Thursday, May 14, 2009

Leaky Cartoons

Gender Based Abortions

HotAir Props

Amanda Carpenter makes this the Hot Button issue at the Washington Times today, and it provides an interesting juxtaposition to a post I wrote last month. Sweden has approved gender-specific abortions, allowing parents to rid themselves of an unwanted daughter in a closely-watched ethics case:

Swedish women will be permitted to abort their children based on the sex of the fetus, according to a ruling by Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare.

The ruling was spurred by a request from Kai Wedenberg, head of the clinic where a woman twice requested, and received, an abortion based on sex.

Mr. Wedenberg asked for clarification from health officials after a woman, who already had two girls, requested amniocentesis and to be told the sex of her unborn child. She found out she was pregnant with another girl and asked for an abortion six days later.

The woman then became pregnant again, returned to the clinic and asked for another amniocentesis, which was not performed. Later, at her ultrasound, she asked the nurse to reveal the sex of her fetus, which was a girl. After learning this, the mother requested an abortion later that day and received it later that week.

Last month, I noted the opposition of the abortion-rights group Center for Reproductive Rights to the same practice in China, where the state’s one-child policy makes gender selection more important for parents. Sweden has no such restrictions; in this case, the woman already had two daughters and wants a son. CRR opposed the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, putting their fright over what they call “fetus rights” over their objections to gender-specific infanticide.

At least Sweden remained consistent. Unlike the CRR, their decision reluctantly noted that the woman’s motivation was irrelevant if one accepts that someone can “choose” to end human life as a right. One wonders whether CRR will protest this decision in Sweden as they do in China, extending their intellectual confusion over the nature of “choice” as an absolute right.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Race Talk -- Negro? Black? African-American? HELP!

Race Talk
Walter E. Williams
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What to call black people has to be confusing to white people. Having been around for 73 years, I have been through a number of names. Among the polite ones are: colored, Negro, Afro-American, black, and now African-American. Among those names, African-American is probably the most unintelligent. You say, "What do you mean, Williams?" Suppose I told you that I had a European-American friend or a South-America-American friend, or a North-America-American friend. You'd probably say, "Williams, that's stupid. Europe, South America and North America are continents consisting of many peoples." You might insist that I call my friend from Germany a German-American instead of European-American and my friend from Brazil a Brazilian-American rather than a South-America-American and my friend from Canada a Canadian-American instead of a North-American. So would not the same apply to people whose heritage lies on the African continent? For example, instead of claiming that President Barack Obama is the first African-American president, it should be that he's the first Kenyan-American president. In that sense, Obama is lucky. Unlike most American blacks, he knows his national heritage; the closest to a national heritage the rest of us can identify is some country along Africa's gold coast.

Another problem with the African-American label is not all people of African ancestry are dark. Whites are roughly 10 percent of Africa's population and include not only European settlers but Arabs and Berbers as well. So is an Afrikaner who becomes a U.S. citizen a part of United States' African-American population? Should census takers and affirmative action/diversity bean counters count Arabs, Berbers and Afrikaners who are U.S. citizens as African-Americans and should they be eligible for racial quotas in college admittance and employment?

Are black Americans a minority group? When one uses the term minority, there is an inference that somewhere out there is a majority but in the United States we are a nation of minorities. According to the U.S. Census Bureau 2000 census, where people self-identify, the ancestry of our largest ethnic groups are people of German ancestry (15.2 percent), followed by Irish (10.8 percent), African (8.8), and English (8.7) ancestry. Of the 92 ethnic groups listed, in the census, 75 of them are less than 1 percent of our population.

Race talk often portrays black Americans as downtrodden and deserving of white people's help and sympathy. That vision is an insult of major proportions. As a group, black Americans have made some of the greatest gains, over the highest hurdles, in the shortest span of time than any other racial group in mankind's history. This unprecedented progress can be seen through several measures. If one were to total black earnings, and consider black Americans a separate nation, he would find that in 2005 black Americans earned $644 billion, making them the world's 16th richest nation -- that is just behind Australia but ahead of Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. Black Americans are, and have been, chief executives of some of the world's largest and richest cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. It was a black American, Gen. Colin Powell, appointed Joint Chief of Staff in October 1989, who headed the world's mightiest military and later became U.S. Secretary of State, and was succeeded by Condoleezza Rice, another black American. Black Americans are among the world's most famous personalities and a few are among the richest. Most blacks are not poor but middle class.

On the eve of the Civil War, neither a slave nor a slave owner would have believed these gains possible in less than a mere century and a half, if ever. That progress speaks well not only of the sacrifices and intestinal fortitude of a people; it also speaks well of a nation in which these gains were possible. These gains would not have been possible anywhere else.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Under My Belt -- Wineries Visited

Wineries Visited

Paso Robles

  • Adelaida
  • Austin Hope
  • Eberle
  • Carina
  • Carmody McKnight
  • Castoro
  • Chumeia
  • Dark Star
  • Derby
  • Denner
  • Dover Canyon
  • Eagle Castle
  • Eberle
  • EOS Estate
  • Firestone
  • Five Rivers
  • Four Vines
  • Grey Wolf
  • Halter Ranch
  • Hunt Wine
  • Jada
  • J.Lohr Wines
  • Justin
  • Locatelli
  • Martin & Weyrich
  • Meridian
  • Midnight
  • Moonstone
  • Norman
  • Opolo
  • Peachy Canyon
  • Pipestone
  • Robert Hall
  • Rotta
  • Summerwood
  • Tablas Creek
  • Thacher
  • Thunderbolt
  • Tobin James
  • Tolo
  • Treana
  • Turley Wine
  • Villicana
  • Vina Robles
  • Wild Horse
  • Windward
  • Whalebone
  • Zenaida

Santa Barbara

  • Andrew Murray
  • Artiste
  • Beckmen
  • Brander
  • Bridlewood
  • Cambria
  • Carina
  • Curtis
  • Fess Parker
  • Firestone
  • Foley Estates
  • Gainey
  • Hitching Post
  • Kalyra
  • Kenneth Volk
  • Koehler
  • Lincourt
  • Roblar
  • Rusack
  • Sanford
  • Scott
  • Shoestring
  • Sunstone
  • Zaca Mesa

Who Is Classier and Funnier -- Conservatives or Liberals (Social Experiment)

I thought this was a good idea for a post over at Black-5

Humor from Liberals: here and here

Humor from Conservatives: here, and here

Who is the classier act? And who is funnier? You be the Judge.

(I submit that the current President of these United States can be pretty funny when he wants to be.... We'd do well to remember that not all of Life is a Socialist train wreck in slow motion, and laugh at ourselves when the opportunity presents itself.)

So yeah, I thought he was funny mostly, and even when he did take a couple of cheap shots, I don't begrudge him that time....even he deserves to relax and unwind.

But we all know who is the funnier, more genuine, and bigger Man in the room.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Nancy Pelosi * Torture * Ann Coulter * Juan Williams * Photo Ops

I am here going to import a two part "series" from HotAir on Pelosi's knowledge on "torture." I will follow it with a video or two, enjoy -- its like shooting fish in a barrel.
PART 1 from HotAir

Remember, Madam Speaker’s official story is that she was briefed merely on the White House’s belief that waterboarding was legal, not that they ever planned to actually, you know, use it. I’m starting to lose count of how much evidence there is to the contrary at this point: First was this 2007 WaPo report on Pelosi being given a virtual tour of a CIA “black site” at which waterboarding would be used, then came Porter Goss’s op-ed last week reminding her that he got the same briefings she got and he knew exactly what was going on, and now here’s ABC today with a contemporaneous report from the office of the Director of National Intelligence confirming that, oh yes, she knew.

The report details a Sept. 4, 2002 meeting between intelligence officials and Pelosi, then-House intelligence committee chairman Porter Goss, and two aides. At the time, Pelosi was the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee.

The meeting is described as a “Briefing on EITs including use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah, background on authorities, and a description of particular EITs that had been employed.”

EITs stand for “enhanced interrogation techniques,” a classification of special interrogation tactics that includes waterboarding…

Brendan Daly, a Pelosi spokesman, said Pelosi’s recollection of the meeting is different than the way it is described in the report from the DNI’s office.

“The briefers described these techniques, said they were legal, but said that waterboarding had not yet been used,” Daly said.

Daly pointed out that the report backs up Pelosi’s contention that she was briefed only once on “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

Follow the link and note ABC’s update about how many other Democrats knew what was up. I’m starting to think that “rebranding” really might be the answer for the GOP. Since all it takes to escape the left’s wrath on issues like torture or extending the war in Afghanistan or quadrupling the size of a deficit they claimed to care about under Bush is calling yourself a Democrat, why not just call ourselves Democrats from now on? We get to keep all the same policies we have now and avail ourselves of the Absolute Moral Authority that comes with claiming the mantle of enlightenment. Show of hands: How many newly minted Blue Dogs here want to see Gitmo stay open?

Nancy Pelosi’s attempt to evade responsibility for her role in approving the use of waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques took another hit today in the Washington Post — and this time the fire comes from her side of the aisle. Pete Hoekstra upped the ante as well, demanding the release of precise minutes of Congressional briefings, and Leon Panetta has promised to make them available, at least to Capitol Hill:

A top aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attended a CIA briefing in early 2003 in which it was made clear that waterboarding and other harsh techniques were being used in the interrogation of an alleged al-Qaeda operative, according to documents the CIA released to Congress on Thursday.

Pelosi has insisted that she was not directly briefed by Bush administration officials that the practice was being actively employed. But Michael Sheehy, a top Pelosi aide, was present for a classified briefing that included Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), then the ranking minority member of the House intelligence committee, at which agency officials discussed the use of waterboarding on terrorism suspect Abu Zubaida.

A Democratic source acknowledged yesterday that it is almost certain that Pelosi would have learned about the use of waterboarding from Sheehy. Pelosi herself acknowledged in a December 2007 statement that she was aware that Harman had learned of the waterboarding and had objected in a letter to the CIA’s top counsel.

Pelosi’s attempt to weasel onto Harman’s objection fails when one looks at the briefing notes. Both Pelosi and Sheehy attended a briefing on September 4, 2002, five months before Harman attended her first briefing. That 9/02 briefing specifically covered EITs and their use on Abu Zubaydah. Harman raised her objection in 2003, not in 2002, as she had yet to attend one of the EIT briefings.

Hoekstra demanded the release of more documents, apparently already aware of their contents:

Hoekstra, who requested the history of agency briefings of members of Congress, is also seeking notes made by the CIA during each briefing, documents that he said last week include “a very precise accounting of the substance of each briefing.” He said those memos would detail “not only the specific information provided, but also the degree of bipartisan consensus that existed with respect to the programs in question.”

In a letter to Hoekstra, CIA Director Leon Panetta said the classified memos describing what was said at each briefing would be available at CIA headquarters for review by congressional staff, according to an agency official.

That is no longer sufficient. Since Eric Holder and Barack Obama have opened the possibility of legal action against people in the loop on waterboarding and other techniques, we have seen competing leaks that give small slices of the overall picture. The act of releasing the OLC memos, while not a leak, was another politically selective act intended to give only a small part of the picture for the administration’s purposes. We need to see all of the documentation, with only the most sensitive information redacted, in order to know exactly what was done, who ordered it, who approved it, and who knew about it — and what we discovered as a result of it.

Only by getting all of the information on the table can we have an informed, rational discussion about methods, values, and responsibilities. Obama opened Pandora’s Box, and now we need to let it all escape in order to get the full picture. The drip-drip-drip leaks and releases are akin to a Chinese water torture on rational discussion of this topic, irony definitely intended.

Update (AP): The left’s newest excuse for Pelosi, in case you’re wondering, is that the descriptions of the briefings in the DNI report might not be accurate. Their source? Leon Panetta, the new, er, Democratic head of the CIA:

Ms. Pelosi also noted that Leon E. Panetta, the director of the C.I.A., had warned lawmakers that the descriptions of briefings provided in the new report were based on notes and recollections of C.I.A. officers. “In the end, you and the committee will have to determine whether this information is an accurate summary of what actually happened,” Mr. Panetta wrote to several members of Congress.

They could always ask Porter Goss — after all, he was there — but I digress. This 11th-hour attempt by Panetta to save Pelosi’s ass by discrediting his own officers would have been laughed at by the nutroots had the parties been reversed, but instead I saw bloggers like Greg Sargent pointing to it hopefully yesterday afternoon. Why, oh why, I wonder, would they be so quick to take this seriously when they’re supposedly so keen to know the truth about who knew what? Funny how Democrats get the benefit of the doubt.

Stressful Cartoons