept his mouth shut, for the most part, between songs. Like most rockers, they should stick to their songs and not to their ill-thought politics and concert cursing tirades. Maynard writes some interesting lyrics but take him away from his music and he is a major looser.

My conclusion, Adam Jones is an amazing guitar player and song writer. The TOOL 10,000 Days Tour 2006 is a must see for any TOOL fan. The one downside, it was very expensive -- $50-70 is way too much to pay for a 100 minute concert. And concert paraphernalia...only a fool would pay $35 for a t-shirt ($15 in the parking lot is okay) or $70 for a hoodie.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Questioning One's Patriotism

When I hear, "how can you question my patriotism?" from certain government leaders, red flags go up. Anytime someone aids and abets the enemy with their divisive rhetoric, we had better question their patriotism.

It is one thing to disagree with a policy but it is traitorous to allow, if not encourage the enemy to use that divisiveness against us in the PR and propaganda aspect of war.

Whether it is H Clinton, J Carter, J Murtha, J Kerry or J McCain, their patriotism will be questioned if what they do and say helps the enemy.

Kleptocracy

Kleptocracy - a government or state in which those in power exploit national resources and steal; rule by a thief or thieves; a government characterized by rampant greed and corruption.

President Bush recently launched an initiative to combat international kleptocracy, the sort of high-level corruption by foreign officials that he called "a grave and corrosive abuse of power" that "threatens our national interest and violates our values." The plan, he said, would be "a critical component of our freedom agenda." Yet Bush has met with and will me with many of these kleptocracy leaders.

Kleptocracies exist all over the world. Azerbaijan is under the control of President Ilham Aliyev, who has been accused of rigging elections. Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the president of Equatorial Guinea, has been found to have millions of dollars stashed in overseas bank accounts.

Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev will be visiting the White House and the Bush's Maine retreat shortly. He is an autocrat who runs a nation that is anything but free: he has banned opposition parties, intimidated the press and profited from his post (accused by U.S. prosecutors of pocketing the bulk of $78 million in bribes from an American businessman. But he also sits atop massive oil reserves -- they just completed a pipeline to China. (I have been to Kazakhstan. We adopted an you girl from there 5 years ago. I hate to think what her life would be like there if she had not been able to come to America.)

Presidents are in tough places. On one hand, one group says we must negotiate, war is not the answer. Other demand sanctions (which never impact the leaders, only the average citizens) and teeter on the brink of war. Presidents, thankfully, are usually somewhere in between.

A president from a country that can help us economically is treated differently than a president from a country that we have little economic interest in: Kazakhstan v Equatorial Guinea, you choose.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Secret Life as Terrorist's Wife

The on-going saga of Elina Ersenoyeva, who was abducted Aug. 17 by masked men on the main street of the Chechen capital, began like many others. The turn came when police figured out that she was secret wife of Shamil Basayev, the Chechen terrorist leader and the most wanted man in Russia, who died in an explosion July 11.

I do not want to poke at the Islam religion but in some nations, their practices are of a mid-evil era. I recently read a book called Princess by Jean Sasson. It is a "true" tale of a Saudi princess recounting her upbringing and adult life in a male dominated society.

Although Chechnya is different from Arabia, the high ranking males invoke the same domineering practices with respect to women. Multiple wives (4 is a magic number and Elina was #4 for Basayev), no abilities to speak their mind, no abilities to do anything resembling the exercise of freewill, prevail across most of the Islamic world. In most cases, the pompous leaders use their women as their physical slaves, nothing more.

Elina Ersenoyeva is still missing. Only God knows if she is alive. But this is one more case of why Islamo-facism is the most dangerous enemy we face. They have no respect for non-Muslim life and they are most repressive towards their women. Fighting this with all are might should be our nation's highest priority.

Hezbollah: Kidnapping Might Have Been a Mistake

Hezbollah admitted it would not have captured the two Israeli soldiers last month had it known a war would follow.

Are they really that stupid or are they just assuming we are stupid and will believing this?

They could have released those two soldiers at anytime leading up to and in the early stages of the war. They still have them. The war might be in stasis right now but it is not over. They are re-arming and re-positioning and will be back at Israel's doorstep.

Advanced Society or Degenerate?

Every schoolgirl in the UK is set to be vaccinated against a sexually-transmitted virus which causes cervical cancer. Following successful trials of the vaccine on women in Glasgow, health chiefs are about to authorize nationwide jabs for girls as young as nine.

There is widespread medical support for a mass vaccination program to control human papillomavirus (HPV), which is blamed for causing up to 70% of cervical cancer cases.

I can appreciate addressing a public health problem but how much is being spent to address the causative behavior?

"24" Wins Best TV Drama


I do not watch award shows. However, my wife was interested in seeing how many awards "24" won. It won three Emmys including for best drama series and best actor for star Kiefer Sutherland. As big fans of the show, it was good to see them win after five tries.

Limits on Rubbish Waste

In England, the Institute for Public Policy Research is using penny-sized electronic chips fitted into homeowners' waste receptacles to assess the weight of their rubbish. The goal is to determine if they exceed imposed weight restrictions on their trash. These chips have been fitted to about 500,000 bins across England.

Trash weight? And we complain about our right to talk to international terrorists.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

NFL Fantasy


This was the weekend for most NFL fantasy team drafts. I am amazed at how big it is. This year, I hooked up with my three brothers in Ohio plus eight others for a twelve team league. They did the draft at a bar in the north part of Columbus, Ohio. My son and I joined forces here in Utah and participated in the draft over the phone.

Our league allows for you to play two RBs, two WR, one WR or RB, one QB, one TE, one Kicker, one Defense. Our team is as follows:

-- Running Backs: Tiki Barber (Giants), Kevin Jones (Lions), Chester Taylor (Vikings), Cedric Benson (Bears)
-- Wide Receivers: Torry Holt ((Rams), Andre Johnson (Texans), Eddie Kennison (Chiefs), David Givens (Titans), Brandon Lloyd (Redskins)
-- Quarterbacks: Dante Culpepper (Dolphins), Byron Leftwich (Jaguars)
-- Tight End: Chris Cooley (Redskins)
-- Kicker: Josh Brown (Seahawks)
-- Defense: Panthers

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A 1000 Words Are Worth...


One picture is worth a 1000 words, give me a 1000 words and you get the following:

Preamble to the Constitution of the United States
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The Gettysburg Address
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Pledge of Allegiance
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to The Republic for which it stands, one Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Boy Scout Oath
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

The Star-Spangled Banner
O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Psalms 23
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths
of righteousness for His name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff
they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup Runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy
shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Hippocratic Oath—Modern Version

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.

I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.
I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

The Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Cursing During Primetime

CBS will air an updated version of the 9/11 documentary about the attacks at the World Trade Center and the firefighters who responded that September day five years ago.

The Emmy- and Peabody-winning documentary, produced by brothers Gedeon and Jules Naudet and retired firefighter James Hanlon, will air September 10.

Airing the documentary represents something of an act of courage by CBS, given the gritty language that 9/11 contained in its two previous airings and the chill that is going through the airwaves over federal efforts to curb broadcast indecent. CBS has made no cuts to the language for this telecast. CBS sources said the documentary--which is the true-life portrait of what happened that day--is bound to generate controversy in some quarters.

Here are some of the problems I have with this "act of courage":

1) Children will be watching.
2) There's way too much cursing going on in the world.
3) Cursing has nothing to do with "impressing on the viewers the stress of the situation;" these same people curse all day long as part of their everyday conversations.
4) Using curse words demonstrates illiteracy -- there are better adjectives to describe the situation.
5) The curse words we are talking about are the s-word and the f-word; which are offensive in all situations.
6) I am more offended by the everyday use of the Lord's name in vain on just about every sit-com, drama, and documentary as well as on most rock, hip-hop and talk radio stations (Rush Limbaugh is one of the biggest offenders) -- these words will be used but are not considered curse words.

Some of us use gritty language on occasion but we don't use them in church, in business discussions, with our doctor or dentist. The world would be a much better place if we heard less cursing. If I stub my toe or can't find the tool I just bought in the midst of a "repair" and I let slip a curse word, I feel bad, and hope no one heard me, especially my children.

I have no interest now in watching this program. I do not like to give "energy" to topics like this. However, I am continually concerned over the decline of morals, etiquette and civility. CBS is adding to the decline of western civilization by its "authenticity" justification in this programming.

I just wish the fines were actually enforced and financially painful. Let the TV executives put it on or sell the program to a cable station. Society -- the market -- should make their authentic program cost them dearly in fines ("x" amount of ad revenue less cost of the program less "y" number of fineable words). If the fines are minimal or not enforced, the energy goes into their pocket and encourages more of the same.

Finally, some words from a modern-day Apostle Dallin H. Oaks from October 2004 that seem fitting here:
Here are some ways the devil will try to deceive us. God's commandments and the teachings of His prophets warn against each of them.

1. One kind of deception seeks to mislead us about whom we should follow. In speaking of the last days, the Savior taught: "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Matt. 24:4-5). In other words, many will seek to deceive us by saying that they or their teachings will save us, so there is no need for a Savior or His gospel. The Book of Mormon describes this as "the power of the devil, to lead away and deceive the hearts of the people -- to believe that the doctrine of Christ was a foolish and a vain thing" (3 Ne. 2:2).

2. Satan also seeks to deceive us about right and wrong and persuade us that there is no such thing as sin. This detour typically starts off with what seems to be only a small departure: "Just try it once. One beer or one cigarette or one porno movie won't hurt." What all of these departures have in common is that each of them is addictive. Addiction is a condition in which we surrender part of our power of choice. When we do that we give the devil power over us. The prophet Nephi described where this leads: the devil says, "There is no hell," and, "I am no devil, for there is none, and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance" (2 Ne. 28:22).

3. The prophet Nephi warns against another kind of deception: "And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well -- and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell" (2 Ne. 28:21).

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Wal-Mart and the Communists

Talk about an oxymoron -- a Wal-Mart communist.

Wal-Mart has seen the establishment of the first branch of the Communist Party of China and the first branch of the Communist Youth League of China in one of its outlets in the northeastern city of Shenyang, capital of Liaoning Province.

Wal-Mart has set up 59 outlets in 30 Chinese cities since it entered China in 1996. It has more than 23,000 employees in China, including over 700 in Shenyang.

Smoking Ban Reduces Drink Sales

The smoking ban in Scotland has had a dramatic effect on its pubs, leading regulars to stay at home and causing an 11% drop in drink sales.

For a pub owner, bad news. For society at large, not bad.

Pluto Gets Demoted

Leading astronomers declared Thursday that Pluto is no longer a planet under historic new guidelines that downsize the solar system from nine planets to eight.

I was listening to the Dan Patrick Show today and the baseball analogy is appropriate. This is like getting sent back to the minors, or awaiting reassignment, or an outright release. Who would have thought Pluto was having such a bad year. It is like losing a favorite player -- an everyday player who get the job done without ever complaining.

UN Resolution 1701 Unsupportable

It was only a few days ago that the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1701. Now we see all the reasons why it might now work.

The CS Monitor leads with: Smugglers, armed clans, hidden weapons, interfering neighbors, and enemy combatants with their fingers on their triggers. That is the landscape in Lebanon, and those are some of the reasons why it is proving so difficult to get a beefed-up United Nations peacekeeping force on the ground in south Lebanon.

The International Harold Tribune reads: Efforts to raise a large United Nations peacekeeping force for Lebanon remained highly fragile , as Syria warned that any UN deployment near its border would be seen as a "hostile" act that could lead it to close the border, while Israel, which has demanded such a deployment, declared the situation "explosive."

The heated language came as Italy, now the likely leader of the force, promised at a meeting in Brussels to provide up to 3,000 troops. But other countries, fearful that vague rules of engagement could leave their troops vulnerable, have been slow to follow. This suggested that the force might ultimately be far smaller than the 15,000 troops envisioned.

Resolution 1701 clearly states that Lebanon is to secure its border and entry points to prevent the influx of illicit arms or related material. It authorizes the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) peacekeeping force to assist Lebanon in this task if requested.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has warned that a deployment of international troops along Lebanon's border with Syria would be a hostile act.

This Resolution was doomed from day one. Bullets, bombs and missiles might not be flying, but the battle continue as they reload with bigger and better ammo.

CIA Lacks Info on Iran

A key House committee issued a stinging critique of U.S. intelligence on Iran, charging that the CIA and other agencies lack "the ability to acquire essential information necessary to make judgments" on Tehran's nuclear program, its intentions or even its ties to terrorism.

The 29-page report, principally written by a Republican staff member (Frederick Fleitz, a former CIA officer who had been a special assistant to John Bolton) on the House intelligence committee who holds a hard-line view on Iran, fully backs the White House position that the Islamic republic is moving forward with a nuclear weapons program and that it poses a significant danger to the United States. But it chides the intelligence community for not providing enough direct evidence to support that assertion.

Arms are flailing -- danger, danger. I assume the motivation here is we can't do anything militarily against Iran because our intelligence is weak, spotty, questionable. Assuming this is correct, I hope the next step is to address the problem? Is this saying we are doomed because we will never have adequate intelligence on our 21st century enemies -- axis of evil? Or is it saying we need to figure out better methods and techniques for gathering this info?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Broader Access to Personal Info

United States and European authorities, looking for more tools to detect terrorist plots, want to expand the screening of international airline passengers by digging deep into a vast repository of airline itineraries, personal information and payment data.

A proposal by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff would allow the United States government not only to look for known terrorists on watch lists, but also to search broadly through the passenger itinerary data to identify people who may be linked to terrorists, he said in a recent interview.

On the surface, it seems fair but underneath, they want info that they really do not and should not have. Do they really need to know my seating and meal preferences? My rental car and hotel preferences?

I am more concerned over those entering the country illegally or overstaying their visas.

Related to this:
The U.S. "catch-and-release" immigration policy officially has ended. Law enforcement authorities are holding nearly all non-Mexican illegal immigrants caught in the U.S. until they can be deported to their home countries, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff declared.
Let the deportations begin!

Wartime Protests

There are lots of anti-war protestors. Some are anti-war period -- never an excuse for military activity. Some were in favor of the action initially but then switched to being anti-war when things did not go as expected -- you know the type...John Kerry, John Murtha, Hollywood, American America haters, 60s draft dodgers turned college professors -- liberals in general. We all know their rhetoric...

-- Iraq had no terrorists before we declared war.
-- We went to war on false information.
-- America has been in Iraq long enough to either disprove most reasons given for going in there in the first place or to accomplish all the others.
-- The United States has overstayed its welcome.
-- Humble ourselves and admit we made a major error and plead for allied support to withdraw immediately.
-- As soon as we leave Iraq the locals will handle the insurgents because it knows who they are.
-- A deadline for withdrawal is a must because it will give pro-war politicians a safe re-election platform.
-- It costs too much money -- that money should be used for government programs here at home.

There are very few people who would not desire to bring our men and women home from Iraq. But we are there. We have a job to do in that part of the world. We are tied to that part of the world because of oil -- crucial to the global economy. We must be successful in Iraq. We need Israel to be stable. We need to Iran to be an non-nuclear state. We are talking world stability.

Consider the following events in our own history: First Continental Congress (1774), Declaration of Independence (1776), Articles of Confederation (1777), Constitution (1787), the Bill of Rights (1788). The American Revolution started in the 1760s and lasted at least twenty years. The actual war lasted 8 years from 1775-1783. There was a great amount of anti-war sentiment during this time -- pro-British, anti-independence, anti-George Washington.

During the American Civil War, many (almost a majority) wanted Abraham Lincoln out of office. Not only was he trying to unify the country through a difficult war against the Confederate States, he was fighting another war in the Union against other Americans.

George Bush is fighting a war at home just as General Washington and President Lincoln did. It took us twenty years in a virginal land to establish our nation and we want people in Iraq with millennia of history to do it in 1-3 years?

Thankfully, as American's we have the right to voice our opinions. You can agree or disagree, in whole or in part (or you can sit on the fence like most humans do). But when the activity is traitorous, that right disappears.

The enemy uses the anti-war crowd to their advantage. The enemy wants to see new leadership here. They want the Dems in power. They know that with the Dems in power, they can do what they want, when they want, with little repercussion.

As with the American Civil War, the North fought it with one arm tied behind its back. In Iraq, we are fighting the war with two arms tied behind our back. If you want the soldiers to come home, lets fight the enemy properly, not according to UN rules or media correctness. Let's fight to win.

Achieving success in Iraq is a good thing. All good things worth doing are worth doing right. And good things are usually hard to do. It is easy to quit when the going gets tough, but quitting is not the answer.

Therefore, summing up anti-war liberals, they are also quitters and cowards. You sure don't want one of them with you in a fox hole when your life is on the line.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Iran Speaks

We have waited for a couple of months to hear Iran's response to the UN who requested they suspend all nuclear research -- those items related to building a nuclear bomb. Shockingly, they aren't going to stop but are willing to talk.
The Iranian government has told senior European officials that it will not accept the only condition set by the Bush administration and its Western allies for talks on the country's nuclear program and will continue enriching uranium, despite the threat of international sanctions, several senior U.S. and European officials said yesterday.

Diplomats in Washington, Tehran and European capitals said the Iranian government is willing to enter negotiations and to consider a freeze of the program, but it will not accept a freeze as a precondition for the talks.
This whole delay is a joke on the diplomats. They used The Night Journey / Isra and Mi'raj religion-based story, event, occurrence as the reason for the delay.
Farid Ghadry, the president of the Reform Party of Syria, asserts that the Supreme National Security Council of Iran chose the August 22 date "for a very precise reason. August 21, 2006 (Rajab 27, 1427) is known in the Islamic calendar as the Isra and Mi'raj, the night Prophet Mohammed (saas) ascended to heaven from the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on a Bourak (half animal, half man), while a great light lit-up the night sky, and visited Heaven and Hell also Beit al-Saada and Beit al-Shaqaa (House of Happiness and House of Misery) and then descended back to Mecca."
It's a joke that we would even consider these current Iranian leaders as willing to negotiate. They are caught in the Caliphate, the ultimate Emir, the omniscient leader of all Islam against the West starting with the destruction of Israel. We'll go through the motions -- that's what diplomats do. I wish I were more optimistic about the potential outcome.

Flag Burning "Protests"

What is it with flag burners? Do they really need to express their love of the freedom of speech by burning something that is symbolic of the country, which hundred of thousands have given their lives?
Dan Holden, a seventh-grade social studies teacher at Stuart Middle School in Louisville burned two flags last week as part of a lesson on freedom of speech. He asked his students to write an opinion paper on the flag burning, so he demonstrated. As a result, he has been removed from the classroom.

In Australia, a 17-year-old burnt the Australian flag in a reprisal attack on the night of the Cronulla riot. He was ordered by a magistrate to face members of the RSL club to apologize for his actions.
I don't necessarily think we need a constitutional amendment on flag burning. Basically it would be outlawing stupidity. Only ignorant people burn flags. Just look to the streets of any Islamic nation during some anti-American protest for your evidence.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Little %#&*$ League World Series

The Little League World Series has been played for decades. I am not sure why ESPN felt it was necessary to televise game after game in primetime. I think it is exploitation of children. It has become a clear display of what is wrong with youth sports.

I am not one of those "everybody's a winner" parent. There are some youth who just want to play. There are others who want to play at the highest competitive level they can. There's room for both. The later is dominated by parents and coaches who want to win at all costs. In most cases, we have parents living vicariously through their children. This is a vary sad thing that can be seen at all levels.

I was scanning stations on Sunday. I came across a Little League game between Staten Island, NY, and Lemont, IL. Staten Island just turned a double play to end the top of the 6th inning. A microphone placed in the Staten Island dugout heard an excited group of boys and coaches. They needed one run to tie, two to win. That same microphone heard a player yell, "we only need one f***** run. His coach then slapped him in the mouth realizing the presence of the microphone.

And we say we are using sports to build character in our youth. Swearing 12 year olds and coaches slapping boys in the mouth (the boy needed it for sure). Yea, this is good stuff.

What is it with ESPN and youth sports -- little league, spelling bees, soap box derby? Life too short to waste time watching other people's children playing games on TV.

I realize ESPN is just a business. They invest in sports and programming, for example, the X-Games, the Outdoor Games and yes, the WNBA (brutal TV). To each his own, but I for one will not be watching any children playing sports on TV. That's borderline John Mark Karr television, who apparently ESPN is targeting with some of its programming

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Too Good for the Rest of Us

Granted, I live in Utah and specifically in an area dominated by LDS, conservatives, Utahans, Americans and Republicans -- probably in that order. There are not many Democrats in the area, but there are some.

No worries. I like good discussions. I like hearing good arguments provided they are well thought-out.

A Democratic neighbor of mine asked me if I were a Democrat...saying someone told her I might be. I said no, quite the opposite, but I do like to discuss politics. I mentioned that I have a blog and would appreciate her comments. I asked her to send me her email address and I'd send her the link. She replied that she did not do email. She said she could not stand to read the poor grammar and see the misspelled words, so she just gave up on it. And IM is totally out of the question.

Only a liberal would say this. Only a liberal, who has been to college and who understands the finer points of life, would say something as ridiculous as this. The condescension must be tough. How do you liberals deal with us conservatives, who probably have more formal and informal education than you?

I have seen this arrogance time and time again. In all cases, those individuals are more often than not, of the liberal persuasion. Why is this?

Those arrogant ideals fail time and time again -- at home, in the community and at the ballot box.

"Democrat" Running in Utah's 3rd District

In today's Dailey Harold, there's an article about Christian Burridge, the Democratic candidate facing Chris Cannon for the Third District seat. He's seem pretty typical LDS -- BYU, mission, temple marriage, etc. He has a remote chance of winning but he is running and he can win. His stances on several issues are below:
-- Student aid: Keep interest on guaranteed student loans at 4 percent or less and increase Pell Grant funding.

-- Ethics reform: Impose restrictions on people moving back and forth between lobbying firms and congressional staff positions.

-- Minimum wage: Increase it.

-- Iraq and Afghanistan: The war has been overly politicized and the Bush administration isn't paying enough attention to military leaders and their assessments. Invading Afghanistan was the right course; the Iraq invasion, however, was pursued with faulty information and not enough international support. Still, the United States cannot leave until the region is stabilized.

-- Flag desecration: There's no need for a constitutional amendment.

-- Immigration: Would emphasize penalties for employers who hire illegal workers while also providing a means for employers to check an applicant's employment status.

-- Alternative energy research: Supports it, particularly cellulosic ethanol, an alternative to gasoline.

-- Nuclear waste: No storage of nuclear waste in Utah; it should be stored in the states where it is generated.

-- Abortion: He is pro-life and supports restrictions on abortion.

-- Same-sex marriage: Opposes it.

-- No Child Left Behind Act: Though it contains some constructive measures, it removes too much local control over curriculum and focuses too much on uniform testing. Also, teacher training requirements are burdensome for rural districts.

-- Allegiance to Democratic Party: Would vote with his conscience and to represent his district, not with the party line. The party is not funding his campaign.
Except for the minimum wage increase and his Democratic rhetoric on Iraq, his platform is the opposite of a Democratic platform. How can a person with this platform vote as they vote in Congress? This "vote with his conscience" ideology is not Washington politics. He must have some hidden agenda or he is really naive.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

English Premiership Begins

I am a big fan of the EPL. Today marked the beginning of the 2006-07 season. This is also the first year that I am going to play Fantasy Premier League.

In the league I am in, each team consists of 2 keepers, 5 defenders, 5 midfielders and 3 strikers. The team is selected on a weighted or payroll-like scale. There was no draft. You can only select a max of 3 players from any one team (this keeps me from doing the stupid thing of selecting more than 3 Liverpool players). So you get some good players and some you have no idea who they are -- you are force by your "payroll" to buy some cheap players.

It should be fun. It will force me to follow it closer that I have in the past.

If you are a EPL fantasy player, let let's keep tabs on how we do periodically through the year.

Friday, August 18, 2006

NSA Wiretapping

Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of United States District Court in Detroit ruled that the National Security Agency's program to wiretap the international communications of some Americans without a court warrant violated the Constitution, and she ordered it shut down.

She ruled that the program violated both the Fourth Amendment and a 1978 law that requires warrants from a secret court for intelligence wiretaps involving people in the United States. She rejected the administration's repeated assertions that a 2001 Congressional authorization and the president's constitutional authority allowed the program.
Fourth Amendment: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
The government said it would ask Judge Taylor to stay her order at a hearing on Sept. 7. The Justice Department and the American Civil Liberties Union -- which brought the case in Detroit on behalf of a group of lawyers, scholars, journalists and others -- agreed that her order would not be enforced until then, but lawyers for the A.C.L.U. said they would oppose any further stay.

All kinds of red flags go up here:
-- This judge is on record as being a left wing appeaser.
-- Jimmy Carter's mistakes continue to rear their ugly heads (he appointed this wack-job).
-- The ACLU never has the best interest of the country in mind.
-- Many in this country still feel that a GWOT does not exist.
-- The NSA activities do not appear to violate the FISA ruling, although there is some grey area in the 1970's law (maybe Congress should clarify the law?)
-- Individuals think it is okay for the government to turn a blind eye for people in the country to talk with known terrorists outside of the country.
-- We continuinterpretrprut the Constitution along the Bill Clinton lines of defining what "is" is.

Is this monitoring program unreasonable? Are American rights being trampled upon?

I also am very concerned about big brother watching our every move. At the same time, the one thing I want my federal government to do -- and not much more -- is to provide for the defense of this nation.

Our biggest enemy -- pick the topic -- is right here in America. History has shown again and again that successful societies (Egyptian, Greek, Rome, British, Nephite, Jaredite, Israel/Judea, etc.) are destroyed from within.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

NRA's Lawsuit Against New Orleans

In a landmark victory for NRA and law-abiding gun owners, Judge Carl J. Barbier of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana denied the City of New Orleans' motion to dismiss NRA's lawsuit against the city and held that the Second Amendment applies to law-abiding residents in the State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans. Straining the bounds of credibility and reflecting the true sentiment of anti-gunners, the City of New Orleans contemptuously argued that the Second Amendment does not apply to residents in the State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans.

NRA first filed suit after reports surfaced indicating that, following Hurricane Katrina, firearms were confiscated from law-abiding New Orleans residents. Former New Orleans Police Chief Eddie Compass issued orders to confiscate firearms from all citizens, under a flawed state emergency powers law. With that one order, the one means of self-protection innocent victims had during a time of widespread civil disorder was stripped away.

NRA filed suit in federal court and won a preliminary injunction ending all the illegal gun confiscations. After the City of New Orleans failed to comply with the court's ruling and dishonestly claimed that the gun confiscations never occurred, NRA filed a motion for contempt that included an order directing all seized firearms be returned to their rightful owners.

After denying the illegal confiscations for months, on March 15, 2006, Mayor Nagin and the New Orleans Police Department finally conceded in federal court that the seized firearms were stored in two trailers. The city then agreed in court to a process by which law-abiding citizens would be able to file a claim to receive their confiscated firearms. However, few firearms were returned because the NOPD never notified gun owners how to claim their guns, and turned many away citing impossible standards for proof of ownership.

Today's ruling sets the stage for a continued legal fight in which NRA will be forced to expend additional resources to fight back the anti-gunner's blatant and shameful attempts to ignore the Second Amendment. The case will now move to discovery and pre-trial preparation.

The NRA is a great organization because they are one of the few organizations that are out there fighting to protect our Second Amendment right. This right is one of our most precious. All arguments to the contrary move us closer to bondage and impotency -- the ultimate goal of libs, whether they know it or not.

Running on an Anti Wal-mart Platform

Many Democrats, including Senator Joe Biden, have found a new rallying cry that many of them say could prove powerful in the midterm elections and into 2008: denouncing Wal-Mart for what they say are substandard wages and health care benefits.

I am convinced that if this is a rallying cry, the Democrats have more than proven how stupid their contingency is.

Substandard wages? Healthcare benefits? A business, regardless of its size, has no obligation -- legislatively or ethically -- to provide wages or healthcare plans just because some politician thinks they should.

If the work environment Wal-mart creates is so bad, no one would work there and business would diminish.

Simple economics my liberal friends. Wal-mart runs a business to provide consumers a shopping environment and products at a price they choose. Employees line up to work there. Higher wages and healthcare are costs. Those costs must be passed on to the consumer.

If you disagree with Wal-mart's business model -- low prices -- take your business elsewhere. There are plenty of stores that pay their employees higher wages and offer them healthcare benefits. The privilege you get is higher prices. You have a choice.

If you vote for a politician who espouses this rhetoric, you deserve to have idiots representing you.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Muslim Bigotry or Delusional Teaching?

Most of us questions why Muslims behave the way they do. It is unreasonable that people would feel “more nervous flying if a Muslim man was on the plane” considering the fact that nearly 100% of deadly airline incidents over the last twenty years have, in fact, involved Muslim men?

A recent USA Today / Gallup Poll found 39% of respondents felt at least some prejudice against Muslims. The same percentage favored requiring Muslims, including U.S. citizens, to carry a special ID "as a means of preventing terrorist attacks in the United States." About one-third said U.S. Muslims were sympathetic to al-Qaeda, and 22% said they wouldn't want Muslims as neighbors.

Psychologist Mona Amer of Yale University Medical School studied 611 Arab-American adults and found that they “had much worse mental health than Americans overall.” In particular, the people in her sample showed alarming levels of clinical depression, with about one half of those she studied showing serious symptoms of this disorder, compared to only 20% of a similar group in the general population.

Michael Medved provides insight into this prejudice:
If you argue that Western prejudice against Islam, and insensitive social interactions with non-believers, account for the violent, suicidal and depressed status of so many Muslims, then one must conclude that the faithful “back home” in predominantly Islamic societies would display far fewer of these difficulties than their counterparts in London, Amsterdam, Paris or Dearborn. In fact, all-Muslim societies (Pakistan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Gaza, Iraq, Algeria, and many others) remain the most violent, brutal, impoverished and benighted cultures on earth; immigrants from those nightmarish lands do vastly better when they resettle in the West, not worse.

If Western prejudice represents the core problem facing Islamic communities, then why do the two million (or more) Muslims in the United States count as the wealthiest, most successful believers anywhere on earth? Why do the one million Arab citizens of Israel enjoy by far the best standard of living and the highest levels of education (according to UN figures) of any Arabs in the Middle East? Logical analysis suggests that more devout Muslims who wear traditional robes and head coverings fare worse than their assimilated counterparts not because they provoke more prejudice from their neighbors, but because they have isolated themselves more fully in a deeply dysfunctional, even demented, medieval culture.

Despite anti-Semitic screeds that warn of Jewish plots to achieve international “control,” not even the most fervent religious Zionist has ever called for imposing halakha (Jewish law) on the nations of the world, while hundreds of millions of Muslims openly demand that governments everywhere should adapt sharia (Islamic religious law) as the law of the land.

The best way to respond to aggressive, triumphalist religiosity from the Muslim community isn’t to insist on more tolerance, or even acceptance, of Islamic demands; nor can we hope to counteract the allure of Jihadist ideology with ringing affirmations of easy-going secularism. Given the deep-seated human hunger for connection with a Supreme Being, the nearly universal yearning to draw closer to eternal truth, it’s not possible to beat something (radical Islam) with nothing (secular agnosticism). In this sense, the United States, with our robust movement of Christian revival, counts as far better equipped for the struggle ahead than our European allies where traditional faith of all kinds (except for Islam) has largely collapsed. Even skeptics and non-believers ought to welcome the vigor of Christian evangelism as the most effective counterweight to fundamentalist Islam. If those three British bomb plot suspects who converted to Islam had instead found their way to Pentecostal Christianity, or traditional Catholicism, or the Church of Jesus Christ [of] Latter Day Saints, would they ever have considered killing themselves to blow planes out of the sky?

The problem with Muslim communities in the US and Europe isn’t that they face discrimination from their neighbors; it’s that they receive dysfunctional, delusional teaching in too many of their own mosques. And the way to overcome that teaching isn’t to demand more respect from infidel non-believers, but to respond to the Islamic challenge with an energetic assertion of more positive and productive religious alternatives.
The Muslim community must stand up against militant Islam or these prejudices will continue if not worsen.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Yoga

One thing I don't like to do is mention that I do yoga. People look at you with a crooked eye. Gay? Metro? Nope. I just like doing it, the feeling I get afterwards, and the sleep I get that night.

I try to do it twice a week for an hour. I find that if I do the posses, hold them, and push myself, I get a great workout. Sometimes I really sweat.

This is one of these things where people will say: yoga, why would you do that? They are the one's who have never done it. I am not fanatical but I do enjoy it, despite the fact it embarrasses my wife and daughter.

In this weeks Sports Illustrated, 49er Safety Tony Parrish is featured. And if my man Eddie George can do it, so can I. Go Bucks!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Who Won? Not Israel

After a month of bloody conflict, both sides claim victory after the beginning of the ceasefire:
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, facing challenges from rivals at home, told parliament that the offensive had changed the strategic balance in the region, ending the "state within a state" run by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. He said most of the guerrilla group's arsenal of weapons was destroyed.

Hezbollah's fiery leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, meanwhile, went on Hezbollah's al-Manar Television to declare a "strategic, historic victory" against Israel — a declaration that prompted celebratory gunfire across the Lebanese capital. "We came out victorious in a war in which big Arab armies were defeated (before)," the bearded, black-turbaned cleric said in a taped speech.
Unfortunately, and I hate to say it, but the terrorist leader is more correct than the Israeli leader.

Hezbollah is still armed. They are still a fighting force. They will benefit from the lull in the fighting -- restocking, rethinking and repositioning. The UN forces will do absolutely nothing. Syria and Iran are stronger. Likewise their big suppliers: Russia and China.

This should be the end of the Olmert administration. He will go down as the one who lost the first Israeli war.

Iran Launches Holocaust Cartoon Exhibition

The news intro reads: An exhibition of more than 200 cartoons about the Holocaust opened Monday as Iran's response to last year's Muslim outrage over a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper.

Big difference is that the Jewish people have not and will not riot and kill one another like the Muslims did in February.

What is it with the rationale and behavior demonstrated by Muslims vs other religions?

Mahmoud Ahmadine-wackjob is appropriate.

Religious First, Citizen Second

Last week I heard a comment from some government or terrorist expert stating a concern over statements to the effect that most Muslims in Britain are Muslim first and British second. This was mixed into the discussion of the number of Muslims who sympathize with terrorist motives -- be it in Britain or in Lebanon. The two are mutually exclusive.

When I heard this, it struck me that non-religious people have a difficult time understanding religious people. There must be a belief, perhaps it is a British hold-over from Henry VIII's days, that country should trump all other loyalties.

I do not consider my American status more important than my religious and family roles. Does this make me an anarchy or civil disobedience sympathizer or anti-patriotic. I don't think so. (I heard Glenn Beck speak on this same topic this morning.)

The so-called separation of church and state has everything to do with our freedom to worship how, where and what we choose and that the government should not mandate a state religion. This was a major reason for the American Revolution and the breaking from our British ties.

It is not a red flag when one says their religion is a higher priority than their national loyalty. For many of us, our relationship with God, our salvation, our family's salvation, our relationship with our family members -- immediate and extended -- are more important than our national loyalty.

I love America more than another other nation. It is the greatest nation on the earth. I'd rather live hear than any other country. However, I love my God, my wife and children more.

(What doesn't make sense is for Muslims to cheer for terrorists just because the terrorists are Muslim. People who take this position are more terrorists than religious. No serious religious person would approve of wanton death and destruction demonstrated by militant Islam.)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Liquids Ban on Commercial Flights

We must assume this liquid plot was real and thwarted. Right? How else could the government ban all airplane carry-ons?

It is not like mixing multiple inert liquids to create an explosive one is some new concept.

The false sense of security continues by this latest non-carry-on ban. There's no reason this same explosive could not be done via checked baggage -- two connected bottles, barrier breached via a timing mechanism, walla'.

The government knows what it would like to do but it can only do otherwise unacceptable things when triggered by a compelling event.

Liberal Talking Point: Bush the Liar

Tom Barberi has been a voice on the left for years on Salt Lake radio. It has been some time since I have listened to him. I caught a few minutes today -- a best of or repeat of his.

He was on the latest liberal, which I have a hard time understanding: George W. Bush is not trustworthy.

Now I can see why libs don't like Bush but I don't understand the notion he is a liar. This is coming from those who favor Ted Kennedy, Al Gore, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Michael Moore, your favorite Hollywood actor/actress and, of course, Bill Clinton.

Liberals have these talking points, of which Bush is untrustworthy is one. The bulk of their points might seem to be "we gotcha this time" points, but none are backed up by facts. Think about some of them: Bush and the National Guard, Cheney and Halliburton, Bush's bumbling speech / word choice, immigration policies, global warming, GWOT does not exist, incompetency against al Qaeda (when we can't even catch Osama Bin Laden), Israel is the bad guy / Hezbollah the poor suffering Arabs, Palestinians / Hamas / PLO ditto, phone records, Valerie Plame / Scotter Libby / Karl Rove, energy policies, "diplomacy" vs military action, we should be more like the French, ... and the list goes on.

The libs are on the wrong side of every one of these issues. Their talking points are weak at best. They are formulated for the drive-by-media, casual current event followers, the uneducated. Sadly, they tend to work with this constituency.

The party of spin calling Bush a liar ... it doesn't get any better.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Cease Fire in Lebanon = Bad Policy

The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Friday that calls for an end to the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, and authorizes the deployment of 15,000 U.N. peacekeepers to help Lebanese troops take control of south Lebanon as Israel withdraws.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert apparently has accepted the cease-fire deal and informed the United States of his decision. Olmert will recommend that his government approve the deal in its meeting on Sunday.

This UN resolution is bad policy. The U.N. is a corrupt, terrorist-winking and dictator-ran and supported organization. They are inept at everything they do. Why do we think the UN will root out Hezbollah when Israel is having a tough time at it? The U.N. is complacent with Hezbollah.

This will give Hezbollah the opportunity to re-arm with Iranian and Syrian help. This time they will use long range missiles that will carry nuclear warheads.

Hezbollah is a greater enemy to the West than al Qaeda. They are cowards hiding among the civilians, conducting offensive operations from within, and showing pictures of injured or dead civilians; aka, human shields.

This is America's war. This U.N. resolution is just what the enemy wants. The U.S. administration, through the sponsorship of the resolution, is aiding the enemy. History has shown the cease fires are nothing more than a time to forget and the enemy to reposition and re-arm.

Fires On Buses

More than 2,500 fires break out on buses annually but that figure may actually be higher because a considerable number of those incidents go unreported.

Testifying before the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the National Fire
Protection Association’s Marty Ahrens said an analysis of local fire department records indicated there were between 2,000 and 2,600 fires on school buses, motor coaches and other large multiple-rider vehicles.

During the evacuation of residents during Hurricane Rita last year, 23 passengers and
the driver aboard the bus died while riding on Interstate 45 when a ball bearing in the right wheel housing overheated and ignited the tire. Oxygen tanks used by the elderly passengers fueled the flames. Upon further inspection, it was revealed the transportation company had failed three previous safety reviews.

The 5-pound fire extinguisher aboard the bus was incapable of dousing a burning tire. Witnesses said some of the bus windows, which serve as emergency exits, could not be opened.

I've never been on a bus when a fire has started. However, this report is troubling.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Terrorism via Liquid Explosives

An alleged plot to kill thousands of people by detonating explosions on up to 10 transatlantic flights from UK airports was disrupted Thursday morning. It is believed the intention was to set off near simultaneous blasts on flights, probably bound for the U.S., using explosives smuggled into passenger cabins inside hand luggage.

The apparent idea was to use a liquid-based explosive, to have been hidden in bottles of fizzy drink, lotion, etc.

Police were holding 21 people in custody in London following raids by anti-terror officers and MI5. A decision was made to move suddenly following months of surveillance.

US counter-terrorism officials told the Associated Press that three major US airlines - United, American Airlines and Continental - had been targeted in the plot.

For many, this will be an air travel inconvenience -- no carry-on baggage means longer check lines and more lost baggage (the reason I don't check bags).

The GWOT continues. This is global jihad. Were the perpetrators indigenous or main-stream terrorists from the likely sources? Doesn't really matter because we need to fight both. We need to fighting this war as if it were a real war and not some nightly news distraction. The unfortunate thing is that it will take multiple 911s for the allies to unit (if that is possible).

Lamont v Lieberman

This week, challenger Ned Lamont defeated Senator Joseph Lieberman in the Connecticut Democratic primary. The main issue appears to be over Lieberman position on the war in Iraq.

Many Democrats would like to see a timetable for a pullout; some want an immediate pullout. Lieberman is in line with the current administration.

This race addresses two key issues: politics and the GWOT.

Politics -- Lieberman will run as an Independent. But as a Democrat, he will pull some votes away from Lamont. The Republican will have a greater chance of winning this blue state.

GWOT -- the Democrats, from Harry Reid to Howard Dean, do not believe we are involved in a GWOT. That Iraq has nothing to do with it. There are very few people on either side that want to continue spending money and lives in Iraq. But pulling out now (like Spain) or announcing a timetable is insane. Militant Islam will wage this war whether we are in Iraq or not. These nazis want to control the world, not for religious purposes but for power. They are as Muslim as Castro is Catholic.

This race shows the true colors of the Democrats. Will they spin it to their advantage or will the American people see them for what they are: self-serving cowards that want your money for their own power-wielding purposes?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Matter of Timing

Mortimer Zuckerman, editor of U.S. News and World Report, really has insight into the Israeli - Hezbollah conflict. Some highlights:
The war between Israel and Hezbollah is about the fate of the democratic State of Israel, which was attacked, once again, by enemies dedicated to its destruction.

Last month's kidnapping and murder of Israeli soldiers not engaged in hostilities, accompanied by the wave of rockets into Israeli cities and towns, was a gross act of warfare and a crime against humanity. The airborne weapons were packed with ball bearings--not to destroy military assets but to maximize suffering by shredding human flesh. This is the barbarous nature of the radical Islamic jihad led by Iran against the free world.

Some accuse Israel of a "disproportionate" response. But what exactly is a "proportionate" response when a whole people and their society are threatened with extinction, when hostilities are initiated without provocation, when every act of restraint invites a vicious contempt?

Hezbollah is not an organization that can be managed by appeasement.

To kill Israelis, Hezbollah cynically hides behind women and children, just as it deliberately dug bunkers in the crowded suburbs of Beirut. Yet these abuses don't attract much international condemnation, especially from the anti-Israel United Nations.

Israel warns the Lebanese population in advance of attacks and urges people to leave the area. Warnings preceded the bombing of the Hezbollah rocket site in Qana--which is still a mystery. The building collapse came seven hours after the bomb fell on or near it. If the blast was perceived as a danger, why didn't Hezbollah or the Lebanese get the civilians out?

Where is the expression of disgust as Hezbollah's friends rejoice at the murder of Israelis? The Israelis don't dance on the rooftops at the sight of the bodies of their enemy's children. They feel deep sorrow and regret and have voiced it over and over.

Israel's bombings are no more or less justified than ours in Kosovo, Belgrade, Afghanistan, and "shock and awe" in Iraq. Israel cannot yield to the naive clamor for an immediate cease-fire. If Israel falters, the iron wall of military power that has enabled it to earn modest acceptance in the Middle East will have been seriously breached.

If an unconditional cease-fire is declared before a multinational force is deployed, Hezbollah will simply come back, resupply with Iranian rockets through Syria, and resume its war. And you can be sure that as soon as there's a cease-fire, the world will lose interest in other parts of the agreement. That's precisely what happened after 2000.

An immediate cease-fire would be no more than a sham, a breathing space allowing Iran to equip Hezbollah with bigger and better missiles that would wreak havoc in a few years' time on Tel Aviv and cause even greater civilian casualties.

Hezbollah must not come out of this with even a perceived victory. Otherwise, the Muslim Brotherhoods in Egypt and Jordan, as well as other jihadists, will look to Iran for leadership and to Hezbollah for operational assistance. Over time this will pose an existential question for Israel and create still more havoc for the Middle East. If Israel is seen as victorious, Palestinian extremists will be weakened and Syria, and possibly Iran, might be forced to reappraise their approach. Rarely have the stakes been higher.

When Only the Cops Have Guns...

Joshua Horwitz, Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, is exercised over the SenateƂ’s vote on July 13 to prohibit law enforcement officials from using federal funds to confiscate private firearms during future emergencies and major disasters.

The Gun Nut states in his blog entitled When Only the Cops Have Guns, Who Watches the Watchers?
I would sooner have Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow protecting my old ass than the New Orleans police. During the Katrina unpleasantness, 250 of them simply deserted, others looted, and 4 were cited for brutality. And when it was over, their chief resigned in disgrace. And these are the guys who are going to save you?
Electing representatives who believe in our Constitution and the Second Amendment is so important. Perhaps if the non-Hezbollah residents of Lebanon were armed like their terrorist counterparts, perhaps they could have taken care of their problem without involving the Israelis.

Reuters and Their Faking Photos

Reuters has finally admitted to doctoring photos. It wasn't due to an internal investigation. It was brought to their attention (and our attention by the Little Green Football blog).

Reuters is working their hidden agenda which is Israel is responsible for the death and damage in the present Middle East conflict. They will believe anyone and stop nothing to further this belief.

They are phonies as are all MSMers. They claim unbiasedness but they are anti-Semitic, leftist and Bush-haters to the core.

Interest Rate Non-Hike

The U.S. Federal Reserve left overnight interest rates unchanged at 5.25% after having pushed them up 17 times over the previous two years. Its aim is to set short-term interest rates that slow inflation without provoking a recession.

Noting that "some inflation risks remain," the central bank left itself room to resume raising rates if rising prices turned out to be more stubborn than it expected, though it implied that its hope was to avoid additional moves for the foreseeable future.

The bet is that conditions are right for a "soft landing" for the economy -- one of the most elusive goals in monetary policy.

The market indexes briefly rallied after the move, but quickly fell back because of concerns that the central bank might resume rate increases later.

Certainly the biggest concern the average Joe has is inflation. Inflation steals from your pock; wages rarely keep up. I have personally experienced this over the past few years. Despite all of the job growth, etc., I am not financially better off today than I was 5 years ago. I am however optimistic about the future, not because anything the government is or will do, but what I am doing.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

BP Alaska Pipeline Shutdown

The news report is as follows:
BP began a complete shutdown of the giant Prudhoe Bay oil field after a leak onto the tundra raised new and troubling questions about dangerous corrosion of North Slope pipelines.

The extraordinary shutdown will reduce the flow of all North Slope oil by 400,000 barrels a day -- nearly half the Slope's normal output -- and could rattle oil and gasoline markets. The shutdown also will crimp state tax and royalty revenue by millions of dollars a day.

Shutting down the field and its roughly 1,000 wells will take days to complete, and BP executives said the field will stay down until the company can prove the pipes are safe to operate or until other pipes can be used or built to bypass bad ones.

Company managers decided to shut down the entire field as a precaution and start an intense new round of inspections to see whether the pipes are safe to operate.

BP already had been under intense pressure to deal with corrosion and maintenance problems that in recent months have drawn the scrutiny of state and federal pipeline and pollution regulators, members of Congress and federal criminal investigators.

The scrutiny came in the wake of a corrosion-related spill from another Prudhoe pipeline that sent an estimated 201,000 gallons of crude over about 2 acres of tundra. That spill, discovered March 2, was the largest on the Slope since oil production began there in 1977.
Is this a company getting caught? Is this political maneuvering? It this an attempt to decrease supply (so revenues per gallon go up)? Is it just one of those inevitable maintenance issues?

Just like hurricane Katrina impacted our ability to refine oil at an appropriate level, this oil flow problem in Alaska demonstrates how many bottlenecks and single points of failure we have in our energy system.

NPR -- Federal Funding Must End

I have listened to NPR (specifically Morning Edition and All Things Considered) for years -- on and off. On regular basis, NPR will run some interesting story -- stories without an obvious political agenda. Even then, they must be listened to with open ears because those telling the stories, asking the questions do have agendas, be it global warming, free healthcare for all, tax the rich, or America the imperialist.

When it comes to reporting the news, they focus on anything that makes America, the conservatives, the Judeo-Christian religious, the entrepreneurs, the successful, look bad or guilty.

Listen to an NPR report at the top and bottom of each hour during the Israel/Hezbollah conflict: it is all about the "innocent" deaths in Lebanon, digging crying women and children out from rubble, the human suffering of homes destroyed in Lebanon. (Not about terrorists bombing Israelis.) Or it is a report of the number of Iraqis and U.S. soldiers killed in suicide and roadside bombings. Or how some U.S. soldier or group of soldier killed one or more civilians. (Not about safehavens created by U.S. soldiers wipping out the so-called insurgency.)

It is obvious the MSM helps the enemy. Normal people understand who the enemy is; the MSN does not. (If they do, they are traitors and should be tried as such). We all know innocent people are killed in war. War is cruel. It makes it very difficult to wage a war that can quickly come to an end with the MSM provides intelligence and adds a war of words via the press. The MSM forces these wars to be fought with both hands tied behind the back.

All past wars that engaged American forces, from Vietnam back, were fought without the MSM coverage we see today. Their outcomes would have been very different if today's MSM -- the enemy sympathizers -- would have had the same access and outlets as they do today.

It is okay for non-government supported media to present a biased view -- they are in it for profit. We know what they are, be they liberal or conservative. But when government-based agencies like NPR do this, their funding should be halted. The whole concept of government-backed media is flawed.

All government funding for NPR should end. Their survival should be based on capitalistic principles, not socialistic ones.

Egyptian "Students" Don't Show Up At MSU

The news flash is: Eleven Egyptian students who were supposed to travel to a Montana university after flying to JFK airport in late July disappeared, spurring federal authorities to issue a nationwide alert. The students - who were traveling with six classmates from Mansoura University in Egypt - had their student visas revoked for failing to show up at Montana State University in Bozeman. The other six students made it to the college.

I wonder how common this is? Why did this get reported and the hundreds of others not? How many people, from the Middle East or where ever, are here on student visas but are not engaged in classroom work? I bet the number would be startling.

UPDATE 8/14: all the students have been located.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Record Labels Sue LimeWire

Universal Music Group, Sony BMG, EMI Group PLC, and Warner Music Group Corp. have brought a lawsuit against New York-based Lime Wire LLC. The suit seeks $150,000 in damages for every song "willfully infringed" by LimeWire. It also names LimeWire CEO Mark Gorton and chief operating officer Greg Bildson as defendants.

These companies sure have a tough time selling their wares through traditional means. And the price of music is still too high for the masses.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

UN's Useless Security Council Resolution

So we hear and read about France and the United States reaching an agreement on a Security Council resolution to halt the war in Lebanon.

The text called for immediate cessation of all attacks by Hezbollah, and of offensive military operations by Israel. But it did not include a prisoner exchange or require Israel to immediately withdraw from Lebanon.

Nouhad Mahmoud, a Lebanese Foreign Ministry official appearing before the Council, said, "It lacks a call for the withdrawal of Israeli forces who are now in Lebanon, and that's a recipe for more confrontation."

What all the resolutions and MSM reports fail to address is that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. Lebanon has allowed them to operate with impunity in their country -- building up an armed state within a state.

Why should Israel withdraw before the job's done? They are defending themselves and their nation. Hezbollah's goal, along with Hamas, Iran, and "fill-in your favorite terrorist group or terrorist-sponsoring nation", is the destruction of Israel. They fire rockets at will; bomb at will. They could care less who they kill. Israel's goal is to destroy the terrorists war-making capability.

It should rise a huge warning flag when the French and Americans agree on anything.
At best, it is a non-workable or un-realisic plan.

Let Israel finish off Hezbollah now. No UN resolution or peacekeeping force is going to do this.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Oil Independence Begins At Home

Mortimer B. Zuckerman's editorial in 7 August issue of US News and World Report:
Every day you and I subsidize the propagators of terrorism. To import oil for our cars, homes, and workplaces, America now spends and borrows a staggering $1 billion every single day. In the past four years alone, oil producers' revenue has grown from $300 billion a year to $800 billion. When oil goes up by a dollar a barrel, it costs us an additional $7.4 billion! An increasing share of that money goes to countries in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, and through them to extremist religious groups who support Islamist militancy throughout the Middle East and beyond, disseminating a message of hatred and violence against western influence and ideas.

Oil prices, in fact, are determined by a complex, and increasingly competitive, global market. The roots of our predicament don't lie in the boardrooms of Big Oil but at our own back door.

Consumers enjoy the size, power, and sense of security from their SUVs, which now account for roughly half of all cars in the United States, compared with just 7 percent in 1990. Every day 200 million cars in America guzzle about 11 percent of the world's daily oil output. We are the only industrialized country that is less energy efficient than it was two decades ago.

Last year, for the first time ever, Asia consumed more oil than North America.

Over the next 25 years, if China and India grow as much as South Korea has since 1980, those two countries alone will consume three times as much energy as the United States does today.
He goes on to suggest we focus on 1) our own supply and refining capabilities; 2) new energy tax incentives; 3) efficiency; and 4) mass transit of goods via rail.

Unfortunately, it will take $10 gallons to force this change. Once we are to that point, pain will abound and wealth will be fleeting.

Liberal Jihad

Bill O'Riley gets this one right...
Perhaps the biggest reason why so many Americans are confused about the chilling dangers posed by Islamic fascism is the reportage of the terror war by the liberal print press. Day after day, committed left-wing newspapers frame their coverage with an emphasis on the inadequacies of the Bush administration or Israel, not the aggressive worldwide jihad that seeks nuclear weapons. Routinely, those who act confrontationally against the fascists are marginalized and sometimes personally attacked. Rarely, do the left-wing dailies give a fair hearing to both sides of the terror war controversy.

Italian Citizenship Cheapened

The Italian government approved legislation Friday that halves the time it takes for immigrants to become citizens and grants automatic citizenship to children born of immigrants residing legally in the country.

This is the wrong direction to take. Cowards always do follow the easier path, failing to understand the eventual consequences. Let's just hope America does not follow this stupidity.

Viktor Yanukovich Returns to Power

Ukraine's parliament approved Viktor Yanukovich as prime minister Friday, sealing the comeback of the Moscow-leaning politician after his humiliation nearly two years ago in the pro-Western street uprising known as the Orange Revolution.

He will share power with President Viktor Yushchenko, the man who defeated him in 2004. The president said he had cast-iron pledges from Yanukovich that he would not try to reverse the revolution's pro-Western principles.

Yanukovich will do whatever he can to assume control. Once a communist, always a communist. This is not good news for the Ukraine.

Landis Caught


Floyd Landis was fired by his team and the Tour de France no longer considered him its champion Saturday after his second doping sample tested positive for higher-than-allowable levels of testosterone.

The samples contained synthetic testosterone, indicating that it came from an outside source.

Shadows of Rafael Palmeiro:
On March 17, 2005, Palmeiro appeared at a Congressional hearing on the subject of steroids in baseball and vehemently denied ever using steroids under oath, wagging his finger and stating:

"Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period."
On August 1, 2005, Palmeiro was suspended for ten days after testing positive for steroids. In a public statement, Palmeiro disclosed that an appeal of the suspension has already been denied. At the same time, he stated:

"I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period. Ultimately, although I never intentionally put a banned substance into my body, the independent arbitrator ruled that I had to be suspended under the terms of the program."
and Bill Clinton:
On January 26, a visibly flustered President Clinton addressed the public in a White House press conference and issued a forceful denial:

"Now, I have to go back to work on my State of the Union speech. And I worked on it until pretty late last night. But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people."
Landis, who's Tour de France performance in Stage 17 was one of the greatest in history, will go to the dustbins of history.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Let Israel Win the War

What other country, when attacked in an unprovoked aggression across a recognized international frontier, is then put on a countdown clock by the world, given a limited time window in which to fight back, regardless of whether it has restored its own security?

What other country sustains 1,500 indiscriminate rocket attacks into its cities -- every one designed to kill, maim and terrorize civilians -- and is then vilified by the world when it tries to destroy the enemy's infrastructure and strongholds with precision-guided munitions that sometimes have the unintended but unavoidable consequence of collateral civilian death and suffering?

When one is wantonly attacked by an aggressor, one has every right - legal and moral - to carry the fight until the aggressor is disarmed and so disabled that it cannot threaten one's security again. That's what it took with Japan.

Israel's response to Hezbollah has been to use the most precise weaponry and targeting it can. It has no interest, no desire to kill Lebanese civilians. Does anyone imagine that it could not have leveled south Lebanon, to say nothing of Beirut? Instead, in the bitter fight against Hezbollah in south Lebanon, it has repeatedly dropped leaflets, issued warnings, sent messages by radio and even phone text to Lebanese villagers to evacuate so that they would not be harmed.

Israel knows that these leaflets and warnings give the Hezbollah fighters time to escape and regroup. The advance notification as to where the next attack is coming has allowed Hezbollah to set up elaborate ambushes. The result? Unexpectedly high Israeli infantry casualties. Moral scrupulousness paid in blood. Israeli soldiers die so that Lebanese civilians will not, and who does the international community condemn for disregarding civilian life?

-- Charles Krauthammer

Utah County Tax for Transit...Coming Soon

Voters in Utah County will have an opportunity to vote on a quarter-cent sales tax increase in November to fund a 22 mile commuter rail line from Provo to Salt Lake County.

The ballot measure was approved this week by the Utah County commissioners, who estimate that the tax could generate some $765 million in revenue by 2030. Of the revenue raised, some 87% would be dedicated to the new commuter rail line, 8% would go toward state highway improvements in the county and the remainder would be used for other transit needs. The Mountainland Association of Governments estimates that with the new tax revenue, the commuter rail project could be operational by 2013.

I am all for a light rail connecting Provo with SLC. I will probably use it 2-5 times a year. But I wonder if it is worth the cost. Public transit cannot survive without government subsidises. Therefore, this will be a perpetual debt for our children and grandchildren.

Americans Love Their Vehicles

A recent national poll conducted by the Pew Research Center indicates that Americans remain in love with their vehicles and roads – but that the ardor is cooling a bit, largely as a result of congestion.

The poll, conducted June 20-July 16 and interviewing 1,182 people, determined that 69% of those interviewed say they like to drive, down from 79% in a survey done in 1991. Currently 23% say they consider their car “something special -- more than just a way to get around,” compared with the 43% who expressed such views in 1991.

Although recent spikes in gasoline prices might be suspected as the culprit for such attitudinal changes, Pew’s researchers said the largest factor in the changes is traffic congestion, which more and more drivers find a hassle.

Although traffic increasingly appears to be a hassle for drivers, no less than 31% said they think of their car as having a personality, and 27% said they have gone driving “just for the fun of it” in the past week.

In other survey detail:

-- More than 2/3s of drivers say they have sung aloud while driving.
-- About 6 in 10 have talked on a handheld phone while driving.
-- More than 4 in 10 have eaten a meal while driving.
-- 1 out of 6 have combed their hair or applied makeup while driving.
-- And about 6% have read a paper, book or magazine while driving.

Distractions are one of the biggest causes of crashes. We don't need a research report to tell us that those talking on a cell phone while driving are less alert, less aware of their surroundings and more apt to crash than tose who are focused on the driving task.

The Do-Nothing Congress: Minimum Wages v Estate Taxes

Tying the minimum wage increase to estate tax modification and tax credits for research and development expenses is perfect for the do-nothing Congress.

Senate Democrats blocked legislation tying the first minimum wage increase in almost a decade to a decrease in the federal estate tax. Republican backers of the measure, dubbed the trifecta for its three chief elements, fell 4 votes short of the 60 needed to cut off debate. Democrats had argued that it was a bad bargain to exchange a $2.10 wage increase for struggling workers for a costly tax cut for the country's wealthiest families.

The minimum wage argument appeals to the ignorant. There should be no minimum wage law. The market should dictate wages, not the government.

Estate taxes are just a way for free-spending legislators to get more money for their pet projects. Anyway we can reduce taxes -- for the rich or not so rich -- is good public policy.

Government is too big. The Republicans have not shown much discipline in reducing taxes and spending, but the Democrats have never shied away from taking more of our money and giving it to those they deem need it more.

I like a do-nothing Congress. I like a Congressional stalemate. Just about every bill they pass means the government will take more of our money and build bigger government programs. One party just does it slower than the other.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Terrorist Money Laundering in Paraguay

For years, the region where the boundaries of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina converge has been considered a teeming stew of globalization's more unseemly byproducts. Much of the trade that crosses the borders, officials say, is illegitimate. The region is full of smuggled goods and laundered money.

Now U.S. officials are launching a broad series of new measures aimed at uncovering money-laundering rings that they believe are funding Hezbollah and other radical groups

The only reason Paraguayan federal agent Maria Adelaida Vasquez found out about the marijuana was that two officers from the federal prosecutors' office coincidentally were in the neighborhood where the boats landed.

"We're not in a position to wage a battle against this kind of enterprise," said Vasquez, who said money laundering and other illegal financial transactions are increasingly intertwined with the narcotics trade. "The criminals are on the vanguard of technology, and we don't even have access to the Internet in our offices. If we have cellphones, it's because we buy them with our own money."

No Internet access? No cell phones? No Arabic speakers? This is a middle eastern terrorist's playground. Criminals find the weakest link to exploit. Paraguay appears to be one of them.

One in 10 Scottish Children is a Gambling Addict

Survey of 2,000 Scots pupils finds 9.7% have a gambling problem.

Almost one in ten Scottish children is a problem gambler, with some as young as 11 skipping school to feed fruit machines, the first extensive study into the problem has revealed.

Scots spends three times as much on gambling as four years ago.

"Gambling in children is not obvious, like smoking, drinking or physical abuse, but it is there. Advice on gambling needs to be part of the school curriculum" - Sousana Mesimeri, deputy project leader RCA Trust.

The survey of more than 2,000 pupils from 12 schools across west central Scotland found 9% were exhibiting behavior that could lead to a fully fledged gambling addiction later on in life. In England and Wales the figure is 6%.

A further 15% of Scottish children are deemed to be at-risk of developing a gambling habit.

What a wonderful experience...dad and son at the neighborhood casino, engaging in some blackjack bonding.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Post-Fidel Castro Cuba

Cuba is wrapped in uncertainty as the Communist government released a statement suggesting that its longtime ruler, Fidel Castro, had survived intestinal surgery but giving few details of his condition.

On Calle Ocho in Miami, they jeered his name and wished for his death. "Cuba Si', Castro No!" they shouted. "Se Acabo'!" --"It's Over!" Horns blared and celebrants waved flags and smoked cigars.

The announcement on Monday that Fidel Castro is ill and has temporarily ceded power in Cuba to his brother Raul has spawned a sense of momentous expectancy.

Castro's illness and cessation of power marks the beginning of a long-planned transition designed to maintain iron-fisted control of the island after Fidel Castro's eventual death, administration and intelligence officials said yesterday.

Optimists abound but I for one do not see Castro's death bringing about any significant changes in Cuba. They are a communist nation. Their leaders are not going to go away without a fight. If Cuba is to return to the days of pre-Castro, some blood will need to be shed.

The Cuban people are strong -- probably the apple of the Caribbean. But most only know Castro and the communist ways. It would be great to see the Cuban people freely dictate its new government; getting that chance will be a struggle. My prayers are with them.

Favorable Opinion of the U.S.

A Pew Research poll shows Americans aren't much liked by just about everyone in the world. The poll surveyed more than 16,000 people in 15 countries and found that, overall, Americans are liked about as much as the red-headed stepchild at the family picnic.

The motivation behind this survey is flawed. It starts out with the premise that America is disliked. The survey is then formulated to fulfill this disposition. They never compare America to other countries. For example, America vSaudidi Arabia? America v France? America v Mexico?

If America is so disliked, why do so many people want to come here?

Despite the poll, this is the "greatest nation on God's green Earth" (Michael Medved).