Saturday, January 31, 2009

Vaclav Klaus Hits Global Warming Again

Vaclav Klaus, the fiery conservative Czech President, hit global warming again today. Read this article from Breitbart.com.

The Czech Republic currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, giving Klaus a much greater platform.

You can visit the English version of his website here.

Michael Steele Wins RNC Chair Race

Congratulations, Chairman Steele!

In the sixth ballot, Michael Steele beat Katon Dawson to become the new RNC Chairman. Here's how things played out:

First Ballot
  • Mike Duncan: 52
  • Michael Steele: 46
  • Katon Dawson: 28
  • Saul Aunzis: 22
  • Ken Blackwell: 20
Nobody dropped out. The rules do not require any candidates to be dropped, or to pull their names out of contention. Duncan's vote total was lower than expected (the audience gasped, according to National Review Online).

Second Ballot
  • Mike Duncan: 48
  • Michael Steele: 48
  • Katon Dawson: 29
  • Saul Aunzis: 24
  • Ken Blackwell: 19
No one dropped out here, either.

Third Ballot
  • Michael Steele: 51
  • Mike Duncan: 44
  • Katon Dawson: 34
  • Saul Aunzis: 24
  • Ken Blackwell: 15
Mike Duncan dropped out after the third ballot, without endorsing anyone.

Fourth Ballot
  • Katon Dawson: 62
  • Michael Steele: 60
  • Saul Aunzis: 31
  • Ken Blackwell: 15
Katon Dawson took the lead in the fourth ballot. Ken Blackwell withdrew, endorsing Michael Steele.

Fifth Ballot
  • Michael Steele: 79
  • Katon Dawson: 69
  • Saul Aunzis: 20
Saul Anuzis pulled out, without endorsing Steele or Dawson. Steele retook the lead.

Sixth Ballot
  • Michael Steele: 91
  • Katon Dawson: 77
Steele emerged victorious on the sixth ballot. Congratulations, Chairman Steele!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Two Great Posts from The Next Right

Here's two great posts from The Next Right that I had to share.

1. Just Who's Responsible for Fiscal Mismanagement?, by Matthew Gagnon
Excerpt:
  • In the 38 years since 1900 that the Republican Party has had complete control over the Congress, they have been responsible for twenty-three surplus budgets, and fifteen deficit budgets.
  • The complete record of Republican congresses has a net deficit of more than one trillion dollars ($1,072,594,000). That represents a roughly $28,226,157,895 deficit for every budget they are responsible for.
  • In the 58 years since 1900 that the Democratic Party has had complete control over the Congress, they have been responsible for seven surplus budgets, fifty deficit budgets, and 1 budget with no data available.
  • The complete record of Democratic congresses has a net deficit of more than three trillion dollars ($3,305,777,000,000). That represents a roughly $57,996,087,719 deficit for every budget they are responsible for.
2. Stop Talking About "Technology", by Patrick Ruffini
Excerpt:
The Rebuild the Party plan has often been characterized as a way to remake the party through technology. Though we've sometimes slipped in using that word to describe certain elements of the plan -- I generally feel uncomfortable with it being pigeonholed as a "technology" plan. I've generally struck "technology" from my vocabulary, taking instead about "new media" or simply, the "Internet" or when talking about a generational shift in fundraising or a 435 district strategy, wholesale party reform. Why? Because the word "technology" reinforces old siloed habits of thinking and implies that the solution is spending money on cool tech toys, rather than a quantum shift in approach.
Thought-provoking posts; I recommend reading them.

RNC Chair Update - Vote Tomorrow

Final Update to the RNC Chair race... the vote takes place tomorrow morning.

Chip Saltsman is out. Never even got a public committee endorsement.

It's anybody's guess right now. According to YourRNC.com's latest endorsement count, current chairman Mike Duncan is in the lead with 36 pledged votes. Katon Dawson leads the pack for second, with 20 pledged votes. All the rest are close behind.

My thoughts.
  • Mike Duncan: Should not be re-elected. Yes, he barely got on the job in time for the 2008 election, but we need dramaticly new leadership.
  • Katon Dawson: Got hit early on for being a member of a "whites-only" country club (he was unaware of the long-forgotten rule). Showing surprising strength down the stretch. Would probably be okay...
  • Michael Steele: Too moderate for my taste. However, with Obama as president, I think Steele could be a good counter-figure.
  • Saul Anuzis: An overall bad choice. Very poor job as Michigan GOP Chair. Read here for more.
  • Ken Blackwell: Strong conservative; OKGOP Chair Gary Jones' pick. I really like this guy... solidly conservative, and would take the GOP in the right direction. Being African-American like Steele gives him an edge for criticizing Obama. I hope he pulls it out, but can he?
We will find out who the new chairman is tomorrow...

Letter to Gaza Family: I Am the Soldier Who Slept In Your Home

I ran across this on the Israeli news, and just had to post it.

An open letter to a citizen of Gaza: I Am the Soldier Who Slept In Your Home
By Yishai G (reserve soldier) - ygoldflam@gmail.com
Originally published in Hebrew in Maariv, translated by IMRA

Hello,

While the world watches the ruins in Gaza, you return to your home which remains standing. However, I am sure that it is clear to you that someone was in your home while you were away.

I am that someone.

I spent long hours imagining how you would react when you walked into your home. How you would feel when you understood that IDF soldiers had slept on your mattresses and used your blankets to keep warm.

I knew that it would make you angry and sad and that you would feel this violation of the most intimate areas of your life by those defined as your enemies, with stinging humiliation. I am convinced that you hate me with unbridled hatred, and you do not have even the tiniest desire to hear what I have to say. At the same time, it is important for me to say the following in the hope that there is even the minutest chance that you will hear me.

I spent many days in your home. You and your family's presence was felt in every corner. I saw your family portraits on the wall, and I thought of my family. I saw your wife's perfume bottles on the bureau, and I thought of my wife. I saw your children's toys and their English language schoolbooks. I saw your personal computer and how you set up the modem and wireless phone next to the screen, just as I do.

I wanted you to know that despite the immense disorder you found in your house that was created during a search for explosives and tunnels (which were indeed found in other homes), we did our best to treat your possessions with respect. When I moved the computer table, I disconnected the cables and lay them down neatly on the floor, as I would do with my own computer. I even covered the computer from dust with a piece of cloth. I tried to put back the clothes that fell when we moved the closet although not the same as you would have done, but at least in such a way that nothing would get lost.

I know that the devastation, the bullet holes in your walls and the destruction of those homes near you place my descriptions in a ridiculous light. Still, I need you to understand me, us, and hope that you will channel your anger and criticism to the right places.

I decided to write you this letter specifically because I stayed in your home.

I can surmise that you are intelligent and educated and there are those in your household that are university students. Your children learn English, and you are connected to the Internet. You are not ignorant; you know what is going on around you.

Therefore, I am sure you know that Qassam rockets were launched from your neighborhood into Israeli towns and cities.

How could you see these weekly launches and not think that one day we would say "enough"?! Did you ever consider that it is perhaps wrong to launch rockets at innocent civilians trying to lead a normal life, much like you? How long did you think we would sit back without reacting?

I can hear you saying "it's not me, it's Hamas". My intuition tells me you are not their most avid supporter. If you look closely at the sad reality in which your people live, and you do not try to deceive yourself or make excuses about "occupation", you must certainly reach the conclusion that the Hamas is your real enemy.

The reality is so simple, even a seven year old can understand: Israel withdrew from the Gaza strip, removing military bases and its citizens from Gush Katif. Nonetheless, we continued to provide you with electricity, water, and goods (and this I know very well as during my reserve duty I guarded the border crossings more than once, and witnessed hundreds of trucks full of goods entering a blockade-free Gaza every day).

Despite all this, for reasons that cannot be understood and with a lack of any rational logic, Hamas launched missiles on Israeli towns. For three years we clenched our teeth and restrained ourselves. In the end, we could not take it anymore and entered the Gaza strip, into your neighborhood, in order to remove those who want to kill us. A reality that is painful but very easy to explain.

As soon as you agree with me that Hamas is your enemy and because of them, your people are miserable, you will also understand that the change must come from within. I am acutely aware of the fact that what I say is easier to write than to do, but I do not see any other way. You, who are connected to the world and concerned about your children's education, must lead, together with your friends, a civil uprising against Hamas.

I swear to you, that if the citizens of Gaza were busy paving roads, building schools, opening factories and cultural institutions instead of dwelling in self pity, arms smuggling and nurturing a hatred to your Israeli neighbors, your homes would not be in ruins right now. If your leaders were not corrupt and motivated by hatred, your home would not have been harmed. If someone would have stood up and shouted that there is no point in launching missiles on innocent civilians, I would not have to stand in your kitchen as a soldier.

You don't have money, you tell me? You have more than you can imagine.

Even before Hamas took control of Gaza, during the time of Yasser Arafat, millions if not billions of dollars donated by the world community to the Palestinians was used for purchasing arms or taken directly to your leaders bank accounts. Gulf States, the emirates - your brothers, your flesh and blood, are some of the richest nations in the world. If there was even a small feeling of solidarity between Arab nations, if these nations had but the smallest interest in reconstructing the Palestinian people - your situation would be very different.

You must be familiar with Singapore. The land mass there is not much larger than the Gaza strip and it is considered to be the second most populated country in the world. Yet, Singapore is a successful, prospering, and well managed country. Why not the same for you?

My friend, I would like to call you by name, but I will not do so publicly. I want you to know that I am 100% at peace with what my country did, what my army did, and what I did. However, I feel your pain. I am sorry for the destruction you are finding in your neighborhood at this moment. On a personal level, I did what I could to minimize the damage to your home as
much as possible.

In my opinion, we have a lot more in common than you might imagine. I am a civilian, not a soldier, and in my private life I have nothing to do with the military. However, I have an obligation to leave my home, put on a uniform, and protect my family every time we are attacked. I have no desire to be in your home wearing a uniform again and I would be more than happy to sit with you as a guest on your beautiful balcony, drinking sweet tea seasoned with the sage growing in your garden.

The only person who could make that dream a reality is you. Take responsibility for yourself, your family, your people, and start to take control of your destiny. How? I do not know. Maybe there is something to be learned from the Jewish people who rose up from the most destructive human tragedy of the 20th century, and instead of sinking into self-pity, built a flourishing and prospering country. It is possible, and it is in your hands. I am ready to be there to provide a shoulder of support and help to you.

But only you can move the wheels of history.

Regards,
Yishai, (Reserve Soldier)

Israel Update: 'Status Quo Ante Bellum' in Gaza

The Muskogee Politico's Israel Update

Things have gotten back to status 'quo ante bellum' in Gaza. That's "as things were before the war" for those not familiar with the Latin phrase. Hamas is still firing rockets, and Israel still hits the terrorist group back with limited air strikes.
  • Hamas: RPGs and a bomb kill 1 IDF soldier, wound 3 (1-27). Two rockets and a mortar, none injured (1-28).

  • Israel: Tanks and ground troops enter Gaza in retalitation to bombing (see above), killing up to three terrorists (1-27). Air strike wounds two Hamas terrorists in a car (1-29).
... and that's just the past few days, not the weeks since Operation Cast Lead ended.

In political news:
  • The Shas political party backs Bibi Netanyahu (Likud) for Prime Minister.

  • The U.S. Consulate sold file cabinets to a Jerusalem woman three years ago at an auction... with documents classified 'Secret' in them.

  • The brother of Tzipi Livni (Kadima) is campaigning for Bib Netanyahu (Likud). Says the job of PM is "too big for her."

  • Jimmy Carter continues to make a fool of himself and his country. "I’m relieved that he’s been replaced. I think that he probably had the most disastrous term relating to foreign policy of any previous president, [Muskogee Politico: He's one to talk...] and he removed our nation’s reputation as a champion on human rights," Carter said regarding former President George W. Bush.
    Regarding the Hamas terrorist group’s firing of rockets into Israel, Carter blames Israel for not opening up the borders and said that Hamas is merely interested in drawing world attention to the plight of Gaza civilians, who are without food and water. Carter claimed that Hamas is not interested in hurting Israelis. As "proof", the former president stated that although hundreds of rockets were fired into Sderot by Hamas between 2007 and June 2008, "only one Israeli was killed in Sderot."
You have now been briefed on the latest from Israel. Again, as I have mentioned before, the best resource I have found for Israeli news is (what I consider the Israeli-version of Fox News) Arutz Sheva.

FBI Breaks Contact With CAIR

(Hat tip to zTruth)

Also breaking: the Federal Bureau of Investigation has broken off contact with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

It is a stunning rebuke to the organization which promotes itself as "arguably the most visible and public American Muslim organization." The decision to end contacts with CAIR was made quietly last summer as federal prosecutors prepared for a second trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), an Islamic charity convicted in November for illegally routing money to Hamas. CAIR was named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the case.

Its name appears on a roster of "Palestine Committee" members. Evidence in the case shows the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas's parent organization, created the Palestine Committee to help Hamas politically and financially. CAIR founders Omar Ahmad and Nihad Awad, who remains the executive director, also appear on a telephone list of Palestine Committee members. The men also participated in a secret 1993 gathering of Hamas members and supporters called to discuss ways to "derail" U.S.-led peace efforts between Israelis and Palestinians.

The IPT obtained a letter from the FBI's Oklahoma City field office, which explained that a meeting with local Muslim groups had to be postponed due to restrictions on CAIR's access. For that to change, wrote James E. Finch, special agent in charge of the FBI's Oklahoma City field office, "certain issues must be addressed to the satisfaction of the FBI. Unfortunately, these issues cannot be addressed at the local level and must be addressed by the CAIR National Office in Washington, D.C."

More here.

BREAKING: Blagojevich Removed From Office, Banned from Future Office

The Illinois State Senate concluded impeachment trials, and voted 59-0 to remove sitting Democrat Governor Rod Blagojevich from office. Lieutenant Governor Patrick Quinn, also a Democrat, replaces Blagojevich.

More here.

It's about time.

UPDATE: The State Senate also
voted 59-0 to ban Blagojevich from again holding elected office in Illinois.

Ice in Muskogee... Again

Ice Storms in Muskogee, January 2007 and 2009.




January 14, 2007: Three inches of ice. Mainly trees and power lines affected; the roads were clear.







January 28, 2009: One inch of ice, three inches of sleet. The trees and power lines aren't nearly as bad, but the roads are horrible.







January 13, 2007: This neighborhood lost power for several days. The damage to the trees was very bad by the time it was all over.







January 29, 2009: The tree damage here is fairly minimal, and the power hasn't gone off yet.





Here's a few more pictures taken this morning. There has been a little melting since the other day, but it hasn't been much.


1.2.3.

1. That's ice off the power lines. 2-3 feet long, stabbed right into the sleet. 2. They finally cleared the road. 3. Pine trees don't like the ice, but it was much, much worse in 2007.

Monday, January 26, 2009

OKGOP Chair Update: Gary Jones In


The Oklahoma Republican Party Race for Chairman


As things currently stand... a follow-up on our previous post that Cheryl Williams, the current Vice-Chair of the Oklahoma Republican Party, announced her candidacy for Chair.

It has long been suspected that Cheryl Williams was planning on running for chairman. Word had been that she would declare her intentions after the January 2009 precinct meetings, but she announced on her blog on January 24th.

From comments on Williams' Facebook page and blog, it seems that part of her platform includes utilizing technology, new media, and improved communications with the grassroots. It also appears that she is either counting on the possibility that her most likely only opponent, Gary Jones, will run for State Auditor again, or fanning rumors to that end.


It has been confirmed that she will be running against Gary Jones, the current Oklahoma GOP Chairman. Jones has been elected as chairman twice, resigning midway through his first term to run unsuccessfully for State Auditor against the now-imprisoned Jeff McMahan. If Jones wins, this will be his third term as OKGOP Chairman.

Gary Jones has been very successful as State Chairman. Under his guidance, the Oklahoma Republican Party has gained control of both the State House, for the second time ever, and State Senate for the first time in state history. The OKGOP has also swept the Corporation Commission, and U.S. Senate seats during his tenure.

Chairman Jones announced on his Facebook that he is "running for re-election for OKGOP Chairman," and "will be making a formal announcement next week after returning from the RNC winter meeting in Washington."

There has been some concern that Gary Jones would resign midterm to run again for Auditor, if re-elected; however, sources say that Jones has decided to not run for Auditor again.

In my opinion, Gary Jones is by far the most qualified, experienced choice for chairman. He has been extremely successful in his tenure, and should be kept at his position.

Precinct Meetings Tomorrow

If you are a registered Republican, tomorrow should be your local precinct meeting. I strongly encourage you to attend.

If we wish to keep our party conservative, and not allow it to drift into a more moderate or liberal organization, the grassroots must stay involved.

The precinct meeting is the most basic of Republican conventions. The precinct meeting is where it all starts. Delegates are selected for the county convention (which in turn selects delegates for the state convention), and the platform formation process begins.

This year, at the Oklahoma Republican Party State Convention, the delegates will be voting on State Chairman and State Vice-Chairman, among other things. These are very important posts.

But it all begins at the precinct meeting. So, if you live in Muskogee County, the Party is holding a combined precinct meeting at the Muskogee Public Library (801 W. Okmulgee St.) at 7:00pm, in the Grant Foreman meeting room.

If you are from Wagoner County, there will be two meetings you can attend; either on January 27th, or February 10th. Both will start at 7:00pm, at the Coweta Fairgrounds.

If you are from Cherokee County, contact County Chairman Gary Gore at (918) 458-0111, or dggore@tah-usa.net.

If you are not from these counties, contact your local county chairman for more information. This link has the phone numbers and email addresses for the different county parties.

For the future of the Republican Party, both here in Oklahoma and nationwide, please attend your local precinct meeting.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Snow in U.A.E.: Global Warming?

Areas in the United Arab Emirates (southeastern Arabian Peninsula, south of Iran) received up to four inches of snow.

Snow is unheard of in that region; this is the second time in recorded history that it has snowed there. The event left the natives literally speechless, as the local dialect has no word for 'snow'.

Must be Global Warming...

More here.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

US to Release Terrorist After Serving Half His Term

On February 19th, the U.S. will release from prison Khalid Duhham Al-Jawary, a terrorist with ties to Black September, who attempted a triple-bombing on Israeli/Jewish targets in New York City in 1973. Al-Jawary is also suspected to have been involved in bombing TWA Flight 841 in 1974.

He was finally caught in 1991, and sentenced to 30 years in prison in '93.

Why is he going to be released, with only half of his term finished? Credit for good behavior. Yes, you read right. Good behavior.

He's a terrorist! You don't release terrorists early for good behavior!

Here's some more info on the terrorist:
I cannot believe this.

Cheryl Williams to run for OKGOP Chair

Oklahoma Republican Party Vice-Chairwoman Cheryl Williams has declared her candidacy for the State Chair position, currently held by Gary Jones.

Williams announced on her blog this morning. Williams has been the vice-chair since 2007. Cheryl Williams has close ties to the "Ron Paul" wing of the Republican Party.

It is not currently known whether Gary Jones will be running for re-election, but if he does, as is expected by some, the Muskogee Politico will be wholeheartedly supporting him.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gaza Doctor Says Death Toll Exaggerated

From Ynetnews.com - Gaza doctor says death toll inflated.

Highlights:
Physician at Gaza's Shifa Hospital tells Italian newspaper number of dead in Israeli offensive 'stands at no more than 500 or 600, most of them youths recruited to Hamas' ranks'. Senior Palestinian Health Ministry official denies claims, IDF estimate on 1,200 casualties in Strip remains unchanged.

"The number of deceased stands at no more than 500 to 600. Most of them are youths between the ages of 17 to 23 who were recruited to the ranks of Hamas, who sent them to the slaughter," according to the newspaper article.

The doctor wished to remain unidentified, out of fear for his life.

A senior Palestinian Health Ministry official later denied the claims, and the Israel Defense Forces' estimate on the number of casualties in Gaza has also remained unchanged.

Despite the claims, the IDF stood behind its estimate that between 1,100 to 1,200 people were killed in the Strip during the fighting, more than two-thirds of them Hamas members.

The reporter for the Italian newspaper also quoted reporters in the Strip who told of Hamas' exaggerated figures, "We have already said to Hamas commanders – why do you insist on inflating the number of victims?"

These same reporters mentioned that the truth that will come out is likely to be similar to what occurred in Operation Defensive Shield in Jenin. "Then, there was first talk of 1,500 deaths. But then it turned out that there were only 54, 45 of which were armed men," the Palestinian reporters told the Italian newspaper.

No surprise; the Palestinian terrorist organizations are always inflating the casualty figures in a lame attempt to gain international sympathy.

Report: Black Death Kills Al-Qaeda Terrorists, Focres Camp Closure

Report: Al-Qaeda Messes Up Possible Bio/Chemical Weapons Test...
An Al-Qaeda affiliate in Algeria closed a base earlier this month after an experiment with unconventional weapons went awry, a senior U.S. intelligence official said Monday.

The official, who spoke on the condition he not be named because of the sensitive nature of the issue, said he could not confirm press reports that the accident killed at least 40 Al Qaeda operatives, but he said the mishap led the militant group to shut down a base in the mountains of Tizi Ouzou province in eastern Algeria.

He said authorities in the first week of January intercepted an urgent communication between the leadership of Al Qaeda in the Land of the Maghreb (AQIM) and Al Qaeda's leadership in the tribal region of Pakistan on the border with Afghanistan. The communication suggested that an area sealed to prevent leakage of a biological or chemical substance had been breached, according to the official.

"We don't know if this is biological or chemical," the official said.

The story was first reported by the British tabloid the Sun, which said the Al-Qaeda operatives died after being infected with a strain of bubonic plague, the disease that killed a third of Europe's population in the 14th century. But the intelligence official dismissed that claim.

(Washington Times article, Fox News article)

Al-Qaeda is believed to have been working on acquiring biological and/or chemical weapons, in addition to nuclear, for some time. The intel officer said "unconventional", which might refer to biological or chemical weapons. Has Al-Qaeda gotten a hold of those weapons, or were there attempting to manufacture their own?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change Has Come to America: The Inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama

Barack Hussein Obama - the 44th President of the United States of America

Monday, January 19, 2009

Example of Israeli Restraint

Here is a prime example of the restraint Israel has shown in dealing with terrorism:



Diverting missiles already in flight, because the target has moved into a crowd of civilians. You don't hear that in the news, though. You just hear about the doctor's house that was hit by an Israeli missile, killing his daughters; which actually turns out to have been a Hamas mortar shell, not an Israeli missile (but that doesn't get reported, either).

The ObamaCult: CNN Compares Inauguration to Islamic Hajj

H/t to zTruth.

CNN compares the preparations of the Obama Inauguration to the Islamic Hajj in Mecca.
"The coming political pilgrimage is similar to another grand event in both size and preparation. The Hajj, the most important religious pilgrimage in the Muslim world."

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Israel Finds Natural Gas

Noble Energy, based out of Houston, announced that it discovered a large natural gas deposit off the Israeli coast, some 90 kilometers from Tel Aviv.

The find is reported to be over 3.1 trillion cubic feet.

More on the discovery here and here.

CORRECTION: 3.1 trillion, not 3.1 million.

We Cease, They Fire: An Israeli Viewpoint

Here's a good post from an Israeli blog, about the unilateral Israeli ceasefire.

We Cease, They Fire
by Michael Freund

Israel's government last night suddenly agreed to a unilateral cease-fire in what can best be described as a last minute attempt to transform victory into defeat.

The foolhardiness of this move quickly became apparent, as Israel ceased, but Hamas continued to fire.

The Jewish state's self-imposed cessation of hostilities went into effect at 2 a.m. local time. Not surprisingly, just a few hours later, Hamas began firing rockets again at southern Israel, targeting six at the town of Sderot this morning.

Sure, international pressure is mounting for Israel to stop defending itself, and a new administration is about to be inaugurated in Washington which is far less likely to be sympathetic to Israel's cause.

But neither of these developments can possibly justify leaving Hamas in place in Gaza, and subjecting 900,000 Israelis in the south of the country to continued rocket fire on their homes.

There is no recourse other than outright victory, and no room for stopping until the mission is complete.

The best way to bring about a true cease-fire is to eliminate Hamas once and for all. Then, you can be sure, the rocket attacks will certainly come to a halt.

I agree.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Coast Guard Video of Flight 1549 Landing in the Hudson

H/t to zTruth.

Here's some Coast Guard video of US Airways Flight 1549 splashing in the Hudson River.

Israel Approves Unilateral Ceasefire; Gilad Shalit Still Held, Rockets Still Fall

The Israeli National Security Cabinet has approved a unilateral 10-day ceasefire, beginning at 7:00pm EST on Sunday. The 10-member cabinet voted 7-2 in favor of the ceasefire, with one abstaining.

However, Hamas continues to fire rockets into southern Israel, and Israeli POW Gilad Shalit is still being held by Hamas after over 934 days in captivity. Within minutes of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's announcement of the ceasefire, Hamas launched six rockets that hit Be'er Sheva; Ashdod and Askelon were fired at shortly before Olmert's speech. No one was injured, although several people were treated for shock, and a house was damaged.

News also in Israel...

From Arutz Sheva:
Two captured terrorists interviewed by Maariv/NRG say that Hamas was not expecting Israel's response to the escalation in missile attacks on Israeli targets that preceded Operation Cast Lead. One of them, a 52-year-old victim of a premature detonation who had already done time in an Israeli jail, said, "Hamas took a gamble. We thought, at worst Israel will come and do something from the air - something superficial. They'll come in and go out. We never thought that we would reach the point where fear will swallow the heart and the feet will want to flee. You [Israel] are fighting like you fought in '48. What got into you all of a sudden?"
When the IDF gets going, terrorists begin to melt. It has been reported that many Hamas terrorists deserted during Israel's Operation Cast Lead.

The organization and preparation of the IDF is much more evident in this operation, as opposed to the Lebanan action a few years back. The results show through.

Joe the Plumber in Sderot, Israel

(H/t to BatesLine).

Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka 'Joe the Plumber', has headed to Israel as a reporter for Pajamas TV (a project of Pajamas Media). The Sderot Media Center has a great article and video of Joe visiting the Israeli town of Sderot, which has been under constant rocket attack for nearly eight years.

You can view Joe's PJTV reports here.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Michael Bates (BatesLine) Sued by Tulsa World

The World Publishing Company (i.e. the Tulsa World) is suing conservative blogger and Urban Tulsa columnist Michael Bates for libel. Also named in the case is Keith Skrzypczak, the owner of the Urban Tulsa Weekly, and the Urban Tulsa's publishing company (Renegade Publishing Inc.).

You can read Michael Bates' take on the suit here. The Tulsa World has an article here. They contacted Bates 45 minutes after the lawsuit was filed, asking for his reaction (like he would know about it yet?).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Chesley Sullenberger - Hero

Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger, III, US Airways pilot and former F-4 Phantom pilot in the USAF, masterfully ditched Flight 1549 in the Hudson River after engine failure due to a bird strike.
'For the first time in 50 years of commercial jet flight, the pilots of US Airways Flight 1549 successfully executed one of the most technically challenging maneuvers, landing a jetliner on water without fatalities.

Although commercial jetliners are required to be equipped with life vests and inflatable slides for use in an emergency landing on water, it is a seldom-attempted feat. Indeed, even though pilots go through the motions of training to ditch a plane in the water, the generally held belief is that such landings would almost certainly result in fatalities.

To accomplish such a feat shortly after takeoff, while maneuvering past the skyscrapers and dense development of Manhattan, and into the crowded Hudson River, is widely being hailed as a testament to the crew's piloting skills.

"The fact that passengers were able to walk off of that airplane and wait on the wing for rescuers to arrive is remarkable. It's amazing," said aviation consultant Tommy McFall, who is both a former airline pilot and a retired accident investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board.

[...]

Pilots are trained from their first days as students in single-engine trainers for the possibility of a water landing, but the procedure is always considered theoretical, since there is really no way to practice it.

In such emergencies, pilots are trained to bring the airplane in for a smooth landing, just as they would on dry land. In order to keep the plane as watertight and boat-like as possible, pilots are trained to keep the landing gear stowed inside the fuselage.

One of the biggest obstacles to a safe water landing is a jetliner's engines, which hang below the wings on planes such as the A320. Because of their size, the engines could force the cockpit to hit the water at a steep angle.' (WSJ article)

For more about this real-life hero, visit the website of Safety Reliability Methods, Inc., founded by Sullenberger.

Chivalry Is Not Dead

US Airways Flight 1549 went down in the Hudson River in New York City today, after apparently hitting a flock of geese, disabling both engines.

Yahoo article excerpt: '"It was bad, man," Jeff Kolodjay of Norwalk, CT, said. But he and others spoke of a sense of calm and purpose that quickly descended on the passengers and crew as the plane started filling with water and rescue boats swarmed to the scene. They decided women and children would be evacuated first.'

NY Daily News: 'Like the Titanic with a happy ending, "all the guys on the plane did a good job that the women and children got off first," Kolodjay said.'

Chivalry still lives, folks.

Campaign Finance Shot Down in Muskogee

Muskogee Mayor John Tyler Hammons proposed a campaign finance disclosure ordinance this past week that would require all city candidates to report contributions in excess of $200, or face a fine and misdemeanor conviction. The City Council approved a campaign finance ordinance in 2001, but voted it out a few years later.

On January 6th, the City Council's Public Works committee voted 6-2 against the measure. Voting against were Councilors Bob Luttrull, Robert Perkins, David Jones, Jim Ritchey, James Gulley, and Shawn Raper. Mayor Hammons and Councilor David Ragsdale were the only votes in favor; Councilor Jackie Luckey was not present.

From the Muskogee Phoenix:

The councilors voting against the measure did not hesitate in letting Hammons know how much they disliked his proposal.

“I’m very much opposed to it,” Luttrull said.

“On what grounds?” Hammons asked.

“I think it’s just stupid,” Luttrull answered.

Ritchey said Hammons’ repeated messages calling for openness and transparency in the city government implies those now in office have something to hide.

He asked Hammons who is doing what that he thinks is wrong.

Hammons campaigned with such an ordinance as one of his main planks in his platform.

On January 7th, the Muskogee Phoenix, so far not one of Hammons' allies, came out in favor of a campaign finance ordinance, although with modifications from Hammon's proposal.

During the city council's meeting on the 12th, Mayor Hammons brought the measure up again. This time, the vote failed 6-3; Councilman Luckey was present, and voted with Mayor Hammons for the ordinance. Councilman Jones voiced his support of campaign finance disclosure, but opposed Hammons' version.

Since the failure of the ordinance, the Muskogee Phoenix's letter-to-the-editor section has been flooded with support of Mayor Hammons' measure, and disapproval of the council's reaction, councilmembers Luttrull and Ritchey in particular.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

More Video and Pictures from CAIR-OK's Gaza Protest

I've uploaded my pictures, and the third of four videos from CAIR-OK's Gaza Protest on the 5th. You can click here to view the pictures, and the video is below.

Ron Paul Is No Friend of Israel

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution "Recognizing Israel's right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza, reaffirming the United States strong support for Israel, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process."

The vote was 390 'aye', 5 'nay', and 22 'present'. Joining liberal Democrats such as Dennis Kucinich (OH) and Maxine Waters (CA) in voting against the resolution was Texas Republican Ron Paul.

In a YouTube video published on the 3rd, Ron Paul says, "To me it's a pretty sad day for the whole world because it means the whole idea of preemptive, preventative war is spreading. Israel says they have to go in to prevent a problem... and who knows for what other reasons."

He goes on to add, "This thing is an entire mess. The Palestinians are virtually in like a concentration camp. They have a few, small missiles, but it is so minor compared to the firepower of Israel, who has nuclear weapons, and they can turn off all the food and all the water and whatever they want to the people in Palestine, and yet we are going to have to accept some of the moral responsibility for this."

If Rep. Paul thinks the Gaza Strip is a concentration camp, perhaps he needs to visit Auschwitz and Dachau and Buchenwald. Perhaps the congressman can visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum someday soon, to find out what exactly a concentration camp is. The Museum being in Washington, D.C., would be much more convenient for the doctor than traveling to Germany and Poland. Or closer to home, he might even have some Holocaust survivors in his district. He should ask them what those camps were like.

Maybe Ron Paul thinks Israel should stand idly by as Hamas bombs the Israeli people, and fires rockets day after day. Maybe Ron Paul thinks that the deaths of Israeli civilians are okay, since rockets are only "minor" weapons, not major ones like nuclear bombs. Whatever Ron Paul thinks, he is dead wrong on Israel.

He may be right when it comes to fiscal responsibility, but Ron Paul is dangerously wrong on most of his foreign policy, and dead wrong when it comes to Israel. He is no friend of Israel.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Muskogee County Under Burn Ban

From the Muskogee Phoenix:

Muskogee County Commissioners have declared a burn ban in effect until further notice.

It is unlawful to build a campfire or bonfire, or to burn trash or other material or otherwise cause a forest, grass, range, crop or other wildlands fire, according to Oklahoma law.

It is unlawful for any person to set fire to any forest, grass, range, crop, or other wildlands, or to build a campfire or bonfire, or to burn trash or other material that may cause a forest, grass, range, crop or other wildlands fire.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

RNC Chair Debate

In case you missed it, the RNC Chair debate held by Americans for Tax Reform was held on January 5th.

It ran on C-SPAN, and you can view the debate in its entirety here.

OU vs. Florida Tonight

Tonight is the BCS National Championship game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the University of Florida Gators.

Kickoff is set for 7:19pm CST. The game will be on FOX; that's Channel 23 out of Tulsa and Channel 25 out of Oklahoma City.

Boomer Sooner!

Ken Blackwell's 'Conservative Resurgence Plan'

Ken Blackwell, candidate for RNC Chairman, has released his 'Conservative Resurgence Plan', co-authored by Oklahoma GOP Chairman Gary Jones.

You can view the document here. Blackwell is swiftly becoming the front-runner for the RNC Chairmanship.

RNC members will meet January 28-31, during which time they will vote on a new chairman.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Pictures and Video from CAIR-OK Gaza Protest

The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations held a rally at the State Capitol building today, protesting Israel's recent invasion of Gaza, known as 'Operation Cast Lead'.

Originally, a press conference was scheduled for 11:30am, but as of noon, nobody showed up to speak. About twenty-five people, mostly members of the media, waited for half anhour outside Room 432B for Razi Hashmi, the director of CAIR-OK, to come.

A "Peace Vigil for Gaza" was planned for noon, at the Capitol Building's south plaza. I would estimate that between 150 and 200 protestors came. Most of the participants were local Muslims, including several imams, along with various anti-war peace activists.

The protestors marched around in circles for nearly an hour, shouting various slogans and chants such as:
  • Free, free Palestine
  • Free, free Gaza
  • Stop the genocide, stop the bombing
  • Sharon and Hitler are the same; the only difference is the name
  • Occupation is a crime
... etcetera.

They held posters of all sizes, with phrases such as "Terror, made in Israel, sponsored by the U.S.", "War is not the answer", "Israel is the terrorist", "End the occupation of Palestine", "Stop the genocide", and "Stop the war".

They also held 'bloodied' baby dolls.

CAIR-OK plans on making this a weekly event.

I have video here and here (more will be uploaded). A few more pictures (click to make larger):

CAIR-OK Rally and Press Conference in OKC Today

The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is holding a press conference and "Peace Vigil" at the Capitol Building in Oklahoma City today.

The press conference will take place at 11:30am in room 432B. The "Peace Vigil for Gaza" will start at noon and go until 1:00pm on the South Plaza of the Capitol Building.

We will try to have some video and pictures up sometime afterwards.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Richardson Pulls Cabinet Bid

Breaking: Bill Richardson drops Commerce Secretary nomination amid investigation.

WASHINGTON – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on Sunday announced that he was withdrawing his nomination to be President-elect Barack Obama's commerce secretary amid a grand jury investigation into how some of his political donors won a lucrative state contract.

Richardson's withdrawal was the first disruption of Obama's Cabinet process and the second "pay-to-play" investigation that has touched Obama's transition to the presidency. The president-elect has remained above the fray in both the case of arrested Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the New Mexico case.

Read more here.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

RNC Race: The Blackwell Surprise

RNC Chair candidate Ken Blackwell, whom we first mentioned when OKGOP Chairman Gary Jones endorsed him, continues to gain heavy-weight endorsements in his bid. Today, Blackwell announced a whole slew of new supporters. Here's the press release:

Conservative Leaders Endorse Ken Blackwell for RNC C

A broad cross-section of American conservative economic, social and foreign policy leaders has endorsed the candidacy of former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell for chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC).

The election will be at an RNC meeting in D.C. January 28-31.

A meeting of conservative leaders, gathered by the Council for National Policy on November 13, asked Virginia Republican National Committeeman Morton Blackwell (no relation to Ken Blackwell) to prepare and distribute a list of questions for the RNC chairmanship candidates.

All six active candidates, Saul Anuzis of Michigan, Ken Blackwell of Ohio, Katon Dawson of South Carolina, Mike Duncan of Kentucky, John “Chip” Saltsman of Tennessee, and Michael Steele of Maryland, answered the questions. The 37 questions and the six candidates’ answers are posted on the website Townhall.com.

After a review on January 2 of the candidates’ answers and a discussion of their other qualifications, the conservative leaders listed below announced their support of Ken Blackwell and urged the 168 members of the RNC to elect him at their late-January meeting.

Their organizational affiliations are provided for identification only.

The conservative endorsers noted that there were other good candidates, but all agreed that Ken Blackwell is the best choice. They intend to contact grassroots conservatives across the country and ask them to urge the three RNC members from each state and U.S. territory to vote for Ken Blackwell for RNC chairman.

Gary Aldrich, Chairman, CNP Action, Inc.
MORTON C. BLACKWELL, Virginia Republican National Committeeman
Robert B. Bluey, Contributing Editor, RedState
L. Brent Bozell, Founder and President, Media Research Center
Kellyanne Conway, CEO and President, the polling company, inc./WomanTrend

T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr., Former Domestic Advisor to President Reagan
JAMES C. DOBSON, Ph.D., FOUNDER & CHAIRMAN, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY
Becky Norton Dunlop, President, Council for National Policy
Stuart W. Epperson, Chairman, Salem Communications Corporation
STEVE FORBERS, CHAIRMAN & CEO, FORBES MEDIA

Dr. Ronald Godwin, Vice Chancellor, Liberty University
Rebecca Hagelin, Author and Conservative Columnist
Colin Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring
DAVID KEEN, Chairman, American Conservative Union
Tim LaHaye, Founder and President, Tim LaHaye Ministries

ED MEESE, PAST PRESIDENT, COUNCIL FOR NATIONAL POLICY
James C. Miller, Past President, Council for National Policy
TONY PERKINS, PRESIDENT, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL
Ken Raasch, Chairman & CEO, Creative Brands Group
Alfred S. Regnery, Publisher, The American Spectator

PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY, PRESIDENT, EAGLE FORUM
PAT TOOMEY, PRESIDENT, CLUB FOR GROWTH
Richard Viguerie, Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com

[all-caps emphasis are mine; major endorsements]

Blackwell has gathered so many influential supporters, as well as the most publicly announced Republican National Committee members, that any other candidate will have a hard time beating Ken Blackwell.

From what I'm seeing and hearing, this is Ken Blackwell's race to lose. I'm predicting a Blackwell victory come February.

The Difference a Day can make, EU-style

The European Union on the current Israel vs. Hamas/Terrorism conflict:

A few day ago...
"The EU condemns the Israeli bombardments as well as rocket attacks from Gaza. It demands that this stops immediately."

"I [Javier Solana, the European Union’s foreign policy chief] call for an immediate cessation of military actions on both sides. The EU has repeatedly condemned rocket attacks against Israel. The current Israeli strikes are inflicting an unacceptable toll on Palestinian civilians and will only worsen the humanitarian crisis."

... and today:
"At the moment, from the perspective of the last days, we understand this step as a defensive, not offensive, action," said Czech EU presidency spokesman Jiri Potuznik.
Vaclav Klaus, the conservative president of the Czech Republic, has now taken over the rotating presidency of the EU. His views on national sovereignty, global warming, and Israel are counter to much of the liberal governments of Europe. His predecessor in the EU presidency, Nicolas Sarkozy, had a different view on the latest Israeli conflict.

The statement by Vaclav Klaus led France and Great Britain to respond with this:

"France condemns the Israeli ground offensive against Gaza as it condemns the continuation of rocket firing."

"It is not the position of the British government."

I really like this Vaclav Klaus...

Operation Cast Lead: Day Eight

Israeli ground forces have moved into northern Gaza today, shortly after nightfall. Israeli troops have not been there, the site of former Jewish settlements, since the Disengagement in 2005.

Shortly before ground troops went in, the IDF began to use artillery to pound terrorist locations and mines. The IAF also struck more targets in Gaza. The IDF estimated another 30 Hamas terrorists killed, with no Israeli casualties.

Hamas continued to launch rockets into Israel, but there were no casualties. A home was hit, but most of the rockets landed in open areas.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Israel is prepared for any attacks by the Iran-supported terrorist group Hezbollah on the border with Lebanon. Iran had warned that Hezbollah will get involved if Israel attacked Gaza on the ground.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Situation in Israel

Here are some links on the situation in Israel, from the Israelis themselves:
Operation Cast Lead continues, with a very high-ranking Hamas leader, as the Israeli media says, "liquidated" today. Hamas terrorists continue to fire rockets in response.