Saturday, March 31, 2012

Finally, The Catholic Church Stands on Principle. Uncle Teddy's Widow Invite to Speak at Graduation Rescinded

Vicki Kennedy, widow of Senator "Uncle Teddy" Kennedy, has had her invitation to give a graduation speech rescinded by Bishop Robert McManus of the Boston Area.  
"Bishop McManus is acting, he feels, consistently with what all of the U.S. bishops asked colleges or higher institutions to do going back to 2004, that they not honor ... Catholics who take a public stance or position on issues contrary to things that the Church is trying to teach,"
Mrs. Kennedy feels slighted by the rebuke:
"I am a lifelong Catholic and my faith is very important to me.  I have not met Bishop McManus nor has he been willing to meet with me to discuss his objections."
Gee, lets see Mrs. Teddy,  You are publicly pro-choice.  Your late husband is symbolic of Obamacare.  Remember the calls: "Do it for Uncle Teddy"?  I do.  You remember Obamacare Mrs. Teddy don't you?  The law that is part and parcel of the federal government trying to force its views on the Catholic Church.  The faith that you find so important that believes that life begins at conception.  That birth control and abortions go against God's will.  That both you and your late husband have worked all your adult lives to not only make legal, but to ever expand it.  

Mrs. Kennedy you wrote the preface of the book "The Catholic Case for Obama".  This book talks about the social justice that Obama has fought so hard for.  No such justice for the unborn.  No such justice for the 1st amendment and religious conscience.
It goes to say this:
But perhaps most of all, he or she is a heroic figure and moral example for our children and for the life of the country
You acknowledge that president is an example of morality to the country and especially the youth of the country while making the case that the most pro-abortion president in history is the one to lead our nation.  I seem to remember that Uncle Teddy's endorsement of President Obama was what helped him to become viewed as a serious candidate.  Yeah, you and your husband had a great deal to do with getting President Obama elected.  

You then have the audacity to question why you wouldn't be invited to speak at a Catholic college graduation?  

You are a very intelligent women.  I think you should be able to figure it out.

Kudos to Bishop McManus for standing his ground.  It is time that the Catholic Church start walking the walk when it comes to the people who have done everything possible to undermine the life lessons that the church is trying to promote.  Now, you need onto move to Sen. Kerry and Nanny Pelosi next.  

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Where Does the Supreme Court Get Its Power?

This week the eyes of everyone concerned with the continuance of limited government were riveted on the Supreme Court.  For three days the nine Justices heard arguments by the Solicitor General in favor of ruling the individual mandate which is the keystone of Obamacare constitutional.  They also heard the representatives of twenty-six States argue that it is unconstitutional.  This is the first time that a majority of the States have combined to protest an act of Congress.  Now We the People must wait while the fate of our Republic is decided in secret by our Black Robed rulers from whom there is no appeal.
How did we get here? 
We elect our representatives and they enact laws which are supposed to be within the framework of the Constitution.  It should be the expectation of Americans that those we entrust with our delegated sovereignty would craft laws in accordance with our wishes as expressed in the founding document of our government.  These laws should reflect our desire for limited government, personal liberty, and economic freedom. 
And the unicorns danced with the elves until the cow jumped over the moon.
The perpetually re-elected who control the two houses of our legislature make law with no regard for the limits, the spirit, or the letter of our Constitution.  In this case they have decreed not participating in Commerce is commerce, and that a penalty is not a tax, that is a tax, and then isn’t again.  After years of stepping so far over the line they have forgotten there was a line.  The Party of Power has finally legislated us to the point of no return.  If the court of last resort gives this power grab the green light what limits are left? 
Since the law was passed over the overwhelming rejection of the voters its validation would cement the dictatorship of the Party in the transformation of America from what we have known into what we would never choose.  The Court appears to be our last line of defense.  But where does the Supreme Court get its power?
The Supreme Court is principally occupied in a task that has no basis in the Constitution.  The nine justices spend their time judging what is constitutional and what isn’t through a process known as judicial review.  However, when the delegates of the thirteen original States drafted the Constitution they decided after much debate not to delegate such a power to the judicial branch or any other branch of the new Federal Government.
If the Constitution doesn’t give this power to the Court how did they get it?  The surprising answer is that they assumed it unto themselves, and since no one stopped them they just kept doing it.  The process began in 1794 when for the First time they declared an act of Congress unconstitutional.  Then in 1803 they used a minor case Marbury v Madison to outline their justification for the process.  Since that time the belief that the Supreme Court is the ultimate judge of the constitutionality of anything and everything has become such a cornerstone of the American System that the average person erroneously believes the power was granted in the Constitution. Thus the first power grab has become our last defense against what could be the final power grab.
In other words we who want to see the rebirth of limited government are hoping the Supreme Court will use an unconstitutional power to save the Constitution.  We stand hat in hand waiting patiently to find out if the Commerce Clause can be stretched to give the central government unlimited power or will we step back from the precipice and wait for the Party of Power to try again.
Across the country we have watched as everything from abortion to gay marriage has been imposed upon us by the black robed tyrants of the Federal Bench.  We have watched as popularly passed referendums were overturned, and common sense laws such as Arizona’s immigration statutes cast aside by activist jurists determined to force our nation into their mold.  Unelected and almost unaccountable these imperious lawyers on steroids hand down pronouncements from Olympus on the Potomac as the sons of pioneers meekly accept the rule of tradition and the arbitrary decrees of men instead of the rule of law our ancestors fought and died to establish and preserve.
Now the arguments are over.  The talking heads endlessly dissect what was said telling us what it means.  For months we will hear rumors and hints as we wait until June for the word from on high.  Is not purchasing insurance commerce?  Does the government have the power to compel a citizen to enter into a contract?  Is a contract made under duress valid?  Does Congress have the power to make the purchasing of a product necessary to maintain the status of a law abiding citizen?  If the answer to what should be rhetorical questions is not a resounding “NO!” we have strayed beyond the pale of liberty and are adrift in the seas of arbitrary power.
As we look to an unconstitutional process to save the Constitution perhaps we should reflect on the state of our Republic.  I would also recommend a deep study of the works of our Anti-Federalist fathers.  Since we are living in the world they predicted maybe we should take a second look at what they recommended as an alternative to what we have become?
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

Olbermann Fired Yet Again

Poor guy. From the NY Times:
Current TV said Friday afternoon that it had terminated the contract of its lead anchor, Keith Olbermann, scarcely a year after he was hired to reboot the fledgling channel in his progressive political image.

The cable channel indicated that he had failed to honor the terms of his five-year, $50 million contract, giving the channel the right to terminate it. Starting Friday night, the former New York Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer will take over Mr. Olbermann’s 8 p.m. time slot.

In a stream of Twitter messages, Mr. Olbermann responded to Current’s announcement by stating that “the claims against me in Current’s statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently.”

In a letter to viewers, the channel’s founders, Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, wrote: “We created Current to give voice to those Americans who refuse to rely on corporate-controlled media and are seeking an authentic progressive outlet. We are more committed to those goals today than ever before. Current was also founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it.”
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When Will The Primary End?

Whether it be Romney's massive lead in the delegate count; recent endorsements by Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan, or his current seven-to-ten point lead in Wisconsin's upcoming GOP Primary, this primary will eventually be claimed by Mitt Romney, the only question is when.

When will opponents Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich stop the "all the way to Tampa Bay" talking points, which do nothing but fuel division in the ranks and potentially set us up for a diaster this early fall, and drop out for the good of the party? For the good of defeating Obama...

I'm hoping the next several primaries, which are expected to be Romney blowouts from Wisconsin to New York and Rhode Island in between, will increase his delegate count by such a wide margin, that they can no longer justify fighting to the convention realistically, or just plain old statistically.

This is not a Republican recreation of the 2008 fight between Obama and Clinton, where two strong candidates fought through all fifty states for the right to be nominee, but where one strong candidate continues to fight for the nomination against two weaker opponents who cannot, or will not stop the madness.

Oh, when will it end?

Supreme Court to Decide Fate of ObamaCare Today

But when will the rest of American know? From the AP:
While the rest of us have to wait until June, the justices of the Supreme Court will know the likely outcome of the historic health care case by the time they go home this weekend.

After months of anticipation, thousands of pages of briefs and more than six hours of arguments, the justices will vote on the fate of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul in under an hour Friday morning. They will meet in a wood-paneled conference room on the court's main floor. No one else will be present.

In the weeks after this meeting, individual votes can change. Even who wins can change, as the justices read each other's draft opinions and dissents.

But Friday's vote, which each justice probably will record and many will keep for posterity, will be followed soon after by the assignment of a single justice to write a majority opinion, or in a case this complex, perhaps two or more justices to tackle different issues. That's where the hard work begins, with the clock ticking toward the end of the court's work in early summer.
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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hunger Games Review

Last evening I headed down to the local theatre, purchasing my ticket for $4 (yes, life in the country really does have its advantages), and immersed myself in the Hunger Games. I have read the books, however, but I was curious to see whether it would be portrayed well on the big screen.

And, for the most part, it was.

We begin in District 12 where our protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, has just received the shock of her existence: her twelve old sister has been selected, or "reaped", to participate in the barbaric Hunger Games - where 24 children are forced to fight to death for both the amusement of Capitol citizens & punishment of the 12 districts for rebelling seventy-five years earlier.

While her sister is heading towards the stage in shock, Katniss volunteers herself to save her sister, thus effectively ensuring her own death. This is followed by Peeta Mallark being reaped as the male tribute, who once saved the Everdeen family by tossing two loafs of bread he intentionally burnt to Katniss.

The film begins to speed up as they condensed almost 170 pages into 40 minutes: introducing us to Haymitch, the drunkard who is responsible for training the 12th District tributes, Effie Trinket - the one responsible for escorting the tributes from event to event, and Cinna, the stylist who during the tribute introductions - sets Katniss literally on fire.

During this time we do lose some of the finer points within the novel: our heroine's thoughts, some characters and plot have been condensed to save time, although I would argue in the case of killing almost all mention of the horrific prep team is a blessing to moviegoers, but the film does improve certain aspects as well.

Such as deepening the role of Seneca Crane as the Head Gamemaster; depicting the barbaric nature citizens within the Capitol have in regards to the games, which they see as reasons to wager money, and even buy presents for their children to reenact them and the revolt of District 11 residents when Rue, a little 12 year old girl, is killed during the Games.

The remainder of the film, from the time Cinna sees Katniss off before the Games begin, is almost 99% true to the novel and its breathtaking to see some of the scenes you imagined while reading on the big screen turn out to be even better then you believed, such as Katniss escaping the fire that was intentionally aimed at her by the game masters.

I have to mention character portrayal quickly: it was magnificent. Jennifer Lawrence tunred Katniss into someone believeable; someone you could imagine coming from your home town: strong, pretty and defiant. While the actors cast as Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, Effie, Cinna, Rue and most of the other contestants was absolutely spot on.

I do have to mention Stanley Tucci as Ceasar, who interviews the contestants before the Games and also covers the broadcast of the Games, as I believe he had too much fun with the character. He acts the character almost too brilliantly and his odd sense of humor definitely makes him the hit Suzanne Collins intended in the novel.

After almost a week in the arena, the Games are down to 6 contestants from 4 districts, and due to a rule change: 2 tributes can win if they are from the same district, which leads to Katniss seeking out Peeta, who is badly wounded because he helped her escape from danger earlier in the action.

She is forced to attend a feast to retrieve what Peeta needs so badly: medicine to heal his wounds. It almost turns into the end for Katniss when Clove, a tribute from District 2, ambushes her and is just about to kill her when Thead, the male tribute from District 11, avenges Rue's death from earlier by bashing Clove's skull into the cornocopia and sparing Katniss for helping Rue.

The film progresses from here as the female tribute from District 5 dies after eating poisioned berries Peeta picked; Thead is killed by Cato, the male tribute from District 2 and main antagonist, and the 3 remaining - Cato, Katniss and Peeta are eventually pitted in a deadly and prolonged fight to the end...

Which results in a standoff with Cato holding Peeta hostage, Katniss bearing her bow and arrow down on Cato and genetically mutated mutts released by the gamemakers attacking them from all sides. With Peeta facing certain death, Katniss fires an arrow into Cato's hand: allowing Peeta to get free and push Cato into the pack of mutts, which slowly mutilate him until Katniss, out of mercy kills him.

They are expecting to be named victors immediately, as per the rule change, when the announcer says the previous change was revoked - attempting to force Katniss and Peeta to kill each other. He offers himself up, when she remembers the poisoined berries the District 5 girl ate and as thinking the Games would prefer 2 victors over none, they slowly bring them to their mouth..When the announcer yells for them to stop, and crowns them the 74th Hunger Games victors.

In summary, this movie was definitely well worth the money and time I spent in it. It stayed mostly true to the original novel, was protrayed excellently by superb actors, and I would suggest watching the film and reading the novel, as the greatness of the film is only outdone by the awesomeness of the novel.

Unconfirmed: "Anonymous" to Try to Shut Down Entire Internet on Saturday

The computer hacking group Anonymous has promised to shut down the Internet in its entirety this Saturday, March 31st, according to a post on "pastebin" which has since gotten 165,000 views. The piece states that Anonymous will be attempting this in order to protest "SOPA, Wallstreet, our irresponsible leaders and the beloved bankers who are starving the world for their own selfish needs out of sheer sadistic fun."

The post, which was then uploaded to Reddit, promises an attack on 13 root DNS servers. Anyone trying to access a website, it promises, will get an error message. The group, however, states that their action is not to "kill" the internet, but make a point.

How long the "blackout," as the post calls it, will last is unknown even to the hackers: "The very fact that nobody will be able to make new requests to use the Internet will slow down those who will try to stop the attack. It may only lasts one hour, maybe more, maybe even a few days. No matter what, it will be global. It will be known."

Members of Reddit have given the post over 1,000 "upvotes" at the time of this article, and the number is expected to grow.  Under comments, Reddit users are arguing about whether this could actually work.  The top comment reads, "Good luck with that...," with the second highest reading, in part, "I do wish them the best, simply for the fact that it would be historic and entertaining."

Here is the entirety of the post:
"The greatest enemy of freedom is a happy slave."

To protest SOPA, Wallstreet, our irresponsible leaders and the beloved bankers who are starving the world for their own selfish needs out of sheer sadistic fun, On March 31, anonymous will shut the Internet down.


In order to shut the Internet down, one thing is to be done. Down the 13 root DNS servers of the Internet. Those servers are as follow:


By cutting these off the Internet, nobody will be able to perform a domain name look-up, thus, disabling the HTTP Internet, which is, after all, the most widely used function of the Web. Anybody entering "" or ANY other url, will get an error page, thus, they will think the Internet is down, which is, close enough. Remember, this is a protest, we are not trying to 'kill' the Internet, we are only temporarily shutting it down where it hurts the most.

While some ISPs uses DNS caching, most are configured to use a low expire time for the cache, thus not being a valid failover solution in the case the root servers are down. It is mostly used for speed, not redundancy.

We have compiled a Reflective DNS Amplification DDoS tool to be used for this attack. It is based on AntiSec's DHN, contains a few bugfix, a different dns list/target support and is a bit stripped down for speed.

The principle is simple; a flaw that uses forged UDP packets is to be used to trigger a rush of DNS queries all redirected and reflected to those 13 IPs. The flaw is as follow; since the UDP protocol allows it, we can change the source IP of the sender to our target, thus spoofing the source of the DNS query.

The DNS server will then respond to that query by sending the answer to the spoofed IP. Since the answer is always bigger than the query, the DNS answers will then flood the target ip. It is called an amplified because we can use small packets to generate large traffic. It is called reflective because we will not send the queries to the root name servers, instead, we will use a list of known vulnerable DNS servers which will attack the root servers for us.

DDoS request ---> [Vulnerable DNS Server ] <---> Normal client requests
| ( Spoofed UDP requests
| will redirect the answers
| to the root name server )
[ 13 root servers ] * BAM

Since the attack will be using static IP addresses, it will not rely on name server resolution, thus enabling us to keep the attack up even while the Internet is down. The very fact that nobody will be able to make new requests to use the Internet will slow down those who will try to stop the attack. It may only lasts one hour, maybe more, maybe even a few days. No matter what, it will be global. It will be known.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ohio: Mandel Ties Brown

HT: Rasmussen Reports

After decisively claiming the Republican nomination earlier this month, State Treasurer Josh Mandel has now tied incumbent Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Oh) in the latest Rasmussen Reports survey of 500 likely voters in the vital senatorial race that could very well sway the balance of power this November.

Mandel (R) - 43%
Brown (D) - 43%
Don't know - 11%
Someone else - 3%

Mandel, a former Marine Reservist who served two tours of duty in Iraq and who is the grandson of two Holocaust survivors, is best known for his outspoken support of Israel and his strong conservative ideals both in, and out of government. He was uniformly supported before the primary by Republican officials and Conservative interest groups.

The Ohio race is going to be vital in the horse race between Democrats struggling to hang on to their now six year hold over the Senate and Republicans regaining complete control of the legislature to be of service to either the new president, or defying the current one. And this poll shows us just how close it will be this November.

Keep your eye on this race.

Justice Kennedy: ObamaCare Would Change Role of Gov't

And he might be the swing vote.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Geraldo and the Hoodie - Is what he is saying all that crazy?

“I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies, I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.”

“When you see a kid walking down the street, particularly a dark-skinned kid like my son Cruz, who I constantly yelled at when he was going out wearing a damn hoodie or those pants around his ankles,..It’s those crime scene surveillance tapes. Every time you see someone sticking up a 7-Eleven, the kid’s wearing a hoodie. Every time you see a mugging on a surveillance camera or they get the old lady in the alcove, it’s a kid wearing a hoodie. You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangsta — you’re going to be a gangsta wannabe? Well, people are going to perceive you as a menace,”
On the surface yes it is.  But if you really think about what he is saying it isn't all that crazy.  We judge people on how the dress all the time.  Take this lady for instance:

She is quoted as saying she wants to be treated with a little bit of respect after her local nightclub banned her because of her outfits.  The nightclub owners/employees judged her on this outfit.  I sure as heck did.  You dress like that you are going to draw a certain amount of attention and people will assume that you are looking for sex.  Now, if that is true or not isn't the point.  The point is she is dressing in a way that will suggest to other people that she is out on the town looking for someone to spend the night with.

Would you go to a job interview at one of the big banks in shorts and flip-flops?  Not if you really wanted the job you wouldn't.  I had a job that had a very strict dress code.  One that I personally felt was right out of the 1950's.  If you really were to follow the letter of the code all women had to wear hose/socks of some kind.  Who wants to wear pantyhose in the middle of the DC summer heat?  Not me.  So what I did was always wear long skirts so you couldn't tell that I didn't have hose on.  They didn't say anything about the long skirts, but you were told to dress more appropriately (in a not so subtle way) if you wore a short skirt with no hose on.  The men had to wear ties except one Friday a month; casual day.  But even on casual day they couldn't really wear any shirt they wanted to.  You couldn't have anything that couldn't be tucked in.  Those were the rules.  If you showed up for a job interview in a way that didn't comport with that dress style I can guarantee you that your chances of getting the job dropped considerably.  Fair?  Maybe not, but true.

Crime stats are what they are.  You can dislike them but that doesn't make them less true.  If you live in a major urban area, you will hear about gang violence.  It isn't even just relegated to urban areas anymore.  Where I live there is a town not all that far away that has gang issues.  There is a task force in place that every once in a while makes the papers that has some major arrest or breakthrough.  It is far enough away from my home, that I honestly don't pay all that much attention to it.  But, if I lived closer, I would pay attention.  There is a mall in that city that I sometimes go to.  When I do, I park as close to the mall as I can.  I don't ever stop to grab something to eat there.  I go into the store I need to go to, buy my stuff, and leave.  It is a safety issue to me.  I have never seen any crime take place there, but I have heard that the crime rate around the mall is higher.  It may not be, but my perception is that I could end up being a crime victim there, so I only go when I have to go.  They have since opened another location of the store I went to there, and I have not been back to that mall since.  It makes sense to me.

If you watch movies or tv shows that sometimes glorify gang life, you will see a certain type of dress.  Not all that different from having a dress code at work.  You see images of gangsta rappers and the way the dress is very similar.  You listen to the lyrics of the music and you will hear a glorification of violence, misogyny, and drug use.

Now, I normally dismiss anything that Geraldo says out of hand, as I think he is generally an exploitive ass.   As I write this I have a hoodie on because I was cold earlier.  Do I look at a person in a hoodie as criminal first?  No. But that doesn't mean if I were walking alone at night and someone with a hoodie covering up his face wouldn't make me a pause for a split second I would be lying, it would.  It wouldn't matter to me what color they are, it was the fact that I can't see their face that would make me nervous.
We judge people on how they dress all time.  We do it daily.  Fair or not, it is the truth.  Does that mean that you should be treated like a criminal or a tramp?  No.  But don't be surprised when there will be people who will treat this way.  There is an old adage: Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.  Your appearance does matter.  You will be judged on it.

‘There is nothing more painful to me at this stage of my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery, then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”
Jesse Jackson to the New York Times 12/12/93

It isn't about being racist.  It is having an understanding of crime statistics.  Which makes Mr. Jackson's involvement in stirring the pot that much more hypocritical.  But I don't expect anything different from a man who has made a living out of playing victim.

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The Additional Tragedy of Trayvon Martin's Death

First, I want to make it perfectly clear that I feel that this case should go in front of a grand jury and let them decide what, if any, charges are brought against Zimmerman.  It should not be tried in the court of public opinion. 

The problem is that this case is being tried by the media, the pundits, the race baiters of our country, social media, and around kitchen tables all over America.  It is really criminal that this boy's death is being used in this way.  There are people with an agenda that are making statements that may very well have no basis in fact.  

The police have released very little information on the evidence that they have on the case.  Maybe because they did a awful job investigating it or just maybe because they are doing a better job than people are willing to admit and are making sure that they are covering every base.  It isn't all that unusual for it to take time for charges to brought against someone.  Police have to build a case that they believe will hold up in court.  

We also can look at the photos that are being used.  Below is the photos that media are using.  Photos that are old and paint a picture that they want to paint.  

They are using pictures of Tayvon that are old and make him appear much younger than his 17 years.  They are using an old mug shot of Zimmerman that is a close up picture of his face that makes him look much bigger than the picture to the right of it.  Media narrative.  The facebook picture of Trayvon clearly shows that he was much bigger than what the media would like you to believe and that Zimmerman isn't as big as they want you to believe.  

In Chicago there was a march to honor the life of Trayvon.  But there was barely a mention of the people who were killed by gang violence in a city that has been overrun by gang related crime and deaths this year.  57 children have lost their lives since the beginning of the school year.  The majority of them were gang related.  Are those children's lives less valuable?  Don't their parents want justice too?  

We have movie director and producer Spike Lee tweeting out Zimmerman's home address, not just once, but twice.  He have Al Sharpton involving himself in this crime.  We have Jesse Jackson saying that black men are under attack.  On this point we sort of agree:
While African Americans comprise 13.5% of the U.S. Population, 43% of all murder victims in 2007 were African American, 93.1% of whom were killed were African Americans. 
Shouldn't we be just at outraged about these murder victims as well?  

It isn't that anyone is saying that Jayvon's death isn't a tragedy.  It is.  No parent should bury a child, ever, under any circumstances.  It goes against the nature of things.  My only point being we need to examine why this particular crime is getting so much attention and how the media is creating a narrative that may or may not be based on facts.   George Zimmerman has been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion. Not only as a murderer, but a racist as well.  The evidence of that is quite lacking.  

Black parents have some worries that others do not.  They have to talk to their sons in a way that their white counterparts do not.  Racism exists in this country.  That cannot be denied.  But not every crime  that have people of different colors involved is about racism.  It just isn't.  The above stat proves that.  Only 7.9% of black murders are even committed by someone of another race. These numbers may not be comfortable for people like Jackson, Sharpton, and Lee to look at, but it doesn't make them less true.  

We have to decide as a society if black murder victims are only cared about when they are killed by someone who is not black.  It is about time we have the difficult discussions and broach the topics of why the numbers are so skewed.  Until we talk about the real issues, the problems will never be solved, 

I know that I view the police differently than many in the black community do.  I trust the police for the most part.  There are bad apples of course, but by and large they do their dangerous jobs well.  Many in black communities have a very different view of the police.  But I do feel that is more socio-economic related than race related.  I think that distrust of the police is just more prevalent in poorer communities were crime rates are higher than they are in lower crime rate areas. I have had very few run-ins with the police in my life.  So from my vantage point they are doing their job keeping criminals away from my property.  When you live in a high crime area you are going to see police more often.  You will see people getting arrested more.  You may even feel hassled if they question you because there was a crime in your neighborhood, you will also know more victims of violent crimes and you will know more people who have spent time in jail.  You wonder why they are not doing more about the gangs, the drugs, and whatever else is more of a daily occurrence in your neighborhood than what happens in mine.  Those are the biases that people from my vantage point and  people from other vantage points bring with them when they look at this case.  It isn't about racism, it is about human nature.  We look at the world from what we have experienced and seen for ourselves.  

Read here What if Trayvon Martin were white.  A true story of white teen killed by a black shooter.  A different state with different gun laws.  There is an agenda to why this story is getting the attention that it is.  

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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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