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FRIDAY, JULY 16, 2010
PLEASE NOTE THE DATE – AT 7:47 P.M. ET: Today marks the 65th anniversary of the era of nuclear weapons. The world's first "nuke" was set off on this date in 1945, in the New Mexico Desert. Called the "Trinity Test," the event forever changed the level of destruction possible in warfare.
Only weeks later, on August 6th, the first atomic bomb was dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days after that, a second was dropped on Nagasaki. On August 14th, Japan surrendered. An Asian/Pacific war that had begun some 14 years earlier with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria took less than a week to bring to a close.
Much has been written about our use of the bomb, a lot of it by revisionist "historians" eager to discredit the United States. To my knowledge, none of these scribes had lived in a Pacific foxhole, or had been slated to be a soldier in the invasion of Japan, had the war not ended abruptly.
One point, though, is often overlooked by commentators, and it is relevant to today: The core of the bomb was carried to the test site in the back of a car. The entire explosive "device" – and this was 1945, please remember – could be placed in the back of a small truck.
Today we're being sold a bill of goods that it will take Iran a certain number of years to have an "operational" nuclear weapon that can be placed on the tip of a missile. Such an "operational" device is not necessary. A rudimentary gadget, like the one we exploded 65 years ago today, could simply be placed in the hold of a ship, sailed into an American harbor, and set off by a suicide team. Or, parts can be smuggled into a target city. I worry that it isn't only illegal labor being transported across our Mexican border.
So, when you think of the nuclear threat to America, think not only of a sleek missile with a nuclear warhead. Think of a crude device, using wires patched together with tape, easily transported in sections, and producing a blast so great that it can be felt hundreds of miles away. This isn't fear mongering. That's what happened 65 years ago.
July 16, 2010 Permalink
HARD TO BELIEVE THIS – AT 7:09 P.M. ET: Here are three African-American women who did the right thing, and look what happened:
TAMPA — At the store, walking down the street and at local clubs, Renee Roundtree hears the comments.
Snitch. Why'd you help them?
"I even had an ex-friend call and say, 'That was f------ up. You turned my boy in,' " said Roundtree, 37.
But she didn't turn in Dontae Morris, the man accused of shooting Tampa police Officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab on June 29. She simply tried to help the two officers as they lay shot on the ground outside of her friend's apartment. She checked their pulses and stayed on scene with Delores Keen — who called 911 — and Rose Dodson until police arrived.
On Wednesday, the three women were praised by Hillsborough County commissioners for rushing to try to help the officers.
But two of them say they're concerned for their safety. They say they've received dozens of negative comments since that morning, many from strangers who recognized them from television news interviews.
COMMENT: A phone call from the president of the United States thanking these women for their decency might be nice. And maybe a follow-up from the attorney general of the United States pledging all federal support if their civil liberties are violated might also be in order.
How about it guys. Terrorists aren't the only people with rights.
July 16, 2010 Permalink
QUOTE OF THE DAY – AT 9:28 A.M. ET: From Wesley Pruden in The Washington Times, on the contrast between Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama:
As anyone who knew Ronald Reagan would tell you, Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan. Mr. Obama, smooth and eloquent though he on occasion can be, reassuring us that "it's morning in America" would be no reassurance at all. Actor or not, the Gipper believed his lines.
Mr. Reagan, a son of the heartland, celebrating America as a nation forged in the melting pot, understood America in a way that Barack Obama, who boasts that he is descended from "generations of Muslims" and seems puzzled that this evokes no applause at home, never could. Mr. Obama has never been more eloquent, or sounded more like his heart was in his message, than in Cairo where he apologized for America's "sins" against the Muslims. Ronald Reagan never sounded more like his heart was in the message than in Europe singing a familiar hymn to America's virtues and its sacrifices on behalf of others. Mr. Obama was raised in the third world and through no particular fault of his own never absorbed the words and music of "morning in America."
COMMENT: That certainly says it, and well. But remember, Obama has some built-in constituencies that will never leave him, even if their enthusiasm has dimmed. He will not be easy to beat if he runs for reelection. And if you think the press was biased last time, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Obama is the press's creation, to a large degree, and it will fight to preserve what it has created. Besides, 2012 means four more years of the media hiring a new generation of journalists who want to "make a difference." That "difference" doesn't include free enterprise or victory in war.
July 16, 2010 Permalink
UNDER THE RADAR – AT 8:43 A.M. ET: We sometimes forget that the nomination of ultra-liberal Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court is in progress. She will clear the Senate Judiciary Committee within about a week. And then the full Senate will probably confirm her.
As usual, the Republican opposition is lazy and disorganized. There are serious questions about Kagan, but they were hardly raised during her confirmation hearings. Now, though, one GOP senator, showing a heartbeat, is threatening to escalate the fight:
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) told HUMAN EVENTS that he would not rule out filibustering Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court. In an exclusive interview, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee said that a "filibuster is not off the table," but cautioned that such a procedural tactic would only be employed under "extraordinary circumstances." Asked if Kagan's penchant for judicial and political activism hit the benchmark of "extraordinary circumstances," Sessions wouldn't commit, but noted how Kagan did not "help herself in her testimony."
No, she didn't, and I suspect that some of her testimony was dishonest. When she solemnly said that the recent Court decision overturning Chicago's draconian gun-control law was settled precedent, I almost fell off the chair laughing. You can be sure that she, like Sotomayor, was told not to antagonize the Second Amendment fans. Sotomayor said something very similar when she was up for confirmation, then reversed herself as soon as she could. Kagan will do the same.
If confirmed, Sessions said that Kagan could very well be one of five judges "who can actually redefine the meaning of those words [the Constitution] that protect our liberties."
"Frankly, I don't think she assuaged our concerns at the [confirmation] hearing."
COMMENT: Good for Senator Sessions. Kagan comes from my old neighborhood. I know just the mentality there. I don't want it on the Court.
July 16, 2010 Permalink
AND NOW FOR BAD GOVERNMENT – AT 8:15 A.M. ET: In contrast to the spectacular success of Virginia under conservative government, as noted in the post just below, we have New York, where this is being written.
Behold, another piece of "progressive" government, and all in the name of "civil liberties." From the New York Post:
Gov. Paterson today is expected to sign a controversial bill that would delete an NYPD database with the names of hundreds of thousands of people who were stopped and frisked but never arrested, sources said.
The measure -- reviled by law enforcement and Mayor Bloomberg -- has been strongly favored by minority lawmakers in the state Legislature.
This week, all five Democratic candidates for attorney general called on Paterson to sign the bill to nix portions of the "250 database," so called because of the number on the form filed to the database.
Three sources told The Post last night that the governor was expected to sign the bill this morning at a planned event in Manhattan.
"Albany has robbed us of a great crime-fighting tool, one that saved lives," Commissioner Ray Kelly fumed.
"Without it, there will be, inevitably, killers and other criminals who won't be captured as quickly or perhaps ever. They'll be free to threaten our neighborhoods longer than they would have been otherwise."
Kelly is one of the all-time great police commissioners. You'd think his words would be taken more seriously. The greatest beneficiaries of New York's spectacularly successful crime-fighting program have been minorities. And yet, minority "representatives," still living in the 1960s, fight the program at every turn.
While some 12 percent of stop-and-frisks wind up with an arrest or summons, Kelly insisted the database has been invaluable in crime-fighting.
That info has been important in identifying suspects in 178 criminal cases -- including 17 murders -- over the last 18 months, he said.
COMMENT: This is so typical of New York, a state still wallowing in its liberal past. Who cares about murders? Who cares about life?
In the time since liberals were ousted from New York City's mayor's office, murder has declined 80% in the city. You'd think some of these self-appointed bleeding hearts on the left would finally notice.
July 16, 2010 Permalink
CARRY ME BACK TO OLD VIRGINNY, AND MAKE IT FAST – AT 8:02 A.M. ET: I'll bet you haven't read this story anywhere, but it's important and instructive. There are political leaders who actually succeed. From the Washington Examiner:
Virginia will end up in the black for fiscal 2010 after reporting surprisingly robust revenue from tax receipts and cutting government spending, Gov. Bob McDonnell said Wednesday.
McDonnell estimated that the surplus for the fiscal year that ended June 30 will be at least $220 million after miscellaneous interest payments are made. The final figure will be made official in August after year-end adjustments.
"We didn't overbudget; we didn't overspend," McDonnell said at a news conference Wednesday.
In January, the commonwealth had been facing a $1.8 billion budget shortfall for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ended June 30.
"It's certainly good news," said Del. Kirk Cox, R-Chesterfield, vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. "We tried to be very prudent."
About $82 million of the surplus will go toward a one-time, 3 percent bonus for state employees, who haven't received a raise in nearly four years. Ten percent will be set aside for Virginia's Water Quality Fund, about $19 million will go toward K-12 education, and two-thirds of the undesignated balance will go toward transportation, McDonnell said.
COMMENT: Now let us consider the questions the liberal media will ask of the governor: 1) How many people did you kill to make this possible? 2) Isn't this so-called "success" all due to your bringing back slavery? 3) Is it true that you hate children? 4) How can you live with yourself?
You know, considering the state of the press, those questions aren't so farfetched.
But Virginia is making it, under solid conservative leadership. Indiana, under Republican Governor Mitch Daniels, is also making it. New Jersey, under its new, incredibly dynamic Republican Governor Chris Christie, is starting to come back from laughing-stock status.
And my state, New York? With liberals firmly in charge, New York has become the largest out-migration state in the nation. In other words, more people leave New York every year than leave any other state.
Do you see a lesson here?
July 16, 2010 Permalink
THURSDAY, JULY 15, 2010
THE TURKEY CALLED TURKEY – AT 7:43 P.M. ET: One of the great foreign policy disappointments since Obama took office is the estrangement from Turkey, the Muslim nation that has usually been closest to the West. It isn't Obama's fault.
Turkey is a member of NATO, and fought beside us in the Korean War. But early in this decade the nation elected a pro-Islamist government, reversing decades of progress toward political secularism. European nations, including those in NATO, have been distancing themselves from Turkey, and now relations with the U.S. are strained. This is another case where Islamism is destroying the Muslim relationship with the rest of the world. From The Jerusalem Post:
WASHINGTON – Turkish media reports have exposed increased tensions between the US and Turkey in recent days, with disagreements flaring over the Gaza flotilla incident and efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear program.
Earlier this week, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan bashed the US for not taking more action following the death of a Turkish-American dual citizen in Israel’s raid on a Turkish-flagged ship attempting to break the blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
Erdogan is at the heart of the problem for, at heart, he doesn't really believe in the Turkish secular tradition.
"It is significant that the US administration has not taken action regarding Furkan Dogan. We expect them to follow this case,” Erdogan was quoted as saying. “Are you not defending Furkan’s rights because he was Turkish?” In response, US Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey told the Turkish newspaper Zaman that the US was concerned about Dogan’s case but took umbrage at Erdogan’s remarks.
"If the press report is true, we – the United States and I – personally find it deeply disappointing and worrying,” he was quoted as saying.
He went on to chide Turkey for not being more helpful with the investigation, and providing the autopsy results on the deaths to the Turkish group IHH, which participated in the flotilla, but not to the United States, according to media accounts.
IHH has a history of support for terrorism.
“We requested it from the Turkish authorities many times, most recently on July 7,” he reportedly said. “We find it difficult to understand why we can’t have the autopsy report despite our requests while IHH already has been given it.”
A State Department official said Thursday that Turkey had subsequently provided the autopsy reports.
I'm glad the U.S. ambassador stood up for his country, instead of doing the grovel dance we've come to expect from the Obama administration.
Turkey is becoming a tragedy. Its tradition balancing Islam with secular values, and enforced by a pro-democracy military, was enormously beneficial to the Turkish population. Now Turkey is disappearing behind the Muslim curtain (or veil), and it would seem only a matter of time before it is separated from NATO.
We hope for a change for the better. It will only occur if Turkey gets the message that its hostility is hurting only Turkey.
July 15, 2010 Permalink
COULD THIS BE? – AT 7:28 P.M. ET: There's a new poll out that can be placed in the category of "answered prayers" for Republicans. From Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:
No, this is not coming from Rasmussen or an internal GOP poll, but from the normally Democrat-sympathetic Public Policy Polling. PPP pitted Barack Obama against five potential Republican challengers for the 2012 presidential campaign, and the only one Obama beat was … Jan Brewer. Even that, PPP admitted, resulted from Brewer’s lack of name recognition. The headline, though, is Sarah Palin’s dead heat with the President:
He trails Mitt Romney 46-43, Mike Huckabee 47-45, Newt Gingrich 46-45, and is even tied with Sarah Palin at 46. The only person tested he leads is Jan Brewer, who doesn’t have particularly high name recognition on the national level at this point
The news is almost uniformly bad for Obama in the poll. His approval rating is now seriously underwater at 45/52. That gets even worse among independents, 40/56. He doesn’t get above 46% in any matchup with Republicans, not even Jan Brewer, whom he beats 44/36, with 20% undecided.
We caution that other polls haven't produced news quite that depressing for the president, but PPP is indeed a tilt-toward-Dems organization.
It's pretty clear that Sarah Palin is considering a run for the top job. If there are more polls like this, she might just take the plunge. I don't know whether that would be good or bad for the GOP, but it would certainly be interesting.
We'd want some verification of these results from other surveys to come.
July 15, 2010 Permalink
DISGRACEFUL, BUT TYPICAL – AT 9:29 A.M. ET: Many of us were wondering how the Obamans can sue Arizona for "interfering" with the federal function of handling immigration matters, while remaining silent about "sanctuary cities" that will protect illegal immigrants. Comes the answer, and it's weak. From The Washington Times:
A week after suing Arizona and arguing that the state's immigration law creates a patchwork of rules, the Obama administration said it will not go after so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with the federal government on immigration enforcement, on the grounds that they are not as bad as a state that "actively interferes."
"There is a big difference between a state or locality saying they are not going to use their resources to enforce a federal law, as so-called sanctuary cities have done, and a state passing its own immigration policy that actively interferes with federal law," Tracy Schmaler, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., told The Washington Times. "That's what Arizona did in this case."
Boy, that is a stretch. I can hear the ripping.
But the author of the 1996 federal law that requires states and localities to cooperate with federal authorities on immigration laws thinks the administration is misreading the statute and that sanctuary cities are in violation of federal law. Drawing a distinction between those localities and Arizona, he said, is "flimsy justification" for suing the state.
"For the Justice Department to suggest that they won't take action against those who passively violate the law who fail to comply with the law is absurd," said Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee and chief author of the 1996 immigration law. "Will they ignore individuals who fail to pay taxes? Will they ignore banking laws that require disclosure of transactions over $10,000? Of course not."
But this isn't about law. It's about politics, about the so-called "Hispanic vote." The law doesn't mean much to the current Justice Department crowd. It's the ideology, Comrade.
July 15, 2010 Permalink
OH, I LOVE MISCHIEF-MAKERS LIKE THIS – AT 8:54 A.M. ET: I never knew that Pete du Pont is such a conniver. But in a Wall Street Journal piece he makes the case for...Hillary Clinton in 2012:
So what can be done to change America's policies and make our economy stronger? For one thing, we could elect a president with different thinking. Almost any Republican candidate would have that, and, as we will see in a moment, there is one obvious Democrat who would change our course too.
And why would the Democratic Party want to do that? Because the re-election of President Obama is becoming more problematic.
...the most interesting statistic is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's ratings: 45% favorable and only 35% unfavorable.
That is not surprising, and there are some obvious factors that suggest she might have a chance of defeating President Obama if she were to challenge him for the 2012 Democratic nomination.
It's a pretty strong case:
First, as Peggy Noonan wrote earlier this month, the conclusion one hears from most "normal" American people is that the president "is in over his head, and out of his depth."...
...That means there's a big opportunity for Mrs. Clinton.
Second, she is physically and intellectually strong enough to take on a difficult campaign.
Third, she is one of the most experienced prospective candidates the Democratic Party has had in a long while.
Fourth, she is an experienced foreign-policy adviser who understands the threats to our national security.
Fifth, experience will be even more important to voters in the 2012 presidential election, whose 2008 gamble on someone with little experience is proving costly.
Finally, Washington's deadly left-liberal policies that have propelled the American economy in a very bad direction can be turned around.
Du Pont argues that Obama might well put Clinton on the ticket in 2012. But...
Mrs. Clinton could put together a very effective campaign to get the nomination for herself.
Considering how badly things are going in America just now, that could turn out to be a slam dunk for her and the disgruntled Democratic Party.
COMMENT: Well, maybe. There is one issue not discussed here, and it's the most powerful one of all: race. Will Ms. Clinton run against the first black president of the United States, and try to rip the nomination from him? I doubt it. The African-American community would never forgive her, and would stay home en masse on election day, essentially dooming Clinton's chances.
I can see a Clinton run only if Obama declines to run again, or is forced to decline by a visit by Democratic elders to the White House, poll results in hand. That could happen.
July 15, 2010 Permalink
BLACKS DIS NAACP RESOLUTION CALLING TEA PARTY "RACIST" – AT 8:10 A.M. ET: The NAACP, once a civil rights organization, is coming under increasing fire for an unsubstantiated resolution slapping the "racist" label on the tea-party movement. Even some African-Americans object, as The Politico notes:
Some African-American tea party candidates are displeased by a resolution that the NAACP approved on Tuesday calling the grass-roots conservative movement “racist.”
“I have not experienced the charges of racism that the NAACP is touting,” Vernon Parker, an African-American tea party congressional candidate in Arizona, told POLITICO.
Parker, former mayor of Paradise Valley, said that he has never felt out of place at a tea party rally because of the color of his skin.
“When I go to tea party events, people don’t look at me any differently,” he said. “They didn’t judge me on the color of my skin, quite frankly, they judged me on my principles."
Yup. But the left can't accept that. After all, dearie, aren't all those people from outside Manhattan racists?
"The NAACP should be concerned about bringing jobs to people in depressed areas,” he added, “not the tea party.”
Tim Scott, a GOP congressional nominee in South Carolina, echoed Parker’s sentiments in a statement.
“I believe that the NAACP is making a grave mistake in stereotyping a diverse group of Americans who care deeply about their country and who contribute their time, energy and resources to make a difference,” Scott said.
“As I campaign in South Carolina, I participate in numerous events sponsored by the tea party, 9/12, Patriot, and other like-minded groups, and I have had the opportunity to get to know many of the men and women who make up these energetic grass-roots organizations,” Scott added.
“Americans need to know that the tea party is a color-blind movement that has principled differences with many of the leaders in Washington, both Democrats and Republicans.”
COMMENT: The NAACP, once a key player in the civil rights movement, has become increasingly irrelevant over the years. Labeling the tea party as racist will not help its rehabilitation.
July 15, 2010 Permalink
HISPANIC SUPPORT FOR OBAMA DECLINES – AT 7:58 A.M. ET: Can the man catch a break? Any break? Despite the blatantly political pandering over the Arizona illegal-immigration law, President Obama's support among Hispanic Americans is actually declining. Weekly Standard reports:
More evidence that Obama's lawsuit against Arizona is a disaster for Democrats: CBS is out with a new poll that shows 57% of Americans think Arizona's immigration law is "about right" and 17% think it "doesn't go far enough."
On the other hand, White House officials have argued that Obama's aggressive actions against Arizona will help boost Hispanic support...
...But according to a new poll by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, it doesn't seem like the lawsuit against Arizona is helping Obama much. Though Hispanic support for the president ticked up slightly from last month--from 59 percent to 63 percent--Hispanic approval of Obama is now lower than it was in polls conducted prior to the passage of Arizona's immigration law in late April. PPP's mid-April poll showed that 74 percent of Hispanics supported Obama, and PPP's March poll showed 65 percent supported Obama.
COMMENT: That's what happens when you treat groups in a patronizing manner. Hispanic Americans are not monolithic, and think for themselves. A poll in Colorado showed most Hispanics actually favoring the Arizona law.
We ran a piece yesterday by former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, pointing out that Hispanics are natural Republicans, and that Puerto Rico now has a Reaganesque administration. Maybe the Dems just haven't gotten the message.
July 15, 2010 Permalink