DNC Delegates Boo as God, Jerusalem Are Restored to Party Platform

Today around 5:00pm something crazy happened: delegates to the Democratic National Convention (DNC) were asked to add references to God and Jerusalem back to the 2012 Democrat platform, and the true face of modern liberalism was captured on camera.

Ted Strickland – one of last night’s speakers at the convention in Charlotte, an ordained Methodist minister, and a failed Ohio governor – was recognized by DNC chair¬†Antonio Villaraigosa as chairman of the platform drafting committee and invited to offer two amendments to the party’s 2012 platform.

In an apparent nod to the Democrats who aren’t terrorism apologists and/or militant atheists, Strickland introduced two amendments to put God and Jerusalem back in the Democrat platform. Approving the amendments required a 2/3 voice vote, which C-SPAN footage indicates the amendments did not receive.

Democrats being Democrats,¬†Villaraigosa “deemed” Strickland’s amendments passed after three voice votes which seemed to get progressively worse for the “Yes” side. So much for quickly resolving a couple issues that made you look like fringe-left cranks, Democrats!

Because I haven’t seen it posted elsewhere, here, word-for-word, are the apparently objectionable amendments Strickland introduced to what sounds like at best an even split among Democrat delegates. First, the “God” amendment:

We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values, and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.

Second, the “Jerusalem” amendment:

Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.

Fun context: Villaraigosa, the mayor of Los Angeles, said in a Fox News appearance on Sunday that the GOP’s platform “looks like the platform of 1812.”

Get it? Because Republicans are bigoted, patriarchal racists. Because when your leaders’ economic policies have failed so dramatically that even the Left’s patented class-warfare lines are looking shaky, racism and sexism are always waiting right there in the background to shelter Democrats from cruel mathematics.

Meanwhile, Democrat delegates appear to be split down the middle on unquestionably mainstream concepts like tipping your hat to an amorphous “God” and respecting the sovereignty of America’s only ally in the Middle East.

Over the next two months, how much will we hear from devoted leftists about any inclusion of a capital-G God is theocracy? How much will we hear from the Israel-haters who are quite obviously more than a marginal contingent at the DNC?

In other news, Barack Obama hasn’t solved that pesky squabble between Israel and the bloodthirsty maniacs dying to push Israel into the sea. He also hasn’t done quite the bang-up job he promised bringing a unifying new tone to American politics… but hey, he’s only human!

WordPress for Non-Techies

This post is intended as a reference for WordPress beginners, with instructions and screenshots from the self-hosted version of WordPress 3.1.2. Amid thousands of “WordPress for Newbies” posts and videos out there, I can’t find anything that really fits the bill. One more version shouldn’t hurt!

Background, or “What is this WordPress thing?”

WordPress is an online publishing platform. It began as a tool for posting quick blurbs of info to a personal website, but has enough horsepower to manage large, complex websites. The software’s selling point is the simple way WordPress drives your site’s template and navigation, allowing you to focus on content – and customize the nuts & bolts as much or little as you’d like. WordPress comes in two flavors, both free:

  • WordPress.com – Sign up for a free WordPress site. The developers handle all the nerdy details, so all you need to do is choose a web address and username. WordPress.com charges fees for several optional features (such as ad removal) on an annual basis.
  • WordPress.org – Download and install WordPress yourself. Self-hosted WordPress is much more flexible, but requires a web hosting account and some maintenance. Many web hosts (including GoDaddy, home of awful advertising and great prices) will install WordPress for you with no hassle.

The first step to running a WordPress site (after deciding its purpose) is to set the thing up. Both WordPress.com and WordPress.org do a great job of walking you through that, so I won’t belabor the issue. Next step: adding content.

WordPress manages two distinct types of content:

  1. Posts appear in reverse chronological order on your site’s home page; add a new Post, and the others are bumped down automatically. Old Posts that get pushed from the home page are easily accessible through monthly archives – also created automatically by WordPress.
  2. Pages are listed permanently across your site’s home page, generally in a band of navigation links near the top of the screen. Add a new Page, and its title will be listed prominently for users to see and click.

Because of the way Posts and Pages are displayed on a WordPress site, news, reminders, and event recaps are ideal Post content: they will be listed front-and-center when published, but less prominent as time passes. Basic “About Us” content, contact information, major events & initiatives, or other long-term items make for good Page content, as these are all things you’ll want users to be able to find 5 days or 5 years from now.

Publishing Content with WordPress

Once you’ve created your WordPress site and have content to publish, log in to your site (using the instructions provided by WordPress.com or your hosting provider). When you log in to WordPress, the first screen you’ll see is the Dashboard. The WordPress Dashboard provides an overview of your content, lists recent comments, and basically throws a ton of shortcuts on the screen that may or may not be useful. In the top right corner are several important links:

Starting from the left, the New Post button will let you quickly add a new Post. Clicking the link on your WordPress username will bring up a profile screen where you can change how your name is displayed, update your password, or otherwise adjust your WordPress profile. The Log Out link will do exactly what a Log Out link should. Screen Options lets you hide Dashboard items you don’t use, and Help will give detailed instructions for the current screen.

Tip: The Help link is available at the top right on every WordPress administrator screen, and provides some great info for new users.

Click the New Post button, and you’ll see the Add New Post screen. Type a clear, concise title in the field labeled Enter title here:

When you publish your Post, this title will be displayed at the top. Under the title field is an editor box containing a number of buttons:

Next to the Upload/Insert heading at top left are small icons you can click to add photos, video, audio, or other files to your Post. Click any of these icons for a screen that will walk you through inserting multimedia items.

In the gray bar are a number of formatting buttons – these should be familiar to most users, but you can point at any button to see a brief description.

  • To add text, simply click in the editor box and type or paste (Right-click > Paste) your content.
  • To format text, select the text using your mouse and click the appropriate button.
  • To add a web link, select text and click the Insert/edit link button – it’s the one with a picture of a chain link.

To preview and then publish your Post, look for the Publish box on the right side of the screen:

Click the Preview button to see what your Post will look like when published. When you’re ready to display your Post on your website, click Publish.

Once you’ve mastered Posts, you can dig into the other features of WordPress using the left navigation. Of key importance are the buttons in the section immediately below the Dashboard button:

You can edit existing Posts or add new Posts using the Posts button. The Media button will help you manage multimedia files on your site. The Links button allows you to add links that may be of interest to readers. The Pages button will let you create new pages and edit existing Pages, which use an editing screen nearly identical to the Add New Post screen. The Comments button displays a screen where you can approve reader comments and delete comment spam.

For more advanced WordPress information, refer to the WordPress.com or WordPress.org documentation!

Hamas: Partners for Peace

An old story that tells itself, or would if Western media weren’t so dedicated to portraying Israel as the villain in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

“Let it be understood far and near that after the war, the siege, the internal and external plots: we will not recognise Israel,” he told the cheering crowds.

Who is Agence France-Presse quoting here, some fringe Islamist? An Iranian cleric, or one of Iran’s Hezbollah puppets? Nah, that’s just the senior leader of Hamas, the elected band of murderous lunatics in charge of the Gaza Strip.

Ahead of its anniversary celebrations, Hamas reiterated its aim to recover all of historic Palestine from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River.

“We will cede none of it, and we will not recognise the so-called state of Israel,” a statement said on Monday, adding that its aim was to make Jerusalem the “capital of the state of Palestine” and pledging to work against Israel’s “methods of Judaisation” in the Holy City.

In 1949 and 1967, Israel successfully defended herself from her Arab neighbors’ attempts to destroy the Jewish homeland drawn up by the UN after WWII. Refugees in the territory Israel captured have been used as poker chips by their leaders and other Arab leaders for the better part of a century. Responding to international pressure, Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005. How much goodwill has that resulted in, five years later?

Processing peace

Umm… that’s another Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar, in an AP photo from Gaza City last week. Ol’ Mahmoud is celebrating the 23rd Hamasiversary by walking on an Israeli flag which reads “For sure will be destroyed. Israel” in Arabic. So far, the UN strategy of demanding that Israel give up ever more territory is working wonders! One snag: how brainless a diplomat do you have to be to work towards a “two-state solution” when one of those states insists the other cannot exist?

Little details to keep in mind when you hear about how Israel is stalling the Middle East peace process by not bending over far enough to accommodate the losers of a war that ended decades ago.

The Stupid Face of Evil

Lest we forget what we’re up against, here’s Mohamed Osman Mohamud, the dumb SOB who wanted to slaughter thousands of American men, women, and children at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Oregon:

“You know, the streets are packed,” said Mohamud, a tall, thin student at Oregon State University in Corvallis, about 80 miles south of Portland. When one of the men responded that “a lot of children” would attend, according to an FBI affidavit, he replied, “Yeah, I mean that’s what I’m looking for.”

Mohamud shrugged off concerns about security at the event. “They don’t see it as a place where anything will happen…. It’s on the West Coast, it’s in Oregon, and Oregon’s like you know, nobody ever thinks about it,” he explained.

He’s right, and that’s frightening. But think about this for a minute: Mohamed’s a Somalian. He’s not exactly an Oregon State student as the LA Times reports, but has a high school diploma and is a naturalized citizen of one of history’s greatest nations. Somalia blows, thanks in no small part to radical Islam… and Mo wants to celebrate his freedom from that dump by blowing up American civilians.

Thank God for the FBI, but we can’t expect them to catch every jihadist idiot in the early phases of his plotting. Some percentage of these deranged Wile E. Coyote attacks will continue to succeed, and when they do there will be appalling bureaucrats like Janet Napolitano happy to get deeper into our bits and our business. For now, I’m grateful to our troops offering convenient overseas locations where jihadists may die at the hands of The Great Satan. Longer term, we need to drill more of our own oil, find viable alternatives to fossil fuels, or give the Saudis a good swift kick.

Goooo science!

Partisan Hackery Mea Culpa

Good news: with a week to go until what really ought to be a Republican landslide, I believe I’ve got this election-year bout of partisan hackery out of my system. Back to writing boring things about politics and boring things about other topics at a roughly 1:1 ratio!

To recap, nobody should vote for Maryellen O’Shaughnessy. Unless you’re a public union member, in which case go for it; after all, your dues are paying for her campaign! If possible, even fewer than zero people should vote for Mary Jo Kilroy, a socialist who has no business telling businesses what to do. OH-15 and America in general are better off without her, however much the leeches at the AFSCME might disagree. Noticing a pattern here?

Outside of Ohio, one of my satirical Bob Etheridge (D-NC) ads was picked up by his opponent Renee Ellmers’s attack site, which is just dandy as far as I’m concerned. Ellmers – like John Kasich, Steve Stivers, and most of Ohio’s GOP ticket – seems like an incredibly easy choice given the alternative.

As President Obama would say, let me be clear: I am not a party guy. I worked a couple of trivial events for Congressman Boehner during high school,¬†volunteered when Dubya visited Troy in 2004, and put in a few hours at Ken Blackwell’s headquarters in 2006. But, despite all my transparently racist fear-mongering, I have little love for the Ohio GOP. Bob Taft? Mike DeWine? George Voinovich? These are hardly the sort of steely conservatives we can count on to do what’s politically difficult and economically necessary, and the state party has no shortage of their kind.

If being the grandson of a county commissioner is good for anything, it’s b.s. detection. From a young age I got to see that some of the movers & shakers in my own party are miserable human beings, and that most of the folks in the other party are not. As final reminders to vote, you should read this piece by Frank at IMAO and check out this video!

Thwarted Plots and Silly Memes

News this week of a planned terrorist attack spanning multiple Western nations should make us grateful that President Obama at least takes the Islamist threat seriously enough to authorize Predator strikes (even if he would never refer to it as “the Islamist threat”). As usual, The Long War Journal has the best coverage for this sort of thing.

The Christian Science Monitor also featured a useful summary yesterday, but closed with the repetition of a favorite anti-war meme:

The BBC also quotes former CIA officer Robert Baer as saying the plot may be “a reprisal from the [Taliban-allied] Haqqani network against the United States and Britain for the stepped-up aerial campaign in the tribal areas of Pakistan.” If such were true, it would imply a dangerous cycle where militants are constantly plotting revenge attacks on the West, while the West is constantly plotting attacks on militants to thwart their plans.

If America ceased Predator strikes against known terrorists in Pakistan, would Islamists cease planning terrorist attacks? That might be a serious question to consider – and reason for a more hesitant response to Islamist violence – if the world had been created yesterday.

Given the benefit of history, warnings of a “dangerous cycle” are hardly worth the pixels they occupy. Absent Predator strikes, Islamists would be “constantly plotting revenge” for:

When the representatives of classically liberal nations start equivocating our actions against terrorists with the attacks of terrorists on civilians, it’s time to stop and think about how much self-loathing is too much.

Beck’s Bread and Butter

This story on Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally made it all the way to paragraph 6 before laying on the sort of tone you’d expect from The Washington Post:

On the Mall, an overwhelmingly white crowd of tens of thousands stood quietly during an opening prayer, the silence broken only by an occasional “amen.” The dense assembly , which contained few young people, stretched from the Lincoln Memorial, past the reflecting pool, to the World War II Memorial and spilled onto the grounds of the Washington Monument.

The crowd, consisting of many from the Midwest and the South, was not visibly angry. Rather, they said they had come to express their fear that the country was at a perilous moment.

Emphasis mine. The crowd’s not primarily or predominantly white, but overwhelmingly so. And the hillbillies aren’t visibly angry – should we expect them to be? – but they are afraid. This endless focus on the race and fear of Tea Party types represents a naked attempt by the “mainstream” media to paint anyone who agrees with Beck, Palin, et al. as a bigoted yokel. It also helps explain why Beck and other Fox News programming generally pulls more viewers than the three top competitors combined.

I’m a News Corp. shareholder, but I watch almost no TV news because I tire quickly of all the networks’ theatrics. For millions of Americans, however, Fox News provides a distinct option in a sea of leftward slanted reporting. That the other fish use every opportunity to whine about the racism and ignorance of anyone who disagrees with them reflects poorly on somebody… and that “somebody” is not Glenn Beck. Charles Krauthammer sums it up perfectly.

As for concerns about Beck co-opting the time and place of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, these seem completely misplaced. Red or yellow, black or white, it’d be difficult to find worse representatives of King’s dream than the professional victims who get away with acting in his name simply because of the color of their skin. I’ll take a speech about what makes America great over a speech about how much we owe the Al Sharptons of the world any day, even if the audience is “overwhelmingly white.”

Israel Insists on Existing

Media coverage of Israel’s refusal to let a stunt backed by Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood break its blockade of Gaza is standard fare, when you consider that most news outlets employ people who hate Israel. Take, for instance, an AP story today about another “aid” ship seized by Israel, “Israel remains defiant, seizes Gaza-bound aid ship:”

A defiant Israel enforced its 3-year-old blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza on Saturday, with naval commandos swiftly commandeering a Gaza-bound aid vessel carrying an Irish Nobel laureate and other activists and forcing it to head to an Israeli port instead.

The bloodless takeover stood in marked contrast to a deadly raid of another Gaza aid ship this week. However, it was unlikely to halt snowballing international outrage and demands that Israel lift or at least loosen the devastating closure that confines 1.5 million Palestinians to a small sliver of land and only allows in basic humanitarian goods.

Israel’s blockade is the only defense of a nation beset on all sides by enemies who want to push them into the sea. Wouldn’t it be more intuitive to label the continued “aid vessel” traffic as “defiant,” instead of the Israeli government? Hamas – the elected governing party of Gaza – is dedicated to Israel’s destruction. The useful idiots crying about Israel’s blockade have no excuse save ignorance for siding with genocidal maniacs, but they do so proudly.

As for those truly suffering in Gaza – how is it that Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Hamas escape blame? Why is Israel the only nation demonized for the suffering of people used as pawns in an ongoing effort to destroy the Jewish state? To read the Associated Press take on the situation, you’d think enforcing a blockade was worse than regularly launching rockets at Israeli civilians. Don’t worry, the AP mentions that pesky “rockets and mortars” issue… in paragraph 28.

Charles Krauthammer’s weekend article at National Review provides invaluable context. A highlight that I found more than a little shocking:

Oh, but weren’t the Gaza-bound ships on a mission of humanitarian relief? No. Otherwise they would have accepted Israel’s offer to bring their supplies to an Israeli port, be inspected for military materiel, and have the rest trucked by Israel into Gaza – as every week 10,000 tons of food, medicine, and other humanitarian supplies are sent by Israel to Gaza.

The plight of Gaza’s people can be blamed on many parties. Israel may be on the list, but they’re definitely not at the top. Nonetheless, the Associated Press continues reporting as if Israel is the root cause of every problem in the Middle East. Who will clueless Westerners blame if Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran (but I repeat myself) have their way?

More must-read Steyn

I read a lot of stuff online throughout the course of a week, but rarely do I enjoy anything more than Mark Steyn’s weekly articles at The Orange County Register and Maclean’s. In his latest Maclean’s op-ed, Steyn continues what has been a years-long critique of the European welfare state. Though it’s familiar ground for Steyn it’s one of his best articles in recent memory.

The great thing about Mark Steyn, if you’ve not read him before, is the way he can make a really good joke out of the most depressing social insight. Look no further than the title of this week’s article, “Beating swords into welfare cheques.” The quote, in full:

Absolved from having to pay for their own defence, Continentals, like Canadians, beat their swords into welfare cheques, and erected vast cradle-to-grave social entitlements. Even under the U.S. security umbrella, they proved unsustainable. Why? Because Europeans stopped breeding. And, even with unprecedented levels of immigration, they’ve been unable to halt population decline.

Steyn discusses growing evidence for his argument, such as birth rates in Germany – the supposed economic powerhouse that’s going to save Europe from its financial woes. He also relates how, with Greece burning (both literally and figuratively), some of the “respectable” publications here in the States are warming up to opinions previously dismissed as far-right xenophobia.

My favorite quote from Steyn’s editorial, which you ought to read in its entirety:

How fair thou hast been – but only for the moment, and the moment is passing. Europe’s economic crisis is a mere symptom of its existential crisis: what is life for? What gives it meaning? Post-Christian, post-national, post-modern Europe has no answer to that question, and so it has 30-year-old students and 50-year-old retirees, and wonders why the small band of workers in between them can’t make the math add up.

A Policy of Words

The Washington Post reports on President Obama’s West Point graduation speech:

President Obama on Saturday offered a glimpse of a new national security doctrine that distances his administration from George W. Bush’s policy of preemptive war, emphasizing global institutions and America’s role in promoting democratic values.

That’s the first paragraph of the Post summary, and already it’s clear Obama’s national security doctrine stretches no further than whatever was programmed into the teleprompter yesterday. How has America promoted democratic values on Obama’s watch? By waiting months before even paying lip service to Iranian dissidents dying in the streets? By criticizing Arizona to the hapless Mexican president, the Communist government in China, and anyone else who will listen? By betraying the Poles, Czechs, and Israelis at every opportunity?

“Yes, we are clear-eyed about the shortfalls of our international system. But America has not succeeded by stepping outside the currents of international cooperation,” he said. “We have succeeded by steering those currents in the direction of liberty and justice — so nations thrive by meeting their responsibilities, and face consequences when they don’t.”

This is, to apply my favorite British phrase, bollocks on stilts. The currents of international cooperation are flowing nicely for anyone President Obama fears may not support toothless UN sanctions against Iran. If you’re wondering what sort of consequences nations face for failing to meet their responsibilities, just ask the Iranian mullahs.

And yet, as he calls for global cooperation, Obama has intensified the U.S. war in Afghanistan. And his administration has repeatedly confronted the dangers of Islamic terrorism on U.S. soil, including unsuccessful attempts to down a Detroit-bound airliner and explode a car bomb in New York’s Times Square.

Emphasis mine. The Obama administration has done everything in its power to avoid confronting the danger of Islamic terrorism. The Attorney General is scarcely willing to utter the phrase “radical Islam.” Based on the Post’s summary, Obama’s West Point speech was an exercise in revisionist history and empty rhetoric.

Turning to the full transcript, one sentence in particular stands out:

“But more than any other nation, the United States of America has underwritten global security for over six decades — a time that, for all its problems, has seen walls come down, and markets open, and billions lifted from poverty, unparalleled scientific progress and advancing frontiers of human liberty.”

This is absolutely true, and incredibly important. And President Obama, whose domestic goals guarantee America will no longer be able to afford anywhere near the military might necessary to assist allies and deter enemies, does not care.