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The Right of the People to be Secure in their Persons, Houses, Papers, and Effects,
Against Unreasonable Searches and Seizures,
Shall Not Be Violated

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Friday, December 31, 2010

JJ Cale
The Breeze


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Major natural gas field found off Israeli coast

Here's some good news for us infidels and for the 'Zionist Regime' in particular.  In a welcome development, just in time for the New Year, the Israelis are reporting a major natural gas field off their northern coast.

Gas Field Confirmed Off Coast of Israel

JERUSALEM — Exploratory drilling off Israel’s northern coast this week has confirmed the existence of a major natural gas field — one of the world’s largest offshore gas finds of the past decade — leading the country’s infrastructure minister to call it “the most important energy news since the founding of the state.”

Houston-based Noble Energy, which is working with several Israeli partner companies, said that the field, named Leviathan, whose existence was suspected months ago, has at least 16 trillion cubic feet of gas at a likely market value of tens of billions of dollars and should turn Israel into an energy exporter.

“If it acts correctly, levelheadedly and responsibly, Israel can enjoy not only the benefit of using the gas, but it can also turn into a gas supplier in the Mediterranean region,” the infrastructure minister, Uzi Landau, said in a statement.

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This Week On The Gathering Storm

Listen to The Gathering Storm Radio Show, hosted by WC and Always On Watch. The show broadcasts live every Friday beginning at noon, Pacific Time.

The call-in number is 646-915-9870.

Callers welcome!

Our scheduled guest this week is "Warchick" Resa LaRu Kirkland.

Listen to the December 31, 2010 edition of The Gathering Storm Radio Show, live or later, by CLICKING HERE.

UPCOMING SHOWS
January 7: Mark Alexander
January 14: Guest to be announced.
January 21: Midnight Rider
January 28: Guest to be announced.

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John Mayer & Eric Clapton
Crossroads

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Trout Fishing in America
Proper Cup of Coffee


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Katie Couric: “We Need a Muslim Version of The Cosby Show” to Change Americans Attitudes Towards Islam

Stone the Lesbians to death, or throw them off a cliff

Katie Couric: 2010 in Review- CBS News
I also think sort of the chasm, between, or the bigotry expressed against Muslims in this country has been one of the most disturbing stories to surface this year. Of course, a lot of noise was made about the Islamic Center, mosque, down near the World Trade Center, but I think there wasn’t enough sort of careful analysis and evaluation of where this bigotry toward 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, and how this seething hatred many people feel for all Muslims, which I think is so misdirected, and so wrong — and so disappointing.
Maybe we need a Muslim version of The Cosby Show.
I know that sounds crazy, I know that sounds crazy. But The Cosby Show did so much to change attitudes about African-Americans in this country, and I think sometimes people are afraid of what they don’t understand.
Video here>>>

Muslim Crosby family..great idea! (from Brooks William Kelley's Facebook page.)

Family outing

Group photo of daddy muslim with mummy muslim and mummy muslim and mummy muslim and his two daughters


Mummy and daddy having fun in the pool

Daddy and mummy working things out

Mummy and daughter having fun

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Lost Icon

MSNBC:

Geraldine Doyle, inspiration for 'Rosie the Riveter,' dies at 86

By Elizabeth Chuck

With a red and white bandana in her hair and factory worker uniform sleeves rolled up to reveal her bulging biceps, Rosie the Riveter was painted on a World War II recruitment poster in 1942. But for four decades, the real Rosie the Riveter had no idea she was the woman who inspired it.

Perhaps it was because Geraldine Doyle left her factory job after two weeks – or because she didn’t actually have bulging biceps – that Doyle, who died at 86 years old on Sunday in Lansing, Mich., didn’t know for so long that she was the model for what would became a symbol of women’s empowerment.

Doyle was 17 in 1942 and had been hired as a metal presser at a factory close to her home in Inkster, Mich., to help the war effort, her daughter Stephanie Gregg told the New York Times. One day, a United Press International photographer came to the steelworks factory and took a picture of Doyle leaning over machinery, a red and white polka-dot bandana covering her hair (see the original photo here). Later that year, the government commissioned artist J. Howard Miller to produce morale-boosting posters that would motivate workers and recruit women to join the war workforce. The UPI photo of Doyle, a slender brunette that her daughter calls “a glamour girl,” caught his eye.

Meanwhile, Doyle – a cellist – learned that a worker had injured her hands at the factory, and decided to get a safer job at a soda fountain and bookshop in Ann Arbor, according to the Washington Post.

In 1984, married to a dentist and a mother to five children, Doyle came across an article in former AARP publication Modern Maturity magazine that connected her photo with the wartime poster, which she hadn’t seen before.

“The arched eyebrows, the beautiful lips, the shape of the face – that’s her,” daughter Gregg told the Times. But, she said, “she didn’t have those big muscles. She was busy playing cello.”

Nonetheless, when she saw it, she said, “This is me!” Gregg told the Lansing State Journal.

Rosie the Riveter became a lasting emblem. In the early 1940s, Red Evans and John Jacob Loeb wrote a song named after her. In 1943, the Saturday Evening Post put a Norman Rockwell illustration of another female worker with the name “Rosie” painted on her lunch pail. In 1999, the U.S. Postal Service created a “We Can Do It!” stamp.

For years, Doyle signed Rosie the Riveter t-shirts, posters, and more. While many profited from her image, she never charged a penny to fans, her daughter said.

"She would say that she was the 'We Can Do It!' girl," Gregg told the Lansing State Journal. "She never wanted to take anything away from the other Rosies."


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Pakistan makes two nuclear weapons available to Saudi Arabia

From Debka via Will at The Other News:

With an eye on the nuclear arms race led by its neighbor Iran, Saudi Arabia has arranged to have available for its use two Pakistani nuclear bombs or guided missile warheads, debkafile's military and intelligence sources reveal. They are most probably held in Pakistan's nuclear air base at Kamra in the northern district of Attock.  
Pakistan has already sent the desert kingdom its latest version of the Ghauri-II missile after extending its range to 2,300 kilometers. Those missiles are tucked away in silos built in the underground city of Al-Sulaiyil, south of the capital Riyadh.

At least two giant Saudi transport planes sporting civilian colors and no insignia are parked permanently at Pakistan's Kamra base with air crews on standby. They will fly the nuclear weapons home upon receipt of a double coded signal from King Abdullah and the Director of General Intelligence Prince Muqrin bin Abdel Aziz.

The only detail known to our Gulf sources is that the Saudi bombs are lodged in separate heavily-guarded stores apart from the rest of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

This secret was partially blown by Riyadh itself. In recent weeks, Saudi officials close to their intelligence establishment have been going around security forums in the West and dropping word that the kingdom no longer needs to build its own nuclear arsenal because it has acquired a source of readymade arms to be available on demand. This broad hint was clearly put about under guidelines from the highest levels of the monarchy.

Partial nuclear transparency was approved by Riyadh as part of a campaign to impress on the outside world that Saudi Arabia was in control of its affairs: The succession struggle had been brought under control; the Saudi regime had set its feet on a clearly defined political and military path; and the hawks of the royal house had gained the hand and were now setting the pace.

Hmmmmm.....Well IF true the Saudis won't be able anymore to point the finger to Israel when it comes to nuclear weapons,and what's the US role in this "deal"?

Letter and phone calls to the king?

 Read the full story here.
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Rasmussen: Ground Zero Mosque Is Biggest Story of The Year


(Rasmussen)- American Adults shared two of the chief concerns of Likely Voters in 2010, the Gulf oil leak’s impact on the economy and plans for a mosque near Ground Zero in New York City.
Rasmussen Reports conducts two separate national tracking surveys, one of both Adults and one of Likely Voters. The latter are generally surveyed on political issues in the news, while adults are asked more often about timely economic and social issues. After all, if it’s in the news, it’s in our polls.
In both tracking polls, we ask respondents how closely they have followed recent news stories about the topic we’re asking about – Very Closely, Somewhat Closely, Not Very Closely, Not At All Closely, Not Sure.
The story most closely followed by all Adults last year in Rasmussen Reports economic surveys was about plans to build a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center.
In mid-August, 58% were following that story Very Closely, with another 27% following somewhat closely. This story attracted little attention until President Obama commented upon it and made it a national issue.
But four of the stories in the Top 10 economic surveys for the year, including #2, 3 and 4, were about the disastrous oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the April 20 explosion of a deepwater drilling platform.
By mid-June, 54% were following stories about the oil leak Very Closely. Over the next month, similar majorities continued to monitor developments in that story as possible UN involvement with the cleanup was considered and as the impact on the overall U.S. economy became clearer.
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Hats Off

The Gin Blossoms spent their Thanksgiving vacation playing a series of concerts for our troops in Iraq.

Allison Road



Hey Jealousy



Learning The Hard Way

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Sharia Justice

The Daily Mail:

An eye for an eye: Iranian court orders man to lose an eye and an ear after acid attack on student, 22, outside college

A court in Iran has ordered a man to lose an eye and an ear as punishment for blinding another man and burning his ear in an acid attack.

The accused, identified only as Hamid, was also ordered to pay blood money after he was found guilty of the attack five years ago.

Hamid claimed he had mistaken his victim – identified only as Davoud – for a former classmate who had bullied him at college, reports Iran's semi-official Fars news agency.

'In college, some of the classmates bullied me so much that we had to move from the city I was living in to another one. This was carved in my mind and I couldn't get over it,' he said, according to Fars.

'I bought acid and went back to my former college and waited for some of the classmates to come out. When he [Davoud] came out, I followed him and threw acid on him and I also injured my own legs by doing so.'

Victim Davoud was 22 at the time of the attack and denied ever meeting Hamid - and he claimed that the two-year age gap between them meant they could never have been in the same class.

In Iran citizens are supposed to obey Sharia law, a penal code that hands out what are perceived to be harsh punishments by Western culture for crimes, transgressions, curtailing civil rights, and violating human rights.

The eye-for-an-eye, or tooth-for-a-tooth, punishment is legal under the Sharia code of gisas, which allow retribution for violent crimes – hence why there are a number of public hangings for alleged murderers.

In November 2008 Majid Movahedi was sentenced to lose both eyes in a similar case, having been found guilty of throwing acid at Ameneh Bahramia, a woman who refused to marry him.

It is unclear whether the sentence has yet been carried out.

In October, however, Iranian authorities chopped off the hand of a convicted thief at a prison in the central city of Yazd.

In recent weeks Iran has been criticised for sentencing Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, 43, to be stoned to death for adultery.

She has so far escaped the sentence because of the international outcry surrounding her case.

Iran has executed at least 200 people in the past 10 months, according the human rights website rahana.org

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Anti-Israel propaganda becomes mainstream entertainment

Israel Today discovered a new movie set for release called "Miral" which, while it may not be the first hostile to Israel movie released in mainstream (for all I know, the Little Drummer Girl might've preceded it), it's certainly unfortunate that it may get that kind of distribution:
Scheduled for a March 2011 release, the new feature film “Miral” follows the turbulent life of a young Palestinian Arab girl who becomes involved in terrorism against Israel. It unabashedly demands sympathy for this girl and other Palestinian terrorists in their battle with a Jewish state that is portrayed as arbitrarily cruel and barbaric.

There is little surprise there, since the film is an adaptation of a book written by director Julian Schnabel’s new Palestinian Arab girlfriend, Rula Jabreal. In a series of interviews following screening of “Miral” at the Toronto and Venice film festivals, Schnabel, who is Jewish, acknowledged that it was not the film’s intent to give a comprehensive background to the conflict or present a “balanced” view.

Further evidence that the film is, as Schnable himself hinted, aimed at promoting the Palestinian narrative of the conflict is the fact that Vanessa Redgrave is given a cameo. Redgrave is famous for denouncing the “Zionist hoodlums” during a 1978 Academy Awards acceptance speech. Despite Redgrave’s minor role, her presence in the film is being used as part of the marketing campaign.
Ugh. Redgrave - even in a cameo - is enough to discourage me from wasting time. Fortunately, the following writer for the National Post has understood why this is bad news. And not only that, he tells who is producing this junk:
Miral, the film he brought to the Toronto International Film Festival this week, scheduled for theatrical release in December by the Weinstein Company, is a piece of blatant propaganda that does all it can to denigrate Israel and arouse sympathy for radical Palestinians. It’s a chronicle of history without a trace of fairness: All Israelis are brutes; almost all Palestinians are angels and victims.
Besides informing about the anti-Israeli bent, he tells that Bob and Harvey Weinstein are the company behind this. What's wrong with them? Well, in 1998, they produced a movie called A Price Above Rubies, which was very hostile to Hasidic Jews, depicting males within the community as possessive, biased, among other absurd and insulting screeds. I remember that even Ed Koch, NYC's former mayor, disliked the movie. If the Weinsteins were going to associate themselves with that kind of badness, it isn't too surprising this time round, and only makes me lose all the more respect for them, as it does for Schnabel. Miramax, in retrospect, was no biggie as a studio, and I don't feel sorry for them for losing it. While as for their new company, I think it's best left unaided.
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Washington Examiner:

President and family on multi-million dollar Christmas vacation in Hawaii
By: Mark Tapscott 12/29/10 5:04 PM
Editorial Page Editor

President Obama and his family are enjoying a delightful Christmas vacation with friends and family in the chief executive's home state of Hawaii.

Nobody questions a president's right or need to take take away from the White House, but an investigation by Hawaii Reporter has turned up some eye-opening information about the costs and other aspects of the Obama get-away.

Just consider these estimates on part of the costs of the latest Obama Hawaii trip:

* Mrs. Obama’s early flight to Hawaii: $63,000 (White House Dossier)

* Obama’s round trip flight to Hawaii: $1 million (GAO estimates)

* Housing in beachfront homes for Secret Service and Seals in Kailua ($1,200 a day for 14 days): $16,800

* Costs for White House staff staying at Moana Hotel: $134,400 ($400 per day for 24 staff) – excluding meals and other room costs

* Police overtime: $250,000 (2009 costs reported by Honolulu Police Department)

* Ambulance: $10,000 (City Spokesperson)

TOTAL COST: $1,474,200

But that $1.47 million figure leaves out a number of signficant costs that simply could not be calculated by Hawaii Reporter:

* Rental of office building in Kailua on canal

* Security upgrades and additional phone lines.

* Costs for car rentals and fuel for White House staff staying at Moana Hotel (Secret Service imports most of the cars used here to escort the president).

* Surveillance before the president arrives.

* Travel costs for Secret Service and White House staff traveling ahead of the President.

White House spokesmen insist Obama's vacation expenses are in line with those of previous presidents, which may well be true, but, since the government refuses to disclose many important details about any presidential journey, nobody can know for sure.

There appear to be reasons to suspect the Obamas' trip could have been done for less, according to Hawaii Reporter.

"They could have chosen a less expensive and more secure place to stay such as a
beachfront home on the Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station – just a two-minute
drive away from the Kailuana Place property where they are now," according to
Hawaii Reporter.

"The president visits the military base daily to workout, bowl with his kids or enjoy the more private beach there. He also could have stayed at a home 15 minutes away on the beach fronting Bellows Air Force Base as President Bill Clinton did."
But Obama and friends opted instead to secure use of three luxury beachfront places, including the “Winter White House” – or Kailua home that the president rents two weeks a year.

That facility, Hawaii Reporter, noted, normally rents for an estimated $3,500 a day or $75,000 a month, according to the web site Gadling.com.

The latter describes the place as a “7,000 square foot home [that] features 5 bedrooms, 5 ½ bathrooms, a media room with surround sound, a kitchen suited for a master chef, a dining room and great room, a secluded lagoon-style pool with tropical waterfalls and a lavish island spa. The ocean lanai and garden lanai showcase ornate landscaping and stunning views of Kailua Bay and Mount Olomana.”

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This Blog Kills Fascists

Woody Guthrie

Very Rare Live footage including John Henry




All You Fascists Bound To Lose




Hard Travelin'




Railroad Blues




My wife tells me her father used to sing these to her often

Roll on Columbia




Hobo's Lullaby



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Even On Vacation Uncle Barry's Just Pissin' In Everybody's Cornflakes

Jerusalem Post:

Obama bypasses Senate, appoints envoy to Syria
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
12/30/2010 03:20

Robert Ford to become first US ambassador to Damascus since 2005; opponents say move rewards Syrian regime for bad behavior.

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama has bypassed the US Senate and directly appointed four new ambassadors, including Robert Ford, who will become the first US envoy to Syria since 2005.

Specific senators had blocked or refused to consider the confirmations of the nominees for various reasons, including questions about their qualifications. But in the most high-profile case, that of the new envoy to Syria, a number of senators objected because they believed sending an ambassador to the country would reward it for bad behavior.

"Making undeserved concessions to Syria tells the regime in Damascus that it can continue to pursue its dangerous agenda and not face any consequences from the US," Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the incoming chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement. "That is the wrong message to be sending to a regime which continues to harm and threaten US interests and those of such critical allies as Israel."



The administration had argued that returning an ambassador to Syria after a five-year absence would help persuade Syria to change its policies regarding Israel, Lebanon and Iraq as well as its willingness to support extremist groups. Syria is designated a "state sponsor of terrorism" by the State Department.

Former President George W. Bush's administration withdrew a full-time ambassador from Syria in 2005 after terrorism accusations and to protest the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, killed in a Beirut truck bombing that his supporters blamed on Syria. Syria denied involvement.

Obama nominated Ford, a career diplomat and a former ambassador to Algeria, to the post in February but his nomination stalled after his confirmation hearings and was never voted on.

The White House announced Wednesday that Obama would use his power to make recess appointments to fill envoy posts to Azerbaijan, Syria and NATO allies Turkey and the Czech Republic.

Recess appointments are made when the Senate is not in session and last only until the end of the next session of Congress. They are frequently used when Senate confirmation is not possible.

The other Obama nominees announced Wednesday are Matthew Bryza for Azerbaijan, Norman Eisen for the Czech Republic and Francis Ricciardone for Turkey.

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Gotta Love Peter King

The Hill:

Rep. King: Obama recess appointment at Justice Dept. 'absolutely shocking'
By Susan Crabtree - 12/30/10 09:32 AM ET

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the incoming chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, has angrily denounced President Obama’s recess appointment of James Cole as deputy attorney general.

King called Cole’s appointment “absolutely shocking” and said it might be one of the worst appointments Obama will make during his presidency.

“I strongly oppose the recess appointment of James Cole to lead the national security team at the Department of Justice,” King said in a statement. “The appointment indicates that the Obama Administration continues to try to implement its dangerous policies of treating Islamic terrorism as a criminal matter.”

The harsh words demonstrate the deep divisions that exist between some of the president’s policies and Republican positions on terrorism issues and serve as a harbinger of the inevitable clashes to come between the GOP chairmen of key national security committees and the administration.

Cole has advocated for the use of civilian trials in prosecuting terrorism suspects, and King views the appointment as a sign of the administration’s intent to continue to try detainees through the criminal justice system rather than through military tribunals, which most Republicans prefer.

King said that Cole’s appointment is exactly the wrong message to be sending to U.S. citizens, especially after the public pushback on Obama’s attempts to close the Guantanamo Bay prison facility in Cuba. During the lame-duck session, Congress attached language to the $1.1 trillion spending resolution to keep the government funded next year that would prevent Obama from spending any funds to try terrorism suspects in civilian court instead of military commissions.

The resolution essentially prevents the closing of the facility in Guantanamo Bay. Several New York Democrats, along with a vocal group of GOP lawmakers, earlier this year also expressed deep concern about Justice Department plans to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-declared 9/11 mastermind, in federal civilian court in New York.

“After the American people, and the Democratic Congress, unequivocally rejected President Obama’s plans to close Guantanamo and transfer admitted 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed to the United States for trial in federal civilian court, I find it absolutely shocking that President Obama would appoint someone who has diminished the 9/11 terrorist attacks by comparing them to the drug trade and who believes that a civilian courtroom is the appropriate venue for 9/11 trials,” King continued.

“This may be one of the worst appointments by President Obama during his presidency,” King added, referring to Cole as a “left-wing ideologue who places terrorists in the same categories as drug peddlers."

King was referring to an op-ed Cole penned for the Legal Times on Sept. 9, 2002, in which Cole said 9/11 should be treated as a criminal act of terrorism against a civilian population instead of as an act of war requiring military tribunals.

“[T]he attorney general is not a member of the military fighting a war — he is a prosecutor fighting crime,” Cole wrote. “For all the rhetoric about war, the Sept. 11 attacks were criminal acts of terrorism against a civilian population, much like the terrorist acts of Timothy McVeigh in blowing up the federal building in Oklahoma City, or of Omar Abdel-Rahman in the first effort to blow up the World Trade Center.

“The criminals responsible for these horrible acts were successfully tried and convicted under our criminal justice system, without the need for special procedures that altered traditional due process rights.”

The editorial also compared the attacks to the drug trade, organized crimes, rape, child abuse and murder, saying all are horrible.

“Our country has faced many forms of devastating crime, including the scourge of the drug trade, the reign of organized crime, and countless acts of rape, child abuse, and murder,” he wrote. “The acts of Sept. 11 were horrible, but so are these other things.”

Cole’s nomination to the second-ranking post at the Department of Justice had been held up over objections from Republicans, who also raised concerns over his tenure as an independent monitor of insurance giant AIG between 2005 and 2009. The federal government bailed out the company in 2008.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) attempted to confirm Cole by unanimous consent during the lame-duck session, but GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.) objected.

While the recess appointment allows Obama to fill a key spot at the Department of Justice, Cole will have to be nominated again and confirmed by the end of the next session of Congress. That could be tougher, given the larger GOP minority in the next Senate.

Cole is a partner at the firm Bryan Cave LLP and previously served as a Justice Department official between 1979 and 1992. He worked on former President Bill Clinton's transition team in 1992.

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It's Good To Have A Ring

h/t Gateway Pundit:

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Hugo Has a Hissy

All because we kicked his ambassador out.

Newsmax:

Venezuela Condemns 'Imperial' U.S. Visa Reprisal
Thursday, 30 Dec 2010

Venezuela condemned Thursday the United States' revocation of its ambassador's visa as an "imperial" move by President Barack Obama's government, saying the measure should be immediately overturned.

In the latest flare-up between the ideological foes, Washington withdrew the visa of ambassador Bernardo Alvarez on Wednesday in retaliation for the rejection by socialist President Hugo Chavez of Obama's nominated U.S. envoy to Caracas.

Diplomat Larry Palmer had criticized Venezuela's government.

"This is a new aggression by the State Department," Roy Daza, a prominent ruling party member who heads parliament's foreign affairs committee, told Reuters. "The only possible solution is for the United States to rectify its position."

The tit-for-tat appeared to bury any lingering prospects of rapprochement between the Obama administration and Chavez, who has inherited Fidel Castro's mantle as Latin America's leading critic of the United States.

Despite the diplomatic spat, few expect either Venezuela or the United States to risk jeopardizing trade ties -- principally oil -- crucial to both nation's economies.

The South American OPEC member is the fifth biggest crude supplier to the United States, exporting about 1.2 million barrels per day of oil and products.

Chavez had blocked Larry Palmer's arrival after the diplomat accused Venezuela's government of close ties to leftist Colombian rebels. He also alleged declining morale and growing Cuban influence in Venezuela's armed forces.

"Mr. Palmer insulted, slandered and lied shamelessly in his speech to the Senate. For this reason, he disqualified himself as the United States' diplomatic representative to Venezuela," Daza said in a telephone interview.



"IMPERIAL MENTALITY"

When Obama took office in January 2009, promising more engagement with foes, there had been expectations of a possible rapprochement. Chavez toned down his tirades against the "empire" and shook hands with the new U.S. leader at a summit of regional leaders.

But within months, Chavez said Obama was disillusioning the world by following his Republican predecessor George W. Bush's foreign policies, and the rhetoric from Caracas cranked up again.

Daza said the visa revocation showed there had not been any real change in the U.S. line toward the rest of the world.

"It shows that the change in U.S. president did not represent a change of the imperial mentality," he said.

The Foreign Ministry also issued a protest note condemning the "history of interventionism and aggression against Venezuela's people, institutions and democracy."

But analysts did not expect the spat to affect trade ties including Venezuelan oil exports to the United States. Although it is seeking to diversify its export portfolio toward political allies like China, Venezuela is in a second year of recession and cannot afford to drastically cut U.S sales. Past threats by Chavez to do so have not materialized.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Caracas had brought the visa measure upon itself.

"We said there would be consequences when the Venezuelan government rescinded agreement regarding our nominee, Larry Palmer. We have taken appropriate, proportional and reciprocal action," Toner told reporters in an e-mail late Wednesday.

A member of Venezuela's political opposition said Chavez and Washington were both playing a dangerous game.

"This has been a badly-handled relationship by both government, and that worries us in the opposition because the United States is Venezuela's main trade partner," Ramon Jose Medina, foreign affairs spokesman for the Democratic Unity opposition coalition, told Reuters.

"The United States is an important nation with which we should have stable and cordial relations."

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Maybe My 12 Year Old Could Explain It To Him

Newsbusters:

Wash Post's Ezra Klein Laments 'Confusing' Nature of Old Constitution
By Scott Whitlock December 30, 2010 11:25

The Washington Post's Ezra Klein appeared on MSNBC's Daily Rundown, Thursday, to mock the incoming Republicans for their stated fixation on the Constitution, asserting that the document is rather old and "confusing." MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell dismissed the GOP effort as "lip service" and wondered if it was a "gimmick."

After playing clips of Republicans claiming they would reject legislation that couldn't be justified constitutionally, Klein complained, "The issue of the Constitution is that the text is confusing because it was written more than 100 years ago and what people believe it says differs from person to person and differs depending on what they want to get done."

(It was actually written 223 years ago, which is a slightly "more than 100.") Klein didn't expound on which parts "confuse" him the most.



O'Donnell condescendingly introduced the segment by suggesting that the Constitution "has been getting a whole lot of lip service." After alerting viewers that the Republicans would open Congress by reading the document's text, she skeptically wondered, "Is this a gimmick?"

To underscore her cynicism, O'Donnell played a snippet of incoming House Speaker John Boehner confusing the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, wondering how "alarming" the slip was.

Finally, Klein concluded the segment by suggesting that politicians pledging to closely follow the Constitution simply don't mean it: "...It seems to me that these legal battles almost always break down along partisan lines and have very little to do with any sort of enduring understanding of the document."

This brought a prompt reply of "no doubt" from O'Donnell.

A transcript of the December 30 segment, which aired at 9:15am EST, follows:


SENATOR JIM DEMINT: Government has a solution to almost anything, because we don't pay any attention to the Constitution.

SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE NANCY PELOSI: We believe that this act was passed tonight is an all-American act honoring our founders vows to the future.

SENATOR-ELECT MIKE LEE (R-UT): I will not vote for a single piece of legislation that I can't reconcile with the text and the original understanding of the U.S. Constitution.

NORAH O'DONNELL: Returning to the Constitution. That's what Republicans want to do in the new Congress. In the last year, the 223-year-old document has been getting a whole lot of lip service. So when the 112th Congress is sworn in next week, expect to hear a lot more about it, 'cause the Constitution is at center of three coming congressional battles and we love wonkery mixed up with politics. So, we're bringing our favorite wonk into the discussion to tee up some of the discussions in the weeks ahead, MSNBC contributor Ezra Wonk Klein is a staff writer for the Washington Post and joins us now. Ezra, good to see you. Thanks so much.

EZRA KLEIN: Good morning, Norah.

O'DONNELL: You heard all the different politicians talking about the Constitution. Well, this is what's going to happen. When Republicans take over next week, they're going to do something that apparently has never been done in the 221-year history of the House of Representatives. They are going to read the Constitution aloud. Is this a gimmick?

KLEIN: Yes, it's a gimmick. [Laughs] I mean, you can say two things about it. One, is that it has no binding power on anything. And two, the issue of the Constitution is not that people don't read the text and think they're following. The issue of the Constitution is that the text is confusing because it was written more than 100 years ago and what people believe it says differs from person to person and differs depending on what they want to get done. So, I wouldn't expect to much coming out of this.

O'DONNELL: Except that, you know, the Tea Party has sort of used this to say, you know, we've got to follow the Constitution. I mean, they're constantly talking about it is a way of suggesting that our government has run amuck. And yet, the new Speaker of the House has actually confused himself what's in the Constitution. Let's listen to John Boehner from earlier this year.

JOHN BOEHNER: This is my copy of the Constitution. And I'm going to stand here with our Founding Fathers who wrote in the preamble, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights."

O'DONNELL: Ezra, is it alarming that the Speaker of the House confused the Constitution with the Declaration of Independence?

KLEIN: Oh, my. I don't find it particularly alarming. Obviously, it's rather embarrassing for him. There's another part we should note, which is the new rules require every bill name its constitutional authority in the bill's text and what I want to point out about that is that bills don't normally do that now. But, the one bill that did, the health care bill. In the individual mandate section it names the constitutional authority for the mandate. It names the constitutional justification the Democrats believe they have for it. And, of course, the Republicans don't think-

O'DONNELL: And what is that justification?

KLEIN: Necessary and Proper Clause, basically the normal reading of the Commerce Clause, at least in our era, is that in a sort of a unified nation like we are the government is fairly expansive powers [sic] to make sure interstate commerce works effectively. The health care market is largely federal, people move from state to state, get care in different states. In order to make it work you need to be able to pass federal laws about it. On some level, you basically do this with Medicare, right? Medicare is a federal law that has a ton of regulatory power over the health care sector. Now, because Republicans oppose the individual mandate, despite having come up with it in the early '90s, they're attacking it on constitutional grounds because they say couldn't be in Congress. But, it's just to make the point that simply saying this is constitutional has no weight with either side. Republicans haven't said, "Oh, well, you wrote it in the bill, so never mind. We're wrong. We're sorry we doubted you. You named what you thought was your justification for it already.

O'DONNELL: Well, I think here's here's what I think is the key question. Because, one of the things facing members of Congress and this President is the budget battle that is looming. And, we have a couple numbers here, because we're facing a $1.3 trillion fiscal 2010 deficit. $100 billion in promised Republican cuts. We've got this all on the screen and $4 trillion in cuts is what was prose proposed by the deficit panel to do that by 2020. Is there anything in the Constitution that talks about a balanced budget?

KLEIN: Nothing. And It's interesting, a lot of Tea Party members talked about adding a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. And if they wanted it to be in there, they obviously would have obviously added it. Similarly, the filibuster keeps a lot of this from going through that's not in the Constitution. Again, there's a very instrumental relationship people have with the Constitution. This goes from sort of us on the ground here in politics to the Supreme Court, with Scalia, Thomas and other members that tend to be on different sides. State rights when it suits them, more federalist interpretations when it comes to things like marijuana regulation when that accords with their political beliefs. I've come to have a cynical view of jurisprudence on the Constitution, in that it seems to me that these legal battles almost always break down along partisan lines and have very little to do with any sort of enduring understanding of the document.

O'DONNELL: No doubt. Ezra Klein with the Washington Post. Good to see you and happy New Year.

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Powderkeg

Newsmax:

SKorea: NKorea Building Up Special Forces
Wednesday, 29 Dec 2010

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea says in a biennial military review that North Korea has boosted its special forces and deployed huge artillery guns and a new kind of tank close to the heavily fortified border.

The report released Thursday by the Defense Ministry also says the North intends to rely on its nuclear program as a counterweight to South Korea's high-tech military.

The document says North Korea has 200,000 special operations forces, an increase from 180,000 in its last previous assessment in 2008. It says those forces are aimed at infiltrating and disrupting sensitive facilities.

The update on North Korea's military came amid lingering tension following a North Korean artillery attack that killed four people on a front-line island last month.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's president said Wednesday that urgent progress must be made next year in dismantling North Korea's atomic weapons program ahead of a key anniversary that could spur Pyongyang to bolster its nuclear capabilities.

President Lee Myung-bak said diplomats must quickly persuade the North to abandon its nuclear aspirations because Pyongyang is pushing to create a "powerful, prosperous nation" by 2012. The year is the 100th since the birth of Kim Il Sung, the revered guerrilla fighter-turned-political leader who founded the communist state in 1948 and the father of current leader Kim Jong Il.

That push could involve more aggressive behavior, and a South Korean Foreign Ministry-affiliated think tank, the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, warned in a recent report that North Korea could be planning another nuclear test for next year.

The two Koreas are still technically at war because their 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. Last month, the North shelled southern-held Yeonpyeong Island along the disputed sea border, killing four people, including two civilians, in its first assault on a civilian area since the war.

Six-nation talks on ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program have been stalled for nearly two years, with Washington and Seoul insisting that the North must make progress on past disarmament commitments before negotiations can resume. The North, chronically short of food and fuel, has previously used nuclear and missile tests, and violence, as ways to force the aid-for-disarmament talks and has recently said it's willing to return to negotiations.

The U.S. and South Korean hard-line stance, however, only strengthened last year after Pyongyang launched rockets and conducted its second nuclear test.

South Korea has reacted with shock and outrage this year to the North's alleged torpedoing of a southern warship in March, killing 46, and its artillery barrage last month. North Korea denies the torpedo attack.

South Korea has recently vowed a strong response to the North should there be future attacks.

"South Korea is not aiming for a war," Lee said in a meeting with top defense officials. "If provoked, however, we must make a strong response and win."

The Defense Ministry, in its report to Lee about next year's policy plans, said it will deploy unspecified "key assets" on front-line islands to bolster their reconnoissance and striking capabilities to deal with potential surprise attacks by North Korea.

Worries about North Korea's nuclear program also deepened in November when the country revealed a uranium enrichment facility — which could give it a second way to make atomic bombs. North Korea is believed to have enough weaponized plutonium for at least a half-dozen atomic bombs.

Pyongyang's main Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a commentary Wednesday that its uranium-enrichment factory "is operating on a normal footing" to feed fuel to a light water reactor that is under construction. The commentary — via the official Korean Central News Agency — said the uranium program is for peaceful purposes only and accused the U.S. of wrongfully contemplating sanctions on the North.

President Lee called Wednesday for "big progress" in ridding the North of its nuclear programs next year. The stalled six-nation talks are the way to do that, Lee said while being briefed by officials about next year's foreign policy plans, according to the president's office.

Lee's spokeswoman Kim Hee-jung said that Lee's comments did not reflect any new flexibility on resuming the nuclear talks involving the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan.

"Lee has repeatedly said North Korea must show substantial changes in terms of the dismantling of its nuclear program," Kim told reporters, according her office. "Regarding that, our position hasn't changed at all."

Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan later told reporters that chances for talks with North Korea on the nuclear issue remain open.

Despite lingering tension, Lee reiterated his belief that unification with North Korea is drawing closer and ordered preparations for unification.

"I think we should stress to our people in the coming year the view that unification is not far away, and that it has many positive aspects for us," Lee told Unification Ministry officials.

Unification Minister Hyun In-taek later told reporters that people in the secretive North have become aware of changes outside their country, and that private markets are spreading there. He declined to say how soon unification could happen.

Hyun said he believes resuming inter-Korean talks are necessary but that North Korea must first demonstrate sincerity. For instance, Hyun said North Korea should take "responsible measures" over the two attacks this year.

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If You Can't Legislate, Regulate

Newsmax:

Obama Sidesteps Hill With EPA Carbon Limits
Thursday, 30 Dec 2010

The Obama administration will use government agencies and the Clean Air Act to push through its global warming agenda after failing in Congress. FoxNews.com reports that on Jan.2 new carbon limits will be set and the Environmental Protection Agency will then draw up regulations requiring companies to get permits to release greenhouse gases.

Fox said the administration, which points to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling for its authority, plans to have preliminary rules in place by the summer with final rules set for 2012. American Enterprise Institute scientist Ken Green told Fox the regulations are “job killers.”

“Regulations, period -- any kind of regulation is a weight on economy,” he said. “It requires people to comply with the law, which takes work hours and time, which reduces the profitability of firms. Therefore, they grow more slowly and you create less jobs."

Fox also cited a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Rep Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Americans for Prosperity president Tim Phillips that called for “Congress to overturn the EPA's proposed greenhouse gas regulations outright. If Democrats refuse to join Republicans in doing so, then they should at least join a sensible bipartisan compromise to mandate that the EPA delay its regulations until the courts complete their examination of the agency's endangerment finding and proposed rules."

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Batman exploiter David Hine doesn't like Sarkozy's government

I found a leftist site - not sure if it's French - where David Hine, the leftist writer who penned the story in Detective Comics told almost a month ago why he decided to make "Nightrunner" a Muslim of Algerian background. He said:
Rather than use the obvious choice of The Musketeer as the new French Batman, I wanted to come up with the kind of hero I would want to see in a comic book if I were French. The process of developing a story is complex and there are all kinds of things I looked at. The urban unrest and problems of the ethnic minorities under Sarkozy’s government dominate the news from France and it became inevitable that the hero should come from a French Algerian background. The Parkour element was maybe a little obvious, but it fitted very well with the concept of a hero from the streets. Clichy-Sous-Bois, as you point out, is the flashpoint for rioting in Paris, so again was the obvious location for Bilal.
Okay, let's see what we have here. First, of course calling a French vigilante "Musketeer" would be too obvious; he could've made him an indigenous Frenchman and still kept the name already used. Second, I think his citation of Sarkozy's government should be enough to tell that he's got a problem with it, maybe because he doesn't like conservatives?

Third, if he really had to use someone other than a regular Frenchman/woman, why couldn't he have cast, say, an Arab of Christian faith, or even an Armenian in the role? Or a Bulgarian? Or even a man or woman of Ainu descent from Japan? What's so wrong with them?

He can say whatever he likes, but for now, what's apparent is that he made the mistake of allowing his leftist political biases play into all this, and exploited a famous vigilante's book all for the sake of something that's been taking the enjoyment out of a considerable amount of comics.
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High Lonesome

Cadillac Sky
Born Lonesome

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CNSNews:

Obama Bypasses Senate With More Recess Appointments, Including First Ambassador to Syria in 5 Years
Thursday, December 30, 2010
By Matthew Lee, Associated Press

Washington (AP) - President Barack Obama has bypassed the Senate and directly appointed four new U.S. ambassadors whose nominations had been stalled or blocked by lawmakers for months.

The White House announced Wednesday that Obama would use his power to make recess appointments to fill envoy posts to Azerbaijan, Syria and NATO allies Turkey and the Czech Republic. Recess appointments are made when the Senate is not in session and last only until the end of the next session of Congress. They are frequently used when Senate confirmation is not possible.

Specific senators had blocked or refused to consider the confirmations of the nominees for various reasons, including questions about their qualifications. But in the most high-profile case, that of the new envoy to Syria, Robert Ford, a number of senators objected because they believed sending an ambassador to the country would reward it for bad behavior.

"Making underserved concessions to Syria tells the regime in Damascus that it can continue to pursue its dangerous agenda and not face any consequences from the U.S.," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the incoming chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement. "That is the wrong message to be sending to a regime which continues to harm and threaten U.S. interests and those of such critical allies as Israel."

The administration had argued that returning an ambassador to Syria after a five-year absence would help persuade Syria to change its policies regarding Israel, Lebanon, Iraq and support for extremist groups. Syria is designated a "state sponsor of terrorism" by the State Department.

President George W. Bush's administration withdrew a full-time ambassador from Syria in 2005 after terrorism accusations and to protest the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, killed in a Beirut truck bombing that his supporters blamed on Syria. Syria denied involvement.

Obama nominated Ford, a career diplomat and a former ambassador to Algeria, to the post in February but his nomination stalled after his confirmation hearings and was never voted on.

The other Obama nominees announced Wednesday are Matthew Bryza for Azerbaijan, Norman Eisen for the Czech Republic and Francis Ricciardone for Turkey.

Bryza, a career diplomat, was opposed by some in the Armenian-American community because of comments he made in his previous position as deputy assistant secretary of state for European affairs while trying to negotiate an end to the Nargorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The nomination of Ricciardone, another career diplomat who served as ambassador to Egypt during the Bush administration, had been held up by outgoing Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., who had concerns about his work in promoting democracy while he was stationed in Cairo.

The nomination of Eisen, a lawyer who has worked in the Obama White House on ethics and reform, was being held up by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who said the nominee had made misrepresentations to Congress about the firing of a federal official.

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Israel Today:

Israeli diplomat ambushed by NY Times staff

The New York Times, flagship of the liberal American media, has never been a friend of the Jewish state. But the newspaper’s aversion to Israel turned to open hostility this month when its top editors ambushed and tore into an unsuspecting senior official from the Israeli Consulate in New York City.

The Israeli official was invited by the Times editors, among them rabid columnist Thomas Friedman, to meet with them at their office. Being a veteran at dealing with the American media, the official assumed the invitation was for a friendly discussion and perhaps an interview regarding the peace process and other matters of importance to Israel.

The Israeli had no idea he was being invited for what he described as a lynch.

As the meeting started, the Times editors - most of them Jews, and one of them a former Israeli - began to attack the Israeli diplomat, and refused to give him even a moment to respond.

They blamed Israel for everything, the diplomat told Israel Today.

The Times editors insisted the breakdown of the peace process was Israel’s fault, that the lack of peace was Israel’s fault, and were adamant that Israel had given nothing to the Palestinians. They accused Israel of being an extremist and racist state, and blasted the diplomat for Israel’s “ill-treatment” of President Barack Obama.

In short, the Times staff informed the Israeli in no uncertain terms that they were sick of his country.

The diplomat told us he was shocked by the attack. He tried to respond, but the Times editors were not interested in hearing his arguments.

“I asked them,” said the diplomat, “We haven’t given the Palestinians anything? How can you say that? Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu broke with his party platform and implemented a 10-month Jewish building freeze, and what did we get in return? More Palestinian refusal to negotiate.”

According to the Israeli, the Times editors responded: “Yes, yes. Of course you are going to start telling us about how Israel’s security needs are not being met. You just don’t get it that we are sick of hearing about that.”

There is little doubt that this ambush was led by Friedman, whose hostility toward Israel in his recent columns has surprised even his liberal friends in the Jewish state.

In recent articles, Friedman has accused Israel of being a spoiled child, crazy and extremist. He insisted that the US stop being Israel’s “enabler,” and pointed out that the rest of the world is fully on the side of the Palestinians, so why not America?

Wrote Friedman in one of his columns: “Israel, when America - which has given you billions over the past 50 years and defended you in the international arena - asks you to stop building settlements for three months in order to jump start peace talks, there is only one correct answer, and that is ‘yes, whatever you say.’”

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Fox:

Report: 10 Al Qaeda Suspects Detained in Turkey
Published December 30, 2010
Associated Press

ANKARA, Turkey -- Police have detained 10 people suspected of links to the Al Qaeda terror network and accused of preparing to stage an attack before New Year's Eve, the state-run Anatolia news agency said Thursday.

The agency, citing police, said that the suspects were rounded up for questioning in simultaneous raids in the cities of Bursa and Istanbul earlier this week and on Thursday. It did not elaborate.

It was the latest in a string of raids against people described as Al Qaeda suspects. The suspects were expected to be interrogated by prosecutors on Friday who will make decide whether to press charges against them.

Some charges emerging from similar previous raids have been dropped because of flimsy evidence.

Islamic militants tied to Al Qaeda carried out suicide bombings in Istanbul in 2003, killing 58 people.

In 2008, an attack blamed on Al Qaeda-affiliated militants outside the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul left three attackers and three policemen dead.

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Times of India:

'Human bomb' spills beans on all-women Taliban death squads
AGENCIES, Dec 30, 2010, 07.06am IST

Islamabad: Taliban have set up all women suicide squads to carry out deadly terror mission on both sides of the Afghan-Pak border, a captured 12-year-old girl has revealed.

Meena Gul, trained to be a 'human bomb' was apprehended from the Munda area, in Dir close to the Afghan border in January, and her disclosures have sent shivers down the spine of Pakistani security establishment. Gul said that women suicide bombers were trained for their deadly task in small cells on both sides of the porous border and were dispatched to their missions with a sermon, "God will reward you with a place in heaven".

The 12-year-old Afghan girl was quoted by the Express Tribune as having told the police that she trained in a group which was headed by her sister-in-law Zainab and she battled Pakistani troops dressed as a man. She claimed that her younger sister blew herself up in a suicide attack in Afghanistan, but she had managed to escape as she was too scared to die.

Nato trucks attacked in Pakistan, driver killed: Taliban militants in Pakistan attacked two Nato supply trucks, killing a driver and wounding two others. Half a dozen militants launched the attack in Landikotal, in Khyber district bordering Afghanistan.

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Hey Rosie!

Willie!


The Voice as Smooth as 100 Proof



Ray & Willie

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Humpday Blues

Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee
Walk On

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hey Mark!

Johnny & June


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Waylon


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Missed Him By That Much

New York Times

Obama Back on the Links
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG

KAILUA, Hawaii — President Obama is an avid golfer. But his friend Marty Nesbitt may have gotten the best of him on the links here Tuesday afternoon.

“Your putting’s on fire,” Mr. Obama told Mr. Nesbitt on the ninth hole at the Mid Pacific Country Club here, where a presidential fivesome — including Mr. Nesbitt, Eric Whitaker, Mike Ramos and Bobby Titcomb, friends of the president from Chicago and Hawaii — spent much of the afternoon. The private club, in the ritzy neighborhood of Lanikai, boasts what its Web site calls a “highly acclaimed golf course” that has “hosted some of the finest golfers in the world.”

The pool of reporters traveling with Mr. Obama was allowed to watch from a balcony overlooking the course, where about 30 camera-toting onlookers also stood. Mr. Obama approached the green driving his own cart, with his left leg dangling out of the vehicle.
He shot a 5 on the ninth hole. At one point, as Dr. Whitaker took his approach shot from behind a tree in the rough, the ball whizzed past the president, missing him by about two feet.

Once the president was on the green, his 12-foot putt went wide, to the left. His second putt, about two feet from the hole, went in. Mr. Obama, looking satisfied, walked away from the green, tossing the ball up and down in his hand.

“Thank you guys!’’ he called up to the balcony, where the club’s golf pro, Mark Sousa, was watching. Mr. Sousa said he had observed Mr. Obama earlier on the driving range, while the president was waiting to tee off.

“His swing looks a lot better this year,” Mr. Sousa said.

.

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Hurrah!

Whether he's hawking Glock firearms, SOG knives, GEICO, hosting Mail Call or Lock 'n Load, ya got to love this guy.

Uncle Barry may disagree with me. . .

R. Lee Ermey

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The Five Best Arguments Against Sharia in the United States

From Zombie at PJM:

I shouldn’t have to write this essay. But a judge in Oklahoma forced me into it.

Last month, 70% of the voters in Oklahoma approved State Question 755, which bans Sharia law (and international law) from being used in the state’s legal system. Almost immediately afterward, CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) sued to have the vote overturned, based on the bizarre claim that the measure is “unconstitutional.” U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange then sided with CAIR and issued an injunction preventing the measure from taking effect until all lawsuits against it are resolved. Since the suits will likely take years to play out, the new measure (and the will of the voters) will be stymied for the foreseeable future.

Those who oppose Sharia in the United States often argue their point by highlighting how misogynistic, backward, cruel and discriminatory Islamic law can be under most interpretations. And while all that may be true, it is the wrong argument to make. I get so frustrated watching pundits, politicians and bloggers making the weakest argument in what should be a slam-dunk debate that I’ve decided to write this brief outline of what I think should be the prioritized hierarchy of arguments against the use of Sharia in the United States.

In order, these are the arguments that Sharia’s opponents should be using, not just in Oklahoma but anywhere else in the country where the same issue crops up:

1. U.S. law is the “supreme law of the land,” no exceptions.

The specifics of what’s in Sharia law are irrelevant. It doesn’t matter whether Sharia is the most wonderful, mild and reasonable set of humanitarian recommendations ever devised, or if it’s an oppressive medieval framework for a nightmarish theocracy — or something in between. All of that is off-topic. Why? Because in the United States of America, only U.S. law governs. Period. You can’t violate a U.S. law and then offer up as a legal excuse, “Well, in Mongolia what I did is perfectly legal!” You’d be convicted, while the jury laughed.

To get specific, Article VI of the Constitution, better known as the Supremacy Clause, states:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any state to the Contrary notwithstanding.
“Supreme law of the land” nails it down pretty well. I don’t see anything in there about exceptions made for religious law — do you?

Even the lead plaintiff in the case concedes this point; quoted in the top link above, Muneer Awad, executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of CAIR, said “the measure is unnecessary ‘because even first-year law students know’ that another type of law cannot supersede the U.S. Constitution.”

And…? What’s his point here? It may be true that State Question 755 merely reaffirms already-established legal principles, but just because a measure is “unnecessary” doesn’t mean that it’s unconstitutional. In fact, as many legal experts know, there is plenty of duplication and overlap in the Constitution itself, and much more in state law. Hate-crime laws are a clear recent example of “unnecessary” duplicative legislation: It’s already illegal to assault someone, but the courts have allowed additional laws against assault motivated by malice, even though they’re theoretically “unnecessary.” The same allowance for “unnecessary” reaffirmation of Constitutional ideals applies to the new Oklahoma law as well.

2. Sharia, as “divine revelation,” is inherently undemocratic.

One of the fundamental principles of United States law is that it is subject to the will of the governed, and can be updated and revised over time. This can be done at the federal level by Constitutional amendments in which the people of each state (through their elected representatives) vote on whether or not to alter the nationwide legal framework; or by electing (or booting out) representatives who enact laws according to the will of the voters; or by electing presidents and governors who appoint judges of this or that political slant; or by similar mechanisms at state or local levels. This process is so self-evident that it hardly needs to be described.

But Sharia operates in a completely different way. The Qur’an (from which Sharia is ultimately derived) is deemed by Islam to be “revealed,” in that it was supposedly handed down from on high by Allah himself, and as such is perfect, unchangeable, uninterpretable, and thus beyond the reach of man’s attempt to alter it. In other words, Sharia is undemocratic. In practice, various Islamic experts and jurists — imams, ayatollahs, mullahs, and so forth — do indeed “interpret” the medieval Arabic of the Qur’an and apply it to modern settings, since only scholars can even read the Qur’an in the original. (Even direct translations of the Qur’an are regarded by true believers as corruptions; only the original is the true “word of God.”) But these jurists themselves are not elected. So neither the text nor the implementation of the text are subject to the will of the populace.

Needless to say, any such legal system fundamentally contradicts the basis of the American legal system. You can’t have an immutable, eternal set of fixed religious laws (i.e. Sharia) incorporated as a subset of a malleable legal system (such as U.S. law).

(Now, if three-fourths of U.S. states voted to amend the federal Constitution to jettison all existing law and replace it with Sharia, then yes, we could have Sharia in America. But that doesn’t seem likely. And until such an amendment is passed, then Sharia is in fundamental disagreement with the existing Constitution.)
Sharia’s advocates think that by citing Sharia’s “perfection,” divinity and immutability, they are making a good argument for why it should be adopted; but it is for that very reason that it is completely unacceptable in the United States, a land whose government is “of the people, by the people, for the people.” Note that last word: people. Not God, not Allah. Us.

3. Many aspects of Sharia are flagrantly unconstitutional.

Any number of specific Sharia laws directly contradict or violate basic principles of the U.S. Constitution:
- Under Sharia’s rules of evidence, “Testimony from women is given only half the weight of men.” This violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, guaranteeing for all persons complete equality under the law.

- The punishment for theft under Sharia is “amputation of hands or feet, depending on the number of times it is committed.” This is a gross violation of the Eighth Amendment, which bans “cruel and unusual punishments” under U.S. law.

- In Sharia courts, “testimony from non-Muslims may be excluded altogether (if against a Muslim).”
Furthermore, “Muslim women may only enter into marriage with Muslim men.” Such Sharia laws, as well as many others which elevate Muslims over non-Muslims, are in direct violation of the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, and possibly Article VI of the Constitution.

- Sharia’s penalty for apostasy (rejecting Islam) is death, according to the vast majority of Islamic scholars and judges. Since apostasy could not, under the First Amendment, even be considered a crime under U.S. law, much less a capital crime, enforcing the death penalty for a “crime of conscience” violates the very spirit of the Constitution, not to mention the First, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and Fourteenth amendments.

The list could go on and on, and it does. Read the rest.
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Something to look forward to: Birth of an (Oil) Nation, loss of an Islamic prize

South Sudan votes for independence on January 9th, potentially touching off wars between Africa’s Islamic North and Christian south.
(National Post) In January, the Western world will welcome a new nation, South Sudan. The Islamic world will not. The coming independence of South Sudan, which holds most of the oil in the country now called Sudan, marks a loss of territory and of wealth for the Islamic world. Worse for Islam and Sudan, more losses may follow in black African areas that refused to become Islamicized.
Sudan, Africa’s largest country, is Islamic and Arabic in the north, Christian or animist and black in the south. Following an independence referendum January 9, the black south, an area the size of France, is expected to secede, taking with it 80% of Sudan’s five-billion barrels of oil and thus most of Sudan’s foreign exchange. Under the terms of an existing agreement, the revenue from oil, which is now being piped north through Sudan for export, is being split 50-50 between north and south. But Sudan, which many expect to declare war on South Sudan after the referendum, has good reason to worry that the existing agreement will be scrapped.

For one thing, South Sudan will be building a southeast oil pipeline, through neighbouring Kenya to a port on the ocean. Once built, South Sudanese oil need not flow north through Sudan, and Sudan will lose its ability to take its share. To add to Sudan’s worry, China – Sudan’s chief financier and the destination for 65% of Sudanese oil exports – has reversed its opposition to South Sudan’s independence and is now bidding to build the new pipeline.

More significantly, the West is hostile to Sudan because of its alliances with Iran and other radical Islamic regimes and because of its atrocities in Sudan’s Darfur region. It is the West that engineered South Sudan’s secession by arranging a referendum under UN auspices and it is the West that has secretly helped arm South Sudan. Last week, Russia joined the club of non-Islamic nations aligned against Sudan, reversing its opposition to South Sudan’s independence and, seeing an opportunity for its own oil industry, bringing combat helicopters to South Sudan to help provide the fledgling country with security. Others aiding South Sudan include Christian Kenya, through which most of its arms arrive, Christian Ethiopia, and Israel, which has played an outsized role in establishing South Sudan.

Once Sudan loses its south, other losses are likely to happen. Without its oil exports to China, with which it purchases the Chinese arms that have allowed it to counter the rebels in Darfur, Sudan could lose Darfur, also an oil-rich region. And it is already close to losing its Abiyeh region, another black non-Islamic oil producer that wants to join the south – a referendum to decide its fate could take place soon.

Other African states see Sudan’s looming dismemberment as a harbinger of what’s to come. As warned by the president of Chad, Sudan’s neighbour, “we all have a north and south. If we accept the breakup of Sudan, the domino effect will be inevitable and it would be a disaster for the continent.”

Because the stakes for Sudan and Islam are so high, many expect Sudan to reject the referendum results and – with the help of Iran and other allies – to try to keep South Sudan by force. The clash of civilizations between Islam and the west will then open a new chapter.
Go read the whole thing at Eye on the World.
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