Sunday, March 25, 2012

Earthquake Strikes Chile, Magnitude 7.1, on 3/25/12

A 7.1 magnitude earthquake has struck Chile today, March 25, 2012. You can get further details on the earthquake from USGS.

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Chile Tsunami Warning

A warning has been alerted in Chile after a 7.2 quake hit the South American country.

The earthquake was at a depth of 18.6 miles (30 km) and struck 16 miles (27 km) north-northwest of Talca, the USGS said. It had originally reported the quake was offshore.

The CNN article says there's been no tsunami warning, but Fox says there has been.

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Santorum Cant Win

The big news on the presidential trail today is Rick Santorum's big win in Louisiana yesterday over Romney and Gingrich, however, with the delegates being split between the two leading candidates, Santorum's chances of clinching the nomination are now almost 100% impossible.

With his current delegate count standing at 273, or almost 300 less then Romney's massive total, he would have to win around 880 delegates, or 70% of delegates still remaining, in the next two-dozen contests to win the nomination before any convention is held. And keep in mind that window keeps getting smaller and smaller.

Romney is favored to win seven of the next eight states that vote, which will award 322 delegates. However, most of these contests are winner-take-all. If Santorum fails to perform well in Romney territory, he will approach the statistical death of his campaign rapidly, and people are unlikely to invest time and money in someone who can't literally win.

Santorum should read the writing on the wall and step aside, allowing Romney to clinch without having to do so on the last contest in Utah, and getting our party a solid headstart against Obama.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Santorum Wins Louisiana

From Politico:
Rick Santorum picked up another win on Saturday in Louisiana, but the victory won’t significantly shake up the delegate advantage held by Mitt Romney in the GOP nominating contest.

The Associated Press called the race for Santorum within minutes of the polls closing, after exit polls indicated he held a comfortable lead. Romney placed second and Gingrich third with a small percentage of precincts reporting.

With the results pretty much set before voting began, the field of GOP hopefuls had already shifted its attention to future contests. Santorum and Gingrich spent Saturday in Pennsylvania, and Santorum went on to Wisconsin. Romney took a break from the trail this weekend and will resume campaigning Monday in southern California.

“We’re going to have a pretty good day in Louisiana today,” Santorum predicted at the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference on Saturday morning in Camp Hill, Pa.

While all of the candidates made stops here this week — including Newt Gingrich , who stayed in Louisiana for a week — none stuck around to see the votes get counted.

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Cheney Receives Heart Transplant

From the WSJ:
Former Vice President Dick Cheney is recovering after having a heart transplant, according to his office.

The office issued a statement Saturday disclosing the surgery, and saying that Cheney has been on the transplant list for more than 20 months.

Aide Kara Ahern said the former vice president is recovering in the intensive care unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., after undergoing the surgery. She said Mr. Cheney does not know the heart donor's identity.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

We Know the Problem … What’s the Answer?

This weekly column, which I have been privileged to submit for your consideration for the past three years, elicits many comments and questions.  The most common of which can be summed up as, “I agree with your analysis, appreciate the Historical context, but how about some practical suggestions.” 
If you are one of the many who have sent me those emails, posted those replies, made those phone calls, or asked me in person this column is for you.
To fully address these questions we have to look at two levels: the macro and the micro.  We need practical suggestions for the very large and the very small.  We need practical suggestions for the societal and cultural level and the personal level.
First of all we need some historical context for our current situation.  In some ways we are unique, we are America after all.  And in some ways what is happening to us has happened many times before.  As I have often said in these columns if History doesn’t actually repeat itself it does rhyme. 
The French Revolution occurred between 1787 and 1799.  It was the first to try to replicate the phenomenon of the American Revolution which overthrew the age old tyranny of divine right kings and landed aristocracy replacing it with a federal republic operating on democratic principles based upon limited government, personal liberty, and economic freedom.
The American Revolution inspired the French to believe they too could break free of the chains and breathe the fresh air of freedom.  However, it lost something in the translation.  Perhaps because the French didn’t have the centuries long tradition of limited self-government and human rights which had grown up in England since the Magna Carta had been forced on a reluctant King John in 1215.  Perhaps it was because the French had endured centuries of the cruelest servitude under the most absolute of absolute monarchs. 
Whatever the reason once the French broke free of the cultural, societal, and personal restraint of the Old Regime which had persecuted and exploited them for so long the French people sought to exact revenge.  They sought to cut the former ruling class out of society and while they were at it establish a completely new regime in its place.  The French, always famous for philosophers, had produced one who had a tremendous influence on the thinking of the Founders of our country and the Framers of the Constitution: Jean-Jacques Rousseau. 
However, Rousseau had two sides.  On one he eloquently expressed the idea that government was established upon a social contract between the rulers and the ruled and that to have any legitimacy government must base itself upon the consent of the governed.  Thus empowering the governed to decide when that contract has been violated and giving them a philosophical basis for change.  Our forefathers based their work upon this side.
On the other side, Rousseau argued against private property.   And that it is the role of the state to impose freedom, equality, and justice for all within the state regardless of the view of the majority.  Thus empowering a minority to decide what constitutes freedom, equality, justice, and justifying the use of state power to mold society to fit the vision of the few.  On this side Rousseau is considered the father of modern socialism and communism.  This is the side that the leaders of the French Revolution chose to follow.
Another difference is that by 1787 France had been a highly centralized nation for centuries.  The local governments served at the pleasure of the central authority and they could be established or overthrown upon the whim of the ruler.  In America we had the experience of thirteen separate colonies each with their own particular history and each with their own particular traditions.  In America this led to the establishment of a Federal republic with sovereignty resting in the states and only delegated to the central government.
These differences led to the corruption of the French Revolution into The Terror.  This was a period between 1793 and 1794 when France was surrounded by enemies and pressed on every side.  The Leaders of the Revolution felt as if there were agents and sympathizers of their enemies everywhere and they proceeded to execute thousands of their own people in order to secure freedom.  The Terror eventually led to a military dictatorship which evolved into an Empire with a monarch at least as absolute as the one they had overthrown in 1787.
Unfortunately for humanity suffering under the yoke of absolute rulers and their crony elites, subsequent revolutions have tended to follow the French model instead of the America.  The Mexican Revolution (1810-1821) was part of a wide ranging revolt against the once great Spanish Empire (1808-1826).  From the Rio Grande to Tierra del Fuego revolutions cast aside the foreign rule of Spain and established homegrown republics.  All of these republics modeled their initial declarations of independence on America’s but the successor regimes all came to model some variation of the French.  The people rose up in righteous indignation against an oppressive system and in the end found themselves under one military dictator after another.  They fought to gain their liberty and merely traded one elite for another as the iron heel of tyranny maintained its stand on the throat of liberty.
Other revolutions, the Russian (1917) and the Cuban (1952-1959) are further examples of the trend.  What begins as an attempt to bring the blessing of limited government, personal liberty, and economic freedom to people ends up bringing instead a tyranny usually more cruel than what the people originally rebelled against.
As can be seen by this litany of subverted revolutions it is usually violence that brings the fall of the former tyranny and facilitates the rise of the latter.  One example of a revolution that came about through an election would be the Nazi revolution in 1932.  Another would be the current regime of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.  A revolution by way of the ballot box, but a revolution none the less.
Today America is in the midst of a revolution.  America has elected a President who has vowed to fundamentally transform America.  He promised this to his adoring supporters before his election, and he has worked tirelessly to bring it about.  He is an Alinsky style community organizer who is working to organize our community by occupying the center of power and the streets at the same time.  He follows the Cloward/Piven Strategy spending us into oblivion in the name of saving the economy.  He has seized major portions of the economy and shoved national health insurance, a financial sector take-over, and undeclared war down the throats of a passive American public.  Polls show that vast majorities do not want what he is selling but he is closing the deal anyway.
Right now Mr. Obama is campaigning day and night for another term, and a term that would be without restraint for a President who has already said he can rule without Congress.  He would undoubtedly appoint at least one more Supreme Court Justice and solidify America’s passage from a federal republic to a European style social democracy.
That is the context, so what should patriotic Americans do now?  As I said at the beginning to fully address these questions we have to look at two levels: the macro and the micro.  We need practical suggestions for the very large and the very small.  We need practical suggestions for the societal and cultural level and the personal level.
On the macro level we need to do everything in our power to make sure Barack Obama does not win a second term.  We need to contribute our time, our talent, and our treasure to making sure he is defeated and defeated decisively in the November of 2012.  Whom should we support?  My advice is study the opposition candidates, and support the one who stands for limited government, personal liberty, and economic freedom.  Choose the one that most credibly supports a return to constitutional government.
If after the primaries that candidate does not win the nomination of the Republican side of the government party, patriots will be faced with a dilemma.  If we are forced to choose between Obama and the sure, sudden and, complete destruction of constitutionally limited government or a big government Republican who is in favor of more foreign interventions and a continuation of our role as policeman of the world what’s a patriot to do? 
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you are still choosing evil.  However in this instance with code blue on one side and a slow fall off a high cliff on the other we may want to choose the one who will drive us to the poor house a little slower.  At least that way we will have more time to prepare and perhaps another opportunity to make the logical choice and vote for a return to constitutional government.
On the Micro level I am reminded of the many people I have met over the years who have escaped from any one of the hell-holes socialist revolutions have produced in the last hundred years.  Whether it is Poland, or Russia, or Cuba they have told me over and over that they see the same things happening here that once swallowed their homelands.  They have told me how they cry at night as they see central planning and social engineering consuming America.  They have tearfully asked me, “Where can we go now?  We escaped tyranny looking for freedom and now we see the same thing coming here?”
In answer to their questions I have asked one of my own, “How can we survive the coming darkness?”  One by one they have all given me the same advice, “Get out of the cities, get yourself some land where you can grow your own food, and do all you can to protect your family and preserve the traditions of liberty.”
In other words, head for the hills and hunker down.  Personally my wife and I have made this choice.  We have decided to sacrifice whatever portions of our modern life styles and lucrative careers must be jettisoned to maintain what is truly important: our family, our lives, and our liberty.  We saw this coming and made a five year plan which is now coming to fruition.  Myself and many others have been sounding the alarm from the watchtowers for years. 
Now is the time for all good citizens to come to the aid of our nation.  We must stand up for our heritage.  We must do battle in the marketplace of ideas, and we must engage in the struggle at the ballot box, but we must also prepare to save some seed corn in case the winter does descend.  We must preserve what we can so we can begin again.  So “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Keep the faith.  Keep the peace.  We shall overcome.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the Historian of the Future and the author of the History of the Future @ © 2012 Robert R. Owens  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Video - The Freedom Collection Presented by the George W. Bush Institute

There were many issues that I had with President Bush.  But no one can say that he didn't have the best interests of freedom in mind.   Disagree with how he went about it, that is fine, but the commitment to it was there.  He is continuing that work today, watch:

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Explosions Heard Outside Hideout of French Terror Suspect

Breaking from Yahoo! News:
Three explosions were heard near an apartment building in southwest France where a suspected gunman who boasted of shooting seven victims in an al-Qaida-linked terror spree is holed up.

Orange flashes lit up the night sky with each blast near the Toulouse apartment building where police have been surrounding 24-year-old suspect, Mohamed Merah, since a pre-dawn effort to arrest him went awry.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

TOULOUSE, France (AP) — Riot police surrounded an apartment building into the night on Wednesday, laying siege to a gunman who boasted of bringing France "to its knees" by carrying out an al-Qaida-linked terror spree that killed seven people.

Hundreds of heavily armed police, some in body armor, cordoned off the five-story building in Toulouse where the 24-year-old suspect, Mohamed Merah, had been holed up since the pre-dawn hours.

Authorities said the shooter, a French citizen of Algerian descent, had been to Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he claimed to have received training from al-Qaida.
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Mass Effect 3 Ending to Be Changed

FUCK YES! From the NY Daily News:
In the end, rebellious Mass Effect 3 fans are going to get exactly what they wanted.

After a few weeks of serious fan backlash over the final moments of Mass Effect 3, Bioware announced Wednesday on its website that it will redo the ending to its fabled space trilogy.

“It’s incredibly painful to receive feedback from our core fans that the game’s endings were not up to their expectations,” Bioware co-founder and general manager Ray Muzyka said. “Our first instinct is to defend our work and point to the high ratings offered by critics — but out of respect for our fans, we need to accept the criticism and feedback with humility.”

The statement seemed to take recognition of both fan comments and the huge amount of work the Bioware staff had put into the Mass Effect saga.

The game’s latest version debuted to rave reviews earlier this month, and provided some of the most impressive play in the series, as lead character Commander Shepard finally led Earth and the rest of the Milky Way against the powerful conquering race known as the Reapers.

The latest game earned a top five-star rating from The Daily News and was similarly lauded throughout the gaming community.

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French Police Corner Heavily-Armed Al Qaeda Operative and Toulouse School Shooting Suspect

In the hours after yesterday's killing spree in front of a Jewish school in southwestern French city of Toulouse, investigators had focused their attention on three former soldiers in the French Army who were neo-Nazis and had also served in the same unit as the three soldiers who were gunned down at an ATM earlier this month.
According to reports published Monday, French police investigating the fatal shootings of a teacher and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse were searching for the three soldiers, who were dismissed from the army a few years ago after being photographed while giving Nazi salutes in front of a Swastika flag.

Monday's deadly shooting came just days after three soldiers — from the same 17th Parachute Engineer Regiment with which the dismissed trio served — were shot dead in broad daylight in Montauban 30 miles away last Thursday. Two of the murdered soldiers were Muslim.

But France Info's report, published Tuesday, said the three neo-Nazis were located by police and cleared of any suspicion. A police official told the website that two of the former troops were interrogated after the shooting attack on the Jewish school, while the third was questioned after the attack in Montauban.

Ynet's correspondent in Toulouse added that according to reports in France, one of the three neo-Nazis voluntarily reported to a police station to be interrogated.
Investigators from the DRCI (Central Directorate of Internal Intelligence) were focusing on 24 year old Mohammed Mera, a French national of Algerian descent who had reportedly travelled to the tribal area in Pakistan's North West Frontier province to fight alongside the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Merah was reportedly arrested by authorities in Afghanistan for planting bombs and sentenced to 3 years in prison, but was part of a massive April 2011 jailbreak that freed hundreds of inmates and captured Taliban fighters.

The DRCI had reportedly found Mera after checking e-mail correspondence from the first known victim. Mera was reportedly exchanging e-mails under a false account with a French soldier who was gunned down in a residential area of Toulouse earlier this month. Investigators traced the e-mails to a computer using the IP address of Mera's brother. Ballistics experts also conclusively matched bullets used in the school shooting as coming from the same one used to shoot the paratroopers.

On Wednesday morning, Mera exchanged gunfire with heavily armed police officers as they moved in to raid his Toulouse home- which was near the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school. Three officers were wounded and Mera barricaded himself inside his residence as he attempted to negotiate his surrender as the neighborhood was cordoned off.

CCTV footage from the schoolyard massacre also showed the shooter appeared to have some sort of digital camera around his neck to film the attack as it took place. DRCI investigators believe that Mera was ultimately going to post the footage of his attacks online at a jihad website.

Also on Wednesday morning, funeral services were held in Jerusalem for the four victims slain at the school. Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, 30, his sons Arieh, 5, and Gabriel, 4, and 7 year old Miriam Monsonego were laid to rest with at least 2000 mourners present at the massive Gavit Shaul cemetary west of Jerusalem.

[Cross-posted at Not Another New England Sports Blog!]

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Romney Wins Big: Let the VP Stakes Begin

First, I take no pleasure whatsoever saying this.  Romney will be the GOP nominee.  Santorum has run out of field.  There are not enough truly conservative states left to get him to the nomination.  Of course he will keep going in the hopes of a contested convention, but in their hearts of hearts they know it is not in the cards.  

Therefore, it is time.  VP Stakes:

There are plenty to choose from.  

Herman Cain: I don't see it.  The issues that came up about the affair would scare off any candidate in my mind.  Why deal with that distraction when you don't have to?  I give this almost no chance.  

Paul Ryan: A great choice, but very young.  He also has very young children who he doesn't want to put into the spotlight at their tender ages.  Which just makes me love him all the more.  Also, very remote chance of this happening.  

Chris Christie:  This is a non-starter as far as I am concerned.  I like many things about Christie, but he adds nothing to the ticket.  He won't bring NJ over to the GOP.  He is just as moderate as Romney is in most respects.  So I give this almost no chance.

Michele Bachman: She will excite the base, but let's be honest; she is a loose cannon.  Romney won't take the chance of her blowing his last chance at being president.  

Marco Rubio: He is dynamic and from a swing state.  He had a great deal of tea party support.  Notice I said had.  There are many in the Tea Party who have lost confidence in him.  He has some issues with a brother-in-law who has had some drug dealing issues.  Of course that has nothing to do with him, he didn't marry the guy, but the media will have some fun with that.  He also has said that he has zero intention of taking it even if offered.  Of course much easier to say no to a reporter than to the nominee.  He is also young.  He may feel he isn't ready yet.   I would give this a 50/50 chance.  

Allen West: West has been favorable towards Newt, although he never came out and endorsed him.  West has the entire package that the conservative base is looking for.  He will make an excellent attack dog on the stump.  He will pull no punches with Obama, which will allow Romney to stay above the fray and concentrate on comparing and contrasting policies with the Obama administration.  West had some issues in Iraq that will come up again.  He sometimes doesn't always filter what he is saying.  He also just moved in order to run for congress again.  I would give this maybe a 40% chance.  

Sarah Palin: Heaven knows she has been vetted.  But she is also very polarizing.  I also don't think she would accept.  Why be the small dog again when she had the chance to run for the big seat and decided to bow out?  I give this less than a 20% chance.

Rand Paul: I like Rand.  A lot as a matter of fact.  He also is another that will take on Obama without fear.  His down side is that it will add fuel to the fire to the people who accused Romney and Ron Paul of working together and Rand getting the VP seat as the payoff.  It will alienate the people who believe this.  But, it may bring in Ron Paul fans.  Not likely, but some may be willing to vote for him.  I would say this is about a 30% chance.  

I don't see him taking any of the candidates he went up against.  The blood between Newt and him is way to bad for it to be repaired.  It looks like it is starting to get that way with Rick now as well.  I would give this the least likely of the scenarios.  

My pick is Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia.  He is currently the head of the RGA.  Has a rising profile nationally.  He has spoken at the Reagan library recently and was received well.  His administration has been very successful.  He has increased revenues without raising taxes, VA's ratings has increased under his administration, he has kept most of his promises when he was elected, (one more year to fulfill the balance).  He is also a very good campaigner.  He is a staunch conservative, which Romney needs to excite the base.  Virginia is a swing state, and right now is trending to Obama by 8 points with Romney as the nominee.  (Which Romney was the best of the remaining candidates).  

Your predictions?  

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Earthquake Strikes Mexico; 7.4 Magnitude on 3/20/12

From CNN:
Hundreds of houses collapsed after a strong earthquake that rattled residents in southern Mexican resort towns and the nation's capital Tuesday, officials said.

The quake had a magnitude of 7.4, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Its epicenter was about 15 miles (25 kilometers) east of Ometepec, Guerrero, the USGS said, and its depth was about 12.4 miles (20 km).

In the nearby town of Igualapa, officials reported that at least 800 houses had collapsed, the Guerrero state government said in a statement. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries or deaths.

More than an hour after the quake, residents in Ometepec were feeling aftershocks, said Francisca Villalva Davila, the city's comptroller.

"There are many cracked ceilings, many houses that collapsed," she told CNN en EspaƱol.
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US ISPs Become 'Copyright Cops' Starting July 12

What's the worst that could happen? From Fox News:
Comcast, Cablevision, Verizon, Time Warner Cable and other Internet service providers (ISPs) in the United States will soon launch new programs to police their networks in an effort to catch digital pirates and stop illegal file-sharing.

Major ISPs announced last summer that they had agreed to take new measures in an effort to prevent subscribers from illegally downloading copyrighted material, but the specifics surrounding the imminent antipiracy measures were not made available. Now, RIAA chief executive Cary Sherman has said that ISPs are ready to begin their efforts to curtail illegal movie, music and software downloads on July 12.

“Each ISP has to develop their infrastructure for automating the system,” Sherman said during a talk at the annual Association of American Publishers meeting, according to CNET. Measures will also be taken to establish databases “so they can keep track of repeat infringers, so they know that this is the first notice or the third notice. Every ISP has to do it differently depending on the architecture of its particular network. Some are nearing completion and others are a little further from completion.”

Customers found to be illegally downloading copyrighted material will first receive one or two notifications from their ISPs, essentially stating that they have been caught. If the illegal downloads continue, subscribers will receive a new notice requesting acknowledgement that the notice has been received. Subsequent offenses can then result in bandwidth throttling and even service suspension.
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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Puerto Rico's Language Primary

The 2012 Republican marathon has moved to Puerto Rico as Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are campaigning for the island territory's 20 delegates up for grabs tomorrow. However, Santorum has launched a firestorm by suggesting Puerto Rico can only become a state if they make English their "main language."

Puerto Rico is bilingual and all legal business is done in both English and Spanish, and if they ever become our 51st state, that is unlikely to change. They understand the importance of English, but it doesn't quite match up with their several hundred years of conducting all business, private/public in Spanish.

Santorum has stepped back his comments by recognizing their right to bilingual, but the damage is already done and Romney has already capitalized by agreeing with Louis Fortuno's argument that Puerto Rico has federalism on their side in regards to what emphasis they put on language.

What say you?

P.S. - By the way, this doesn't contradict with Romney's support for English becoming our official language of the land, because such a law would apply to federal matters only and all Puerto Ricans involved in such matters would have to know the language to be involved in the first place.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Duke Goes Down in Shocking Upset

Lehigh 75 (15), Duke 70 (2). Madness!

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Robert Bales Identified as Afghan Shooting Suspect

The alleged shooter of 16 Afghans has been identified as Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, according to FoxNews. Now much more information is forthcoming. His attorney held a press conference earlier today.

UPDATE: There's a cached article that references a Staff Sergeant Robert Bales deployed in Afghanistan that seems to be about the same age.

It quotes him:

“How’s the security affecting your family?” Asked Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 1st platoon sergeant, Blackhorse Company, 2-3 Inf., to a village elder relaxing outside of his home.

“Much better than yesterday,” replied the man.

UPDATE 6:22-- Pictures of the Staff Sergeant have been found here.

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Possible Robert Bales Pictures Found

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales has been identified as the alleged shooter in a spree that killed 16 Afghans.

Apparently, there are several articles circulating that may be him.

These show a Staff Sergeant named Robert Bales on deployment in Afghanistan in

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Afghan Shooting Suspect Identified as Robert Bales

The alleged shooter of 16 Afghans has been identified as Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, according to FoxNews. Now much more information is forthcoming. His attorney held a press conference earlier today.

UPDATE: There's a cached article that references a Staff Sergeant Robert Bales deployed in Afghanistan that seems to be about the same age.

It quotes him:

“How’s the security affecting your family?” Asked Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 1st platoon sergeant, Blackhorse Company, 2-3 Inf., to a village elder relaxing outside of his home.

“Much better than yesterday,” replied the man.

UPDATE 6:22-- Pictures of the Staff Sergeant have been found here.

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Michelle Obama to Supporters: Barack 'In Love With You'

If you don't think that Michelle Obama telling you what you can and cannot eat is not creepy enough, try her telling you that her husband is in love with you. In a new mass-email to supporters, Michelle Obama has declared her husband's undying love for their supporters.

The email, titled "I Love You Back," details an event where President Obama vowed his love for people that vote for him. The email explains:
Someone in a crowd yells at my husband, "We love you, Barack."

That's when he interrupts himself, smiles really big, and says, "I love you back." And he does.
Mrs. Obama then asks for money, implying that if you really love her husband, you'll give him your money.

Here is the entire email:
From: Michelle Obama
Subject: "I love you back"
Date: Friday, March 16, 2012, 2:29 PM


I see this happen a lot:

Someone in a crowd yells at my husband, "We love you, Barack."

That's when he interrupts himself, smiles really big, and says, "I love you back." And he does.

That's why Barack's dinners with supporters mean so much to him -- because they give him a chance to show it and to say thanks.

I can say from experience you won't want to miss out on the next dinner. I hope you'll consider donating $3 -- or whatever you can to support the campaign -- and be automatically entered today:

Thank you,

Barack Obama: In Love With You
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Dharun Ravi Found Guilty Facing 10 Years in Prison

Today a jury has found Dharun Ravi guilty of intimidation, spying, and witness tampering among other charges in the events that led up to the death of Tyler Clementi.  Clementi was an 18 year gay college student who jumped off the George Washington Bridge after a tape of him kissing another man was streamed and commented upon on twitter.  This case had garnered national attention about cyber-bullying and gay-bashing among teenagers.  

What hasn't been made clear in much of the news coverage is that Tyler was out of the closet.  He told his family that he was gay.  Ravi had also met his boyfriend before the taping took place on one previous occasion.  A text that was sent to Tyler around the time he jumped from Ravi said the following:
"I've known you were gay and I have no problem with it. In fact one of my closest friends is gay and he and I have a very open relationship. I just suspected you were shy about it which is why I never broached the topic. I don't want your freshman year to be ruined because of a petty misunderstanding, it's adding to my guilt. You have a right to move if you wish but I don't want you to feel pressured to without fully understanding the situation." 
No one knows if Tyler read the text before he jumped to his death.   

There are also other parts of this story that are not getting a great deal of media attention.  One being that his mother was having a difficult time accepting her son being gay.  She was saddened to learn that he wouldn't be getting married and starting a family. She loved her son and wanted to be part of his life, but her dreams for him were not going to be as she had envisioned.  She needed some time to make that adjustment.  Another point that isn't getting enough media coverage in all of this is the fact that the school bears some responsibility in this death as well.  

Tyler went through the proper channels to get a room change.  While it isn't easy to change rooms once a semester is underway, it would seem to me that they could have at least tried harder to understand that boy's discomfort with living with a guy that was spying on him.  It wouldn't have been any more pleasant had the video showed him kissing a girl.  The act of his privacy being invaded doing something so personal is enough that they should have realized that these two young men could no longer share a room.  I would also think that the school would have been justified in kicking him out of the dorms for what he did.  

Tyler didn't leave an explanation as to what motivated him to take his own life.  Was it his mother's disappointment?  Was the fact that people at school had confirmation that he was gay, or was it the school not being willing to help him get out of his living with someone who was spying on him that made him think that jumping off that bridge was the better alternative?  We will never know since he is not here to answer those questions.  But we do know that none of these things were something so terrible that he couldn't have gotten beyond them had he given it some time.   

What we also do know is that a young man will be facing 10 years in prison for a hate crime that it seems to me wasn't proven beyond a reasonable doubt.  Don't get me wrong, he needed to be charged with a crime.  But I am not sure that him spending his 20's in prison is an effective use of our resources.  

This case is indicative of why I find hate crimes to be a bad idea.  You can not ever know for sure what is in someone elses heart and mind at any given moment.  Tyler's death is a tragedy, we just compounded it by this outcome.  

I hope that Tyler's family can get a measure of peace now that this trial is over.  

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George Clooney Arrested

Hollywood actor George Clooney, U.S. Congressman Jim Moran and others were arrested outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington earlier today. They were protesting the Sudan government's recent decision to block humanitarian aid to civilians in disputed border areas where fighting continues.

Clooney detained by Secret Service for civil disobedience outside the Sudan Embassy

While I don't exactly like Clooney, mainly for his not-so-terrific acting and his snobbish liberalism, I do find him consistent in his unwavering devotion to the people of South Sudan and against the evils of Sudan's leading officials, who have been indicted for war crimes by the Hague, and thus, give him credit.

What say you?

Breaking: George Clooney Arrested

At the Sudanese embassy.

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Praetorian Progressives and Their Imperial Dreams

Under President Obama we doubled-down in Afghanistan?  We sent more of our fellow citizens to a long hard slog in a country whose synonym is Quagmire while announcing the eventual date of their withdrawal at the same time.  In an unprecedented action Mr. Obama announced our attack as he heralded our retreat in a calculated political decision that has cost lives, squandered treasure and told the Taliban to wait in the wings for the second act.

As our economy was being outsourced, our debt monetized, and our infrastructure crumbled we meekly followed the leader deeper into a thankless nation-building campaign in the Little Bighorn of nations.  A nation that is more of a Western construct than an actual nation-state, and the tribes which inhabit this mountainous waste have resisted and foiled every empire from Alexander to Moscow. 

There is a fundamental difference between a republic and an empire.  Republics are based upon the consent of the governed.  Empires are imposed from above.  Republics foster a community of equals each with the opportunity to achieve.  Empires exalt the ruling class at the expensive of everyone else.  Though settled by European kingdoms seeking empires the United States wasn’t founded to become an empire.  Individuals fought against the empire building tyrants until their determination and resolve won independence against all odds.

It is time to re-think America’s international military commitments.  It is our world wide web of foreign commitments and entanglements that has been used by the self-righteous Progressives and their cronies in the military industrial complex in their efforts to transform the United States from republic to empire.  They have used the never ending wars for peace to regiment our society and create a centrally-planned bureaucratic mega government.

 George Washington warned us to avoid foreign entanglements telling us, “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world…”  He warned us about allowing the military to grow to big, “Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.”

Thomas Jefferson outlined the essential principles of our government which included this advice concerning foreign affairs, “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations entangling alliances with none.” 

For the first 100 years of our existence we followed Washington’s great rule, “The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.”

The temptation to empire captured the American imagination in the 1890s: the beginning of the Progressive Era.  This was a time when Europe was rushing to gobble up the last places open for colonization or carving up those areas unsuited for colonies into spheres of influence. 

Under President McKinley the United States entered the scramble for colonies in the Spanish-American War winning Puerto Pico and the Philippines as well as a long war against those in the Philippines who wanted the independence they had expected when liberated from the Spanish Empire by the American Republic. 

Teddy Roosevelt the great grandfather of the Progressives followed McKinley walking softly while carrying a big stick in the form of the Great White Fleet.  He used America’s new found industrial might and military power for multiple intrusions into the sovereignty of Latin American countries.  While better known for his war against business, or trust busting as it was then called, the first President Roosevelt extolled war as a means to national greatness, “No triumph of peace is quite so great as the supreme triumph of war”

After being re-elected on the promise to keep America neutral President Wilson proclaimed America must fight to “Make the World Safe for Democracy.”  An adventure which cost over 300,000 casualties and which actually expanded the empires of England, France, and Japan while sowing the seeds of an even greater war. 

After Wilson’s war the Congress of the United States re-asserted control by rejecting the international entanglements of the League of Nations Treaty returning to the traditional American foreign policy of freedom of trade and freedom of action. 

Under FDR America fought an undeclared naval war against Germany in 1940 and 41 and imposed draconian embargoes against Japan prior to Pearl Harbor.  Once we were attacked we had to defend ourselves.  However, when World War II ended with the defeat of German, Italian, and Japanese totalitarianism and the vast expansion of Soviet totalitarianism, the guiding light of America foreign policy seems to have been permanently extinguished. 

As the British Empire sailed into the sunset we filled the void taking up the role of leader of the West in the Cold War. For forty-six years we faced the Soviets until they collapsed.  Then instead of coming home we spread our wings even further embracing Eastern Europe.  We made a vain promise to send young Americans to fight for Estonia and Slovakia.  We coaxed color-coded revolutions all around Russia while our allies moved the EU to the East.  All of this rebuffed the hand of the Russians and made them instead of friends bitter foes who realized America had exploited their weakness and attempted to surround them with enemies.  This is the exact scenario which has haunted Russian paranoid dreams for centuries.

It is against the traditional principles of American foreign policy to establish and maintain an empire of far-flung outposts.  Doing so has broken the bank and we cannot afford to be the Policeman of the world.  We cannot afford to build nations for people who don’t want them while allowing our own infrastructure to decay.  How did a peaceful nation of free citizens become the advocate of pre-emptive attack and endless occupation?  How much blood and treasure did we invest in Iraq and what will be the result: a precipitous pull-out resulting in a Shi’a ally for Iran. 

The war in Afghanistan was obviously defensive and retaliatory in nature given the Taliban’s support and collusion with Al Qaeda.  But ten years later what’s it all about?  Are we really dedicated to building a modern nation for tribal people who have no sense of nationhood?  Have we blundered into the same trap that brought the Soviets to their knees?

And it isn’t only our current hot deployment that is problematic. 

The United States has armed forces in over 130 countries.  We’re committed to defend most of these countries against aggression.  Where were these allies on 9-11?  Where are they in Afghanistan?  Why do we have treaties binding us to go to war to defend those who refuse to support us when we’re attacked?  If these policies are counter-productive are there any alternatives?

Close the foreign bases and bring our troops home.  Sell the bases and save the money.  Station our troops on the borders to protect us from the on-going invasion of illegal immigrants who are overloading our systems. Let the maintenance of the bases and the spending of the troops contribute to our domestic economy instead of the economies of other countries.  If we need to project American power, use the carrier battle-groups designed for that purpose.  Protect America and rebuild our infrastructure. 

When asked what to do with the American Military after World War I Will Rogers said, “Get 'em all home, add to their number, add to their training, then just sit tight with a great feeling of security and just read about foreign wars. That's the best thing in the world to do with them.” 

We must jettison the Empire to save the Republic!  If we don’t the imperial power will swamp the republican nature.  We will retain the forms our Founders gave us as we find ourselves under the jackbooted heel of the Praetorian Progressives and their imperial dreams.  

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the Historian of the Future and the author of the History of the Future @ © 2012 Robert R. Owens  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It Begins: Obama Campaign Documentary "The Road We've Traveled"

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Video - America Deserves Better Paul Ryan on Budget

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Controversial "It's Time to Quit Islam"

This ad was slated to run in the NY Times, but was canceled:

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Video: Why Did the Stimulus Fail?


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Homeschooling Reaching the Black Community

A dirty little secret that you won't find out about from the U.S. media (shocker, I know) is that more and more black families are turning to home schooling in an attempt to give their children the education that they deserve.  While I am sure it is very difficult in the more urban areas where the public schools are especially atrocious, it is still a growing trend.  Another thing many are probably not aware of the existence of is a homeschool cooperative dedicated to the black community.
 Monica Utsey, who runs a home schooling co-operative for African American children in Washington DC, says: "African-American mothers, especially those who have boys, have a lot of trouble in the school system. The way the classroom is designed is more conducive for girls."
For her, though, the main motivation was cultural - she wanted her sons to learn about their African roots and not "to believe that their history begins with slavery"
Another words, she doesn't want her sons to be taught that they are victims who have no real chance of succeeding because of a racist society that is America.  Derrick Bell will be rolling over in his grave.  How will the left indoctrinate these young sons who are taught they are equal human beings and have the same opportunities that their white counterparts have, they just have to work for it? Oh Al Sharpton, watch out, you may not be able to make a living peddling fear anymore.

It is true that homeschooling is not something that will work for every family.  Some parents don't have the discipline, the qualifications, and some children do well in a public school environment.  I know someone who has one child in public school and homeschools the other.  Her son was just not doing well in school and his teachers were not communicating that to them.  They pulled him out and have him at home.  She works full-time, but works from home most of the time.  He does much of his school work online and if she happens to be away from home she can log in and watch his progress.  She told me the difference is night and day; he is learning --eager even--and is much happier.  Her daughter has excelled in the public school and is a very social young lady, homeschooling wouldn't suit her personality.  It is a situation that works for their family.  It is the essence of choice.  Not every parent who has that choice will pull their children out of public school.

Of course that destroys the narrative that the public school system will crumble.  More homeschooling will make the public school system better.  Competition is a good thing.  If they need to compete for the dollars they make sure that they are giving an added benefit to the parents who are making that choice.  One of the things you hear unions complain about all the time is the fact that the class sizes are too large (they are right, they are in most cases) this will also help with this problem.  The teachers will have smaller classes and will be able to give more attention to the individual students.

Another topic that has come up with these homeschoolers is how they resent that teachers now are only teaching to the test (Thanks Sen. Kennedy and President Bush).  The evil of No Child Left Behind has left children behind.  The school systems are under so much financial pressure to keep and/or improve test scores that the joy of learning has been taken out of the equation.  I am sure it is no joy for the teachers either.  But students are suffering because of this piece of lousy legislation.  Parents are seeing for themselves that their kids are losing motivation:
It was not the violence, or even the fact that he was being bullied, that finally led to the decision to remove Copeland from his public school in what she describes as a "really bad area" of Washington DC, but the fact that he was "losing his love of learning".
Of course this little boy was learning his love of learning - which by the way, is innate in a child - if he is being bullied, seeing violence, and being taught only to a standardized test.

The shift to homeschooling has been much slower for the black community than for the white.  They are under even more pressure to keep pretending that the public school system has their child's best interests at heart:
"For the African-American community there was a huge amount of pressure against it, because in America, the grandparents of today's home-schooled children fought for desegregation of schools. They thought, 'The public schools are going to save us,'" he says.
But Dr Ray, who regularly interviews black home-schoolers as part of his research, says attitudes are changing fast - and it's also a lot easier today for black families to try it than it was 20 years ago, he points out.
Joyce Burges, co-founder of National Black Home Educators, who home-schooled all five of her children, aged 16 to 35, says the practice is growing "exponentially" in the African American community.
"The failings of public schools have caused all of us, whether we are white or black, to come up with creative ideas about how we can educate children.
It is way past time that the black community push back and stop accepting the failing status quo that has become our public school system and take matters into their own hands.  Stop listening to the stories of the past generation that believed that it was going to be public schools that solved the ills of the black community.  Access is meaningless if the school is failing.  Your children will be much better off for it.

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Of Course! Keynsianism Led to Reagan Boom!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Looking to Sell Your Car?

Have a car that you're looking to unload or waiting to upgrade? Now there's a chance to sell your car online. By getting cash for cars, you can have a transaction done in just twenty minutes!

All of this can be done online and can be just what you were looking for. If you're looking for cash for cars, make sure you take a look. It could be a way to make some extra cash and get rid of an unwanted vehicle.

Take a look at this video on how your life could be easier.

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The Race That Will Never End

After a severe lack of sleep last night, partially due to waiting for American Samoa and Hawaii to announce their results, I have reviewed the numbers from last night and they are interesting to say nothing else of yesterday's mini super tuesday contests.

First off, Santorum's twin-Dixie victories are important for his campaign. It basically kills all hope Gingrich had of realistically contesting the nomination, while setting up the two-man race we have waited 30 contests for.

Secondly, Romney won the evening's delegate count: Romney 42; Santorum 36; Gingrich 24. He's slowly building up his impressive lead over Santorum, which is still two-to-one, while lacking just several more delegates to reach 500 overall.

Thirdly, American Samoans have the right idea for these political contests: hold them at the bar & grill, have some delicious steak, then caucus. As someone who doesn't believe in drinking, I really envied them last night as I watched the results slowly come in from dixie.

Lastly, the battle that will never end continues onward. Both Missouri and Puerto Rico caucus this weekend and Illinois votes on Tuesday; over 120 delegates are at stake, and if Romney does really well, he could reach the half-way point of 574 delegates.

What say you?

Ever Wonder About Your Dreams?

Ever had a dream that you just could not figure out what it meant? Maybe someone important to you appeared in a dream or you were doing something that just seemed strange. Well, maybe that dream had a meaning, but you're just not catching it. Sometimes your dreams can hold a meaning that are not apparent to you right away. That's why, with the help of a free dream dictionary online, you can determine what your dreams may really mean!

The Dream Dictionary has many different topics listed on its site in alphabetical order. You can browse through the different dreams that you or a loved one may be having and check out what they mean. For example, if you had a dream about the month of November, the dream dictionary says that it's about success in your life. If you have one about nutmeg, it's about prosperity. You can search for many different terms on the site to get a picture of what might be in store for you.

So, if you're ever confused about what your dream might mean or want a deeper meaning to them, check out the free dream dictionary online. By doing so, you do not know what you might find out! It could change your life and your dreams forever.

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Earthquake Strikes Japan; 6.1 Magnitude on 3/14/12

From Reuters:
An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.1 hit east of Tokyo on Wednesday but no tsunami warning was issued and there were no initial reports of damage or troubles at area nuclear plants, the Japan Meteorological Agency and local media said.

High-speed bullet trains serving northern Japan were halted and the two runways at Tokyo's Narita International Airport were closed after the quake but quickly resumed operations, local media reported.

No abnormalities were reported at the Tokai No.2 nuclear power plant northeast of Tokyo, which has been shut for routine maintenance, or at Tokyo Electric Power Co's tsunami-hit Fukushima Daiichi and Daini plants, local media said.

The earthquake, which caused substantial shaking in Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures east of Tokyo, followed just a few hours after a magnitude 6.8 quake jolted northern Japan. A tsunami warning was issued but later lifted after that earthquake.
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American Samoa GOP Results

Mitt Romney has captured all nine delegates in American Samoa.

About 70 local Republicans showed up at the caucus, which was held at a local bar and grill, and they elected six pro-Romney delegates to the convention, while the three super delegates also pledged their support to Romney - delivering his campaign an unanimous slate.

Romney swept all three of the pacific territories this past week, which adds another 27 delegates to his ever increasing national count.

The Delegate Battle (3/14/12)

Update (12:50 pm) - With Romney's 20 point victory in Hawaii, he won yesterday's delegate contest with 43, while Santorum gained 36 and Gingrich got 24. There are still delegates floating around in Alabama and Hawaii, but Romney only needs 5 more to reach 500.

Update (2:26 am) - Proving I have no life outside of politics, I waited for American Samoa to report - 9 more delegates for Romney. He now leads the night 33-30 over Santorum, if he wins big in Hawaii, he reaches 500 delegates before breafast on east coast.

Here are the latest delegate counts from the close Alabama and Mississippi GOP contests, which Rick Santorum both won last evening.

Alabama (50 delegates):

Santorum - 17
Gingrich - 12
Romney - 10
Unknown - 11

Mississippi (40 delegates):

Romney - 14
Santorum - 13
Gingrich - 12
Unknown - 1

With 12 delegates still up for grabs in the dixie primaries, we now have to consider the 29 delegates that American Samoa and Hawaii will award sometime this morning, most of which are expected to land in Romney's camp.

Meaning - that even though Santorum won the two big battles, although by small margins in the all-important delegate count, Romney could still take the day in terms of widening his lead in the magic number battle of 1,144 to become the nominee against Obama this November.

Romney stands at 476 delegates right this moment, while Santorum is 232 behind in second, and the others are even farther back. He may very well reach 500 tonight and the half-way point of 572 next week in Illinois, while the others rapidly approach it being statistically impossible for them to win.

What say you?