Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Virginia Tech Shooter was Autistic Conspiracy

Have you heard the theory that the Virginia Tech shooter, Seung-Hui Cho, was autistic and the MSM (main-stream media) is suppressing that information at the request of the pharmaceutical industry and their enablers in government? The evidence for the conspiracy:
* Cho’s relatives living in Korea thought that he was autistic.
* Cho’s symptoms started at about the age that autism symptoms often begin.
* Cho exhibited the flat affect symptomatic of autism.
* If it is proven in a court of law that many cases of autism were caused by infant vaccines which contained mercury the pharmaceutical industry could be liable for billions of dollars in damages.
* The government is in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry.

That, as I understand it, is the evidence for the conspiracy. If you know of any more evidence be sure to leave a comment telling us about it.

The evidence against the conspiracy:
* Nobody who had actually seen Cho in the last 15 years seemed to think he was autistic.
* It would be very unusual for someone with autism to feel persecuted.
* It would be very unusual for someone with autism to be violent with anyone other than themselves.
* If childhood vaccines caused autism it would be relatively easy to prove that since, unlike other possible environmental factors, there is no question whether or not any particular patient was exposed to a vaccine. Populations of children who did not receive vaccines, such as the Amish, have the same rates of autism as populations who did.

There is more that could be said but I think that is sufficient for any reasonable person to come to the correct conclusion.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Retired General says "President is AWOL and Congress must fill vacuum"

As reported by William E. Jackson Jr. in the Huffington Post:
In an unprecedented decision, Speaker Nancy Pelosi designated a retired three-star general, William E. Odom, to respond to President George Bush's Saturday radio address.
General Odom, former director of the National Security Agency and head of Army intelligence, has consistently and publicly opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq and has called for withdrawal ever since. In his capacity as one of the Nation's foremost experts on Russia, he now teaches at Yale University.

Introducing himself in typically straightforward east Tennessee fashion, Odom began: "I am not now nor have I ever been a Democrat or a Republican. Thus I do not speak for the Democratic Party. I speak for myself, as a non-partisan retired military officer who is a former director of the National Security Agency."

In principle, he normally does not favor Congressional involvement in the execution of U.S. military policy But the West Point graduate stated that the conflict in Iraq is different: "Over the past couple of years, the President has let it proceed on automatic pilot, making no corrections in the face of accumulating evidence that his strategy is failing and cannot be rescued. Thus he lets the United States fly farther and farther into trouble, squandering its influence, money, and blood, facilitating the gains of our enemies." Congress, he believes, is now "the only mechanism we have to fill this vacuum in command judgment."

Odom, a one-time military aide on the NSC staff, takes direct aim at POTUS (president of the United States): "To put this in a simple army metaphor, the Commander-in-Chief seems to have gone AWOL, the acronym for 'absent without leave.' He neither acts nor talks as though he is in charge.*** Most Americans suspect that something is fundamentally wrong with the President's management of the conflict in Iraq. And they are right."

Reminding that "we are in a crisis," the general argued that "the challenge we face today is not how to win in Iraq; it is how to recover from a strategic mistake: invading Iraq in the first place. The war could never have served American interests," charged this student of Clausewitz.

BUT "it has served Iran's interest by revenging Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran in the 1980s and enhancing Iran's influence within Iraq. It has also served al Qaeda's interests, providing a much better training ground than did Afghanistan, allowing it to build its ranks far above the levels and competence that otherwise would have been possible."

Therefore, said Odom, the U.S. "cannot 'win' a war that serves our enemies' interest and not our own. Continuing to pursue the illusion of victory in Iraq makes no sense. We can now see that it never did."

The Vietnam combat officer advised that "a wise commander in this situation normally revises his objectives and changes his strategy, not just marginally but radically. Nothing less today will limit the death and destruction that the invasion of Iraq has unleashed." HOWEVER, "no effective new strategy can be devised for the United States until it begins withdrawing its forces from Iraq. Only that step will break the paralysis that now confronts us."

General Odom, who has written several books on America's security in the world, contended that withdrawal from Iraq, in addition to serving as the pre-condition for winning support from countries in Europe and other major powers--China, India, Japan, and Russia--"will also shock and change attitudes in Iran, Syria, and other countries on Iraq's borders, making them far more likely to take seriously new U.S. restoring regional stability and heading off the spreading chaos that our war has caused."

Signing the bill that Congress approved this week, with some bipartisan support, setting schedules for withdrawal, offers "the President an opportunity to begin this kind of strategic shift, one that defines regional stability as the measure of victory, not an impossible victory he seeks in Iraq," he reasoned.

General William Odom made this concluding pledge: "I will respect him greatly for such an act of courage."

What a brilliant decision by Nancy Pelosi to ask the General to give the Democratic Party response to the President! She and Senator Reid are showing the country what true leadership looks like!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A beautiful day in the Quad Cities

The weather has been beautiful this weekend in the Quad Cities. Here is a picture I took on the footbridge to Sylvan Island in Moline.

[Click on picture to enlarge]

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Pretty Boy Floyd never deported anyone

During the Great Depression in the 1930s, when people made powerless by poverty were being thrown out of their homes when banks repossessed them, Woody Guthrie wrote a song about Pretty Boy Floyd, the bank robber, that ended:
As through this world you wander
You'll see plenty of funny men.
Some will rob you with a six-gun
Others with a fountain pen.

But as through this world I've wandered
And through this world I've roamed
I've never seen an outlaw
Drive a family from their home.

Outlaws have never driven people from their homes by repossessing their houses nor have they ever broken up families by conducting workplace raids and deporting fathers and mothers. When undocumented workers are deported as part of a ICE (Immigration and Custom Enforcement) raid children and spouses are left behind, some of them citizens, wondering when and if their families will ever be reunited. There raids are not being conducted by outlaws or terrorists, but by our government, acting in our names.

Recent polls show that the vast majority of Americans (78%) believe that illegal immigrants who are already here and working should be given a chance to become citizens rather than being threatened with deportation. We need comprehensive immigration reform to bring our laws and policies on immigration more into line with how the majority feel the undocumented should be treated.

Friday, April 20, 2007

A minority of 22% can sure make a lot of noise

According to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken last weekend and released yesterday 78% of the American people feel immigrants now in the country illegally should be given a chance at citizenship.

Wow! If you read the comments posted online to any news article or blog entry that mentions illegal immigrants you would get the feeling that there are an awful lot of Americans who think that all the undocumented should be immediately deported the moment anyone in law enforcement becomes aware of them, no matter how long the immigrants have been here and how many roots they have put down in our communities. Apparently those who feel that way are much more vocal and much more likely to publicly state their opinion than the 78% majority who feel otherwise.

Maybe the release of this poll will embolden people to be more assertive in defending the most vulnerable and least powerful among us -- the more than 12 million undocumented. You can't go back in time and stand up to the school-yard bullies like you now wish you had but you do have the opportunity to confront the adult bullies who think just because they were born here they can push around defenseless people who were not.

My take on the $400 haircut

I think people who are trying to make an issue of this are just jealous that they don't have a head of hair worthy of a $400 haircut.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Guatemalan place mats

My wife Connie and I attended the 13th International Festival at Black Hawk College in Moline, yesterday. Our old friends Bob and Jeanne Nakamaru were there selling hand-crafted items from Guatemala to raise money for a very good cause – the Centro Maya Xe’Kiyaqasiiwaan, a center for children with disabilities in San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala We bought the pictured four hand-weaved and dyed place mats and matching runner. Jeanne gave us a slip of paper listing some of the plants from which the dyes were created which were used to color the yarn. (Click on the picture to see it full-sized.)

Jeanne has more placemats for sale as well as other hand-crafted items. She also has premium organic coffee grown in the mountains of Guatemala for sale. This coffee is purchased directly from the farmers. Bypassing the middle man in this way empowers the otherwise powerless poor coffee growers and gives the consumer a high quality coffee at a reasonable price. All the proceeds from these sales go to support the Centro Maya Xe’Kiyaqasiiwaan. Read more about the center here, here and here.

If you are interesting in purchasing any of the mentioned Guatemalan hand-crafts or just want more information contact Jeanne Nakamaru at

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A part of America has died

In my previous post I quoted someone who felt that a part of America had died when Don Imus was fired. I also feel that cherished aspects of America that I had always believed in have died. Here are a few things that I always believed about America that recent events in the news have shown are no longer true:

In America no one is above the law. When state governors are in a vehicle they must obey the same rules of the road as anyone else. Nevermore. Even the President of the United States must comply with a lawful subpoena. Nevermore.

Naturalized citizens have all the rights and privileges of natural born citizens except that they cannot be President. Citizens can only lose their citizenship as the result of being convicted in a court of law of a very serious crime such as treason. Nevermore.

The federal government of the United States consists of three co-equal branches of government. Each branch acts as a check on and balance to the other two branches. Nevermore.

The United States is committed to democracy both at home and abroad. At home the government is committed to holding free and fair elections in which everyone with a legal right to vote has an opportunity to do so. Nevermore. In our dealings with other countries we always encourage democracy and in struggles between democracy and totalitarianism we always side with freedom and democracy. Nevermore.

The United States government does not "disappear" people into secret prisons, does not engage in torture and respects human rights. Nevermore.

People who serve in the armed forces are honored and valued by our government. Nevermore. Our wounded veterans receive the best medical care a grateful country can provide. Nevermore.

The Geneva Conventions represents the consensus of the civilized world about how detained people should be treated. The United States is part of the civilized world. Nevermore.

Imus show is how normal people talk

I was appalled to read on the National Review web site John Derbyshire reprinting an email which he describes as the "wisest thing I’ve heard yet on the Imus scandal":
—-Imus is an institution. Imus' show is how normal people talk. People who have at least a foot still in blue-collar culture. I grew up there, in mixed racial working areas, and people jokes across racial lines to one another all the time. Imus being fired feels like a part of America has died and we're moving closer to the modern day sanitized England.

What sort of world do these people live in, where calling college women basketball players "nappy-headed hos" is normal? It would certainly be nice if, as the writer lamented, that the part of American that considers such behavior normal had died with the firing of Imus. Unfortunately, I don’t think that the fight against racism and sexism is over quit yet. But the firing of Imus shows that people who are appalled by such callous disregard for the feelings of others can change things for the better when enough of us speak up.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

My psychic wife

I get up early in the morning and read newspapers and blogs online. When my wife came to the breakfast table she asked me what was happening in the world. I started telling her about an AP article I had read. (Curiously the story was not picked up by very many newspapers or major news sites but I came across a reference to it in a political blog.) "The people in Congress investigating the firing of eight federal prosecutors had heard about an non-government email system set up by the Republican Party that people in the White House were using to communicate and had started to ask questions about whether White House officials had been using that email system to get around a law requiring preservation — and eventual disclosure — of presidential records. Guess what," I asked my wife, "the White House just announced about that email system yesterday?"
"All the emails got erased?," she guessed.
She must be psychic.

My favorite author

1492. As children we were taught to memorize this year with pride and joy as the year people began living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America. Actually, people had been living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America for hundreds of years before that. 1492 was simply the year sea pirates began to rob, cheat, and kill them.
-- Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions

Kurt Vonnegut died last night. His books are among the best ever written. He will be missed.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Giuliani on the Terri Schiavo case

Last week during a campaign swing through Florida Rudy Giuliani told people there that he supported the state government's efforts to save Terri Schiavo's life.
Read the entire news article.

I would have thought that the autopsy performed on Terri Schiavo after her death that proved beyond a doubt that her brain had been irretrievably damaged 15 years earlier would have ended the debate. I thought that the argument being made for state and Congressional intervention in the case was the possibility that the 6 of the 7 doctors who had examined her and thought (rightly as the autopsy proved) that she would never regain consciousness were wrong. I distinctly remember then majority leader Senator Frist saying that the 15 second videotape he had seen had convinced him that Terri might be capable of conscious awareness and that possibility was the reason Congress should intervene.

Apparently Giuliani does not care that Terri Schiavo was never going to have a conscious thought. Giuliani does not care that Terri’s husband felt that 15 years on life-support was enough and it was time to let her go. Giuliani does not care that the courts had already ruled on the legal challenges by other family members. Giuliani still thinks that the state government was right to try to intervene.

If your spouse had been on life-support without consciousness for an extended period and you had come to the decision that the best thing for everyone involved was to finally let your spouse die and the doctors agreed, how would you feel if President Giuliani decided that the government should intervene to prevent you from making this decision?

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Democrats control Congress and it is a different time

According to Media Matters:
Discussing host Don Imus' April 4 comments on MSNBC's Imus in the Morning -- in which Imus referred to the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy headed hos" -- and the controversy that ensued, Newsweek editor Howard Fineman, appearing on the April 9 edition of Imus in the Morning, asserted: "[I]t's a different time, Imus ... it's different than it was even a few years ago, politically," and added that "some of the stuff that you used to do, you probably can't do anymore.... some of the kind of humor that you used to do you can't do anymore. And that's just the way it is."

I don't know if you are as surprised as I am to discover that up until recently it was acceptable to call a group of young African-American women "nappy headed hos" simply because they appeared in a nationally televised championship game not appearing to some observers to be as "cute" as their opponents. If, as asserted by Howard Fineman, it was but is not any longer I guess that is just one more reason for us to continue to work hard to change the direction in which this country was headed.

Has the Colonel's View blog been hacked?

Has another local blog been hacked? Check out The Colonel's View blog. Isn't that strange?
I would like to encourage everyone to practice safe surfing. Set the security settings in your browser to the highest levels of security and avoid disreputable web sites. And never tell anyone the password to your blogger account and if your password would be easy for someone to guess change it right away. Don't let a spammer steal all your hard work!