Saturday, March 31, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Senator Mitch McConnell on Uncommon Knowledge

Peter Robinson always does an interview worth listening to. This one gives some good insight into the political future in generic terms.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

4 Heroes Fighting in Afghanistan Who Died March 14 to March 22, 2012

March 14 - Spc. Daquane D. Rivers, 21, of Marianna, Fla., died from injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident in Paktika province, Afghanistan.

March 15 - 2nd Lt. Clovis T. Ray, 34, of San Antonio, Texas died at Kunar province, Afghanistan of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.

March 21 - Sgt. Jamie D. Jarboe, 27, of Frankfort, Ind., died in Topeka, Kan., from wounds suffered on April 10, 2011 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire.

March 22 - Spc. Dennis P. Weichel Jr., 29, of Providence, R.I., died in Laghman province, Afghanistan, from injuries suffered in a noncombat related incident.

Friday, March 23, 2012

October Baby: One of the Best Deep Issue Movies in a Long Time

UPDATE: According to Box Office Mojo October Baby had the 8th highest gross this last weekend at $1.697 million and averaged $4,352 per theater. A good start for a film that cost $1 million to make. The others in the top eight opened in a lot more theaters: from 1,787 (A Thousand Words) to 4,137 (The Hunger Games) compared to October Baby's 390 theaters. Congratulations to October Baby filmmaker brothers Jon and Andrew Erwin.

Just saw this movie. Wow! Just wow! The last movie I saw that dealt this seriously with basic human issues was Touching the Void. That was more of a documentary. This is a full fledged movie with the jumps filled in.

The movie touches on issues like wrenching choices, loss, rejection, forgiving, receiving forgiveness, love, commitment and trust. Not a bad list of major life issues.

Especially good performances are given by Rachel Hendrix (main subject), John Schneider (father), Jasmine Guy (nurse) and Shari Rigby (birth mother). So good, in fact, that I came away interested in finding out the life stories of the three secondary characters. It rarely happens that secondary characters have the depth and nuance to provoke interest in them beyond their intersection with the main point of the story. But, it happens here.

From my standpoint, there were a few minor glitches in the film (one when dialog tries to fill in content at the beginning when Hannah's father says she was in the hospital over night which was a bit contrived) and the other two with scenes. One tried to paint an understanding of the main character, Hannah, but fell just a bit short (the hotel room scene). The other was the first date scene which didn't seem to add much other than sprinkle a little romance into the mix.

Apart from these quibbles, October Baby treats fundamental issues of life in a thoughtful and entertaining way. Not much more one could ask for in a film.

The synopsis (really average Hollywood speak) doesn't do the film justice, but I include it being too lazy to supply my own.

"As the curtain rises, Hannah hesitantly steps onto the stage for her theatrical debut in college. Yet before her first lines, she collapses. Countless medical tests all point to one underlying factor: Hannah's difficult birth. This revelation is nothing compared to discovering that she was actually adopted . . . after a failed abortion attempt. Bewildered, angered and confused, Hannah embarks on a journey with Jason, her oldest friend. In the midst of her incredible journey to discover her hidden past and find hope for her unknown future, Hannah sees that life can be so much more than what you have planned."

Though dealing with only one part of the story, this clip gives a glimpse into the depth of October Baby.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Head Spin: Democrats, Republicans, Independents

Apparently more than twice as many Democrats as Republicans or Independents easily say the exact opposite of what they said regarding the previous administration. From the Washington Post:

H/T Byron York

Free coffee, donuts, Direct TV, NFL Sunday ticket, wi-fi, Macbook Air, and Ipad?

Free coffee, donuts, Direct TV, NFL Sunday ticket, wi-fi, Macbook Air, and Ipad?
Here's a video from September:

Transcript from Video

TriMet is looking at a $1.5 Billion dollar expansion of the MAXX to add 7 miles of light rail into Milwaukie. But is this the best public transit service that $1.5 billion can buy? Here’s another idea:

Currently, there are three morning rush hour routes, and one local route, that run between Milwaukie and downtown Portland.

First, lets buy them new buses.

But let’s not just buy them any buses, lets buy them VanHool double decker luxury buses. These buses are nice, but not nice enough, lets upgrade them with headrest tv’s, crushed velour interior, tthe (sic) works.

We’re going to dedicate 16 buses to running the route between downtown Portland and Milwaukie. This should more than double service… and we’re going to have ALL 16 buses running this route 24 hours a day / 7 days a week, not just during peak hours.

If the buses are running all the time, when will we repair them? We’d better double our bus total again (32 buses), so we can have two bus rotations, one running while the other is cleaned/repaired. And let’s add another 4 buses (36) just in case something goes wrong.

These buses are also going to need drivers, mechanics, and janitors… to keep those buses really nice. And let’s give all these people TriMet’s standard benefits (which just happen to be the best in the nation).

Improved service is nice, but we need people to enjoy riding the bus. We should probably have Direct TV service. With NFL Sunday ticket. And wi-fi. And every person that rides should have coffee and a donut.

That’s pretty good service… but what if we also made it all totally free. Everything is totally free.

What if we also gave every freshman in Portland Public Schools a new Macbook Air. And an Ipad. Every year.

What if all of this was ongoing and free… for the next 150 years.

That’s right, we could all this with the money from the Milwaukie Light Rail line.

What would you do with the $1.5b?
H/T MaxRedline

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

NASA: Aurora Borealis from Space

"Aurora From Orbit Sept. 17, 2011

"This gorgeous view of the aurora was taken from the International Space Station as it crossed over the southern Indian Ocean on September 17, 2011. The sped-up movie spans the time period from 12:22 to 12:45 PM ET.

"While aurora are often seen near the poles, this aurora appeared at lower latitudes due to a geomagnetic storm – the insertion of energy into Earth's magnetic environment called the magnetosphere – caused by a coronal mass ejection from the sun that erupted on September 14. The storm was a moderate one, rated with what's called a KP index of 6 on a scale that goes from 0 to 9, caused by just a glancing blow from the CME."

Longer version from different time periods here.

Monday, March 19, 2012

PEW Research Center: The State of Newspapers 2012

The PEW Research Center has issued its The State of the Media 2012 report. Following are some interesting facts about newspapers.

Revenue. Circulation revenue, though relatively stable, is down to where it was in 1997. It now makes up 30% of newspaper total revenues (a 50% increase over its traditional 20% share).
"Circulation revenues have declined much more slowly than in advertising, only about 10% since 2003. As a result, circulation’s share of total revenues has risen from less than 20% early in the decade to almost 30% in 2009. Statistics for 2010 and 2011 are not available, but several public companies have reported small declines. So the total has probably dipped below $10 billion."

Advertising revenue has dropped 50% from its 2005 high and is down to its 1984 level.

Readership and paid circulation. Readership has dropped for all age groups, especially the young. It's down a little less than half from 42% in 1999 to 23% in 2011 for the 18-24 age group. Other groups readership drop rate from 1999 to 2011:

age 25 - 34 - 44% to 24%
age 35 - 44 - 54% to 31%
age 45 - 54 - 63% to 41%
age 55 - 65 - 69% to 49%
age 65+ - 72% to 59%
"The percentage of adults in all age groups who report that they read a newspaper yesterday has fallen steadily since 1999. Adults over the age of 65 are still most likely to be newspaper readers, but their readership declined three percentage points in 2011 alone."

Paid circulation is down 30% (almost 19 million readers) from 1990 to 2010.
"This 20-year view shows a steady slide in paid circulation. Daily circulation, which stood at 62.3 million in 1990, fell to 43.4 million in 2010, a decline of 30%. Sunday circulation fell by about the same percentage, though Sunday editions have performed better than daily the last two years.

"Figures for 2011 are not available."

Newsroom work force.
"Employment of full-time professional editorial staff peaked at 56,900 in 1989. It then fell 27% through 2010.

"The newsroom census totals for 2011 will be released in early April. Our estimate is that 500 to 1,000 more jobs will have been lost, but this year’s census will include some changes in methodology and more inclusion of non-newspaper online publications.

"The census, by the American Society of News Editors, also includes a breakout of minority employment. It grew immensely from 1,900 in 1978 to 7,400 in 2006, but has since fallen during the layoff years to 5,300 at the end of 2010."

Top 25 newspapers.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Oregonian, Bob Caldwell and Al French

The Oregonian has a history of coverups of its favorites--especially regarding predatory sexual behavior toward young men and women.

The most egregious case has been documented by Nigel Jaquiss who won a Pulitzer prize for his investigative reporting on Neil Goldschmidt's statutory rape of a 14 year old teenage girl in the 1970's. In his reporting, Jaquiss documented the failure of the Oregonian to investigate and report on evidence going back to 1986 (when the Oregonian's nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist Jack Ohman was given information which he passed on to his boss (Robert Landauer) who went to "then-Editor William Hilliard and Managing Editor Peter Thompson" who did nothing) and November 2003 (when Oregonian senior political writer Jeff Mapes was given "the victim's name, a chronology and the names of others who could confirm the story" and "reportedly told his editors about [Fred] Leonhardt's bombshell" but "there's no evidence that anybody in The Oregonian's 430-person newsroom pursued the story until the first week of May, when word leaked that WW was about to expose Goldschmidt.")

There's also the January, 2009, Sam Adams/Beau Breedlove story that, again, took Nigel Jaquiss of the Willamette Week to break. The Oregonian passed on evidence sent to them as well as to Willamette Week which Jaquiss acted upon.

Or how about the reporting in July of 2011, of an incident with former Rep. David Wu and a young woman, that occurred in November of 2010. A complaint was made to Wu's office in the "spring" but no Oregonian reporting on it until July even though everybody knew in February of 2011 that things were not right with Wu.

And now the Oregonian has been caught not only not reporting on the criminal conviction of one of its long-time editors (who, they admit, "[a]s head of our editorial board, Caldwell had substantial influence on the politics and policies of our state"--emphasis added) but in lack of investigative interest in his untimely death (which it transpired happened when "Caldwell was stricken after a sex act in the apartment of a 23-year-old woman. The woman told police she and Caldwell had engaged in such acts previously and he had given her money for books and school"). From Peter Bhatia, editor and vice president of the Oregonian:
"I don’t blame [John] Killen [reporter of the original false information]. There was no reason or sign that Caldwell’s death was anything other than routine. He had a DUII in his past (which we didn’t report at the time — true, also my call), but nothing else. And, even though journalists are trained skeptics always ready to ask the next question, none of us could have imagined a fellow journalist [Kathleen Glanville*] not telling us the truth."
[emphasis added]
Compare the treatment of Bob Caldwell, with more than 15 years as editor of the Oregonian and his impact on "the politics and policies of our state" with the fire hose of investigative reporting aimed at Alfred French in 2004. Don't remember Alfred French? Well, he appeared for a few seconds in a political ad run by the Swift Boat vets against presidential candidate John Kerry. After seeing the ad, the Oregonian immediately put its "430-person newsroom" on the task of digging under every rock to discredit Alfred French. (no articles remain online, but three of them are listed here**) When asked why they were digging up every embarrassing fact about his marriage, work relationships, work record, etc., the Oregonian responded that he had made himself a public person by appearing in a Swift Boat ad against John Kerry. Thus any dirt against him, his wife and a secretary with whom he had an affair was fair game.
"As French's own credibility came under intense scrutiny, he admitted that he had lied to his boss when confronted about an extramarital affair with a secretary and was placed on 30-day paid leave pending an investigation into his conduct. Link Expired This subsequent investigation by the Office of the Clackamas County District Attorney 'concluded that allegations of a 1991 relationsip (sic) with a fellow employee were a private matter.'"
You see Alfred French had a few second bit in one political ad against a candidate the Oregonian supported. So he was super important and merited top Oregonian investigative reporting. But Bob Caldwell was only the "editorial page editor, where he also directed the newspaper's daily commentary pages and Sunday Opinion section" over a decade and a half for one of the top 25 newspapers in the U.S. No reason to look at him even after a criminal conviction.
*the Oregonian has fired editor Kathleen Glanville
**Noelle Crombie, "Oregon prosecutor accuses Kerry in ad (Link Expired)," The Oregonian, August 20, 2004.
Dan Hortsch, "Vietnam vets rally against Clackamas County prosecutor (Link Expired)," The Oregonian, August 24, 2004.
Stephen Beaven, "Prosecutor who attacked Kerry admits lying to boss (Link Expired)," The Oregonian, August 27, 2004.

H/T G R Durand

UPDATE: Post edited to indicate that the girl mentioned in paragraph two was a young teenager.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Alexander Tsiaras: Conception to Birth -- visualized

H/T Peter Robinson

Footage of HBO's Palin "Melt Down" Day

On September 27, 2008, the day that Hanks/HBO's Game Change shows Sarah Palin having a complete melt down and withdrawal, CNN caught her out socializing with average people and answering a press inquiry.

Guess Hanks/HBO missed this. Not to mention current CNN reporters.

And, of course, there's the miraculous comeback at the high pressured 90 minute Vice Presidential debate only five days later on October 2, 2012. Or maybe the McCain team brought in a double? Where's the script writing to fix up unbelievable claims when you need it? My dad used to say that the old movie serials used to leave the hero in an impossible, no escape situation and then pick up the next episode with the story jump "after escaping from the burning building".

H/T Stacy Drake

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New York Times Poll: 51 - 40 Favor Opt Out for ALL Employers for Moral or Religious Reasons

Mickey Kaus explains the New York Times poll that the Times forgot to explain:
". . . Unbeknownst to those who read only the Times' main story, the poll asked the same question to men. They were not split. Men favored opting out by a 20 point margin (57 vs. 37), except when a “religiously affiliated employer” was involved, in which case the margin increased to 25 points. Combining men and women, a substantial majority (51-40) favors allowing an opt-out--increasing to 57-36 where religiously-affiliated institutions are involved.

"These are not close results. It’s hard to read this poll and not conclude that, contrary to some accounts, Obama wasn’t such a genius to pick a fight over mandated contraception coverage--because he appears to be losing the public debate on the question. That’s a conclusion the Times story effectively hides from readers."
51-40 say yes on the right to opt out for ALL employers for moral or religious reasons.*

57-36 say yes on the right to opt out for “religiously affiliated employers, such as a hospital or university.”

Interestingly, the majority of those polled thought the issue was mainly about "women's health and their rights" (51%) and not a "religious freedom" issue (37%). So, even though the framing leaned toward the President, Democratic party and mainstream press, the outcome was solidly against them. A good week's work for conservative and religious advocates.
*actual question: “Should health insurance plans for all employees have to cover the full cost of birth control for female employees or should employers be able to opt out for moral or religious reasons?”

H/T William Jacobson

2 Heroes Who Died Fighting in Afghanistan March 5 to March 12, 2012

March 5 - Spc. Edward J. Acosta, 21, of Hesperia, Calif., died in La Jolla, Calif., of injuries sustained Dec. 3, 2011, when his vehicle was struck by an improvised-explosive device in Wardak province, Afghanistan.

March 12 - Staff Sgt. Jesse J. Grindey, 30, of Hazel Green, Wis., died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Subsidizing Green Energy Not to Produce?

Apparently Pacific Northwest ratepayers will pay tax payer subsidized wind turbines not to produce energy.
"Wind farms in the Pacific Northwest -- built with government subsidies and maintained with tax credits for every megawatt produced -- are now getting paid to shut down as the federal agency charged with managing the region's electricity grid says there's an oversupply of renewable power at certain times of the year.

"The problem arose during the late spring and early summer last year. Rapid snow melt filled the Columbia River Basin. The water rushed through the 31 dams run by the Bonneville Power Administration, a federal agency based in Portland, Ore., allowing for peak hydropower generation. At the very same time, the wind howled, leading to maximum wind power production.

"Demand could not keep up with supply, so BPA shut down the wind farms for nearly 200 hours over 38 days."
. . .
"Now, Bonneville is offering to compensate wind companies for half their lost revenue. The bill could reach up to $50 million a year.

"The extra payout means energy users will eventually have to pay more."
[emphasis added]
H/T William Jacobson

For Tom Hanks and HBO Obama Is Boring

That Tom Hanks and HBO think Barack Obama is boring is being hinted at from right and left.

Byron York was one of the first to point out how strange it is that HBO's Game Change has no interest in the dominant story of the book Game Change: the fight between Hillary and Obama for the nomination and then Obama's history making win as first black president of the United States.
"Why did Hollywood focus on only one-half of 'Game Change'? The other half would have made a great movie.

"It was certainly the most compelling part of the book, with no end of dramatic moments. The Clinton-Obama version of 'Game Change' could have focused on the racially charged effort among white Democrats to stop the first black man with a serious chance of winning their party's presidential nomination."
. . .
"And most of all, the alternate 'Game Change' would have provided insights into the man who became president of the United States.

"But somehow, that movie didn't get made. Instead, HBO decided to focus on an out-of-office, former half-term governor of Alaska who was on the losing ticket in the 2008 election and isn't running for anything today.

"Everyone knows that Hollywood, the entertainment industry as a whole, and much of the liberal establishment all suffer from a continuing obsession with Palin. So in the end, it's no surprise HBO turned 'Game Change' into a Palin biopic. But in the process, they ignored a historic, compelling and profoundly dramatic story."
[emphasis added]
Historic, compelling, profoundly dramatic? For Byron York, yes. Not for Hanks and HBO.

Then there's Jason Apuzzo at HuffPo:
"Game Change is HBO's adaptation of the book of the same name about the 2008 Presidential election, penned by journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. Crucially, that book depicted both sides of the 2008 campaign -- dwelling mostly on the epic Democratic Party primary battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, something left out completely from HBO's movie.

"That the film's producers -- who include Tom Hanks -- dropped the Clinton-vs.-Obama side of the book altogether has opened Game Change up to legitimate charges of partisanship, as has the film's depiction of Palin as mercurial and unbalanced."
. . .
It would've been interesting to watch a frothy version of this film featuring Hillary and Bill, Barack and Michelle. What, there's no drama there?"
[emphasis added]
Game Change Producer Tom Hanks
Apparently there's no drama for Hanks/HBO. To Tom Hanks and HBO Barack Obama is, well, dull. Alternatively, Hanks/HBO's hatred for Palin may have overwhelmed their interest in Obama and his historic presidency. In either case Hanks/HBO's Game Change shows a significant lack in creative thinking and artistry. Hanks the producer in honing in on the main story is third rate and dull--unlike either Barack Obama or Sarah Palin. Though maybe Hanks and HBO backhandedly hit it right that Palin's story is actually more "historic, compelling and profoundly dramatic" than Obama's. Only time will tell.

Monday, March 05, 2012

PEW Study Shows Newspapers Lose $7 in Print Advertising for Every $1 in Digital Gained

In a study of 38 newspapers, the Pew Research Center found that newspapers are losing $7 in print advertising for every $1 they are gaining in digital advertising.
"The broad numbers about the digital revenue transition are stark. The papers providing detailed data took in roughly $11 in print revenue for every $1 they attracted online in the last full year for which they had data. Thus, even though the total digital advertising revenues from those newspapers rose on average 19% in the last full year, that did not come anywhere close to making up for the dollars lost as a result of 9% declines in print advertising. The displacement ratio in the sample was a loss of dollars by about 7-to-1."

HBO and Multi-Millionaire Tom Hanks Help Romney

Multi-millionaire Tom Hanks at Obama Inauguration
HBO's Game Change is changing the game. Multi-millionaire producer Tom Hanks' film is so full of lies and bias that it makes even Mitt Romney's down and dirty superPAC ads look reasonable. Three recent articles show how biased and slimy Game Change is.

First, John Nolte:
"In other words, it's just a fact that when HBO decided to pull the trigger, the possibility was very real that Palin could become president of the United States. So what did HBO choose to do as a response? Here are the facts:

"1. HBO chose to adapt into a feature film the 10 percent of a 350-plus page book that focused on a vice presidential candidate.

"2. HBO chose not to adapt into a feature film that portion of the book focusing on what might have given us some insight into the man currently residing in the Oval Office.

"3. HBO chose a book written by two men who were not on the campaign trail with Governor Palin, who made a conscious choice of their own to tell only the side of the story coming from those who refused to go on the record. Those willing to go on the record, those willing to stake their reputations on their side of the story, were all but ignored by these authors.

"4. HBO chose to give left-wing partisans, who openly support Obama, millions of dollars to bring their vision of his likely challenger to life.

"5. HBO chose as a release date (their absurdly dishonest protests aside) the Saturday after Super Tuesday. Think about this: If it's March of 2011, and you're remaking "The Hidden," and you're thinking ahead to the most likely day the alien might be one step away from obtaining power, what better day to rush in with your flamethrower than the Saturday after Super Tuesday?

"The five points I've listed above are not opinions; they are facts. They are conscious choices made during the political reality of the time by multi-millionaires like Hanks, Roach and Strong backed by one of the most powerful multi-national corporations on the planet."
Besides the fact that people actually with Palin on the campaign trail have stated that Game Change is full of lies, Jeffrey Scott Shapiro points out that Gallup polling disproves the HBO/Hanks' contention that Palin cost McCain the election.
"In the two weeks before Palin joined the McCain ticket, the Arizona senator drifted in the low 40 percentile range, mostly around 41, 42 and 43 percent, while Obama held as much as an 8 point lead at about 49 and 50 percent. Four days after Palin joined the ticket, however, McCain’s numbers climbed to 45 percent and Obama’s sank to 47 percent, narrowing the gap significantly from eight points to two.

"Between Sept. 4-6, McCain and Palin actually overshot the Obama ticket by 3 percent with the Republicans in the lead at 48 percent and the Democrats at only 45. McCain consistently held that lead until Sept. 15, and then the candidates balanced out with Obama enjoying a mere three-point lead, and no lead at all from Sept. 22-24, when the numbers were tied at 46 percent."
Larry O'Connor underlines the fact that the Secret Service investigated and found that someone from the crowd listening to a Palin speech did not shout, "Kill Obama" as is portrayed in the HBO movie.
"Despite the premise of 'Game Change' - that Sarah Palin cost John McCain the 2008 presidential election - Gallup polls prove HBO's assertion categorically false. Palin wasn’t the reason the Republicans lost the election. She’s the only reason they had a fighting chance up until the time McCain suspended his presidential campaign in late September."
. . .
"At the time of the allegation, Obama had a Secret Service detail assigned to him and these folks don’t take a death threat reported in the New York Times lightly. They investigated it and found: 'The agent in charge of the Secret Service field office in Scranton said allegations that someone yelled 'kill him' when presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s name was mentioned during Tuesday’s Sarah Palin rally are unfounded.'"
Tom Hanks' and HBO's lies are much more egregious than anything the Romney superPAC has done aiming at real, current presidential opponents. Hanks and HBO direct their smears and lies at a woman who isn't in office or running for office. It's hard to get much lower than that. (Well, maybe the media attacks against Joe the Plumber.)

H/T Stacy Drake

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Explosion in Gasoline Sales in Brazil after Obama Encourages Brazilian Oil Drilling

A $2 billion U.S. loan in 2009 and President Obama's encouragement of Brazilian oil drilling a year ago (see video below), seem to be sending Brazilians back to buying gas (up 39%) and not ethanol (down 35%) and gas powered cars over hybrids.

From O Estado de São Paulo (via Google translate):
"Future. The projection of the ministry that the cars would run flex fuel switching at a rate close to 50% also run the risk of not sustaining. The use of ethanol is no longer advantageous compared to gasoline when its price exceeds 70% of the gas at the pump. The consumer chooses the cheaper price at the time of supply, an equation is unfavorable to ethanol."
. . .
"Data from the National Petroleum Agency (ANP) show an explosion in gasoline consumption from 2010. In two years, while sales fell 35% ethanol, gasoline sales rose more than 39%. Since 2005, gasoline sales recorded an increase of 2% per year. In 2010, they grew 17.45%. In 2011, 18.79%, reaching 35.4 billion liters, compared to 10.7 billion liters of ethanol sold in the same year."

Saturday, March 03, 2012

8 Heroes Who Died in Afghanistan February 23 to March 1, 2012 and in Iraq in 2006

February 23, 2012 - Died in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when their unit came under small arms fire:
- Sgt. Joshua A. Born, 25, of Niceville, Fla., and
- Cpl. Timothy J. Conrad Jr., 22, of Roanoke, Va.

Febraury 25, 2012 - Lt. Col. John D. Loftis, 44, of Paducah, Ky., died Feb. 25 from wounds received during an attack at the Interior Ministry, Kabul, Afghanistan.

- Maj. Robert J. Marchanti II, 48, of Baltimore, Md., died Feb. 25, from wounds received during an attack at the Interior Ministry, Kabul, Afghanistan.

Death confirmed February 25, 2012 - The armed forces medical examiner at the Dover Port Mortuary in Dover, Del., positively identified the remains of Staff Sgt. Ahmed K. Altaie, of Ann Arbor, Mich. On Dec. 11, 2006, a casualty review board declared Altaie “missing – captured” after his disappearance in Baghdad, Iraq on Oct. 23, 2006. Altaie was the final missing soldier and casualty to be recovered from the Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn mission.

March 1, 2012 - Died in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from small arms fire during an attack on their base:
- Staff Sgt. Jordan L. Bear, 25, of Denver, Colo., and
- Pfc. Payton A. Jones, 19, of Marble Falls, Texas.

- Cpl. Conner T. Lowry, 24, of Chicago, Ill., died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Oregon Representatives Vote for Religious Liberty for Pastor Nadarkhani and Condemn Iran

Pastor Nadarkhani with his sons
(photo from American Center for Law and Justice)
All five of Oregon's representatives* voted for the resolution condemning Iran for "state-sponsored persecution of religious minorities" and calling for Iran to "exonerate and immediately release Youcef Nadarkhani and all other individuals held or charged on account of their religion".

Text of the resolution:
H.RES.556 -- Condemning the Government of Iran for its continued persecution, imprisonment, and sentencing of Youcef Nadarkhani on the charge of apostasy. (Introduced in House - IH)



2d Session

H. RES. 556

Condemning the Government of Iran for its continued persecution, imprisonment, and sentencing of Youcef Nadarkhani on the charge of apostasy.


February 17, 2012

Mr. PITTS (for himself, Mr. FRANKS of Arizona, Mr. SHULER, Mr. WOLF, Mr. MCGOVERN, Mr. ELLISON, and Mr. CARTER) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs


Condemning the Government of Iran for its continued persecution, imprisonment, and sentencing of Youcef Nadarkhani on the charge of apostasy.

Whereas the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights uphold that every individual shall have `the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion', which includes the `freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance';

Whereas Iran is a member of the United Nations and signatory to both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

Whereas articles 23 through 27 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran provide for freedom of expression, assembly, and association, as well as the freedom to practice one's religion;

Whereas Iran is a religiously diverse society and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran reports that religious minorities including Nematullahi Sufi Muslims, Sunnis, Baha'is, and Christians face human rights violations in Iran;

Whereas in recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of incidents of Iranian authorities raiding religious services, detaining worshippers and religious leaders, and harassing and threatening minority religious members;

Whereas the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights reports that Iranian intelligence officials are known to threaten Christian converts with arrest and apostasy charges if they do not return to Islam;

Whereas in October 2009, Youcef Nadarkhani, a minority Christian, protested an Iranian law that would impose Islam on his Christian children;

Whereas in September 2010, an Iranian court accused Youcef Nadarkhani of abandoning the Islamic faith of his ancestors, and condemned him to death for apostasy;

Whereas the Iranian court sentenced Youcef Nadarkhani to death by hanging according to Article 167 of the Iranian Constitution, Article 8 from the book of Tahrir Alvasilah Fi Sofat Alghazi Va Maianaseb Lah, and Fatwas of Shia theologians;

Whereas, on December 5, 2010, Youcef Nadarkhani appealed his conviction and sentence to the Supreme Revolutionary Court in Qom, Iran, and the court held that if it could be proven that he was a practicing Muslim in adulthood, his death sentence should be carried out unless he recants his Christian faith and adopts Islam;

Whereas, on September 25, 2011, through September 28, 2011, the State Court of Gilan Section 11 held hearings to determine if Youcef Nadarkhani was a practicing Muslim in adulthood, and held that he had abandoned the faith of his ancestors and must be sentenced to death if he does not recant his faith;

Whereas on numerous occasions the judiciary of Iran offered to commute Youcef Nadarkhani's sentence if he would recant his faith;

Whereas numerous Government of Iran officials have attempted to coerce Youcef Nadarkhani to recant his Christian faith and accept Islam in exchange for his freedom;

Whereas upon the date of the passing of this resolution, Youcef Nadarkhani has refused to recant his faith;

Whereas the Government of Iran continues to indefinitely imprison Youcef Nadarkhani for choosing to practice Christianity; and

Whereas the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights reported that, at the time of his report, in 2011, Iran had secretly executed 146 people, and in 2010, Iran secretly executed more than 300 people: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) condemns the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of religious minorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran and its continued violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and calls for the Government of Iran to exonerate and immediately release Youcef Nadarkhani and all other individuals held or charged on account of their religion;

(2) recognizes that freedom of religious belief and practice is a universal human right and a fundamental freedom of every individual, regardless of race, sex, country, creed, or nationality, and should never be arbitrarily abridged by any government; and

(3) recognizes that governments have a responsibility to protect the fundamental rights of their citizens and to pursue justice for all.
*Suzanne Bonamici (District 1), Greg Walden (District 2), Earl Blumenauer (District 3), Peter DeFazio (District 4), Kurt Schrader (District 5)

Game Change: Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace Lying Then or Now?


SarahPAC's comments:
Liberals have proven once again that they do not value truth. The liberal left distorts facts to fabricate its own version of history.

Their latest effort in storytelling is HBO’s movie, Game Change.

The screen writer of Game Change, Danny Strong, lapsed into a tired routine of manipulating facts and omitting key parts of Governor Palin’s story in order to push a biased agenda and drive ratings.

We have warned viewers of Game Change’s distortions--based upon the description and reports from people who have viewed the film, HBO must add a disclaimer that this movie is fiction.

Game Change is just the most recent example in a long history of facts being distorted for profit. Frank Bailey, a former aide to Governor Palin, was recently fined nearly $12,000 by the Alaska Attorney General’s Office for stealing the Governor’s internal emails. Bailey then turned the emails over to a blogger from the radical left who twisted the text into her own narrative for profit, proving again that Governor Palin’s opponents will stop at nothing to destroy her record of service.

Behind Game Change’s slanderous agenda is a trail of money leading straight to the Barack Obama campaign and the Democrat Party. Writer Danny Strong and director Jay Roach each donated the maximum $2,300 to Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008. Even actress Julianne Moore, who plays the Governor herself, contributed to the more than $120,000 donated to Obama and Democrats since 2008 by the film’s producers and cast.

The 2008 National Security Advisor to Governor Palin, Randy Scheunemann, said of the movie, “It gives fiction a bad name to call this fiction,” while Governor Palin aide Jason Recher described the movie as “a false narrative cobbled together by a group of people who simply weren’t there.”

SarahPAC’s latest video, Game Change We Can Believe In, shares the true story of the 2008 Presidential race, the same story that millions of Americans witnessed. It is a story of a gutsy, Washington-outsider taking politics-as-usual by storm, the story of a spirited reformer who refused to conform to establishment norms. Governor Palin left her home state of Alaska with an 80% approval rating to electrify the nation overnight with commonsense conservative solutions.

After working with Governor Palin, former McCain campaign adviser Nicolle Wallace described her as “a once-in-a-generation politician who just has that something. She electrified our race. She has inspired our party.”

All first-hand accounts of the Governor’s 2008 campaign describe her in similar terms--as an inspirational role model and a true game changer.

Help us say no to the half-baked truths and fabrications of the liberal left by watching and sharing the true account of Governor Palin’s transformation of American politics: Game Change We Can Believe In.
Commenter Hefmier at Conservatives4Palin gives a great link to Peggy Noonan's assessment of how good Palin was in the debate against Joe Biden:
"She killed. It was her evening. She was the star. . . . For Palin tonight for an hour and a half I think America saw her for a really long time. And she became a star probably on a new level."