Democrat Barack Obama said Tuesday he was outraged and appalled by the latest comments from his former pastor, who asserted that criticism of his fiery sermons is an attack on the black church and the U.S. government was responsible for the creation of the AIDS virus.
The presidential candidate is seeking to tamp down the growing fury over Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his incendiary remarks that threaten to undermine his campaign.
"I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened by the spectacle that we saw yesterday," Obama told reporters at a news conference.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Although Senator Obama has presented himself as the candidate of new things — using the mantra of "change" endlessly — the cold fact is that virtually everything has says about domestic policy is straight out of the 1960s and virtually everything he says about foreign policy is straight out of the 1930s.
Then cometh the good reverend to step all over the out-of-context defense in a speech at the National Press Club. He defended his "chickens come home to roost" statement about 9/11 in exactly the same terms as in his original sermon: "You cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it never to come back on you." He stood by his damnation of America and his contention that the U.S. government had created AIDS: "I believe our government is capable of doing anything."
For good measure, he dishonestly denied Louis Farrakhan's infamous denunciation of Judaism as a "gutter religion" and called him "one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century." The more Wright talked, the more he sounded like a Christian Farrakhan.
Near the end of his majestically awful performance, he corrected reporters, telling them that Obama "did not denounce me. He distanced himself from some of my remarks." About this at least, Wright was sober and precise. "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community," Obama said in Philadelphia. At the Press Club, Wright similarly insisted that the attacks on him were an attack on the "black church."
Obama and Wright thus slander both the black community and black church. As Stanley Kurtz of the Ethics and Public Policy Center reports in the latest National Review, Trinity United Church of Christ "is arguably the most radical black church in the country." Its black liberation theology has been rejected by mainstream black churches, a source of frustration for its adherents. This theology is at the root of all that Wright says, so the "context" is as radical as his highly publicized fulminations.
James Cone, the founder of black liberation theology, forged a worldview mingling Malcolm X-style revolutionary black nationalism and third-world Marxism with prophetic Christianity. He calls it "a theology which confronts white society as the racist anti-Christ." In a war against "white values," black pastors must — as Wright has — reject "white seminaries with their middle-class white ideas about God, Christ and the church."
As he enters his 25th year of predicting hurricane season activity, Colorado State University officials say handling media inquiries related to Gray's forecasting requires too much time and detracts from efforts to promote other professors' work.
But Gray, a highly visible and sometimes acerbic skeptic of climate change, says that's a "flimsy excuse" for the real motivation — a desire to push him aside because of his global warming criticism.
Among other comments, Gray has said global warming scientists are "brainwashing our children."
Monday, April 28, 2008
One of the strangest things about the NAACP Wright pseudo-scientific speech on learning, and its enthusiastic CNN coverage and analysis, was the abject racialism of Wright. It was sort of an inverse Bell-Curve presentation, based on assumed DNA differences.
His convoluted explanation of African-American right-brain 'oral' culture as more creative, musical, and spontaneous versus European left-brain traditional analysis could never have been given by someone white to that audience without justifiably earning booing and catcalls.
In a scrupulously politically correct age, it's not offensive to organize a "Kill the police!" demo or to preach that the government invented Aids in order to perpetrate an African-American genocide. You can pull that stuff and still be part of respectable society, hanging out with presidential candidates and whatnot. What's grotesquely offensive is the chap who's insensitive enough to point out such statements and associations. So the North Carolina Republicans are denounced as "racists" for being so unenlightened as to bring up the subject of the neo-segregationist hater Rev Wright.
Enough. We need to recognize that the cultural jihadists hate our freedoms because those freedoms defy sharia, which they're determined to impose on us. So far, they have been far less successful at rolling back freedom of speech and other liberties in the U.S. than in Europe, thanks in no small part to the First Amendment. Yet America is proving increasingly susceptible to their pressures.
The key question for Westerners is: Do we love our freedoms as much as they hate them? Many free people, alas, have become so accustomed to freedom, and to the comfortable position of not having to stand up for it, that they're incapable of defending it when it's imperiled—or even, in many cases, of recognizing that it is imperiled. As for Muslims living in the West, surveys suggest that many of them, though not actively involved in jihad, are prepared to look on passively—and some, approvingly—while their coreligionists drag the Western world into the House of Submission.
But we certainly can't expect them to take a stand for liberty if we don't stand up for it ourselves.
Friday, April 25, 2008
One factor being blamed for the price hikes is the use of government subsidies to promote the use of corn for ethanol production. An estimated 30% of America's corn crop now goes to fuel, not food.
"I don't think anybody knows precisely how much ethanol contributes to the run-up in food prices, but the contribution is clearly substantial," a professor of applied economics and law at the University of Minnesota, C.Ford Runge, said. A study by a Washington think tank, the International Food Policy Research Institute, indicated that between a quarter and a third of the recent hike in commodities prices is attributable to biofuels.
Last year, Mr. Runge and a colleague, Benjamin Senauer, wrote an article in Foreign Affairs, "How Biofuels Could Starve the Poor."
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Congress should abolish federal ethanol subsidies, mandates, and the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on imports — including Brazil's cheaper, cleaner, sugar-based ethanol. If scientists can develop ethanol that neither starves people nor rapes the Earth, splendid. However, this enterprise must not rest upon morally repugnant, ecologically counterproductive, economically devastating, government-ordered distortions.It's time for emergency legislation to repeal ethanol-market meddling. The federal program began as a sop to U.S. grain growers — arguably the most pampered and endlessly entitled people this side of the Saudi royal family. It has grown into a cancer on global food markets. Still, U.S. farmers won't surrender quietly. Since they are hooked on handouts, let's offer them one more: In exchange for accepting a two-year federal tax holiday on any income they earn, every actual, tractor-driving corn/biofuel farmer simply would walk away and let Congress relegate state-sponsored ethanol to the Unintended Consequences Hall of Fame. Compared to the global chaos that ethanol is fueling, this is a tolerable, one-time investment to pry these farmers' and their Washington enablers' hands off of our necks.
Subfreezing temperatures overnight in the Mother Lode and some areas of the San Joaquin Valley damaged vineyards with tender growing shoots and flowering buds, growers and farm officials reported Monday.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Activists believe their protests are already having an effect. The angry reception afforded the Beijing torch relay in London, Paris and San Francisco earlier this month caused acute discomfort to the relay sponsors Coca-Cola, Lenovo and Samsung. Last week, Human Rights Watch accused "cowardly" partners of "remaining "largely silent" in the face of abuses; just a few days earlier the media freedom body Reporters Without Borders disrupted Coca-Cola's annual general meeting.
Campaigners say some sponsors are raising concerns privately.
"Realistically, everyone who signed up for Beijing knew there were various risks involved," said Damien Ryan, a Hong Kong-based media consultant advising several sponsors. He acknowledged that this "risk factor has escalated".
By the time all the primaries have been held, after June 3, there is no doubt that Obama will lead by more than 100 elected delegates, and likely 150. From there, it will be an easy route to the nomination. The Democratic superdelegates aren't about to risk a massive and sanguinary civil war by taking the nomination away from the candidate who won more elected delegates. If they ever tried it, we'd see a repeat of the demonstrations that smashed the 1968 Chicago convention and ruined Hubert Humphrey's chances of victory. Clinton won Pennsylvania for two key reasons: Only Democrats could vote in the primary, and the Keystone State electorate is dominated by the elderly, who are staunchly for Clinton.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Like most "deep pockets," however, the government's deep pockets come from vast numbers of people with much shallower pockets. In many cases, the average taxpayer has lower income than the people on whom the government lavishes its financial favors.
Costs are not just things for government to help people to pay. Costs are telling us something that is dangerous to ignore.
The inadequacy of resources to produce everything that everyone wants is the fundamental fact of life in every economy — capitalist, socialist, or feudal. This means that the real cost of anything consists of all the other things that could have been produced with those same resources.
Building a bridge means using up resources that could have been used building homes or a hospital. Going to college means using up vast amounts of resources that could be used for all sorts of other things.
Prices force people to economize. Subsidizing prices enables people to take more resources away from other uses without having to weigh the real cost.
Without market prices that convey the real costs of resources denied to alternative users, people waste.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Tuesday refuted a statement by former president Jimmy Carter that no one in the U.S. government told him not to go on a trip to the Middle East, where he met with the leadership of the militant group Hamas.
"I just don't want there to be any confusion," Rice told reporters outside an international meeting onIraq she is attending here. "The United States is not going to deal with Hamas, and we certainly told President Carter that meeting with Hamas was not going to help" the situation in the Middle East.
Monday, April 21, 2008
In the early 1980s more than half the states had drinking ages lower than 21. Some let the boozing start at 18; some allowed 19-year-olds to buy beer and wine. Spurred by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the Reagan administration in 1984 ordered states to raise their drinking age back to 21 or lose 10% of their federal highway funds. The states buckled under this fiscal blackmail but—surprise!—under-age drinking did not disappear. In some ways, the problem got worse.
Besides making criminals of millions of young people, the "21" law encourages the young to binge in secret. And one new and dangerous fad is for young folk to go to a bar on the eve of their 21st birthday and, after midnight, attempt to down 21 drinks before closing time.
John McCardle, the former president of Middlebury College in Vermont, is leading a national effort to lower the drinking age to 18. The relaxation would be combined with mandatory alcohol education. His group, Choose Responsibility, argues that the 21 law has done little to stop drunk-driving and, because it is largely unenforceable, breeds contempt for law in general.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Today, Rep. Sue Myrick (NC-9) called on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to revoke former President Jimmy Carter's passport. This is in response to the former President traveling to Syria to meet with Hamas, an organization officially designated by the United States as a Foreign Terrorist Organization."Former President Carter has acted in contradiction of international agreements to isolate Hamas. He has acted in defiance of both United States policy and international policy. His actions reward terrorists, lend support, and provide legitimacy to their belief that violence will eventually get them what they want," said Rep. Myrick.After Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections the Quartet (US, UN, EU and Russia) called on Hamas to renounce terror, recognize Israel and recognize the previous agreements between the Palestinian Authority and Israel as they seek an agreement to make peace. Hamas has categorically rejected these three conditions for more than two years.Congress granted the Secretary of State the power to grant and verify passports. In 1981, the United States Supreme Court held in the case of Haig v. Agee that the Secretary of State has the implied power to revoke passports as well (453 U.S. 280).
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
A Eulogy for My Father St. Patrick's Cathedral, April 4, 2008Follow the link for the text of the eulogy.
Delivered on the occasion of the Memorial Mass for the Repose of the Soul of William F. Buckley Jr. on April 4, 2008, at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility. Americans know this from experience – almost every town in this country has its monuments honoring those who sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom, both at home and abroad. The preservation of freedom calls for the cultivation of virtue, self-discipline, sacrifice for the common good and a sense of responsibility towards the less fortunate. It also demands the courage to engage in civic life and to bring one's deepest beliefs and values to reasoned public debate. In a word, freedom is ever new. It is a challenge held out to each generation, and it must constantly be won over for the cause of good (cf. Spe Salvi, 24). Few have understood this as clearly as the late Pope John Paul II. In reflecting on the spiritual victory of freedom over totalitarianism in his native Poland and in eastern Europe, he reminded us that history shows, time and again, that "in a world without truth, freedom loses its foundation", and a democracy without values can lose its very soul (cf. Centesimus Annus, 46). Those prophetic words in some sense echo the conviction of President Washington, expressed in his Farewell Address, that religion and morality represent "indispensable supports" of political prosperity....
America has traditionally shown herself generous in meeting immediate human needs, fostering development and offering relief to the victims of natural catastrophes. I am confident that this concern for the greater human family will continue to find expression in support for the patient efforts of international diplomacy to resolve conflicts and promote progress. In this way, coming generations will be able to live in a world where truth, freedom and justice can flourish – a world where the God-given dignity and rights of every man, woman and child are cherished, protected and effectively advanced.
Mr. President, dear friends: as I begin my visit to the United States, I express once more my gratitude for your invitation, my joy to be in your midst, and my fervent prayers that Almighty God will confirm this nation and its people in the ways of justice, prosperity and peace. God bless America!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Pope Benedict has said he was "deeply ashamed" over sexual abuse that shook the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, and vowed to do everything possible to avoid a repeat scandal. "We will absolutely exclude paedophiles from the sacred ministry," he told reporters aboard the plane taking them to Washington for his first visit to the United States as pope. "We are deeply ashamed and will do whatever is possible so that this does not happen in the future." The trip is the first by a pontiff since a wave of sex abuse scandals began in 2002, provoking lawsuits that have forced dioceses to pay more than $2 billion in settlements.
Monday, April 14, 2008
The Republican strategy for making inroads into the black vote has failed consistently for more than a quarter of a century. Yet it never seems to occur to them to change their approach.
The first thing that they do that is foredoomed to failure is trying to reach blacks through the civil-rights organizations and other institutions of the black establishment. The second proven loser is trying to appeal to blacks by offering the same kinds of things that Democrats offer — token honors, politically correct rhetoric, and welfare-state benefits.
There is plenty to talk straight about, including all the things that the Democrats are committed to that work to the disadvantage of blacks, beginning with Democrats' adamant support of teachers' unions in their opposition to parental choice through vouchers.
How to create deterrence? The way John Kennedy did during the Cuban missile crisis. President Bush should issue the following declaration, adopting Kennedy's language while changing the names of the miscreants:It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear attack upon Israel by Iran, or originating in Iran, as an attack by Iran on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon Iran.This should be followed with a simple explanation: "As a beacon of tolerance and as leader of the free world, the United States will not permit a second Holocaust to be perpetrated upon the Jewish people."
This policy — the Holocaust Declaration — would establish a firm benchmark that would outlive this administration. Every future president — and every serious presidential candidate — would have to publicly state whether or not he supports the Holocaust Declaration.
It is understandable that the first heads of state to announce their intention to boycott the opening ceremony — those of Poland, the Czech Republic, and Germany — all grew up under Communism. They have heard at close range the cries of the pulverized. President Bush, whom we know to care deeply about those cries, should follow his counterparts' example. It is understandable that he may wish not to announce his decision far in advance. (Among other things, it might create a perceived duty to escalate his form of protest should the Chinese crackdown grow worse.) But when the time comes, he should not attend.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
This past weekend, Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski — a Carpentersville, Illinois village trustee elected as an Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention — was encouraged by the Obama campaign to resign for inflammatory speech. Ramirez-Sliwinski did not assert that America was run by hate groups. She did not state that the country deserved terrorist attacks; nor did she indict our government with conspiracy theories of racial genocide. And she didn't try to goad followers into snuffing out a man's life for running a legal business she does not like.
What Ramirez-Sliwinski did do was tell children to stop playing in a small magnolia tree "like monkeys." The two children are African-American. The mother of one of the two children called the police over the slight, which Ramirez-Sliwinski insists was not racial in nature. Ramirez-Sliwinski was issued a citation for disorderly conduct, even though she claimed to have acted on behalf of the safety of the boys.
For the weekend slight, the Obama campaign convinced Ramirez-Sliwinski to resign on Monday. She has since reversed her decision, and decided to fight the disorderly conduct charge and remain a delegate. The mother of one of the children has stated that if Ramirez-Sliwinski fights the disorderly conduct change she will "involve" the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, though it's unclear what purpose would be served by having the civil rights group take sides in a case pitting one minority it serves against another.
The Islamofascists have a fanatical belief that theirs is a holy mission, that incinerating infidels is their bounden duty. For them suicide is a gateway to paradise. For us suicide is just that: suicide. The question is whether we believe anything with sufficient vigor to jettison the torpor of our barren self-satisfaction. There are signs that the answer is Yes, but you won't see them on CNN or read about them in The New York Times. One part of the purpose of "Free Speech in an Age of Jihad" was to describe the threat that radical Islam, in its more bureaucratic and legalistic avatars, poses to the West. Equally important was the effort to remind us that the threat to West civilization lies as much with our response—or rather, our lack of response.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
But as the argument unfolded I realised Spencer was drawing on observations and measurements from the new Aqua satellites to explain the mechanism behind this anomaly between model forecasts and observation. You may have heard that the IPCC models cannot predict clouds and rain with any accuracy. Their models assume water vapour goes up to the troposphere and hangs around to cook us all in a greenhouse future.
However, there is a mechanism at work that "washes out" the water vapour and returns it to the oceans along with the extra CO2 and thus turns the added water vapour into a NEGATIVE feedback mechanism.
The newly discovered mechanism is a combination of clouds and rain (Spencer's mechanism adds to the mechanism earlier identified by Professor Richard Lindzen called the Iris effect).
The IPCC models assumed water vapour formed clouds at high altitudes that lead to further warming. The Aqua satellite observations and Spencer's analysis show water vapour actually forms clouds at low altitudes that lead to cooling.
Furthermore, Spencer shows the extra rain that falls from these clouds cools the underlying oceans, providing a second negative feedback to negate the CO2 warming.
The climate is not highly sensitive to CO2 warming because water vapour is a damper against the warming effect of CO2.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
New Delhi: Establishing a link between climate change and mental health, the World Health Organisation has said extreme weather conditions like floods, droughts and natural calamities can lead to psychiatric illnesses. "Psychosocial illnesses are a part of the various health issues associated with climate change," Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Deputy Regional Director, WHO, said.
Friday, April 04, 2008
Global temperatures will drop slightly this year as a result of the cooling effect of the La Nina current in the Pacific, UN meteorologists have said.The World Meteorological Organization's secretary-general, Michel Jarraud, told the BBC it was likely that La Nina would continue into the summer.This would mean global temperatures have not risen since 1998, prompting some to question climate change theory.But experts say we are still clearly in a long-term warming trend - and they forecast a new record high temperature within five years.The WMO points out that the decade from 1998 to 2007 was the warmest on record. Since the beginning of the 20th Century, the global average surface temperature has risen by 0.74C.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
"Senator Barack Obama is an integral part and a product of this corrupt system," Peraica says. "Senator Obama has endorsed Todd Stroger for Cook County board president, Mayor [Richard M.] Daley for mayor of Chicago, Dorothy Tillman for re-election as an alderman, and other epitomes of bad government throughout his career in order to promote himself politically, at the expense of, I would argue, principles and morals and good government."
Obama's relationship with Allison Davis — the alleged go-between in Rezko's scheme to shake down Tom Rosenberg — could pose another problem for him. Obama worked for Davis at the law firm of Davis Miner Barnhill. Later, when Obama sat on the board of a charity called the Woods Fund, he voted to invest $1 million in a partnership operated by Davis, according to theChicago Sun-Times.
Levine's testimony in the Rezko trial puts Davis in the middle of an attempted quid pro quo, making him yet another associate Obama might be pressured to disown. And the trial could stretch well into May, at which point a Rezko conviction could lead to even more headaches for the candidate. If Rezko is looking at a long prison sentence and decides to start talking, who knows what he might say?
"There were several candidates for the Narcissist Award," Tom Schatz, the president of the group said. Read the group's 2008 report
"But this one went to House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel for the Charles Rangel Public Service Center at the City College of New York -- $1,950,000 [for a project] that he named after himself."
Rangel, a Democrat from New York, said last summer he was "honored that City College chose to have my name attached to what is an important project, not just for the residents of my congressional district, but for New York City and this nation."
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
In short, this is the mother of all government subsidies — a non-legislative appropriation that doubles the size of all this year's congressional pork projects combined. Without so much as a vote of Congress, taxpayers are to buy securities of undetermined value for $29 billion — roughly Panama's GDP, or the Federal Reserve Bank's entire annual profit. They take this enormous risk so that JPM, a company worth $146 billion, has enough liquidity to make a major and profitable acquisition for next to nothing. JPM is more than happy to take on Bear's book of client and counterparty accounts — these were probably never in danger of being lost, and it's great business for JPM. The ones being rescued are Bear's bond-holders. They keep their shirts. The stockholders at least keep their socks. The profits from the good times are retained, and the losses are socialized.