Was it a coup, or the rule of law?

The leftist president of Honduras was overthrown in what has been called a military coup that is being condemned by Chavez, Castro, and the Obama administration. And yet, according to this account, the military was following a court order to defend the Honduran constitution and the rule of law:

Hugo Chávez’s coalition-building efforts suffered a setback yesterday when the Honduran military sent its president packing for abusing the nation’s constitution.

It seems that President Mel Zelaya miscalculated when he tried to emulate the success of his good friend Hugo in reshaping the Honduran Constitution to his liking.

But Honduras is not out of the Venezuelan woods yet. Yesterday the Central American country was being pressured to restore the authoritarian Mr. Zelaya by the likes of Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega, Hillary Clinton and, of course, Hugo himself. The Organization of American States, having ignored Mr. Zelaya’s abuses, also wants him back in power. It will be a miracle if Honduran patriots can hold their ground.

That Mr. Zelaya acted as if he were above the law, there is no doubt. While Honduran law allows for a constitutional rewrite, the power to open that door does not lie with the president. A constituent assembly can only be called through a national referendum approved by its Congress.

But Mr. Zelaya declared the vote on his own and had Mr. Chávez ship him the necessary ballots from Venezuela. The Supreme Court ruled his referendum unconstitutional, and it instructed the military not to carry out the logistics of the vote as it normally would do.

The top military commander, Gen. Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, told the president that he would have to comply. Mr. Zelaya promptly fired him. The Supreme Court ordered him reinstated. Mr. Zelaya refused.

Calculating that some critical mass of Hondurans would take his side, the president decided he would run the referendum himself. So on Thursday he led a mob that broke into the military installation where the ballots from Venezuela were being stored and then had his supporters distribute them in defiance of the Supreme Court’s order.

The attorney general had already made clear that the referendum was illegal, and he further announced that he would prosecute anyone involved in carrying it out. Yesterday, Mr. Zelaya was arrested by the military and is now in exile in Costa Rica.

It remains to be seen what Mr. Zelaya’s next move will be. It’s not surprising that chavistas throughout the region are claiming that he was victim of a military coup. They want to hide the fact that the military was acting on a court order to defend the rule of law and the constitution, and that the Congress asserted itself for that purpose, too.

Road trip! Road trip!

We are on a week-long road trip, headed first to the Consortium of Classical and Lutheran Education conference at our church body’s last boarding school in Concordia, Missouri, and then to visit family in Oklahoma. This blog, however, will not go on hiatus, even for a week, since my new blogging software lets me post things now that will pop up later, so you’ll see new postings all week. (There might not be quite as many and they may not be as up-to-date as usual, so please bear with me.) I’ll check in and do some postings as I can, but I’m not sure about my internet connections in the long course of this journey. If something striking is in the news that begs for our attention, feel free to post a comment about it in that day’s offering.

So play nice! No, we’re not there yet! Stop that bickering. Stop beating on your brother. Or I’ll turn this car around!

The House passes climate cap-and-trade bill

The House passed a bill, now to go to the Senate, to purify the climate. Its prime mechanism will be to require companies to buy pollution allowances from companies that don’t pollute as much as they are allowed to.

The House narrowly passed an ambitious climate bill yesterday that would establish national limits on greenhouse gases, create a complex trading system for emission permits and provide incentives to alter how individuals and corporations use energy.

The bill passed 219 to 212 after a furious lobbying push by the White House and party leaders won over farm-state Democrats who had complained that it was too costly, and liberals who wondered if it was too watered down to work. Even after that effort, 44 Democrats voted against the legislation.

The bill, if it became law, would lead to vast changes in the ways energy is made, sold and used in the United States — putting new costs over time on electricity from fossil fuels and directing new billions to “clean” power from sources such as the wind and the sun.

It would require U.S. emissions to decline 17 percent by 2020. To make that happen, the bill would create an economy that trades in greenhouse gases. Polluters would be required to buy “credits” to cover their emissions; Midwestern farmers, among others, could sell “offsets” for things they didn’t emit; and Wall Street could turn those commodities into a new market.

“Create an economy”! Pollution credits bought and sold on Wall Street! This sounds like a free market solution, but is it?

And if carbon dioxide is counted as a harmful “emission,” does that mean we will have to pay somebody every time we exhale?

Iran uprisings mark the end of jihadism?

Joshua Muravchik believes that the uprisings in Iran will mark the beginning of the end of radical, jihadist Islam:

Even if the Iranian regime succeeds in suppressing the protests and imposes the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by force of bullets, mass arrests and hired thugs, it will have forfeited its legitimacy, which has always rested on an element of consent as well as coercion. Most Iranians revered Ayatollah Khomeini, but when his successor, Ayatollah Khamenei, declared the election results settled, hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the streets, deriding his anointed candidate with chants of “Death to the dictator!”

“Even if they manage to hang on for a month or a couple of years, they’ve shed the blood of their people,” says Egyptian publisher and columnist Hisham Kassem. “It’s over.”

The downfall or discrediting of the regime in Tehran would deal a body blow to global Islamism which, despite its deep intellectual roots, first achieved real influence politically with the Iranian revolution of 1979. And it would also represent just the most recent — and most dramatic — in a string of setbacks for radical Islam. Election outcomes over the past two years have completely undone the momentum that Islamists had achieved with their strong showing at the polls in Egypt in 2005 and Palestine in 2006.

He recounts a whole list of recent jihadist political setbacks, including in Lebanon–where Hezbollah got trounced in a recent election–and Northern Africa and Indonesia.

The glory and the depravity of man

The two posts below come from two different articles and are based on two different scientific discoveries. If you read the original links, you will find that the time periods they describe overlap. Both deal with the proto-European cave-dwellers when they were dwelling alongside the Neanderthals. Now let’s put the two findings together. . . .What do we learn?

The first known musical instrument

Archeologists have found a hollowed-out bird bone, into which was carved five finger holes and a mouthpiece, making a flute. Scientists dated it at more than 35,000 years ago, which means it was made in the last major ice age. It was found in a cave in Germany that contained wall paintings and sculptures. This link gives the story and also something to click so you can hear what it sounds like.

stone age flute