Saturday, October 16, 2010

Political Digest for October 16, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Nor that I disagree with them, of course.

Share with Nevada voters: Sen. Harry Reid Hit with Ethics Complaint
Excerpt: The 527 Harry Reid Votes will file an ethics complaint against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada as early as this Friday. The complaint alleges that Reid violated “the Senate rules of conduct by accepting certain contributions from the top executives of a federal government contractor,” according to a draft of the letter to be sent to the Select Committee on Ethics. At issue is over $100,000 of campaign contributions made by Nevada defense contractor Arcata Associates to both Reid and the Nevada Democrat Party. The small Nevada defense firm recently had a program terminated by the Department of Defense which was subsequently reinstated via an earmark request by Reid. According to Harry Reid Votes, the Obama administration initially rejected the earmark request, “but Senator Reid persisted to ensure that his major donor received funding.” An email from Arcata boss Tim Wong to PJM previously suggested that Arcata Associates has a long-standing corporate policy of supporting candidates. Corporate contributions to federal candidates are illegal if made by individuals on behalf of a corporation as Arcata’s email suggests.

Royal Society: doh!
Excerpt: Of the many pseudoscientific institutions responsible for pushing the pseudoscientific fraud of Man Made Global Warming in recent years, few have been quite so assiduous in promulgating the great lie as our own Royal Society. (H/T John O’Sullivan at Suite 101) “Pseudoscientific” may seem a bit of a harsh charge to lay at the door of the reverend body founded in 1660 whose alumni include such distinguished figures as Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Hans Sloane, Sir Joseph Banks and leading palaeopiezometrist Bob Ward. The problem is, in the latter part of the last century and the first bit of this one, it managed to urinate three centuries’ worth of credibility and rigour up against the wall by deciding to abandon all objectivity and act as cheerleader for the Man Made Global Warming lobby.

British defence cuts will weaken the Special Relationship and undermine NATO
Excerpt: I rarely find myself agreeing with Hillary Clinton, but she is absolutely right in warning against Whitehall’s planned defence cuts. As James Kirkup reports this evening, the US Secretary of State has made an extraordinary public intervention expressing her concern over the impact of British cuts on the future of the NATO alliance. According to the Telegraph report: Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, and Robert Gates, the secretary of defence, both said they were worried about deep reductions in Britain’s Armed Forces and the consequences for international security. The unusual public intervention came as talks on the defence budget went down to the wire, with defence chiefs making 11th-hour personal appeals to David Cameron against cuts last night.

British Anti-Islam Group Seeks US Tea Party Ties
Excerpt: Matthew Goodwin, a University of Nottingham professor and author of a new book about extremist groups in Britain, said the links being developed with American activists are potentially important. "We're seeing groups across Europe trying to form a transnational challenge to Islam," he said. "Going to the United States is particularly interesting because the far right in Britain has never gone that way, it has always gone toward Europe. If it did forge strong links to the Tea Party, it would be important because the Tea Party has significant resources." He said the English Defense League has gained momentum in the last year and can now draw roughly one thousand people to its confrontational rallies. The membership includes mostly white, working class men, including many with links to football hooliganism, he said.

Anti-Foreigner Attitudes Surge in Germany
Excerpt: Negative attitudes toward foreigners living in Germany have increased so much during 2010 that a third of Germans say they want foreigners repatriated, and 10 percent of Germans would prefer to have a “führer” (a derogatory word only used in reference to Hitler) take charge, according to a new report by published Wednesday.

Muslims Target TV/Internet Evangelist for Death
Excerpt: Bill Keller, leader of the world's largest interactive Christian website for 11 years,, has received numerous death threats from Muslims over the years for his stand that Islam is "a false religion, with a false book, and a false prophet." Keller, who has been in the national and international press recently for opening his "9-11 Christian Center at Ground Zero" as a response to the proposed mosque by the site of the attacks of 9/11, received a detailed call from a person stating they represent the Islamic Center of Southwest Florida in Ft. Myers. The call explicitly stated that Keller would be killed for his disrespect of "Allah" and the "Islamic religion." (Terrible. Okay, however, if Muslims say such things about other religions. ~Bob.)

Greed is good
Excerpt: If those miners had been trapped a half-mile down like this 25 years ago anywhere on earth, they would be dead. What happened over the past 25 years that meant the difference between life and death for those men? Short answer: the Center Rock drill bit. This is the miracle bit that drilled down to the trapped miners. Center Rock Inc. is a private company in Berlin, Pa. It has 74 employees. The drill’s rig came from Schramm Inc. in West Chester, Pa. Seeing the disaster, Center Rock’s president, Brandon Fisher, called the Chileans to offer his drill. Chile accepted. The miners are alive. Longer answer: The Center Rock drill, heretofore not featured on websites like Engadget or Gizmodo, is in fact a piece of tough technology developed by a small company in it for the money, for profit. That’s why they innovated down-the-hole hammer drilling. If they make money, they can do more innovation. In an open economy, you will never know what is out there on the leading developmental edge of this or that industry. But the reality behind the miracles is the same: Someone innovates something useful, makes money from it, and re-innovates, or someone else trumps their innovation. Most of the time, no one notices. All it does is create jobs, wealth and well-being. But without this system running in the background, without the year-over-year progress embedded in these capitalist innovations, those trapped miners would be dead.

Mexican police search for husband of slain college student
Excerpt: Mexican police searched Thursday for the estranged husband of a slain woman believed to be a San Diego City College student after finding his car in a Tijuana neighborhood. Tijuana police issued a public notice asking for help in finding Armando Gabriel Perez, who has been named as a person of interest in the death of the woman whose body was found Tuesday in a men's room at the downtown campus. Positive identification was awaiting fingerprint comparisons, but investigators believe the body is that of 19-year-old Diana Gonzalez of National City, the mother of a 9-month-old girl, San Diego police Capt. Jim Collins said. Police refused to describe the woman's injuries, but Collins said her condition made it difficult to identify her. Perez was considered armed and dangerous after his blue 1999 Ford Mustang was discovered in a neighborhood in the western part of Tijuana. Last month, Gonzalez filed a police report accusing Perez of kidnapping and repeatedly assaulting her while holding her captive for several days in motel rooms, Collins said. The husband was jailed as San Diego police investigated and forwarded the case to the district attorney's office, which declined to file charges. Perez was released from custody four days later, the captain said. (Can’t hold Mexicans, that would be racist—it’s a sanctuary city! ~Bob.)

While The World Watches, Michelle Breaks the Law, Campaigns Inside a Polling Place
Don’t be silly. This is Illinois. Appling the law to her would be as crazy as apply the residency law to Rahm Emmanuel in his run for Mayor. ~Bob. Excerpt: First lady Michelle Obama appears to have violated Illinois law — when she engaged in political discussion at a polling place! The drama began after Mrs. Obama stopped off at the Martin Luther King Center on the south side of Chicago to cast an early vote. After finishing at the machine, Obama went back to the desk and handed in her voting key. She let voters including electrician Dennis Campbell, 56, take some photos. “She was telling me how important it was to vote to keep her husband’s agenda going,” Campbell said. According to a pool reporter from the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES at the scene, the conversation took place IN the voting center not far from the booths.

Great quote on the above story
A top Illinois State Board of Elections official tells the DRUDGE REPORT how Mrs. Obama may have simply been ignorant of the law and thus violated it unintentionally. “You kind of have to drop the standard for the first lady, right?” the official explained late Thursday. “I mean, she’s pretty well liked and probably doesn’t know what she’s doing.”…

New government panel's mission is to empower public with health-care knowledge
Excerpt: Steven Lipstein was in New Delhi preparing for a hike in the Himalayas last month when his cellphone rang. A colleague at the Association of American Medical Colleges on the other end of the line told him he'd been selected by the Government Accountability Office to be vice chairman of the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute's board. If you're not familiar with the board, you're not alone. Created by the health-care overhaul law, it's one of the newest and least known panels in government. But the work of its 21 members, if successful, could increase the public's knowledge of medical treatments for everything from attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder to cancer. And it could dramatically change how you discuss treatments with your doctor when the law is fully implemented in 2014. "I was very excited," said Lipstein, president and chief executive of BJC HealthCare in St. Louis, which operates 13 hospitals with more than 26,000 employees. The board, whose academic members are scattered across the nation, has since held two conference calls to discuss its incorporation, how often it will meet and where to hold its first face-to-face meeting, probably in November, Lipstein said.

Public Works and Pyramids
Excerpt: Herbert fails to mention that Christie vetoed the project because huge cost overruns would have imposed a crushing burden on New Jersey taxpayers. Paul Krugman (not surprisingly) counters that getting rid of what economists call “externalities” (such as traffic congestion) would magically transform the multibillion-dollar expenditures from red to black ink. Therefore, a costly boondoggle always can be justified as a net plus for taxpayers. (So wasting money creates jobs? Great. Send me a few million taxpayer dollars and I’ll create jobs for home builders, car makers, resort workers and Hooters servers, all in America. Happy to help—it’s the least I can do for my country. But letting “The Rich” keep and spend the money they earned apparently doesn’t create jobs. ~Bob.)

Keeping the Poor in Poverty
Poor people tend to vote Democrat. Why would Democrats want fewer poor people? ~Bob. Excerpt: They talk frequently about the poor. They lavish programs upon them. (Last year the Obama administration increased spending on means-tested and other anti-poverty programs by $120 billion, to a total of just under $600 billion.) But they seem curiously indifferent — if not actually hostile — to proposals that might actually reduce poverty in America. For example, few things are as important in helping people escape poverty as education. High-school dropouts are more than twice as likely to end up in poverty as those who complete at least a high-school education. They are less likely to find jobs, and if they do their wages will be low. In inflation-adjusted terms, wages for high-school dropouts have declined by more than 23 percent in the past 40 years. In an increasingly competitive world economy, where success requires advanced skills and technical knowledge, that situation is only going to get worse. As the Department of Education warns in a typical government understatement, “In terms of employment, earnings, and family formation, dropouts from high school face difficulties in making the transition to the adult world.”

Hiding the cost of government leads to bigger government
Excerpt: There you are, about to sign the papers, when the car salesman offers to throw in a $1,000 options package. He knows those options will cost you a further $440 by reducing the performance of your new car’s engine, but he doesn’t tell you that. Sounds sleazy, right? Congress does it every day. Politicians love to rail against car dealers and mortgage lenders who surprise consumers with hidden costs. Yet Congress hides from voters a huge part of the cost of government: the hidden costs of taxes, which include lost income and jobs. Failing to account for these costs creates a bias in favor of bigger government and a less efficient tax code. When the government taxes apples, people buy and sell fewer apples. That leaves both buyers and sellers worse off. The same thing happens when government taxes other goods, labor, or capital.

How to Reform ObamaCare Starting Now
Excerpt: The Republican rallying cry during this election season has been a promise to "repeal and replace" ObamaCare. The problem is that through at least 2012 President Obama would veto any law repealing his signature health-care legislation. What, then, can Republicans do in the next two years? Look to the states. After November, more than 30 Republican governors (many newly elected) will have the opportunity to resist the legislation at the state level. They could refuse to implement the health-care exchanges that are the core of ObamaCare. Doing so would force the federal government to step in and run the exchanges for the states—a chore that would slow down federal implementation of ObamaCare but fail to provide any alternative solution to insurance coverage problems. The more promising option is for governors to perform as much radical surgery as possible on the exchanges until a new Congress working with a different president can do something better. By offering their own market-friendly versions of exchanges, they will establish an alternative to ObamaCare and its one-size-fits-all health plans.

In many congressional swing districts, seniority is falling by wayside
Excerpt: So out went Pombo, with his cowboy hat and ostrich-skin boots, and in stepped Democrat Jerry McNerney, a soft-spoken mathematics PhD and windmill entrepreneur. Four years later, voters appear ready to kick out McNerney in favor of a new, new guy. That puts this swing district, like more than two dozen others across the nation, on the cusp of possibly having its third congressman in four years - or two years, in some cases. "I think we ought to kick 'em all out," Bob Stevhens, 67, a retired real estate agent, said as he sipped iced tea at a downtown cafe this week. "The more seniority, the more apt I'd be to vote against 'em. Look at the results they've gotten us." The 2010 midterm elections can be interpreted any number of ways - President Obama and the Democrats overreached, the tea party movement is ascendant, the people are angry and angsty. But in the minds of voters here the calculus is much simpler: Things are bad and getting worse, so a change must be made. And another change, and another change until things get better.

Eight Straight Suicides
Are these hate crimes? Why not? ~Bob. Excerpt: Officials on college campuses across the nation are alarmed at a wave of recent suicides involving Christians who have been harassed by homosexual activists. The main stream media isn’t covering the story so, as usual, I have taken it upon myself to do their jobs for them. None of the following eight cases have been covered by any of the three major news networks.

Why Can't We Criticize What's Wrong with Islam?
The media calls it “insensitive,” meaning, “I’m not getting my head cut off for a story about women’s rights or anything else.” ~Bob. Excerpt: What's your opinion of polygamy? Many consider the practice immoral and it's illegal in this country and most of the developed world. It's probably not just coincidence that few, if any, polygamous countries are liberal democratic societies in which women enjoy equal rights. Anthropologists have noted that in a polygamous society many men end up as "bare branches"-sexually frustrated and prone to enlist in violent enterprises, especially those that bring status and glory; a jihad, for example. But the sports section of The New York Times, in a recent profile of a member of the Jordanian royal family, gave the impression that polygamy is just another lifestyle choice. The article observes that 36-year-old Princess Haya bint al-Hussein has "long challenged what it means to be a princess" by pursuing a career as "an equestrian athlete" who drives "her horses across Europe in a custom tractor-trailer." And, oh yes, by the way, she happens to be the "worldly junior wife of Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, 61, making appearances in jeans, her long hair flowing..." So it's probably for the best that, as the Times delicately adds, the Sheik's "senior wife leads a more private life." …. The examples above illustrate the extent to which our media and cultural elites now accept and even embrace behaviors they would otherwise find repugnant - e.g. gender apartheid and insensitivity toward the victims of terrorism - when such behaviors have Islamic roots. Fadéla Amara, the French official, perceives this as a consequence of cultural relativism -- Westerners declining to denounce not only polygamy and the niqab, but even "forced marriages or female genital mutilation, because, they say, it's tradition." Such condescension, she adds, is "nothing more than neo-colonialism."

India: Muslims thrash reporter for asking an inconvenient question
Freedom of the Press just one more freedom that doesn’t exist where Muslims have power. Note it was over a Mosque built, like so many over the years, on a site sacred to those defeated by Islam. ~Bob. Excerpt: Shahi Imam of the Delhi Jama Masjid, Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari, on Thursday lost his cool when a journalist questioned him regarding the Ayodhya verdict during a press conference, following which he was thrashed by supporters of the cleric. Mohammed Abdul Waheed Chisti, a reporter with a local Urdu daily, raised a question relating to the ownership of the disputed site before the construction of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya.

Non-Religious or ‘Unaffiliated’ Voters Losing Faith in Democrats, Research Shows
Excerpt: People who identify themselves as not religious or “unaffiliated” with a particular religion are as important to the Democratic base as religious conservatives are to the GOP. But this “non-religious or unaffiliated” demographic is turning away from Democrats, a senior researcher with the Pew Research Center said on Wednesday. Among the religiously “unaffiliated,” there’s been a 7-point drop in support for the Democratic Party in recent Pew polls, said Greg Smith of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. He spoke at a panel discussion on the role religion may play in the mid-term election. The event at the National Press Club was hosted by Catholic University.

Your Pre-Election Post-Mortem
Fun column, on target.

The night we waved goodbye to America... our last best hope on Earth
Prescient article from Britain in November, 08. ~Bob. Excerpt: Anyone would think we had just elected a hip, skinny and youthful replacement for God, with a plan to modernise Heaven and Hell – or that at the very least John Lennon had come back from the dead. The swooning frenzy over the choice of Barack Obama as President of the United States must be one of the most absurd waves of self-deception and swirling fantasy ever to sweep through an advanced civilisation. At least Mandela-worship – its nearest equivalent – is focused on a man who actually did something. I really don’t see how the Obama devotees can ever in future mock the Moonies, the Scientologists or people who claim to have been abducted in flying saucers. This is a cult like the one which grew up around Princess Diana, bereft of reason and hostile to facts.

MTV town-hall questioner hits Obama on hypocrisy over CA pot legalization
Excerpt: Nathan Martin spoke up at the MTV town-hall forum to ask President Obama why he has intervened to stop Arizona from enforcing immigration law but has yet to intervene to stop California from flouting federal law on marijuana. Martin is actually a member of the Salem family; he works as an associate producer on Bill Bennett’s nationally-syndicated Morning in America radio show. Nathan probably walked away rather disappointed, because he didn’t actually get an answer to his question. Instead, Obama delivered a talking-points defense of Amnesty Lite:

FDA to Revoke Knee-Device Approval, Saying It Erred
When you mix politics and medicine. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday said it planned to revoke a medical-device company's right to sell a knee implant called Menaflex after an unprecedented yearlong review concluded the agency erred in allowing it on the market. The FDA's top device regulator, Jeffrey Shuren, called it an "unusual, unique" circumstance. The FDA sometimes removes devices when new safety data emerge, but it is rare for the agency to call the entire approval process flawed and redo the evaluation. The move follows a March 2009 article in The Wall Street Journal that said a team of FDA reviewers and their manager had repeatedly rejected the device because of questions about its safety and efficacy. The article described intense lobbying and pressure on the agency by four congressional Democrats from New Jersey, home of Menaflex maker ReGen Biologics Inc. (...) ReGen can appeal the decision, and FDA officials said the process of revoking the company's approval to market the device in the U.S. could take up to a year. Until then, the device can still legally be sold. ReGen said Thursday it was weighing its options. "The product has been approved and in use successfully in Europe for nearly 10 years with approximately 3,000 patients and there has never been a safety issue associated with the device," the company said in a statement.

Immigration raid at Otay Mesa bakery
Excerpt: The owner and managers of a wholesale San Diego bakery have been charged with harboring illegal immigrants after a workplace raid found more than half of the workers were undocumented aliens, according to criminal complaints filed in federal court on Thursday. Out of 73 employees at the bakery on Wednesday, 41 were determined to be illegal immigrants, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Three more arrests were made at a manager's home. S&S Bakery makes and distributes baked goods to federal offices, military bases, prisons, hospitals and schools. An office manager at the bakery declined to comment when reached by phone. Five criminal suspects in the case have been scheduled for arraignment in court Friday and Monday. (Mucho aliens and company bosses arrested and charged! Great job, ICE! And it all started with a tip from a citizen. Remember, report all suspected aliens and employers of illegals to the ICE tip line at: 866-347-2423. 'Observe and report' is not just for the border! Also if you have a problem day labor site, call the nearest Border Patrol station or ICE office. –DH)

Democratic Funding Fades
Excerpt: A late effort by Democrats to match record fund raising by conservative organizations has come up short, leaving the party more reliant than usual on the campaign efforts of labor unions. A key pro-Democratic group, recently created by top party insiders to build a "firewall" around the Democrats' majority in the House, said Thursday it hoped to raise $10 million. That's a fraction of the $50 million that an alliance of GOP groups said Tuesday they would spend to help Republicans in dozens of House races.

Tea Party Set to Win Enough Races for Wide Influence
Excerpt: Enough Tea Party-supported candidates are running strongly in competitive and Republican-leaning Congressional races that the movement stands a good chance of establishing a sizable caucus to push its agenda in the House and the Senate, according to a New York Times analysis. With a little more than two weeks till Election Day, 33 Tea Party-backed candidates are in tossup races or running in House districts that are solidly or leaning Republican, and 8 stand a good or better chance of winning Senate seats.

America's Food Stamp Culture
My dad was a school teacher, mother a part-time dental assistant. Guess that made us “middle class.” When we could afford soda, it was an off brand from a local bottler, in returnable quart bottles. ~Bob. Excerpt: Many Americans can remember a time when a Coca-Cola was a treat: You had one now and then. But most middle-class Americans didn't drink Coca-Cola and similar carbonated drinks all the time, as if they were water. For one thing, it was too expensive to do that for most individuals and most families. Today, that's no longer the case. Today, a Coca-Cola is an entitlement in America. But it's not an entitlement for everybody. Rather, it's an entitlement for people who have fallen on hard times or are permanently stuck in them -- people who are on America's growing food stamp dole. Recently, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for a ban to prohibit the city's 1.7 million food stamp recipients from using their federal food allowance to buy sugary soda drinks. Ostensibly, Bloomberg is concerned about health-related problems for New Yorkers on food stamps. After all, large numbers of them are fat or suffering from diabetes, and one reason for this, say health experts, is their large consumption of all those empty calories in sugary drinks popular among low-income New Yorkers -- mainly blacks and Hispanics on the food stamp dole. They're suffering from what Bloomberg's office calls an "obesity epidemic." Indeed, in New York City's public schools, 46 percent of Hispanic children, 40 percent of African-American children, and 40 percent of all children are overweight or obese -- according to Bloomberg's office. The problem is substantially worse in low-income areas, said the mayor's office. Bloomberg, a Democrat-turned-Republican and now an independent, is not so politically foolish as to suggest that many New Yorkers on food stamps are irresponsible people living in an "entitlement culture." But his call for a ban on using food stamps to buy sugary drinks amounts to the same thing because it would, if approved by Washington bureaucrats, force many food stamp recipients to adjust their lifestyles and make smarter supermarket purchases.

'Grave danger of financial collapse' says Clarke
Excerpt: The world faces a "grave danger of financial collapse" and the UK is "not out of the woods" yet, Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke warned today. "I actually am one of those who believes, with a grave danger of financial collapse, we're not out of the woods in the western world yet. There is an extremely serious financial crisis," he said. Mr Clarke said the UK has "rescued ourselves at the moment", but he added: "If we fail to deliver with the (CSR) programme we're going to set out, we'll be back there all too soon."

Lieberman could be kingmaker if next Senate is divided 50-50
Excerpt: Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) could have the power to decide who controls the Senate after the midterm elections. Polling suggests Republicans could pick up as many as nine seats this fall, making a 50-50 split between the two parties a distinct possibility.

New documents uncovered by Judicial Watch show Pelosi took 85 trips on military aircraft
Your tax dollars at work, supporting the entitlement mentality. In five terms as a state senator, I took one taxpayer-paid trip—to the garden spot of Springfield, MA for a committee hearing. ~Bob. Excerpt: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and members of her family and staff took 85 tax-paid trips on military aircraft between March 2, 2009, and June 7, 2010, according to new documents uncovered by Judicial Watch. Pelosi's daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons were on the June 20, 2009, flight from Andrews AFB to San Francisco where Pelosi resides, according to the documents. On July 2, 2010, Pelosi took a grandson on a flight from Andrews to Travis AFB, north of San Francisco.

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