Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rockland High School Class of 1979 30 Year Reunion

It's that time of the decade again. I'm going to attempt to coordinate our 30 year reunion from afar - Colorado Springs. I'll try and keep everyone posted on where we're at with the planning stuff. We have two dates in mind - the 4th of July and September 4th, which is Homecoming.
That's where we're at for now. More later.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I couldn't help it...

The more I hear about the Fairness Doctrine, the more I cringe. The latest offensive on the subject is Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). After hearing a recent interview of her, I HAD TO write to the senator (and I encourage others to do so as well) at senator@stabenow.senate.gov. Please include the word Michigan somewhere in the email, or it goes to the back of the pile. She only deals with her constituents at this time, according to her website.

In a recent interview, you stated that "I absolutely think it’s time to be bringing accountability to the airwaves." What do they need to be held accountable for? Provided that they comply with FCC regulations, their programming decisions are based on the market for which they air. In other words, their programming selections are what keep them in business.
This has nothing to do with fairness and everything to do with an attempt to cram liberal viewpoints down the throats of the American People ever since Democracy Radio and Air America went under as a result of poor ratings. No one mentioned the fairness doctrine while these networks were on the airwaves. Your husband helped put these failed organizations together, and now that they've tanked, your only recourse is to FORCE radio stations to offer opposing points of view. You know it, I know it, so who are we kidding? Yeah, that's what we need, more government regulation to get us just THAT much closer to communism.
The only medium that has conservatism dominate is AM radio, which is why it is the only medium you're targeting. The print media and the major networks lean very left. So is it "fair" to only go after radio because their broadcasting doesn't fit your political beliefs? Are you going to regulate cable news networks as well? Because I certainly don't see opposing points of view on MSNBC, which might explain why they are 3rd in the ratings of all 3 cable news networks. I'll bet that when they finally go under, you'll want a fairness doctrine for television as well. Problem is, Fox News already offers opposing points of view.
Quit treating Americans as naive, stupid people. Contrary to what you tell us, we know exactly why you and your fellow democrats Pelosi, Durbin, Bingaman and Schumer are doing this. Your networks lost listeners and subsequently went under because of extreme leftist (Franken, Rhodes) viewpoints. Get over it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

$150,000,000: "[Y]ou don't want it to look like a schlock affair"

Remember this in 2005 when the Bush Administration was criticized by the Left for spending $42.3m on his inauguration? You know, there was a war on and the money was better spent on really important things.
My, how do times changes. The Left has been absolutely silent over the prediction that the Obama inauguration will cost in excess of $150m.

President Barack Obama’s inauguration next week is set to be the most expensive ever, predicted to reach over $150m (£102m). This dwarfs the $42.3m spent on George Bush’s inauguration in 2005 and the $33m spent on Bill Clinton’s in 1993.

Part of the spending includes emergency funding announced by the White House on Tuesday to help with the soaring costs. Most of this new federal funding will be to deal with the huge influx of people, estimated 1.5 million to 2 million.

A White House statement said that President Bush “declared an emergency exists in the District of Columbia”.

If there is snow, the costs will grow higher. The long-term forecast suggests there is a chance of snow on Sunday and again on the day of inauguration, on Tuesday.

Carole Florman, spokeswoman for the joint congressional committee on inaugural ceremonies, told the New York Daily News, which estimated the cost at $160m: “We’re always very budget conscious. But we’re sending a message to the entire world about our peaceful transition of power, and you don’t want it to look like a schlock affair. It needs to be appropriate to the magnitude of events that it is.“

I thought there was a financial crisis in this country.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Gitmo Politics

One topic I've heard a lot about since Obama was elected is the likelihood that he will close Guantanamo Bay. However, it's not as simple as one might think. One doesn't exactly turn these detainees loose on American soil, does one?
If the secular progressives in this country have their way, Obama WILL close Gitmo, and I suspect that this announcement will come soon, mainly to appease the Left. However, expect the new administration to take their sweet time to work out the logistics. There are other issues that this administration will have to deal with as well. Thomas Joscelyn of the Weekly Standard wrote this piece last month:

The new administration will soon discover from its review of the Guantánamo files what motivated its predecessor: The scope of the terrorist threat was far greater than anyone knew on September 11, 2001. But for the Bush administration’s efforts, many more Americans surely would have perished.

This conclusion is based on a careful review of the thousands of pages of documents released from Guantánamo, as well as other publicly available evidence. In 2006, the Department of Defense began to release the documents to the public via its website. The files had been created during the Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRT) and Administrative Review Board (ARB) hearings held for nearly 600 detainees. This unclassified cache includes both the government’s allegations against each detainee and summarized transcripts of the detainees’ testimony. Although the documents were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Associated Press, the intelligence contained in the files was largely ignored by the mainstream press for more than two years. Thus, the New York Times reported only the day before the recent presidential election that the files contain “sobering intelligence claims against many of the remaining detainees.” …

The most dangerous men currently incarcerated at Guantánamo are the 14 “high value” detainees. The Bush administration gave them this designation because they are uniquely lethal, having planned and participated in the most devastating terrorist attacks in history. Their collective dossier includes, among other attacks, 9/11, the American embassy bombings (August 7, 1998), the USS Cole bombing (October 12, 2000), and the Bali bombings (October 12, 2002). They are responsible for murdering thousands of civilians around the globe, from the eastern United States to Southeast Asia. Had they not been captured, they surely would have murdered thousands more.

The 14 were originally held not at Guantánamo, but at even more controversial black sites. And the “enhanced interrogation techniques” that have sparked international outrage were principally designed for them. One may doubt the necessity and morality of these techniques, including waterboarding, while still recognizing a fundamentally important point: The 14 high value detainees are not ordinary criminals, but perpetrators of an entirely different order of evil.

It is because of these men, in particular, that the Bush administration initiated the preventive detention regime of which Guantánamo is a part. Processing them as mere lawbreakers would not have advanced the war on terror. To read them their rights and provide them lawyers would have been to throw away their intelligence value. It would have allowed them to carry to the grave many details of still active terrorist plots. The Bush administration chose a different route-harsh interrogations designed to ferret out al Qaeda’s current operations before it was too late to stop them or capture those involved.

Please read that last paragraph carefully. What many people fail to realize is that what occurred at Gitmo saved many lives. Therefore, I have no problem with tactics such as waterboarding, if it can be determined with reasonable certainty that lives were in danger. Regarding any other mistreatment of detainees, I have personally talked with members of the military stationed at Gitmo. Because of the fear of public outcry, these detainees are "treated like royalty" in their own words. Yet it hasn't been enough. The public outcry towards the mistreatment of these detaines continues. Adding insult to injury, The Supreme Court had to get involved in Boumediene v. Bush, which gave detainees access to the federal court system to challenge their detention. Fortunately, most of the key intelligence from many detainees had already been detained before the decision in 2008.

Oh, and another thing: I wish the Left would quit saying that Geneva Convention rules apply to these people. They do NOT wear the military uniform of a particular country, so throw the Geneva Convention out.

The best part is that although many European countries bitch about the way we've treated these detainees, they've also refused to incarcerate them, should Gitmo close.

The most recent concern about Gitmo lately comes from the families of the 17 sailors killed in the USS Cole bombing, as well as the Cole's former Commanding Officer. Two years after the attack, Abd al-Nashiri, a Saudi, was arrested and eventually transferred to the Guantanamo Bay. One of three high-value detainees to be waterboarded, Abd al-Nashiri is the alleged planner of the Cole attack.

This week, al-Nashiri was supposed to be arraigned at Guantanamo Bay, but the hearing has been postponed until February because the defense wants more time. With President-elect Obama promising to eventually close the prison once he's in the White House, some of the Cole families question whether their cases will be put on hold. As a retired Navy Senior Chief, I take this issue a little more personally than most. The possibility that this piece of crap will never answer for his crimes just sickens me.

Say what you will about the Bush Administration, but since 9/11, there hasn't been a single terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Obama wants a return to the pre-9/11 process of simply arresting and trying terrorists in federal courts. That did nothing to end the threat against the US, as a series of attacks abroad proved long before 9/11. On the other hand, as Joscelyn reports, the aggressive, war-modeled approach used by the Bush administration led to the unraveling of many plots, some almost ready to launch. Los Angeles had been targeted in a follow-up mission by al-Qaeda after 9/11, and the Bush administration’s interrogations uncovered the plot and the plotters, ending the threat.

The trial of the WTC I plotters after the 1993 terrorist attack did not prevent WTC II on 9/11. This is what was meant by the September 10th mentality. When Janet Reno and the Clinton Administration treated terrorists like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh the same as armed robbers not only ignored their real threat but also kept the government from gaining the kind of intelligence against their networks that keeps Americans from being killed by the thousands.If we go back to the pre-9/11 approach and process them through the civil courts, we’ll pad our conviction rates and remain blind to the threats amassing against us. Obama may close Gitmo, but in the end, he’ll need to create another mechanism to do what Gitmo did for national security or wind up dropping the ball against the real threats we still face.

Friday, January 9, 2009

CNN Gets Duped

Our MSM is at it again.

The story was supposedly that a freelance journalist in Gaza returned home to find his younger brother dead, the victim of a missile attack on a residential rooftop from an unmanned IDF drone. The video shows the supposed scene of the attack, and follows the Gaza family from the hospital to the burial, after a heroic attempt by doctors to revive the young child. The scene in question starts at around 1:40.

Only, when you look at the supposedly heroic effort, it lacks one thing: any sense that the two doctors are actually performing CPR with any effort at all. They stop as though they’ve scripted out the moment. That’s when I questioned whether the scene could have been faked, and at LGF, a physician called shenanigans:

I’m no military expert, but I am a doctor, and this video is bullsh-t. The chest compressions that were being performed at the beginning of this video were absolutely, positively fake. The large man in the white coat was NOT performing CPR on that child. He was just sort of tapping on the child’s sternum a little bit with his fingers. You can’t make blood flow like that. Furthermore, there’s no point in doing chest compressions if you’re not also ventilating the patient somehow. In this video, I can’t tell for sure if the patient has an endotracheal tube in place, but you can see that there is nobody bag-ventilating him (a bag is actually hanging by the head of the bed), and there is no ventilator attached to the patient. In a hospital, during a code on a ventilated patient, somebody would probably be bagging the patient during the chest compressions. And they also would have moved the bed away from the wall, so that somebody could get back there to intubate the patient and/or bag him. In short, the “resuscitation scene” at the beginning is fake, and it’s a pretty lame fake at that.

A little more investigation determined that one of the doctors in the video is notorious terrorist apologist Mads Gilbert. The older brother, meanwhile, is no mere “free-lance cameraman” but the owner of a business that hosts Internet web sites for Hamas. In other words, this looks an awful attempt at propaganda that only a “professional” media outlet with a pre-existing animus to Israel would put on the air without any checking of sources.

CNN has pulled the video from its rotation and its web site, without any explanation or retraction. However, the story is still on their website. We’ll see if they own up to their mistake, or simply hope no one notices.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Stooping to a new low

It's amazing sometimes to see how low some corporations will go when they are in a dispute with another corporation. Take Viacom's latest issue with Time-Warner cable. Viacom wants more $$$ for it's 19 channels such as Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, and Time-Warner refuses to pay, and is planning on shutting off these channels on their cable system at midnight tonight. In response, Viacom has decided to use its children-show characters as weapons in this fight:

Tapping emotional images such as a weeping Dora the Explorer and a distraught SpongeBob, Viacom Inc. is launching a marketing blitz Wednesday aimed at demonizing Time Warner Cable over a television-programming contract dispute.

Barring a last-minute settlement on fees, Viacom’s cable channels — including Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central — will disappear from Time Warner Cable at midnight Wednesday. While programmers and operators often battle fiercely over contract renewals, Viacom’s campaign is notable in its willingness to pull children into the debate.

One ad shows the cartoon Dora the Explorer in tears with the words, “Why is Dora crying?” The ad goes on to explain: “Time Warner Cable has taken 19 of your favorite channels off the air!” and suggests viewers call a Time Warner Cable number to demand that the cable operator restore Nickelodeon and its siblings. That ad is paired with another suggesting that viewers can get Dora back by signing up to one of Time Warner Cable’s rivals such as DirecTV or Verizon Communications. In another, the cartoon character SpongeBob is said to be “freaking out.”

They’re not going to get much sympathy from parents by exploiting these cartoon characters. Families in a tough economy are not going to make the expensive investment in satellite dishes just to get Nickelodeon back. Instead, they’ll find other outlets for entertainment for their children, perhaps permanently. One parent, Chad the Elder at Fraters Libertas, notes the hard sell currently under way:

This morning, Nickelodeon has been running a continuous scroll warning of the channel’s imminent disappearance for Time Warner customers and urging them to call their cable operator to avoid this horrible fate. It’s a clever ploy by Nick to go after one of parent’s critical pain points: the shows their children love to watch. All I have to say is thank God we have Comcast. Don’t get a chance to say that too often.

Hey Viacom: Settle your own problems, and keep the kids out of it.