Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Virgin Galactic Given FAA Permit

The FAA has announced that it has given a launch permit to Virgin Galactic.

Virgin Galactic is currently flying SpaceShipTwo, which would be capable of carrying six passengers and two pilots.

The one year permit grants the company permission to begin rocket-powered suborbital test flights.

For now all flights will still only be done by pilots, but expectations are for passengers to start going up sometime in 2013.

Over five hundred people have already booked flights, at the price of $200,000 a ticket.

Birther Nonsense

While I'm not a fan of Stand Up! with Pete Dominick on Sirius XM, he's always good to get the center-left angle on politics. In addition, I'm a self-diagnosed politics junkie who was stuck in the wonderful Beltway traffic so I guess you can say I didn't have a choice in the matter.

Pete's guest, John Avalon, made a critical point today stating how significant Mitt Romney's nomination really is to American politics. He is the first Mormon to be nominated by a major party and the first non-protestant to be nominated by Republicans. This comes after Mitt's pervasive hammering surrounding his not so stellar conservative credentials.

The base may have been skeptical about him, but in the end, they choose him over the other clowns who vied for the Republican nomination. However, the mainstream media is not pushing that narrative. Instead, they're focused on Donald Trump's birther nonsense.
 
Now, I know we should all focus on the economy and other key issues in this upcoming election, but this birther issue does get under my skin. First of all, it's beyond absurd. Barack Obama was born in Hawaii and is a "natural born citizen" who is eligible for the presidency. Even Andrew Breitbart thought this whole charade was a losing issue.

No one cares! No one cares because the narrative these people are trying to push is not grounded in reality. It is something akin to an Alex Jones "theory", that al-Qaeda is an arm of the U.S. intelligence network, or a person who has watched Three Days of the Condor, The Manchurian Candidate, and The Parallax View one too many times. No doubt shady stuff occurs in Washington, but birthers are so ludicrous it makes me want to hug them in empathy.

My first taste in blogging was for Western Journalism, which reports heavily on the subject. I cannot bash the folks at Western Journalism too much, since some of them are very professional and cordial, but as the months progressed; I found myself unable to be associated with an organization that peddles, excuse me, this gross propaganda concerning Obama's eligibility.

It's been three years folks. If you haven't been able to convince the base, the heavyweights in the conservative media, and the American people, you probably don't have the "explosive find" which you regard as the holy grail of political malfeasance.

Furthermore, like liberals, birthers get agitated, petulant, and downright nasty when people dismiss them and their ideas. It is a temper tantrum on steroids. An excerpt from a piece on Western Journalism detailed the open letter Breitbart's Senior Staff released surrounding their legitimate vetting of Obama which, needless to say, didn't bode well with this writer.
Andrew Breitbart was never a ‘Birther,’ and Breitbart News is a site that has never advocated the narrative of ‘Birtherism.’”
Reading this makes me want to ask in bemused wonder:  How old are you?  (I could, of course, ask the same question of Anderson Cooper, Bill O’Reilly, Mark Levine, Neal Boortz, or Glenn Beck – who are clearly much older to a man.)  But seriously, how immature – or insecure, at least – must one be to be so concerned with what the cultural elites think of them?  Young Ben Shapiro (twenty-eight, and reportedly the youngest nationally syndicated writer in the country) went to Harvard Law. One wonders if he had been president of the Law Review if we would have ever seen one of his publications…but I digress.  Joel Pollak…sure enough, went to both Harvard and Harvard Law – just as I had expected.
While I must congratulate the two on emerging from that milieu with any non-collectivist values, it seems that neither of them escaped with a penchant for identifying and confronting the Alinsky staple of marginalization…or, they accept the practice so fully that they simply can’t bear the thought of being on the receiving end thereof.  Well, grow up, boys!  If what Media Matters says about you is a concern (and it clearly is), then perhaps you should choose another line of work.
I think someone misplaced their pacifier. The real comical element about this whole movement is that there is no concrete legal definition of the term "natural born citizen". They have no cornerstone. I've always thought that the term applied to any citizens born on American soil. Indeed, I would stand corrected. Byron York wrote a great piece in The Washington Examiner since the rude resurrection of this issue thanks to Donald Trump, who Geogre Will aptly called a bloviated ignoramus last Sunday. York wrote:
The Constitution specifies that a president must be a "natural born citizen" of the United States, but it does not define the term. The Supreme Court has never clarified the issue, but there is a law, 8 U.S. Code 1401, that spells out in detail who is a citizen.
The law uses the phrase "citizens of the United States at birth" and lists categories of people who fit that description.
First, there are people born inside the United States. No question about that; their citizenship is established by the 14th Amendment.
Then there are the people who are born outside the United States to parents who are both American citizens, provided one of them has lived in the U.S. for any period of time. And then there are the people who are born outside the United States to one parent who is a U.S. citizen and the other who is an alien, provided the citizen parent lived in the United States or its possessions for at least five years, at least two of them after age 14.
Since they are all "citizens of the United States at birth," the question is, does that also mean they are "natural born citizens" in the constitutional sense?
Birthers believe a natural born citizen is a person born to two parents who were citizens of the United States at the time. Hence, the reason why birthers have Marco Rubio, the crown prince of the Tea Party movement, in their crosshairs if he should ever be Romney's running mate. Well, according to Theodore Olson, Bush's former solicitor general:
"My conclusion would be that if you are a citizen as a consequence of your birth, that's a natural-born citizen...[Olsen] defended John McCain in a 2008 lawsuit alleging McCain was ineligible to be president. McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 while his father served in the U.S. Navy there. Even though the area was under American jurisdiction and both McCain's parents were U.S. citizens, some Democrats alleged McCain was ineligible to be president. McCain won the case, if not the presidency.
The law is really quite lenient, especially for those born outside the United States. If a child were born today in, say, Kenya, to a Kenyan father and an American citizen mother who had lived in the United States for at least five years, at least two of them over the age of 14 -- that child would be a "citizen of the United States by birth" and be eligible for the White House.
However, this hasn't stopped people like Joseph Farah of World Net Daily, who vociferously pushes the birther issue and has gone on record to say Rubio is ineligible for the VP slot due to his parents not being citizens at the time.

Washington lawyer Matthew McGill, who York cites in his column, states: "I am not aware of anyone who has contended that someone could be born in the United States and be a citizen by virtue of the 14th Amendment and nevertheless still not be a natural-born American citizen...if he is born in the United States, his parentage is not of consequence." No to mention that there is incontrovertible proof that Rubio was born in Miami, Florida.

In the words of John Adams, "facts are stubborn things." Barack Obama is eligible for president, he is the president, and now we must focus all of our efforts in voting him out of office come November.

We have no time to theorize absurd notions about the "origins of his birth." This is time to get serious about the fate of our republic and our economy and we have zero time for sophomoric conspiracy theories whose footnote page is no longer than a kindergartner's book report.

However, this is a free country. You have every right to keep your opinions, no matter how insane, but I intend, along with other serious conservatives, to do everything possible in order to restore honor and dignity to the White House. It's game time and birthers have come unprepared. They're still coming down from their Paxil binge.

Woman Injured in Elk Attack

An Estes Park woman was attacked by an elk Tuesday. She is in serious condition at the hospital.

The attack happened outside of the apartments where the woman lives. Neighbors chased the elk off with bear mace.

It is unclear what prompted the attack, but the elk's calf was near, and that can cause the females to become very aggressive.

The Estes Park Police Department provides the following tips for safe elk viewing:

The Estes Park Police Department provides the following tips for safe elk viewing:
Elk are wild animals which must be observed from a safe distance to avoid injury or death. If an animal is carefully watching you and appears "jumpy" when you move, you are too close.
Keep pets secured on a leash and do not allow them to bark at, lunge at, or chase wildlife.
Never block traffic. Move your vehicle to a safe place completely off the roadway to watch elk.
Do not imitate an elk call, or bugle. This can endanger you and the elk.
Elk know no boundaries, but people do. Respect private property when viewing wildlife.
The Estes Park Police Department does enforce wildlife laws including laws against feeding or harassing wildlife, or allowing one's pet to harass wildlife. 
They currently are also suggesting that the public avoid elk during the rest of calving season. The season continues til the end of June.

Obama Misspeak Causes International Incident

Obama stuck his foot in his mouth yet again when he made a comment about "a Polish death camp", on Tuesday.

The President has a history of snafus, of which this is but the latest, and possibly the most offensive.

Comments such as "fifty-seven states", "Canadian president", and "intercontinental railway" have caused him much derision.

But never before has one been considered such an insult, by another nation. To put it briefly, the Poles are pissed.

In a statement, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said, "We always react in the same way when ignorance, lack of knowledge, bad intentions lead to such a distortion of history, so painful for us here in Poland, in a country which suffered like no other in Europe during World War II. We cannot accept such words even if they are spoken by the leader of a friendly power -- or perhaps especially in such situations -- since we expect diligence, care and respect from our friend on issues of such importance as World War II remembrance."

The White House issued a formal apology, trying to get the world to note that it was an accidental misspeak. They also highlighted on Obama's past of honoring Poland's struggle against the Nazis.

Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski tweeted Tuesday night, "White House apologizes for outrageous blunder. PM Tusk will take his position in the morning. It's a shame that this important ceremony was overshadowed by ignorance and incompetence."

On Wednesday Tusk said that the incident provides the US with an opportunity "to support Poland in its efforts towards historical truth, towards the correct phrasings, the right assessment of what happened during World War II on Polish territory and throughout Europe. When someone says 'Polish death camps,' it is as if there were no Nazis, no German responsibility, as if there was no Hitler; that is why our Polish sensitivity in these situations is so much more than just simply a feeling of national pride.

"Our American friends are capable of a stronger reaction than just the correction itself and the regret which we heard from the White House spokesperson. We take note of these words, but it seems that it would be even more important for the United States than for Poland to end this with class. This is how one acts with regard to tried-and-tested friends, but this is also how one acts in your own, well-defined interest."

Empire State Building Getting Ready for Israel Day

On June 3 the Empire State Building in New York City, will once again be lit up in blue and white.

This time it won't be for the Yankees, however. It will be in honor of the sixty-fourth anniversary of Israel's independence.

The tower will also be flying an Israel flag

Israel Day, will consist of a parade made up of twenty-nine floats and more than two hundred groups.

Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom will be present as the head of the Israeli delegation.

The New York City celebrations are the largest outside of the state of Israel.

For the second straight year, local New York City television will air the events.

Remembering: Joan of Arc

In 1412, in the village of Domremy, France a baby girl was born. Little did her family know how she would help shape history.

The Hundred Years War had been raging between England and France, and since 1415 the English had been winning. By 1422 English forces, and their Burgundian allies, controlled most of northern France.

It was in 1429 that young Joan first heard the voices of St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret. They commanded her to aid the French in reclaiming Rheims, and the throne of France.

She heeded their words and traveled first to Vaucouleurs, where she eventually was given passage to Chinon where the Dauphin was. When she got there, he hid himself amongst his court, but she picked him out of the crowd.

Charles VII, had her questioned by theologians. They told him to use her charismatic nature. On April 27, 1429 he granted her a small army, and she set out for Orleans. There she would help break an English siege and save the city.

Over the next weeks her army defeated the English everywhere it went. She reached Rheims on July 16, and the city opened it's gates to her. The next day Charles VII was crowned king of France.

Throughout the next ten months she would continue to lead her army to victories, but on May 23, 1430 she was captured by the Burgundians, who traded her to the English.

In March 1431 her trial began, in front of ecclesiastical authorities. Declared a heretic, she was turned over to secular authorities on May 29. On May 30, 1431 Joan of Arc was burned at the stake by British forces, in Rouen, France.

But Joan only became a martyr for the French. The tide she had helped turn, never stopped and Charles VII would reconquer all of France, except Calais, which the English eventually turned over. In 1920 the Roman Catholic church officially recognized Joan of Arc as a saint.

Obama's Rich Bashing Is Backfiring

President Obama and his team thought they could deliver a head shot to Romney with the grossly inaccurate Bain ad, that detailed how they closed GST Steel. Well, Romney left Bain in 1999 and GST Steel folded in 2001. Not to mention, Bain’s managing director, Jonathan Lavine, was still at Bain when GST closed its doors. Mr. Lavine also happens to be an Obama bundler raising between $100-200,000 for the president’s re-elect campaign. I’ve mentioned this in a previous post.

However,the president continues to push this anti-Bain narrative, which isn’t sticking and killing his chances at winning the affluent vote. Yes, bashing the rich may seem like the “cool” and “liberal” thing to do, but, as Michael Barone aptly pointed out, the last class warfare president that won was Harry Truman in 1948. The same could be said about Obama’s populist vein. The last populist president elected was Andrew Jackson. History seems to be against him.

Barone wrote:
Today there are a lot more affluent people. The 2008 exit poll told us that 26 percent of voters had household incomes over $100,000. Half of them voted for Obama. He needs those votes again. My hunch is that Obama’s attacks on Bain will strike most affluent voters as offputting and that Romney’s calm responses will strike them as reassuring.
If you want more jobs created, you don’t go around attacking job creators. Most affluent voters believe that free markets, appropriately regulated, tend to produce fair outcomes. They see investors not as vultures but as creators of jobs and promoters of innovation that increase national productivity and make everyone better off. They see class warfare as attacks on themselves.
Furthermore, Barone cites areas where the president is probably already doomed. Especially, in states he needs to win this November to continue his agenda of dependency and big government policies. Policies that have not reduced the high unemployment rate, gave us consecutive trillion dollar deficits, and added another $5 trillion dollars to the national debt.

The rich, and Americans in general, see Obama as ineffectual and totally antithetical to the values he promised to bring to Washington. This is starting to have an effect no matter how much Obama tries to pivot on the matter. Barone continues by listing how the president is losing his grip on this demographic that he needs to win again to ensure re-election.
Here’s evidence that Obama has already lost many affluent voters. The popular vote in House elections is a good proxy for presidential and party support, and voters with incomes over $100,000, evenly split in 2008, voted 58 to 40 percent for Republicans in 2010.
Northern Virginia, which Obama carried 59 to 40 percent and which provided 95 percent of his statewide popular vote margin, went 52 to 47 percent for House Republicans in 2010. Nine suburban Denver counties voted 53 to 46 percent for Obama but switched in 2010 to 54 to 42 percent Republican.
Virginia and Colorado are on everyone’s target state list. But Obama also hurt the Democratic brand among affluent voters in other states.
The four suburban counties outside Philadelphia voted 57 to 42 percent for Obama but 52 to 47 percent Republican in 2010. The six suburban counties outside Detroit voted 54 to 45 percent for Obama but 53 to 44 percent Republican in 2010. That means Pennsylvania and Michigan could be in play.
Affluent suburbs outside the South trended heavily toward Democrats in from 1992 to 2008. Now they seem to be trending Republican.
All we need is Romney, who finally clinched the nomination in last night’s Texas primary, to stay focused and hammer the president on the economy, the debt, deficit, high unemployment, and the rest of his dismal record. However, expect this 2012 election to be the dirtiest since 1824.

Englewood Police Offier Dies After Being Hit and Run

Englewood, Colorado lost it's first officer in the line of duty.

On Monday, Officer Jeremy Bitner, thirty-nine, and a man he had pulled over were both struck and sent flying by an SUV, which took off.

Bitner, died from his injuries. The other victim is in stable condition, and is recovering well.

The driver of the SUV was later arrested, and charged with a DUI and hit and run. Now vehicular manslaughter will at least be added, if not a murder charge.

Bitner, left behind two kids and a wife. He had been with Englewood PD for eight years, receiving several commendations. Before that he served in the US Army Airborne, in Bosnia.

For the Englewood PD, the loss is really hard. The department only has thirty-six officers, and they are a really close knit group.