Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Eagle Freedom Links -- 11-30-10


Opus#6 of American Perspective asks Is the End really near?

A Common Patriot ponders whether Obama, Clinton are coat-tailing Newt Gingrich.

Sig94 at Goomba News Network posts on Winston Churchill - Prophet.

Nickie of Goomba News Network posts on Gaza.

Christine of A Catholic View shows us about Theo-Psychology.

A Conservative Teacher questions whether Obama sold out allies for a bill of goods?

Rotti of A Patriotic Rottweiler posts how the TSA= Thousands Standing Around.

JR at A Western Heart posts on U.S. Homeland Security seizing internet sites without notice.

Acts of Apostasy asks whether Scientists have discovered a reverse-aging process?

Always Catholic posts on The First Sunday of Advent.

Allied Liberty has a special request for celebrating Ronald Reagan Day.

Always on Watch posts about hurt feelings & suspension on the new site.

America! Oh How We'll Miss You! shows us something about Islam you should know.

Another Black Conservative posts on Obama's announcement of a government employee pay freeze.

Barking Spider shows us the amazing Nigel Farage on To be or Not to be?

BBCW posts on the Feds sending a Huge bill to New Jersey for a canceled project.

Big Blue Wave posts a quotation on truth.

Blowing San #1 asks how soon before we see vigilante committees?

Bluegrass Pundit shows us Bill O'Reilly calling for execution of Wikileaker.

Bluepitbull posts on the NY Times and their balancing act.

Bread Upon the Waters posts on global warming being beneficial to human health.

LL of Can we keep our Republic posts on the Federal pay freeze.

Christian Conservative gives us an interview with General Boykin.

Common Cents shows us Krauthammer ripping liberals for being obsessed with Palin.

Chris from Conservative Perspective poses the question: Does Christianity really exist?

Conservative Girl With a Voice posts on PDS liberal rant's epic fail.

Conservative Scalawag posts on This Day in Tyranny.

Conservative Hideout posts that some statists who believe in global warming propose rationing.

Creative Minority Report posts on Planned Parenthood signs and truth in advertising.

CVSTOS FIDEI shows how Wikileaks reveals that US never expected Ratzinger elected Pope.

DeanO posts on state democrats defecting to GOP.

Diary of a right wing loving pussy cat points out mass murder in a gun free zone.

Jamie of Eye of Polyphemus posts on the passing of Irvin Kershner.

Snarky of Feed Your ADHD shows us the TSA theme song.

Fuzzy Slippers of Fuzzy Logic asks whether Sarah can get back that blank slate she had back in 2008?

Generation Dysfunction says its time to stop START.

Global Domination posts Palin's Thanksgiving message to "all 57 states".

Hack Wilson tells us why you should never rob an Italian Restaurant.

Innominatus posts on the psycho that was too close to home.

JimMcMahonChicago wonders why no salute for Staff Sergeant Giunta?

Jo-Joe Politico gives us the profile of a terrorist.

Just a Conservative Girl shows us Dennis Miller's Big speech.

Just An Artist gives us a funny conversation on fancy strawberries.

Left Coast Rebel informs us of an earthquake striking off the coast of Southampton, NY.

Let The Truth Be Known posts on Thanksgiving dinner, William Shatner & 2nd Amendment.

Lone Star Parson posts on Muslim genocide.

Maggie's Notebook shows us Bobby Jindal: Obama's Security a Treatise on Justice.

Mind Numbed Robot gives us Christina Aguilera for his rule 5 post.

Musings of a vast right winger posts that Kerry called on Israel to cede Golan Heights and East Jerusalem.

My Daily Trek posts a poll taken on the King James Bible.

My Thoughts on Freedom posts on The Repeal Amendment.

Obama Cartoons posts on the Pope and Condoms.

Quickwit asks Are you smarter than a fifth grader?

Randy's Roundtable informs us that Mike Pence will decide on WH run after New Years.

Reaganite Republican posts on Wikileaks: Israel ready to strike Iran.

Ruby Slippers has posted W's interview on facebook.

Self Evident Truths posts on Evan Sayat and the indiscriminate Left.

Stop Marxism shows us Michael Berry at "America Strikes Back".

Cube of The Blog posts on Unrighteous Indignation.

The Born Again Americans asks and answers What can I do?

The Conservative Lady posts on the Smithsonian Christmas exhibit featuring Ant-covered Jesus and more...

The Current posts on Our Constitution and Ignorance of Intent.

The Malcontent posts on Obama's accomplishments and Wikileaks.

The Wisdom of Soloman asks Did Sarah Palin mis-Speak?

They Say/ We Say posts on a storm a brewing.

TOTUS says Hands off my junk.

Trestin Meacham posts on Protecting Hunting.

Virtual Mirage posts on South Korea - No more Mr. Nice Guy.

We the People... says they are purposely trying to bankrupt this nation.

Woman Honor Thyself posts on the Portland Bomb Plot.

Woodsterman shares with us the latest dose of Newsbusted.

YankeePhil posts on Howard Dean wanting to trash the first amendment.

Amusing Bunni posted Cute & Funny Kitteh Thanksgiving Videos. (BTW- Bunni's computer is in the shop and she will be back to blogging next week, so no need to worry)

Brian Darling of the Heritage Foundation on the state of Bush Tax Cuts

Monday, November 29, 2010

IRS Discriminating Against pro-Israel Groups?

A Pennsylvania group has made the claim that the Internal Revenue Service is targeting Pro-Israel groups. Well…. Could discrimination against Israel be possible? Well, let’s take a look at the Obama administration’s track record of their treatment (mistreatment?) of Israel and Israel’s Prime Minister. . Let’s take a look at some of this administration’s anti-Israel policies.

Nile Gardiner of The Telegraph points out Barack Obama’s top ten insults against Israel:
1. Obama’s humiliation of Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House
In March, the Israeli Prime Minister was humiliated by Barack Obama when he visited Washington. As The Telegraph reported, “Benjamin Netanyahu was left to stew in a White House meeting room for over an hour after President Barack Obama abruptly walked out of tense talks to have supper with his family”, after being presented with a list of 13 demands.

2. Engaging Iran when Tehran threatens a nuclear Holocaust against Israel
In contrast to its very public humiliation of close ally Israel, the Obama administration has gone out of its way to establish a better relationship with the genocidal regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which continues to threaten Israel’s very existence. It has taken almost every opportunity to appease Tehran since it came to office, and has been extremely slow to respond to massive human rights violations by the Iranian regime, including the beating, rape and murder of pro-democracy protesters.

3. Drawing a parallel between Jewish suffering in the Holocaust with the current plight of the Palestinians
In his Cairo speech to the Muslim world, President Obama condemned Holocaust denial in the Middle East, but compared the murder of six million Jews during World War Two to the “occupation” of the Palestinian territories, in a disturbing example of moral equivalence:
“On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations – large and small – that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.”

4. Obama’s attack on Israeli “occupation” in his speech to the United Nations
In his appalling speech to the UN General Assembly last September, President Obama dedicated five paragraphs to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, without once referring directly to Palestinian terrorism by name, but declaring to loud applause “America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.” He also lambasted the Israeli “occupation”, and drew a connection between rocket attacks on Israeli civilians with living conditions in Gaza. The speech served as a ghastly PR exercise aimed at appeasing anti-Israel sentiment in the Middle East, while bashing the Israelis over the head.

5. Obama’s accusation that Israel is the cause of instability in the Middle East
As The Wall Street Journal noted, “the Obama Administration seems increasingly of the view that Israel is the primary cause of instability in the Middle East”, citing a recent press conference where he stated:
“It is a vital national security interest of the United States to reduce these conflicts because whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower, and when conflicts break out, one way or another we get pulled into them. And that ends up costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure.”

6. The Obama administration’s establishment of diplomatic relations with Syria
While actively appeasing Iran, the Obama administration has also sought to develop closer ties with the other main state sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East, Syria, establishing diplomatic relations with Damascus in February. Syria remains a major backer of Hamas and Hizbollah, both responsible for a large number of terrorist attacks against Israel.

7. Hillary Clinton’s 43-minute phone call berating Netanyahu
As The Telegraph reported, Hillary Clinton sought to dictate terms to Israel in the wake of Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Jerusalem:
“In a telephone call, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, ordered Mr. Netanyahu to reverse a decision to build 1,600 homes for Israeli settlers in occupied East Jerusalem that sparked the diplomatic row. She also instructed him to issue a formal pledge that peace talks would focus on core issues such as the future of Jerusalem and the borders of a Palestinian state. In addition, the Israeli prime minister was urged to make a substantial confidence-building gesture to the Palestinians. Mrs. Clinton suggested this could take the form of prisoner releases, an easing of the blockade of Gaza and the transfer of greater territory in the West Bank to Palestinian control.”
Last time I checked, Israel was still an independent country, and not a colonial dependency of the Obama White House. Yet that still hasn’t stopped the Secretary of State from acting like an imperial Viceroy.

8. David Axelrod’s attack on Israeli settlements on “Meet the Press”
It is extremely unusual for a White House official to launch an attack on a close US ally on live television, but this is exactly what the President’s Senior Adviser David Axelrod did in an interview in March with NBC’s Meet the Press, designed to cause maximum humiliation to Israel, where he stated in reference to new settlement construction in East Jerusalem:
“This was an affront, it was an insult but most importantly it undermined this very fragile effort to bring peace to that region. For this announcement to come at that time was very destructive.”

9. Hillary Clinton’s call on Israel to show “respect”
As The Telegraph revealed, the Secretary of State lectured the Israelis at a dinner attended by the Israeli ambassador and the ambassadors of several Arab states in mid-April, urging Israel to “refrain from unilateral statements” that could “undermine trust or risk prejudicing the outcome of talks”. In Clinton’s words:
“Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu has embraced the vision of the two-state solution. But easing up on access and movement in the West Bank, in response to credible Palestinian security performance, is not sufficient to prove to the Palestinians that this embrace is sincere. We encourage Israel to continue building momentum toward a comprehensive peace by demonstrating respect for the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians, stopping settlement activity and addressing the humanitarian needs in Gaza.”

10. Robert Gibbs’ disparaging remarks about Israel
Not one to shy away from criticizing America’s friends when the opportunity arises, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs entered the fray in an interview on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace in March where he attacked the Israeli government for weakening “the trust that’s needed for both sides to come together and have honest discussions about peace in the Middle East.” In condescending terms he stated that Benjamin Netanyahu should start “coming to the table with constructive ideas for constructive and trustful dialogue about moving the peace process forward.”

It would seem that the Obama administration has indeed shown some anti-Israel tendencies. The Obama administration has consistently displayed antipathy toward Israel and other allies of the United States while being quite cordial and accommodating to those countries we both named and treated as our enemies prior to Barack Hussein Obama taking Office. So, with knowing this information do you think its possible that the Obama administration would use the IRS to marginalize, pretty much blackball, and maybe even blackmail those companies who support Israel?  Is the Obama IRS demanding that these organizations renounce their support of Israel in exchange for gaining or keeping their tax-exempt status?

As part of the IRS’s consideration of the organization’s tax exempt status IRS agent Tracy Dornette asked these two questions of Z Street: "Does your organization support the existence of the land of Israel?" and "Describe your organization's religious belief sytem toward the land of Israel."  Z Street claims that the IRS is "carefully scrutinizing organizations that are in any way connected with Israel" and that "a special unit" is determining whether its activities "contradict the Administration's public policies.'"

Ben Smith of The Politico points out that the “IRS can deny tax exempt status to groups that work against "established public policy," a precedent established in its denial of a tax exemption to Bob Jones University over racial discrimination, and Z Street is suggesting that the IRS has begun applying some such policy to pro-Israel groups.”

 Does the Obama administration’s "established public policy," consist of hostility to Israel, along with impeding both Israel’s right to exist and Israel's right to defend itself against its enemies?  It sure seems so. It is extremely scary when our President reverses sensible foreign policy initiatives with regards to both our closest allies and some of our most contentious and/or volatile enemies, destabilizes and causes tensions with our allies, while at the same time naively reaching out and negotiating with our enemies.

News Release: President Jonathan, the Osun Verdict and this New Season of Hope

Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) Founder and President, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, have hailed President Goodluck Jonathan for allowing the Judiciary to function without executive interference.

Fasehun spoke at the weekend in a Press Statement following Saturday’s swearing in of Engineer Rauf Aregbesola of the Action Congress (AC) as the Governor of Osun State, following the Court of Appeal’s final

Photonews: The "Beautiful Brides" Of Nigeria's 2011 Elections

Adamu Ciroma
Adamu Ciroma is a chieftain of Northern Political Leadership Forum(NPLF) and arrow head of Northern Consensus Candidature.

Bola Tinubu
 Bola Tinubu is the force behind Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN), which is presently the dominant political party in south western Nigeria.

Emeka Ojukwu
Emeka Ojukwu is the promoter of All Progressives Grand Alliance(APGA), the dominant

Sunday, November 28, 2010

News Report: Conservative Politicians In South-Western Nigeria Regroup To Forestall More Defeats

Conservative politicians in south-western Nigeria would be regrouping soon to forestall more defeats by radical elements, chidi opara reports learnt.

Five states in the geo-political zone; Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti were hitherto controlled by right wing politicians through the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) platform. Three of the five; Osun. Ondo and Ekiti are now in the hands of left wing

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Living in the quiet zone

OK, so maybe my world is not all that quiet, per se, but I don’t really engage with the ambient noise around me. I do not “overhear” others’ conversations. You could say I’m living in my own private Idaho.

Since I’m not quite there yet with the language, having people chatting near me on the bus is not really a distraction. Although if someone is using their outside voice while on a cell phone I get annoyed all the same.

I don’t listen in while the person in front of me chats with the grocery store checkout worker. I rarely have to engage (beyond a sympathetic smile) in the frustration expressed by others in a slow bank line. And I can always plead ignorance when a party conversation turns boring and I start to drift. 

I am grateful for this reality on days like today when the television is chatting endlessly about very provocative news events.  It all passes me by, unless I choose to engage.

I’ve really had to get comfortable with the sound of my own inner voice. I am with whom I converse most. When not ruminating on my own I usually have a pair of ear buds in my ears and am listening to an American liberal news podcast of some sort.

I’m pretty much on my own.

Sure I could listen to Portuguese lesson podcasts, or carry my Portuguese dictionary and try to decipher what is going on around me. Been there. Done that. Exhausted.

No thanks – I enjoy my own company, and I enjoy not having to be a part of (if only clandestinely) every conversation around me.

There are definitely days when I overhear a conversation and think – “Wait, I understood that.” But then I usually turn up my iPod.

Black Friday Madness

Why is it these days people resort to engaging in violence all in the name of thrifty shopping?  This is NUTS!!!  Why is it impossible for some people to act in a civil manner when participating in bargain shopping, or trying to get those bargain deals? Is a toy or other value item really worth causing bodily harm to another individual?  Thank goodness I stayed away from the Black Friday madness.  I hope everyone else managed to stay safe and unharmed this Black Friday and continues to stay safe throughout this Christmas season.

And..... now the latest whacky Black Friday news filled with violence:

A marine valiantly stopped a suspected shoplifter and ended up getting stabbed by that same shoplifter.

There was a crazy pile up at Target:

A fight broke out and the Cerritos Food Court in L.A. was placed on lockdown after shots were heard.

Then, there was a woman who made threats to get a gun and shoot other shoppers who were standing, waiting in the same line as her.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Necessities from the US

Luiz is back from his trip to Belo Horizontes and he has come bearing gifts.

Our friend Marcia came from San Francisco to visit her parents and celebrate their anniversary. Being the pushy one that I am I asked Marcia to please bring a few things for us. Always the most generous in the crowd, Marcia was happy to haul our goodies, which Luiz has since picked up and brought back to our apartment.

The best package is Luiz himself, safe and sound. I sleep better at night with him next to me.

He also brought: a new Shark cordless mini-vacuum. It’s a silly convenience, but we love it. Our old Black and Decker Dust Buster had since bit the dust (so to speak).

There is my new iPod Nano – whoopee!! I screwed up my last one at the beach. It’s been a while since I’ve had the joy of podcasts and music when taking the bus to Rio.

Lots of new ink cartridges for my photo-printer. Locally they cost R$35, on the internet: US$5.

Then of course there are the TexMex spice packets, corn and flour tortillas and a big can of enchilada sauce. – Never enough TexMex!

Christmas in November.

But nothing tops having Luiz safely back home.

Open Letter: Imo State Judicial Service Commission Protecting Chief Magistrate Victoria Isiguzo

Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha
This is to alert the general public that the Imo State Judicial Service Commission is protecting a well known Judicial Hatchet woman, Mrs. Victoria Isiguzo
It is a notorious fact that the judicial activities of this magistrate have sent so many innocent citizens of Imo state to unjust imprisonment. This writer is a victim. Despite complaints to the Imo State

Thursday, November 25, 2010

News Report: More Surprises From Northern Nigeria Politicians Underway

Indications are that there would be more surprises from northern Nigeria politicians after the successful completion of the Northern Political Leadership Forum(NPLF) consensus candidate for the 2011 presidential election selection exercise.

chidi opara reports learnt that the NPLF have started the recruitment of influential traditional and religious leaders into the body as ex-officio members.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Coconut Pecan bread for Thanksgiving

Luiz has never been a turkey fan.  Cranberry sauce is just a distant North American memory.  Watching the Detroit Lions lose another (American-style) football game puts me to sleep nearly every year, and my real pumpkin cheesecake recipe just isn't the same here with local substitutions.

But I've discovered a soothing, pleasing and comforting recipe that awakens the Thanksgiving in me while not requiring four courses of starches and a nap.

You can find the recipe over on Danielle's Cooking Blog.

In the mean time - here is the picture version.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving in Brazil

Does not compute.

Outside of expat communities, the idea of celebrating a traditional US Thanksgiving day, meal, ritual… nobody knows what you are talking about. No surprise. You can definitely search out an expat scene cooking up dry roasted turkeys with bloating bread stuffing gratefully drenched in an overly floured lumpy gravy. It’s out there. But the Brazilians will just look at you with a blank stare.

On the flip side, I presume, folks in the US are not stepping out to celebrate Afro-Brazilian consciousness day (as one example). Brazilian communities in the US surely gather to celebrate Dia da Independêntia (while Americans have no clue what is going on).

We live here. We don’t live in the US. Things are different.

That said, I have some killer pumpkin bread just coming out of the oven.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Dang That Caterpillar Hair In My Eye!

It's been a crazy couple of days for me.  I had an eye issue, with my good eye - the one I can actually see with - so I was both concerned and scared.  I called the emergency line over the weekend and the nice doctor on call (different doc than mine) called me in some eye drops but the membrane around my eye kept on getting more irritated and progressively more painful as each day went by.  I have been to my Ophthalmologist's office twice in two days.  I hope the issue is taken care of. The first time my doc found a fiber in my eye.  Good - that's out of my eye now.   The second visit he found a caterpillar hair lodged in the corner of my eye which would also migrate to other places in the membrane causing pain.  Great news!!! I do believe that my doctor got everything out of my eye this time. This little bugger caused my eye to get scratched up.  Geeesh!!  My eye is feeling better now, thank goodness!   I am just glad that my great doctor found out what the problem was with my eye.  After looking at Wikipedia, apparently those little caterpillar hair buggers can cause tremendous damage when they enter your system depending on the type of caterpillar the hair came from which may coincide with what region you live in. 

From Wikipedia:

"Caterpillar hairs have also been known to cause kerato-conjunctivitis. The sharp barbs on the end of Caterpillar hairs can get lodged in soft tissues and mucus membranes such as the eyes. Once they enter such tissues, they can be difficult to extract, often exacerbating the problem as they migrate across the membrane.

This becomes a particular problem in an indoor setting. The hairs easily enter buildings through ventilation systems and accumulate in indoor environments because their small size, which makes it difficult for them to be vented out. This accumulation increases the risk of human contact in indoor environments."

This type mentioned above is what I had.

But, depending on the type of caterpillar hair it has the capacity to cause alot of damage to your body:

"Caterpillar hair has been known to be a cause of human health problems. Caterpillar hairs sometimes have venoms in them and species from approximately 12 families of moths or butterflies worldwide can inflict serious human injuries ranging from urticarial dermatitis and atopic asthma to osteochondritis, consumption coagulopathy, renal failure, and intracerebral hemorrhage.[22] Skin rashes are the most common, but there have been fatalities.[23] Lonomia is a frequent cause of death in Brazil with 354 cases were reported between 1989 and 2005. Lethality ranging up to 20% with death caused most often by intracranial hemorrhage."

Who would have thought something so tiny could cause so much bodily damage?  

Profile: Adamu Ciroma; New "Sarduana" Of Northern Nigeria

Adamu Ciroma
The politics of Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) zoning policy have positioned Mr. Adamu Ciroma, presently leading the crusade for a consensus northern presidential candidate to challenge the incumbent in the 2011 presidential election, as the new leader of Northern Nigeria.

Adamu Ciroma was born on 20th November 1934 in Potiskum, Yobe state. He was a newspaper administrator and

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ain’t no sunshine when he’s gone

And this house just ain’t no home anytime he goes away.

Luiz is in Minas Gerais this week for a few parties. Our dear friend Marcia from San Francisco is visiting her parents in Sete Lagoas to help celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary. A big party was in the works for this past Saturday. Knowing the nine Santana sisters and their solitary brother as I do (and their reverence for their inspiring parents) I know the celebration was without limits.

In true Brazilian fashion, the celebration started with a mass, followed by a churrasco at one sister’s sitio that went well into the next morning. Then the next morning (or afternoon) as people awoke the party continued with many friends returning to help eat up the food and work their way through another freezer full of beer.

No need for an excuse, of course, but the stated reason for another full day of celebration was the engagement announcement of one of the sisters.

Marcia was generous enough to bring a few things for us from the States. Luiz will be picking them up (including my new iPod nano!).

Then Luiz will spend a few days with our friends Carlinhos and Dü in Belo Horizontes. They just moved into a new house – so Luiz is bringing them a little house warming floral arrangement. They are always terrific hosts.

But alas, I am here alone all week. Zozó is just a few doors down the street, but hanging out with my MIL is not my style, although I do check in and have helped her with some errands.

Luiz and I are so very lucky. We spend, quite literally, 24 hours a day together, day after day, week after week. The time is never dull nor over spent. We enjoy being together, even when it goes uninterrupted for months.

Then when either of us is away, we instantly miss each other. Lucky us. Lucky me.

Luiz will be back on Thursday. That will be a Thanksgiving reunion worth celebrating.

News Report: Nigeria's Former Vice-president Is North's Consensus Candidate

Atiku Abubakar
Nigeria's former Vice-president from 1999 to 2007, Mr. Atiku Abubakar is the consensus candidate of Northern Nigeria, the Northern Political Leadership Forum (NPLF) announced today.

The NPLF insisting that the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) should abide by its zoning policy that stipulates that the North would produce the Presidential candidates from 2007 to 2015, enpanelled a

Monday, November 22, 2010

News Release: Obidi Refinery Trunk Line Attacked

On Sunday, Nov 21, 2010, at about 0200hrs, fighters of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta(M.E.N.D) attacked and destroyed the Obidi-Refinery trunk line.

This pipeline was responsible for transporting crude oil to the refinery in Warri, Delta state in the Niger Delta.

This attack does not mark the start of our promised campaign against the Nigerian oil industry. This attack and

Yes Rep. Issa, Please, by All Means Dig, Dig, Dig

This New York Times article asks whether Rep. Darrell Issa and the GOP will be digging or investigating a long laundry list of violations that the Obama admin has committed over the last two years.  I can almost guarantee that Rep. Issa and the GOP will be investigating away.  YEA!! The N.Y. Times columnist Brian Friel makes an educated guess as to which issues he thinks that Darrell Issa and the GOP will be investigating after they takeover the reigns in January.  Friel even goes onto mention some additional issues which he thinks should be investigated as well. 

Here is the list:

White House job offers. The question is whether the administration offered plum positions to get two Senate primary challengers — Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania and Andrew Romanoff in Colorado — to drop their bids against Democratic incumbents. While the White House insists and most legal experts agree that no law was broken, Mr. Issa has said that that Americans could have “confidence in the legitimacy of the conclusions drawn” by the administration in the cases only if they have access to all related documents.

“Friends of Angelo.” Several prominent Democrats, including two senators, Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Chris Dodd of Connecticut (who chose not to run for re-election this month), were found to have received sweetheart mortgage rates from Countrywide Financial and its former chief executive, Angelo Mozilo. While the Senate Ethics Committee found “no substantial credible evidence” that the two senators had violated ethics rules, Mr. Issa says more investigation is warranted into whether other government officials got such deals.

Acorn. The liberal nonprofit group dissolved last year in the glare of conservative scrutiny, but some Republicans want an investigation into Acorn’s federal financing for its housing programs, which amounted to at least $53 million since 1994.

New Black Panthers. Last year the Justice Department convened and then dropped an investigation into whether members of the New Black Panther Party intimidated voters at a polling place in Philadelphia in 2008. Many conservatives feel the case was concluded prematurely and would like the Justice Department to take it up again.

Climate science. Conservatives who question the consensus that climate change is manmade want to use various committees’ oversight powers to challenge its scientific underpinnings, many of which were reached by federally financed researchers. Mr. Issa has focused on the so-called Climategate scandal involving alleged manipulation of data by British scientists: “For me, settled science starts out with settled raw data,” Mr. Issa said. “If the raw data’s in doubt, then the idea that we have settled science doesn’t exist. I want settled science.”

BP oil-spill response. Republicans may want to emphasize the White House’s missteps in dealing with the Gulf oil spill in April. In July, Mr. Issa said that the administration’s “preoccupation with public relations” might have hindered local officials’ efforts to deal with the disaster.

Economic stimulus. Representative Issa created a Web site where people can post pictures of road signs touting projects financed by the $787 billion economic stimulus package; he says the signs are little more than expensive propaganda, costing taxpayers $192 million. Mr. Issa will no doubt find additional creative ways to raise doubts about the administration’s response to the Great Recession, which he says has wasted money on swimming pools, zoos and golf courses.

Czars. Mr. Issa wants to give special scrutiny to unconfirmed presidential advisers including Elizabeth Warren, who is setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Carol Browner, who oversees environmental policy. Such czars are a sign of the “arrogance of government,” Mr. Issa says, because their appointments avoid Congress’s constitutional advise-and-consent role.


Federal contracts. Agencies paid private contractors at least $539 billion in fiscal 2009, much of it with little or no competition or performance evaluation. An additional $660 billion-plus in grants to states, local governments and nonprofits has undergone no systemic Congressional review. The committee should look into possible waste and whether contracting rules were followed.

The Civil Service. As with contractors, Congress has not systemically reviewed the performance and efficiency of the government’s 1.8 million-member work force.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. At $136 billion so far, the federal takeover of the quasi-private housing corporations is the most expensive component of the government’s response to the economic crisis. Figuring out the government’s role in the housing market going forward is essential after decades of Congressional neglect.

Defense spending. Congress has been loath to dig too deeply into waste in the Pentagon budget, in part because every state and Congressional district benefits from the spending. But 8 of the 31 agencies on the Government Accountability Office high-risk list of programs “vulnerable to fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement” are run out of the Defense Department. Certainly Congress should scrutinize them.

Food safety. A series of recalls, including that of half a billion eggs last summer in a salmonella outbreak, has highlighted the strains on the Food and Drug Administration. Congress should investigate whether it needs to be reformed or its duties taken up by other agencies.

Transparency. The government keeps too much information secret, operating a costly system of classification. Much of the information it does make public is impossible for most citizens to comprehend. Republicans could push agencies to declassify more information more quickly and draft legislation to compel the bureaucracy to release data in more usable formats.

Veterans health. Since the exposure of terrible conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2007, Congress has dumped billions into the veterans health system. But there has been little follow-up to examine the quality of care and the cost-effectiveness of efforts by the Department of Veterans Affairs and other agencies.

Loan guarantees. Congress has backed more than $100 billion in loans in energy-related private projects. Because the guarantees don’t cost much up front, they tend to get little scrutiny. But the taxpayers are on the hook for any projects that go bust, and Congress should scrutinize them more carefully to determine the risk of failure and whether the projects truly deserve our backing.

Agency performance. Do taxpayers get what they pay for? In 1993, Congress passed the Government Performance and Results Act, requiring federal agencies to report each year on how well they were meeting goals, like whether the Internal Revenue Service is collecting all taxes due or whether the Education Department is improving student achievement. Agencies still produce those reports, but everyone involved knows that nobody really reads them. Oversight committees should start using them the way shareholders use companies’ annual reports: to see if their investments are paying off.

Congress itself. Committees in general do little sustained oversight, instead chasing headlines. And they operate with significant overlap — more than 100 committees and subcommittees oversee the Homeland Security Department, for example. The committees offer few channels for public input and participation. As one expert says, “I’d like to see Congress take a hard look at how it does oversight before it does any more of it.”

I am looking forward to seeing Rep. Darrell Issa dig, dig, dig, and the deeper the better.

Working weekend and ear plugs

My feet hurt. Standing in a rented suit for two 11 hour days, chatting with business men who really just want to rest and eat a free petite sandwich, and only occasionally sitting when your boss is not looking really puts a hurt on your feet. I have some serious respect for the women who have to bear this as well – but in heels! (shout out to Danielle)

The Brazil Game Show was a HUGE success. It sold out both days. Lots of great press. Total mob scene – and the noise! The exploding warships, automatic weapons and screaming characters of the latest in high-end video games are LOUD. And a cavernous convention center packed to the gills with gaming stations is REALLY loud.

Talk about a fish out of water. The last video game I played was the original Pac Man. At the Show this weekend I was reminded that Pac Man is now celebrating 30 years on the market (and the new version looks nothing like what I used to play).

Even though I was blown away by the quality of the graphics and the sophistication of gameplay (I just learned that word), I have to say I was saddened and sometimes disgusted by the level of pure, unadulterated and in some cases directly personal violence contained in some of these games. I watched one guy take a baseball bat and beat the life out of human characters with blood and guts splattering against the walls. He just kept batting the human characters’ heads. It was really disturbing.

And don’t get me started on all the hired “babes” walking around in 10 square centimeters of clothing – reinforcing the worst stereotypes about women among the pubescent computer nerd guys… it was SO yesterday.

But it’s all past now. This was my first working weekend in the three years we’ve been here. Twenty two hours standing and schmoozing. Yuck. But I negotiated a really sweet pay package – so I guess it was worth it.

Now I’m back in my Havaianas and shorts. ahhhh…

News Release: MEND Says Nigerian Military’s Claim Is False

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (M.E.N.D) denies in its totality claims by the Nigerian military and government that a co-ordinated attack was launched against one of our camps by the Nigerian military in Rivers state in the Niger Delta. It is a well known fact that the Nigerian military is bereft of such capabilities or imagination. This amusing claim must have been

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holes in the Condom Debate: What the Pope Really Said

When The L’Osservatore Romano breached an embargo yesterday and decided to go full steam ahead with the release of some partial excerpts of Pope Benedict’s new book, Light of the World: The Pope, The Church and The Signs Of The Times, the media went all a frenzy over comments the Pope made pertaining to the use of condoms.

Needless to say, before his new book has even hit the shelves it has stirred much controversy all across the media. Did the media get “it” right this time? Is this a BIG DEAL or much ado about nothing? Is this Pope Benedict’s personal opinion? If it is his personal opinion, does it depart from Church Teaching? I have read articles from various media sources across the internet including that of both Jimmy Akin and Dr. Janet Smith. Both Akin and Smith have posted very well written articles on the matter and both clarify the pontiffs statements. The media has twisted the Pope’s words (which isn’t that surprising) to fit their own cause of remaking a long held principle of the catholic Church, claiming that the Pope said that the use condoms can be justified in some cases. That is not what he said.

First, I would like to point out that this is an interview book and this is not a Church encyclical or anything of the sort. Second, the Pope can have private opinions which may be wrong, and he even points this out in his book. Jimmy Akin emphasizes that The L’Osservatore Romano did a major disservice to all the public, Catholic or not, by releasing excerpts which fail to show the entire context of Pope Benedict’s statements.

Here is text from the Pope’s book:

Seewald: . . . In Africa you stated that the Church’s traditional teaching has proven to be the only sure way to stop the spread of HIV. Critics, including critics from the Church’s own ranks, object that it is madness to forbid a high-risk population to use condoms.

Benedict: . . . In my remarks I was not making a general statement about the condom issue, but merely said, and this is what caused such great offense, that we cannot solve the problem by distributing condoms. [EMPHASIS ADDED] Much more needs to be done. We must stand close to the people, we must guide and help them; and we must do this both before and after they contract the disease. As a matter of fact, you know, people can get condoms when they want them anyway. But this just goes to show that condoms alone do not resolve the question itself. More needs to happen. Meanwhile, the secular realm itself has developed the so-called ABC Theory: Abstinence-Be Faithful-Condom, where the condom is understood only as a last resort, when the other two points fail to work. This means that the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love, but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves. This is why the fight against the banalization of sexuality is also a part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man’s being.

Jimmy Akin points out that the Pope’s overall argument is that condoms will not solve the problem of AIDS. Akin reiterates this:

1) People can already get condoms, yet it clearly hasn’t solved the problem.

2) The secular realm has proposed the ABC program, where a condom is used only if the first two, truly effective procedures (abstinence and fidelity) have been rejected. Thus even the secular ABC proposal recognizes that condoms are not the unique solution. They don’t work as well as abstinence and fidelity. The first two are better.

3) The fixation on condom use represents a banalization (trivialization) of sexuality that turns the act from being one of love to one of selfishness. For sex to have the positive role it is meant to play, this trivialization of sex—and thus the fixation on condoms—needs to be resisted.

Here is the statement which the media devoured and seized upon:

There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality. (EMPHASIS ADDED)

Jimmy Akin points out that Pope Benedict says “may” and not “is”. Then, Pope Benedict goes on to reiterate that “it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality.”

Janet Smith has posted excerpts from the Pope’s book. I am posting some of those excerpts below.

 The Pope stands by his “controversial” remarks that he previously stated on the use of condoms to prevent AIDS: “that we cannot solve the problem by distributing condoms. Much more needs to be done. We must stand close to the people, we must guide and help them; and we must do this both before and after they contract the disease.”

Pope Benedict stated: “I had the chance to visit one of these wards and to speak with the patients. That was the real answer: The Church does more than anyone else, because she does not speak from the tribunal of the newspapers, but helps her brothers and sisters where they are actually suffering. In my remarks I was not making a general statement about the condom issue, but merely said, and this is what caused such great offense, that we cannot solve the problem by distributing condoms. Much more needs to be done. We must stand close to the people, we must guide and help them; and we must do this both before and after they contract the disease.”

Pope Benedict is correct in stating that condoms will not solve the problem of AIDS. Condoms lessen, but do not eliminate, the risk of transmitting HIV, thus they do not make sex truly safe. 
I encourage you to take a look over at The American Catholic where lively chatter has been going on covering the latest controversy.

An interview with the Pope does not change the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding condoms or otherwise.

News Report: Nigerians Await North's Consensus Candidate

Adamu Ciroma: Selection Committee Chairman
Nigerians await the announcement of Northern Nigeria's consensus candidate in the forthcoming 2011 presidential election. Indications strongly point to Monday 22nd or Tuesday 23rd of November, 2010 as possible dates for the announcement.

A selection committee led by Mr. Adamu Ciroma was constituted to screen candidates amongst the Peoples Democratic

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Animal Videos: A Baby Monkey Riding on a Pig, Cat vs. Gator & a Hidden Kitten

This is hysterically funny!!

This is great!!

This is too cute!!

News Report: Pope Creates 24 New Cardinals

Pope Benedict xvi
Pope Benedict XVI formally created 24 new cardinals on Saturday amid cheers in St. Peter's Basilica, bringing a mostly Italian group into the elite club that will eventually elect his successor. Speaking in Latin, Benedict read out each of the names of the new "princes of the church" at the start of the Mass, eliciting roaring applause from the pews and

Report: Details Of Foreigners Kidnapped So Far In Africa

Nov. 7th, 2010, Gunmen in Nigeria attacked offshore oil rig operated by exploration firm, Afren, kidnapping seven foreign crew members, two Americans, two Frenchmen, two Indonesians and one Canadian and 12 Nigerians.

Nov. 17th, In land, air and sea operation, Nigeria's military rescued all 19 hostages from militant camps in creeks of Niger Delta.

April 2008, Gunmen seized a

Friday, November 19, 2010

'127 Hours' -- Movie Takes Intense Look at Man's Quest for Survival

From Freep.com: Others heard the story of rock climber Aron Ralston's days-long ordeal -- he was trapped by a boulder that pinned down his arm -- and winced. Danny Boyle saw a tale of endurance and triumph, a spiritual journey in which a young man comes to terms with the expression "No man is an island."

"127 Hours" is the remarkable film the director of "Slumdog Millionaire" and his "Slumdog" screenwriter (Simon Beaufoy) conjured out of that excruciating tale. It's a tribute to Boyle's filmic flair and the humanity he wears on his sleeve that we can recall how Ralston's 127-hour saga ends and still be stunned and moved by the finale.

James Franco carries this gorgeous picture, giving us a Ralston who's a grinning extreme sports cliché. He works in a mountaineering equipment shop and takes off on solo weekend trips, hurtling across buttes on his mountain bike, exulting in nature and even in the spills he takes along the way. The film's opening minutes, with Ralston narrating his gonzo adventures on his camcorder, show us just how long it takes him to get to the middle of nowhere and how psyched he is to arrive.

On the day of his accident, he stumbles into a couple of cute hikers (Kate Mara and Amber Tamblyn) and disarmingly offers to show them the Blue John Canyon that only he knows. Ralston's open-faced grin advertises a big heart, and Franco effortlessly conveys the guy's innocence and lust for life.

The girls move on after an adventurous side trip (videotaped) to a water hole and after Aron has promised to come to their party later. Then he dashes out of sight. By the time he takes his big tumble, there is nobody within miles. He's going to miss that party.

Boyle and Beaufoy are fascinated by the kid's reaction to his plight. He has taken one calculated risk too many, but he's self-reliant and has all sorts of things in his pack that might help. None do. But he doesn't panic. He even keeps his camcorder diary up to date as he tries this and that, makes sure to hydrate and rests between attempts at self-rescue. He bundles up as best he can overnight and marvels at the way the light at sunrise plays down into the crack where he's stuck. Here's a guy who lives every day as if it might be his last.

But in dreams, flashbacks and hallucinations, Aron remembers the girl (Clemence Poesy) he wouldn't commit to and the mistakes he made with his parents and others. He ponders how his decisions are reflected in what has happened to him. He's a lone wolf who lives for himself, and nobody knows where he is or that he's missing.

Boyle, Beaufoy, Franco and cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle have created a film of breathtaking scenery, awe-inspiring silences and a perilous puzzle. Is this "Into the Wild," where only a trace of Aron will ever be found, or will he find a solution? And will we want to watch it?

It's a tribute to everyone involved that this Man vs. His Wild Self drama remains utterly absorbing and thrilling until the end.

A little taste of heaven

Chicken enchiladas. Enchiladas with chips, guacamole and fresh roasted salsa. I had refried beans in the fridge, but why stuff yourself?

Heaven. Pure corn tortilla heaven.

I remember this…  The taste was spot on.

Thank you Carlos!

Last call for donations for the Rocinha art and school supplies project

At the end of the day I am pulling down the PayPal link for our Art & School supplies project for Tio Lino and his young charges.

If you have been putting off making your donation - now is the time to act. 

We have raised more than R$750 to date (including R$80 Zezinho has for the kitty).

Every little bit helps!

Remember - it's over tonight.  Click on the link in the right column.

And thanks to everyone who has helped make the campaign a success.

I have corn tortillas in my fridge!

I still can’t believe it.

Last night a good friend stopped by for a quick visit. Carlos lives in Ft. Lauderdale but has been in Rio visiting family for the past week. We were excited to have him over.

Imagine my surprise when he plopped a big bag of goodies on our kitchen counter. Out of the bag Carlos pulled: CORN TORTILLAS!!!!!!!!!! A big package of 30 beautiful, perfect, authentic corn tortillas.

Also in that glorious bag of goodies: chocolate chips, peanut butter, pecans, small and large flour tortillas, Mexican hot sauce… amazing.

Carlos is a friend who not only reads my blog – he hears my cries.

Thank you Carlos!!!

Tip: if you come by our apartment today you can eat guacamole with real corn chips! 

[happy dance]

News Release: MEND Confirms Hostage Rescue

As a result of the bombings by the Nigerian military of camps and communities, hostages, earlier taken from oil installations where kept in a community to ensure their safety.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (M.E.N.D) confirms, that there was indeed a raid on this particular community by the Nigerian Military which had being tipped-off by certain persons from this community.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I hate cops who shoot gay people

There is an unstated rule over here at Qualidade de Vida: “Don’t go negative.” If people want to hear crappy things about Brazil, or Rio, or Brazilians – they can look elsewhere. There are WAY too many positive things going on in our lives to focus on the down side. Our glass is definitely half full.

(Here comes the exception.) But I want to comment on an incident of homophobic violence that happened right after the Gay Pride parade last Sunday. In general I don’t repeat news stories on the blog, but this one strikes a chord with me.

When the cops shoot gay people for no reason I make an exception to my rules.

In short, three military sergeants from Copacabana Fort were out “patrolling” (?) and came across two gay men in a park. They were not boyfriends or a hook up situation. Not that that should matter – you should see the public displays of affection by straight couples in Brazil. In this case we had two gay friends, in a park.

The armed military men began to harass the young guys (20s maybe) and demand documents, etc. Then they started with the homophobic insults and humiliation. Cops on kids. Nice. Then one of the brainiacs needed to make his homophobia known even more severely. He pulled his gun and shot one of the kids in the stomach. Two young guys in a park – one shot by a f**king a**hole in a military uniform.

The young man is ok. The bullet passed through his torso and missed all organs. He went to the hospital, then the police to report the incident. To their credit the military did a full investigation and brought the young man out to the fort to identify which men were involved in the incident. He identified the shooter and then after some questioning the guy confessed.

The military sergeant is spending some time in jail awaiting trial. Scumbag.

Unfortunately, there is an issue in Brazil with untrained military and police officers who live outside the rules. Don’t get me started. Glass half full…

But I had to smack down the authorities for their offense against my people.

Socialism: Hand in Hand with Mob Violence

Here is an article on Socialism and Mob Violence by Joel McDurmon:

It seems to be little more than casual news these days when riots break out in Athens, Paris, London, or some other socialist haven. Greeks riot over austerity; we huff. Francs mob over retirement age; we chuckle. Most recently, London students riot over the threat of higher tuition; we snore. We snore right through the glass breaking and all.

It just seems commonplace to us, I guess, that Europe is a Continent of adolescent children who throw things and break stuff, writhing in tantrum, when they don’t get their way. And they have a common phrase over there, “Crazy Americans.” We could reciprocate, but choose to ignore.

What no one seems yet to have pointed out in all the recent news reports is the obvious: socialism itself is by definition mob rule. It is the most powerful organized and collected interests in society leveraging government force to sate their lusts. To do so they extract wealth from other members of society, divvy the loot amongst themselves (the pirate image is too mild—it is more like hyenas over a carcass), and stuff their gullets.

Socialism is the political embodiment of plunder. It is the denial of the rule of law, or private property, individual liberty, and therefore of Christianity.

This system of governmental piracy unleashes at least two important aspects: the lusts of the mob, and the police-power of the mob.

The lusts of the mob manifest the depravity of man: rebellion against maturity, responsibility and honesty. The curse of the fall—the thorns and sweat—are, consciously or not, assumed to be overcome not through godly ethics, but through political policy. That is, through man’s legislative fiat, not God’s—man’s law-order, not God’s. By passing a law limiting work hours, price controls, wage rates, etc., the mob proclaims itself free of the need to work, build, plan, save, sacrifice, etc. This is fallen man’s futile proclamation that he is free, and free indeed. It is futile and blind—blind to the fact that this alleged freedom must be imposed by force of government. “Free at gunpoint.”

But someone has to pay the bills. So the rich get soaked; then they quit producing as much as they would in a free market; then general productivity declines; then national living standards decline; then the State prints and borrows to maintain its promises; then the debts start to get called. Someone has to pay those bills. You can’t just legislate them away indefinitely.

Eventually, someone, somewhere, must sacrifice, work hard, and produce. And those unnecessarily receiving an unnecessarily generous dole must take some cuts.

This means “austerity.” But austerity means backlash from the lustfully entitled mob. The conversation goes like this:

“We need cuts.”

“Yes we do.”

“Who will take the cuts?”

“Not me. You take the cut.”

“No, not me. You take the cut.”


News Report: Amos Adamu Banned For Three Years

Amos Adamu
One of Fifa's most senior figures have become the first official from the organization ever to be banned for bribery after six officials were punished following a corruption scandal. Nigeria's Amos Adamu received a three-year ban and 10,000 Swiss franc (£6,341) fine from Fifa's ethics committee today after being found guilty of breaching bribery rules.

His fellow executive

News Release: DPA Raises Alarm Over Police Search Of ATM Patrons

Marvel Akpoyibo
 Democratic Peoples’ Alliance (DPA) have raised an alarm over a new form of harassment that ATM bank patrons now suffer at the hands of people purporting to be policemen in Lagos .
The party reported complaints by customers leaving banks’ Automated Teller Machines (ATM) points only to be stopped in public by plain-clothed people brandishing supposed police identification.