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    Thursday, March 31, 2011

    Libya, Obama, Bumper Stickers: Give War a Chance

    Jason Mattera, over in Human Events, posted yesterday about all the contradictions in Obama's Monday night speech and the Libya policy in particular.  It's worth a read.

    Today on my way to work, I was behind one of those leftists, female, professorial types driving a 10 year old Corolla, with all sorts of leftist bumper stickers.  You know the ones - "coexist," "War is not the answer," "instead of dropping bombs, blah, blah, blah." The crap that was popular among the Left during the Bush years.  And in the middle of all of those, one of those annoying "Obama '08" stickers.  In the fallout of the Libya exercise (war?), I wondered whether she was feeling particularly hopey-changey, and would she be scraping that Obama sticker off soon?

    That observation aside, I think it's right that we get involved in the Libyan deal.  Let's face it, I despise the Islamists completely, and want to see them and their ideology wiped off the face of the earth, but, Gaddafi was pretty much the most despicable tyrant in a part of the world filled with them.  Whatever replaces him couldn't be much worse for the United States.  It's definitely worth the effort, especially if it can be done somewhat antiseptically from the air (which I doubt).  I am reminded of the Kosovo operation during Bill Clinton's reign.  I think Clinton hoped he could avoid ground troops in that case, too, and may have even pledged the same thing.  When it came down to the endgame, however, we were sending ground troops, as peacekeepers, with NATO allies and other UN nations, and, we hadn't really removed the government, we had just neutered it.  So, I find it either naive, or a disingenuous lie to say that we won't be putting troops on the ground.  Especially if the goal is no Gaddafi.

    Of course, the worse case scenario here is we arm the rebels, and they fail to displace Gaddafi, and the arms we give them end up in the hands of Muslim extremists.  That would be the worst, so, we run a real risk here - do we give a better chance of getting rid of Gaddafi via air support and arms, or do we stay where we are, which today appears to be not that great of a position.  Gaddafi's army is probably able to quash this thing without air power anyway.  So, it's going to take some kind of escalation to get victory.

    We're left here, in my opinion, with the only hope of real victory, and a real democratic Libya, being one in which the United States gets much more intimately involved than providing air power.  To really achieve the removal of Gaddafi and the replacement of him with a semi-pro-Western government, is going to require ground troops. And likely American ground troops.  And, it's also going to require an organized opposition that isn't pro-Al Qaeda. That puts us (and our few staunch allies) in the position of picking winners from among the rebel coalition.  If this all sounds familiar to you, it should.

    So, Obama has chosen a half-measure, the use of American air power.  To what end?

    I also find it a lie that putting NATO in charge removes us.  A NATO operation is for all practical purposes a US operation, as Mattera points out.  No president in my memory has stated such a thing because at least in the past, I think most Americans associated the United States with NATO.  In other words, you couldn't fool Americans with this sleight of tongue.  

    For me, when you say NATO, I think of the US and our Western European allies plus Canada, Greece and Turkey.  But mostly, I think of the United States.  When you think of NATO you really should think of the US, if you have a passing knowledge of history.  We ARE NATO.


    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    Sarah Palin? I say no.

    Regular readers will know that I am torn by the prospect of Sarah Palin in the GOP race for the 2012 Presidential nomination.

    On the one hand, I think she's much smarter than she's portrayed, of course, by the state-controlled media, and even some GOP operatives (are you listening, Karl Rove?).  On the other, I just don't think 2012 is her time, and, now that I am perusing some of the other candidates, I just think we at least need a candidate who elevates the debate, and can clearly articulate the difference between Liberals, and us.  Personally, I think Newt, Chris Christie, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, and even Romney, all can, and will do this better than Palin.

    I think her behavior since 2008 has been quixotic.  Starting with the resignation, then with the constant defensiveness, the reality show, it's all not very presidential, and has done little to distinguish her as a deep thinker and someone who brings real depth to the conservative debate.

    What I don't want is an election that's about the cult of personality.  That's what we got in 2008, and we don't need it in 2012.  If Sarah Palin wants to be president (and I am not convinced she does), she needs to do the same things she would need to do if she wanted to be a thought leader for conservatives.

    Which is - take advantage of the one issue where she has a clear edge on every other Presidential aspirant, energy policy.  But, she hasn't seemed to bring that knowledge to the fore.  She needs to.

    She also needs to get smart on other conservative issues.  I don't hear her bringing intellectual arguments, clearly enunciated, to the issues near and dear to conservatives - low taxes, smaller government, defense, school choice, free markets, and any foreign policy agenda.  She's a Sean Hannity conservative - not that thoughtful, knowledgeable in a 1/2 inch deep sort of way, but reflexively anti-Obama.  I'm anti-Obama, too, but, geez, our ideas are clearly superior to theirs, we need to get into the habit of being idea driven, not anti-driven.

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    Sharia, Herman Cain

    In response to Peter Wehner's Commentary article today on Herman Cain's position on appointing a Muslim to his cabinet or judgeship.
    I appreciate your column on anti-Muslim bigotry.  I do not think being Islamic should disqualify one from a position within the American government, any  more than being Christian, Jewish, Wiccan or Atheist should.  Individuals at that point in their career should be judged on their (hopefully well-established) records.  I do think if one is a proponent of the imposition of Sharia, that is disqualifying. 

    That stipulated, if one believes that all Muslims are interested in the imposition of Sharia, there is no hope for democracy in the Muslim world, and I simply don't believe that.  I don't think Sharia is human nature.  I think freedom is. 

    I do think that it is going to take some serious reformation of Islam to moderate it and bring it in line with Western culture and values, which I think we'd all agree are responsible for most of the progress in the world since about 1400AD.  What Bin Laden, et.al., preach is not a bastardization of Islam, it's pretty much what the Koran and the Hadith say, and he's got many, and the most vocal, clerics to back him up.  The guys' on pretty solid theological ground for what he's doing.

    Show us the moderate clerics who are helping the generally peaceable Muslim make the choice to embrace Western values and reject Sharia by re-interpreting Islamic teachings.  Please do, because those leaders need to drown out the voices of the Muslim Brotherhood and their ilk, because the Muslim street sure seems pretty aligned with that crowd.  I'm not suggesting such a change is impossible, I am just saying it's a big uphill climb.

    As for Cain's proposition, the real question is - can a devout Muslim retain his devoutness and not desire the imposition of Sharia?  Can he separate the political ideology that exists within Islam from the pure worship of a single deity that is a fixture of Islam?  Does that make him less Muslim?  I just posit that you will find most Muslims, and Islamic leaders, find that separation problematic. 

    So, we're looking for Muslims who practice a "kinder, gentler" form of Islam.  If that's so, is it still Islam?

    Until that's mainstream, American political leaders should be very wary of what their Muslim advisors and appointees believe.  Sharia?  Just say no.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    DVR Blogging Idol: Baker's Dozen

    Tonight the competition really begins as the final 13 Idol contestants perform: Pray my battery lasts.

    Some random thoughts:

    • Do you ever wonder if Randy has a limited wardrobe?
    • Who will get the pimp spots, and who is screwed by going in the first group?
    • 2 hours.  26 minutes of singing, 30 minutes of commercials, and an hour of nothing.
    • Need to get through this quickly so we can see if Russell fails on his Redemption Island effort.
    • The washer squeaks so much I can't hear anything.
    1. Lauren Alaina - Ouch, spot 1.  I think she's popular, so this may not hurt her.  Some Shania Twain song. Seems pretty uninspired to me.  Steven has it right, not "kick-ass" enough.  Randy and J-Lo echo.
    2. Casey Abrams - Joe Cocker's "I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends" - If I hadn't heard Joe Cocker do this, I would like it more.  I think it's a good performance, solidly on key and suits his voice and vibe.  I'm not blown away like J-Lo, but Randy says unbelievable and exciting.  Get the idea the judges like Casey.
    3. Ashton Jones - One of the judges picks does Diana Ross.  I am not familiar with the song, but she seems screechy to me.  This spot is not going to help her. No one really loves it. 
    4. After 5 minutes of commercials, we are given, Paul McDonald, who will sing a Ryan Adams song.  I have to say, I am not a fan of this guy, and he sounds like he's sick.  I am going to say what America is thinking - "Awful."  Steven Tyler loves everyone.  J-Lo likes the moves.  They're not smiling at him, they are laughing at him.  Randy loves who Paul is.  I DON'T get it.  Well, actually, I DO get it, but, I don't like it.
    5. Another 4 minutes, and Pia Toscano is next.  Now, it helps that she's the hottest of the contestants (and can sing), but the number 5 spot is a crap hole. Uh oh, Celine Dion.  Some of us remember when this song was original, and not by Celine Dion.  That means we're old.  Simon would say, "It's very karaoke, I think you're in trouble."  But, these judges are forgiving, so they say instead, "really beautiful," (J-Lo) "You have such a natural gift, I love it," (Randy) and "You just slammed it." (The new Paula).
    6. James Durbin idolizes Paul McCartney and will do "Maybe I'm Amazed." Actually, I do like this version, and it's a little more like I think the Beatles (the late '60's Beatles) would have done this song.  He's not helped by the mid-pack position, but Randy, for good reason, loves it.  As do the others.  
    7. Haley Reinhart - One of those forgotten girls. Stuck mid-pack, I think she's quite good, as this seems a very difficult song.  Will people remember it?  I think Randy has it perhaps right, that it's boring...
    8. Jacob Lusk - R. Kelly?  Really?  Is he going to rape someone?  Ok, I have to admit, when Jacob sings, he is one of those singers that send chills up the spine.  I loved the gospel touch to this.  Really something. Randy has it right.
    9. Moving into the homestretch, next up is Thia Megia - who will sing Smile.  There's no doubt that she has a very nice voice, and this moves to a jazzy vibe, which I think works ok for her.  Simon would complain that it's an old person's song.  He'd be right.  
    10. Stefano Langone - is going to do a Stevie Wonder song.  Dangerous (that's not the song), it's the strategy.  He's approaching pimp spot, which is an indication the producers want him to stick around.  Stevie Wonder rarely is a good choice for contestants, and I feel the same way here.  The fact that he couldn't break into the top 10 last week means he's not THAT popular with the fans.  Judges pimp him.  I don't really know why.
    11. Karen Rodriguez - is going take a Selena song and my only question - is it going to be in Spanish?  I just don't think it's that good.  She's the first contestant I have felt was really, really in trouble.  If J-Lo is downplaying it, it really did suck.  They all agree, suckfest.
    12. Scotty McCreery - Seems like something's wrong with the microphone. I don't think this song really fits Scotty's voice.  I like him, and I love his voice for country music.  I don't think this song worked and I hope the country fans keep him in, and he's aided by the number 12 spot.  Steven Tyler makes no sense, you know that.  Judges loved it and I wonder if the acoustics in the theater were better than what translated through my TV.
    13. Naima Adedapo - Umbrella - She's got the coveted pimp spot, for someone who was saved by the judges and I didn't think deserved it, that's an indication the producers want her around and think she needs a boost.  This may just be me, but I hated it.  Seemed off-key, arrangement was weird and she's weird.  Simon would detest this.  If she were not in the 13 spot, I'd say goodbye to her.
    So, I think Karen is gone, but, could be Ashton or Thia or Paul.  Add in Naima, and they are my bottom four.

    My top are easy:
    Jacob, James, Pia.

    Everyone else in a broad middle.  What did you think?

    Wisconsin Dems get asses handed to them. Government unions whine. Wisconsin citizens rejoice!

    The Wisconsin GOP senators are teaching Wisconsin Democrats, the government employee unions, and the House GOP a few things tonight.

    In what should have been done some time ago, the Wisconsin GOP is stripping their bill of the fiscal portions that require 3/5 of the senate.  The bill passed 18-1.  Details here, as it's not appreciably different from the earlier bill.

    While they're at it, they should pass every bill they can that will piss off Democrats.

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    Idol Results: Chalk

    So, tonights final 12 selection show is going on and here's my take after the top 10 have been selected.  Basically chalk so far.

    Of the guys, really no surprises.  I thought Stefano would make it, but I also thought Paul would, too.  The other 4 were no brainers.  I think the judges will choose Stefano.

    Of the girls, no real surprises there, either.  I thought Naima would make it, but Haley did instead.  She's hot, you could see her nipples, and she didn't sing awfully Wednesday night.  That explains it.  America is hoping for more Katherine McPhee type wardrobe issues.

    The judges choose to sing in the stupid sing off six people:
    1. Stefano
    2. Ashton
    3. Kendra
    4. Jovanny
    5. Naima
    6. Robbie
    Of course Ryan says that "we don't even know how many you might take" which makes me think we could have a final 16.

    The judges take....Ashton, Stefano (knew it, so I was 6 for 6 on the guys), Naima.  So I ended up being 12 for 12 and the judges added one.

    Gas blowing up!

    Have you all noticed, gas prices have shot up about 35 cents in the last two weeks??

    Wouldn't know that from watching the state-controlled media, would you?  I think the last time gas hit $4/gallon, George W Bush was ripped a brand new one with never ending stories on how lame he was, causing all those hurricanes and all.

    Now that we have combined issuing no new drilling permits (except to BP) with the turmoil in the Middle East, Investors Business Daily posits that $8/gal gas is the desire of the Obama Administration.

    Let's face it, Obama has said before that his energy policy is essentially designed to make you pay more.  Like he said here and below:

    "Electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."

    So, this is just part of the grand plan.  Let's make energy costs high enough to make the folly that is solar and wind power and electric cars look good.  Even though they are not.

    Blah Blah Blah.

    With Libs, it's really about the destruction of Western Civilization, with them lining their pockets all along the way.

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    Idol Girls - Update!

    Tonight is ladies night on Idol, and I have to admit Idon't know who most of these people are.  Below is the DialIdol.com update.  Be prepared to be surprised.

    1. Ta-Tynisa Wilson - sucked. Randy wasn't moved nor was I. I was worried about a wardrobe malfunction, though.
    2. Naima Adedapo - at least she can sing. That big ole tattoo is going to be a problem. Lose the self-styled dresses.
    3. Kendra Chantelle - it's impossible to endure this performance. But it wasn't awful. I think it'll be forgotten by the end of the show.
    4. Rachel Zevita - what is this? Oldies night? She managed to take a new song and turn it into an old one.
    5. Karen Rodriguez - she's going for the Latina vote. I think she's good. Doesn't move me. Best so far.
    6. Lauren Turner - gotta have a fat girl on the show. Doesn't stand a chance of being in the final 12. Judges? Insane loving this.
    7. Ashton Jones - who is this person? I could live without it. She hits a few notes. Just who cares. Really.
    8. Julie Zorilla - finally someone I remember. Note to contestants - don't do former winner's songs. And if you do, do it good. She's not. Better get some hotness votes.
    9. Haley Reinhart - more oldies nite. At least it's original sounding. Wardrobe malfunction 2? I swear she's showing nipples. I swear.
    10. Thia Megia - much was made of the 15 year olds, but is she our only one? Simon would complain about a kid singing this song.
    11. Lauren Alaina - our Georgia country girl. Also 16. Rotten. But that's just me. Judges love.
    12. Pia Toscano - in the coveted anchor slot. She's been plenty hyped by Idol.

    My Top 5:
    Pia, Lauren A, Thia, Karen, Naima.

    Dialidol says (and it says the first three are safe)

    1. Ta-Tynisa Wilson - By a long way.  Huh?  This makes me question dialidol's algorithms.  Or perhaps there was an issue with the phone lines for her, making it appear more busy signals.
    2. Julie Zorilla - Again, this was the worst performance of the night, I thought by far.  But, she's attractive, so maybe.
    3. Lauren Alaina - The first in this group who deserves to be there.
    4. Pia Toscano - They have her 4th, but as low as 12th, so, she could be gone...
    5. Thia Megia - Again, could be 12th.
    Karen is last and Naima is 9th.  I can see the Spanish not going over.  Very small demo, despite what Democrats want you to believe.

    Union thugs and Islamic Terrorists. What's the difference?

    Pam Geller has details and commentary over at Atlas Shrugs, but, we can expect, and indeed are seeing, that the state-run media is playing down the Muslim attack and murder of 2 US Airmen today in Germany.  They can't stress often enough that this was a "lone" gunman, and they can't stress AT ALL that he was reportedly chanting Islamic slogans as he murdered his victims.

    Seems the only people killing American soldiers are the Islamic Taliban in Afghanistan and Islamists acting "alone" around the rest of the world.

    If the Left wants to find an instance where hate speech is actually leading to violence, don't look at Rush Limbaugh, look at the Islamists they have been enabling for years.

    Shifting gears to another group of thugs, if you haven't been exactly following the goings-on in Wisconsin, Anne Althouse, Law professor at U Wisconsin, has been doing great work on this in the blogosphere.

    If you read this blog even a little, you know I am completely unsympathetic to these government-union idiots, but, while they have no "right" to collective bargaining, they do have a first amendment rights to protest, even if their arguments are specious and ignorant.  The Constitution doesn't say your political speech has to be intelligent.

    I just ask you who may have some sympathy for these people to look at the conditions they are leaving in the Wisconsin Capital and the violent nature of their protests.  You don't have to look hard.

    These are just posted in the last few hours.

    Idol 11! It's back

    American Idol has returned now in full force, and I'll be periodically giving my thoughts on it.  Last night the final 12 boys performed, and, in what I think is kind of rotten, this week they will be whittled down to six based on last night's performance.  The top 5 vote getters from us, and the final 1 from the judges.  Then, we'll start in earnest.  The danger here is that a couple of people who deserve to make the final 6 don't.  So, here's my take on last night's men:

    1. Clint Jun Gamboa - I thought was good, as did the judges, but he drew the dreaded #1 spot, and I don't think he has a lot of charisma to carry the night.  So, while I think he deserves to be in the final six, I think he's in trouble.
    2. Jovanny Barreto - I pegged him an early favorite, but I think his performance was just average.  Stuck in the 2 spot.  Not going to make it.
    3. Jordan Dorsey - I also had him pegged as an early favorite, but his performance was really, really awful.  The final six is only going to have one spot for a black guy, and it's not Jordan.
    4. Tim Halperin - Honestly, has been invisible.  His performance, and the mid-pack spot don't help him.  Your fifteen minutes is up, Tim.
    5. Brett Lowenstern - in a season with a few quirky contestants, Brett is plain wierd.  Later, Brett.
    6. James Durbin - Fortunately, the show turned better with James' performance.  He's the odds on favorite to win, in my opinion.  Daughter says he's like Adam Lambert.  Yeah, if you remove the gayness, and the questionable talent.  And, he sang a Judas Priest song.  Gotta love that. Easily in.
    7. Robbie Rosen - The judges love this guy, but I just don't get it.  Please, saying he was better than Sarah MacLachlan?  NOT.  Not going to make it, but a potential judges choice?
    8. Scotty McCreery - out deep voiced country star could leave this thing and start recording now.  Easily in, but the later theme nights could harm him.  May not have the crossover appeal to win, but should go far.  Doesn't matter, if he makes the final 8 or so, he's got a career covered.
    9. Stefano Langone - I didn't like his performancce, but I like him, and I think he may have the most appeal to Idol's 13-16 year old female crowd.  In.
    10. Paul McDonald - one of our truly quirky contestants this year. I don't think he is winner material, but he should make the final six men.
    11. Jacob Lusk - I agree that this kid can sing.  He should be in easy.  Helped by the slot.
    12. Casey Abrams - Taylor Hicks with talent?  My favorite, closely followed by James Durbin, Scotty McCreery and Jacob Lusk.  In.
    Now, at this stage, DialIdol.com doesn't tell us too terribly much, especially with the massive text voting that must go on, but it says that the top 5 are:
    1. Scotty McCreery
    2. Jacob Lusk
    3. James Durbin
    4. Stefano Langone
    5. Paul McDonald
    I can see that.  It has Casey Abrams as 7th, but they only predict that Scotty is safe, so anyone else could make the top 5.  If these are the 5, my prediction is the judges will add Casey.  I think the judges would add Jacob, James, Casey, Paul in that order, so, if any of those 3 don't make the final 5 America vote, look for one of them to get added by the judges.

    I may blog the girls later, but first I want to watch Survivor.