Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

TB at the border, and drug violence

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

Risk of Deadly TB Exposure Grows Along U.S.-Mexico Border

Officials say that when drug-resistant cases show up in the U.S., there is often a Mexico connection. Of San Diego’s 14 multidrug-resistant TB cases between 2007 and 2011, half were either from Mexico or had a Mexico link based on the particular strain of the disease, said Kathleen Moser of the county’s Health & Human Services Agency, which sees many patients who live and work on both sides of the border.

Part of the problem, of course, is that Mexico’s rate of TB infection is much higher—in some cases 10 times higher. The resistant strains begin to breed, experts say, when doctors there give patients similar drug regimens over and over. Other times, patients who aren’t supervised closely abandon treatment before they are cured.

It’s worse because of the Mexican drug violence:

Funding isn’t the only issue. As a key part of prevention efforts, U.S. experts have regularly crossed the border in California and Texas to keep tabs on and help patients directly. But drug-related violence along parts of the U.S.-Mexico border has shot up, forcing workers to consult only from the U.S. side. Among them is Barbara Seaworth, the medical director of a TB center in San Antonio, who stopped a few years ago after making the trips for nearly 20 years.

Compounding the problem: Mexico lacks enough health workers to offer directly observed therapy to every patient.

Cheer up with Bill Whittle

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Feeling down? Listen to Bill Whittle, who has a surprisingly optimistic message,

I realize Bill’s rocking the one-tone suit-&-necktie vibe, but I so wish Bill would take my advice and wear neckties in bright colors. The gray-on-gray washes him out.

America’s crazy uncle welcomes the 113th Congress

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

From the Vice-President and Court Jester in One, the inappropriate comment fest,

“You are so pretty. God love you, holy mackerel.”
This aside was to a brunette in a red dress, apparently there with bachelor Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

“Spread your legs — you’re gonna be frisked!”


The New Year’s Eve Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, December 31st, 2012

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentina Court Declines Intervention in Media Case

Argentina Congress hosts “Islam for peace” seminar

Muslims sense of belonging in Argentina, ratifying their right and proud to be Argentine citizens, challenges the sense of injustice that the Muslim community faces, unjustly, in the 21st century-world.

via Gates of Vienna

BOLIVIA
Spain’s Iberdrola Has 4 Units Taken Over by Bolivian State

Coca Licensing Is a Weapon in Bolivia’s Drug War

BRAZIL
High Stakes in Brazil After Outage
A day after power outages left travelers at Rio de Janeiro’s international airport in the dark, President Dilma Rousseff tried to calm fears that Brazil was facing the kind of energy shortages that upended national politics a decade ago.

Corruption in Brazil
A healthier menu
As the historic trial of those guilty of a legislative votes-for-cash scheme draws to a close, Brazilians digest the verdict

Obituary: Oscar Niemeyer
Oscar Ribiero de Almeida de Niemeyer Soares Filho, architect, died on December 5th, aged 104

COLOMBIA
Sister of Colombian Drug Cartel’s Founder Killed

CUBA
We came, we saw, we were appalled

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Hillary shall remain concussed while in Punta Cana

ECUADOR
Banana Republic v. Chevron

LATIN AMERICA
Latin America, the Mideast, and the Pope

MEXICO
Cartels Clash in Mexican Town
Armed men stormed a town in the mountains of the western state of Sinaloa on Christmas Eve and shot nine men, then dumped their bodies as part of a war between Mexico’s two most powerful cartels.

Old PRI, new PRI? In Mexico, a New Approach to Stanching Drug Violence

Mr. Peña Nieto’s six-point program includes better government planning; increased intergovernmental coordination; protection of human rights; more social investments and crime-prevention programs; additional evaluation of government programs; and institution building.

It also proposes a 10,000-member force to secure municipalities and states where law enforcement is powerless against organized crime. The administration has said it will focus on street gangs and criminals employed by the cartels, a shift from former President Felipe Calderón’s emphasis on eliminating top drug trafficking bosses.

PARAGUAY
Paraguay’s awful history
The never-ending war
How a terrible but little-known conflict continues to shape and blight a nation

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rico Introduces New Guidelines for Hate Crimes

USA
Latino Muslims are shaping a new US identity, via Gates of Vienna

VENEZUELA
Seven more Years!

The week’s posts:
Mexico: 120-yard tunnel near the Nogales entry into Arizona

Where will Assad go?

Argentina: Squeeze and “creativity”


1789: Washington’s Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

The WSJ:
Thanksgiving, 1789
George Washington’s proclamation was not without controversy.

It was his first presidential proclamation, and it was well heeded. According to the “Papers of George Washington,” compiled by the University of Virginia, Thanksgiving Day was “widely celebrated throughout the nation.” Newspapers around the country published the proclamation and announced plans for public functions in honor of the day. Religious services were held, and churches solicited donations for the poor. Washington himself sent $25 to a pastor in New York City, requesting that the funds be “applied towards relieving the poor of the Presbyterian Churches,” in the words of his secretary.

Thanksgiving feasts in New England at the time of the nation’s founding were similar to those today, says Charles Lyle, director of the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum in Wethersfield, Conn. The museum recently hosted an 18th-century-style Thanksgiving dinner using recipes supplied by a local food historian, Paul Courchaine. Turkey and pumpkin pie were on the menu, along with venison pie, roast goose, roast pork, butternut squash, creamed onions, pottage of cabbage, onions and leeks, and Indian pudding, made from cornmeal and spices.

In a bow to contemporary tastes, several wines were served at the museum but not the one Americans were likely to have drunk in the 18th century—Madeira, a high-alcohol-content wine fortified with brandy. Before the Revolution, Madeira, which came from the Portuguese-owned Madeira Islands, was considered a patriotic beverage, since it was not subject to British taxation. It was Washington’s favorite drink.

Washington was keenly aware of his role as a model for future presidents. He once remarked that “There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not be hereafter drawn into precedent.” That included his Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789, which set the standard for Thanksgiving Proclamations by future presidents, a list that included James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, and then every president up to the present day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Unilateral negotiations with Iran?

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

The NYTimes claims,

The United States and Iran have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, according to Obama administration officials, setting the stage for what could be a last-ditch diplomatic effort to avert a military strike on Iran.

Not so, says National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor… or did he?,

Vietor, however, denied that any such agreement had been reached.

“It’s not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections,” he said. We continue to work with the P5+1 on a diplomatic solution and have said from the outset that we that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally.”

And now the Christian Science Monitor is saying that

Iran followed the United States on Sunday in denying that the two countries had scheduled direct bilateral negotiations on Iran’s controversial nuclear program.

Meanwhile, one day away from the presidential debate on foreign policy, this reaction’s not unreasonable,

Interestingly, so is the timing of the Zombie Fidel rumors, since both Iran and Cuba would like to influence the outcome of an American presidential election, but I digress.

While the Iran story came out, I was watching Argo, an excellent movie spoiled by Jimmy Carter’s little monologue trying to get some credit for the rescue of the six Americans. The 444-day long Iranian hostage crisis was not the shiniest moment of the Carter administration.

You can’t watch Argo and not think of the September 11 Benghazi attack, particularly during the scenes where we are subjected to the Iranian propaganda and the storming of the embassy. The parallels abound,

In fact, “Argo” may also inadvertently malign the current administration. Once more, the Middle East is on fire, an inept White House is inadvertently fanning the flames with appeasement-style policies and “Death to America” chants are heard across the region.

And now one-on-one negotiations with Iran? Or not?

UPDATE,
Via Ed Driscoll/Instapundit, “Even if the story turns out to be true, I don’t think it will help him. “We’re going to talk to the Iranians!” isn’t a very sexy headline.”

UPDATE 2, Oh, look, Putin flexes muscle in big test of Russia’s nuclear arsenal

And, NEW YORK TIMES CAUGHT EDITING IRAN STORY AFTER WHITE HOUSE DENIALS

The DC‘s Gregg Re writes:
When the New York Times updated its story late Saturday to reflect [National Security Council spokesman Tommy] Vietor’s statement, the paper made no mention of the update or any correction to the story, leaving readers with the impression that the White House’s denial had been in the story all along. In fact, the initial version of the story portrayed the development as a tentative victory for the Obama administration, which has recently been faced with foreign policy crises in the Middle East and Libya. 

The new version of the Times’ story also removed this line about the threat of Iran’s nuclear ambitions: “Even with possible negotiations in the offing, there is no evidence Iran has slowed its fuel production.”

Normally, a pro forma denial by the White House would not send reporters and editors scurrying to cover up their work. With good sources, and reliable information, journalists could be expected to stand by their story.

Now, with the Times carrying out edits that it apparently hoped ho one would notice, the entire story seems like a desperate attempt to set the stage for the Third Presidential Debate in a way that favors the incumbent.

(h/t Judith)


Insane: “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman to be sent to Egypt?? UPDATED

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Yes, the mastermind of the first attack (in 1993) on the World Trade Center; that Blind Sheik.


I sincerely hope this is not true:
Mastermind of World Trade Center bombing to be “transferred” to Egypt?

Roger Kimball posts:

I thought a line had been crossed when sheriffs showed up at midnight to bundle away a man who had made an anti-Islamic  movie that embarrassed the President. Then there was the murder of our Ambassador and three other Americans in Libya: the administration’ response: blame Romney, apologize for the “hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.”

Will there ever be a last straw for the MSM that is acting as Obama’s press corps? Is there anything Obama could do that would make them say “Enough!” and stand up for America? What would it take?  How about this: the announcement that the Obama administration is considering transferring the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman, mastermind of the first World Trade Center bombing, to Egypt “for humanitarian and health reasons.” Incredulous?  Then you underestimate the Islamophilc nature of the Obama administration.

The Blaze has the breaking story: “The U.S. State Department is currently in negotiations with the Egyptian government for the transfer of custody of Omar Abdel-Rahman, also known as “the Blind Sheikh,” for humanitarian and health reasons, a source close to the the Obama administration toldThe Blaze.”

This isn’t a “release, the Department of Justice told The Blaze,Oh, no: merely a transfer the the Muslim Brotherhood controlled country where the Sheikh is regarded as a hero.

Here’s more:

 The Blind Sheikh is currently serving a life sentence in American prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, but the newly-elected Islamist government in Egypt has been actively petitioning his release.  Many have pinpointed a cause of last week‘s unrest in in the country to be protests over the Blind Sheikh’s release – not an anti-Islam YouTube video.

Andrew McCarthy was the Blind Sheik’s prosecutor. It took years and millions of dollars to put the Blind Sheik behind bars. Read about it in Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad.

If the Obama administration releases the Blind Sheik, they must be counting on the electorate’s ignorance, and, as Roger Kimball’s commenter Jeff P put it,

If this is true, then it means that Obama is so confident of victory in November that nothing, not even brazen appeasement, will change the result.

Related:
Today’s the 225th anniversary of the signing of the US Constitution. Obama’s DOJ Can’t Say Criticizing Religion Will Remain Legal. Watch:

UPDATE:
Dan Riehlhas more,

In neighboring Egypt, birthplace of the ‘Blind Sheikh’ of aforementioned “Brigades of the Imprisoned Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman” fame, similar recent calls for violence on his behalf were the calling card to the storming of the American embassy in Cairo as well. The ‘dots,’ again courtesy of the Washington Times.

  • “There had been a sit-in in support of the “Blind Sheikh” outside the embassy for 18 months.”
  • “On July 27, the sheikh’s son Abdallah Abdel Rahman threatened to organize a blockade of the embassy and to detain the Americans inside unless his father was released.”
  • “Two days later, then-president-elect Mohammed Morsi vowed publicly to work to free the sheikh, and it will be at the top of his agenda in future meetings with President Obama.” (WSJ)
  • “On Aug. 30, Jamaa Islamiya, the terrorist group formerly led by the Blind Sheikh, announced that the embassy sit-in was being turned into an active protest.” (USA Today via Gateway Pundit)
  • “On Sept. 4, the Egyptian General Intelligence Service warned all Egyptian securityagencies of planned attacks against the embassy by a group called Global Jihad, which has been active in the Sinai.” (Jerusalem Post)
  • “On Sept. 7, an Islamist named Nasser Al-Qaeda posted a statement on the Jihadi chat group Shumoukh Al-Islam that the U.S. embassy in Cairo should be burned down and everyone inside killed or taken hostage in order to bring pressure to bear to release the Blind Sheikh.” (MEMRI)
  • “On the day before the embassy assault, several other jihadist groups with ties to al Qaeda – including Islamic Jihad, the Sunni Group and Jamaa Islamiya – echoed this threat and called for the release of the Blind Sheikh and all detainees in all U.S. detention facilities including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.” (PJ Media)

Linked by Phinneas. Thanks!

Venezuela Frees U.S. Ship And Crew

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Venezuela Frees U.S. Ship And Crew After Smuggling Investigation

Venezuelan authorities this morning released the U.S.-flagged cargo ship Ocean Atlas from two weeks of detention on suspicion of arms trafficking.

This comes as a relief to Intermarine, the owner of the ship, as well as for the 15-man all-American crew who had been stuck in limbosince August 29 when Venezuelan customs officials discovered a handful of weapons on board.

Babalu has been following the story.

Meanwhile, the “mercenary” (if he exists) remains in custody. No details have been released other than what Chavez claimed last month.

Cross-posted in the Green Room.


Chavez insists the “mercenary” is real

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Exactly a week ago Hugo Chávez was saying that an American “mercenary” was arrested and was being interrogated in Venezuela.

Many (myself included) took it as one of Hugo’s many tall tales, particularly since – after saying that the man is a Hispanic Marine – Hugo added this detail,

The president said the man was carrying a U.S. passport with entrance and exit stamps from countries including Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya

Hugo also now says the man’s passport had a stamp from Jordan, too.

Jordan, Libya, whatever.

Now the latest on the mysterious Marine story is this,

U.S. officials will be allowed access on Wednesday to an American citizen arrested in Venezuela on suspicion of being a mercenary

Clearly implying a plot was afoot less than two months before a presidential election, the socialist leader has said the man was detained entering illegally from Colombia a week ago and sought to destroy some coordinates in a notebook at the time.

CONCILIATORY CHAVEZ

Chavez was conciliatory in his latest comments.

“Of course we are going to collaborate with the U.S. government, and I hope they will collaborate with us. The signs we have received, (Foreign Minister) Nicolas (Maduro) tells me, are positive,” he said.

Don’t get too excited over that “conciliatory” thing:

El Nuevo Herald has documents showing that Chavez will send out a militia of 2,000 to “patrol and control” electrical power installations during the upcoming election. Chavez insists that the USA is plotting with the opposition to disrupt the electoral process, after which he says the USA will invade Venezuela.

As if that’s not nuts enough, one of the documents states that the plot

“is organized in the United States of North [sic] America with the support of the Venezuelan extreme right and transnational businesses, and with the technical support of Corpolec (state agency that took over all the electrical suppliers in the country) specialists, both active and retired, which support it.”

And then people wonder why I don’t read fiction anymore.

Far-fetched and downright delusional as all this sounds, it’s worth noting that the militia’s allegiance is to Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution, unlike the Army, whose allegiance is to Venezuela. Chavez, as long-time readers of this blog know, has committed to creating a militia 1,000,000 strong, while embarking in an armaments race with the help of the Russians.

Cross-posted in The Green Room.


A Century of Eagle Scouts

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012


Michael Malone, Eagle Scout and author of Four Percent: The Story of Uncommon Youth in a Century of American Life, writes about A Century of Eagle Scouts
The Eagles’ service project is the single greatest youth-service initiative in history, and one that has touched every community in America in an important way.

Out of the more than 115 million boys who have passed through the Boy Scouts of America in the last 102 years, approximately two million have become Eagle Scouts, a 2% rate that has climbed to about 4% of all scouts in recent years. Some may have excelled in outdoor challenges and troop leadership, or while earning merit badges for oceanography and entrepreneurship. Yet all have been changed by the experience of what has been come to be called “the Ph.D. of Boyhood.” And these Eagles in turn have changed the face of American culture in ways both obvious and unexpected.

Many went on to notable careers and distinguished service to the country. The list of famous Eagles over the last century includes movie and television stars, six Medal of Honor recipients, Nobel Prize winners, novelists, a number of astronauts (including most Shuttle astronauts), Tuskegee airmen and Japanese-American internees, congressmen, senators and governors, an endless number of corporate CEOs and university presidents, a U.S. president (Gerald Ford), and the first man to walk on the moon (Neil Armstrong). But there are other, perhaps less obvious, Eagles as well: sexologist Alfred Kinsley, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and Washington’s disgraced ex-mayor Marion Barry.

Two summers ago, during the BSA centennial parade in Washington, D.C., the adult Eagle contingent of official marchers featured a diplomat, a journalist, military officers, a bomb-demolition expert, doctors and a department-store Santa Claus. Despite what you might think, America’s Eagles are spread across the political spectrum. They include individuals across all races (scouting was officially integrated from the start) who hold beliefs as diverse as other Americans. What they have in common is that they chose a life of achievement and assumed leadership roles at a very young age.

My son is an Eagle Scout, and has taught me the value of perseverance and being goal-oriented at a young age. It takes a (young) man of character to become an Eagle.

To all Eagle Scouts, who have 100 million hours of service to their communities, my heartfelt thanks.

Cross-posted in The Green Room.