5/31/09

Mariachi Pentecost

The Mariachi Pentecost has been advertised or otherwise announced in the TD and other local papers, as well as on the radio, for some time.

Those who nonetheless missed the show this evening at the Picketwire - or the early event at the Grand Theater in Rocky Ford - missed an exceptionally good show by Marichi San Pablo. A few photos are posted below. Leece will cover this in more detail in Thursday's religion page.


This young lady was one of two fiddlers ... violinists ... in the group.


No mariachi band would be complete without at least a couple of trumpeters, and Mariachi San Pablo had a couple of good ones.




The big guitarron was well-played, and both musicians had great voices.

Chris Muir's "Obama World"

Taking a cue from Walt Disney and Six Flags:

Obama World

5/30/09

Swainson's Hawk

We came across this fellow at Highway 50 and Lane 60. He's a Swainson's Hawk. The sun was high and backlit him in many of the shots. We have another photo of a Swainson's from our trip to Rourke's Ranch:









"Sotomayor's damned statistics"

Bill Jacobson renders a very good analysis of "The Goldstein Report" on Sotomayor. He pretty much torpedoes it, and explains why. Jacobson's reasoning is difficult to fault.

You can read Jacobson's analysis here:

Sotomayor's damned statistics

It's interesting. In their rush to 'sell' Sotomayor to the American public, whom they obviously consider to be brainless boobs, the mainstream media has been focusing on her 'compelling story'. Gushing emotionally over her poor Latina roots, they have really worked that 'empathy' thing.

But as Jacobson points out, there could well be more to Sotomayor's judicial thought processes than any of those condescending twit talking heads has so far considered. In their touchie-feelie presentations, the talking heads and other Pollyanna Pundits may well be doing Sotomayor a great disservice.

Sidepoint: Back when I used to teach search and seizure and other Constitutional things as they relate to cop work, I would tell the class, "When you read the opinions on all these landmark search and seizure cases, pay attention to the dissenting opinions. They are often far more revealing than the majority opinions."

It's interesting to see that both Jacobson and Cass Sunstein seem to share that view.

Setting the judicial standards

Obama has set a grand new precedent for nominating Federal judges, including, of course, justices of the United States Supreme Court.

Presumably, the Democratically-controlled Congress is going to go along with that.

Chris Muir has a comment about that over on Day by Day:

Setting the judicial standards

5/29/09

Pooh-poohing DealerGate

As the leftie blogs and the MSM continues to pooh-pooh DealerGate, here is another good one from Doug Ross:

Dealergate: Were four Democrat-friendly dealer groups rewarded by the Obama administration?

Obama's "justice"

Charges against three Black Panthers charged with voter intimidation have been dropped by the Obama Department of Justice. What's worse, the Obama Department of Justice has already won the case, but are throwing it away nonetheless. Their reasoning? The defendants were no-shows:

"These same Defendants have made no appearance and have filed no pleadings with the Court. Nor have they otherwise raised any other defenses to this action. Therefore, the United States has the right ... to dismiss voluntarily this action against the Defendants."

That is absolutely nuts.

By that reasoning, anyone charged into municipal court who "makes no appearance" should have charges dumped. Judge Manley should dismiss the case.

Instead, Judge Manley will issue a bench warrant for the defendant's arrest. It's called a "Failure to Appear." "FTA". Perhaps the Obama Justice Department is not familiar with the term. Perhaps Judge Manley might provide instruction on this to Eric Holder, who is apparently baffled by judicial proceedings.

In this case, we have a civil rights violation. Yes, it is. It's a blatant attempt to intimidate voters. It's Obama's poll watchers slinging racial insults at voters. It's one of Obama's poll watchers brandishing a police-type baton - a so-called 'nightstick' - at voters.

It was enough to win the case by default judgment. The judge hearing the case directed Obama's Civil Rights Division to file a motion for default judgment against the Black Panther Party and the individual defendants.

Instead, Obama's Justice Department is throwing it away.

CongressCritter Lamar Smith, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, is calling 'em out on that. He has written a letter to Obama's Justice Department demanding all non-privileged documents pertaining to the case and the decision to throw it away.

Perhaps you may not remember the incident that led to the charges. Here is a video:



Here is a FoxNews article (as of this writing, FoxNews is all over the story, but CNN and MSNBC, the Obamanian PR firms, have absolutely nothing on it):

Charges against Black Panthers dropped

A poll watcher who provided an affidavit to prosecutors in the case noted that Bartle Bull, who worked as a civil rights lawyer in the south in the 1960's and is a former campaign manager for Robert Kennedy, said it was the most blatant form of voter intimidation he had ever seen.

In his affidavit, obtained by FOX News, Bull wrote "I watched the two uniformed men confront voters and attempt to intimidate voters. They were positioned in a location that forced every voter to pass in close proximity to them. The weapon was openly displayed and brandished in plain sight of voters."

He also said they tried to "interfere with the work of other poll observers ... whom the uniformed men apparently believed did not share their preferences politically," noting that one of the panthers turned toward the white poll observers and said "you are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker."

From the Obama Justice Department:

A spokesman for the Department of Justice told FOX News, "The Justice Department was successful in obtaining an injunction that prohibits the defendant who brandished a weapon outside a Philadelphia polling place from doing so again. Claims were dismissed against the other defendants based on a careful assessment of the facts and the law. The department is committed to the vigorous prosecution of those who intimidate, threaten or coerce anyone exercising his or her sacred right to vote."

Yeah, right. And ACORN is just a 'community organization effort'. It would seem that racism is perfectly acceptable under the Obama regime. It just has to be the right kind of racism.

5/28/09

The continuing saga ... Chrysler, this time

Here's another good look at the Chrysler/political influence dustup, this very good one by Mark Tapscott of the Washington Examiner:

Furor grows over partisan car dealer closings

Predictably, Robert "Giggles" Gibbs pooh-poohs the whole thing. Car dealers, you see, are businessmen.

Businessmen, you see, are almost all Republicans. Unlike Democrats, apparently, who, apparently, spend their time figuring out how to separate businessmen (Republicans) from their cash so as to dole it out to other Democrats.

It's not all that hard to understand.

The continuing saga ...

So.

It seems that Pueblo County is shoving most of the Nepesta Road fiasco off on C-DOT, and C-DOT is blaming someone, anyone, but C-DOT. It looks like there is little, if any, effective communication between C-DOT and Pueblo County.

In the meanwhile, the 'applicant' continued to operate freely, and apparently continues to operate freely.

Fifteen trucks or three trucks, whoever comes over that crest or around that curve and finds one of those trucks stopped in traffic is in for a sphincter-loosening moment, don't you think?

Bureaucratic wonderland, hey wot?

Well, we can always put up one of those memorial crosses by the side of the road, presuming it doesn't interfere with the auxilary lanes whenever they get around to building them.

Pueblo County's response on Nepesta Road

Pueblo County Commissioner John Cordova, Sr provided a quick response to our queries about Pueblo County's role in the Nepesta Road/US Highway 50 dustup:

Mike,
The following paragraph is what was provided to me by our Public Works Director.

Here's the short version. The special use permit was originally approved by the planning commission with one of many conditions being that the applicant apply for and obtain an access permit from CDOT before commencing the mining operation.

At some point after that approval, the County and CDOT received complaints that there was some level of activity going on in the pit prior to even an application for the access permit. The County informed the applicant that they were in violation of the permit conditions and scheduled a show cause hearing before the planning commission. Between the time of the notice of the show cause hearing and the actual hearing the applicant made application to CDOT for the access permit.

CDOT approved the permit with many conditions, including construction of auxiliary lanes. The applicant and CDOT arrived at an understanding that the pit operator could remove three truck loads of material per hour from the pit BEFORE construction of the auxiliary lanes. The pit operator had requested that he be allowed to remove enough material to process at his existing crushing and asphalt plant site to produce all the materials he needs to construct the new lanes.

It is my understanding that CDOT agreed to the three trucks per hour use prior to the auxiliary lanes because that level of traffic entering and exiting at that location on the highway does not meet warrants for the auxiliary lanes, more than three per hour does meet warrants. It was essentially a compromise between the applicant/pit operator and CDOT.

Mr Tim Harris CDOT Region 2 Director is out of town this week. We will follow up with him next week sometime to see where they (CDOT) are at in the construction of the auxiliary lanes.

Cordially,
John B. Cordova Sr.

Just tax it all, you bastards!

Obama is 'shushing' speculation, but the idea of a national sales tax is gaining ground:

Tax it all!

What else can you expect, given that Obama's supporters think the rest of us owe them a living?

What else can you expect from a socialist president and the pair of self-serving sleazebags that chair the House and Senate finance committees, and the rest of the Democratic Hogs of Congress, who want more of our money dumped into their trough?

Now they want a Value Added Tax on top of the state sales tax, the Federal income tax, local sales tax, and all the fees and surcharges these bloodsucking pinko SOB's are laying on us already.

Where's it stop?

Well ... in the Obama regime, that 'buck' stops when it gets to Obama's pocket. Harry Truman must love that.

Dealergate!

Speaking of campaign contributions ...

When the government gets its fingers into private business, all kinds of interesting things can happen. Doug Ross and Joey Smith have been digging into the Daley-esque back-scratching going on over the Chrysler dealership closings.

When Obama and the Democratically-controlled Congress gain control of auto manufacturers and their dealer network:

Chrysler Dealership Campaign Fund Contributions

Did campaign contributions drive Chrysler shutdowns?

Dealergate

others are picking it up:

Democratic donors get to keep their dealerships open, while their local competitors are eliminated

American Thinker: The plot thickens ... This one is a particular good posting on the subject.

According to various campaign funding 'sunshine' sources, the owners of our Chrysler dealership were RNC contributors. Here is one such source:

Chrysler Report

Not enough to ping your paranoia? How about this:

Hope and change: Car czar behind Chrysler closings married to former Dem party leader. In that one, we find that Steve Rattner, who heads up Obama's "Auto Task Force" (manned by people who have never had anything to do with the auto business, but that's another story) is married to Maureen White, the former National Finance Chair of Democratic Party. Rattner and his band of merry amateurs decided which dealerships would close (see the American Thinker article above.

I guess this is what Obama means when he says "I won!". At least we don't have Rahm "The Fish" Emanuel showing up at the Rotary Club lunches to gouge and stab at the table, all the while screaming "He's dead! Dead! Dead!" in reference to Larry Miles.

I'm still trying to figure out what Obama means when he promises "Hope and Change!"

The MainStream Media is pretty much ignoring all this. It would require them to actually up out of their chairs and actually ask questions rather than just sit there and swallow Robert "Giggles" Gibbs horsecrap.

"Release the Sotomayor memos"

That's the title of a pretty good post by Bill Jacobson over on Legal Insurrection:

Release the Sotomayor memos


Barack Obama campaigned on the theme of a new era of transparency. Obama used that theme as a justification for the release of four highly classified internal Justice Department memos detailing strategies for interrogation of al-Qaeda detainees, over the objections of Obama's own Director of the CIA.

It's time to bring that same level of transparency to the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. The New York Times is reporting that each of the candidates on Obama's short-list was the subject of an 60-70-page memo detailing the investigation into her background, including judicial writings and other information gleaned by the vetters. Obama should release the memos on Sotomayor, as well as any other documents used in the decision-making process.


Jacobson goes on to examine some of Sotomayor's comments, such as the famous blurb on activist judges making policy; her apparent 'image management' contradicting her 'I never dreamed ...' statement about a Supreme Court nomination; her rather vacuous judicial decision record; what problems with her nomination may have been identified in the 60-70 vetters' memo; and the political gamesmanship being played over Sotomayor's nomination ... a quid pro quo, more or less, for the Hispanic vote?

Jacobson's article is a good read.

Campaign contributions?

We were sitting in the Holy Land Quickee's, slurping down our convenience store cappies.

DinkyDau Billy was freshly returned from a cycling sight-seeing tour in the Nevada deserts. He was looking relaxed, even more relaxed than Obama and Clinton, who were so 'relaxed' the Norks thought they were asleep. Maybe they were. Are. Like, dude ... whatever.

"Hey! Hey! Didja hear about them illegal campaign contributions over in Pebbler County?" he asked.

"You mean the ones for which John Cordova, Pueblo County commissioner, was fined $3825?" asked Tookie.

"Yeah. Yeah. Them contributions."

"Hmmmm ... yes, I did, but the news reports didn't say what corporations gave him ... 'allegedly' gave him ... the bucks," Leece tossed in.

"Nope. Nope. They didn't. Were they 'alleged' contributions? The judge apparently didn't think so, cuz he fined Cordova, and then Cordova had to give back da munny," Billy went on.

"I wonder if that Pheasant Run Gravel Company has anything to do with any of that?" asked Toot Sweet.

"Time to start poking around, looking for names and connections, follering da munny, hey?" Billy said, slurping his cappie and even more noisily slurping his dunked Granma's 'chocklit' fudge cookies.

"Yeah ... yeah, I think you're right," Tookie replied, pensively, "let's start with the guys who are running that Centennial State Paving, and start following the crumbs from there."

"There's gotta be a reason those guys have been allowed to operate without complying with the safety requirements," Billy mused.

Yep. There must be.

5/27/09

Nepesta Road and Pheasant Run

Recently, the Tribune-Democrat published two articles that illustrated a traffic safety issue at the intersection of Nepesta Road and Highway 50.

It seems that Pheasant Run Gravel Company is in operation, and a number of large gravel-haulers are entering the highway and turning off or entering the highway at that intersection. CDOT maintains that since the trucks actually get to the highway by way of a county road, it's kinda sorta not really their problem. It's kinda sorta Pueblo County's problem.

An excerpt from the first Tribune-Democrat article:

According to Valerie Sword, Colorado Department of Transportation, owners of the gravel pit are required to construct an eastbound, left-turn deceleration lane and a westbound right-turn acceleration lane if they intend to run trucks in and out of the area. Sword says the company has applied for and received a permit. However, those lanes can not be constructed until CDOT receives and approves acceptable design plans. "This can be a lengthy process," Sword comments.

Meanwhile, CDOT has requested commercial traffic associated with the gravel pit comply with current safety regulations. Until deceleration and acceleration lanes are constructed, no more than three trucks per hour may make left turning movements from the highway onto Nepesta Road.

In the interim before those lanes are installed and traffic flow improved in the area, officials caution drivers to be particularly vigilant traveling that stretch of highway.


Here are questions that fair leap out from the page over the 'issue':

"This can be a lengthy process..."

Why? Why must it be a 'lengthy process' when the state, CDOT, and Pueblo County all know that a potentially lethal traffic safety issue exists?

Why did the state allow the company to begin operations before insuring traffic safety issues were resolved? In the second TD article, Valerie Sword says, “We cannot just close a county road. We have limited control. If I were [Keith Tucker] I would not be pounding on CDOT’s door, but on the one that allowed Pheasant Run to operate without a permit.” Tucker is with Big G gravel pit. Big G is throwing a hissy fit as to why Pheasant Run has been allowed to operate without complying with the safety requirements, while Big G has. Sword also points out that Big G is directly accessing the highway, so CDOT controls all that, while Pheasant Run is getting out through a county road. So ... we can reasonably presume that Pheasant Run's continuing disregard of safety requirements is done with the blessing of the Pueblo County commissioners and their underlings.

How does reducing the number of trucks to 'no more than three per hour' address safety? That's from the Pueblo Planning Commission. What happens when a car comes over the crest of the hill when one of those three trucks is stopped on the highway waiting to turn? Is it some consolation that there could have been ... oh ... fifteen trucks, but thanks to Pueblo County, there were only three? Some consolation to the victims, wouldn't you say?

How does 'officials caution drivers to be particularly vigilant' address the fact that much of the traffic on that road is interstate or intraregional, and drivers are completely unaware of the need for 'particular vigilance'?

Here's the corker, from the second TD article:

A call made to Centennial State Paving requesting information as to how long the company has been operating without the access permit was unreturned. However, the investigation made by the Department of Planning and Development, found an e-mail dated Aug. 19, 2008 from the Pueblo County Department of Public Works showing that the company knew about the required improvements a year ago: “They are completing the design for the road improvements to Nepesta Road and we anticipate that they will complete construction in the following month.”

From that, it would appear that Pheasant Run should have been in compliance last September. Now we have Sword talking about yet another year.

How about this:

The gravel pit does not have direct access to the state highway,” stated Carl Buford, assistant access manager for CDOT. The first access that the company has is to a county road so the permit for access to the highway must go through the county, Buford said.
Buford stated that they expected the company to make the improvements within the next six months. The recommendation stated that “improvements shall be completed as soon as reasonably possible and within this construction season.”
However, the process could take longer, according to Valerie Sword of CDOT. “The company has one year to provide design plans,” she said. The plans also include studies completed on the property, if needed.
“We were notified about this two months ago,” stated Sword. “CDOT is not a body that gives approval to business openings.”


What? We've gone from they should have had it all taken care of last September to now we have to wait more than a year?

Who gets sued when a family is killed rear-ending one of those trucks because Pueblo County and the State have allowed the company to operate without safety compliance problems being first resolved? Can we sue Bill Ritter? Or Valerie Sword? Or Pheasant Run Gravel Company? How about the Pueblo County commissioners?

So whose backs are being scratched here? Who knows whom? Do we smell a few political favors? Are the commissioners or their minions 'taking care' of a few friends?

What's the deal here?

"Welcome to Zimbabwe ..."

Last Wednesday Obama signed into law the Helping Families Save their Homes Act of 2009.

That sounds pretty good, doesn't it?

Except that it gives banks and other mortgage servicing institutions immunity from lawsuits alleging that they broke contracts.

In other words, the United States government is destroying contractual obligations; it's telling those people that they can ignore their contractual obligations.

As William Frey puts it,"The U.S. government is now putting a bounty on renegotiating loans and providing [servicers] safe harbor protection from lawsuits -- basically, telling servicers to ignore their contracts."

Frey is the president of an outfit that is involved in mortgage-backed securities. When people default on their mortgages, that whacks those securities, hugely.

Frey was sending out letters to banks, telling them that he would sue them if they renegotiated the mortgages. Why? Such renegotiations, like defaulting, have a really negative effect on those securities.

Here is an interesting article on this, explaining Frey's position:

Some hedge funds argue against proposals to modify mortgages.

This was published last October in America's Fishwrapper, the New York Times.

When the Clowns of Congress, specifically the House Finance Committee, found out that Frey was a bit miffed over getting stiffed, they sent him this letter:

House Finance Committee strong-arms citizens

Says Frey: "The U.S. government is now putting a bounty on renegotiating loans and providing [servicers] safe harbor protection from lawsuits -- basically, telling servicers to ignore their contracts. If you can't tell me that's disturbing,welcome to Zimbabwe."

Meanwhile, Obama is about to - for all practical purposes - nationalize General Motors.

When do we do away with The Star Spangled Banner and adopt L'Internationale as our national anthem?

The Supreme Dream

From Americans for Limited Government:

Back to the drawing board, Mr. Obama

Meanwhile, the New York Times has published an editorial that makes it very clear that politics plays an important part in Sotomayor's nomination:

The New Justice

From that editorial:

If Judge Sotomayor joins the court, it will be a special point of pride for Hispanic-Americans — as it was for Jews, blacks and women before them to see one of their own take a seat on the highest tribunal in the land. It will also bring the paltry number of female justices back to two. And as Democratic Party strategists have no doubt calculated, the selection could give Mr. Obama and his party a boost with a key voting group.

The Times has been going on about Sotomayor's 'compelling story'.

But how about Clarence Thomas' 'compelling story'? When Thomas was nominated, we had this:

"Only in America could this have been possible." Clarence Thomas thanked President Bush with feeling yesterday for nominating him to the Supreme Court. As a black child born in poverty, he said, "I could not dare to dream that I would ever see the Supreme Court, not to mention be nominated to it."


But Thomas is a conservative, not a far left liberal. So back on July 2, 1991 the Times pooh-poohed Thomas' 'compelling story' with this:

He might have added: Only after others had labored to realize America's promise of racial justice. And only by walking in the shoes of Thurgood Marshall, whose mighty strivings as a lawyer and a judge have done so much to clear the ladder for other disadvantaged Americans.


So it really didn't count, because he didn't do it all on his own ... neither did Sotomayor, but that's different, because she is not a conservative justice.

How about this:

Even his rise from poverty and racial isolation will be less interesting than how that experience has affected his regard for other Americans and whether he understands how their lives and rights are affected by law and official action.


I guess Clarence Thomas' life experiences were not 'rich' enough to be taken at face value.

And then:

President Lyndon Johnson beamed with pride when he introduced Thurgood Marshall in 1967 and said, "I believe it is the right thing to do, the right time to do it, the right man and the right place." Now Clarence Thomas must prove that President Bush is justified in calling him "the best person at the right time." It could also be a long time.

Clarence Thomas had to 'prove' himself. Yep. His life experiences weren't good enough, not as good as Sotomayor's, because we sure aren't hearing any calls from the Times for her to 'prove' the basis for Obama's gushing commentary.

The New York Times ... America's fishwrapper.

The Norks

"Norks" is a term coming into vogue, referring to the North Koreans. It has been used mostly by the so-called "conservative" bloggers. It should not be confused with the Australian term.

The leftie blogs are pinging off the walls, wondering if it is yet another example of right-wing, conservative blogger racism.

In the fog of concern over political correctness, the leftie bloggers seem to be missing a few salient points:

1. A few days ago the Norks executed a second successful nuclear weapon test. Underground. One can only wonder if they have "gone green". But we wander ...

2. Shortly thereafter, the Norks conducted three more missile tests in addition to the two conducted on Monday, all of which appear to have been successful, at least more so than their last. That's kind of a normal flow of events. Anyone who remembers the US missile development of the fifties will remember image after image of spectacular failure after failure. Perseverance, however, pays off, and today we can put a few hundred kilotons - or more - through the front door of whatever bordello Kim Jong-Il happens to be patronizing at the moment. The Norks are working on that. The accuracy, not the bordello. Well .. maybe both.

3. Several sources whose business it is to know such things - including the CIA and the NSA - estimate that the Norks have enough weapons grade plutonium to manufacture at least six weapons, each roughly equivalent to a Hiroshima or Nagasaki weapon. The problem the Norks have is getting them miniaturized to the point they can be put on those ever-improving missiles. They're working on that.

4. The ROKs (a non-racist term for the South Koreans, after "Republic of Korea") have signed on to our ("our" being "the United States") Proliferation Security Initiative. That initiative may be reduced to "... a U.S.-led program to intercept ships suspected of spreading weapons of mass destruction ...". The ROKs announced this joining yesterday - the day after the Norks' nuke test.

5. As a result of the ROK joining to the PSI, the Norks have abrogated the cease fire agreement that has stood - more or less - since 1953. They no longer consider themselves bound by the truce. And, they said they considered the ROK's signing of the PSI as an act "tantamount to a declaration of war." Given the instability of the Nork regime, that's a lot of saber-rattling. Think about it. They've gone on the record as essentially declaring war themselves. What's the deal now? Are we in a kind of "phoney war" like we saw in Europe in '39-'40? Are we now just waiting for the push through the equivalent of the Maginot Line?

6. The United Nations is working on passing yet another resolution. Given that the Norks have not been overly impressed with previous resolutions, one can only hope that the crooks, thieves, liars, and other scoundrels in the UN have a good talk, followed by a good lunch, followed by a relaxing visit with the mistress de jour, and a good review of the offshore bank accounts that contain their 'retirement funds'. That's about all the good the UN does these days.

7. Meanwhile, the administration in Sodom-on-the-Potomac remains "relaxed", and issued this statement: "North Korea continues to isolate itself. Threats and bluster will not get North Korea the attention and respect it craves." The administration is correct. However, when Seoul disappears in a flash that would melt through the best Oakleys the decadent Western Yankee imperialist/capitalist running dog warmongers can produce ... that might get some attention. "Respect" is something of a crapshoot.

8. Reports that Obama has invited Kim Jong-Il to have a sit down over a cuppa Mystic Monk Hermit's Bold Blend have not been confirmed.

9. Back to our regularly scheduled programming, including gushing over Sotomayor's "compelling story" and ignoring the fact that most of her important decisions and rulings as a justice on the Court of Appeals have been overturned. So much for "clarity of judicial thought".

5/26/09

Sotomayor: Does she even matter?

Not really.

She's a liberal replacing a liberal, and the basic makeup of the court will not change with her confirmation. She can offer some entertainment value if the quality of her Supreme Court opinions is on a par with her opinions and decisions as a Federal district judge and particularly as a jurist on the Court of Appeals.

The court will remain 5-4 with the edge to the 'conservative' types.

Where this will all matter is when one of those conservative justices decides to retire, and if he does so while Obama is president. Then we'll see some hootin' and hollerin'.

Meanwhile, the Republicans continue to flounder about as irrelevancies in the American political scene. They continue to see religion as part of a political agenda, which is killing them as a political party. That's the Christian fundamentalist influence, and though it has waned somewhat, it is still a significant, much too significant, influence in the Republican party.

What are they doing about rebuilding their party?

Not much. We've got Rush Limbaugh, a creationist-wingnut ranting and raving on a daily basis. We've got Glenn Beck on Foxnews, another 'opinion-shaper' who most days seems to be off his meds. Officially, we have Michael Steele, who couldn't lead his way out of a paper bag.

So while the Republicans thrash about 'finding' themselves - though at this point they couldn't find their collective backside with a wad of toilet paper in both hands - the Democrats, especially the far left moonbat element of that party, find themselves looking at several years, maybe much more, wherein they will control that judicial nomination/confirmation process for the entire Federal judiciary.

With the deck thusly stacked for dozens upon dozens of judges of Sotomayor's ilk ... where do you think that leaves us?

The Portuguese

Much is being made of Sonia Sotomayor being 'the first' Latin type person to be nominated to the Supreme Court.

But as has been pointed out elseplace, what about Bennie Cardozo, who was a Supreme Court justice from 1932 until 1938, and an Appeals justice before that?

Cardoza was a Portuguese jew. Are not Portuguese considered Latino/Latina? The government of the United States seems to think they are, according to The Volokh Conspiracy, which cites chapter and verse here.

But Bennie Cardozo looked like a white man and thereby lacked the 'richness of experience' necessary to being Latina/o. And of course, that would not do for the mainstream media of today.

He was also Jewish, which is apparently a bad thing, as Jews - apparently - lack 'richness of experience' inherent in Latinaism.

Not many of his opinions and decisions seem to have been overturned.

The Reversals of Sonia Sotomayor

Many of Sotomayor's more important decisions have been reversed by the Supreme Court:

Sotomayor's resume

Of course, we should expect that, given that all those white men on the Supreme Court do not share Sotomayor's 'richness of experience' and apparently lack the empathy that the Obamanians believe is necessary for an effective justice.

It would appear that judicial knowledge is not one of Sotomayor's strong points, given all those reversals.

No matter. The mainstream media is concentrating on her 'compelling' story rather than on her judicial qualities.

It would appear that Obama has made good on his promise to make gender and race rather than judicial clarity of thought his main concern.

"Richness of experience ..."

One of Sotomayor's best quotes:

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

Now, what does that mean?

Are we talking about a chola, who having managed to live long enough to regret the "Mi Vida Loca" tattoo on her neck, has gained a certain 'wisdom' in making decisions? Better than your average white man? What kind of white man? A member of the Aryan Nations? A Princeton graduate? Joe Sixpack? Your average white male business owner in The Smile Hi City?

Pretty general statement she made there, don't you think?

Or is it simpler racism than that? White men can't dance, can't jump, and apparently cannot make wise decisions because they don't have lives that matter?

That's very ... empathetic.

Interesting point of view from Sotomayor. I wonder if any of the Clowns of Congress will have the cojones to ask her about that.

Here's an update on the Sotomayor nomination from The Judicial Confirmation Network:

Obama Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor

Sotomayor is also pretty much a wash regarding the Second Amendment as an individual right.

The Supremes

No ... not MoTown. The US Supremes.

It's out. Sonia Sotomayor is to be Obama's nominee for Justice Souter's replacement.

According to the American Bar Association, Sotmomayor is considered a 'political centrist'. She has been a prosecutor, an ADA for New York County. She has 16 years experience as a Federal judge, first as a Federal District Court judge, then sitting on the US 2nd Circuit.

Over on The New Republic, Jeff Rosen did an article about Sotomayor that has the left gnashing its collective teeth and going about about "... when does Sotomayor get her reputation back ..." as though Rosen had torpedoed her. Rosen has done nothing of the sort. You can read Rosen's article here:

The case against Sotomayor

One of the complaints is that Rosen used 'unnamed sources' in his article - he did - a fact that sends them right up the wall.

However, over on PrawfsBlawg, we see the same thing - many unnamed sources - all gushing over Sotomayor, but that's apparently OK because we aren't seeing any complaints from the left on that.

One might ask also when does John Bolton get his reputation back from the likes of Huffington Post and others, who were downright vicious as we have seen from previous postings (BTW, North Korea has cranked off two more missile tests since then).

But we were talking about Sotomayor.

A 'political centrist' would be good.

The bottom line is that Sotomayor is the nominee, and she is quite likely to stick. Let's see what shakes out of the confirmation hearings.

5/25/09

Who is the "whackjob"?

Last week, John Bolton wrote an op-ed piece which appeared in the Wall Street Journal on May 20:

Get ready for another North Korean nuke test

In response to that article, leftie bloggers went ... well ... slightly nuts. More than 'slightly' in some cases:

From Allison Kilkenny over on Huffington Post:

You have to hand it to the Wall Street Journal. At a time when the newspaper industry is desperately trying to remind America it's important and relevant, the WSJ has carved out a nice little niche for itself as a halfway house for discredited political figures.

She is referring to Bolton and his article.

Kilkenny goes on:

Today, Bolton chose to growl at the old, but reliable, enemy of North Korea. This is a particularly vintage move when one considers North Korea already tried to strike fear into the hearts of Americans last month when they tested a missile that fizzled and fell into the ocean 1,300 miles off the east coast of Japan. Bolton's stance is pretty brave because his frenzied ideology flies in the face of scholarly counsel.

"Scholarly counsel"? One can only wonder at who that might be.

But now we have this:

North Korea tests second nuke

Outrage over N Korea nuclear test

North Korea announces second nuclear test

Looks like Bolton was correct.

Bolton was our ambassador to the United Nations. He has written many articles critical of Obama, particularly regarding Obama's understanding of history and 'rogue nations'. Consider this article:

Obama the naive

Consider his facile observations about President Kennedy's first meeting with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, in Vienna in 1961. Obama saw it as a meeting that helped win the Cold War, when in fact it was an embarrassment for the American side. The inexperienced Kennedy performed so poorly that Khrushchev may well have been encouraged to position Soviet missiles in Cuba in 1962, thus precipitating one of the Cold War's most dangerous crises.

I remember Kennedy's meeting with Kruschev, and it was in fact a national embarrassment. I completely fail to understand how Obama could possibly find it to be an interchange that 'helped win the Cold War'. Kennedy comported himself as an ignorant, indecisive, callow youth on the world stage, and Bolton's assessment regarding the Missile Crisis is not unique.

Here is another excerpt:

What is implicit in Obama's reference to "tiny" threats is that they are sufficiently insignificant that negotiations alone can resolve them. Indeed, he has gone even further, arguing that the lack of negotiations with Iran caused the threats: "And the fact that we have not talked to them means that they have been developing nuclear weapons, funding Hamas, funding Hezbollah."

This is perhaps the most breathtakingly naive statement of all, implying as it does that it is actually U.S. policy that motivates Iran rather than Iran's own perceived ambitions and interests. That would be news to the mullahs in Tehran, not to mention the leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah.

It is an article of faith for Obama, and many others on the left in the U.S. and abroad, that it is the United States that is mostly responsible for the world's ills. In 1984, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick labeled people with these views the "San Francisco Democrats," after the city where Walter Mondale was nominated for president.

Most famously, Kirkpatrick forever seared the San Francisco Democrats by saying that "they always blame America first" for the world's problems. In so doing, she turned the name of the pre-World War II isolationist America First movement into a stigma the Democratic Party has never shaken.


So Bolton's observations, made last summer during the campaign, continue to bear fruit.

I don't know about you, but I'm waiting now for the first terrorist nuke to pop on US soil. With Obama in the Orchid Office, it's just a matter of time. Or, for that matter, for Iran to incinerate an Israeli city. Check that ... the Israelis are far more likely to nuke Iran first than allow that to happen to themselves. Of course, the idea of a 'pre-emptive' strike is the left's idea of a war crime.

The Obama regime, the left, should not be trusted with our national security, with the safety of our people. They are just too far removed from reality.

Gun control ...

... is hitting your target.










5/23/09

Bent's Old Fort

Some photos taken at Bent's Old Fort on 05.23.2009:

Flag over the fort's entranceway.


Courtyard and front entrance, from the parapet at the southwestern corner of the fort, looking to the northeast.

Looking east from the lower level of the courtyard.


Looking back to the west, from the upper level, in front of the structure shown in the image above.



Muskets in the trade room, bartered for beaver and other pelts.


More trade goods in the trade room.


Workbench in the blacksmith shop.


Lock on a chest at the fort. Unknown if a genuine antique or a replica.

Red-winged blackbird at Bent's Old Fort

The cattails and marsh to the east of the path into Bent's Old Fort from the parking lot are full of red-winged blackbirds:

Barn swallows at Bent's Old Fort

Barn swallows are quite thick at Bent's Old Fort, flittering about under the walkways and throughout the fort. These little guys were seen on 05.23.2009:




5/22/09

Kites and Eurasian Collared Doves in City Park

La Junta City Park, lunch hour, 05.22.2009:


Mississippi Kite fluffs up.


Mississippi Kite taking it easy.


Kite landing.


If this one above were a carrier landing, we'd have this one below:



Eurasian Collared Doves:




We had originally mislabled these guys as mourning doves. Thanx and a tip of the hat to Rebecca Kosten of the Colorado Birding Society for sending us a note on the correction.

Obama TV

The Orchid Office now brings us Obama TV:

Obama TV

Note the continuing references to "The Lady Huskies".

There ain't no such thing.

It's the UCONN Women's Basketball Team. All of the UCONN teams are "Huskies".

But the real deal here is the fact that the White House press corps was shut out, and the Orchid Office Network produced a bit of self-serving fluff for the media to feed the masses.

Tapper has it right:

Is the goal to ultimately replace the pesky photographers who film what they want to and not what they're told to (not to mention the annoying reporters who ask uncomfortable questions about, say, detainee policy and bank bailouts)?

except that the White House Press Corps has heretofore and still is pretty much an unofficial horn-tooter for the Obamanians. Why would Obama need his own network? He has the press corps in his pocket.

"And Tango makes three ..."

Wowsers, but here's a hot button item:

Here's an article that sums up rather nicely just how complicated 'gay issues' can be:

And Tango makes three

On the one hand we have Christian fundamentalists vaporlocking over various legislative actions that are essentially meaningless, yet they manage to create an atmosphere of fear, distrust ... even exacerbating hatred ... all in the name of Christ.

We've already expressed an opinion on that.

On the other hand, we have a school board that is jamming down the throats of young children, their families, and parents 'instruction' on gay, lesbian, and transgendered 'lifestyles' and 'issues'.

If the curriculum is adopted the school board will be refusing the parents any choice on the matter. There is no 'opt out' for them

Here is one opinion:

“Under law, there are five categories of protected classes when it comes to discrimination,” explained Karen England, a spokeswoman for the Capitol Resource Institute, an organization that advocates conservative policy on social issues.

"The curriculum focuses on only one subgroup protected under anti-discrimination laws: sexual orientation.”

England said she believes Alameda's curriculum committee has purposely excluded religion, even though it is one of the protected classes. “This indicates an agenda is being pushed, as opposed to an altruistic attempt to teach tolerance,” she said.

We here at Blogger Central agree with that view. What about Christian fundamentalist intolerance for other religions? Why isn't the school going to address racism? The board expresses concern over the use of the word "fag" on the playground. Do they really expect us to believe that racial and sexist slurs are not occurring? They certainly do on the playgrounds of the La Junta and Swink schools, all the way down to the Primary School level.

Here are a couple more:

“I am beginning to lose confidence of the board, as it seems to have a preconceived political agenda and not truly represent their constituent’s opposition to the curriculum,” he said.

But other parents say they are in full support of the proposed curriculum.

“Our schools are a reflection of our community and world,” said Marianne Bartholomew-Couts. “From a very early age, children should see what exists in the world.”

There is merit to both viewpoints. However, it is not the place of the school or the school board to force parents to send their kids to a class of this type. "Tolerance" is best taught at home. If kids are bullying, which is what seems to have prompted the whole mess to begin with, then the school should deal with that in accordance with existing policies and procedures. Creating a special curriculum just for homosexual 'issues' is in fact nothing more than a political agenda.

Pink boxer shorts

Gates Hails Soldier Snapped in Pink Boxer Shorts

"Any soldier who goes into battle against the Taliban in pink boxers and flip-flops has a special kind of courage," Gates said in a speech to be delivered in New York.

"I can only wonder about the impact on the Taliban. Just imagine seeing that: a guy in pink boxers and flip-flops has you in his cross-hairs. What an incredible innovation in psychological warfare," he said.


There ya go. That's gotta have the Islamofascists banging their heads on their rugs (one can only hope that statement does not cause millions of Muslims to take to the streets, burning effigies and flags, overturning cars, chanting death threats in front of the nearest US embassy or consulate.)

Actually, it takes a special kind of courage just to wear pink boxers. I've been threatening to get a pair of pink crocs to wear to church. I haven't been able to find pink in men's sizes. I believe I will have to redouble my efforts.

5/21/09

The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (S. 909)

Coral Ridge Ministries is spamming the world with a nasty little bit of fear-mongering hate literature about SB 909. Coral Ridge Ministries was founded by D. James Kennedy, who has since expired. Kennedy was one of those far right Christian fundamentalists, a televangelist, a so-called 'megachurch' pastor ... and boy howdy, but did he ever rake in the bucks.

In other words, another religious huckster who exploited faith for political purposes.

You can read the entire piece of Coral Ridge Ministries drivel here.

It's a pile of that self-serving Christian fundamentalist horse manure, same as the so-called 'bathroom' bill over which our beloved Wes McKinley took so much heat from the far right Christian fundamentalists. It's only thinly removed from the hateful tripe put out by Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church. The presumption here is, like we hear from Phelps, that "God Hates Fags" (www.godhatesfags.com and www.godhatesamerica.com, both WBC sites and both apparently down for the moment), which I'm sure you will agree is a fine position for alleged Christians to take.

Consider that the fundamentalists are the ones who are actually driving the inclusion of sexual orientation in the 'protected classes' laws. They are doing this because they are so utterly hateful toward homosexuals. They do not separate the person from the act. They make no provisions for a homosexual who is celibate - the fundies still preach hate - yet they are perfectly willing to accept an uncelibate heterosexual, or a heterosexual who strays from the marital bed - why, let's just pray for Brother Bob! It'll make us feel like "real" Christians! How about praying for our homosexual brethren in the same manner? Oh hell no. The church roof might cave in.

If they want to use Sullivan's position that laws already exist to deal with murderers, then their argument that this new bill would offer protections to pedophiles and other perverts is specious at best, and a downright self-serving misuse of the truth - we used to call that a 'lie' before the adoption of situational morality made the term obsolete - at worst. Laws already exist that address those 'issues' and miscreants as well. They can't have their legal cupcake and snuffle it too.

The idea that this bill would somehow serve as the basis for persecution of "Christians" is beyond ridiculous, and using it, presenting it, in support of that argument simply exacerbates the image already held by so many that Christian fundamentalists, like Islamic fundamentalists, are a collection of hysterical loons divorced from reason and reality, separated in concept only by the levels of violence tolerated by their respective secular societies. And they wonder why people flee the Christian churches.

Surely this is at the heart of Gandhi's famous alleged statement: "I could have been a Christian ... but then I met one."

I would suggest that those who buy into this self-serving trash take the time to reflect upon Christ's new commandment, and give some thought to what he said and what it meant. Of course, that's a waste of time, because someone who is a self-defined "Christian" already knows all about Christ's new commandment and doesn't require a lecture on it from a heathen like me.
That's why they're doing so well at bringing people into the Church.

Getting the worm

This robin did:


Obama's "preventive detention"

From the New York Times:

President Obama told human rights advocates at the White House on Wednesday that he was mulling the need for a "preventive detention" system that would establish a legal basis for the United States to incarcerate terrorism suspects who are deemed a threat to national security but cannot be tried, two participants in the private session said...

...The two participants, outsiders who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the session was intended to be off the record, said they left the meeting dismayed.

"He was almost ruminating over the need for statutory change to the laws so that we can deal with individuals who we can't charge and detain," one participant said.

"We've known this is on the horizon for many years, but we were able to hold it off with George Bush. The idea that we might find ourselves fighting with the Obama administration over these powers is really stunning."

The other participant said Mr. Obama did not seem to be thinking about preventive detention for terrorism suspects now held at Guantanamo Bay, but rather for those captured in the future, in settings other than a legitimate battlefield like Afghanistan…

The New York Times buried that one way back on page 18. Odd, don't you think, considering that the Democrats, the far left, have been screaming about Bush's 'preventive detention' since Day One?

Obama is no longer considering such a system. He has it in place. He listed five categories of 'detainees' at Gitmo. Cat 5 is the 'prevententive detention' group. He did that in his speech today.

Reality sets in. We aren't talking about campaign rhetoric, now. Obama has to deal with reality, in spite of the moonbat dreams of many of his constituents.

Dividing Jerusalem

Joel Rosenberg is a well-known author of 'end times' novels and other tripe. He has a blog linked off his website over which Christian fundamentalists drool, and they pass on his nonsense as though it were the Gospel.

Here is an example:

Obama says it is time to divide Jerusalem

In his article, Rosenberg gives the impression that partitioning Jerusalem is a concept proposed by Obama as part of a New World Order.

Rosenberg, like many if not most on the Christian right, distorts, twists, and obfuscates in a program of hysterical fear-mongering.

And of course, Christian fundamentalists jump right on the bandwagon and forward this garbage around the Internet, endlessly, ad infinitum, and ad nauseam.

The idea of partitioning Jerusalem has been proposed by the Israeli government, at least as far back as 2000, after that meeting at Camp David.

The European Union has been kicking it around for at least a decade.

It's hysterical fear-mongering on the part of the Christian fundamentalists, something they are really good at. Despite the best efforts of the Christian press to fan those flames of hysteria, the concept of partitioning Jerusalem is not new, it is not an Obaman "idea", and the Israelis themselves have offered it as a solution to the "problem".

Some background:

It was brought up by the Israelis back in 2000, but rejected by the Palestinians:

Divided Jerusalem

Israel suggested this again back in May 2006:

Israelis offer to partition Jerusalem

Note that the "Barak" in this deal is Ehud Barak, then Prime Minister of Israel. Not Barak Obama.

As recently as today, Netanyahu's government was taken to task in Arutz Sheva as "continuing to divide Jerusalem":

Netanyahu's government continues to divide Jerusalem

There is a lot more on this. It's not new, not by any stretch of the imagination, and it is NOT Barack Obama's idea. The European Union has supported the partition for almost a decade if not longer. It is a sore point within and without Israeli, as we see from the Arutz Sheva article. But that does not alter the fact that the Israeli government has offered partitioning as a solution, or partial solution, to the "Palestinian issue". It is not a nefarious, Godless plot hatched by a secretly Islamic Barak Obama.

This is yet another example of why Christian fundamentalists cannot be trusted. If they will lie and obfuscate, distort and twist secular politics to suit their 'requirements', then how can they be trusted with things spiritual?

The answer, of course, is that they cannot, and this is just one of many reasons why people are fleeing the Christian churches. It is also one of the reasons why people do not, cannot, take the Republican Party seriously. So long as the Republican Party ties itself to the Christian fundamentalists, making getting into heaven a political agenda, that party is going founder. People are tired of listening to the shrill, self-serving lies of the Christian right.

It is costing the church, and it is costing the Republicans, and contrary to what the Christian right thinks, they are not one and the same thing.

"The incoherent cowardice of Harry Reid"

That's not from Rush Limbaugh. It isn't from Glenn Beck. It isn't a Republican press statement.

It's from the leftie ... far leftie ... blog, "The Daily Dish".

Reid's series of incoherent statements over the last few days has the far left jumping up and down and crossing their legs like a preschooler who really needs to go to the bathroom, badly.

Here are some more, which I have lifted from Bill Jacobson's Greatest Sentence Ever post. These are all leftie blogs and publications:
  • Washington Monthly: ""Can't put them in prison unless you release them"? What does that even mean? Isn't locking someone up the opposite of releasing them?"
  • The Daily Dish: "The Incoherent Cowardice Of Harry Reid"
  • Wonkette: "The Defining Interview Of Harry Reid’s Political Career, Maybe"
  • First Door On The Left: "What?! If there is one thing we Americans have proven ourselves fairly adept at, it’s building prisons and keeping folks in them."
  • D-Day: "This statement Reid's office released makes absolutely no sense, proving again Digby's point that, when politicians start speaking Engrish instead of English, you know they're hiding something."
  • Balloon-Juice: "Congratulations. That was the best impression of a fearmongering Republican wingnut that I have seen in a long time."

Special meeting: Swink town board

TOWN OF SWINK
STATE OF COLORADO
Board of Trustees

A G E N D A


DATE: May 26, 2009 (Tuesday)

TIME: 5:30 PM Special Meeting


Call to Order


1. Pledge of Allegiance

2. Roll Call

3. Public Hearing – Hogg Stopp Saloon - Liquor License Renewal

4. Renewal Application – Hogg Stopp Saloon

5. Old Business

A. 2009 Annual Celebration - Update

6. Information

A. Correspondence

7. Adjourn

Next Regular Board meeting June 8, 2009

5/20/09

Clowns of Congress and the credit card bill

Here's yet another example of The Law of Unforeseen Consequences when it comes to Obamanian meddling in private business affairs.

The Clowns of Congress want to limit rate hikes. They want to limit late fees. Why is this dumber than dirt?

Because that is how credit card companies recoup losses for credit card users who are irresponsible, who run up huge credit card debts and then renege on payments, who are late with payments. Or who are simply late or default, no matter the size of the debt. By limiting those hikes and fees, the government rewards the credit card slobs. So the company has to keep from losing money to these characters. How does it do that?

For one thing, they are considering raising interest rates as a matter of course. They are also considering charging interest from the day the purchase is made. That will screw the brains out of those of us who use credit cards for a lot of transactions, but who also zero balance the card every month.

Here's a good explanation of how Congress is doing us no favors:

Why does Obama's credit card plan reward the bad guys?

War on Terror: Obama v. Bush

Here is another good essay, this one from The New Republic.

It's written by Jack Goldsmith: The Cheney Fallacy: Why Barack Obama is waging a more effective war on terror than George W. Bush.

First, some background, this from Victor Davis Hanson over on National Review:

With the Democratic no-go on Guantánamo (I'll leave it to the better informed to ascertain the degree that the Democratic Congress came to the rescue of an embarrassed Obama administration and cut off funding for the shutdown to allow him an out with the now familiar excuse of "they did it — not me, who keeps promises"), I think we now have come to the end to the five-year left-wing attack theme of Bush "shredding the Constitution."

Except for the introduction of euphemisms and a few new ballyhooed but largely meaningless protocols, there is no longer a Bush-did-it argument. The Patriot Act, wiretaps, e-mail intercepts, military tribunals, Predator drone attacks, Iraq, Afghanistan — and now Guantánamo — are officially no longer part of the demonic Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld nexus, but apparently collective legitimate anti-terrorism measures designed to thwart killers, and by agreement, after years of observance, of great utility in keeping us safe the last eight years.


Back to Goldsmith on Cheney. Goldsmith lists eleven essential elements in "the Bush approach to counterterrorism". He then discusses each of those eleven elements, and how little difference there is between Obama and Bush. In fact, Goldsmith correctly points out, with supporting references, that Obama has really outdone Bush when it comes to collateral damage, to the killing of non-combatants, in Essential Element 5 -- Targeted Killing:

Targeted killing is another Bush administration policy being continued, and indeed ramped up, by President Obama. The new administration has used unmanned predator drones to kill suspected al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan at a greater rate than the Bush administration. These more aggressive targeted killings have predictably caused more collateral damage to innocent civilians. In what appears to be the worst episode since 9/11, a predator attack earlier this month killed many dozens of civilians, including many women and children, in the Farah province of Afghanistan. The targeted killing policy has grown very controversial in Afghanistan and among human rights groups. The International Committee of the Red Cross maintains that international law permits targeting only of people "continuously" engaged in hostile actions, and that only "necessary" force can be used against them. This standard would require a significant rollback of the Obama targeted killing program. It is thus not surprising that the Obama State Department views the Red Cross restrictions as "problematic."

Remember how, during the Bush administration, the media would lose its collective mind every time a drone hit a target and civilians were blown to bits in the process? That has yet to happen with Obama, despite that Obama has managed to kill more civilians than Bush did in his most 'fascist' moments (kill rate adjusted for time in office).

How about that onerous surveillance business?

In office, President Obama has not renounced or sought to narrow any of the surveillance powers used by the late Bush administration, and has not sought legislation to reverse the telecom's immunity. Nor has he yet acted to fulfill his campaign pledge to significantly strengthen the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board that oversees and protects civil liberties in intelligence gathering. The Obama surveillance program appears to be identical to the late Bush era program.

Yep. No difference.

Where is the 'unshredding' of the Constitution that Obama promised? Where are the sweeping and dramatic changes from the Bush administration?

Where is Code Pink?

Where is Nancy Pelosi?

Where is Harry Reid?

Where is John Murtha?

The whole world wonders ...

Flaying the hide off Notre Dame

Brother Roger does a pretty good job of skinning Notre Dame, albeit in a genteel, academically responsible way:

Doubt, Dialogue and Demonization

an excerpt or two:

In his commencement address on Sunday, President Obama, rather than vindicating the university’s decision against its countless critics, reinforced the validity of the critics’ arguments and the wisdom of the U.S. Bishops’ policy. For beneath his ever genial tone, uplifting images and eloquent delivery, President Obama made several major points contrary to the Catholic faith. Packaged as they were, however, in mellifluous pseudo-Christian phrases enunciated in front of applauding Catholic priests by a man adorned with newly-bestowed doctoral garments, many failed to realize what he was doing.


"... Mellifluous pseudo-Christian phrases ...". I wish I had written that one. Fr. Roger hit it right on the nose.

The most audacious part of the address was when the President tried to change the meaning of the Christian faith and draw erroneous conclusions from the false notion. “The ultimate irony of faith,” the president declared, “is that it necessarily admits doubt. It is the belief in things not seen.” He seemed to be quoting from Hebrews 11:1, one of the most famous definitions of faith found in Sacred Scripture, but, whether intentional or not, he got its meaning completely wrong.

Obama has a knack for that, for taking incontrovertible bits of logic and then twisting them to suit his own agenda.

Rather than basing our lives on the rock of Jesus’ words (Mt 7:24), Obama actually proposes the quicksand of the latest fad: instead of calibrating our culture’s values to the truths discoverable by faith and reason, he astonishingly says that we need to “align our deepest values and commitments to the demands of a new age.”

Situational morality, in other words. If it is inconvenient to recognize the immorality of a given position, then change the moral foundation rather than the position.

That sums up the position of the Democratic Party in general and the Obamanians in particular.

The entire article is worth a read.

5/19/09

Road trip part 7

Monarch crest was a bit chilly but otherwise pleasant. It wasn't nearly as windy as it could have been. We rode the tramway to the 12,000 foot level. After the tram ride, we snuffled down some sandwiches and cold hot dogs, then hied for home:

Toot Sweet and the lads, at Monarch crest.


The kids go up. Tookie and Jon look back at the returning car.


Tookie at 12,000 feet.



View from the top.

Road trip Part 6

The River Suites are at mile marker 211. Off-season rates applied, which put these very nice digs into our budget range. We stayed in the Mt Elbert 'cabin', which had two bedrooms, as well as a Murphy bed and a pull-out sofa. Everyone got to sleep in a real bed. It was quite roomy, with a full kitchen, well-equipped with tableware and all the necessary kitchenware.

Dining was on the cheap.With four urchins along, that was necessary so as not to break the bank. We packed some good sandwiches, and took along some hot dogs, beans, macaroni and cheese, and, since Leece did the packing, a selection of reasonably healthy snacks. River Suites cabins have full kitchens and outdoor grills, so while Leece and I wandered around taking pictures, the kids fixed a dinner of charcoal-grilled dogs, baked beans, mac and cheese. Then while Leece and I did more wandering, they hot tubbed. Later, we did the hot tubbing, then we all snuffled popcorn and watched Zathura on the large screen TV in the cabin.

The Mt Elbert cabin. Behind the cabin are a babbling brook, stands of aspens, and the north fork of the Arkansas.

View from the rear deck, by the hot tub. The tub was clean and well-maintained, as was the entire facility.

The kids wander afield in aspen across the highway from the cabins.


Here's a nice stand of aspens.

Beaver pond.

Water pours over one of several beaver dams in the area.


Tookie next to a beaver-gnawed aspen stump. While we didn't see any beaver this trip, we did see a number of mule deer.