Monday, November 30, 2009

Catholic Priests and the Rwandan Genocide

There is an article up at CNN about the arrest of a Rwandan Catholic priest, wanted in connection with the 1994 genocide.

The Rwandan government alleges that Uwayezu sowed the seeds for ethnic hatred at the school by blaming the nation's troubles on the "inyenzi," a term meaning cockroach, used by Hutu extremists to describe Tutsis. The government says the priest then alerted security forces, trapped the students and organized their killing at the nearby College of Arts on May 7, 1994.
Four other priests have been indicted by the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. But human rights groups say the " the small number of indictments do not accurately represent the church's role in the genocide." They argue that the church not only failed to condemn the massacres, but refused to try to save lives. And if the allegations about these priests are correct, some apparently took an active role in the genocide. I know the Catholic Church is a huge organization, but even so, the amount and variety of misconduct by its priests is still disturbing.

Supreme Court Gets One Right

The Supreme Court today threw out the ill-advised appeals court decision that would have required disclosure of detainee abuse photos. The administration was actually on the right side of this issue, arguing that "they could whip up anti-American sentiment overseas and endanger U.S. troops." You might think that would be so obvious that it wouldn't be necessary to take such a case all the way to the Supreme Court. After all, even the Obama administration recognizes that it would be a really bad idea.

But terrorist rights supporters have demonstrated repeatedly that they don't particularly care about much other than advancing their radical interpretation of "rights." It's nice to see the Supreme Court hand them a defeat, while at the same time preventing a bonanza of free enemy propaganda.

HOT5 Daily 11/30/2009

1. "Palin: Still Not Ready for the Spotlight" Ten examples.

Representative Sample: 9. “My critics are lonely and need prayer.”  This just drips with bitterness. Try to imagine Ronald Reagan whining like this.

2. "Nearer My Atheism to Thee: How to Respond to Theists"Thoughts from Michael Shermer.

Representative Sample:What is the right way to respond to theists and/or theism? That is the question asked at every atheism/humanism conference I’ve attended the past several years. The answer is simple: there is no one “right way”.

3. "A Personal Perspective on Health Care" My perspective is similar.

Representative Sample: There are economic and political reasons why I do not like the reform plan proposed by the Obama Administration and the Democrats in Congress. But the main reason is far more personal - the Democrats make a lot of promises, in general and lacking substance, about access and choice, but they refuse to have a serious debate about the cost, effects, and conditions of their proposed changes

4. "So now authorities have to worry about upsetting young thugs, by calling them “YOUTHS”" The UK is getting increasingly ridiculous.

Representative Sample: It just gets crazier and more stupid with each passing day.

5. "With All Due Respect, Of Course" Short but to the point.

Representative Sample: Did I mention that the ICC can bugger off?

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Obama's Foreign Policy Incompetence -- Latin American Version

Few things illustrate the foreign policy incompetence of the Obama administration better than its handling of the situation in Honduras. I've written about this before, but there's a new article up at the Washington Post called, "Honduran election puts U.S. in a spot," that further lays out just how badly Obama screwed up. Not only did he bully an ally and attempt to intimidate it into restoring a president hostile to American interests, but he's managed to put the U.S. in a situation where pretty much everyone is dissatisfied with our behavior. It's one thing to incur the anger of other countries because you acted in the U.S. interest. But Obama acted against our interests, and still made everyone unhappy. As the article states,
The Obama administration finds itself accused by regional allies and others of abandoning its commitment to democracy for a more pragmatic solution.
Never mind that it had little to do with "democracy," or that most of the countries complaining couldn't care less about it.
"This will leave a bad aftertaste in people's mouths, the way the U.S., rightly or wrongly, rushed to condemn the coup, then for its own reasons, tried to backpedal," said Chris Sabatini, policy director at the business group Council of the Americas. "It will make the U.S. less of a trustworthy partner diplomatically."
Countries are generally expected to act in their own best interests. But countries that are fumbling, indecisive and led by clueless incompetents are clearly not trustworthy diplomatic partners. States that stab allies in the back to curry favor with others generally don't engender a great deal of trust either. In his actions toward Honduras, Obama projected weakness, indecision and stupidity, and acted against the best interests of the U.S. And in return, he got nothing but irritation, dislike or outright contempt. Great job.

HOT5 Daily 11/29/2009

1. "The Rations of Government: You’ve Had Enough" The benefits of more government control.

Representative Sample: Why would an otherwise sane, “rational” people chose health care rationing and energy rationing? Shortage and deprivation, over health and prosperity?

2. "Why Are Businesses Not Hiring?" A look at one of the main reasons.

Representative Sample: With these to major bills looming and, as the Washington Times notes, major new costs a part of their passage, businesses aren’t going to
commit to doing anything until they understand how those new costs will impact them.

3. "The Gambit" This would probably be much more popular than health care reform.

Representative Sample: I'm a little worried about giving Rahm Emmanuel any ideas here. But, hey, if we're going to have a government program, it might at least be one I could, so to speak, get behind.

4. "Cognitive dissonance" That's right, it involves religion. No surprise there.

Representative Sample: Bad magic is bad...Good magic is good

5. "Global Corruption Map" Ratings by country.

Representative Sample: It's a graphic.

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Here's a quiz that attempts to categorize your religious beliefs (or lack thereof). As an atheist, my most common answer was "not applicable." These are the results it gave me:

1. Nontheist (100%) 
2. Secular Humanism (100%) 
3. Unitarian Universalism (86%) 
4. Theravada Buddhism (65%) 
5. Liberal Quakers (49%) 
6. Neo-Pagan (29%) 
7. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (26%) 
8. Taoism (16%) 
9. New Age (8%) 
10. Baha'i Faith (0%) 
11. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (0%) 
12. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (0%) 
13. Eastern Orthodox (0%) 
14. Hinduism (0%) 
15. Islam (0%) 
16. Jainism (0%) 
17. Jehovah's Witness (0%) 
18. Mahayana Buddhism (0%) 
19. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (0%) 
20. New Thought (0%) 
21. Orthodox Judaism (0%) 
22. Orthodox Quaker (0%) 
23. Reform Judaism (0%) 
24. Roman Catholic (0%) 
25. Scientology (0%) 
26. Seventh Day Adventist (0%) 
27. Sikhism (0%)

HOT5 Daily 11/28/2009

1. "Hey what do you know? Maybe health care in the US isn’t so bad after all!" But the government can definitely make it worse.

Representative Sample: There’s nothing like the threat of losing a good thing to realize how good you had it after all. According the the latest Rasmussen poll, Americans’ perception of health care in the US as it now stands is improving.

2. "This Week In Quotes: Nov 20 – Nov 26" Some interesting ones.

Representative Sample: About himself, the president speaks loudly. For America, he carries a small twig. -- Mark Steyn

3. "Medic becomes first woman in Royal Navy to be awarded the Military Cross" Links to an article about her.

Representative Sample: Kate, a medical assistant serving as an Able Seaman with the Royal Navy, raced 70 yards to the stricken soldier's side as he nearly choked to death from a gunshot wound to the mouth. She cut open a temporary airway and treated him for 45 minutes as rockets whizzed overhead and bullets thudded into the ground nearby.

4. "The Question Christians Must Answer" The only problem with this is that some Christians will agree, and say that it just shows that most people calling themselves Christians are not "true" Christians.

Representative Sample: Observations like these lead many atheists, and more than a few Christians I suspect, to question the sincerity of the beliefs professed by some Christians. Perhaps they do not really believe what they claim to believe and simply maintain the appearance of such beliefs

5. "Cheney On The Ballot In Massachusetts" How many more years will Democrats be able to run against Bush & Cheney?

Representative Sample: This is either the most irrational example of Bush-Cheney Derangement Syndrome, or the most brilliant strawman argument since Obama demanded that conservatives grab a mop to help Obama clean up Bush's mess.

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Who Decides?

I was driving today and listening to NPR. I guess because it's a pseudo-holiday, one of the shows was a rebroadcast of a discussion with Professor Michael Sandel, a political philosopher at Harvard. He was talking about justice, morality and philosophy, and how those concepts apply to everyday political issues. He said one thing that I thought illustrates the striking difference between how left & right perceive the world, and particularly the difference between those who advocate collectivism, versus those who prefer individual freedom. I don't have a transcript so this is a paraphrase, but he said something like the following.

Let's look at judges. How much does the Chief Justice of the U.S. make, a couple hundred thousand a year? But there is a judge that makes $25 million a year: Judge Judy. Is it just that she makes so much more than the chief justice? Could you reasonably argue that she deserves that far greater amount? I don't think so.

When I heard that I thought, what a typical leftist comment. Who are you to decide whether one person deserves more money than the other? It has nothing to do with justice. People like this professor don't like the free market. They think they are better equipped to decide who gets what. This is how wealth redistribution is justified. They don't think it's fair that person X makes more money than person Y. Therefore, they will take money from person X by force, and give it to person Y.  And what if you don't like this, or disagree with their opinion about what is "just"? Well, that's too bad. If you get in their way or resist, they'll throw you in jail. They don't like freedom at all. They deny this, and attempt to get around it by redefining freedom to mean getting things you need. They'll say things like "you aren't free if you don't have enough to eat, or you don't have adequate health care." But by that definition it's better to be a well-fed, well-taken care of slave, than a free person who struggles to get by.

Any time you hear someone talking about  how things aren't fair or just, and how some people don't deserve to make more money than others, ask yourself this. Who decides what is fair and just? And why is the opinon of those who think they should decide more important than freedom?

HOT5 Daily 11/27/2009

1. "Corporate taxes need to be reduced."But that would actually help the economy, there is no way Congress would do it.

Representative Sample: Reducing taxation is a time proven method to increase economic growth, freedoms, and even tax revenues, however, we need to elect folks who will push for such tax reforms, because such reforms would be the launching point for a long term American growth, something all Americans should be interested it.

2. "Islamism 2.0"A bigger threat than terrorism?

Representative Sample: If the violence of Islamism 1.0 rarely succeeds in forwarding the Shari'a, the Islamism 2.0 strategy of working through the system does better. Islamists, adept at winning public opinion, represent the main opposition force in Muslim-majority countries such as Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, and Kuwait. Islamists have enjoyed electoral success in Algeria in 1992, Bangladesh in 2001, Turkey in 2002, and Iraq in 2005.

3. "The Armor of God, or, The Top One Reason Religion Is Harmful" I don't agree with all of this, and there are better examples for some of her points, but the primary thesis is accurate.

Representative Sample:Why is religion special -- and specially troubling? What makes religion different from any other ideology, community, system of morality, hypothesis about how the world works? And why does that difference makes it uniquely prone to cause damage?

4. "Estimated Nuclear Weapons Locations 2009" Where are the world's nukes? Includes map.

Representative Sample:The world’s approximately 23,300 nuclear weapons are stored at an estimated 111 locations in 14 countries, according to an overview produced by FAS and NRDC.

5. "Exxon "scientists" caught manipulating data to hide global warming" The title makes a useful point. Imagine the media uproar and general outrage if this had happened.

Representative Sample: Oops. Did I say Exxon? I meant leading proponents of AGW theory at East Anglia University.

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

No HOT5 Today

HOT5 Daily will return tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Blatant Lies About Costs

In today's Washington Post there is an article called, "Administration insists health-care reform bills contain costs." It includes such claims as,

White House budget director Peter Orszag told reporters via conference call that the $848 billion bill now pending before the Senate contained important cost-cutting tools. AND the Medicare savings in both bills -- about $500 billion under the Senate approach and $400 billion in the House version -- as the first serious effort to restrain the entitlement program's growth since the 1997 Balanced Budget Act.
You have to wonder if they actually expect anyone to believe such blatants lies. Somehow we are supposed to believe that a massive increase in the government's role in health care, all the new bureaucracy, new regulations, and new taxes are going to lower costs. 

John Stossel has an excellent article at Real Clear Politics accurately titled, "We Pay Them to Lie to Us." It's a useful counteractive to the  weak propaganda coming from Congress and the White House in support of health care reform. Read the whole article. But here's his response to the supposed cost reductions in Medicare.

Obama has promised to pay for half the "reform" cost by cutting Medicare by half a trillion over 10 years. ... his is an administration that will pay seniors $250 to make up for the fact that they didn't get a Social Security cost-of-living increase this year (because the cost of living didn't increase). And Congress is in the process of repealing a scheduled increase in Medicare premiums."
Stossel goes so far as to say,
I will chew on razor blades when Congress cuts Medicare to keep the deficit from growing.
I don't think his mouth is in any danger. Cutting Medicare is political suicide and everyone knows it. But that doesn't stop politicians from blatantly lying about it.

HOT5 Daily 11/25/2009

1. "Global Nuclear Plant Construction Moves Forward, Except in the U.S. (Politics and market conditions make it tough for a large-scale rival to carbon-based energy)" Our failure to pursue the one proven, mass source of alternative energy.

Representative Sample: more than 50 years after that first nuclear power supply, America lags far behind even developing nations in new construction. New roadblocks threaten to further erode progress in the U.S.

2. "TANSTAAFL" Something most Democrats don't understand, or pretend not to.

Representative Sample: Who is going to pay for all of these "free" goodies that are not free at all? Some folks propose that the rich pay for all of these freebies. They already pay 70% of all taxes in this country.

3. "The Origin of Taste" Why do certain cultures like certain foods?

Representative Sample: Are human taste buds really that different from region to region? I always knew taste was personal, but there seems to be a cultural element to it as well..

4. "Capture a Terrorist, Go To Jail" Let's just start killing them instead.

Representative Sample: This is how politically correct the military has become. This is why jihadists like Hasan are given a pass. This is the sorry state of affairs when it comes to fighting the terrorists.

5. "But They Loved Him In Berlin" More consequences of Obama's projection of weakness.

Representative Sample: Obama's determination to hug every thug in the world in order to prove he is not George Bush has opened a new problem

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mass Animal Sacrifice - Nothing Objectionable

When I first saw a news headline entitled, "Mass Animal Sacrifice Begins in Nepal," I was prepared to write about it as another example of religious stupidity and superstition. According to the report,
Over two days, 200,000 buffaloes, goats, chickens and pigeons will be killed as part of a blood-soaked festival held every five years to honour Gadhimai, a Hindu goddess of power.
At first glance, that looks like a typical example of senseless religious motivated slaughter. But then I read further.
Many Nepalis believe that sacrifices in Gadhimai's honour will bring them prosperity. They also believe that by eating the meat, which is taken back to their villages and consumed during feasts, they will be protected from evil.
Leaving aside the superstition, the article indicates that these animals will be eaten, and that the animals sacrificed are brought by the worshippers. In other words, the people in Nepal are sacrificing food animals that would eventually be eaten anyway. They are just doing it all at once in massive numbers, as part of a religious tradition. But once you strip away the religious trappings, what you have are people eating animals on a special occasion. I don't see anything objectionable about that. 

HOT5 Daily 11/24/2009

1. "Republicans Are Happier Than Democrats (AND have a better sex life)" Not surprising.

Representative Sample: Conservatives also give much more to the poor and charity and donate more of their time than liberals. You can look at some specific well know politicians for examples here.

2. "Daily Gut: Ignore the 9/11 Show Trials" Unless you like anti-American propaganda.

Representative Sample: we’ll all get to understand the motivations that drove these men to do what they did. I mean, since we know they’re not going to deny their guilt– it’ no longer about justice. It’s just about “why, why, why.” We’ll learn exciting things about their childhood, their dreams of martyrdom, and how evil America is. It will be a show trial, without the “trial” part.

3. "India and Obama: A Failing Relationship" Hopefully India will realize that Obama is totally clueless about foreign policy, and not hold it against the U.S.

Representative Sample: In 10 short months, Barack Obama has done more to dissolve the close relationship with India that took decades to build, and now will have to be rebuilt again…without the public or our media noticing at all.

4. "In the bolshevik cabaret - John Gray" One of the most dangerous political religions.

Representative Sample: Marxism is every bit as much an irrational, comprehensive belief system as Christianity or Islam, and its tendencies to totalitarianism and apocalypticism make it especially dangerous.

5. "The Manhattan Declaration Part I: Religious Liberty" As usual the religious are making a mockery of the word "liberty."

Representative Sample: For some reason the authors of this doctrine have adopted a set of principles in which they get all of the liberty, while everybody else gets all of the burdens. Yet, they claim that this self-contraditory and self-service doctrine does not come from man

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Monday, November 23, 2009

"War Crimes" in Video Games

Apparently there are not enough actual human rights problems in the real world, because a Swiss human rights organization found the time to do a study on supposed war crimes in video games. Seriously.

Lawyers trained in international humanitarian, criminal and human rights law cast their legal eyes over twenty shooters
In reality of course, such laws have little effect on warfare, except when practiced by countries that actually respect and abide by at least some of these rules -- a small minority. But naturally lawyers take such things very seriously, even in game form. The whole article is pretty funny. Take this for example,
Criticism of Modern Warfare continues with the assessment that the violent interrogation and execution of villain Al-Asad by the player's moustachioed chum and superior officer Captain Price is torture--"prohibited in any context, under any circumstances" in reality.
Far from being "prohibited in any context," torture and summary execution are quite common during conflicts. It's pretty amusing that these lawyers are unable to recognize that even video games are more realistic than their own naive notions.

Really Bad Timing

According to a report in the Times of India, the city of Mumbai bounced back to normal faster than either New York or London, when it suffered a major terrorist attack last year. You might ask who is qualified to make such an assessment. Amazingly enough, it rests on personal anecdotal impressions. Jason and Jenny Cairns-Lawrence, a couple from Britain, somehow managed to be present in New York on 9/11, in London during the 7/7 subway bombing, and were on vacation in Mumbai when terrorists struck the city last year. The report didn't say, but I have to wonder if they've been investigated for terrorist connections. As paranoid as law enforcement usually is, I'd be surprised if such a startling coincidence didn't raise some eyebrows.

HOT5 Daily 11/23/2009

1. "Baby Steps" More on the climate change e-mail controversy.

Representative Sample: For those who would sweep this under the rug — not so fast. There are serious issues brought to the foreront by the emails which need to be addressed. Global warming affects everyone. Whether it’s through massive taxation and regulation or more storms. We do have a right to know where the conclusions come from and how they are arrived at.

2. "Obama’s Undeniable Incompetence" Economic edition.

Representative Sample: President Obama and this Democratic congress keep showing us that they’d rather take companies over than establish policies that help companies create jobs. This administration hasn’t shown that they’re all that interested in capitalism. The most abundant proof they’ve shown is that they love government, big, robust, expanding government.

3. "Atheism – A Life Without Imaginary Friends" Excellent video.

Representative Sample: It's a video.

4. "China’s Noisy Nuclear Submarines" Chinese submarine technology still far behind.

Representative Sample: China’s new Jin-class ballistic missile submarine is noisier than the Russian Delta III-class submarines built more than 30 years ago, according to a report produced by the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI).

5. "Jesus is Magic" Believing in the supernatural equals belief in magic.

Representative Sample: The vast majority of humans believe that magic is real, and even that they personally have some access to magic powers (either directly, or by way of a god or dead ancestor or spirit).

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Leftist Idiocy of the Day

Jeralyn Merritt at Talk Left is appalled that poor Major Hasan might get the death sentence.

How barbaric that the military will seek to kill a man with no sensation in his body from the chest down. He might prefer it (I certainly would) but it's inexusable [sic] behavior for a civilized society and way beyond the pale of decency.
Hasan of course was paralyzed in the course of his murderous rampage. Had he not been shot and paralyzed, he might have killed or wounded even more people. But somehow those who want him executed for his vicious crimes are "barbaric." 

What's "inexcusable" and "beyond the pale of decency" is that anyone should take seriously the ravings of a fool like Merritt. There is of course nothing the slightest bit indecent or barbaric about executing a murderer like Hasan. His paralysis is completely irrelevant. Death is more than justified for someone who carried out the premeditated murder of thirteen people, and attempted to kill many more. If sympathizing with terrorists & killers is the mark of a "civilized" society, we'd be better off with quite a bit less of that type of civilization. We'd certainly be better off without imbecilic leftist lawyers who always put the interests of the criminal first.

Much Ado About Nothing - Psalm 109:8 Version

Left-wingers have been all hyped up about a some conservatives pushing a message about prayer for Obama in the sense of Psalm 109:8. The prayer is basically a wish for death, since it contains the sentence: "May his children be orphans and his wife a widow". Naturally people on the left, utter hypocrites who ignored or downplayed eight years of rabid hatred against Bush and Cheney, are frightened and horrified. Anytime anyone on the right says anything that might be viewed as a threat to President Obama, it's oh so serious and threatening. Yet when radical Muslims commit acts of terrorism, we need to downplay the impact of Islam, and ignore the fact that radical Islam is the inspiration behind a massive amount of terrorist activity. But at the same time we need to pretend that radical Christians -- a threat roughly comparable to a fly speck in contrast to the radical Islamist mountain -- are a dangerous menace.  

As usual this is much ado about nothing. Many of the people pushing the Psalm 109:8 theme probably regard it as dark humor, not something to be taken all that seriously. But more importantly, they are advocating leaving the disposition of President Obama to God. Unless you think God is going to intervene to kill the president, there's no actual threat. We know that prayer doesn't regrow amputated limbs. It doesn't assassinate people either. 

HOT5 Daily 11/22/2009

1. "HADLEY EMAILS DON’T ‘PROVE’ GLOBAL WARMING A CROCK" One of the more balanced responses.

Representative Sample: examining these revelations from a macro perspective would convince most reasonable skeptics that, while the case against AGW may be growing, the problem of climate change cannot be swept under the rug so easily.

2. "The Inscrutable Jehovah"A month old but new to me -- and full of excellent points.

Representative Sample: Theism trains the credulous in the art of illogicality by unabashedly positing incoherent notions of god that require the complete surrender of rational faculties.

3. ""Cohorts of War" - a general framework" Interesting analysis. Back when I was in grad school studying military history, something like this would have provoked a long discussion.

Representative Sample: In war, the crucial element is people: how they are organized for combat, what holds them together as a fighting force, what society do they spring from. How they fight, and what they fight with, are secondary

4. "A vaguely passive-aggressive post on commenters" I don't have enough commenters to cover all these types, but anyone who posts and reads blog comments will recognize these categories.

Representative Sample: The commenter who has not read the post properly, decides they know what it says anyway, and fires off a series of disgusted observations.

5. "Star Wars Sabotage" As a Star Wars fan, I had to link this.

Representative Sample: It's a video.

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Why Hate Crimes Laws are Dangerous

One of the main problems with hate crimes laws is that they allow prosecutors to charge someone as if  he or she committed a far more serious crime than what the person actually did. The argument against creating thought crimes is often downplayed by supporters of hate crimes legislation, but a recent incident in Illinois illustrates the problem.
Two days after the rampage by an alleged lone wolf jihadist killed 13 in Texas, a Tinley Park, Ill., woman grumbled about the massacre and tugged the headscarf of a US-born Muslim woman, Amal Abusumayah, standing in line at a local grocery store.
So here we have a situation where some moron apparently blames all Muslims for the shooting, spouts off in public, and pulls on a Muslim woman's scarf.  Stupid and obnoxious, but no actual harm done. This is disorderly conduct or misdemeanor assault, right? Wrong.
The alleged scarf-puller, Valerie Kenney, is charged with a hate crime, and she could face three years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted.
Three years in prison for pulling someone's scarf and making nasty comments. Sure, that sounds reasonable, doesn't it? By creating hate crimes laws we empower prosecutors to categorize the thoughts behind people's actions, and impose greater penalties based solely on those thoughts, not on the action. Can we rely on the common sense and judgment of prosecutors? No, unfortunately we can't. Their job is to prosecute, and the more serious the charge, the more important the case. There's no glamour or advancement in prosecuting disorderly conduct. But hate crimes, well, that's a different matter.

One Year Blogoversary

The Unreligious Right began one year ago today.

HOT5 Daily 11/21/2009

1. "Why Government Can’t Run Health Care" It can, just not well.

Representative Sample: The government claims it will save money by eliminating fraud in Medicare. If they could eliminate the fraud why have they not done it up to this point? How about they take a few years and eliminate the fraud and let us see the results before they try to get us on board with their health plan?

2. "Ten Things I Hate About You (If You Support ObamaCare)" Speaking of health care.

Representative Sample: $493 Billion In Tax Increases On Health Insurance, Medical Innovation, Payroll And Small Businesses Would Pay For The Bill. 

3. "Is Britain Readying a Supremely Armed Pirate Hunter?" No, not to fight actual pirates. That might infringe on their "rights." This is about more big government.

Representative Sample: changes could be introduced to the Digital Economy Bill, which would enable the Secretary of State to introduce legislation without debate in order to amend the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act and to introduce a Pirate-Finder General.

4. "The Soul--A Rational Belief?" I don't think so. An interesting analysis.

Representative Sample: If the brain is clearly and demonstrably responsible for some aspects of a person's identity, personality, and behavior, it does not seem unreasonable to assume that the brain is responsible for all aspects of a person's identity, personality, and behavior.

5. "Do atheists make better parents?" Define "better."

Representative Sample:Here's a study by Bart Duriez, from the Catholic University Leuven in Belgium, which looks into just that. He quizzed over 900 secondary school students in Belgium about their religious attitudes and their parents approaches to parenting. He also asked their parents the same questions.

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Friday, November 20, 2009

HOT5 Daily 11/20/2009

1. ""Not Getting It" as the New Democratic Religion" Economic stupidity or malice?

Representative Sample: I find it increasingly hard to believe that liberals and Democrats are merely stupid, too dense to understand the fundamental premise of the market: That the "invisible hand" of the market allows buyers and sellers to find each other... so long as the "invisible foot" of government doesn't trip them up.

2. "Senator Pat Leahy Gets Visit From the "Stupid Fairy"" Example number  29375037534390548 of why Democrats can't be trusted with national security.

Representative Sample: Yesterday during the Senate questioning of Attorney General Eric Holder, Senator Lindsey Graham asked the AG whether bin Laden should be afforded due process in courts if he were captured.

3. "New “Don’t Label Me” Billboard Campaign in the UK" I don't think much of the atheist billboard campaign overall, but I like this one.

Representative Sample:The point is that, by all means, you should educate your child with your morals and values. But there’s a difference between doing that and forcing an entire belief system on a child who doesn’t even have the capability to understand what that entails.

4. "Japan’s un-carrier" Japan's latest warship.

Representative Sample: The above is a pretty historic scene. The Hyuga is the first of its class and was commissioned earlier this year. As Scoop Deck notes: “it’s neat that the last time Japan and the U.S. both fielded aircraft carriers, they were at war”.

5. "Accidental Civilian Deaths on the Rise" But deliberate killings have declined. Sounds like a good thing.

Representative Sample: I can think of at least two reasons why PGMs might not have produced a reduction in accidental civilian deaths. The first is that planners feel more comfortably ordering attacks in heavily populated areas when they think that they strike with precision. The collateral damage rises because of the general hubbub of civilian life

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

If I Were a Palestinian -- Part II

On Monday I wrote part I of this post, in which I attempt to take a Palestinian perspective. In this follow-up I look at some issues that I didn't cover previously.

Arab States. As a Palestinian I would view the Arab states little differently than I do now. I'd see them as corrupt, weak, dictatorial regimes -- certainly nothing to aspire to. In addition, I'd view most of their support as purely cynical, an attempt to use the Palestinian people as a weapon against Israel.

Palestinian leadership. I'd view our own leadership in a similarly negative light, because of its corruption, authoritarianism, and general inability to advance the living standards of our people. Hamas of course I'd still see as a pack of murderous, fanatical barbarians. I might grudgingly admire their willingness to fight against Israel, but otherwise I'd see them as pure poison.

The "Peace Process." Finally, as a Palestinian, I would have mixed views of the so-called peace process. On the one hand, I would see it as a useful tool to extract concessions from Israel, and possibly even as a vehicle toward establishing a Palestinian state. But at the same time, I would despise our leadership and other Palestinians whose ludicrous, unrealistic demands prevent any real progress. As a Palestinian, my goal would be the establishment of a true, independent state. With that goal in mind, I would want to negotiate hard but take what I could get. Ridiculous notions like the so-called "right of return," or the idea that the Israelis would surrender Jerusalem, are simply non-starters. Israel itself is an example of how a small state with few advantages was able to develop into a powerful, wealthy modern country. In my view, I would believe that the Palestinian people should be able to do the same, if they could achieve independence, get rid of their fantasies about retaking Israel, and establish the foundations of a modern, representative state.

HOT5 Daily 11/19/2009

1. "Scoundrel defenders line up here. Please!"An interesting, well-supported argument.

Representative Sample: One reason that authoritarianism continues to prosper in this country is the dangerous notion that bad laws, which ostensibly target some undesired group, are not a threat to those who do not fall within that group.

2. "Why do atheists care about religion?" If you ask that question, watch this video.

Representative Sample: It's a video.

3. "Money Grubbing in Educational Publishing. Nothing New Here Folks, Move Along." I remember experiencing this first-hand. Apparently it was already an old phenomenon even when I was in college.

Representative Sample: While working on a different project that required snooping through hundreds and thousands of pages of old newspapers, Tom noticed how often newspapers a hundred years ago and so reported on issues that are strikingly up to date.

4. "Creationism in the Muslim world" Something conservative Christians and Muslims can agree on.

Representative Sample:I have a post on Muslim Creationism data up. The paper, On being religious : patterns of religious commitment in muslim societies, has lots of information. You can download it at the link.

5. "What’s Wrong With Scientology?" Pretty much everything?

Representative Sample: To answer this seemingly simple question, you have to explore the history of the cult, including the writings of the cult founder, L. Ron Hubbard. Bef’s article is both highly informative, whilst at the same time revealing the sickening truth behind Scientology’s past.

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Religious Exceptions & Discrimination

According to the Washington Post, a federal judge has ruled that a Rastafarian baggage screener's rights were violated when he was fired after refusing to cut his hair. The ACLU, which took up his case, maintains that the firing "violated federal discrimination law." Apparently when he was hired, he was told his hair would not be a problem, and was then later ordered to cut it. Let me first say that I am not defending the actions of his employer. The hair obviously came up during his hiring, they decided to hire him anyway, and then decided to change the rules after he was an employee. I'm not sure how that's illegal, but it's clearly not a good practice. I sympathize with his situation.

But why do religious practices deserve special consideration? The ACLU says the baggage screener was discriminated against because of his religion. But every person working there that wasn't allowed to have long hair but may have wanted to, was discriminated against because they don't belong to a religion requiring a particular hair length. By allowing religious exceptions from standard policy, employers are discriminating in favor of certain individuals and against everyone else. If we actually want non-discriminatory workplaces, the answer is to have standard policies and allow no deviations for religious reasons. People whose job requirements conflict with their religious practices should simply seek other jobs where that won't be a problem. Accomodating their religious preferences isn't non-discrimination, it's special preference that discriminates against everyone else who has to follow the standard rules.

Noted Individual With No Credibility Claims Others Have No Credibility

Andrew Sullivan has long had zero credibility when it comes to anything involving Sarah Palin. His insane hatred for Palin has caused him to subscribe to wild conspiracy theories involving her children, believe any rumor about her concocted by political opponents, and to regularly spew venom in her direction. He's long been one of the biggest hypocrites writing, regularly engaging in the same kinds of tactics and slurs he supposedly deplores in others. That's why it was particularly amusing to read his latest,

The WSJ and TWS have long ago lost any intellectual credibility. They use sophism to maintain power. Their cynicism and/or denial mechanisms are deeper than most mortals can imagine.
Coming from a loon like Sullivan, that's a high recommendation. Both publications should use that in their advertising. But then there is his ridiculous attack on John McCain. According to Sullivan, McCain picking Palin as a vice-presidential candidate was done
so carelessly, and his thought process was so cynical, that he should stand in the dock of public opinion before Palin does. Her vanity led her to say yes to his crazy offer. But he gave her that chance. And in the end, she is his responsibility.
Shorter version: McCain's VP decision was so bad that we can't trust him. He should resign as senator. This is a typical example of why I find Sullivan so laughable in general. It's amazing that so many otherwise intelligent people actually read him regularly and take him seriously. Vice-presidential picks are pretty much always done for cynical political purposes. But more importantly, Sullivan's own candidate Obama picked a complete buffoon, Joe Biden, as his VP candidate. In Sullivan World that should mean we can't trust Obama. Sullivan should be demanding his resignation. But expecting any sort of logical reasoning from him on anything involving Sarah Palin is just not realistic.

HOT5 Daily 11/18/2009

1. "Mathematics versus The Blob" Guess what? We aren't just bad at teaching science.

Representative Sample: Is there any hope for major improvements in this situation? Despite all the speeches about “reform,” much of public education in America remains tightly controlled by the aggregate of interest groups that has been referred to as the blob.

2. "Bet you thought she was in jail already." I did, actually.

Representative Sample: A federal appeals court today ordered a convicted terror-coddling civil rights lawyer to begin serving her prison sentence.

3. "On War #322: What Is “Political Correctness?”" Intellectual history background.

Representative Sample: Marcuse injected the Frankfurt School’s cultural Marxism into the baby boom generation, to the point where it is now that generation’s ideology. We know it as “multiculturalism,” “diversity” or just Political Correctness.

4. "Small business loans down over $10B" Is there any wonder unemployment is still rising?

Representative Sample: more than ten billion dollars of available credit has disappeared for small business while Wall Street and big banking rolls in federal funds.

5. "Launch Major Counter Strike: Kilcullen" In favor of more troops for Afghanistan.

Representative Sample: Kilcullen has publicly called for a plus-up of at least 30,000 to 40,000 troops and has said a “middle ground” option is just courting failure. McChrystal said he needs to launch a counteroffensive to knock the Taliban off stride and regain the initiative. That requires a large enough force that can keep the Taliban off balance

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

False Claims of Sexism

I've attacked the left regularly for their continuous false claims of racism directed at pretty much everyone on the right who offers any criticism of President Obama. But now we have to hear false claims of sexism from Sarah Palin and her sycophantic followers on the right. Here's one example that shows the Newsweek cover that prompted Palin's outburst.

Newsweek used a picture that Palin herself posed for several months ago. She didn't like their use of it, or the article they wrote. That makes it sexist. Why? Because she says so. Using "because I say it is" definitions of sexism and racism renders the terms meaningless. It's pretty annoying to find some of the same people on the right who correctly take issue with outrageous cries of racism, now making similarly baseless charges of sexism.

One other thing I want to note, an aside from the main topic. In the Gateway Pundit piece I linked above, Newsweek is described as "The far left magazine." "Far left"? I'm sorry, but that's just idiotic. Newsweek definitely has a liberal slant, but it is in no way "far left."Calling it so is every bit as clueless as a typical left-wing rants about Fox News being "far right." If Newsweek is far left, what does that make the Communist Party USA, the Socialist Workers Party, and other actual far left organizations, the far, far, far left?

HOT5 Daily 11/17/2009

1. "IAEA Inspectors: We’re Shocked, Shocked at Iranian Duplicity" Some people never learn.

Representative Sample: anyone who is shocked about any of this hasn’t been paying attention to this issue for years. Only two years after the United States issued a ridiculous National Intelligence Estimate denying the reality of the Iranian program, even international bodies like the IAEA are no longer prepared to hedge their bets about Iranian intentions.

2. "Why the Peaceful Majority May be Dangerous" Something to think about.

Representative Sample: No matter how much respect one may have for either woman’s character, there is little doubt where either would place her loyalty if faced with chosing between the Canadian traditions of liberty for all, or Sharia. There is also little doubt that if they were part of a majority, they would acquiesce to the demands of the Muslim clerical class and choose Sharia for all Canadians.

3. "American Science Education, as Seen by a Scientist" Not good.

Representative Sample: We are dumbing down the American high school kid. We have the worst educational system known to science. You can’t create a system worse than our science education system.

4. "Is Jihadism a deranged ideology?" Definitely.

Representative Sample: We know with great certainty from hundreds cases of empirical evidence that a deranged ideology can alter the mind of a individual in dramatic ways, as to make them kill other people quite randomly and without any real personal grievances.

5. "Don't Touch That!!" Another incident reflecting the sad decline of Britain.

Representative Sample: The animus against gun possession in England is so strong that a man who found a gun in his backyard and delivered it to the police is now facing a jail term.

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The New York Post Greets Terrorists

John Yoo on the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Trial

John Yoo has an excellent article in the Wall Street Journal pointing out one of the major drawbacks of holding a civilian trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. As I've argued before, my primary objection is that KSM is an alien terrorist who should be subject to summary execution, not given undeserved rights as if he were a U.S. citizen. By doing so we bow to a form of blind legalism that introduces laws and rules to a situation in which they were never meant to apply. In addition, we cheapen and degrade the rights of U.S. citizens by extending them to individuals like KSM. But Yoo brings up another important issue.

Yoo makes the case that this trial will provide intelligence on our operations to Al Qaeda, as well as harming our ongoing and future intelligence efforts to counter the terrorist network.

Prosecutors will be forced to reveal U.S. intelligence on KSM, the methods and sources for acquiring its information, and his relationships to fellow al Qaeda operatives. The information will enable al Qaeda to drop plans and personnel whose cover is blown. It will enable it to detect our means of intelligence-gathering, and to push forward into areas we know nothing about.
It will do all of those things. And for that cost we get nothing.
Even more harmful to our national security will be the effect a civilian trial of KSM will have on the future conduct of intelligence officers and military personnel. Will they have to read al Qaeda terrorists their Miranda rights? Will they have to secure the "crime scene" under battlefield conditions? Will they have to take statements from nearby "witnesses"? Will they have to gather evidence and secure its chain of custody for transport all the way back to New York?
The whole article is worth reading. While you are reading it, keep in mind that we are going to suffer these negative consequences in order to please terrorist rights supporters -- people who think self-confessed and unquestioned terrorist leaders like KSM deserve the same rights as an innocent American citizen accused of a crime. Never mind the consequences to national security, or the damage to the very concept of constitutional rights, their desire to feel good about giving terrorist enemies a fair trial in civilian court is just more important.

If I Were A Palestinian - Part I

I recently had an argument on another blog regarding Israeli/Palestinian issues. It wasn't much of an argument, since my opponent was mainly interested in attacking his own strawmen, but afterward I started thinking about how I would see various issues if I were a Palestinian rather than an American. With that in mind, here's how my perceptions would change, all else being equal.

Israel. Like other Palestinians I would definitely regard Israel as the enemy, and I would probably believe that it shouldn't exist, that the region should be ruled by a Palestinian state, and that Jerusalem should be the capital. But I would also recognize that previous generations tried and failed to wipe out Israel at its birth in 1948, when they had a chance to do so. That chance came and passed, and now Israel isn't going anywhere. It's a powerful, successful state in its own right, and it has the backing of the U.S. If it couldn't be destroyed when it was far smaller and weaker, it is highly unlikely that it can be removed now that it has the strongest military in the region, and an arsenal of nuclear weapons. With that in mind I would regard the so-called "right of return" as ludicrous, a fantasy no more likely to be fulfilled than if Germans demanded the right of return to take possession of lost lands in the former East Prussia. I would recognize that any Palestinian claims to lands inside Israel itself were lost forever, or at least until some future date at which a powerful Palestinian state were able to conquer Israel.

The U.S. Because the U.S. is Israel's powerful ally and protector, I would regard it as an enemy. I would see U.S. aid to us as weakness and stupidity, and as an attempt at bribery. But of course I would still welcome it, and would support efforts to use it however it could best help us in achieving our goals.

Terrorism. I would oppose terrorism because I oppose the deliberate targeting of civilians, and because I think it is less effective than other means. Although I would shed no tears for the deaths of enemy civilians. I would recognize that terrorism had gotten us what we now have, an autonomous region on the West Bank, and a religious fanatic terrorist-run enclave in Gaza. But I would not be happy with that level of progress, and I would attribute it more to the foolishness of the West, and the desire of Israel to buy peace, than to any particular achievements of terror.

Resistance. During the times that open resistance was necessary against Israel, I would support a two-pronged strategy, both military and civilian. On the military side, I would work toward building a skilled, loyal force, adept at raids, ambushes, and sabotage. This force would be directed solely against Israeli military & security targets, not against innocent civilians. On the civilian side, I would support mass non-violent resistance, similar to that used by Gandhi against the British, and by Martin Luther King Jr. during the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. I would also argue that would we already have a real state, if these two strategies had been followed instead of terrorism.

End Part I.

Coming in Part II: Arab State, Palestinian leadership, the "Peace Process," and more.

HOT5 Daily 11/16/2009

1. "Some Great Advice by Robert Gula" Particularly good advice that should be read by anyone arguing on the internet.

Representative Sample: Be alert to anyone who speaks in absolutes: who uses words like all, none, no one, never, always, everyone, must, immediately, or who refers to a group of people as if all the members have identical characteristics, beliefs or attitudes.

2. "The Fort Hood shooter: How to prevent recurrences" The opposite of political correctness.

Representative Sample: Fear of "insulting" them causes the Army to circle the wagons, in spite of the obvious appeals being made now by al Qaeda-associated Imam that no soldier in the U.S. Army who is Muslim can faithfully be a Muslim while serving in a force that kills fellow Muslims. This is a serious situation, and someone needs to wake up.

3. "Walking like a pretzel" I don't necessarily agree with all of this, but this is a very interesting article on Afghanistan.

Representative Sample: The National Security Archives at George Washington University recently published translations of Soviet Politburo meetings on Afghanistan. They are more illuminating than the combined words of America’s punditocracy that litter the nation’s editorial pages. For one, they probably reflect the administration’s deliberations with uncanny accuracy.

4. "An Oldie, But A Goodie: The Democrat Contract With America"How accurate were this blog's predictions in 2006 about what Democrats would do if they controlled the government?

Representative Sample: On the first day of the 104th Congress, the new Democrat majority will immediately pass the following major legislation, aimed at restoring the pre 9-11 mirage of security and world harmony and ending this Administration’s policies for National Security:

5. "Paying off the enemy"This is one of the many examples of things that make me reluctant to support increasing our committment in Afghanistan.

Representative Sample: The U.S. military is paying off the Taliban not to attack us. In the end, the U.S. is funding the very people that are killing our soldiers.

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Letting Children Die Because of Religion

Johnathan Turley, who I usually disagree with, has an article in the Washington Post called, "When a child dies, faith is no defense." Turley writes,
In the past 25 years, hundreds of children are believed to have died in the United States after faith-healing parents forbade medical attention to end their sickness or protect their lives. When minors die from a lack of parental care, it is usually a matter of criminal neglect and is often tried as murder. However, when parents say the neglect was an article of faith, courts routinely hand down lighter sentences. Faithful neglect has not been used as a criminal defense, but the claim is surprisingly effective in achieving more lenient sentencing, in which judges appear to render less unto Caesar and more unto God.

Turley gives examples of various cases in which people who cited their faith as a defense in the death of their children received lighter sentences than other forms of criminal neglect. I am generally a strong proponent of parental rights, and opposed to most state intervention in family matters. Although I don't like it, I support the right of parents to indoctrinate their children in their religious beliefs, and overall to raise them in the way that they see fit. But when those religious practices cause clear and obvious physical harm, the state has to intervene, and religion should not be an excuse that gets someone a lighter sentence. As a society we do not accept that parents can beat their children unconscious, or starve or molest them because of religious faith, neither should we accept religion as a mitigating excuse for letting them die by refusing medical treatment.

If people want to believe nonsense that's their right. Likewise it's their right to teach that nonsense to their children. But if that nonsense gets their children killed, it shouldn't be held up as some sort of reasonable excuse. I'm with Turley on this one. Read the article and see what you think.

HOT5 Daily 11/15/2009

1. "5 Reasons Why putting 9-11 mastermind on trial in NY is Insane" You'd think these would be obvious.

Representative Sample: These are not normal criminals. KSM wasn’t arrested the same way all criminals are arrested. He wasn’t read his Miranda rights, wasn’t given a lawyer, wasn’t given a phone call, wasn’t given the other NORMAL procedural rights given to a prisoner being held by the justice system.

2. "No half-measures for Afghanistan" Unfortunately a half-measure is almost certainly what we'll get. Links a good article.

Representative Sample: Either put in enough firemen to put the fire out or get out of the house. That is my analogy of where we are. Either of those approaches could potentially work."

3. "Another case of: Eye Candy and brains and how nice to pass this on."16 year-old UK girl invents a great product now in production.

Representative Sample: Here’s a bright young lady who discovered a need through her teacher, and invented something to fill the need. She’s 19 now, but was only 16 when she invented this device.

4. "Small Mindedness" A simple graphic that accurately describes the typical U.S. administration.

Representative Sample: It's a graphic.

5. "The George W. Bush Institute: Free Markets, Small Government… Since When?"After working for eight years to enlarge the government and increase its involvement with the economy, Bush now wants to promote small government and free markets.

Representative Sample: Mr. Bush wants his new institute to foster free market policies, small government thinking, education, global health and “human freedom”… to which I have to ask, so where were you for eight years on these things Mr. Bush?

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Another Religion-motivated Killer

I just read another report about a murderous religious fanatic. This time it wasn't a radical Islamist, it was a radical Jew, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish-American West Bank settler named Jack Teitel. He murdered two Palestinians, and also attacked other Israelis, wounding one. It's worth remembering that even though radical Islam has the largest number of terrorists, other religions have theirs as well. Speaking in court, Teitel had this to say,
"It has been a pleasure and an honor to have served my God''
He's completely unrepentant.
Asked if he felt remorse for his actions the beaming, bearded Teitel said he had ``none, no regrets'' and added that he had ``no doubt'' that God approved.
There's no functional difference between Teitel and Major Hasan. They just have different religions and different targets. While both may be psychologically disturbed, a significant part of their problems stem from their interpretation of religious belief, beliefs that convinced them they were doing God's work by murdering people. 

Merciful Goliath

Over at even yet another blag there's a post with a picture showing Palestinians slinging rocks at Israeli soldiers. The title is, "David and Goliath, 21st century edition." I thought that picture was interesting, and I looked into it further. I was unable to find any reports that Israelis had killed those Palestinians. Why would they kill them? In most cases, soldiers respond with deadly force when attacked by deadly force. But the Israelis do not.

The sling is an ancient weapon, and was an instrument of warfare for centuries. Slingers, particularly from the Balearic Islands, were valued auxiliaries to the Roman legions. Slinging stones at an enemy is similar to hurling javelins or firing arrows. It is a missile weapon meant to kill and wound.

a missile leaving a sling could easily attain a velocity of 100 km/h, or about 28 m/sec. Vegetius wrote that sling missiles were more effective than arrows against soldiers clothes in leather, since they did not need to penetrate the leather in order to cause bruises. Should the soldier wear no protective clothing, the missile would penetrate the body easily up to a range of about 100 meters.
The fact that it is an old, primitive weapon, does not lessen its lethal possibilities when used today. The Israelis would be justified in killing Palestinian slingers out of self-defense. But they do not. Instead they respond with non-lethal weapons such as noxious gas, and accept the risk of damage and death from slung rocks. This is yet another of the many examples of Israel putting its own soldiers at risk, in order to minimize casualties among its enemies.

HOT5 Daily 11/14/2009

1. "Major Hasan Embraces Tradition" A good look at radical Islam and where terrorists come from.

Representative Sample: Islamic radicals have always been a part of Islam. They have been the main reason for the backwardness of Islamic countries. A thousand years ago, it was the Islamic radicals who halted the work of Islamic scientists. This continues, with the current Islamic radicals opposing schools that don't put the main emphasis on religion, or teach girls at all.

2. "Ft. Hood, Hasan And Some On The Left’s Tone Deafness" And a good look at willful blindness on the left.

Representative Sample: As much as I cautioned people to give the facts a chance to come out before coming to conclusions about Hasan, this is just an example of some incredible denial going on here. We now have facts – lots of facts – and informed conclusions can be drawn.

3. "Obama To Abandon Cap And Trade?" Regardless of his reasons, that would be a good thing.

Representative Sample: What Obama wants to do is give Democrats cover for the 2010 election. Cap and Trade is unpopular and Obama does not want to have the record show that Democrats voted for this unpopular legislation though we already have the names of those in the House who voted for it.

4. "Making the case for legalized drugs" End the war on drugs.

Representative Sample: Rendering a commodity that is in high demand by a populace illegal does not result in eradication. Quite the contrary it invites a lucrative, black market that just can’t wait to meet the needs of it’s consumers.

5. "A Jobs Summit??? Yeah That’s the Trick" Is there any problem Obama thinks can't be solved by empty talk?

Representative Sample: If President Obama is serious about creating jobs, why doesn’t he stop the health care bill in its tracks? The plethora of tax increases on small businesses are job-killers. He could also tell Democrats that Cap-And-Trade is a nonstarter, too, because it’s a job-killing tax increase

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Should Africans Apologize for Slavery?

That's the question asked in a BBC article. A Nigerian Civil Rights Congress has called on traditional African rulers to apologize for their role in the slave trade.

"We cannot continue to blame the white men, as Africans particularly the traditional rulers, are not blameless," said the Civil Rights Congress.
As the organization points out, African rulers collaborated in the slave trade, selling other Africans to Europeans.

I have talked with people who have a picture of advanced Europeans swooping down on Africans, capturing them, and taking them off into slavery. But such was not the case. At the beginning and through the height of the slave trade, Europeans held mostly coastal enclaves in Africa, many of which existed at the mercy of local rulers. Europeans didn't have the manpower to seize the massive numbers of slaves that would be transported to the Americas, nor did they have the drugs that would later allow them to penetrate the African interior without being struck down by tropical diseases against which they had little resistance. Slaves were procured through local rulers, many of whom sold their captured enemies, or hunted down less advanced people from the interior and sold them to the Europeans.

It is interesting that an African organization has the courage speak out on the shared complicity of Africans in the slave trade. It's obviously a touchy subject, and it would be far easier to just blame Europeans. I applaud the intellectual honesty of the Nigerian Civil Rights Congress.

The Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Farce

I was going to write more about the ridiculous decision of the Obama administration to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in civilian court, but Michael Anton on the Weekly Standard blog made many of my points for me.
the second half of KSM's taunt to his captors is coming true. He is off to New York, where he will have endless opportunities to converse with his many lawyers. They will work hard to ensure that his trial is all about what he "endured" at the hands of the U.S. government, and not at all about what he inflicted on the American people. They will strive to put in the dock George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, George Tenet, John Yoo, the CIA, and the United States government and the American people.
Is there any doubt that the trial will be a festival of Bush Derangement Syndrome and anti-American propaganda? Anton also correctly notes,
our civilian justice system is designed to do specific things, and to try non-citizen enemy combatants who make war on this country and slaughter innocent civilians is not one of them. Now that system will be used for what will likely be a months-long propaganda circus that will make a mockery of our principles and broadcast a message of weakness and pusillanimity to terrorists, their fellow travelers, and intellectual mentors around the world. Even if the U.S. government ends up winning the legal case, we all lose.

But terrorist rights supporters don't care about any of that. They are determined to degrade U.S. constitutional rights by extending them even to hostile alien terrorists. They've long been bleating about the "rule of law" and "due process," as if those concepts had anything to do with alien terrorists who declare war on the U.S. and target our civilians. For much of our history the rule of law would have labeled Mohammed an unlawful combatant, subject to summary execution. And his due process would have been a blindfold and a firing squad, or a drop from the gallows.

I've said it before and I'll repeat it again. The U.S. was fully justified in waterboarding Mohammed. Far more extreme torture would also have been justifiable. He should have received a quick summary execution after we had extracted all available intelligence, which was years ago. The idea that we have to give him the rights of a U.S. citizen, access to lawyers, and a platform to propagandize is just insane.

HOT5 Daily 11/13/2009

1. "House Health Care Bill Comes With a 69% Capital Gains Tax Increase" Tax & spend: two words that define the Democratic party.

Representative Sample: The Wall Street Journal’s editors are demanding combat pay for reading the monstrous House health care bill. They deserve it. What they found is what amounts to a 69% tax on capital gains.

2. "Progressive utopia — enemy of Liberty" Liberty is completely irrelevant to the nanny-staters. Freedom just isn't good for you.

Representative Sample: The words “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” are quite deliberate. Proper government for a free people does not guarantee happiness nor grant happiness to some people at the expense of liberty of other people.

3. "Confusion and Leaks Further Mar White House Afghan Policy" It would be comical if it weren't so serious.

Representative Sample: One would think that the merits of this position would have been hashed out long ago (like, say, back in March, when the results of the last Afghan policy review were announced) and that President Obama would have concluded by now that we can’t simply write off Afghanistan because of the “corruption and ineffectiveness” of its government.

4. "Terrible journalist blames Darwin for school shootings" Because radical Islamists are such big supporters of science and evolutionary theory.

Representative Sample: the author is trying to make the conclusion that teaching evolution is bad, because a few disturbed people have twisted the theory to fit their own psychopathic beliefs. Well, if we have to get rid of “dangerous” ideas, why are we allowing texts like the Bible

5. "Holy Water Dispenser is Catholic Swine Flu Cure for H1N1?" Pretty funny. You'd think if the water were actually "holy," they wouldn't have to worry about it being contaminated by diseases. Oops, applying logical reasoning to religion. Sorry.

Representative Sample: Leave it to entrepreneurial Catholics to develop an automatic holy water dispenser to prevent the spread of swine flu. Cure H1N1, or at least prevent it!

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Canadian Police Apologize for Arresting Radical Islamists

There's been much talk lately about political correctness with regard to offending Muslims, in the wake of the Fort Hood shootings. As bad as things are here in the U.S., they are worse elsewhere. Canadian police arrested two men in Windsor, Ontario because of connections with a "radical Islamist group" across the border in Detroit. During the arrest of the alleged Islamists, one of their wives was patted down by an officer. Therefore the police felt the need to issue a news release saying,
"It was never the intention for Windsor police officers to offend or embarrass the families of our Islamic community," wrote Windsor police Chief Gary Smith in a news release Thursday. "The actions taken did cause embarrassment and did offend their religious beliefs. I sincerely apologize to the families and the Islamic community."
That's just pitiful. I wonder if any other "communities" get written public apologies when police offend their delicate cultural and religious sensibilities? What about all the Canadian citizens who are probably offended and embarrassed that the police would go so far as to issue such and apology? Fortunately the police union at least is speaking out.
"Usually, when you make an apology, that means something was wrong. In my opinion, nothing went wrong here.

"I believe the officers were doing everything they're entitled to do under the law. I believe they did it professionally. I don't see an issue here."
Imagine that. He thinks that the police are within their rights to search the immediate associates of suspected terrorist when making an arrest. Maybe the police chief should issue another apology for the insensitivity of the police union.

HOT5 Daily 11/12/09

1. "9% of Americans view United States Military unfavorably." Unfortunately, I'm not surprised.

Representative Sample: According to a just released Rasmussen Reports poll in regards to the opinion of the American people towards the United States Armed Forces, the results are saddening.

2. "A PARTICULAR AMERICAN MADNESS" Debunking the "stress" argument for the Ft. Hood shootings.

Representative Sample: The key aspects of this psychobabble include an overemphasis on "self-esteem" at the expense of self-control and personal responsibility; an attitude that practically worships "feelings" at the expense of reason and truth; a fundamental misunderstanding about stress and the role of stress in life

3. "Above all gods" Long but interesting.

Representative Sample: religion has an interactive relationship with society and technology. Form followed function. Hunter gatherers had egalitarian religions; agricultural saw the emergence of a specialized clergy; big polyglot empires brought forth monotheism. We worshipped according to the form of our society. But since our society has moved beyond those foundations the question for Wade was given the deeply rooted nature of the religious impulse, what form would it tend toward in the future?

4. "Jehovah's Witnesses Hate the Smurfs" How can you not read it with that title?

Representative Sample: In the early 80's, the primary preoccupations of the Jehovah's Witnesses were Armageddon, Smurfs, Michael Jackson and demonic attack, but not necessarily in that order.

5. "Better Ideas From France: A Hamster Cage for Humans" Release your inner hamster. Includes pictures.

Representative Sample: for people with that kind of disposable income, "Hamster's Villa" looks like a fun way to get a little exercise, and get some (possibly long-overdue) play time in.

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hot Atheist Girls

If anyone is looking, I stumbled onto this site.

Willful Blindness

Max Fisher has an article in the Atlantic amazingly titled, "Why Home-Grown Islamic Terrorism Isn't A Threat." He points out all the ways Muslim-Americans differ from Muslims elsewhere. They are better educated, better off economically, more satisfied, and far better assimilated into American society, than for example in many European countries. This is all true. But Fisher completely misses the point. Pretending that home-grown Islamic terrorism isn't a threat in the aftermath of the Fort Hood shootings is just willful blindness.

The threat of home-grown Islamic terrorism does not come from the vast majority of Muslim Americans, but from a radical fringe. Denying that this fringe is a real threat is an attempt to deny reality. Fisher also resorts to a typical false analogy used by those who try to minimize the threat of radical Islam.

sometimes deeply disturbed individuals cling to Christian fundamentalist extremism or jihad as a way to justify their unhinged and explosive anger. But the cause they pretend to adopt is incidental to their crime. Critics who point out that Scott Roeder was also called a terrorist are absolutely right to compare him to Hasan -- neither is any more than a lone madman. No one has seriously suggested, say, banning the pro-life evangelicals who protest regularly at the Supreme Court. They certainly haven't suggest the FBI monitor all evangelicals in the military or block them from deployment. Far from it: the U.S. military remains a hotbed of evangelical Christians.

I'm sorry, but this argument is simply idiotic on multiple levels. Even a blind fool like Fisher should be able to see that radical Islamic views appear to have been a prime motivating force in Hasan's actions. And there is no comparison between Christian fundamentalist extremism and radical Islam. Extremist pro-lifers are indeed a terrorist threat. But they are a threat to a very small, specific part of our population: doctors who perform abortions, and people who work at abortion clinics. And yes, we should take precautions to monitor such extremists and try to prevent attacks like the murder of Dr. Tiller.  But we are at war with radical Islamists, who are a threat to the entire country. And obviously,comparing the monitoring of suspected radical Islamists to evangelical Christians within the military is just insane. 

As Hasan's treason demonstrated again, radical Islam is a threat that can produce murderous acts of home-grown terrorism. It is unclear why there are those like Fisher who are so determined to live in denial. 

HOT5 Daily 11/11/2009

1. "Obama The Clueless" Even those who had a higher opinion of Obama than I are coming to realize just how clueless he really is.

Representative Sample: during last year’s election, I thought Obama was a pragmatist on foreign affairs. I no longer believe that. He is a political animal first and foremost. Berlin did not give him any political points, so he skipped it all together. Afghanistan is full of potholes, and has nothing but negative political future potential, and thus he cannot make a decision.

2. "A bad, bad man in a land of complete morons" Takes on idiotic apologism for Hasan at TIME.

Representative Sample:  At what point did the people in this country extract the section of their brain that allowed them to face the reality in front of them and call it like it is.

3. "Something To Learn From Cuba?" Yes, to look at Cuba and do the opposite.

Representative Sample: Even committed socialists realize that if you want an economy that works it necessarily means embracing tenants of capitalism!

4. "Video: Obama Won’t Rule Out Jail Time For Not Having Health Insurance" What a great idea for health care "reform."

Representative Sample: his “legacy” is at stake with this health care bonanza and if he doesn’t get “something” passed, his hope and change reputation may be forever tarnished.

5. "The Bush-Cheney-Hasan Connection" Leftist nutcase at Firedoglake spins a hypothetical BDS conspiracy theory, and worries about the treatment of a mass murdering traitor.

Representative Sample: Hot on the heals of the Bush-Balloon Boy connection, and the Iraq-Stupak connection, now we have the inevitable Bush-Cheney-Hasan connection.

To submit a blog post for HOT5 Daily, please e-mail me at Put HOT5 in the subject.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Typical Big Government Reasoning

This time from Bill Clinton, speaking in favor of health care reform. What about the details of the bill? They don't matter, according to the former president.

"It's not important to be perfect here. It's important to pass, to move, to start the ball rolling," Mr. Clinton said. "And whatever they can get the votes for, I'm going to support."
Nothing is more important than just enlarging the size of the government, and getting its fingers deeper into the health care system. According to Clinton, "doing nothing was the worst outcome." How typical is that? It doesn't matter that the bill has all sorts of problem, or that there may be far better ideas for reform, to big government types, the government "doing something" is always the answer.

Fortunately there are a few Democrats with the rudimentary logical reasoning power to point out the obvious flaw in that sort of thinking. Senator Ben Nelson noted, "failure could be passing a bad bill." For some reason, the possibility (and often the high probability) that government intervention could make a bad situation worse just doesn't register. Unfortunately, things can always get worse. It's far easier to cause new problems than fix existing ones.

Peters Was Right

In the aftermath of the Ft. Hood shootings, Ralph Peters wrote an article that I thought was inflammatory and over the top. He blasted the army for ignoring the signs that Major Hasan was an Islamist threat, and blamed political correctness. But now that we know more, it appears that Peters was right on target.

Eugene Robinson, not exactly a right winger, has a column in today's Washington Post called, "Failing the Troops at Fort Hood." He points out some of the things the army chose to ignore.

According to published reports, Hasan told people of his serious doubts about the U.S. military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hasan, a psychiatrist who had evaluated returning soldiers for stress-related disorders, made no secret of his reluctance to serve in the Afghan theater, where he was to be sent within weeks. According to ABC News, fellow Army doctors told superiors of their concern that Hasan felt divided allegiance -- both to the Muslims whom he felt were under attack and the country he had volunteered to serve.
As Robinson notes,
There's a difference between sensitivity and stupidity. If there were indeed signs that Maj. Nidal Hasan, the alleged Fort Hood mass murderer, was becoming radicalized in his opposition to the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army had a duty to act -- before he did.
Exactly. The government seems to feel a need to bend over backward to avoid offending Muslims. By allowing politically correct "sensitivity" to trump basic sense, the army not only failed to prevent the Ft. Hood shooting, it also ensured that Muslim soldiers will now come under greater scrutiny and suspicion. It's rare that I recommend any articles by Eugene Robinson, but this one is an exception.