Thursday, February 24, 2011

Planned Parenthood Poised to Take a Very Hard Fall -- And It Should

By Penny Young Nance

“Seismic political shift.” It’s a common term these days both in the United States and around the world.

Everywhere the status quo is being turned on its head, and nowhere is that more apparent than in Washington’s current budget battle. An almost $2 trillion annual deficit, coupled with a $14 trillion national debt and an election earthquake last November, is turning the process upside down.

All of a sudden, congressional appropriations that have gone unquestioned for decades may get zeroed out, and there is no better encapsulation of this than the fight over taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. Simultaneously the crown jewel of the abortion industry and the abortion lobby, the liberal political powerhouse is poised to take a very hard fall.

For decades, Planned Parenthood’s political action committee has contributed millions to, and campaigned for, countless Democratic candidates. Its events often feature the leaders of the Democratic Party as keynote speakers, including the current president of the United States.

How did such a formidable political force become so vulnerable? It didn’t happen in one election.

Longtime abortion proponent Kate Michelman, writing in The Washington Post last year, credited a public opinion shift from pro-abortion to pro-life as the result of two efforts: the “Life, what a beautiful choice” ads in the 1990s, and the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act -- passed by Congress, signed into law by President Bush and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

She makes a good point, but the biggest weapon against the abortion lobby has been technology. As sonograms and ultrasounds become more advanced -- an expecting couple can now see their developing baby 3D in the womb -- the public becomes increasingly predisposed against abortion.

Several years ago, Valvoline Motor Oil aired a television commercial that featured a baby in utero driving a car and shifting gears, complete with NASCAR sound effects. Once popular culture adopts a particular notion or principle, it is almost impossible to roll it back.

For conservatives who often are on the defensive end of such dynamics, this was a welcome change. Surely, every parent and grandparent who has marveled at sonogram pictures over the past 10 years or so has quietly been influenced in favor of a pro-life position.

These people may not write their congressman, they may not march on Washington, and they may not picket a local Planned Parenthood clinic, but they have come to understand what is truly at stake in the debate, and it has shown up in numerous polls in recent years.

So when Live Action comes along with 22-year-old Lila Rose and her undercover investigations exposing Planned Parenthood staff who willingly counsel self-identified sex traffickers, no one is really ready to leap to their defense. Abortion alone makes most people uncomfortable, but abortion with no questions asked, no matter who is willing to pay -- financed by taxpayer dollars?

That can lead to a full cut-off from Congress, and it should. If Planned Parenthood loses its federal funding, that will be a seismic event followed by aftershocks the political world will feel for years to come.

Penny Nance is the CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization.

Personally, I'm glad to see organizations like this get stripped of our tax money. They take our tax dollars to bolster their business, like Acorn, NPR/PBS, and Planned Parenthood, when the majority of Americans do not support the views of these businesses. If they can't stand on their own they should fail, just like any other business. It's time to get them out of our pocket.  --BF

Monday, February 21, 2011

Filmmaker is Hijacking the Reagan Legacy

By Michael Reagan

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rewrote history. He said my father, Ronald Reagan, "cherished a famously close friendship with Tip O'Neill . . . . Ronald Reagan knew politics has always been and always will be about compromise. . . . That's why he was more beholden to simple pragmatism than stubborn principles."

Reid would have us believe that Ronald Reagan was the Great Compromiser. My father did, in fact, practice the art of compromise -- but he never elevated "pragmatism" over principle.

Four years before my father was elected president, he told me how he planned to negotiate with Soviet leaders. He'd let the Soviets "choose the place, the room, and the shape of the table." Dad was willing to compromise on nonessentials. But if the Soviets demanded he compromise his principles, he'd tell them, "Nyet!"

That's exactly what Ronald Reagan did in Reykjavík when Mikhail Gorbachev demanded that he give up the Strategic Defense Initiative. Throughout his eight years as president, my father made many compromises -- but he never compromised his principles.

And what about Ronald Reagan's "famously close friendship" with Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill? Simply not true. Dad wrote about his repeated attempts to reach out to House Speaker Tip O'Neill in his autobiography.

Dad once invited O’Neill to the White House for dinner. They shared a pleasant evening and Dad thought he'd made a friend. He was wrong. "I picked up a newspaper," he wrote, "and read a story in which Tip really laid into me personally. . . . Some of his remarks were pretty nasty. I was not only surprised, but disappointed and also a little hurt."

Dad called O'Neill and said, "I thought we had a pretty fine relationship going."

"That's politics," the Speaker replied, "After 6 o'clock we can be friends; but before 6, it’s politics."

People interpret that to mean that Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill were great friends after 6 o'clock. But Dad wanted a good working relationship with O'Neill during business hours. The Speaker wouldn't have it. Dad recalled that O'Neill "could turn off his charm and friendship like a light switch and become as bloodthirsty as a piranha."

In the end, Ronald Reagan could not work with Tip O'Neill. He had to go over the heads of the Democrat Party leadership to get his agenda passed. So much for the "famously close friendship" of Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill.

Harry Reid's rewrite of history is part of a concerted Democratic effort to recast Ronald Reagan as a liberal icon. That's right, a liberal icon.

My first inkling of this strategy was when I heard that Barack Obama was studying a biography of my father. A few weeks later, I was surprised to hear a gaggle of network commentators (including CBS' Jeff Greenfield, NBC's Andrea Mitchell, and ABC's Christiane Amanpour) remarking on Barack Obama's "Reaganesque" State of the Union address.

Then I saw Time magazine's "Obama ♥ Reagan" cover (February 7, 2011) which depicts Ronald Reagan with his arm around Obama. Clearly, someone had put out the memo: "Obama's the new Reagan! Pass it on!"

A far more insidious rewrite of history is Eugene Jarecki's new HBO propagandamentary “Reagan.” Disguised as a "biography" of my father, the film is a clever attempt to hijack my father's legacy.

Jarecki buries the truth about Reaganomics under deceptive images of unemployment lines. In fact, Ronald Reagan accomplished an economic miracle. He cut the misery index (the unemployment rate plus the inflation rate) from a Carter-era high of 21.98 to a 1986 low of 7.7.

Ronald Reagan's policies produced 96 consecutive months of continuous economic growth, from 1983 to 1990. Reaganomics produced 16 million jobs and cut African-American unemployment from 19.5 percent in 1983 to 11.4 percent in 1989. The Reagan tax cuts fueled an economic boom that nearly doubled federal revenue.

There's not a word of that in Jarecki's film. Instead, he repeats the tired canard that Reaganomics transferred wealth from the poor to the rich. He also makes the ridiculous claim that the Reagan tax cuts caused today's deficits. Think about it: If the Reagan tax cuts increased revenue, how could they increase deficits? Jarecki is equally deceptive about Iran-Contra, AIDS, Afghanistan, Middle East oil, and the end of the Cold War.

In an interview with the far-left website Mediaite, Jarecki reveals his motives behind the HBO film. "America really needed the kind of tough love that Jimmy Carter, however clumsily, tried to show. . . . Reagan, instead, came along and said 'Have another drink, and forget.' . . . Reagan, by making us forget, caused us to be unprepared, and then with his policies, deepened the problems."

Jarecki goes on to suggest that Barack Obama, "a far better communicator" than Carter, should revive Carter's "message about sacrifice." In short, Jarecki wants Obama to use Reagan's communication style to sell Jimmy Carter's vision of a post-prosperity America.

That's Jarecki's hidden agenda. He hijacks Republican icons to promote his Carterite agenda. He calls himself a "Republican" for the same reason the wolf wore sheep's clothing -- then he laughs behind his sleeve.

Eugene Jarecki is rummaging through the tomb of Ronald Reagan, looking for a legacy to steal. Thank God, we caught him red-handed.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan and a political consultant. He is the founder and chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his website at www.reagan.com. Portions of this column are adapted from his book “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin's Press).

Friday, February 18, 2011

Robot Hummingbird Spy Drone Flies for Eight Minutes, Spies on The Bad Guys

Aerovironment - A robot hummingbird demonstrates precision hovering and independent flight. The two-wing, flapping aircraft carries its own energy source, and uses only the flapping wings for propulsion and control.


Pentagon researchers have taken robots for a science fiction spin, building a robotic hummingbird that's ideal for covert surveillance.

A year and a half ago, we saw our first look at the hummingbird drone from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a teeny robotic spyplane inspired by the mid-air dexterity of the hummingbird. But now we've got a video of the drone in action, much more capable and with the ability to do its acrobatics for much longer.

The drone, built by AeroVironment with funding from DARPA, is able to fly forwards, backwards, and sideways, as well as rotate clockwise and counterclockwise. Not only does the 'bot resemble its avian inspiration in size (it's only slightly larger than a hummingbird, with a 6.5-inch wingspan and a weight of 19 grams), it also looks impressively like a hummingbird in flight.

But that's not vanity -- it's key to the drone's use as a spy device, as it can perch near its subject without alerting it (supposing that area has a population of hummingbirds -- the usual reaction to seeing a hummingbird here in midtown Manhattan is something like "OMG you guys look at the hummingbird!!!!!!," which is not necessarily an ideal situation for a spy-drone).

 

The drone can currently fly for about eight minutes, impressive considering that range was only 20 seconds a short two years ago. But the engineers aren't satisfied, branding the current drone a prototype and continuing to work on it. Within a decade, says AeroVironment's project manager, this drone could easily be counted on to carry out complex and difficult reconnaissance missions.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

In Egypt, Power of the People Could Prove Fleeting

By Robert Hardaway

If the recent events in Egypt confirm anything, it is that the only thing worse than not getting what you want is getting what you want.

The protesters wanted Mubarak brought down and they succeeded . . . in ushering in a military junta. It’s hardly surprising that the first acts of the junta included abrogating the constitution, dissolving parliament and ambushing demonstrators in Tahrir Square with wooden clubs.

The military multitasked, all the while maintaining the power structure of the dictatorial Mubarak regime. There was little question the junta would enforce the hated Emergency Act, which allowed security forces to arrest without formal charges and to suppress public demonstrations.

It takes at least six months to prepare for elections and allow political parties to organize and campaign. So when Mubarak agreed he would step down in September, the protesters could have demanded that the September elections be conducted under international supervision in order to allow political groups to prepare. (Even in the United States, a presidential election can take up to a year to conduct nominating conventions, primaries, and campaigning.)

But the people demanded Mubarak’s immediate ouster in full knowledge that a military coup would be the inevitable result.

The naïveté of those nursing the notion that such a junta with absolute power will give it all up to allow free elections is breathtaking in its scope. Certainly history supports no such unrealistic expectations.(Note the longevity of the military junta in Argentina in the 1980s, the military dictatorship of Napoleon following the French Revolution, or the dictatorship of the Proletariat after the storming of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg in 1917).

There was never any secret that if Mubarak fell immediately, the power vacuum could only be filled by one of the two most organized and disciplined groups in the country -- either the Muslim Brotherhood or the military.

Given that the military is now bloated with the hardware needed for suppression (including the world’s most advanced tanks in the U.S. arsenal), bought with more than $1.3 billion in annual U.S. aid, there was never any real possibility that the power vacuum would not be filled by a military junta.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has managed to outrage nearly everyone, from our allies in Saudi Arabia who remain alarmed at the perfidy of the U.S. government, to the throngs in Tahrir Square who will forget neither the inexplicable assertion of Vice President Biden early in the crisis that “Mubarak is not a dictator,” nor the indecisive and opportunistic change of tune by President Obama only when it looked like the protesters might actually prevail.

Perhaps the salient lesson to be learned by these sad events is that a voter with a rock in his hand is worth 1,000 in the voting booth. While it is true that the 100,000 or so protesters who filled Tahrir Square (representing less than 1 percent of more than 80 million Egyptians) accomplished what the remaining 99 percent could not, the notion that those who took to the streets in order to usher in a military junta represented the will of the entire nation is only slightly less breathtaking than the notion that any group other than the military would seize power if Mubarak left immediately.

Certainly, this was the lesson that protesters learned in 2002 when their street demonstrations managed to convince Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein that he was safe in defying UN arms inspectors -- a decision that resulted in war when the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1441, authorizing “serious consequences” if Saddam continued to defy UN weapons inspection.

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly authorized the use of military force against Iraq by a vote of 77-23. (This was the same month that a New York Times poll revealed that 67 percent of Americans supported going to war against Iraq).

It could be suggested that history never repeats itself; rather it’s the historians who repeat themselves.

We’ll see.

Robert Hardaway is Professor of Law at the University of Denver Sturm College Of Law, and the author of seventeen books on law and public policy.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Egypt: A Fuse On The Brink of Igniting

Just wanted to make sure that when the defecation hits the rotating oscillator (shit hits the fan, for the less then politically correct among us) that you read it here first. I’m referring to the mess in Egypt. Some liberal-loons have been making noise concerning the situation in Egypt. They see the poor down-trodden Egyptians as freedom fighters and rally to their cause. They equate Hosni Mubarak with the devil and the Muslim Brotherhood as Egypt’s savior.

Here’s the way I see it. Is old Hosni a tyrant? Probably. Is he a dictator? Pretty much. Has he kept the peace with Israel for over thirty years? Hell yes. Are the Egyptian protesters freedom fighters? Not by any definition an American would equate it with. Is the Muslim Brotherhood some benevolent peace-loving political action committee? Not on your life.

Sure, Mubarak took U.S. money and ruled with an iron fist over the people of Egypt for thirty years. But, he kept the peace with Israel and kept out the religious fanatics and radicals from gaining a strong hold in Egypt. And now that the people of Egypt are protesting his rule, the left-wing media and all the progressive liberal whackos see the “poor people of Egypt" as freedom fighters and have actually, in some cases, equated them with the colonists fighting for their rights in 1776. Really?

I highly doubt that the colonists thought stoning an adulteress was acceptable. Nor cutting off the hands of a thief. Or cutting out someone’s tongue for blasphemy. Or pronouncing a sentence of death over anyone who decided to leave their religion. Or honor killings. Or just the plain, old, everyday subjugation of women in general. This is what the majority of Egyptians condone, as the majority believe in, and would follow, Sharia Law. And, make no mistake about the liberal-loonies who try to convince the world at large that the Muslim Brotherhood does not believe in promoting Sharia Law, or the death and destruction of Israel, or that of the decadent Western world and its ideals. Anyone who doubts this just hasn’t done their homework. The leaders and people whom the Muslim Brotherhood consist of, or who they look to for spiritual guidance, are on record as having professed these views, unequivocally.

As I said, I wanted to be one of the first to tell you, and having you read it here first, that if some how the Muslim Brotherhood gains even a small foothold in the political landscape in Egypt, eventually you will end up with a second Iran.

Do I feel sorry for the people of Egypt? Maybe. But, I would rather have them controlled by a Mubarak, then let loose on the world by the Muslim Brotherhood. Until Egyptians, and the rest of the Middle East, do away with 15th century beliefs and values, and waken to the dawn of civilization that the rest of the world has long since embraced, I don’t want them in any position to dictate or impress their violent, archaic, dogma and beliefs on any country or people.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Al Gore Explains 'Snowmageddon'

Turns out that all this snow and stuff is...drum roll...global warming! Of course you knew that was coming - but you have to read Al’s blog for the pure comedic value.


“In fact, scientists have been warning for at least two decades that global warming could make snowstorms more severe. Snow has two simple ingredients: cold and moisture. Warmer air collects moisture like a sponge until it hits a patch of cold air. When temperatures dip below freezing, a lot of moisture creates a lot of snow.”

Thanks for the science lesson Al. Warmer air ‘collects moisture’? ‘Like a sponge?’


I love this bit...’until it hits a patch of cold air’. Yep, that’ it. All this warm air was minding its own business, and wham, like hitting a pothole, it hit a small, insignificant ‘patch’ of cold air. Silly me, I thought a giant Arctic air mass was pushing south in Texas.


....and this man was a hop skip and a jump away from being president!
Enjoy thye article below.

By Gene J. Koprowski

If the planet is warming, why is a third of America locked in a deep freeze, with record-low temperatures as far south as the Mexican border, where the thermometer in Ciudad Juarez plummeted Wednesday night to a bone-chilling 9-below zero?

Self-proclaimed planetary climate czar Al Gore thinks he has answer.

"As it turns out, the scientific community has been addressing this particular question for some time now, and they say increased heavy snowfalls are completely consistent with what they have been predicting as a consequence of man-made global warming," Gore write in a blog post. The Nobel Prize-winning former vice president was responding to a question posed by Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, who wondered on air why global warming was such an urgent science policy priority when the New York City area had become a “tundra” this winter.

Gore also indicated that he believes a rise in global temperatures is creating “all sorts of havoc,” from hotter dry spells to colder winters and ever more violent storms. This is even endangering certain species of animals and leading to forest fires and floods.

But not surprisingly, some climate-change skeptics are a bit hot under the collar over Gore’s “scientific” explanation.

“Gore’s statement actually indicates a deeper problem -- lack of precise predictions,” said Dr. William M. Briggs, a statistician and climate scientist. His research shows that there are no increased weather problems because of global warming, Briggs told FoxNews.com.

“He’s saying that anything bad that happens must be because global warming caused it. Activists like Gore are great at identifying events after the fact as being caused by global warming, but terrible at predicting them beforehand,” Briggs said.

Meteorologist Art Horn agreed, noting the extensive history of devastating weather over the millennia -- none of which he connects with global warming.

“If one actually studies the history of weather over the last 2,000 years, you see massive storms, amazing heat, brutal cold waves, devastating droughts, terrible floods and disastrous hurricanes -- none caused by global warming,” he told FoxNews.com.

“Gore has no appreciation for large natural variability in weather,” Horn said.

Other scientists were quick to leap to Gore's support, arguing that the extreme cold weather is a logical, expected outcome for our warming planet.

“It’s not hard at all to get temperatures cold enough for snow in a world experiencing global warming,” meteorologist Jeffrey Masters told FoxNews.com. “There will still be colder than average winters in a world that is experiencing warming with plenty of opportunities for snow.”

The contretemps over global warming and winter weather -- and the bickering among scientists about man's effect on the climate -- has had a profound impact on public opinion around the globe.

A January poll by Rasmussen Reports indicates that Americans are still more inclined to believe global warming is primarily caused by long-term planetary trends, although the gap narrowed a bit this month. But Americans don't blame global warming for this winter’s weather.

Skepticism is very clearly increasing overseas; a poll released this week by the Office for National Statistics in the U.K. indicated that the number of climate skeptics there had nearly doubled during the last four years. The proportion of people who said they were “not very concerned” about global warming now numbers more than one in five, the U.K. government said.

But many still argue that global warming is real, and the ultimate cause of the wretched weather. One environmental consultant pointed FoxNews.com to an article that detailed a polar bear's nine-day swim to find an ice raft for refuge -- due to global warming’s impact on the environment of Alaska.

Others take a less anecdotal approach, and say that pure science supports Gore's global-warming argument.

“It’s basic atmospheric physics,” said Meg Wilcox, a spokeswoman for Ceres, a national network of investors and environmental organizations. “Warmer air holds more moisture. This fact is apparent when you see water vapor hanging in the air after turning off a hot shower. When warm air holding moisture meets cooler air, the moisture condenses into tiny droplets that will fall as precipitation, rain or snow, depending upon atmospheric conditions.”

Warm air meets cold air seems simple enough. So why can't scientists agree?

If it all seems confusing and contradictory, other experts say, the real blame lies not with the climate, or with science, or even scientists or former politicians, but with the incompetent media for failing to provide critical context for readers.

“The last 2,000 years is full of incredible weather events that dwarf what we see today,” said Horn. “Nature isn't cooperating with the global warming camp and theory.”

He points to a New York Times story from the 1970s, which said the planet was getting so cold that humanity was in danger of starving to death. The article argued that the world’s weather would soon be so frigid that it could no longer permit the cultivation of crops for food. The Times’ headline on August 8, 1974, was simple enough: “Climate changes Endanger World’s Food Output.”

“First we were told the world was cooling. Then it was getting hotter,” Dan Gainor, a spokesman for the Media Research Center, tells FoxNews.com. “Then cooling again. Then hotter. Now it’s just climate change -- so they can’t be wrong no matter what change occurs
 



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