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.
President's recess appointment has reignited the debate over healthcare
Excerpt: President Barack Obama's recess appointment of Donald Berwick to lead Medicare was intended to avoid another high-profile congressional fight over healthcare reform. Instead, it’s renewed — at least temporarily — the well-worn partisan debate over the government's role in medicine. The White House, with the help of congressional Democrats, had of late begun playing up the tangible benefits of the new law in hopes of picking up votes in November's midterms. But Berwick's appointment to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS] — without any formal discussion on Capitol Hill — offers Republicans an opportunity to rehash the ideological differences between the parties. And they are seizing it.
Europe presents main threat to global recovery, IMF says
Fooled me—I thought BO’s socialist policies were more of a threat than Europe’s socialist policies. Excerpt: Europe's weakened economy is now the central threat to global recovery, as its countries struggle with heavy debt, banks face a reckoning over their lack of capital and growth is slowing, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday in its first assessment of the world economy since a crisis over government borrowing in Greece. While the agency estimated that growth in the United States and emerging Asian and Latin American countries remains on track, it scaled back projections for Europe and outlined a series of issues there that could -- unless controlled -- spark problems rivaling those that caused the 2008 collapse of Lehman Bros.
N.Y., N.J. lawmakers want investigation into Lockerbie bomber release, health
They bought the doctor, who is in the UK. Doubt he’ll turn up at the hearings. What’s to investigate? Excerpt: Senators from the New York area say they want a full investigation into the release of the Lockerbie bomber, claiming new evidence shows he was not as sick as once believed. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, convicted in 2001 of plotting the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, was released from a Scottish prison in 2009 after a doctor predicted he had just three months to live.
Deficit hits $1 trillion in June for second year
President Barack Mugabe plows onward. Excerpt: The federal deficit in June surpassed the $1 trillion mark for the second straight year, but it's on pace to be slightly lower than last year. The deficit was $1.005 trillion at the end of June for fiscal year 2010, which is $81 billion less than it was after nine months of fiscal 2009, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report released late Wednesday. Tax revenues, due to improved corporate tax receipts, are slightly up while spending is slightly down compared to last year. If that trend holds, the 2010 deficit would be slightly lower than last year's $1.4 trillion budget shortfall, a record in nominal dollars, and lower than CBO's earlier 2010 deficit projection of $1.5 trillion.
Unemployment Benefits Aren't Stimulus
Only problem is that unemployment benefits are politically popular, while cutting taxes for the “rich,” isn’t even when it creates jobs. Excerpt: Any government program that would reduce unemployment has to make working more attractive for both employer and employee. Since late 2007 the federal government has spent somewhere around $3.6 trillion to stimulate the economy. That is a lot of money. My suggestion would have been to take all $3.6 trillion and declare a federal tax holiday for 18 months. No income tax, no corporate profits tax, no capital gains tax, no estate tax, no payroll tax (FICA) either employee or employer, no Medicare or Medicaid taxes, no federal excise taxes, no tariffs, no federal taxes at all, which would have reduced federal revenues by $2.4 trillion annually. Can you imagine where employment would be today? How does a 2.5% unemployment rate sound?
It's Come to This: Obamacare Threatens White Castle
Now I see their clever plan. You make people healthier by putting hamburger joints out of business. Excerpt: Well, I guess now we know why Kal Penn left the administration. It wasn't because he suddenly realized he'd given up a plum regular role on a top-rated network TV show for a wholly unfulfilling career as a flack for Obama administration policies, which— let's face it— didn't give him nearly the energizing jolt of moral superiority that hanging Shepard Fairey posters did. Nope, he left because the man whose career was launched by a fast-food slider chain could not countenance the War on White Castle. And, who can blame him? The White Castle hamburger chain fears that a health insurance reform law adopted earlier this year will put its profits on a downward slide. The Columbus-based family owned restaurant chain - known for serving small square hamburgers called "sliders" – says a single provision in the bill will eat up roughly 55 percent of its yearly net income after 2014.
Reason.tv: Jagdish Bhagwati on Free Trade, Protectionism, and Barack Obama
Excerpt: Free trade is never more necessary—or vulnerable—than in times of economic distress. The current global downturn is no exception. Protectionist barriers have shot up all over the world, including the United States. Earlier this year, Congress killed a pilot program allowing Mexican trucks to transport goods across America and included “Buy America” provisions in the stimulus bill banning foreign steel and iron from infrastructure projects funded by the legislation. More disturbingly, President Barack Obama, after chiding Congress for flirting with protectionism, initiated his own ill-advised affair by imposing a 35 percent tariff on cheap Chinese tires. If the world manages to avoid an all-out trade war of the kind that helped trigger the Great Depression after the U.S. imposed the Smoot-Hawley tariffs in 1930, it will be in no small part due to the efforts of one man: Jagdish N. Bhagwati, an ebullient and irreverent 76-year-old professor of economics at Columbia University. Bhagwati has done more than perhaps any other person alive to advance the cause of unfettered global trade. A native of India, Bhagwati immigrated to the United States in the late ’60s after a brief stint on the Indian Planning Commission, where he learned first-hand the insanity of an economic approach that tried to modernize a country by cutting it off from world trade. Since then, he has devoted his efforts, both in academia and in the popular press, to showing that there is no better way of improving the lot of both advanced countries and the developing world than through free trade. His path-breaking contributions to trade theory have put him on the short list for a Nobel Prize in economics. Though a dogged trade advocate, Bhagwati is anything but dogmatic. He is a free spirit who draws intellectual inspiration from many disparate ideological camps. A self-avowed liberal, he is also something of a Gandhian social progressive, though Gandhi himself supported economic autarky. Bhagwati works with numerous Third World NGOs on a host of human rights issues. Yet he has no problem taking on these groups—or his famous student, Nobel laureate Paul Krugman—when they question the benefits of trade. In fact, he devoted his 2004 magnum opus, In Defense of Globalization, to a point-by-point rebuttal of these critics. Although he doesn’t vote Republican because he dislikes the party’s nationalistic jingoism, he readily declares that Democrats pose a far bigger threat to international exchange than Republicans.
Hollywood liberals who wanted America to be like Europe are mortified that Obama is making America like Europe
Excerpt: Remember all those Hollywood types who said mean and capitalistic America should be more like cultured and fair Europe? Well, now that these Hollywood types have Obama, their dream candidate, as America’s president, they’re panicking. Why? Because they’ve come to realize that Obama actually is making America more like Europe, and they don’t like it. They know Europe is a continent filled with nations in decline because of their massive social programs that are running their budgets deep into the red in spite of very high taxes. Apparently, these folks liked the idea of America adopting the European policies of redistribution of wealth in theory, but when those policies are put into practice, well, that’s an entirely different story:
Gene pattern predicts who will live the longest
Opens a whole new field of litigation, as short-lived folks can sue their parents, grandparents, etc. Excerpt: Researchers have found a pattern of genes that predicts with more accuracy than ever before who might live to be 100 or older -- even if they have other genes linked with disease. Their findings, published in Friday's issue of the journal Science, offer the tantalizing possibility of predicting who might hope for a longer life. They also cast doubt on the accuracy of tests being marketed now that offer to predict a person's risk of chronic diseases such as Alzheimer's.
Octavia Nasr fired by CNN - the editor tweeted admiration for Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah
Twit’s Tweet Trumps Dhimmitude. Excerpt: Octavia Nasr has been fired. CNN fired the editor responsible for Middle Eastern coverage after she posted a note on Twitter expressing admiration for a late Lebanese cleric considered an inspiration for the Hezbollah militant movement.
No Time Frame on Injunction Decision (AZ Lawsuit)
Excerpt: A federal judge hearing six legal challenges to Arizona's new immigration law said Wednesday that she is making no promises on whether she will rule on requests to block enforcement of the law before it takes effect July 29. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton told attorneys at a scheduling conference that she intends to take the time required to make a sound legal decision. "I have to do the best job I can," Bolton said.
3 Arrested in Norway Al Qaeda Bomb Plot
Didn’t get the memo. Excerpt: Three suspected al-Qaida members were arrested Thursday for what Norwegian and U.S. officials said was a terrorist plot linked to similar plans to bomb New York's subway and blow up a shopping mall in England. The three men, whose names were not released, had been under surveillance for more than a year. Two were arrested in Norway and one in Germany. Officials would not say what country or site was the target of the latest terror threat. Officials believe the men were planning attacks with portable but powerful bombs like the ones at the heart of last year's failed suicide attack in the New York City subway -- an attack U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has called one of the most serious terrorist plots since 9/11. On Wednesday, U.S. prosecutors revealed the existence of a related plot in Manchester, England. Those arrested in Norway included a 39-year-old Norwegian of Uighur origin who has lived in the country since 1999 and a 31-year-old citizen of Uzbekistan who had a permanent Norwegian residency permit, said Janne Kristiansen, head of Norway's Police Security Service. The man arrested in Germany was a 37-year-old Iraqi with a Norwegian residency permit, Kristiansen said.
Dems Caught Hiding Debt Ceiling Vote Before Nov
Excerpt: In case one is wondering why the House Democrats attached a document to the emergency war supplemental bill that "deemed as passed" a non-existent $1.12 trillion budget, which basically allows the ruling party to start spending money for Fiscal Year 2011 without the constraint of an actual budget, here is the answer: on June 30, the US closed the books with just over $13.2 trillion in total debt, an increase of $210 billion in one month, or $2.5 trillion annualized. There is just $1.1 trillion left on the ceiling. As we have long been warning, at the current run rate, the ceiling will be breached in under six months, or just around November 2. More disconcerting is that the monthly debt roll continues to be in the "ridiculous amount" category, hitting a total of $660 billion, of which $583 billion was rolling off Bills (we are not sure what the $19 billion in "GSE investment" was for, but we are fairly sure the words Ponzi and Perpetuation are part of it). Of course, if America knew that according to the Obama non-existent budget the debt ceiling would be breached in 2010, it may not have a favorable reception among those few who are still willing to vote for either party of the bipartite farce that passes for a government.
On Pentagon Wish List: Russian Copters
Excerpt: The Obama administration's recent lifting of sanctions against Russia's state arms exporter could boost orders for Russian aircraft from a somewhat-unexpected customer: the U.S. military. As part of its effort to equip the militaries of Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, the Pentagon has in recent years been snapping up helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft from the arsenals of its former Cold War rivals, including Russia. The goal is to help the three countries build air forces that are rugged, affordable and easy to operate. Washington sanctioned Rosoboronexport, Russia's state arms dealer, in 2006 for its dealings with Iran, and lifted those restrictions in May as part of an effort to win Moscow's support for new Iran sanctions.
GOP's Steele: 'I ain't going anywhere'
Excerpt: Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said Thursday he has no intention of resigning. Steele dismissed calls from conservatives that he should resign for his statement that the war in Afghanistan was a war of choice. Steele also questioned the intelligence of entering a land war in Asia. “Every time something happens, people say ‘he should step down,’ “ Steele said in his first public comments since the controversy. “The reality is that’s not happening, so stop the noise on that. You don’t need the distraction. We’re focused on winning,” he said at an appearance with the Colorado Republican Party. ”I ain’t going anywhere. I’m here, I’m here. Look, we have too much work to do.”
World’s leaders accept the demise of the global warming Agenda
Excerpt: Al Gore’s Church of Climatology has been abandoned by world leaders in their quest to maintain power and political position. Lawrence Solomon recently reported that G20 leaders in Toronto tried to avoid the fate of colleagues felled by warming advocacy by turning their backs on global warming legislation. Will the “mainstream” media in the U.S. report these findings? Not likely! Last week’s G8 and G20 meetings in Toronto and its environs confirmed that the world’s leaders accept the demise of global-warming alarmism. One year ago, the G8 talked tough about cutting global temperatures by two degrees. In Toronto, they neutered that tough talk, replacing it with a nebulous commitment to do their best on climate change.
BARACKRACY, PART 1 Breaking the Back of Free Enterprise
Excerpt: “An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.” --John Marshall. Folks with extensive training in strategic analysis tend to have a very different viewpoint of the macro-political machinations from that of folks in the trenches who have a more tactical perspective. As such, strategic viewpoints are many times received with great skepticism. At ground level, for example, one might have a problem with the following strategic analysis: It would appear that Barack Hussein Obama’s macro agenda for the U.S. economy is to break the back of capitalism and, in the ensuing crisis, use government intervention to replace it with a more refined socialist economic framework than the one currently in place. If that analysis makes you uncomfortable, prepare to become far more so if his agenda succeeds.
Unions and states want your money
I’ve been predicting the collapse of the Republic in twenty years, but I’m an optimist. Excerpt: Money madness in Washington has infected the individual states and unions. They all want more money – your money – and the Obama administration wants to give it to them. The most recent symptom of Washington’s accelerating descent into bankruptcy is the failure of the Democrat controlled congress to vote on a budget. Never since the congressional budget process was created, never in good days or bad, has the House failed to pass a budget – in other words, to set limits on spending. Just before the 4th of July recess House Democrats avoided a politically disastrous debate on the federal budget. To do so, they voted 215-210 to attach a special document to an emergency war supplement bill, an emergency dutifully endorsed by the White House’s faithful Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. That special document (opposed by all Republicans plus 38 Democrats) “deemed as passed” an invisible $1.12 trillion dollar budget. What does “deemed as passed” mean? It means that without a proper debate or vote on a budget, the White House and Congress can start spending, borrowing, and taxing for Fiscal Year 2011 without restraint. It means there was no vote on federal entitlements, and no debate on taxes, borrowing, debt or deficits. On top of that federal fiscal failure, debt on the state level is out of control. Thirty-two states were forced to borrow from the federal government just to pay their current unemployment benefits. The total they now owe for those borrowings is $37.8 billion! The list includes the usual suspects: California ($6.9 billion), Michigan ($3.9 billion), New York ($3.2 billion), Ohio ($2.3 billion) and Florida ($1.6 billion). President Obama’s home state is another example of Democrat money management. This year the Illinois state deficit stands at $12.8 billion, plus unfunded payments of $20 billion due on state bonds, plus an unfunded liability of $77.8 billion for the state government workers’ pension fund. It gets worse. In January the governors of Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin—representing another list of 41 deadbeat states—met with the president and congressional leaders to ask for a $1 trillion bailout over the next two years.
Rod Blagojevich trial could singe White House
Excerpt: It's the trial the White House hopes you won’t watch. The federal corruption saga of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been rattling along during the sweltering Chicago summer, offering a daily dose of low-grade theatrics, low-impact bombshells and low-brow humor. The top White House officials — President Barack Obama, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett — haven't been too badly bruised so far, by Chicago standards at least, even as federal prosecutors air wiretaps of Blagojevich's ugliest private conversations about them. But despite the trial's Jerry Springer start, the threat of political damage remains serious for all of them — and another Democrat as well, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.). On Wednesday, prosecutors attached Jackson’s name to allegations of a $1 million pay-to-play scheme for Obama's Senate seat — though Jackson has categorically denied any wrongdoing since Blagojevich's December 2008 arrest, and he has not been accused of any illegal activity. Obama — who crusaded against government-by-crony — was dragged into the proceedings last week when a top Chicago labor official testified that Obama tapped him to talk to Blagojevich about the Senate seat.
A Closer Look at India's Naxalite Threat
Excerpt: On July 6, the Indian government issued a warning to railroad operators and users after Maoist rebels — known as Naxalites — declared a “bandh,” a Hindi word meaning stoppage of work, in eastern India. When a bandh is declared by the Naxalites, it carries with it an implied threat of violence to enforce the work stoppage, in this case against the public transportation system over a two-day period. It is widely understood that trains and buses in eastern India during this time would be subject to Naxalite attack if they do not obey the call for a shutdown. Naxalites are an array of armed bands that, when combined, comprise the militant arm of the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-M). Some of the most violent attacks conducted by the Naxalites have been against freight and police transport trains, killing dozens of people at a time. Civilians have typically not been targeted in such attacks, but they have been collaterally killed and injured in the mayhem. Whether targeted or not, civilians generally believe that Naxalites always follow through on their threats, so strike warnings are enough to dissuade people from going about their daily lives. The Naxalite “bandh” is a tactic that shows just how powerful the rebels have become in the region, and it demonstrates their ability to affect day-to-day activity merely by threatening to stage an attack.
Democrats Want to Tax Your ATM Withdrawals
Excerpt: You remember Lanny Davis, right? He’s the nice guy you sometimes get confused with Leon Panetta because they both worked for Clinton and their names both start with “L”. But when Davis speaks and floats ideas, it is more than just your run of the mill Washington personality floating an idea. When Lanny Davis drops an op-ed, there tends to be more to it. So we should take note that he’s got Democrats signing onto a plan to tax your ATM withdrawals. Why, you ask? Well, to pay down the deficit. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) has introduced Davis’s dream legislation. It would charge a penny for every dollar of your money drawn from an ATM machine. That would then beg the question — why put your money in a bank if you are going to get taxed merely for the right to access your money. But wait . . . it’s gets better. They’re back to wanting to tax the internet too.
Before the Obama Justice Dept Dropped Charges Against Him, Black Panther Advocated Killing White Babies
Enjoy the video of life in Obama’s post-racial America.
Democrats battle independents' weakening support of Obama and Congress
Excerpt: Of all the problems Democrats face this fall, none may be more challenging than trying to win back the support of independent voters. President Obama has been going backward with independents for more than a year, and the Democrats stand to suffer the effects in the November elections. The Gallup organization reported this week that just 38 percent of independents now approve of the job Obama is doing, the lowest point in his presidency and down from 56 percent a year ago. Top Democratic strategists are gloomy enough about the prospect of turning those voters around quickly that they believe the more important priority for the next four months is to maximize turnout among the new voters who backed Obama in 2008. Those new voters may be receptive to partisan appeals. Whether that will help with independents is another question. What caused the defection of a group that stood solidly with the Democrats in 2008, as well as in 2006, when the party was returned to power in Congress? The factors include dissatisfaction with the economy, a rebellion against the president's agenda and disappointment that Obama hasn't delivered on his campaign promises to change the culture of Washington.
Obama Science Czar Called for Carbon Tax to Redistribute Wealth from Global 'North' to 'South'
Sending American dollars overseas. Excerpt: John P. Holdren, who then-President-elect Barack Obama nominated as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in December 2008, called just five months before his nomination for a global climate-change agreement that would allow wealth to be redistributed from countries in the global "North" to countries in the "South." On the July 3, 2008 edition of the program “Democracy NOW!” Holdren told host Amy Goodman: “It’s important that we have a global agreement on how we are going to limit the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases going forward, and an agreement that will include the tropical forests, that will include ways to transfer some of the revenues from carbon taxes or carbon emission permits in the North to pay for reduced deforestation in the South.” Holdren, who is sometimes called President Obama’s “science czar,” is the administration's top science official.
Russia's Muslim south triples sharia bride price
Man, the cost of getting even a good used third wife is ridiculous these days! Excerpt: Against the backdrop of a bubbling Islamist insurgency, the revival of Islam in the North Caucasus following the break-up of the Soviet Union almost 20 years ago has brought sharia law to the region, revered by both rebels and ordinary citizens alike. The issue of the 'kalym', a price paid by a groom to the family of the woman he chooses to marry, is the latest example of a broader trend that has troubled the Kremlin… Polygamy, illegal under Russian law, is encouraged by local authorities in the region. Last month rights workers blamed police for paintball attacks on Chechen women for not wearing headscarves, and Islamist fighters in Ingushetia have gunned down kiosk workers for selling vodka.
Study: Pot Prices Would Plummet If California Legalizes It
Excerpt: A ballot measure to legalize marijuana in California would so upend supply and demand that pot prices could plummet by as much as 90 percent and possibly undercut the tax windfall that supporters have touted to sell the initiative, a study published Wednesday found. The study by the nonpartisan RAND Drug Policy Research Center forecasts some interesting scenarios if California in November becomes the second state, after Alaska, to legalize pot for recreational use by adults and the first to tax commercial cannabis sales. Pot prices could drop from $375 an ounce under the state's current medical marijuana law to as little as $38 per ounce before taxes as legal pot suddenly becomes available to the public, RAND researchers concluded. (Didn't we just say this in print a few days ago? Don't worry, we're not REAL prophets, those guys are dangerous. But, we did reach this conclusion over beers in Tijuana in 1965 (we were too young to drink beer in California). Nice to be backed up by the RAND Drug Policy Research Center, though, even if it did take 45 years. Ron P.)
'Reasonable' restrictions on gun ownership the poor can't meet
Excerpt: Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Chicago's handgun ban. Gun rights groups hailed the ruling as a seminal moment in their ongoing fight to roll back restrictive gun-control legislation. As far as the National Rifle Association (NRA) is concerned, McDonald settles the matter once and for all: "This decision makes absolutely clear that the Second Amendment protects the God-given right of self-defense for all law-abiding Americans, period." Be that as it may, the McDonald decision is really a victory for and about black Americans. At least it should be. America's gun-control laws owe their genesis to the post-Civil War era, when white southerners moved to disarm freed slaves. The former Confederate states' successful efforts to restrict gun ownership had disastrous long-term consequences for black Americans' life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. The Supreme Court's majority opinion recognized this historical context. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. framed the McDonald decision in terms of black Americans' struggle for equality - and survival. He highlighted the court's Cruikshank ruling after the Colfax Massacre, a genocidal slaughter perpetrated in 1873. "Dozens of blacks, many unarmed, were slaughtered by a rival band of armed white men," Justice Alito wrote. "Cruikshank himself allegedly marched unarmed African-American prisoners through the streets and then had them summarily executed. Ninety-seven men were indicted for participating in the massacre, but only nine went to trial." A Louisiana court dismissed all charges, including depriving the victims of their Second Amendment right to bear arms. In Cruikshank, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to bear arms "is not a right granted by the Constitution" and is not "in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence." More than 100 years later, the Supreme Court has finally restored black Americans' Second Amendment protections. They did so on behalf of a beleaguered black man living in Chicago - a man who shared his ancestors' desire to protect himself, his family and his property with a firearm.
Federal Prosecutors Appeal ‘Lenient’ Sentence Given to Philadelphia Democrat
Excerpt: U.S. prosecutors took the rare step Thursday of appealing the sentence handed down to long-powerful state Sen. Vincent Fumo in a sprawling corruption case. Fumo is serving a 4 1/2-year sentence for defrauding the state Senate, a museum and a nonprofit of millions. Prosecutors had sought at least a 15-year term for the Philadelphia Democrat, who was convicted last year of all 137 fraud and obstruction counts after a five-month trial. In an appeal filed Thursday, they call Senior U.S. District Judge Ronald Buckwalter's decision "unreasonable" and "unduly lenient."
Civil Rights Panel to Renew Subpoenas in Black Panther Case
Unbelievable. Excerpt: The bipartisan panel investigating allegations that the Justice Department wrongly abandoned a case against the New Black Panther Party plans to issue a new round of subpoenas and call for a separate federal probe following explosive testimony from an ex-Justice official, a commissioner said. As the case heats up, members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights may even travel to South Carolina to track down one witness. Former Justice attorney J. Christian Adams on Tuesday testified before the commission that his former employer not only abandoned the voter intimidation case for racial reasons, but had instructed attorneys in the civil rights division to ignore cases that involve black defendants and white victims. ... The Bush Justice Department brought the first case against three members of the group, accusing them in a civil complaint of violating the Voter Rights Act. The Obama administration initially pursued the case, winning a default judgment in federal court in April 2009 when the Black Panther members did not appear in court. But then the administration moved to dismiss the charges the following month after getting one of the New Black Panther members to agree to not carry a "deadly weapon" near a polling place until 2012.
Texting and driving
Good video, not gory.
NASA to Put Muslim on Moon Using Muslim Technology
Excerpt: The White House today announced a bold new program consistent with NASA’s top priority to help Muslims “feel good about their historic contribution in science and math and engineering,” as the space agency’s chief, Charles Bolden, recently told al Jazeera TV. Echoing the words of President John F. Kennedy in March of 1961, President Barack H. Obama told a joint session of Congress, “I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal of landing a Muslim on the Moon, and returning him safely to Earth using only Muslim technology.” According to Mr. Bolden, NASA engineers are already “close to testing” a solid rocket booster powered by combustible animal dung, and operated according to principles discovered by Ibn Al-Haytham, Islam’s best-known scientist, who died in 1039 A.D..