Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A look at the summer 2011 movie line-up

Thor – May 6th

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – May 20th

The Hangover 2 – May 26th

Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom – May 27th

X-Men: First Class – June 3rd

Fast Five – June 10th

Green Lantern – June 17th

Cars 2: World Grand Prix – June 24th

Rise of the Apes – June 24th

Transformers 3 – July 1st

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II – July 15th

Captain America: The First Avenger – July 22nd

Cowboys and Aliens – July 29th


 (theatrical release dates are subject to change)











As Despotic as They Need to Be

February 25, 2010
As Despotic as They Need to Be
By Joseph Ashby

After Scott Brown's unthinkable victory in Massachusetts, the health care fight appeared to be over. Americans exhaled slowly as we backed away from the edge of the Democrats' attempted takeover of the health care system. Freedom survived another scare. Several of last weekend's CPAC speeches spoke of the victory over the health bill in past tense.

But Obama's new scheme makes that celebration appear premature. Thursday's health care summit serves as the president's new launching point. If the meeting succeeds in putting enough political pressure on Republicans to coax a few of them into voting for the administration's proposal, then health care passes with limited political consequences for the Democrats. If Republicans remain united in opposition to the bill, Obama will use their opposition as leverage to take more extreme measures.

Those measures came to light in reports and interviews over the past several days. White House advisers stated Monday that the Senate will pass the health care bill with 50 votes (with Vice President Biden casting the tiebreaker) instead of the 60 required to defeat the Republican filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has confirmed and defended this strategy.

To fully appreciate the significance of the Democrats' plan, we must first recognize that the health care bill should require the long and difficult ratification of a constitutional amendment. The amendment process, however, was corrupted in the 1930s.

Under heavy pressure from President Franklin Roosevelt, the Supreme Court decided in FDR's favor in the landmark case Wickard v. Fillburn. The SCOTUS decision allowed the federal government to stop a man from growing wheat on his own land to feed to his own livestock. In citing the Interstate Commerce clause, the court effectively justified any government intervention into the economy without the previously requisite constitutional amendment.

The Wickard decision crippled the bulwark that stood between Americans and tyrannical government encroachment. Obama and the Democrats now propose to further weaken the controls on federal powers through the fraudulent use of the reconciliation process (a system designed to advance budget cuts, not sweeping policy changes). The move would allow the health care bill's wholesale societal transformation to become law with a simple majority in both congressional chambers.

Critics of the Senate's 60-vote cloture threshold have come out in full force since the Democrats lost their 60th Senate seat (and some before). "God didn't create the filibuster," huffed Barney Frank last month.

The argument made is that a majority vote carries the day. But the very structure of our Constitutional Republic sets limits on majority power. From the amendment process to the state-strengthening 10th Amendment to the Senate itself, the American system has built-in defenses against what Thomas Jefferson called "mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine."

Behind the abstract dangers of "mob rule" lies the actual makeup the current Senate majority. The Democrat Senate caucus has four unelected members (CO, DE, IL, NY). Six members won by 3.3% or less (AK, MO, MT, VA, MN, OR) and three of those won by less than 1% (MT, VA, MN). A total of five Democrat senators received less than 50% of their state's vote (AK, MN, OR, VA, MO). And finally, one senator switched parties in the middle of his term (PA). As ironic as it sounds, the Democrats have the slimmest possible 18-seat majority.

Despite their underwhelming mandate, the president's party provides unending justification to expand its power. Congressional Democrats are correct that the Constitution does not explicitly call for the filibuster. The Constitution only sets a vote tally for presidential impeachment, expulsion of a member, the override of the presidential veto, and the passage of a constitutional amendment. Nowhere in the description of the legislative branch does it say how a statute passes, be it by majority vote or otherwise. The parameters for passage are left for Senate (and House) rules.

Therefore, the relevant question is, if the Senate rules are the basis by which laws are passed, and the Democrats are willing to disregard those rules, then what would stop them from passing health care with 40 votes, or 30, or by decree?

Such a scenario is not as improbable as it may sound. We have to look no farther than the cap-and-trade legislation. Near the height of Democrat popularity in 2009, the House's carbon-trading program passed by a razor-thin seven votes. Support for the bill in the Senate is weak, extending no farther than the most liberal members. The administration's response is both telling and disconcerting. A top Obama economic official told reporters the following last December:
  • "If senators don't pass [cap-and-trade] legislation, then ... the EPA is going to have to regulate in this area. And it is not going to be able to regulate on a market-based way, so it's going to have to regulate in a command-and-control way."

To enact cap-and-trade by executive dictate or to pass the health care bill without the required votes is more than a mundane dispute over procedure -- it is a matter of government oppression. By claiming the authority to pass health care via reconciliation, some Democrats -- including the president -- have shown that they will be as despotic as they need to be in order to pass the bill. Only fear of the public's reaction will stop them.

Da Vinci

"Oh, ye seekers after perpetual motion, how many vain chimeras have you pursued? Go and take your place with the alchemists." -- DaVinci

Current Mood of America

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

UN chief condemns NKorea attack on south

UN chief condemns NKorea attack on south

Published November 23, 2010
| Associated Press
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday condemned North Korea's artillery attack on South Korea's Yeongpyeong Island and conveyed his concerns to the Security Council's president.
Ban called the attack "one of the gravest incidents since the end of the Korean War," his spokesman Martin Nesirky said.
The island is near the Koreas' disputed sea border. The attack killed at least two South Korean marines, set dozens of buildings ablaze and sent civilians fleeing for shelter.
Nesirky said Ban called for "immediate restraint" and insisted that "any differences should be resolved by peaceful means and dialogue."
The secretary-general "has conveyed his utmost concern to the president of the Security Council," Nesirky said.
British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, whose country holds the council president, said heading into a regularly scheduled meeting on Guinea-Bissau, Somalia and the Middle East, that "There is no formal request for a meeting" on the Koreas.

Read more:

Saudi king arrives in US for medical tests

Saudi king arrives in US for medical tests
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia says King Abdullah has arrived in New York for medical treatment.
The official Saudi Press Agency says the 86-year-old monarch was greeted by Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal and a number of top Saudi officials after landing at New York's John F. Kennedy airport on Tuesday.
The agency published photographs of Abdullah in a wheelchair, shaking hands with al-Faisal.
Abdullah on Monday gave temporary authority to "administer the nation's affairs" to Crown Prince Sultan, his half-brother and heir to the throne.
Saudi authorities have been unusually open about the king's condition since announcing that he suffered a slipped disc and that a blood clot was pressing nerves in his back, causing him pain.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
CAIRO (AP) — Saudi Arabia's 86-year-old king flew Monday to the U.S. for medical treatment and left control of the world's top oil producer and key American ally in the hands of an 85-year-old half brother who has suffered his own serious health problems.
The smooth transfer of power from one brother to another served as a reminder of the advancing age of the generation of the royal Al Saud family that has ruled the kingdom for the past 60 years. It also revived a long-standing question that may be taking on greater urgency: Can the rulers maintain stability when it comes time to pass the throne to a new generation.
Before King Abdullah headed for the United States, Saudi officials had been making a strong push to reassure the public and its international allies that there is nothing to worry about.
In a news conference shown on state TV, Health Minister Abdullah al-Rabeeah said the king suffered a slipped disc. He said a blood clot was pressing on nerves in his back, causing him pain and so he was heading abroad for treatment.
"But I assure everyone that the king is in stable condition and enjoys good health and God willing will return in good health to lead this great nation," al-Rabeeah said.
In a country where personal issues within the royal family are often kept under strict wraps, authorities have sought to show they are being transparent about Abdullah's condition, aiming to dispel any speculation.
Pictures in newspapers over recent days have shown the king being pushed in a wheelchair — though still looking fairly hardy. On Monday, state media showed photos of Abdullah bidding farewell to officials at the airport. He was shown seated in a plush chair on the tarmac, an IV catheter sticking out of the back of his hand, as he kissed the cheeks of his second deputy prime minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz.
It was not immediately known where Abdullah would be receiving treatment in the United States. A statement from the palace said only that he would be undergoing "medical tests."
In Washington, the State Department said it helped facilitate clearances for the king to come to the U.S. for treatment.
"The king is a valued partner," department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. "We wish him a speedy recovery. I don't know that we have any particular concerns about his health. We want to see him up and about as quickly as possible."
Before he left, Abdullah issued a royal decree mandating Crown Prince Sultan, his half brother and heir to the throne, to "administer the nation's affairs" in his absence.
Abdullah has temporarily handed over authorities in the past when he has travelled abroad for conferences or personal trips, though this was the first time for health reasons.
The 85-year-old Sultan — also the defense and aviation minister — has his own health issues: He underwent surgery in New York in February 2009 for an undisclosed illness and spent nearly a year abroad recuperating in the United States and at a palace in Agadir, Morocco.
Even since his return to Saudi Arabia in December last year, he has spent extended periods in Morocco — from which he had to be called home quickly on Sunday to be on hand to fill in during the king's absence. His illness has never been confirmed, but diplomats have said he has been treated for cancer.
The most likely candidate for the throne after Abdullah and Sultan is Prince Nayef, the powerful interior minister in charge of internal security forces. After Sultan fell ill, the king gave Nayef an implicit nod in 2009 by naming him second deputy prime minister, traditionally the post of the third in line.
Anyone who rises to the throne is likely to maintain the kingdom's close alliance with the United States. But there could be internal differences. Abdullah has been seen as a reformer, making incremental changes to improve the position of women, for example, and to modernize the kingdom despite some backlash from the ultra-conservative Wahhabi clerics who give the royal family the religious legitimacy needed to rule. Nayef, for example, is often seen as closer to the clerics.
Still, Nayef's place in line is not certain.
Modern Saudi Arabia was founded by King Abdul-Aziz in the 1930s, and after his death in 1953, the kingdom has been ruled by his sons — Abdul-Aziz had dozens of children from several wives. So far, five of his sons have ruled, each handing the throne to a brother or half brother with relative calm.
The succession has generally been by seniority among the sons — and when there have been disputes, the family has always quickly closed ranks to resolve them and ensure the stability on which their family's rule depends.
Abdullah rose to the throne in 2005 after the death of King Fahd, though he had already been a de-facto ruler for half a decade.
In an attempt to formalize the succession system, Abdullah in 2006 set up the Allegiance Council, a body that is composed of Abdul-Aziz's sons and grandsons, who will vote by a secret ballot to choose future kings and crown princes.
The council's mandate will not start until after the reigns of Abdullah and Sultan are over. That means it could weigh in on whether Nayef can step in.
The bigger question is what happens when the generation of Abdul-Aziz's sons runs out. The youngest of the seven or eight sons often cited as having the stature and experience to rule are in their mid-60s — suggesting the generation still has some time left in power.
But sooner or later, the throne will have to move on to the next generation, raising the potentially deeply divisive question of which Abdul-Aziz son will pass power to his own son. Abdullah's creation of the council aimed in part to provide a system for that transfer.
Each brother has sought to set up his sons in positions of power, in part to guarantee their line's position. Nayef's son Mohammed, for example, is chief of the powerful counterterrorism forces that took the lead in the fight against al-Qaida the past decade — making Mohammed the target of a suicide bomber who nearly killed him last year.
Earlier this month, Abdullah stepped down as head of the country's 260,000-strong elite National Guard and gave the post to his own son, Prince Mitab. On Monday before traveling, the king swore his son into his post, surrounded by seven of his others sons, who include a provincial governor and a royal adviser.
Associated Press writers Abdullah al-Shihri in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.

Full Focus Steven Wong (L) from Hong Kong leads the men's final BMX race at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China, November 19, 2010. Wong won the gold medal. REUTERS/Carlos Barria Editor's choice A selection of our best photos from the past 24 hours. Full Article More Reuters Results for: "" Read 1. North Korea shells South in fiercest attack in decades | Video 11:35am EST 1 2. S.Korea says it test-fired in area before N.Korea firing 6:27am EST 2 3. North Korea artillery fire hits South island 1:22am EST 3 4. Fires burn out of control on S.Korean island - witness 3:23am EST 4 5. Cambodian monks bless dead after night of horror 7:01am EST 5 Discussed * 178 Obama’s Democrats in disarray over expiring tax cuts * 98 Sweet drinks, sales tax targeted to cut deficit * 84 Obama’s 2012 re-election prospects uncertain: poll Watched * S. Korea: shelling 'provocation' S. Korea: shelling 'provocation' 6:41am EST * Bejeweled bra exposed in NY Bejeweled bra exposed in NY Thu, Oct 21 2010 * Row over vote orgasm video Row over vote orgasm video Fri, Nov 19 2010 * Broker Center Special Advertising Feature Trade Now at Fidelity * Click here to sign-up for trial access to IFR. Cambodian monks bless dead after night of horror

Cambodian monks bless dead after night of horror

Related Topics

PHNOM PENH | Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:01am EST
PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Saffron-robed Buddhist monks chanted as onlookers gazed silently across a bridge piled with the shoes and torn clothing left behind by victims of a stampede in Cambodia's capital.
The body count stood at 375 by sunset on Tuesday and was expected to rise. Many people were missing and Cambodians had many questions about one of the darkest days of their country's
recent and troubled history.
The cause of the stampede on the Diamond Gate bridge late on Monday, the last day of an annual three-day Water Festival, remained a mystery.
"Everyone is shocked that this can happen to us," said Chhun Sreypong, 45, clutching her one-year-old baby and looking out across Phnom Penh's Tonle Sap river, from where scores of limp bodies were dragged.
"Those who died were mostly youngsters. Many mothers have lost their children. No one knows why this happened."
Survivors gave chilling accounts of being buried under piles of bodies, alive and dead, for as long as three hours, crying for help and clambering for air, open-mouthed as police doused the trapped crowd with water cannons.
"People were shouting for help and began to push," said Touch Theara, 38, who was among the thousands who flocked to Diamond Island to eat in restaurants, listen to live music and buy cheap clothes.
Her sister and her friend died on the bridge, which some described as a "gate to hell."
About 755 people were injured.
Not since the era of the ultra-Maoist Khmer Rouge three decades ago, when 1.7 million people were killed in four years, has Cambodia seen such a huge loss of life.
Scores of people leapt to their deaths from the pedestrian bridge, unable to swim and dragged under water amid frantic splashing as desperate and panicked people plunged down from above.
While many victims drowned, most perished while trapped under the weight of hundreds of fleeing revelers.
Hours after the tragedy, the scene was untouched. Shoes, flip-flops and ripped clothing piled up a foot high across some parts of the 80-meter bridge linking Phnom Penh to a gaudy man-made entertainment island packed with restaurants, fairground rides and exhibition centers.

Hundreds of onlookers endured the stench of rotting garbage and tip-toed across the trampled grass to get a glimpse at the place where so many died.
Many people sat in silence on the steep banks of the Tonle Sap, a tributary of the Mekong River, listening to the chanting of hundreds of Buddhist monks who laid flowers and lit incense to bless the dead.
Flags were flown at half mast across the city of about 2 million people, which swelled during the festival as hundreds of thousands flocked in from surrounding provinces for the festival marking the end of the rainy season.
Television repeatedly showed footage of shirtless, shoeless bodies laid out on the ground and on hospital floors, many open-eyed and covered in bruises.
Relatives of the dead wept at the Khmer-Soviet hospital, where more than 100 unclaimed and unidentified bodies, most of them teenagers, lay side-by-side, covered in white sheets.
"I didn't feel safe on the bridge, there were just too many people, so I crossed just in time," said Bothra Cheahcha, whose friends were among the dead.
"It's tragic and I was so lucky," he said. "I feel like I'm reborn, like I have been given a second chance at life."
(Editing by Robert Birsel)

Pentagon seeks flying snakes' secret

Pentagon seeks flying snakes' secret

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
An unusual breed of Asian snakes can glide long distances in the air, and the Defense Department is funding research at Virginia Tech to find out why.
Most animals that glide do so with fixed wings or a winglike part. But not the "flying snakes" of Southeast Asia, India and southern China - at least five members of the genus Chrysopelea.
As video of the reptiles show, they undulate from side to side, in almost an air-slithering, to create an aerodynamic system. It allows them to travel from the top of the biggest trees in the region (almost 200 feet high) to a spot about 780 feet away from the tree's trunk.
"Basically . . . they become one long wing," said John Socha, the Virginia Tech researcher who has traveled extensively in Asia to study the snakes and to film them.
"The snake is very active in the air, and you can kind of envision it as having multiple segments that become multiple wings," he said. "The leading edge becomes the trailer, and then the trailer become the leading edge."
It gets stranger. During a technique not yet understood, some of the snakes can actually turn in air. What's more, they all take a flying leap off their perch to get airborne, then drop for a while to pick up speed before starting the motion that keeps them aloft much longer than they would otherwise.
Socha's initial research was sponsored by the National Geographic Society, but his most recent work and paper were funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The agency is involved in advanced military technologies of all kinds, and Socha said the physical dynamics of snake flight (and how other creatures stay in the air) is of great interest to the agency.
DARPA did not respond to an e-mail asking for more information. But Socha's upcoming paper on the dynamics of gliding snakes in the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics does list DARPA as its financial sponsor.
Socha was a featured speaker Monday at the annual meeting of the American Institute of Physics.
The snakes, Socha said, spend most of their lives in the trees. They are between two and three feet long and about as wide as a finger. The larger snakes, he said, generally cannot glide as far as the smaller ones.
The snakes are mildly venomous, he said, but "won't hurt a human, though they can be fatal to a gecko."
While the prospect of a flying snake seems strange today, current scientific theory says that birds evolved from dinosaurs, which were reptiles.

Better Helmet Design Might Lower Soldiers' Risk for Brain Injury

Better Helmet Design Might Lower Soldiers' Risk for Brain Injury

Scientists say adding face shield dulls impact of blasts

Click here to find out more!
MONDAY, Nov. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Adding face shields to soldiers' helmets could diminish brain damage resulting from explosions, which account for more than half of all combat-related injuries sustained by U.S. troops, a new study suggests.
Using computer models to simulate battlefield blasts and their effects on brain tissue, researchers learned that the face is the main pathway through which an explosion's pressure waves reach the brain.
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, about 130,000 U.S. service members deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq have sustained blast-induced traumatic brain injury (TBI) from explosions.
The addition of a face shield made with transparent armor material to the advanced combat helmets (ACH) worn by most troops significantly impeded direct blast waves to the face, mitigating brain injury, said lead researcher Raul Radovitzky, an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
"We tried to assess the physics of the problem, but also the biological and clinical responses, and tie it all together," said Radovitzky, who is also associate director of MIT's Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies. "The key thing from our point of view is that we saw the problem in the news and thought maybe we could make a contribution."
Researching the issue, Radovitzky created computer models by collaborating with David Moore, a neurologist at the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Moore used MRI scans to simulate features of the brain, and the two scientists compared how the brain would respond to a frontal blast wave in three scenarios: a head with no helmet, a head wearing the ACH, and a head wearing the ACH plus a face shield.
The sophisticated computer models were able to integrate the force of blast waves with skull features such as the sinuses, cerebrospinal fluid, and the layers of gray and white matter in the brain.
Results revealed that without the face shield, the ACH slightly delayed the blast wave's arrival but did not significantly lessen its effect on brain tissue. Adding a face shield, however, considerably reduced forces on the brain.
The study, published online Nov. 22 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, contradicts previous research that suggested that the ACH could mitigate brain injury in service members -- the most common injury sustained by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"This study really has two key contributions," Radovitzky said. "First, that the ACH doesn't help a lot for blast protection, and second, but it doesn't make it worse. We are not saying anything negative about the ACH, just the opposite. With the helmet, we saw a lot of improvement compared to an unprotected face."
Dr. Michael Lipton, associate director of the Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, said one of his concerns about the study is that the only thing modeled was the effect of a blast.
"Really, there's no such thing as an isolated blast," Lipton said, explaining that the impact typically knocks one to the ground or causes the head to hit other objects. "There are blast waves, but an impact component also. Very commonly, there's a whole spectrum of injury. It all depends on the position and proximity of the patient to the blast."
Lipton pointed out that a face shield wouldn't just help soldiers involved in heavy explosions, but also in smaller blasts that happen on an everyday basis.
"It's not uncommon for these soldiers to get exposed to multiple blast injuries without being removed from repeated [combat] exposure recognized as significant injuries," Lipton said. "Protection might even be more efficacious in repeated impacts."
Radovitzky said many details need to be addressed before a face shield could be integrated into soldiers' helmets. Further research will focus on expanding what's understood about head injuries from blasts, he said.
"There are a lot of things I don't understand from an operational standpoint of a soldier," he said. "There's a lot more we need to know. We are all trying to fill in the gaps and connect the dots."
More information
Find out more about traumatic brain injuries at the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center.
SOURCES: Raul Radovitzky, Ph.D., associate professor, department of aeronautics and astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and associate director, MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, Cambridge, Mass.; Michael Lipton, M.D., associate director, Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City; Nov. 22, 2010, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online
Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Egypt: Imam somehow misunderstands Islam, calls for attacks on Christians; his congregation willingly obliges

Egypt: Imam somehow misunderstands Islam, calls for attacks on Christians; his congregation willingly obliges

The mainstream media is making a big deal about the supposed "demonizing" of participants in the Ground Zero mosque project, and of the "backlash" that could result from supposedly dangerous talk, by which they mean criticism of the mosque, its backers, and of the agenda behind the whole affair that's plowed into Lower Manhattan on a steamroller named "Tolerance."
Meanwhile, in Muslim nations, open incitement against unbelievers leads directly to attacks on religious minorities, and the world yawns. "Muslim Cleric Calls for Jihad, Copts Attacked," by Joseph C. deCaro for Worthy News, August 21:
SHIMI, EGYPT (Worthy News)-- During Friday prayers, Imam Sheikh Tobah called for jihad against all Christians living in the Egyptian village of Shimi.
Christian Copts were assaulted over the next two days; 11 were hospitalized and many Copt youths were arrested.
The assaults began only hours after the Imam's incitement. Security forces took the first Copt victims to a police station where they were pressured into accepting "reconciliation" with their attackers, but no Muslims were arrested.
The apologist spin writes itself: Local Muslims promoting reconciliation with their neighbors!
"I was told by the security authorities that for the sake of the Holy month of Ramadan, everyone ought to make peace," said Reverend Ezra Nageh. (But) "I was against reconciliation, because I know that the culprits know that they can assault Copts, and in the end, it will boil down to Copts giving up all their rights with the reconciliation sessions."
The next day, Muslims again attacked the houses of the Copts; they beat the inhabitants and also any Copts found in the fields.
"We are forced into reconciliation and in less than 24 hours, we are assaulted again," said Ghali Tawfik, one of the Copt victims.
"They have humiliated us," said Maher Amin. "We were beaten and we could not do anything about it. We are weak and helpless and have to accept reconciliation. They will next come to our homes and rape our women, and we will not be able to do anything about it."
After Police released the Copt victims who were initially detained at the station, they then arrested three Copt youths on old charges and transferred them to (Egyptian) State Security, but Ezra said State Security is employing an old trick: detaining innocent Copts and fabricating crimes against them in order to force the church into accepting reconciliation.
"They attack us today and force reconciliation on us," said Ezra. "Are they waiting for us to be killed tomorrow and then they would think about the rule of law?"

Sunday, November 21, 2010


November 10, 2010

Jimmy Carter was such an abominable president we got Ronald Reagan, tax cuts, a booming economy and the destruction of the Soviet Union.

Two years of Bill Clinton and a Democratic Congress got us the first Republican Congress in half a century, followed by tax cuts, welfare reform and a booming economy –- all of which Clinton now claims credit for.

Obama's disastrous presidency has already produced Republican senators from Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Illinois; New Jersey's wonder-governor Chris Christie; and the largest House majority for Republicans since 1946.

We deserve more. Clinton only threatened to wreck the health care system; Obama actually did it. We must repeal the 26th Amendment.

Adopted in 1971 at the tail end of the Worst Generation's anti-war protests, the argument for allowing children to vote was that 18-year-olds could drink and be conscripted into the military, so they ought to be allowed to vote.

But 18-year-olds aren't allowed to drink anymore. We no longer have a draft. In fact, while repealing the 26th Amendment, we ought to add a separate right to vote for members of the military, irrespective of age.

As we have learned from ObamaCare, young people are not considered adults until age 26, at which point they are finally forced to get off their parents' health care plans. The old motto was "Old enough to fight, old enough to vote." The new motto is: "Not old enough to buy your own health insurance, not old enough to vote."

Eighteen- to 26-year-olds don't have property, spouses, children or massive tax bills. Most of them don't even have jobs because the president they felt so good about themselves for supporting wrecked the economy.

The meager tax young people paid for vehicle licensing fees on their cars threw them into such a blind rage that in 2003 they uncharacteristically voted to recall the Democratic governor of California, Gray Davis. Wait until they start making real money and realize they share a joint-checking account arrangement with the government! Literally wait. Then we'll let them vote.

Having absolutely no idea what makes their precious cars run, by the way, young voters are the most likely to oppose offshore drilling.

How about 10-year-olds? Why not give them the vote?

Then we'd have politicians wooing voters with offers of free Justin Bieber tickets instead of offers of a "sustainable planet" or whatever hokum the youth have swallowed hook, line and sinker from their teachers, pop culture idols and other authority figures. (Along with their approved-by-the-authorities "Question Authority" bumper stickers.)

Like 18-year-olds, the 10-year-olds would be sublimely unaware that they're the ones who will be footing the bill for all these "free" goodies, paying and paying until they die of old age.

Brain research in the last five years at Dartmouth and elsewhere has shown that human brains are not fully developed until age 25 and are particularly deficient in their frontal lobes, which control decision-making, rational thinking, judgment, the ability to plan ahead and to resist impulses.

Unfortunately, we didn't know that in 1971. Those of you who have made it to age 26 without dying in a stupid drinking game -- and I think congratulations are in order, by the way -- understand how insane it is to allow young people to vote.

It would almost be tolerable if everyone under the age of 30 just admitted they voted for Obama because someone said to them, "C'mon, it's really cool! Everyone's doing it!"

We trusted them, and now we know it was a mistake.

True, Reagan tied with Carter for the youth vote in 1980 and stole younger voters from Mondale in 1984, but other than that, young voters have consistently embarrassed themselves. Of course, back when Reagan was running for president, young voters consisted of the one slice of the population completely uninfected by the Worst Generation. Today's youth are the infantilized, pampered, bicycle-helmeted children of the Worst Generation.

They foisted this jug-eared, European socialist on us and now they must be punished. Voters aged 18 to 29 years old comprised nearly a fifth of the voting population in 2008 and they voted overwhelmingly for Obama, 66 percent to 31 percent.

And it only took 12 to 14 years of North Korean-style brainwashing to make them do it! At least their teachers haven't brainwashed them into burning books or ratting out their parents to the Stasi yet. (On the bright side, before teaching them book-burning, their professors would be forced to teach them what a book is.)

It would make more sense to give public school teachers and college professors 20 votes apiece than to allow their impressionable students to vote.

The Re-Education Camp Effect can be seen in how these slackers living at home on their parents' health insurance voted in the middle of the Republican tidal wave this year. Youths aged 18-29 voted for the Democrats by 16 points. But the kids aged 18-24 -- having just received an A in Professor Ward Churchill's college class on American Oppression -- voted for the Democrats by a whopping 19 points.

Young people voted for Obama as a fashion statement. One daughter of a friend of a friend of mine spent her whole college summer in 2008 working at a restaurant and then, with teary eyes, sent everything she made to the Obama campaign.

Luckily, she doesn't have to worry about paying for tuition, rent or food. Or property taxes, electric bills, plumbers and electricians. After being exploited by the left, she'll end up paying for it for the rest of her life, with interest.

Liberals fight tooth-and-nail to create an electorate disposed to vote Democratic by, for example, demanding that felons and illegal aliens be given the vote. But it's at least possible that illegal aliens and criminals pay taxes or have fully functioning frontal lobes.

Republicans ought to fight for their own electorate, which at a minimum ought to mean voters with fully functioning brains and the possibility of a tax bill. Not old enough to buy your own health insurance, not old enough to vote.


GOP majority in House will push to end 'birthright citizenship'

GOP majority in House will push to end 'birthright citizenship'

Published: Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010 - 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010 - 1:29 pm
WASHINGTON – As one of its first acts, the new Congress will consider denying citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants who are born in the United States.
Those children, who are now automatically granted citizenship at birth, will be one of the first targets of the Republican-led House when it convenes in January.
GOP Rep. Steve King of Iowa, the incoming chairman of the subcommittee that oversees immigration, is expected to push a bill that would deny "birthright citizenship" to such children.
The measure, assailed by critics as unconstitutional, is an indication of how the new majority intends to flex its muscles on the volatile issue of illegal immigration.
The idea has a growing list of supporters, including Republican Reps. Tom McClintock of Elk Grove and Dan Lungren of Gold River, but it has aroused intense opposition, as well.
"I don't like it," said Chad Silva, statewide policy analyst for the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California. "It's been something that's been a part of America for a very long time. … For us, it sort of flies in the face of what America is about."
Republicans, Silva said, are "going in there and starting to monkey with the Constitution."
The 14th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1868, guarantees citizenship to anyone born or naturalized in the United States. It was intended to make sure that children of freed slaves were granted U.S. citizenship.
While opponents say King's bill would clearly be unconstitutional, backers say the 14th Amendment would not apply. The amendment states that anyone born in the United States and "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" is a citizen.
King said the amendment would not apply to the children of illegal immigrants because their parents should not be in the country anyway. He said immigration law should not create incentives for people to enter the country illegally and that it's creating an "anchor baby industry."
"Many of these illegal aliens are giving birth to children in the United States so that they can have uninhibited access to taxpayer-funded benefits and to citizenship for as many family members as possible," King said.
An estimated 340,000 of the 4.3 million babies born in the United States in 2008 were the children of undocumented immigrants, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center done last year.
The issue is dividing Republicans, too.
"We find both this rhetoric and this unconstitutional conduct reprehensible, insulting and a poor reflection upon Republicans," DeeDee Blasé, the founder of Somos Republicans, a Latino GOP organization based in the Southwestern states, said in a letter to House Republican leaders.
Silva said the Republican plan is "not the fix," adding that the citizenship of children born to immigrants was never an issue during the immigration tide at the turn of the 20th century and that it shouldn't be now.
"That's our strength," he said. "And to start splitting hairs like that will only make the immigration issue worse."
Democratic Rep. Doris Matsui of Sacramento called King's plan "both unconstitutional and shortsighted."
"The 14th Amendment to the Constitution grants American citizenship to anyone born on American soil," she said. "I firmly believe we must reform the current immigration system, but we need to do so comprehensively with policies that respect our nation's history, strengthen our borders, and help our economy."
McClintock outlined his position last summer in a rebuttal to a newspaper editorial: "If illegal immigration is to be rewarded with birthright citizenship, public benefits and amnesty, it becomes impossible to maintain our immigration laws and the process of assimilation that they assure," he wrote.
McClintock noted that the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, France and India have all changed their laws in recent years to require that at least one parent be a legal resident for the child to become a legal citizen.
Lungren, who served as California's attorney general from 1990 to 1998 introduced a similar bill in 2007, but it did not pass the House, which was controlled by Democrats at the time.
His bill called for defining what "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" means. Lungren proposed that the clause would apply to any person born to a parent who is a citizen, a legal alien or an alien serving in the military.
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