Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Under President Bush, the federal government worked with manufacturers to accelerate vaccine development, stockpiled crucial antivirals like Tamiflu, war-gamed pandemic scenarios with senior officials, and increased the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) sample identification capabilities. These activities are bearing fruit today:
- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has already deployed 12.5 million courses of antivirals -- out of a total of 50 million -- to states and local agencies.
- In addition, CDC's new capacities have allowed Mexican officials to send flu samples to CDC for quick identification, a capability that did not exist a few years ago.
Collaboration between the government and the private sector on vaccines -- which Bush and his HHS team actively encouraged -- could potentially allow manufacturers to shepherd a vaccine to market within four months of identifying the strain and getting the go-ahead from CDC.
President Obama's media cheerleaders are hailing how loved he is.
But at the 100-day mark of his presidency, Mr. Obama is the second-least-popular president in 40 years. According to Gallup's April survey, Americans have a lower approval of Mr. Obama at this point than all but one president since Gallup began tracking this in 1969.
The only new president less popular was Bill Clinton.
[You'd never know it to watch TV.]
When Dave Barry wrote of the “handcuffs we willingly wear” it was two days after the September 11 attacks. He was talking about how our country would respond to the horrific murder of three thousand innocent American men, women and children – that even in war we would do whatever we could to spare the innocent. He was responding to those wickedly cheering the 9/11 attacks saying America deserved them.
The “handcuffs” being discussed today go far beyond those discussed by Barry seven years ago. Many critics of the former administration believe the “handcuffs” we must wear when trying to prevent future “man-made disasters” include a ban on the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” particularly waterboarding. Many on the left are telling us that we have not been a decent people. We are being told that those tasked with keeping us safe for the past eight years acted immorally and now they must pay a price.
Last week the New York Times and some Democratic congressmen called for the impeachment of Federal Judge Jay Bybee, because “as an assistant attorney general, he was the author of the Aug. 1, 2002, memo endorsing strong interrogation ‘techniques’". Numerous leftwing commenters have invoked Nuremberg, saying that following orders to carry out the enhanced interrogation techniques is no excuse. One headline even read “The USA Hung’em at Nuremberg – The USA Hung Saddam – HANG BYBEE!” [snip]
Most Americans can tell the difference between following orders to gas innocent men, women and children to death in Nazi concentration camps in the service of a murderous psychopath and following orders to make a suspected (and sometimes confessed) terrorist believe he might be drowning in order to extract information in an effort to save the lives of thousands of innocents.
Don’t expect Americans to look favorably on an administration willing to compromise national security to settle political scores...
[Highly Recommended > ]
The New York Times reported last week that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, was waterboarded 183 times in one month by CIA interrogators.
The "183 times" was widely circulated by news outlets throughout the world.
It was shocking. And it was highly misleading. The number is a vast inflation, according to information from a U.S. official and the testimony of the terrorists themselves.
A U.S. official with knowledge of the interrogation program told FOX News that the much-cited figure represents the number of times water was poured onto Mohammed's face -- not the number of times the CIA applied the simulated-drowning technique on the terror suspect. According to a 2007 Red Cross report, he was subjected a total of "five sessions..."
"The water was poured 183 times -- there were 183 pours," the official explained, adding that "each pour was a matter of seconds."
[So, do you think this clarification will be "widly circulated by news outlets throughout the world"? I.e., yet again, the damage is done.]
White House lawyers are refusing to accept the findings of an inter-agency committee that the Uighur Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo Bay are too dangerous to release inside the U.S., according to Pentagon sources familiar with the action.
Reviewing the Uighurs detention, the inter-agency panel found that they weren’t the ignorant, innocent goatherds the White House believed them to be. The committee determined they were too dangerous to release because they were members of the ETIM terrorist group, the “East Turkistan Islamic Movement,” and because their presence at the al-Queda training camp was no accident.
There is now no ETIM terrorist cell in the United States: there will be one if these Uighurs are released into the United States.
According to Defense Department sources, the White House legal office has told the inter-agency review group to re-do their findings to come up with the opposite answer... [snip] The White House already came up with the opposite answer in declassifying and releasing the so-called “torture memos”.
Now, having released the details of the techniques, the coupled with the publication of the Army’s guide to interrogation of prisoners, al-Queda and all other terrorists now know what to expect if captured by Americans. And, as they have in the past, they can use this knowledge to train to resist the techniques we can use.
The Obama administration’s actions have given terrorists what may be a decisive advantage. If a detainee knows what to expect, his confidence cannot be shaken. He cannot be forced out of his comfort zone into doubt. And he can withhold information that may be critical to saving American lives.
In his dissent in the Boumediene case, Justice Scalia said that it gave the power to detain enemy combatants to the branch of government that had the least expertise in national security, the courts.
He added that the decision would probably cost American lives.
Washington - It's more than just a tough sell for Attorney General Eric Holder this week to persuade European allies to accept Guantanamo detainees.
''It's a 'mission impossible' for him, I think,''one German analyst said ahead of Holder's arrival in London on Sunday.
Republicans in Congress say Guantanamo should remain in operation and they are mobilizing to fight the release of detainees into the United States...
Oliver has met at least two other Freedom High School students since he reactivated in January.
“It’s kind of strange when I’m walking through the gymnasium and I hear someone say, ‘Mr. Oliver? What are you doing here?’”
Oliver also has met Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Michael J. Bradley, a platoon commander with the logistics group’s landing support company, who graduated from Freedom High before Oliver’s tenure there.
“Whether you’re taking care of your teachers and students or your Marines and sailors, your primary mission is to take care of the people you serve with,” he said. “It’s really encouraging as a Marine, an educator and an officer to see the patriotism in the youth of America.”
Three of the five men convicted of plotting an armed attack on Fort Dix were sentenced to life in prison today.The Duka brothers, Eljvir, Dritan and Shain, maintained their innocence before sentencing in federal court in Camden.
The men, all foreign-born Muslims raised primarily in Cherry Hill, were convicted on conspiracy charges...
Labour Party embroiled in race row after candidate told she was 'too white and Jewish' to be selected
The Labour Party has become embroiled in a race row after a prospective female councillor was allegedly told she was 'too white and Jewish' to be selected.
Elaina Cohen claims that Labour councillor Mahmood Hussain said he would not support her application for an inner-city ward because 'my Muslim members don't want you because you are Jewish'...
Lisa Ashton said NO.
She walked off the job at BMI per TimesOnLine.
That Brit airlines told her to wear the full Muslim garb—head to toe—and walk behind men when serving the airlines going to Saudi Arabia.
It is insane how some non-Muslims quarters are bowing and scraping toward Allah in order to make the devotees comfortable.
Muslims do not change one iota when non-Muslims enter their borders.
Muslims then should learn to live with non-Muslim cultures or stay within Muslim confines. It is in no way enhancing freedoms for non-Muslim countries to adopt Muslims demands.
BMI is making a worldwide fool of itself. Its powers-that-be should be fired. Ashton should be put in their places.
MOSCOW - Reveling in his reputation for earthy language, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin unabashedly confirmed a crude outburst against Georgia's president and even took the tirade a step further Thursday.
The French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur reported last month that Putin told French President Nicolas Sarkozy that he would hang Georgian leader Mikhail Saakashvili by the testicles. The remark came during the August war between Russia and Georgia.
In a televised question-and-answer session with Russian citizens, a caller asked Putin whether he would like to see Saakashvili "hanged by one of his body parts."
"Why by just one part?" Putin responded with a grin.
[It's in our interest to never forget that this man is a thug.]
There are those who hang their First Amendment hats on President Barack Obama's statement that he isn't for reinstating the Censorship Doctrine, also mis-known as the "Fairness" Doctrine. These people are ignoring ever mounting examples of the censorious intent of this Administration on all things information.
They are playing the Ostrich Defense despite the fact that nearly every Obama appointee to anything that has anything to do with regulating anything is a strident Leftist whose first impulse is to loathe the American people exercising the freedoms the Constitution affords them.
Now we have Cass Sunstein, President Obama's nominee for "regulatory czar." Who has written:
"A system of limitless individual choices, with respect to communications, is not necessarily in the interest of citizenship and self-government."
That warms the free speech cockles, does it not? Sunstein has in the past proffered a whole host of anti-liberty and often bizarre notions. [I.e., another radical appointment.]
President Obama, in introducing Sunstein as his nominee, again demonstrates he's reflexively opposed to the practice of freedom by a free people. This is certainly an Administration that has repeatedly brought to the fore people radically opposed to the freedoms afforded us in the First Amendment.
Which is why Obama's narrow pledge on the "Fairness" Doctrine leaves us - unsated. And most likely unprotected from a regulatory assault on conservative and Christian talk radio.
P.S.: The good news is his is an appointment that requires Senate confirmation, so he can be stopped. FSA member the American Conservative Union has created a website called Stop Sunstein through which you can submit petition signatures to do exactly that.
"We ought to ban hunting"
"Animals should be permitted to bring suit, with human beings as their representatives …"
"A system of limitless individual choices, with respect to communications, is not necessarily in the interest of citizenship and self-government."
> "Appointments are policy." >> Stop Sunstein ]
President Barack Obama’s ousting of General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner raises an important question: Why pick on Wagoner and not Ron Gettelfinger? Gettelfinger is the president of UAW, the powerful union that presided over the downfall of the Big Three.
The reason for GM’s failure is no mystery. But here’s a clue anyway: It’s not uncommon for a UAW contract to exceed a thousand pages...
Taxpayers may bail out fat UAW benefits
Bankruptcy is normally capitalism's most effective engine of creative destruction, a necessary cleansing mechanism to free up capital and labor for more productive application. But with Obama administration intervention to package a Chapter 11 filing for Chrysler (and maybe GM soon enough), money from taxpayers who enjoy nothing comparable to the lifetime health care benefits, layoff protection, and retirement pay of the UAW, will be funneled to the UAW's labor aristocrats.
It is precisely these lavish benefits which drove the American Big Three into the corner they find themselves in. Simple justice requires that they reap the whirlwind their never-ending demands generated. Asking people who pay for their own health care and must fund their own retirements to bailout people who enjoyed superior income and benefits is morally wrong, and will continue to hamstring the companies.
UAW Said to Get 55% Chrysler Ownership, Board Seats
The United Auto Workers union’s retiree health-care fund will own 55 percent of Chrysler LLC in exchange for cutting in half the automaker’s $10.6 billion cash obligation to the trust, people familiar with the matter said.
Under the terms of the contract, the trust would get representation on the company’s board of directors, said two people briefed on the deal, who asked not to be named because the matter is 'private'...
[The UAW was the no. 1 reason the company couldn't compete - and now it wins. And tell me again how Ford, struggling to fix itself without taxpayer money, is now supposed to compete with a government backed competitor?]
A House committee chairman said Tuesday that he wants Congress to enact a mileage-based tax on cars and trucks to pay for highway programs now rather than wait years to test the idea.
Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., said he believes the technology exists to implement a mileage tax....
[In place of the gas tax? A: No, in addition to it... ]
Could the Sun play a greater role in recent climate change than has been believed? Climatologists had dismissed the idea and some solar scientists have been reticent about it because of its connections with those who those who deny climate change. But now the speculation has grown louder because of what is happening to our Sun. No living scientist has seen it behave this way.
There are no sunspots.
The disappearance of sunspots happens every few years, but this time it’s gone on far longer than anyone expected – and there is no sign of the Sun waking up. “This is the lowest we’ve ever seen. We thought we’d be out of it by now, but we’re not,” says Marc Hairston of the University of Texas. And it’s not just the sunspots that are causing concern.
There is also the so-called solar wind – streams of particles the Sun pours out – that is at its weakest since records began. In addition, the Sun’s magnetic axis is tilted to an unusual degree. “This is the quietest Sun we’ve seen in almost a century,” says NASA solar scientist David Hathaway.
But this is not just a scientific curiosity. It could affect everyone on Earth and force what for many is the unthinkable: a reappraisal of the theory of global warming...
"Victims" of climate change would be able to sue the federal government or private businesses over greenhouse gas emissions under language buried in the House climate bill, according to a report in the Washington Times.
Under the provision, anyone "who has suffered, or reasonably expects to suffer, a harm attributable, in whole or in part," to government inaction to file a "citizen suit."
The term “harm” is broadly defined as “any effect of air pollution (including climate change), currently occurring or at risk of occurring.”
“You could be spawning lawsuits at almost any place [climate-change modeling] computers place at harm’s risk,”
According to the Washington Times report, under the House bill, if a judge rules against the government, new rules would have to be put in play to correct the 'problems' associated with climate change.
[A lawyer's wet dream, and yet another example of what the green-zealots can't do politically they'll do through the courts - all of which you will pay for.]
ALGIERS – OPEC wants to see oil prices rising to more than 70 dollars a barrel, the oil cartel's secretary general Abdalla El-Badri said Sunday.
"The price of 50 dollars is not enough to cover investment costs for the future,"El-Badri told reporters in Algiers.
"The price which allows reasonable and acceptable revenues is more than 70 dollars a barrel,"he added.
[That's funny, American oil companies say anything north of 35$ pays for brand new fields to be developed. Too bad our own government has 'just said no'.]
Salazar is fresh from representing the State of Colorado in the Senate, where he specialized in fighting the development of that state’s energy riches to help the U.S. become less dependent on foreign oil. Since assuming office, he has led the Interior Department on a crusade to slow, reduce or stop oil and gas development on federal lands, both onshore and off.
He canceled leases already issued to companies to develop energy in Utah against the wishes of the Utah Congressional Delegation and governor. He canceled the sale of commercial oil shale leases in the west that hold the key to what the government says is an energy resource of 2.6 trillion barrels....10 times as big as Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves.
And he ordered a halt to a plan for offshore oil and gas leasing that was almost 30 years in the making after Congress and President Bush finally lifted the moratorium that had made the U.S. the only country in the world that embargoed its own oil from itself….an act that would constitute an energy war against the U.S. if another country tried it.
All of this from a man whom the mainstream media described as a “moderate.”
[More re: the EPA's recent insanity re: CO2 as 'polutant' - Highly Recommended > ]
FLASHBACKs re: the 'moderate' "Salazar" [I.e., another radical appointment]
Then, because silence is interpreted as consent... >
Last week, I asked my journalism and political science students at American University to grade the news media covering the Obama administration for the first 100 days. The consensus fell between a C+ and a B-.
However, if I asked President Barack Obama’s media strategists to grade the press corps covering their boss, I bet they would mark their cards with an A.
Why? With few exceptions, the mainstream news media have been dutifully pushing the Obama message, burnishing his carefully crafted image and offering few challenges when he makes questionable or misleading pronouncements, gestures or policy statements.
In short, they seem mesmerized by the glamour of this new and different president. He is keeping them so busy with skillfully staged daily travel, speeches, meetings and photo ops that they hardly have time to ask tough questions or add context to their stories. Whatever Obama says, or doesn’t say, is usually good enough for them.
No comment from the president on pirates taking hostage the captain of a U.S.-flagged ship? No problem.
Get a new dog? Three days of extensive coverage everywhere.
Obama strategists must be giving each other fist bumps as they chortle, “Boy, have we got them eating out of our hands"...
“President Obama is getting more coverage, and more positive coverage, from the media than his two predecessors,” FNC's Bret Baier related during Monday's “Grapevine” segment in summarizing the hardly-surprising findings from “a new study of his first 50 days in office” completed by the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA).
The analysis of the network evening newscasts, Baier recounted, “was judged 58 percent positive for President Obama. That compares to 33 percent for Mr. Bush and 44 percent for Mr. Clinton. NBC was most positive at 61 percent. CBS was 58 percent, ABC 57 percent.”
April's cable ratings are out, and it looks like Fox News isn't slowing down in the Obama era.
TVNewser notes that Murdoch's network has just beaten CNN and MSNBC combined in every hour from 6pm to midnight -- that's in both total viewers and the key demo (age 25-54). Glenn Beck's ratings continues to soar, too, now up 212 percent in the demo. [snip]
In addition, Nancy Grace -- on sister network HLN -- beat out MSNBC's Keith Olbermann...
What would the media say if Obama's frequent Hollywood Guests were oil executives?
Barack Obama’s White House is beginning to look a lot like a Joan Rivers special. Celebrity after celebrity is showing up at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., demonstrating, as Obama has told us time and time again, that the President is indeed outside the bubble, interested in the common man, and a representative of the little guy.