Archive for May, 2010

The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, May 31st, 2010

While Brazilian President In Holocaust-Denying Iran, Thousands at Home Pay Tribute to Millions of Jewish Dead

Mystery grows over missing Mexican politician

Latin America File: Nicaraguan opposition calls for “general rebellion” against Ortega; Cuban state media defends Sandinistas, denounces Aleman

Memorial Day

Monday, May 31st, 2010

The go-to blog on Memorial Day?
Jules Crittenden, of course!

Jules has the story behind the 20,000 flags, and all the good propaganda movies.


How to make sure the poor will always be with us

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Robert Samuelson, writing in the WaPo:

The existing poverty line could be improved by adding some income sources and subtracting some expenses (example: child care). Unfortunately, the administration’s proposal for a “supplemental poverty measure” in 2011 — to complement, not replace, the existing poverty line — goes beyond these changes. The new poverty number would compound public confusion. It also raises questions about whether the statistic is tailored to favor a political agenda.

The “supplemental measure” ties the poverty threshold to what the poorest third of Americans spend on food, housing, clothes and utilities. The actual threshold — not yet calculated — will almost certainly be higher than today’s poverty line. Moreover, the new definition has strange consequences. Suppose that all Americans doubled their incomes tomorrow, and suppose that their spending on food, clothing, housing and utilities also doubled. That would seem to signify less poverty — but not by the new poverty measure. It wouldn’t decline, because the poverty threshold would go up as spending went up. Many Americans would find this weird: People get richer but “poverty” stays stuck.

The new indicator is a “propaganda device” to promote income redistribution by showing that poverty is stubborn or increasing, says the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector. He has a point. The Census Bureau has estimated statistics similar to the administration’s proposal. In 2008, the traditional poverty rate was 13.2 percent; estimates of the new statistic range up to 17 percent. The new poverty statistic exceeds the old, and the gap grows larger over time.

Go read the rest.


The three trends, and the Gaza flotilla VIDEO

Monday, May 31st, 2010

As you can see from the headlines this morning, the “aid” flotilla heading to Gaza was intercepted by the IDF navy. The Israel Project reports that the flotilla

which was trying to reach Gaza was organized by IHH (Insani Yardim Vakfi – “humanitarian relief fund”), a Turkish aid foundation which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and Free Gaza, which describes itself as a human rights group.

The IHH has known links to global jihadi networks, openly supports Iran-backed Hamas and maintains close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood movement, a global umbrella Islamic organization of which Hamas is a branch, as well as mujahideen groups in Afghanistan

Egypt also supports the flotilla, in spite of actually blockading Gaza with a border fence.

This is how things developed this morning,

Here’s video of the attack:

From the Israeli Foreign Office report,

he Israel Navy requested the ships to redirect toward Ashdod where they would be able to unload their aid material which would then be transferred over land after undergoing security inspections.
During the interception of the ships, the demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs. Additionally one of the weapons used was grabbed from an IDF soldier. The demonstrators had clearly prepared their weapons in advance for this specific purpose.
As a result of this life-threatening and violent activity, naval forces employed riot dispersal means, including live fire.
According to initial reports, these events resulted in over ten deaths among the demonstrators and numerous injured; in addition, more than four naval personnel were injured, some from gunfire and some from various other weapons. Two of the soldiers are moderately wounded and the remainder sustained light injuries. All of the injured, Israelis and foreigners are currently being evacuated by helicopter to hospitals in Israel.

The bigger issue, however, is America’s leadership crisis.

Richard Fernandez explains,

Relations between Washington and Israel were already at near historic lows. Now it looks like we ain’t seen nothing yet. But the immediate headlines should not obscure the 3 trends which are driving up tensions in the region and threaten to drive them up further. The first is Iran’s continuing search for a nuclear weapon, a development which Israel views as near existential threat. The second is the buildup of Hezbollah missiles which can reach all the major Israeli population from launching sites Lebanon.  And the third are the unintended consequences of President Obama’s diplomacy which has resulted in the singling out of Israel’s undeclared nuclear arsenal at the month long Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference in New York. Like a circular-running torpedo it managed to miss its every intended target — missing North Korea and Iran — while hitting Israel.

Together those three developments — the shadow of the Iranian nukes, the missiles of Hezbollah and the loss of American support — may have fostered a regional perception that Israel is vulnerable. Certainly the flotilla organizers could not have been insensible to the rising pressure on Israel and were determined to exploit it, nor was it lost on the IDF that if they showed weakness in the face of the flotilla there would be more to follow. In one sense the flotilla put to sea on the perceived political tides and were met by IDF elements sailing on the contrary currents. The result was a clash inconsequential in itself, but not in the sparks that it may generate.

Yet President Obama thinks that

Let’s face it: this has been the toughest year and a half since any year and a half since the 1930s.

Well, watching the news this morning, it would not be unrealistic to say that things are going to get a lot tougher.

Comparison: Liberal Reaction Vs. Conservative Reaction To The Israel/Flotilla Story

The Lid has a timeline.


Please note there will be no podcast this morning.

Post re-edited to add omitted material


Colombia’s election: Santos leads

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Santos Leads Colombian Elections

Colombian former Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos was ahead in the first round of presidential elections Sunday and emerged as a clear front-runner ahead of a runoff vote slated for June 20.

Mr. Santos secured 46.6% of the votes, while his closest rival, two-time Bogota mayor Antanas Mockus, won 21.6% of the votes after election authorities had counted 63% of votes cast.

Since Mr. Santos hasn’t reached the 50% threshold to win in the first round, both candidates are likely to face off in second round vote to be held in June 20.


The First Memorial Day

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

The Washington Times has the story of
General Orders No. 11
We must cherish tenderly the memory of our heroic dead

Memorial Day has many roots. There are numerous competing claims for the first “Decoration Day,” as the holiday was known in the years after the Civil War. But the first large-scale observance took place on May 30, 1868, at the behest of Illinois congressman and former Union Maj. Gen. John A. Logan.

Gen. Logan – known affectionately as “Black Jack” – was a Mexican War veteran and a politician who commanded in the western theater and was famed for his role at the 1863 Battle of Vicksburg and other engagements. After the war, Logan was commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, a Union veterans organization. On May 5, 1868, he issued General Orders No. 11, establishing May 30 as a day of remembrance for fallen comrades

Go read General Orders No. 11 at their post.


Memorial Day weekend…at Farrakhan’s? UPDATED

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Doug Ross links to Skipping Arlington to spend Memorial Day with Farrakhan; Pamela broke the story:

Jackie Calmes, a New York Times reporter who covers the White House, was in Chicago covering the President’s visit there this weekend. On Saturday night, she was one of the reporters who was assigned to theWhite House pool of reporters covering the President on his evening out having dinner at what appears to be, according to the Chicago reporters on site, the home of  Louis Farrakhan. The official line is that it was the home of Marty Nesbitt (treasurer of OFA — Organizing for America), but the house is “is tax exempt for being a religious institution.” The press pool van was parked nearby. Here is what Jackie Calmes reported on behalf of the press pool:

Sent: Sat May 29 21:08:47 2010
Subject: Pool Report 5

At 7:20 local time the pool was holding at Woodlawn and 49th, next to a large sandstone mansion that the Chicago reporters say is the home of one Louis Farrakhan. Our Secret Service agent allowed us off the bus (Air!) and as a dozen of us congregated on the sidewalk, inevitably some shoes touched grass. Immediately a polite man in jeans and Tshirt emerged to ask us to stay off the grass. Though this grass was the curbside city property, we obliged.
Soon, however, he was pacing and talking on a cell phone. He went inside the mansion’s black wrought iron fence, crossed the well-landscaped yard, lifted a water bucket behind rose bushes and, voila!, a walkie-talkie. He was heard to refer to “the CIA” once he began speaking into it.

Soon he approached our agent, asking him to move the van and its occupants, though your pooler could not hear much else he said. But the agent said, “How is this a security breach?” And he asked if the house was a government property. The man said something else and at that point the agent stuck out his hand to shake hands and introduced himself as a Secret Service agent. He added, “Sir, I can assure you that we will do nothing to interfere with whatever is going on in there.”

The man is back to pacing and talking on his cell, walkie-talkie in hand.

A co-pooler searched the Internet for the address and found it listed on a Web site called NotForTourists and another called
Indeed, another pooler found a county Web site that confirmed this property is tax exempt for being a religious institution.

Reinforcements arrived–three men in Tshirts reading “Wide or Die!” One surly man has been staring daggers at us. Asked if this is Minister Farrakhan’s house, he just stared at your pooler. Asked again, he said, “I don’t have no comment.”
You should have the WH statement on top kill’s failure. At nearly 8 pm local time we are still holding while POTUS and family remain at the Nesbitts.

Sent: Sat May 29 22:07:24 2010
Subject: Pool Report 5a

It’s 8:45 and nearly dark; your pool has retreated back inside the van. We’re outnumbered now by roughly a dozen Fruit of Islam agents for the Nation of Islam. As each casually dressed man arrives, he exchanges elaborate handshake/hug/double air-kisses with others. Two walked by your pooler chanting “Islam.”
Several have filmed and photographed your poolers, the van and its license plates with their cell phones.
One came and stood close to a couple poolers and OUR agent. He asked if he could help. No answer. He asked again. The man said no. The agent said, “Secret Service — Please move away from this group of people.”
He did.
Soon the agent asked us to go in the bus.
We did.
But several poolers, hearing the call of nature, are asking whether they might ask the Fruit about using their bathroom.
Still holding. No pun intended.

Michelle Obama’s Mirror’s Blog says, “He’s Just a Guy in the Neighborhood”,

Oh dear! It seems our friendly little neighborhood BBQ last night at, reportedly, the house of an “old friend”  was inadvertently held at a home owned by none-other than race baiter, Jew-hater Louis Farrakhan. And even though he’s just “a guy in the neighborhood,” the suddenly not-so-supportive press is probably going to try to make a big deal out of it anyway. At least we still have AP on our side. But it seems like almost everyone else is bailing on us: our “conservative” cheerleader, Peggy Noonan – even the Wapo!

Having fun yet?

Not at Farrakhan’s but across the street:
Farrakhan, press have minor ’stand-off’ in Obama’s neighborhood

For the past two years, when Obama has brought his family over to Nesbitt’s home, the press pool bus parks near Farrakhan’s house. This usually does not cause a problem, but Saturday night — as most of the city was indoors watching the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup finals — a bit of tension emerged on Woodlawn Avenue.

A pool report noted that as a dozen reporters and photographers following Obama stood on the sidewalk in front of Farrakhan’s home, someone’s foot touched the city-owned curbside grass.

Immediately, a polite man in jeans and T-Shirt emerged to ask the press to stay off the grass, the report stated. Soon he was pacing and talking on a cell phone. He went inside the mansion’s black wrought iron fence, crossed the well-landscaped yard, lifted a water bucket behind rose bushes and retrieved a walkie-talkie. He was heard to refer to “the CIA.”

[The Secret Service is a separate agency from the CIA]

Soon he approached the secret service agent minding the press and asked him to move the van and its occupants.

“How is this a security breach?” the agent asked. He asked if the house was government property. Neighbors all over Hyde Park and Kenwood have learned to deal with streets being blocked off and having to show ID to approach their own homes since Obama ascended to the presidency.

The man said something else and at that point the agent stuck out his hand to shake hands and introduced himself as a Secret Service agent. He added, “Sir, I can assure you that we will do nothing to interfere with whatever is going on in there.”

The man paced and talked on his cell phone, walkie-talkie in hand. Three more men in T-Shirts reading “Wide or Die!’’ joined the man from the Nation of Islam. A reporter asked one of the men if this was Farrakhan’s house. The man just stared back. Asked again, he said, “I don’t have no comment.”

Eventually a dozen “Fruit of Islam” agents arrived. As each casually dressed man arrived, he exchanged elaborate handshake/hug/double air-kisses with others. Two walked by a reporter, chanting “Islam.”

The men filmed and photographed the reporters, the van and its license plates with their cell phones.

One came and stood close to reporters and the secret service agent. The secret service agent asked if he could help. The man did not answer. The agent asked again. The man said, “No.” The agent said, “Secret Service — please move away from this group of people.”

The man did.

The agent asked the reporters to go back into the press bus, which they did.

Before they did, some asked the Nation of Islam crowd if they could use the rest room in Farrakahn’s home.

No offer was made.

Rev. Gary Hunter, a Baptist minister in Detroit who writes and blogs for the Detroit Times, told reporter Jackie Calmes of the New York Times that he called Farrakhan and his son and asked them to have the Fruit stand down: “I told him you were good people . . . He said he didn’t know you all were just waiting for the president.’’

And now, a different take from Moe.


Dennis Hopper died, age 74

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Just learned about this from LeMonde’s breaking news,

Dennis Hopper dead at 74
Actor had praised Hollywood as his ‘home and my schooling’

One of my favorite actors, and a very interesting guy, too.

The IMBD has a full list of his work.

Film tribute, via Big Hollywood:



‘Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?’

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Malia ought to take Obama to Jerry Springer over this tall tale:

“When I woke this morning and I’m shaving and Malia knocks on my bathroom door and she peeks in her head and she says, ‘Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?’ ”

Oh yeah. The question every child would ask in the bathroom.

Imagine if GWBush had come up a fib like that one, involving his own child.

Of course, David Broder says that this little anecdote adds a personal touch to the oil crisis:

What he says next is so simple and personal that its authenticity cannot be doubted

Yeah, right.

Play me the world’s smallest violin, David, and we’ll listen while we sit here relishing the personal authenticity.

Doug at Balloon Juice pokes fun at Broder:
You make a grown man cry

No, there is no way that a president could fabricate a story about something a family member told him. It simply is not possible. It can’t be done. When a president mention some silly thing his daughter supposedly said to him, we must take him at his word. It is that simple.

And all that mumbo jumbo about how many gallons of oil, and how the spill might be stopped, and what the damage to the environment might be, it’s all just academic mumbo jumbo. What matters is whether you cry about it and what cute things your children say to you about it.

I’m an Obot, so I’m glad that at least one Villager liked the story Obama told about his daughter. But all of this takes place in a fantasy world, one where Obama might be able to make it all right with his eleven-dimensional executive powers or by pounding his desk and saying “stop the damn oil spill”.

I just don’t see how we can have an effective political system when teardrops and children’s stories matter more than years of mismanagement at the Minerals Management Service.

Neither do I.


Pirates of the lake

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Goings-on at Falcon Lake, Texas:

Pirates Robbing Boats At Gunpoint On US-Mexico Border Lake

The waters of Falcon Lake normally beckon boaters with waterskiing and world-record bass fishing. But this holiday weekend, fishermen on the waters that straddle the U.S.-Mexico border are on the lookout for something more sinister: pirates.

Twice in recent weeks, fishermen have been robbed at gunpoint by marauders that the local sheriff says are “spillover” from fighting between rival Mexican drug gangs.

In the American waters, Cox said, “you’re safer, but you’re not safe.” Mexican commercial fishermen regularly cross to set their nets illegally, why wouldn’t gunmen do the same? he asked.

Why wouldn’t they indeed?