Friday, April 29, 2011

HOT5 Daily 4/29/2011

1. "Will "Director" Petraeus Betray Us, or Hooray Us?" Why Petraeus at CIA?

Representative Sample: With the news that President Barack H. Obama intends to name Gen. David Petraeus Director of the Central Intelligence Agency -- after current top spook Leon Panetta, who spent a couple of years in the Army, shifts to being Secretary of Defense -- we are left with a series of known (and unknown) unknowns.

2. " The War on Walmart" Walmart-haters.

Representative Sample: It's a video.

3. "“Absolute Must-Read”: Man In Cow Suit Robs Walmart Of 26 Gallons Of Milk" Speaking of Walmart, I had to link this.

Representative Sample: For weeks, Syria has used live fire against peaceful demonstrators challenging the rule of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. But the bloody crackdown, which has killed at least 400 Syrian civilians, has not been enough to undermine the country's diplomatic standing at the United Nations.

4. "Nothing Makes The People Poor Like The Government" Then it helps keep them that way.

Representative Sample: Ronald Reagan once joked that the nine most terrifying words in the English language were, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” John Stossel makes that point in this column noting that the government has done everything but help the country’s Indian population.

5. "William Lane Craig tries to defend Biblical genocides" This does not surprise me. I grew up learning that Biblical genocides were necessary and justified.

Representative Sample: if the commands that an all loving God sound evil, it’s only because good and evil are not really concepts he has to worry about, since he’s not applicable to his own moral laws.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

HOT5 Daily 4/28/2011

1. "Did Basic Polling Interpretation Errors Drive Obama To Mishandle The Birth Certificate Issue?" An argument that Obama made a mistake releasing his birth certificate now.

Representative Sample: Did he think the public was starting to buy the birther line in a way that was particularly harmful to him? Perhaps.

2. "Blame the Right People" Some excellent points.

Representative Sample: we are at war and not in a law enforcement campaign. The idea that we need evidence to hold people we capture on the battlefield is ridiculous.

3. "Civilian massacres don't disqualify Syria from joining Human Rights Council" Why the UN has zero credibility, reason #968587.

Representative Sample: For weeks, Syria has used live fire against peaceful demonstrators challenging the rule of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. But the bloody crackdown, which has killed at least 400 Syrian civilians, has not been enough to undermine the country's diplomatic standing at the United Nations.

4. "The end of the Gates era" A glowing assessment of Gates' tenure at defense.

Representative Sample: Robert Gates will wind up his tenure as having been one of the most successful secretaries of defense at forcing his will on the thousand-tentacled clockwork octopus we call the Pentagon.

5. "10 Greatest Handguns in All of Science Fiction and Fantasy" From films, tv and comics.

Representative Sample: We asked our Facebook peeps what their favorite science fiction/fantasy handguns were, and included some of your responses in this list.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Obama's Birth Certificate

President Obama released his long form birth certificate, apparently in response to the recent upsurge in birtherism, led by Donald Trump. As everyone not a conspiracy theorist already knew, it shows that he was born in Hawaii. This action by the president raises two main questions:

1. Why did the president wait until 2011 to make this form public? After all, birtherism started before the 2008 election. Birthers have been howling to see the long-form birth certificate for years. In my opinion he held it back for political reasons. The birther movement was a useful tool for painting political opponents as crazies. I'm not sure why that calculus changed, but it appears that Obama decided the issue was hurting now more than helping.

2. Will this convince the birthers? Will they stop thinking Obama was born in Kenya, Indonesia or wherever? Will they believe this birth certificate is real, or will there be a new conspiracy theory regarding it? Conspiracy theorists are normally oblivious to evidence and facts. Will the birth certificate release put a dent in the birther movement, or will it continue as strong as ever?

HOT5 Daily 4/27/2011

1. "If the Obama Administration Doesn't Understand Syria's Dictator is No Sensitive Westernized Wimp, It Understands Nothing" Long title, but a great illustration of just how utterly clueless this administration is when it comes to foreign policy.

Representative Sample: Why was Egyptian President Husni Mubarak so evil in the eyes of the Obama Administration while Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seems to enjoy endless indulgence?

2. "A Radical Plan for Cutting the Defense Budget and Reconfiguring the U.S. Military" I don't agree with all of it, but it makes a lot of sense.

Representative Sample: Why does America need all these facilities? The original Cold War goal of protecting European and Asian societies from communist threats and internal subversion has long ago been met, and many overseas U.S. bases are now redundant. What better time than now, when the United States faces fiscal calamity but few real military threats, to judiciously sort those that are truly needed from those the Pentagon can live without?

3. "Secular Spring Spheres" Pretty good.

Representative Sample: It's a photo.

4. "5 reasons why Republicans don't want to run in 2012" Repost from NYT blog. Good points.

Representative Sample: 3. Money. Mr. Obama is expected in some quarters to raise $1 billion for his re-election campaign, and he has no serious primary opposition

5. "The Jury Will Disregard those Remarks. No, Really. " As bad as political correctness is here in the U.S., at least we aren't up to UK levels yet.

Representative Sample: The government agency charged with running the court system is now issuing jury summonses in seven different languages to provide people who cannot read the English language with an opportunity to serve on juries, even in criminal cases.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sikhs Behaving Badly

One religious group you don't usually hear too much about is the Sikhs. I was surprised to read about a violent incident at a Sikh temple in New York City.
Seven people were arraigned on riot and assault charges Monday for their roles in a vicious turf battle at a Sikh temple in Queens.

Assailants wielding cricket bats and small swords disrupted prayer services Sunday morning
Apparently the fight had something to do with opening the membership rolls. The article doesn't say how much damage was done, but notes that "at least one cop was injured" attempting to break it up and make arrests. I'm sure there will be calls from NYC politicians for sword and cricket bat control.

HOT5 Daily 4/26/2011

1. "The Syrian Timebomb" As Syria grows more unstable, what desperate measures might be tried to keep the regime in power?

Representative Sample: If Assad finds himself unable to contain the unrest he may tempted to unleash Hezbollah, not just against Bahrain, or against Hariri but to strike at the only target hated by the entire Arab World — Israel. A war with Israel might temporarily unify the dissenters in his country.

2. "Obama Deflects Gas Price Outrage With Anti-Corporate Scapegoating" What else is new.

Representative Sample: before we kick off this latest round of scapegoating — scapegoating being the necessary relief valve for populist leaders who mix impossible promises of utopian “unity” with impractical prescriptions for radical “change” — some context from the beginning of the year might not be out of the question

3. "You're All Nuts!" A look at the reasons behind the popularity of conspiracy theories.

Representative Sample: It's a familiar rationale for conspiracy theorists: They investigate as much in sorrow as in anger. They are always just one confession away from the truth.

4. "Lack of Imagination" In options for education. Links to another good article.

Representative Sample: In most people’s lifetimes, there has never been a robust network of private school options to fit all needs and budgets, so folks assume that that such choices can’t exist

5. "India world's largest combat aircraft buyer: SIPRI " U.S. top seller.

Representative Sample: According to a report released Wednesday by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a total of 50 countries bought 995 warplanes during 2005-09,

Monday, April 25, 2011

HOT5 Daily 4/25/2011

1. "Bad Assumptions Lead to Bad Policies" Outstanding analysis.

Representative Sample: The same bad assumptions keep leading to bad policies, that are critiqued and revisited each time because the mindset that leads to them has not been fixed. We fight wars and bankrupt ourselves without ever admitting what we are doing. Only after the deed is done do we acknowledge it, and then repeat it again

2. "Guantanamo Bay, Terrorist Trials, and Obama Administration Naïveté" Arrogant incompetence.

Representative Sample: highlights just how out of touch President Obama and his Administration were at the beginning of their tenure when it came to the issue of closing Guantanamo Bay, and trying terrorist detainees

3. "Happy Easter Fellow Heathens!" Some of these are pretty good.

Representative Sample: Here is some irreverent, blasphemous humor for you today:

4. "Palestine, Then What?" What happens if a Palestinian state is declared?

Representative Sample: The second likely effect would be, well, not that much: the status quo would more or less continue. Israel’s economy is likely to keep vastly outperforming all of its neighbours. The conflict’s intractable issues would remain unresolved

5. "Efficient Slaughter" Interesting.

Representative Sample: These examples remind us that humans are a very clever and deadly species. Even with what we would consider very primitive weapons (such as the stone points of the Paleo-Indians), a little bit of ingenuity led to the slaughter of entire herds.

Friday, April 22, 2011

No HOT5 Today

I didn't get a chance to do enough reading.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

HOT5 Daily 4/21/2011

1. "Who Pays How Much in Income Taxes?" Guess who pays the lion's share? Hint: it isn't people without much money.

Representative Sample: This bar graph uses data from the Internal Revenue Service to break down total federal income tax revenues by the earnings percentiles of the Americans who paid them.

2. "If We Must Waste Money..." An argument in favor of one type of government spending.

Representative Sample: We dare not let our manned space program atrophy – it is already bad enough that with the end of the shuttle program we will have no capability of putting a man in to space for some years. This is a terrible dereliction of duty on the part of our government as it allows time for China to catch up a bit. There is a time and a place to be cheap – manned space flight isn’t it.

3. "The Rapture" Pretty funny, and true.

Representative Sample: It's a photo

4. "Huggies Diapers, Papa John’s Pizza Pull Ads From Left-Wing Blog Attacking Trig Palin" The sheer level of Palin-hatred that leads to attacks on a 3-year old is pretty staggering.

Representative Sample: when something like this does happen on the right, conservatives make life miserable for them even though they may otherwise be simpatico. On the other hand, the left loves this sort of hate. IF this sort of hate is spewed at their enemies, they revel in it.

5. "Jaw, Jaw is Better Than Cut, Cut" Good points about the unseriousness of the budget debate in Washington.

Representative Sample: the Democrats offer pretend cuts and very real tax hikes — even as we continue to pile up $1.5+ trillion dollars in new debt each year and the Federal behemoth squashes employment and growth.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why Are There Republican Atheists?

This is the subject of a post at Atheist Revolution. I have to laugh that anyone would even need to ask that question, but since I happen to be a Republican atheist, I'll answer it. First, I should point out that that vjack, the blogger in question, largely answers the question himself in the post. The question was raised by someone who e-mailed him, not he himself. But in the post he does ask a more specific question:
What is it about the Republican Party that appeals to you so much that you are willing to disregard their stance on church-state separation and other concerns common to atheists?
That's easy. In the spectrum of issues I care about regarding U.S. policy, that one comes in way down the list. On most more important issues, the GOP is either far superior, or at least the lesser of two evils. Although the Democratic party may favor my position on certain issues, taken as a whole, my policy ideas are far more aligned with the Republican party than they are to the Democratic.

In my opinion the supposed danger of the religious right is hysterically overblown on the left. The U.S. as a whole has gotten more secular over the years, not less, and the Christian majority has been diluted. The Christian right is a nuisance, not a serious threat. I view their influence in the GOP as nothing more than an annoyance -- sometimes a major annoyance to be sure -- but nothing that would make me even consider joining the Democratic party, which I oppose in principle on almost every issue other than some social ones. Both parties have their obnoxious fringe elements among their bases. But I'll take the religious right any day over the hardcore anti-American left that infests the fringe of the Democratic base.

Obama's Christian Pandering

President Obama has never been known for his religiosity. But recently he turned into an effusive Christian, quoting the Bible, and speaking the sort of religious language that was familiar to me growing up in a conservative Christian household.
Using the kind of personal religious language that he had once shied away from in public, Obama spoke of "the pain and the scorn and the shame of the cross" in an Easter prayer breakfast for about 150 guests and staff.

"And we're reminded that in that moment, (Jesus) took on the sins of the world -- past, present and future -- and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection,"... Obama quoted from the Book of Isaiah -- "he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities," ... "This magnificent grace, this expansive grace, this `Amazing Grace' calls me to reflect," Obama said. "And it calls me to pray. It calls me to ask God for forgiveness for the times that I've not shown grace to others, those times that I've fallen short."
Am I being unfair to Obama when I call this pandering? I don't think so. People don't suddenly start talking this way unless they undergo some sort of conversion. The president was meeting with various Christian leaders for Easter, and in my opinion went way overboard in trying to sound as Christian as possible. As the article indicates, he's trying still to convince those who don't believe he's a Christian. It's too bad he has to try, but in my opinion he's trying way too hard.

HOT5 Daily 4/20/2011

1. "Why Uncle Sam is Skunked" Useful perspective on the U.S. debt situation.

Representative Sample: if the USA were a corporation, then it would probably have a negative net worth of $35-40 trillion once our “assets” were properly accounted for, as pointed out by Mary Meeker and endorsed by luminaries such as Paul Volcker and Michael Bloomberg in a recent piece titled “USA Inc.” However approximate and subjective that number is, no lender would lend to such a corporation.

2. "What do we need jobs for?" If we can get everything from the government.

Representative Sample: people who depend on the government know how undependable the government is. Bureaucrats are ever-changing and arbitrary. Rules change. Laws change. The threat of budget cuts looms constantly. And yet: people accustomed to government money, after a while, simply can’t see any other way.

3. "No reason at all" Against the war in Afghanistan from the right.

Representative Sample: The war in Afghanistan has long been pointless. Now it’s insane.

4. "More on taxes" Good points.

Representative Sample: government does not need more tax money, even if the owners of wealth will do fine without the money -- it's not about wealthy individuals -- it's about a free economy or a rapacious statism which can't waste money fast enough.


Representative Sample: Do Americans really have the capacity anymore to do the hard thing? Or, have we like NATO become impotent to actually deal with the real world anymore? Are we simply suckers for a smooth-talking con artist and his gang of pickpockets?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Leftists Still Pushing the War for Oil Conspiracy Theory

Elements of the anti-American left are still convinced that the U.S. went to war in Iraq to seize its oil, despite all evidence to the contrary, and the many other reasons for war. But that's what happens when your entire outlook is colored by a crude version of Marxist economic determinism, your overall knowledge of history is minimal, your familiarity with military history is non-existent, and you reflexively look for reasons why any exertion of U.S. power must be based on evil motives.

The British newspaper, The Independent, revealed that BP held secret talks with the UK government before the war. BP asked the government to lobby the U.S. in favor of British oil interests, regarding post-war division of oil contracts. Now to most people, this might be normal behavior for any large company worried about protecting its economic opportunities in the face of the dramatic changes that a war would cause, and against fierce foreign competition. But to some on the left, this reinforces their grand conspiracy theory.
The Independent reveals what we’ve always known: the Iraq War was about oil. Or rather, there were significant discussions in Fall 2002–the period when the US and UK were busy lying us into war–about who would get Iraq’s oil. ... it wouldn’t take a smarty pants to worry about Americans seizing Iraq’s fields. Only very naive people believed the Iraq War was not about oil.
You have to laugh at this level of ideological blindness -- it recalls Ronald Reagan's great quote about liberals. Consider this passage from the Independent article,
Last week, Iraq raised its oil output to the highest level for almost decade, 2.7 million barrels a day – seen as especially important at the moment given the regional volatility and loss of Libyan output. Many opponents of the war suspected that one of Washington's main ambitions in invading Iraq was to secure a cheap and plentiful source of oil.
We sure are getting all kinds of cheap and plentiful oil from Iraq aren't we? As of this moment, oil prices stand at over $108 a barrel. Don't worry, anti-American leftists can easily give you another conspiracy theory about why we went to war for oil but somehow didn't get it.

HOT5 Daily 4/19/2011

1. "Not-So-Smart Power" Debunking the idea that cuts in foreign aid would harm U.S. interests.

Representative Sample: Huge recipients of U.S. foreign aid -- Egypt, Pakistan, and the like -- voted no more in tune with American values than similar countries that received no, or less, U.S. foreign aid. Instead, their votes correlated closely with those of Cuba, which wasn't a big foreign-aid donor.

2. "How Regulations Add to the Cost of Government" Something you will never hear from those constantly advocating new regulations.

Representative Sample: Regulation acts as a hidden tax that allows government power to grow beyond what legislators explicitly authorize.

3. "On Debating With Theists…." Includes link to video.

Representative Sample: Today I read (and watched) two posts that deal with what happens when atheists and theists discuss religious claims.

4. "2012 Looks Grim" I agree. The GOP needs to produce a good candidate, or we are going to suffer four more years of Obama.

Representative Sample: Where in the hell are the challengers to Obama that can actually get elected!?! Our front runner right now is Donald Trump? Seriously? In what ridiculous world is THAT ever going to happen?

5. "How Western Activists Get Treated in 'Palestine'" Useful idiots not treated well.

Representative Sample: In the wake of the kidnap and murder of Italian activist, Vittorio Arrigoni at the hands of Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, Prof Steve Plaut of Haifa University (he previously taught at UC-Irvine) has written an interesting account of how many Western activists who go to the Middle East to support the Palestinian cause get treated by their hosts-the very people they go to help.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wikileaks Strikes Again

In its continuing attack on U.S. interests and foreign policy, Wikileaks released more stolen diplomatic cables revealing secret U.S. financing operations in Syria.
The State Department has secretly financed Syrian political opposition groups and related projects, including a satellite TV channel that beams anti-government programming into the country, according to previously undisclosed diplomatic cables.
Wikileaks has again shown its callous disregard for the lives of anyone in Syria that might be targeted by the Assad dictatorship, and has contributed to propping up the regime. Assad can make a better case now, supported by these latest revelations, that opposition groups are under the control of hostile foreigners who are meddling in Syrian affairs. It's free propaganda that helps him paint himself as a true Syrian fighting against U.S. influence. None of this apparently matters to Wikileaks, as long as it is able to strike at the U.S.

It's long past time that the U.S. recognized Wikileaks as a dangerous and hostile non-state entity, that has already done more damage to American interests than most terrorist attacks. It should be targeted and destroyed by whatever means might prove most effective.

HOT5 Daily 4/18/2011

1. "The IRS: Even Worse Than You Think" I'm not sure that's possible.

Representative Sample: the IRS is in the unenviable position of trying to enforce Byzantine tax laws. Yes, there are examples of grotesque IRS abuse, but even the most angelic group of bureaucrats would have a hard time overseeing 70,000-plus pages of laws and regulations

2. "De facto Sharia in London" I'm sure pointing this out is "Islamophobia."

Representative Sample: Women who do not wear headscarves are being threatened with violence and even death by Islamic extremists intent on imposing sharia law on parts of Britain

3. "Why Do Liberals Applaud Awful Behavior?" Good question.

Representative Sample: When HAVE conservatives done this? Do they show up en masse at public rallies to keep Bernie Sanders or Michael Moore from speaking?

4. "The UN’s 50 Million Missing Refugees" Another example of the UN's lack of credibility.

Representative Sample: In 2005, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) predicted that there would be 50 million refugees in 2010 due to climate change.

5. "Why Obama will end up taxing the middle class" Hopefully the GOP-controlled House will have enough spine not to let that happen.

Representative Sample: Mr. Obama is the master of false choices. When he pretends that there is no need for entitlement reform and everything can be made wonderful just with taxes on rich, you need your simultaneous Obama translator. Because the real message is that we are all going to have to pay to keep Democrats in charge and Medicare and Medicaid unreformed. That's the real Mediscare story.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

What it's Like to Argue With Leftists

If, like me, you are extremely argumentative, and enjoy debating various things, you might be tempted to venture onto a left-wing blog and make some comments. After all, it isn't as interesting to argue with people who already generally agree with you. When I comment on left-wing blogs, I try to restrict myself to very specific points, knowing that I am dealing with people who are operating under radically different fundamental assumptions. Since many on the left live in an echo chamber, I think it can be useful to point out that others do not share their views, and to do so in as calm and logical a fashion as possible.

When it comes to atheist blogs, I expect that most atheists value logical reasoning, since even leftist atheists often apply excellent logical skills to debunk religious arguments. Sometimes you can generate a reasonable debate, even if the ultimate result is to agree to disagree. But then there are times when you get the usual left-wing responses to anyone that dares challenge their assumptions: an onslaught of strawmen, intellectual dishonesty, false analogies, ad hominem attacks, and a general lack of reading comprehension. For a prime example of what I'm talking about, see this post and the comment thread.

Friday, April 15, 2011

HOT5 Daily 4/15/2011

1. "Obama’s Do Nothing Deficit Plan" Excellent points.

Representative Sample: The deficit plan presented by Obama is atrocious. In short, he doesn’t want to cut entitlements (so there’s no real long-term solution) and he wants to raise taxes.

2. "Obama vs. Perón: In Their Own Words" Comparison.

Representative Sample: Using the transcript of yesterday's speech by President Obama regarding the budget deficit, let's compare and contrast various highlights with the famous speech of Juan Perón in 1950, in which he described the tenets of his philosophy of centralized government.

3. "A holiday message from Ricky Gervais: 'Why I'm a good Christian'" Pretty good.

Representative Sample: The title of this one is a little misleading, or at least cryptic. I am of course not a good Christian in the sense that I believe that Jesus was half man, half God, but I do believe I am a good Christian compared to a lot of Christians.

4. "Obamanomics: Workforce Smallest Since Reagan; Men Have Lowest Employment Rate On Record" I knew things were bad, but this is surprising.

Representative Sample: This is bad. Get me a Bipartisan Commission, stat!

5. "Hizballah Exploiting Wikileaks Cables" The full scope of the damage to U.S. foreign policy from Manning's treason and Wikileaks is hard to overestimate.

Representative Sample: The Wikileaks cables, which show an embattled politician playing power politics against Hizballah, are characterized by Hizballah to try to show pro-Western forces as Saudi and American puppets.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

There's No Such Thing as "Economic Fairness"

If you are a parent, chances are that at some point you have heard your child whine, "But that's not fair," when told they have to do something they don't like. You'll hear that same childish whine if you read almost anything from the left regarding the economy. A good case in point is a column by Steven Perlstein at the Washington Post.
One of the more comical features of the budget debate is to watch the ways in which Republicans refuse to engage on the issue of economic fairness.
No, what's comical is someone who actually believes that "economic fairness" means anything.
Is it fair that the market economy has directed virtually all of the benefits of economic growth to the top 10 percent of households? No answer.
The answer is a combination of who cares, and that's a ridiculous question.
Given this increasingly unequal distribution of incomes, isn’t there room to make the tax code slightly more progressive? No answer.
This question illustrates the silliness and lack of logical reasoning capacity of the "fairness" crowd. It's just as easy to ask why it is fair that successful people have more of their money taken by force and redistributed to the less successful. Is it fair that nearly half the country pays no income taxes, and that the tax burden is already borne disproportionately by the wealthy? Is it fair that people who have worked hard all their lives have to support a significant number of people who won't work, do nothing to better their situations, and view the government as a never-ending source of money that they are entitled to?
In deciding what to spend and whom to tax, lawmakers’ fights over budgets are always fights about values and priorities in which fairness has as rightful a place as fiscal rectitude and economic efficiency.
No, it doesn't. Economic fairness is a purely arbitrary concept that depends entirely on your point of view. Obviously if you are the one being taxed to pay for other people, your viewpoint on economic fairness might differ greatly from someone who thinks they are entitled to more of your money. People who don't understand that fairness depends on perspective, and that many aspects of life are fundamentally unfair -- for good reason -- are fools. When those fools want to use the government to force others to conform to an arbitrary conception of fairness they become dangerous fools.

HOT5 Daily 4/14/2011

1. "Obama doesn’t fail to disappoint. Again. Can we have a leader back? Please?" A good rant in response to Obama's speech.

Representative Sample: therein lies the problem of Barack Obama and all his ilk: ”We have a healthy skepticism of too much government, but …” He proceeds ever-so quickly to assert that we would not be “great country without those commitments” of big government.

2. "Debt Wrong" Good analysis.

Representative Sample: The president’s solution to the growing cost of government turns out to be more government.

3. "Ambitious Turkey" What's going on with our nominal ally?

Representative Sample: the full extent of Ankara's Middle East ambitions emerged in early 2011, concurrent with the region's far-reaching upheavals. Suddenly, Turks were ubiquitous.

4. "Are Your Values Right or Left? The Answer Is More Literal Than You Think" Interesting research.

Representative Sample: "people associate goodness with the side they can act more fluently on.” Right-handed people prefer the product, job applicant, or extraterrestrial positioned to their right.

5. "Royal Navy Provides Somali Pirates With Halal Meals, Medical Checks & Nicotine Patches" And people wonder why naval power can't seem to do anything about Somali piracy.

Representative Sample: The extraordinary treatment – revealed in a Radio 4 documentary to be broadcast tonight – came at a time when Somali piracy is causing mayhem to shipping in the Indian Ocean.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Quick Summary of Obama's Speech

If you are masochist, you can read the whole thing. Clive Crook at the the Atlantic summed it up accurately as a "waste of breath."
The speech was more notable for its militant--though ineffectual--hostility to Republican proposals than for any fresh thinking of its own. It was a waste of breath.
I'd summarize the speech as follows.

Government is what makes America great.
Blame Bush
Republican ideas are bad
Raise taxes
Make minor budgetary changes and pretend they'll solve our problems

When you are a government worshiper like the president, the very idea of slashing big government is anathema. Obama is a living, breathing reason to vote Republican if you care in the slightest about the financial future of this country. The GOP has many problems, but it is a solid lesser of two evils and has been for a long time.

A Look at Some Cuts in the Latest Agreement

Reuters has an article with the somewhat misleading headline, "Budget plan cuts food aid, stewardship programs." Cutting food aid, that sounds scary doesn't it? Here's the lede:
Programs that help poor mothers buy food and that share the cost of land stewardship would be cut under government-wide reductions unveiled on Tuesday.
Really? They are cutting the WIC -- Women, Infants and Children -- program? But when you read further you find that in fact that the so-called cut involves "eliminating reserve funds." That sounds much less scary, and indicates that beneficiaries won't be affected. But what about the other cuts?
Cuts in stewardship spending included $119 million from the Wetlands Reserve, $80 million from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and $39 million from the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
Those sound pretty trivial. Then there are the "other large cuts."
My comments in italics.

-- $433 million from an agriculture credit insurance fund run by the Farm Service Agency. Hard to tell how much that is without knowing the size of the fund. But I'm guessing it could be cut more.

-- $350 million in dairy subsidies. Most agricultural subsidies should be eliminated instead of cut.

-- $194 million from foreign food assistance and related programs, including food aid donations and a global school meals program. The programs were forecast for $1.9 billion this year. We have a fiscal crisis in this country yet we are giving away $1.9 billion in food aid overseas. And we are only going to cut 194 million. This sort of trivial cut is an example of just how unserious our government is about resolving our financial situation.

-- $134 million from the newly inaugurated Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) that encourages farmers to experiment with next-generation crops, such as switchgrass, for making biofuels. The USDA had estimated BCAP outlays at $199 million. Should be completely eliminated. Farmers can decide for themselves what to grow.

-- $126 million from the National Institute for Food and Agriculture, a research agency. Could almost certainly stand to be cut further, or possibly eliminated.

-- $118 million from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which oversees land, water and wildlife stewardship. Not sure about this one.

-- $265 million from rural economic development programs. Entire programs should be eliminated as unaffordable luxuries.

This is a prime example of why many of us are not impressed with these budget cuts. Instead of a serious effort at fiscal reform, we are getting bloated programs pared down a bit. The U.S. government is like a 6 foot, 500 pound man whose target diet goal is to get down to a healthier 475.

HOT5 Daily 4/13/2011

1. "Interviewing Thomas Sowell About Economic Facts And Fallacies" Short but good interview.

Representative Sample: One of the biggest taxes is a hidden tax and I’m not referring just to sales taxes or things like that, but to inflation. They may not be taxed, but the company who produces their electricity will be taxed and their electric bills will go up.

2. "Five hard truths about the Middle East" More like opinions, but still interesting.

Representative Sample: periodically, it is important to strip away the coats of speechwriter- and communiqué-applied varnish and get to the core realities of situations that have been spun so often that they have started to resemble gyroscopes. The simplest way to do this is to ask direct questions and get direct answers.

3. "The Male-Female Wage Gap Myth" I'm sure this won't go over well with the cult of victimization.

Representative Sample: Carrie Lukas, executive director of the Independent Women’s Forum, shatters it using those little things people who espouse collectivist class warfare, pitting one group of people against another, hate: facts.

4. "Lashkar-e-What? Tehrik-i-Who?" Keeping track of all the terrorist groups in Pakistan is a full-time job.

Representative Sample: How many terror groups are there in Pakistan, and what do they all want?

5. "Why I’m Leaving The GOP, Again" I find this sort of thing silly. Try recognizing that the GOP is the lesser of two evils, instead of something that is going to conform to all your principles. A party that does is completely irrelevant.

Representative Sample: news that the pathetic so-called “spending cut” deal that the big spenders (Obama, Reid, Nancy Boehner, McConnell) in DC cut was a COMPLETE SCAM is too much to take. I’m done, again, with this pathetic party.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

HOT5 Daily 4/12/2011

1. "Obama’s “New” Plan To Fix Economy? Same As The Last….Raise Taxes" When you are a tax and spend Democrat, raising taxes is always one of the answers to any economic situation.

Representative Sample: That tax increase, while the economy is still in shambles will hurt those who need tax CUTS the most. Small business owners. The ones who will employ those currently out of work. If you hurt them, then they go out of business and take the jobs with them.

2. "The Battle for Syria" Much more important than Libya, but getting much less attention.

Representative Sample: the real battle for the future of the Middle East isn't being fought in Benghazi, Cairo, or even Manama, but in the streets of Damascus, Baniyas, Homs and a dozen other Syrian cities.

3. "From an Arab Spring to a Muslim Winter"A bleak but probably accurate picture.

Representative Sample: Most revolutions like to call themselves democratic, because democracy is disruptive to the old order. But their revolutions are only democratic means toward authoritarian ends. The ultimate victory of one faction or another. And they typically have as much use for democracy, as the Muslim armies who captured Alexandria had for its library.

4. "Politically Correct, Geometrically Ignorant and Other P.C. Insanity" That pretty much covers it.

Representative Sample: Just when you thought political correctness couldn’t get any worse

5. "History: The 8 Civilian Recipients Of the Medal Of Honor And The Purge Of 1917" Interesting historical post.

Representative Sample: I have talked about William ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody and his Medal of Honor. It is significant, because he was awarded this medal for heroism, as a civilian contractor. What is not talked about though, are the other 7 civilians that were the recipients of this medal, to include the only female recipient Dr. Mary Walker.

Monday, April 11, 2011

HOT5 Daily 4/11/2011

1. "The Magic Stone" Good article on Ivory Coast.

Representative Sample: One of the reasons for the equal-opportunity brutality is that the same soldiers are often fighting on both sides. They just switch uniforms depending on who is paying this month. The Christian Science Monitor interviewed Liberian mercenaries who regaled them with stories about committing atrocities for one faction and then the other.

2. "Painfully Obvious Need for Government Employment Benefit Reform" Not to mention cuts in the numbers of government employees.

Representative Sample: Only the mathematical illiterates holding the reins of the Democrat Party think this sort of thing is sustainable.

3. "Arab League to appeal for no-fly zone over Gaza" I predicted this after we signed on to the foolish UN resolution on Libya -- not that it required any special predictive powers.

Representative Sample: the Arab bloc in the United Nations has been directed to ask for the convention of the Security Council to stop the Israeli aggression on Gaza and impose a no-fly zone.

4. "When Too Much Money’s the Problem…" Pointing out what you might think would be obvious.

Representative Sample: government subsidies to health care consumption, in the form of such programs as Medicare and Medicaid as well as employer tax exclusions for health insurance benefits, contribute to the rapid growth in health care costs.

5. "What Couples Really Argue About" I'm skeptical. It seems they are overthinking it.

Representative Sample: Ignoring the influence of the subconscious—motivations we may be unaware of because they come from ancient biological impulses no longer immediately relevant to our modern lives—risks misunderstanding what a disagreement is truly about and can sabotage our response to another person's feelings even though we mean well.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Why People Dislike Islam -- The Latest Example

Since there are plenty of people who actually believe that the term Islamophobia has real meaning, as opposed to being a contrived term used in an attempt to smear critics of Islam, it is always worth pointing out reasons why many dislike Islam and have a negative opinion of Muslims. Those reasons revolve around the actions of Muslims. The latest in a never ending series of examples comes from Indonesia.
Irdayanti Mukhtar, 34, received nine lashes by Sharia Police for having a relationship with another man, even though she is said to be in the process of divorcing her husband. ... Mukhtar had been sentenced to the punishment the previous day by a Sharia court where prosecutors said that she was guilty of being in 'close proximity' to another man.
Yeah, that sounds like a reasonable punishment that fits the "crime." Not only did she receive this beating which caused her to collapse, but it was done in public, apparently to further humiliate her.
The jeering crowd recorded the brutal beating on their mobile phones and camcorders and shouted for more beatings in the strict Muslim city.
Incidents like this one, not bigotry or "Islamophobia" are why so many have negative views of Islam and Muslims. It's not just about terrorism. It is true that only a tiny fraction of Muslims engage in terrorist activity. But the bad aspects of Islam are hardly limited to terrorism. From Saudia Arabia to Indonesia to Pakistan to Afghanistan to Somalia to Iran and in many other Muslim majority countries, you can find similar barbaric acts carried out in the name of Islam, sometimes as in this case by actual agents of the Islamic religion. And Muslim bystanders cheer them on.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

What Serious Budget Cuts Would Look Like

It's been pretty funny -- but not surprising -- watching the hysterical screaming from Democrats and the left in general about the minor budget cuts proposed by the GOP in the form of a plan by Rep. Paul Ryan. A few months ago, Senator Rand Paul outlined a plan of his own with far more significant cuts -- the kind of cuts we need if we are to even begin to bring the deficit under control, let alone the debt. His plan includes such things as completely eliminating the Departments of Energy and Health & Human Services, cutting the Department of Education budget by 83%, and the complete elimination of foreign assistance programs. Sounds radical, doesn't it? Those cuts, and the numerous others he proposed, would still only reduce the deficit by one third.

Friday, April 8, 2011

HOT5 Daily 4/8/2011

1. "Our energy future should involve a lot of shale gas–if our government will allow it" That's a big if.

Representative Sample: the map points to a bonanza of natural gas that is technically recoverable, would cover our own domestic needs easily (and may see some oil dependent means of transportation and energy production look toward to switching to cleaner burning natural gas) and even have us exporting the product versus importing it.

2. "Iron Dome Intercepts Palestinian GRADs" Palestinians busy firing rockets at Israel again.

Representative Sample: Israel’s newest rocket interceptor ‘Iron Dome’ was tested today in combat for the first time, intercepting GRAD rockets fired from the Gaza strip.

3. "Thought Gestapo in Action at Rollins College" Leftist academics not exactly supportive of free speech unless they agree with it.

Representative Sample: Some members of the academic establishment at Rollins College were outraged that Ms. Pizzi would dare harbor such “extreme” views, much less commit them to writing. Worse, in the opinion of the intelligentsia, was the fact that The Sandpiper actually published such “inflammatory” opinions.

4. "New Atheist Swimsuit Calendar Coming Soon" Pretty funny.

Representative Sample: I'm not sure if this is a jest or an actual project in the works

5. "Sen. Hatch Wants More Porn Prosecutions" Republican-led bipartisan stupidity.

Representative Sample: Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding more federal obscenity prosecutions. The letter was co-signed by more than 100 other senators and congressmen.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Imagine a Unionized McDonalds

You pull into McDonald's at lunch time. Since the parking lot is nearly empty you decide to go inside, rather than using the drive-thru. You contemplate ordering single items off the $5 menu, but instead decide to go with a Big Mac Extra Value Meal that includes the sandwich, fries and drink, for only $19.95.

Up at the counter the cashier, Cheryl, takes your order. She makes 17.95/hour plus benefits. Cheryl informs you that you are going to have to wait about 15 minutes. Apparently there aren't any fries in the bin, and a new batch has to be made.

You: Why does it take 15 minutes to make more fries? Isn't this supposed to be fast food?

Cheryl: Our fry guy, Bob, just went on break. Don't worry, he'll get right on it as soon as he gets back.

You: I see like six people back there. Why can't one of them drop a new batch of fries?

Cheryl: Because making fries isn't their job. That's Bob's job.

You: Uh, ok. Since I have some time to kill, can I ask you a couple of questions?

Cheryl: Sure.

You: How does this place stay in business? The prices seem really high for what I'm getting. It's fast food that isn't fast, and it's lunch time with hardly any one here. How do you manage it?

Cheryl: Don't you pay attention to the news? We just got a $60 billion bailout from the government. Don't worry, our jobs are safe here.

You: Thanks for the explanation.

HOT5 Daily 4/7/2011

1. "We Can’t All Have All the Medical Care We Want" Outstanding article on the realities of health care.

Representative Sample: Unless we have unlimited wealth, we can't have unlimited health care. That's just a simple fact of life and economics, which is such an unpleasant truth that it's usually ignored by all the sides

2. "On Qur'an Burning, Redux" Excellent points.

Representative Sample: First Amendment test cases rarely come about because of popular or nice people. If we don't have the freedom to utter speech that annoys, upsets, even infuriates other people, then we don't have free speech. The freedom to express only opinions that don't make anyone upset isn't worth defending.

3. "Political constraints" He's right about the constraints. I'm much more pessimistic about the chances of removing them.

Representative Sample: The political class certainly doesn't have the will or the desire to limit government, because that means giving up power, and a free market would be resisted by powerful corporations which now enjoy government-protected advantage against competition from smaller, less politically connected companies. It's really left up to the American people.

4. "One More Theology" An interesting variation on the atheists just believe in one less god argument.

Representative Sample: Very intelligent people have devoted decades of their lives to the elaboration of Hindu, Sufi, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, and Muslim theologies, among many others. Do Christians think they spent that time pursuing the truth?

5. "Say, What’s The Deal With “Non-Essential” Government Employees?" Good question.

Representative Sample: If these people are “non-essential,” then, do we really need to be paying them to do a “non-essential” job?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Kids and Religion

I just came across an article that asked the following question:
Should Parents Introduce Kids to Religion No Matter What? (Should parents introduce their kids to religion if the parents themselves are not believers?)
My first response to that is a question. What do you mean by "introduce"? If introduce means take the kids to church, or give them a bunch of religious material, my answer is obviously no. If you don't believe yourself, why would you attempt to inculcate religious beliefs into your children? On the other hand, if introduce means to make your children aware of what religion is, and of major types of belief and disbelief, then in my opinion the answer is yes.

Religion is too important to ignore. Even if you are an atheist, it is impossible to shield your children from exposure to religion. Although I'm an atheist, I'm as against indoctrinating children as atheists as I'm am against trying to make them religious. My personal approach was to talk to my son about various religious beliefs, while explaining that ideas differ greatly, and that there are people such as myself who don't even believe in God at all. On the occasions that we've talked about it, I've stressed that he needs to evaluate religious claims for himself, consider the evidence for them, and reject simple assertions of truth. My hope is that he will think for himself -- and it seems that he does -- and make up his own mind about religion and all related issues in a way that will leave him satisfied.

HOT5 Daily 4/6/2011

1. "How Can Anyone Take This Seriously?" A good pox on both their houses article, but still, the GOP is the lesser evil.

Representative Sample: The U.S. is running deficits somewhere between one and one and a half trillion dollars, and in Washington the Republicans and Democrats are still squabbling over petty change.

2. "Man Beats Suspect: Faces Jail" Our legal system in action.

Representative Sample: were that the real story, Officer Hebert would be getting commendations and parades from the city for arresting this fellow, Hardy, who is now charged in a number of different child molestations

3. "Why Do Atheists Have to Advertise?" Makes some good points about the various atheist advertising campaigns.

Representative Sample: The first thing you have to remember is this: Not all atheist ads campaigns are created equal. Different atheist organizations create different ad campaigns, with different goals, and different strategies for achieving those goals. So when you ask, "Why do atheists have to advertise?", the first question you have to answer is, "Which atheists?"

4. "Why the World Needs Nuclear Power" It should be obvious that we need nuclear power.

Representative Sample: James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute, explains how future fourth generation nuclear power plants will be cleaner and safer because they will be able to burn highly radioactive spent fuel rods. Harnessing this technology will be pivotal for America’s future

5. "The Best Book in the Bible" Analysis based on the Skeptics Annotated Bible.

Representative Sample: One way to try to determine it, though, would be to identify all the passages in the Bible that contain ideas that you consider good, and then compare the number of good passages found in each book of the Bible.

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

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Should Get No Trial At All

It's been pretty funny watching the whining and sniveling of terrorist rights supporters upset that President Obama is going to use a military tribunal to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Most of those criticizing the decision do so with various false assertions based on false assumptions. Let's take the New York Times editorial today as an example.
How fitting it would have been to put the plot’s architect on trial a few blocks from the site of the World Trade Center, to force him to submit to the justice of a dozen chosen New Yorkers, to demonstrate to the world that we will not allow fear of terrorism to alter our rule of law.
It would demonstrate to the world that we are stupid enough to provide a huge forum for an orgy of anti-Americanism under the guise of the so-called "rule of law." I've found as a general rule, whenever anyone makes serious use of the phrase "rule of law," the odds are that it will be preceded or followed by utter nonsense.
But, apparently, there are many who continue to cower, who view terrorists as much more fearsome than homegrown American mass murderers and the American civilian jury system as too “soft” to impose needed justice.
This assertion, and just about the entire op-ed is a typical strawman. The primary reason people oppose civilian trials for foreign terrorists is that foreign terrorists are not entitled to the protections of U.S. civil law. In my opinion, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed does not require a trial of any kind. KSM is a leader of an enemy terrorist organization with which we are still at war. He was captured back in 2003. The last I checked it is now 2011. He hasn't had a trial, and he still doesn't need one. We can hold him forever if we so choose. Al Qaeda as an organization, and its members are completely outside the law [unless they happen to be U.S. citizens, in which case they should be treated as such]. They follow no rules, haven't signed any international agreements, and there are no clear guidelines for how to deal with captured members. Rather than tying our own hands, and providing our enemies with unearned and undeserved rights, we should retain as wide a latitude as possible in dealing with foreign terrorists.

Even going through the motions of a military trial for KSM is a gigantic waste of time. There's no question about his identity, his leadership role in Al Qaeda, and his involvement in 9/11. Even former administration spokesman Robert Gibbs talked about KSM's conviction and execution as a foregone conclusion. The U.S. isn't going to release him under any circumstances, regardless of what happens at a trial, civilian or military. He is essentially under a suspended death sentence already -- as he should be. Ideally he should already be dead. After we extracted all useful information, he should have faced summary execution. But since we didn't do that, and he's now been sitting in prison for eight years, it might be more appropriate to just let him rot.

As I've argued many times on this blog, the blind legalism of terrorist rights supporters, and their attempt to debase the rights of U.S. citizens by awarding them to foreign enemies, is far more dangerous to the U.S. than any treatment we might meet out to someone like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Rather than extending this post further, I'll just link to my two part post "No Rights for Hostile Aliens."

HOT5 Daily 4/5/2011

1. "A Decade of Wishful Thinking" Wishful thinking is common in foreign policy. Here's one of many examples.

Representative Sample: Bashar's "reformer" label still sticks -- on March 27, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton became the latest to apply it to him. Faced with a nationwide uprising against his regime in recent weeks, Bashar has once again promised reforms, but his government continues to harshly crack down on any hint of protest; demonstrations in the city of Douma on April 1 were met with deadly force, resulting in 8 casualties. It may be time for all those Western officials who defended Bashar over the years to reconsider just how much of a "reformer" their man in Damascus truly is.

2. "Sizing Up China's Military Capabilities" An interesting analysis.

Representative Sample: It is no secret that long-term U.S. Air Force and Navy planning is focused on China. This alone is straining U.S.-China relations, as well as triggering U.S. domestic criticism from those who regard war with China as inconceivable, and an internal squabble between China-focused planners and “boot-centric” Army and Marine Corps leaders.

3. "Has the Freedom From Religion Foundation weighed in on the Koran-burning/Afghan murders?" I checked its site and the answer appears to be no.

Representative Sample: where’s FFRF? Where’s Annie Gaylor, using this horrible event as proof that mindless devotion to “organized religion” turns people into unthinking, unfeeling animals whose only desire in life is to do the will of Odin as determined by whatever religious charlatan is interpreting the entrails this week?

4. "Do the Math" Regarding gun control supporters.

Representative Sample: they fail to do some basic math on their own assertions

5. "Latest Offense to Allah That Must Be Murdered Away: Singing In Praise of God" I wonder if Lindsey Graham and other useful idiots think we should restrict singing to avoid trigger the murderous rage of Islamic fanatics.

Representative Sample: Psychopaths don't need a reason to kill. They never have. They just need an opportunity.

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

Monday, April 4, 2011

HOT5 Daily 4/3/2011

1. "SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!" An on-target rant.

Representative Sample: it was certainly pointless (except as a means of cynical self-promotion, of course) for Jones to attempt to prove something everybody already knows anyway. But he’s done something else he himself may not have intended: he’s shone a light on the weak spot in the Western defense against the barbarians currently howling at the gates of civilization

2. "THE LAST ROUNDUP" Excellent analysis.

Representative Sample: The timidity of the media and the placing of blame for the horrific violence and mayhem going on now in Afghanistan brings up yet again what I consider to be a key issue in the decline of our culture: Western institutions no longer seem to be able to defend and stand up for the very fundamental ideas on which they are based

3. "Crisis in Côte d'Ivoire... Muslim Troops Massacre 1,000 Catholic Civilians... France intervening in Conflict... French Troops secure Airport" Media strangely reluctant to mention much about religion.

Representative Sample: Muslim Troops, followers of former prime minister and radical Islamist Alassane Ouattara, massacred 1,000 Christians, mostly men in the town of Duekoue, who were fleeing the fighting. They were attempting to reach a nearby Catholic Church for refuge.

4. "Efficacy of prayer questioned" I'll bet the people getting massacred in the story above might have questioned its efficacy.

Representative Sample: Francis Galton, a freelance statistician based in London, England, has his doubts. He's published an analysis in which he points out that many other widely-held beliefs have fallen by the way-side:

5. "Cat Bowling" On a lighter note.

Representative Sample: It's a video.

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

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lindsey Graham Thinks We Should Appease Barbarians

I expect this sort of thing from Democrats, ever eager to pander to Muslims. But here's Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
the first member of Congress to say the legislature needs to explore the possibility, however unlikely, of limiting some kinds of free speech - like Terry Jones' Quran burning - that help America's enemies.

"I wish we could find a way to hold people accountable. Free speech is a great idea, but we're in a war,"

What a great idea. We should limit our free speech rights because of the actions of murderous, fanatical barbarians. We aren't bending over backward enough to avoid giving offense to Afghans, all while pouring money we don't have into a corrupt country that has done very little to deserve our assistance. Now we need to think about restricting a classic form of free speech by U.S. citizens: the harmless destruction of a symbol. We have to do that because savages poisoned by religion can't control themselves.

The people that should be held accountable are those who advocate and justify murdering innocent victims because someone burned a book and hurt their feelings.

Following Friday prayers, Muslim clerics instructed religious worshippers to avenge the slander of the Holy Quran by western infidels.
Back in 2009 I wrote the following:
Deploying assassins to kill terrorist enemies is something we should already be doing, and should have put into place right after 9/11. It is also worth considering directly targeting radical Islamic clerics who preach jihad against Americans and openly support terrorism. Such clerics believe they can inspire terrorism and send suicide bombers to their deaths with impunity, remaining secure themselves while others blow up civilians or install roadside bombs. It's time they started dying also.

If we want to hold someone accountable, that would be the way to go about it.

As for Lindsey Graham, he should be voted out of office. Unfortunately he'd probably be replaced by an even worse Democrat.

Friday, April 1, 2011

HOT5 Daily 4/1/2011

1. "NATO Reconsidered" A good analysis.

Representative Sample: The Alliance's eager quest for a convincing new role has led to mission creep on a grand scale. A new strategic concept formulated in 1991 tried to define a new threat environment that lacked any real dangers to its members. So security was redefined as not only a military issue, but one with political, economic, social, and environmental dimensions.

2. "Must-Read Study: Too Many Consumer Choices Bad For You" Too much freedom interferes with you doing what your betters think you should do.

Representative Sample: These researchers seem to have concluded that a free society makes it hard for these same researchers to force their beliefs on the rest of us dumb people.

3. "Whose Cyberspace Is It?" What exactly is the military's cyber command supposed to protect?

Representative Sample: Cyber Command was activated last year, but after testimony at a Senate hearing this week it appears the question of how wide-ranging the command's mission will be is not completely resolved.

4. "Sullivan Prepared for Impeachment of Dictatorial Obama" The hysterical Sullivan is usually good for a laugh. What's even funnier is that he has a large readership who actually takes him seriously.

Representative Sample: Sullivan is apoplectic with rage. Seriously, has Sullivan been paying the slightest attention to this administration?

5. "13 Shanzhai Sound-Alike Fakes" Chinese rip-off products.

Representative Sample: The Chinese deal in two kinds of knock-offs. The counterfeit, which looks like a real name brand product, but merely has a fraudulent label sewn on to appear genuine and then the Shanzhai, which almost look and sound close to a real name brand.

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