Wonder why San Francisco has a reputation as the American left's most intolerant city?
Consider the fact that concerned San Francisco citizens are now gathering signatures for a ballot measure to get the school board to overturn a 2006 vote which shut down the 90-year-old Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program. ['ROTC', snip]
When the board was preparing to vote to kill the program, Yu told me, "I thought, no way is the board going to do that." There were 1,600 students enrolled -- in a program supported by parents and educators, in part because it has provided strong role models for minority teens. When the board turned a deaf ear to the pleas of the many people who turned up at public meetings to save the program, Yu said, it "galvanized me." [snip]
You see, the San Francisco school board only recognizes the right to expression with which it agrees. Disagree, and the board will shut you down. If students suffer -- well, that's politics...
[as usual, that city just makes your proud-all-over to be a Californian]
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Sadr City in Baghdad, the northeastern districts of Sri Lanka and the Guaviare province of Colombia have little in common culturally, historically or politically. But they are crucial reference points on a global map in which long-running insurgencies suddenly find themselves on the verge of defeat.
For the week of May 16-23, there were 300 "violent incidents" in Iraq. That's down from 1,600 last June and the lowest recorded since March 2004. Al Qaeda has been crushed by a combination of U.S. arms and Sunni tribal resistance. On the Shiite side, Moqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Army was routed by Iraqi troops in Basra and later crumbled in its Sadr City stronghold.
In Colombia, the 44-year-old FARC guerrilla movement is now at its lowest ebb. Three of its top commanders died in March, and the number of FARC attacks is down by more than two-thirds since 2002. In the face of a stepped-up campaign by the Colombian military (funded, equipped and trained by the U.S.), the group is now experiencing mass desertions. Former FARC leaders describe a movement that is losing any semblance of ideological coherence and operational effectiveness.
In Sri Lanka, a military offensive by the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has wrested control of seven of the nine districts previously held by the rebel group LTTE, better known as the Tamil Tigers. Mr. Rajapaksa now promises victory by the end of the year, even as the Tigers continue to launch high-profile terrorist attacks.
All this is good news in its own right. Better yet, it explodes the mindless shibboleth that there is "no military solution" when it comes to dealing with insurgencies. On the contrary, it turns out that the best way to end an insurgency is, quite simply, to beat it.
Now that Senator Barack Obama has become the Democrats' nominee for President of the United States, to the cheers of the media at home and abroad, he has written a letter to the Secretary of Defense, in a tone as if he is already President, addressing one of his subordinates. The letter ends: "I look forward to your swift response."
With wars going on in both Iraq and Afghanistan, a Secretary of Defense might have some other things to look after, before making a "swift response" to a political candidate. Because of the widely publicized statistic that suicide rates among American troops have gone up, Senator Obama says he wants the Secretary of Defense to tell him, swiftly:
"What changes will you make... [snip]
"What training has the Pentagon provided... [snip]
"What assistance are you providing... [snip]
"What programs has the Pentagon implemented... [snip]
What has been widely publicized in the media is that suicides among American troops have gone up. What has not been widely publicized is that this higher suicide rate is still not as high as the suicide rate among demographically comparable U.S. civilians...
[Barry might want to receive this blog - could have saved a stamp;
Army Deploys Prevention Programs to Combat Soldier Suicides
WASHINGTON, May 29, 2008 - The Army is deploying a multitude of prevention programs as part of efforts to stop soldiers from taking their own lives, senior Army officials said
[quick points on this topic, as it's getting wide MSM coverage reporting the 108-115 suicides (reports have varied) in '07 without any accompanying context whatsoever. Unimportantly (but interesting) is that Russia's military suicides numbered 341 for '07.
Importantly, our military's current level is below its peace-time average. And critically, the service member suicide rate is consistently below that of the 'general' US population for the same age group. None of which makes any rate acceptable - but does put the lie to the epidemic-because-we're-at-war subtext the much of the old media has been trying to imply.]
A ranking International Atomic Energy Agency official called Teheran's possession of a drawing showing how to make part of an atomic warhead "alarming" Thursday and said the onus is on Iran to prove it had not tried to develop nuclear arms, said diplomats attending a closed briefing. The US said the evidence detailed by IAEA Deputy Director General Olli Heinonen increased concerns that Teheran had tried to make such weapons...
The same network newscasts that hyped the 2005 "alleged massacre" by U.S. soldiers in Haditha are so far ignoring the acquittal on all charges of Lieutenant Andrew Grayson on Thursday. Grayson was accused of attempting to cover up details of the events surrounding a raid that lead to the death of 15 Iraqis. However, Grayson's acquittal was skipped by ABC's "Good Morning America," CBS's "Early Show" and NBC's "Today" show...
[this was the case the Murtha used to charge our Marines has 'murdered in cold blood'. I assume he'll be publishing a public apology any day now...]
The United States and other Western nations have criticized China's efforts to build a presence in space, especially a test in January 2007 when it shot down one of its own aged satellites.
But in a book issued by the state-run China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, two People's Liberation Army experts said;
"Strategic confrontation in outer space is difficult to avoid. The development of outer space forces shows signs that a space arms race to seize the commanding heights is emerging," ... "We can say that weaponization of outer space ... is already unstoppable."
Chinese diplomats have repeatedly said they want stronger international rules to avoid an expensive and destabilizing arms race in space.
[of course they do: China doesn't honor any of its international agreement - it's the usual ploy to get the US to disarm itself, which will have many backers within this country...]
Organizations that send peacekeepers and aid workers to dangerous places are now facing a new concern: how to ensure the moral integrity of people who are supposed to be helping others. A report this week by the British branch of Save the Children underlines the problem:
• In a study carried out last year in southern Sudan, Haiti and Cote d'Ivoire, Save the Children found widespread sexual abuse of children, some as young as six, by aid workers -- particularly by UN peacekeepers.The UN has an unfortunate history of sex scandals, says the Economist:
• More than half the 250 boys and girls aged 10-17 they interviewed said they knew of such cases.
• The abuse remained widely underreported because most children were too frightened to come forward.
• After a series of shocking rapes by Nepalese peacekeepers in Congo in 2003, then-UN secretary general Kofi Annan set up a committee to investigate.The UN is in a difficult situation, because it has no legal jurisdiction over the alleged culprits; it can only dismiss alleged culprits and recommend their repatriation to their home country...
• Following the Congo scandal, there have been serious incidents of alleged rape of civilians by UN peacekeepers each year: in Burundi (2004), Sudan (2005), Haiti (2006), Liberia (2006), and Cote d'Ivoire (2007).
• Last year the UN received 748 allegations of misconduct by its peacekeepers, 127 of which involved sexual exploitation and abuse.
I'm not a global warming believer. I'm not a global warming denier. I'm a global warming agnostic who believes instinctively that it can't be very good to pump lots of CO2 into the atmosphere, but is equally convinced that those who presume to know exactly where that leads are talking through their hats.
Predictions of catastrophe depend on models. Models depend on assumptions about complex planetary systems — from ocean currents to cloud formation — that no one fully understands.
Which is why the models are inherently flawed and forever changing. The doomsday scenarios posit a cascade of events, each with a certain probability. The multiple improbability of their simultaneous occurrence renders all such predictions entirely speculative.
Yet on the basis of this speculation, environmental activists, attended by compliant scientists and opportunistic politicians, are advocating radical economic and social regulation...
[as usual re: Dr. K, Recommended > ]
With summer looming, and the nation experiencing its first heatwave of 2008, it certainly isn't surprising our global warming obsessed media have resumed the spread of climate hysteria as reported by my colleague Jeff Poor just a few hours ago.
Yet, given their willingness the past few months to discuss ethanol's connection to higher food prices, is it too much to ask for these same press outlets to offer a little balance by presenting the benefits of rising carbon dioxide levels along with the mythical costs?
Take for example Lawrence Solomon's truly astounding article published at Canada's Financial Post Saturday entitled "In Praise of CO2" :
Planet Earth is on a roll! GPP is way up. NPP is way up. To the surprise of those who have been bearish on the planet, the data shows global production has been steadily climbing to record levels, ones not seen since these measurements began.Hadn't heard about this? Well, why would you, for the other side of the supposedly horrific greenhouse aspect of increasing carbon dioxide levels is how plants are just loving it...
GPP is Gross Primary Production, a measure of the daily output of the global biosphere -- the amount of new plant matter on land. NPP is Net Primary Production, an annual tally of the globe's production. Biomass is booming. The planet is the greenest it's been in decades, perhaps in centuries.
[a major component of the self-leveling aspect to the cycles of climate - Recommended > ]
On Wednesday, despite claims by one of Gore's representatives two months ago, it was revealed that his Generation Investment Management private equity fund has taken a 9.5 percent stake in a company that has one of the largest carbon credit portfolios in the world.
I'm sure every media outlet will be all over this development in the next 24 hours...
The chief executive of the world's largest energy company has issued the most dire warning yet about the soaring the price of oil, predicting that it will hit $250 per barrel "in the foreseeable future". The forecast from Alexey Miller, the head of the Kremlin-owned gas giant Gazprom, would herald the arrival of £2-per-litre petrol and send shockwaves through the economy.
Look at the energy chaos that our government has allowed. While we remain at the mercy of oil companies, cartels and OPEC, our government has tied the hands of states and citizens to tap even temporary energy relief from our own land. Here are a few key vistas on the oil and energy landscape:
-- Though we have more oil in the shale of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming than there is in the Middle East (800 billion barrels), liberals and environmentalists have made it illegal to touch it. It's time to drill here and drill now. The petition is simple. It states, "We, therefore, the undersigned citizens of the United States, petition the U.S. Congress to act immediately to authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries."
-- It's illegal to drill in northern Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or off the coasts of Florida or California.
-- It's illegal to explore the Atlantic Ocean for oil.
-- It's illegal to explore the Pacific Ocean for oil.
-- We're not receiving leases anymore to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, while China, Venezuela and Cuba are.
-- We haven't built an oil refinery in more than 30 years and have reduced in half those we have.
-- American airlines are in danger of going out of business.
-- American truckers are being stranded on the sides of roads.
-- American commuters are going bankrupt trying to travel back and forth to work and are being forced to work locally for lower wages.
-- There's enough natural gas beneath America (406 trillion cubic feet) to heat every home in America for the next 150 years, but we can't tap it all.
-- We have the largest supply of coal in the world, but it's Germany who is planning to build 27 coal-fired power plants by 2020.
[petition - there's several around, sign 'em all... ] > www.AmericanSolutions.com
Federal contractors to check legal status of employees
-- President Bush has signed an executive order requiring contractors and others who do business with the federal government to make sure their employees can legally work in the U.S.
The federal government has had some embarrassing moments when illegal workers have been discovered to be working for contractors they've hired, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said in a news conference. For that reason it's trying to get its own house in order, Chertoff said.
"The federal government should lead by example and not merely by exhortation," he said.
The order says federal departments and agencies must require contractors to use an electronic system to verify that the workers are eligible to work in the U.S.
[the systems have existed for years - they've just been ignored]