"...everyone is bored,and devotes himself to cultivating habits..these habits are not peculiar to our town.." Albert Camus "The Plague"

Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Green Card in Every Pot

In her May 30 rant Ann Coulter pretty much sums up the feelings and frustrations of most conservatives regarding the immigration reform act:

Until the recipient culture is capable of doing an effective job of Americanizing immigrants, it's preposterous to talk about a massive influx of Hispanic immigrants accomplishing anything other than turning America into yet another Latin American-style banana republic. And it is simply a fact that no one is trying to turn immigrants into Americans.

To the contrary, Democrats are trying to turn new immigrants into wards of the state -- and with some success! -- so they will be permanent Democratic voters. Rich Republicans and their handmaidens in Washington are trying to turn immigrants into a permanent servant class.

She quotes Louis Brandeis, an immigrant and first Jewish Supreme Court justice:

(Brandeis)said that Americanization required that the immigrant adopt "the clothes, the manners and the customs generally prevailing here" and that he adopt "the English language as the common medium of speech."

But, Brandeis said, this is only part of it. "(W)e properly demand of the immigrant even more than this -- he must be brought into complete harmony with our ideals and aspirations and cooperate with us for their attainment. Only when this has been done will he possess the national consciousness of an American."

Or as George Bush would call it, "empty rhetoric." And as Linda Chavez would call it, "racist."

Pam at Blogmeister USA has an interesting post on the immigration debate.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"The only thing worse than bombing Iran is allowing Iran to get the bomb."

John McCain above, as quoted by Norman Podhoretz in an astonishing new piece on WSJ online today. A very long article but worth reading.Some excerpts:

In his 2002 State of the Union address, President Bush made a promise:

We'll be deliberate, yet time is not on our side. I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons.

In that speech, the president was referring to Iraq, but he has made it clear on a number of subsequent occasions that the same principle applies to Iran. Indeed, he has gone so far as to say that if we permit Iran to build a nuclear arsenal, people 50 years from now will look back and wonder how we of this generation could have allowed such a thing to happen, and they will rightly judge us as harshly as we today judge the British and the French for what they did and what they failed to do at Munich in 1938. I find it hard to understand why George W. Bush would have put himself so squarely in the dock of history on this issue if he were resigned to leaving office with Iran in possession of nuclear weapons, or with the ability to build them. Accordingly, my guess is that he intends, within the next 21 months, to order air strikes against the Iranian nuclear facilities from the three U.S. aircraft carriers already sitting nearby.....

Not so George W. Bush, a man who knows evil when he sees it and who has demonstrated an unfailingly courageous willingness to endure vilification and contumely in setting his face against it. It now remains to be seen whether this president, battered more mercilessly and with less justification than any other in living memory, and weakened politically by the enemies of his policy in the Middle East in general and Iraq in particular, will find it possible to take the only action that can stop Iran from following through on its evil intentions both toward us and toward Israel. As an American and as a Jew, I pray with all my heart that he will.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day 2007: The View From My Place

Friday, May 25, 2007

Mountain Laurel: Our Connecticut State Flower

A walk in the woods today revealed this ancient specimen. Not yet in bloom, or did we miss it? Supposedly these bloom in late May or early June so perhaps we were a week or two early. This photo taken 5/25/07 in Wadsworth Falls State Park, Middletown/Middlefield.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Immigration Bill Portends Disaster for America!

Newt Gingrich tears into the proposed immigration reform act with passion and facts. In his latest newsletter he calls the present shenanigans in D.C. "An Immigration Shipwreck in Sight". Some excerpts:

The announcement last week that the White House and a group of senators have reached an agreement on "comprehensive immigration reform" should have the same effect that the word "iceberg" had on the passengers and crew of the Titanic.

This proposed agreement is a disaster of the first order, and it will severely cripple America for the foreseeable future.

You can tell how bad this bill is by the Senate Democratic leadership's announced goal of trying to pass it before the Memorial Day weekend....

When the FBI arrested six terrorists in New Jersey two weeks ago it turned out that three of them had been in the U.S. illegally for at least TWENTY years.

These three had crossed our unprotected border and had been living in New Jersey.

But here's the even more outrageous part: The police had filed 75 (SEVENTY-FIVE!) charges against them, including drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.

In 75 interactions, the police never once learned that these three people were here illegally.

The government failed twice: First, by failing to secure the border, and second, by failing to determine that these people were here illegally. The result was that more than five years after 9/11 we were saved from a mass killing at Fort Dix only because of the patriotism and courage of a clerk at an electronics store.

Compare the 75 charges made against the would-be Fort Dix terrorists with how we rounded up German spies in World War II. In June 1942, it took a total of 15 days to track down and arrest eight German spies who landed in Florida and New York from submarines. We executed six of them and gave one life in prison and the other thirty years. We were serious about winning that war). Go here for a more detailed comparison and a list of the 75 charges against the Fort Dix terrorists.

Faced with this level of failure of bureaucracy, how could anyone believe for a minute that this new immigration bill will work? The fact is it can't and it won't. It will rely on the same failed bureaucracy and produce more years of failure.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

James Calvin Tillman: One Happy Fella!

James Calvin Tillman
A joyful James Calvin Tillman speaks with reporters outside Superior Court in Hartford.
Jul 11, 2006

State legislators tried to calculate the incalculable Wednesday, voting to award $5 million to compensate an innocent man who spent 18 years in prison.

The House and Senate unanimously approved the settlement with James Calvin Tillman, 45, who was freed a year ago after DNA evidence exonerated him of a rape in Hartford.

Source: Hartford Courant 5/17/07

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

GOP Debate II (5/15/07)
My take:

: Seems too anxious to become President; he did get a round of applause when he countered Ron Paul's (sort of) conspiracy theories.

Mitt: Very suave and urbane and articulate; well prepared; stands tough on his governorship in MA as a con in a blue/black state.

McCain: He leaned hard on his military background, as well he should. His experience as a POW strongly informs his views on interrogation and whether forms of "enhanced interrogation" could be used in extreme national security emergencies. He claimed that military people are the ones most opposed to extra legal methods of intel extraction.

Hunter: The clear winner if one includes clarity of vision with determination to do whatever is necessary to preserve this nation against foreign enemies, illegal immigration, out of control spending.

Paul: Not quite the Dennis Kucinich of the right, but close.

Republican strategist Rich Galen's take on last night's debate:(excerpts)

Shorthand: Giuliani helped himself. McCain performed well. Huckabee did well enough so that the big three is now the big three and a half. Giving Romney the kindest review, he came out where he started, but I suspect he may have hurt himself by appearing too pre-programmed in his answers.....

The Giuliani campaign has signaled a major strategic shift. They will no longer attempt to portray him as a Conservative - which he is not - but will attempt to show that he is a center-right candidate running in center-right country. (emphasis added)

That is, of course, a gamble in a Republican primary campaign.....

Throughout, Giuliani demonstrated he will stay on the issue of national security. When Ron Paul said that, in essence, it was the US presence in the Middle East which invited the September 11th attacks, Giuliani demanded that Paul take it back. He refused.
Read Rich's column "Mullings" here.
Labels: GOP Debate Republican Presidential Candidates Rich Galen

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Corpse Flowers are Bursting Out All Over!

Several locations are reporting the blooming of this rare plant on this Mother's Day weekend. Our own
Amorphophallus titanum* (titan arum) at the UCONN greenhouses is blooming at this moment; it's last blooming was in 2004.

The plant pictured above is in the arboretum at Gustavus Adolphus college in St. Peter MN. The culmination of this plant was widely heralded with the announcement "Perry is Open". (Perry must be the plant's name) Another plant 'Ted the Titan", bloomed at UCAL Davis in June 2003.

UCONN experts say:

Once fully opened, the bright red bloom smells like three-day old road kill. It will even look like rotting meat, a perfect scenario for the insects that pollinate it _ flies and carrion beetles.

When the plant first bloomed at UConn in 2004, more than 20,000 people dropped by for a whiff.

School officials say it will be at its stinkiest in the first hour after it blooms tonight. After that, visitors will have about 72 hours, or until Sunday night, to take in the aroma.

Interesting quote:

“It smells just like a rotting corpse. In 2004, there was a medical examiner here who came to see it and confirmed that it smelled exactly like a corpse. It has the compounds that a rotting corpse has." -- Clinton Morse, plant growth facilities manager for UConn's ecology and evolutionary biology department.

Latest from UCONN website

The example below bloomed in Seattle last year.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

*(the name hardly needs translation!)
Tagged: UCONN Gustavus Adolphus College Corpse Flower

Sunday, May 06, 2007

What if the Shoe Bomber Had Succeeded...........
The chilling photo sequence above demonstrates the horrific power of the small quantity of high explosive hidden in Richard Reid's shoe. Had alert passengers not spotted his attempt to ignite the bomb the entire aircraft would had been destroyed with the loss of 197 lives. The still photos above were taken from an FBI video of test conducted at Quantico VA to duplicate the scenario with Reid and his shoe bomb. The full account of the experiments and video can be seen at News of the World (UK) site. An excerpt from the News of the World story follows:

This is what Reid's bomb would have done to a plane full of passengers flying at 30,000ft, if the detonator had not been faulty.

We showed the video to top anti-terror cop Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman who said: "It's only when you see the bomb going off inside a pressurised air cabin that you really see the catastrophic results. The plane is split in two.

"The video shows the shot from inside, it's taken to show you what it would look like if you were a passenger on that flight.

"You can see the plane shake and then it goes dark. I have seen this footage again and again and each time I still find it chilling."

Mr Hayman added: "What this video shows is the ingenuity and the ruthlessness that these people possess, the same ingenuity and ruthlessness you saw in the Crevice trial.

"And they're constantly refining their techniques, developing new methods of mass murder. Sometimes they sound outlandish — just like a bomb in a shoe sounds far-fetched.

"But look at the result in this video. This is what we're fighting against."

The footage is now to be used by Scotland Yard to train its officers. Reid, 33, who was born in Kent, pleaded guilty to attempting to blow up Flight 63.

The court was told he was overpowered by passengers and crew as he attempted to light a fuse protruding from one of his shoes. He is serving a life sentence in the U.S.

Mr Hayman agrees with the News of the World that the public should see the shocking simulation of what he could have done as he says another attack is "highly likely".

Tags: Richard Reid Shoe Bomber FBI War On Terror Scotland Yard