Saturday, May 08, 2010

Italy's Littlest Angel

By Jeannie DeAngelis
May 8, 2010

The state of Oklahoma has just inserted the inconvenience factor into the abortion issue. The "Sooner" state has decided before abortionists scrub any trace of living tissue from wombs seeking to eradicate offspring, women are first inopportunely subjected to view a real time sonogram image of the child.

Sonogram at 20 weeks

Directors of clinics have reported that, "Several ...patients were in tears afterwards." Having a clinician detail size and gender or point out a fetus sucking its thumb can really put a damper on a women's right to choose. Yet, "No one changed their mind."

Each year beginning in the first trimester right through to George Tiller-style partial birth execution 42 million unborn babies are slaughtered worldwide. With each passing day it seems as if the unborn cry out from the depths of the womb to be acknowledged as living beings by those whose parental commission is safety, not slaughter.

So imagine the surprise in Rossano Italy when a babe believed to be successfully aborted astounded both mother and medical personnel alike by doing the unthinkable and refusing to die.

A hospital chaplain praying quietly beside what was thought to be a lifeless infant discovered the baby boy 22-weeks into gestation and twenty hours after being sluiced from the womb, stirring softly beneath a sheet.

Prenatal scans, similar to the one mandated in Oklahoma, indicated that the boy was imperfect, so the mother decided, better dead than disabled and submitted her son to abortion. One small problem, the boy survived the procedure and was found "moving and breathing" despite the supposed handicap.

The child was flushed from the warmth of amniotic fluid into glaring light, startled with harsh clamoring sound and then thrown aside like a piece of worthless rubbish. As doctor's snapped off surgical gloves and the baby's mother rested, sucked ice chips and sipped orange juice -- one pound of barely breathing flesh was relegated to a bitterly cold stainless steel cart.
Lunch passed, dinnertime came and went and one second after another long second slowly ticked by, as the whimpering, defenseless life gasped desperately for air.

While it must be disturbing to see the image of the child you're about to dispose of. It's another whole realm to find out the baby you thought was peacefully resting in a red biohazard bag next to an incinerator, in fact, spent the night naked and cold still attached to his umbilical cord.

The next day, after Father Antonio Martello alerted doctors the little one was indeed alive the child's executioners came face to face with the stark reality of abortion. A child weighing less than a pound became a larger than life testimony to the human will to survive.

The fragile boy was promptly rushed to a special neo-natal unit, because in Italy infanticide is illegal, "doctors have an obligation to try to preserve the life of the child once he had survived the abortion." According to Eugenia Roccella, under-secretary of state in the health department, failing to do so, "would be a case of deliberate abandonment of a seriously premature neonate, possibly with some form of disability, an act contrary to any sense of human compassion but also of any accepted professional medical practice."

Obviously Eugenia hasn't spoken with the esteemed Barack Obama. The President would disagree and is of the ilk who feel children born alive from botched abortions should be deprived medical care because to do otherwise unfairly "burdens the original decision of the woman and the physician to induce labor and perform an abortion."

So in layman's terms, Barack believes the "original decision" to murder a child takes precedence over the immorality of accomplishing that goal through infanticide. Is Obama so committed to abortion rights that the President disapproves of transporting dying infants to warm incubators and administering oxygen and hydration, because to do so burdens a women's choice?

In Italy, the delicate infant was attended to in a humane fashion and as a result the newborn lived a total of forty-eight hours. In the end the littlest angel from Rossaro Calabro, eager to please, complied with this mother's "original decision" fulfilling her desire that he should die for the sin of being flawed.

In America Oklahoma abortion law now mandates women face reality by viewing sonograms revealing images of living children. The state of Nebraska recently passed a bill banning abortion at 20-weeks or later, "citing evidence that unborn children feel pain."

In Italy the 22-week fetus joined the ranks of another child from Florence who "weighed just 17 ounces," and although "suspected to have a genetic disorder," refused to die for three whole days. And not to forget the British baby, born alive at 24-weeks, who "survived three attempts to abort him" but who now, "is a five-year-old schoolboy."

For those bothered by the nuisance of being forced to face preborn fetuses showing up on sonograms, or worse yet infants surviving the abortion procedure, the only answer to remedy such a distressing state of affairs would be to pass laws that solve the pesky problem by way of instituting liberal legislation.

If President Barack Obama is so at ease with letting a living human being suffer and die without the comfort of medical attention, then America may be one or two Supreme Court justices away from potentially extending limits on abortion beyond birth.

Let's face it, in the overall scheme of things what's a couple of minutes in or out of the womb? Especially when dealing with babies like that feisty little lad from Italy with the cleft palate and a will to survive who, by simply refusing to die, posed direct danger to every woman's right to choose.

Author's content:

What We Lost on the Border

By Shields Fair
May 08, 2010

An entire way of life has died on the Arizona border. T.J. Woodard has described for AT readers the dire state of affairs in Cochise County today. But to really understand the magnitude of the change, you need to understand the situation as it was before the floodgates opened.

Douglas, AZ, 1949

I grew up in Douglas, Cochise County, Arizona in the 50's and 60's, and it was a wonderful place to live. Douglas is right on the Mexican border, in the southeast corner of the state, just 50 miles west of the Arizona - New Mexico border.

My parents owned a sporting goods store in Douglas for 35 years. We had many friends who were ranchers and business people from both sides of the border. My father and I would go hunting and fishing all over the county and in many parts of Mexico... yes I said hunting. In the 50's and 60's one could carry guns and ammo across into Mexico and go hunting. Very little was required in the way of paperwork.

As I recall, Douglas had just one border patrolman, Ray Borane Sr. Later his sons Joe became Chief of Police and later judge in Douglas, and Ray Jr. became school superintendent and mayor of Douglas.

There was no crime that I was ever aware of, no drugs, very few illegals.
Our home was on 9th street, which was 9 blocks from the Mexican border. We never locked our doors at home and nothing ever got stolen. As kids, we could ride our bicycles anywhere in town, kick down the kick stand and come back later and get back on and ride off. We did not have to lock our bicycles.

We were the last home on the east side of town. Out our back door was the desert to the east all the way to the mountains about 5 miles away and to the south was nothing but desert all the way to Mexico and beyond. As a kid, my friends and I would wander the desert, chase rabbits with our BB guns and crawl under the two strands of barbed wire that looked like any other fence and find ourselves in Mexico. We would stop and look at these curious concrete monuments that declared that the US was on the north side and Mexico was on the South side of this monument. No one ever stopped us.

The area of town just east of our home all the way (15 blocks) to the Douglas Municipal Airport had, in about 1914 - 1918 been an Army encampment known as "Camp Harry Jones". For us kids this was a "treasure trove" of long discarded badges, belt buckles, brass buttons, bottles, and such left behind when the camp was finally disbanded in about 1919.

Douglas Municipal Airport has the distinction of being the "first international airport in all of the Americas", which of course includes Latin and South America. General Pershing use to fly Jenny aircraft out of this field chasing Pancho Villa and his troops who regularly raided border towns such as Douglas/Agua Prieta and Columbus, New Mexico.

During the ‘20's, ‘30's , ‘40's and early ‘50's the Sunset Limited train ran between New York and Las Angeles. Four to six passenger trains a day would stop in Douglas going east or west. Many passengers would get off and stay at the luxurious Gadsden Hotel, for a day or more before going on their way. From the ‘20's through the ‘40's there were casinos in Agua Prieta, the town immediately across from Douglas across the border, and they were a big draw for the train travelers.

There also were quite a number of great night clubs, restaurants, liquor stores and curio shops in Agua Prieta. The night clubs had great bands and wonderful food. Crossing the border was like crossing the street. Douglas and Agua Prieta were "like one city with a fence down the middle." In the early days a number of famous "Big Bands" would pass through, usually on the train and stop and play for a few days in Douglas and Agua Prieta.
During the ‘40's, 10 miles north of Douglas was the Douglas Air Base, a bomber training base which at one time boasted over 20,000 airmen. After the war, a number of them stayed or moved back to Douglas.

Like most towns and cities in Mexico, Agua Prieta had its red light district ("La Zona Rosa"), where prostitution was legal. Many a young man from the U.S., including the Army Base at Fort Huachucha, in Sierra Vista, and Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, (and of course the airmen during the ‘40's), lost their virginity in the "Linda Vista", the "White House", the "Flamingo" or one of a half dozen other establishments on the "Hill" in Agua Prieta. Rumors have it that Percy Boden, the chief of Police of Douglas for more than 40 years, was a major owner of a number of these establishments in Agua Prieta.

Ben Williams Senior, a prominent business man, rancher and entrepreneur, and a close friend of my father, owned lots of property in Cochise County including the "John Slaughter Ranch", ranches in Sonora Mexico, the Power Company and the Telephone Company in Agua Prieta, Sonora.

The Mexicans from both sides of the border were all our friends. We all drank, ate, laughed, cried, fished and hunted together. We went to each other's families' funerals, weddings, and parties.

In the ‘50's it was legal to bring a gallon of liquor back per adult. People would drive down from Tucson and Phoenix with a car load of adults and haul back lots of liquor which was purchased very low prices. The exchange rate was 12.5 pesos to the dollar, or 8 cents each!

My Father and I frequently went hunting on ranches that were owned by our rancher friends on both sides of the border. These included the Glenn's, Koontz's, the William's, Boss's, the Morales's, and the Krentz's. Like all of the ranchers listed above, the Krentz family had owned their ranch before Arizona became a state. It has been passed down over 4 generations. Bob Krentz, who was 10 years behind me in high school was shot and killed in cold blood on March 28, 2010, by what is believed to be a scout for the Drug runners. All indications are that this was retaliation for the fact that he and his brother found a large stash of marijuana on their property several days earlier and turned it over to the border patrol.

Mexican men walk along the border wall that separates Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico from Douglas, Arizona, U.S., May 23, 2006. (Reuters)

Later, in 1970 I moved back to Douglas and managed and later owned manufacturing plants with over 400 employees, in Agua Prieta. I also started MEXSAT, S.A. de C.V, which was the first company to hold the licenses to Design, manufacture, distribute and install satellite television equipment in Mexico. From 1981 through 1986 I had offices in all the major cities in Mexico.

I can state without any reservation that in more than 40 years of traveling to all corners in Mexico, 1948 - 1995, that I never had one problem with any individual or any agency in Mexico. Sadly, times have changed and I have no intention to return to Mexico today, nor in the future. My Mexican friends come and visit me, but I do not reciprocate.

I recently returned to Douglas for our 50th High School Reunion. Douglas looked extremely run down. A number of the stores on the main street in town which has formerly been the Kress, Woolworth, JCPenny, Sears, Levy's and Phelps Dodge Mercantile and other name stores are now rundown ‘bodegas' owned by Koreans. The town looked old, tired and decrepit. Everything needs a good scrubbing and a paint job. Many boarded-up buildings. There were border patrol vehicles all over town. Douglas is now the location of two Arizona state Prisons. I am told that there are over 500 border patrol agents stationed in Douglas and the second largest employer after the Federal employees, (the border and customs agents), are the Prison Guards.

Douglas had previously been a thriving hub of commerce, with high paying jobs for the workers of Phelps Dodge Corporation and other industries. People from many miles around on both sides of the border came to Douglas to shop.

In the last several years I lived in Douglas in the early ‘80's, I witnessed several Hospitals in Cochise County go bankrupt. This has become the pattern along the borde. Why? Because hospitals gave service to birthing babies of illegal women who did not have the capacity to pay the hospital bills. As we all know, these are referred to as "anchor babies", because they are immediately eligible for a variety of our social services including but not limited to: food stamps, aid to dependent children, welfare, and many more. I do not blame these women; they found a loophole in our system. The fact that after 40 years the loophole still remains open is the scandal. You and I as wage earners are paying for this with our taxes. If the situation were reversed and a female American Citizen gave birth in Mexico, no such benefits would be forthcoming.

Where we use to be able to look across the border and see homes, not unlike our own, now all you see is a very ugly graffiti covered rusting 10 foot high Iron wall with trash piled up against it on both sides. Sort of reminds one of the Berlin wall.

When my family moved to Douglas in 1948 the population was about 14,000. Agua Prieta across the border was slightly smaller. Today, Douglas is about 18,000 and AP is over 150,000. It has sadly become one of the major staging areas along the border for drugs and illegals looking for any kind of opening or opportunity to slip across our border.

By 1986 I could see that the border situation was deteriorating rapidly, sold my businesses and moved away from Douglas.

The Arizona Desert and its People

By T.J. Woodard
May 08, 2010

The desert is in bloom this time of year, a short two week period when flowers and birds abound. Cacti that were bare and spiny with sharp needles have green leaves and add color to an otherwise barren scene. Barrel cacti are sporting lovely pink flowers and roses, which are not indigenous to the area, are in bloom. The green bushy plants also have red or pink flowers this time of year. The one in my yard is home to a large number of bees providing an audible buzzing each time I enter the house through the front door. The hummingbirds are back from their winter respite in Mexico, zipping around the bird feeder sounding like three inch long remote controlled model airplanes, their wings beating as fast as 15 beats each second.

My house sits just below 5,000 feet above sea level, with a nice view of the Huachuca Mountains. To the south, from my front porch, I can see the mountains around Agua Verde, only about two miles into Mexico. It's cooler at this elevation than in most of Arizona, and most of us who live down here like it that way.

The Huachuca Mountains, Sierra Vista, AZ

The nights are dark here. Very dark. South east Arizona is a great place to star gaze, or watch meteor showers. Often my wife and I sit in the hot tub in the back yard and look at the sky. Coyotes howl in the distance and bats flop around near the hummingbird feeder. The sky is clear and lovely; when the moon is up it's like a searchlight illuminating the desert landscape, when it isn't the Milky Way is clearly visible.

The people in southern Arizona are mostly very friendly. Those originally from these parts (I am not, being displaced from Michigan) are easy going and talkative. It's easy to converse with them at the gas station about their truck, in line at the grocery store about the kids, at a middle school softball game with other parents. They work hard and live within their means. Most wear blue jeans and T shirts, or light weight long sleeve shirts with the sleeves rolled up. Many wear boots and cowboy hats. It's not because they wish they had been born 150 years earlier-it's because it makes sense. Many local Arizona men and women work outside and denim is tough. Cool mornings and warm afternoons make wearing long sleeves that can be rolled up sensible. Boots are good to work in, protect from snake bites and hot exhausts of All Terrain Vehicles. Drop a wrench on your toe in tennis shoes and you'll hurt for a week, drop it on your cowboy boots and you might not even notice.

Cowboy hats don't show that we're backwards or hillbillies, but practical. They keep the sun off your face and the back of your neck. It can be hot out here. The sun will sap the energy from anything living in the desert even at this elevation. Many folks here have two of them; a winter hat and a summer hat made of lightweight straw. The summer hat has small holes in it, not for fashion, but so air will circulate around your head, yet the top of the head (balding for many of us) remains covered. It will fry like an egg if it isn't.

The desert is a hot and hostile environment. It can be deceiving because one can see so far. A short hike to the top of the hill can become a much longer affair than planned. Because of that, many people in Arizona will stop and check on people, particularly in the remote areas surrounding the county. The smart ones carry extra water in their vehicles, enough to share with those who might be stuck in the desert with a flat tire or broken down car. Seeing people suffer from heatstroke, exposure or dehydration is not a pretty sight.

Most have served their country from anywhere from two to 30 years. And they are not ashamed of it. Many have Vietnam Veteran bumper stickers or U.S. Marine Corps across the back window of their truck. And while a good many of south east Arizona men and women are combat veterans, we don't want to hurt anybody else.

But we will if we have to.

Ranchers out here have large spreads for their cattle. A good number of the ranches here began in the late 1800s or early 1900s as family businesses. They remain that way. And the men and women who live on the range would not want it any other way.

As one might expect, the Mexican food in this area is incredible. Most restaurants are mom and pop businesses, family owned and operated, bilingual and friendly. The food is fresh, especially the tortillas, hot and delicious. The border town of Naco has my favorite. My wife and I discussed the food with an intelligent young man, a high school student, when we ate there on a Saturday. He took our order in English, then gave it to the kitchen in Spanish. That is to be expected. We ordered Sopapillas, wonderful cinnamon pastries best eaten with honey on them. They were spectacular. He told us next time we needed to try the flan. "It's my grandmother's recipe," he said. We're going back soon.

Often we see vehicles here with Mexican license plates. In a recent trip to Tucson I counted more than 30 cars and trucks with plates from Sonora. We like that. They entered legally, they are shopping in the local businesses, they are paying sales tax. Leaving a local electronics store last Sunday was a mini-van with two 40 inch TVs on the roof, two more 32 inch TVs going into the back of it, and many other electronic items inside the passenger compartment. The merchandise was packed in along with several young children.

We understand there is a Spanish and Mexican element here. The nearby town of Tubac, just north of Nogales, was established in 1752 as a Presidio. Santa Fe, New Mexico is even older, celebrating its 400th birthday this year. It was established in 1610 by the Spanish. That was before the establishment of New York or Boston, before the Pilgrims landed, and only three years after Jamestown was established.

Those in Arizona find it baffling that elitists on the east coast, west coast and other large cities like Chicago don't want us to protect ourselves. We're not racists. We're not bigots. We're hard working Americans who don't like to live in fear. We don't like being robbed. We don't like having to clean up after others who don't care what they do to our state. We definitely dislike seeing our friends and neighbors murdered.

This isn't about race. This is about crime. We will not be victims any more.

TJ Woodard is a retired Army officer who lives less than 10 miles from the Mexican border. He wears a cowboy hat and carries a pistol. He doesn't drive a truck, but hopes to get one soon.

Times Square bomber just overeager

The Orange County Register
2010-05-07 10:33:15

The story of the Times Square bomber reads like some Urdu dinner-theater production of Mel Brooks' "The Producers" that got lost in translation between here and Peshawar: A man sets out to produce the biggest bomb on Broadway since "Dance A Little Closer" closed on its opening night in 1983. Everything goes right: He gets a parking space right next to Viacom, owners of the hated Comedy Central! But then he gets careless: He buys the wrong fertilizer. He fails to open the valve on the propane tank. And next thing you know his ingenious plot is the nonstop laugh riot of the Great White Way. Ha-ha! What a loser! Why, the whole thing's totally – what's the word? – "amateurish," according to multiple officials. It "looked amateurish," scoffed New York's Mayor Bloomberg. "Amateurish," agreed Janet Napolitano, the White House Amateurishness Czar.

Ha-ha-ha! How many jihadists does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: Twenty-seven. Twenty-six terrorist masterminds to supervise six months of rigorous training at a camp in Waziristan, after which the 27th flies back to Newark, goes to Home Depot and buys a quart of lamp oil and a wick.

A Pakistani man reads a morning newspaper carrying the headline story on the arrest of a suspect in the Times Square bomb attempt, at a newspaper stall in Islamabad, Pakistan on Wednesday, May 5, 2010. Pakistan's army does not believe the Pakistani Taliban were behind the Times Square bomb attempt as the insurgent group has claimed, a spokesman said Wednesday. (AP)

Is it so unreasonable to foresee that one day one of these guys will buy the wrong lamp oil and a defective wick and drop the Camp Osama book of matches in a puddle as he's trying to light the bomb, and yet this time, amazingly, it actually goes off? Not really. Last year, not one but two "terrorism task forces" discovered that Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan was in regular e-mail contact with the American-born Yemeni-based cleric Ayman al-Awlaki but concluded that this was consistent with the major's "research interests," so there was nothing to worry about it. A few months later, Maj. Hasan gunned down dozens of his comrades while standing on a table shouting "Allahu Akbar!" That was also consistent with his "research interests," by the way. A policy of relying on stupid jihadists to screw it up every time will inevitably allow one or two to wiggle through. Hopefully not on a nuclear scale.

Faisal Shahzad's curriculum vitae rang a vague bell with me. A couple of years back, I read a bestselling novel by Mohsin Hamid called "The Reluctant Fundamentalist." His protagonist, Changez, is not so very different from young Faisal: They're both young, educated, Westernized Muslims from prominent Pakistani families. Changez went to Princeton; Faisal to the non-Ivy University of Bridgeport, but he nevertheless emerged with an MBA. Both men graduate to the high-flying sector of Wall Street analysts. On returning to New York from overseas, both men get singled out and questioned by Immigration officials. Both men sour on America and grow beards. Previously "moderate," they are now "radicalized."

The difference is that Faisal tries to blow up midtown Manhattan while Changez becomes the amused detached narrator of a critically acclaimed novel genially mocking America's parochialism and paranoia. Mohsin Hamed's book was hailed as "elegant" (The Observer), "charming" (The Village Voice), "playful" (The Financial Times), "rich in irony" (The Sydney Morning Herald) and "finely tuned to the ironies of mutual – but especially American – prejudice" (The Guardian). If only life were like an elegantly playful novel rich in irony. Instead, the real-life counterpart to the elegant charmer holes up in a jihadist training camp for months, flies back "home" and parks a fully loaded SUV in Times Square.

He's not an exception, he's the rule. The Pantybomber is a wealthy Nigerian who lived in a London flat worth two million pounds. Kafeel Ahmed, who died driving a flaming SUV into the concourse of Glasgow Airport, was president of the Islamic Society of Queen's University, Belfast. Omar Sheikh, the man who beheaded Daniel Pearl, was a graduate of the London School of Economics. Mohammed Atta was a Hamburg University engineering student. Osama bin Laden went to summer school at Oxford.
Educated men. Westernized men. Men who could be pulling down big six-figure salaries anywhere on the planet – were it not that their Islamic identity trumps everything else: elite education, high-paying job, Western passport.

As for the idea that America has become fanatically "Islamophobic" since 9/11, au contraire: Were America even mildly "Islamophobic," it would have curtailed Muslim immigration, or at least subjected immigrants from Pakistan, Yemen and a handful of other hotbeds to an additional level of screening. Instead, Muslim immigration to the West has accelerated in the past nine years, and, as the case of Faisal Shahzad demonstrates, being investigated by terrorism task forces is no obstacle to breezing through your U.S. citizenship application. An "Islamophobic" America might have pondered whether the more extreme elements of self-segregation were compatible with participation in a pluralist society: Instead, President Barack Obama makes fawning speeches boasting that he supports the rights of women to be "covered" – rather than the rights of the ever-lengthening numbers of European and North American Muslim women beaten, brutalized and murdered for not wanting to be covered. America is so un-Islamophobic that at Ground Zero they're building a 13-story mosque – on the site of an old Burlington Coat Factory damaged by airplane debris that Tuesday morning.

So, in the ruins of a building reduced to rubble in the name of Islam, a temple to Islam will arise.

And, whenever the marshmallow illusions are momentarily discombobulated, the entire political-media class rushes forward to tell us that the thwarted killer was a "lone wolf," an "isolated extremist."
According to Mayor Bloomberg, a day or two before Shahzad's arrest, the most likely culprit was "someone who doesn't like the health care bill" (that would be me, if your SWAT team's at a loose end this weekend). Even after Shahzad's arrest, the Associated Press, CNN and The Washington Post attached huge significance to the problems the young jihadist had had keeping up his mortgage payments. Just as, after Maj. Hasan, the "experts" effortlessly redefined "post-traumatic stress disorder" to apply to a psychiatrist who'd never been anywhere near a war zone, so now the housing market is the root cause of terrorism: Subprime terrorism is a far greater threat to America than anything to do with certain words beginning with I- and ending in –slam.

Incidentally, one way of falling behind with your house payments is to take half a year off to go to Pakistan and train in a terrorist camp. Perhaps Congress could pass some sort of jihadist housing credit?

Given the demographic advance of Islam in Europe and the de jure advance of Sharia in Europe (the Geert Wilders blasphemy trial) and de facto in America (Comedy Central's and Yale University Press' submission to Islamic proscriptions on representations of Mohammed), you wonder why excitable types like Faisal Shahzad are so eager to jump the gun. The Islamization of the West proceeds apace; why draw attention to it and risk a backlash?

Because the reactions of Bloomberg & Co. are a useful glimpse into the decayed and corroded heart of a civilization. One day the bomb will explode. Dozens dead? Hundreds? Thousands? Would we then restrict immigration from certain parts of the world? Or at least subject them to extra roadblocks on the fast-track to citizenship?

What do you think?

I see, as part of the new culturally sensitive warmongering, that the NATO commander in Afghanistan is considering giving out awards to soldiers for "courageous restraint." Maybe we could hand them out at home, too. Hopefully not posthumously.


Friday, May 07, 2010

Film Reviews: 'Iron Man 2'

Hollywood Gets It Right, Again

Posted by Chris Yogerst on May 7th, 2010

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), our favorite cunning industrialist, is back in top form in Iron Man 2. Just when we think our government can’t lean farther to the Left, Hollywood shows us at least they still know how to get it right on occasion. Now more than ever, the pro-free market, anti-government control concepts in Iron Man 2 are important in our contemporary culture.

The film begins six months later with the oily Senator Stern (Garry Shandling) demanding that Stark hand over his Iron Man weapon to the “proper authorities” (i.e. the government). Stark’s response is simple, “you want my property – you can’t have it!” The Iron Man suit may be a weapon but it is also a clear nuclear deterrent, as Stark defines it. The senator continues to categorize Iron Man out of context in order to push his regulatory agenda.

Iron Man 2 also continues to show the advantages of military innovation, however, the reactor that keeps Stark’s heart beating is now beginning to poison him so he must prepare the company for future success in case of his death. Desperate measures ensue after Stark gives up on trying to fix his heart problem and appoints Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) as CEO of the company. The government is not giving up on trying to once again gain control of national defense. Therefore, Stark wants to make sure he has someone he trusts at the helm of Stark Industries in the event of his untimely death.

The government is not the only problem; however, Hammer Industries’ flaky front man Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) exploits the government’s interest in his company in order to plot against Stark’s reputation. The government’s obsession with controlling Stark rendered them helpless to the villainous Russian Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) who was hired to invent a weapon that would trump Iron Man. Vanko’s only motive was to kill Stark with no concern for possible collateral damage.

As expected, it is the strong-willed, intelligent capitalist that built Iron Man who comes to the rescue and once again keeps America safe from not only its own government but also its enemies overseas. Stark remains a patriot in the truest sense and knows he holds the key to keeping America safe. Instead of trying to save himself, he puts his focus on saving the country and in turn his company from destructive government control, a notion that any small government supporter can appreciate.

It is no secret that the Iron Man character is conservative, creator Stan Lee discusses him in the DVD commentary of the first film:

“It was the height of the Cold War. The readers – the young readers – if there was one thing they hated it was war, it was the military, or, as Eisenhower called it, the military-industrial complex. So I got a hero who represented that to the hundredth degree. He was a weapons manufacturer. He was providing weapons for the army. He was rich. He was an industrialist. But he was good-looking guy and he was courageous… I thought it would be fun to take the kind of character that nobody would like – that none of our readers would like – and shove him down their throats and make them like him.”

Therefore Lee’s intent was to see if he could make conservatism cool and the wild success of the first film would sure tell us that it worked. Although the Stark character was not without criticism in the first film seeing that he was a bit of a lady-killer. In the sequel, however, he is much more of a social conservative. Stark’s witty and flirtatious ways are still ever present even though is obviously loyal to Pepper in Iron Man 2. Instead of seducing the liberal journalists he avoids them completely.

The media as a whole is pushed aside without remorse in Iron Man 2. Where Stark cared about his image in the first film, he gave up trying to keep a politically correct profile in the sequel and put his full attention towards the future of Stark Industries. There is even a scene where we see Fox News and Bill O’Reilly that doesn’t involve a cheap shot at either of them. We know that the Iron Man films lean right, but it’s difficult to believe the studios let this fly.

Front Page assistant editor David Swindle wrote about the first Iron Man film last year in a piece called Superhero Conservatism:

“Why does the superhero genre bend to right? Quite simply, because the conventions upon which it has been built force such a trajectory. Almost all superhero stories involve a clash between good and evil or order and chaos. The superhero genre acknowledges evil’s existence and the need for it to be opposed, usually with force.”

In Iron Man 2 the enemy is twofold, the primary villain is the U.S. government that is unsuccessfully trying to once again monopolize national defense. Their quest for power left them blind to the motivations of an additional villain, Ivan Vanko, who sought to destroy Stark while proving he could also breach military security in the process. Therefore, showing us that government control is not only unnecessary but it can also be destructive. Instead of attacking America, enemies of the country go after Iron Man because they know they cannot defeat the U.S. with Stark running the show.

The government in the film is reminiscent to the current administration’s continued reckless drive for power and control. The dominant purpose behind health care reform was about control, not the well-being of the American people. This is similar to the way government in the film cares less about national security and more about owning the machine that makes it possible. Iron Man 2 is a useful manifestation of capitalist principles that are ignored by today’s government leaders. The free market will collapse under the weight of big government and Tony Stark knows this better than anyone.

Just like Iron Man, its sequel has all of the elements for a guaranteed commercial success. Acknowledging the fight between good and evil as well as the importance of the free market is something that resonates with many Americans in today’s political climate (and was also proven with the success of the first film). Tony Stark endures as a hip personification of capitalism with his humorous charm and eternal drive for success not to mention interest in national security. Stark Industries has privatized world peace, what could be better?

REVIEW: You’re Going to Love the Imperfect ‘Iron Man 2′

by John Nolte

Though the highly anticipated “Iron Man 2” qualifies as a hilarious, entertaining, irreverent, and openly patriotic summer blockbuster well worth the price of admission (and then some), like most sequels, the continuing story of Tony Stark and company does falls short of its predecessor, especially in what I call the “lift department.” Superhero films that transcend their genre contain an unforgettable moment or two that lifts the hair on the back of your neck, pulls you out of your chair, and urges you to stand and cheer. The original “Iron Man” had a number of those moments. And while the follow-up has a whole lot going for it, this is where it most lacks.

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) has privatized world peace. Yes, all on his own as Iron Man, Stark has whipped the world into behaving itself and it’s completely gone to his already bloated head. Obviously this wasn’t accomplished through the changing of our enemies’ hearts, but rather through the superior firepower that comes with being Iron Man. This is the reason/excuse our government, led by the oily Senator Stern (a very funny Gary Shandling) uses to demand Stark turn over the suit to the Pentagon. During a hearing televised on CSPAN, Stark can’t bring himself to politely decline. With his ego red-lining, (he has saved the world, after all), he both insults the Senator and dares him to try and take the suit away from him.

Game on.

In this vacuum steps a rival arms dealer, Justin Hammer (a delightfully twitchy Sam Rockwell), who’s desperate to replicate the Iron Man technology and scoop up all that Pentagon money while at the same time fulfilling a desire to humiliate Stark by elbowing Iron Man into irrelevancy. Hope arrives in the form of Ivan Vanko (a quietly menacing Mickey Rourke), a Russian scientist burning with both a hate for Stark and the technical know-how to fulfill Hammer’s mercenary desires.

As a whole, if you look real close, the film’s overall narrative doesn’t hold together all that well. But the individual pieces are so delightfully scripted and performed you don’t really notice… or care. Through the first act and right up until the dynamite initial–and very well staged and shot–encounter between Stark and Vanko, everything pops as all the familiar themes and characters effortlessly pick up right where they left off. And while the second act, except for an awkward and surprisingly claustrophobic sequence involving Stark’s birthday party, never ceases to hold your attention and entertain, the structure just isn’t there, nor is the action.

There is a lot going on with the characters, though maybe too much. The relationship between the luscious Pepper Potts and Stark is as Tracy/Hepburn as ever, but the troubling dynamic between Stark and his deceased father feels artificial, especially when it results in the solving (seemingly out of nowhere) of one of Stark’s biggest problems. One area where you do feel the narrative pieces fall satisfactorily into place is with the arrival of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Much track is laid for the Avenger team Fury’s putting together and you will want to hang around for a post-credit scene.

One area where the sequel improves on the original is with its climax. This time it’s big and lusty and exciting as opposed to rock ‘em sock ‘em robots duking it out on the Hollywood freeway. But back to the lack of lift….

There were three moments in the first “Iron Man” that took my movie-loving breath away. Stark’s initial escape in his crude Iron Man suit, his first flight, and that delicious moment when he figured out that being a superhero means no longer watching helplessly as tragedy plays out on the television. Iron Man flying off to lay waste to those Jihadists terrorizing that village was a moment this country had been collectively waiting for our Hollywood Masters to deliver since the attacks on September 11th.
The best way to describe the sequel is to think about what the original would’ve been like without those moments; worthwhile and fun but far from a classic.

Jon Favreau’s direction and the snappy dialogue, like most of the performances (as Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson is a little in over her head with this cast, but kick some ass she does) are uniformly excellent, and if I haven’t said so before, Robert Downey Jr. is a friggin’ movie star in the very best sense of the word. Is there another actor out there capable of throwing around a character’s rank narcissism and irreverence but never at the expense of sincerity? He’s a marvel to watch, if you’ll pardon the pun.

If anything, this second Iron Man chapter is even more patriotic than the first. The military, as personified by Don Cheadle’s Lt. Col. Rhoades, is treated with utmost respect and Stark’s language about what he’s doing is never qualified with any of that maddening, namby-pamby United NationSpeak that’s plagued every movie made since Bush beat Gore. Stark says with no embarrassment whatsoever that he is “securing America,” and that he’s proud to “serve a great nation.” He even throws a kind word to the Boy Scouts of America. And later, a very funny and not-so-subtle riff on the megalomania surrounding Obama iconography ranks as iconoclastic when compared to what we’re seeing from today’s lockstep film industry.

So go! Have fun. Take the kids. And thank Favreau and company for proving that in the talented hands of those willing you can still make timeless universal themes cool, entertaining, and very profitable.

In the immortal words of Justin Hammer: “God bless Iron Man. God bless America.”

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Posted May 5th 2010 at 12:55 pm in Film, Reviews

Iron Man 2: A Love Letter to Ronald Reagan?

The film is a big, brash, exciting, and brainy adventure, supercharged by its love for core American values.

by John Boot
May 7, 2010

America just might have found itself its truest superhero. Who needs Superman when there’s Iron Man 2? Tony Stark isn’t just a patriot and a lifesaver. He’s bold, he’s clever, he’s rich, he’s a capitalist individualist defender of property rights. And he likes to give speeches surrounded by dancing girls.

Iron Man was fun but Iron Man 2 is even better, with a script (by Justin Theroux) so laced with wit that it if you took away the fireballs and just had actors reading it on a bare stage like a Noel Coward piece, it would still be an entertaining evening.

The main flaws of the first film — let’s face it, the finale with Jeff Bridges was a bore, and so was Terrence Howard, the blandest buddy since Robin — are gone in the sequel. This one features nifty fireworks — including a nifty Monte Carlo race scene — plus two excellent yet very different villains (Sam Rockwell and Mickey Rourke), the superb Don Cheadle stepping in for Howard (who reportedly demanded more money than the producers were willing to pay), just enough Nicky Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to make us want more, and a blowout of an ending.

Oh yeah, and the movie is also a virtual love letter to Ronald Reagan.

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr., whose performance seems meant to school Christian Bale in the art of playing things loose) finds himself in trouble with a weaselly senator (Garry Shandling). The lawmaker accuses Stark, who has been boasting to the world of his ability to keep the peace, of purposely developing an offensive weapon that he misleadingly calls a defensive weapon.

That this is exactly the argument liberals (and the Soviets) used to excoriate Ronald Reagan and his SDI plan is delicious — but it gets better. As played by Shandling, the senator, who is from Pennsylvania, bears more than a slight resemblance to Arlen Specter, the classic Capitol Hill weasel who called himself a Republican for as long as he found it convenient and is now not only a Democrat but one of the most reliably liberal members of his caucus.

Still better: In front of Congress, which Tony rightly mocks as his intellectual and moral inferiors, he delivers a stout defense of private property when the senator demands that he simply turn over the blueprints to his Iron Man suit. Stark points out that the country is doomed if it has to rely for its defense on the government’s chosen contractor, headed by a corporate tool named Justin Hammer (Rockwell) who thinks he is as smart as Tony but isn’t, quite.

And yet still better: Tony has his own Shepard Fairey-style “Hope” poster. It says “Iron Man” — a cheeky rebuke to an America that can elect a commander in chief who thinks perpetual apologizing is a bargaining position.

Meanwhile, halfway around the world, a terrifyingly single-minded Russian named Ivan (Mickey Rourke, who as he did in The Wrestler uses his wrecked looks to excellent effect), whose deceased father had a blood feud against Tony’s late dad (John Slattery of Mad Men), develops his own knockoff Iron Man suit and comes looking for Tony. He finds him, at the Monte Carlo car race that Tony joins on a lark.

But thanks to the twin high-voltage whips that Ivan can use to strip the side off an armored car, Tony, his bodyguard (director Jon Favreau), and his best girl Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) find themselves in danger of being outgunned by this snarling, almost wordless psycho. Naturally Justin Hammer and Ivan soon join forces — as Tony notices with his typical heedless bravado that a flaw in the power source he uses to operate his mechanical heart is slowly, fatally poisoning him.

That’s a lot of story — and I haven’t even mentioned Tony’s mysterious new assistant (Scarlett Johansson). But it all comes through clearly in Theroux’s fast-moving script. The action scenes are robust, especially the finale at the old World’s Fair site in Queens, N.Y., that also inspired the big finish of Men in Black, and Downey makes his many one-liners zing (he tells Nick Fury he doesn’t want to join his “superhero boy band”). Yet Rockwell is his equal, particularly in a hilarious monologue in which he describes his favorite weapons like “Uncle Gazpacho” (so called for the chunky red mess it tends to make of enemies) and “the ex-wife.”

Iron Man 2 is a big, brash, exciting, and brainy adventure, supercharged by its love for core American values. When the liberals huff that Tony Stark is a “lone gunslinger,” you know what he’s thinking: “Senator Weasel can have the rights to my Iron Man suit just as soon as he pries them out of my cold, dead hands.”

John Boot is the pen name of a conservative writer operating under deep cover in the liberal media.

The Go-Fly List for Terrorists

By Michelle Malkin
May 7, 2010

If America's homeland security policies were subject to truth-in-advertising laws, the "no-fly" list would be known around the world by its right and proper name: the "go-fly" list. As in: Go right ahead, jihadists, and fly our planes. All aboard, evil-doers.

While grandmas and grade-schoolers and war heroes patiently pass through a gauntlet of wands, checkpoints and screening obstacles, the nation's safety watchdogs are asleep at the wheel. They've mentally checked out at the check-in counter. And they're in over their heads at federal counterterrorism centers, where "watch list" means putting the names of dangerous operatives into massive databases -- then idly watching potential bombers waltz through our airports and onto our tarmacs.

The federal no-fly scheme was bypassed or breached easily by both the Christmas Day bomb plotter and the Times Square bomb plotter. In the former case, Nigerian terror operative Umar Abdulmutallab had been on the counterterrorism radar screen for his radical jihadi threats (which had been reported by his father to U.S. embassy officials in London). But the young, single, rootless Muslim extremist with suspicious travel patterns -- ding, ding, ding, ding, ding! -- did not meet the standards for watch-listing and didn't even make it onto the second-tier "selectee list" of potential threats who can fly only after additional screening.

By contrast, beleaguered 8-year-old Mikey Hicks of Clifton, N.J., still can't get off the selectee list after years of ridiculous harassment while traveling on family vacations.

In the Times Square case, Team Obama immediately pointed fingers at the airline industry -- and Emirates airlines, in particular -- for failing to check no-fly list updates. The hindsight cops at the White House are now touting ex post facto rules mandating that the airlines check no-fly alerts every two hours instead of every 24 hours.

But law enforcement officials themselves neglected to contact all airlines directly and red-flag the addition of would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad's name to the government no-fly list. Moreover, despite paying cash for his trip to the Middle East and being listed on the Department of Homeland Security travel lookout list since 1999, Shahzad received no extra screening from the Transportation Security Administration (confirming once again the bureaucracy's own inside joke that TSA stands for "Thousands Standing Around").

The tourism industry certainly shares blame for putting travel profits ahead of national security over the years. But in this case, it was only thanks to airline industry compliance with a post-9/11 procedure requiring plane officials to send passenger manifests to the Department of Homeland Security that the feds caught up with Shahzad (whom they had lost track of in Connecticut) before he jetted off to Dubai.

President Obama has had plenty of time to address the enforcement lapses, database loopholes and technological delays of his predecessor. After the Christmas Day bombing debacle, he pledged to be proactive: "We will not rest." But to this day, TSA still doesn't check all domestic and international airline passenger manifests against the no-fly/go-fly list.

The data are only as good as the people entrusted to collect, process and use the information to protect national security. And without the ability to share and access the information across numerous agencies, the data are useless. Nearly nine years after Sept. 11, there is still no functional interoperability among an alphabet soup of national security and criminal databases -- including NAILS, TECS, CLASS, VISAS VIPER, TUSCAN, TIPPIX, IBIS, CIS, APIS, SAVE, IDENT, DACS, AFIS, ENFORCE and the NCIC. The Senate raised questions about understaffed efforts to modernize some of these databases back in March. What are we waiting for? The next jihadi bombing attempt?

The warped priorities of the Obama White House imperil us all. A command-and-control government that squanders its time and our money taking over businesses it has no business running -- health insurance, auto manufacturing, banking, student loans -- is a government neglecting its most fundamental mandate: providing for the common defense.

- Michelle Malkin makes news and waves with a unique combination of investigative journalism and incisive commentary. She is the author of Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild .

Miranda Warnings and Public Safety

Law-enforcement officers should not Mirandize terrorism suspects until they have all the information they need to protect lives.

By Charles Krauthammer
May 7, 2010 12:00 A.M.

"[Law enforcement] interviewed Mr. Shahzad . . . under the public-safety exception to the Miranda rule. . . . He was eventually . . . Mirandized and continued talking." — John Pistole, FBI deputy director, May 4

All well and good. But what if Faisal Shahzad, the confessed Times Square bomber, had stopped talking? When you tell someone he has the right to remain silent, there is a distinct possibility that he will remain silent, is there not? And then what?

The authorities deserve full credit for capturing Shahzad within 54 hours. Credit is also due them for obtaining information from him by invoking the “public safety” exception to the Miranda rule.

But then Shahzad was Mirandized. If he had decided to shut up, it would have denied us valuable information — everything he is presumably telling us now about Pakistani contacts, training, plans for other possible plots beyond the Times Square attack.

The public-safety exception is sometimes called the “ticking-time-bomb” exception. But what about information regarding bombs not yet ticking but being planned and readied to kill later?

Think of the reason why we give any suspect Miranda warnings. It is not that you’re prohibited from asking questions before Mirandizing. You can ask a suspect anything you damn well please. You can ask him if he picks his feet in Poughkeepsie — but without Miranda warnings, the answers are not admissible in court.

In this case, however, Miranda warnings were superfluous. Shahzad had confessed to the car-bombing attempt while being interrogated under the public-safety exception. That’s admissible evidence. Plus, he left a treasure trove of physical evidence all over the place — which is how we caught him in two days.

Second, even assuming that by not Mirandizing him we might have jeopardized our chances of getting some convictions — so what? Which is more important: (a) gaining, a year or two hence, the conviction of a pigeon — the last and now least important link in this terror chain — whom we could surely get off the street with explosives and weapons charges, or (b) preventing future terror attacks on Americans by learning from Shahzad what he might know about terror plots in Pakistan and sleeper cells in the United States?

Even posing this choice demonstrates why the very use of the civilian judicial system to interrogate terrorists is misconceived, even if they are, like Shahzad, (naturalized) American citizens. America is the target of an ongoing jihadist campaign. The logical and serious way to defend ourselves is to place captured terrorists in military custody as unlawful enemy combatants. As former anti-terror prosecutor Andrew McCarthy notes in National Review, one of the six World War II German saboteurs captured in the U.S., tried by military commission, and executed was a U.S. citizen. It made no difference.

But let’s assume you’re wedded to the civilian-law-enforcement model, as the Obama administration is. At least make an attempt to expand the public-safety exception to Miranda in a way that takes into account the jihadist war that did not exist when that exception was narrowly drawn by the Supreme Court in the 1984 Quarles case.

The public-safety exception should be enlarged to allow law enforcement to interrogate, without Mirandizing, those arrested in the commission of terrorist crimes (and make the answers admissible) — until law enforcement is satisfied that vital intelligence related to other possible plots and threats to public safety has been sufficiently acquired.

This could be done by congressional statute. Or the administration could, in an actual case, refrain from Mirandizing until it had explored the outer limits of any plot — and then defend its actions before the courts, resting its argument on the Supreme Court’s own logic in the Quarles case: “We conclude that the need for answers to questions in a situation posing a threat to the public safety outweighs the need for the [Miranda] rule.”

Otherwise, we will be left — when a terrorist shuts up, as did the underwear bomber for five weeks — in the absurd position of capturing enemy combatants and then prohibiting ourselves from obtaining the information they have, and we need, to protect innocent lives.

My view is that we should treat enemy combatants as enemy combatants, whether they are U.S. citizens (Shahzad) or not (the underwear bomber). If, however, they are to be treated as ordinary criminals, then at least agree on this: no Miranda rights until we know everything that public safety demands we need to know.

— Charles Krauthammer is a nationally syndicated columnist. © 2010, The Washington Post Writers Group.

Robin Roberts: A 'Phillies treasure'

Philadelphia Daily News
May 7, 2010

ON MAY 13, 1954, Robin Roberts gave up a leadoff home run to Cincinnati Reds third baseman Bobby Adams at Connie Mack Stadium. He then retired the next 27 batters he faced.

Warren Giles was the National League president at the time. His 19-year-old son, Bill, was listening to the game on the radio. Among the crowd of 6,856 at 21st and Lehigh was 7-year-old Dave Montgomery.

Years later, Giles was working in the Phillies organization. Montgomery was coaching football at Germantown Academy, whose roster happened to include two of Roberts' sons. Roberts eventually introduced Montgomery, a recent Wharton School graduate, to Giles, who hired him on the spot. Montgomery later succeeded Giles as Phillies president.

It's not really surprising that Roberts, who passed away of natural causes yesterday morning at age 83 at his home in Temple Terrace, Fla., would be the link to that piece of Phillies history. For more than 60 years, he was not only the greatest righthanded pitcher in franchise history but a thread that ran through the organization and baseball, first as a player and later as a beloved ambassador.

He is one of just four former players with a field named after him at the Carpenter Complex in Clearwater, Fla., and a statue honoring him at Citizens Bank Park. Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton and Rich Ashburn are the others. He was the ace of the 1950 Whiz Kids rotation, the only Phillies team to appear in the postseason between 1915 and 1976. The team retired his number. He was the first inductee to the Phillies Wall of Fame in 1978. He was an occasional visitor to the clubhouse both in spring training and during the regular season and avidly followed the Phillies.

"He would call numerous times. 'Did you see that play Jimmy made last night? That was unbelievable,' " recalled longtime media relations director Larry Shenk, now vice president of alumni relations. "He was a special human being, very special."

Montgomery called him a "Phillies treasure" and added: "I'm very proud of the relationship that Robin had with this club. Yes, he was a Hall of of Fame pitcher and his stats speak for themselves. But first and foremost for all of us here, he was our friend. We will miss him."

He came back to Philadelphia every year to help the organization by meeting and playing golf with sponsors and suiteholders and was scheduled to be in town next month.

He was such an integral part of the organization that he was given a championship ring after the Phillies won the World Series in 2008. "I'm ready for another ring," he told director of team travel Frank Coppenbarger this spring.

He also had a wider impact in the game. Elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976, he served on the board of directors and returned without fail to Cooperstown, N.Y., for induction weekend each year. He was also instrumental in helping hire Marvin Miller as executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association in 1966.

"Known as one of the greatest pitchers of his era, Robin's legacy extends far beyond the diamond," current executive director Michael Weiner said in a statement. "Robin played an important role in establishing the Major League Baseball Players Association as a bona fide labor organization by helping the players of his day understand the benefits to be gained by standing together as one."

Yet he was also respected by ownership. "Robin truly loved baseball and had its best interests at heart," commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "We will miss him."

Schmidt thought of him as a friend. "Robin will always be remembered for his Hall of Fame pitching career, but those closest to him will remember him more for his dedication to his family, the players association, the Hall of Fame and his coaching influence on young men at many level," he said. "He was a special guy. Anybody who knew Robin or had a chance to work with him in any way knows what a kind man he was."

Opposing players admired him as well. St. Louis Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon remembered facing him in 1966 when Roberts was with the Chicago Cubs and in his final season.

Shannon was on his way to being named the National League's Player of the Month for July but, on this day, he went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly. "He stopped my [10-game] hitting streak. He was finished at the time, but the old man showed the kid who was boss that day, I can tell you that," he said with a laugh.

Baseball is a story told through statistics and Roberts certainly had eye-popping numbers. He made 609 big-league starts and completed almost exactly half of them (305), including 28 straight at one point. He had at least 20 wins and 300 innings pitched for six straight seasons (1950-55). He made the All-Star team 7 straight years. He won 286 games. He pitched 19 years in the majors, the first 14 with the Phillies, before finishing with the Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros and Cubs.

Roberts was both durable and tough, remembered senior adviser Dallas Green.

"I watched Robbie a long time, and the thing I can remember more than anything is with a man on third and less than two outs, he'd kick it up another notch and they didn't score. That's what made him real special," Green said. "And he stayed in the game. He was a pretty good hitter, an excellent fielder. He did everything a pitcher had to do to stay in the game, and, of course, the manager kept him in there.

"Back in those days, that's what you were paid to do. You were paid to go nine innings. These five or six innings we have today . . . Robbie pitched a lot of years with a bad arm. We didn't have the medicine and stuff we have today, so he grit his teeth and did what he did."

Even if he had done nothing else in his career, he would have secured his place in Phillies history for what he did in 1950 when he made three starts in 5 days at the end of the season, including beating the Brooklyn Dodgers in the final game to send his team to the World Series.

"One in a million," said Whiz Kids teammate Bob Miller.

PHILADELPHIA - MAY 06: Jamie Moyer(notes) #50 of the Philadelphia Phillies sits in the dugout next to a jersey of Phillies Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts prior to playing the St. Louis Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park on May 6, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Roberts passed away today at the age of 83. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Said Phillies lefthander Jamie Moyer, who graduated from Souderton Area High School and attended Saint Joseph's: "He's meant a lot to the city. He's meant a lot to this organization. When things happened, in pregame ceremonies, he was always included. People always appreciated him. People knew a lot about him and his career. It wasn't like, 'That was the guy who pitched back then.' He was very well-respected in all walks of life."

Added centerfielder Shane Victorino: "Everybody knows how good he was. He wasn't a Hall of Famer for no reason. People know. We lose another legend in Phillies history. It's unfortunate again. I saw him in spring training. It seemed like he was fine.

"I look up on the scoreboard. I see the Phillies' all-time leaders. In fact, I was looking [Wednesday] when I went out for stretching. You look at some of the numbers and it's like, jeez, just everything he did. Everything around here is him, Schmitty, Richie Ashburn, Harry Kalas. These guys are legends in Phillies history. These are guys who made the Phillies who they are."

The organization has planned a variety of tributes. A moment of silence was observed before yesterday afternoon's game and Phanavision played a video highlighting his remarkable career during the second inning.

His No. 36 jersey will hang in the dugout both at home and on the road for the rest of the season. Beginning with tonight's game against the Braves, a No. 36 patch will be worn on the right sleeve of the team's uniform tops.

The Phillies' 1950 National League pennant will fly at half-staff. A black drape will be hung on his Wall of Fame plaque in Ashburn Alley and his portrait in the Hall of Fame Club; his statue at the First Base Gate will be adorned with a wreath.

Roberts was a standout basketball player at Michigan State and became head baseball coach at the University of South Florida after he retired. He also was a roving minor league pitching instructor for the Phillies.

Giles told a story about the day, 60 years ago, when his father was still running the Cincinnati Reds and invited him to drive from the team's training site in Tampa to Clearwater. "He said, 'I want to show you a young pitcher. He just got out of Michigan State University.' It was Robin Roberts. He said, 'He's going to be a great one, Bill,' " Giles said.

"When I think of Robin there is definitely one word that comes quickly to mind: class. He was a class act both on and off the field. The way he lived his life was exemplary."

Roberts' wife, Mary, passed away in 2005. He is survived by four sons: Robin Jr., of Blue Bell; Dan and Jimmy, both of Temple Terrace; and Rick, of Athens, Ga.; one brother, John, of Springfield, Ill.; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandson.

A funeral service is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Temple Terrace. In lieu of flowers, mourners are asked to donate to the church, the Baseball Assistance Team or the Gold Shield Foundation.

Recalling Roberts' 17-inning complete game

By Bill Conlin
Philadelphia Daily News Sports Columnist
May 7, 2010

I SPENT A LOT of time yesterday sifting through the detritus of 62 years to uncover one shining moment that put a high luster on the fabulous baseball career and exemplary life of Robin Roberts.

The last Sunday of the 1950 season is the obvious choice. The Phillies' great righthander was making his third start in the final 5 days of a campaign where the Dodgers relentlessly reeled in Eddie Sawyer's young and depleted ballclub like a fisherman about to land a minnow with a pole rigged for marlin. So Whitey Ashburn threw out Cal Abrams at the plate in the bottom of the ninth to avert a Monday playoff. Dick Sisler bombed a three-run homer off Don Newcombe in the 10th. Robbie reached deep for that little extra he always seemed to have in his breast pocket, and the Phillies went to their first World Series since 1915.

Manager Eddie Sawyer gave his ace off in Game 1, raising eyebrows throughout baseball by starting relief ace Jim Konstanty against the heavily favored Yankees. Roberts started Game 2 Thursday on 3 days' rest. It was his fourth start in 9 days. A fading Joe DiMaggio beat him, 2-1, in the 10th with a homer.

There were brilliant individual games, of course, sprinkled through his time here with a rapidly fading Phillies team like leitmotifs in a gloomy Wagnerian opera.

But let me reach out to the longest afternoon of Robin Roberts' career for a performance that captures the distilled essence of the Hall of Fame legend who died in his Florida home yesterday morning after spending Wednesday night watching the Phillies beat the Cardinals.

On Sept. 6, 1952, Roberts went for his 23rd victory against the tough Boston Braves. It did not go well for Robbie. After eight innings - and why was he still in there? - it was 6-6. Robbie had allowed five earned runs on nine hits.

"Stubborn as a mule," Stan Hochman described him to yesterday. He pitched a scoreless ninth and the game staggered into extra innings. In fact, despite allowing nine more hits for a total of 18 in a game the Phils won, 7-6, in the bottom of the 17th on a Del Ennis walkoff, Roberts hung eight more goose eggs on Boston.

Now, I want all you pitch-count advocates to cover your eyes. And if you're coaching your Little League kid to be the next 75-pitch wonder, hide the newspaper, the laptop or the iPod.

When Robin got the final out in a 1-2-3 inning - one of his few clean frames - he had faced 71 batters. With his control and riding four-seamer, the drop-and-drive righthander normally had a ton of pitches fouled off. He struck out only five. So, if you assume a conservative average of five pitches per hitter, you can also assume that Robbie's pitch count was well into the 300s. No, Sawyer didn't use him in the second game of the doubleheader. But he came back on his turn Sept. 11, and beat the Cardinals, 3-2, for No. 24 on his way to 28-7 and 30 complete games.

Roberts was running on fumes by 1961 and manager Gene Mauch was in no mood to bronze fading Hall of Fame careers, not with the dreck he was running out there in his second season. It has been variously reported through the obscuring mists of time that Mauch observed, as Robbie careened toward a 1-10 record and an October sale to the Yankees, "He's pitching like Betsy Ross." Or, "He's pitching like Dolley Madison." I had not heard Hochman's revisionist version, "He's pitching like Molly Putz." When I asked Mauch about the line decades ago, he said he couldn't remember.

Roberts was not a vindictive man by any stretch. But he did have an in-Mauch's-face moment. After being released by the Yankees, Orioles and Astros, he landed with the Cubs in July 1966 in the role of player/pitching coach for manager Leo Durocher. He began working with a tall, young righthander named Ferguson Jenkins, who had been traded to the Cubs by Phils GM John Quinn in the ill-advised acquisition of veteran righthanders Larry Jackson and Bob Buhl. Roberts was blown away by Fergie's talent.

"I went to Leo and said, 'You've got to move this kid out of the bullpen and into the rotation,' " Roberts told the salty Durocher. "He's got a heavy sinker he can throw to either corner, got a late-breaking, hard curve."

On July 15, 1966, Robbie pitched his final career complete-game victory, outpitching the Pirates' Vern Law, 5-4. Durocher gradually worked Jenkins into his rotation. On Sept. 6, Fergie defeated Phillies ace Jim Bunning, 7-2.

"All he did was win at least 20 for the next six seasons pitching in [Wrigley Field]," Robbie said.

In the fractional jargon of baseball, Robin Roberts, 83, passed away with one out in the eighth inning of a magnificently balanced and underrated life that was lived without scandal, controversy or the smallest trace of pettiness. During his 9 years as baseball coach at the University of South Florida, he turned an invisible program into a perennial NCAA Tournament team. He probably could have been an NBA backcourt man after a fabulous career at Michigan State, where he led the Spartans in field-goal percentage all 3 years and was captain as a junior and senior. But pitching was his passion.

If Rich Ashburn was His Whiteness, the pulse and personality of the Phillies' organization, Robin Roberts was its White Knight, an unassuming man who looked like Everyman, but threw the baseball like Superman, even in that long-forgotten game in which his pitch count would have been a felony even in Clark Kent's Metropolis.

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The Complete Pitcher

By Bill Lyon
For The Philadelphia Inquirer
May 7, 2010

Robin Evan Roberts was a starter.

And his own setup man.

And his own closer.

All in the same game.

Baseball, as played by the Phillies, was this simple back in the halcyon days of the 1950s: The manager would give Robin Roberts the ball and Robin Roberts wouldn't give it back.

He didn't just win 20 a year, he would pitch 20 complete games a year.

And he would do so without the aid of suspicious pharmaceuticals, whatever they were.

Without a pitch count, whatever that was.

Without long toss, whatever that was.

Without four days in between starts, whatever they were. Sometimes without three days in between, whatever they were.

Robin Roberts had an elastic right arm and from it he coaxed 19 big-league seasons and almost 4,700 innings, and if you look up tireless in the dictionary, there is his picture.

I asked him last October, during the World Series, what his secret was, and he replied: "Well, we used our arms a lot."

What a quaint concept.

Robby, gentle soul, passed Thursday. The same thread will run through all the eulogies to come: We have lost a good man and true, a man of grace and quiet dignity, a man who reached the Hall of Fame but remained self-effacing. No one was more unimpressed with Robby than Robby himself.

There was no strut in him, not a shred of ego. He was a master craftsman, and he was more than glad to mentor in the fine art of that craft those who asked, regardless of their station in life. Twenty-game winner or scuffling journeyman, he treated them all the same.

Elsewhere on these pages you will find the numbers he amassed. They are staggering, and they all speak to his stamina, his endurance, his reliability. Give him the ball, lean back and enjoy.

Down in the bullpen they used to say the best day to have a hangover was when Robby's turn came around. You wouldn't even have to get loose.

There was a simple economy to his approach, and there was no wasted effort in his mechanics. He kept the number of moving parts to a minimum and kept his delivery fluid. And most of all he threw strikes.

The hitters knew that, knew he was always around the plate, and they tried to capitalize on it, which is reflected in the home runs he yielded. Had he been the least bit nasty, well . . . But it just wasn't his way to play stick-it-in-their-ear. He was simply too nice.

Besides, all those eager swingers who were rushing to put the ball in play helped keep his pitch count low. Plus, no fielders, after standing there killing grass while waiting for a nibbler to finally wind up, ever complained about playing behind Robby - heads up, line drive coming.

Asked for his routine, he said: "I ran and worked out the day after. Threw some batting practice. Shagged batting practice. Played a lot of pepper."

Quite a contrast to the coddled, baby-armed divas of today.

"I never asked the manager to take me out or leave me in," he said. "I just took the ball."

He finished 14 wins shy of 300, and had his career been spent with good teams he would have breezed past that magic number. As it was, of his 14 seasons with the Phillies, they had losing records in 10 of them.

He was never one to point that out.

The last time we talked, six months ago, in the heart of the postseason, Cole Hamels walked past, slumped in despair, locked in doubt, wondering how it was that the champagne had turned to vinegar. The others were giving him a wide berth, just in case whatever he had was contagious.

But not Robby.

"Hey, Lefthander," he called.

Hamels looked up, warily, braced for yet another critique.

"Don't forget," Robby said, "just how good you are."

Sooner or later, you are pleased to see, class really does reveal itself.

There's a name for it: Gentleman.

Bill Lyon is a retired Inquirer columnist.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


By Ann Coulter
May 5, 2010

It took Faisal Shahzad trying to set a car bomb in Times Square to get President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to finally use the word "terrorism." (And not referring to Tea Party activists!)

This is a major policy shift for a president who spent a month telling Americans not to "jump to conclusions" after Army doctor Nidal Malik Hasan reportedly jumped on a desk, shouted "Allahu Akbar!" and began shooting up Fort Hood.

After last weekend, now Obama is even threatening to pronounce it "Pack-i-stan" instead of "Pahk-i-stahn." We know Obama is taking terrorism seriously because he took a break from his "Hope, Change & Chuckles" tour on the comedy circuit to denounce terrorists.

In a bit of macho posturing this week, Obama declared that -- contrary to the terrorists' wishes -- Americans "will not be terrorized, we will not cower in fear, we will not be intimidated."

First of all, having the Transportation Security Administration wanding infants, taking applesauce away from 93-year-old dementia patients, and forcing all Americans to produce their shoes, computers and containers with up to 3 ounces of liquid in Ziploc bags for special screening pretty much blows that "not intimidated" look Obama wants America to adopt.

"Intimidated"? How about "absolutely terrified"?

Second, it would be a little easier for the rest of us not to live in fear if the president's entire national security strategy didn't depend on average citizens happening to notice a smoldering SUV in Times Square or smoke coming from a fellow airline passenger's crotch.

But after the car bomber and the diaper bomber, it has become increasingly clear that Obama's only national defense strategy is: Let's hope their bombs don't work!

If only Dr. Hasan's gun had jammed at Fort Hood, that could have been another huge foreign policy success for Obama.

The administration's fingers-crossed strategy is a follow-up to Obama's earlier and less successful "Let's Make Them Love Us!" plan.

In the past year, Obama has repeatedly apologized to Muslims for America's "mistakes."

He has apologized to Iran for President Eisenhower's taking out loon Mohammad Mossadegh, before Mossadegh turned a comparatively civilized country into a Third World hellhole. You know, like the Ayatollah has.

He has apologized to the entire Muslim world for the French and English colonizing them -- i.e. building them flush toilets.

He promised to shut down Guantanamo. And he ordered the mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, to be tried in the same courthouse that tried Martha Stewart.

There was also Obama's 90-degree-bow tour of the East and Middle East. For his next visit, he plans to roll on his back and have his belly scratched like Fido.

Despite favorable reviews in The New York Times, none of this put an end to Islamic terrorism.

So now, I gather, our only strategy is to hope the terrorists' bombs keep fizzling.

There's no other line of defense. In the case of the Times Square car bomber, the Department of Homeland Security failed, the Immigration and Naturalization Service failed, the CIA failed and the TSA failed. (However, the Department of Alert T-Shirt Vendors came through with flying colors, as it always does.)

Only the New York Police Department, a New York street vendor and Shahzad's Rube Goldberg bomb (I do hope he's not offended by how Jewish that sounds -- Obama can apologize) prevented a major explosion in Times Square.

Even after the NYPD de-wired the smoking car bomb, produced enough information to identify the bomb-maker, and handed it all to federal law enforcement authorities tied up in a bow, the federal government's crack "no-fly" list failed to stop Shahzad from boarding a plane to Dubai.

To be fair, at Emirates Airlines, being on a "no-fly" list makes you eligible for pre-boarding.

Perhaps the Department of Homeland Security should consider creating a "Really, REALLY No-Fly" list.

Contrary to the wild excuses being made for the federal government on all the TV networks Monday night, it's now clear that this was not a wily plan of federal investigators to allow Shahzad to board the plane in order to nab his co-conspirators. It was a flub that nearly allowed Shahzad to escape.

Meanwhile, on that same Monday at JFK airport, approximately 100,000 passengers took off their shoes, coats, belts and sunglasses for airport security.

But the "highly trained federal force" The New York Times promised us on Oct. 28, 2001, when the paper demanded that airport security be federalized, failed to stop the only guy they needed to stop at JFK last Monday -- the one who planted a bomb in the middle of Times Square days earlier.

So why were 100,000 other passengers harassed and annoyed by the TSA?

The federal government didn't stop the diaper bomber from nearly detonating a bomb over Detroit. It didn't stop a guy on the "No Fly" list from boarding a plane and coming minutes away from getting out of the country.

If our only defense to terrorism is counting on alert civilians, how about not bothering them before they board airplanes, instead of harassing them with useless airport "security" procedures?

Both of the attempted bombers who sailed through airport security, I note, were young males of the Islamic faith. I wonder if we could develop a security plan based on that information?

And speaking of a "highly trained federal force," who's working at the INS these days? Who on earth made the decision to allow Shahzad the unparalleled privilege of becoming a U.S. citizen in April 2009?

Our "Europeans Need Not Apply" immigration policies were absurd enough before 9/11. But after 19 foreign-born Muslims, legally admitted to the U.S., murdered 3,000 Americans in New York and Washington in a single day, couldn't we tighten up our admission policies toward people from countries still performing stonings and clitorectomies?

The NYPD can't be everyplace.


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Today's Tune: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Tell Me

(Click on title to play video)

In England, A Victory for Freedom

By Pamela Geller
May 05, 2010

In an unprecedented victory for free people everywhere, a monster mosque costing $27 million that had been planned for the English town of Dudley despite overwhelming opposition from the townspeople has been scrapped. Fifty-five thousand locals had signed a petition against the mosque, but the dhimmi government went over their heads and said it was going to be built anyway. But in the end, the Muslims and the government didn't get their way.

That this mosque would have gone ahead at all after the petitions shows a contempt for the people that is breathtaking. But now it has been scrapped after a brilliant protest staged by the courageous English patriots of the much-maligned English Defence League.

Flag-waving: Members of the EDL wave St George's Cross and a flag supporting troops.

The EDL on Sunday occupied and camped out on the rooftop of the abandoned building slated to be turned into the mammoth new mosque.
The EDL's website said that the protesters had "food and water to last them weeks, and a PA system to give speeches." They played the Muslim call to prayer over their PA system, to give the locals a taste of what was in store for them.

Police closed streets as EDL members streamed into Dudley to show support. Riot vans and helicopters converged on the scene, hoping to bring the EDL's protest to a swift end. Muslims also trekked to Dudley to counter the EDL. Senior EDL leadership informed me that thousands of Muslims soon began rioting in Dudley, throwing missiles and objects at the protesters (although they were unable to reach them) -- and in the process, showing the true face of Islam.

EDL leaders also reported that in addition to the thousands of rioting Muslims, numerous Muslim gangs were roaming Dudley. Beatings and stabbings were reported as well. The West Midlands police, the second largest police force in the United Kingdom, could not control the wilding Muslims.

Yet in the mainstream media reports, they held back from reporting on how the Muslims were beating non-Muslims, and they never identified the assailants. What makes this more egregious is that the media has no trouble demonizing the EDL, which, ironically enough, is fighting for the very freedoms those decayed liberal journalist hacks so richly enjoy. Oh, the irony.

The EDL is routinely smeared in the British media, as the Tea Party activists are smeared in the U.S. media. The corrupt, biased media defames any group, person, or organization standing against Islamic supremacism.
They tar, feather, and destroy the good name of good people who stand for life, liberty, and individual rights. Libel and slander like "racist," "fascist," "bigot," etc. color every news report of every counter-jihad action. The quisling media is the propaganda arm of jihad. It's despicable. There is nothing racist, fascist, or bigoted about the EDL.

Nonetheless, the establishment is on the other side. Chief Inspector Matt Markham of the West Midlands Police said, "Our priorities are to minimise any disruption to the local community in Dudley and to prevent any further incidents of disorder from occurring." In other words, Islamic supremacists can destroy a town, a city, a country, ruin their whole way of life, and authorities snuff out any expression of opposition to such a plan. Got that?
The irony abounds.

Even so, in Dudley, the giant fortress, which was set to feature a 65-foot minaret, has now been stopped. The mosque plans have been pulled.

Why protest construction of a mosque? The Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, once read from an Islamic poem that put it best: "The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and Muslims our soldiers."

Islamic expert Robert Spencer explains: "Recently we have seen mosques used to preach hatred; to spread exhortations to terrorist activity; to house a bomb factory; to store weapons; to disseminate messages from bin Laden; to demand (in the U.S.) that non-Muslims conform to Islamic dietary restrictions; to fire on American troops; to fire upon Indian troops; to train jihadists; and much more. In light of all that, it is entirely reasonable for free people to oppose the construction of new mosques in non-Muslim countries."

Yet despite the EDL victory, Muslims are still policing the streets in cars around Dudley. And of course the dhimmi Dudley police are doing nothing about it.

The British political establishment has sold its people down the river and suppressed popular dissent. This is self-enforced sharia law.

Free people should support the English Defence League in its efforts to stand for England and the West against the belligerent invaders and Islamic imperialists.

- Pamela Geller is the editor and publisher of the Atlas Shrugs website and former associate publisher of the New York Observer. She is the author of The Post-American Presidency (coming July 27 from Simon & Schuster).

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