Monday, December 28, 2009

Janet Napolitano MUST be fired!

Unbelievably, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano went on CNN and two other Sunday shows two days after a terrorist tried to detonate a high explosive on a Detroit-bound airliner and said, "The system worked." As if that was not stupid enough, she followed that up by saying, "There is no suggestion that he [the terrorist] was improperly screened."

We all know this is absurd nonsense. The entire multi-billion-dollar "system" of airline security over which Napolitano presides has one and only one purpose: to prevent terrorists and criminals from attacking airplanes. Thus, the "system" failed totally and abysmally. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was prevented from bringing the airliner down and sending 288 innocent people to their deaths by the incomplete detonation of his bomb and the swift action of one passenger.

We all know that the "system" of gathering and using intelligence on possible terrorists failed because information from Abdulmutallab's own father that his son might be a danger to the United States did not result in the cancellation of his open visa. We know that Britain recently refused to renew his visa to enter the U.K. and apparently, that "dot" was not connected to the other "dots." Most frighteningly, Abdulmutallab bought a one-way ticket to Detroit with cash and had no luggage! Yet, he was neither questioned closely nor frisked, revealing a huge gaping hole in the screening process that Napolitano says "worked."

Napolitano has now backtracked on her Sunday morning comments, acknowledging that something about the "system" did not "work" (a mealy-mouthed retreat in which she claims her comments were taken out of context).

But it's too late for that. Napolitano has shown herself to be an unserious nitwit. Napolitano must resign. If she doesn't, President Obama must fire her. The safety of tens of millions of air travellers must not be left in the hands of someone so dense and foolish.

What's your opinion? Post a comment.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Video: Woman attacks Pope Benedict XVI at Vatican Midnight Mass



From AP:

VATICAN CITY – A woman jumped the barriers in St. Peter's Basilica and knocked down Pope Benedict XVI as he walked down the main aisle to begin Christmas Eve Mass on Thursday.

The 82-year-old pope quickly got up and was unhurt, said a Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini. Footage aired on Italy's RAI state TV showed a woman dressed in a red jumper vaulting over the wooden barriers and rushing the pope before being swarmed by bodyguards.

The commotion occurred as the pope's procession was making its way toward the main altar and shocked gasps rang out through the public that packed the basilica. The procession came to a halt and security rushed to the trouble spot.

Benedettini said the woman who pushed the pope appeared to be mentally unstable and had been arrested by Vatican police. He said she also knocked down Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who was taken to hospital for a check up.
There's more: 87-year-old Cardinal Etchegary suffered a fractured hip in the melee and is undergoing surgery (a serious matter for a man his age). Turns out that the attacker, a 25-year-old Swiss-Italian national, Susanna Maiolo tried to do the same thing at last year's vatican midnight mass but was tackled by security guards before she could reach the pontiff.

I guess they need something like, you know, jails in Italy.

Thoughts? Post a comment.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Food police say Santa is too fat!


Big fat Santa planning his Christmas travels, as imagined by Norman Rockwell

It had to happen. The food police want to crack down on Santa Claus for setting a bad example because he's too fat!

In this season of ever-present Christmas cookies, an unlikely figure is leading the offensive against America's obesity epidemic. The beard on his double chin is as white as snow, and when he laughs, his little round belly shakes like a bowlful of jelly -- and that, as Ernest Berger sees it, is the problem.

Yes, Northern Virginia, Berger is a Santa Claus. But as president of the volunteer group Santa America, Berger has been nudging some of his more corpulent colleagues toward a different model of Santa. He wants his fellow members of the Claus family to give themselves the gift of less girth, calling it "a matter of self-preservation" that will also help children to whom Santa Claus is a roly-poly role model.

"I'm pushing to reduce the size of Santa by 25 percent," Berger says from his home in Daphne, Ala. "We're gently and relentlessly focused on getting these men to be positive about fitness and wellness and reducing their weight."
Berger isn't the only one who wants kids to leave carrots instead of cookies for Santa.

[A]s the obesity epidemic has swollen, some public health experts have cast an increasingly critical eye on Santa's sprawl. Two years ago, acting Surgeon General Steven K. Galson said Santa's corpulence was setting a bad example. His remarks prompted howls of protest, with more than a few people accusing Galson of being politically correct in trying to make Santa physiologically correct.
Hello, Mr. Acting Surgeon General, a "bad example" of what? Right jolly old elves?

As for Berger, if he has a problem with his own weight, let him eat lettuce and work out more. But Santa is not a role model. Kids don't want to grow up to be Santa Claus. They want him say, "Ho, ho, ho," and bring them toys from the North Pole on his flying sled driven by eight tiny reindeer.

Here's a clue for the clueless food police: if Santa were going to die young of diabetes and heart disease, he'd have been long ago dead. But, curiously, he lives on...and on...and will handily outlive Berger, Galson and all the rest of us.

Any thoughts about people who want to put Santa on a diet? Post a comment.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Japanese guy "marries" his videogame girlfriend

OK, this guy (who not surprisingly, doesn't want his real name used) is giving computer geeks and videogame nuts a really, really bad name. On the plus side, he can just delete the little woman if she gets on his nerves. On the downside, the honeymoon must have seemed like all the other nights this clown spent playing with himself.

More here.

Thoughts, anyone? Post a comment.

Howard Dean plunges dagger into the heart of ObamaCare


Howard Dean says he'll support Obama's reelection, but "not vigorously"

As of yesterday, it was not at all clear that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had managed to corral the votes of moderate Democrats needed to reach the magic number 60. Senator Ben Nelson was still holding out for clear language barring the use of any federal funds for abortions. Joe Lieberman was being counted as a yes vote in some accounts, but all Lieberman said was that if the final bill had no form of public option or Medicare expansion, he was "getting to that position to where I can say...that I'm ready to vote for health care reform." Not exactly a ringing endorsement, especially considering that Reid has yet to unveil his final bill. Blanche Lincoln's view remained elusive and several other moderates, such as Virginia's Jim Webb, have been conspicuously silent all along.

Then, suddenly, the left lashed out against the bill, with a particularly damaging attack by former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. Dean has many fish to fry in this debate. He's doubtless been licking his wounds since being passed over by President Obama for Secretary of Health and Human Services. His hostility to Obama was unconcealed in an interview with "Morning Joe" Scarborough (see video above) in which he said he would be supporting Obama for reelection, but "not vigorously." Since that's more or less how much of the left wing of the Democratic Party feels about Obama right now, Dean is making a bold move to claim leadership on the left.

Whatever his motives, in a Washington Post op-ed today, Dean made a powerful case against the Senate bill from his perspective:

If I were a senator, I would not vote for the current health-care bill. Any measure that expands private insurers' monopoly over health care and transfers millions of taxpayer dollars to private corporations is not real health-care reform. Real reform would insert competition into insurance markets, force insurers to cut unnecessary administrative expenses and spend health-care dollars caring for people. Real reform would significantly lower costs, improve the delivery of health care and give all Americans a meaningful choice of coverage. The current Senate bill accomplishes none of these.

Real health-care reform is supposed to eliminate discrimination based on preexisting conditions. But the legislation allows insurance companies to charge older Americans up to three times as much as younger Americans, pricing them out of coverage. The bill was supposed to give Americans choices about what kind of system they wanted to enroll in. Instead, it fines Americans if they do not sign up with an insurance company, which may take up to 30 percent of your premium dollars and spend it on CEO salaries -- in the range of $20 million a year -- and on return on equity for the company's shareholders. Few Americans will see any benefit until 2014, by which time premiums are likely to have doubled. In short, the winners in this bill are insurance companies; the American taxpayer is about to be fleeced with a bailout in a situation that dwarfs even what happened at AIG.

I'd call this is a clear attempt to plunge a dagger into the heart of any compromise Senate bill that might meet the objections of moderates like Nelson, Lieberman and Lincoln. Of course, Dean doesn't have a vote in the Senate, but his fellow Vermonter, independent Bernie Sanders, does, and Sanders says he's not going to support any bill that strips out the public option and Medicare expansion.

This left-wing rebellion goes beyond Vermont. Half the influential left blogosphere has bolted, with DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas writing that it's 'time to kill this monstrosity coming out of the Senate." Liberal MSNBC hosts are piling on as well. Addressing Obama, Ed Schultz said on his program, "Right now, Mr. President, your base thinks you’re nothing but a sellout — a corporate sellout, out that. … The only people who like this current bill right now, Mr. President, is the insurance industry — they get a bunch of new customers.” In a windy commentary, Keith Olberman underscored Dean's arguments, called the compromise Senate bill a "cheesy counterfeit of reform," and declared that he personally would risk jail rather than accede to the individual mandate, if the bill becomes law. Meanwhile, the powerful Service Employees International Union, a major Obama backer and go-to player on health care reform, appeared to be hedging its support and applying pressure on Reid to move the bill back to the left.

If Reid does that, he loses Lieberman and Nelson, probably Lincoln and maybe other moderates. At the least, Obama's Christmas deadline is now kaput. Come January, all bets are off.

What's your take? Post a comment.

UPDATE -- Ben Nelson has affirmed that he won't settle for any compromise on abortion language but will filibuster anything less than the House-passed Stupak Amendment. He also says he has other issues with the bill and that a deadline "isn't helpful." It's looking impossible for Reid to satisfy both Nemson and his rebelling left wing.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tiger Woods "on the edge," whining about losing his wife. "Waaah!"


Tiger and knockout wife Elin Nordegren before 14 (plus?) girlfriends emerged

As Mistress Number 14 has come forth, Tiger Woods is said to be frantic and afraid of what his wife will do:

Tiger Woods is on the brink.

The shamed golfer is terrified that his wife is going to divorce him over his sexcapades and make his life miserable by moving to Sweden with their two young kids, a source close to Woods' camp told The Post yesterday.

"He's only just coping -- he's on the edge," the well-placed source said. "He sees everything coming crashing down around him. His career, his family."

Woods' wife, Elin Nordegren, is refusing to speak to him, the source said -- and the two are now definitely living apart.
Oh, poor puppy. After all, what did he do? Fool around with at least 14 (and still counting) other women -- cocktail waitresses, porn "stars," and what have you -- even when his wife was pregnant. And now his wife, the gorgeous model, Erin Nordegren is trying to make his life miserable! Gee, you mean she's not going to forgive him for preferring even a 48-year-old "couger" from Florida to her. How can she be so cruel!

Meanwhile, we mere mortal men wonder why any guy would need to cheat on Erin Nordegren -- which gives me a good excuse to put up these pictures of the sizzling hot soon-to-be ex-Mrs. Woods.







Any thoughts? Post a comment.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Is Barack Obama a closet Neocon?


President Obama and Nobel Committee Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland

In accepting the Nobel Peace Prize today in Oslo, Norway, President Obama delivered remarks that included these noteworthy passages:

We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth that we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations – acting individually or in concert – will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.

I make this statement mindful of what Martin Luther King said in this same ceremony years ago – “Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones.” As someone who stands here as a direct consequence of Dr. King’s life’s work, I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence. I know there is nothing weak –nothing passive – nothing na├»ve – in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King.

But as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism – it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.

I raise this point, I begin with this point because in many countries there is a deep ambivalence about military action today, no matter what the cause. And at times, this is joined by a reflexive suspicion of America, the world's sole military superpower.

But the world must remember that it was not simply international institutions -- not just treaties and declarations -- that brought stability to a post-World War II world. Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms. The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest -- because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if others' children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity.
These are words that could easily have been spoken by George W. Bush, a fact that will not go down well with some of the anti-warriors on the Left.

So does that make Barack Obama a closet "Neocon?" Of course not, because they are also words that could have been spoken by any American President since FDR.

Defense of the nation is the paramount duty of the President and Barack Obama understands and embraces that responsibility. And while his understanding of America's unique -- some might say exceptional -- role in the world differs in some ways from that of some of his predecessors, he is at one with them in believing that the United States has a special responsibility to "underwrite global security." And that is a very big deal.

What do you think? Post a comment.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Boise, Idaho, 10 year old imitates Flick from "A Christmas Story," gets his tongue stuck to a pole


Flick tempts nature as Ralphie looks on in "A Christmas Story"

Yes, your tongue will get stuck to a pole in sub-zero weather, just like Flick's, as this Boise kid found out:

Boise fire officials were able to help a boy whose tongue was stuck to a metal fence pole outside the Fairmont pool near the corner of Milwaukee and Northview streets Tuesday morning. Firefighters didn't ask him his age but said he was probably 10.

The boy is OK, Boise Fire Capt. Bill Tinsley said Tuesday morning. The boy’s tongue was bleeding a little bit but there was no visible tearing, Tinsley said.

“I’ve been doing this 20 some years and this is the first (tongue frozen to pole call) I’ve had,” Tinsley said. “Poor guy.”

A woman driving by the pool saw the boy standing there, figured out what was going on, and called 911 a short time after 8 a.m.

When Boise firefighters arrived, they found the boy standing by the 8 foot tall chain link fence with his tongue stuck to the fence pole, Tinsley said.

No word on whether the kid was double-dog dared.

(Hat tip: JammieWearingFool)

Is Lockerbie Bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi dead yet? If not, why not?


al-Megrahi (left) gets hero's welcome on return to Libya with dictator Muammar Gaddafi's son, Saif

On August 20, 2009, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, better known as the Lockerbie Bomber was freed by Scottish authorities on "compassionate grounds" after serving only 8 1/2 years of his life sentence for the terrorist murders of 270 people on Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988. Supposedly, al-Megrahi had "terminal prostate cancer" and had less than three months to live.

That was three months and 20 days ago, so the question should be asked, is he dead yet? And if not, why not?

On November 19, when al-Megrahi's three months were up, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wrote to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown insisting understandably that the convicted terrorist be sent back to prison in Scotland if still alive. “The bottom line is Megrahi should have never been released in the first place, but it would be even more outrageous if he were to be able to live a long and free life after his release," Schumer said. At that time, it was reported that while al-Megrahi had checked into a local hospital in Tripoli initially on his return to Libya, he had been released and was living at his family’s villa.

On October 21, hopes for al-Megrahi's quick demise were raised briefly when Sky News reported that he had died, but his lawyer promptly denied it:

It's absolutely untrue," said al-Megrahi's lawyer Tony Kelly, according to Reuters. "He's definitely not dead."

Kelly would not comment further on his client's health, other than to say: "He is alive and breathing," Reuters reported.

Lest there be any doubt about the mass murderer's still breathing air, a Libyan official told Reuters, "Megrahi's condition is stable. He's alive."

That's the last reasonably authoritative reference to al-Megrahi's health that this blogger can find anywhere. If the bomber is alive today, he's well past his promised expiration date and the Obama Administration should renew Senator Schumer's demand to send him back to prison.

The business about "compassionate grounds" had a stink about it from the start. Needless to say, the relatives of al-Megrahi's victims saw little reason to waste compassion someone who had served a measly eight years for killing 270 people. And the British press soon found out that a huge BP oil deal with Libya played at least a significant role in the decision by the U.K. and Scottish governments to release him “in the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom."

Indeed, it would seem that the question must be raised and answered, does al-Megrahi have "terminal cancer" at all or was the whole thing a sham?

What do you think? Post a comment.

Welcome Dan Riehl and Hot Air readers

Monday, December 7, 2009

Today is Pearl Harbor Day. Spare a moment to remember.




Exactly 68 years ago today, on December 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan," President Franklin D. Roosevelt told a shocked Congress and nation the next day. Roosevelt also said this:

Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.
"Always remember" and "never again."

Important words from a great President. So take a moment today to remember. That's the only way we can be sure it will never happen again.

Thoughts? Post a comment.

Friday, December 4, 2009

What Tiger Woods is throwing away (other than millions of dollars)




The wife Tiger Woods cheated on, model Elin Nordegren

I have no way of knowing whether Tiger Woods' wife whacked him with one of his golf clubs, but someone should slap him up side his head for being crazy enough to cheat on the wife pictured above, Swedish swim suit model Erin Nordegren, with reportedly at least this one cocktail waitress.

Tiger is now out an immediate $5 million, according to reports, and may be renegotiating his prenup with Nordegren in order to avoid more domestic messiness that would imperil his lucrative corporate endorsements.

But money is only money. Tiger may lose Nordegren (deservedly so, IMHO). Then, there is the little matter of the future of these two guys, Erin and Tiger's children, Sam (left) and Charlie. All in all, some big losses for a romp with a cocktail waitress.



What's your opinion? Post a comment.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Obama's Afghan decision took Presidential courage in the face of feckless left-wing and right-wing opposition


President Obama addresses the Cadet Corps and the nation at West Point

President Obama has made the right decision to commit 30,000 more Americans troops to the fight in Afghanistan -- on top of the 20,000 additional troops he approved early this year -- to "finish the job" of defeating al Qaeda and its essential ally, Mullah Omar's Taliban. Obama said last year as a candidate that this is the "necessary war" and that he would finish it. He said it again in the spring. He said it again last night at West Point. With the two troop increases, Obama is more than doubling the number of U.S. combat brigades engaged in this fight -- from three to eight. He is also ramping up a more aggressive U.S. strategy to deal with the al Qaeda-Taliban sanctuaries inside the Pakistani tribal areas, where he has already greatly stepped up the tempo of CIA-led drone missile attacks. It's hard to see what else Obama needs to do to demonstrate that he takes his Presidential responsibility for national security seriously.

It was also a courageous decision in light of the certain attacks it would draw -- and has quickly drawn -- from both the deeply unserious pacifistic left wing of the his own party and the comically aggressive right wing of the GOP.

Interestingly, a good deal of the barbs from both sides revolved around Obama's setting out a flexible 18-month time frame for the Afghan surge. Senate Democratic dove, Russ Feingold, found this wanting because it was not a strict deadline for withdrawal: ”I do not support the president’s decision to send additional troops to fight a war in Afghanistan that is no longer in our national security interest. While I appreciate that the president made clear we won’t be in Afghanistan forever, I am disappointed by his decision not to offer a timetable for ending our military presence there." Meanwhile, Senate Republican hawk, John McCain, undermined his standing as a national security guru by immediately leading a GOP attack on Obama over the time frame without even a feeble effort at demonstrating bipartisan unity behind a President making a hard choice to send young men and women to war: “Then it makes no sense for him to announce the date,” Mr. McCain retorted. In short, he said, “that gives the wrong impression to our friends, it’s the wrong impression to give our enemies.”

Beyond Capitol Hill, the attacks were far more intense -- and almost stupefyingly simplistic and irresponsible. MoveOn.org is already pushing a petition to Congress to set a binding deadline for a U.S. withdrawal. Appearing on CNN's "Larry King Live" right after Obama's speech, radical activist Michael Moore called the U.S. presence in Afghanistan "insane" and claimed, in effect, that "there is no al Qaeda in Afghanistan." On the right, columnist Ralph Peters would win if there was a prize for the most hysterical nonsense for writing that Obama's 18-month time frame was a " presidential declaration of surrender." It's a mystery to me how or why Peters, a former Army officer, thinks that adding the firepower of five Army and Marine combat brigades since last spring won't have any effect on the Taliban, while Obama's setting a target date to begin shifting security responsibility to the Afghans will lead to a U.S. defeat.

Obama's formulation is straightforward, clear and compelling: This is a fight we did not ask for but must win for our own safety and security. It has gone on for a long time because we did not apply the necessary resources to it. We're going to do that now. The Afghans and others must do their parts as well. It won't take forever, and as President, I won't let it.

I find it hard to take issue with any of that. Americans of every political persuasion should back the President. There will be more than enough time to find fault if he fails.

Any thoughts? Post a comment.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

President Obama makes the right decision -- to finish the job in Afghanistan


OBL: Answer to the unserious question about Afghan war: "Why are we there?"

About an hour from this writing, President Obama will speak at West Point to explain his decision to send approximately 34,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan over the next nine months or so, with the first contingent to arrive by Christmas. His decision is already coming under intense fire from left-wing critics of U.S. military action who don't appear concerned about the devastating attacks on Americans launched by al Qaeda from their refuge in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan --except as a way to criticize the Bush Administration. At the same time, right-wing bloggers and talking heads are still damning Obama for taking "too long" to decide and for seemingly choosing a troop strength somewhat below that requested by the American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

Both of these lines of attack on Obama are at best foolish and at worst destructive. People on the left and the right have forgotten -- or choose to ignore -- the compelling reason for this war: Mullah Omar's Taliban government of Afghanistan not only gave refuge to and protected Osama bin Laden, so that he could plan and launch the attacks of 9/11. The Taliban were closely allied with al Qaeda, drew financial and logistical support from al Qaeda for their own war against fellow Afghans, and fought side by side with the literally thousands of al Qaeda's Arab, Pakistani, Chechen, Uzbek and other non-Afghan terrorists trained in bin Laden's Afghan camps. An American withdrawal from Afghanistan -- or a defeat in the field -- would result swiftly in Mullah Omar's return, the re-establishment of his "Emirate" government, and the reinstallation of of "Sheikh" bin Laden as an honored guest and crucial supporter of a renewed Taliban. Anyone who doesn't understand that this will happen as surely as the sun comes up in the morning is a fool -- or worse.

At the same time, the U.S. has no interest in conquering or occupying Afghanistan or in imposing on Afghans a style of government not of their own choosing. This is not World War II, there will be no "unconditional surrender," and the right amount of force must be used with extreme care. Too many on the right fail miserably to appreciate this.

We'll see soon enough if the new U.S. troop strength is sufficient and whether Gen. McChrystal's strategy -- as modified by the Administration's senior national security team and adopted by Obama -- needs further refinement. (In all military actions, planning is essential -- but so is flexibility in quickly changing plans to meet the actual conditions of the battlefield.) But right now, the President should have the support of everyone who wants to see this war end as quickly as possible with the job of defeating al Qaeda -- completely and permanently -- finished.

What's your take? Post a comment.