Thursday Night Open Mic for November 4, 2010

Whew… It is good to be home and relaxing for a minute or two. I arrived home late Wednesday night rather than Tuesday night from my travels, so I apologize that I wasn’t able to do the open mic last night. I took what appears to be the last “business trip” with my current job (which is being addressed in USWeapon Topic #1 below!).  I have intentionally continued to avoid discussing the Tuesday night election results here on SUFA. I am not doing so simply to avoid the topic. I will be writing my articles next week all around the changes in Congress and what I think of the results we saw. I am not looking at the results in quite the same way as some may expect, so I look forward to discussing them next week! For this week we have a few interesting topics to discuss. We have the Oklahoma Sharia Law ballot proposition already being challenged, the United Nations deciding that China and Iran should get to lecture the US on human rights, and the possibility that the Supreme Court could take away the ability for consumers to file class action lawsuits. Of course feel free to add whatever topics you would like to discuss!

Comments

  1. USWeapon Topic #1

    Not really a news topic here, but certainly news around the USWeapon household. As many of you know, I have spent the last several years running my own store for a large electronics company. I have been with this particular organization for over 11 years, ever since I left the United States Army. It has been an absolutely phenomenal occupation for me. One where I was able to use my talents around leadership, business ownership, and developing people to make a great company better. I have constantly and consistently continued to pursue education throughout my lifetime, first on an engineering track and then on a business track, completing my latest degree early in 2009.

    The purpose of that continuous pursuit of education was to further my career in different and challenging ways. And the time has come for a new challenge for me. I will be leaving the industry that I have enjoyed for the last 11 years and entering an entirely new career path, starting on November 15. I am moving into clinical research in the world of pharmaceuticals. I am joining a large organization and will have the daunting task of starting all over, learning an entirely new industry, and pursuing new goals and challenges. Clinical research is a daunting challenge for me, but I hope to contribute to furthering our ability to combat disease, with my focus being on the Central Nervous System. I ask that you wish me luck.

    More important I ask that you give me patience, LOL. This new career will absolutely shake up my schedule. As most of you have noticed, I usually worked late, leaving work at 10:00pm and doing all of my blog writing late at night. For the first time since I was a teenager, I will be working a job that is 9-5, Monday through Friday. I have a steep learning curve so I am unsure what my schedule will really be like. I am not going to quit writing this blog. I don’t want anyone to think that I am. But as I adjust to my new schedule, the timing of articles and replies will be different. I expect that articles will be written and posted earlier in the evening and that during the day I will be challenged in finding any time to reply, at least initially. I also think that writing will be more consistent, as I will have a schedule that is more consistent and regular than I have had in over 20 years. However, these first couple of months will be hectic, so I simply ask that everyone be patient as I adjust to my new reality.

    • Grats on the new job! I’m sure you will do well. You seem like a very driven and hard working individual. We all appreciate you taking time out of your very busy day to facilitate important discussions!

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Congratulations USW – its been a long time since I completely changed industries though I’ve changed jobs quite a few times. I’m sure you’ll do well – just keep your eyes/ears open – the big pharma ain’t what it used to be and continual turnover is quite common. Get your boots wet then be on the lookout for smaller more dynamic firms.

      Just my two pennies.

    • Good luck with your new position USW! Also, for the first time since you were in that business your holidays will actually be relaxing!

    • “Clinical research on the Central Nervous System”.

      Wow, good luck, hope it doesn’t turn you into a “geek”.

      http://www.pocketprotectors.com/

    • Judy Sabatini says:

      Congratulations USW on your new career, and I want to wish you all the best and luck in it.

  2. USWeapon Topic #2

    Muslim Sues Oklahoma Over Anti-Shariah Ballot Measure

    Just two days after Oklahoma voters approved a ballot measure banning state courts from considering Islamic or international law when ruling on cases, a local Muslim has filed a federal lawsuit saying the measure is unconstitutional.

    The lawsuit against ballot measure, State Question 755 – or better known as “Save Our State” — seeks a temporary restraining order to block the results of the election from being certified by the state Election Board on Nov. 9. The measure is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1.

    Oklahoma residents approved the measure with 70 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election.

    But Muneer Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma who filed the lawsuit, said that the measure is unnecessary because there is no threat of an Islamic takeover of state courts. Muslims make up only 30,000 of the state’s nearly 4 million residents – less than 1 percent.

    Awad said the measure violates his First Amendment right to freedom of religion because it singles out Islam. He said the measure is just another way to politically savage Muslims.

    The Islamic community in Oklahoma has complained about the past actions of the state legislature, including a proposal to forbid Muslim women from wearing head garments in driver’s license photos and refusing to accept a Koran from a Muslim advisory council at an official state ceremony.

    Proponents of the anti-Islamic law measure have cited a New Jersey family court judge’s decision not to grant a restraining order to a woman who was sexually abused by her Moroccan husband and forced repeatedly to have sex with him.

    Read the rest of the article here:  http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/11/04/muslim-sues-oklahoma-anti-shariah-ballot-measure/?test=latestnews

    OK, I know this topic is going to be sensitive with some people, but I felt like I had to address it. I noticed that someone posted some about it on the thread the other day and I didn’t get to weigh in then, so I will now. I am of two minds when it comes to this particular action taken in Oklahoma.

    First, I want to say that I don’t like it being on the ballot in the first place and I think it was wrong for voters to make the decision that they made. I am never going to feel like it is a good thing when a certain group of people feel as though they have the right to restrict another group of people’s rights, whether they own the majority or not. If a group of people live by Sharia law and that has a relevant reason to be considered by the courts, then it should be considered.

    What this decision amounts to, in my opinion, is the people of Oklahoma deciding that their religion is more right than another religion and therefore should be the only one considered. That, my friends amounts to religious oppression in some small way (or maybe not a small way). I get it. I really do. Sharia law scares people. There are parts of it that simply do not aline with US laws. And that is important. But having the majority doesn’t mean that you get to completely ignore the religious rights of the minority.

    With that said, we live under the laws of the United States. No matter whether you worship in a mosque, church, temple, or whatever, you are subject to the laws of the United States for crimes committed here. Sharia law should absolutely be considered in court cases here. However, it should not trump US law. For example, an honor killing is allowed under Sharia law. That should be considered when trying a case. The perpetrator should still be found guilty of murder under US law. But when sentencing, it is prudent to consider the reasons that the crime occurred.

    Sharia law should not be adopted in the US courts. But it should be considered. This gigantic difference between consideration of reality and adoption of different rules is what makes this wrong. The US should never allow something allowed under Sharia law but illegal under US law to go unpunished. But the reality of the culture and religion of the people involved should absolutely be considered when trying a case. We consider everything else possible when trying a criminal case. Why would we not consider Sharia law as well?

    • An honor killing sounds a lot more like 1st degree murder to me.

      We do live under the laws of the United States and no law from an outside state/country/religion should have any bearing on any case.

      • So you believe that a man who subscribes to Sharia law, and therefore believes it his RIGHT to kill his daughter, should NOT have that be part of the process in determining his sentence or the actions of the court. Suppose he has three other daughters. The court should ignore that he believes it is his right to kill those three other daughters and NOT have that be a part of the thought process as they attempt to protect both society and those three daughters from this man?

        If the same man killed his daughter due to mental illness, the court would rely heavily on the analysis of a psychiatrist in determining the likelihood he would kill again. So you believe that the testimony of a psychiatrist should be allowed in the thought process of the court system, but the realities of a criminals religious beliefs should be completely ignored?

        An honor killing IS 1st degree murder. I don’t recall anyone ever saying that this is not the case. But to ignore pertinent facts of the case simply because 70% of Oklahomans are so scared of a religion or ignorant to its teachings is absolutely crazy.

    • Wishing you great luck in your new endeavors, my friend.

    • I saw the person who pushed this measure on the news this morning. When I saw the headline I wasn’t sure how I felt, but he made a very good point. He referenced a case in Italy where a man beat his daughter for going on a date and the court did not convict him of assault because this type of beating is part of sharia law. I don’t know about you, but I certainly do not think that is ok.

      I also don’t think you’re making a strong point of considering sharia law. You say “We consider everything else possible when trying a criminal case. Why would we not consider Sharia law as well?” but the reason someone committed a crime is always considered. What this law does is removes justification of such an action as prescribed by sharia law.

      I think considering sharia law in court would actually be worse for Muslims if it doesn’t trump US law. If an abusive father is brought before the court and says he beat his daughter because of sharia law, the court would see that he is not going to stop beating his daughter. It’s part of his religion. Thus he would be punished more severely.

      • JB,

        You make my point of consideration and not adoption for me! Things like what you said are absolutely why it should be considered. It is a part of the situation. Therefore, it should be part of the punishment situation as well. When I say it should not be adopted, I am saying that you can not take action under the rules of Sharia law. Adoption would be to allow the father to go free. Consideration would be to look at Sharia law and understand the circumstances and what that means for the future of the guilty party.

        USW

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Considered yes. Adopted? Never!

    • USW…you and I will have to disagree on this one. NO law other than United States law should be considered. It matters not to me whether a Muslim grew up under Sharia Law or not. I could care less if it is acceptable in his country or religion. It should have ZERO bearing on any and every case in the United States. It is quite simple….our laws are for offenses committed in the United States. Honor killings, rape, sex discrimination etc, may be acceptable in some countries….it is not here and if a defense attorney wishes to raise that issue, a competent prosecutor should object and a competent judge should sustain. It is and should be a NON ISSUE and that saying such is NOT a violation of that individuals right to a fair trial. So, I will have to disagree with your statement ” Sharia law should absolutely be considered in court cases here. ” I come down on the side that it is NOT relevant and not an issue to be considered.

      USW says: “But when sentencing, it is prudent to consider the reasons that the crime occurred.” USW further states: ” But the reality of the culture and religion of the people involved should absolutely be considered when trying a case.”

      D13 interprets: This sounds to me like you would be ok with a lighter sentence, let’s say “honor killing” simply because of the circumstance of being from a different country OVER the sentence of a citizen of the United States that commits the same murder. If you feel this way, is this not a double standard application of our laws? The reality of culture and religion should NEVER be a consideration in the application of our laws. Please explain why you feel that this is not “political correctness” at its finest and I think that the majority of folks in the USA feel that political correctness and sensitivity is one of the spokes that is causing us problems now.

      USW says: “What this decision amounts to, in my opinion, is the people of Oklahoma deciding that their religion is more right than another religion and therefore should be the only one considered. That, my friends amounts to religious oppression in some small way (or maybe not a small way). I get it. I really do. Sharia law scares people. There are parts of it that simply do not aline with US laws. And that is important. But having the majority doesn’t mean that you get to completely ignore the religious rights of the minority.”

      Does this not contradict your stance on state rights? If the people of a state want a certain thing…like the marijuana proposition that was defeated in California…..should they not be able to vote on it? Does this stance not mean that a majority means absolutley nothing? IF the marijuana proposition was passed in California, would you not be saying “that is what the people wanted in California…if you don’t like it…leave?”

      BF often uses the example of a town in the old west and a sheriff and where the town agrees to its own ways of doing things and takes care of things themselves…by agreement or majority rule, thereby having a Federal jurisdiction is not necessary. Does this not fly in the face of this type of idea as well?

      I guess that I am too much of the old school. This is the United States. Right or worng, we have our laws. Who gives a damn what type of religious person or ethnic person you are….you are welcome here. Violate our laws you are to be tried and sentenced to the full extent of our law with no recompense considered as to whether it is acceptable or not in another country. When travelling to another country, if you do not make yourself conversant of the laws there…..shame on you.

      • In my humble opinion there is a Jurisdiction problem here. This is the USA, not Mexico or Saudi Arabia. If folks don’t like our laws or want their heritage so badly, we have many airports and flights leaving every 15 minutes. Melting pot my @$$, more like a TV dinner where everything has a separate compartment.

      • Good Colonel,

        I believe that you have this all twisted. I think you have misunderstood the difference between consideration of sharia law and adoption of sharia law. Please see my other replies within this discussion for clarification. If you STILL disagree with what I am saying, I am willing to hear what you have to say about it.

        Hope all is well in Texas, brother.

        USW

        • Ok…..I am pretty sure that I understood. The way that I interpret “consideration” vs “adoption” is as follows.

          I have interpreted you saying that considering sharia law is the same as considering mental illness…..it is a reason that whatever criminal act was committed and should, therefore, be considered in the application of sentencing. ( I know you do not mean to adopt sharia as a law ). But, in my opinion, a person that grew up under sharia and believes in it wholly and completely, is not relevant in consideration of anything. But, admittedly, I am black and white in my application. Murder is murder and I do not differentiate why.

          Mental illness or sharia or passion……..murder is still murder applicable to the full extent of the law. A good reason that I am not a judge and would not make a good one because I am absolute in application. I would not consider sharia anymore than I would consider a man that walks in on his wife and another man, gets pissed, and blows him away.. and claims…” I lost my head..I did not know what I was doing”…..I dont buy that one either.

          Having said that, if you are saying that as a judge, I must listen to the defense lay out that sharia influenced his decision and that using that defense is allowed in our court system because we believe in admitting all facts and the judge can decide what to throw out….ok. But if you are suggesting that sharia is a viable defense and because a person was brought up under that and consideration should be given in sentencing….no. As a judge I would rule out that sharia influence is not credible and would throw it out the same way as one would throw out inadmissable evidence simply because a warrant was nt issued.

          • read your reply to VH and reread VH….I think we are saying the same thing.

          • USW says: “Someone above noted that when rendering a judgement we might CONSIDER that the criminal believes he had a right to commit the act according to sharia law, and therefore we can surmise that there is a likelihood that he feels no remorse and would do it again if he saw fit.”

            D13 responds: Ok…When I gave my answer, I had already moved past this. I see where you are coming from…I made an assumption that this type of consideration was already done.

            You know us Colonel’s….sometimes it takes a 2×4.

    • I think they wrote the amendment the wrong way and they will lose in court. How about something like, no law will usurp U.S. law or be used as a basis for a legal precedent.

      • A Puritan Descendant says:

        I think you may be on the right track.

      • Amen V.H.

        You are paying attention and are one of the few who I think understand what I meant by the difference between adoption and consideration. Sharia law should not be used as an alternative in any way to US law, but EVERYTHING about a criminal case should be considered.

        USW

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      Interesting topic.

      “Just two days after Oklahoma voters approved a ballot measure banning state courts from considering Islamic or international law when ruling on cases, a local Muslim has filed a federal lawsuit saying the measure is unconstitutional.”

      “Proponents of the anti-Islamic law measure have cited a New Jersey family court judge’s decision not to grant a restraining order to a woman who was sexually abused by her Moroccan husband and forced repeatedly to have sex with him.”

      I think D13 is correct that only U.S. law should be considered.

      However, hasn’t The Moroccan woman already given permission to be raped by her husband simply by marrying him under Islamic laws? Should it not at least be considered at sentencing?

      This may yet be another case where laws can be made a bit to easily without all factors thought out before hand.

      • Puritan says: “However, hasn’t The Moroccan woman already given permission to be raped by her husband simply by marrying him under Islamic laws? Should it not at least be considered at sentencing?”

        Interesting thought. Wonder how that would play out on The View??

      • What makes you think that the Muslim wife chose to marry that man? Does anybody know
        of a Muslim woman in her right mind who would
        choose Sharia law? Come on you men, you too,
        USW, how about doing some deep research on how Sharia law effects Muslim women. Some of
        Sharia law is evil and criminal. USW, you ask Americans to consider that part of their
        religion? What’s the matter with you? Just recently in Ohio a Muslim father took his two teen aged daughters for a ride and shot them dead because they were dating men not of the Muslim religion. Just last winter, another teen aged girl of seventeen ran away from her home as she feared for her life because she had turned Christian. Read the
        true account by Betty Mahmood, “Not Without My Daughter” to see how Muslim men beat their
        wives at will as well as how Betty’s Muslim husband kept her a prisoner in their home.
        There are some courageou Muslim women who are
        beginning to talk now. Oh yes, remember
        Salmond Rusdie? He has a price on his head
        for daring to critize Muslim religion.
        Oh, some people will say, well look at the
        Catholic Church and the amount of priests who sexually abuse children. Well let me tell you, that is not a teaching of Christianity. These are criminals and should be dealt with harshly. They have
        given a bad name to priests who don’t deserve such notarity as most are good priests. Back to Muslim women again, I have the utmost empathy with them. I wish them well and hope that someday they will all be
        delivered from this so called “family honor
        killings and punishments. There is much that
        goes on behind closed doors in the homes of Muslim men.

        • Dragonfly

          I think you are misunderstanding what USW is trying to point out.

          Now I think the point of “consider” is debatable, but “consider” does not mean to “adopt” or to “incorporate”.

          It also does not mean to “condone”, which I know USW is not doing here.

          Perhaps a little more explanation as to what he means by “consider” might help.

          I will tackle one of your comments however. If you are not living in the Muslim household you have no idea what is going on behind closed doors. It is dangerous to assume to know more than you do and then to condemn others based on this unknown knowledge.

          • Thank you JAC.

            By consider I mean that the court should be able to look at sharia law, take into account what is condoned in sharia law, and think about what that means for the future of the person convicted and what it means in terms of the crime committed.

            At no point would I ever condone sharia law or believe that it should be adopted or used as a measure of justice in the US legal system. But we must be able to look at all the circumstances around a criminal act, including the motive and the possible mindset that could exist because someone subscribes to Sharia law.

          • Dragonfly says:

            JAC, my daughter was married to a Muslim man at one time. As a doctor, he was well respected by his patients. My family liked and respected him. Soon into the marriage my daughter sensed a creeping abuse. When he couldn’t stand to hear his own baby cry, that’s when my daughter decided
            to end the marriage. In his second marriage he had separate
            quarters from the family. That marriage, too, ended. Aside from this, the only other times that I went behind closed doors of a Muslim household was reading true accounts from women married to
            Muslim men.

        • Dragonfly

          Let go of the emotion and consider the words that are written instead of instilling what you THINK they mean. I said, and I still say, that Sharia law should be considered in the courts of the US. For some reason, there are too many people who see that as my somehow believing that muslims should receive a lighter sentence or be given a pass. I have advocated no such thing.

          Someone above noted that when rendering a judgement we might CONSIDER that the criminal believes he had a right to commit the act according to sharia law, and therefore we can surmise that there is a likelihood that he feels no remorse and would do it again if he saw fit. You would ignore such facts or possibilities? The way that the resolution was worded, anything to do with Sharia law CANNOT BE CONSIDERED. And that includes a situation like this.

          Further, you deem that for some reason those enforcing the law are unable to comprehend the realities around Sharia law. You said absolutely not one single thing in your entire comment that I have not heard before. Yet you have decided that I must be ill informed. I am not. And neither will a court of law be.

          If the court system in Oklahoma is unable to CONSIDER sharia law and still make the proper rulings under US law, then I submit to you that those in the court system are not qualified to rule on US law. You think the courts smart enough to properly deal with perhaps the most complex legal system in the world (the US court systems), yet not smart enough to properly consider anything outside of that legal system?

          It seems to me that you are afraid of Sharia law because you have absolutely no understanding of it. I have studied it and I do not fear it. Further I am confident that the courts have the ability to consider it and still rule properly according to US law.

        • A Puritan Descendant says:

          What makes you think that the Muslim wife chose to marry that man?

          Good question because I don’t know. Point well taken.

      • I don’t believe that it should be part of the consideration if you mean that you think that the punishment should be lighter based on what you are proposing. Rape in the US is rape. Period. Our laws and rules apply. No matter what you may think she consented to, she was raped and filed a criminal complaint. I don’t care if they were married under a religion called “it is OK to Rape your wife,” Our country, our rules, our way. You can’t rape your wife.

        But it should be considered in the sentencing as part of understanding that if he feels it is his religious right to rape her, he is likely to do it again. Therefore, because it is considered, perhaps a restraining order on the spot and some sort of surveillance is appropriate. The likelihood of rape is far higher than it would be for some random woman who walked into the wrong alley and a drunk raped her. THAT is why sharia law should be “considered” but never adopted.

        Do you see the difference?

        • A Puritan Descendant says:

          “IF” it could be shown that she in anyway agreed to this type of treatment by her husband when she married him then I do think his punishment should be lighter than normally given for rape.

          As for your second point, that is something that never entered my mind and I agree he needs to stopped from repeating the abuse of his wife while on U.S. soil.

          Another point well taken!

    • SK Trynosky Sr says:

      U.S., You say,

      “The people of Oklahoma deciding that their religion is more right than any other religion’.

      You lost me here. I don’t see it that way at all. First of all, I believe that there are many religions in Oklahoma. Native America, multiple Christian Sects, Sects of Judaism, Buddhism etc. So, which one of those is it? If anything, the people of Oklahoma seem to be preempting the courts in that current liberal thinking revolves around, ignore all religions except “Islam”. They seem to be a new protected group. The people seem dedicated to the separation of church and state.

      Regarding international law. When you really, really think about this, it is ludicrous to consider foreign law as somehow “superior” to US law, or more “sophisticated” for that matter. Let us remember here who is the oldest Republican democracy on the face of the planet. Let us try to remember that it was the United States who embodied in everyday law the rights of the people as being Creator given and superior to temporal or state law. If anything, they learned from us, or should have. They have nothing to teach us other than what those sophisticates preached in the 20th century which did not turn out all that well.

      I think that what people fail to consider is that it is not the ideals of the United States that have ever failed but their implementation by mortal, imperfect men. However, no matter how badly we have screwed up in the past, slavery, Manifest Destiny etc, the roots were European the correction was uniquely American.

      Best wishes on the career change. You seen to have the will and energy to succeed at anything you try.

      • By passing this law(supposing it survives challenge), would it not be used as a precedent on any other religious practices that conflict with state law? A christian using a rod no thicker than his thumb could still be held accountable, and because of this law, could not use the bible to excuse his behavior.

        • Your point is moot. The law is the law. No Christian should be able to excuse abuse though the Bible, nor should any religion. If a person is disciplining his or her child, he or she must follow the rule of law. This is not a solely Christian matter. Christians are not the only ones who discipline their children. As I said above, motive will always be a part of the case, but no one should be treated differently based on their religion. Christians don’t get a free pass on child abuse because their Christians.

          The way I see it, if the law and your religion oppose each other, you must choose which is more important to you and accept the consequences. For example, if the US passed a law banning prayer, I would continue to pray. When tried and sentenced, I would stand up proud and say, “yes, I pray all the time” and take whatever punishment is laid upon me. I recognize the authority of both man and God, but God’s is superior in my opinion, so I break man’s law. The thing is, I must accept the results of my actions.

  3. USWeapon Topic #3

    U.N. Human Rights Council to Take Aim at New Target: United States

    When the United Nations Human Rights Council, a conclave of 47 nations that includes such notorious human rights violators as China, Cuba, Libya and Saudi Arabia, meets in Geneva on Friday, its attentions will be focused on the human rights failings of a country called the United States.

    It will hear, among other things, that the U.S. discriminates against Muslims, that its police are barbaric and that it has been holding political prisoners behind bars for years.

    Those allegations, and many more, will come from Americans themselves — especially from a stridently critical network of U.S. organizations whose input dominates the U.N. digest of submissions from “civil society” that are part of the council’s background reading.

    Will the occasion be a teachable moment, or an anti-American circus?

    That question will be hovering center-stage in Geneva, when, for the first time ever, the U.S. comes under the Human Rights Council’s microscope as part of the its centerpiece activity, the “Universal Periodic Review,” a rotating examination of the human rights failings and strong points of every country in the world, from North Korea to Norway, by the council’s members.

    For two hours, council members will get to say whatever they wish, good and ill, about the country that has done the most in the past 40 years to establish human rights as a global theme.

    Already, there are signs that ill-wishers are planning to pack the line to the speaker’s podium, with complaints from some Western human rights organizations that Cuba, Venezuela and Iran are seeking to “hijack” the microphone and stack the speaker’s list with U.S. critics.

    But what really is under review is the gamble by the Obama administration to join the council in the first place, rather than shun it in disdain, as the Bush administration did, along with its predecessor, the U.N. Human Rights Commission, because of its roster of despotic members and unbridled antagonism toward Israel.

    The Universal Periodic Review, in which all countries great and small submit to human rights commentary by their peers, is supposed to help install the principle of observing human rights in the farthest reaches of the international community.

    Read the rest of the article here:  http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/11/04/united-nations-human-rights-council/?test=latestnews

    Let me start by first simply saying one small thing in retort to this article: Screw the United Nations.

    With that said, let’s talk about what is happening here. Many countries do not like the United States. Some with good reason and some without. This is an opportunity for them to stand in front of the world and say horrible things about the United States and our human rights violations. Make this important note… It means absolutely nothing. The Universal Periodic Review is nothing more than a forum for people to grandstand, whine, and slander. There are no penalties, sanctions, or anything else as a result. Sane people will ignore it for the farce that it is.

    And I find it somewhat reprehensible that countries such as China, Iran, and others, who have absolutely horrible human rights records, get to sit up there and berate the United States on human rights. It is hypocrisy at its finest. These same countries say these same things every single day in their media and on any stage they are given. I am not willing to consider what China or Iran has to say about US human rights. The words of a hypocrite simply don’t sting.

    With that said, they have every right to point out what we are doing wrong. We don’t hesitate to berate any country we feel violates human rights. Unfortunately, the United States has given them plenty of ammunition to use against us in this forum. The United States has committed human rights violations, there is little doubt about that. And regardless of who our accuser is, the real question is whether the facts presented by the hypocrites is accurate. Where we fall down on human rights, we as a country should be called to the carpet, as we would want done with any other country. Much like a news story, the facts are what matters, not the source.

    But I will say this: The United States has committed acts that single us out as a violator of human rights in many different instances. Lord knows Black Flag loves to point out every single one that he finds. However, despite the wrongs that we commit, we are also perhaps the world’s largest advocate for stopping human rights violations. Our ardent support of actions to eliminate human rights violations throughout the world do not excuse us when we violate our own principles. But I do think it is important to point out that while we are bad, we are also one of the most good in this area. It isn’t easy to be both very good and very bad in terms of human rights. But then again we are the United States. We seem to pull off a lot of impossible tasks.

    • There is not much to say about this. I pay no attention to the United Nations and do not support the United Nations at all. I am on record saying to stop the funding, kick them out of New York, and go down the road. AS far as I am concerned, the planes hit the wrong buildings.

      Hell, they are even considering putting Iran on the Rights for Women council. God…what a travesty. So, China and Iran are going to tell us how bad we are…..they are the ones that wrote the book on violations of human rights and they lecture us….jeez. It is a non issue. It deserves no attention whatsoever past this blog.

      • I will be interesting on how the media covers this, since they will only be “reporting” what other countries think. And China can’t be very bad, after the Olympics we KNOW how nice they are….

        And this will be great to put into the textbooks, Yale & Harvard will offer new courses on the evil done by the US.

        I think many other countries have become aware of how much influence the Marxist/socialist/progressives have on our country, due to their positions in the media, teaching and politics. These are not the kool-aid drinkers, they are the ones mixing it up and serving it to the sheeple. And they are eagerly looking for more flavors to offer.

    • http://www.aolnews.com/world/article/un-report-chinese-bullets-used-in-darfur/19683420?test=latestnews

      UN Report: Chinese Bullets Used in Darfur

      Theunis Bates Contributor
      AOL News
      (Oct. 21) — China has attempted to smother a draft United Nations report that says Chinese bullets have been used in attacks on international peacekeepers in Sudan’s conflict-torn Darfur region.

      The preliminary report — compiled by the U.N.’s Panel of Experts on the Sudan — notes that at least 11 kinds of Chinese-made cartridge cases have been found at sites in Darfur where government-allied militia attacked U.N. and African Union forces, according to The Christian Science Monitor. The final version of that document has not yet been approved by senior figures in the international organization, and Chinese diplomats at U.N. headquarters in New York have reportedly been lobbying hard to prevent its publication.

      Nigerian soldiers of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur keep watch in the village of Regel el-Kubri, west of El-Geneina, the state capital of West Darfur, near the border with Chad, in March 2008.
      A 2004 U.N. Security Council resolution bans the Sudanese government from transferring arms to Darfur, where at least 300,000 people have died — and some 3 million more have been made refugees — since fighting broke out in 2003 that pits the government and allied Arab militias against black Christian and animist Africans. Officials in Khartoum, however, have refused to follow that U.N. prohibition, calling it an unwarranted breach of their sovereignty.

      The 2004 resolution rules that any country caught supplying weapons and munitions to the government in Khartoum, knowing that they would eventually be used in the troubled region, would also be in breach of the sanctions. And a 2005 Security Council resolution says that Beijing — the largest arms supplier to Sudan and the largest importer of Sudanese oil — must take measures to ensure that Khartoum does not use Chinese-made military equipment in Darfur.

      However, China has claimed that it has not broken any international law and dismissed the experts’ findings. “China has been implementing the Security Council resolutions on sanctions against Sudan in a comprehensive, earnest and precise manner,” said Ma Zhaoxu, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing, according to CNN. “It is inappropriate of the panel to make groundless accusations based on this unconfirmed report.”

      One anonymous U.N. diplomat told Reuters that there was “no evidence that the bullets were sent directly by China with the government’s knowledge to Khartoum for use in Darfur, or that it was China that sold the ammunition to Sudan.” He added that there was also no proof that China had intentionally broken the embargo, but said, “its attempt to suppress the report is suspicious.”

      This isn’t the first time that Chinese weapons have been found in the hands of forces fighting in Darfur. A BBC report in July 2008 noted that China was training pilots to fly Chinese A5 Fantan fighter jets over the region. Those planes have been connected with bombing raids against civilians. The BBC also reported that Chinese-made Dong Feng army trucks equipped with anti-aircraft guns were being used in the region. Markings on the side of the vehicles indicated that they had been shipped to Sudan in 2005, a year after the arms embargo was put in place.

      Civilians told the British broadcaster that the militants used the trucks’ anti-aircraft guns — which shoot high-caliber shells that explode on impact, throwing off shards of burning shrapnel — to fire straight into houses. “An intense wave of heat instantly sent all the huts around up in flames,” Risique Bahar, a witness to a recent attack, told the BBC. “There was a lot of screaming.”

      • LOI……roughly 16% of the weapons we confiscate on the Texas border are Chinese.

        • Really????? I thought 90% of them came from the united states!!!!!

          • o sir….not at all…last year of the guns caught and confisated, I reported the actual statistics a couple of weeks ago, roughly 44% of the guns were manufactured in other countries. Mostly, Ak47’s, RPG’s, and Chicoms….not to mention the ever popular UZI. Now, under question, is that a lot of foreign manufactured guns are bought in the United States but most are imported across Mexico’s southern border with the exception of the Chinese weapons which come through Mexican Ports unchecked. Everyone knows this.

            Now, what you WILL NOT see is the true reporting in the American Media. They simply will not report the truth at all. They obviously have a different agenda. You can fill volumes of what they do not report. The bulk of the captured ammunition is also manufactured in China. (You know, the country that is going to lecture us on civil rights). Many weapons have been captured coming in on Venezuelan flagged ships into Mexico marked “farm implements”. (But we all know that Venezuela is not a threat to the US).

            The main issue is that the Mexican authorities are bought and paid for by the cartels. There is almost unfettered entry through the ports of Mexico for everything from guns/ammunition, human trafficking, and drugs. The Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California border areas are literally armed camps on the Mexico side. Texas deals with it by firing back and our rules of engagement are quite different than those of Arizona and New Mexico….and we know that California has an open door policy. But this is a subject for another day.

            • Does international business explain their actions? The US is the largest arms supplier, Russia second. If the EU were locked at as a whole, we might not be #1.

              Obama and Clinton indicated they were receptive to the UN small arms treaty. The problem we have, the US does abide by such treaties. In contrast, China, France and Russia violated the “Food for Oil” program, which contributed to the invasion of Iraq.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_industry

              They want us to sign every treaty possible, and will spread propaganda to assist their efforts. Kyoto, small arms,
              etc… are really aimed at gaining economic advantage.

              • LOI…good point and, yes, we are a great arms supplier and I do not like that as a military man. In Vietnam, Kuwait, Bosnia, and Afghanistan (all of which I have been in combat roles) we have uncovered many supply trails that lead to the United States in arms production and selling. I am completely aware the arms deals that are made on the black market and the availability to get them. But, Wikipedia has it wrong….totally wrong.

                We are not the largest arms supplier….just the most open about it. Russia and China do not report everything and we do. Organizations, like Wiki, will take these reports and make the assumyion that they are correct. If someone in the United States, an arms dealer, bought Russian weapons, for example, and then resold them from the United States…the fact that they are Russian is forgotten and the fact that the US arms dealer supplied them is remembered and, therefore, is attributable to the US….when it should not be. (It is big business and the United Sates allows arms dealers) In Afghanistan, for example, the Russians and the Chinese and the Iranians were the largest suppliers of weapons with the Chinese supplying 80% or greater of the ammunition. You will never see it printed…it will be the big bad United States. When someone, like me, who has worked in the back alleys and discovered all of this brings it up…we are considered not relevant because Wiki or some such prganization said so. There are plenty of people on here that will rely on Wiki for their information, and totally believe it, and if someone who works the back alleys and sees the real world says differentlty, they are asked for a “link” to which there would be none….but because there are none, then the information must be invalid or tainted. I put up with that constantly and that is ok because that is all that they see…..links and sanitized facts.

                The United States is not the largest supplier of SMALL arms in the world. We are simply more open about it. Our records can easily be obtained through the FOIA. Try asking China or Russia or Iran or Israel. We are a piker compared to these countries in small arms productions and sales.

                NOw, large weapons systems…..I firmly believe that the US is the largest supplier and will be.

              • D13,

                Good point! I had not even considered the reporting aspect of Russia and China, just that they would happily sign and ignore any treaty.

    • The United States has committed acts that single us out as a violator of human rights in many different instances. Lord knows Black Flag loves to point out every single one that he finds. However, despite the wrongs that we commit, we are also perhaps the world’s largest advocate for stopping human rights violations.

      Yes I do, because if you do the evil you complain that others are doing, you are called a hypocrite – and no one pays attention to hypocrites.

      They have NO POWER to invoke change in others (other than by force).

      The moral high ground has been destroyed by US actions. It does not matter what the US does that is “good”, it is the evil that becomes becomes the measure

      Before one can preach about the splinter in other people’s eyes, one must remove the one in your own eye first.

      • Precisely why no one pays attention to the United Nations and its so called morality. No one will pay attention to China or Iran except the media. There is no innocent in the United Nations…..none.

        • D13,

          Bingo! Consequence of government is human right violations – it is impossible to avoid because that is what government MUST do to enforce itself on people.

          And further, that is why the US should shut up and mind its own business. It is a hypocrite, no one listens, and the US listens to no one.

          So all of it is pointless. Use the energy to eliminate the government off of YOURSELF, and you will free the world.

          • Actually, the United Nations needs to go the way of the dinosaur. It is ridiculous and the only people that pay attention to the UN……are the ones getting paid by it. The US should pull out and pul its funding and mind its own business. I would support this 100% and I do not care what the world thinks of the US. Economics is the power.

      • “if you do the evil you complain that others are doing, you are called a hypocrite – and no one pays attention to hypocrites.”

        Can we agree Iran and China are hypocrites? Not to excuse us for all our actions.

        http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/11/01/iran-plans-execute-stoning-case-woman/

        And if we follow Iran’s example, we can whip a child molester a couple hundred times, before we execute them. If we follow China’s example, we can imprison someone for having to many children(where is that octo-mom?)

        • LOI,

          Can we agree Iran and China are hypocrites? Not to excuse us for all our action..

          Do they have a government?

          Then they are hypocrites.

          And if we follow Iran’s example

          But why would “we” (and who the hell is this “we” you keep referring to…) follow any example?

    • Beijing Denounces Nobel Prize as a Western Tool

      Published November 05, 2010

      | Associated Press

      BEIJING — The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to a jailed democracy activist is a political attack on China, a Chinese leader said Friday, warning that countries acknowledging the honor would “bear the consequences.”

      The warning comes a day after several diplomats said China was pressuring European governments to avoid next month’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for Liu Xiaobo and not make any statements in support of him.

      Since Liu was named winner of the prize one month ago, China has issued daily condemnations in state media and angry denunciations have come from its leading diplomats.

  4. USWeapon Topic #4

    Consumers’ right to file class actions is in danger

    It hasn’t gotten a lot of press, but a case involving AT&T that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court next week has sweeping ramifications for potentially millions of consumers.

    If a majority of the nine justices vote the telecom giant’s way, any business that issues a contract to customers — such as for credit cards, cellphones or cable TV — would be able to prevent them from joining class-action lawsuits.

    This would take away in such cases arguably the most powerful legal tool available to the little guy, particularly in cases involving relatively small amounts of money. Class-action suits allow plaintiffs to band together in seeking compensation or redress, thus giving substantially more heft to their claims.

    The ability to ban class actions would potentially also apply to employment agreements such as union contracts.

    Consumer advocates say that without the threat of class-action lawsuits, many businesses would be free to engage in unfair or deceptive practices. Few people would litigate on their own to resolve a case involving, say, a hundred bucks.

    “The marketplace is fairer for consumers and workers because there’s a deterrent out there,” said Deepak Gupta, an attorney for the advocacy group Public Citizen who will argue on consumers’ behalf before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

    “Companies are afraid of class actions,” he said. “This helps keep them honest.”

    The case is AT&T Mobility vs. Concepcion. The basic question before the court is whether companies can bar class actions in the fine print of their take-it-or-leave-it contracts with customers and employees.

    Read the rest of the article here:  http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lazarus-20101105,0,639054.column

    I found this article especially interesting and I really haven’t made up my mind on where I stand quite yet. So I figured I would simply say what is on my mind and we can talk it out amongst SUFA. I had heard absolutely nothing about this particular lawsuit until I read this article this evening.

    My first thought is that the Supreme Court should rule that any company that creates a contract with the customer has every right to put whatever terms they want in the contract. We are adults. We should read every contract that we sign. Just like the mortgage madness, we have the right to sign the contract or not sign the contract. If AT&T puts it in their contract, we all have the right to tell everyone we know about it and persuade everyone to no longer sign a contract with AT&T. If enough people care and choose not to sign with AT&T, the company will have to remove it from the contract or go out of business. The key is that the contract is a VOLUNTARY agreement between the company and the customer. Which means that whatever the two parties agree to should be their choice. No one else’s opinion matters. And if the customer chooses not to read the contract, well they will simply lose out on that $1.14 settlement amount.

    I am not a fan of class action lawsuits, primarily because they are pursued by greedy lawyers who are really the only ones to get paid in the entire deal. The 5 million members of the class action group all get pennies, while the lawyers who represent them get millions. It creates an entirely ridiculous dynamic where lawyers will go crazy trying to find any instance where they could possibly file a lawsuit.

    The other side of this is that a class action lawsuit is often the only really powerful tool available to consumers. If AT&T screws me on my bill or cheats me in some way, I can scream all day and they don’t give a rat’s ass. They don’t seem willing to do the right thing when they behave badly unless they are suddenly faced with a gigantic backlash, which means that a class action lawsuit has been filed. Is there another tool available to consumers that would be able to counter the power of giant corporations if the class action lawsuit was not an available option any longer? I ask that question honestly.

    Additionally, the class action lawsuit may be the only possible way to actually have these types of cases brought forward. The courts couldn’t handle the sheer magnitude of 5 million individual lawsuits. And that is secondary to the fact that with the cost of litigation, what consumer is going to spend a couple grand to recoup a fraction of that amount in award. Sure they can include the cost of litigation in the lawsuit and recover that as well, but you are paying up front and hoping like hell you win. Otherwise you paid $40,000 attempting to get back that $24.95 additional minutes charge.

    We talk about solutions here at SUFA all the time. So what is the solution here? How can we ensure that the consumers are protected while simultaneously not violating our principles that as free men, women, and companies, we have the right to enter into whatever voluntary contract we choose?

    • Not sure if I know my own position on this. I don’t like the way lawyers have abused the class action lawsuits, but also see where the little guy has no individual voice, so banding together to be heard is necessary.

      I may sound like Charlie, but these large companies are predatory, and need to be restricted. After the break up of AT&T, we had a bunch of small companies offering us choices. Then most of them were bought up by a few large companies. I have listened to several people who have been reamed by their phone company(yes, they signed a contract). The contracts are part of the problem, with company lawyer writing them in language the average consumer cannot understand, buried in excessive small print no one will take an hour to read(sorry hon, forgot my magnifying glass, we’ll come back tomorrow). They will demand payment, refuse to alloy them out of a contract, and turn them over to collection agencies. And all of the phone (and cable) companies have the same contracts, one year is “standard”. Most contracts renew automatically, so the unwary can be trapped in another year, when they were wanting to switch to another provider.

      I switched from Southwestern Bell years ago, to Sage. Very happy with them!
      There was a delay in switching, Sage did not call back to confirm the switch.
      I called them, and was outraged to find SWB had BLOCKED Sage from calling us!
      They recorded my requesting the switch, advised me that even thought it was illegal, there was little I could do, burden of proof on me. I did make a point of informing friends and family of what had happened, and showed them
      my new bills, a third less than under SWB.

      What to do, a free market advocate, and I’m saying something needs to be done. But what the government is doing is not protecting the consumer, seems to be favoring the big companies over the citizens.

    • This is a toughie. Part of me says that class actions are good and part of me says they are bad. I think back to the institution of labor unions. There would not be labor unions today if mega corps did not use child labor and sweat shops. Class actions are a tool of lawyers…supposedly to help the individual against the mega corps. I fall on the side that class actions are more for lawyers and mega bucks than about the individual. I do not think there are very many lawyers out there that care about the individual but care more about themselves. ( I say this because of what Texas did with the elimination of lump sum awards in Workers Comp cases. You can’t even find a lawyer now to take a case. They are gone because the money is gone.)

      But….ummmm….errrr…..ahhhhhh…….case load vs individual cases….I do not think there are enough courts or hours in the day……….individual contracts vs goliath corps…..goliath can out spend David any day….. and engage in delaying tactics…..ummmm…errr….ahhhhh (make a decision here Colonel)…………stay with class action. I think that is a reasonable check and balance.

    • Class actions should stay-taking away a persons ability to fight for his rights isn’t the way to fix our problems.

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      “If AT&T screws me on my bill or cheats me in some way, I can scream all day and they don’t give a rat’s ass.”

      This is not always the case.

      I felt I was screwed by a satellite tv provider not long ago. I simply called and told them I did not owe the money they claimed I owed. They said I had to pay. I said ok, cancel the service. After being transfered to 3 different satellite representatives in India, a forth representative from the good ole U.S.A. made no arguments with me and simply said I had been a good cutomer for years and said I no longer owe the money, and included 2 free months of servive to boot. I am now a happy paying cutomer because they did the right/smart thing by me.

    • I’ll have to plead the 5th on this one…

  5. Everyone loving their Obabacare?

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/11/05/aarp-raises-costs-employees-insurance-plans/

    AARP Raises Costs for Employees’ Insurance Plans

    Published November 05, 2010

    | Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — AARP’s endorsement helped secure passage of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Now the seniors’ lobby is telling its employees their insurance costs will rise partly as a result of the law.

    In an e-mail to employees, AARP says health care premiums will increase by 8 percent to 13 percent next year because of rapidly rising medical costs.

    And AARP adds that it’s changing copayments and deductibles to avoid a 40 percent tax on high-cost health plans that takes effect in 2018 under the law. Aerospace giant Boeing also has cited the tax in asking its workers to pay more. Shifting costs to employees lowers the value of a health care plan and acts like an escape hatch from the tax.

  6. Gold over $1400
    Silver attack $27

  7. Ray Hawkins says:

    Repeat a lie often enough and it will become true?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-pfeiffer/fact-check-obamas-india-t_b_779496.html

    Headline: Fact Check: Obama’s Trip Won’t Cost Taxpayers $200 Million Per Day

    But, but, but……..Beck and Limbaugh and Bachmann and Morris and Hannity and Kathy and TexasChem all said it was – must be true then huh?

    Does the truth sit somewhere between Death Panels and Kenyan Birth Certificates?

    • That’s your proof? WH denial but can’t say real figures due to security? Come on, Ray. Don’t you ever get tired of defending this Adm?

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Kathy – I thought you were smarter than this? So – let’s recap – one can make any claim and so long as there is no evidence to the contrary (no matter how absurd the claim) then it is assumed to be true? WOW! Talk about Kool Aid! I’m not defending the Administration – I’m just asking for some truth! We had one, solitary unnamed anonymous Indian government official supposedly make all these claims on the $200 million/day pricetag and next thing we know we have an entire cabal of very well paid folks claim it as fact? I guess those inflated salaries are not used to pay for fact checkers any more than what is between your own ears is no longer used to properly vet what the tell you. Sad! 😦

        • Wonder what the cost really is….no one is disputing the fact that there are 3,000 people going….However, I can confirm that there are not 34 ships sent to protect him. We already have three A/C groups in the area. And I can amend the actual aircraft invoved….it was reported that there were 41 and my initial check showed that but can now confirm that it is not 41….it was reduced to 34 and that includes all types of aircraft involved in this trip. (Mainly support aircraft….AWACS, support fighters, etc.)Two Air Wings involoved with support aircraft. (Refueling craft are also involved in that figure.) However, that figure does not include civilian aircraft that are chartered.

          It would be nice to see whom is on this trip also. The businessmen that are accompanying him are not part of this…except a hand picked few. As I told you, 200 mil per day seemed really excessive but that is what I heard.

          However, I suggest Huffpo does not know either as most of this is classified and Huffpo, like the conservative media, will also downplay or exaggerate their positions.

          Of most interest to me is who is on the trip. Which business’. That would be more interesting than how many….but we will never know the true cost…it will not be reported.

          • In fairness, I did go back to Huffpo and can find no figures brought forward…just their denial. So, who really knows?

        • Whoa, welcome back angry Ray! Thought you had buried that part of your personality?

    • Ray,

      As I posted the other day, all reports trace back to that same source. That is usually considered possible, not a lie. Was it credible for them to report as they did? I’m sure we’ll have some different opinions on that. Normally, a journalist requires at least two independent sources. The only source was a major paper in India. Did they have two sources? Doubt it, but don’t know. It appears to be a mix of truth and fabrication(carrier group is around a dozen)

      “Kathy and TexasChem all said it was – must be true then huh?” I think Kathy and I shared stories we found(wanna bet the coconuts are true?) Tex was having fun(build a 12’X12′, quarter mile tunnel in an hour)(did you not laugh on that one?).

      Beck, Limbaugh, Morris and Hannity, sorry, did not hear what any of them said, if they did not report the WH as saying it was inaccurate, I think they were deliberately misleading(lying)unless it was said before the WH announcement. Bachmann? Does she have a show now? What did she say about it?
      And while you are outraged over what us right wingers are saying about the “one”. Heheheheh

      There’s a cable news channel out there operating with a single partisan voice, and doing its best to scare the pants off of viewers as the new Congress approaches. Listening to much of the media, you might think that network was Fox.

      But in fact Fox has a wealth of opinions on air, though most of its prime time hosts are consistently conservative. And while certainly a number of critics try to paint FNC as “fear-mongers,” it’s been MSNBC that has really gone full force with the doom-saying this week.

      Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik is absolutely livid about it, and has devoted considerable space this week to bashing MSNBC for its apocalyptic tone.

      Zurawik wrote on Wednesday:

      If you look at no other cable TV coverage of election night, you need to see this from MSNBC. It is the reaction of a the panel that spent the night at a desk analyzing the results for viewers.

      Some might call it an anchor desk, but I would not debase the word “anchor” by putting it in front of a desk that includes folks offering this kind of analysis. The team includes: Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Lawrence O’Donnell and Eugene Robinson.

      This is their reaction Tuesday night to the victory speech of Rand Paul, the new U.S. senator from Kentucky. Check out O’Donnell’s words, in particular, against MSNBC’s claim that Fox News, not MSNBC, is the cable channel trafficking in fear. O’Donnell says Rand is now “empowered” to “creat a worldwide despression.”

      Zurawik followed up with another column on the topic on Thursday:

      But I do not think we should let the outrageous behavior that took place on MSNBC Tuesday night go by the boards after one day of ridicule. This is not just analysts gone wild for one night. This is the crossing of a line in the way that mainstream media engages government, the electoral process and the citizenry.

      And the guilt goes beyond the five people on the set: Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Larry O’Donnell, Chris Matthews and Eugene Robinson, hectoring and mocking politicians while pumping irrational fear into the audience about those politicians. It extends to NBC News and the highest levels of NBC management. I wrote about it yesterday under the headline “MSNBC embraces the fear factor on election night.” Read that and see the video here of O’Donnell going off after the victory speech by newly elected U.S. senator Rand Paul.

      I supposed some will say MSNBC’s last-place ratings on election night are punishment enough. But that’s not true. With MSNBC’s business model, NBC will still make money off this kind of behavior, which cuts to the heart of our civic life. It isn’t a laughing matter — “oh, look, what fools they are.”

      Zurawik’s own apocalyptic language about the damage MSNBC’s election night coverage could do to “civic life” is a bit overblown. Less than two million people watched the channel’s prime time coverage Tuesday evening, after all. And as James Taranto noted, in discussing the “Rally to Restore Authority”, as he called it:

      the vast majority of Americans do not watch the controversy-driven cable news shows [Jon] Stewart deplores. Even the most popular among them, Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” draws considerably fewer viewers than the “CBS Evening News,” the lowest-rated of the major-network newscasts.

      That said, Zurawik is not the only one who has warned of the immense, even existential dangers of partisan rhetoric on cable television. The difference is that usually they’re talking about Fox. Fox is hoping to start a race war, or Fox is trying to get President Obama killed, or Fox wants Osama Bin Laden to drop a nuke on American soil on the Fourth of July (seriously).

      If those critics are not willing to concede the utter absurdity of those statements, perhaps the immense hypocrisy in singling out Fox will get them to moderate their own rhetoric.

      The most oft-repeated claim is that Fox uses fear to promote a conservative agenda. If one accepts that point – I do not – is there any doubt that MSNBC is doing the same thing to take the new Republican Congress down a peg?

      Read more: http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/lachlan-markay/2010/11/04/balt-sun-media-critic-msnbc-pumping-irrational-fear-viewers#ixzz14QrrQSVB

      • Ray,

        You are right on Bachmann, she did say all that on Anderson Cooper last night. She may be needing to post a retraction. But to be fair, we do have some reason to question how much they spend, and what it’s for, you know, since it’s our money they are spending.

        http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/01/11/cbsnews_investigates/main6084364.shtml

        (CBS) Few would argue with the U.S. having a presence at the Copenhagen Climate Summit. But wait until you hear what we found about how many in Congress got all-expense paid trips to Denmark on your dime.

        CBS investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports that cameras spotted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the summit. She called the shots on who got to go. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and embattled Chairman of the Tax Committee Charles Rangel were also there.

        They were joined by 18 colleagues: Democrats: Waxman, Miller, Markey, Gordon, Levin, Blumenauer, DeGette, Inslee, Ryan, Butterfield, Cleaver, Giffords, and Republicans: Barton, Upton, Moore Capito, Sullivan, Blackburn and Sensenbrenner.

        That’s not the half of it. But finding out more was a bit like trying to get the keys to Ft. Knox. Many referred us to Speaker Pelosi who wouldn’t agree to an interview. Her office said it “will comply with disclosure requirements” but wouldn’t give us cost estimates or even tell us where they all stayed.

        Senator Inhofe (R-OK) is one of the few who provided us any detail. He attended the summit on his own for just a few hours, to give an “opposing view.”

        “They’re going because it’s the biggest party of the year,” Sen. Inhofe said. “The worst thing that happened there is they ran out of caviar.”

        Our investigation found that the congressional delegation was so large, it needed three military jets: two 737’s and a Gulfstream Five — up to 64 passengers — traveling in luxurious comfort.

        Along with those who flew commercial, we counted at least 101 Congress-related attendees. All for a summit that failed to deliver a global climate deal.

        As a perk, some took spouses, since they could snag an open seat on a military jet or share a room at no extra cost to taxpayers. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was there with her husband. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) was also there with her husband. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) took his wife, as did Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI). Congressman Barton — a climate change skeptic — even brought along his daughter.

        Until required filings are made in the coming weeks, we can only figure bits and pieces of the cost to you.

        # Three military jets at $9,900 per hour – $168,000 just in flight time.
        # Dozens flew commercial at up to $2,000 each.
        (CBS)

        # 321 hotel nights booked – the bulk at Copenhagen’s five-star Marriott.
        # Meals add tens of thousands more.

        Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense, wasn’t against a U.S. presence. But he said, “Every penny counts. Congress should be shaking the couch cushions looking for change, rather than spending cash for everybody to go to Copenhagen.”

        Nobody we asked would defend the super-sized Congressional presence on camera. One Democrat said it showed the world the U.S. is serious about climate change.

        And all those attendees who went to the summit rather than hooking up by teleconference? They produced enough climate-stunting carbon dioxide to fill 10,000 Olympic swimming pools.

        Which means even if Congress didn’t get a global agreement – they left an indelible footprint all the same.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          To clarify a few things:

          (1) I do not doubt that MSNBC is biased in the same way Fox is – its like arguing what breed of dog shit smells worse.

          (2) What are we really concerned with with respect to this trip? In the big scheme of things do we see no value (considering all the Indian firms that dumped money into the US Chamber of Commerce (and likely to Dems causes as well) I figured all sides of the aisle would be giddy over this) in this trip? Do we expect our POTUS not to make State visits to other critical trading and commerce partners? Where is the balance where the loudest talking heads stop screaming and say, “yeah, that makes sense” instead of micro-analyzing every damn thing that happens? What’s next? Endless bitching and complaining that Obama does not use the cheapest toilet paper available to wipe his own ass?

          (3) This mind-numbing distraction pulls away from the much needed hard analysis of core/key/critical actions of our government. Intended or not, eyes come off the ball and people get wrapped around the axle for the wrong reasons. Good places like SUFA become mind numbing exercises of “let’s see what pimple-on-the-ass-of-a-flea issue the SUFA folks are grumbling about today”. There is plenty-a-foot that should merit much deeper analysis – an Afghan war that is going nowhere, the latest slight-of-hand by the Fed, the now-being-realized effects of Healthcare reform. Instead we’re up in arms on a State trip to a key ally & economic partner. The value add is just more people that hated the guy from day zero getting more shit off their chests. I’ll punt on that and apologize for bringing it up.

          • Wow, I so disagree with you on this one-I will give you that issues like this one are used to push people’s buttons. But it is way past time that we start paying attention to the small things. All the, It’s JUST, this over here is more important ignore that it isn’t a big deal, mind frames have gotten us into this mess. These people, our leaders(hate to even write those words) have been living like kings and messing up our lives long enough. I want them to have to account for what they are doing and how they are spending our money. No more open doors on the coffers.

            • Ray Hawkins says:

              @VH

              (1) You don’t have to call them your leaders – they are people in positions of leadership – slight nuance but also a difference

              (2) I still think there is nothing here. Even the MM is now reporting on the absurdity of this. We are over-scrutinizing in the wrong spot. Just my HO and you have yours.

          • Ray,

            I see your point to a degree. It might not have been worth the attention paid to it, being an unconfirmed report. I think you were a little over the top groping us SUFA’s with the others.(I’ll get over it)(eventually)

            “Repeat a lie often enough and it will become true?

            Does the truth sit somewhere between Death Panels and Kenyan Birth Certificates?”

            What are my concerns on this trip?
            What are his/our goals?
            How much is it going to cost(ballpark)?
            Were any coconuts harmed because of his visit?

      • Won’t have to worry about Keith’s analysis for awhile. He’s been suspended w/o pay due to some dupious donations. Will he appear on his own worst person list? Karma!

        • ahh, that’d be dubious, but then knowing Keith, maybe dupe-i-us is more accurate?

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          Olbermann? Good riddance!

        • Just saw that, shall we all sing, “there’s a tear in my beer”?

          MSNBC suspended Keith Olbermann indefinitely today after news broke that he had given the maximum allowable contribution to three Democrats without disclosing it to his viewers.

          CBS News reported on the suspension about 20 minutes ago, with a more detailed statement from MSNBC brass:

          “I became aware of Keith’s political contributions late last night,” Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC, said in a statement. “Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay.”

          Read more: http://www.newsbusters.org/#ixzz14RCRJcFf

          • A Puritan Descendant says:

            LOL, he had better disclose it to his viewers or they might not know he is in the tank for the Democrats. Hah Hah, that is silly funny.

            • LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Glenn, unlike you, I am not a progressive. I am not a liberal who is so afraid of the word that I had to change my name to progressive. Liberals amuse me.

              I am a socialist.

              I live to the extreme left, the extreme left of you mere liberals, okay?

              However, I know this about my country. Liberals are 20 percent of the electorate. Conservatives are 41 percent of the electorate, okay? So I don’t pretend that my views, which would ban all guns in America, make Medicare available to all in America, have any chance of happening in the federal government, okay? You can sit there and pretend that liberals should run more liberal in conservative districts. You love the loss of the Blue Dogs. The only way, the only way you have a chairman Barney Frank, there’s only one way, that’s by electing Blue Dogs. It’s the only way. That’s the only way you have a Speaker Pelosi.

              So there you have it: a host on MSNBC admitted that he is on the extreme far left of the political spectrum.

              NBC must be so pleased with its decision to give this man his own show.

              On the other hand, if everyone was as honest about their real political leanings as O’Donnell was Friday rather than desperately trying to pretend impartiality, just how many mainstream media members would we find truly share his views?

              Read more: http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2010/11/05/lawrence-odonnell-i-am-socialist-i-live-extreme-left-mere-liberals#ixzz14RZUIr22

      • Actually I believe the large envoy of ships is because they are going to line up end to end and The One will then be able to literally walk on water and make his grand entrance. I read this so it must be true!

    • Actually, I heard Beck refer to this trip-he stated that it was reported and told who reported it-Beck actually stated I don’t know if this is true.He questioned whether or not he should be making this trip at all and was concerned that the President would be in to much danger going to Duibau(sp). So if your gonna accuse Beck and others perhaps you should actually fact check what they said instead of what is reported they said.

  8. Breaking News!!!!! (cough-cough) Nancy Pelosi has decided to run for the minority leader of the Dems. Conservatives are delighted…most Dems are going, oh Nooooooooooo……the fight begins.

    • This could be fun. You did so well on Tuesday Nan, why not stick around to finish the job in 2012!

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      I read somewhere yesterday that Nancy Pelosi will be regarded as one of the most successful SOTH in history with respect to legislative accomplishment. I guess we can think through that and its probably true – you don’t have to like what she did – just recognize what she accomplished. Course that resulted in a big boot from the SOTH chair too.

      • I think that you are correct. Accordiong to what I consider fairly reliable sources….she was a very formiddable woman in the house and if success is measured by the arm twisting and passage of things…it looks as if she got the most done since like the 1940’s….

        Consideration……I wonder if being the first female Speaker had any influence?

        But, it did cost her the job and I do not think she is a slam dunk for the minority position.

        • I wish there was an outside entity that handled the congressional votes-and the votes where not reported until after the entire count was taken-that way the reps. would have to vote blind-they wouldn’t be able to vote against something once they know it will pass to look good to their constituents -and no more arm twisting and deal making during the actual vote. If it looks like something they want passed will fail-makes that reps. vote more valuable and unethical crap more likely. If they don’t know how the count is going, at least some of this stuff would go away.

  9. NEW YORK (CBS) — After suffering a “shellacking” in the midterm elections, President Obama acknowledges what many have seen as his chief weakness – failing to sell the importance of several legislative milestones to the American people.

    “I think that’s a fair argument. I think that, over the course of two years we were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that, we stopped paying attention to the fact that leadership isn’t just legislation. That it’s a matter of persuading people. And giving them confidence and bringing them together. And setting a tone,” Mr. Obama told 60 Minutes’ Steve Kroft in an exclusive interview set to air Sunday.

    “Making an argument that people can understand,” Mr. Obama continued, “I think that we haven’t always been successful at that. And I take personal responsibility for that. And it’s something that I’ve got to examine carefully … as I go forward.”

    Republicans enjoyed significant victories Tuesday, wresting control of the House of Representatives from the Democrats and picking up six seats in the Senate, as frustration over the economy drove voter sentiment.

    A humbled Mr. Obama, who termed the defeat a “shellacking” during a postelection press conference Wednesday, must now grapple with an emboldened and empowered political enemy with its sights set on undoing much of what he accomplished in the last two years – including an effort to repeal his signature achievement, health care reform, reports CBS News White House correspondent Bill Plante.

    He just doesn’t get it.

  10. For anyone…..seeing the amount of the seats that turned….and it is reported that some 550-600 state seats turned as well….how do any of you see the redistricting coming ahead and impact for the next 10 years.

  11. As much as I personally dislike Keith-he isn’t a journalist-he is a commentator-so this seems to be messing with his freedoms-although the way they use him and Matthews-maybe they consider him a journalist. Is that even possible.

    November 5, 2010 1:51 PM
    Keith Olbermann Suspended from MSNBC

    Keith Olbermann has been suspended indefinitely without pay from MSNBC for making donations to three Democrats in violation of NBC’s ethics policy.

    “I became aware of Keith’s political contributions late last night,” Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC, said in a statement. “Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay.”

    Olbermann, who does not hide his liberal views, has acknowledged donations of $2,400 each to Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway and Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords during this election cycle.

    NBC’s ethics policy generally bars political activity, including contributions, without the approval of the president of NBC News, Steve Capus, according to a 2007 story on MSNBC.com.

    “Anyone working for NBC News who takes part in civic or other outside activities may find that these activities jeopardize his or her standing as an impartial journalist because they may create the appearance of a conflict of interest,” it says. “Such activities may include participation in or contributions to political campaigns or groups that espouse controversial positions. You should report any such potential conflicts in advance to, and obtain prior approval of, the President of NBC News or his designee.”

    In a statement released before the suspension as announced, Olbermann said: “I did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns, nor to any others in this election or any previous ones, nor have I previously donated to any political campaign at any level.”

    The candidates Olbermann donated to had mixed results. Conway lost his race to Tea Party-backed Republican Rand Paul, but both Grijalva and Giffords lead in tight races that CBS News has not yet projected. All three appeared on Olbermann’s show, and Grijalva has appeared multiple times.

    As Politico notes, Olbermann and MSNBC President Phil Griffin have been critical of Fox News over its two $1 million donations to Republican and Republican-leaning groups during the midterm election cycle.

    On October 7th, in reference to the Fox News donations, Olbermann asked House Majority Whip James Clyburn if there is a legislative response available when a cable news network “goes beyond having a point of view and actually starts to shill for partisan causes and actually starts to donate to partisan groups of one party.”

    MSNBC has cast itself as a liberal alternative to the conservative Fox News channel, a move that has helped the network improve its ratings, though not to the level of Fox News.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20021940-503544.html?tag=strip

    • V.H.

      I’m with you on this one. Can’t stand the guy.

      But I have real heartburn over any private company requiring its employees to get “permission” to contribute to any political campaign.

      Along those lines, I believe what Harrah’s did to pressure employees to vote for Reid should be “illegal”, and the same for Unions. They have every right to tell their employees what they think are pro and con but to actually push for executives to identify those who voted and then get them to the polls? Not right in my book.

      Now with that said, Keith knew that restriction was in his contract. So it makes you wonder what game he is really up to.

      By the way, I didn’t see if you responded to my question the other day. Have you read the 5000 year leap yet?

      • No, I haven’t read it-been busy and have several new books I haven’t gotten too yet-Have you and if you have-was it good?

        • V.H.

          It is a good primer on the beginning of our country. The reason I asked is it contains a considerable discussion around the Founder’s views on religion/govt and the role of religion in maintaining a moral society.

          A lot of stuff that kind of fits the concerns you have expressed. Although they obviously believed it was up to state and/or local govt to deal with and not the Federal.

          I do think it is written from a “religiously biased” view point but the citations and quotes seem consistent with many I have found.

          Suggest you read it when you get a chance. Was pretty easy…….2-3 nights.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        When I worked at Comcast you were hounded on a continual basis to donate to CablePAC – the chair of CablePAC is a guy named David Cohen,an EVP at Comcast 9also a major political power broker in Philly – used to be Ed Rendell’s Chief of Staff – a real backroom guy either twisting arms or giving political blowjobs). We were “reminded” in emails, staff meetings, one-on-one’s with our managers – so on and so forth – bordering on harassment.

  12. Ha!

    See – other people read my work …

    David Stockman, Reagan’s first Budget Director, begins with a premise, one that he has had ever since his resignation in 1985: there is no political way to cut spending.

    http://www.minyanville.com/articles/print.php?a=30936

    • Tell that to Chris Christie…

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      I disagree with Stockman on some things, but overall he is correct, significant spending CUTS will not occur, this is partly due to some of the reasons he points out, and also for other reasons which he is either wrong about or missed completely.

      On a side note, we all need to think about what “Quantitative Easing” is actually accomplishing:

      1. Driving the Stock Market up – but “the little guy” left the Stock Market after the last crash, so only the big banks and investment firms are getting any benefit at all. Net result for the economy = zero at BEST.

      2. Driving down interest rates – GREAT!… Except that everyone is either out of work, upside-down (underwater) in their mortgage, or has $hitty credit now (or 2 or all 3 of the above), so no one can get access to this “cheap money”. Even the people who COULD don’t really WANT access to it, they want to eliminate personal debt, not create more of it!
      Net result for the economy = zero at BEST.

      3. Destroying the value of the dollar – WOOPS! Didn’t we want to STIMULATE THE ECONOMY??? Destroying the value of the dollar DRAMATICALLY INCREASES the prices for food, raw materials, and energy. People are already broke, underwater, out of a job, etc. Let’s celebrate that by making them pay MORE for food, anything made using raw materials (woops, that means everything), and energy! This means that they will have even LESS money to spend on anything whatsoever beyond housing, food, and energy. Many people won’t even have enough money to pay for these basic necessities!!! HOW IN THE WORLD IS THIS SUPPOSED TO “STIMULATE” THE ECONOMY??? – Net result for the economy = DISASTER.

      What is already happening here, and will be happening at a faster and faster pace as the Fed “creates” more money, is that the “average” person (which is most of the population) will struggle mightily just to get by from paycheck to paycheck as their expenses for food and energy skyrocket. Any medium (appliances, etc.) to major (vehicles, new homes, etc.) purchases will be put off INDEFINITELY. This will cause MORE layoffs and unemployment, which will EXACERBATE the problem!

      So, in short, by “creating” money out of thin air, the FED has started us down a “death-spiral” which will be damn-near impossible to break out of, which will likely result in the final decimation of our empire.

      I hope you all listened to BF and me over the past year and at least secured some hard assets as well as a good store of basic necessities for yourselves! The economy is destroyed. Unfortunately, “they” will not let it simply implode and begin the painful but necessary reset. Instead, they insist on trying to create a “controlled landing”.

      Anyone remember the ending of Dr. Strangelove? (Just because you are riding on the back of an ICBM does NOT mean you have a hope in HELL of “controlling the landing”!!)

      As usual, I hope I am wrong, but if you look over my economy-related posts of the past year, how often have I been way off-base??

  13. Wednesday, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz declared Democrat Dan Malloy the “unofficial” winner,
    but numbers released by her office show Republican Tom Foley still leading Malloy by more than 8,000 votes.

    http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/elections/2010/races/race-2/Bag-of-Uncounted-Ballots-Found-in-Bridgeport-106727208.html

    Bag of Uncounted Ballots Found in Bridgeport
    BY Bob Connors

    In what has become one of the stranger twists in an already bizarre Governor’s race, a bag of uncounted ballots was found in Bridgeport Thursday night.

    Republican officials were approached by Democratic operatives and told about the surprise ballot bag, according to Bridgeport GOP Chairman Marc Delmonico.

    “It adds to the inconsistencies from the Democratic Party in Bridgeport. It just keeps adding to it,” said Delmonico. “There’s nothing odd about it; there’s certainly nothing missing about it,” said Ed Maley, a representative for the Democratic Party.

    Delmonico said Democrats asked to have several people deputized to count the uncounted ballots, but Republicans objected, claiming that wasn’t proper procedure in the vote-counting process.

    “These ballots are getting extraordinarily heightened scrutiny. They’re being dealt with in a public fashion, an open public process so that everyone can witness it,” said Mark Anastasi, the city attorney for Bridgeport.

    Instead the GOP asked police to take custody of the bag of ballots until the matter could be sorted out.

    The votes could be pivotal in the race for Governor, in which neither candidate has conceded defeat.

    Wednesday, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz declared Democrat Dan Malloy the “unofficial” winner, but numbers released by her office show Republican Tom Foley still leading Malloy by more than 8,000 votes. Those totals do not include any of the vote totals from the City of Bridgeport.

    Bridgeport has become the focal point of what has turned into a circus of an election.

    A ballot shortage led to long lines on Election Day, and a judge issuing an order to keep polls open until 10 p.m. Tuesday, two hours longer than every other town in the state.

    Because of the shortage, many of the votes cast Tuesday were done so on photocopied ballots.

    Election officials began counting those ballots just after 5 p.m. Thursday when the new bag of uncounted ballots was discovered.

    Bysiewicz said she didn’t expect the vote totals from Bridgeport to be submitted to her until Friday at the earliest.

  14. Cool Gold graph (click to expand larger)

  15. Sparky Strikes again

    • Money, get back.
      I’m all right Jack keep your hands off of my stack.
      Money, it’s a hit.
      Don’t give me that do goody good bullshit

      Chucky, now Sparky. Language even I can understand!

  16. OK, this was just too good to pass up.

    Headline from MSNBC

    “Obama flies to India, looking to boost US economy”

    Let me start the fun…………..

    Is the economy in India?

    Economy improves because President finally left the country?

    • Obama wasn’t allowed entry back into US-had no proof of citizenship-He He 🙂 On that I think I’ll go to bed.

  17. Ray Hawkins says:

    So humor me folks…….I have found myself in a philosophical no man’s land often enough…….so I am an advocate of ‘considering’ eliminating the Department of Education in favor of putting educational dollars where they belong – back in the States for more local focused use. The past election season highlighted by left wing media goons that anyone advocating the same is somehow a lunatic or fringe thinker ——- but they never explain that position. What am I missing here? I know the talking heads are usually idiots and any position taken by someone they politically oppose is automatically wrong – but what is the position here? Is there some deep pervasive benefit I am just whiffing on that DOE brings (and the States therefore cannot)? HELP!

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      GM Ray, I only have a moment before I must run. My first thought is the ‘left’ wants the DOE to exist to prevent states from teaching children things the left does not agree with. If the left can control the DOE, then the left can control everything that is taught to the children of the U.S.A. Later gotta run

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Thanks Puritan – possible I guess – that would suggest a competent government which I’m not sure is the case. May be just perception. Have a great day!

    • Ray,

      GM. My first thought is liberals/progressives always think big government is better than small. Most “talking heads” are liberal(example posted above, bottom of #7 LAWRENCE O’DONNELL “I am a socialist.”
      “I live to the extreme left, the extreme left of you mere liberals,”)

      Most liberal are left of center, putting them left of most Americans(center right). When confronted with fact, test scores have been flat since DoE took over, they automatically respond with more money or more control. They might ask,

      “Can you prove small government can do a better job?”

      “Well yes. If you look at the success in charter schools”

      “No, charter schools still have to meet national standards, you have no proof, (change the subject, need an emotional attack) you just don’t care about the children or their future!”

    • SK Trynosky Sr says:

      They work under the unfortunate presumption that any program ever constituted in Washington is by definition useful. I don’t even want to get into the issue of innate bias in favor of an intellectual elite or against things that do work but are anathema .

      Back in the “Great Society” we had a “Model Cities” program run through HUD. One aspect of it, Federal Code Enforcement was used extensively throughout the country. It was a disaster in the Bronx and Central Brooklyn. From my perspective, the failure was attributable to it being designed as a one size fits all program by folks in an ivory tower. Multiple inspections every year, thousands upon thousands of violations and no thought to financing their removal. Ultimately Model Cities was allowed to quietly die. Had their been an outcry to end it, I am sure we would still be dealing with it today.

      My wife entered the public education world in 1969 but as a student teacher had extensive experience with “Head Start”. The statistics on it tell the tail but we are still stuck with it.

      One thing though with Public Education that I never see discussed is the impact that unfettered immigration has on it. The educational system never gets the chance to “digest” new immigrants. As a teacher you may have several immigrants in your class every year. The kids start to learn, are passed on to the next level and then several new immigrants are added to the mix in that year. There is no way that this does not hold the class back every year. Back in the 1920’s, the golden age if you will, the doors were shut. A good comparison can be made these days between the children of poor immigrants with the children of poor migrant workers that Ed Murrow talked about in “Harvest of Shame”. They do not stay in the same school long enough to really grasp an education and their parents either lack an education themselves or are unable, because of work commitments to properly or even minimally supervise their education.

      In any event the failure of most centralized government programs is the dual result of a one size fits all approach along with an abysmal inability to think creatively and realize that there is never “one way” but rather “many ways”.

    • Ray Hawkins

      The need for the Dept of Education is supported by the basic philosophical belief that “nationalization” is needed to create “social justice” or “equity”.

      This is the basis for all federal programs that take our money, consolidate it, then redistribute it to “everyone” in a supposed “equal” basis.

      Of course, they ignore that fact that shuffling the money through D.C. creates an overhead burden of anywhere from 10% to 60% depending on the program.

      There is truth in the comment that the Dept was formed by lefties of the 60’s as a means of controlling the education programs and agenda. Teaching methods, etc were handed down to the states.

      Anyway, I believe that is the philosophical point behind it today.

      The Dept is the primary funnel for scholarships and grants. Thus it is an integral part of the “social justice” or in my view “engineering” goals of the left. It also creates a powerful money connection and support system for the “national” teachers union. Without the Dept they would not have a money/power institution to organize and control things nationally.

      This is one of the reasons I push so hard for “decentralized” govt. Centralized authority/power is simply a temptation to great for most people to pass up. This includes Corporations, not just Unions.

      Hope this adds something to your thinking.

      Enjoy the weekend.
      JAC

  18. (Rember all those “astroturf organizations?)

    http://johnrlott.blogspot.com/

    Is the “American Hunters and Shooters Association” out of business?
    It certainly looks as if the American Hunters and Shooters Association is out of business (see what has happened to their website here). The group endorsed Obama in 2008. Obama pretended to support the Second Amendment that year and AHSA help provide him with cover.

    US News & World Report: “Obama, who has been endorsed by the moderate American Hunters and Shooters Association”

    USA Today: “It’s a really McCarthyism at its worst,” said Bob Ricker, executive director of the American Hunters and Shooters Association, which has endorsed Obama. “That’s really why our organization was formed, was to deal with this craziness. If you’re a gun owner, but you have a contrary view to some of these wackos, they will go out and try to destroy you.”

    CBS: The American Hunters and Shooters Association also endorsed Obama, saying they “wanted to set the record straight.” Obama told a group of fundraisers that some small town Americans “cling to guns…as a way to explain their frustrations” a week and a half ago. The association believes, however, that Hillary Clinton has “turned her back on American’s gun owners.”

    AHSA notes: “And, the truth is that NRA has been selling out hunters on conservation interests for years. The organization that I head, the American Hunters and Shooters Association put out a comprehensive report showing that the NRA has support Members of Congress with the worst conservation records. Our report showed that the NRA has stood with George Bush, John McCain, and the corporate lobbyists instead of standing up for hunters and shooters’ interest in protecting our forests and public lands.”

    Similarly Americans for Gun Safety (AGS) and the AGS Foundation (AGSF) have been folded into the Third Way (see this link here). The Buckeye Firearms Association has this detailed post here.

    (second topic)
    How are gun control groups doing?
    One gets some idea of how well the gun control groups are doing just by looking at how many people list that they like them in their Facebook accounts. While the NRA has 575,000 fans and Gun Owners of America has 41,000, gun control groups need some real help getting supporters: American Hunters and Shooters Association, 13; Americans for Gun Safety, 4; Brady Campaign, 9,998; Freedom States Alliance, 44; and Violence Policy Center, zero. The only overlap is for the Second Amendment Foundation, with only 3,596 people who like it.

  19. So many new amendments, mostly based solely on common sense, on things we just take for granted -now have to be written down to protect against the extremes. To try and stop them before they take their next restrictive step. In my state Tn.- we voted on whether or not people had the right to hunt and fish.

  20. Witnesses, survivors rally to recognize WWII pilot’s heroic act
    By Bob Crowley, CNN
    November 6, 2010 9:00 a.m. EDT

    Saugus, Massachusetts (CNN) — The image is still vivid after 65 years. Bob Attubato and his fellow sixth-grade classmates rushed to the window just in time to see a crippled twin-engine bomber trailing smoke and flames over their school.

    “Suddenly, we heard this unearthly sound coming over the school,” Attubato recalled. “It just reverberated through the building.”

    As the class stood there and watched, the plane’s wing and engine broke off and it disappeared from view. A loud explosion followed.

    Attubato later learned that the pilot, Army Air Force Maj. Doak Weston stayed with the B-25 until it crashed on a nearby golf course, giving his five-man crew time to bail out and missing nearby homes.

    The event faded with time, but Attubato never forgot that day. He and others campaigned to honor the heroic pilot.

    One of these was Dave Paquin, whose father was one of the surviving crew members. Sgt. Frederic Paquin parachuted from the burning plane that day, landing in a tree. Dave Paquin said his father used to joke about that being the only tree he climbed down that he never climbed up.

    Paquin’s father died 15 years ago, but he still feels a debt of gratitude to Weston.

    “My father owes his life to him,” he said.

    Recently, the mayor of Melrose, Massachusetts — where Weston’s plane crashed on the golf course — agreed to honor the pilot’s heroism.

    “In Massachusetts, we have many great historic events and some for whatever reason just get passed by,” Melrose Mayor Robert Dolan said.

    “I just couldn’t imagine that this individual doesn’t have some remembrance for what he has done.”

    On September 24, 2010 — 65 years to the day of the accident — the city held a ceremony on the eighth tee at the Mt. Hood Golf Club in Melrose, overlooking the site of the crash.

    Aside from the occasional golf cart passing by, it is a quiet, peaceful spot. At the conclusion of the service, Dolan lifted a sheet off a small stone engraved with the names of Weston and the crew he saved.

    Helping him to unveil the monument was Michael Weston, who was only 3 when his father died. He was overwhelmed by the city’s gratitude.

    “I’m just very impressed,” he said. “It’s just made me very happy.”

    Weston traveled with his family from California to attend the service. Until coming to Melrose, he said, they never had a full appreciation of what Doak Weston had done or what his sacrifice meant to this community.

    Weston graciously accepted the thanks given to him by the veterans and residents who lined up after the service to shake his hand. He said he knows their gratefulness is really directed at his father.

    They want to honor the memory of a man who gave his life for others. Michael Weston has the same feelings towards the father he never really knew.

    “There are lots of people who follow that instinct to do the right thing for their fellow man,” he said. “That’s what he stood for to me.”

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/11/06/vif.hero.pilot/index.html?hpt=C1

    Hero-very appropriate use of the word.

  21. Why Arianna Huffington Played The Race Card (Por qué Arianna Huffington Jugó La Tarjeta de Raza)
    by Andrew Breitbart

    http://biggovernment.com/abreitbart/2010/11/04/why-arianna-huffington-played-the-race-card-por-que-arianna-huffington-jugo-la-tarjeta-de-raza/

    I have to say-I loved this one

  22. “Bush Tax Cuts”…………the coming Grand Compromise

    We don’t know for sure what will happen but the President has offered a “potential” for compromise.

    Here is a NY Times editorial that does one of two things. It either is an indicator of where the President wants it to end up, or it is cover for him to get the simple one year extension.

    For those that have not been involved with these master manipulators, the politicians quite often use their friends in the media to provided articles or editorials to help them “set the stage”.

    Now this could be just an independent editorial, with not funny business. But I am guessing it is all related, given it is the NY Times and a lefty Administration.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/07/opinion/07sun1.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

    You will all get a kick out of this guys belief that budget cuts simply CAN NOT be done to make up the revenue lost by the tax cuts.

    • I am sorry but the math does not add up. OK for $3.2 trillion to help the “middle class” but not OK for $700 billion for the “wealthy”, nothing here but political driven class warfare.

  23. Oregon Couple Drops Condoms in Kids’ Trick-or-Treat Bags

    * Posted on November 5, 2010 at 4:27pm by Meredith Jessup Meredith Jessup
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    Parents in one Oregon town were not amused when their trick-or-treaters came home with a bag full of candy and — courtesy of one local couple — condoms.

    Condoms packaged to look like Halloween lollipops

    As a result, a post-Halloween controversy has brewed up among residents of the town of Silverton.

    Kathleen Harris says she and her husband have been handing out condoms to high school-age trick-or-treaters for years, but introduced the practice to Silverton this year after recently moving to the area. Though Harris and her husband view the prophylactic “treats” as a community service that promotes health, local dad Daniel Côté disagrees.

    Côté says he was shocked when his 14-year-old daughter received condoms from Harris, calling it an intrusion of family privacy and a violation of his paternal rights to raise his daughter as he wishes. “It is hard for me as a parent to imagine any justification for giving children condoms without parents’ consent,” Côté told the Statesman Journal. “It’s inappropriate. I want to deal in my own house with my own children.”

    Harris admits that giving condoms to a 14-year-old was a mistake; the couple’s standard practice is to hand them out to kids who claim to be at least 16. She says she doesn’t believe that handing out the contraceptive encourages sexual behavior. Instead, she insists they are an educational tool to get kids familiar with what they look like should they decide to have sex in the future. She says she also encourages kids to pass them on to other people they might know who need them.

    “It’s harm reduction,” Harris says. “Kids are going to do these things anyway, so we want them to have to at least think about it ahead of time.”

    But Côté and other parents vehemently disagree with Harris’ reasoning.

    “When my daughter came back home, we always go through her candy, and we pulled out a toothbrush and then a small brown paper bag that was folded up and there were three condoms inside,” Côté says. Though his daughter said she remembered getting the paper bag, she assumed it had candy inside.

    “By providing kids with condoms, you’re promoting sexual activity no matter how you look at it,” Côté said, adding that while he respects the Harrises’ opinions, they shouldn’t impose them on other people.

    “[Sex is] definitely a subject reserved for family, not some neighbor I hardly know in a neighborhood somewhere,” he says.

    Somethings are just so stupid-I don’t know what to say.

  24. alrighty then. I figured I’d check back in.

    The dust has settled a bit, somewhat…

    so I figured I’d return to the forum of open debate and free exchange of ideas.

    ” i figured everything is an experience….I figured I’d only have one chance to experience a courts martial in a combat zone, …so i went with it”

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