Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Leftists Upset that the U.S. Press Might be Even Marginally Pro-American

Not content with whining and sniveling about the torture of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, years after it happened, now leftists are upset that U.S. newspapers apparently adopted more neutral language in cases involving America. Here's Adam Serwer at American Prospect.
Glenn Greenwald points to a study from the Joan Shorenstein Center at Harvard showing that news outlets referred to waterboarding as "torture" in stories in which other countries used the technique but not in stories when the U.S. government used it
He's upset that U.S. news sources actually recognized that that the practice was controversial, and that there were arguments each way.
As soon as Republicans started quibbling over the definition of torture, traditional media outlets felt compelled to treat the issue as a "controversial" matter, and in order to appear as though they weren't taking a side, media outlets treated the issue as unsettled, rather than confronting a blatant falsehood.
That's because the issue was and is still unsettled. There is no clear, widely accepted definition of torture. But like many leftists, Serwer typically views his own opinions as facts.
this attempt at "neutrality" was, in and of itself, taking a side, if inadvertently. It was taking the side of people who supported torture, opposed investigating it as a crime, and wanted to protect those who implemented the policy from any kind of legal accountability.
If only it were true that these major news sources actually supported intelligence efforts meant to defend the U.S. But Serwer is spouting obvious nonsense. The referenced outlets such as the New York Times and LA Times were & are anything but bastions of support for Republican positions, on waterboarding or pretty much anything else.

HOT5 Daily 6/30/2010

1. "Strategy, What Strategy?" We have no national security strategy. Unfortunately this is not surprising.

Representative Sample: The Obama administration, according to two sources, has failed to produce a classified national security strategy, leaving the country bereft of guidance at a crucial time.

2. "Why So Much of the Western Elite Hates (or Doesn’t Like) Israel (And Their Own Societies, Too)" Long but worth reading. 

Representative Sample: Aside from all the traditional reasons—antisemitism, oil money, strategic weight of the Arab world, guilt over colonialist pasts, fear of Islamist violence, etc)—there are some very important new ideological reasons for the dislike (or hate) of Israel by large elements of the Western elite, especially what is called the intellectual elite, there are some new ones of the greatest importance.

3. "A look at the history of victories over insurgents. How often do foreign armies win?" Very interesting. Includes link to the complete RAND study. The study includes 89 recent (in historical terms) modern insurgencies.  

Representative Sample: A RAND study examines the victories of foreign armies over insurgents. It holds powerful lessons for us, and deserves more attention.

4. "Is there such a thing as "absolute morality"?" How is human morality similar worldwide, and what are the differences? 

Representative Sample: there still are endless variations on how this inner device works and culture, inherited traits, societal pressures and personal history can make different people see different and even contradicting things as good or bad.

5. "Responding to John Hawkins" Frum should not have been excluded, and smearing him as a cynical mercenary was uncalled for.

Representative Sample: Hawkins does not say, “We denied FrumForum admission to the conservative hive because they are not conservatives.” He did not say that because it would be too obviously ludicrous to do so. His complaint rather is that we are conservatives who do too much self-criticism.

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

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Exact Same Crap

Rick Moran from Right Wing Nuthouse has a post up where he takes issue with many on the right. It almost exactly mirrors my own thoughts when I read various right-wing blogs -- especially the comment sections.
It got to the point last week, after reading the usual nonsense from many conservatives about how Obama is deliberately trying to “destroy” the country, or is a Marxist, or wants to be a dictator, or is favoring Muslims in the Middle East because he actually is one, or is plotting to cancel the elections in November, or wasn’t born here/not a naturalized citizen/Hawaiian official says he was born in Kenya/yadayadayadayada…that I nearly screamed ... Conspiracies, falsehoods, batshit crazy observations, wildly off base dot connecting, Cloward-Piven, Rules for Radicals — a never ending flood of idiocy, illogic, unreasoning hatred, and just plain ignorance from people who tell me I am insufficiently passionate in my opposition to Obama and the liberals and am therefore on their side.
As he says,

It’s like the previous 8 years of putting up with the exact same crap from liberals about George Bush never happened. ... Bush the dictator. Bush trying to destroy the country. Bush policies formulated only to help cronies. Don’t these people remember how we laughed at that kind of stupidity? And now, it looks like I have to put up with the same damn ignorant tripe for another 8 years.

Just in case anyone thinks he's exaggerating, I went to one of the latest posts on Hot Air, one of the largest conservative blogs, and looked at the comments under a post on the oil spill. (Hot Air posts are rational, but some of the commenters are not).  Here's what I found right near the top: 

"Obama doesn’t WANT to do the job. He doesn’t want the spill cleaned. Even some in the media know that, but they can’t say it because you can’t prove motive." AND "The President doesn’t WANT to do the job. He likes to inflict MISERY on the Gulf Coast Subjects. AND "Giggles thought he could use the spill to push cap-and-trade and badly overshot the mark. And he’s too stupid and arrogant to realize that his inaction is only perpetuating the disaster, while he still thinks he can blame “Biiiiiiiiiiig Oooooooooooil” and “BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH” for all of this while passing cap-and-trade."
That's right, Obama is deliberately prolonging the oil spill to hurt the Gulf Coast, or to push cap and trade. That's the conspiracy theory these idiots are pushing. But I'm just cherry picking comments from a couple of nuts, you say. Well, here's an actual post at Right Wing News, another major blog on the right. "Is President Obama Trying To Kill The Gulf State Economies?" A small excerpt,
It sure seems like President Obama despises Republican states ... President Obama doesn't seem like the President of all the people...just some of them.

How does that differ from "President Bush doesn't care about black people"? Kanye West's stupidity in the wake of Katrina was rightly derided as ludicrous by conservatives, but now some are doing exactly the same thing, whining that President Obama doesn't care about Republican states.

Like Rick Moran, after having to endure eight years of insane conspiracy theories and assorted other Bush Derangement Syndrome symptoms from the left, I find it extremely annoying that many on the right are now behaving in the same fashion. It is neither necessary or useful to impute bad motives to political opponents without evidence -- and conspiracy theory fantasies do not count as evidence. Just because Obama is an incompetent executive who has badly fumbled his handling of the oil spill does not imply that he is deliberately trying to wreck the Gulf State economies. There is a huge difference between incompetence, poor job performance, and a deliberate attempt to harm the nation. It's sad that even needs to be pointed out to many on the right, after eight years of pointing it out to much of the left.

HOT5 Daily 6/29/2010

1. "Thanks to the Feds ‘A-Whale’ – A Giant Oil Skimmer – Is Not Skimming Oil in the Gulf" Given the situation, you might think the government would be expediting cleanup measures. 

Representative Sample: This is getting so old. Day after day we hear of the resources that aren’t being used to clean the oil out of the Gulf of Mexico before it reaches shore. The latest is a Japanese vessel called the A-Whale. The owners claim it can skim 500,000 barrels of oil per day. In the first 66 days of the Gulf oil spill disaster the total oil skimmed has been 600,000 barrels in total.

2. "What The Hell? Let’s Give Them $400 Million Dollars We Don’t Have" Arson, kidnapping, and calls to genocide. Isn’t that what you learned at the YMCA Camp Widjiwagan too? 

Representative Sample: More reasons not to give money to the Palestinians -- as if we needed more reasons.

3. "I Don't Want to Hold Your Hand" An interesting analysis of U.S. relations with Saudia Arabia.  

Representative Sample: Despite the official blandishments, there are clear indications that under Abdullah, and especially since 2001, Saudi Arabia has put distance into its relationship with the United States. Abdullah is trying to gain more room to maneuver in the Sunni-Shiite rivalry and between extremists and moderates within Sunni Islam. To do so, he has to erode the notion that the House of Saud is a pawn of Uncle Sam.

4. "A leftist guide to mis-defining terms when it comes to Kagan" Particularly with regard to "activism." 

Representative Sample: To the Left, however, “activism” means any decision that overturns liberal precedent — even if that precedent is, in and of itself, unconstitutional. It’s therefore no wonder the Left is dismayed by the fact that the Roberts court is tidying up the record and reversing preexisting cases enacted by activist judges.

5. "'Only thoughts reached by walking have value'" Walking is good for the mind as well as the body.

Representative Sample: I am pleased to see emerging scientific data supporting Nietzsche's maxim from Twilight of the Idols that walking generates and improves thought.

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

Monday, June 28, 2010

Another Bad Idea from the Obama Administration

Which one? You might ask. This time it's the new space policy announced today. It's not all bad, just one of the core ideas.
[It] renounces the unilateral stance of the Bush administration and instead emphasizes international cooperation, including the possibility of an arms control treaty that would limit the development of space weapons.
Once again, instead of putting U.S. interests and security first, the Obama administration has no problem limiting our options -- for no particularly good reason. According to the previous policy,
The Bush administration ... said it “rejects any limitations on the fundamental right of the United States to operate in and acquire data from space,”
That was a clear statement that the U.S. should look to protect U.S. interests in space. Naturally we can't have that under Obama. He's much more interested in internationalism for internationalism's sake. Talk and arms control agreements are fundamental to the wishful thinking school of foreign policy, which prefers the illusion that such things enhance security more than actually building defenses and securing a strong strategic position.

HOT5 Daily 6/28/2010

1. "The Regulators are Dead, Long Live the Regulators" The false panacea of regulation. 

Representative Sample: when regulators fail, the government’s response is not to look at government’s role in creating the original problem, but to blame any private interests and add more regulations that will increase the scope and power of the government, take away your liberties, and do nothing to fix the original problem.

2. "Why Leakers Never Go To Jail" Changing that should be a priority. 

Representative Sample: These leaks, mostly in the Washington, DC, area, are quite common, with about a hundred a year since the 1990s. Most (60 percent) are not even investigated. And since 1995, only two of these 600 investigations have led to a prosecution.

3. "Problems at the Top" Is there an serious problem with the senior officer corps?  

Representative Sample: The military serves the Constitution and nation. Whatever our political views are should remain private, as they are immaterial to the performance of our duties. If we cannot support the Constitutional officers of our nation, then we should resign. Derisive comments about civilian leadership, discussion of politics, and display of political preference should not be part of professional ethic.

4. "Pakistan Fields Newest F-16s" Upgrading Pakistan's air force -- something that strikes me as not such a great idea. 

Representative Sample: The handover at the PAF Base Shahbaz represents a big jump in the service’s air-to-ground attack capability. In particular, the service stresses the new aircraft will provide a vital capability to carry out missions at night.

5. "Fighting a Real War From Virtual Cockpit" Being a Predator controller.

Representative Sample: "Sometimes, I'll hear guys screaming and gunfire in the background," he said. "Your heart's racing, probably just like theirs, even though you're not actually there."

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

Sunday, June 27, 2010

McCain States the Obvious but Misses the Point

Senator John McCain continued his loud criticism of President Obama's withdrawal timetable in Afghanistan.
"It was purely a political decision," McCain said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "Not one based on facts on the ground, not one based on military strategy."
Of course it's a political decision. The president is a political leader, and the question of when to withdraw from Afghanistan is every bit as much a political as a military issue. Whether you agree with ideas behind them or not, political & strategic factors are just as important or more important than those based purely on the military situation in Afghanistan.   
McCain said the president needs "to just come out and say this is conditions-based and conditions-based only."
That depends on how you see our overall goals with regard to Afghanistan. I agree with McCain about the negative impact of the timetable. But a timetable makes sense if you view the war in a different way. If your primary goal is to reduce the U.S. commitment and force the Afghans to take more responsibility, a clear timetable for withdrawal can serve that purpose. A purely conditions-based trigger for withdrawal means that the current U.S. force level has to be maintained indefinitely, which causes a different set of problems than a fixed timetable. McCain has become fixated on one aspect of the issue and appears to be ignoring everything else.

HOT5 Daily 6/27/2010

1. "A World Without Profit" A good essay. 

Representative Sample: The concept of profit takes a lot of abuse from the Left. Democrats usually spit the word out as though it were a curse, especially when they’re working to increase government control over private industry. Our current economic malaise illustrate that, contrary to liberal rhetoric, the absence of profit does not lead to “shared wealth” or “economic justice.” A world without profit is a world of poverty.

2. "Losing Turkey" There are still plenty in denial, especially in the anti-Israel camp. 

Representative Sample: The only thing worse than losing a crucial ally, and a strategic bridge from the West to the East, is to be in denial of that loss. Erdogan showed Europe what it wanted to see by reforming the military, but his intentions were inwardly focused, in the short term at least.

3. "Mayhem in Toronto" Far more force needs to be used to crush the violent fringe that riots at every G8/G20 event.  

Representative Sample: Black-clad protesters have dispersed across Toronto, wrecking havoc on a wide range of Toronto sites. The Yonge and College streets area are facing impacting damage; news report say protesters are also moving to University and College streets.

4. "Where's the budget?" If you care at all about fiscal responsibility vote Republican. Yeah, I know, they aren't too good either, but they are still better than Democrats.

Representative Sample: The Democrats know that with respect to the way they have handled the Federal budget, they have driven the trolley off the tracks. Since FY 2007, they have added over $1 trillion in annual spending, via new programs and aggressive expansion of public sector responsibilities.

5. "EU bans selling eggs by the dozen" Bureaucrats making new, idiotic rules -- what a surprise.

Representative Sample: From the London Daily Mail: “The move could cost retailers millions of pounds because of changes they will have to make to packaging and labeling, as well as the extra burden of weighing each box of food before it is put on sale.”

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

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What Will Happen if Gays are Allowed to Marry?

That pretty much covers it. h/t Forever In Hell

HOT5 Daily 6/26/2010

1. "If You Are Having Trouble Becoming Pessimistic About Afghanistan..." Unfortunately I'm not having any trouble at all.

Representative Sample: Darn, that July deadline was meant only as a reassuring signal of weakness and vacillation to the anti-war left. Who could have guessed that the Pakistanis and the Taliban were listening?

2. "The Cruel Hoax of Green Jobs" Frum on target.

Representative Sample:Government can give away only so much taxpayer money before people get weary. It can mandate only so much uncompetitive and irrational corporate investment before the overall economy loses competitiveness. It would be a very foolish 21-year-old who’d make career decisions based on a promise of government support and shelter for an industry that otherwise cannot pay its own way.

3. "USAF senior leadership goes for the death spiral" Radical cuts not a good idea.

Representative Sample: Great plan if the U.S. can guarantee no more conventional wars. But hey, we got those clear WX, permissive air environment uprated snowmobile engine powered UAVs to defend America’s interests.

4. "A resilient Iran shields itself from pressure by building alliances" More reasons why sanctions are basically useless.

Representative Sample:despite the U.N. Security Council having imposed its fourth round of sanctions on Iran, Tehran is demonstrating remarkable resilience, insulating some of its most crucial industries from U.S.-backed financial restrictions and building a formidable diplomatic network that should help it withstand some of the pressure from the West.

5. "Doctor Invents Condom With 'Teeth' To Fight Rape"The best way to fight rape is for women to arm themselves and kill rapists. But this will definitely give them a nasty surprise.

Representative Sample:Jagged rows of teeth-like hooks line its inside and attach on a man's penis during penetration. Once it lodges, only a doctor can remove it

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

Friday, June 25, 2010

Unbelievable Taser Abuse

There have been numerous cases of unnecessary & abusive taser use by police, but this one has to top them all.  A man called 911 for medical assistance for his 86 year old grandmother who was disabled, bedridden and on oxygen. She didn't know when she had taken her medications, so he asked for an EMT to come evaluate her. Instead, about ten cops showed up.
The grandma, Lona Varner, "told them to get out of her apartment."... "Instead, the apparent leader of the police ... instructed another policeman to 'Taser her!' He stated in his report that the 86 year-old plaintiff 'took a more aggressive posture in her bed,' and that he was fearful for his safety and the safety of others.
She was tasered not once, but twice. The grandson protested before they did it, and for his protest was threatened with tasering and put in handcuffs.  Read the whole thing, it's truly unbelievable. The account is from the grandson and his grandmother, Lona M. Varner, who are suing the city and the police officers involved. If their story is in any way accurate, those cops should face not just a lawsuit but criminal charges. There's absolutely no excuse for tasering an 86 year old, disabled, bedridden woman on oxygen -- whether she went crazy or not.

HOT5 Daily 6/25/2010

1. "Obama Adopting A “Spend Until We’re Broke” Approach To Economic Recovery" When you think big government is the solution to all problems, that requires constant spending.

Representative Sample: What Obama is doing, frankly, is pushing for the appearance of short-term economic recovery that’s brought on by dumping huge sums of government money (borrowed from our international creditors) into the economy.

2. "Let's drill where it's safer" That makes too much sense.

Representative Sample:If the administration were truly concerned with limiting drilling to where it is safer, then they would drop their ideologically-motivated opposition to drilling closer to shore. It would be a lot safer and recovery from accidents would be a lot easier.

3. "Natalie Haynes on Agnosticism" Some excellent points.

Representative Sample: atheism need not be a definite position. Atheism is about belief, not knowledge. So one can be agnostic atheist, meaning one doesn’t claim to know whether or not gods exist, but one doesn’t believe gods exist.

4. "The Changing Role of the US Secretary of State" Interesting analysis, and an angle I had really thought about.

Representative Sample:the profile of the Secretary of State has recently undergone a silent revolution, a far-reaching overhaul of the profile that has been silently accepted by both Democrats and Republicans.

5. "Despite Ban, Guns Increase in China"Links an article in Asia Times.

Representative Sample: If a totalitarian government which has banned gun ownership since 1966 can’t keep guns out of the hands of criminals . . .

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

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bionic Cat

Oscar the cat lost a battle with a combine harvester that took off his back paws. But a new operational technique with implications for humans gave him working artificial implants.
His new kitten heels were designed with custom-made implants, which "peg" the ankle to the foot and mimic the way deer antler bone grows through skin. Oscar's transformation, which has left him resembling a feline Ahab, has been described as a case of science copying the natural world.
Here's how it works.
The artificial implants, which are attached to the bone at the amputation site, were coated with hydroxyapatite, which encourages bone cells to grow onto the metal. .. The skin then grows over a special "umbrella" at the end of the peg to form a seal against bacteria and potentially fatal infections. The peg protrudes through the bone and skin, allowing the custom-built artificial paws to then be securely attached.
According to the article,within four months the cat was basically back to normal function, and able to put equal weight on all four paws.

HOT5 Daily 6/24/2010

1. "Ignorance Is Liberal Bliss" Economic edition.

Representative Sample: The survey results demonstrate the strong connection between economic ignorance and interventionist enthusiasm. Those who are most determined to interfere with the economy know the least about it. Conversely, knowledge leads to humility.

2. "Obama's Not Even Popular in the Middle East! So What's the Point?" Middle Easterners that hate the U.S.still hate us.

Representative Sample:it shouldn’t surprise anyone—but does due to bad ideology and media coverage—that Obama isn’t popular. According to the latest Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project poll, he’s gone down in every Muslim-majority country. Only 17 percent of people in Turkey, Pakistan, and Egypt have a positive view of the United States. In Egypt, America is less popular than it was when Bush was president.

3. "Religious Logic" An accurate cartoon.

Representative Sample: It's a cartoon

4. "A look back at our time from the 2100 A.D. edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica" Entertaining future history speculation.

Representative Sample:The Polywell transformed the US (and the world) from a fossil fuel-based economy to an all-electric one, although this took place over two painful decades. The BP’s funding for the Polywell followed the famous exchange between Dr. Green (CEO of EMC2 Fusion Development Corp) and Admiral Moebius

5. "Good News!! UN Rights Appointee Pledges to Attack U.S. "Monster" and Israel" Yet another example of why the UN has zero credibility as an institution.

Representative Sample: ex-Sandinista Miguel d'Escoto is already abusing his new mandate as advisor to the UN Human Rights Council to promote divisive politics, pledging today on Colombian TV to use his UN podium specifically to target the U.S., which he compared to a "monster," and Israel..

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

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

McChrystal Gets the Axe

President Obama has relieved General Stanley McChrystal of command for insubordination. It's pretty rare that Obama actually does something I advocated, so I'm a bit surprised. Obama should be congratulated for actually making a tough decision for a change, instead of dithering, waffling, and weaseling, as is his normal practice. 

According to the LA Times. General Petraeus will step in and take charge in Afghanistan. It will be interesting to see what Gen. McChrystal does now. Will he go on the attack against the adminstration, or retire gracefully? Whatever he does, Obama did the right thing in removing him.

HOT5 Daily 6/23/2010

1. "Judge Overturns Obama Power Grab in Gulf…For Now" Good news.

Representative Sample: A federal judge has, for the moment, spared already-suffering Gulf state residents from the brunt of President Obama’s most recent anti-energy Power Grab. It has enjoined the administration from implementing its moratorium on deepwater drilling.

2. "Muhammad Believed in… What?" With graphics. Ridiculous Islamic propaganda and a good debunking. 

Representative Sample:The Exploring Islam Foundation has put up a series of “Inspired by Muhammad” ads on buses in London.

3. "Morning Bell: Obama’s Leadership Vacuum" A good overview.

Representative Sample: two years ago, then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton launched a campaign ad that took direct aim at Senator Barack Obama’s inexperience. It painted the picture of a telephone ringing in the White House at 3 a.m. and asked the question, when there is a crisis in the world and your children are safe and asleep, “Who do you want answering the phone?” Now, two years later, there are several crises confronting America, that telephone is ringing

4. "All you’ll ever need to know…" A graph illustrating why continuing to waste more money on education is a bad idea.

Representative Sample:….about the sour, rotten fruits of Progressivism, unionization, and Big Government generally, is contained right here in this shocking-and-yet-not graph.

5. "Guns Save Lives" Useful perspective on guns.

Representative Sample: while we hear about the murders and accidents, we don't often hear about the crimes stopped because would-be victims showed a gun and scared criminals away. Those thwarted crimes and lives saved usually aren't reported to police (sometimes for fear the gun will be confiscated), and when they are reported, the media tend to ignore them. No bang, no news.

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

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fire General McChrystal

Is President Obama an incompetent amateur with an administration full of second-rate appointees? Yes. But I'm saying that as an unknown blogger. I don't work for the government, and I'm not commanding the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan. Regardless of what you think about the Obama administration, the comments by General Stanley McChrystal and his staff are way out of line, a clear case of insubordination and attempting to undermine the civilian leadership. That type of behavior should not be tolerated from someone in his position. It's an embarrassment not only to the administration, but to the U.S. as a whole. It exposes the dissension within the ranks of our leaders to our enemies, and it's completely unnecessary.

General McChrystal is well-aware that he went way over the line, but he did it deliberately. His apology is not enough. President Obama needs to exercise some actual leadership for a change, and fire the general. Is it any wonder that we constantly have secret information leaking to the press, when even a high-ranking general like McChrystal thinks he can talk to reporters with impunity? We don't need generals who can't keep their mouths shut. If McChrystal wanted to criticize the administration, he should have done the honorable thing and resigned. But he'd rather have it both ways -- keep his job, and undermine those who are above him through the press.

Relieving McChrystal of command will be difficult. It will free him to launch even nastier and more embarrassing public criticism of the administration, and will be used as an issue against the president. Most likely it will cause at least some disruption in our war efforts in Afghanistan, as a new command team takes charge. But the president should do it anyway. 

HOT5 Daily 6/22/2010

1. "Obama’s Pressure, Not Support for Israel, Harms U.S. Interests" It's amazing that it even has to be explained that assisting Hamas is not in the U.S. interest.

Representative Sample: if the result of this exercise is a stronger Hamas regime and a weaker Palestinian Authority — which may now feel compelled to join forces with the Islamists — then it is Obama and the United States that are as much the loser as Israel

2. "The 'Gizab Good Guys'" This is how to defeat the Taliban, from the bottom up. 

Representative Sample: you can't stand up to tyranny without arms. LET US NEVER FORGET THAT AN ARMED MAN IS NO ONE'S SLAVE. Anyone, from neighbors to public officials, should be roundly and loudly condemned every time they advocate the disarmament of the population.

3. "Do You Care Whether the Religious Ideas You Believe in Are True or Not?" Many don't seem to care. Their faith is more important than reality.

Representative Sample: As an atheist writer, I've been having this weird series of conversations about religion with believers who take this position. Some of them take it in a very hard-line relativist way: they insist that there's no reality other than the one we create in our minds.

4. "X-rayted pinup" An unusual calendar.

Representative Sample: That picture is one of a dozen making up an unusual — to say the least! — pinup calendar. It was put together for EIZO, a monitor manufacturer; their equipment is used to display high-resolution medical displays… like radiographs. So it’s clever, and apropos.

5. "Saving "virtual worlds" from extinction" An interesting project.

Representative Sample: Sometime this August, librarians at the University of Illinois will finish archiving over a dozen famous computer games, then step back to consider where to go next with their project. These programs go back over four decades, and include a 1993 version of Doom, various editions of Warcraft, and even MIT's Spacewar! circa 1962.

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

Monday, June 21, 2010

Saudi Arabia Does Something Right

Saudi Arabia is infamous for imposing vicious punishments on people for such horrific crimes as being a rape victim. But today it actually executed people for real crimes, instead of ones based on religion and misogyny.
Saudi Arabia executed two murderers including a Yemeni whose body was nailed to a cross after he was convicted of killing a fellow countryman and his daughter
Both were beheaded. No doubt the Saudis will get quite a bit of criticism from those calling these executions barbaric, especially since one included the desecration of a body after death. But here's what that individual did.
Shaaban al-Nasheri was beheaded for shooting dead Dhayeh al-Manbahi after barging into his family home ... Nasheri was also found guilty of raping and killing Manbahi's daughter before shooting and wounding her sister.
This guy invaded someone's home, killed a man, raped and killed his daughter, and shot another girl. Cutting his head off and nailing his headless body to a cross sounds like just punishment to me.

HOT5 Daily 6/21/2010

1. "The Gulf Oil Spill Is All Your Fault" And the government reaction may be worse than the spill.

Representative Sample: With no industry or investigative experience, nor freedom from major conflicts of interest, or impartiality given their recent public statements, a bunch of eggheads and envirowhacktards are going to pour sugar into our nation’s economic gas tank as we’re on the cusp of another credit crisis. Note, I’m not saying double-dip recession because that implies that we ever rose out of the first one.

2. "Taking Israel’s Side" Some excellent points by fellow non-believer on the right, John Derbyshire.

Representative Sample: It remains the case that any fair-minded person must be an Israel sympathizer. A hundred years ago there were Jews and Arabs living in that part of the Ottoman Empire. After the Ottoman collapse both peoples had a right to set up their own ethnostates. It has been the furiously intransigent Arab denial of this fact, not anything Israelis have done, that has been the root cause of all subsequent troubles.

3. "Is Amphibious Warfare Obsolete?" The short answer is no.

Representative Sample: In reality the littoral areas of the world have become more important to the West than ever before. From the Taiwan Straits to the Persian Gulf great littorals of the world are more vital than ever.

4. "Israel Versus Iran Betting Pool" Place your bet on the results of a possible Israeli strike.

Representative Sample: What will Iran claim was hit? Will the Evil Zionists™ destroy another Baby Milk Factory? An Orphanage? Or much worse, an Iranian Center for Religious Tolerance?

5. "The things I cannot do" A thoughtful post inspired by a difficult personal situation.

Representative Sample: Prayer is something Christians do. I don’t think about it much. If I am in a situation where prayer is necessary, I choose respectful silence. It goes along with my live and let live philosophy. I don’t care about what other people do as long as the don’t compel me to participate or try to legislate their beliefs.

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

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Why Did God Make People?

This is just one of the many amusing cartoons at lol god.

Al Qaeda Spokesman Sounds Like a Leftist

I know, that's not particularly surprising.

Adam Gadahn called on President Barack Obama to withdraw his troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, end support for Israel, stop intervening in the affairs of Muslims, and free Muslim prisoners.
Those sound like exactly the same sorts of things that are said at pretty much any left-wing peace protest. To be fair, they are also similar to policies advocated by isolationists and Israel-haters of all political stripes. That's why we call them useful idiots for the enemies of the U.S.

The U.S. should do precisely the opposite of what Gadahn demands. It should maintain permanent bases in both Iraq and Afghanistan to protect our interests and project power in the region. We have invested massive amounts of resources, and expended thousands of lives in those countries. We don't need huge numbers of troops there, but we will need a presence for the foreseeable future. 

Irrational hatred of Israel is endemic in the Arab & Muslim world, and shared by anti-Semites and many leftists worldwide. The U.S. should not only continue to support Israel, it should make it clear that we will stand with our long-time ally despite the waves of hatred directed its way. Adam Gadahn's words demonstrate yet again that Israel's most virulent enemies are also enemies of the U.S.

As for intervening in the affairs of Muslims, no religion determines or has any say in U.S. foreign policy. And it goes without saying that Al Qaeda does not speak for all Muslims, but for its own narrow brand of Islamic religious fanaticism. The U.S. should continue to intervene wherever and whenever to advance & protect its interests, regardless of the religion of the area in question. And of course Muslim prisoners are held because they are enemies of the U.S., not because they've been singled out for being Islamic. 

Happy Fathers Day

No HOT5 today. It will return tomorrow.

A Good Time For Some Police Brutality

I've written a number of posts criticizing excessive use of force by police, particularly regarding the major overuse of tasers. But there are certain times when the police need to use more force. One of those situations occurred the other night after the Lakers won the NBA championship.
Violence erupted within 30 minutes of the game's end as rowdy fans poured out of area bars...As police in riot gear approached, the crowd hurled unopened cans of energy drinks at them. Several men stomped on an SUV parked on the street, breaking its windows...a scrum of several hundred people...surrounded a city bus filled with passengers and attempted to yank the driver out through a window. A cabbie fled when his taxi was set upon by another mob that kicked in the windshield and set it ablaze. ...other storefronts had windows smashed. At least eight people, one of them beaten unconscious, were taken to area hospitals.

A violent mob is a danger to anyone and anything near it. There is simply no excuse for any of that behavior, and in my opinion it should be met with massive, overwhelming police force. Positively-identified violent rioters should be beaten into submission, preferably with blows designed to break bones and do permanent damage. Rather than worry about making arrests, police should be permitted to break up riots as quickly as possible by crippling the ringleaders. They can be arrested later while recovering in the hospital. Anyone throwing a firebomb, or aggressively wielding any other sort of lethal weapon should be shot dead on the spot.

In my opinion, rioters who think a sports victory is a good excuse to attack people & destroy private property are worthless pieces of human garbage, and should be treated as such. Please note that I am not criticizing the police response in LA. It appears they did a decent job. But if there's ever a time when actions normally labelled as police brutality are justified, a riot is such an event. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

HOT5 Daily 6/19/2010

1. "The great disillusionment" People slowing waking up.

Representative Sample: As we see liberals starting to bemoan the response of the Obama administration to the oil spill and his weak speech, we're seeing more than a growing fatigue with Obama, we're witnessing liberals coming into contact with reality. Contrary to their ideology, a government run by well-intentioned and bright people can't really set us on the road to a better, more perfectable world.

2. "Bigger Isn’t Necessarily Better for the Military" “Performance-based logistics”

Representative Sample: there’s a better way for our military to measure success, an approach that would also save us money

3. "Obama and Foreign Policy" Links an excellent article.

Representative Sample: Obama’s critics have the right of it: he’s great at making speeches and at crafting a great image for himself, but so far America is weaker as a world power because of his poor leadership to date. Despite the fervent desires of some of his supporters, acting apologetic and ingratiating does not make America more respected in the world. It tends to do the reverse.

4. "The heat is on for international robot race" Working on the next generation of combat robots.

Representative Sample: Four Australian and eight overseas technology teams are gearing up this month for the elimination round in the international challenge to find the next generation of fully autonomous robots that can carry out defence missions in the battlefield of the future.

5. "Bringing The 'Epic' To 'Epic Fail'" A good takedown of the pretentious Conor Friedersdorf.

Representative Sample: If Conor Friedersdorf wants to hector others about their close-mindedness, he will have more impact if he first listens to what they are saying.

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

Friday, June 18, 2010

HOT5 Daily 6/18/2010

1. "Top Ten Al Gore Pickup Lines" How Al Gore operates.

Representative Sample: 5. “Lucky for you my lovemaking is a renewable resource.”

2. "Inspections for fire extinguishers take precedence over stopping the oil from reaching shore" Our government in action.

Representative Sample: For those of you still wondering why the leadership of the administration is being questioned as it pertains to this crisis, these are the sorts of examples that are apparently daily fare down there. They are why the effort has been called uncoordinated and “chaotic”. And they’re not because of BP.

3. "The Myth of Alternative Power and Hydroelectric Storage" Reality vs. pie-in-the-sky alternative energy dreams.

Representative Sample:Scale matters. The sad thing is, our political class doesn’t understand this so now we’re seriously trying to base our long-term energy generation on a hopeless technology.

4. "Fighter-Launched Interceptors Versus Ballistic Missiles" Something we should definitely look into.

Representative Sample: Study of boost-phase intercept (BPI) in the 1990s was abandoned because of the short range of fighter radars and missiles and the immature development of unmanned aircraft. But the idea of attacking during boost phase, when ballistic missiles are slow, hot targets, remains attractive to defense planners.

5. "A billion here, a billion there and …" $1.2 billion for cycling and walking initiatives -- because we've got taxpayer money to burn.

Representative Sample: Considering the average round trip commute to work in the US is 29 miles, merely “nudging” people to use bikes or feet will not get people to give up their private cars (and the liberty they provide).

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

It's About Time

Murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed last night by firing squad. The execution was punishment for crimes committed in 1985. That's right, it only took a mere 25 years to carry out his sentence. The execution attracted attention because it's the first time the firing squad method has been used in fourteen years.
The executioners were all police officers who volunteered for the task and remain anonymous. They stood about 25 feet from Gardner, behind a wall cut with a gunport, and were armed with a matching set of .30-caliber Winchester rifles. One was loaded with a blank so no one knows who fired the fatal shot. Sandbags stacked behind Gardner's chair kept the bullets from ricocheting around the cinderblock room.
That's one murderer who won't be able to kill anyone else. It took way too long to get him executed, but better late than never. On a side note, Gardner's last meal was "steak, lobster tail, apple pie, vanilla ice cream and 7UP."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

HOT5 Daily 6/17/2010

1. "Why Executive Experience Matters: President Obama Still Organizer-In-Chief" A pretty convincing thesis.

Representative Sample:The skills that make a good community organizer necessarily mean that the organizer is outside the system, trying to change the system, and decrying the awfulness of the system. But President Obama IS THE SYSTEM now. He hates and loves the very authority that he must wield. His tossing and turning rhetorically and his inaction are a product of his belief system.

2. "Ignore North Korea, offer Beijing a choice" Go to the source of the North Korean problem.

Representative Sample: China is the key to solving the Korean quandary. The Middle Kingdom is North Korea's largest trade partner, most generous aid donor, and only real friend. Without help from China, North Korea is not viable -- if such an impoverished and benighted nation can be said to be so. In what should be an embarrassment to modern business and political leaders in Beijing, relations between China and North Korea are still conducted by their recondite and fossilized Communist Parties.

3. "Top Officer Sees Military Caution as Backfiring" The consequences of foolish legalism. Links an interesting article.

Representative Sample: Commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan have been reluctant to launch more secret operations because of an excess of caution about violating military rules and international law, a top Army officer says. The tentative approach to "deception operations" has cost the U.S. military opportunities to weaken the enemy without firing a shot, said Army Lt. Gen. Michael Oates

4. "The Will to say “No”" A limited type of free will?

Representative Sample: I have heard that the only Will we have is the Will to say “no” to options our brain offers us. “No” is our ability to focus, to concentrate, to value.

5. "Will Obama hit the ‘reset’ button on U.S.-Japan relations?" Odds are he'll screw ups relations even worse.

Representative Sample:That struck many in Washington as a sign that the Democratic Party of Japan, which took power last year for the first time, is still hedging against what party leaders see as an Obama administration that just isn't giving Japan the respect and attention it feels it deserves.

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

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Iranian Incursions in Iraq

The New York Times has an article up regarding recent Iranian incursions into Iraqi territory, actions taken ostensibly to strike at Iranian Kurdish rebels taking refuge in Iraq. This isn't the first time for such a cross-border incident.
The shelling here continues a trend of Iranian border incursions during the past 13 months that have included a helicopter attack on Kurdish villages in northern Iraq last May, and the occupation by Iranian soldiers of part of the Fakka oil field in southeastern Iraq for three days last December.
This sort of Iranian provocation, along with other incidents, should never have been tolerated by the U.S. At this point with the U.S. in withdrawal mode, the Iraqi government no doubt fears major problems with Iran, and probably wouldn't thank us for intervening. But Iran has been interfering in Iraq for a long time. It should never have been permitted, particularly when the U.S. was still primarily responsible for Iraqi security.

One of the main reasons for Iran's aggressive rogue state behavior is that it has been able to get away with all sorts of hostile actions, with no serious response by the U.S. Weakness -- in this case self-imposed -- encourages aggression. That has been demonstrated time and time again by Iran. The very first time an Iranian aircraft violated Iraqi airspace it should have been intercepted and destroyed. The very first time Iranian ground forces entered Iraq, they should have been annihilated, and the border post they staged from should have been destroyed with maximum loss of life. That would have been the sort of clear message that the rulers of Iran understand -- that force will be met with superior force. Because that was not done, and many other provocations also went unanswered, Iran has grown bolder and more arrogant, confident that it can do what it wishes without significant consequence. Iraqi Kurds, the ethnic group most closely allied to the U.S., and the most pro-American, are now paying for our failure to act.

More of the Same from Obama

If you look at the reaction to Obama's speech, it seems that some of his cheerleaders are waking up to reality. The president is good at inspiring rhetoric about vague future hopes and changes -- that's what got him elected. But when there are real urgent problems that require leadership, they expose the fact that he has no executive experience and minimal leadership abilities. He's basically an empty suit with little to offer beyond talk. Many of us could see that right away, but now even some former Obama-worshippers are finally getting a clue.

People don't want vague reassurances about how we'll do everything possible to clean up the oil spill, how we are going to hold BP responsible, or more preaching about the U.S. "addiction" to oil. Talking about compensation and restoration efforts is extremely premature. The spill is still spilling. We don't know if and when the leak will be plugged, or the full extent of the damage. People want specifics about what we are doing right now -- not at some vague future time. What are the details of the plans to plug the leak? What is the time frame? What defensive measures can we put in place to minimize the damage while the leak continues? People were expecting to hear a clear plan of action from the president. Instead they got the usual empty talk, just more of the same.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

HOT5 Daily 6/16/2010

1. "From Land Mines to Copper Mines" An optimistic look at the possible impact of Afghan resources.

Representative Sample: Countries with extraordinary mineral wealth -- think of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bolivia, and Iraq -- often have extraordinary economic and political ailments. Afghanistan has plenty of both, but that doesn't mean the country is irrevocably doomed to fall prey to what academics have dubbed "the resource curse" -- the idea that natural riches often create more problems than they solve.

2. "Great Thomas Sowell Essay: "Oil and Snake Oil"" Someone who sees right through administration bs.

Representative Sample: "This government is not about governing. It is about creating an impression. That worked on the campaign trail in 2008, but it is a disaster in the White House, where rhetoric is no substitute for reality."

3. "The Future Battlefield: The Advantage Has Now Swung Back in the Defender’s Favor" I'm extremely skeptical of that type of sweeping statement. But it's still interesting.

Representative Sample: Battlefield advantage has swung back in favor of the defender (see southern Lebanon, 2006; Route Irish, Baghdad, 2004-?), which is, after all, the historical norm. With the further maturation and proliferation of long-range precision guided weaponry and attendant open-source battle command networks, warfare may be entering the “post-power projection era.”

4. "UPDATE: The Lost Ark, Still Lost" Along with any evidence that there was ever a worldwide flood.

Representative Sample: This is far from the first claim that Noah’s ark has been found, and it’s doubtful that it will be the last. The search for the big boat is so neverending that a community of ark-search enthusiasts has grown around it, not unlike UFO enthusiasts who gather to rehash stories of Roswell and alien abductions. Some searches seem to crumble into nothing while others are revealed as deliberate hoaxes.

5. "Muslims in UK chant “British troops go to hell”, get hit with pork sausage!" Evidence that some people in Britain still have enough spine to resist radical Islamist internal enemies.

Representative Sample: The chants were drowned out by a large mob on the opposite side of the street who retaliated with jeers of ‘Traitors’ to the Muslim protesters.

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

No HOT5 Today

No HOT5 Daily today because of more medical issues. It will return tomorrow.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Exploit Afghanistan

If no one else has yet said it, let me be the first to advocate U.S. exploitation of Afghanistan's newly discovered vast mineral wealth. The U.S. has been engaged in a long, costly and frustrating nation-building effort in Afghanistan, with no end in sight, and not much to show for it beyond the initial successes. Now we have apparently found an amazing treasure trove of resources in what was thought to be a generally resource-poor country. It's time to cash-in, and receive some return for the mountains of aid, much of which has been squandered, that we've poured into the country.

Exploitation of Afghan mineral wealth is clearly in the U.S. interest. We should begin immediately to secure favorable development contracts, using all our leverage with the Karzai government. Whining about imperialism or other criticisms of such a strategy should be ignored. For once in the Obama administration, the U.S. should actually work to secure U.S. interests. If we do not, other countries such as China will surely take advantage of the situation and leave us behind. Not that it should matter from the U.S. perspective, but U.S. primacy in Afghan resource development will almost certainly also be in the interest of Afghanistan as well as America. Afghanistan doesn't have the technological skill, organization and experience to extract those riches on its own. It needs assistance. And it is far likelier to get a deal benefiting the Afghan people from the U.S. than from a country like China or Russia. Along with our solo efforts, the U.S. should work in conjunction with its European allies that have supported & participated in the Afghan war, to structure deals for our mutual benefit.

It is highly unfortunate that this great discovery was made with the incompetent Obama administration in charge of U.S. foreign policy. I have no confidence that we will actually move to secure U.S. interests and benefit from this find. But we'll have to wait and see.

HOT5 Daily 6/14/2010

1. "The Alternative to Obama’s Israel Stance"A policy that might actually be in the interests of the U.S.

Representative Sample: the conceptual problem at the root of Obama’s stance toward Israel: “Barack Obama’s view of the world is that there is too much belligerency coming from the United States and Israel. … He looks at the plight of the Palestinians and blames Israel. Not Arafat, not Abbas and not the Arab countries that have let the Palestinians live in squalor for 60 years.” That is, of course, the worldview of the left — the U.S. and the West more generally are guilty of insufficient humility

2. "Is Wikipedia changing the world?" For some people, probably. Makes some excellent points.

Representative Sample: A simple fact of life is that the more people have real information, the less they have use for myths. One just must remember that these myths were originally created as placeholders for real information in an age when real information was simply not to be had.

3. "Turkey Looks Out for Turkey's Interests - What Else Should Be Expected?" Well, I expect that from the U.S. government but it isn't happening. A useful perspective on Turkey.

Representative Sample: no US government forced - or even persuaded - Turkey to agree to anything it didn’t want to agree to. Pliable? Don’t think so. The Turkish General Staff and the professional diplomats in the Turkish Foreign Ministry defended Turkish interests tenaciously. The Turkish parliament also played an important, and at times crucial, role.

4. "New islam campaign claims Muhammad believed in women’s rights. What?" Unfortunately there are probably some who are stupid enough to buy into it.

Representative Sample: He believed in a woman’s right to be possesed by a man, her right to be converted to islam by force, her right to be killed for not bowing to him, and her right to be married off to a man not necessarily of her choosing. I don’t think this campaign will mention that though.

5. "The Chessboard"A new resource for researchers and those interested in the consequences of conflict.

Representative Sample: Traditionally, military operators treated warfare as a chessboard. War was a series of moves and countermoves determined by military variables. But, the reality is that in the long run the chessboard is more important than the pieces. It is the characteristics of the physical, social, economic, and political terrain that military contests are conducted on that determines the fate of the game.

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

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Our Most Worthless Ally?

It's a tough question, with contenders like Turkey in the mix. But one country continues to stand out among the rest, and that is Pakistan. Despite billions in American. aid -- the last package was $7.5 billion -- the U.S. has very little to show from Pakistan as an ally. Even with its large military, Pakistan remains unable or unwilling to control its own territory, continuing to host a terrorist enclave on the border with Afghanistan. Now, a new report claims that the Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI, is funding the Taliban.
interviews with Taliban commanders in some of the most violent regions in Afghanistan "suggest that Pakistan continues to give extensive support to the insurgency in terms of funding, munitions and supplies."

"These accounts were corroborated by former Taliban ministers, a Western analyst and a senior U.N. official based in Kabul, who said the Taliban largely depend on funding from the ISI and groups in Gulf countries,"
We are fighting the Taliban, and providing massive support to Pakistan. In return they help us with one hand, allowing overflights for the drone assassination campaign, but with the other hand they fund our enemies. According to the article, Pakistan has links with the Taliban that reach all the way to the top of the government.
Pakistani President Zardari, along with a senior ISI official, allegedly visited some 50 senior Taliban prisoners at a secret location in Pakistan where he told them they had been arrested only because he was under pressure from the United States.
I doubt anyone in India is even slightly surprised by this report. For years now Pakistan has been  playing the same sort of double game, condemning terrorist attacks on India, but at the same time harboring and supporting the terrorist groups whose attacks it disavows. The last time a U.S. aid package for Pakistan was under consideration, the Pakistanis screamed and howled at even the minor conditions that were attached. There should be no more aid for Pakistan without far more rigorous conditions.

HOT5 Daily 6/13/2010

1. "The dishonesty of the Obama administration" There's a new example pretty much daily.

Representative Sample: The Obama administration is, apparently, willing to sink to outright lies in order to make a gesture that makes it seem as if they're actually doing something useful regarding the BP oil spill.

2. "Missing the Point on Israel" Interesting perspective, particularly since you see a lot of gloom from supporters of Israel about its growing isolation.

Representative Sample: The major media outlets would have you believe that Israel will suffer major consequences from the flotilla fiasco. But they are missing the point—Israel today is more secure from outside threat than it has ever been in its history. Its enemies are divided, unable and unwilling to form any coalition that could actually threaten Israel.

3. "How to Kill Faith and Win Arguments with Religious Zealots" Some excellent points here. Should be a must-read for atheists who like arguing with religious people.

Representative Sample: Most atheists seem to see faith as being synonymous with 'stubborn stupidity'. It's not. If it were, it would never have held up for as many years as it has. No one can be that stubborn and that stupid for that long. There's something else going on here, and it's probably the most important thing I've come up against in trying to get rid of the hold religion has on people.

4. "Native Americans Lost the Indian Wars" Interesting post that attacks the overwrought & misleading "genocide" claim concerning the U.S. & Native Americans.

Representative Sample: The Native American tribes were not victims of genocidal European conquerors. They were ruthless warriors in their own right who ultimately failed to defend their sovereignty and national integrity on the North American continent.

5. "Botox as a Terrorist Threat" Seriously. Links a Scientific American article.

Representative Sample: botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) is grouped with the world’s most lethal potential biological weapons agents, sharing “Select Agent” status with the pathogens that cause smallpox, anthrax and plague. This biowarfare potential puts the existence of illicit laboratories churning out the toxin and of shady distributors selling it worldwide through the Internet into a more disturbing light than most pharmaceutical fraud.

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

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Five "Myths" That Aren't Myths at All

The Washington Post has a pro-gun control article up called, "Five myths about gun control." There's a slight problem with it. None of the five points they attack actually qualifies as a myth. Most are at the very least arguments that can be debated one way or another. The article starts off poorly, by calling a factual statement a myth. 

1. Guns don't kill people, people kill people.Far from being a myth, this oft-repeated slogan is factually correct. Guns are tools. They do not leap out of holsters, or climb down off of walls and kill people. They require a human being to point/aim and pull the trigger. The authors try to argue that the slogan gives rise to misleading ideas. Maybe it does, but it is definitely not a myth.

2. Gun laws affect only law-abiding citizens.This an an argument that points out -- correctly -- that people who obtain guns illegally are already breaking the law, as are those who use guns to commit crimes. Far from being a myth, this statement is substantially correct, in that people who actually follow the law are most affected by gun laws, not people who break the law. Criminals by definition violate the law. The authors make a weak attempt to argue that gun laws have other positive effects at suppressing crime. Again, that may be true, but it doesn't make the statement a myth.

3. When more households have guns for self-defense, crime goes down.This is a debatable point. Naturally the authors claim that their data shows otherwise, but it depends on the study. The statement is not clearly true or false, but depends on all sorts of factors. This makes it a possibly dubious argument, but not a myth.

4. In high-crime urban neighborhoods, guns are as easy to get as fast food.According to the authors, their research in Chicago shows otherwise. Generalizing from some neighborhoods in a single city does not make this statement a myth, except possibly for those specific neighborhoods. The assertion may be a sweeping statement that goes too far, but it may also be substantially correct in some areas as others have argued. Calling it a myth is unjustified and just as much a sweeping overstatement as the original assertion.

5. Repealing Chicago's handgun ban will dramatically increase gun crimes.This is speculation about the future. It may or may not be true, we just don't know until it happens and the results are seen. Calling it a myth is ridiculous.

HOT5 Daily 6/12/2010

1. "Why I’m Now Against The War In Afghanistan" I wouldn't say I'm against it, but I share many of these positions.

Representative Sample: Turning Afghanistan into whatever-the-hell we’re trying to turn it into isn’t our business. The only reason we should be there is to kill terrorists. That’s what we’re doing in Pakistan and last time I checked, we’re using a few CIA Predator drones to handle it. We don’t need 80,000 troops for that and such a large number of troops is counterproductive anyway. 

2. "Crimes Against Women and Children in the Name of Islam" Speaking of Afghanistan.

Representative Sample:The practice of forced marriages (as opposed to arranged marriages) in some Muslim states such as Afghanistan is very common. Some reports claim that somewhere between 60-80 percent of marriages in Afghanistan are forced upon the girls involved or without the consent of the girls.

3. "Does Anyone Know What The Hell A “Green Job” Is?" A talking point with very little actual meaning.

Representative Sample: Good thing we are spending tens of billions of dollars on jobs that Los Federale Climate Alarmistas are clueless to define. Not shocking, considering how terrible liberals are on economics.

4. "A Bad Policy Continues" The Pope says its a "sign of faith." More like a sign of stupidity and stubborn refusal to correct a long-running mistake.

Representative Sample: With the widespread problems created by forced celibacy for priests, you have to wonder if now is the time for the failed policy to go away. Well, no matter how smart it would be, it's not going to happen under this Pope:

5. "Russia's Backsliding Continues" Moving backward toward the bad old days.

Representative Sample: The squalid little authoritarians in Russia rubber stamped a new law yesterday that would "boost the powers of the successor to the Soviet KGB, allowing it to summon people it believes are about to commit a crime and threaten jail for those who disobey its orders."

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

Friday, June 11, 2010

HOT5 Daily 6/11/2010

1. "Things Better Left Unannounced" Department of bad ideas.

Representative Sample: Robert Gates has just publicly informed the world -- including the Taliban and al-Qaeda, assuming they listen to the news -- just how long our enemies must hold out and make it appear we're not doing well, before the American people will turn against the war, forcing us to withdraw prematurely and in defeat.

2. "The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor, Dependent and Stupid" Speaking of bad ideas.

Representative Sample: Graced (!) with a three hour layover in Youston, your correspondent discovers that the tax deduction for mortgage interest – which subsidizes the greatest wealth generating engine in Middle American life – is now on the chopping block

3. "No One Cares About Gaza" Cynically exploited as a weapon against Israel.

Representative Sample: An extraordinary amount of time and energy has been spent in the last ten days denouncing Israel for its supposedly inhumane treatment of Gaza, but Hamas — under which Palestinians fare orders of magnitude worse — gets a pass from most of the people yelling at Israel. It’s not hard to figure out who and what all the fuss is really about.

4. "The Latest in Pants-Wetting Anti-Terrorism Legislation" Idiotic and unnecessary.

Representative Sample: If only we could get a terrorist to employ a reactionary, grandstanding politician in some future plot. Maybe Congress would finally ban those, too.

5. "Meet the Navy's Elite Dolphins" The few, the proud, the bottlenoses.

Representative Sample: Their ranks are tiny: just 80 of them in all. They spend most of their lives at sea. And they train for their classified missions seven days a week, three to six years at a stretch.

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

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Terrorist Stimulus Plan

I wish I could take credit for coming up with that title, but the honor goes to Exurban Jon with his article, "Obama announces Terrorist Stimulus Plan." I often criticize President Obama for his failure to act in accord with U.S. interests, and this is a prime example. Here's the key part of the post.
Let me get this straight. Our economy has cratered. Unemployment is nearly 10 percent. The national debt is expected to exceed our gross national product by next year. And we're giving $400,000,000 to our mortal enemies in Gaza?

$400,000,000 to the Hamas-led death cult allied with Iran and Syria? $400,000,000 to the people who celebrated the destruction of the twin towers? $400,000,000 to rain thousands more rockets upon Israeli women and children?

He forgot to mention a couple of other things. We are still involved in two wars, both of which involve major nation-building projects. Afghanistan in particular has no end in sight, and is absorbing more and more resources with not a whole lot of results to show for it. We have no idea what happens to more than 50% of the money we give to that country. No, I'm not exaggerating. Yet somehow we can scrape up 400 million dollars to give to people that hate us.

I know I've posted about this issue recently, but the sheer stupidity of such an aid program is almost beyond belief. We are not going to be able to bribe the Palestinians into being our friends. Are there individual Palestinians deserving of aid, and basically friendly toward the U.S.? Yes, there are. But the Palestinian people as a whole are hostile to the U.S. Rightly or wrongly, they regard Israel as their mortal enemy. The U.S. is Israel's greatest ally and supporter. The Palestinian territories may be infested with fanatical, terrorist-loving people who believe all sorts of bizarre conspiracy theories, but even Palestinians are not ignorant enough to think that the U.S. puts their interests ahead of Israel's, or that this aid is anything more than a bribe, and a sop to the U.S.'s Islamic allies in the region. We could give untold billions to the Palestinians, but unless we abandon Israel they are not going to be our friends. They will spit in the face of our gifts, and see only the arms and support we provide to Israel.

There are some situations in foreign policy where it makes sense to play both sides. The Israeli-Palestinian situation is not one of them. The divisions are so clear & sharp between the sides, that there is little room for the U.S. to maneuver. For years now we've tried to pretend that we can be some sort of honest broker in the region, mediating between the two parties, and for the most part we've gotten nowhere. No one is fooled by our honest broker pose. By adopting such a position, and by trying to be even-handed, we gain nothing. We waste our time and resources, we damage our alliance with Israel, and we appear weak and vacillating to our enemies. When we aren't rewarding the Palestinians for their support of terrorism and our enemies, we are encouraging them to believe that if they continue holding out, they might achieve some of their ludicrous demands. Funding our enemies is not only a stupid waste of resources we can't afford, but it achieves nothing.  What's next, an aid program for the Taliban?

HOT5 Daily 6/10/2010

1. "Goo-Goo Genocidaires: The Blood Is Dripping From Their Hands" Overstated and too sweeping an argument, but a provocative piece that makes some effective points.

Representative Sample: Unreflective, self-righteous ‘activists’ thought that to espouse peace was the same thing as to create or safeguard it. As a result, tens of millions died. Unless this kind of thinking is exposed and repudiated, it is likely to lead to as many or more deaths in the 21st.

2. "Guilty Until Proven Guilty" An excellent article about the ridiculous double standard applied against Israel. Makes the important point that the U.S. is vulnerable to exactly the same thing.

Representative Sample: Americans should understand by now that fighting enemies who shoot from civilian areas and hide behind human shields -- or sometimes masquerade as civilians -- will often require that soldiers make difficult choices, and will inevitably produce mistakes. To the extent that we in the West blur the line between those fighting terrorism and the terrorists themselves, we help legitimize a standard that will boomerang back on ourselves. It already has. 

3. "Is the U.S.-Mexico border becoming our version of the Gaza Strip?" Let's hope not. But don't expect the spineless Obama to stand up for U.S. interests.

Representative Sample: Regular violence; rock-throwing youths; the occasional death and/or injury; images of family members sobbing over caskets cast worldwide amid accusations of racism and brutality.

4. "A New Turkey?" Thoughts from a Turkish blogger.

Representative Sample: As I see it, the slide of Turkey to a more Islamist stance has economic roots. Just like the Americas Bible Belt, Turkey always had a strongly religious Anatolian heartland and middle class. Since 1980’s with the integration of Turkey into world markets, this religious heartland and middle class are progressing economically better than the secular, bourgeois and more or less Westerly oriented city people are doing.

5. "Bribes, Bombs And Blind Faith" Stupidity & corruption.

Representative Sample: Why are Iraqi police still using a bomb detector known to be a scam (it simply does not work.) Over four months ago, the Iraqi government agreed to investigate the purchase of $85 million worth of ADE 651 explosives detectors.

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

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Post About Posting

I was just skimming through the news and the blogosphere looking for something to post about and came up blank. So I thought I'd offer some comments about how I approach posting. Unlike some bloggers, I don't like to write about things I know little about, unless they are susceptible to a purely logical sort of treatment not requiring specific knowledge. The other exception is when I put up an isn't this interesting type of post. But in general I look for something that I know about, have a strong opinion on, care about, am in the mood to write about, and that has an angle or emphasis not covered by a bunch of other bloggers. Often finding that combination can be difficult.

As anyone reading this blog probably knows, along with reading all sorts of news sources, I regularly look at Memeorandum to see what's hot in the blogosphere. It's often a good source of things to write about. But sometimes it isn't for various reasons. Here's some of what's on there right now, and why I'm not writing about any of it.

"Who is Alvin Greene?" Who cares? I don't. Not at this point in the election cycle.

"White House official: 'Organized labor just flushed $10 million down the toilet'" Good. That pretty much covers it.

"The Alien in the White House." Obama is detached and out of touch. No kidding.

"Apple's Worst Security Breach: 114,000 iPad Owners Exposed" Don't own one, don't care.

U.N. Security Council Passes New Sanctions Against Iran" I think anyone reading this blog for any length of time knows what I think about these sort of weak gestures against Iran.

"Sarah Palin (DD-Alaska)" Speculation about whether Sarah Palin's breasts look larger. I like breasts, and Palin is very attractive, but I don't have much to say about this issue.

"Why Obama doesn't dare become the angry black man" A pretty silly argument and one I might respond to, but others have said what I would have.

"The Spill, The Scandal and the President" Obama is incompetent and hasn't handled it well. Enough said for the moment on my end.

"Was Israel A Mistake?" I could spend every day shredding the arguments of a prolific ignoramus like Andrew Sullivan, but I have to be in the mood for that sort of post.

You get the idea. I'm not sure about other bloggers, but in my opinion my best posts come when I'm thinking about a topic and have an idea I want to write about, or if I'm inspired (either in a good or bad way) by something I come across. It's much more difficult to come up with something good if you are actively looking for something to write.

HOT5 Daily 6/9/2010

1. "President Obama: Jimmy Carter Redux?" It's looking that way.

Representative Sample: That’s not my own title — that’s the subject of a Politico forum on whether Obama is another failed president. I think we can all agree that Obama is in bad shape if that’s the conversation.

2. "Stupid Liberals & The Economics They Don’t Get" New study comes up with results that don't surprise many except maybe liberals.

Representative Sample: This is not surprising. Liberals live in a la-la world where consequences are separated from causation. There seems to be a correlation between this behavior and this outcome but let’s not jump to any conclusions. They have trouble with a + b = c linear thinking. They have subjective realities–which is to say they live in their own fantasy world.

3. "Stop or speed through a yellow light? That is the question" Things that make a decision one way or another more likely.

Representative Sample: Here’s what he found when conducting research, in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Transportation, at intersections in Akron, Cleves and Fairfield, Ohio: Certain factors make it more likely that you’ll opt to speed through an intersection rather than stop at the light.

4. "BARACK OBAMA'S NEW LOGO" They'll be rolling this out in the Gulf States first.

Representative Sample: It's a graphic.

5. "Star Wars Corsets" I'll bet these will be popular at Star Wars conventions.

Representative Sample: It's a couple of photos.

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

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Spineless Bowing Before Radical Islam

The Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg, Sweden has canceled an art exhibit "featuring homosexuality in religion." Why would they do that? Apparently they feared "it might offend some believers." Hmm, I wonder which ones might be most offended, and who the museum might actually care about enough to remove a planned exhibit. What religious believers could they be talking about? According to the article, museum officials "consulted" with Jewish, Christian and Islamic representatives before making the decision. I can't remember the last time people putting up art exhibits seriously worried that Christians or Jews might be offended. In fact, there is plenty of art specifically designed to offend Christians. There's no doubt that some Christians & Jews might be offended by an exhibit featuring gay sex and passages of scripture. They might even write some nasty letters, boycott, or show up to protest at the gallery. But the UPI adds to the spineless cave-in by the museum in the face of intimidation with its own cowardly refusal to mention the real reason for the cancellation: fear of radical Islamic violence.

A quick search about the Museum of World Culture turned up this Wikipedia entry.
In February 2005 the museum decided to remove the painting "Scène d’Amour" by Louzla Darabi. The painting was part of a temporary exhibition about HIV/AIDS, and depicted a man and a woman having sexual intercourse. The artist and the curator had received numerous death threats from Muslims enraged over the Koran quotations which were featured in a corner of the painting. Some threats were telling the artist to "learn from the Netherlands", referring to the murder of van Gogh and threats against Hirsi Ali.
I'm sure the museum canceled this latest exhibit before it even opened out of fear of offending Christians and Jews.