Monday, January 31, 2011

HOT5 Daily 1/31/2011

1. "Some Unfashionable Thoughts About Egypt" Another good analysis.

Representative Sample: There are, after all, two different approaches to foreign policy that can be called “conservative”: one points to the spread of democracy as an expression of American greatness and seeks to sweep aside dictatorial rulers in order to promote democratic values, institutions, and elections wherever possible. The other is more strictly power-based: if America’s the good guy, then first we have to make sure that America’s allies are strong and its enemies are weak.

2. "Five questions about Egypt" Questions worth asking.

Representative Sample: having spent the morning watching the Sunday talk shows and the afternoon feverishly updating my Twitter feed, let me take this opportunity to ask as many provocative questions as I can

3. "13% of Science Teachers Are Creationists" Not just believers in creationism, but advocate it in the classroom.

Representative Sample: This is why we need activists in the classroom who are willing to stand up to the Creationists. We need more advocates for good science. If you choose to duck and cover when the subject of evolution comes up, you’re hurting your own students’ education — how can any decent teacher stand by while that happens?

4. "The Unintended (or Not) Consequences of Magazine Capacity "Restrictions"" Debunking the latest gun control nonsense.

Representative Sample: The Arizona shooting has provoked predictable calls for various gun control schemes, each and every one a recycled proven failure, but the most clever and insidious is the banning of large (actually, regular) capacity magazines for semi-automatic firearms.

5. "Clausewitz for Children" Seriously.

Representative Sample: A work in progress: the Children's Illustrated Clausewitz. Because it's never too early to start training them to better understand the role of the military in terms of political objectives.

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

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Supporting the Egyptian Protestors is Bad U.S. Policy

As the situation in Egypt continues to evolve, there have been repeated calls for the U.S. to stand forthrightly on the side of the protestors. This position finds support on both the left and right. For example, here is Elliot Abrams, who served in foreign policy positions for both the Reagan and G.W. Bush administrations.

President Obama's words of support for both the demonstrators and the government late Friday, after speaking with Mubarak, were too little, too late. He said Mubarak had called for "a better democracy" in Egypt, but Obama's remarks did not clearly demand democracy or free elections there. We cannot deliver democracy to the Arab states, but we can make our principles and our policies clear. Now is the time to say that the peoples of the Middle East are not "beyond the reach of liberty" and that we will assist any peaceful effort to achieve it - and oppose and condemn efforts to suppress it.
Abrams also writes,
Such a statement would not elevate our ideals at the expense of our interests. It turns out, as those demonstrators are telling us, that supporting freedom is the best policy of all.
Unfortunately the first sentence isn't true, and the second is an assertion based on little evidence and much wishful thinking. Abrams, and others pushing for an anti-Mubarak stance ignore some important facts and possibilities.

1. All of the U.S. alliances and friendly relationships with Arab states are with non-democratic regimes -- with the exception of Iraq. We can't forthrightly support democracy without at least indirectly undermining our allies.

2. Loyalty and consistency matter in foreign relations. The Mubarak regime was good enough to ally with and supply with massive amounts of U.S. aid, but now suddenly democracy in Egypt is supposed to be our primary concern? What kind of message would we be sending to Saudi Arabia and other authoritarian allies if we suddenly turn on Mubarak? We only support you until the first time you have major popular protests. No doubt sending that message will do wonders for the strength of our relationships with Arab rulers.

3. Democracy in other countries can have negative consequences for the United States. Democracy isn't some sort of magical, unalloyed good that we should be pushing regardless of all other circumstances. Has greater democracy in Turkey been beneficial to U.S. - Turkish ties? When the population of a country is largely hostile in attitudes toward the U.S., as is Egypt, it makes little sense for America to be promoting democracy in that area.

4. The U.S. will get no credit from the protestors even if we come out strongly against Mubarak. The people of Egypt aren't suddenly going to forget how the U.S. propped up the Sadat and Mubarak regimes for decades, just because we withdrew our support at the last minute. Such a move will be seen as a transparent, cynical attempt to curry favor with whatever government replaces Mubarak.

5. U.S. withdrawal of support could lead to greater violence. If the U.S. pulls its support from Mubarak, it is possible that he might decide to crack down harder in a desperate attempt to retain power. He'll no longer have to worry about U.S. opinion if we turn on him, suspend his aid and ally with his enemies. We need to consider the unintended consequences of such a major shift in policy.

6. And finally, Mubarak could survive. It doesn't look good for him now, but it's possible he could weather the storm and retain power. We gain nothing by wrecking our relationship with him.

HOT5 Daily 1/30/2011


Representative Sample: The administration is torn between two competing visions put forward by the foreign policy establishment in Washington of what the US should do and say about the crisis in Egypt, and as is typical, they have chosen to split the difference.

2. "EGYPT: Mubarak's Survival Strategy" But will it work?

Representative Sample: Mubarak's strategy for combating the open source protest is now becoming clear. It's to create a vacuum. De-escalate and out-wait the protest.

3. "Somali Pirates: Indian Navy Destroys Pirate Mother Ship, Captures Pirates" Good news.

Representative Sample: Since its hijack, the vessel was being extensively used by the pirates to launch attacks on merchant vessels passing along the shipping lanes off the island chain.

4. "Human Rights Maps (117): Gun Rights in the U.S. and the World" Within the U.S. and comparisons to the rest of the world.

Representative Sample: It's a series of graphics.

5. "New Ground Zero Mosque Imam: Gays are Like Animals or Something" Anti-gay rhetoric from a Muslim cleric, shocking I know.

Representative Sample: I can't wait to see the Ground Zero Mosque's number one supporter, Mikey Bloomberg, come out and explain this one away. Ought to be quite amusing.

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

Saturday, January 29, 2011

HOT5 Daily 1/29/2011

1. "The Egypt We Paid For" Some excellent points.

Representative Sample: Any non-NDP government will include (or be lead by) the anti-American, anti-Israel Muslim Brotherhood, who regularly get a strong percentage of the vote in Egypt, though they are a banned party. Diehl may dream of a secular middle class, but the Brotherhood’s support comes mainly from the professional classes – doctors, lawyers, and other trade associations. The image of Muslim extremists as the poor, disenfranchised and easily-led is another self-flattering Western fantasy.

2. "Will Obama Lose Egypt the Way Carter Lost Iran? " It's not his to lose, but his incompetent reaction certainly isn't helping.

Representative Sample: Like the Carter Administration in the late 1970's it seems the Obama Administration has no solid grasp on events. I fear we may find ourselves six months from now with the loss of a great ally and an Egypt that is spiraling towards the same radicalim we saw in Iran with the result that the poison that was unleashed by the Ayatollahs will spread further.

3. "Exit and loyalty" I don't agree with the idea that there can always be some sort of exit plan, but an interesting argument.

Representative Sample: Great powers find themselves compelled to support regimes they consider problematic, unpleasant, or even odious. The United States is no exception. Many of its friends and allies have far greater democratic deficits than Egypt, although few receive more combined U.S. aid than Cairo does.

4. "The New Arab World Order" A broader and somewhat more optimistic perspective.

Representative Sample: The most telling aspect of the anti-regime demonstrations that have rocked the Arab world is what they are not about: They are not about the existential plight of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation; nor are they at least overtly anti-Western or even anti-American. The demonstrators have directed their ire against unemployment, tyranny, and the general lack of dignity and justice in their own societies.

5. "Obama’s New Anti-Satellite Weapons Push to Cede Space to the Chinese?" Surrendering a U.S. advantage for no gain, based on the usual naivete and wishful thinking that characterizes Obama foreign policy.

Representative Sample: the Obama administration is pushing for a U.S./EU agreement that would severely restrict our ASAT capabilities. Experts who back the administration describe it as a “not exactly binding” minor move, the upshot being that Obama wouldn’t have to secure Senate approval for the measure. But experts and congressional staffers both insist that it would significantly curb what we can do in space and would endanger our ability to develop and deploy both offensive and defensive assets

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

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sending the Wrong Message on Egypt

After initially remaining silent with regard to the Egyptian situation, the Obama administration decided to send exactly the wrong message. According to MSNBC, the administration will "review its $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt." In addition, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton directly criticized the Mubarak regime.
"We are deeply concerned about the use of violence by Egyptian police and security forces against protesters, and we call on the Egyptian government to do everything in its power to restrain the security forces," ... "We urge the Egyptian authorities to allow peaceful protests and to reverse the unprecedented steps it has taken to cut off communication," Clinton said. "These protests underscore that there are deep grievances within Egyptian society, and the Egyptian government needs to understand that violence will not make these grievances go away."
She called for the government to,
"engage immediately" with opposition groups and others to make broad economic, political and social changes.

Unfortunately it doesn't surprise me to see this level of Carteresque stupidity and diplomatic incompetence from the Obama administration. The last thing we should be doing is trying to undermine an allied regime. We should be reassuring Mubarak of our support, and making nothing more than bland statements of regret for the violence and unrest. Telling Mubarak that he should "engage" with those who want to overthrow his regime is complete idiocy, as is dropping hints that we are going to cut-off support. We are pushing him to do the things that will loosen his grip and cause his government to collapse. It's almost as if the administration wants to see another hostile Islamic republic in the Middle East. They obviously don't, but their foolish statements and attempts to triangulate make the downfall of Mubarak more likely.

HOT5 Daily 1/28/2011

1. "Socialism and Football" Outstanding essay.

Representative Sample: All disavowals of the individual come in the form of an appeal to a “greater good”. This metaphysical murder of the individual is committed by atheists and theists alike. For the Christians, the greater good is Jesus. For Muslims, the greater good is Allah. For secular humanists who are almost always socialists, it’s society. For communists, it’s also society or the community. These systems all have one thing in common: they all propose that some external power takes priority over the individual.

2. "The Presidential Naysayers Guide" This is pretty close to my views on the potential GOP presidential candidates.

Representative Sample: to get out front on the absolutely prime reasons why, from a certain vantage point, nobody is worthy of the nomination, here is the pessimist's view of the potential Republican field.

3. "The Aim of Blood Libels" Excerpts and links a good article.

Representative Sample: For Israelis, the American Left's assault on Sarah Palin and the conservative movement in the wake of Jared Loughner's murderous attack in Tucson was disturbingly familiar.

4. "Why Only TEN Commandments?" Good point.

Representative Sample: The Bible actually contains far more than 10 commandments. There are literally hundreds of things the Old Testament proscribes and prescribes

5. "An Israeli Return to Sinai?" A possible scenario that could arise depending on what happens in Egypt.

Representative Sample: If the Mubarek government falls, as happened quickly to the government in Tunisia, the Israelis rightly would be worried about the impact on the peace treaty. If an Islamist government were to take hold in Egypt, there is no telling how the situation in the Sinai could deteriorate. The role of the Egyptian military as a political force in maintaining the military aspects of the peace treaty would be paramount.

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

Thursday, January 27, 2011

No HOT5 Today due to Snow

We had a fun night and morning here with sleet and freezing rain followed by a foot of snow. I left work last night at 9:45pm and it took me an hour and 15 min to go 20 miles to get home. On the way I saw three abandoned cars that had slid off the road, and two people hopelessly stuck in intersections.

I just got done shoveling a large amount of wet snow and slush. It's probably no big deal to those who live in colder areas, but here in NJ a foot of snow is a major annoyance.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

HOT5 Daily 1/26/2011

1. "Obama: More government" Another good response to the SOTU.

Representative Sample: For a man with such big ears, Barack Obama sure cannot hear. He wants bigger government.

2. "This is the Most Important Story: Lebanon Burns; America Snores" Maybe so, but I'm not exactly sure what we can or should do about it.

Representative Sample: What do you think the rest of the region is going to take away from this? America cannot or will not protect you. Islamism and Iran are the wave of the future. Submit or die. And that's even before Tehran gets nuclear weapons. The way things are going, maybe Iran doesn't even need them.

3. "Public Education Needs Transparency & Competition, Not More Money" Understatement of the day. The last thing we should be spending more money on is public education.

Representative Sample: Watch this video to get an idea of why public K-12 education is the most unaccountable, least transparent government service in the nation

4. "Christopher Hitchens, Surrender of Reason" A good statement.

Representative Sample: It's a graphic.

5. "Why Should This Be A Big Deal?" Good question.

Representative Sample: Ohio says it's switching its lethal injection drug from a scarce anesthetic to one commonly used in surgery as a shortage of the drug normally used for executions has worsened.

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

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

No Need to Respond to State of the Union

Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post did it for me.
In a nutshell: Obama proposed a ton of new domestic spending, promised to freeze discretionary spending (attained by savaging defense), abstained from offering specifics on entitlement reform and largely ignored major foreign policy changes.
She breaks it down in more detail, but it was what you'd expect from Obama: more big government and more spending.

Egypt and the Difference Between Personal Feelings and American Interests

In my opinion one of the main things that leads people into unrealistic and counterproductive foreign policy positions is the tendency to view issues through the lens of personal feelings, as opposed to a more detached view focused on American interests. The current situation in Egypt serves as a prime example. I'm sure a majority of Americans look at the protests/riots in Egypt and sympathize with the protesters. We enjoy our rights and freedom in this country, and as Americans we naturally feel that it would be nice if Egyptians didn't have to live under a repressive authoritarian regime. Why shouldn't they be able to choose their own leaders, instead of having a president for life supported by the military and a nasty police state apparatus?

Such an attitude is perfectly fine for ordinary Americans. But if policy makers allow these types of personal feelings to cloud their judgment, it can influence policy in a way that isn't conducive to advancing U.S. interests. As I've argued many times on this blog, the primary focus of U.S. leaders should be to protect and advance American interests. We don't elect people to look out for the interests of Egyptians. And the unfortunate reality of the Egyptian situation is this: the collapse of the Mubarak regime, or greater Egyptian democracy does not appear to be in the U.S. interest. Regardless of our natural sympathy for the Egyptian people, the fact remains that Mubarak is an ally of the U.S. in whom we have invested a great deal. If he could be replaced by a friendly Egyptian democracy, that would be great. But it is far more likely that a new political system would include strong Islamist elements, and be much less cooperative with the U.S. We need only to look toward the results of greater democracy and less military influence in Turkey, let alone what happened with the overthrow of the Shah of Iran. The last thing we need right now is a large, important Middle Eastern country turning from ally to neutral or even hostile.

HOT5 Daily 1/25/2011

1. "Morning Bell: State of Denial" Including the same unsupported claims about how all the spending saved or created jobs.

Representative Sample: This is only President Barack Obama’s second State of the Union, but his failed economic agenda has already forced him into early reruns. After more than $800 billion in Keynesian economic stimulus spending, our nation is still mired in a post World War II record 20th consecutive month of near double digit unemployment. Our national deficit stands at $14.06 trillion and we may hit the $14.29 trillion debt ceiling as early as this spring. Our country desperately needs a change direction, but that is not what we will get

2. "10 Global Issues Obama Won't Talk About But Should" I don't know. Asking for Obama to pay more attention to foreign policy issues is probably a bad idea given his incompetence in that area.

Representative Sample: Mexico: Arguably, the most important foreign-policy question to the United States isn't Iran or Afghanistan or China -- but neighboring Mexico, where nearly 35,000 people have died over the last five years as a result of the raging narcowar. Since Mexican President Felipe Calderón began his crackdown on drug cartels in 2006, Mexico has been transformed -- and not necessarily for the better. The United States is intimately involved in the conflict

3. "The Chronicle Review Highlights Trite Anti-Atheist Memes" Atheism isn't just attacked from the religious right, but also the religious left. This is a good response to one particular piece.

Representative Sample: Asma’s argument doesn’t have much credibility to preserve and his title is only the beginning of his ad hominem. In fact, his piece covers all the memetic bases when it comes to baseless critiques of atheism. He smears atheists with Marx’s endorsement, then hammers home the stereotype of amorality with Khmer Rouge and Red Guard, stopping just short of Nazism, but not before the damage is done.

4. "Accidental gun deaths vs. accidental medical deaths" Interesting link to a comparison.

Representative Sample: PoliFacts Florida checks out the NRA statement that more people die from medical accidents than do from firearm accidents and rates it mostly true. Their conclusion is that the statement made is entirely true, although the data is imperfect, and the comparison only includes accidents.

5. "Activists Find It’s Easier to Slur Peter King than to Look in the Mirror" What else is new? Smears are a first resort.

Representative Sample: Ever since Rep. Peter King announced his plans to hold hearings on the influence of radical Islam on the rise of homegrown terrorism in this country, he has been subjected to a furious backlash from groups purporting to represent American Muslims and their cheerleaders in the media.

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

Monday, January 24, 2011

Our Snail's Pace Criminal Justice System

According to ABC News, the case against the Jared Loughner will take years to process.

The man accused of carrying out the mass shooting in Tucson faces a court hearing Monday — an early step in a case against Jared Loughner that could take years to wend its way through the criminal justice system.
In my opinion this case could be wrapped up in a few months, let alone years. There's no question about Loughner's guilt. The procedural maneuvering detailed by ABC is a gigantic waste of time and money. The key question is whether or not Loughner is insane to the point where he isn't responsible for his own actions. I'm skeptical of this argument, since he was apparently able to function normally in society. But maybe he really is that crazy. If he is, then the death penalty shouldn't even be an option. He should be confined for life in a facility for the criminally insane.

If Loughner is not truly insane, then the case should be open and shut. There's no risk of sentencing an innocent man to death. Obviously he should be charged with the death penalty, convicted and executed. There's no good reason it should take years. But it probably will.

HOT5 Daily 1/24/2011

1. "Bad ideas in government last forever" One of the main reasons we should think twice before rushing into new big government programs.

Representative Sample: If ever there was a bad idea for a government policy, support of ethanol would rank right up there. It is contributing to rising grain prices which are rippling through the rest of the economy, yet it is not achieving any of the environmental benefits it was supposed to.

2. "Poll: 68% Prefer Lower Taxes, Less Services" No doubt even more prefer lower taxes and more services.

Representative Sample: We hold the advantage in this debate. Obama will give his SOTU tomorrow and he’ll try to dangle government goodies in front of people as a means of deflect everyone away from the necessary budget cuts. Democrats and their MSM lap dogs will be on and on over the next few weeks that any cut, any where, will result in granny having to eat dog food.

3. "Atheism Shouldn't Offend...But It Often Does" Our very existence is offensive to many people.

Representative Sample: For better or worse, Ricky Gervais, is receiving quite a bit of attention recently for being an atheist. In this interview, the interviewer actually suggests that simply disclosing his atheism somehow involves mocking the religious.

4. "Hot Topics On The Islamic Internet" A look at open terrorist discussions.

Representative Sample: terrorists have gone over to a more public form of leadership and planning. Thus the importance of the Internet, which most Islamic terrorists, and potential recruits and donors, have access to.

5. "FoxNews Hires Olbermann" A new job.

Representative Sample: It's a graphic.

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

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Not Politcally Radical

I'm not a political radical according to the quiz, "Are You a Political Radical?"
You Are 28% Politically Radical
You've got a few unusual political ideas, but overall you're a pretty mainstream person. Chances are that you're turned off by both the radical right and looney left.
My more radical ideas tend to be in foreign policy, and the quiz focuses on domestic issues.

h/t blonde sagacity

HOT5 Daily 1/23/2011

1. "Obama's State of the Union: If There's Anything We Learned From the Last Two Years, It's That We Know How to Spend Your Money Better Than You Do" Taxing and spending.

Representative Sample: These are the economic qualifications of the very same masterminds who are in the process of nationalizing the health care sector. ... It's time to turn the bums out -- and let's be quite uncivil about it.

2. "Noblesse Oblige" Double standard for the West.

Representative Sample: Cecil Rhodes, who once admonished people to “remember that you are an Englishman, and have consequently won first prize in the lottery of life” would have been surprised to learn there are all kinds of advantages to being non-Western in the modern world. For one thing you are far less likely to be accused of racism, colonialism or human rights violations.

3. "Why I Carry a Firearm" Some good ones.

Representative Sample: Because with a Smith and Wesson, it doesn't matter that I have the upper body strength of Justin Bieber.

4. "Not all assassination attempts are newsworthy" Just ones that can be used to smear the right.

Representative Sample: even a real assassination attempt on a Republican governor was not considered newsworthy by the legacy media.

5. "Navy One Step Closer to Using Lasers for Ship Defense" the march of technology.

Representative Sample: scientists at Los Alamos National Lab last month demonstrated the technology, known as a Free Electron Laser, needed to generate a one megawatt beam that could one day provide light-speed close-in defense of Navy ships.

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

Saturday, January 22, 2011

No HOT5 Today

It will return tomorrow. Sorry about the light posting this past week. I've been tied up with a bunch of stuff.

Friday, January 21, 2011

HOT5 Daily 1/21/2011

1. "Top Ten Tragedies Exploited by the Left" It was probably difficult to narrow it down to just 10.

Representative Sample: Paul Wellstone, US Senator from Minnesota, his wife and one child died in a plane crash 11 days before the election for his third term. The “memorial” service put on by the Democrats in Minnesota was so partisan, so ugly, the governor at the time, Jesse Ventura and Trent Lott were forced to leave early to boos from the crowd. What was supposed to be a memorial service turned into an all out foaming-at-the-mouth leftist rally.

2. "Short-term success, long-term mistake" I'm not even sure it qualifies as short-term success.

Representative Sample: The attacks on the Tea Party were like mass public burnings of Norman Rockwell paintings. It was an assault by crazed radicals on small-town America. Based on decades in the conservative movement, I can assure you that the left and the ruling-class media aren’t sorry about their disgraceful, hypocritical conduct against Americans who are justifiably fed up and taking peaceful steps consistent with their rights.

3. "My Top Ten Grievances Against the Bible" A pretty good list.

Representative Sample: 5. Revelation. Dreams, voices, visions... they are all reminiscent of what today would be considered symptoms of psychosis. If they're psychotic symptoms now, they very likely would have been then, if they even happened. Primitive people can't be faulted for believing that dreams or migraine auras or psychotic breaks came from some supernatural entity, but we shouldn't believe them now.

4. "South Korea Takes Back Ship from Somali Pirates" How to deal with pirates.

Representative Sample: South Korea chose not to wring its hands in despair over a Somali pirate captured ship and took positive action by storming and recapturing a vessel. Samho Jewelry, recently taken by Somali pirates

5. "More Errors Than You Can Count" Debunking a typical ignorant media piece regarding guns.

Representative Sample: It’s been a while since I’ve done a good fisking, but the media has me in the mood to demonstrate their complete ignorance of this subject.

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

Thursday, January 20, 2011

HOT5 Daily 1/20/2011

1. "Some on the right have given up on Sarah Palin" For good reason in my opinion.

Representative Sample: It pleases me greatly to see people finally seeing Sarah Palin for what she really is; a political opportunist, who has zero business being President of the United States of America, much less anything else.

2. "What’s With the Left’s Hate for Lieberman?" I'm surprised he even has to ask.

Representative Sample: Joe Lieberman is no conservative. But for a quarter of a century he has voted for America’s security over the short-sighted dovishness of his party. His deviations from liberal orthodoxy were few, and more rhetoric than reality. But that was enough to make him a hate figure on the Left.

3. "where would we be?" Without the God of the Gaps.

Representative Sample: It's a cartoon.

4. "Cyber-Abuse and Bullying" A pretty severe case.

Representative Sample: The worst case of cyber-bullying I’ve ever seen recently happened to Dean’s World contributor Celia Farber. Just in mainstream journalism, some of the things I’ve seen written about her have been simply awful. But late last year I bore mute witness as, for weeks, something took place that went into the realm of the surreal: a prominent musician and her cronies, on a public Facebook page read by thousands, openly called for her death–a violent death of torture–over and over again.

5. "Survey Says Today's Kids are Technology Savvy" Just in case you don't have kids and aren't already well-aware of that fact.

Representative Sample: A survey from Internet security firm (and virus protection maker) AVG reveals that more kids know how to play video games than how to ride a bike, swim or even tie their shoes.

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

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

HOT5 Daily 1/19/2011

1. "Central and South America Are A Toxic Brew" A bleak picture.

Representative Sample: One could say that during the first decade of the century, nowhere has the intersection of globalization, organized crime and political violence been more fully realized than in Central and South America.

2. "'smart regulation' point of interest" About as smart as "smart power."

Representative Sample: When your regulation is more anti-innovation than the French, you know the pendulum has swung too far. Of course, Barack Obama will never confess that the new, er, "diligence" of the FDA toward medical devices is a policy of his appointees and his administration. In addition to a general antipathy toward enterprise

3. "You’re not my brother, pal" People worry about innocuous x-mas trees on public property. How about a governor who uses his office to preach Christianity?

Representative Sample: I’m fairly confident you’ll agree that a governor should be someone who places the good of the voting public above his private beliefs, but unfortunately it seems as though not everyone shares this attitude

4. "Fannie/Freddie = BIG government. Do Republicans really want smaller government?" Good analysis.

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. "First, Protect the Church" Even if that means protecting molesters.

Representative Sample: I prefer to believe that family members who belong to the Catholic Church aren’t donating their time and sending their money to an organization with morally bankrupt leaders.

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

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

People Who Hate Walmart

I happened to notice a story about protests against a new Walmart in Washington D.C. Here's a link to the protest website. As a regular Walmart shopper, I find hatred of the company silly and in some cases downright stupid. Since it's the largest retail chain, almost everyone knows people who hate Walmart and refuse to shop there. I break-down Walmart-haters into four broad categories. Some people fall into more than one.

1. Ideological haters. Although there are some on the right, ideological Walmart hate is found mostly on the left. For example, Walmart's anti-union stance is an obvious negative to the left, whereas it is a positive on the right. I find ideological dislike of corporations generally pretty irrational. If you look at most huge companies, you are probably going to find practices you don't agree with for whatever reason. Is that a good reason not to shop there? Not for me it isn't. I view people who make shopping decisions based primarily on ideology as naive and silly.

2. The well-off. By well-off I mean people who have enough money that they shop wherever they like best, without really caring about price differences. They regard Walmart and most discount retail stores as unnecessary to their lifestyle. They wouldn't be caught dead in Walmart because they think it's for poor people.

3. Snobs. These differ from the well-off in that their dislike of Walmart is based on their perception of who shops there. Unlike the well-off, these snobs could stand to save some money; but they'd rather pay more because they just can't stand the idea of shopping at Walmart.

4. The ignorant. These Walmart haters will tell you that it sells nothing but cheap junk. They claim they'd rather pay a little more for quality products. I laugh at these people who apparently don't know that Walmart carries name-brand products just like other retailers, if that's what you are looking for. But if you are dumb enough to pay more for toilet paper, paper towels, pet food and numerous other identical products, feel free. I'm sure the higher-priced retailers appreciate your ignorance.

Unlike Walmart-haters, I love Walmart and have to laugh anytime someone starts ranting about how bad the company is. I live in a small town with one grocery store. It's a very nice, well-stocked store. But it's expensive. About ten miles away is a regular Walmart, unfortunately not a supercenter. Within the past year it added produce to its selection, so it has pretty much everything but butchered meats and deli. The selection of grocery items isn't anywhere near as good as the supermarket, but it has many of the items that our family buys. Here's just a couple of examples of why I love Walmart.

Breakfast cereal. The cereal I eat costs about $5.50 at the grocery store. At Walmart it's $4.

Apples. I eat at least one apple every day. At the grocery store apples go for around $1.69 to $1.99 a pound. Apples are heavy. At Walmart I can get a bag of around a dozen apples from about 2.75 to 3.95 for the entire bag depending on apple variety.

I know there are many poor people in Washington D.C. They'd benefit greatly from having a Walmart to shop at. Hopefully they won't be stupid enough to join in union-organized protests.

HOT5 Daily 1/18/2011

1. "Civil Rights and civility" One of the many examples of why I laugh at the notion that demonizing political opponents is somehow exclusive to the right.

Representative Sample: In light of the Left's new-found fondness for "civility", perhaps we should look at the inflammatory rhetoric directed squarely at the Republican party (and in general, all who hold conservative beliefs) by the very people who claim absolute moral authority on matters of tolerance and equality.

2. "The government is a poor assigner of resources" Understatement. Links to an article about the waste of money on non-existent "green jobs."

Representative Sample: It’s not like these grants are being given to research and development programs at big name schools focusing on developing new renewable energy technology, either. They’re being given to universities and community colleges to train students in technical or associate degree programs to work in yet-to-be-developed fields.

3. "Can Andrew Sullivan Be Far Behind Jared Loughner?" I was wondering if someone would go there.

Representative Sample: Who's to say? But one can do is to look at similar milestones that Jared Loughner had left and see how they stack up against Andrew Sullivan. Maybe-- before it's too late-- an intervention could be set up so that no one can be hurt. This time.

4. "56% of Democrats Believe Palin Map Myth" The big lie technique apparently convinced a majority of Democrats and a fair amount of others lacking logical reasoning ability.

Representative Sample: That a total of 35% of people (and 56% of Democrats) believe that a Palin map Loughner never saw contributed in some meaningful way to the shooting demonstrates the method to the madness of those who were spreading the Palin map myth before all the dead had been counted.

5. "IAI delivers 12 UAVs to Russia in key deal" Arms deals as a method of diplomacy. I'm skeptical about the wisdom of Israeli thinking.

Representative Sample: The delivery of the short-range Bird-Eye 400 and I-View Mk 150 aircraft, plus the longer-range Searcher II, in recent weeks is part of an Israeli effort to encourage the Russians not to provide Iran and Syria with advanced weapons systems that could threaten the Jewish state

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

Monday, January 17, 2011

HOT5 Daily 1/17/2011

1. "The Fallacy of Progressive Thought" A good dissection.

Representative Sample: In order to embark upon this counter-intuitive, frustrating journey, one must understand that Progressive belief, theory and policy is non-falsifiable. In other words, it cannot, by any means, human or Divine, be proved false. It is, in essence, as I pointed out in my recent PJM essay (available here), an article of faith, and any reality that does not comport with it is not reality at all and can and must be ignored.

2. "Top 10 Obama Administration Investigation Targets" A couple of these should be avoided by the GOP.

Representative Sample: Rep. Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.), the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has signaled he will conduct numerous oversight investigations of the Obama Administration. Here are the Top 10 areas ripe for investigation for Issa and other congressional Republicans

3. "How Not to Promote Freedom in Africa" Long but worth reading.

Representative Sample: Ever since Carter and Reagan put human rights and democracy, respectively, high on their foreign policy agendas, we have spent a lot of money and expended quite a lot of hot rhetorical air, but achieved very little.

4. "PSEUDO OPERATIONS - FIGHTING FIRE WITH FIRE" The military could use more of this sort of thinking.

Representative Sample: Well trained and led pseudo teams, operating off current intelligence can wreak havoc amongst the enemy and decimate its ranks. But to do that, we need to adjust our thinking and our approach. But it bears remembering that pseudo teams are not “special forces” – instead they are irregular troops operating under normal command and control.

5. "Roles reversed: Fox shoots hunter in the leg." Fox goes down fighting.

Representative Sample: According to police reports in the region, while fox hunting, a 40-year-old hunter happened to shoot a fox close to the border with Poland.

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

Sunday, January 16, 2011

No HOT5 Today

It will return tomorrow.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

HOT5 Daily 1/15/2011

1. "The Dangling Grand Bargain" Diplomacy & strategy.

Representative Sample: In today’s West, dominated by those high on the heady drug of global meliorism, the mere act of talking has somehow become an end unto itself. Whether it’s a “peace process”, “six-party talks”, “quartet”, “agreed framework”, “security council resolution”, or some other high-falutin’ hogwash, Western diplomacy resembles is more the decrepit liturgy of a dying baroque cult than the hard-nosed power brokering beloved by naïve realists.

2. "Where's the rest of the libertarian movement on Radical Islam?" Good question.

Representative Sample: numerous other left-leaning libertarian sites completely avoid the subject for obvious reasons; sites like,, and many of the Ron Paul sites. To talk of the threat of Radical Islam, would bring up the uncomfortable subject of what to do about it, for these hard-line non-interventionist/isolationists.

3. "How Does the Vatican Decide What's a Miracle?" You might think an actual miracle would be so obvious and clearly verifiable -- say an amputated arm growing back -- that it wouldn't need such a long, involved process. But amazingly enough that isn't the case.

Representative Sample: In an ideal version of the process, a grassroots movement grows in a community as people come to the conclusion that the person lived a saintly life. The local bishop then "opens a cause" and performs his own investigation. If he's satisfied, the cause is then referred to Rome.

4. "Speaking Rhetoric and Pulling Triggers" It's nice to see that this liberal atheist, whose blog I read pretty often, has not abandoned reason regarding the Tucson case.

Representative Sample: hip-hop doesn't cause gang violence, heavy metal doesn't create self-destructive teens, pornography doesn't instill in men an immoderate interest in sex, and "because I was offended by that cartoon / work of art / pointed question" is not a valid excuse for god-addled violence. Accordingly, it must be true -- mustn't it? -- that right-wing bluster, up to and including Lady Also's idiotic cross-hairs, Sharron Angle's "2nd amendment remedies," and Glen Beck's insipid tear-soaked paranoid rants -- do not, in any important way, cause mass shootings.

5. "A cartoon worthy of a stand-alone post" Definitely.

Representative Sample: It's a cartoon.

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Tim Pawlenty and Bryan Fischer

While skimming through the left-wing blogosphere, I came across a post at Right Wing Watch about an interview former Minnesota Governor and presumed GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty did on the radio show of Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association. Pawlenty has been talked about as a potential presidential candidate since before the 2008 election. I still don't know that much about him, but the fact that he's doing interviews with Bryan Fischer automatically makes me take a more negative view of him.

Right Wing Watch may be a biased left-wing site, but if you look through its links on Bryan Fischer, you will see plenty of examples of his own words that illustrate just how much of an embarrassment he is to any rational person on the right. I recently wrote a post in response to his ludicrous and offensive assertion that the Medal of Honor has been "feminized." As someone who takes a realistic view of politics, I understand that would-be presidential candidates have to interact with some extreme elements of their party bases. But on a visceral level, the fact that Pawlenty appears on Fischer's show and grants him a measure of legitimacy makes me recoil. In my opinion, GOP candidates would be best served by keeping contacts with the likes of Bryan Fischer to a minimum.

HOT5 Daily 1/14/2011

1. "The Left's Fetish With Its Own Paranoid Hatred" Includes link to another excellent article.

Representative Sample: Sarah Palin no more "thrust" or "inserted" herself into the Tucson story than Richard Jewell forced himself into the spotlight after the Atlanta Olympics bombing.

2. "Censorship Overlords Strike Again...26 Years Later " The ludicrous extent of political correctness north of the border.

Representative Sample: Welcome to Canada. Home of hockey, Tim Hortons's donuts, the world's best beer, and the constant attack on free speech.

3. "Top Ten Things We Can't Say Anymore" Going with the left's theory that anything term or phrase in any way related to violence, regardless of it's context, might set of some lunatic -- as long as someone on the right is saying it of course. Left-wingers can use whatever rhetoric they want.

Representative Sample: According to the Dept. of Homeland Security the following words, phrases and idioms are henceforth verboten

4. "Your Daily Woo: What's Your Sign?" If those birth signs actually meant anything, how is it they can be arbitrarily changed?

Representative Sample: I love seeing people freak out that their Zodiac tattoos are now incorrect. Are you passionate or intelligent now? Are you compatible with an Aries or not?

5. "Anti-Gun Metaphor Congressman: Obama had to put on a "double barrel" effort last night" Uh oh. Alert the violent language police.

Representative Sample: Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) managed to inadvertently illustrate why his clarion call for political rhetoric free from such metaphors is both impractical and impossible.

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

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Questions for the Palin Haters

Since you are so eager to smear Sarah Palin with a share of responsibility for the Arizona shootings, is it too much to ask that you produce one single scrap of evidence that there is even the most tenuous connection between Jared Loughner and Palin? Does he have a Sarah Palin poster in his room, a copy of her book, or maybe an autographed picture? Is there a print-out of her oh-so-scary crosshairs political chart on his wall? Did he attend any of her rallies? Anything? Any connection at all? And no, I don't mean a connection that exists only in your imagination.

Wouldn't it be reasonable to at least have even one minor connection before even speculating, let alone accusing, someone of any sort of responsibility for murder? Liberals are always whining about "fairness." Where's the fairness in accusing someone of complicity in murder without evidence?

Even if such a connection could be established -- which it hasn't been -- have you ever heard that correlation does not imply causation? Roosters crow when the sun rises in the morning. Do you believe that roosters have some responsibility for the sunrise?

For those upset with Sarah Palin's response -- as if she should just sit still while being smeared, or apologize for something she had nothing to do with -- how would you feel if some political opponents claimed, without offering any evidence, that the murderous actions of some unrelated lunatic were somehow influenced by your words and political literature? What if they then attacked you for defending yourself, claimed you were a bigot because of your choice of words, and redoubled their baseless accusations?

Would you think that the people leveling such attacks were worthy of any respect? Or would you consider them some combination of ignorant, intellectually-dishonest, and blinded by hatred?

HOT5 Daily 1/13/2011

1. "Progressives and Blood Libel" A must-link for the cartoon.

Representative Sample: It's a cartoon and links to some good articles.

2. "Somebody Could Have Gotten Killed" A good response to a William Saletan anti-gun article at Slate.

Representative Sample: The gun control folks want us to surrender our right to arm and defend ourselves and turn that responsibility over to the government. The government, time and time again, fails miserably at this. Think of what law enforcement typically does. They arrive after the crime has been committed or is in progress and they investigate and prosecute.

3. "A rant on the evolution of religion" That makes some excellent points.

Representative Sample: we are no more naturally religious than we are naturally football fans, or concert goers.

4. "Raising taxes: it’s what Democrats do!" Of course. Big government requires constant infusions of money.

Representative Sample: In last November’s elections, the Democrats retained control of both houses of the Illinois state legislature, though by diminished margins, and the gubernatorial seat. So, the old legislature rushed through a big tax increase, just hours before the new legislature was to be seated.

5. "Prepare Yourself for Rising Food Prices" From what I've observed they've already been going up. I'm not looking forward to further increases.

Representative Sample: Get ready for even higher food prices. The Financial Times reports that we’re getting closer to food price shock. While it will be difficult for us here in the US, it will be devastating for developing countries.

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

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

President Obama's Speech

President Obama delivered a fine speech in response to the Arizona shootings. Unlike much of the left-wing base, he did not attempt to politicize the shootings or smear his opponents on the right. In fact, he even addressed that issue to some extent.
what we can't do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.
Although I've been a severe critic of the president on many issues, I have to applaud his response as encapsulated by this speech. I think he struck exactly the right notes and said the sorts of things most Americans expect to hear from their president after a horrible tragedy. Good job President Obama.

An Excellent Example of Leftist Irrationality

I believe that most on the left pushing their current meme about the Arizona shooting -- that it was somehow inspired by violent right wing rhetoric and the political climate -- are intellectually dishonest and deliberate engaging in a big lie tactic. But it appears that some are actually dumb enough to believe their own propaganda -- either that or the echo chamber they inhabit makes them oblivious to to their own biased assumptions. I came across this post at the White Coat Underground, which is written by a doctor. From the links it appears that the blogger is a skeptic and possibly an atheist. So I wasn't expecting such a high level of irrationality. Let's consider it point by point.
Sarah Palin jumped the bigotry shark today, and bloggers are trying to explain just how offensive her comments really are.
Others have already explained why Palin's use of "blood libel" was legitimate. It isn't exclusively tied to anti-semitism. But of course this blogger is too clueless and lazy to check his preconceived notions. Smearing political opponents as bigots without evidence is common leftist tactic.
the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords and 19 others happened in a particular time and place, and history will look back at this context in trying to understand the event. What Sarah Palin and others in the New Right are arguing is that context is meaningless
I'm not sure what the "New Right" is supposed to be, but no one is arguing that context is meaningless. What people are arguing is that the leftist spin on events is a smear, given that there isn't the slightest shred of evidence connecting anyone on the right to that shooting.
that their inflammatory, violent rhetoric is irrelevant
The things that have been cited as violent and inflammatory are neither violent nor inflammatory, but simple, commonly-used metaphors and symbols. And they are irrelevant because they have no connection whatsoever to this particular case.
and that the left is just as bad, which is patently absurd—we hate guns, remember?
The left isn't just as bad, it is worse. As many have already pointed out, there is at least as much violent rhetoric and use of symbols on the left.
Right wing reactionaries use gun rhetoric and Christian imagery and language to speak to their base, including such statements as “don’t retreat, reload”, and posting pictures of “targeted” districts like Rep. Giffords’ with gun sights on them.
Everyone uses those types of metaphors and symbols in political campaigns. This clown has apparently never heard of "targeting" someone for defeat. The idea that saying "reload" is somehow violent when you understand the context is laughable.
Giffords is gunned down by a presumed nut-job who easily purchased a firearm and ammunition, a “right” favored by the New Right.
Owning a firearm is a right favored by the constitution, something not exactly held in much regard on the left. It's also supported by a strong majority of America, something you might not know if you live only on the left-wing fringe.
He drew and fired on her point blank range, rendering idiotic any claims that being personally armed could have helped her.
This guy is on a roll for clueless assertions. There have been numerous times when someone faced an attacker already pointing a gun at them who successfully drew and used his own weapon in self-defense.

He then continues with his false assertions about the term blood libel, which is not just used with regard to the Jews.
Palin, who favors eliminationist rhetoric directed at, in this case, a liberal Jewish Congresswoma
No, actually she doesn't. This is a flat-out lie. She called for her defeat, not her "elimination." It sounds like this guy has been reading too much of Paul Krugman's crazed ranting.
absolves herself of any responsibility for the violence
Maybe because she has absolutely no responsibility for the actions of some lunatic who had nothing to do with her.
for the violence just happens to bear close resemblance to her rhetoric.
Maybe in left wing world where Sarah Palin-hatred dominates over rational thought. In the real world, the violence bears no relationship to anything Palin said. And even if it did, there's no evidence Loughner ever read a single thing by Sarah Palin. But let's just ignore that and smear her anyway.
Part of her reasoning is that it’s just rhetoric, and the guy was a nut.
Because the guy was a nut.
She then claims harm from the rhetoric leveled against her.
Really? I wonder why? Why would someone claim harm from being smeared in connection with violence she had nothing to do with? That's just too difficult for this logically-challenged blogger to understand.
I’m not one to see an anti-Semite behind every door, but this is blatantly anti-Semetic rhetoric, giving a whole new appearance to the attack.
He's not one to see an anti-Semite under ever door but he'll accuse someone of being an anti-Semite based on a supposed misuse of the term blood libel.

The majority of atheists are on the political left, and for many of them, their normal reliance on logic and evidence disappears when it comes to political issues, where they swallow leftist propaganda as if it were revealed truth. One of the main reasons I started this blog was to make it clear that not all atheists willing to speak out on political issues are on the left. When you see the kind of garbage that passes for political analysis at the White Coat Underground, you can understand that while I identify as an atheist and a skeptic, why I don't want to be associated with the left.

HOT5 Daily 1/12/2010

1. "The rarity of American political violence" Something worth pointing out.

Representative Sample: There's going to be a rollicking debate about whether political vitriol contributes to political violence. Fine. But let's put things in perspective -- extremist rhetoric or not, this kind of thing is blessedly rare in the American polity.

2. "The Extreme Rhetoric about Extreme Rhetoric (With Bonus Fake Sinclair Lewis Fascism Quote!)" An excellent take-down of the current smears and demagoguery.

Representative Sample: Crawling out from under an avalanche of doltish tragedy blogging and tweeting, there isn’t much more one can say about the shootings in Tucson that hasn’t already been said by the few sensible pundits left in the United States. But it is perhaps worth pointing out that many of those denouncing rhetorical extremism are themselves in danger of drifting into similar territory (I won’t say "extremist" because dumb political rhetoric isn’t always "extreme").

3. "Game Changer?" A balanced assessment of the new Chinese fighter and its possible impact.

Representative Sample: From Beijing's perspective, there is an on-going shift of military power in the Far East, symbolized by the J-20. No wonder the jet's late December roll-out was accompanied by quickly-leaked photos of the aircraft. While the J-20 won't be operational for another 7-8 years, it represents a potential game-changer in the region, since Beijing will (likely) produce scores of the new aircraft--far more than the 187 F-22s in the USAF inventory--and possibly export the new stealth jet as well.

4. "Gun control is going nowhere" Hopefully he's correct.

Representative Sample: All the PSH from the antigunners over the Arizona massacre is not going to amount to anything. There is simply no public or political support for more gun control.

5. "Beware Warmonger Imperialist Space Aliens!?" Interesting reading with many other good links.

Representative Sample: Cthulhu and quite a few of the Dreaded Old Ones weren't so much opposed to humanity, as indifferent. Which was still bad for humanity. It's like when a squirrel wanders into a transformer. The utility company isn't engaged in a pogrom against squirrels: the incinerated critter just made a wrong turn.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Knee-Jerk Feel-Good Legislation

According to the Huffington Post, Representative Peter King (R - NY), will sponsor new legislation involving guns. The proposed law would

make it illegal to bring a gun within 1,000 feet of a government official ... It is already illegal in the U.S. to carry a gun within 1,000 feet of a school. King's legislation to make it illegal to knowingly carry a gun within 1,000 feet of the president, vice president, members of Congress or judges of the Federal Judiciary, would offer government officials the same protection.
It's disappointing that such a typical knee-jerk reaction comes from a member of the GOP. No doubt Peter King and others who support such a law are well-aware that it does nothing to prevent the type of incident that occurred in Arizona. Lunatics who stalk and gun down their targets, along with various bystanders, are not exactly noted for obeying laws of any kind. I'm sure if this law had been in place the Arizona killer would have stopped and thought, hey, wait a minute. I can't go shoot Congresswoman Giffords. I'm not allowed to bring a gun within a thousand feet of her. Oh well, I guess I'll have to leave her alone.

This is yet another standard example of a politician responding to the idea that we have to do something, anything, no matter how pointless it might be. If he gets a new law passed he can pretend to have addressed the problem, claim credit for being tough on crime against government officials, and add another talking point to his campaign advertising.

If Some Lunatic Shoots Sarah Palin, Should We Blame Andrew Sullivan?

Of all the Palin-haters on the internet, there's probably no one with a higher profile than Andrew Sullivan. I doubt there is anyone who has done more to demonize Palin. Oh there are plenty of people who spew hatred of Palin, but Sullivan does it from a heavily-trafficked blog at The Atlantic. And unlike most of those on the left, who are easily recognizable as fringe loons, Sullivan is not only highly prolific, but an excellent writer who comments on all sorts of subjects. On the rare occasion he even offers a reasonable analysis. Casual readers not familiar with him and his obsession with Sarah Palin might be inclined to take him seriously.

Let's suppose someone shows up at a Sarah Palin speech and shoots her along with various bystanders. The shooter is clearly disturbed, has no clear political ideology, and harbors a grudge against Palin. There's no evidence he's ever read anything by Andrew Sullivan, and to all appearances he acted based on his own unbalanced mental condition. Would it be reasonable to blame Andrew Sullivan for the shooting, or even to suggest that he's created the climate that made such a shooting likely? Should we comb through his writings to see if he ever used any sort of violent imagery in any way, no matter how routine or innocuous, with reference to Palin? Despite the fact that Sullivan has never advocated violence against Palin, would he still bear some responsibility for the shooting? In my opinion the answer is no, and that answer should be blatantly obvious. I'm sure Sullivan himself would be appalled at the notion that he might bear some blame for the actions of a deranged individual. But of course, like the intellectually dishonest, logically-challenged individual that he is, he has no problem trying to tie Palin to the Arizona incident despite the fact that she had nothing to do with it.

It shouldn't even need to be pointed out, but there is absolutely no evidence at all that the current state of political discourse, the political climate, or whatever else people are calling it had anything at all to do with this shooting. No one knows for sure what drives this type of killer to commit his actions. But people don't like to admit that they just have no idea what causes such shootings. They prefer to look for something or someone to blame. And who better to blame than political opponents?

HOT5 Daily 1/11/2011

1. "The Hateful Left" A good analysis.

Representative Sample: while little useful can be said about the murders themselves, the rush to narrative of our dishonest and increasingly desperate leftist media does have to be addressed. The Left—which has been unable to discover any common feature uniting acts of Islamist violence worldwide—nonetheless instantly noticed a bridge between the Tucson shooting and its own political opponents.

2. "Inflamed, Honest Rhetoric vs. Calm, Civil Smears: Which Is Preferable?" Exactly. The hypocrisy of people talking about "civility" while smearing political opponents as complicit in murder is staggering.

Representative Sample: Conservatives who have watched liberals blame them for an awful shooting understand exactly what I mean when I say this: that issuing a brutally ugly and false accusation, while wearing a mask of smiles and civility, is not civil. It is ugly and partisan and disgusting — far more so than any inflamed rhetoric, as long as that rhetoric is honest — and free from actual threats of violence.

3. "India Keen Not To Come Second To China In Africa" Economic competition.

Representative Sample: The Indian government is raising its diplomatic profile in Africa, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his cabinet leading several business delegations in recent years. Indian companies want to keep up with China’s business profile in Africa, taking advantage of historical ties with the continent.

4. "Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents" People with no religion at all number 3?

Representative Sample: It's a chart.

5. "Political opportunism never lets a crisis go to waste" Especially if it can be used to smear the right.

Representative Sample: all of this angst over political rhetoric is so overwrought and overblown as to be laughable. There has never been a time in the history of this land that the language hasn’t been rough or partisan. Never. Pretending this is the worst it has ever been is simply historically inaccurate.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Amazing Stupidity and Intellectual Dishonesty

I know I shouldn't be surprised that a shooting incident has brought forth such an outpouring of stupidity and intellectual dishonesty, but it is surprising in its intensity. Here's what we know so far, from what I've read. The shooter was an unstable individual with a penchant for conspiracy theories, and a specific grudge against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. That's really all we know for sure. But that hasn't stopped an amazing eruption of complete nonsense, mostly from the left and its enablers in the media. The ridiculous speculation that violent political imagery -- which is nothing new and no more intense than it has been in the past -- is somehow responsible for this incident, is actually being seriously discussed, instead of receiving the derisive laughter it deserves. People seething with intense hatred for Sarah Palin, who know full-well she had no connection whatsoever to this incident, have shamelessly tried to smear her with responsibility. Then there are the usual idiots who pretend that if we just passed another gun law, somehow these incidents could be avoided.

Unless some sort of multi-person conspiracy is unearthed, or a clear motivating ideology, as in the case of radical Islamists, this incident can be best explained by the same explanation that applies to most such one-person shooting sprees: nuts do crazy things. When you have someone whose outlook on life and reality is so out of whack that he's willing to kill a bunch of random people just to get someone he's formed a grudge against, there's no telling what might set him off. The idea, in the absence of any evidence, that he was somehow motivated by a politician or media figure you don't particularly like, even though those figures aren't actually calling for any violence, is utterly ludicrous. I believe most of the people pushing such theories know that, and are just behaving like the intellectually-dishonest hacks they are.

HOT5 Daily 1/10/2011

1. "Man-caused disaster: us and them" Pretty much says it all about the left and its attempt to exploit the Arizona shooting.

Representative Sample: So far, it would seem the vicious, hate-mongering Left has beclowned itself yet again with another cheap attempt to score political points off the bodies of those killed yesterday, murdered by a guy who, it appears at this writing, leans far more Left than he ever did Right. But it’s worse than that

2. "Violence, Government Violence, and Anti-Government Rhetoric" Worth thinking about.

Representative Sample: I long for the day that our political and media figures get as indignant about innocent Americans killed by their own government—killed in fact, as a direct and foreseeable consequence of official government policy that nearly all of those leaders support—as they are about a government official who was targeted by a clearly sick and deranged young man.

3. "Iran Nuclear Sabotage Helps Delay Inevitable" Keep it coming.

Representative Sample: Sabotage operations include the widely publicized Stuxnet virus, which has wreaked havoc on Iran’s facilities. But there have also been other less-reported operations that have helped slow the nuclear process.

4. "Saudi Arabia: rape victim to be whipped" Why people have negative views of Islam & Muslims, reason #5540409890.

Representative Sample: In the Islamic police state of Saudi Arabia, however, which is governed by the totalitarian Sharia code of religious law and which treats women as little better than a man’s property, that same rape victim gets sent to jail and given 100 lashes

5. "5 Reasons Why Meoweh is Better than Yahweh" Amusing.

Representative Sample: It's a series of graphics.

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

Sunday, January 9, 2011

No HOT5 Today

Sorry, I've been wrapped up with the NFL playoffs. It will return tomorrow.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

HOT5 Daily 1/8/2011

1. "This Week at War: Gates's China Syndrome" Operating on the basis of wishful thinking about China? It wouldn't be the first time.

Representative Sample: Gates continues to hope that a sustained military-to-military relationship between the United States and China will allow both sides to discuss their intentions and thus avoid dangerous misunderstandings.

2. "A New Bomber and What Else?" Good points.

Representative Sample: Washington has a single-minded focus on the unit cost of military projects instead of examining the warfighting and intelligence-gathering advantages that advanced systems provide.

3. "Americans: not as religious as they think they are" Interesting.

Representative Sample: We've known for a long time that, when asked, people report going to Church more than they actually do. That's not too surprising. It's well known that, when you ask questions that relate to personal esteem, people will tend to tell you what they wish was true, rather than what actually is true.

4. "Legal Crap: Cat Fight Erupts Over Kitty Litter Ads" Ridiculous lawsuit of the day.

Representative Sample: the makers of Arm & Hammer have filed suit against Clorox over some kitty litter ads that they claim are deceptive and seem to show that cats prefer one brand over the other.

5. "The Left Can’t Even Fake Mainstream Anymore" It's hard to appear maintream when you are radical, way out of step with most of the country.

Representative Sample: ook at the past couple years with liberals in charge. Basically every mainstream idea — stopping out of control spending, protecting the border, not letting a mosque be specifically built on the site of an Islamic terror triumph — has been dismissed as racist. That’s because liberals can’t even understand mainstream thought to even debate it anymore.

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

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Christian Who Gets It

At the Christian Post there's an article called "How Not to Fight Atheism." The author, R. Albert Mohler Jr. is writing in reaction to the controversy caused by a recent atheist bus ad campaign in Fort Worth, Texas. To recap, a local secular group ran bus ads with the slogan, "Millions of Americans are Good Without God." Naturally that was far too much for the easily offended religious, and a Christian group responded with both a bus boycott and complaints to municipal government. The end result?
The Fort Worth Transportation Authority voted December 15 to ban all religious ads on buses. The policy took effect January 1, 2011. According to press reports, “both sides cheered the decision.”
Mohler points out that by silencing an atheist message, Christians cut off their own noses to spite their faces, and also managed to silence their own religious messages.
Christians are sometimes our own worst enemy, especially when we claim to be offended. Those pastors and concerned Christians who demanded that the transportation authority ban the atheist ads actually gave the secularists the Grand Prize. By precipitating (and, of all things, celebrating) a ban on all religious messages from this public space, these Christians surrendered Gospel opportunities simply because they were offended by an atheist advertisement.
And he asks a great question,
Are Christians so insecure that we fear a weakly-worded advertisement on a public bus?
Yes, as a matter of fact many of them are. It's also good to see a Christian declare that Christians don't have a right not to be offended.
Being a Christian does not mean never having to be offended.
Would that there were more Christians (and members of other religions) with this writer's attitude and sense.

HOT5 Daily 1/7/2011

1. "When It Comes to CBO Reports, Trust but Verify" Things to keep in mind whenever any politician or partisan pundit cites a CBO report.

Representative Sample: it can’t favor one party over the other, it is also not allowed to think for itself. When Congress asks the CBO to score the cost of a bill, it can only use the assumptions given to it.

2. "Killer Drones, Jamming Jets Win Big in New Pentagon Budget" Good news?

Representative Sample: Gates’ plan to trim around $100 billion from Pentagon accounts over the next five years — the details of which he announced today — is being billed as a budget cut. Actually, Gates’ latest (and likely last) budget exercise represents a net boost for stuff that flies, swims, crawls and shoots. Especially the things that fly.

3. "Why Are Believers So Hostile Toward Atheists?" A perceptive analysis.

Representative Sample: Why is it so important for so many believers to see religion as the only possible source of hope and joy and meaning... and to see religion-less people as intrinsically cut off from everything that makes life worth living?

4. "What happens when you reduce regulations?" Cutting government red tape stimulates business growth -- something most Democrats don't understand.

Representative Sample: Entrepreneurs create jobs, wealth and happy customers.

5. "UFC Fighter Earns a Visit from the Secret Service" Some people still haven't learned that the Secret Service does not have a sense of humor when it comes to anything that might be perceived as a threat against the president.

Representative Sample: Jacob Volkmann, a lightweight mixed martial arts fighter affiliated with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, isn’t very fond of President Obama’s health care reforms.

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

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Stay Away From Iran

Yet another American has been arrested in an Iranian border area and charged with spying. This time it's a 55 year-old woman who supposedly crossed the border from Armenia without a visa. As an American I hope that she and other Americans detained on what are almost certainly trumped-up charges of espionage are released unharmed. But on a personal level I have very little sympathy for stupid people.

Iran is not just a hostile rogue state, it is an open enemy of the United States. We are currently fighting a low-level war with that country in which Iranian proxies, and Iranian personnel themselves attempt to kill American troops. There is almost certainly a covert war going on beyond the things the public knows of. Iran has made all sorts of wild threats against both the U.S. and Israel, and the latter two countries have publicly speculated about a possible preemptive strike to destroy Iran's nuclear program. In this climate, with the current regime in charge in Tehran, any ordinary American who either goes to Iran, or travels to a border area of a country adjacent to it is a complete fool. Iran is actively looking for American hostages to seize. Americans with an ounce of basic common sense should avoid Iran like the plague.

No HOT5 Today

It will return tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

HOT5 Daily 1/5/2011

1. "Putting Some Fight Into Our Friends" Links to an excellent Newsweek article on Afghanistan.

Representative Sample: Unless America wants to extend its stay in Afghanistan indefinitely, it would be prudent to create a professional adviser corps and more task forces like Golsteyn’s in the coming year. The State Department can tackle the Sisyphean task of nation building—while the U.S. military returns to the business of being warriors.

2. "Playing the Violence Card" Don't worry, violence is no big deal as long as it comes from the left.

Representative Sample: Despite a century of good press, the veiled or not-so-veiled threat of violence sits right at the center of left-wing politics. The very word "demonstration" is a euphemism for "show of force." Labor unions have always used the threat of violence. "Community organizing" is what left-wing activists do when they are trying to gin up a rent-a-mob for the benefit of the TV news cameras.

3. "Why Isn't Obama Pressuring the Palestinians?" Good question and points.

Representative Sample: the Obama administration is raising no public objection to the Palestinians' stance. It has not expressed one word of criticism of Abbas, nor used anything resembling the pressure tactics Obama has so freely used against the Israeli side. In fact, Obama did quite the opposite

4. "But I thought it was the body of Christ?" When transubstantiation goes bad.

Representative Sample: Parishioners who received Holy Communion may have been infected with Hepatitis A.

5. "Evidence and theory collide with galactic proportions" New discovery demonstrates how science works.

Representative Sample: Something else must be making these galaxies active; perhaps instabilities inside them, or internal gas cloud collisions, or some other phenomenon. But apparently, at least for the past 8 billion years, it’s not due to collisions on a galactic scale. Mergers don’t feed the supermassive black holes and make them active in the way everyone assumed.

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

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

HOT5 Daily 1/4/2011

1. "Brooke Goldstein: Countering Lawfare" Must-read article.

Representative Sample: The third goal is to frustrate and hinder the ability of Western democracies to fight against and defeat terrorism. Here, lawfare takes the form of a complementary legal campaign to terrorism and asymmetric warfare and seeks to denigrate society’s legitimate interest in security and self defense. As [U.S. Air Force] Maj. Gen. [Charles] Dunlap pointed out in 2001 in his Harvard Law Review essay, ‘[F]oes of the United States’ who are unable to ‘seriously confront—let alone defeat—America militarily’ are realizing their objectives through legal means. Their strategy is to undermine the American people’s support for our troops by making us believe that war is being conducted in an unfair, inhumane way.

2. "A Crude Theory" There does seem to be some correlation between Russian behavior and oil prices

Representative Sample: Oil is once again above $90 a barrel—and the price is rising. And if that's the reason, it's nothing new. In fact, if one were to plot the rise and fall of Soviet and Russian foreign and domestic reforms over the last 40 years on a graph, it would match the rise and fall of the international oil price with astonishing precision.

3. "No Matter What They Call It, It’s Still A Drilling Ban" De-facto ban as oil prices continue to rise.

Representative Sample: The Obama administration says they lifted the moratorium on drilling for oil off the shores of the US. But since they aren’t issuing any drilling permits, or allowing stalled rigs to go back into production, the drilling ban continues. So does the damage to the economy.

4. "The Top Ten Reasons Why Cats are Better than Bibliobloggers" Pretty amusing.

Representative Sample: It's a series of graphics.

5. "For a good cause: Half a million people fund Wikipedia" Impressive fund-raising.

Representative Sample: With an average contribution of $22, they funded the $16 million goal in a month and a half. 2009's fundraiser, by contrast, raised only $8 million from 240,000 individual contributions.

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