02 July, 2011

July 2, 1937

Amelia Earhart, Fred Noonan and her Lockheed Electra disappear over the Pacific near Howland Island during her attempt to fly around the world.

It is widely believed that she ran out of fuel and sank into the Pacific, but some contend that instead she may have crashed on Gardner island, now called Nikumaroro.

01 July, 2011

July 1, 2000

9/11 hijackers Mohammed Atta and Marwan Alshehhi move to Venice, FL and enroll in flight training at Huffman Aviation.

On Vacation

Blogging and tweeting will be light next week. I’ll be vacationing at the beach. I have a few “On This Day” updates already scheduled. I also have a few topics I’ve been meaning to blog about for a while, so they might pop up, but mostly I plan on relaxing and catching up on some reading.

Have a great week and a terrific 4th of July. Remember what it’s all about.

30 June, 2011

Two Questions For FreedomWorks

FreedomWorks is a Tea Party group started by former Congressman Dick Armey (R-TX-26).  They’re supported by Glenn Beck, and generally they do some pretty good things.

These good folk have decided to make Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) their #1 target for 2012. I realize that Hatch isn’t always someone the right can count on during confirmation votes, and he’s a bit of a big government conservative. But he has a lifetime ACU rating of 89.47 and was one of 12 Senators with a perfect 100 for 2010.

Compare with the other Senators running for re-election in 2012:

Senator 2010 ACU Rating 2009 Lifetime
Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) 8.00 0.00 8.50
Tom Carper (D-DE) 0.00 4.00 11.61
Bill Nelson (D-FL) 8.00 4.00 34.15
Richard Lugar (R-IN) 71.00 68.00 77.08
Olympia Snowe (R-ME) 64.00 48.00 48.39
Ben Cardin (D-MD) 0.00 0.00 5.26
Scott Brown (R-MA) 74.00 N/A 74.00
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) 0.00 0.00 8.40
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) 4.00 12.00 9.00
Roger Wicker (R-MS) 96.00 88.00 91.13
Claire McCaskill (D-MO) 17.00 28.00 18.25
Jon Tester (D-MT) 20.00 16.00 17.00
Ben Nelson (D-NB) 48.00 44.00 47.01
Dean Heller (R-NV) N/A N/A N/A
Bob Menendez (D-NJ) 0.00 0.00 7.67
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) 0.00 0.00 7.75
Sherrod Brown (D-OH) 0.00 0.00 7.77
Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA) 0.00 12.00 7.00
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) 0.00 0.00 2.00
Bob Corker (R-TN) 92.00 84.00 85.50
Bernie Sanders (I-VT) 4.00 12.00 6.59
Maria Cantwell (D-WA) 12.00 8.00 10.30
Joe Manchin (D-WV) 33.00 N/A 33.00
John Barrasso (R-WY) 100.00 100.00 99.00


Orrin Hatch has the 3rd highest lifetime ACU rating of Senators up for re-election in 2012.

So, my two questions for FreedomWorks are:

  1. Why in the world is he your #1 target?
  2. Do you really think you’re going to replace him with someone better?

Peaceful Green Gay Hippies Attack ATM


Maybe these were displaced workers getting their revenge.

28 June, 2011

June 28, 1914

Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is assassinated in Sarajevo. This sets off a sequence of events that will result in the beginning of World War I one month later.

Immoral Politics

Vice President Joe Biden (D-VISA USA) said this weekend that the GOP approach to the debt ceiling talks “borders on immoral”. Apparently, this is the new attack plan for the administration. When asked about it, White House Secretary Jay Carney said the President would agree.

Let me tell you a few things that I think are immoral.

Mr. President, don’t lecture me on morality until you understand what the word means.

June 28, 2001

On this day in 2001, CIA official Richard Blee told CIA Director George Tenet that bin Laden was planning a spectacular attack against US or Israel within weeks.

“Based on a review of all source reporting over the last five months, we believe that [Osama bin Laden] will launch a significant terrorist attack against US and/or Israeli interests in the coming weeks. The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against US facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning.”

Tenet responds by warning National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice that:

“It is highly likely that a significant al-Qaeda attack is in the near future, within several weeks”

June 28, 2000

Starting this day in 2000, and going on through December, hijacker Ziad Jarrah attended the Florida Flight Training Center in Venice, FL.

[School owner] Arne Kruithof says that although Jarrah eventually receives his private pilot license and instrument rating, he does not do so while at FFTC. Kruithof later claims that Jarrah becomes an “average” pilot, saying, “We had to do more to get him ready than others. His flight skills seemed to be a little bit out there.”

27 June, 2011

Debt-Once More Into The Breach

On the theory that a picture paints a trillion words, I’m going to present some U.S. debt info one more time, to show just where we’ve been, and where we’re heading. USDebtClock.org allows you to look at the debt on this day in the past, and into the future. The meat of this post is the pictures. I have very little to say.

On this day, 2000:




On this day, 2015, at current rates:


Ok, I do have a couple comments.

Repeat the following until it sinks in. “Unsustainable”, “Economic collapse” & “Failure of Keynesian economics”.

When those sink in you might try “Death of America”.

Greece Fire

When I was in college, I remember hearing often that American knowledge of world events was very poor. There were even several studies released about that time which asked random Americans simple questions about current events all over the world. The results were depressing, to say the least.

I admit that I’m not without fault here, myself. Particularly at the time, I remember that my geography skills were somewhat lacking, and that I wasn’t always aware of why we were involved in various political situations around the globe. I did score much higher than the average American when I took the tests used for those studies, and I suppose that I should be consoled by that. I wasn’t. I knew before I took the quizzes that my knowledge wasn’t good. It appeared that most of my peers were blissfully unaware of their ignorance.

But now we have the internet. News from everywhere is right in front of us all day long. Things should be much better, right?

Sadly, I don’t see any indication of that. If that was the case, America, and certainly our political class, would be paying much more attention to what’s going on in Greece. The fire has already been lit, and the politicians are just trying to decide what to throw on it. I see them reaching for the water now…


As I said just last week, America is at the tipping point. Want to see what will happen when we tip over? Watch Greece. But we’re obviously not watching Greece. We’re not learning from them, and we’re certainly not adopting any sort of defensive posture to prepare ourselves against the coming Greece fire. When (and it is almost certainly “when”, not “if”) Greece falls, the effects will be felt far and wide.

See this from Stacy McCain at the Greenroom at HotAir.

One U.S. analyst said that the “downside” risk, if European leaders can’t come up with a bailout deal, “is effectively a financial system meltdown.”

The political situation in Greece is not encouraging. The Greek parliament will vote this week on an austerity plan — which bankers are demanding in order to extend the country further credit — and it is by no means certain that the unpopular cost-cutting measures will pass: “If Greece refuses to accept more austerity measures, the consequences for Greece, the EU and indeed the global economy could be dire.”

I don’t know about you, but seeing the words “financial system meltdown” and “consequences for…the global economy could be dire” don’t exactly inspire me with confidence. Nor do words like this:

A European debt crisis is likely once again to make banks fearful of lending to one another bringing about the freezing of financial markets similar to the credit crisis in 2009.  And this time a huge stimulus package will not be in the offing.  Nor can Greece resort to the age-old beggar they [sic] neighbor approach of devaluing its currency since it is on the euro and not the drachma.

From that same article:

The broader implications for the U.S. are set forth in a Congressional Research Service Analysis in 2010.  The report concluded there were five major implications.

First, many expect that if investors lose confidence in the future of the Eurozone, and more current account adjustment is required for the Eurozone as a whole, the value of the euro will weaken.  A weaker euro would likely lower U.S. exports to the Eurozone and increase U.S. imports from the Eurozone, widening the U.S. trade deficit.

Second, the United States has a large financial stake in the EU.  The EU as a whole is the United States’s [sic] biggest trading partner and hundreds of billions of dollars flow between the EU and the United States each year.  Widespread financial instability in the EU could impact trade and growth in the region, which in turn could impact the U.S. economy.

Third, a Greek default could have implications for U.S. commercial interests.  Although most of Greece’s debt is held by Europeans (more than 80%), $14.1 billion of Greece’s debt obligations are owed to creditors within the United States.

Fourth, the global recession has worsened the government budget position of a large number of countries.

Fifth, debates over imbalances between current account deficit and current account surplus countries within the Eurozone are similar to the debates about imbalances between the United States and China.  These debates reiterate how the economic policies of one country can affect other countries and the need for international economic cooperation and coordination to achieve international financial stability.

People have been predicting this since late 2009, and it’s quite easy to see that America is following the same path. Yet we haven’t done anything at all. We may have to join in the European financial bailouts just to keep the entire system from collapsing. But who’s going to bail out us? We don’t have the money to do this. We decided to spend it on stimulus and health care instead. If I had confidence in our own government to solve the fiscal problems here, I might be less worried. I’d be hopeful that we could throw the weight of the U.S. dollar behind some assistance to Greece and to the euro. That kind of confidence would be criminally insane at this point, however.

Here’s why:

The … government must also contend with a political and social crisis. The main political parties remain poles apart and the prospects of reform by consensus appear close to zero. Opposition also comes from the powerful public-sector unions, an increasingly fearful public, and disparate political forces maintaining constant street protests.


Added to these conflicts is an institutional weakness that questions the ability of any government … to deliver serious reform. Many parts of the public bureaucracy verge on the dysfunctional. Their staffs are too big — the result of parties in power using public jobs as electoral favors — too unskilled, too rigid from confused and archaic legal procedures, too hierarchical, and lacking morale. Too often, the [person] in charge lacks efficient means, information and technical know-how from those he or she seeks to direct. Such problems are all the more grave when policies are highly controversial and uncertain to be sustained.

What country is being discussed in that section? Did you think of the United States? No, it’s Greece again. Eerily similar description though, wasn’t it? Was this on some right wing site like HotAir? No, it’s in today’s New York Times. Things could go south as early as this week in Greece. More likely, the politicos will find a way to stave off the crisis for another few months, perhaps a year. That’s if Greece government manages to survive that long. A military coup or civilian overthrow is not out of the question. What happens then? I don’t know. And no one else does either, no matter what they claim.

When I was growing up, I remember that it seemed like just about every day there was some government being toppled in Africa or the Middle East. It always seemed so remote. It was just something I saw on TV that didn’t really matter (to me, anyway…I’m sure it was vitally important to those living through it). Our Keynesian economics debt ruled world isn’t like that anymore. When Greece falls, it’s going to at the very least, worsen the “economic downturn” worldwide. And that’s an absolutely hopelessly optimistic best-case scenario. Worst case scenario? I’m the doom-n-gloom guy lately, and even I don’t even want to think about it. Wars have started over less. Much less.

But I’m sure President Barack Obama (D-USA) can handle this. After all, he’s been incredible at crisis management so far, hasn’t he?

June 27, 1967

The world’s first ATM is installed in Enfield Town, England. According to rumor, unemployment skyrocketed the next day.

The Wikipedia article has some inconsistencies. There’s this quote:

In simultaneous and independent efforts, engineers in Sweden and Britain developed their own cash machines during the early 1960s. The first of these that was put into use was by Barclays Bank in Enfield Town in North London, United Kingdom,[7] on 27 June 1967. This machine was the first in the UK and was used by English comedy actor Reg Varney, at the time so as to ensure maximum publicity for the machines that were to become mainstream in the UK. This instance of the invention has been credited to John Shepherd-Barron of printing firm De La Rue,[8] who was awarded an OBE in the 2005 New Year's Honours List.[9] His design used special cheques that were matched with a personal identification number, as plastic bank cards had not yet been invented.[10]

And this one, in the intro:

Invented by IBM, the first ATM was introduced in December 1972 at Lloyds Bank in the UK. On most modern ATMs, the customer is identified by inserting a plastic ATM card with a magnetic stripe or a plastic smart card with a chip, that contains a unique card number and some security information such as an expiration date or CVVC (CVV). Authentication is provided by the customer entering a personal identification number (PIN).

Anyway, despite the text in the introduction, 1967 is widely regarded as the introduction date of these mysterious devices that seem to be taking over our world.

Personally, I am part of the resistance. I gave up ATM use several months ago and I’ve never looked bad. Although I did notice a strange machine following me the other day…

26 June, 2011

Operation Fast & Furious

I haven’t blogged about this, because most of my stuff is opinion blogging. I’m the editorial section. Not the front page. Right now the facts are coming out fast & furiously. Stay abreast. I’ll add links to this post as they become available.

You can start at Moe Lane, the Washington Examiner, & HotAir.

Oh. Since I do opinion blogging, I should give at least a quick opinion. This is bad. Really bad. Far worse than “Plamegate”. Worse than “Whitewatergate” and “Lewinskygate”. Worse than “Iran Contra”.  Maybe Watergate level bad. Possibly worse. Yes, I said that. It is very possibly a worse scandal than Watergate and may go up just as high. People have died over this. No one died in Watergate. One person is already being pressured to resign. Another person is being fired. They won’t be the last.

At some point, someone is going to ask the President, “What did you know about this, and when did you know it?” In case you haven’t figure it out already, that’s the question a politician fears most.

UPDATE: More on the investigation and need for a Special Prosecutor here.

More On Delta

As more information surfaces, it appears that I was right. The problem with Delta and Saudi Arabia is not a Delta problem. It’s a Saudi Arabian problem.

From The Corner:

UPDATE: And just like that, I get a new statement in my inbox from Trebor Banstetter of Delta Airlines:

Delta Air Lines does not discriminate nor do we condone discrimination against any of our customers in regards to age, race, nationality, religion, or gender.

Delta does not operate service to Saudi Arabia and does not codeshare with any airline that serves that country. Delta does not intend to codeshare or share reciprocal benefits, such as frequent flier benefits, with Saudi Arabian Airlines, which we have confirmed with SkyTeam, an Amsterdam-based 14-member global airline alliance.

Delta’s only agreement with Saudi Arabian Airlines is a standard industry interline agreement, which allows passengers to book tickets on multiple carriers, similar to the standard interline agreements American Airlines, US Airways and Alaska Airlines have with Saudi Arabian Airlines.

All of the three global airline alliances – Star, which includes United Airlines; oneworld, which includes American Airlines, and SkyTeam, which includes Delta – have members that fly to Saudi Arabia and are subject to that country’s rules governing entry.

As AllahPundit at HotAir puts it:

This isn’t a “Delta problem,” it’s a western-world problem shared by Delta insofar as we happily do business with the Saudis despite some truly nasty informal — and formal — discriminatory policies. (Try getting a church or synagogue built there.) As also noted yesterday, there was no groundswell of opposition to Delta doing business with the Kingdom based on the latter’s policies towards women, for instance; the outrage erupted only when people were faced with the loathsome, historically-charged prospect of Jews being identified for special burdens.

Also, there’s this from the Saudi Embassy in Washington, via CBN:

Some reports suggest the partnership would force Delta to adopt a "no Jews allowed" policy on flights heading to Saudi Arabia. The country bans any traveler with an Israeli stamp in his or her passport from entering the country.

The Saudi Embassy in Washington issued a statement denying the reports.

"Rumors being circulated via the Internet regarding passenger flight restrictions on Saudi Arabian Airlines are completely false," Saudi Embassy spokesman Nail Al-Jubeir said in statement sent to CBN News Friday.

"The Government of Saudi Arabia does not deny visas to U.S. citizens based on their religion," he said.

Take that for what it’s worth. I’m not sure I believe it, either.

Finally, USAToday (one of the original sources of all of this), has a new article worth reading, entitled “Criticism of Delta unfair, some travel industry experts say” (yeah, I hate the phrase “some…experts say” too).

"Delta has been unfairly singled out," says travel expert Henry Harteveldt, a Jewish American and a vice president of Forrester Research. "We may find a lot of Saudi Arabia's policies unpleasant and not agree with them, but any airline flying into any country is obliged to act by the rules of that country."

And finally:

Joe Brancatelli, a business travel columnist for Portfolio.com, says criticism of Delta's SkyTeam relationship with Saudi Arabian Airlines may have been blown out of proportion, and Delta may have been the victim of misinformation.

But he questions whether U.S. airlines should be more careful about the marketing alliances they form.

"Does Delta want to be in business with an airline whose government has policies we find repugnant?" he asks.

The last is a legitimate question, and should be asked of United, American, or any American business doing business there, and even our government.

Another Peaceful Green Hippie Goes After Trig Palin

Yes, I know. It’s been a while since I’ve looked in on the Peaceful Green Hippies. Will have to do a few more of those. This is from RightWingNews.

The Left is so obsessed with Sarah Palin that crazy libs are even sending me Sarah Palin-themed hate mail. From YouTube yesterday.

U will pay…..

and sarah palin will pay as well!!!

letting that lil’ retarded baby of hers live is a sin!!!

he can’t function in this world!!! someone needs to spare him the sad life he has!!

just drown him in the bathtub!!! it’s easy to fake!! or give him a gun to play with in bed! one shot to the head, and he’s sent to Heaven!!!

but no angel should have to do sarah’s job…. so her murder will let her in to Heaven to raise this cripple. then she can go to Satan and do his bidding….. — rorycalhoun27

As I’ve mentioned before, this IS the face of the liberal left. Pleasant people, aren’t they?

June 26, 2008

The Supreme Court of the United States rules that the Second Amendment still applies in federal enclaves in District of Columbia v. Heller.

District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), was a landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual's right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes in federal enclaves, such as self-defense within the home. The decision did not address the question of whether the Second Amendment extends beyond federal enclaves to the states,[1] which was addressed later by McDonald v. Chicago (2010). It was the first Supreme Court case in United States history to decide whether the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms for self defense.[2]

On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Parker v. District of Columbia.[3][4] The Court of Appeals had struck down provisions of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 as unconstitutional, determined that handguns are "arms" for the purposes of the Second Amendment, found that the District of Columbia's regulations act was an unconstitutional banning, and struck down the portion of the regulations act that requires all firearms including rifles and shotguns be kept "unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock." "Prior to this decision the Firearms Control Regulation Act of 1975 also restricted residents from owning handguns except for those registered prior to 1975."[5]