Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Political Digest August 24, 2010
Maj. (Ret.) Gene Duncan, USMC
Sorry for the lack of posts. We were visiting Dunc, along with several other Vietnam Marine vets. His oldest buddy, Tom Moore brought his son-in-law, a terrific Irish folk singer, so it turned into quite a ceilidh.
Dunc has a wonderful dog, a three-legged Border Collie he named Tripod. He saw on TV about the dog being shot, losing a leg and he adopted her. I'm on the left, the Major on the right and Tripod is the good looking one.
Tom Moore told about a visit Dunc had from a pastor and town official, right after he had moved to a small town near Tallahassee, FL. They noticed the overstuffed chair he was sitting in was shredded up and asked about it. “Cat uses it as a scratching post,” Dunc said. “I believe I’d get rid of that cat,” the pastor replied. “When this chair loves me as much as that cat, I’ll think about it,” Dunc shot back. End of conversation.
Some thoughts on Question #3
Massachusetts tax vote by Ron Pittenger.
The Old Iron Jarhead
Check out this great blog by a brother Marine. Similar blog name, similar thoughts. But he’s “iron,” while I’m more the gentle type of Jarhead. In fact, I have the heart of a small child…in a jar on my desk.
The expanding Senate playing field
Excerpt: As we sat down to rank which ten Senate races are most likely to flip party control on November 2, it became immediately clear that our Line wasn't big enough. The simple truth is that over the past six to nine months, the Senate playing field has expanded to the point where there are now (at least) 15 races where a party switch is a real possibility -- if not a probability. Most of that expansion has benefited Republicans, who have effectively taken advantage of a national playing field tilted in their favor to take previously non-competitive races like Washington and Wisconsin and put them on the target list. Democrats have a few more opportunities as well -- most notably in Kentucky where ophthalmologist Rand Paul's (R) uneven campaign has created an opening for state Attorney General Jack Conway.
Sen. Kerry: 'Very active' efforts under way to reach settlement with Taliban
And the Taliban will keep any agreement they sign as faithfully as Kerry’s Communist pals in North Vietnam kept the Paris Peace Accords they signed. Gave them time to rearm and reload, that was all. Excerpt: Sen. John Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Friday that there is a "very active" effort under way to reach a negotiated political settlement with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Kerry (D-Mass.) acknowledged that "efforts" have begun after visiting Afghanistan and Pakistan this week, meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other officials.
A year after claiming the economy as his own, Obama points finger at predecessor
Excerpt: President Obama this summer has repeatedly blamed George W. Bush for the nation’s economic woes, a year after he took ownership of the economy and criticized those who “carp and gripe.” The White House’s effort to tie congressional Republicans to Obama’s predecessor comes less than three months before the midterm elections. But the president’s campaign speeches this summer contrast to a speech he delivered in Michigan last year when his approval ratings were 17 points higher. During a July 14, 2009, address in Warren, Mich., Obama said, “Now, my administration has a job to do, as well, and that job is to get this economy back on its feet. That's my job. And it’s a job I gladly accept. I love these folks who helped get us in this mess and then suddenly say, ‘Well, this is Obama’s economy.’ That’s fine. Give it to me. My job is to solve problems, not to stand on the sidelines and carp and gripe.” At the time, the AP wrote, “With four simple words -- ‘Give it to me’ – President Barack Obama took possession of the economy.” Throughout this year, Obama has blamed Bush and the criticism has intensified this month.
Facing Afghan mistrust, al-Qaeda fighters take limited role in insurgency
We’ll get sick of it and give up, bring the troops home. The Taliban will re-gain control and then al Qaeda will quietly build up and plan. In s few years, we’ll have another 9/11, perhaps with Iranian nukes. But they’ll learn and try to hide better where the planning came from. ~Bob. Excerpt: On Aug. 14, a U.S. airstrike in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz killed a Taliban commander known as Abu Baqir. In a country where insurgents are killed daily, this attack was notable for one unusual detail: Abu Baqir, the military said afterward, was also a member of al-Qaeda. Although U.S. officials have often said that al-Qaeda is a marginal player on the Afghan battlefield, an analysis of 76,000 classified U.S. military reports posted by the Web site WikiLeaks underscores the extent to which Osama bin Laden and his network have become an afterthought in the war.
Establishment candidates in Arizona, Florida rally against 'outsider' rivals
Excerpt: Tuesday's primaries in Arizona and Florida appear likely to deliver a few surprises -- surprises, that is, for anyone who accepted the conventional wisdom of just a few months ago. Back then, Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) was considered in danger of becoming the next victim of a "tea party" uprising that was threatening Republican candidates seen as straying from conservative orthodoxy. In what was taken as a sign of his nervousness, he brought in his 2008 vice presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, who vouched for his conservative bona fides. Now he enjoys a double-digit lead in the polls over his challenger, former representative J.D. Hayworth.
Poll numbers in 1994, a bad year for Democrats, don't bode well for them in 2010
Excerpt: Is it deja vu all over again for Democrats? Some neutral observers and senior strategists within the party have begun to believe that the national political environment is not only similar to what they saw in 1994 -- when Democrats lost control of the House and Senate -- but could in fact be worse by Election Day. A quick look at the broadest atmospheric indicators designed to measure which way the national winds are blowing -- the generic ballot and presidential approval -- affirms the sense that the political environment looks every bit as gloomy for Democrats today as it did 16 years ago.
Is Fee-for-Service Payment the Problem?
Excerpt: Almost everyone says that it is. Conservatives. Liberals. Republicans. Democrats. A vast swath of the health policy community. With near unanimous agreement among everybody who knows anything about health economics, how could we even ask the question? Trouble is, all these people are wrong. We pay for most things fee-for-service. Or, more precisely, the payment mechanisms that are predominant in health care are widespread in almost every other market. By fee-for-service, we mean that units of service are individually priced. The more you consume the more you pay. This is usually contrasted with capitation — under which the fee is independent of the quantity consumed. Under fee-for-service, doctors are said to have an economic self interest in overprovision, since the more the patient consumes, the higher the doctor’s income. Under capitation, by contrast, the doctor gets the same income, regardless of the amount the patient consumes. Under capitation, doctors are said to have a self interest in underprovision. How do these payment mechanisms work in other markets?
Securitization in the 1920s
Excerpt: Real estate bond issuance, which accounted for nearly 23 percent of all corporate debt issued in 1925, fell to just 0.14 percent of the debt market by 1934 and some days no bonds traded. The real estate bond market soon vanished. The financial innovations that propelled the boom and collapse of the commercial real estate securities market in the last decade parallel those of that same market in the 1920s. Issuance of commercial mortgage-backed securities financed the construction of most of the U.S. skyscrapers in the 1920 and led to overbuilding and then widespread vacancies. The price declines in the mortgage-backed securities market in the late 1920s preceded the crash of the equity markets and the start of the Great Depression. Analyzing the events of the earlier crisis can provide insights to regulators and financial institutions struggling with solutions to the current one, according to William Goetzmann and Frank Newman, co-authors of Securitization in the 1920s (NBER Working Paper No. 15650). The authors observe that “by nearly every measure, real estate securities were as toxic in the 1930s as they are now.” Widespread economic optimism after World War I fueled demand for office space, boosting average commercial rents nationally 168 percent from a pre-war base through 1924. That kicked off a speculative commercial real estate construction boom not matched until the mid-2000s.
U.S. Marines, Copters Reach Pakistan Flood Hell
So who is rescuing Muslims in Pakistan? The Saudis? Iran? Nope, the Great Satan and the Us Marines! ~Bob. Excerpt: A shipload of U.S. Marines and helicopters arrived to boost relief efforts in flooded Pakistan, but the prime minister told The Associated Press his country needs more international help to cope with one of the worst natural disasters in its history. The United Nations warned the crisis was far from over, saying dams in Sindh province could still burst in the coming days. More rain fell around the country Thursday, and monsoon season is forecast to last several weeks still.
America — Compared to What?
Excerpt: It starts at home. The so-called cultural elite — professors, those in the arts, the foundations, the establishment media, the Kerry-Edwards-Gore-Kennedy type, multimillionaire liberal politicos, the inherited Big Money, the doyens of the race industry — are now disconnected from material reality. Most have not a clue how hard it is to pump oil out of the ground, grow food, or build a bridge; all such largess is taken as givens, and produced by a money-grubbing distant “they” who like this sort of icky, retrograde work. (Had a young Barack Obama put away the Panama hat and the federal money for a summer, he could have apprenticed on an oil rig or picked peaches and learned something.) The result is that millions of elites have the capital, the leisure, and the inclination to think utopia is within their grasp; that the blueprint of the Upper East Side, Palo Alto, Cambridge, Malibu, or Carmel can be extended throughout the world — if only there were just enough far-sighted caring people like themselves with clean fingernails, an exalted sense of self, and children at Amherst or Brown. So they hold the U.S. up to a standard that indicts us as bad since we cannot possibly be perfect. And like medieval churchmen who crossed themselves on the way to sodomy, lucre, and graft, so too toss-off lines damning a Bush or Cheney or Halliburton are the new sorts of ritual entre necessary to join a faculty or work at a foundation or get hired at a newsroom.
Oil Spill Seafood Lie
Excerpt: Louisiana shrimpers should have celebrated last week. White shrimp season started just as BP’s contractors moved to seal the well that has spewed 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf that gives them their livelihood. Yet the mood on the bayou, by all accounts, was deflated: America has shunned Gulf seafood, adding yet another blow to an economically devastated region. So is the caution among America’s seafood consumers justified? Seeking a definitive answer to the question, The Daily Beast commissioned an independent lab, one of a handful certified to measure chemical dispersants, to analyze a cross-section of Gulf seafood—red grouper, jumbo shrimp, and crabmeat—for both oil and the dispersants that have prompted almost as much alarm as the petroleum itself. To further sharpen the test, we also performed similar tests on samples of those three types of seafood culled from the Atlantic Ocean. The results? Immaculate. As with the Atlantic samples, all of the Gulf seafood contained either undetectable or incredibly minute (well below everyday federal thresholds) levels of petroleum hydrocarbons or dispersants. While these were just three random Gulf samples—this independent results nevertheless appear to provide some vindication for the Food and Drug Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which coordinated the food sector aspect of the federal and local response to the country’s worst-ever oil spill.
America's First Islamic College Opens on Monday
Wonder what the ROTC program will be like? Excerpt: Only two majors are offered at the new college: Arabic Language and Islamic Law and Theology. Students and teachers are not expected to be proficient in English but Arabic. This is evidenced by such misspellings as “accredation” for accreditation and “employement” for employment on the Zaytuna website. They will not study US history but the history of Islam. Their training in political science and economic will be confined to courses in shariah law. At the end of their four years of education, the graduates of Zaytuna will be expected to take part of the Islamic conquest of the American continent - - a conquest that began with the Immigration and Naturalization Law of 1965. They will be qualified to serve as imams at the hundreds of new mosques that are cropping up throughout the country every year and as Islamic chaplains in the military. On its website, the founders of Zaytuna say that Islam “cannot become rooted in a land until the land produces its own Islamic scholars.” The school has applied for full accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
On Martha's Vineyard, 'Miss Me Yet?' Bush T-Shirts Outselling 'I Vacationed with Obama' Ones
The Vineyard isn’t exactly conservative country. Excerpt: Picking up on a nugget surprisingly included in a Wednesday Boston Globe article, on Thursday night FNC’s Bret Baier reported in his “Grapevine” segment: “President Bush is apparently more popular than President Obama on Martha's Vineyard – at least when it comes to clothing.” Baier relayed the day the First Family arrived on the Massachusetts island: "When the First Family vacationed there last year, Obama-themed trinkets were flying off the shelves. Now, the owner of a store called the Locker Room says this summer's best-selling shirt features Mr. Bush. And even Democrats are buying it. It reads: 'Miss Me Yet? How's that Hopey-Changey Thing Working Out for Ya?'”
Dems urge Obama to take a stand
Excerpt: White House press secretary Robert Gibbs’s recent complaint about the ingratitude of the “professional left” is a small symptom of a larger problem for President Barack Obama: He has left wide swaths of the Democratic Party uncertain of his core beliefs. In interviews, a variety of political activists, operatives and commentators from across the party's ideological spectrum presented similar descriptions of Obama’s predicament: By declining to speak clearly and often about his larger philosophy — and insisting that his actions are guided not by ideology but a results-oriented “pragmatism” — he has bred confusion and disappointment among his allies, and left his agenda and motives vulnerable to distortion by his enemies. The president’s reluctance to be a Democratic version of Ronald Reagan, who spoke without apology about his vaulting ideological ambitions, has produced an odd turn of events: Obama has been the most activist domestic president in decades, but the philosophy behind his legislative achievements remains muddy in the eyes of many supporters and skeptics alike. There is not yet such a thing as “Obamism.” (I thought “Obamism” was pretty much the same as “Onanism.” ~Bob)
Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks, Again
Excerpt: The Israeli government and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) have agreed to engage in direct peace talks Sept. 2 in Washington. Neither side has expressed any enthusiasm about the talks. In part, this comes from the fact that entering any negotiations with enthusiasm weakens your bargaining position. But the deeper reason is simply that there have been so many peace talks between the two sides and so many failures that it is difficult for a rational person to see much hope in them. Moreover, the failures have not occurred for trivial reasons. They have occurred because of profound divergences in the interests and outlooks of each side. These particular talks are further flawed because of their origin. Neither side was eager for the talks. They are taking place because the United States wanted them. Indeed, in a certain sense, both sides are talking because they do not want to alienate the United States and because it is easier to talk and fail than it is to refuse to talk. 9since the Qur’an encourages deception to further the goal of Muslim domination, no agreement means anything. As has been said, if the Arms laid down their arms, there would be no more war in the Middle East. If the Jews laid down their guns, there would be no more Jews in the Middle East. ~Bob)
Social Security Cuts Weighed by Panel
Excerpt: A White House-created commission is considering proposals to raise the retirement age and take other steps to shore up the finances of Social Security, prompting key players to prepare for a major battle over the program's future. The panel is looking for a mix of ideas that could win support from both parties, including concessions from liberals who traditionally oppose benefit cuts and from Republicans who generally oppose higher taxes, according to one member of the commission and several people familiar with its deliberations. In addition to raising the retirement age, which is now set to reach age 67 in 2027, specific cuts under consideration include lowering benefits for wealthier retires and trimming annual cost-of-living increases, perhaps only for wealthier retirees, people familiar with the talks said. On the tax side, the leading idea is to increase the share of earned income that is subject to Social Security taxes, officials said. Under current law, income beyond $106,000 is exempt. Another idea is to increase the tax rate itself, said a Democrat on the commission. Even before the commission settles on a plan, many liberals are vowing to block any cut in retirement benefits. But the White House and the powerful senior group AARP appear open to a deal. Republicans on the commission have mostly held their fire. One of them, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas) said Thursday he opposes tax increases but wouldn't rule anything out at this stage in the discussions. Otherwise, he said, "the thing blows up before it has a chance to work." The commission's Social Security proposals would face an uncertain reception in Congress, which would have to approve changes to the program. But some commissioners were optimistic.
Muslim Cleric Calls for Jihad, Copts Attacked
There really is religious persecution in the world, but it’s in Muslim and Communist countries, not NY. ~Bob. Excerpt: During Friday prayers, Imam Sheikh Tobah called for jihad against all Christians living in the Egyptian village of Shimi. Christian Copts were assaulted over the next two days; 11 were hospitalized and many Copt youths were arrested. The assaults began only hours after the Imam’s incitement. Security forces took the first Copt victims to a police station where they were pressured into accepting "reconciliation" with their attackers, but no Muslims were arrested.
The politics of relief: Aliens in their own land
Aid from non-Muslims? Bring it on. Aid to non-Muslims? Not so fast, Kuffar. Excerpt: The government and local clerics refused to shelter around 500 flood-affected families belonging to the Ahmadiya community in South Punjab’s relief camps. Not only that, the government also did not send relief goods to the flood-hit areas belonging to the Ahmadiya community, The Express Tribune has learnt during a visit to the devastated Punjab districts of Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur.
How I (Almost) Saved the Earth
Excerpt: Let's say you love the Earth. You see an article in a magazine about a guy who built a "green" house using mostly twigs, pinecones and abandoned bird nests. You want to build a green home, too. So you find an architect, show him the magazine and say, "Give me one just like this." Good luck with that. Your architect only knows how to design homes using materials that his local planning commission is likely to approve. But he wants the job, so he tries hard to talk you out of using twigs, pinecones and abandoned bird nests. He tells you that no builder will build it. He tells you it won't get approved by the city. He tells you it won't stand up to earthquakes, hurricanes or termites. But you persist. You're saving the Earth, damn it. No one said it would be easy. (If you can only read one free article from the Wall Street Journal this week, make it this one! Ron P. Great column by the Dilbert creator. ~Bob)
Howard Dean: Obama aides need to spend 'some time outside Washington'
I’m thinking he should take up golf, relax more. ~Bob. Excerpt: Howard Dean, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said Sunday that President Obama's political advisers are out of touch with average Americans and need to "spend some time outside Washington." "The people around the president have really misjudged what goes on elsewhere in the country, other than Washington," D.C. Dean told Candy Crowley on CNN's "State of the Union. I don't think this is true of the president, but I do think his people, his political people, have got to go out and spend some time outside Washington for a while." The comments came in response to recent criticisms lodged by White House spokesman Robert Gibbs against what he called the "professional left"....
Duking It Out
As those few who were reading my blog when it started know, I was predicting Obama would be another Carter before the 2008 election. Check back there. ~Bob. Excerpt: As Barack Obama sees his ratings descend toward the high 30s, he is increasingly described as the second coming of James Earl Carter Jr., whose presidency, gone but hardly forgotten, lives on in masochists’ minds. The comparison is unkind and not quite on target: This is less Carter II than the lost presidency of Michael Dukakis, which seemed a sure thing at this date 22 years ago, and from which we were saved by the elder George Bush. Of course, no one thought Dukakis could be the messiah, but in other ways the connections are strong: both creatures of the liberal Northeast and of Harvard, with no sense at all of most of the rest of the country; both rationalists who impose legalistic criteria on emotion-rich subjects; both with fixed ideas of who society’s victims are, which do not accord with the views of the public; and both with a tin ear for the culture and a genius for creating wedge issues that split their own party. Obama has the Carter naïveté in foreign affairs—treating allies like foes, and vice versa—but it is the Dukakis campaign that provides the better parallel.
4 decapitated bodies hung from bridge in Mexico
And you think this isn’t coming here? ~Bob. Excerpt: Excerpt: The decapitated bodies of four men were hung from a bridge Sunday in this central Mexican city besieged by fighting between two drug lords. A gang led by kingpin Hector Beltran Leyva took responsibility for the killings in a message left with the bodies, the attorney general's office of Morelos state said in a statement. The beheaded and mutilated bodies were hung by their feet early Sunday from the bridge in Cuernavaca, a popular weekend getaway for Mexico City residents. Cuernavaca has become a battleground for control of the Beltran Leyva cartel since its leader, Arturo Beltran Leyva, was killed there in a December shootout with marines.
Somalia: Back-to-Back Jihadi Work Accidents…
Hard to get good help. ~Bob. Excerpt: A blast, possibly linked to the premature explosion of a car bomb, destroyed a house in the Somali capital used by al-Qaeda linked militants, witnesses said on Saturday. Three explosions were heard late on Friday in a house in southern Mogadishu’s Barubah neighborhood, one of the main strongholds of the Islamist Shebab militants in the capital, and witnesses said heavily armed militants cordoned off the area, preventing people from reaching the scene. Another witness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said everybody had heard the very loud explosions but dozens of Shebab militants had barred access so it was not possible to know how many casualties there were. The Al-Qaeda linked group could not be reached for comment but some nearby residents said militants had been planting a suicide car bomb when it went off prematurely.
Fort Hood Massacre Classified as “Workplace Violence”
So I guess was 9/11, as most of the dead were at work. And the soldiers in WWII were paid so were at work when killed. ~Bob. Excerpt: Authorities are reportedly classifying the Fort Hood Massacre as “workplace violence.”
Phoenix police tell Houston Police SB1070 Immigration law has reduced crime
Why the Left Hates Democracy
Excerpt: American liberals today routinely make Lenin's distinction between "formal equality" and "actual equality". Their mission is not that of formal or legal equality, in which people have the same rights under the law-- but "actual equality", which they like Lenin define, as the destruction of all people and institutions they consider to be an obstruction to equality. Where formal equality is democratic. Actual equality is undemocratic, and of course unequal. It's a license to tyranny by a small unelected group that has unlimited powers to make war on everyone and everything that they label reactionary or repressive. Today Obama and the Democrats justify their undemocratic actions in the same way. Wealth redistribution, union control of corporations, affirmative action, nationalization of industries are all tools of "actual equality". They justify their resistance to popular protest, by first resorting to the "actual equality" argument and claiming that their opponents are tools of the capitalist political elite. This is why the left has invested so much energy into the "astroturfing" argument against Tea Parties, or why Pelosi called for investigating Ground Zero Mosque protesters. The left has been indoctrinated with political formulas in which their progressive "reforms" to enforce equality, will be resisted and obstructed by the capitalists and the bourgeoisie. Even when they can see that the protests are grass roots, they instinctively fall back on the old political dogma imprinted on their brains, in which they are the revolutionary vanguard fighting against the class privileges of the old guard. (...) American liberals fancy themselves as championing this "democracy for the exploited", in which reactionaries are excluded from democracy. In effect this is to be the democracy that agrees with them, and that is the only democracy that counts. The views of people who don't want ObamaCare are inherently irrelevant because they are either ignorant or reactionary. Only the democracy of the exploited, who naturally want ObamaCare, count. Championing actual equality means a "democracy for the exploited", which means a giant nanny state of social programs funded by wealth expropriation. And all of it on behalf of the exploited. Anyone who doesn't want their programs is obviously an exploiter, and does not have any democratic rights anyway. This naturally excludes anyone who disagrees with them from having a voice in the political process. Like many such ideological tyrannies, the left justifies its actions as transitional, a means to a better end, when all the enemies of what it considers equality have been thoroughly suppressed. It rejects democracy in its current form, because it rejects the idea of legal or constitutional equality. Instead it wants to enforce a pure equality by force. Given a choice between pure democracy and pure equality, the left will choose pure equality and tyranny. And it has over and over again. (...) It's like holding an election and barring anyone who can read from voting, because they have an unfair advantage, and barring anyone who can't read from voting, because they can't understand what's going on anyway. That is what democracy looks like under the left. When you reject the notion of legal equality, all you're left with is tyranny in one form or another. A system where supposedly well intentioned people take control of the country, and begin artificially trying to make themselves equal. The obvious paradox of course is that tyranny is the least equal system imaginable. And so the left creates absolute inequality in the name of absolute equality.
Iran unveils long-range drone to counter "aggressors"
Excerpt: On a stage in front of military officials, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pulled a sheet away from the aircraft, called the Karrar, which Iran says is its first long-range drone. With the United States and Israel saying they do not rule out a military strike to stop Iran getting a nuclear bomb, the Islamic Republic has showed off new mini-submarines, a surface-to-surface missile and announced plans to launch high altitude satellites over the next three years. The presentation of the drone came a day after Iranian and Russian technicians began fuelling Iran's first nuclear power station, something Israel called "totally unacceptable." In a speech at the unveiling ceremony, Ahmadinejad said Iran should seek the ability to make pre-emptive strikes against a perceived threat, although he said it would never strike first. "If there is an ignorant person or an egoist or a tyrant who just wanted to make an aggression then our Defense Ministry should reach a point where it could cut off the hand of the aggressor before it decided to make an aggression," he said. (In other words, Iran now has an enhanced first-strike capability. Isn't that a cheery prospect? Ron P. Indeed. How long until Allah says “Go”!? ~Bob)
Primary turnout shows big GOP enthusiasm edge
Excerpt: Three-quarters of the way through the 2010 primary season, the so-called "enthusiasm gap" appears to be playing out across the country with turnout in GOP contests exceeding previous highs and beating Democratic turnout by unprecedented margins in many targeted states. Polling has routinely showed Republicans much more enthusiastic about voting in the 2010 election than Democrats. A Gallup poll last week showed twice as many Republicans (46 percent) say they are "very enthusiastic" about voting as Democrats (23 percent). Raw voter data backs up the polling. A three million-voter advantage for Democrats in the 2006 midterm primaries has turned into a three million-voter overall advantage for the GOP now. And numbers compiled by Republicans show the percentage of voters taking part in GOP primaries has reached a two-decade high in more than half of the 37 states holding primaries so far this year. There are still more voters voting in the Democratic primary in several major states, but compared to recent years, the GOP is closing the gap significantly even in many of these states.
28 August 2010 – 100 cities against stoning
Bunch of culturally-insensitive Islamophobes!
Excerpt: Hi, I’m Pat Condell. I don’t respect your beliefs and I don’t care if you’re offended. Cheers. Now that we’ve got the formalities out of the way, welcome to my website.
Apollo 8: Gifts from Long Ago
Excerpt: The profound achievement of Apollo 8 also validated the brilliance of American economic ingenuity. The space race was more than zesty public relations. Apollo 8 marked the moment we passed the Soviets. It really did demonstrate the greatness of a nation dedicated to free enterprise, where the lunar module was built by Grumman Corporation, the command module by North American Aviation, and the massive Saturn rockets built by Boeing and Douglas. Sure, the Treasury was purchasing the products at great expense, but the supply side of the equation was essentially a free market one, where the best competing ideas won the contracts. Plus, we could afford it while our competitor could not. A chief reason the Soviet Union lost the race to the moon was because it didn’t have a free market system. Instead, it had a stagnant command bureaucracy that could occasionally produce results like Sputnik, but as we learned in the 1980s, could never overcome inherent flaws that stifled ingenuity in the long run. Unfortunately, further manned space exploration was effectively killed in the 2011 NASA budget. This is a grave mistake. Not only does space provide unique solutions for problems here on Earth, such as growing perfect tissue cells for transplant research or other medical applications, it also has strategic importance. The history of man is the history of explorers discovering unanticipated resources, technology, and yes, unashamedly, acquiring strategic might. When courageous humans ventured beyond the known, they defined the future, while the homebound did not.
Antiterrorism expert's 9/11 awakening
Excerpt: Evan Kohlmann had just settled into his seat on his first day of law school at the University of Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001, when he was overcome with a sense of foreboding. Law school was going to be boring. The course that day was civil procedure, an arcane body of law laying out rules for courts hearing civil lawsuits. Very important stuff in the legal world, to be sure, but the start of the class only confirmed Kohlmann's sense, building for weeks, that legal studies really didn't interest him and that he had made a terrible mistake. As Kohlmann pondered the possibility of a disastrous career turn, someone suddenly announced that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. The class would be postponed, and the building closed for the day. Kohlmann, who had written his senior honors thesis at Georgetown University on Osama bin Laden and the Arab mujahedeen in Afghanistan and who had worked as an undergraduate for noted terrorism expert Steven Emerson, was jolted out of his seat. "That was it," Kohlmann said. "I turned to a friend sitting next to me and said, 'This is Osama bin Laden. I've got to do something.' “Now, nearly nine years later, Kohlmann has become one of the nation's leading consultants on terrorism and fundamentalist Islam. He finished law school, but continued his work with Emerson part time. Commuting back and forth from his apartment in the Drake building in Center City to Emerson's Washington offices, Kohlmann completed his well-received book Al-Qaida's Jihad in Europe, an authoritative account of al-Qaeda's spread from Afghanistan to the Balkans.
Insurgent Pollster: Understanding the tea party is essential to predicting what the country's political scene will look like
Excerpt: You can tell it's a volatile political year when a balding, middle-aged pollster gets a standing ovation from hundreds of state legislators after delivering the news that only 23% of the people in this country believe today's federal government has the consent of the governed. "Americans don't want to be governed from the left or the right," Scott Rasmussen tells the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conference of 1,500 conservative and moderate legislators. "They want, like the Founding Fathers, to largely govern themselves with Washington in a supporting—but not dominant—role. The tea party movement is today's updated expression of that sentiment." Mr. Rasmussen tells the crowd gathered around him after his speech that the political and media elites have misread the tea party. He believes this strongly enough that he's teamed up with Doug Schoen—a pollster for both President Bill Clinton and New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg—to publish a new book that will seek to explain the movement's significance. "Mad as Hell" will be out early next month.
In Kenya's capital, Somali immigrant neighborhood is incubator for jihad
Guess we better send them the “Islam is a religion of peace” memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: "Our religion calls on us to kill everyone who does not believe in Allah and his Prophet Muhammed deeply," Abdulrahman Abdullahi, a black-clad imam, declares in one DVD…. Sometimes, the students said, the teachers show them video clips of jihadists fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. "They tell us that al-Shabab hates Western countries like America," said Zakeria Omar, 11, a student. "And that it is all right to cut the throats of every citizen of these countries."
Letter to the Editor in L.A.
The people who took the decision to build on that particular site have told us all we need to know about them. Read the history of Spain. It took the Spanish 700 years to get these people out once they'd got in. Even if you genuinely believe that the individuals currently connected with the proposed mosque at Ground Zero are noble souls who would not hurt a fly, you can be sure the individuals who follow in the their wake will be of a different sort. I spent many years in England. I didn't like the way Muslim men treated me as if I were some kind of prostitute. I didn't like the way they implied that I shouldn't be allowed to even touch a copy of the Koran. I didn't like the way they always went to the front of the queue. I didn't like that huge photograph in the window of the Muslim bookshop on Westbourne Grove in Bayswater. It was a photograph of an Italian girl being sexually harassed on the street by a group of Italian men. The caption read, "American Girl." I didn't like the way they tried to make us wear head-scarves when we went to the "Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre" for our healthy eating class, which was sponsored by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. I don't like the way British school kids have to let Muslims hit them without retaliating--because hitting back is racism. Read Mark Steyn's America Alone. (The writer is a high school classmate of mine.)
From the website Gay Patriot.
NOAA Scientist: Release of Oil Spill Report done by White House, Not NOAA
Excerpt: The NOAA scientist told congressional investigators that the data backing up the assertions made in the report is still unavailable and that peer review of the report is still not complete. Officials at an August 4 White House press briefing had said that the report had been thoroughly peer reviewed. “This is yet another in a long line of examples where the White House’s pre-occupation with the public relations of the oil spill has superseded the realities on the ground. It is deeply troubling that White House officials apparently preempted the completion and review of a scientific study on the oil spill by NOAA scientists in order to tout conclusions that many experts believe may be deeply flawed,” said Rep. Issa referring to an August 4 White House press briefing focused on the report. “This irresponsible action only adds to the perception that the Obama White House is more concerned about appearing competent than actually making sure the massive oil spill in the Gulf gets cleaned-up as quickly as possible. (Original story--BP plugs well with mud; feds say much of oil gone--appeared in TOJ on 5 Aug 2010. We wondered then if the story was BS. Apparently, it was. RGP)
Judith Curry: On Antarctic sea ice, Climategate and skeptics
Excerpt: You have been among the most outspoken scientists in the wake of the Climategate e-mails. Most sought to downplay their significance. You took a position that this was a teachable moment for climate science. Has you gotten any traction on this? The thing that's getting traction, the most important thing, is the need for transparency, to get the methods out there and the data out there. There's a real public demand for accountability on this subject and it's just plain good science. With the World Wide Web it's just easy to do. The whole transparency thing, everyone agrees on that, and it's slowly happening. The other thing I'm seeing is that two of the professional societies, the American Meteorological Association and the American Geophysical Union, are talking about ensuring that skeptical papers get through if they're of the right quality. Some people were getting their papers rejected because they disagreed with the IPCC. That's not the way it's supposed to work. Papers were getting rejected for the wrong reason. It's good that professional societies are taking this seriously. Those are some good things that have happened in the science community. What about on the policy side? On the policy side of it everything seems to have fallen apart. A year ago it seems like we were on track for something to happen, but everything's fallen apart for a whole host of reasons. It's not like Climategate caused all that. There were a whole bunch of political and economic issues, like the developed world versus developing countries. Frankly I think this is a good thing that it's fallen apart in the short term so everyone can sit back and reflect a little bit more on what we should be doing -- to try and really understand where our common interests lie and maybe get away from the UN Model and understand the unintended consequences of some of the policies people are talking about. (Judith Curry is a warmist, but honest enough to know—and say—the evidence is not all in. When she doesn’t know, she isn’t afraid to say she doesn’t know. Some in the blogosphere all but branded her as a heretic in the early spring of 2010 for publicly observing the Climategate emails clearly portrayed conduct that was morally corrupt. There may be some argument about her conclusions regarding sea ice, but she is well respected as a real scientist—rather than just a politician in a scientist’s smock. "Bold" text in the excerpt indicates the interviewer's questions to which she replies; it is a medium-length interview and the excerpt is from the second half. Ron P.)
Obama doesn't see the mob closing in
Excerpt: A radical Muslim cleric can build his mosque two blocks from Ground Zero as soon as town officials in Mecca approve plans for a synagogue in the center of the holy city. Maybe President Barack Obama could broker the deal — he gets his mosque and Jews get their synagogue. On the other hand, we may not have a deal after all. It baffles me how Obama can see a mosque near Ground Zero as a symbol of religious freedom and tolerance. By its very nature, the structure would be a monument to religious intolerance, hatred, mass murder, unspeakable violence toward women, and centuries of despotic leadership and oppression. Now there’s a legacy to be celebrated by a landmark building in lower Manhattan.
Shorewood Police arrest teen suspected of stealing chicken nuggets
At least someone is getting tough on crime. Excerpt: Sharing or trading food during school lunchtime is not unheard of, but sharing landed one teenager in police handcuffs. Ava Hernandez got a disturbing voicemail message from the Assistant Principal of Shorewood High School in March. Her 15-year-old brother Adam has been taken into police custody. She says, "It was because his friend had shared a lunch with him and he was accused of stealing was really, I don't know, it was just over the top." Adam was accused of stealing chicken nuggets from a $2.60 meal. Those are the nuggets his friend, Gakaree Garner, gave to him. Garner says, "Although that month I was fasting so I couldn't eat meat, and we had chicken nuggets that day." Garner gave the nuggets to Adam, who got in the lunch line to get some sauce for them. According to Garner and the police report the cafeteria cashier told the Assistant Principal Adam stole the chicken nuggets. The Assistant Principal then told the police officer in the school, who called a squad car. Garner says, "They actually put him in handcuffs, and actually tried to force him into the car." Ava Hernandez says, "They were like, 'Well do you know that friend receives federally free lunch?', and I said, 'I do now.', and they said, 'Well, it's illegal to share a free lunch so either way Adam was breaking the law'." Adam was issued a municipal citation for theft and a $170.00 fine, which he chose to fight in court to keep his record clean. A youth group Urban Underground trumpets Adam's cause, fighting against young people needlessly being put in the judicial system.
Poll: Thanks to Obama, American Jews Abandoning the Democratic Party in Droves…
Excerpt: Is President Obama good for the Jews? For more and more Jewish-Americans, the answer is no. In a Pew Research Center report issued on Thursday and entitled “Growing Number of Americans Say Obama Is a Muslim” (tragic in its own right), there was another bit of bad news for Obama: the number of Jews who identify as Republican or as independents who lean Republican has increased by more than half since the year he was elected. At 33 percent it now stands at the highest level since the data have been kept. In 2008, the ratio of Democratic Jews to Republican Jews was far more than three to one. Now it’s less than two to one.
Ground Zero Imam Says U.S. Worse than al-Qaeda
Nothing to upset Obama there. He can fix things with a bow and apology. ~Bob. Excerpt: New audio has surfaced of the imam behind the controversial mosque near Ground Zero allegedly telling an audience overseas that the United States has been far more deadly than al-Qaeda. "We tend to forget, in the West, that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non Muslims," Feisal Abdul Rauf said at a 2005 lecture sponsored by the University of South Australia. After discussing the U.S.-led sanctions against Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Rauf went on to argue that America is to blame for its testy relationship with Islamic countries.