Thursday, August 5, 2010

Political Digest August 5, 2010

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.

Cpl. John Peck Fund
Lest we forget. Help for a Marine who lost all four limbs in Afghanistan. Cpl. John Peck Fund, The State Bank of the Lakes, 440 Lake St., Antioch IL 60002

Top Republicans say it is time to reconsider automatic citizenship for people born in the US,0,5527399.story
Excerpt: Leading Republicans are joining a push to reconsider the constitutional amendment that grants automatic citizenship to people born in the United States. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Tuesday he supports holding hearings on the 14th Amendment right, although he emphasized that Washington's immigration focus should remain on border security. His comments came as other Republicans in recent days have questioned or challenged birthright citizenship, embracing a cause that had largely been confined to the far right.

Republicans decry stimulus funds for iPods, cellphones,0,5737397.story
Excerpt: Stimulus money is going toward iPods for high school students in Utah, cellphones for smokers trying to quit in Washington and advertising devoted to the promotion of … the stimulus. The findings are part of a 74-page report put out by a pair of Republican senators who contend the $862-billion program is fraught with needless spending. "There is no question job creation should be a national priority, but torrential, misdirected government spending is not the way to do it," reads the introduction, signed by Republican Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and John McCain of Arizona.

Jordan says it has proof that Aqaba rocket was fired from Egypt's Sinai,0,6856556.story
We wasn’t mad at youse, we was just tryin’ to kill some Joos! Excerpt: Jordan said Tuesday it has evidence that a rocket attack on its Red Sea port originated from neighboring Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. For its part, Egypt has strongly denied that any of the rockets fired at Israel's Red Sea port of Eilat on Monday came from its soil. It was the second such attack this year, following a similar volley in April that Israeli authorities also say was fired from Egypt.

During 1970s Shirley Sherrod Helped Run a Company That Exploited Black Workers and Paid Them Only 67 Cents an Hour…
Excerpt: And who’s making this claim? — the evil Andrew Breitbart? Nope, it’s the ultra-liberal Counterpunch…Imagine farm workers doing back breaking labor in the sweltering sun, sprayed with pesticides and paid less than minimum wage. Imagine the United Farm Workers called in to defend these laborers against such exploitation by management. Now imagine that the farm workers are black children and adults and that the managers are Shirley Sherrod, her husband Rev. Charles Sherrod, and a host of others. But it’s no illusion; this is fact. The swirling controversy over the racist dismissal of Shirley Sherrod from her USDA post has obscured her profoundly oppositional behavior toward black agricultural workers in the 1970s. What most of Mrs. Sherrod’s supporters are not aware of is the elitist and anti-black-labor role that she and fellow managers of New Communities Inc. (NCI) played. These individuals under-paid, mistreated and fired black laborers–many of them less than 16 years of age–in the same fields of southwest Georgia where their ancestors suffered under chattel slavery. When I first noticed the story of her firing and the association of Shirley Sherrod’s name with the rural black poor and concern for “black land-loss”, I wondered if the person being praised was the same Shirley Sherrod whom I knew. One piece posted on the July 23rd Alternet and captioned “Shirley Sherrod and the black Land Struggle” even claimed that she “devoted her entire life to economic justice”. The mistreatment of black workers at NCI under the Sherrods is a matter of record that contradicts this claim.

Afghan Women and the Return of the Taliban,8599,2007238,00.html
Guess they didn’t get the “Islam is a religion of peace” memo. Pretty girl before her husband started on her with a knife, under orders from the Taliban—last year. Excerpt: The Taliban pounded on the door just before midnight, demanding that Aisha, 18, be punished for running away from her husband's house. Her in-laws treated her like a slave, Aisha pleaded. They beat her. If she hadn't run away, she would have died. Her judge, a local Taliban commander, was unmoved. Aisha's brother-in-law held her down while her husband pulled out a knife. First he sliced off her ears. Then he started on her nose.

Snyder wins in Michigan, Moran in Kansas; Rep. Kilpatrick loses primary
Excerpt: Self-funding businessman Rick Snyder (R) will face Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (D) in the Michigan governor's race, and Rep. Jerry Moran (R) is very likely to become the next senator from Kansas after defeating fellow Rep. Todd Tiahrt in their primary. Meanwhile, Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.) became the fourth House incumbent to lose a primary this year. Snyder, a former Gateway president who ran on the campaign slogan "one tough nerd," came out of nowhere to beat two seasoned politicians. He starts the general election as the favorite. Bernero, who was backed by labor, won the Democratic nomination over state House Speaker Andy Dillon, while the upstart Snyder beat Rep. Peter Hoekstra and state Attorney General Mike Cox for his party's nod in the open seat being left by outgoing Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D). Moran defeated Tiahrt in a surprisingly tight battle for the GOP nomination to succeed Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.). Moran led 49 percent to 45 percent for Tiahrt, who had the backing of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R). Brownback, who won his primary for governor Tuesday, is also a heavy favorite in November. Moran faces college administrator Lisa Johnston (D), while Brownback faces state Sen. Tom Holland (D). Kilpatrick, who nearly lost her primary in 2008, fell to state Sen. Hansen Clarke this time. Kilpatrick has struggled while dealing with the legal problems of her son, convicted former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D). She trailed Clarke 48 percent to 41 percent with more than half of precincts reporting. She joins three other House incumbents to lose their parties' nomination in a notably anti-establishment year -- Reps. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), Parker Griffith (R-Ala.) and Bob Inglis (R-S.C.). Sens. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and Robert Bennett (R-Utah) also lost their party's nods.

Important: The Limit of Tax Revenues
Excerpt: "Hauser's Law." The federal government assumes a relationship between the economy and tax revenue that is divorced from reality. Six decades of history have established one far-reaching fact that needs to be built into fiscal calculations: Increases in federal tax rates, particularly marginal rate increases targeted at higher income taxpayers, produce no additional revenue. For politicians this is truly an inconvenient truth. The figure shows how tax revenue has grown over the past eight decades along with the size of the economy. It illustrates the empirical relationship first introduced in the Wall Street Journal 20 years ago by W. Kurt Hauser of the Hoover Institution: There has been a close proportionality between revenue and GDP since World War II, despite big changes in marginal tax rates in both directions. "Hauser's Law," as I call this formula, reveals a kind of capacity ceiling for federal tax receipts at about 19 percent of GDP. What is the origin of this limit beyond which it is impossible to extract any more revenue from taxpayers? The tax base is not something that the government can kick around at will. It represents a living economic system that makes its own collective choices. In a tax code of 70,000 pages there are innumerable ways for high-income earners to seek out and use ambiguities and loopholes. The more they are incentivized to make an effort to game the system, the less the federal government will collect. That would explain why, as Hauser has shown, conventional methods of forecasting tax receipts from increases in future tax rates are prone to over-predict revenue

Of Course Oakland Can't Afford These Cops
Excerpt: This month, Oakland laid off 80 police officers, just over 10 percent of its total force, in order to balance the city's budget. As a result, the city's police chief says cops will no longer respond to 44 categories of crimes, including grand theft. The city's elected officials regret the change but say they simply cannot afford to maintain current staffing levels. Whether that's true depends upon your definition of "afford." At current levels of compensation, yes, Oakland cannot afford to maintain a police department with 776 employees. That's because total compensation for an OPD employee averages an astounding $162,000 per year. But at a more reasonable level of pay and benefits, Oakland could afford to maintain its force, or even grow it. Oakland police officers' compensation is generous along every dimension. As touted on the department's own recruiting website, cadets start out at a salary of $64,656 plus benefits. (For comparison, the NYPD pays police academy attendees a starting salary of $44,744). Once an OPD officer finishes training, he or she is entitled to a starting base salary, before overtime and benefits, ranging from $71,841 to $90,459. And the payscale continues upward from there. Oakland police receive a generous health plan with the premium paid entirely by the city, for single or family coverage. For family coverage, this benefit was worth $15,859 as of 2009, compared to a California private sector mean of $9,159. The city also makes the entire pension contribution on behalf of police officers -- 9% of their salary and overtime pay. The Oakland police recruiting website boasts that this is the most generous benefit package for police officers among California's ten largest cities. And indeed, Oakland police pay even makes San Francisco look fiscally responsible -- total compensation for SFPD employees averages just $145,000. If Oakland just matched San Francisco's compensation levels, it could stay within its proposed budget and hire additional officers, instead of cutting jobs.

Fed Mulls Symbolic Shift
Excerpt: Federal Reserve officials will consider a modest but symbolically important change in the management of their massive securities portfolio when they meet next week to ponder an economy that seems to be losing momentum. The issue: Whether to use cash the Fed receives when its mortgage-bond holdings mature to buy new mortgage or Treasury bonds, instead of allowing its portfolio to shrink gradually, as it is expected to do in the months ahead. Any change—only four months after the Fed ended its massive bond-buying program—would signal deepening concern about the economic outlook. If the Fed's forecast deteriorates significantly, it could also be a precursor to bigger efforts to pump money into the economy. Moving to stop the Fed's portfolio from shrinking would prevent monetary policy from slightly tightening in the face of a weakening recovery. The central bank's $2.3 trillion portfolio has nearly tripled in size since 2007. Buying new bonds with this stream of cash from maturing bonds—projected at about $200 billion by 2011—would show the public and markets that the Fed is seeking ways to support economic growth. It could also be a compromise that rival factions at the Fed support, as officials differ about whether and how to address a subpar recovery.

Quotes from The Patriot Post:
"[W]hen all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another." --Thomas Jefferson.

"Nancy Pelosi said that when it comes to cleaning up government, the Democrats have drained the swamp. The only problem with that is what's left after you drain the swamp: snakes everywhere." --comedian Jay Leno

Top Five Most-Crime-Ridden U.S. Judicial Districts All on Mexican Border
Who would have guessed? Excerpt: When measured by the number of criminal defendants charged with federal crimes by U.S. attorneys, the top five U.S. judicial districts for fiscal 2009 were all on the U.S.-Mexico border. In fact, these five judicial districts are the only five on the U.S.-Mexico border -- covering its entire expanse from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. There are 94 federal judicial districts, covering the area of all 50 states, plus Guam, the North Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. In the Southern District of Texas, which covers a stretch of border from Brownsville past Laredo, the U.S. attorney's office filed criminal charges against 8,801 defendants in fiscal 2009. That gave that district the nation's No. 1 ranking for most criminal defendants charged in 2009, according to data published in Table 1 of the United States Attorneys' Annual Statistical Report for Fiscal Year 2009.

Is Profiling Racist?
Excerpt: We live in a world of imperfect and costly information, and people seek to economize on information costs in a variety of ways. If we don't take that fact into account, we risk misidentifying and confusing one type of human behavior with another. Let's look at it. Pima Indians of Arizona have the world's highest diabetes rates. With knowledge that his patient is a Pima Indian, it would probably be a best practice for a physician to order more thorough blood glucose tests to screen for diabetes. Prostate cancer is nearly twice as common among black men as white men. It would also be a best practice for a physician to be attentive to -- even risk false positive PSAs -- prostate cancer among his black patients. What about physicians who order routine mammograms for their 40-year and older female patients but not their male patients? The American Cancer Society predicts that about 400 men will die of breast cancer this year. Because of a correlation between race, sex and disease, the physician is using a cheap-to-observe characteristic, such as race or sex, as an estimate for a more costly-to-observe characteristic, the presence of a disease. The physician is practicing both race and sex profiling. Does that make the physician a racist or sexist? Should he be brought up on charges of racial discrimination because he's guessing that his black patients are more likely to suffer from prostate cancer? Should sex discrimination or malpractice suits be brought against physicians who prescribe routine mammograms for their female patients but not their male patients? You say, "Williams, that would be lunacy!" Is an individual's race or sex useful for guessing about other unseen characteristics? Suppose gambling becomes legal for an Olympic event such as the 100-meter sprint. I wouldn't place a bet on an Asian or white runner. Why? Blacks who trace their ancestry to West Africa, including black Americans, hold more than 95 percent of the top times in sprinting. That's not to say an Asian or white can never win but I know the correlations and I'm playing the odds. If women were permitted to be in the sprint event with men, I'd still put my money on a black male. Does that make me a sexist as well as a racist? What about when a black hails a taxicab and the driver passes him up and picks up a white passenger down the street? Is that racism? Many people assume that it is but it might not be any different from a physician using race and sex as an estimator for some other characteristic. Ten years ago, a black D.C. commissioner warned cabbies, most of whom are black, against picking up dangerous-looking passengers. She described dangerous-looking as a "young black guy ... with shirttail hanging down longer than his coat, baggy pants, unlaced tennis shoes." She also warned cabbies to stay away from low-income black neighborhoods. Cabbies themselves have developed other profiling criteria. There is no sense of justice or decency that a law-abiding black person should suffer the indignity being passed up. At the same time, a taxicab driver has a right to earn a living without being robbed, assaulted and possibly murdered. One of the methods to avoid victimization is to refuse to pick up certain passengers in certain neighborhoods or passengers thought to be destined for certain neighborhoods. Again, a black person is justifiably angered when refused service but that anger should be directed toward the criminals who prey on cabbies.

Democrats Bite Democrats: Part II by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: A much more rhetorically subdued but nevertheless devastating implicit criticism of current government spending policies came from an even more unlikely source: the Congressional Budget Office, whose director is a Democrat. Without naming names or making political charges, the Congressional Budget Office last week issued a report titled "Federal Debt and the Risk of a Fiscal Crisis." The report's dry, measured words paint a painfully bleak picture of the long-run dangers from the current runaway government deficits. The CBO report points out that the national debt, which was 36 percent of the Gross Domestic Product three years ago, is now projected to be 62 percent of GDP at the end of fiscal year 2010-- and rising in future years. Tracing the history of the national debt back to the beginning of the country, the CBO finds that the national debt did not exceed 50 percent of GDP, even when the country was fighting the Civil War, the First World War or any other war except World War II. Moreover, a graph in the CBO report shows the national debt going down sharply after World War II, as the nation began paying off its wartime when the war was over. By contrast, our current national debt is still going up and may end up in "unfamiliar territory," according to the CBO, reaching "unsustainable levels." They spell out the economic consequences-- and it is not a pretty picture….. As the Congressional Budget Office puts it, if the national debt continues to grow out of control, a "growing portion of people's savings would go to purchase government debt rather than toward investments in productive capital goods such as factories and computers; that 'crowding out' of investment would lead to lower output and incomes than would otherwise occur."

Bombers, missiles could end Iran nukes
I do not see the administration having the courage. Excerpt: A Pentagon strike against Iran would rely heavily on the B-2 bomber and cruise missiles to try to destroy the regime’s ability to make nuclear weapons, analysts say, after the top U.S. military officer said a war plan is in place. The missiles, fired from surface ships, submarines and B-52 bombers, would take out air defenses and nuclear-related facilities. The B-2s would drop tons of bombs, including ground penetrators, onto fortified and buried sites where Tehran is suspected of enriching uranium to fuel the weapons and working on warheads. “It will be primarily an air attack with covert work to start a ‘velvet’ revolution so [the] Iranian people can take back their country,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, a former fighter pilot. Gen. McInerney said B-2s would fly over Iran while cruise missiles would be fired off shore. The operation would last several days, he said. John Pike, a military analyst who runs Global, said that although Iran has many potential targets, only about a half-dozen facilities are so critical that, if destroyed, would set back the program significantly. (This reporting makes it sound easy, quick, bloodless, and sure to succeed. I doubt anything is that clear. But, we've dithered so long now, this may be the only answer left. And, it may go away soon. Ron P.)

Voter Fraud and Democracy: How Damaging Is DOJ’s Failure to Enforce Voting Law?
Anyone want to bet who he voted twice for? Excerpt: In the fall of 2008, Tarrell Campbell was a student at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. With his three separate master’s degrees, he had been on a college campus, somewhere, for more than a decade. He was so interested in the outcome of the 2008 presidential election that he cast a ballot in Illinois, then drove across a Mississippi River bridge to his hometown of St. Louis and voted again. Last week, Mr. Campbell entered a guilty plea to federal voter fraud charges for illegally casting two votes in a federal election. He may well sit out the next presidential election in federal prison. This strange case of a highly educated criminal seeking to game our electoral system is not as rare as you might think. While some dismiss voter fraud as a myth, as common as unicorns and Sasquatch, others claim fraud regularly determines election winners. Both views are wrong. The truth lies somewhere in between. (...) The problem is that double voting is some of the hardest voter fraud to detect. Section 8 of the federal “Motor Voter” law requires states to conduct reasonable efforts to ensure that only eligible voters are on state voter rolls. Dead people, ineligible felons, and people who have moved should not be on the voter rolls as a matter of federal law. Unfortunately, states usually don’t share their voter lists with other states. Nor has the Justice Department ever sought to act as a clearing house of multi-state registration data to detect duplicate voter registrations across states. The federal government can enforce Section 8 of Motor Voter, but as I have reported previously, that isn’t going to happen unless there is a change in Justice Department policy. In November 2009, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes, the Obama political appointee in charge of the DOJ Voting Section, told the assembled Voting Section that the Eric Holder Justice Department had “no interest in enforcing Section 8.” Because “Section 8 denied ballot access rather than increase turnout,” the DOJ wouldn’t be enforcing the law, she said. Her tone exhibited dismissive contempt for this law.

BP plugs well with mud; feds say much of oil gone
Excerpt: BP claimed a key victory Wednesday in the effort to plug its blown-out well and the government said much of the spilled oil is gone — though what's left is still at least quadruple the amount that poured from the Exxon Valdez. BP PLC reached what it called a significant milestone overnight when mud that was forced down the well held back the flow of crude. Also, White House energy adviser Carol Browner said on morning TV talk shows that a new assessment found that about 75 percent of the oil has either been captured, burned off, evaporated or broken down in the Gulf. "It was captured. It was skimmed. It was burned. It was contained. Mother Nature did her part," Browner told NBC's "Today" show. On ABC's "Good Morning America," she said about 25 percent remained. It was not clear if she was referring to 25 percent of what gushed from the well — about 205 million gallons based on new government estimates released this week — or 25 percent of what made it into the water, about 172 million gallons. The rest was either burned, skimmed or siphoned in the days after the April 20 explosion aboard the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon. (Wait a minute! Wasn't this "the environmental disaster of the century?" So, who's exaggerating? Was it the government's environmental advisors then? Or, is it the government's environmental advisors now? Oops, sorry, they're same people. Better question: which hype is the BS? Ron P.)

Bradley Manning, suspected source of Wikileaks documents, raged on his Facebook page
Excerpt: Mr Manning, 22, who is currently awaiting court martial, is suspected of leaking more than 90,000 secret military documents to the Wikileaks website in a security breach which US officials claim has endangered the lives of serving soldiers and Afghan informers. Supporters claim the war logs leak exposed civilian deaths in Afghanistan which had been covered up by the military, and Mr Manning's family, who live in Pembrokeshire, said he had "done the right thing". The Pentagon, which is investigating the source of the leak, is expected to study Mr Manning’s background to ascertain if they missed any warnings when he applied to join the US Army. The postings on his Facebook page are also likely to form part of the inquiry. Mr Manning, who is openly homosexual, began his gloomy postings on January 12, saying: "Bradley Manning didn't want this fight. Too much to lose, too fast." At the beginning of May, when he was serving at a US military base near Baghdad, he changed his status to: "Bradley Manning is now left with the sinking feeling that he doesn't have anything left." Five days later he said he was "livid" after being "lectured by ex-boyfriend", then later the same day said he was "not a piece of equipment" and was "beyond frustrated with people and society at large". His tagline on his personal page reads: "Take me for who I am, or face the consequences!"

UK accused of hypocrisy over spy case
Excerpt: The British government has been accused of "double standards" following its reaction to allegations that Russian spies used forged British and Irish passports. During the trial of 10 Russians who admitted to being spies last month, US Department of Justice papers claimed that one of them, Tracey Foley, "travelled on a fraudulent British passport prepared for her by the SVR [Russia's foreign intelligence agency]". A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: "We are looking into the links with Britain and are in contact with the US authorities". When Israel was accused of using forged British passports during the alleged assassination of a Mossad agent in Dubai earlier this year, there was widespread criticism and both the British and Irish governments expelled Israeli diplomats. Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies, said: "Just why this latest passport revelation warrants less attention than the purported forgeries by Israeli spies will validate a growing perception that yet again, Israel is subjected to both international double standards and disproportionate attention."

How Does Stoning Work in Iran?
From the size of the stones to who gets first throw.
In case you aren’t up on “Religion of Peace” procedures. Excerpt: Brazil has offered asylum to Sakineh Ashtiani, an Iranian woman who was convicted of adultery in 2006 and sentenced to death by stoning. A few weeks ago, the sentence was "temporarily halted" by Iranian officials, but Ashtiani still faces the death penalty. When stonings happen, how do they work? First, you get buried. Iran's Islamic Penal Code states that men convicted of adultery are to be buried in the ground up to their waists; women, up to their chests. If the conviction is based on the prisoner's confession, the law says, the presiding judge casts the first stone. If the conviction is based on witness testimony, the witnesses throw the first stones, then the judge, then everyone else—generally other court officials and security forces. Stones must be of medium size, according to the penal code: Not so big that one or two could kill the person, but not so small that you would call it a pebble. In other words, about the size of a tangerine. The whole process takes less than an hour. One possible upside of getting stoned is that people who manage to escape from the hole are allowed to go free. But this applies only to those who have confessed to their crimes. (If you were sentenced to stoning on the basis of witness testimony, then digging out of the hole does you no good.)

Islamic police smash 80,000 beer bottles in Nigeria
Now the atrocity-committing bastards have gone too far! Excerpt: Islamic police smashed 80,000 bottles of beer in the Nigerian city of Kano on Tuesday to enforce a sharia law ban on consumption of alcohol that exists in much of the country's north. Over a dozen veiled female sharia police, called Hisbah, destroyed the beer bottles with sticks amid shouts of "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great) on the outskirts of the northern city in a ceremony. The ceremony was attended by government officials as part of "efforts to rid the state of immorality," said Kano state Hisbah chief Saidu Dukawa. Kano city is the capital of the state by the same name. "The sale and consumption of alcohol, like all forms of drugs and intoxicants, is illegal in Kano state, which practices sharia law and by this event we are enforcing that ban," Dukawa told AFP.

Four guilty of bungled 'honour killings'
Evil and incompetent. Excerpt: Four men were convicted today of murdering a couple in a bungled honour killing arson attack. Abdullah Mohammed, 41, and his wife, Aysha Mohammed, 39, were overcome by smoke and fumes after petrol was poured through their letterbox and set alight. Hisamuddin Ibrahim, 21, wanted to punish a man who was having an affair with his married sister and ordered three men to cause a blaze at his terraced home in the early hours while he was asleep. But the wrong address was targeted as the blaze was started at the home of the Mohammeds in 175 London Road in Blackburn, Lancashire - instead of the intended address of 135 London Road.

Germany spends $1 million to train Somali police officers, who then desert and join the jihad
Excerpt: Training the enemy -- a policy that could only have been formulated by people who have no conception of the jihad doctrine or any will to fight it. "Hundreds of German-financed Somalia police officers go missing," from Deutsche Welle via Garowe Online, July 31….:Almost 1,000 Somali police have gone missing after their training was financed by the German government. It is feared these officers will now join forces with the Islamist militants Al-Shabaab.

Kagan's Alarming Record: Military, Guns, Abortion, Immigration

Muslims Know the Symbolism of the Ground Zero Mosque
Excerpt: Symbolism is at play in the debate over a grand mosque being built near the site of Islamic extremism’s greatest terrorist victory against a democracy. While many embrace its construction as symbolic of a democratic society’s tolerance, there is danger in not understanding the symbolically sinister side of its construction as well. As much as we hear about Islamic extremists only representing a small percentage of the Muslim community, it is difficult to forget the images of euphoria in many Muslim countries as news of the 9/11 attacks spread. Thousands of Muslims were seen rejoicing over the violent deaths of more than 3,000 innocent victims. While Islamic extremists had dealt the devastating blow, more than just Islam’s extremists joined in the euphoria over the pain and suffering it inflicted upon non-believers.

WikiLeaks' Cry for Help
The help we should give him should be a team to kill him, his team and destroy their equipment. I’m not kidding at all. Excerpt: Julian Assange’s team wants the Pentagon’s aid in reviewing a new batch of U.S. military secrets it plans to publish soon—and the Pentagon is reviewing WikiLeaks’ request. Philip Shenon reports. His secretive WikiLeaks website tells The Daily Beast it is making an urgent request to the Defense Department for help reviewing 15,000 still-secret American military reports to remove the names of Afghan civilians and others who might be endangered when the website makes the reports public. Schmitt said the site wanted to open a line of communication with the Defense Department to review an additional 15,000 classified reports in an effort to “make redactions so they can be safely published.” The request follows statements of regret from Assange and others at WikiLeaks that the site may have unintentionally endangered Afghan civilians with its first massive document dump—72,000 leaked classified American military reports from Afghanistan that revealed the names and home villages of hundreds of local informants who cooperated with American forces there. (If we're lucky, someone with both brains and balls in the 5-sided crazy house will say "sure." And when he/she has learned enough to make a major dent in their organization, there will be a coordinated attack with IEDs that can't be traced taking out a bunch of their people and data storage. No doubt they already thought of this and will take some precautions, but no way it can be complete. Ron P.)

Unanswered questions about plans for military memorial
The scum level in our society is approaching Third World proportions, and we will soon have Third World standards of living and crime. Excerpt: Questions are swirling around a $50 million project in Kennedale to honor veterans who have died since the September 11 terrorist attacks. The Texas Attorney General is looking into documentation behind the United States Fallen Heroes Foundation

Dems get pre-recess victory as Senate breaks funding impasse
Excerpt: The long slog is all but over. After months of trying, the Senate on Wednesday voted to end debate on legislation providing states with billions of dollars in emergency Medicaid funding through the first half of 2011. The vote lends a pre-recess legislative victory to Democratic leaders, who have struggled for months to pass the measure under threat from the nation's governors that a failure to do so would lead to layoffs and cuts to safety-net programs nationwide. The tally was 61 to 38, with Maine GOP Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe joining every Democrat in favor of the bill. "Many states have made tough, responsible choices — cutting important programs and [making] adjustments," Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said just before the vote. "We can't afford to kick them while they're down by denying them the [Medicaid] and teacher funding." The two moderate Republicans were drawn to support the measure after Democratic leaders scaled back the measure from $24 billion to $16.1 billion and provided offsets for the entire cost of the legislation, which includes $10 billion for education programs to prevent teacher layoffs.

Reid plans September showdown on extension of Bush tax cuts
Excerpt: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to take up legislation in September to address the tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush. Senior Democrats had expected the controversial issue to be postponed until after the election, when a fiscal responsibility commission appointed by President Obama is due to release its recommendations. Instead, Democrats will debate the highly contentious issue of whether to extend more than $3 trillion in tax cuts passed under Bush before Election Day. The tax cuts, which include reductions of the marginal income and capital gains tax rates and repeal of the estate tax, are due to expire at the end of the year. “I expect it to be on the floor in September,” said Reid spokesman Jim Manley.

Video: Patrick Kennedy tries to justify $2 million bike path on House floor, hilarity ensues
Excerpt: There’s one thing I can say about Patrick Kennedy – I’m going to miss his floor speeches. The comedy value is quite high.

Obama turns 49; GOP sends mocking regards
This is stupid politics. The people who will send the cards are already opposed to Obama. The undecided, who aren’t happy with his policies, still will not like the President being mocked on his birthday. This is a gift, all right. To Democrats. That they did the same type thing to Bush doesn’t make it smarter. Excerpt: On his 49th birthday Wednesday, President Obama received a promised "gift" from his friends at the Republican National Committee, in the form of a new Web site. Web surfers who sign onto the new page will be presented with more than a dozen cards to choose from, including ones featuring Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich. "Congrats on your big day!" reads the e-card from the indicted former governor. "In honor of your birthday, I decided not to testify."

Good Article: Charles Rangel, Maxine Waters and the House culture of entitlement
Nancy “drained the swamp” and look what turned up. Excerpt: My favorite part of the ethics report on Charlie Rangel involves his efforts to "close" a $10 million gift "to create AIG Hall" as part of the Rangel Center at the City College of New York. At a meeting in April 2008, the New York Democrat, then chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, "asked AIG, at least twice, what was necessary to get this done," according to the report. The insurance giant wasn't so sure about writing the check, citing the "potential headline risk." When AIG -- the company that paid out hundreds of millions in bonuses after being rescued by a government bailout -- recognizes an appearance issue, you know you've got a problem. Unless, that is, you're Charlie Rangel. Or, for that matter, Maxine Waters, the California Democrat who this week joined Rangel in being charged with ethics violations and in awaiting a public trial by the House ethics committee. Which gets to my favorite part of the ethics report on Waters. Fast-forward a few months after Rangel's meeting with AIG, to the first weeks of September 2008. This was, to put it mildly, a rather busy time for then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. The economy was tanking. Lehman Brothers was about to go down. But when a senior member of the Financial Services Committee calls, the Treasury secretary tends to listen. Waters said she had "some people in town who were important to her," Paulson recalled, and asked for a meeting with Treasury officials to discuss their concerns. How important to her? As Waters told the Office of Congressional Ethics, which conducted the preliminary investigation of her activities, "You don't use your chits for nothing. You call when there is an important issue." The issue broadly involved the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and its impact on minority-owned banks. But when Paulson's aides got to the meeting, they discovered that all but one of the banking industry participants were from one such institution: OneUnited. On whose board Waters's husband had served until a few months earlier. In which he continued to have investments worth $500,000 to $1 million. A fact Waters somehow neglected to mention to Paulson -- although she was most certainly aware of it. (Well, I’m not sure. I bet my wife has several million dollar investments I’m not aware of. We don’t trouble each other with the small stuff. ~Bob)

Ann McIlhinney of Ireland on America and politics
Great stuff.

1 comment:

  1. A thought about the mosque at Ground Zero.
    What is one of the oldest ways of demonstrating that a nation has been defeated?

    Tear down its temples and put up shrines to your own gods.