Monday, March 31, 2008

Humanitarian Aid for Palestinians at work...

From the MEMRI Blog:

From MEMRI TV: Child Stabs President Bush to Death and Turns the White House into a Mosque in a Hamas TV Puppet Show on Hamas TV

Click here to view this clip

We keep sending them "Humanitarian" aid, so they can be free to use their own time and money to make crap like this to brainwash their kids with, instead of working to support their families. Is it any wonder they feel embolden to kill us? Even they believe that anyone who would be stupid enough to give them money doesn't deserve to live. So why do we keep doing it?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

ISS is now about 70% completed

Here are some photos taken from the Shuttle Endeavour recently, when it departed the ISS:

Above is a close-up of the Kibo lab storage unit, the circular canister on top, with the Columbia ESA lab protruding just to the left. The new robot arm is resting above. The Kibo storage unit is in a temporary location; it will eventually be moved and attached to the Kibo lab that is arriving on the next shuttle mission.

More than double the size of the ESA lab, the Japanese-made Kibo lab will be the largest laboratory on the station.It will be attached opposite the ESA lab on the right side, and the storage module will be moved on top of it.

You can see lots more photos from Endeavor's mission in the galleries here:

STS-123 Shuttle Mission Imagery

The images are available in high and low resolution. The high resolution ones make great desktop wallpaper.

The next shuttle mission, STS-124, is scheduled for May 25th:
Navy Cmdr. Mark E. Kelly will command the STS-124 shuttle mission to deliver the Pressurized Module and robotic arm of the Japanese Experiment Module, known as "Kibo" (hope), to the International Space Station. Navy Cmdr. Kenneth T. Ham will serve as the pilot. Mission specialists will include NASA astronauts Karen L. Nyberg; Air Force Col. Ronald J. Garan Jr.; and Air Force Reserve Col. Michael E. Fossum. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide also will serve as a mission specialist.

Navy Cmdr. Stephen G. Bowen was previously named to the STS-124 crew but has been reassigned to STS-126. The change allows room for the STS-124 mission to rotate a space station resident.

Astronaut Gregory E. Chamitoff is scheduled to fly to the station as a mission specialist on STS-124. He will take Astronaut Garrett E. Reisman's place as an Expedition 17 flight engineer and return to Earth on shuttle mission STS-126.

The STS-124 mission is the second of three flights that will launch components to complete the Kibo laboratory. The mission will include two spacewalks to install the new lab and its remote manipulator system. The lab's logistics module, which will have been installed in a temporary location during STS-123, will be attached to the new lab.

STS-124 is the 26th shuttle mission to the International Space Station.

You can follow the link to see photos and profiles of the crew members. There is a total of 10 more shuttle missions planned. If all goes well, the ISS will be completed by 2010, and NASA will retire the shuttles in favor of their new Orion capsules. Their focus will then change to manned missions to the moon, and Mars.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The New Unreality Reality... Cyber Genitalia

Just when you thought computers and cyberspace couldn't get any weirder:

Second Life Sex Toy Suit Settled
A dispute over sales of virtual sex toys has resulted in a real-life slap on the wrist for a Texas teenager.

Eros LLC, a Tampa Bay-area company that creates virtual sex scripts in the online world Second Life, sued Robert Leatherwood, 19, last year claiming he copied, displayed or distributed Eros products without permission.

Eros creations allow Second Life users to equip their online personas, or avatars, with realistic genitalia and engage the avatars in various sexual actions.[...]

This is apparently only one of two lawsuits over activities occurring inside of Second Life, a virtual reality world in cyberspace. The whole virtual reality thing is interesting from a technical standpoint, but you have to wonder if some folks are becoming so involved in their virtual persona in their virtual world(s), that they are losing touch with the real world they are actually in?

The virtual persona and world thing isn't all that new, I remember it existed even back in the days of the Commodore 64. But the graphics, audio and bandwidth were much more primitive back then. But now, with the constantly growing resources of processing power and computer memory, allowing for much more advanced graphics and even cyber voices, talk-bots and voice recognition, it's all rapidly becoming much more sophisticated, and will continue to evolve.

Games are fine, as long as you don't lose yourself in them completely. I just wonder whats going to happen as more and more people start spending more and more time in virtual reality. It's bound to have some repercussions in the reality reality world.

Good news for Lance Cpl. Stephen Tatum

Case dropped against Haditha defendant Lance Cpl. Stephen Tatum

Charges Dropped Against Another Haditha Marine

An indictment against John Murtha

Now lets see if we can redeploy John Murtha

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Dogs of War...

... Need good homes!

From Adam Silverman at USA TODAY:
Rescued from war: Tales of puppy love
CAMBRIDGE, Vt. — Cinnamon is a mixed-breed dog whose gaze, those who love her say, redefines the term puppy-dog eyes.

Navy officer Mark Feffer of Annapolis, Md., fell in love with Cinnamon during his first few days in Afghanistan. When Feffer's tour ended, he couldn't bear to leave Cinnamon behind.

The mission to bring the animal stateside — despite military regulations against doing so — almost ended when the puppy went missing, but after a frantic 44-day search across Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan, the dog arrived safely in the USA.

Two years after the lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve struggled to bring the red-furred pooch home, a program called Operation Baghdad Pups is easing the process for other servicemembers who want to bring stray dogs home when they leave Iraq or Afghanistan.

Launched in November, Operation Baghdad Pups, which operates under the umbrella of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) International, has more than 30 dogs and several cats it is working to bring to the USA, program manager Terri Crisp says. The program fields two or three inquiries daily. [...]

I know that one could argue, "why bother to bring dogs and cats home from Iraq, when there are already plenty here stateside that need adoption?" But read the whole article. Read the story of "Cinnamon".

Our soldiers bond with the dogs they adopt while over there. They often want to bring them home, instead of abandoning them to starvation or something worse. If you have ever bonded with a dog, you will understand.

There is now an organization to help soldiers bring home their dogs:
"No Buddy gets left behind"

If you care to make a donation, it's a way to help both our soldiers and stray dogs.

"Fitna", the Geert Wilder's Film, is here

I believe it's been banned from Youtube, you can see it posted on LiveLeak for now, here is the URL:

Fitna the Movie: Geert Wilders' film about the Quran (English)

Michelle Malkin has posted about it here:

Fitna has arrived; Update: “Restraint?” We’ll see; Plus: A case of mistaken identity
[...] It’s 15 minutes with scenes of jihad interlaced with quotes from the Koran. We are reminded of 9/11, Madrid, the murder of Theo van Gogh, and the threats to Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s life.

The film ends not with any blasphemous image of Mohammed, but with an image of a hand about to tear out the murderous verses of the Koran and a sound effect of tearing (with a caption explaining that the sound was actually the sound of a page being torn from a phonebook).

Prepare for more March Madness. I don’t know what “solidarity” is in Dutch, but show it by embedding the video, e-mailing it, and writing about it. Their fight for the right to criticize the Religion of Perpetual Outrage is our fight. [...]

(bold emphasis mine) The phonebook page caption is an interesting gesture, to try to avoid offending Muslims. I'm sure it will make no difference at all to those who are determined to be offended, or looking for any excuse to riot. There is only one message for thugs like that:

"I will not submit"

UPDATE 03-28-08:

It got pulled off-line, due to threats by Muslims. Surprise surprise. That's what happens when you bend over backwards to tolerate the intolerant; they feel they have the "right" to silence any criticism of themselves, even by the force of violence and death threats. Fascism knows no limits in the face of weakness. When will the appeasers among us understand this?

There may be some bit-torrent links that still work, but I don't use bit-torrent. If a reliable, lasting link to the film appears anywhere, I'll post it here.

UPDATE 03-31-08:
Here is a new link with the movie:

Fitna the movie

Let's see how long it lasts. Also, Maynard at Tammy Bruce's blog has more links here:

So "Fitna" ended up on YouTube. Click to view the English-subtitled Part 1 and Part 2. The 15-minute film consists of verses from the Koran interspersed with violent media clips. (Here is an abridged 10-minute version without the Netherlands-specific material).

You can read his entire post for more details and commentary.

Related Links:

Censorship from the Cowards at Youtube

Worse than Wilders. But No Death Threats

Algerian Journalist Posts Geert Wilders' "Fitna" Film On His Blog

Appeasing the Islamists: Geert Wilders’s Ordeal and the Lessons of the Past

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Firefox 3, beta #5: Is it usable yet?

Normally I don't use beta software because of potential bugs, but I began using firefox way back when, before it was even offically released, because it was already so good. Now we have the latest beta version of Firefox 3 about to be released. Just how usable is it? Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols at asks that very question, in this review of Beta#4. (Beta#5 is due to be released tomorrow):

Is Firefox 3 ready for prime time?
[...] Over the last few days, I've used this system for my usual work and fun. The first thing I noticed is that, even as a beta, Firefox 3 is faster than Firefox 2.12. In particular, screen updates were snappier.

That was impressive, but what was far more impressive was how Firefox ripped through JavaScript-based applications and applets. Here, I found that Firefox 3 ran about three times as fast as Firefox 2 with the same programs. For example, Firefox 3 zoomed along in Gmail.

This wasn't just my impression. Using the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark, Firefox 3 Beta 4 ran this popular JavaScript basics benchmark in 5,694.6 milliseconds. Firefox 2.12 ran the same tests in 19,616 milliseconds. So, it's actually running JavaScript faster than my eyes alone were telling me.

What made me even happier than Firefox's newly boosted performance is that the new version finally does a decent job of memory management. In the past, Firefox was like a boat with holes in the hull. It would run great at first, but as time went on it would leak more and more memory, and it would get slower and slower. Eventually, and I know because I've seen it, it would sink.

This time the developers have patched up hundreds of memory leaks and the good ship Firefox can run without slowing and sinking a system from constantly leaking memory. Better still, Firefox now includes its own memory garbage collector: the XPCOM Cycle Collector. With this, Firefox modules can do a much better job of releasing memory to the system when it's no longer needed by any running routines.

As far as features are concerned, Firefox 3 comes with a greatly augmented Places Organizer that works hand-in-glove with the Location bar & auto-completion and the Smart Bookmarks Folder. This gives you, for example, the ability to add tags to bookmarks or Web pages, and then easily search for, say, Web pages tagged "Red Hat" that you've looked at in the last week. My one problem with this is that I have never been convinced of the value of tagging. To me, it's always seemed a lazy way of organizing that's all too prone to typos. I'm far happier using a cataloging system to keep track of what's what. Your browser usage may vary.

The beta browser also has several security improvements. One that I really appreciate is that now when I log onto a password-protected site, Firefox 3 asks me whether I want to save my password, after I've managed to log in. As one of the fastest, but sloppiest, typists in the known universe, I really appreciate Firefox waiting until I get it right before asking if I want to preserve my password. [...]

(bold emphasis mine) Wow, this sounds like it's going to be really good, I may download beta 5 and find out for myself. See the full article for embedded links and more information.


Some Clinton backers would vote for McCain

If McCain vs. Obama, 28% of Clinton Backers Go for McCain

PRINCETON, NJ -- A sizable proportion of Democrats would vote for John McCain next November if he is matched against the candidate they do not support for the Democratic nomination. This is particularly true for Hillary Clinton supporters, more than a quarter of whom currently say they would vote for McCain if Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee.

These conclusions are based on an analysis of Democratic voters' responses to separate voting questions in March 7-22 Gallup Poll Daily election tracking. In each day's survey, respondents are asked for their general election preferences in McCain-Clinton and McCain-Obama pairings. Democratic voters are then asked whom they support for their party's nomination.

The accompanying graph displays the results of the relationship between support for the Democratic Party's nomination and the general election vote between Obama and McCain. [...]

Interesting. But if enough Republicans "sit this one out", we could end up with President Obama anyway. Ironic.


Switzerland Sucks up to Iran for Cheap Gas

Shame on You, Switzerland   (by Tiberge at the Brussels Journal)
An article from AJM (Alain-Jean Mairet) reveals the collaboration of Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey with Iran. When I first saw the photo above I had trouble grasping who or what that was on the left. But it is indeed Mme Calmy-Rey, looking like a mummy with tissue paper on her head and concluding a deal with the president of Iran to purchase cheap Iranian gas.

The American Embassy in Bern has expressed “disappointment” over the deal and has told the Swiss authorities that this type of agreement sends a “false message”, at the very moment when Tehran “continues to defy the Security Council resolutions ordering the suspension of programs for the enrichment of uranium.” [...]

What incredibly bad timing. See the full article for more information and a link to more photos of Calmy-Rey allowing herself to be shamelessly exploited by the Iranian media. She is a Swiss Socialist with a history of Islamophilia. I always wonder about women like her with their half-assed attempts at dhimmitude.

I mean really, who does she think she's kidding? As a foreign representative she could have chosen not to cover her head at all, and the Iranians would have accepted that. Just having her there giving them publicity lends them credibility they are desperate for.

But she chose to cover her head as an appeasement gesture by a non-muslim. But if she really wanted to comply, she would have to do much more. Look how she is dressed: her scarf is transparent, her hair is showing, she is wearing a tight fitting pants-suit with high heels. By the standards of the Iranian government, she is a WHORE. Iran has strict dress codes for women, that they enforce via police action, increasingly with violence.

If she were an Iranian woman, she could be arrested and beaten and thrown in jail. Of course as a diplomat she takes no such risk. She just makes it easier for the misogynists that brutalize women to continue doing so by lending them legitimacy.

Related Links:

Iranian Fashion Police at work... literally

Women's rights in Iran; the right to be a penguin

Monday, March 24, 2008

Clarissa: a HAL type computer for the ISS?

Much of the technology portrayed in the famous science fiction film "2001: A Space Odyssey" has failed to materialize by the year 2001. The HAL 9000 computer in the movie is no exception.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a controversial topic, with a lot of disagreement as to what actually constitutes real intelligence. Many argue that a computer like HAL is way off in the future, while others would maintain that it's closer than we think.

Whichever opinion one holds, it's clear that the science of AI is moving forward anyway. Today we may even be seeing the beginnings of what could one day lead to a HAL like computer. In fact, perhaps we already have HAL's great great grandmother! In 2005, the International Space Station got a talking computer called Clarissa to help the astronauts by reading instruction manuals to them. Maggie McKee explains it to us in this article from New Scientist:

Space station gets HAL-like computer      [published June 2005]

A voice-operated computer assistant is set to be used in space for the first time on Monday – its operators hope it proves more reliable than "HAL", the treacherous speaking computer in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Called Clarissa, the program will initially talk astronauts on the International Space Station through tests of onboard water supplies. But its developers hope it will eventually be used for all computer-related work on the station.

Clarissa was designed with input from astronauts. They said it was difficult to perform the 12,000 procedures necessary to maintain the ISS and conduct scientific experiments while simultaneously reading through lengthy instruction manuals.

"Just try to analyze a water sample while scrolling through pages of a procedure manual displayed on a computer monitor while you and the computer both float in microgravity," says US astronaut Michael Fincke, who spent six months on the station in 2004.

Clarissa queries astronauts about the details of what they need to accomplish in a particular procedure, then reads through step-by-step instructions. Astronauts control the program using simple commands like "next" or more complicated phrases, such as "set challenge verify mode on steps three through fourteen".

Kim Farrell, Clarissa project manager, simulates on-orbit use of the system in the International Space Station mock-up at Ames Research Center.

"The idea was to have a system that would read steps to them under their control, so they could keep their hands and eyes on whatever task they were doing," says Beth Ann Hockey, a computer scientist who leads the project at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, US.

That capability "will be like having another crew member aboard", says Fincke. (You can see Clarissa in action in a mp4 video hosted on this NASA page.) [...]

Clarissa uses an "open mic", and is capable of understanding multiple voices of astronauts, recognizing when astronauts are talking to each other and not to it, can deal with some ambient noise, and has a high voice recognition rate of around 94%, making it a very useful and professional tool. You can read the full article for more details, and there's more videos of Clarissa on NASA's web site:

Clarissa NASA page with photos and videos

Clarissa is cutting-edge technology, and is leading the way for future voice recognition and text-to-speech applications closer to home.

Beth Ann Hockey is the project leader of the Clarissa project.
The Clarissa software program also borrows her voice.

I find the Clarissa project interesting not only for what it does now, but for what it has the potential to do in the future. The following is an excerpt from an interview with the project's leader, Beth Ann Hockey, who gives us some insight into where this is going:

WHO'S WHO AT NASA: Beth Ann Hockey

[...] NTB: How will NASA utilize Clarissa?

Hockey: It could be used widely in any area of NASA that uses procedures like these; however, spoken-language and spoken-dialogue technologies are much more general than that and can be used in all sorts of other places. For example, we had some conversations about using it for ground-maintenance crews and for developing applications for use in mission control. Any time you want to have your hands and eyes free, it will be a win. There are many times that it could be beneficial simply because you’re moving around. If you had wireless technology, plus the spoken-dialogue technology, you could move around and still be accessing information that you need.

NTB: How did Xerox contribute to this project?

Hockey: In the realistic-experimental version that we have, we worked on some technology with Xerox because one of the big ideas behind this was to have your hands and eyes free; we did not want the user to have to push a button to indicate that speech recognition should start, which is the way that some systems are designed. We needed to have the speech recognition running constantly. The system has to decide whether the speech that it’s hearing is directed at it – is it a command it should understand – or is it something it should ignore.

We got together with Jean-Michel Renders from Xerox Research Centre Europe, an expert on kernel methods, and we believed that those methods would do a better job on this problem. We worked with Renders on using the kernel methods to make this open-microphone decision, and we cut the error rate in half.

NTB: What are possible commercial applications for Clarissa?

Hockey: I just gave a talk at the V-World Summit, which is held by Nuance Communications for their developers and customers. I was invited because they see what we’re doing as the next-generation of applications in their area. Nuance is the speech-recognition engine that we use. We build the language understanding in addition to that engine. Nuance is the first stage in what we use; it takes your acoustic signal and makes a good guess at the words that signal might have been. Nuance’s main business is supporting telephone-bank-type applications. For example, if you call an airline to check flight information or if you have an automated banking application that you interact with, those are probably built with Nuance. These are the types of applications that now are commercially common.

The application that we did for the astronauts is more complicated in a lot of ways when compared to those systems, which feel like a “menu only” that you’re talking to. Our system feels like you’re having a conversation with somebody who may not be the brightest person, but it feels more like a conversation. It’s natural, as there are more of these kinds of menu-type commercial applications out there and people get used to them, to move toward a more conversational technology. This is true especially as the technology keeps maturing.

Aside from the menu-type uses for this technology, the navigating of procedures applications could be natural for doing any kind of equipment maintenance (i.e., airlines). For example, tasks in which you’d have to have your hands doing something while you’re laying underneath a piece of equipment and it’s not convenient to stop and scroll through a computer screen or flip though papers. So there already are plenty of commercial applications; we’re just carrying it to the next level.

I’ve been talking mostly about this procedure navigator, while in fact the component technologies in that are even more widely applicable. In particular, the other project on which I am the lead is called Regulus. We’re developing an open-source tool kit to try and make the creation of spoken-dialogue interfaces more accessible to regular developers. Currently, you have to have someone with expertise in language technology to be able to do this well, but we’re trying to make it so that people can take this toolkit and make their own simple-to-moderate interfaces. It’s open source – people can simply download it. We also are working on a book that will include tutorial materials on how to use that system, which should be coming out next year. If people are interested in that, they should contact us. [...]

I did a post earlier about Dragon NaturallySpeaking 9 voice recognition software, which uses the Nuance speech engine Ms. Hockey speaks of. The Nuance engine is impressive, and judging from the consumer reviews, it's regarded as the best voice recognition speech engine available. A close runner up is the Microsoft speech engine that's bundled with Windows Vista, which consumers say is nearly as accurate as Nuance's latest version.

Have you noticed the Microsoft TV commercials lately, regarding software driven by voice commands? Voice recognition and Text-To-Speech (TTS) technologies promise to be two of the Next Big Things in computer technology.

Combine it with Artificial Intelligence, and we are on our way to a HAL like computer somewhere in our future.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Dining in Space, Playing with Food

Trying to eat in zero gravity can be weird, and comical too.

I read that the astronauts on the ISS have a kitchen where there is no real cooking done. It has a dining table, but no stove. The Russians supply canned food, and the Americans supply food in sealed plastic pouches. The food is pre-cooked, and can be reheated. They eat with spoons, no knives or forks. There is no refrigerator; if they want to have a cold drink, they have to prepare it and leave it in a part of the station that is cold and go back for it later.

While living on the station, many of the astronauts develop a craving for spicey foods, even if they weren't partial to them previously. One theory is that the weightlessness of space causes congestion in the head, and so the astronauts may crave spicey foods to relieve the congestion.

And of course, there's lots of opportunity to play with one's food.

Obama supporters agree: "God Damn America"

Gallup Daily: Obama Edges Ahead of Clinton
PRINCETON, NJ -- Barack Obama has quickly made up the deficit he faced with Hillary Clinton earlier this week, with the latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update on Democratic presidential nomination preferences showing 48% of Democratic voters favoring Obama and 45% Clinton.

Obama's campaign clearly suffered in recent days from negative press, mostly centering around his association with the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Perhaps as a result, Clinton moved into the lead in Gallup's Wednesday release, covering March 16-18 polling. But Obama has now edged back ahead of Clinton due to a strong showing for him in Friday night's polling, perhaps in response to the endorsement he received from well-respected New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a former rival for the nomination. (To view the complete trend since Jan. 2, 2008, click here.)

Both Democrats have inched closer to John McCain in the latest update on registered voters' general election preferences. McCain holds just a two percentage point edge over both -- 46% to 44% over Obama and 47% to 45% over Clinton. [...]

If the polls are to be believed, the anti-American beliefs expounded by Obama's church, and his controversial comments about race, are no cause for concern whatsoever, as those who support Obama most likely share those beliefs.

It would almost be funny if McCain loses due to a lack of support from the religious right, who then end up with Obama and the religious Wright instead.

Related Links:

Obama's speech      Race and politics      The Obama Bargain

Why I didn't leave my heart there...

...because of crap like this. After 23 years of living in San Francisco, it became unbearable as it only got worse, and we left. I shook the dust from my feet and didn't look back. It's a beautiful city, full of insane, ugly-minded people.

Typical San Francisco People

I'm sorry to say, it's all too typical. It's actually the norm in SF.

Ever notice how the political left gets all bent out of shape of over the religious right, while it has no problem at all embracing the religious Wright? That's because all the America haters stick together.

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Tour of the International Space Station

This NASA Video on Youtube is just over 5 minutes long.

For more information, about the Station, including a neat interactive reference guide/tour of the ISS, visit NASA's website:

Cut Corporate Taxes and Help our Economy

We are strangling out own economy. Would you believe that even in US states with low-level state taxes, the corporate tax rate is higher than FRANCE and 25 other major countries? Have a look, courtesy of Nealz Nuze:

The Tax Foundation has released a new study. A study that will, no doubt, get little media attention. And why not? Well, because it may be a bit boring .. and because many on the left (and that would be the media) don't particularly want you to understand these things. After all .. the study flies directly in the face of the liberal agenda. This new study shows that most American states tax job providers at higher rates than any other developed country in the world. If you were not educated in government schools you will immediately see that this could be a problem.

If you click on the link, it will show a state-by-state break down that adds each state's corporate taxes on top of the federal corporate tax rate. When you do this, it shows that half of the states in this country have a higher rate than any other nation. Even in states with fairly low state-level corporate taxes – states like Nevada, South Dakota, and Wyoming – the corporate tax rate is still higher than France and 25 other major countries. Take a gander:

  • 25 states have a combined corporate tax rate higher than top-ranked Japan.
  • 35 states have a combined corporate tax rate higher than third-ranked Germany.
  • 46 states have a combined corporate tax rate higher than fourth-ranked Canada.
  • All 50 states have a combined corporate tax rate higher than fifth-ranked France.
The study comes to a not-so-shocking conclusion, if you listen to the Neal Boortz Show or read Nealz Nuze .. "If federal lawmakers are serious about making the U.S. corporate tax system more competitive globally, they will have to partner with state officials to lower the nation's overall corporate tax burden." Or -- here's a wild concept – enact the FairTax.

In a related study by three prominent economists at the Tax Foundation, employees suffer most when their corporate employers are forced to pay high corporate taxes. This basically runs counter to the theories that have prevailed in American politics for decades ... that corporate taxes hurt investors. But this study found that workers bear 70% of the burden of corporate income taxes.

(bold emphasis mine) Europe, even with all it's socialism, has lower corporate taxes than many of our states. And the countries in Europe that are doing best economically, like Denmark, have cut their corporate taxes the lowest. It obviously works, so why aren't we doing the same?

Related Link:

There's no such thing as corporate tax

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Obama's Grandmother "problem"? ...

Looks like the white grandmother gets thrown under the bus once more:

Obama trashing his grandmother again?

The link above is to Michelle Malkin. You can follow it to find out more about his latest remark about his white grandmother, who raised him.

He seems to want to equate his grandmothers fears of black men on the street, expressed privately to family members, as being the same thing as Jeremiah Wright's racist public sermons at a powerful and politically active Chicago Church. He wouldn't reject grandma, so why reject Wright too?

But Wright is a much more public figure, and we certainly hear more from and about him than we do of grandma Dunham. In fact, some say she is hidden away in Hawaii.

This article by Andy Martin at NewsMax, from March 2007, asks questions about why we don't see his white grandmother, and why a step-grandmother from his father's side of the family in Kenya is promoted as his granny instead:

Free Obama's White Grandmother
CHICAGO -- If anyone else running for president locked his granny away and refused to allow her to be seen, would the media complain? You betcha.

But America's media have supinely allowed Barry Obama to pretend he has no white relatives. He has paraded his step-grandmother in Kenya, who never saw him until the 1980s, as his "granny," and locked the grandmother who actually raised him away in a closet.

Now, the Chicago Tribune reports "the Obama campaign declined to make [his white grandmother] available."

Is she sick? Not apparently. Bedridden? Hospitalized? Not apparently. She is the "Prisoner of Obama," and of Obama's racist myth that he is "Black" and not "Black and White."

What a disgrace.

And like whimpering puppies the media do not protest, complain or demand access.

Free Granny Madelyn Dunham [Obama]!

Barack Obama is one of the most racist politicians in America today. And we let him get away with it. We are afraid to confront Obama's reality, so we pretend that reality is not there, even though it is staring us in the face. Anyone remember "Miss Lillian?" Or Barbara Bush? Or Bill Clinton's mom, drinking, gambling card-playing gal that she was?

Noone else but Obama could get away with pretending that his paternal grandfather's second or third or fourth wife was his "granny" when she wasn't. [...]

Great photo, but is the lady even his real granny?

But the "segregation" of Madelyn Dunham, Obama's white grandmother, and only real grandmother, has to be one of the cruelest and most mendacious political kidnappings this nation has ever seen.

Mrs. Dunham lives alone in the same apartment where she has lived for many years. Thus, it is reasonable to assume she is not incapacitated or an invalid.

Granny Dunham told the New York Times she was not well enough to speak, but in reality the Obama campaign maintains Stalinist "control" over potential interviewees. Obama's minions tried to control access to Obama's friend who was recently released from prison. Since he became a candidate for U.S. Senator, Obama has locked his white relative away in his racist closet. [...]

Well I imagine she IS pretty old, and perhaps not up to the publicity. Though as the article points out, old age hasn't stopped a slew of other grannies of presidential hopefuls. And if she doesn't want to talk, doesn't she have friends or relatives that do? At the very least, there probably IS a story here, even if none of those involved want to talk about it.

I'm not saying that if she were interviewed, that she wouldn't agree with him or support him. She may agree with him completely, but has anyone even really tried to find out what she thinks? It's the lack of questioning, the deference to the Obama campaign by so-called journalists, that I find disquieting. Why isn't he treated like any other candidate?

Clinton likes to keep her mom out of the spotlight too, but she's not totally invisible; she appears in public with Hillary sometimes, and she once did an interview with Oprah. And while I'm not fond of Clinton, I have to admit I don't think she's ever thrown her mom under a bus.

Related Links:

More on Obama’s White Grandmother

Obama Paints White Grandmother as a Racist

Barack Obama: My Grandmother Is the "Typical White Person"

A new book: "Islam for Pigs, Apes, Mules and Other Beasts: 250 Questions about Islam"

In response to the controversy over a movie about Muslims that is soon to be aired in Holland, an author renames the title of his upcomming book about Islam to ride the wave of controversy. Elaib Harvey at the Brussels Journal reports:

Islam for Pigs
Reported via the Dutch blog Klein Verzet is the story of Professor Hans Jansen who seems to have put the cat amongst the pigeons by renaming his forthcoming book “Reading the Koran for Unbelievers.” In the light of the Dutch Government's panic about Fitna, the film made by Geert Wilders, it appears that he has changed the name to, “Islam for Pigs, Apes, Mules and Other Beasts: 250 Questions about Islam.”

Now Professor Jansen seems to be pretty serious about his work, and currently holds his tenure at Utrecht University, his CV seems kosher, [...]

Interesting. The full article has some excerpts from the book.

Another interesting article by Tiberge at the Brussel's Journal has a look at the growing Islamic population of France:

The Islamification of France

The article has another graphic, and a link to a large listing of Mosques in France. This news isn't new, but I like graphs and maps.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

About Chickens coming home to roost...

There's been a lot of talk about Obama's chickens coming home. But are they? If so, how many? While the gallup poll shows a dip for Obama, it's not big.

I can remember a time when something like this would have sunk a politician pretty quickly. It may yet sink Obama, but it sure isn't happening quickly, which makes me wonder if it will happen at all. How many Americans think like Obama, or have other reasons to support him regardless? From

Gallup Daily: Clinton Moves Into Lead Over Obama
PRINCETON, NJ -- New Gallup Poll Daily tracking finds Hillary Clinton with a 49% to 42% lead over Barack Obama in national Democratic voters' presidential nomination preference.

This is the first time Clinton has held a statistically significant lead in over a month. She last led Obama in Feb. 7-9 polling, just after the Super Tuesday primaries. Since then, the two candidates have usually been in a statistical tie, but Obama has held a lead in several of the polls, most recently in March 11-13 polling.

Obama's campaign has been plagued by controversial remarks made by his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Obama delivered a major speech on race Tuesday to try to move beyond the controversy. The initial indications are that the speech has not halted Clinton's gaining momentum, as she led by a similar margin in Tuesday night's polling as compared to Monday night's polling.

John McCain may be benefiting in the short-term from the highly charged Democratic race. He holds a statistically significant lead over Obama, 47% to 43%, in registered voters' preferences for the general presidential election. That is the first time any of the candidates has held a statistically significant lead since Gallup Poll Daily tracking began reporting on the general election race last week. McCain's 48% to 45% advantage over Clinton is not statistically significant, but it is the first time he has had an edge over her in Gallup Poll Daily tracking. -- Jeff Jones

To see more about McCain's lead, you can follow the link for more graphs and details. This is good news for Republicans, but it's still early in the race, and no one can assume anything at this point.

In Obama's speech yesterday, he threw his grandmother under the bus, and then insisted he must not completely distance himself from Jeremiah Wright, defending the racist demogogue, even though Obama himself has insisted that other candidates disassociate themselves completely from people who have been accused of being racist. It would seem that Obama believes that only white people can be racist.

It doesn't make a lot of sense in my world, but for many people, it apparently does. Is Political Correctness trumping common sense? Let's hope not.

As for chicken's coming home to roost... for years I've listened to leftists like Jeremiah Wright preach that 9-11 was America's chicken's coming home to roost, because we DESERVED it. I see it a little differently. I think it WAS our chickens coming home, but not because we deserved it. These chickens were about our weakness and unwillingness to defend ourselves and hold our ground, which had consequences. Jimmy Carter opened the door for this, and for decades since Islamists have been launching attacks on us, which we have repeatedly ignored. Each time we failed to respond, it encouraged them to think we were weak and to try harder with each new attack, right up to 9-11.

Since the crusades centuries ago, the Western world has staved off attacks by Muslim Extremists by being strong. Militant Islamists have only returned to attacking us now because they see us as weak and vulnerable, unwilling to fight.

It's a war whether we want it or not. I know which side I'm on, and it's not the side of leftist's like Wright or the Democrats who support him.

Related Links:

Obama's Speech

Steele on Obama: The Great "Bargainer"

Obama Seeks to Bridge Racial Divide Among Democrats

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

John McCain's Favorable Rating Climbs


McCain Favorability Surges to Eight-Year High
John McCain's favorability rating has surged 11 percentage points this month to 67%. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton trail McCain on this measure, at 62% and 53%, respectively.
You can follow the link to see Gallup's video report.

Meanwhile, John's been visiting Iraq:

McCain Visits Iraq for the Eight Time

McCain in Iraq
Hillary Clinton spent the St. Patrick’s Day weekend working the crowds at parades and giving speeches wearing a green scarf adorned with Irish clovers. Barack Obama spent the weekend with weak attempts to find the right set of words to get himself out of the corner he’s painted himself into by running as the candidate who transcends race while having spent the last twenty years attending a church that is astonishingly racist. I also imagine that he spent a large part of the weekend with spin doctors working on a speech he is to give tomorrow that is supposed to fix this entire situation for him. Words. Its all about words.

While the democrats were busily working on their respective campaigns, McCain made a surprise visit to Iraq. It is his eight trip there since the beginning of the war (did you know he’d been that many time? Right. I didn’t think so). He was traveling with fellow Senators Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.). While McCain visited Iraq and met with official there he stayed largely out of view. That doesn’t stop the leftists blogs from declaring that he was there for photo-ops and political gain.

The only political gain involved in his trip to Iraq had to do with progress in relations with the government of Iraq. [...]

Read the full post for more details from Beth and video too at

Monday, March 17, 2008

Obama's Kenyan Muslim Friends burn churches

In an earlier post I had a look at some of Obama's foreign connections, including an Irish woman who advises him on foreign policy issues. A further look at Obama's foreign connections and who he supports is also quite revealing. For example, look at who he supports in Kenya:

Barak Hussein bin Obama
[...] Bin Obama's father was a Kenyan Muslim and guess which side Obama is backing. Do you remember when Atlas Shrugs posted this back in January and no one paid attention?
Raila Odinga has, in his own words, a 'close personal friendship' with Barrack Hussein Obama Junior. When Obama went to Kenya in August of 2006, he was hosted by Raila and spoke in praise of him at rallies in Nairobi: Obama's bias for his fellow Luo was so blatant that a Kenya government spokesman denounced Obama during his visit as Raila's ‘stooge.’
Guess who burned Christian churches after the election. Yep, bin Obama's buddy, Odinga. Yep, the same guy who vows to introduce sharia to Kenya. [...]

Yeah, burning Christian churches and promoting Sharia Law, two things every Democrat ought be supporting, don't you think? Obama apparently does, if we are to believe his endorsements.

And then there is the question of his connections with Columbia's FARC:

Obama and FARC

Considering Obama's position as a front runner in the Democrat Party, shouldn't we be hearing more about these things in the MSM?

Maybe we are just supposed to take Oprah's word for it that he's a good choice, because Oprah attends the same church Obama does. [CORRECTION: Oprah used to attend the church, but disassociated herself from it in recent years, according this article. But since she is familiar with the church, I can only wonder at her endorsement of Obama. See below.]

Actually, I don't see why an endorsement by Oprah Winfrey should be taken as such good thing. She has a history of being taken in by frauds and con-men... numerous guests on her talk show, the child molestation scandal at her girl's school in South Africa. Few would doubt her talents as a talk show host and Media Mogul. Yet it seems her judgment of people's character is less than perfect. I think it would be wise to view her endorsements with some skepticism.

Related Links:


Jeremiah Wright’s Greatest Hits

Obama's Church: Cauldron of Division

Now we know where Michelle Obama’s resentment of America comes from

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Shuttle Endeavour to install "Dextre" robot arm and Kibo lab components onto the ISS

Below is an artists rendition of the new Canadian robot arm that the current shuttle mission will install on the ISS. They will also be installing a storage unit and other components of the Japanese Kibo lab, with the main part of the lab to follow on the next mission launch in May.

The Kibo lab will be the largest science lab on the station. The following is a description of the current mission from NASA (note that it was published prior to the mission, so it talks about it in the future tense):

All Aboard for STS-123: The Station Goes Global
“This is the first flight where we actually have all the partners,” said Dana Weigel, the lead station flight director. “It’s not just ‘a Japanese flight,’ or ‘a Canadian flight.’ This flight truly is the first time that it requires every single partner actively participating to make everything work. I think that’s a great milestone.”

Topping the list of milestones is the delivery of part of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s module, marking the beginning of the agency’s presence on the station. The Japanese Experiment Logistics Module, Pressurized Section – called the JLP – is really just the warm-up act for JAXA. It will contain critical avionics and serve as a storage area for experiment materials. At 14.4 feet in diameter and 12.8 feet in length, it is the smaller of two pressurized Japanese modules. Combined with other elements, they will make up Kibo, the station’s Japanese complex, named for the Japanese word for hope. Kibo’s main facility and its robotic arm are scheduled to launch on the following shuttle mission, and a "front porch" that will allow astronauts to expose experiments directly to space will be delivered later.

But small or not, what the module represents is big.[...]

They mention the Robot arm as going up in a following launch, but it's actually gone up on this flight. Assembling the robot will be part of their mission. Below are the astronauts of the Endeavour crew:

Image above: From the left (front row) are Pilot Gregory Johnson and Commander Dominic Gorie. From the left (back row) are mission specialists Richard Linnehan, Robert Behnken, Garrett Reisman, Michael Foreman and Takao Doi, a Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut. Credit: NASA

This mission will be the longest mission for a shuttle flight crew to date, scheduled to last a minimum of 16 days. You can track the latest news on the Mission's progress here:

Astronauts Enter JLP, Prepare for Spacewalk

Last time I looked, they had unloaded the Dextre robot for assembly, but were having some power supply issues with the platform it's to be assembled on.

You can read more about Dextre here:

'Dextre' Ready for Space Station Duty
It has some great links, including a link to a video about Dextre and Kibo.

Canadian robot Dextre heading to ISS
[...] The two-armed, $200-million robot is tentatively scheduled to be launched March 11 on board space shuttle Endeavour.

Daniel Rey, head of the technical team preparing Dextre, says the robot will reduce the amount of time astronauts must spend outside the space station. The robot could eliminate the need for up to a dozen spacewalks a year.

"He will free up astronauts so they can do more science and more research rather than maintenance,'' said Rey, who has worked on the Canadian Space Agency project for 10 years.

"It's easy to imagine from a half-a-dozen to a dozen sorties will be avoidable now,'' Rey said in an interview.

Dextre, short for Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, will perform exterior construction and tasks like changing batteries and handling experiments outside the space station.

Dextre also comes equipped with a tool holster which allows the robot to change equipment as needed "like any good handyman.''

But Rey said the 3.7-metre robot can't be compared to R2-D2 or HAL, the computer in the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey.''

"He doesn't have an artificial intelligence. . .he can be remote controlled from the ground or from the space station.''

The astronauts who will operate the robot's rotating joints, torso and five cameras have already been trained at the space agency, just outside Montreal.

Dextre is the third and final component of the mobile servicing system developed by Canada for the space station.

It can either be attached to a mobile base which runs on rails along the exterior of the station or it can be connected to Canadarm2 like a snap-on tool.

Long life for new robot

The robot, which has a 15-year lifespan, will be installed during three of the five spacewalks planned in March. [...]

Fascinating. You can read the whole article for more details.

Does Obama's camp think we're all stupid?

Barack Obama and his church's former pastor,
the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, in a 2005 photograph.

Controversial minister off Obama's campaign
[...] Earlier Friday, before the announcement of Wright's departure from the Obama camp, the Illinois senator denounced some of the ministers's sermons, calling them "inflammatory and appalling."


And, even though he has been a member of Trinity United for the past 20 years, Obama said he had never witnessed Wright making such statements.


Still, Obama defended his 20-year relationship with Wright, saying that the pastor has served him in a spiritual role -- not a political one.


Obama and Wright have been close for years. Obama has been a member of Wright's church since his days in law school, and Obama's best-selling book, "The Audacity of Hope," takes its title from one of Wright's sermons. [...]

Read the whole thing, which includes some of the controversial statements... and the Obama camp's attempts at spin control.

It would seem we are being asked to believe that for 20 or so years, Obama attended a church with a pastor that espoused these views, was good friends with the pastor, but he didn't know about these views until he decided to run for president? It sounds like Bill Clinton saying he smoked a dubee, but he didn't inhale. Clinton had a problem with being truthful. Does Obama share this problem?

Which is more likely; Obama never personally heard the sermons, and passively disagreed with many of the Pastor's ideas, or: Obama knew about all this, but it didn't worry him much, because in the social circles they move in, such ideas are widely accepted and taken for granted, and therefore don't seem shocking or controversial?

People generally tend to attend churches that reflect their beliefs. That's the norm. William Teach sums it up nicely here:

Obamessiah Repudiate’s Pastor Of 20 Years Remarks
OK, let me get this straight (as so many others have said, as well): Barack Mary Obama has been going willingly to Reverend Wright for 20 years. Wright married Barack Mary Obama and his wife Michelle “America is just mean”. Obama’s children were baptized by Wright. Obama’s kids go and listen to the hate speech of Wright. When Obama became a United States Senator, the Obama’s continued to go this same church of hate, blame America, demean America, say America created the HIV virus to kill Blacks, conspiracy theories, and segregation, among others. Obama continued to have Wright be not only a part of his families life, but his campaign. [...]

Teach goes on to suggest that if Obama really disagreed with Wright's ideas, why didn't he distance himself sooner, instead of inviting him to join his campaign? See the full article, for more information and links.

What I find really disturbing is, all of this should have come out in the mainstream press long ago. Can you imagine if a Republican candidate had attended a church for 20 years were the pastor said things like "God Damn America" and worse, that we would not hear about it in the press? I guess journalists don't ask questions and dig for information anymore... unless the candidate is a Republican.

Related Link:

Obama and His Racist, America-Hating "Pastor"

Why the Dutch are leaving the Netherlands

While there has been a steady rise in emigration from Western Europe, Holland is unique in that more people have been emigrating from the country than are immigrating to it. From the Brussel's Journal:

Eldorado or Home. Europeans' Flight from Europe
[...] Since 2003, emigration has exceeded immigration to the Netherlands. In 2006, the Dutch saw more than 130,000 compatriots leave. The rise in Dutch emigration peaked after the assassinations of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh. This indicates that the flight from Europe is related to a loss of confidence in the future of nations which have taken in the Trojan horse of Islamism, but which, unlike the Trojans, lack the guts to fight.

Elsewhere in Western Europe immigration currently still surpasses emigration, though emigration figures are rising fast. In Belgium the number of emigrants surged by 15 percent in the past years. In Sweden, 50,000 people packed their bags last year -- a rise of 18 percent compared to the previous year and the highest number of Swedes leaving since 1892. In the United Kingdom, almost 200,000 British citizens move out every year.

Americans who think that the European welfare state is the model to follow would do well to ponder the question why, if Europe is so wonderful, Europeans are fleeing from it. European welfare systems are redistribution mechanisms, taking money from skilled and educated Europeans in order to give it to nonskilled newcomers from the Third World. [...]

There are lots of reasons why this is happening, but in the case of the Netherlands, it may be simply that people are beginning to fear for their very lives. I'm sure many people would rather not be killed for voting for the party or politician of their choice:

“People Who Vote Wilders Must Die”
A Moroccan youth group from Delft in the Netherlands, calling themselves “Scheme 015 Delftse Samenzwering Shit,” [samenzwering means conspiracy] has posted a video clip threatening to kill voters and sympathizers of Dutch politician Geert Wilders. The clip shows a group of Moroccans youths provoking two Dutch lads on a crowded public train. The hooded Moroccans ask the lads, who are dressed in black, what the badges on their clothes mean. At first the lads do not react. When the Moroccans start pulling at the lads’ clothes the latter ask to be left alone. At this the Moroccans grab them from their seats and beat them up. [...]

The video clip is in Dutch, the first part is kinda boring, but you don't have to speak Dutch to understand the violence of the hooded thugs at the end. Try living with that. The government won't let you own guns, but they also can't protect you. In fact, the thugs are so confident, they are making videos of their attacks, their crimes, to put on-line?

Sounds like a good case for emigration to me. When more people emigrate from your country than immigrate to it, something is seriously wrong.

In the comments section, there was some speculation that the two Dutch boys who got beat up might have been Goths. The Brussels Journal also has an interesting article about the Goth movement, why it's become popular, and why many of it's adherents end up in conservative professions. It's interesting:

Goths: Fashion’s Unlikely Conservatives

Friday, March 14, 2008

Obama and his leftist foreign policy advisors

Where does Obama get his foreign policy advice? It's a good question.

This first article from A. Millar at the Brussels Journal is about our worsening relations with Great Britan, and how the US no longer considers them to be our top ally, but now looks to Germany and France instead. It's worth reading for the reasons why relations have soured:

Are Britons Planning to Attack the U.S.?

They of course are not planning to attack the US, but they may be overly sympathetic and too gentle with those who are trying to. Read the full article for the disturbing details. But interestingly the last part of the article mentions Barack Obama and Briton's Labour party, which is a big part of the problem. Although Obama apparently doesn't think so:

[...] However, in marked contrast to the Bush administration, Obama – who probably views Britain as America’s quant little cousin across the sea – seems likely to try to build a better relationship with Britain, should he become president. He has already met Britain’s Junior Education Minister, David Lammy (heralded as Britain’s own Obama), though much to the surprise of the rest of the British government, which was apparently deliberately kept in the dark about their meeting.

But Obama would be advised to tread very carefully when it comes to cosying up to Labour, which has not only allowed Islamic extremism to grow, and Islam to become a powerful voice in politics, but which is also quite willing to “commend” the U.S.’s long-time adversaries. Notably about a week ago an early morning motion was made in the House of Commons, praising Fidel Castro, condemning the U.S., and urging the British government to, “resist the aggressive forces within the US Administration…” You may note, the sentiment is eerily similar to statements normally issuing the Iranian government.

Obama seems to side with foreign leftists on how America should be. He certainly has their support. From Briton's Daily Mail newspaper:

Labour Minister 'in campaign for Obama' sparks diplomatic row
An ambitious minister once tipped to be Britain's first black Prime Minister is being blamed for sparking a diplomatic row over the US Presidential election.

Senior Foreign Office officials claim David Lammy, hailed by some as "a British Obama", is linked to furiously denied reports last week of panic in Downing Street over the prospect of Barack Obama beating Hillary Clinton.

The reports coincided with junior education minister Mr Lammy, 35, joining Mr Obama on his campaign trail for the Democratic nomination – a trip which neither the British Embassy nor Mr Lammy's own department knew about.

It was a private visit but eyebrows were raised in Whitehall because of the unwritten rule that Ministers should not endorse candidates in foreign elections. [...]

While there is nothing illegal about the visit, it has ruffled some diplomatic feathers in Briton. And it's always worth noting who a candidate meets with.

More interesting still, is who Obama seeks foreign policy advice from closer to home. Would you believe, an Irish journalist:

Samantha Power, a former journalist,
advises Barack Obama on foreign policy

Barack Obama 'will repair image of US in UK'
[...] Miss Power is the self proclaimed "genocide chick", who won the Pulitzer Prize for her reporting from Bosnia.

She plays basketball with George Clooney and is the inspiration for the latest David Hare play.

This auburn haired Irish journalist is a professor at Harvard, the founder of a human rights think tank and was cited by Men's Vogue as one of the most beautiful women in the world.

She is also one of Mr Obama's most trusted advisers on foreign policy.

The would-be President of the United States texts her with, "It's Obama, call me" in the middle of the night. Sir Nigel Sheinwald, the British Ambassador to Washington has already called on her three times.


In America, Miss Power has been compared to Condoleeza Rice.

"I'm nothing like her," she says. "I don't have any conventional political ambition."

But if Mr Obama wins the Presidential race she is likely to remain a powerful force. "I'd do anything he asked me to do. It's not about working for the next President of the United States, it's Obama. If he ran General Motors I'd be working for him."

Sounds like she has a serious case of Obamamania. Her views are the typical leftist anti-American views that are so chic in Europe. I don't doubt Obama shares those views. Obama can certainly seek his advice from wherever he likes, but I have to say I would prefer a president with American views and values, instead of European ones.