Wotka World Wide

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thomas Sowell on the rights of terrorists:
We have already turned loose dozens of captured terrorists, who have resumed their terrorism. Why? Because they have been given “rights” that exist neither in our laws nor under international law.

These are not criminals in our society, entitled to the protection of the Constitution of the
United States. They are not prisoners of war entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention.

There was a time when people who violated the rules of war were not entitled to turn around and claim the protection of those rules. German soldiers who put on
U.S. military uniforms in order to infiltrate American lines during the Battle of the Bulge were simply lined up against a wall and shot.

American authorities filmed the mass executions. Nobody dreamed up fictitious “rights” for these enemy combatants, who had violated the rules of war. Nobody thought we had to prove that we were nicer than the Nazis by bending over backward.

Bending over backward is a very bad position from which to try to defend yourself. Nobody in those days confused bending over backward with “the rule of law,” as President Obama did recently. Bending over backward is the antithesis of the rule of law. It is depriving the people of the protection of their laws, in order to pander to mushy notions among the elite.

Even under the Geneva Convention, enemy soldiers have no right to be turned loose before the war is over. Terrorists — “militants” or “insurgents,” for those of you who are squeamish — have declared open-ended war against
America. It is open-ended in time and open-ended in methods, including beheadings of innocent civilians.
Here is a look at Apple's potential new item, the Media Tablet, and the impact it could have on the company and its stock price. Fascinating.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Nancy Pelosi's "selective amnesia", or her b.s. lies that she didn't know about waterboarding. This is a must read. The country is in the best of hands.
David Nicklaus has a great look at how the GM and Chrysler deals are being restructured, under the government's direction, of course. And it is alarming, with the unions getting stakes much larger than their proportional claim on the business, while debt-holders pretty much get the shaft. And guess who holds a lot of this debt indirectly? The pension plans of your average American. Guess that union support of Obama really pays off.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Obama legal team wants to limit defendants' rights:
The Obama administration is asking the Supreme Court to overrule a 23 year-old decision that stopped police from initiating questions unless a defendant's lawyer is present, the latest stance that has disappointed civil rights and civil liberties groups.

While President Barack Obama has reversed many policies of his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, the defendants' rights case is another stark example of the White House seeking to limit rather than expand rights.

Since taking office, Obama has drawn criticism for backing the continued imprisonment of enemy combatants in Afghanistan without trial, invoking the "state secrets" privilege to avoid releasing information in lawsuits and limiting the rights of prisoners to test genetic evidence used to convict them.

The case at issue is Michigan v. Jackson, in which the Supreme Court said in 1986 that police may not initiate questioning of a defendant who has a lawyer or has asked for one unless the attorney is present. The decision applies even to defendants who agree to talk to the authorities without their lawyers.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The rise of the sea levels is the "greatest lie ever told". This article does a good job laying out all the falsehoods out forth about rising sea levels, a phenomenon which has yet to be observed at all. You'd think all this "warming" over the last few decades would make a difference, right? Or the collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica, but nothing measurable has changed, despite the hysteria put forth by Al Gore and others. Let me know when the situation actually changes before trying to remake world society.
Senator Dianne Feinstein has conveniently secured an exclusive contract for her husband's real estate firm, CB Richard Ellis, to dispose of foreclosure which the FDIC seized from failed banking institutions. Pretty sweet deal, eh? More:

Mrs. Feinstein's intervention on behalf of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was unusual: the California Democrat isn't a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs with jurisdiction over FDIC; and the agency is supposed to operate from money it raises from bank-paid insurance payments - not direct federal dollars.

Documents reviewed by The Washington Times show Mrs. Feinstein first offered Oct. 30 to help the FDIC secure money for its effort to stem the rise of home foreclosures. Her letter was sent just days before the agency determined that CB Richard Ellis Group (CBRE) - the commercial real estate firm that her husband Richard Blum heads as board chairman - had won the competitive bidding for a contract to sell foreclosed properties that FDIC had inherited from failed banks.

Of course, this is standard operating procedure for our government officials, so this is business as usual. A sad state of affairs in Washington today... Read the whole thing.

The Supreme Court just placed limits on when and how police can search a vehicle. A very interesting decision, and check out the breakdown of the votes:
The justices divided in an unusual fashion. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, David Souter and Clarence Thomas joined the majority opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy were in dissent along with Alito.

Scalia said in a separate opinion that he would allow warrantless searches only to look for "evidence of the crime for which the arrest was made, or of another crime that the officer has probable cause to believe occurred." He said he joined Stevens' opinion anyway because there otherwise would not have been a majority for that view and Alito's desire to maintain current police practice "is the greater evil."
Read the whole thing.
GAO: Stimulus funds need more oversight:
A government report released Thursday warned that local officials are shorthanded and some states lack proper oversight in handling the deluge of new funding from the $787 billion economic stimulus.

The report also revealed that three states — Florida, Georgia and Ohio — have appropriated zero dollars for highway development despite being granted billions in road construction funds meant to spur job creation.

So much for "shovel-ready" projects... And also mentioned is the fact that many states are using the money to fund increases in Medicare and education spending, which will create a shortfall when the funds run out. This also has very little to do with job creation, which was the ostensible purpose of the stimulus bill anyways.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cheney doubles down on torture, suggesting that they release the part of the memos detailing what intelligence we got from all the water-boarding. I have to agree with him. The Administration is looking bad on this one. Politico thinks so too.
A short history of one of the founders of Earth Day, Ira Einhorn. Currently serving life in prison for murder. The environmentalist movement must be proud of this guy.
Check out this eyewitness account of the mass walk-out from Ahmadinejad's racist speech to the U.N. Racism Conference. Thank goodness the U.S. finally wised up and decided to boycott this nonsense.
Freddie MAC CFO commits suicide. I blame Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. They allowed this mess to happen. And now there are actual casualties.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A must read from Jay Nordlinger on foreign policy. A few choice nuggets:
Funny how the parties have flipped. Time was — not so long ago — the Republicans were the party of a crude, cold “stability,” in which dictatorships were propped up or schmoozed; it was the Democrats who intruded principle and that jazz. My, my.

Whoever is in charge, this much is true, I think we can say: In order to be effective, and safeguard the national interest, American foreign policy does not have to be morally sickening.
On certain black Democrats' infatuation with Castro:
The other week, three congressmen had one of those visits with Castro. Afterward, Rep. Laura Richardson (D., Calif.) said, “He looked right into my eyes, and he said, ‘How can we help you? How can we help President Obama?’” Rep. Bobby Rush (D., Ill.) reported, “In my household I told Castro he is known as the ultimate survivor.”

The ultimate survivor. Isn’t that sweet? How many of Castro’s prisoners survive? How many of them survive the hell that is inflicted on them day in, day out?
Jesse Jackson once went down to Cuba to chant, “Viva Castro! Viva Che Guevara!” Bill Buckley, debating Jackson on television, said, “By wishing Castro and Guevara long lives, were you wishing short lives to their prisoners?”
And on the propensity of the Left to offer "both sides" when discussing dictatorships like Cuba:
In the mid-1980s, I heard Armando Valladares, the Cuban dissident and memoirist, speak at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Valladares is sometimes called “the Cuban Solzhenitsyn,” and he spent about 20 years in the Cuban gulag, eventually writing Against All Hope. The school did not let him speak — give his testimony — alone. They paired him with a professor of government, to give the Castro side: the side of Valladares’s torturers.

Would they have done the same in the case of Nazism? Apartheid South Africa? Etc., etc.
Cyber spies hack into U.S. Joint Strike Fighter project. When is the government going to wake up and devote some significant resources to cyber security? There have been more and more Chinese incursions over the last few years, but increasing cyber security seems to be a very low priority for our government officials. At some point, this Chinese aggression is going to have to be dealt with as well. Just because you can't definitively prove it doesn't mean you can ignore it, especially when they are stealing important military secrets. Then again, Bill Clinton had no problem trading technological secrets to the Chinese for campaign donations, so maybe they just think that it is standard practice in the U.S., since they helped fund Obama's election as well. Pay attention to see if he even mentions these cyber attacks, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Obama makes nice with Chavez. Sickening. People called Bush naive for thinking he considered Putin a "friend" after first meeting him. And he was being naive. But what is this? Chavez has openly wished for America's destruction ("God willing"), but Obama looks to improve relations with him. Along with Castro and the Cuban dictatorship. Who's being naive now? All while neglecting and antagonizing our real allies (like the actual democracies in Central and South America). And blaming America for all the world's problems. People worried when Bush 41 talked about a "New World Order". I would argue that now we are seeing an attempt to make it happen. Ask yourself if it will really help America to pretend to be more closely allied with those that hate everything we stand for while neglecting and insulting those whose help and cooperation we actually need.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

So after all the outrage about executive bonuses and trips to Vegas and golf tournament sponsorships, where is the outrage, or even any reporting whatsoever, on the fact that the Democratic Governors Association just happened to hold their annual meeting in Augusta, Georgia last weekend? Wonder if they happened to make it to that yearly golf tournament going on in town? And I wonder who payed for it all...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Obama gets shut out in Europe:
Our president came bearing a basketful of mea culpas. With varying degrees of directness or obliqueness, Obama indicted his own people for arrogance, for dismissiveness and derisiveness, for genocide, for torture, for Hiroshima, for Guantanamo and for insufficient respect for the Muslim world.

And what did he get for this obsessive denigration of his own country? He wanted more NATO combat troops in Afghanistan to match the surge of 17,000 Americans. He was rudely rebuffed.

He wanted more stimulus spending from Europe. He got nothing.

From Russia, he got no help on Iran. From China, he got the blocking of any action on North Korea.

And what did he get for Guantanamo? France, pop. 64 million, will take one prisoner. One! (Sadly, he'll have to leave his bridge partner behind.) The Austrians said they would take none. As Interior Minister Maria Fekter explained with impeccable Germanic logic, if they're not dangerous, why not just keep them in America?

When Austria is mocking you, you're having a bad week.

And that doesn't even mention Obama's statement regarding Austria ("I don't know what the term is in Austrian"), which was uniformly ignored by the mainstream press. Wow. Imagine if Bush had said that.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

How Michael Osinski helped build the bomb that blew up Wall Street. He did this by writing a program that helped package mortgages into securities. And then he branched off into sub-prime loans. It is an interesting tale of how one man contributed to the financial meltdown still playing out across the world. But he is a bit player, and it would have happened regardless of his input. It is interesting to see his take on things as they developed through the eighties and nineties up to today. Read the whole thing.
Easter gift: Hostage merchant captain freed from pirates - by U.S. Navy! Apparently they remembered they were a fighting force and not a cruise line. Good to see Obama actually sent in the Navy SEALS on this one. Decisive action was needed. Now if we can just start policing the area with our Navy, rather then worrying about the pirates "rights"...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Gun control restricts those least likely to commit violent crimes:
Felons commit over 90 percent of murders, with the remainder carried out primarily by juveniles and the mentally unbalanced. The United States already has laws forbidding all three groups from owning guns, which, by definition, are ineffective against the lawless. “Gun control,” therefore, only “controls” those who have done nothing to merit such regulations.

Arguments for gun control rest on deceptive claims such as National Coalition to Ban Handguns’ allegation that “most murders are committed by previously law-abiding citizens.” Americans are deluged by literally dozens of supposedly scholarly articles asserting such falsehoods — but with no supporting references. For there are none.

Notably, only 15 percent of all Americans have criminal records, yet more than 90 percent of murder suspects have a history of crime. Their criminal careers average six or more years’ length, including four major adult felonies, in addition to their often extensive juvenile records.

A New York Times study of the 1,662 murders in that city between 2003 and 2005 found that “more than 90 percent of the killers had criminal records.” Baltimore police records show similar statistics for its murder suspects in 2006. In Milwaukee, police reported that most murder suspects in 2007 had criminal records, while “a quarter of them [killed while] on probation or parole.” The great majority of Illinois murderers from the years 1991-2000 had prior felony records. Eighty percent of Atlanta murder arrestees had previously been arrested at least once for a drug offense; 70 percent had three or more prior drug arrests — in addition to their arrests for other crimes.

Read the whole thing.

Tough times ahead for South Africa. They have a new president, Jacob Zuma, soon to be elected, and he is quite a crazed individual, to say the least. He is a Zulu ANC lifer that believes in witchcraft, has four wives (and another that killed herself after much abuse), has been charged with 783 counts of corruption but never had to stand trial, and received training from the KGB before becoming the ANC's head of intelligence. His theme song is "Bring Me My Machine Gun".

There are dark days ahead for what is supposedly the best and brightest African nation. Note that there has been virtually no coverage of this bozo from the international press corps. Wouldn't want to be judgmental about an African, even if he is eminently deserving of MAJOR criticism. Peter Hitchens has a long story about Zuma and the state of South Africa at the Daily Mail that is well worth reading.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A reminder of the horrors perpetuated by Che Guevara, and his popularity with Hollywood types that know absolutely nothing about him:
It's something that baffles Cuban jazz legend Paquito D'Rivera. "Che hated artists, so how is it possible that artists still today support the image of Che Guevara?" Turns out the rebellious icon that emblazons countless T-shirts actually enforced aesthetic and political conformity. D'Rivera explains that Che and other Cuban authorities sought to ban rock and roll and jazz.

"Che was an inspiration for me," D'Rivera tells reason.tv. "I thought I have to get out of this island as soon as I can, because I am in the wrong place at the wrong time!" D'Rivera did escape Cuba, and so far he's won nine Grammy awards playing the kind of music Che tried to silence. But D'Rivera says Che's crimes didn't end with censorship. "He ordered the execution of many people with no trial." Che served as Castro's chief executioner, presiding over the infamous La Cabana prison. D'Rivera says Che's policy of killing innocents earned him the nickname-the Butcher of La Cabana.
Harvard Derivatives Whiz Fired For Emailing Larry Summers About "Frightening" Trades? Read the whole thing. Via Instapundit.

I used to think my alma mater, Emory University, was crazy for keeping over half their assets in Coca-Cola stock, but now after seeing how some of these so-called financial geniuses manages other major university endowments into the toilet (Harvard is probably down over 30% in the last year), the Emory managers are looking A LOT smarter.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Senator Arlen Specter has decided to hold up the Employee Free Choice Act, for now, but expect union forces to regroup and try again soon, probably by this summer. And Specter is probably just dodging more heat since he has gotten so much flak for his vote in favor of the stimulus bill. Keep your fingers crossed this one stays off the table, or the business environment in America will practically force small manufacturers and companies to close while encouraging those that can afford it that it is finally time to relocate everything to Asia. Kimberley Strassel has more at the Wall Street Journal.
Take a look at the Republican's alternate budget plan from the House of Representatives. It is a great departure from both the Democratic budget and Republican budgets from years past. While I applaud their moves, I wonder where these ideas were in, say 2005, before they squandered their Congressional majority.

I particularly like the idea for an alternate optional income tax plan that tax payers can switch over to, and which is greatly stream-lined. Probably won't happen though because it would put the tax preparers out of business (and save billions for individuals in the process, which they could then pump back into the economy). I also like the 25% corporate tax rate. That needs to happen sooner rather than later, and is the quickest and easiest thing we can do to convince companies to stay in or relocate to America.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Just in case you were wondering who the best player in Major League Baseball is, Joe Strauss runs down the facts for you, as well as how he compares to some of the all-time greats. I consider it a privilege to watch Albert Pujols play every time I visit Busch Stadium. And he is actually a nice guy as well, unlike so many of today's superstars.
A look at the increasing default rates among credit card holders and what banks are doing about this (from stltoday.com) :

Bankers are hurting because fewer consumers are paying their bills. Delinquencies were up to 7.1 percent from just 4.6 a year earlier, according to calculations by Bloomberg News. Analysts think they could hit 9 or 10 percent. To a banker, a 10 percent delinquency rate is a capital-devouring monster.
And this isn't a small problem for American families:
As of 2007, 73 percent of American families had a credit card, and 46 percent of families carried a balance, meaning they don't pay the card in full each month, according to Cardtrak.com.

The average balance was $7,100 per household in 2007.
Card issuers are raising APRs and raising monthly payment percentages to deal with this situation. Check cardtrak.com and lowcards.com if your credit card companies aren't giving you a good deal.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Jay Nordlinger over at National Review has some great tidbits in his Impromptus column this week. One of the better ones:
Every once in a while, you think there might be a chance for Middle East peace — by which I mean, peace between Palestinians and Israelis. And then you learn of something and you think, “No way.” I had one of those moments earlier this week:

“JENIN, West Bank (AP) — Authorities in an impoverished Palestinian refugee camp have shut down a youth orchestra, boarded up its rehearsal studio and banned its conductor from the camp after she took 13 young musicians to perform for Holocaust survivors in Israel.”

Will the hatred and lunacy ever drain from the Palestinians? Will they ever agree to coexist with the Israelis? (“Ever,” I grant you, is a long time. But it has been a long time already . . .)
And there is more where that came from. Check him out...