Sunday, August 18, 2013

Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood: the Left consistently gets things wrong

In early 2011, Ian Black, the Middle East Editor of the left-wing (UK) Guardian wrote on the Muslim Brotherhood:
Like other Islamist movements, its popularity is based on a reputation for not being corrupt and charity work in clinics, nurseries and after-school tutoring. Volunteers fill gaps left by a state that has seen illiteracy rise
and services fail as liberal economic reforms enriched businesses close to the regime. . . .

Nowadays it eschews violence and is attacked by al-Qaida for urging young Muslims to vote in elections instead of taking up jihad. [Emph. added]
 Now, in 2013, this group, which was supposed to focus on "charity" and to "eschew violence," has ripped Egypt apart with violence that has left 900 dead in just the last four days.

For his part, Pres. Obama is still siding with the Muslim Brotherhood.

RELATED: Back in 2002, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) praised Osama bin Laden's charity work in similar terms:
We've got to ask, why is this man [Bin Laden] so popular around the world... He's been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day-care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful.
As far as I know, no reporter ever asked her to explain why Islamist extremists, given their view of women's rights, would be "building day-care facilities."

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Why public education is overrated

While skimming the book Deconstructing Reagan, I ran across this peculiar paragraph discussing Pres. Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative:
The president latched on to the concept of a space shield and made it one of his most intense personal causes. Nuclear war, he told friends, might be Armageddon, the biblically prophesied battle before Christ’s return. Perhaps SDI could prevent it. Just how a technological fix would prevent a rain of ruin ordained by God was unclear. But SDI promised a range of material as well as spiritual rewards.
The author, historian Michael Schaller, apparently misunderstood a simple analogy by taking it literally, and then compounds his error by pursuing it to absurdity.

Schaller, however, is not just a random nitwit.  He is  a Regent's Professor (the highest faculty rank) at the University of Arizona who has authored or contributed many books on Reagan and his times.  Yet, he behaves as if hatred-of-Reagan is a substitute for intelligent thought.

America spends a fortune on its public universities but, as Schaller illustrates, we are clearly not getting our money's worth.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Amateur Hour in the White House: Obama insults Putin

In his press conference today, Pres. Obama said Russian President Putin has "a slouch" and compared him to a  "bored kid in the back of the classroom."  PJ  Tatler reports:
When asked how much he can accomplish in Russia “reset” without a good relationship with Putin, Obama said, “I don’t have a bad personal relation with Putin.”

“When we have conversations, they’re candid. They’re blunt. Oftentimes, they’re constructive. I know the press likes to focus on body language, and he’s got that kind of slouch, looking like the bored kid in the back of the classroom. But the truth is is that when we’re in conversations together, oftentimes it’s very productive,” the president said.  [Emph. added]
Such comments are likely not productive with any world leader but they are especially bad form when dealing with Russia.  Russians are a proud people and, as a one-time superpower, they are exceptionally sensitive to issues of status and respect.   Gratuitous personal insults, such as Obama's above, may cost America dearly.

IRS promotes official who leaked to the media confidential info on conservatives

Sharon Light. part of the Senior Technical Adviser team for the IRS' Director of Exempt Organizations, is leaving the IRS. Guess who is getting promoted to be Light's replacement:
Light will be replaced by Cindy Thomas, a 35-year IRS veteran who ran the Exempt Organizations office in Cincinnati throughout the 2-year period that conservative groups were targeted. “Cindy brings a strong background in EO Determinations and the history of the organization,” Corbin told employees. “And, since she is located in Cincinnati, she will provide a voice for the process and challenges faced in determinations work.” Thomas’s promotion will not be without controversy, given that, in November of last year, she signed off on the illegal release to the left-leaning ProPublica, of nine pending, confidential applications for tax exemption filed by conservative groups. One of those organizations, the Colorado-based Citizens Awareness Project, yesterday filed a federal lawsuit against the IRS over the release of its application. [Emph. added]

Monday, August 05, 2013

An offense to Islam: Woman arrested after video surfaces of her washing her dog's feet

Maznah Mohd Yusof
Muslim dog trainer Maznah Mohd Yusof was arrested in Malaysia after a Youtube video of her with her dogs went viral. According to Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, the arrest was because the “issue raised here could be very sensitive to a majority of our citizens..."   At issue is the section 298A of the Malaysian Penal Code.  The Malay Mail reports that:
Section 298A includes a variety offences, namely causing “disharmony, disunity, or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will, or prejudicing, etc., the maintenance of harmony or unity, on grounds of religion.”

If convicted under Section 298A, Maznah, better known as Chetz Yusof, can be sentenced to a jail term of not less than two years and not more than five years.
Her offense reportedly was that her video showed "a dog being washed that mimicked Muslim ablutions with Eid prayers and a Hari Raya song playing in the background." At issue is whether, under Islam, dogs are haram (forbidden) or merely salmak (wet):
After the video started making its rounds on the Internet, local news site quoted Chetz as saying that she made the video in 2010 to show that dogs are not “haram” (forbidden) as widely-believed, and that Muslims could keep canines as pets.

“Dogs are not ‘haram’; if they are wet, just ‘samak’,” she was quoted as saying.

“Samak” is the ritual cleansing performed by Muslims when they come into contact with items considered ritually unclean, of which wet dogs are considered to be by some followers of the faith.

Maznah had also told news site Free Malaysia Today in a 2011 interview that she follows the Shafie school of thought in Islam that does not deem dogs as “haram”, but merely requires believers to cleanse themselves after touching a wet dog.
If so, it is possible that the whole of the Shafie school would be guilty under Section 298A.

In the US, Democrats often want both freedom of speech and freedom from offense.   The two are, of course, contradictory and one suspects that liberals have no idea how many things there are that are sacred to them but offensive to Islam.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Cause of City of Stockton bankruptcy and who is responsible

Until Detroit knocked it out of the news, Stockton was the largest US city to file for bankruptcy. The Stockton Record reviews the results of audits of the city performed by both Stockton City Manager Bob Deis and State Controller John Chiang:
Both Deis and Chiang's auditors identify three factors that thrust Stockton into bankruptcy:

» Skyrocketing retiree health care costs.

» Labor contracts that were neither "transparent nor sustainable."

» Three multimillion-dollar bonds issued in 2007 and 2009, putting Stockton deeply in debt. Those include a $125 million pension obligation bond and another for $41 million to buy the 400 E. Main St. building, which was to become the new City Hall.
In other words, Stockton failed primarily because of out-of-control government employee salaries and benefits, a problem typical of leftwing governments.

Some on the interwebs have tried to blame this bankruptcy on Republicans.  They cite a Republican or two in government there and then reason that the inland valleys of California, where Stockton is located, are largely Republican and therefore Republicans control Stockton.  That is wrong.  Voter registration statistics for Stockton are available from the CA Secretary of State here  or here(PDF):  Democrats have a whopping voter registration advantage in Stockton of 63,670 to 36,240.
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