I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.
Great Column: Raging Against “Them”
Excerpt: By January 2009, I was reading brilliant new books promising an end to conservatism, a new 50-year-old liberal ascendancy, the final triumph of John Maynard Keynes, and of course the apotheosis of the omnipresent “god” Barack Obama. By May 2009 we were lectured that the nascent tea party was an Astroturf fake movement, then a racist dangerous movement with Nazi undertones, and then a splinter nihilist know-nothing movement without political consequences. By November 2010, all the above vanished in a blink. Furor followed from the Left that Obama was not a Great Stone Face savior, that the tea party was all too real, that the conservatives were back, and that liberalism had suffered its worst electoral defeat since 1938. How can all this be? Whom to blame? (Hanson at his best. Ron P.)
Russian military says that the "vapor trail" was a sub-sonic Chinese anti-ship missile
Excerpt: A new report circulating in the Kremlin today prepared for Prime Minister Putin by Director Anatoly Perminov of the Russian Federal Space Agency states that an Arkon-1 military satellite monitoring the western coastal regions of North America detected an “EMP anomalous event” occurring on November 8th at 0600 Pacific Standard Time (-8 hours GMT) that bore the “direct signature” of a YJ-62 subsonic anti-ship missile fired from a Chinese People’s Liberation Navy Type 041 submarine (NATO code name Yuan-Class) [photo 2nd left] known to be patrolling approximately 200 kilometers off United States coast. Nearly 11 hours after this EMP “event”, this report further says, Arkon-1 then detected a BGM-109 (Tomahawk) subsonic cruise missile launched from a US Navy Ohio-Class submarine operating off the coast of California [photo bottom left] on a “training mission” from its home port located at US Navy’s Kitsap Base in Washington State and was enroute to the largest American Naval Base on the US west coast in San Diego, California. Note: A Russian military intelligence (GRU) addendum to this report states that the “training mission” the Ohio-Class submarine was on is related to a new US law passed this year allowing for the first time in history for women to serve on US Navy subs and was an “operational exercise” testing female Naval Officers competence prior to their first “operational deployment.” (I think an EMP is not only a serious problem for our military, but the
overall as it can decimate our energy grids and all high tech items. It could set us back to the 7th century if done across the nation. No way to ever validate whether this ever happened. --GBH ) U.S.
Former Bush Aide Murdered, Found in Landfill
Excerpt: A man who fought to get the Vietnam Veterans Memorial built and served in two Bush administrations was murdered,
police say. John P. Wheeler III, 66, was found dead in a Delaware Delaware landfill, and his death has been ruled a homicide by Newark, , police. They are asking the public for leads in the case. Wheeler’s body was found in Del. Wilmington on Friday after a disposal truck containing his body made pickups in . Newark
Excerpt: Hajizadeh refused to comment on exactly when or where the drones were shot down. But he claimed that Iranian experts had reverse-engineered and manufactured their own versions of the unmanned spy planes, which were now patrolling the country's borders. A
military source told CNN that American forces were not aware of any drones missing in the region. "We have no recent reports of any losses of UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] in the gulf due to any cause," said the official. "And while we have lost them in the past, I am not aware of any indication that those had been due to hostile fire of any kind." U.S.
Egyptian Security Guards Withdrew One Hour Before Church Blast, Say Eyewitnesses
Excerpt: Eyewitnesses confirmed that security forces guarding the church withdrew nearly one hour before the blast, leaving only four policemen and an officer to guard such a big church and nearly 2000 people attending the midnight mass. “Normally they would have waited until the mass was over,” said el-Gezeiry. He also commented on the Muslim’s schadenfreude at the massacre at the church, who were heard chanting “Allah Akbar.”
Excerpt: Under a steady cold rain, members of the region's Coptic Christian Egyptian community demonstrated in Westwood on Sunday in the wake of a New Year's Day church bombing in
that killed 25 and injured dozens more. Carrying crucifixes, pictures of Jesus and handmade signs that drooped in the rain, the demonstrators gathered in front of the Egypt Federal Building on Wilshire boulevard and called on officials to pressure the Egyptian government to provide security for that country's Christian minority. President Obama condemned the killings as "outrageous." But protesters said more can be done because U.S. Egypt is a major recipient of economic aid. U.S.
‘They Hate Us!’
Excerpt: Samira Fawzy, who lost two sisters and a niece in the explosion, stood outside the sanctuary after mass clad in black, with a heavy face and red-rimmed eyes. "They hate us," she said of Egyptian Muslims. "All of them say they feel sorry, but we know that they hate us very, very much." Her niece Marina, who was killed in the blast, was due to get married in two weeks. "She had bought everything for her wedding," said Ms. Fawzy before turning away in tears. Another man said he was wounded fighting for
Egypt in the October War, or Yom Kippur War, against . "I brought water to my Muslim comrade who was also wounded," he said. "And this is how they repay me?" (Of course. You are an infidel, below contempt. But thanks for the water. Now die. ~Bob.) Israel
) Directgov Jobcentre Advertises For 'Psychic Readers' UK
Excerpt: It is a self-employed position, but we are told that the vacancy ‘meets the requirements of the National Minimum Wage Act’, so it guarantees more than £5.93/hr for psychics over the age of 21. Psychics who are aged 18-20 will earn a minimum of £4.92/hr; Those who are 16-17 will earn £3.64/hr; And apprentice psychics will earn a minimum of £2.50. But presumably they all know that. 9If you have to ask where to apply, you don’t qualify. ~Bob)
Austerity is first order for Boehner's installation as House speaker
Excerpt: Austerity is the theme of Boehner's ascendancy to House speaker this week, placing the start of this new Congress in stark contrast to the more lavish festivities that accompanied Democrat Pelosi's swearing-in four years ago. On Wednesday, following a bipartisan prayer service at St. Peter's Catholic Church, Boehner will recite the oath and take the gavel from Pelosi with the attendant pomp and no more - except, perhaps, a few tears. Then the 61-year-old Ohioan will deliver his maiden speech to the new House, which includes a huge cadre of freshmen lawmakers. Many are rambunctious Republicans who sailed into
with the tea party winds and are determined to use their majority to undo President Obama's legislative record. Washington
Congress Targets Spending
Excerpt: Republicans in the House say they plan to move on to offer a far more sweeping package of "recissions," or elimination of spending previously approved, that will aim to bring domestic spending back to where it was before Mr. Obama became president. The skirmish over that proposal for spending cuts, coupled with related fights over government regulation and health care, will set the battle lines for the next two years, as
returns to divided government. Unlike its predecessors in the Republican Revolution of 1994, or among the Democrats who took charge of the House after the 2006 election, the new Republican majority doesn't return to power with a long to-do list of legislative priorities. Instead, party members say they were elected with one big mandate: Cut spending. The details of that push will unfold in the weeks leading up to the March 4 deadline for Congress to fund the federal government and play out against a backdrop of mounting federal deficits. House Republicans have also set their sights on scaling back environmental regulations and tightening border security. But spending cuts are their primary focus, with a pledge to cut about 21% from the $477 billion lawmakers have approved for domestic discretionary spending this year. Washington
House Republicans to bring up repeal of health-care law 'early' in new Congress
Excerpt: House Republicans plan to bring up a vote to repeal the health-care overhaul early in the new Congress that opens Wednesday, at least before President Obama delivers his State of the Union address later this month, a key Republican lawmaker said Sunday. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), incoming chairman of one of the House committees that oversees health policy, said undoing the Democrats' health reform law would be a top priority for the new GOP-controlled Congress.
Obama adviser: Critics of raising debt ceiling ruled by 'insanity'
Which begs the question, why have a “debt ceiling”? The Congress spends, then raises the ceiling automatically. ~Bob. Excerpt: Top White House economic advisor Austan Goolsbee warned Sunday that a congressional failure to rise the nation's debt limit early this year would be "catastrophic." "It pains me that we would even be talking about this," Goolsbee told ABC's "This Week." "This is not a game. You know, the debt ceiling is not something to toy with. … If we hit the debt ceiling, that's essentially defaulting on our obligations, which is totally unprecedented in American history. The impact on the economy would be catastrophic. I mean, that would be a worse financial economic crisis than anything we saw in 2008."
hints at run against commander in chief China
Excerpt: President Obama's ambassador to
hinted that he hasn't ruled out a 2012 challenge to the commander in chief. In an interview with Newsweek, former Utah Gov. John Huntsman (R), who was sent to China Beijing by Obama in August 2009, was asked about his presidential aspirations in his new home. “You know, I’m really focused on what we’re doing in our current position,” he said. “But we won’t do this forever, and I think we may have one final run left in our bones.” Asked if he would rule out a 2012 run, Huntsman declined to comment. Washington
Medicare to swell with Baby Boomer onslaught
Excerpt: Baby Boomers are about to create a record population explosion in the nation's health care program for seniors. Starting on Saturday, Baby Boomers begin turning 65 and qualifying for Medicare — one every eight seconds. A record 2.8 million will qualify in 2011, rising to 4.2 million a year by 2030, projections show. In all, the government expects 76 million Boomers will age on to Medicare. Even factoring in deaths over that period, the program will grow from 47 million today to 80 million in 2030. At the same time, health care costs are projected to outpace inflation, and medical advances will extend lives, straining the program's finances. It's expected to cost $929 billion by 2020, an 80% increase over 10 years. The prospect of a growing senior population that's living longer and costing more is the biggest fiscal problem facing the government, budget and health experts say. It will put more pressure on President Obama and Congress to reduce Medicare benefits, increase co-payments or raise the qualifying age.
Midwest Wind Surtax:
Excerpt: You'd think poor
has enough economic troubles without the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission placing a $300 million to $500 million annual surtax on the state's electric utility bills. But on December 16 FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff announced new rules that would essentially socialize the cost of transmission lines across 13 states in the Michigan Midwest. That region-wide pricing scheme, according to a study commissioned by utility companies, will force Michigan to pay about 20% of as much as $20 billion in new high-voltage transmission lines—though businesses and homeowners will get little benefit. Thanks to FERC's new tariff, nearly everything in Michigan —from cars and trucks to Frosted Flakes—will be more expensive to make. Michigan Indiana will also absorb new costs, as will industrial users and utility rate payers in Illinois, Minnesota and . This is another discriminatory subsidy for wind energy that will raise electricity prices on everyone, notably on those who don't rely on wind for electric power. FERC's grand vision is to build hundreds of miles of transmission lines across the Midwest, linked to windmills in Wisconsin Iowa and the Dakotas. Mr. Wellinghoff says this new ruling "is the next step in the evolution of its transmission and cost allocation process." In fact, this is the first step in a FERC scheme to socialize transmission costs nationwide.
The Cost of Cleaning up in
Excerpt: The cost of cleanliness will rise in
after its cash-strapped, communist government announced that soap, toothpaste and detergent will be slashed from monthly ration books, says Jenny Barchfield. Cuba 's official Gazette said that effective Jan. 1, "personal cleanliness products" will join a growing list of products cut from the ration books that islanders have come to rely on for a small but steady supply of basic goods: Cuba
Public Broadcasting Subsidy: Unnecessary and Irrational
Excerpt: According to a Poll Position survey conducted in late October, 45 percent of Americans said “No” when asked whether the
government should stop helping to fund NPR; 39 percent said “Yes.” Only those respondents identifying themselves as Republicans favored, by a 54 percent to 28 percent margin, ending taxpayer support for NPR. Given that the federal budget is more than $1 trillion in the red and that deficits extend into the future as far as the eye can see, federal subsidies to public broadcasting understandably are on the table. The just-released report of President Obama’s deficit-reduction commission recommends diverse measures to put Washington’s fiscal house in order, including a $100 billion reduction in defense spending, a substantial increase in the federal excise tax on gasoline, ending of the tax deductibility of home mortgage interest payments and eliminating all funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. U.S.
2010 worst year for bank failures since 1992
Excerpt: More banks failed in the United States this year than in any year since 1992, during the savings-and-loan crisis, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Amid high unemployment, a struggling economy and a still-devastated real estate market, the nation is closing out the year with 157 bank failures, up from 140 in 2009. As recently as 2006, before the bubble burst, there were none.
Tea Partiers and the Spirit of Giving: Charitable gifts are a cheerful protest vote against the growing state.
Excerpt: It is common to hear that the popular uprising against the growth of the welfare state, with rising taxes and deficits, is based on a lack of caring toward those who are suffering the most in the current crisis. As soon-to-be ex-House Speaker
Pelosi puts it, the tea party is working "for the rich instead of for the great middle class." Others have asserted that the backlash against the growth of government is nothing more than an attack on the poor. Few would disagree that free enterprise is grounded in one's self-interest. But self-interest is not the same thing as selfishness in the sense of unbounded consumption or disregard for the less fortunate. In fact, the millions of Americans who advocate for private entrepreneurship and limited government—whether they are rich or poor—may be stingy when it comes to giving away other people's money through state redistribution, but they are surprisingly generous when it comes to giving away their own money privately. Americans in general are very charitable, by international standards. Study after study shows that we privately give multiples of what our Social Democratic friends in Nancy Europe donate, per capita. But not all Americans are equally generous. One characteristic of givers is especially important in the current debate: the opinion that the government should not redistribute income to achieve greater economic equality.
Personal Well-Being Overshadows Income Inequality
Excerpt: Of course, not everyone is well off in a nation where unemployment has been 9.4 percent or higher for the last 19 months. And I suspect that most Americans would be thrilled to get a 13th month of pay. But they're not seething with envy at those who are better off. So who does? One example is the cartoonist and author Garry Trudeau, a college classmate of George W. Bush, who has been spewing contempt for the Bushes for 40-some years. The strongest class envy in
, it turns out, may be the resentment of those who were one club above you at Yale. [This guy has nailed it. Marx was trained as a lawyer, I believe. Lenin was Middle Class. 'Che' was a 'Doctor'. They can't compete on their own social level, so they go down-market where they can feel superior to their associates. Obama was a God as a community organizer but can't cut it in the real world. This is why the teachers at the college kowtow to the least able students. The able students are more intelligent, and better informed, than the teachers. One of the teachers at LACC last term said that once a person accepts work in academia, it will be very hard for that person to ever find work again in the real world. This comment was not elaborated upon. –Kate.] America
Liberals Don't Deserve
Excerpt: As I see it,
has been setting the world a damn good example for over 230 years. Most people have gotten the message long before now. The exceptions have mainly been Islamics and communists, and they're not looking for good examples; they're looking for world conquest. If the president wants to set a good example, he should stop insulting our allies and mollifying our sworn enemies. Frankly, whenever I hear those knuckleheads in academia and the media praising the likes of Castro and Chavez or lamenting the loss of Mao or Che, I want to rap on their heads just to hear the echo. I mean, is it possible that they are totally unaware that, starting with Stalin, every communist regime has started out by employing intellectuals (aka "useful idiots") to propagandize on their behalf, and, inevitably, ended up by executing the ultimately unnecessary pests. The reasons that intellectuals are so dangerous is because, one, they reside in a bubble, be it at a university, a paper or a TV newsroom, where they are surrounded by their clones; and, two, they are so certain that they're smarter than everyone else that any two-bit despot who pays them the least bit of attention will have them acting like lapdogs, eager to lick his hand and kiss his patootie. America
Blood test to spot cancer gets big boost from J&J
Excerpt: A blood test so sensitive that it can spot a single cancer cell lurking among a billion healthy ones is moving one step closer to being available at your doctor’s office.
scientists who invented the test and health care giant Johnson & Johnson will announce Monday that they are joining forces to bring it to market. Four big cancer centers also will start studies using the experimental test this year. Boston
The Biggest Unfounded Health Scares of 2010
excerpt: As we begin a new year, the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) would first like to try and slay the demons and hobgoblins of the past year. We do this each New Year’s Eve by making a list of the top unfounded health scares of the outgoing year. These bouts of hysteria are prompted by many different things. But what they have in common is that there’s no scientific evidence to back up the alarms being sounded. Here’s our top ten: Bisphenol - A (BPA) , E-cigarettes (electronic cigarettes), Atrazine, Phthalates, Sugar-sweetened soda (pop), Cosmetics, High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), Genetically-modified crops, Vacines (and autism), Mercury in fish. (Emphasis added. - Kate.)
To Create Jobs Obama Must Restrain 'Big Green' Activists
But to save his job, he must motivate the base and support all the chimeras of the left. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama can stimulate job growth immediately, but to do so he will have to rein in the environmental activist zealots he has employed throughout the executive branch. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were not designed to become job-killing machines. The Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act were not intended by their drafters to become captives of the most extreme anti-growth ideologues of the environmental left.
No Bailouts for Government Unions
There will be more of this, as the demand for cash from the Entitled grows and the cash shrinks. ~Bob. Excerpt:
’s Department of Investigation (DOI) announced Friday that it is looking into reports that some Sanitation Department supervisors told workers to slow their snow removal efforts as a protest against budget cuts. DOI spokeswoman Diane Struzzi told Businessweek: “What we are looking at is whether there was intentional misconduct relating to the snow removal, whether or not there was a slowdown.” The investigation was prompted by statements from City Councilman Dan Halloran (R–Queens) who told The New York Post Thursday that three plow workers from the Sanitation Department and two Department of Transportation supervisors alerted him to the plot: “They were told [by supervisors] to take off routes [and] not do the plowing of some of the major arteries in a timely manner. They were told to make the mayor pay for the layoffs, the reductions in rank for the supervisors, shrinking the rolls of the rank-and-file.” Between 660 and 720 sanitation workers called in sick for the cleanup of the blizzard—more than double the usual rate. But Halloran admits he has no proof of an organized slowdown, and Sanitation Officers Association President Joe Mannion adamantly denies any plot: “Absolutely not, there was no slowdown.” Any deliberate slowdown by the Sanitation Officers Association would be not only morally reprehensible but also illegal under New York City state law. The Public Employees Fair Employment Act (aka the Taylor Law) specifically forbids New York government unions from striking. But since its inception the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association has challenged the law, and Transit Workers President Roger Toussaint was even jailed for violating the law after a 2005 strike. New York
Tributes to 'Hugely Loved' British Soldier Killed in
Private Joseva Saqanagonedau Vatubua, 24, of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, was killed on Saturday near the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province. ''He loved his job and he loved being in the family of The Royal Regiment of Scotland."
Don't Blame the West
Excerpt: ...to deny that Muslim thinkers borrowed heavily from other cultures — evidence, again, of second-ordering thinking — is a distortion of historical reality. As the Times’ reviewer [of the '1001 Inventions' exhibition] puts it: “Major cultures of the first millennium (
China, India, ) are mentioned only to affirm the weightier significance of Muslim contributions.” But then Islam’s Golden Age was golden only in comparison to the endarkenment that descended on Western Europe after the collapse of the Byzantium Roman Empire in the fifth century. According to some historians, the rise of Islam in the seventh century exacerbated Europe’s “Dark Age.” “Islam, far from being a force for enlightenment in the so-called Dark Age, was actually responsible for the destruction of the literate and urban civilization that we now call Classical,” says John J. O’Neill, the author of Holy Warriors: Islam and the Demise of Classical Civilization. The Muslim conquests of the Christian lands of the Middle East and North Africa in the seventh and eighth centuries were, he says, made much easier by the breakdown in law and order throughout the Mediterranean as the borders of the Roman imperium receded. In this regard, the “1001 Inventions” exhibition is, perhaps, being disingenuous.
The EPA's War on
Excerpt: The Environmental Protection Agency's carbon regulation putsch continues, but apparently abusing the clean-air laws of the 1970s to achieve goals Congress rejected isn't enough. Late last week, the EPA made an unprecedented move to punish
for being the one state with the temerity to challenge its methods. To wit, the EPA violated every tenet of administrative procedure to strip Texas of its authority to issue the air permits that are necessary for large power and industrial projects. This is the first time in the history of the Clean Air Act that the EPA has abrogated state control, and the decision will create gale-force headwinds for growth in a state that is the Texas energy capital. Anyone who claims that carbon regulation is no big deal and that the EPA is merely following the law will need to defend this takeover. Since December 2009, the EPA has issued four major greenhouse gas rule-makings, and 13 states have tried to resist the rush. The Clean Air Act stipulates that pollution control is "the primary responsibility of states and local government," and while the national office sets overall priorities, states have considerable leeway in their "implementation plans." When EPA's instructions change, states typically have three years to revise these plans before sending them to U.S. for approval. Washington
Cast adrift from reality, the slick spruikers of 'our' shame
Excerpt: Millions of people would want to come here if they could. I don't blame them. There are roughly 60 million refugees or displaced people in the world, and we would like to scoop them all up and save them. But in the real world it can take a powerful amount of work to even save one's own children from harm. If
decided, by an act of democratic will, to become the most generous nation in history, and open its borders to all who sought a better life here, in time this would have dire consequences for the society that has evolved here, and the environment we have already degraded so much. In this context, I would like to hand out medals for the most dubious contributions to Australian public life in 2010. I don't question the sincerity or good intentions of those I am about to disabuse, I question their grasp on reality. Australia
Darrell Issa reveals list of investigations
Excerpt: Rep. Darrell Issa is aiming to launch investigations on everything from WikiLeaks to Fannie Mae to corruption in
in the first few months of what promises to be a high-profile chairmanship of the top oversight committee in Congress. According to an outline of hearing topics obtained by POLITICO, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is also planning to investigate how regulation affects job creation, the roles of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the foreclosure crisis, recalls at the Food and Drug Administration and the failure of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission to agree on the causes of the market meltdown. Afghanistan
Excerpt: It might seem unlikely that a lone law professor could spark a national discussion about the kind of government Americans want in the 21st century, but that's exactly what Georgetown Law School's Randy E. Barnett hopes to do with his modest proposal known as the Repeal Amendment. You can read Barnett's description of the plan and his response to critics of it like the New York Times here. Under the plan, measures approved by
could be repealed if both houses in two-thirds of the state legislatures vote to do so. Incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., is among the proposal's most significant supporters, which means it will receive serious attention during the 112th Congress convening this week. Whatever one's view of the propriety of amending the U.S. Constitution in the manner proposed by Barnett -- and for the record, we think the Repeal Amendment is a dandy way to restore the proper balance to our federal system -- the professor's idea could not be more appropriately timed. For the last decade, presidents and Congresses representing both major political parties have caused federal spending, regulation, and debt to explode as never before, with a result that the central government is in truly dire financial shape even as its power to control the most minute details of American daily life has never been greater. This fact is central to understanding why the vast majority of Americans -- 64 percent, according to Rasmussen Reports' Dec. 29 survey -- think the country is headed in the wrong direction. Washington