July 31, 2006

CastroWatch--Cuba Libre?

**Scroll for updates**

Developing. . .
HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) -- Cuban President Fidel Castro was undergoing intestinal surgery and provisionally handed over power in the Communist island nation to his younger brother Raul, according to a statement read on Cuban television Monday night.

Fidel Castro, 79, has led Cuba since a 1959 revolution. Raul Castro, 75, is the first vice president of the country, and as such, the designated successor to his brother.

Castro's secretary, Carlos Balenciago, read a letter he said was from the president in which he said stress had forced him into surgery and that he would be in bed for several weeks after the operation was complete. Castro turns 80 on August 13.

Raul Castro also assumes control over the armed forces and the leadership of the Communist Party, according to the statement.
Michelle Malkin and Babalu Blog will have updates as they come in.

It is being reported that after the surgery, fidel castro would be out of commission for two months. Anyone that has had an elderly family member in the hospital knows that their frailty can and does lead to complications. Again, let's all hope that the complications are many and their outcomes fatal.
From Castro's proclamation:
Since our country is threatened by the US Government under circumstances such as these, I have made the following decisions:

I provisionally delegate my functions as first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba to its second secretary, comrade Raul Castro Ruz.

I provisionally delegate my functions as commander in chief of the heroic Revolutionary Armed Forces to the aforementioned comrade, Army General Raul Castro.

I provisionally delegate my functions as president of the Council of State and Government of the Republic of Cuba to the first vice president, comrade Raul Castro Ruz.

. . .

Our glorious Communist Party, with the support of the mass organisations and all the people, has the mission of taking on the task given them in this proclamation.

. . .

It is my request that the party's Central Committee and the National Assembly of the People's Government firmly support this proclamation. I have not the slightest doubt that our people and our Revolution will fight until the last drop of blood to defend these and other ideas and measures that may be necessary to safeguard this historic process.

Imperialism will never be able to crush Cuba. The battle of ideas will continue.

Long live the fatherland.

Long live the Revolution.

Long live socialism.

Onward to victory forever.
Not much longer, Fidel.

It was not but a week ago that Castro himself noted he would not make it to 100.

Dancing in Miami.

CNN Video Glorifies Cuba, "Lure Of Revolution And It's Heroes"

Expose the Left--Castro Out Of Commission For At Least Two Months, Dying?


Chavez Receives Iran's Highest Honor

Ahmadinejad and Chavez vow to fight U.S. "imperialism":
Iran awarded Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez its highest state medal on Sunday for supporting Tehran in its nuclear standoff with the international community, while Chavez urged the world to rise up and defeat the U.S., state-run media in both countries reported.

The leftist Venezuelan leader also condemned Israel for what he called the "terrorism" and "madness" of its attacks in Lebanon, Venezuelan state television reported.

"Let's save the human race, let's finish off the U.S. empire," Chavez said. "This (task) must be assumed with strength by the majority of the peoples of the world."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad presented Chavez with the Islamic Republic Medal in a ceremony at Tehran University. The award was to show Iran's gratitude for his "support for Iran's stance on the international scene, especially its opposition to a resolution by the International Atomic Energy Agency," Iranian state-run television said.

"He is the one who has resisted imperialism for years and has defended the interests of his and other Latin American countries," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.
The 1930s had the Hitler-Stalin pact which enabled WWII, and the early 21st century has Chavez and Ahmadinejad. They may not have earned the stature of infamy of their dicatorial predecessors, but give them time. . .


Pope Calls For Cease-Fire

But mangles the reasoning behind the call for a cessation of violence, and misapprehends the potential outcome of the use of violence to stop further violent actions:
"In the name of God, I appeal to all those responsible for this spiral of violence, so that they immediately put down their arms on all sides," the pope told pilgrims and tourists at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, on the outskirts of Rome. Pausing slightly, he repeated the word "immediately."

"I appeal to governing leaders and to international institutions not to spare any effort to obtain this necessary cessation of hostilities," the pontiff said.

. . .

"In this moment I cannot help but think of the situation, ever more grave and more tragic, that the Middle East is going through: hundreds of dead, so many wounded, a huge number of the homeless and refugees, houses, cities and infrastructure destroyed," Benedict said. "These facts demonstrate clearly that you cannot re-establish justice, create a new order and build authentic peace when you resort to instruments of violence."
It is difficult to understand how the pope could misinterpret the beneficial use of force in his own lifetime, in his homeland. One could not kill Nazism or totalitarianism by acquiescence, but by force. Reestablishing justice in Europe--at least for those in Western Europe--came at the price of thousands of military and civilian casualties, and authentic peace was not obtained, as Chamberlain proclaimed, by a piece of paper or a verbal promise, but by the unconditional surrender of an enemy that had ravaged the continent for six years. Those are the lessons to derive from WWII, and not the cut-and-run, head-in-the-sand, moral equivalency that places the call for peace over any other consideration. Ask for "peace at any cost" and it may cost, dearly.


Parolees Still Banned From Voting

The Colorado Supreme Court determined that the parolees had not completed their sentence, and therefore are ineligible to resume voting privileges:
Some six-thousand parolees will be kept out of polling places in Colorado this year, following a Colorado Supreme Court ruling upholding a state law Monday barring parolees from voting.

The American Civil Liberties Union's Colorado chapter challenged the law on behalf of two nonprofit groups and Michael Danielson of Fort Collins. Danielson was paroled in 2003 following a conviction on drug and theft charges.

Attorneys for Danielson, the Colorado Criminal Justice Coalition and Colorado-CURE argued the state law violates state Constitution. They say prisoners' voting rights should be restored when they are released from prison -- even if they are still on parole.

But in an unanimous opinion, the justices said convicted felons have not served their full sentence until all components, including parole, are completed.


Owens To Sign Immigration Bills

He is expected to sign them this afternoon.

Documents for proof of legal residence.


July 28, 2006

CNN Video Glorifies Cuba, "Lure Of Revolution And It's Heroes"

**Welcome Michelle Malkin readers! Take a moment to check out the rest of the blog. . .

**CastroWatch--Cuba Libre?

Instead of critically approaching the matter of U.S. citizens flouting travel prohibitions to Cuba--examining the reasoning behind them, for example--CNN's Morgan Neill instead focuses on the good-natured intentions behind the communist apparatchiks drawn to Cuba, Castro and Che's communist dictatorship paradise.

The useful idiots challenging "unjust laws", part of the Venceremos Brigade, want to see the country destroyed created by "El Comandante" (Neill fawns over that title) Castro and pals, and "learn from a very live revolution" in Cuba. Too bad they weren't around when the real lessons of a Communist revolution took place--incarcerations, executions--or when those currently undertaken--imprisonment, reeducation--are not offered as a part of the tour package.

Cuba--a "one-of-a-kind mix of Communism and defiance", what with its "lure of revolution and it's heroes."

Only from CNN, the Communist apologist News Network.

Expose the Left--Castro Out Of Commission For At Least Two Months, Dying?


Penn And Teller On The World Trade Center And Terrorists

H/T: The Jawa Report.


Smoking Ban Affecting Smaller Businesses

As this blog argued last month, the right of individual businesses to determing their own policy on smoking has been unnecessarily usurped by the nanny-state which has determined that not only is second-hand smoke harmful, but so is allowing individuals to choose whether they will offer it at their establishment, and other individuals to conclude where their patronage should be expended.

Good for some (LoDo, bigger bars), bad for others (mostly local joints and mom and pop bars)--the law of unintended consequences in the area of public policy. Others are also feeling the pinch after the smoking ban:
Ami Ben says the state's smoking ban is forcing him to lay off three employees "who are like family."

"My business went down at least 30 percent" since the ban went into effect July 1, said Ben, who owns Tarantula Billiards Cafe in downtown Denver. "This is total garbage!"

Ben said his business, at 14th and Champa streets, runs on a 10 percent profit margin and he has to cut staff and take other measures to survive.

"Nobody here ever complained about smoking," Ben said. "It's all the do-gooders."
He isn't alone in his plight.

Kyle Jewett, who co-owns Kyle's Saloon & Eatery with her husband, said business is "scary slow" in the wake of the ban.

Jewett used the same figure - 30 percent - to describe the falloff in business at her saloon, 3989 Ulster St.

The couple have sunk a few hundred dollars into their patio - where smokers can legally light up - in hopes of hanging on to smoking regulars.

Some are using the patio, but others just stopped coming, Jewett said.

"It doesn't look good," she said. "If we don't see some more business soon, we're probably going to have to file for bankruptcy."


Signs Campaign Season Has Begun

And whadya know, the first reports of campaign shenanigans--stealing/defacing signs, other criminal mischief toward candidates (breaking things)--have been reported, and it has become apparent that the unhinged left targets even candidates for county commissioner:
An Arapahoe County man found a bird's head on his porch Wednesday. Some might think an animal left it there, but Greg McKnight thinks otherwise.

McKnight is one of three Republicans running for District 2 County Commissioner in Arapahoe County, and this is not the first suspicious event he has seen in recent days, he said.

On Thursday, someone let the air out of a neighbor's car tires while it was parked in front of McKnight's house.

A few days ago, several of Mc- Knight's campaign signs were cut in half and someone shattered his front yard light.

McKnight said he is surprised by the acts and has reported them to the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office.

"I would have chalked it up to vandalism, but signs in my yard have been disturbed twice," McKnight said. "It's political shenanigans by one of my opponents."

McKnight is not the only victim in this primary race.

Incumbent County Commissioner Bernard Zimmer has seen about 300 of his yard signs disappear, he said.

"The sign gremlins seem to be eating my signs," Zimmer said. "If I catch someone stealing my signs or someone else's, I will prosecute."

Unlike McKnight, Zimmer said he is not going to "point fingers," but both said they would like it to stop.

"We're better than this," Zimmer said.
The bird's head may just be detritus brought by the neighborhood feline, but the defacement and stealing of campaigns signs, especially those of Republicans, is not uncommon, as is the breaking of property.

With the primary around the corner, it is clear that despite the current heat, the campaign season is here--just look at all the campaign ads popping up on TV.


Lamm Calls On Minorities To Examine Work Ethics

The former governor of Colorado, not the Lamm running for the 7th CD seat (video):
Illegal immigration hurts the poorest Americans. That was the message former Gov. Dick Lamm delivered at the University Club in Denver Thursday.

Lamm, a democrat, also stood by his remarks that blacks and Hispanics need to take responsibility for what he called their "underperformance".

"I'm willing to say there is racism and discrimination," he said. "But to me it is not an adequate explanation for minority under-achievement and there needs to be a certain self-examination."

"One of the things is you've got to stop making every excuse and tell people they're not succeeding because they're victims," Lamm said.

Lamm said he understands why employers hire illegal immigrants, calling them good, hardworking people. But he said they hurt poor citizens by taking those jobs.
Those are the same kind of "tough love" words expressed by Bill Cosby, Ed.D., that fell on deaf ears a few years ago.

The former governor also offers his analysis of the different types of people that settled in areas south of the border versus those in the United States, words that would easily brand him a "racist" by the activist/minority community if he were a Republican or conservative:
Lamm also addressed what he believes are the differences in culture which led to the success of the United States while many of the nations south of the U.S. border struggle.

He said very different people settled those nations. "They came for God, gold and glory," he said.

"In the United States our forefathers and mothers came to plant crops and children and build a stable society."

Lamm said blacks and Hispanics need to embrace that philosophy in order to succeed. He again pointed to the success of Asian and Jewish Americans.

"Black and Hispanic students do half as much homework as Asian and Jewish students," he said. "And they get half as good grades."

"I do believe racism and discrimination exists," he said. "But it's not an adequate explanation for a 50% dropout rate when they have the ability to succeed largely within their own hands.

"If I could do anything ... to try to lovingly encourage the minority community to continue to fulfill the civil rights agenda," he said. "But also look at how other groups have succeeded in America."

"I do think America has to rediscover its work ethic," Lamm said.
So a lack of a proper founding motivation (why their ancestors came here, and what they were looking for), lack of work ethic (laziness?), and a willingness to hide behind excuses are hurting minorities, according to Lamm. Wow, just wait until the Colorado branch of the Daily Kostards or DUers find out about these statements. . .

And the criticism has begun:
State Rep. Terrance Carroll of Denver said people should talk about personal responsibility but he is offended by what he sees as the demonizing of groups of people.


Sulfur The Silver Bullet In The Global Warming Debate?

Injecting sulfur into the atmosphere may spare the world from "global warming", in an imitation of nature itself.

The smell, however, will be horrendous.


July 27, 2006

Much Ado II: More "Offensive" Nudes In Loveland

Having already noted the outrage unfurling in Loveland over a proposed sculpture that exhibits three nude human figures, one might assume that as the community standards cited by those "offended" might indicate, nothing resembling this sort of public outrage--nude sculpture--could possibly exist elsewhere in the city, right?

Here is the proposed sculpture:

But what, mon dieu, is this?!?!?!?

Marianna Nelson, 71, and her husband, Bruce Nelson, 72, of San Benito, Texas, walk through the Benson Sculpture Garden behind one of the park's most controversial pieces titled "Spanish Daggers" in Loveland, Colo., on Wednesday July 26, 2006. The sculpture, created in 2001 by Jack Kreutzer, depicts a dancer on her tiptoes with her arms outstretched above her and wearing nothing but a hat. Ruth Scott with the Loveland High Plains Art Council said over the years people have covered the sculpture with everything from a long button-down shirt to a graduation gown and even a hula skirt to cover the dancer's nude body. Darin McGregor © News

Clearly there is no room for this sort of outrageous art in Loveland, as the Rev. Kevin Klug, pastor of Abiding Love Lutheran Church, said regarding the new sculpture:
"It's the graphic nature of it," he said. "It's more detailed than it needs to be. If you stood by the statue looking like that, something would happen to you."
Don't know what you are referring to reverend, but the sculpture does absolutely nothing for me.

But wait! There's more!

A boy rides his scooter past a sculpture by Denny Haskew titled "Moulding Our Future" in downtown Loveland. The piece is one of several sculptures that have created some controversy over the years because they depict nudity. Darin McGregor © News

What is going on in Loveland?!?!? I am offended at all the offensive images of nudity*, and am calling for Loveland residents to do more to purge these clearly offensive, degrading, outrageous sculptures from the environs of the decent city of Loveland. Depicting a mother caring for her child is also, apparently, not welcome here.

*Not really.

Thought that was all, didn't you?

A motorcycle rides past "Winning the Iron Shirt," a sculpture by Fritz White on Colo. 287 in Loveland. The sculpture got a reaction out of many community members when it was installed because some felt that the loincloth cover the warrior's backside did not cover enough cheek. Darin McGregor © News

Loveland is clearly suffering from an invasion of offensively nude sculptures, and now has the highest quotient of scantily clad bronzes anywhere in the godfearing state of Colorado!*
Of the 283 pieces of public art approved by the Visual Arts Commission, 171 are bronze statues, of which seven depict visibly nude figures.

The pending addition of Triangle by Kirsten Kokkin - it shows a nude man and a nude woman holding aloft a nude woman - would bring that number to eight.
*Complete conjecture.


Aspen As Hot As Texas

By 2100, if you believe climate change global warming alarmists.


Anti-War Protestors Prove Stupidity, Uselessness

Protesters hold a "No Blood for Oil" banner outside the Jefferson County Court on July 26, 2006. (Post / Daniel Zollinger)
Five of 12 anti-war protesters convicted of blocking access to a Lakewood military recruiting office today chose jail over community service as their sentences.

Three of the "No Blood for Oil 12" were handcuffed and led off to serve their 10-day jail sentences, with two vowing to fast as long as they could.

Drew Edmondson, 56, wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt, flashed a two-fingered peace sign despite his handcuffs. He told the court that every effort was made at the June 5 trial "to make it not political," leaving proceedings to deal with "two little misdemeanors."

All 12 were found guilty of obstructing a passageway and trespassing.
With some choosing jail over community service (why help the community when you can sit smugly in jail and earn street cred as a jailbird?) and vowing to fast as long as they can, let us hope that their cellmates are fellow travelers, and that their food deprivation won't turn out like this:


July 26, 2006

Chaput Gets Earful From Faithful On Immigration

Non-Spanish speaking Catholics have good reason to feel slighted by many in the ecclesiastical community, including Archbishop Chaput, who seem to be doing almost everything in their power to accomodate the influx of immigrants, legal and illegal, and giving them preference over native English speakers:
Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput got an earful Monday from a packed audience of mostly Anglo, middle-class parishioners frustrated over the impact of illegal immigrants on society and their perceived reluctance to learn English.

"Wherever I go, I see English and Spanish (signs) - why not Polish?" asked a woman who said she emigrated from Poland decades ago. As she spoke, a standing-room-only crowd of more than 400 people at St. Thomas More Parish in Centennial erupted in applause and cheers.

"I've always said it was good for people to learn English," Chaput said.

It was the archbishop's second town hall meeting on immigration reform, but in a far different cultural setting than last Monday's meeting at Our Lady of Peace Parish in Greeley, where the pastor estimates 60 percent of his parishioners are immigrants. That town hall meeting was conducted in both Spanish and English.

Chaput said another town hall meeting is being scheduled in a mountain town, and there may be more.

In an interview before Monday's lively, English-only meeting got under way, Chaput said Anglos tell him privately they are worried about the impact of illegals on hospitals and schools and are frustrated that immigrants don't seem to appreciate the crisis. However, Chaput said Anglos tell him they feel intimidated about voicing those concerns publicly.

Chaput said hearing such frustrations hasn't changed his mind about the need to protect the dignity of immigrants, "but it might change my personal thoughts about what political solutions are best."
No one is talking about treating people unfairly, or illegally. Assimilation by learning the language of your new home should be seen as obligatory, if only a courtesy and not by law.

What Chaput alleges, even inadvertently, is inexcusable:
Asked about the effect of continued illegal immigration in 10 or 15 years, Chaput said he believed it was a manageable problem that had largely been inflamed "by fear and 9/11."

"I think we can manage it. My ancestors - I'm an American Indian - we can handle this; we're a big country," said Chaput, whose ancestry is French Canadian and Potowanamie Indian.

A questioner who asked what Mexican bishops were doing to improve conditions in Mexico got applause from the audience and a sharp response from Chaput.

"Bishops are encouraging the government not to be corrupt and to create jobs," Chaput said. "They're not encouraging people to leave and come here, and it's not sensible for you to think that they are."
"Inflamed 'by fear and 9/11'" must mean that the majority of those concerned have ulterior motives for their concerns, or at least Chaput makes that his perception of the current state of debate.

Now, the full question about Mexican bishops is not included, but it does not appear that Chaput was asked if they were intentionally directing parishioners north, and Chaput's sharp response is more revealing, almost defensive--perhaps from a sense of guilt?


Gun Control An Issue In 7th Congressional District?

Only in the Democratic primary--the issue has been a political loser for years, despite advocate Tom Mauser's best efforts:
Tom Mauser, the father of a Columbine victim, became involved in Colorado's 7th Congressional District race Monday, criticizing one Democratic candidate for a position she says she doesn't believe.

Mauser's son, Daniel, was killed in the 1999 Columbine High School shootings. Since then, Mauser has become a gun control advocate.

Mauser said he was asked by a number of 7th District residents about his position on the Democratic primary candidates as it relates to gun control.

He called Ed Perlmutter who said he supported re-instating the assault weapons ban Congress recently let expire and limiting the number of bullets in any ammunition clip.

Mauser called Peggy Lamm's campaign and was told she did not support either of those measures.

. . .

She and Mauser spoke by phone Monday afternoon to discuss the issue. She said while gun control was a "compelling issue," it was not one she heard as she went door to door in the 7th Congressional District.

"(Residents) really want to know about how they are going to get to work with $3 a gallon gas," Lamm said. "Whether they are going to be able to afford health care for their kids. Is somebody going to come up with an honest solution about immigration and is there some way we can get our soldiers home from Iraq. Those are the compelling issues people talk to me about all the time."
Though Lamm is probably on the wrong side of the issues she mentions, she at least correctly pinpointed the likely important issues in the November election, which won't include gun control--unless Perlmutter, if he wins, pushes it beyond the primary and makes it an issue.


Watching "Colorado Media Matters" Watch Colorado

This should be interesting--homegrown lefty criticism of the "conservative" media in Denver, courtesy of Colorado Media Matters:
Welcome to Colorado Media Matters, the first organization dedicated to deploying the nationally proven research methods of Media Matters for America on a local basis, to identify and correct conservative misinformation in the Colorado media.
The fun has already begun:
Attacks on Jon Caldara and Ann Coulter--"Coulter coming to Colorado; Caldara offered regular radio gig to accused plagiarist, political murder advocate, derider of 9-11 widows"

Lesson? Don't challenge the liberal stranglehold on the MSM, or there will be backlash, smearing, and misinformation--agitprop from the apparatchiks of the moonbat left.


Former President Ford OK, Released From Hospital

Good news for the Beaver Creek resident:
Former President Ford was released from Vail Valley Medical Center Wednesday, two days after he was admitted for shortness of breath, the hospital said.

Ford, 93, was admitted on Monday afternoon and released at noon Wednesday, the hospital said in a written release.


Much Ado In Loveland: Proposed Sculpture Arouses Community Ire

David M. Barreda © News
Loveland, Colo., artist Kirsten Kokkin, creator of the "The Triangle" sculpture, stands with the controversial piece which will be installed in Loveland in August. The 7-foot-tall bronze sculpture shows a nude woman and a nude man holding another nude woman high in the air, forming a sort of inverted equilateral triangle of torsos and limbs.

The Loveland sculpture has stimulated (sorry for the puns) opponents' desire to match the intention of the piece--meant as a welcoming sign/gateway--to the "decency standards of the majority of the citizens of Loveland":
LOVELAND - A number of residents are upset that a sculpture of three nudes will be installed in a roundabout near a planned church and a charter school.

"I see it as immorality hiding behind the name of art," said Melissa Morgan, 33, a Mormon and a mother of five.

"If you're going to portray humans helping humans, it can be done tastefully. I just think it's inappropriate. It represents me as a woman, as a wife and as a woman, and that's not how I want to be represented."

Morgan is among a group of residents who object to the placement of a bronze sculpture called Triangle in the roundabout at Sculptor Drive and East First Street.
The 7-foot-tall piece, which shows a nude man and a nude woman holding a nude woman aloft, is a creation of sculptor Kirsten Kokkin, who has been a Loveland resident for the past six years. She said it represents humanity helping and supporting one another.

"I wanted the image to be eternally linked together," said Kokkin, 54. "I think it's part of the truth about humanity - we cannot survive without each other."
Sounds like good intentions on the part of the sculptor. Though nude, the figures are not engaged in erotic activity that might offend even the most sensitive censorious mind, but some residents do not see it that way--
The Rev. Kevin Klug, pastor of Abiding Love Lutheran Church, which is building a new structure near the roundabout where the sculpture will be placed, said he objected to the piece because it shows nudity.

"It's the graphic nature of it," he said. "It's more detailed than it needs to be. If you stood by the statue looking like that, something would happen to you."
No comment. . .
Former City Councilman Larry Dassow agreed.

"I don't think it meets the decency standards of the majority of the citizens of Loveland," he said.

"The original title was something about playfulness. It did not symbolize anything that is wholesome and enriches the community."
Apparently another work under consideration for the Loveland gateway sculpture has also been rejected as violating the "decency standards" of the community:

Those lascivious Florentines! What will the children of Loveland think when they go on a family vacation or study abroad and discover, gasp, NUDES!
Many who objected to the sculpture also felt it should not sit in a public place.

"My kids are going to the charter school there, the Boys and Girls Club is there," Morgan said. "When school starts, I will drive by it every day.
That might entail having to explain the aesthetics of beauty, the acceptability of the human form in art, and remembering those dusty art appreciation lectures from your long-ago college days. What, no teachable moment?


July 25, 2006

Star Trek + Monty Python = Geeky Fun

Captain Kirk and The Knights of the Round Table?


Rocky Mountain National Park A "Canary In The Coal Mine" For Global Warming

A new report released by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and Natural Resources Defense Council has a rather bleak outlook for RM Nat'l Park:
Rocky Mountain National Park and Mesa Verde are two of 10 national parks that are particularly threatened by global warming, according to a report issued today.
In western parks, pollution-driven changes in climate are likely to lead to extinctions of plant and animal species, losses of glaciers and snow-capped mountains, and an increased number of wildfires, according to a report issued by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and Natural Resources Defense Council.
"A climate disrupted by heat-trapping pollution is the gravest threat our national parks have ever faced," said Stephen Saunders, president of RMCO.

Saunders previously served as deputy assistant Secretary of the Interior over the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In the report called "Losing Ground: Western National Parks Threatened by Climate Disruption," the group identifies how vulnerable national parks are if emissions of heat-trapping gases continue to grow.

In Rocky Mountain National Park, for instance, the effects are likely to include:
— A loss of snow-covered mountains, tundra, mountain meadows, wildflowers and tree cover.
— Reductions in wildlife species including white-tailed ptarmigan and pika.
— Threats to 400 prehistoric and 600 historic sites from flooding, erosion and wildfires.
— A loss of fish as water temperatures rise and become inhabitable for trout.

Bill Wade, chairman of the executive committee of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, said, "Our national parks have been less impacted by human activities than other lands in the American West.

"They, therefore, will serve as indicators of the changing health of our planet — a kind of ‘climate change canary in the coal mine.’ This validates the reason for their establishment and underscores their continued importance."
Without question of sources, or more information about these organizations, one might assume that the report speaks with some authority, and and that through the affiliations of those interviewed, is almost endorsed by the Secretary of the Interior, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The NRDC is a self-described "environmental action organization", yet the Rocky Mountain News identifies the report as being from a "group" rather than what they really are, advocacy organizations. There is also no attempt to seek a rebuttal, the report is simply accepted at face value.


Sheehan's Disproportionate Response

Mama Moonbat "Mother Sheehan" bemoan's Israel's self-defense, wails about "innocent civilians", and condemns "voracious war profiteers" in Michael Moore's current "must read":
I have been in such a blue funk of depression and worry since Israel's over-reaction -- or "over action" in Lebanon in what seems to be insanity escalating out of control. What our media and some world leaders seem to expediently forget is that Israel massacred an entire family on a beach in Lebanon with a rocket and kidnapped two Palestinian citizens before Hezbollah and Hamas kidnapped some Israeli soldiers. Who started the cycle of violence in those countries? Who knows? Who cares! The important question is: who is going to be the courageous one(s) with integrity, wisdom and compassion that is going to at long last stop the absurdity?

As hard as I may try, I cannot wrap my mind around the fanatical rhetoric coming out of DC and from all over the world and the mindless and seemingly overwhelming support of Israel's right to "defend itself." What Israel is doing in Lebanon by killing hundreds of innocent civilians in a relatively short period of time is like the US defending itself from the tens of thousands of innocent babies, women and children in Iraq. It is morally reprehensible and just an extension of BushCo's campaign to enrich the voracious war profiteers.

I read yesterday that our State Department approved a new shipment of bombs and rockets to Israel. With the thousands upon thousands of US made bombs and rockets being dropped on Lebanon by the IDF it makes one wonder if the expiration dates on the bombs were nearing and the war machine needed to sell and ship more bombs so that the CEO's could fill their Hummers, limos, and jets with gas. Naively, I always presumed that the State Department was there to prevent the use of military force not support it by authorizing more weapons for more efficient killing! Don't we have a War Department for more killing? I feel like I am living in Bizarro World.
No comment on the last line, other than to point out it is perhaps the only bit of truth in the whole piece.

So, according to Sheehan:
1--Israel has no right to self-defense, if people might be killed.
2--Israel and the United States only target women and children.
3--This whole ordeal is really the work of "BushCo" and "war profiteers", no doubt for oil.
4--That the United States has no right or obligation to help its allies by providing them with supplies.
5--That Israel and the United States are responsible for the current crisis, and therefore have the responsibility to end it. Hezbollah, apparently, has no such obligation.

Sheehan ends with more "moral equivalency":
I recognize Israel's right to defend itself as I recognize the US's right to defend ourselves as I recognize Lebanon's and Iraq's right to defend themselves -- but I do not, cannot, and will not recognize anyone's right to commit wholesale slaughter on babies and children. I refuse to recognize that right no matter who does it -- terrorists or state-sanctioned wars of terror -- I refuse to recognize the right to slaughter and, whether it makes a difference, or not, I refuse to be silent about it.

It must stop: For my children, your children and their children.

They are all our children.
Like your fellow leftists, "you are all Hezbollah", giving sanction to terrorism in the name of "freedom fighters" (like your host Michael Moore) against evil Zionist oppression.


Michelle Malkin Weighing Cindy Sheehan
Expose the Left Update On Cindy’s ‘Fast’


July 24, 2006

Hillary Clinton Unveils "Plan" At Denver DLC Gathering

The new "plan" looks like the perennial Democratic "plan" of offering not a vision for America, but handouts, softball platitudes about "helping" the middle class, and the notion that government in general is responsible for the citizens' well-being, not the citizens themselves (the full DLC "plan"):
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, sounding a lot like a 2008 presidential candidate [duh!, ed.], on Monday accused President George W. Bush and the Republicans of making a mess of the economy and failing to ensure affordable services for the nation's middle class and poor.

"It's the American dream, stupid," said the former first lady in a riff on her husband's successful 1992 campaign mantra -- "It's the economy, stupid." Democrat Bill Clinton served two terms in the White House.

"They're not taking care of America. They're bankrupting our country and failing to address the problems," the New York senator said, citing skyrocketing gas, college and health care costs and lamenting a GOP "failure to provide Americans with economic security."

"Once again, America needs to work for everyone, not just the privileged and the powerful," Clinton said, adding that Democrats can be the "change agent" this fall by winning control of the House and Senate from Republicans.

"Democrats know we must stop passing on debt to our children and start doing what's best for our country and our children," she said in a speech to moderates attending the annual meeting of the Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist think tank best known for helping her husband win the White House in 1992.

She unveiled the "American Dream Initiative," a package of economic proposals aimed at strengthening the middle class and helping the poor work their way out of poverty. It a set of agenda items that Democrats hope to use to win control of Congress.

The 20-page document proposes steps to curtail federal spending, make college more accessible, ensure solvent retirement accounts and make health care more affordable, all with the goal of correcting the country's current "misguided economic philosophy" and giving anyone who is willing to work hard the opportunity to get ahead.

"So this is a positive agenda for change. It's an agenda that we hope will unite Democrats, and help elect Democrats across the country this November," Clinton said. "The Democrats have done it before and we can do it again."

Clinton called for mandatory, portable employee retirement accounts, a $3,000 college tuition tax credit, and an end to Congressional pay raises until the average American's income rises.

"We can replace trickle down economics with rise up economics. And we can make sure that everybody has a chance to rise up and fulfill their dreams for the future," she said.
Sounds more like, paraphrasing an even earlier Democratic President than Hillary's husband, "Ask not what you can do for the country, ask what the government can do for you." Or something to that effect.


DLC "Moderates" Offer Vision, Moonbats Protest

The "moderate" Democrats of the Democratic Leadership Council are in Denver to promote a broad agenda that party hardliners probably won't like:
DENVER (AP) - Moderate Democrats think they have the key to winning back power in Washington and across the country -- a package of economic proposals aimed at giving every American a shot at reaching the middle class.

"We thought it was important and necessary to rekindle the American dream," said Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa, a potential 2008 presidential candidate and the chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist think tank.

. . .

The centrist organization, best known for helping Bill Clinton secure the White House in 1992, was to unveil Monday its "American Dream Initiative," which lays out policies on education, health care, retirement and income.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who led the yearlong effort and also may run for president, will outline the specific proposals in a speech to nearly 400 local elected Democratic officials from more than 40 states attending the organization's annual meeting in Republican-leaning Colorado.

The site underscores the organization's contention that the party must broaden its appeal and reach out to voters in rapidly growing areas of the country if it wants to win control of Congress this fall and the White House in 2008.

. . .

The DLC's effort to create an economic agenda began a year ago, when Vilsack asked Clinton to lead the charge and solicit ideas from political, business, labor, civic and intellectual leaders across the country.

The result is what Al From, the founder of the organization, called "a set of ideas around which Democrats of all stripes can rally as we head into the fall election."

Still, he and other moderates are under no illusions that every part of the party, liberals in particular, will embrace the agenda. Said From, "My guess is that there are some people who will not be happy with the ideas."
Ya think?

So, how many times does the AP writer need to go through the pains of reiterating that the DLC is a "moderate" and "centrist" organization? By the looks of those protesting, the DLC is still on the left, just not as far out in left field (h/t Gateway Pundit):
"DLC, where you been? You're acting like Republicans!" the demonstrators chanted.

Most protesters expressed opposition to the war in Iraq. Some criticized Israel's ongoing military campaign against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. "DLC \ Genocide, DLC Hates Most Semites," one sign said.

Mrs. Clinton was singled out for particular disdain for her support of Israel in the current fighting.

One protester carried a sign that said, "Hey Hillary, It Takes a Village to Resist Imperialism."

"I believe she is acting like Israel's bitch," a public relations consultant from Boulder, Colo., Linda Mamoun, 36, said."She's not at all thinking about what's right but about how she can get the most votes."


July 23, 2006

Israel/Lebanon/Hezbollah In A Nutshell


Hot Story Not So Hot

More from the European "heat wave", this time from England:
CAN THERE be any headline more disappointing than the words: “Britain sizzles as heatwave breaks records”? It is usually followed by a report about the hottest Tuesday in Bognor Regis for four years. Admittedly this week’s “record” temperature — 36.5C at Wisley, Surrey, on Wednesday — was a little more substantial. But even so, the news was received in my house with a large yawn.

This, supposedly, was the highest temperature recorded in Britain in July. But that is only if you discount the 38.1C recorded in Tonbridge on July 22, 1868. This record is faithfully listed in my dog-eared copy of The English Climate by H. H. Lamb, of the Meteorological Office, (published 1954) but has now been struck from the records on the basis that the thermometer and its housing is not now considered to have conformed to modern standards. Of course it didn’t: it was built in the 1860s, that’s why.

The real reason the 1868 heatwave has been wiped from the historical record, of course, is that it is highly inconvenient for the global warming lobby. How can you scare people into thinking that every hot summer day constitutes yet more evidence of man-made meteorological doom when actually it was even more sizzling back on that balmy day in Tonbridge when gentlemen were briefly driven to remove their stove-pipe hats?

Logically, of course, if you strike out one Victorian record you should strike them all out. Yet, whenever it suits them, members of the global warming brigade are more than happy to quote dubious anecdotal evidence to try to prove their point that we are all slowly being fried.

The reason weather records keep getting broken, both in Britain and the world at large, is not so much that the world is becoming warmer — or, as is alternatively asserted in the case of a record freeze, the climate is becoming more extreme. It is because there are many more recording stations than there used to be, t increasing the chances that an extreme climatic event will be recorded. Moreover, compared with old thermometers, modern recording equipment is capable of registering very brief increases in temperature of a few seconds’ duration.
Not to mention that the last century has seen a warming trend that followed a several hundred year colder climate from the 15th-19th centuries. "Climate change" advocates back then would probably have called for ways to increase the temperature, lest the world turn into a giant ice cube.


July 22, 2006

Muslim Moral Superiority?

Islamophobia or Britannophobia?
Broadly, with only a few exceptions, ours is a law-abiding society in which we tolerate difference and get on with our lives while trying to behave well towards each other. So why, in that case, are Muslims so negative towards us? We hear a lot about Islamophobia, but to judge from a survey conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, British Muslims are far harsher on the rest of us than we are on them — and they are far more critical of us than are Muslims living in Germany, France or Spain.

Pew gave both Muslims and non-Muslims a list of positive and negative characteristics and asked which applied to each other. Between half and two thirds of British Muslims claimed that Westerners were selfish, arrogant, violent, greedy and immoral. Even Pakistanis living in Pakistan were less likely to say this than British Muslims, and German, French and Spanish Muslims had a markedly less jaundiced view of Westerners.

Meanwhile, British non-Muslims were among the least likely of all Westerners in the countries surveyed to attribute those negative characteristics to Muslims. We were also among the most likely to say that Muslims were devout, honest, generous and tolerant.

It is both remarkable and heartwarming that non-Muslim Britons are prepared to be so open and appreciative to a community that has such a censorious view of us. For if anyone deserves to have a grievance, it is surely non-Muslims whose generosity is not being reciprocated. Forget Islamophobia for a moment: why does no one ever complain about Britannophobia?


July 21, 2006

Another Video!

From the Republican Princess in England: This was taken at the Farnborough Fair yesterday. These are the Red Arrows, the British equivalent to our Blue Angels. They were doing some pretty awesome stuff, too bad we couldn't get everything on video.


National Security Failure--Air Marshals Compromised

Air Marshals from Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, and Las Vegas assert that management policies endanger air marshal anonymity, putting every flyer at risk (video):
All of the air marshals attacked management for systematically exposing their covert status, willingly compromising their undercover assignments, and ultimately risking the safety of air passengers from coast to coast.

"Our anonymity is the only thing we have as a defense. Without anonymity, we might as well wear our guns on the outside of our shirts and announce where we're sitting," said an air marshal in Las Vegas.

The air marshals said policies and procedures established at headquarters are compromising their security in airports, on airplanes and in the hotels where they stay.

"If the terrorists know who the air marshals are, they can ambush them, take their weapons, and take over the aircraft," said one air marshal.

"Do you believe that's happening now?" Kovaleski asked him.

"Children can identify us," he replied.

A majority of the air marshals' concerns center on procedures in place before the plane leaves the runway.

Currently, air marshals must publicly display their credentials and their badge three times in airports: once as they bypass security at the checkpoint, again to the gate agent and finally to the pilot in the cockpit.

"The procedures we're required to follow right now make us stick out like sitting ducks. Any trained terrorist organization will have absolutely no problem determining who we are and how best to defeat our tactics," said one air marshal.

They said this information is publicly available and that there's no danger in sharing it because it's information any potential terrorist can easily access.

Their frustration is amplified by the fact that, for several months, air marshals have attempted to convince top managers to change the policies that compromise public safety. But nothing has changed.
More background:
Federal air marshals across the country are telling 7NEWS that airline passengers' safety has been compromised and managers lied to Congress to cover it up.

7NEWS Investigators coordinated a series of television reports airing Thursday night in Atlanta, Dallas, Denver and Las Vegas after Investigator Tony Kovaleski spoke to air marshals in each city.

Managers of the Federal Air Marshals Service have said that complaints came from a just few disgruntled employees in Denver. But now, 17 air marshals in four states are sending a message that the $679 million that taxpayers spent this year on the Federal Air Marshals Service paid for a failing system that puts the public in danger and ignores the lessons of Sept. 11, 2001.

Never before have this many federal air marshals risked their jobs, their paychecks and their federal careers to expose what they all call a critical failure in national security.

"We do not want to come before the media. This is the last hope that we have to get these dangerous policies changed," said one federal air marshal.

"Our job is to prevent another Sept. 11 from happening. We can't do that. Not under these circumstances, not under these conditions," said another federal air marshal.

"I am so completely and utterly frustrated," said a third federal air marshal.
This is not the first time the issue has been raised:
"I think the problems with the Air Marshals Service could be solved with new management and about 48 hours. Nothing's broken here that can't be fixed with a little integrity and common sense," said Don Strange, a former special agent in charge in Atlanta.

Strange ran the Federal Air Marshal Service's Atlanta office and was in charge of four states.

Concerned about national security and before he was removed from his job, Strange sent two memos in August 2005 to Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff.

In the memos, Strange said the Federal Air Marshal Service is "a morally corrupt agency." He said current policies "unnecessarily endanger the lives of federal air marshals and the flying public."

He also alerted Chertoff that senior managers at headquarters were "lying to Congress and the media about policy issues."

"As a matter of fact, I called senior management at the Air Marshal Service and said, 'You guys are lying to Congress. You are lying to the media. We can't do that. We won't have any credibility as an agency if we do that,'" said Strange.
A congressional report confirmed the air marshals' allegations:
The agency's credibility took another hit when a congressional investigation produced a highly critical report in May. But what was the impact of the House judiciary report?

"Really nothing," said a federal air marshal.

"So, a report, more than a year in the works, and nothing came of it?" Kovaleski asked.

"Nothing, absolutely nothing," said a federal air marshal.

The congressional investigation confirmed what air marshals have attempted to change internally for more than two years. It said any policy or procedure that potentially compromises the identity of a federal air marshal is a policy or procedure that compromises commercial aviation and national security.
Why compromise on a vital part of national security that has no partisan angle, no question of judicial/executive/legislative overreach, and suggests only a failure at the bureaucratic level to deal rationally with reality on the ground--contact your representative. . .

Here is the list for Colorado:
Wayne Allard, 202-224-5941
Ken Salazar, 202-224-5852
Bob Beauprez, 202-225-2645
Diana DeGette, 202-225-4431
Joel Hefley, 202-225-4422
Marilyn Musgrave, 202-225-4676
John Salazar, 202-225-4761
Tom Tancredo, 202-225-7882
Mark Udall, 202-225-2161



July 20, 2006

The Salazar Salient: Running To The Center

Some Dems have begun to understand that effete, elite liberals, anti-war peaceniks, hippies, activists, and other assorted leftist candidates can't win general elections, no matter how much the opponent is hated, or the country divided:
Washington - Centrist Democrats, many of whom will gather in Denver this weekend, reckon that their party's route back to power runs through Douglas County and other exurban landscapes.

Members of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council know President Bush captured Douglas and another 96 of the 100 fastest-growing U.S. counties in 2004 on his way to trouncing Sen. John Kerry among churchgoing, white parents.

So Democratic analysts are studying Sen. Ken Salazar's victorious Colorado campaign, which shrank GOP margins in Douglas and other fast-growing counties, as a potential template for a party comeback in 2006 and 2008.
Sen. Ken Salazar, who was successful against Pete Coors in 2004 has become--for some--their template, bucking the Titanic-like disaster that was the 2004 Democratic Party and providing one of the few highlights on an otherwise dismal night.
Salazar won Colorado, as Kerry lost the state, because the Senate candidate's statewide total vote "exceeded Kerry's by 79,456," writes DLC strategist Ed Kilgore in a study conducted with analyst Mark Gersh of the National Committee for an Effective Congress.

In the state's fastest-growing counties - Douglas, Weld, Larimer and El Paso - Salazar outperformed Kerry by 46,832 votes, the DLC analysis notes, although Salazar trailed Republican Pete Coors in all but Larimer.

The Kerry campaign turned out thousands of new voters in the nation's big cities, mature suburbs and college towns. But the party's liberal and minority base is no longer large enough to compensate for its losses where America is growing fastest.

"No Democrat in modern history captured a greater percentage of both self-identified liberals and registered Democrats than Kerry, yet he lost," strategists William Galston and Elaine Kamarck noted in a study last fall for Third Way, another centrist group.

Salazar's campaign, like those run by Democratic governors Tim Kaine of Virginia and Mike Easley of North Carolina, took a centrist message to exurbs that appealed to independents, moderates and conservatives. Salazar "placed special emphasis on his law enforcement experience, his national security views, and his mainstream cultural values," Gersh and Kilgore noted.
Not all, however, embrace Salazar's centrism, and like those supporting Ned Lamont's campaign against incumbent Joe Lieberman in Connecticut, the stake are more than winning campaigns, it is about enforcing ideological conformity:
Not all Democrats share the vision of the DLC, which begins its annual "National Conversation" meeting Saturday in Denver. Many liberal bloggers and Democratic activists believe ideological mushiness is the cause of the party's woes. They see groups such as the DLC as GOP "enablers."

Democrats should not "provide a lot of cover for the Bush agenda," said Connecticut senatorial candidate Ned Lamont, whose anti-war campaign has shaken moderate, pro-war Sen. Joe Lieberman's hopes for re-election.

Democratic candidates have won the popular vote in three of the last four presidential contests and turned California from red to blue. But without a majority in either house of Congress, and with Republicans governing marquee states such as California, Texas, New York, Ohio and Florida, the party is short on national leaders and influence.

"Democrats are underperforming," wrote consultant James Carville and pollster Stan Greenberg in a memo last month to fellow Democrats. Voters, they said, are "unsure about what Democrats stand for."
Apparently, Sens. Salazar and Lieberman give "cover" to the Bush agenda (check their voting records, they are doing nothing of the kind) while opposing leftwing moonbats like Lamont and Howard Dean from completely submerging the Democratic party in inefficacy at the polls, inadequacy in message, and intolerance in ideological viewpoints.

The MSM continues to spout the "popular vote" meme, as if that had any validity other than providing them with numbers to crunch on election night (and anyway, Bush won the "popular" vote in 2004, much to their consternation). They have no leaders or influence because their "leaders" have no message, as none other than James Carville points out. We all know what they stand against, but in the final analysis, what the hell are they for?

In fact, in spite of Bush's sagging poll numbers and the GOP's inconstant hold on public opinion--which is like nailing jelly to the wall--the Dems are flailing in the overall "capture the constituency" contest:
Ominously for the party, key voting groups are moving in a Republican direction, analyst Gersh said. Between Bill Clinton's win in 1996 and Kerry's loss in 2004, Democratic presidential candidates lost ground among women, high school graduates, Catholics and seniors.

"Among Hispanics, whom Democratic strategists have pursued obsessively, there has been an even more precipitous decline," said Gersh.

Clinton's 51 percentage point margin among Latinos was reduced to an 11-point advantage for Kerry in 2004.

"The map is wholly going in the direction of the Republicans," said Karl Rove, Bush's top political adviser. For the Democrats, "the Solid South is now gone, the Midwest is increasingly problematic for them" and "certain parts of the West are reliably Republican."
Certainly anything can change in an election, and political winds can blow in the opposite direction overnight (Hurricane Katrina, anyone), but a tidal shift toward Democratic candidates, especially those espousing Daily Kos-like leftist pabulum will not get far, as the Dems begin to lose their most cherished voting blocs, the "minority vote":
Many Democrats believe that changing demographics will give the party a natural majority. Last year, Texas joined California, New Mexico and Hawaii on the list of states that have more minority than white residents. But Texas' governor, its two U.S. senators and attorney general, and majorities of the state's legislature and congressional delegation are Republican.

"Democrats cannot expect demography to turn red areas blue in the immediate future," said Kilgore.

Democrats can hope that punitive Republican immigration policies will hurt the GOP among Hispanic voters, Rove said. It is something he and other GOP strategists worry about. But liberals should remember, he added, that "there is an inherent conservatism in the Latino community" on such matters as faith, family and military service.
So Salazar has become the alternate "paradigm", one that might actually garner more interest, but also potentially threatens to alienate the far-left radicals like Cindy Sheehan, the Kostards, and conspiracy theory/moonbat crowd:
And so the party looks to candidates such as Salazar and Kaine, who carried Republican suburbs and exurbs in northern Virginia last fall, for new approaches.

"Democratic field operations will have to venture into areas where they feel less comfortable and where finding Democratic votes takes a bit more effort," said Democratic strategist Ruy Teixeira.

"Ken was ... the only Democrat to win (an open) Senate seat in a state George Bush won," said Salazar's 2004 campaign director, Jim Carpenter. "There are a variety of lessons Democrats around the country can learn."

Carpenter said Democrats should emulate Salazar's moderation and independence, "talk about issues that impact people in their everyday life" and "not cede any territory" to the GOP.
Lessons the Democrats should learn from Salazar's victory in 2004:
If you talk like an elite, New England blowhard surrounded by wealth, dithering on foreign policy, and putting forth no platform other than "I oppose my opponent", you are not going to win.

If you sound/resemble/support/associate with people like Sheehan, Michael Moore, Hollywood liberals and the like, you are not going to win.

If your main supporter is the Daily Kos, withdraw immediately, you are definitely not going to win.


Two-Thirds Not Enough--All Employees Should Be Scrutinized

A good start, but not nearly enough:
A new survey of Colorado employers suggests that about two-thirds go to extra lengths to ensure new hires are legally entitled to work in this country.

A joint survey by the Mountain States Employers Council and the Rocky Mountain News found that 65 percent of respondents said they verify the authenticity of a person's Social Security number as part of the hiring process. The move isn't required by law.

MSEC members participated anonymously in the unscientific survey, which was conducted on the group's Web site. Two hundred seventy-one members responded.

The nonprofit MSEC counts about 2,500 employers as members. The group provides members with help in human resources, employment law and other areas.
Everyone should be checked to make sure they can work in this country. Unequal enforcement is a de facto loophole for thousands of illegally present "workers" to skirt the system.


Salazar: Colorado "Katrina Of The West"

Not quite, Mr. Senator:
Washington - Sen. Ken Salazar complained Wednesday that lack of money has stymied most of the projects to treat bark beetle-damaged forests in Colorado to reduce wildfire risk.

"I look at Colorado as the Katrina of the West," Salazar said. "We are simply not doing enough."

Salazar's criticism came as senators from Western states scolded Bush administration officials for what they said was the slow pace of efforts to decrease the risk of catastrophic fires.

So far this year, 4.5 million acres have burned in the West. By this time last year, a little more than 3 million acres had burned.
A lack of federal funds for forest clearing is lamentable, but certainly does not compare to the tragic, natural and man-made disaster that was Hurricane Katrina. Roughly a thousand dead? Nope. Hundreds of thousands homeless? No. Government mismanagement or lack of planning--maybe, but clearing the entire western United States of undergrowth and other fire accelerants would be a daunting and nearly impossible task. Fire is natural, and fires in forests nature's way of providing clearing dead and dying trees, fertilizing the soil, and making way for new growth. That a few houses and outbuildings burn each year is sad for the owners (though personal responsibility dictates that they knew the risk), but for the most part, these fires burn millions of acres of empty land. That over 7.5 million acres have burned in the last two years alone, plus the fact that there are still plenty of trees out there indicates that, 1) the fires have little overall devastating effects similar to a Hurricane Katrina, 2) that plenty of forest remains, 3) that this is part of the natural cycle.

Anyone not familiar with the devastating effects of forest mismanagement over the last century--preventing rather than allowing fires--can only examine the accelerated growth of forests, and thus, fuel for fires, by looking at pictures like those taken by John Fielder just a few years ago and comparing them to the original photos shot by William Henry Jackson in 1870.

So, a note to Salazar. Fires aren't all bad, and it is precisely forest mismanagement that got us to this point in the first place. So don't gripe about not enough money, and certainly, don't insult those in Louisiana, Mississippi, or Alabama by comparing wildfires to a Hurricane. The Hayman fire in 2002 was a nuisance, but didn't require FEMA intervention, garner incessant national media coverage, result in hundreds of casualties or destroy a town. Find a better analogy.


July 19, 2006

Band Of The Banned--Censorship

What does censorship look like?

Like this:

The crime?

Offending Muslims. What garbage.

Blocking internet access in this age is like shutting down the printing press of underground newspapers, or silencing opponents in public. Can India's commitment to democracy--of which freedom of speech is a foundational element--be sincere when the easiest way to deal with opposing viewpoints is to silence them and shut down access?

Show solidarity with those blogs being censored by the Indian government--background, analysis, criticism and solidarity found at The Jawa Report, one of the banned bloggers.


Election Fraud Alert--Denver To Change Voting Machines

First, cue the inevitable "every vote counts"/"voter fraud" criticism from the Left (video):
Jenny Rose Flanagan is with a watchdog group called Colorado Common Cause. "I think there are inherent problems with the new machines, in terms of security and testing and those kinds of certification procedures along the way that have been raised in other states," she said.

"The truth is, this is the first time we'll be using them in Denver, so until we see those post election audits and prove these elections are done accurately, there are questions about these machines and their capabilities," said Flanagan.

Flanagan says the machines could be better and have a higher level of security.

"It's been argued that our standards for our gambling equipment in Las Vegas had a higher standard of testing than these electronic voting machines," she said. "We need to raise the bar and do a better job in creating these machines and making sure they meet the security concerns to protect our most fundamental right to vote."
The background:
The concept of precincts in Denver is a thing of the past, instead 47 vote centers will be available, allowing anyone to vote anywhere in the city.

"It will be easier," said Alton Dillard, Denver Election Commission Communications Director, "and also a little more convenient."

"As long as you have your photo ID, that you are a registered Denver voter, you go in and cast your vote," says Dillard.
In addition, the new machines that will be unveiled will provide ATM style voter receipts to verify votes.

The biggest thing to think about would be the degree to which those examining Colorado IDs perform their task without being accused of possibly hassling suspicious voters--potentially fraudulent IDs--or even worse, being accused of racism.

As described here, implementing voter ID checks has riased the hackles of the Left as a "poll tax" (charging for IDs requires money), or soft racism that unduly burdens "disadvantaged groups"--which in Liberal-speak includes minorities and illegal immigrants.

It should be no burden to require a state-issued ID card from any person over 18, who is a legal resident of that state. The left will argue that besides discrimination, these onerous requirements place an insurmountable obstacle to the right to vote. In other words, let all who want to vote. . .with or without ID. It would be harder to buy liquor in most parts if that were the case. . .

So essentially, unless the individual election monitor is diligent, just about anything might pass. The other problem, is that traditional precincts tended to have the same people running it, so a certain amount of familiarity was built into the system. With "open" voting like this, there will be none of this, and the potential for fraud through fake IDs or lax inspections might become a more worrisome possibility than voting manipulation that the GOP has been charged with in the past 3 elections.


July 18, 2006

Boulderites Fight Global Warming

"It's like peeing in the ocean. It makes you feel good, but it doesn't affect the ocean at all."

"Think globally, act locally", or something like that (notice how the article just assumes that Global Warming exists):
Global warming is a hot topic these days and Boulder researchers have an up-close-and-personal view of climate change that most people never glimpse.

Boulder is an internationally recognized hub for climate-change research, with several hundred scientists working at federal laboratories and in various departments and institutes at the University of Colorado.

They measure the gases blamed for global warming, they monitor retreating Alaskan glaciers and melting Arctic sea ice, they use giant supercomputers to peer into the planet's future, and they study clues about past climates recorded in tree rings.

They are on the front lines of the rapidly evolving science, as well as the debate over appropriate responses.

The Rocky Mountain News asked five Boulder climate scientists and engineers what - if anything - they do in their personal lives to reduce their contributions to the heat-trapping greenhouse gases linked to global warming. Those gases include carbon dioxide, which is emitted by automobile tailpipes and coal- fired power plants.
Though motivated by their own research and guilty consciences to "help out", these scientists appear to do little in the way of profound change, other than biking to work (a trendy thing to do in Boulder anyway), and cutting "carbon footprints" here and there. The hypocrisy and self-satisfying smugness of this enviro crowd is captured by one of the scientists in an inadvertent aside:
"A lot of these people who buy those Priuses, they smirk to themselves at being great environmentalists," he said. "Then they jump on an airplane and go to Europe for a trip, and flying uses up a huge amount of fuel and dumps so much CO2 (carbon dioxide) into the air."

And consider China, where a new coal-fired power plant opens every nine or 10 days, Schnell said. The carbon emissions from each new Chinese power plant overwhelm the actions of countless do-gooders around the world, he said.

"When you look at the big picture, these individual actions are doing practically nothing," he said. "It's like peeing in the ocean. It makes you feel good, but it doesn't affect the ocean at all."


Beauprez Receives GOP Boost

The $500,000 windfall will be spent helping his campaign, though not given directly to him:
The Republican Governors Association has pumped $500,000 into Colorado's gubernatorial race, considered by political analysts to be one of the most competitive in the country.

The governors group donated the money to Trailhead Group LLC, an independent political committee that said it will use the money to help GOP candidate Bob Beauprez.

"We are going to be aggressive to support Bob Beauprez and the RGA is part of our team and excited about investing," said Alan Philp, executive director of Trailhead.

Beauprez, a congressman, faces Democrat Bill Ritter, a former Denver district attorney. Under campaign finance laws, Trailhead cannot contribute any of the RGA money directly to Beauprez. It can, however, spend it on radio and TV ads, campaign mailings and get-out-the-vote efforts supporting him.


Hide The Children--Dutch Court Allows Pedophile Party

Good grief--at least the judge's decision was the correct one, technically:
A Dutch court has turned down a request to ban a political party with a paedophile agenda.

Judge HFM Hofhuis ruled that the Brotherly Love, Freedom and Diversity Party (PNVD) had the same right to exist as any other political party.

The PNVD was formed by three paedophiles in May, prompting outrage in Dutch society.

It seeks to lower the age of sexual consent from 16 to 12 and legalise child pornography and sex with animals.

"Freedom of expression...including the freedom to set up a political party can be seen as the basis for a democratic society," Judge Hofhuis said in the ruling, according to the Associated Press news agency.

"It is the right of the voter to judge the appeal of political parties," he said.
Without a doubt the Dutch will reject such a vile agenda at the ballot box, not through a judicial ban.

Captain Ed agrees.


Soda Tax Fizzles Out

The RMN editorial had this to say:
Pop goes the soda tax in Aurora. For now, anyway.

City Councilman Bob Fitzgerald pulled his proposal to add a one penny tax to the sale of some soft drinks and juices - but not others - on the advice of the city's business advisory council.

The scheme could come before the council and be referred to voters next year, or it could fizzle entirely. We would prefer the latter.

Fitzgerald thinks the tax could discourage obesity and raise as much as $1.8 million a year for city coffers. But his proposal would be baffling in practice.

One version under discussion would exempt diet pop and milk but tax artificially flavored juice and vegetable drinks. Just imagine the joys awaiting clerks at liquor stores and small markets that can't program their cash registers to distinguish between the beverages that are subject to the tax from those that aren't. And we haven't even touched upon the complications for vending machine owners.

Sounds like an administrative nightmare that would scarcely reduce a weighty problem. Good thing it went flat.
Administrative considerations aside, one can just begin to grasp the myriad and preposterous possibilities of extending such "bad behavior" taxes beyond the soda pop can.

Any other bright ideas?


Ritter Ahead In July--Just Barely

By 7 points, give or take 4 (the margin of error).

Not a surprise really, given Ritter's generally good image and Beauprez's protracted almost-primary with Holtzman. It is July, the GOP has held the governorship for 8 years, state GOP members are all over the place on candidates (Beauprez vs. Holtzman) and issues (anti-illegal immigration vs. pro-business).

But it is only July. A stronger showing from the Beauprez campaign over the next few months would eliminate fears of a post-primary swoon, and a national uptick in GOP popularity, particularly with Bush's poll numbers and an increasing chance that the party won't lose Congress will likely instill more confidence in the rank-and-file GOP voters. The swing/moderate/independent/undecided vote is still out to lunch as the poll indicates. Particularly crucial will be balancing out the percentages of women voters, where a key independent/moderate/undecided constituency resides.


July 17, 2006

Red Meat "Evolution"

As Sam Neill says, "we were meant to eat it!"


Tundra "Early Warning System" To Detect Global Warming

Like watching grass grow:
MOUNT ALBION - University of Colorado biologists began installing an alarm system atop this craggy summit Friday, near the Continental Divide west of Boulder.

Like the alarm systems in your car or home, this one is designed to detect intruders.

But in this case, the invaders are tundra plants moving up from lower elevations in response to global warming. The alarm system is a cluster of mountaintop vegetation plots that will be monitored periodically for decades to come.

"They might be an early warning, an indicator of how natural systems will respond," said ecologist William Bowman, director of CU's Mountain Research Station at Niwot Ridge, northwest of Nederland.


Anti-Bush Vandal Pleads Guilty

Vandalism, yet another method of lefty debate--from an Air Force Lt. Col. no less:
DENVER (AP) - An Air Force officer with hundreds of hours of combat time pleaded guilty Friday to defacing cars with bumper stickers supporting President Bush.

Lt. Col. Alexis Fecteau, a decorated officer who flew 500 combat hours in the Gulf War, Kosovo and Bosnia, pleaded guilty to felony mischief and must pay restitution to the owners of the damaged cars.

. . .

Fecteau originally faced 13 charges for defacing vehicles at the Denver airport between January and July 2005. Fecteau admitted to investigators he had vandalized cars starting around the time of the November 2004 election, but pleaded guilty to a single charge of criminal mischief that named all 13 victims.

Fecteau blacked out pro-Bush bumper stickers and then spray-painted an expletive over them.
More on the feckless Fecteau at Gateway Pundit, who has a few good lefty quotes on the Air Force artiste.



Slapstick Politics has now added ColoradoPols to its list of daily reads for all things political in Colorado (it is non-partisan). Check it out for up-to-date lowdowns on races across the state, including nifty handicapping and links to campaigns.

We are also pleased to be listed as one of ColoradoPols' links. . .


July 14, 2006

Which One Is The Robot?

Let the canonization begin!

Talk about a puff piece, EW practically turns Gorebot into a genius/messiah (video):
Minds are being changed, all right, and not just about global warming. Miraculously, over the past few months, An Inconvenient Truth has accomplished something many people once thought inconceivable: It's made Al Gore cool. The somber policy wonk who campaigned for president in 2000 with all those bland speeches about lockboxes is gone. He's now a hip and trendy (in a wonky sort of way) ecological activist. While promoting the movie this summer, Gore has been connecting with crowds more effortlessly and comfortably — even charismatically — than he ever did as a politician. He even found his sense of humor; turns out it's been hiding all this time inside daughter Kristin, a former comedy writer on Matt Groening's Futurama and the one responsible for Gore's gag on The Tonight Show last month about having a showbiz feud with Lindsay Lohan (''She knows what she did...''), along with most of his other recent zingers. (See the animated trailer her pals at Futurama whipped up for the film.) True, Gore's new gig doesn't come with perks like rides on Air Force One or a house with an oval-shaped home office, but in some ways it gives him even more clout than being Commander-in-Chief. After all, if you truly want to make a difference these days, if you really want to be taken seriously by the public and participate in the national dialogue, you don't run for president. The job title for you is Movie Star.
What?!?!? The fawning article's author has officially gone over the liberal MSM deep end.

Don't become President--be a movie star!
More street cred, apparently.

Althouse had this up earlier, but her commenters clearly echo this post's title.


"None Shall Pass": 'Monty Python'-Inspired Teens Arrested In Boulder

A little midday humor from the idiot files.


Senate Votes Against Emergency Gun Confiscation

The Senate affirmed the Constitution's Second Amendment in a vote Thursday:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted to prohibit the confiscation of legally owned guns during an emergency like last year's Hurricane Katrina, marking another victory for the gun lobby.

By a vote of 84-16, the Senate embraced an amendment by Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican. He attached his measure to a domestic security spending bill for the fiscal year starting October 1 that the Senate is expected to pass soon.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed its version of the spending bill and negotiators will have to decide whether to keep the gun provision. The House is usually sympathetic to gun owners.

Citing the constitutional right to bear arms, Vitter said that during an emergency people should be allowed to hold onto "legally possessed firearms to defend your life, your property" at a time when telephone lines and cell phones probably are not operating and victims "can't reach out to law enforcement authorities."
The sixteen morons senators voting in favor of government restrictions on firearms in a time of crisis (sends chills up the spine) are the usual gang of idiots--
NAYs ---16
Akaka (D-HI)
Boxer (D-CA)
Clinton (D-NY)
Dodd (D-CT)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Levin (D-MI)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Reed (D-RI)
Sarbanes (D-MD)
Schumer (D-NY)
Teddy "Chappaquiddick" Kennedy characterized the vote as "pay-back time by the National Rifle Association" while Dick Durbin fretted that "you send the National Guardsmen in ... and then snipers start shooting at them and the police make it known this is going to be a gun-free zone. We don't want any National Guardsmen killed because of this national emergency, this disaster. Is that an unreasonable thing?"

Vitter, the amendment's author, offered his Constitutional smackdown of Kennedy and Durbin's patronizing comments--"declaration or state of emergency in and of itself does not give anyone the right to confiscate guns" and local law enforcement officials should not "trump" the Constitution."All "Nays" were Democrats, including the "moderate" Clinton. Make another note of which party would prefer confiscating your legal firearms, should a crisis happen near you.


July 13, 2006

Pete Coors, DUI

Caught rolling through a stop sign, just a block from his house. (h/t ColoradoPols)


GOP: Lamm And Schiavo Fundraiser "Shameful"

More reaction from Michael Schiavo's appearance in Colorado on behalf of Peggy Lamm:
The chairman of Colorado's Republican Party chastised Democratic congressional candidate Peggy Lamm on Wednesday for "shamefully" inviting Michael Shiavo to raise money tonight for her campaign.

Lamm fired back immediately, saying it was the Republican Party's fault for dragging the Schiavo family into the national debate over the right to live vs. the right to die with dignity.

Michael Shiavo won a drawn-out court battle with Republican lawmakers who joined his wife's parents in trying to stop him from taking his wife, Terri Shiavo, off life support last year.

GOP chairman Bob Martinez called on Lamm to cancel tonight's event, which he said showed the hypocrisy of Democrats who blamed Republicans last year of using the Schiavo tragedy for their own political gain.

"It's disgusting that Peggy Lamm would seek to raise money off of the Schiavo family's personal tragedy," Martinez said in a statement.
The Democrats, recently labeled the "party of death", are once again capitalizing on personal tragedy and grief (Sheehan, 9/11 widows) for political gain.

Lamm considers "considers the right to die with dignity a civil-rights issue" and "once tried unsuccessfully to pass a bill that would have legalized doctor-assisted suicide for terminally ill people who give competent consent".

Lamm is also a former member of the Hemlock Society.


Hispanics Blame GOP Over Immigration

From the Pew Hispanic Center (h/t Rocky Mountain News):
Latinos are feeling more discriminated against, politically energized and unified following the immigration policy debate and the pro-immigration marches this spring, according to the 2006 National Survey of Latinos conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center.

More than half (54%) of Latinos surveyed say they see an increase in discrimination as a result of the policy debate, and three-quarters (75%) say the debate will prompt many more Latinos to vote in November. Almost two-thirds (63%) think the pro-immigrant marches this year signal the beginning of a new and lasting social movement. And a majority (58%) now believes Hispanics are working together to achieve common goals -- a marked increase from 2002, when 43% expressed confidence in Latino unity.

The 2006 National Survey of Latinos was conducted by telephone among a nationally representative sample of 2,000 Hispanic adults from June 5 to July 3, 2006. The survey has a margin of error of 3.8% for the full sample.

The survey shows that Latinos to some extent are holding the Republican Party responsible for what they perceive to be the negative consequences of the immigration debate, but the political impact of that perception is uncertain. Party affiliation among Latino registered voters has not changed significantly since the spring of 2004. However, the share of Latinos who believe the Republican Party has the best position on immigration has dropped from 25% to 16% in that time, with virtually the entire loss coming among foreign-born Hispanics (28% vs. 12%), who potentially represent an important and growing pool of future voters.

At the same time, the survey provides little solace for the Democratic Party, which showed no significant gains among Hispanic registered voters and which by some measures has lost some support. If anything, the survey shows that a growing number of Latinos are dissatisfied with both of the major parties.
The most telling part of this survey is the negligible gains made by the Democrats in courting the Hispanic vote by portraying the GOP, especially those in the House, as "nativist" or "racist". Apparently this voting bloc is moving toward the independent middle, suspicious of both parties--and in this instance, not buying the Dems' pandering.


The original story from the Rocky was later updated, with these quotes on the fallout affecting Democratic prospects:
Veronica Montoya, of Denver, is a ninth-generation Coloradan and a longtime Democrat, the party of her parents and grandparents.

There was never a question about her political affiliation - until now.

"I always thought the Democratic Party was the party of Latinos. I thought Democrats were for the people, the common person. I blindly voted Democrat because I thought the Republican Party was for rich people trying to protect their money," said Montoya, a 37-year-old Realtor.

"Now, the line between the Democrats and Republicans has gotten blurred."

She won't switch to the GOP, she said, but she's considering registering as an unaffiliated voter.

Dusti Gurule, executive director of the Latina Initiative Project, a nonpartisan voter registration effort aimed at Hispanic women in Denver and Adams counties, says both parties share the blame.

"Personally . . . I feel betrayed and annoyed, not just by the Democratic Party but also by the Republican Party," she said. "The Republicans came out with their mean-spirited offense, and then the Democrats took credit for what in my view is mean-spirited legislation."
Keep gloating, Dems.