Friday, November 30, 2007

Tonight's Music

Tomorrow is December 1st so we will be doing Christmas music for the most part. To close out November here is some more grim and depressing death Celtic from Clann Zú called Five Thousand More. This is from their CD Rua.

Kind of reminds me of some of the music from Battlestar Galactica.

HBW Christmas Gift Guide

Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies

Accused of creating a bogus Red Scare and smearing countless innocent victims in a five-year reign of terror, Senator Joseph McCarthy is universally remembered as a demagogue, a bully, and a liar. History has judged him such a loathsome figure that even today, a half century after his death, his name remains synonymous with witch hunts.

But that conventional image is all wrong, as veteran journalist and author M. Stanton Evans reveals in this groundbreaking book. The long-awaited Blacklisted by History, based on six years of intensive research, dismantles the myths surrounding Joe McCarthy and his campaign to unmask Communists, Soviet agents, and flagrant loyalty risks working within the U.S. government. Evans’s revelations completely overturn our understanding of McCarthy, McCarthyism, and the Cold War.

Drawing on primary sources—including never-before-published government records and FBI files, as well as recent research gleaned from Soviet archives and intercepted transmissions between Moscow spymasters and their agents in the United States—Evans presents irrefutable evidence of a relentless Communist drive to penetrate our government, influence its policies, and steal its secrets. Most shocking of all, he shows that U.S. officials supposedly guarding against this danger not only let it happen but actively covered up the penetration. All of this was precisely as Joe McCarthy contended.

Blacklisted by History shows, for instance, that the FBI knew as early as 1942 that J. Robert Oppenheimer, the director of the atomic bomb project, had been identified by Communist leaders as a party member; that high-level U.S. officials were warned that Alger Hiss was a Soviet spy almost a decade before the Hiss case became a public scandal; that a cabal of White House, Justice Department, and State Department officials lied about and covered up the Amerasia spy case; and that the State Department had been heavily penetrated by Communists and Soviet agents before McCarthy came on the scene.

Evans also shows that practically everything we’ve been told about McCarthy is false, including conventional treatment of the famous 1950 speech at Wheeling, West Virginia, that launched the McCarthy era (“I have here in my hand . . .”), the Senate hearings that casually dismissed his charges, the matter of leading McCarthy suspect Owen Lattimore, the Annie Lee Moss case, the Army-McCarthy hearings, and much more.

In the end, Senator McCarthy was censured by his colleagues and condemned by the press and historians. But as Evans writes, “The real Joe McCarthy has vanished into the mists of fable and recycled error, so that it takes the equivalent of a dragnet search to find him.” Blacklisted by History provides the first accurate account of what McCarthy did and, more broadly, what happened to America during the Cold War. It is a revealing exposé of the forces that distorted our national policy in that conflict and our understanding of its history since.
As a person of the right I love finding out that some cherished belief of the left is actually a lie constructed of tissue paper. I have seen indications that the commonly accepted view of McCarthy was wrong. The beautiful and intelligent Ann Coulter admires him, but leftists dismiss her as a right-wing bomb thrower (she is but they're truth bombs).
Jack Kennedy once walked out of a lecture when McCarthy was being trashed because he regarded McCarthy as a friend and a leader in the important work of opposing communism.
All of this is tied together by M. Stanton Evans in this wonderful book. I recomend it highly to anyone who wishes to learn about the real history of the Cold War.

The debate that killed CNN

From The Washington Times:

CNN intended for political sparks to fly during Wednesday"s Republican presidential debate, but outrage and accusations of partisanship were directed at the network instead.

The backlash started after it turned out that a homosexual retired soldier asking about "don"t ask, don"t tell" has an affiliation with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton"s campaign. The network was forced to apologize and scrubbed the exchange from its repeat of the two-hour debate, even though the Clinton campaign says retired Brig. Gen. Keith H. Kerr was not acting on behalf of the Democratic presidential front-runner.

But things spiraled downward for CNN yesterday as bloggers — a more natural audience for a debate co-hosted by YouTube — held each questioner under a magnifying glass and found anti-Republican links ranging from the Council on American-Islamic Relations to a pro-Democratic labor union. The network defended its choice of questioners and noted that it drew 5 million viewers — the most-watched primary debate ever.

Reports flew on the Internet that at least nine of the 34 questions posed via YouTube videos — on topics ranging from corn subsidies to Social Security reform — came from voters who have ties to Democrats or a vested interest in asking the Republicans to go on record.

"Would it have killed CNN to Google some of these people?" conservative blogger Jason Coleman asked.

On the personal Web page of David McMillan of Los Angeles, who asked the candidates why many black voters choose Democrats over Republicans, are many political videos, including one with a video blogger asking which presidential candidate was most "gangsta." In the video, he called Sen. John McCain of Arizona "Insane McCain." There are also photos of him attending a fundraiser for Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and laudatory videos of former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, both Democrats.

Adam Florzak, who asked about Social Security, has an entire Web site devoted to the subject ( and a 2005 article describes him as "hell-bent on reforming Social Security and the pension system" and working with someone from Democratic Whip Sen. Richard J. Durbin's staff.

At his site, Mr. Florzak describes his efforts to get a personal meeting to put his Social Security plan into the hands of Mr. Obama and has posted a video of himself asking the Illinois Democrat about the issue during a town-hall meeting.

David Cercone asked why "Log Cabin Republicans [should] support" the candidates, leaving the impression that he is a member of the group. But bloggers uncovered an online profile in which he endorses Mr. Obama and praises him as "a leader who inspires me with his sincerity."

The woman in Islamic dress identified as Yasmin from Huntsville, Ala., who asked a question about the U.S. image among Muslims, is a former intern at CAIR, the Muslim lobby group said yesterday evening on its Web site (

Ted Faturos of Manhattan Beach, Calif., asked the candidates about their support for farm subsidies, taking a bite from an ear of corn to punctuate his point. Bloggers pretty quickly determined he once worked for Rep. Jane Harman, California Democrat. Her office said he was a "high school intern" in a district office in 2004 and has had no contact with the office since.

After the debate, CNN apologized once it confirmed that Gen. Kerr is on the steering committee for LGBT Americans for Hillary.

The Clinton campaign insists that Gen. Kerr was acting on his own behalf, which he also asserted yesterday morning in a CNN interview, saying that "I have not done any work" for Mrs. Clinton and that the question was not posed to him by any campaign or group.

"This was a private initiative on my own," he said.

But the general's question provoked both praise and angry reaction on his YouTube page, which also links to a film being made about the don't ask, don't tell policy. One person applauded the general for his "bravery in bringing up this point." Another called his question "inspired."

But "dantheman8282" complained that "with CNN at the helm," the chances of having an "open and fair debate ... are close to nil."

"I have no idea how you, above almost all other YouTubers, should get press time and be given the floor at the CNN debate above all others," dantheman8282 wrote. "The fact that you spoke longer than Duncan Hunter (who incidentally is a presidential candidate) is so bizarre and crazy."

Questioner LeeAnn Anderson asked the candidates about lead paint in toys while holding her children. It was widely noted yesterday that Mrs. Anderson is an assistant to Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers of America. The union has endorsed former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. Another questioner who asked about abortion reacted on her YouTube page while wearing an Edwards T-shirt.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the Annenberg Public Policy Center said the YouTube format, puts an additional screening burden on organizers: "I'm always concerned when I don't know how to judge the person asking the question, and it's not someone who asks questions for a living."

In a statement, CNN defended its question choices, saying "the whole point" is to open the questions to "a wider range of Americans all around the country. CNN cared about what you asked, not who you were."

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee didn't seem to mind and said he felt CNN chose a "pretty good balance" of questions. He said it was "refreshing ... the questions came from people who weren't being paid to ask them."

But Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, complained to CNN yesterday, saying: "I think that should have been made public ... [so candidates could] have a better way of judging the quality of the question."

The debate was supposed to be undecided REPUBLICANS asking the Republican candidates questions. Instead CNN (which well earned the nickname the Clinton News Network) deliberately selected Democrat plants (which it knew were Democrat plants) or questions from kooks which were designed to make the party look as bad as possible.

This does not surprise me since CNN is not even remotely a legitimate journalistic organization (instead being a propaganda arm of the socialist wing of the Democrat Party).

Here is the question. Does anyone believe that if the Democrats had displayed the courage to have a debate on the FOX News Channel (where they would have been asked legitmate questions) that they would have been treated this way?

St. Andrew's Day

Today is St Andrew's Day. St Andrew and his brother Simon Peter were both fishermen before joining Jesus to become disciples. It is believed Andrew was martyred in 70AD at Patras, Greece, by the Roman governor who ordered him to be crucified on an X-shaped cross known as a Saltire Cross. (from The Scotsman)
St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. This is why Scotland's flag consists of St. Andrew's cross on a field of blue.

They have shown me the way

From The Washington Post:

Vigils, curbside HIV screening, public forums with District teens and a demonstration across from the White House are planned for today and this weekend to mark World AIDS Day in the city with the worst rate of infection in the United States.

The events, which began earlier in the week with a town hall meeting at Howard University, follow a report on the extent of HIV and AIDS in the city. The accounting by the D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration showed "a modern epidemic" that touches thousands of residents in every part of the city. The statistics were the first ever amassed on HIV rates in the District.

The most vocal gathering is expected to lead to arrests as health advocates and HIV-positive activists protest in Lafayette Square this afternoon, the eve of the official day of commemoration. According to an organizer, demonstrators would be draped in red tape to symbolize the bureaucracy that is hindering an effective response to the disease on local, national and global levels.

Other than the spouses/partners of cheating husbands/boyfriends and those who received blood or blood products containing the virus before the nation's blood supply was effectively screened (a very small percentage of the total) virtually everyone who has contracted the disease since the early 1980s has done so because they engaged in voluntary behavior in full knowledge of the risks.

In that spirit I want to be able to drink a quart of scotch and a twelve-pack of beer every day. I want to eat 6000 calories of junk food every day. I want to smoke three packs of cigarettes every day. And I want to get no exercise other than walking to the refrigerator, liquor cabinet or bathroom as needed. This is the lifestyle I choose to live and I have wanted to live this way for as long as I can remember so I believe I was born this way.

Therefore I DEMAND that the government spend however many billions of dollars it has to spend to fund the medical research to allow me to live my preferred lifestyle without any medical consequences whatsoever!

Anyone who does not agree to this is a bigot and is attempting to commit genocide and is probably a secret member of the Ku Klux Klan. I demand that churches who preach against the "sins" of "drunkenness" and "gluttony" and "indolence" be forced to change their medieval attitudes and that so called diet and exercise gurus like Richard Simmons be prosecuted for hate speech.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tonight's Music

Sinéad O'Connor performing Óró 's é do bheatha 'bhaile at the Nuit Celtique Festival.

The closer you look the worse he looks

From ABC:

More questions emerged Thursday about a report that Rudy Giuliani misused public funds when he was mayor of New York to pay for secret trips to the Hamptons with his then-girlfriend and now wife, Judith Nathan.

New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson told ABC News that Giuliani's administration billed obscure city agencies for his security detail's travel expenses during his visits to the Hamptons.

Late this afternoon Giuliani told ABC News this story was a "hit job."

"This was really done to try to focus on my personal life," Giuliani said.

He said the New York Police Department always reimbursed city agencies for his security details' expenses.

OK, let's try to wrap our minds around all of this. Giuliani takes the woman he's having the adulterous affair with (we'll take the high road and not call her his whore) to the Hamptons for a little weekend getaway and charges various city agencies for the expenses. Presumably he does it this way so that he A, won't have to pay for his whore's, I mean girlfriend's, transportation and housing out of his own pocket and B, won't have to start a "Mayor's nookie expenses" account on the City's books.

BUT this is all fine because the NYPD reimbursed the city agencies for the expenses.

So Julie Annie has some taxpayer funded city agencies pay his girlfriend's expenses but doesn't think that is a problem because he had the police department, another taxpayer funded city agency, pay those agencies back - with taxpayer dollars.

It's all so clear to me now!

What's clear to me is that Giuliani is a corrupt big-city hack politician who doesn't deserve to be dog catcher let alone president.

What is truly frightening is that he may genuinely not understand why all this makes him a scumbag. Leprosy, as we've discussed before, is a disease which takes away the bodies ability to fell pain. Without the warning which pain gives us the leper literally rots away from infections caused by the untreated injuries that he cannot feel.

Guilt and shame are the moral equivalents of pain in that they warn us when we have wounded our soul by transgressing the boundary between right and wrong. The moral leper cannot feel the warning guilt and shame when he does wrong and so his soul rots away.

If you want to see an advanced case of this you need look no further than Bill and Hillary Clinton. It would seem that Rudolph Giuliani is well on his way to matching them for depravity.

Well, maybe by New York City standards

(CBS) Was it routine expenses, or is an apparent skeleton in Rudy Giuliani’s closet really coming out to haunt him? CBS News anchor Katie Couric sat down with the national frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination Thursday.

A report posted on Wednesday said that at the time when Giuliani was beginning an extramarital relationship with Judith Nathan, who eventually became his third wife, he billed obscure city agencies thousands of dollars for his police security detail covering trips to visit Nathan.

But Giuliani insists that everything was done in the open, “honestly, honorably, above board.”

Our good friend Patrick at Born Again Redneck has been doing yeoman's work listing the reasons why we shouldn't entrust the Republican nomination to Julie Annie. Go read the whole sordid story there.

A fine Christmas story

HWT Christmas Gift Guide

Guys, want to get the perfect Christmas gift for the woman you love? Think diamonds. The average woman will react to diamonds the way you react to power tools.

I know this is hard to understand, but it's true!

Round Diamond Stud Earrings

These will make your lady happy.

Par for the course

From The Wall Street Journal:

A Dec. 15 fund-raising event for Hillary Clinton at the home of prominent Mississippi trial lawyer Richard “Dickie” Scruggs is off, now that Scruggs has been indicted for bribery.

Bill Clinton was set to be the star attraction at the event at Scruggs’s Oxford, Miss., home. Hillary Clinton wasn’t scheduled to attend. It was the first event that Scruggs, who made a fortune suing the tobacco industry in the 1990s, had offered to host for Clinton, a campaign spokesman said. It was canceled on Wednesday, after the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided his home and the federal indictment was announced.

Know what the difference between him and other big-money donors to Democrat campaigns is?

He got caught.

Nothing better than good military tech

Thanks to reader Your Jewish Master for the heads up.

The first step toward true powered combat armor

Cooler than anything that was ever cool before.

I want one that mounts a .50 cal. chain gun.

Miss Ann is talking

That means that YOU are listening!

Last week, in an article titled "Walking a Tightrope on Immigration," The New York Times made the fact-defying claim that the illegal immigration issue poses a risk for Republicans who appeal to voters "angry" about illegal immigration. (This is as opposed to voters "angry" that they spent good money buying a copy of The New York Times.)

In support of this assertion, the Times was required not only to ignore the stunning defeat of this year's amnesty bill, but also to proffer provably absurd evidence. I dearly hope Democratic politicians continue to look to the Times as an accurate barometer of voter sentiment.

In addition to secret polls showing that "the majority of Americans" support "a path to citizenship for immigrants here illegally," the Times cited election results from 1994 and 2006 that directly contradict this thesis.

First, the Times raised former California Gov. Pete Wilson's "precipitous slide" in the polls after he supported Proposition 187 in 1994, which denied most taxpayer-supported services to illegal immigrants.

The problem with this example is that Proposition 187 was wildly popular with California voters.

Times reporter Michael Luo seems to be referring to the Times' own prediction of catastrophe for Proposition 187 -- not actual election results.

One week before Californians voted on Proposition 187 in 1994, B. Drummond Ayres Jr. reported in the Times that there had been "a sharp falloff in support for the proposition."

He said Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans and African-American ministers were coming out strongly against Proposition 187 and that "this outcry, along with the increasing opposition being voiced by liberals, civil libertarians and assorted national political figures" was having an effect.

And then Californians voted.

Proposition 187 passed in a landslide with a nearly 20-point margin -- a larger margin than Wilson got, incidentally. It was supported by two-thirds of white voters, half of black and Asian voters, and even one-third of Hispanic voters. It passed in every area of California, except San Francisco, a city where intoxicated gay men dressed as nuns performing sex acts on city streets is not considered unusual. In heavily Latino Los Angeles County, Proposition 187 passed with a 12-point margin.

I'm no campaign consultant, but I think Wilson's support for an off-the-charts popular initiative probably didn't hurt him.

In fact, here on planet Earth, about the safest thing a California politician could do would be to wildly, vocally support Proposition 187. But in New York Times-speak, politicians are walking a dangerous "tightrope" if they dare to defy a slight majority of San Francisco voters!

The initiative went to Carter-appointed U.S. District Court Judge Mariana Pfaelzer, who issued a permanent injunction and then, in a series of decisions, found the initiative unconstitutional. Her rulings were still on appeal when Democrat Gray Davis became governor and dropped the appeals. Everyone remembers how popular Gray Davis was! (First governor in California history to be recalled.)

The crown jewel of the Times' pathetic attempt to marshal evidence for its thesis that Americans want more, not fewer, illegal aliens choking our roads, schools and hospitals also included this gem: "J.D. Hayworth, a hard-line incumbent Republican representative in Arizona, lost his race in 2006, as did Randy Graf, a member of the border-enforcing Minuteman group, who also ran in Arizona."

How many times do we have to disprove this canard?

As with Hillary's position on driver's licenses for illegals -- and B. Hussein Obama's entire campaign -- the Hayworth-Graf example works better when no follow-up questions are allowed. For example:

Q: Did Hayworth's and Graf's opponents campaign against them on illegal immigration?

A: No.

Q: Were there any other issues on the ballot that year that might tell us if it was Hayworth's and Graf's positions on illegals that led to their defeats?

A: Si! Oops, I mean, yes -- why, yes there were! The very election that the Times cites as proof that anti-illegal sentiment is a loser at the ballot box also included four measures that passed overwhelmingly: (1) a measure to deny bail to illegal aliens, (2) a measure that would bar illegals from being awarded punitive damages, (3) a measure that would prohibit illegals from receiving state subsidies for education or child care, and (4) a measure to declare English the state's official language.

Whatever Arizona voters didn't like about Hayworth and Graf, it wasn't that they were too tough on illegals.

My theory is that Hayworth and Graf lost because the multitudes of Times reporters losing their jobs due to the Newspaper of Record's plummeting circulation have recently moved to Hayworth's and Graf's districts. (This is what's known as a "brain drain" in those districts.)

My theory -- like the Times' theory -- is supported by no evidence. But unlike the Times' theory, mine is not specifically disproved by other evidence such as common sense, an everyday observation of my fellow man, and also those four anti-illegal immigrant measures passing in landslides in the very same election.

This issue alone will put a Republican in the White House in 2008 unless we nominate the mayor of a sanctuary city or the governor of a state that had illegal aliens on his payroll or the governor of another state that tried to give illegal aliens educational benefits or the Senator who was the main driving force behind the late amnesty bill.

The Republican Debate

From The New York Times:

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Nov. 28 -- The Republican candidates for president engaged in a two-hour free-for-all Wednesday night, repeatedly confronting one another directly even as they fielded video questions submitted by Internet users in the most spirited debate of the 2008 presidential campaign.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani immediately set the tone for the combative event, using the first question to continue a weeks-long feud they have waged on the campaign trail. Each accused the other of ignoring laws against illegal immigration and distorting one another's record on the issue.

Giuliani accused Romney of having a "sanctuary mansion" by employing illegal immigrants as lawn workers and of being "holier than thou" on the issue. Romney accused Giuliani of ignoring the laws and of welcoming illegal immigrants to New York. "That's the wrong attitude," Romney charged in a lengthy, heated exchange.

Romney and Giuliani are each doing an excellent job of informing the American electorate of why the other should not be president. What they say about each other is true.

Former senator Fred D. Thompson accused Romney of flip-flopping on immigration and said Giuliani had gone to court seeking to overturn a bill designed to ban sanctuary cities. "I helped pass a bill outlawing sanctuary cities," Thompson said. "The mayor went to court to overturn it. So, if it wasn't a sanctuary city, I'd call that a frivolous lawsuit."

Thompson did well for himself last night. As the others make themselves and each other look bad Thompson continually comes off looking like the grownup.

Romney and Huckabee, who are in an increasingly tight battle in Iowa, clashed over whether children of illegal immigrants should receive college scholarships. Romney said Huckabee was wrong to support such a measure in Arkansas, to which Huckabee replied: "In all due respect, we are a better country than to punish children for what their parents did."

This is one of the many reasons Huckabee shouldn't be president.

McCain, whose campaign was damaged by his support for comprehensive immigration legislation, promised along with others that, as president, he would secure the borders, but he called on his rivals to tone down their rhetoric on the hot-button issue. If he becomes president, he said, "We won't have all this other rhetoric that unfortunately contributes nothing to the national dialogue."

Translation: He still wants amnesty. He'll be president when Bill and Hillary Clinton go before the public and make a completely truthful confession of all their wrongdoing since entering public life. In other words hell will freeze over first.

Giuliani, the GOP front-runner in national polling, was put on the defensive throughout the night as he became the target of his rivals and of several of the questioners. He was booed by some in the audience when he said the government has a right to impose reasonable regulations on gun ownership.

You have no idea how much good this does my heart.

With the first primaries so close the gloves are coming off and we are finally getting a good picture of the real men who are in the race. The same thing is happening on the Democrat side as well. All I can say is what's coming out of the Republican side is vastly better than what is coming out of the Democrats.

HWT Christmas Gift Guide

Women, you have a husband or boyfriend and you need to get him something for Christmas? I have two words for you: Power Tools.

Power tools will warm his heart the way expensive jewelry warms yours.

DeWalt DC759KA Heavy-Duty 18-Volt Ni-Cad 1/2-Inch Cordless Drill/Driver Kit

You need power, but you don’t want to hoist a ton. Here’s the answer. DeWalt’s revamped 18-volt compact drill/driver delivers on both counts, with a 1/2-inch chuck that grips beefy bits, an 18-position adjustable clutch, and a high-performance motor for the torque you need, packaged in a truly lightweight, comfortable drill. The variable speed has a high and low range for any application, and the reverse switch is right above the curved trigger for easy access. The included charger juices up a spent battery in an hour. We especially like the light weight, even more so because it doesn’t cost in the power department. Lots of pluses: on-board bit storage, two batteries, hard case. We think contractors will be pleased with this drill, especially after a long day.--Kris Jensen-Van Heste

Product Description: Max. Torque (in.-lbs.): 450, Volts: 18, Speed - No Load (RPM): 0-450/0-1,500, Chuck Size (in.): 1/2, Keyless Chuck: Yes, Clutch Settings: 17, Reversible: Yes, Variable Speed: Yes, Side Handle: No, Battery Included: Yes, (2) 18V batteries, Charger Included: Yes, 1-hr. charger, Case Included: Yes, Tool Weight (lbs.): 5.2

DeWalt makes fine tools, the kind a man is proud to own. As an added bonus if you get him stuff like this he will do home repair/improvement projects.

The MSRP on this cordless drill/driver is $379.13. has it for $179.00.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tonight's Music

Clann Zú - Ag titm chun an talamh (crashing to the floor). Hard core death Celtic. This is from their CD Rua.

Her hidden enemy

DES MOINES, Iowa - As only he can do, Bill Clinton packed campaign venues across eastern Iowa and awed Democratic voters with a compelling case for his wife's candidacy. He was unscripted, in-depth and generous.

He also was long-winded, misleading and self-absorbed.

"Good Bill" and "Bad Bill" (his nickname among some aides) returned to the public arena Tuesday as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton brandished her double-edged sword of a husband to fend off rivals in the Jan. 3 caucus fight.

"Ladies and gentlemen," Clinton told 400 Iowans at the start of his three-city swing, "I have had a great couple of days out working for Hillary."

In the next 10 minutes, he used the word "I" a total of 94 times and mentioned "Hillary" just seven times in an address that was as much about his legacy as it was about his wife's candidacy.

He told the crowd where he bought coffee that morning and where he ate breakfast.

He detailed his Thanksgiving Day guest list, and menu.

He defended his record as president, rewriting history along the way.

And he explained why his endorsement of a certain senator from New York should matter to people.

"I know what it takes to be president," he said, "and because of the life I've led since I've left office."

I, me and my. Oh, my.

Late in his 50-minute address, Clinton told the crowd that wealthy people like he and his wife should pay more taxes in times of war. "Even though I approved of Afghanistan and opposed Iraq from the beginning, I still resent that I was not asked or given the opportunity to support those soldiers," he said.

In truth, Clinton did not oppose the Iraq war from the start — at least not publicly.

If the former president secretly opposed the war but did not want to speak against a sitting president (as some of his aides now claim), what moral authority does he have now? And did he share his objections with his wife? She started out as a hawkish Democrat but is now appealing to anti-war voters.

Back on Nov. 13 I wrote this:

She also has another massive liability. Bill Clinton. Although most would think of him as a great asset, an up till now he mostly has been, he will not continue to be. Bill Clinton's driving characteristic is his ego which requires him to be "the bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral and the baby at every christening" (as Teddy Roosevelt's daughter once observed about him).

He is simply not going to be able to take a backseat for very much longer. And not
only must he grab as much attention as he can he must also make it crystal clear that he is still the star and that everyone and everything, especially Hillary, orbits around him. What will eventually happen is open warfare between Bill Clinton and his wife's campaign.

It is already beginning to come true.

The simplest explanation is usually correct

From The Wall Street Journal:

ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. -- Senior Airman Amanda Fauci's job is so sensitive she has nearly the same security clearance as a Secret Service agent. She sometimes goes on weeks-long classified assignments.

But on a recent mission, the 23-year-old was struggling. Her Texas-shaped sugar cookies made from prepared dough "blew up," she says. She ended up making a new batch from scratch at home that night. The next day, she served them to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, former President George H.W. Bush and other VIPs aboard a Boeing 757 bound for College Station, Texas.

"There was a sense of panic there for a moment" when the initial batch flopped, says Airman Fauci, a five-year service veteran. Working on her time off is all part of "getting the mission done," she says.

The Air Force is looking for a few good men and women like Ms. Fauci: flight attendants who staff Air Force One and 16 other luxury planes that ferry government dignitaries around the globe.

It's not as easy finding recruits as one might think. The 150 members of the Andrews-based group and about 70 others stationed elsewhere -- all Air Force enlisted personnel, trained in survival skills, aircraft emergencies and the culinary arts -- take on duties that would make commercial flight attendants want to pull the rip cord.

For security and historical reasons, it's up to them to plan menus, buy food and supplies, prepare meals, load luggage into the cargo hold and then, dressed in understated navy suits, tend to powerful and demanding passengers on trips that can last weeks. Though they sometimes get luxury accommodations in exotic locales, they are on call around the clock and endure unpredictable schedules, 11-hour flights and overnighting in tents in Iraq -- not to mention vacuuming the aircraft cabins during fuel stops and washing many, many dishes.

"My friends say, 'I wouldn't do your job if they gave me a bonus,'" says Tech. Sgt. Allison Miller, a 10-year Air Force attendant. But the 15-year service veteran says she took the job to travel and figures, "I've seen the world twice."
The 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews spent the past six months on an unprecedented recruiting drive to lure enlisted men and women to volunteer for the job and, to a lesser extent, to attract pilots. When Air Force One and other planes in the iconic blue and white color scheme were on stops at Air Force bases around the country, the wing invited service members to come take a look. Frequent fliers Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Vice President Dick Cheney made video testimonials.

Despite the prestige the duty confers, the wing was having trouble finding the quantity and quality of candidates needed, and the right mix of ages and ranks to keep the operation from being top-heavy, says Maj. Kurt Kremser, a pilot who runs personnel in the wing. But the Air Force says the effort -- a large part of it simply making it known that such jobs exist -- is paying off: The service found enough attendants to fill spots in the year ended in September and is well on its way to filling openings for this fiscal year.

The reason they're having trouble recruiting enough women is that they are afraid that Bill Clinton will be flying on it again.

The reason they're having trouble recruiting enough men is that they are afraid that Hillary Clinton will be flying on it again.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tonight's Music

Clannad's video for the song The Hunter. This is available on their CD The Ultimate Collection .

HWT Christmas Gift Guide

If you or someone on your Christmas list has to be on the road a lot a portable GPS navigation aid could be just what the doctor ordered. In fact one doesn't have to be on the road a good deal to benefit from such a device. All that is really necessary is that one be a terrible navigator. Like a friend of mine who lives in the Northeast. He is a really good driver, but he could aim for New York City (you can see the Manhattan skyline from his office in Newark) and wind up in Baton Rouge.

TomTom ONE 3rd Edition Portable GPS Vehicle Navigator

Product Description: The latest version of the popular TomTom One GPS navigation unit includes an improved user interface with new options for customizing the navigation screen and more information with easier access to other functions. The MapShare feature allows you to edit maps instantly on your device and report map errors easily using your device with TomTom HOME. The 'Help Me!' Main menu option allows the user to navigate to and find information on assistance (hospitals, gas stations, etc.) Available as an optional accessory (not included), is the RDS-TMC Traffic Receiver as a Plug and go traffic solution with traffic incident data available in 68 markets.

Just so that everyone is clear on this I have no need of such as I am The Master of Land Navigation ™.

Seen on the Drudge Report

Clinton relying on elderly women to help her win Iowa

...Streisand Endorses...

Some stuff you just can't make up.

Huckabee is not your man

Last night I posted Bob Novak's column about Mike Huckabee and added a couple of comments of my own. Before long there were comments from readers all of which dealt with the issue of the Fair Tax. It seems that Huckabee's pledge to work for the enactment of the Fair Tax (national sales tax which would replace the income tax) has caused a great many Fair Tax advocates to see him as their champion and to overlook his significant faults.

Mike Huckabee is not a conservative on any but a few social issues like abortion and gay marriage (just like Rudolph Giuliani is not a conservative on any but a few fiscal and national security issues). In truth Mike Huckabee is a tax and spend big government liberal. That is how he governed Arkansas and that is how he would govern the United States.

Huckabee knows that he cannot get the Republican nomination by running as a tax and spend liberal so he is pretending to be a conservative tax hawk by advocating the Fair Tax. This is absolutely worthless. He knows that a national sales tax does not have the slightest chance of being enacted within the next eight years so this is just a way for him to pay lip service to fiscal conservatism.

At this point many will assume that I am an opponent of the Fair Tax because I believe that it hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of becoming law in less than 20 years. This is not true. I love the idea of abolishing all taxes other than a national retail sales tax. I think that it would be the greatest thing to happen to this country since independence. If you want to see America enter a new era of prosperity which will make the abundance we enjoy now seem like abject poverty then bring on the Fair Tax.

However none of that changes the fact that it will not become law until the average American has been convinced of its benefits and until those average Americans are willing to demand its passage with the same fierceness as they demanded the death of the amnesty bill. And we are not anywhere near that point yet.

The Fair Tax will require a constitutional amendment which will have to make all other forms of taxation unconstitutional otherwise we will wind up with a national sales tax and an income tax and a capital gains tax and the death tax and so on. Getting that amendment out of congress and to the state legislatures is going to be damn difficult. Nearly every entrenched Washington special interest is going to be opposed to it. Every left-liberal organization in the nation is going to realize that from their perspective opposition to the Fair Tax is a hill worth dying on.

Congress itself, Republican and Democrat, will be the special interest group most in opposition because the ability to punish and reward through the tax code is their greatest power and the men and women who seek political office at that level are the kind of people whose entire lives are built around their lust for power and they will not give it up willingly.

Getting the Fair Tax enacted will be a battle of equal magnitude to the fight that was waged to bring about the election of Senators through a direct vote of the people (rather than having them selected by the state governments). It came down to the fact that a majority of the voters were willing to make that the single issue which would decide whom they voted for. It got to the point where people at the state level demanded - and got - laws passed requiring each candidate's position on the constitutional amendment to mandate direct election of senators to be printed next to their name on the ballots when they stood for election.

Mike Huckabee knows this. He knows that because the enactment of the fair tax is something that can not happen during his term of office that his pledge to support it is an empty promise. Notice that he says little or nothing about any "plan B" for what he will do if the Fair Tax fails. There is no, "well if we can't get the Fair Tax we'll eliminate the capital gains tax and the death tax and cut marginal rates". No plan which he can be held to once the national sales tax fails to be enacted.

This way he can offer tepid support to a constitutional amendment when it is introduced in the House then when it fails to make it out of the House say, "well we tried, now we have to face reality and fund the government within the existing tax code which will, unfortunately, require a tax increase".

Mike Huckabee will do far more harm than good to the Fair Tax movement by making it seem nothing more than a cynical political ploy for politicians who do not really want to do anything to change the tax code. I beg all my fellow Fair Tax advocates to see through Mike Huckabee's lies and examine the true man. He is a big government authoritarian left-liberal on all but a small handful of issues. He claims to be a conservative Christian yet he surrounds himself with theological liberals. He is described by people from Arkansas who know him and have watched him closely as he governed there as "vindictive", thin skinned", "vicious", "dishonest" and "nasty".

Is this the champion you want for your most cherished issue?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tonight's Music

Karen Matheson of Capercaillie sings Canan Nan Gaidheal with Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh of Altan.

HWT Christmas Gift Guide

If you or someone on your Christmas list is interested in astronomy but are still at the beginner level you should consider following the advice of serious amateur astronomers and start with a set of good quality but inexpensive astronomical binoculars before shelling out hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a powerful astronomical telescope.

Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15x70 Binoculars w/Tripod Adapter

Product Description: Celestron's SkyMaster Series of large aperture binoculars are a phenomenal value for high performance binoculars ideal for astronomical viewing or for terrestrial (land) use - especially over long distances. Each SkyMaster model features high quality BAK-4 prisms and multi-coated optics for enhanced contrast. Celestron has designed and engineered the larger SkyMaster models to meet the special demands of extended astronomical or terrestrial viewing sessions.

The 15x70 version is one of the most popular models in the series. It offers serious large aperture light gathering in an affordable and reasonably lightweight configuration. Protective rubber covering for ultra-firm grip Large center focus know for easy focusing Tripod adapter included Long eye relief ideal for eyeglass wearers Carrying case included for travel and safe storage Celestron No Fault Warranty provides best protection and product support on the market.

Optical Design - Porro Diameter - 70 mm (2.76 in) Magnification - 15x Angular Field Of View - 4.4 degrees Linear Field Of View at 1000 YDS - 230.41 ft (70.23 m) Exit Pupil - 4.7 mm (0.19 in) Eye Relief - 18 mm (0.71 in) Near Focus (Binoculars) - 43 ft (13.11 m) Prisms - BAK-4 Optical Coatings - Multi-Coated Carrying Case - Nylon / Strap - Yes / Caps - Yes Water Resistant Tripod Adaptable - Yes Weight 48 oz (1360.78 g)

I have used a set of these binoculars and they are fantastic for both astronomy and for long distance nature viewing. has them for $72.68 (MSRP is $99.99).

The Prince of Darkness vs. Huckleberry

From The Washington Post:

Who would respond to criticism from the Club for Growth by calling the conservative, free-market campaign organization the "Club for Greed"? That sounds like Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich or John Edwards, all Democrats preaching the class struggle. In fact, the rejoinder comes from Mike Huckabee, who has broken out of the pack of second-tier Republican presidential candidates to become a serious contender -- definitely in Iowa and perhaps nationally.

Huckabee is campaigning as a conservative, but serious Republicans know that he is a high-tax, protectionist advocate of big government and a strong hand in the Oval Office directing the lives of Americans. Until now, they did not bother to expose the former governor of Arkansas as a false conservative because he seemed an underfunded, unknown nuisance candidate. Now that he has pulled even with Mitt Romney for the Iowa caucuses and might make more progress, the beleaguered Republican Party has a frightening problem.

The rise of evangelical Christians as the force that blasted the GOP out of minority status during the past generation always contained an inherent danger: What if these new Republican acolytes supported not merely a conventional conservative but one of their own? That has happened with Huckabee, a former Baptist minister educated at Ouachita Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The danger is a serious contender for the nomination who passes the litmus test of social conservatives on abortion, gay marriage and gun control but is far removed from the conservative-libertarian model of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.

There is no doubt about Huckabee's record during a decade in Little Rock. He was regarded by fellow Republican governors as a compulsive tax-and-spender. He increased the Arkansas tax burden 47 percent, boosting the levies on gasoline and cigarettes. When he lost 100 pounds and decided to press his new lifestyle on the American people, he was hardly being a Goldwater-Reagan libertarian.

As a presidential candidate, Huckabee has sought to counteract his reputation as a taxer by pressing for replacement of the income tax with a sales tax. More recently he signed the no-tax-increase pledge of Americans for Tax Reform. But Huckabee simply does not fit within normal boundaries of economic conservatism, such as when he criticized President Bush's veto of a Democratic expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Calling global warming a "moral issue" mandating "a biblical duty" to prevent climate change, he has endorsed a cap-and-trade system that is anathema to the free market.

Huckabee clearly departs from the mainstream of the conservative movement in his confusion of "growth" with "greed." Such ad hominem attacks are part of his intuitive response to criticism from the Club for Growth and the libertarian Cato Institute about his record as governor. On "Fox News Sunday" on Nov. 18, he called the "tactics" of the Club for Growth "some of the most despicable in politics today. It's why I love to call them the Club for Greed, because they won't tell you who gave their money." In fact, all contributors to the organization's political action committee (which produces campaign ads) are publicly revealed, as are most donors financing issue ads.

Quin Hillyer, a former Arkansas journalist writing in the conservative American Spectator, called Huckabee "a guy with a thin skin, a nasty vindictive streak." Huckabee's retort was to attack Hillyer's journalistic procedures, fitting a mean-spirited image when he responds to conservative criticism.

Nevertheless, he is getting remarkably warm reviews in the news media as the most humorous, entertaining and interesting GOP presidential hopeful. Contrary to descriptions by old associates, he is now called "jovial" or "good-natured." Any Republican who does not sound much like a Republican is bound to get friendly press, as Sen. John McCain did in 2000 (but not today, with his return to acting more like a conventional Republican).

An uncompromising foe of abortion can never enjoy full media backing. But Mike Huckabee is getting enough favorable buzz that, when combined with his evangelical base, it makes real conservatives shudder.

Not only is Huckabee not a true political conservative he is not even a true religious conservative. In his work in the Southern Baptist Church he consistently favored the "moderate" (translation: apostate) faction.

Even Huckabee's attempt to shed his image as a tax-raiser by embracing the Fair Tax movement is worthless. Since the scrapping of the IRS in favor of a national sales tax has zero chance of being enacted without decades of groundwork being laid first his support of that measure is simply a way to pay lip service to tax cutting without doing anything meaningful to actually cut taxes.

Today's feel good post

November 25, 2007 -- IT'S hard for Hollywood pacifists like Brian De Palma to capture the hearts and minds of America if Americans won't see their movies. While the public is staying away in droves from “Rendition," “Lions for Lambs" and “In the Valley of Elah," audiences are really avoiding “Redacted," De Palma's picture about US soldiers who rape a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, then kill her and her family. The message movie was produced by NBA Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who insisted on deleting grisly images of Iraqi war casualties from the montage at the film's end. Cuban offered to sell the film back to De Palma at cost, but the director was too smart to go for that deal. “Redacted" - which “could be the worst movie I've ever seen," said critic Michael Medved -took in just $25,628 in its opening weekend in 15 theaters, which means roughly 3,000 people saw it in the entire country. “This, despite an A-list director, a huge wave of publicity, high praise in the Times, The New Yorker, left-leaning sites like Salon, etc. A Joe Strummer documentary [of punk-rock band The Clash] playing in fewer theaters made more in its third week," e-mailed one cineaste. “Not even people who presumably agree with the movie's antiwar thesis made the effort to see it."

Knowing your real enemy

There's a good article in the Washington Post today about the Republican Party's efforts to win support among black evangelicals.

Pastor Harry R. Jackson Jr. will often exhort his congregation to "stand against" abortion and same-sex marriage. "You are on the battlefield in a culture war," he'll say, urging his listeners to help serve as the "moral compass of America."

In his rhetoric and his political agenda, Jackson has much in common with other evangelical Christians who are part of the conservative wing of the Republican party, except that Jackson is African American and so is his congregation at Hope Christian Church in Prince George's County.

Jackson, head of a group of socially conservative black pastors called the High Impact Leadership Coalition, in many ways personifies the possibilities that Republican strategists such as Karl Rove have seen in appealing to the social conservatism of many African American churchgoers. Blacks overwhelmingly identify themselves as Democrats and typically support Democratic candidates, but optimists in the GOP think one way to become a majority party is to peel off a sizable segment of black voters by finding common ground on social issues.

As a group, blacks attend religious services more frequently than whites and are less supportive of gay rights. In a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation-Harvard University poll this summer, 43 percent of white Democrats supported same-sex marriage, about double the percentage of black Democrats who said they do. More than half of blacks said they oppose both same-sex marriage and legal recognition of same-sex civil unions.

In the 2004 election, there was evidence that an appeal aimed at those differences could work. President Bush nearly doubled his share of the black vote in Ohio, thanks to a same-sex-marriage initiative on the ballot and the targeting of black churchgoers through mailings and radio ads. But it's unlikely that the 2008 Republican presidential candidate will be able to consolidate those gains, and Jackson is one indication of why.

During the last presidential election cycle, Jackson prayed for Bush and crisscrossed the country pressing conservative social issues. Now he's pushing an issues agenda rather than "carrying the water for the Republican party," he said. "They are not reliable enough."

Jackson's discontent is a reflection of the worries of other religious conservatives, black and white, who fear that Republican voters will nominate pro-choice candidate and former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and are still chafing at the headline-grabbing sex and ethics scandals involving Republicans.

"You don't have someone who is a Christian evangelical like Bush to really revitalize the black evangelicals this time around," said John C. Green, senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Bush promised colorblind appointments and launched the faith-based initiative, and the timing of his run coincided with several state ballot initiatives banning same-sex marriage that turned out large numbers of evangelicals, Green said. The Republicans running this year have not made the same appeal.

Other conservative black preachers raise a different issue.

"Morality is different in terms of the way we see it and white evangelicals see it," said Pastor Lyle Dukes of Harvest Life Changers Church in Woodbridge, a member of Jackson's group who supported Bush in 2004. "What we think is moral is not only the defense of marriage, but we also think equal education is a moral issue. We think discrimination is immoral."

Dukes is looking at candidates in both parties this year.

Bishop Timothy J. Clarke, leader of the 5,000-member First Church of God in Columbus, Ohio, said: "You have to prioritize. You are dealing with a less-than-perfect world and a less-than-perfect system."

Clarke has worked with Jackson's coalition but also hosted Democratic presidential candidates in 2004. He said he and his members care as much about health care and livable wages as they do about conservative social issues.

On his way out of the noon Bible study at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in the District the other day, Stephen Peagler, 27, said he is a faithful churchgoer who believes that abortion and same-sex marriage are wrong. But, he said, when it comes to voting, he's looking for a candidate who will address issues that are more relevant in his everyday life. And Democrats are more likely to deal with the high incarceration rates of black men and underperforming inner-city schools, he said.

The greatest problem facing Republicans in trying to make inroads into the black community is the tendency of blacks to see any inequality which reflects poorly on blacks to be the result of some kind of structural racism which is embedded so deeply into American society that it is all but ineradicable. Further they believe that this racism threatens the very survival of black people in America and that the only way to hold this racism at bay is through massive government intervention.

Thus when black men are seen to make up the majority of the population in the nation's prisons it must be because the criminal justice system is racist rather than the truth which is that black men are the ones committing most of the crimes. If inner-city schools are underperforming it must be because the racist white city government is keeping them starved for resources rather than the truth which is that all too many black families in the inner-city don't teach their children to value education, don't supervise their children adequately and don't maintain the kind of stable home life which helps send a child to school ready to learn.

A high crime rate in the inner-city is seen is seen by blacks as proof that the racist government doesn't care about them yet effective law enforcement measures will always wind up arresting large numbers of black men because they are the ones committing the vast majority of crimes. This arresting of black men will be attacked as racism on the part of the police and the courts by the same "leaders" who were before denouncing the high crime rate as proof of racism.

Whites stand back and shake their heads (well white conservatives do, white leftists see an opportunity to pander for votes) and wonder if there's something in the water. But the answer is relatively simple. Blacks learned the wrong lesson from the civil rights movement.

What the civil rights movement originally came together to oppose was the racist laws in the Southeast which mandated racial segregation in both the public and private sphere. Not only were local governments required to provide separate schools for black and white students but private businesses were required to provide "separate but equal" facilities for black and white patrons.

After a great deal of struggle and sacrifice those laws were overturned at the federal level. The lesson too many black people learned was that government action can make there lives better. The real lesson should have been that the Jim Crow laws were a government intrusion into the lives of the citizenry which made people's lives worse therefore government intrusions are bad and must be opposed.

As a result of learning that wrong lesson blacks have sought one government intrusion after another and have paid a horrible price for it. Before all the laws and government programs which were to "help" blacks the black illegitimacy rate was only a little higher than it was for whites. Now it approaches 70%. In fact outside of the Jim Crow South (where government was intruding with the segregation laws) blacks were making astounding progress in areas like home ownership, personal income and business ownership. It may be hard for some people to believe but black progress from the end of the Civil War till the beginning of the Civil Rights era was actually greater than it has been since the beginning of the Civil Rights era (again, outside of the Jim Crow South were government was intruding).

In virtually every area where the black community is in trouble, the destruction of the black family, the rising illegitimacy rate, crime, drugs and failing schools the blame can be laid squarely at the feet of government policies which were supported by black leaders and still have broad support within the black community.

Can these black pastors really be serious when they call for turning over the nations health care system to the same kind of people who turned his children's school into a place where students get straight A's for just showing up and not threatening the teacher and every day is counted a success if the kid is able to get through it without being shot, knifed, raped or addicted to crack?

With all due respect to by black brothers and sisters in Christ, GOVERNMENT IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. DEMOCRATS ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS. Democrats want you to stay exactly where you are right now. Poor and dependant upon their handouts. They don't want your schools to educate your children so that black students won't be able to get into college without affirmative action so that black college graduates won't be able to get jobs in business or government without affirmative action so that affluent black professionals will feel that they owe their positions not to their own ability but to a government handout so that they will continue to vote Democrat.

Democrats want most black children to be born to single mothers who are on public assistance so that they will grow up thinking of government as their father. They want those single black mothers to feel that their lives and the lives of their children literally depend upon a check from the government. Just like they want old people to think that the only thing between them and eating dog food, or freezing to death on the street, is their government check. This guarantees that they will keep voting for the people who sign that check.

Just because the chains aren't made of steel and you can't feel their weight on your hands and feet doesn't mean they aren't there.

And a note to the Republican Party. If just 20% of the black population could be weaned off of dependence upon government and persuaded to vote Republican there would never again be a Democrat controlled House, Senate or White House. It will not help to nominate a presidential candidate who spits on the moral issues where blacks and Republicans already agree.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tonight's Music

From the first season of the BBC's The Transatlantic Sessions. The tune is called Scotland and the performers are:

Jay Ungar - fiddle
Aly Bain - fiddle
Mark O'Connor - fiddle
Charlie McKerron - fiddle
Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh - fiddle
Martyn Bennett - pipes
Simon Thoumire - concertina
Russ barenberg - mandolin
Cathal McConnell - flute
Phil Cunningham - piano accordion
Molly Mason - guitar
Danny Thompson - bass
Donald Sutherland - percussion

If Hillary wins here's why

November 24, 2007 -- Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the federal government had warnings about 9/11 but decided to ignore them, a national survey found.

And that's not the only conspiracy theory with a huge number of true believers in the United States.

The poll found that more than one out of three Americans believe Washington is concealing the truth about UFOs and the Kennedy assassination - and most everyone is sure the rise in gas prices is one vast oil-industry conspiracy.

Sixty-two percent of those polled thought it was "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that federal officials turned a blind eye to specific warnings of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Only 30 percent said the 9/11 theory was "not likely," according to the Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll.

The findings followed a 2006 poll by the same researchers, who found that 36 percent of Americans believe federal government officials "either assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action" because they wanted "to go to war in the Middle East."

In that poll, 16 percent said the Twin Towers might have collapsed because of secretly planted explosives - not hijacked passenger jets flown into them.

And what hit the Pentagon? Twelve percent figured it was a US cruise missile.

Anger at the federal government and skepticism in general by younger Americans is fueling the popularity of crackpot conspiracy theories.

Only 12 percent of Americans expressed anger at the government following the 2001 terrorist attack, but that grew steadily and reached 54 percent last year.

Most young adults give some credence to a conspiracy theory, while seniors are the least likely to believe in one, pollsters found.

In the latest Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll, 811 US adults were interviewed Sept. 24 to Oct. 10. Among the findings:

* 42 percent believe the federal government knew in advance of the plot to assassinate John F. Kennedy, compared with 40 percent who call that theory "not likely."

* 37 percent believe UFOs are real and that the feds have been hiding the truth about them.

The 2006 poll found 36 percent believed the government was also hiding proof that intelligent life exists on other planets.

* Eight out of 10 Americans suspect oil companies are conspiring to keep fuel prices high and 50 percent said a conspiracy is "very likely." Only 14 percent felt it was unlikely.

A few modest gift ideas

Since my blog birthday comes so close to Christmas I give my followers permission to combine my blog birthday present with my Christmas present. So here are a few gift ideas for anyone wishing to give Lemuel a gift:

Sony KDL-52XBR5 52" BRAVIA® XBR® 1080p LCD HDTV with 120Hz refresh rate

Product Description: 52" widescreen HDTV (16:9 aspect ratio) * high-gloss black finish * built-in digital (ATSC) and analog (NTSC) tuners for over-the-air TV broadcasts (antenna required) * built-in QAM cable TV tuner receives unscrambled programs without a set-top box (cable service required) * Motionflow 120Hz anti-blur technology for clearer motion *

This would make a very acceptable gift.

Also this:

Canon Digital Rebel XT 8MP Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 Lens

The Canon EOS Digital Rebel camera now has a new, faster, even smaller big brother. Sibling rivalries aside, the 8.0-megapixel Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT SLR adds resolution, speed, extra creative control, and enhanced comfort in the hand to one of the smallest and lightest digital cameras in its class. Even with its advancements in ergonomic design and technology, this easy-to-use EOS digital camera is compatible with all of Canon's EF lenses, including the EF-S lenses.

Then there's this:

Apple 160 GB iPod classic (Black)

With 80GB or 160GB of storage, iPod classic gives your music and video room to move. It also has plenty of energy (up to 40 hours of audio playback), good looks (a sleek, all-metal design), and a great personality (a brand-new interface with Cover Flow). In other words, iPod classic makes an ideal companion.

And then this:

The Glock 37 in .45 G.A.P. is something I've been wanting to play with for some time now. I can't give you a link to order on online, but If you email me I can set up the transfer through a local gun store.

And if you are on a budget this year you might consider this:

Oban is the single malt whisky made near the ancient home of Clan McIntyre. The water used in the production of this scotch is filtered through the bones of my ancestors. Buy it online here.

Two Today!

Hillbilly White Trash is TWO YEARS OLD TODAY!!!

I want to thank everyone who has stopped by and especially all those who come back regularly.

92,831 visitors over the past year and 2235 posts, counting this one over the past year.

Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday, happy birthday
Happy birthday to me.

Sunday morning gospel

The Low Country Boys who describe themselves as Ulster-Scots HillyBilly Gospel Bluegrass Music from Northern Ireland.

A mystery solved

YEKATERINBURG, Russia On the outskirts of this burly industrial center, off a road like any other, on a nowhere scrap of land — here unfolded the final act of one of the last century’s most momentous events.

A short way through a clearing, toward a cluster of birch trees, the killers deposited their victims’ bodies, which had been mutilated, burned and doused with acid to mask their origins. It would be 73 more years, in 1991, before the remains would be reclaimed and the announcement would ring out: the grave of the last Russian czar, Nicholas II, and his family had been found.

But the story does not end there.

Eleven people were said to have been killed that day in July 1918 on Lenin’s orders. Just nine sets of remains were dug up here and then authenticated using DNA. The remains of the czar’s son, Aleksei, and one daughter, whose identity is still not absolutely clear, were missing. Did their bones lie elsewhere, or could it actually be that they had escaped execution, as rumor had it for so long?

Only in the past few months have these questions dating from the Russian revolution apparently been resolved here, and only by a group of amateur sleuths who spent their weekends plumbing the case. In fact, it appears that the clues to what happened to the two children were always there, waiting to be found. All that was needed was to listen closely to the boastful voices of the killers.

Their accounts are in secret reports in Soviet-era archives, one of which offered the most tantalizing hint: a single phrase in the recollection of the chief killer that seemed to suggest where the two bodies might have been deposited.

“All of them wanted to leave a trace in history, for they considered that this was a kind of heroic deed,” said Vitaly Shitov, who lives in the area and undertook a review of the testimony to hunt for the remains. “They wanted to promote their roles.”

Following that wisp of a clue this summer, Mr. Shitov and other amateur investigators went to where the other remains had been found — and they kept walking. Away from the road, about 70 yards from the first burial ground, is a slightly elevated area among the trees.

It is there that the bodies of Aleksei, 13, and his sister were apparently consigned.

The amateurs found the bones, many of them charred by fire, scattered among bullets and pieces of jars that held acid used to disfigure the bodies. These fragments appeared similar to those from the first grave.

So it seems that for all the years since the first discovery, even as people made pilgrimages to the site and wondered what had happened to Aleksei and his sister, their remains were only a short stroll away.

Scientists in Russia and the United States are testing the new finds extensively. The sister is believed to be Maria, 19, though that is not entirely settled.

Others long conjectured that the sister was Anastasia, 17, a theory that fed a belief that she survived. (A woman named Anna Anderson was one of several who over the years claimed to be Anastasia, but DNA testing later disproved her.)

If, as expected, results of DNA tests on the two sets of remains are conclusive, they would put to rest many of the doubts that have arisen in Russia and worldwide about the inquiries into what had happened to the royal family.

It is good that the two children will finally have a proper burial and it is good that the whole matter of the royal families murder will have closure. However there are uncounted millions of the Czar's countrymen who lie in unmarked graves which will never be searched for or discovered who were also murdered by the communist regime.

The entire period of communist rule in the USSR was one of the greatest tragedies to befall humanity in the entire history of the planet. After nearly 80 years of communist rule the Russia had little to show for it other than a demoralized population who have so lost faith in the future that they are reproducing at barely half the replacement rate. An average lifespan nearly 20 years shorter than the US. A nation full of big inefficient factories producing inferior products that no one wants to buy, along with massive amounts of pollution. And graves. Millions upon million of graves.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Tonight's Music

This is Capercaillie singing Mile Marbhaisg (A Thousand Curses). This can be found on the CD Grace and Pride: The Anthology 2004-1984.

The most serious threat

Our good friend Liz who blogs at The White Trash Republican often observes "There's nothing more dangerous to a child than Mommy's new boyfriend." It seems that the AP has reached the same, or nearly the same, conclusion:

NEW YORK — Six-year-old Oscar Jimenez Jr. was beaten to death in California, then buried under fertilizer and cement. Two-year-old Devon Shackleford was drowned in an Arizona swimming pool. Jayden Cangro, also 2, died after being thrown across a room in Utah.

In each case, as in many others every year, the alleged or convicted perpetrator had been the boyfriend of the child's mother — men thrust into father-like roles which they failed to embrace.
[. . .]

Every case is different, every family is different. Some single mothers bring men into their lives who lovingly help raise children when the biological father is gone for good.

Nonetheless, many scholars and front-line caseworkers who monitor America's families see the abusive-boyfriend syndrome as part of a worrisome trend. These experts and observers note an ever-increasing share of America's children grow up in homes without both biological parents, and say the risk of child abuse is markedly higher in the non-traditional family structures.

"This is the dark underbelly of cohabitation," said Brad Wilcox, a sociology professor at the University of Virginia. "Cohabitation has become quite common, and most people think, 'What's the harm?' The harm is we're increasing a pattern of relationships that's not good for children."

[. . .]

• Children living in households with unrelated adults are nearly 50 times as likely to die of inflicted injuries as children living with two biological parents, according to a study of Missouri abuse reports published in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2005.

• Children living in stepfamilies or with single parents are at higher risk of physical or sexual assault than children living with two biological or adoptive parents, according to several studies co-authored by David Finkelhor, director of the University of New Hampshire's Crimes Against Children Research Center.

• Girls whose parents divorce are at significantly higher risk of sexual assault, whether they live with their mother or their father, according to research by Robin Wilson, a family law professor at Washington and Lee University.

"All the emphasis on family autonomy and privacy shields the families from investigators, so we don't respond until it's too late," Wilson said. "I hate the fact that something dangerous for children doesn't get responded to because we're afraid of judging someone's lifestyle."

Census data leaves no doubt that family patterns have changed dramatically in recent decades as cohabitation and single-parenthood became common. Thirty years ago, nearly 80% of America's children lived with both parents. Now, only two-thirds of them do. Of all families with children, nearly 29% are now one-parent families, up from 17% in 1977.

The net result is a sharp increase in households with a potential for instability, and the likelihood that adults and children will reside in them who have no biological tie to each other.
"I've seen many cases of physical and sexual abuse that come up with boyfriends, stepparents," said Eliana Gil, clinical director for the national abuse-prevention group Childhelp.

"It comes down to the fact they don't have a relationship established with these kids," she said. "Their primary interest is really the adult partner, and they may find themselves more irritated when there's a problem with the children."

The AP story goes on, in fact goes out of its way, to point out that "there's no going back" meaning that there is no way to recover the past in which single parent families were a tiny percentage of the whole and where cohabitation was virtually unheard of outside of the very lowest strata of society.

But how true is that statement? Societies change, people's attitudes change and what seems lost at one time can be recovered. After the fall of the Roman Empire Christianity waned in its influence throughout Europe. Many people noted that the Empire did not fall until it became Christian and blamed Christianity for the decline and dissolution of the Empire.

During the period known as the Dark Ages (some politically correct historians have begun calling it the Early Medieval Period now) a parade of pagan barbarian tribes overran much of the old Empire and Christian England seemed on the verge of being overwhelmed by the pagan Danes. The impartial observer of the time could have been forgiven for concluding that Christianity, at least as far as the West was concerned, was a failed experiment destined to take it's place alongside the worship of Zeus and Baal in the pantheon of failed and forgotten faiths.

Yet we all know that is not how history played out. The Church survived and prospered. The barbarians, from the Danes to the Magyars (modern Hungarians), became Christians and today there are 2.1 billion people in the world who identify themselves as "Christian".

It seems to me that those who insist the most stridently that the "clock can't be turned back" are simply the people who least desire any kind of return to more traditional attitudes for their own lives. The most recent statistics indicate that the abortion rate as well as the rate of teen pregnancy is falling as is the divorce rate. Given that the trends which lead to children living with step-parents or mom's live-in boyfriend are all headed down it could very well be that we, as a culture, have gotten the message.

Cat people will understand