Thursday, September 30, 2010

Laughing at the New America Foundation

The liberal New America Foundation just released a new poll taken in Pakistan's tribal areas. The foundation uses this poll to draw the sweeping conclusion that the U.S. drone assassination campaign is "self-defeating." Why? Because locals don't like it. Seriously.
What our poll suggests is that if the premise of the American counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan is winning the support of the population, the United States is in danger of losing that support in the Taliban's rear bases inside Pakistan.
Except that the drone campaign and our counterinsurgency strategy inside Afghanistan are two different things. I'm not sure if the New America Foundation is too clueless to recognize the difference, or just being intellectually dishonest. The drone campaign is not intended to win hearts and minds, pacify & secure territory, protect civilians, or do any of the other things that make up our counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan. It is intended to kill people that we have no other reasonable means to get at.

Is it even the slightest bit surprising that people living in the area don't like the drone campaign? What people would appreciate having a superpower sending killer robot aircraft over its villages to rain death on unsuspecting targets? Since the wrong targets are sometimes (often) attacked, and anyone who happens to be nearby can be wounded or killed, who in their right mind living in the Pakistani tribal areas would be supportive of this strategy?

So we can pretty much laugh at the main results of the poll as completely obvious and virtually meaningless. And then there is this gem of analysis.
The antagonism to U.S. policies in the region does not spring from general anti-American feelings. Almost three-quarters of the people in the tribal area said that their opinion of the United States would improve -- most by a great deal -- if the United States increased humanitarian aid and visas to work or study in the States.
Really? If we gave them a ton of money, let them into the U.S., and gave them jobs they'd like the U.S. better? So let me see if I've got this straight. According to the New America Foundation, Pakistanis who don't like U.S. policies would like us better if we changed our policies, gave them more money and did all sorts of other things they'd like. That's some genius analysis right there. Obviously it must mean they aren't motivated by anti-American feelings. I guess there's no point in mentioning that we already give a ridiculous amount of aid to Pakistan, and led the international relief effort after the latest flooding.

The poll also finds that the same Pakistanis would supposedly support action by the Pakistani military against the targets the U.S. is attacking. Too bad the Pakistani military is both unwilling & incapable of dealing with the situation. They are too prone to see the Afghan Taliban as a strategic asset, and can't control the tribal areas in any case.

The drone campaign has nothing to do with making Pakistani tribesmen happy or sad, it's about killing enemies of the U.S.

HOT5 Daily 9/30/2010

1. "It's the Chinese, Stupid" Democrats bashing China. Apparently they'd like Americans to pay far more for various products.

Representative Sample: When times are tough in your district, find someone else to blame. With U.S. midterm election campaigns now in high gear, the boogeyman of choice in regions with high unemployment and sluggish manufacturing is -- unsurprisingly -- China. And with President Barack Obama struggling to cajole an apathetic base, Democrats have been playing the red-menace card more than their Republican opponents.

2. "Ayaan Hirsi Ali Speaks Out" Excerpts and links to an interesting interview.

Representative Sample: the idea that American citizens would be forced to change their identity and go underground for fear that they may be killed for merely criticizing a religion is “outrageous” in the modern world in which we are supposed to be living.

3. "What’s the Spirit of the Bayonet?" Training for war means training to kill.

Representative Sample: Never is military training so profoundly, terrifyingly, emotionally violent as during bayonet training. When 200 men scream “KILL, KILL, KILL!” and charge plywood targets it feels a bit insane. Rifles are broken as bayonets are pounded through plywood targets. Men literally froth at the mouth. It is ritualistic warrior blood lust.

4. "What’s Really the Bigger Deal?" Burning Korans or schools?

Representative Sample: It's a cartoon.

5. "Government Mail: U.S. Post Office Is Broke" The amazing feat of going broke while enjoying a total monopoly on first-class mail.

Representative Sample: I wonder what the price of gas would be if it were produced by a government agency? Despite raising prices far faster than the rate of inflation, the Post Office still cannot operate profitably. In fact, it has operated at a deficit for years and is now out of cash.

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

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Worst Places for Schoolchildren?

I came across an article called "The 10 Worst Places to Be a School-Aged Child." It's based on a study by the South African-based Global Campaign for Education. Here's their list of the top ten worst countries for school-kids.
1. Somalia
2. Eritrea
3. Haiti
4. Comoros
5. Ethiopia
6. Chad
7. Burkina Faso
8. Central African Republic
9. Mozambique
10. Zimbabwe
Other than Haiti, it appears that Africa has cornered the market on bad places for schoolchildren. According to the linked article, the criteria include: "access to basic education, teacher-to-student ratio and a lack of educational provisions for girls." With those factors in mind, there seem to be some major omissions. Two countries that spring immediately to mind are Afghanistan and Congo. Is school-age education really worse in Ethiopia than in Afghanistan, which is not only ravaged by war, but has terrorists regularly blowing up schools for girls? And I know Haiti is bad, but is it worse off than Congo, the rape capital of the world? If I were forced to send my son to a random foreign school and had to choose between Congo and Haiti, I'd take Haiti in a second.

HOT5 Daily 9/29/2010

1. "The Worm that Ate Bushehr" One of the better, most informative posts I've seen on this matter.

Representative Sample: While the origin of the worm has not been confirmed, Israel has been pegged as a likely suspect. Israeli defense forces and intelligence services have robust cyber-warfare capabilities, and Stuxnet could prove an excellent tool for crippling key Iranian facilities, including the nuclear power plant at Bushehr, which was recently fueled with Russian assistance.

2. "Confirmed: Mohammed Cartoons Can Drive Islamists Nuts 5 Years Later"
There's no point in worrying about offending people who will find anything to be offended by.

Representative Sample: If you hold a grudge over cartoons from 5 years ago, you just might be an Islamist.

3. "After Mubarak" What happens in Egypt when he dies?

Representative Sample: Mubarak has been president of Egypt for a very long time. He is old. He is ill. He is facing an election next year. He has a son, who, if he follows the typical Arab Nationalist tradition begun by Egypt's Gamal Abdul Nasser, will surely inherit the throne. But there is also a fairly strong sentiment expressed through political organizations in Egypt, that dynasties are not what is needed in Egypt.

4. "Most American believers don't know what they're talking about" Completely unsurprising.

Representative Sample: the ignorance of religion displayed by religious believers in America is appalling. Their reasons for believing in a particular set of religious propositions certainly cannot be based on a sound knowledge of what is on offer and deep reflection on the evidence. In America, at least, most believers simply don't know what they're talking about.

5. "The Second Amendment Post 2010" Will getting hammered in November affect the positions of pro-gun Democrats?

Representative Sample: what effect is this going to have on the Democrats disposition toward the Second Amendment going forward? Certainly after November, our opposition will be hammering on the point that, because NRA could not offer perfect protection, Democrats obviously have nothing to gain by being pro-gun. I worry that 2010 will undo many of the bipartisan gains we have made in this issue.

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

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Restricting Free Speech to Protect Free Speech?

There was an interesting editorial in yesterday's LA Times by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Daniel Huff called, "It's time to fight back against death threats by Islamic extremists." The authors call for new legislation similar to that passed to deter intimidation tactics used by anti-abortion protesters.
It's time for free-speech advocates to take a page from the abortion rights movement's playbook.  ... they lobbied for a federal law making it a crime to threaten people exercising reproductive rights and permitting victims to sue for damages. ... A federal law would do two things. First, it would deter violent tactics, by focusing national attention on the problem and invoking the formidable enforcement apparatus of the federal government. Second, its civil damages provision would empower victims of intimidation to act as private attorneys general to defend their rights.
Although I strongly sympathize with the intent, I'm highly skeptical of remedies that involve protecting free speech by passing more laws. The way to defend free speech against Islamic extremism is to defy intimidation by collectively refusing to pander to delicate Islamic sensibilities. Terroristic threats should be taken seriously, the perpetrators tracked down and prosecuted. But passing a new law that allows implied threats to be subject to preset legal damages -- as the authors advocate -- is a bad idea that will likely lead to unintended consequences. It would almost certainly result in a stifling of certain forms of political speech, based on court interpretations of what exactly constitutes some sort of threat. Protecting free speech by giving courts a new weapon to restrict it is a really bad idea.

HOT5 Daily 9/28/2010

1. "The 5 Biggest Lies about Liberalism" Harsh but applicable to many liberals. 

Representative Sample: It's a challenge being patriotic, when you don't believe in American Exceptionalism, or even the value of the Nation-State. When you think that the world would run better if everyone just listened to what the UN tells them to do. When you think that its history is the story of how rich Europeans murdered all the natives and built smokestacks over their graves in order to plunder South America of its fruit-- being patriotic really requires contortionism that would put any circus acrobat to shame.

2. "Most profligate, fiscally irresponsible peeResident in history calls for fiscal responsibility" Amazing hypocrisy. 

Representative Sample:  Next up: Jenna Jamison lectures us all on the vital importance of chastity, modesty, and maintaining one’s virginity until marriage.

3. "Krugman Asks: Where Are The Jobs? I Answer: 10 Places Jobs Went" Good points.  

Representative Sample: Construction jobs aren’t coming back in a long, long time. Why? Because America is overbuilt as it is. Both commercially and personally, there are more homes and buildings than are currently needed. 

4. "Dinesh D’Souza’s poison" Debunking the latest conspiracy theory about Obama. Despite all the legitimate avenues of criticism available with regard to the president, too many conservatives have to resort to D'Souza-type garbage.

Representative Sample: you can’t “fact-check” a fever dream of paranoia and irrationality. Sickeningly, while “How Obama Thinks” is useless as a guide to the Obama presidency, it is all too representative of the hysteria that now runs through a significant portion of the right-wing media establishment. The article is worth analyzing at some length as an example of the lunacy that is poisoning much conservative discourse.

5. "Holy Crap!" Must be seen to be believed.

Representative Sample: Galileo Was Wrong is a detailed and comprehensive treatment of the scientific evidence supporting Geocentrism, the academic belief that the Earth is immobile in the center of the universe. Garnering scientific information from physics, astrophysics, astronomy and other sciences, Galileo Was Wrong shows that the debate between Galileo and the Catholic Church was much more than a difference of opinion about the interpretation of Scripture.

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

Monday, September 27, 2010

Incompetent Whiner-in-Chief

Since he's become president, rather than act as a leader, President Obama's first resort has been to whine, complain and blame others. The latest revelations from Bob Woodward's book provide more confirmation of the lack of leadership at the top. While running for president, Obama had all sorts of criticism for George Bush's war strategy. You might have thought that he'd take office knowing what he wanted to accomplish, with a plan ready to carry out. Instead, as Dick Cheney accurately pointed out, Obama spent months dithering over what to do in Afghanistan. 

Woodward's book reveals -- as many people had already observed -- that Obama didn't have the slightest idea what to do in Afghanistan, other than a vague notion of getting out as fast as possible. Obama's main "plan" was simply to "limit U.S. involvement and provide a way out," despite repeatedly bashing Bush for not putting enough emphasis on the war there. But even though he just wanted to run away, as most people suspected, he lacked the competence and leadership to force through some sort of exit strategy. According to Woodward's account, he allowed himself to be bullied by his military advisers against his own wishes. Instead of ordering them to come up with an exit plan, he was reduced to fighting a rear guard action aimed at limiting an increase in U.S. forces in the country. That's how we got to the typical political half-measure: an Afghan surge with less troops than the military wanted.

Read the article for yourself and remember that this man is supposed to be commander-in-chief, not a community organizer conducting negotiations with slumlords over the latest rent increases.

No HOT5 Today

No HOT5 Daily today. It will return tomorrow.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

HOT5 Daily 9/26/2010

1. "Obama: Bush on steroids?" A good debunking of the terrorist rights whining about al-Awalki. 

Representative Sample: Anwar al-Awlaki, sure wouldn’t want you to call him an American. He’s a Jihadist, a holy warrior figting on the side of Allah. His citizenship is Islam and like the rest of his kind declared war on the rest of us long ago. Why not give him one?

2. "In Islam, a man beats his wife to honor her" One of the many reasons people rightly have a negative view of Islam. 

Representative Sample:  there must not be more than ten beatings, and he must not break her bones, injure her, break her teeth, or poke her in the eye. There is a beating etiquette. If he beats to discipline her, he must not raise his hand high. He must beat her from chest level. All these things honor the woman.

3. "Who Are the Realists and Who Are the Ideologues?" When ideology lines up with reality.  

Representative Sample: Two principles often labeled as “right wing ideology” are that as a society we are better off with limited government and individual freedom and that as individuals we are better off being married. Is this wishful thinking of ideologues or is this reality?

4. "Moderate Republicans and the Ratchet Effect" There's some truth to this. 

Representative Sample: Why are liberals so unhappy to see “moderate Republicans” drummed out of the party? That’s simple: it’s because liberals have out-maneuvered such Republicans for decades. Moderate Republicans “compromise” in incremental steps toward liberal policies, while the liberals depict any “compromise” as being akin to genocide. Faced with such charges, moderate Republicans quickly surrender. This is particularly true in environmental policy

5. "Skeptics Who Try To Refute The Supernatural In The Bibles Crack Me Up" Why try to figure out how natural causes might have parted the Red Sea when there is no evidence the Exodus ever happened?

Representative Sample: figuring out how Moses got the Sea to part is exactly the same as trying to figure out how the Cat spoke in The Cat In The Hat.

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

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Kill Anwar al-Awlaki

The Washington Post reports that the Obama administration seeks to dismiss a lawsuit filed on behalf of Anwar al-Awlaki on grounds that it would reveal state secrets. Better grounds for dismissal would be that the suit is utterly ridiculous, and a blatant attempt to assist a known enemy of the United States. 

The way terrorist rights supporters talk about the case, whining about targeting an American citizen, you'd think al-Awlaki was living quietly in small-town USA, when he was suddenly marked for death by the evil U.S. government. In reality, he resides in Yemen, has voluntarily associated himself with Al Qaeda, and has been actively promoting terrorism against the United States. He's a major propagandist for the radical Islamist movement. Here is his Wikipedia page

By his own actions al-Awlaki has rejected his U.S. citizenship, declared himself an enemy of America, and has joined enemies with whom we are actively at war.  It's ridiculous to pretend that we have to extend to a traitor who is currently fighting against us the same rights as any other citizen. By choosing to go abroad and promote terrorism against the U.S., al-Awalki made himself a legitimate target. The justice department spokesman has it exactly right.

"If al-Aulaqi wishes to access our legal system, he should surrender to American authorities and return to the United States, where he will be held accountable for his actions."
As he also points out, terrorist rights supporters are
asking "a court to take the unprecedented step of intervening in an ongoing military action to direct the President how to manage that action - all on behalf of a leader of a foreign terrorist organization."
Throw out the case. Kill Anwar al-Awlaki.

HOT5 Daily 9/25/2010

1. "Why the Left Manipulates with a Clear Conscience" Analyzing the left.

Representative Sample: elitists do not respect the ordinary person in society. They believe that non-elites are easily led astray by evil elites, and therefore that the judgment of non-elites simply cannot be used as a basis for setting public policy. Instead, leftists believe they must consciously manipulate everyone else in society for the benefit of all.

2. "Rape and the West Bank" Useful idiots molested by those they are trying to help.

Representative Sample: foreign (American and European) and Israeli Jewish and Arab left-feminists are being routinely harassed, raped, and even forced into marriage by the very Palestinians whom they have come to “rescue.” More shocking is the alleged pressure brought to bear on those activists who wish to press charges about being raped or abducted into marriage; their own movement presumably pressures them not to do so

3. "Obamacare is even worse than critics thought" And that's saying a lot.

Representative Sample: Obamacare won't allow employees or most small businesses to keep the coverage they have and like. By Obama's estimates, as many as 69 percent of employees, 80 percent of small businesses, and 64 percent of large businesses will be forced to change coverage, probably to more expensive plans.

4. "Be glad you live in a democracy" Title is somewhat misleading, but makes good points.

Representative Sample: One of the things that people do when they feel they are losing the argument - when they think that the view opposite theirs will get to be the majority view - is to attack vociferously. They will even make personal attacks and start to tell outright lies. Unfortunately for people who do this, the main effect is a backlash - people start to think (to quote Shakespeare) "(he) doth protest too much". Another way to cause a backlash is to not listen to the opposing concerns - especially if arguments are dismissed as being unimportant or personal putdowns are used.

5. "The hidden story behind “Obama’s Wars”: the insurgency in Washington" Obama vs. the generals.

Representative Sample: President Obama seems to be in over his head in trying to deal with national security. He has not been able to control the process. He’s been manipulated by his generals. He’s been frustrated in his efforts to put his own stamp on Afghanistan policy. Instead of setting policy, he’s been cast in the role of fighting a rear-guard battle against the Petraeus preference for a multi-decade, nation-building commitment to Afghanistan.

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

Friday, September 24, 2010

HOT5 Daily 9/24/2010

1. "A Must-Read From “The American Muslim”" A welcome statement from some American & Canadian Muslims. 

Representative Sample: Here’s a true moderate voice from the Islamic community. Spread it far and wide, and insist that others identified by political and media elites as “moderate Muslim leaders” explicitly associate themselves with it of forfeit that title of moderate.

2. "Ahmadinejad Appauded at UN" Another example of why the UN is unworthy of any respect. 

Representative Sample: Can you connect these dots? I can't. Why should we sit down and talk to this man who is "delusional". Does Obama think that maybe we can delude him?

3. "Burning Koran in England results in arrest" Another chapter in the sad decline of Britain.  

Representative Sample: Seems that British Police don't like freedom of expression.

4. "Retarded" Congress wasting its time eliminating the term "mental retardation" from Federal Laws. 

Representative Sample: When did Congress become the Sacred Guardians of the English Language?.

5. "Real Men Do Apologize" Study finds interesting differences between men & women over taking offense and apologizing.

Representative Sample: Their conclusion is that “men apologize less frequently than women because they have a higher threshold for what constitutes offensive behavior.” Whether on the giving or receiving end, males are less likely to feel an unpleasant incident is serious enough to warrant a statement of remorse.

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

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Democratic Promise to America - Top Ten Points

After House Republicans released their "Pledge to America," Democrats reacted quickly by drawing up their own "Promise to America." The Unreligious Right has obtained an exclusive preview of the top ten points.

1. Spend more money. Despite all the evidence that more spending has not produced job growth, more needs to be spent -- whether we have it available or not. That's why we have a mint & the federal reserve. No matter how much Republicans want to spend, we promise to always spend more.

2. Ignore the debt & the deficit. Focus on right now and the future will take care of itself.

3. Find new ways to raise taxes. We'll do everything possible to create new taxes, even if we have to call them something else.

4. Attack any significant tax cut as tax cuts for the "rich." Rich means whoever we say it means.

5. Equate tax cuts with spending. Even though tax cuts are reductions in revenue and are not spending of any kind, we will continue to call them costs so we can say they cost too much.

6. Create new government programs. America needs more and bigger government. There is no problem that can't be solved by the government. Greater government involvement in everything will be our first resort.

7. Increase funding regardless of returns. This means more spending on education and unproven alternative energy sources.

8. If we absolutely have to make any cuts in spending, look first to cutting defense. National security is our least important priority.

9. Increase regulation, red tape and bureaucracy. Small businesses don't need tax cuts. They need more rules, requirements, fees and government oversight. They can count on the Democratic Party to provide those things.

10. Find new ways to dismiss any and all criticism or counter-proposals from political opponents as based on racism, bigotry, fear, support for the rich, or as un-American.

HOT5 Daily 9/23/2010

1. "Obama Is a Cheney Realist" Bad/Dumb title, but good post. The criticism he's getting for his "absorb" a terrorist attack comment is ridiculous.

Representative Sample: President Obama has been getting a lot of heat from conservatives for a quote in Bob Woodward's new book. It reads: "We can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever … we absorbed it and we are stronger."

2. "The U.N.’s Perpetual Effort to Attain the Power to Tax" Something that can never be permitted to happen. 

Representative Sample: Creating an international tax to fund the U.N. and other multilateral programs has long been a dream of global government advocates. Over the years, various U.N. reports and government officials have proposed taxing currency transactions and carbon, airline flights, international arms sales, resources harvested from outer space or the oceans, and e-mail.

3. "Science Fiction is a Genre That Everyone Should Read" Interesting article.  

Representative Sample: Science fiction is perhaps best understood by an alternative name for the genre: speculative fiction. It is fiction that asks questions about the human condition and the meaning of life by taking us beyond everyday life. We go to strange planets, far distant futures or even to our own past — in order to learn about who we really are. Science fiction takes its readers to far off galaxies in order to help them understand life on earth more clearly

4. "Back from the Dead" Nuclear energy in Europe and the political struggle over it. 

Representative Sample: even if certain countries revert once again to anti-nuclear policies, nuclear energy could continue to thrive simply by crossing borders. If Germany decides to shut down its reactors, for example, German utilities could build new plants in more nuclear-friendly countries like Poland or the Czech Republic -- with new grids to ship electricity across borders.

5. "UAVs Pushed For Missile Defense" Sounds like an idea that might have some promise.

Representative Sample: Advocacy of an air-launched, missile defense system is being proposed by two veterans of the Pentagon’s “Star Wars” era and a 1990s program to mate unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and long-range air-to-air weapons.

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

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

GOP "Pledge to America"

CBS News has a draft of the Republican House agenda they call, "Pledge to America." Let's look at each point.


- Stop job-killing tax hikes

That would be nice.

- Allow small businesses to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their income

Sounds good to me.

- Require congressional approval for any new federal regulation that would add to the deficit

Would this actually do anything?

- Repeal small business mandates in the new health care law.

Good idea.

Cutting Spending:

- Repeal and Replace health care

I'll be amazed if they can accomplish this. They'd be better off focusing on eliminating some of the more odious provisions on a point-by-point basis.

- Roll back non-discretionary spending to 2008 levels before TARP and stimulus (will save $100 billion in first year alone)

Sounds good to me.

- Establish strict budget caps to limit federal spending going forward

Limit it to what? This is pretty vague.

- Cancel all future TARP payments and reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Good luck with reforming those organizations.

Reforming Congress:

- Will require that every bill have a citation of constitutional authority

It couldn't hurt.

- Give members at least 3 days to read bills before a vote

Seems reasonable.


- Provide resources to troops

That's incredibly vague, and something we are already doing.

- Fund missile defense

That's good, but nothing new from the GOP.

- Enforce sanctions in Iran

Is anyone excited about that?

If you go through the actual draft document, it fleshes out the points a bit. But overall I find it fairly underwhelming.

Most Annoying Republicans?

In the HOT5 today I linked an article called "The Five Most Annoying Republicans in the World." Although I know it's difficult to narrow down an annoying list when talking about political figures, I'm not too impressed by the author's selections. Here's his list.

5. Bristol Palin
4. David Brooks
3. Gen. Colin Powell
2. Sen. Lindsey Graham
1. Meghan McCain

Bristol Palin? She's little more than a kid. I don't find her annoying at all. Her mother, on the other hand, is actually a major political force and can be extremely annoying.

David Brooks.  I guess he's a reasonable selection from a conservative base perspective, but Brooks doesn't really annoy me. Everyone knows what they are getting with Brooks. He's a moderate Republican columnist. I don't think he's intellectually dishonest or obnoxious; so even though I often disagree with him, I wouldn't put him on an annoying list.

Colin Powell. Ok, now we are right on target. Powell belongs at the top of this list, primarily for continuing to claim to be a Republican even though he's an independent who supports Obama and Democratic policies.

Lindsey Graham. Graham can be irritating, but not that much more than any other major Republican politician. 

Meghan McCain? The number 1 most annoying Republican? Really? Her father is actually important and far more annoying. If he hadn't run such a miserable incompetent campaign, we might not be stuck with President Obama.

Who is missing from this list? How can you have a current list of annoying Republicans and leave off Charlie Crist, Lisa Murkowski and Mike Castle. Castle, aside from his voting record, is a sore loser who refuses to support the nominee he lost to. Crist & Murkowski are not only sore losers, but are actually attempting to split the GOP vote and give Democrats a better chance to win in November. And then there is Christine O'Donnell. Here's someone who gives Democrats a perfect parody of an extreme religious social conservative, and is currently trailing by a large margin in the polls after knocking out someone who was a likely GOP Senate pick-up. There are a significant number of other Republicans more annoying than anyone on that list (except Colin Powell.)

HOT5 Daily 9/22/2010

1. "We’re Winning, But We Haven’t Won" Things to keep in mind. 

Representative Sample: That doesn’t mean that landslide has arrived. Voters can be fickle and the gains we on the right have made can disappear in a day or two if we think we can coast into November. Matthew has rightly noted that we are pushing all the issues to the right, but we certainly can not stop now. We have to keep pushing the bedrock ideals of conservatism — Less spending, government in the hands of the people, taxes responsibly asked for and spent

2. "It’s all the Republicans’ fault because they hate gays (or so the media would have us believe)" We aren't supposed to pay attention to the other reasons for voting against that defense bill. 

Representative Sample: The media is very disappointed that a defense spending bill went down in flames, not over the question of spending, but over the issue of DADT.

3. "Ben Shapiro's List of Five Most Annoying Republicans" Hard to keep it to only 5.  

Representative Sample: Although we cheerfully lap up articles that pick apart Democrats, "progressives," liberals, and leftists, we know that Republicans are only human, so in the interest of fair and balanced coverage

4. "Finding Patient Zero in the High Fructose Corn Syrup Hate Epidemic" Where did the demonization of this ingredient begin? 

Representative Sample: In the Atlantic today, food writer and contrarian James McWilliams traces the roots of the Blame High Fructose Corn Syrup First movement

5. "Oh Noes Not Santa!!" Pretty funny.

Representative Sample: It's a cartoon.

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

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

HOT5 Daily 9/21/2010

1. "The Curious Logic of Our Governing Elites" With many examples. 

Representative Sample: George Orwell said, "There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them." What follows is my beginning of a list of ideas that some very intelligent people seem to believe.

2. "Sanctimonious Bigots' – Leftist Professors and Double Standards" If you know anything about the left, this is not one bit surprising. 

Representative Sample: After Dr. Fred Gottheil found an anti-Israel petition signed by "900 Academics" he decided to conduct a similar project: launching a " Statement of Concern," an academic petition "expressing concern about human rights violations in the Muslim Middle East, such as honor killing, wife-beating, female genital mutilation, and violence against gays and lesbians ..." Professor Gottheil, who teaches economics at the University of Illinois, was completely ignored.

3. "JUST SAYING..." Excellent graphic.  

Representative Sample: It's a graphic.

4. "Jimmy Carter ‘Superior’ To Other Presidents" If you needed another reason to dislike Jimmy Carter. Although it is pretty impressive to be arguably both the worst president & worst ex-president. 

Representative Sample: The obvious question to be asked when hearing that Jimmy Carter thinks his role is “superior” to that of other presidents is “What the heck is wrong with Jimmy Carter?” The obvious answer is the man is nuts. But I think it goes a little deeper than that.

5. "Rushdie Rules" Reach Florida" Belated but good post.

Representative Sample: If the Rushdie Rules initially shocked the West, they since have become the new norm. When Islam is the subject, freedom of speech is but a pre-1989 memory. Writers, artists, and editors readily acknowledge that criticizing Islam can endanger their lives.

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

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chinese Space Exploration

The Chinese have major plans for space exploration.

China has said it will put a man in the moon by 2025, and begin exploring Mars and Venus in five years. It will have a space station within a decade.
I'm not sure if this is unsubstantiated bluster, or if China really will be able to develop that level of space capability. China conducted its first space walk only two years ago. But a major Chinese presence in space is a worrying prospect.

Don't expect China to worry about great steps for mankind. There's little doubt that Chinese space exploration will aim at benefiting China first & foremost. China is not our enemy, but it is a potential threat that has to be watched. Space is currently an area where the U.S. holds major strategic advantages. A surging Chinese space program could drastically change that calculus, especially if U.S. efforts remain relatively stagnant. It's something to keep an eye on over the next decade.

HOT5 Daily 9/20/2010

1. "Superiority Complex" Long but good 

Representative Sample: But what happens when people who do believe that their culture, their nationality and their religion are superior immigrate into nations where the host population has been taught that they are no better than anyone else?

2. "Pope Benny’s speech – graphically" Sums it up. 

Representative Sample: It's a graphic.

3. "“The reality of any green product is that they generally don’t work as well”" And their actual benefit to the environment is debatable.  

Representative Sample: Those are the words of a cleaning supplies company manager. Another reality is that even as the so-called “green” products (which often aren’t all that green) don’t work as well, they’re typically much more expensive. gods exist, but one doesn’t believe gods exist.

4. "Somali Pirares: EU naval force blockades pirate group" Using blockade tactics without declaring a blockade produces results.

Representative Sample: twelve suspected pirates and four boats (three skiffs and one whaler) were intercepted; two further skiffs fled the scene. As none of the pirates were caught in the act of piracy, it was not possible to proceed with a prosecution under international law. However, all of the equipment which could have been used for an attack was seized and one whaler and one skiff were destroyed.

5. "Mollifying Muslims, and Muslifying Mollies" The amazing extent of our pandering to Muslims, even actual terrorist enemies.

Representative Sample: To reassure incoming prisoners that the filthy infidels haven't touched the sacred book with their unclean hands, the Korans are hung from the walls in pristine, sterilized surgical masks. It's one thing for Muslims to regard infidels as unclean, but it's hard to see why it's in the interests of us infidels to string along with it

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

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pointless Trial For Former Gitmo Detainee

There's an article in the New York Times that provides a prime example of blind legalism in action. It's difficult to read it without laughing incredulously that we are actually wasting all this time and effort putting a known terrorist on trial in the civilian court system -- let alone agonizing over various details.

Here's the situation. Back in 2004 we captured Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who was implicated in the 1998 bombing of two U.S. African embassies. It's blatantly obvious that he's guilty. Ghailani was first held in a "secret" CIA prison, and then moved to Guantanamo. His interrogation revealed the name of the person who sold him explosives, Hussein Abebe, who was then tracked down. Abebe admits selling Ghailani the explosives thinking that they'd be used for legitimate mining purposes. So what's the problem?

Naturally, like every terrorist, Ghailani claims he was tortured. Instead of just ignoring his claim, for which there is zero evidence, the judge is worried about how the U.S. government found out about Abele, and why he is cooperating. There's a question of whether or not he will be permitted to testify.

This situation demonstrates yet again the problems with pretending that hostile aliens have U.S. constitutional rights, or that the civilian legal system applies to covert intelligence operations and secret war efforts against terrorist enemies. Once it was confirmed that Ghailani was part of the embassy bombings, he should have received a quick summary execution -- preferably in secret. There's no reason to go through this farce and waste all sorts of time and money, just so the administration can conduct a show trial. It serves no good purpose, is unnecessary and risks further damage to our ongoing intelligence operations and war efforts. Since it appears that Ghailani is clearly guilty, I have little doubt that the administration will be able to secure some sort of conviction. But just by exposing this sort of case in civilian court, there is always the danger of having a judge make a ruling that will impose more restrictions on our covert actions.   

HOT5 Daily 9/19/2010

1. "Free Speech Under Attack" And most of the self-appointed defenders are notably absent. 

Representative Sample: where is Barack Obama? He was quick to publicly object to what he saw as the violation of the rights of a Harvard professor who was involved in a dispute with the local police. He has been quick to defend the religious freedom of Imam Rauf to build a large mosque 500 feet from the World Trade site. When is he going to speak up for the right of people like Molly Norris to simply go on living, free from violent intimidation, while exercising their free-expression rights as American citizens?

2. "Taxpayers Paid At Least $9 Million for Signs Promoting Obama's Economic Stimulus" Maybe he was trying to stimulate the sign industry. 

Representative Sample: Most of the signs read, “Putting America to Work,” and they include the ARRA emblem along with the Web address. While the Obama administration contends the signs provide transparency, Republicans believe the signs amount to taxpayer-subsidized propaganda. 

3. "Dabblers" Some "dabbling" is just more newsworthy than other dabbling. Don't forget, there's a long list of things that are ok or just not important as long as they are done by Democrats.  

Representative Sample: Liberals let their people get away with murder. Conservatives crucify their own as soon as they hear RUMORS of peccadilloes. Is it unreasonable to consider charting a course between those two extremes?

4. "Zero tolerance stupidity strikes again" Teaching kids the wrong lessons along with being completely idiotic. 

Representative Sample: Instead of teaching children the value of proportional response to incidents, these administrators are teaching them that the nuclear option works in every case. Instead of teaching them to think in every situation, these schools teach them that no matter what the circumstances, one course of action is appropriate every single time.

5. "Funny Stuff: Criminals For Gun Control" Support your local criminal by voting for politicians who support gun control.

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, September 18, 2010

Germans Protest Clean Energy

Germany plans to extend the life-span of its existing nuclear power plants, but that idea brought out thousands of protesters.
Waving banners with slogans like “shut down the government now,” demonstrators trudged through rain to urge Merkel to backtrack and uphold a pledge made by her predecessor Gerhard Schroeder to switch off Germany’s nuclear power plants by 2021. ... Green Party flags and banners could be seen every step of the way as the protest descended on her office in Berlin.
This is exhibit A as to why many environmentalists just can't be taken seriously. It's pretty funny that the Green Party is actually opposing the one proven viable large-scale alternative energy source. Maybe they should change the name to the Oil & Coal Party. If you shut down nuclear plants, that energy will have to be replaced by other means. And pie-in-the-sky dreams about solar, wind or other left-wing environmentalist-approved energy just won't do the job. Anyone worried about climate change and limiting the use of fossil fuels should be a huge supporter of nuclear power. If Germany is stupid enough to shut down its nuclear power plants, maybe they could do us a favor, ship them to America and reopen them here. We could definitely use more.

HOT5 Daily 9/18/2010

1. "45 million killed in 4 years, “digits”" The price of communism.

Representative Sample: Mr Dikötter, who has been studying Chinese rural history from 1958 to 1962, when the nation was facing a famine, compared the systematic torture, brutality, starvation and killing of Chinese peasants to the Second World War in its magnitude. At least 45 million people were worked, starved or beaten to death in China over these four years

2. "The "Ground Zero" Mosque: A Project Based on Con-men and Special Priviledges" More good reasons for opposition to the project.

Representative Sample: What we are dealing with, then, is not “Islamophobia” but special privileges accorded to a group beyond what others would have received. This has been done, in part, by politicians who wanted to bask in the light of pretended tolerance

3. "Bashir Insanity" Foreign policy incompetence Sudan edition?

Representative Sample: After long, and reportedly heated, arguments inside the White House over the proper balance between carrot and stick, officials have produced a document that is highly specific about inducements and carefully vague about threats. Despite veiled references to "accountability," the statement is silent on the ICC indictments.

4. "Hitler’s Remarks About Religion (And, Specifically, Christianity)" A useful reminder for anyone listening to the Pope's ludicrous anti-atheist propaganda.

Representative Sample: “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison.

5. "Alexander the Great used ancient kevlar-like armor" Interesting historical article.

Representative Sample: After a successful reproduction of the armor, the findings showed an ancient concept to modern kevlar armor. Extremely durable to conditions, and very effective against arrows, swords, and other ancient slash and stab weapons Alexander and his men would have faced.

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

Friday, September 17, 2010

Major Power Outage

A storm early yesterday evening left me without power for 21 hours. I think that's the longest my power has ever been out. That's why there was no HOT5 today.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Intellectual Dishonesty of Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict is at it again, attacking "atheist extremism" and "aggressive secularism" on his visit to Britain.
The leader of the Roman Catholic church concluded a speech, made before the Queen and assembled dignitaries at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, with the argument that the Nazi desire to eradicate God had led to the Holocaust and a plea for 21st-century Britain to respect its Christian foundations. ...Benedict was more explicit in his condemnation of militant atheism, noting that Britain had fought the atheistic evil embodied by Adolf Hitler.

"Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live," he said.

Promoting atheism was not one of the missions of Nazism, and there is no good evidence that Hitler himself was an atheist. The one major political organization directly associated with atheism, the communist party, was a mortal enemy of Adolf Hitler & the Nazi party. Its German members were exterminated or thrown into concentration camps once Hitler gained total control of the state. Anti-Semitism, and the denial of our "common humanity" did not begin with the Nazis. Hitler was able to act on his own radical hatred of the Jews because of the long historical foundation of European anti-Semitism, which had strong roots in certain Christian attitudes and teachings, including those of the Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict is a highly-educated man. It is impossible to believe that he isn't aware of the basic history of the Nazi era in Germany, or the roots and practice of European anti-Semitism and its linkage to Christianity. His attempts to tie atheism to Nazism & anti-Semitism are pure intellectual dishonesty of the worst kind. He is smearing an entire category of people as somehow responsible for atrocities that they had nothing to do with. Portraying atheism as a motivating force for the Holocaust is an outright lie -- and the Pope must know that what he is saying is untrue. He apparently thinks enough people are stupid enough to swallow his ridiculous anti-atheist propaganda.

It should also go without saying that it takes amazing nerve to make false linkages between atheism and Nazism when you yourself were a member of the Hitler Youth. I can't remember a pope in my lifetime that has presented such an ugly face of Catholicism to the world. I wonder how many Catholics will be secretly relieved when this guy is gone and a new pope is in place.

Spot the Difference

h/t Blag Hag

Christine O’Donnell's Win

Christine O’Donnell's upset win in the Delaware GOP primary has been the talk of the blogosphere, with the storyline involving a split between the Republican party establishment and the conservative base. I've seen quite a bit of nonsense from both the pro & anti-O'Donnell camps. Let's start with the antis. 

O'Donnell supporters have been bashed for hurting the GOP's chances of taking the Senate. But why should conservatives -- and the GOP base that votes in primaries is overwhelmingly conservative -- vote for Mike Castle? I'm not usually in the habit of calling people RINO's, but Mike Castle is a RINO's RINO.  There are really only two reasons for conservatives to vote for a candidate like Castle: 1) as a lesser evil, and 2) purely as an attempt to secure a Republican majority in the Senate. I myself am a lesser of two evils voter, and also someone who sees politics very cynically, so I'd probably have voted Castle. But there are very good arguments against those positions, which seem to go unrecognized. A Republican who aligns with Democrats can be worse than just having a Democrat. It gives Democrats cover to claim bipartisanship when he joins their legislation, and he provides talking points with which to bash other Republicans as being extreme. It does no good to retake the Senate if it is done with Republicans who basically support lighter versions of Democratic initiatives, and who will help President Obama pass legislation. 

Then there is the argument that Christine O’Donnell can't win. This is ridiculous and premature. With Republicans energized, the Tea Party movement, an unpopular Democratic president and Democrats depressed, anything can happen in November. Has there ever been a better time to put up hard-line ideological conservative candidates? Not in quite some time. As we are already seeing, O’Donnell has national support. Donations are coming in from all over.

On the other hand, the "true conservative" types who support O'Donnell are spouting nonsense as well. Anyone who reasonably supported Castle in order to take the Senate is denounced as aligned with an out-of-touch "ruling elite" party establishment. The same goes for anyone that dares point out that Christine O’Donnell appears to be kind of a nut, with serious personal issues that make her a flawed candidate. Just because Mike Castle is a liberal Republican, it doesn't follow that conservatives have to support a lousy candidate purely because she's running against him. The ideological purists are also prone to ignore the real advantages that come with control of the Senate, focusing only on the potential that liberal Republicans might assist Democrats. Apparently they've forgotten that even Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins held firm and voted against Obamacare. There's definitely a risk in sending a liberal Republican to the Senate, but we've already seen the results of Democratic control. Personally I'd take my chances with someone like Castle over an even worse Democrat senator, and Democratic control.

Finally, given that the voters have decided, all Republicans should support the GOP candidate for better or worse. If you can't do that, you are basically an independent pretending to be a Republican, much like Colin Powell. Don't be a Colin Powell. That means you, Castle.

HOT5 Daily 9/16/2010

1. "Former Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar launches pro-Israel initiative" A non-Jewish, pro-Israel group based in Europe. There's something you don't hear about every day. This is an interview with Aznar.

Representative Sample: the threat is the delegitimization of the state of Israel, first of all. The threat is the weakness of the European system, the Western system of values. The fear is that one could decide that at this moment Israel is something that is not worth defending, that millions of people are not important, that it's better to reach an agreement with radical Islam.

2. "O'Donnellphobia" Interesting election analysis.

Representative Sample: I don't see what all the hysterics are about. Until recently, I didn't believe Republicans had a chance in a million of picking up ten Senate seats this year -- which is what it takes for the GOP to seize the majority. But now, I think we have an excellent chance -- with or without Delaware.

3. "Christine O’Donnell, I don’t trust her" Reasons why O'Donnell isn't exactly an ideal candidate.

Representative Sample: Let’s the Republican candidate for Delaware's Senate seat shapes up against my nutball profile. It’s pretty scary folks.

4. "Creator of "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" forced to change identity for safety" Unfortunately not a surprise. Excellent points in this post.

Representative Sample: A religion that reacts in such a way does not deserve respect or politeness. People have every right to believe whatever nonsense they want, but they do not have the right to force those beliefs on others.

5. "Japan: The Big Cost of Small Arms" And you thought ridiculous prices and military cost overruns were ripping off U.S. taxpayers. At least we aren't Japan.

Representative Sample: Japan has the sixth largest defense budget in the world, yet has only 240,000 military personnel. Where does all the money go? The answer, in part, is it goes to expensive weapons. Very expensive weapons.

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

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Interesting New Blog

A reader and occasional commenter here at Unreligious Right, Pat, has a blog called Shades of Grey. Instead of being written from a single ideological perspective, like most blogs, it often uses a point/counterpoint approach that offers differing views on the same issue. Check it out. It is also now linked on my blogroll.

HOT5 Daily 9/15/2010

1. "Ten Questions You're Not Supposed to Ask About Islam" But which need to be asked repeatedly.

Representative Sample: When you refuse to talk about important topics because they make people uncomfortable, animus, distrust, and anxiety inevitably spread. On the other hand, when you have an open and honest dialogue about the real issues people debate privately, you can build comfort and trust and start to reach solutions that would never be possible in an environment where people are attacked and demonized simply for asking basic questions that most people have, but are afraid to speak out about.

2. "Violent crime continues to plummet as gun ownership skyrockets" Because unlike what gun-haters believe, guns are merely tools.

Representative Sample: This all occurred in the same year that Americans purchased 14 million firearms—more than the combined active armies of the top 21 countries in the world. We also purchased an estimated 14+ billion rounds of ammunition during that same time period.

3. "Will the GOP make the right play or take their ball and go home?" I'm not a tea party candidate supporter. But the GOP leadership needs to get behind the candidates that its members elect, whether they like them or not.

Representative Sample: If the Republican Party wants folks to believe that what they want from the Party matters to the Party, they need to now get behind the choice of the people of the Party.

4. "Supreme Injustice" The idiocy of Justice Stephen Breyer.

Representative Sample: we had as proponents such high-ranking figures as General David Petraeus, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and President Obama all saying "forget about your Constitutional rights; it's more important that you not piss off the crazy dangerous people." At that point, you'd find yourself saying "well, it couldn't get any worse. Yes, it could.

5. "Must Read: How Gov’t Unions Are Stealing From You and Your Kids" Links to a good article.

Representative Sample: This is a great piece that details financial folly of governments allowing their employees (teachers, cops, firemen, transit workers, bureaucrats, administrators, etc, etc, etc) to unionize, apparently to protect them from their oppressive bosses in…government?

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

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Man Fired for Making a Political Statement

Derek Fenton, who burned a few pages from the Koran in a 9/11 protest was abruptly fired by New Jersey Transit after working there 11 years. NJ Transit claims he somehow violated their code of ethics. It sounds more like a combination of political correctness and fear of Muslim reaction. What does taking part in a political protest, and harmlessly burning a few pages of paper have to do with the ethics of working for a transit company?

There's no right to hold a job, and companies have all sorts of reasons for firing people, but firing people for making political statements, or for harmless acts religious people find offensive should disturb everyone. I'm not sure, but Fenton may have a first amendment case, since NJ Transit is a state agency. This appears to be a case of a government employer firing someone for taking part in a political protest and exercising his right to free expression.

The Huge Saudi Arms Deal

I have mixed feelings about the proposed major arm deal with Saudi Arabia. On the one hand Saudi Arabia does function as a U.S. ally in the region, and as such we would prefer it to be a strong ally, with significant military capability.
A senior Defense Department official said the administration is prepared to authorize the sale of as many as 84 F-15 fighter jets and three types of helicopters: 70 upgraded F-15s, 70 Apaches, 72 Black Hawks and 36 Little Birds to the Saudis. ... Another deal, the senior Pentagon official said, could include selling the Saudis naval and ballistic missile-defense weapons systems that could be worth tens of billions of dollars more.
If those reports are correct, that's a huge arms purchase. But despite our alliance with Saudi Arabia, I'm not thrilled with the sort of reasoning excerpted below.
Defense industry analysts said the sale of the aircraft is a key to U.S. efforts to boost support from Arab allies against Iran.

"The U.S. is trying to create the strongest effort to deter and contain Iran," said Anthony Cordesman, a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "If you look at all of these sales, the U.S. is working to create a Saudi Air Force that is far more capable than Iran. These sales help give Saudi Arabia the capability to convince Iran that it can't use missiles or air power against Saudi Arabia or its neighbors."

I'm all for containing Iran, but I think Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are weak reeds to rely on. And we already have a far stronger ally in the Middle East. It's called Israel, a country with proven advanced military capabilities. I see Saudi Arabia as a hollow shell, with a high-tech force that has little staying power. And there is another factor as well.

Saudi Arabia, and most of our other Arab allies are one Islamic revolution away from turning into enemies. If we are prepared to make this sort of strategic investment in Saudi Arabia, we also need to be willing to do whatever it takes to maintain the House of Saud in power. What that means is committing the U.S. to propping up an autocratic regime, and acting to assist it in the event that it faces a popular revolution. I have no confidence that the U.S. government is willing to do that. It is much more likely that we would do what we did with Iran, where we abandoned our ally the Shah to his fate, and let Iran turn into an enemy. The more advanced U.S. weaponry Saudi Arabia has if & when that happens, the worse it will be.

HOT5 Daily 9/14/2010

1. "TIS BETTER TO HAVE LOST AND LOST AGAIN THAN HAVE WON ANYTHING AT ALL" One of the better articles on the current fight within the GOP. 

Representative Sample: I didn’t think it possible to cheer up those gloomy Gus Democrats about their election chances in November but by God, leave it to the the true conservatives out there to accomplish the damn near impossible; they may guarantee Democrats remain in control of the senate next year.

2. "Newt Is Nuts!" Newt embraces the latest idiotic conspiracy theory about Obama. 

Representative Sample:  After the premiere of his documentary America at Risk, Gingrich mused about the brilliance of D'Souza's Forbes magazine cover story about the "roots of Obama's rage," based on his upcoming book with that title. The roots, according to D'Souza, were in mid-1960s, Marxist-inspired, Kenyan anti-colonialism. Gingrich repeated those words—"Kenyan, anti-colonial"—and called the article "brilliant."

3. "You Cannot Make Deals With The Real Extremists" Contrary to the Wishful Thinking School of American foreign policy.  

Representative Sample: It's a cartoon.

4. "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" I heard this piece on NPR while working over the weekend. 

Representative Sample: a series of revelations about police activities that are illegal (quotas) or violate the civil rights of citizens (arrests that are later voided that are made simply to pump up numbers) or manipulation of crime statistics in order to improve numbers in the CompStat system.

5. "Conflicted" Good points.

Representative Sample: a trial for an American citizen by a jury of his peers is being considered as a fallback plan to his targeted, extrajudicial assassination. This from the same bunch that just a few years ago got their panties in a twist about extending habeus corpus to non-citizen terrorists detained by the US military in Cuba.

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

Monday, September 13, 2010

HOT5 Daily 9/13/2010

1. "Willful Ignorance" Obama and the economy. 

Representative Sample: With 15 million workers unemployed and another 11 million underemployed, President Obama recently decided that the answer was to hit the road and throw some anti-rich red meat to some friendly stadium audiences.

2. "Offend the religious and you may lose your job." And depending on which religion it is, your life. 

Representative Sample: Alex Stewart rolled two fake joints using the pages of a Koran and a Bible and then smoked them – it was a tongue in cheek comment on the furore surrounding the Koran burning affair in the States. It should be noted that both the Koran and the Bible were owned by Alex, oh and Alex was anonymous until someone outed him to the papers.

3. "Spetsnaz Are Born Again" The rebuilding of Russian special forces.  

Representative Sample: After the Beslan incident, Spetsnaz apparently decided to get its act together, and it's shown in recent years. A big part of the current Russian military reforms appears to be a major improvement in the equipment and training of Russian elite forces, primarily paratroopers and special forces. For the foreseeable future, the Russians know that their elites are the most effective, reliable troops they have and can't afford to have them spread thinly across the military different formations.

4. "Koran burning, wrong though it is, is the price we pay for a free society. Let’s move on." Some good points. 

Representative Sample: One of the core principles of Western culture is “criticism.” From the ancient Greeks forward, it’s been the lawful and moral right to criticize that has made our culture progress and improve. And nothing is spared either. Take Christianity. It has passed through centuries of attacks and criticism, especially in the West! Yes, this may seem profane to the holy, but it’s the price you pay for a civilized society. 

5. "Afghanistan: US Trying To Track Missing Weapons Issued To Afghan Police" Good luck.

Representative Sample: Of course these weapons were sold by Afghan government officials. What else could have happened to them? Like they magically disappeared into thin air or Afghan gremlins took them from armories or from sleeping soldiers? Ha! I guarantee that these weapons are in the hands of the Taliban or PSC’s, because we actually trusted that the Afghans could be responsible with this stuff. It also makes me sick to think that US and Coalition forces have probably been killed by these weapons.

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

Sunday, September 12, 2010

HOT5 Daily 9/12/2010

1. "The Myths of 9/11" A good post from Frum. 

Representative Sample: as has been minutely documented since 2001, terrorists disproportionately come from the elite of their native societies. (The underwear bomber was the son of one of the richest men in Nigeria.) The societies that produce terrorists are likewise not poor, not the way Burma is poor or Congo is poor. Whatever it is, terrorism is not a cry of anguish from the dispossessed.

2. "Why do we cringe and cower" Good question. 

Representative Sample :Not in the face of Nazis. Or the gulags–in those cases people were moved to anger and to speak up. But islamism has become the disease that none dare name, the unmentionable, the almost-unthinkable core of an ideology that’s reflexively referred to as “the religion of peace”.

3. "When Criminal Defendants Face Conservative Judges" Not what you might think. Links to another more detailed article. 

Representative Sample: The opinions in these cases demonstrate why Scalia and Roberts, both "textualist" judges, so often side with criminal defendants. Scalia and Roberts take the same literal approach to interpreting federal statutes that they take to interpreting constitutional provisions. In neither case are they inclined to expand the meaning of a provision beyond its clear terms in order to effectuate some overarching policy goal.

4. "Muslims in the Middle East cheered the Attacks of 9/11" Particularly our enemies the Palestinians -- something many have chosen to forget, as we hand them money and train their military forces. 

Representative Sample: It's a video.

5. "Barack Obama: Leadership Under Whelming" Definitely.

Representative Sample: Imagine: It's Poland, 1939. Obama's message to the Poles is: Sure, you've been invaded by Nazi Germany. But, consider how much satisfaction can be had by reaching out to others in your community! Reaffirm your ideals – in defiance of those who would do you grave harm. Think of what that would say about you as a people!

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

Saturday, September 11, 2010

No HOT5 Today

It will return tomorrow.

The U.S. Did Not Overreact to 9/11

Here on the anniversary of 9/11, we are regularly reminded that many people have basically forgotten the event. They've forgotten the reaction and mood of the country at the time, and the horror that gripped most people as they watched the news on television. They've forgotten the complete shutdown of the civilian air transport system and the fear of follow-up attacks. They've forgotten the resolve of most Americans that this time we had to strike back hard against terrorism, instead of just launching a few cruise missiles and going about our business. And they've forgotten the strong consensus that we should stop waiting around to be attacked, and instead eliminate threats before they reached the potential to cause another 9/11.

As the years after 9/11/2001 passed, there has been an ongoing effort to minimize the attack, to pretend that it just wasn't that bad, and to argue that the U.S. overreacted. The contention that the U.S. overreacted to a devastating surprise attack on its greatest city is both idiotic and historically ignorant. Far from overreacting, the U.S. unleashed a limited, measured war in Afghanistan. It even identified elements within Afghanistan that it could work with, rather than holding the entire country collectively responsible for hosting Al Qaeda -- which would have been standard procedure in earlier eras. Even with the desire for vengeance fresh, and with America largely united behind the president, we did not exert anywhere near the full power of the U.S. military. Instead we took great pains to protect the innocent and minimize collateral damage.

And then there was Iraq. Iraq under Saddam Hussein was an open enemy of the U.S. Regime change in Iraq was supported by major figures and presidents from both parties well before 9/11. Before 9/11 we were conducting an aerial blockade of Iraq, and bombing targets in the country on a regular basis. Attacking Iraq was not only not a overreaction to 9/11, it was a reasonable decision based on intelligence at the time, the fact that Iraq was already an enemy of the U.S., and the aforementioned consensus that the U.S. needed to act in order to eliminate threats before it was too late.

Mistakes, bad assumptions, and all the hindsight about whether different strategies should have been pursued, whether or not Iraq could have been contained without war, and the wisdom of nation-building do not equal an overreaction. If the U.S. had reacted in similar fashion to another lethal surprise attack, Pearl Harbor, there would now be millions of dead Afghans and Iraqis, cities burned to ruins, and huge U.S. armies occupying the region. Pakistan might have millions more dead, and might be dismembered and partially occupied. Iranian interference would have been met with overwhelming force. Syria would probably have been bombed and intimidated into complete cooperation. Here at home, security restrictions would be far tighter; the press would be censored; a draft would have been reinstated; Arab-Americans and other predominantly Muslim minorities would be sitting in internment camps. That's what something that might reasonably be called an "overreaction" might look like -- and that's not even considering the possible use of America's nuclear arsenal.

Friday, September 10, 2010

New Ad for Burn a Koran Day

h/t In My Copious Free Time

HOT5 Daily 9/10/2010

1. "Inside America's Mosques" Interesting reading.

Representative Sample: I, along with a team of young American researchers, traveled throughout the country studying U.S. mosques for the book Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam. From fall 2008 until fall 2009 we visited over 75 cities and over 100 of the estimated 1,200 mosques in the United States, some of which are little more than a room or two. And we were reminded that Muslims in America are as diverse as Americans overall. There is no one pattern that can describe them all, and any generalities fail to cover the whole picture.

2. "A New Synagogue in Litchfield?" Jewish synagogue and community center project blocked -- no big deal.

Representative Sample: maybe I missed it, but I haven’t seen the speech in which President Obama defends the Litchfield synagogue in the same way that he defended the Ground Zero mosque. Nor have I seen Nancy Pelosi demanding an investigation of synagogue opponents in the same way that she demanded an investigation of GZ mosque opponents. And will the “human rights activists” and liberal clergymen who have been so fervent in their defense of the mosque project also step up to defend the Litchfield synagogue project? I think we all know the answer.

3. "Questions for Imam Rauf" From a fellow Muslim. Somehow he'll just be dismissed as some sort of Islamic Islamophobe.

Representative Sample: Islamists in "moderate" disguise are still Islamists. In their own more subtle ways, the WTC mosque organizers end up serving the same aims of the separatist and supremacist wings of political Islam. In this epic struggle of the 21st century, we cannot afford to ignore the continuum between nonviolent political Islam and the militancy it ultimately fuels among the jihadists.

4. "Inflicting greater harm judged to be less harmful" When it comes to human perception.

Representative Sample: Joseph Stalin once claimed that a single death was a tragedy, but a million deaths was a statistic. New research from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University validates this sentiment, confirming large-scale tragedies don’t connect with people emotionally in the same way smaller tragedies do.

5. "Am I a Hypocrite?" Liberal atheist at least recognizes that his position on the Koran burning appears hypocritical, something that many other people seem completely oblivious about.

Representative Sample: it suddenly occurred to me that I have supported, and continue to support, lots of other forms of expression that may lead -- indeed, already have led -- to violent retaliation. Not only did I support Salman Rushdie publishing The Satanic Verses, I criticized bookstores that refused to sell it for their cowardice. Likewise for the Danish cartoon controversy. I wholeheartedly supported the publishing of such cartoons and I republished them myself because I thought it was very important to stand with those who were being threatened with violence.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Laughing at Colin Powell

Colin Powell spoke out in favor of the proposed mosque near Ground Zero. I know, what a surprise. But here's what he said,
"The terrorists win if we become terrified and . . . change who we are and what we are," Powell said, as he argued that it is crucial for Americans to remain true to the values that set the country apart from the rest of the world.
Two posts ago I mentioned how liberals like to lecture Americans with exactly this sort of argument, and here's former Republican Colin Powell to provide a handy example. And without appearing to have the slightest clue that he's contradicting himself, he then said this.
Powell also addressed Florida pastor Terry Jones' plans to burn copies of the Koran on Saturday and warned that Jones' plans could put American troops in harm's way. "If we let Islamophobia go across this country, we put General Petraeus in a very, very bad situation,"
Colin Powell is apparently "terrified" of one man burning a Koran. Now it's ok to be afraid and to put aside our values. Leaving aside that "Islamophobia" is a made-up term used primarily to silence any criticism of Islam, one radical, religious nutcase does not indicate anything going "across this country." Powell's comments deserve nothing but derisive laughter.

Must-read from PZ Myers on Koran Burning

PZ Myers is probably one of the best-known atheist bloggers. I appreciate his knowledge of biology and debunking of creationist nonsense, but he's well on the left politically. Other than evolution and atheism, I rarely agree with him. Myers gained some notoriety for publicly desecrating communion wafers, an act similar to Koran burning. I looked through his site earlier, and was surprised that he hadn't found the time to post about the ridiculous overreaction to the planned Koran burning. In fact, I was just about to write a post called, "Where are the Atheists"? Most atheists, who have no problem offending Christians, seem to take a much softer approach -- some might even call it spineless -- with regard to Muslims. But before I wrote my post, I went back to Pharyngula to see if I might have missed a post, and found a new one titled, "Setting the Koran on fire, vs. setting personal liberties on fire." Some excerpts:
I'm something of an expert in the public desecration of sacred objects, and I'm seeing the same madness going on right now with Terry Jones and his plan to burn copies of the Koran that I saw in the response to throwing a cracker in the trash — only amplified to a ludicrous degree. People just aren't getting it; they're so blinded by an inappropriate attachment to magic relics that they're missing the real issues.
The problem isn't the desecrators. The problem is the people who have an unwarranted sense of privilege, that their beliefs wil not be questioned or criticized, ever, by anyone.
I'm looking at this recent episode with Terry Jones — a fellow I don't like at all, and I think he's a fanatical goofball — and I see that the serious problem here isn't Jones at all…it's all the lunatics who are insisting that burning the Koran is a major international catastrophe. 

It's just a frackin' book, people.
The whole thing is an outstanding take down of the hysteria over this issue.

Hypocrite in Chief

As everyone knows, President Obama recently spoke out with regard to the Park51 project,  a project that roughly 70% of America feels is tasteless or offensive and should be moved elsewhere. Here's what he had to say about it.

"As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country," ... "That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan in accordance with local laws and ordinances," he said. "This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable."
He later expanded on those remarks, but continued to emphasize the rights of the developers to proceed regardless of public opposition.

But now we have another situation involving the first amendment, with a small religious group wanting to burn a book on their own private property. This action is even more unpopular than the proposed Islamic community center near Ground Zero. But since the president is such a strong supporter of the first amendment naturally he took the same position. Wrong.

I just hope he understands that what he's proposing to do is completely contrary to our values of Americans. That this country has been built on the notions of religious freedom and religious tolerance. And as a very practical matter, as commander of chief of the Armed Forces of the United States I just want him to understand that this stunt that he is talking about pulling could greatly endanger our young men and women in uniform who are in Iraq, who are in Afghanistan. ... it is frustrating. Now, on the other hand, we are a government of laws. And so, we have to abide by those laws. And my understanding is that he can be cited for public burning. But that's the extent of the laws that we have available to us. You know, part of this country's history is people doing destructive or offensive or harmful things. And yet, we still have to make sure that we're following the laws. And that's part of what I love about this country. [emphasis mine]
Where's our valiant defender of the first amendment now? He's bemoaning the fact that our laws inhibit him from taking action to shut down the Koran burning. Now the first amendment is a problem. He mentions citing him for "public burning." Apparently the administration has been searching for ways to suppress the religious freedom and free expression of this church. It's just too bad that the first amendment stands in its way. 

Remember all the times the public has been lectured by liberals like Obama about how we can't let fear of terrorism compromise our rights and freedom? Remember all the talk about "fearmongering," and how if we give in to fear, and compromise our principles Al Qaeda wins? But now one person plans a calculated act designed to offend Muslims, and suddenly fear of their reaction means that the entire force of the government must be directed at intimidating him into changing his mind. It's doing everything possible to figure out how it can get around the first amendment to shut him down. Obama is a gutless hypocrite.