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.
Long, but a lot of important stuff today. ~Bob.
Fannie, Freddie bailout could nearly double in size
Liberalism. The gift that goes on taking. ~Bob. Excerpt: The federal bailout for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could nearly double in size during the next three years, according to projections from the companies' federal regulator. Fannie and Freddie, the federally controlled mortgage finance giants, will need as much as $215 billion more from taxpayers in the next three years to meet their financial obligations, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said Thursday, but much of that money would automatically be returned to the government. The growing taxpayer infusions will cover losses Fannie and Freddie suffer on home loans, as well as payments the companies must make to the U.S. Treasury in exchange for a federal guarantee to provide cash to keep the companies solvent.
NPR fires Juan Williams over anti-Muslim remarks
He’s black, but in the Political Correct Game, Muslim and Hispanic now trump black. I think Muslim trumps Hispanic, but it’s hard to keep up. Everything trumps facts. ~Bob. Excerpt: Veteran journalist Juan Williams was fired from his job as a senior news analyst for National Public Radio late Wednesday because of comments he made about Muslims and terrorism on "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News Channel. NPR said in a statement that Williams's remarks - including that he gets "worried" and "nervous" when he sees people dressed in Muslim-style clothing on airplanes - "were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR." Williams, 56, made the remarks Monday after the show's host, Bill O'Reilly, asked him whether he thought the United States was facing a "Muslim dilemma." O'Reilly said that "jihad, aided and abetted by some Muslim nations, is the biggest threat on the planet." Williams, who is African American and writes and speaks frequently on race, told O'Reilly that he agreed with his assessment. "I mean, look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country," he said. "But when I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they're identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous." Williams also brought up a statement made in a New York courtroom this month by Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani American who pleaded guilty to trying to detonate a bomb in Times Square and was sentenced to life in prison. "He said the war with Muslims, America's war is just beginning, first drop of blood. I don't think there's any way to get away from these facts," said Williams. At the same time, Williams--who is also an analyst and commentator for Fox News--cautioned O'Reilly about making inflammatory statements, or defining all Muslims as posing a terror threat. "We don't want, in America, people to have their rights violated, to be attacked on the street because they hear rhetoric from Bill O'Reilly and they act crazy," Williams said. Williams said he agreed with critics who blasted O'Reilly for saying recently on the television show "The View" that "Muslims killed us on 9/11."
Poll: Do you agree with Juan?
Must read: From the heart of a Muslim - Tawfik Hamid
Excerpt: I was born a Muslim and lived all my life as a follower of Islam. After the barbaric terrorist attacks done by the hands of my fellow Muslims everywhere on this globe, and after the too many violent acts by Islamists in many parts of the world, I feel responsible as a Muslim and as a human being, to speak out and tell the truth to protect the world and Muslims as well from a coming catastrophe and war of civilizations. I have to admit that our current Islamic teaching creates violence and hatred toward Non-Muslims. We Muslims are the ones who need to change. Until now we have accepted polygamy, the beating of women by men, and killing those who convert from Islam to other religions. We have never had a clear and strong stand against the concept of slavery or wars, to spread our religion and to subjugate others to Islam and force them to pay a humiliating tax called Jizia. We ask others to respect our religion while all the time we curse non-Muslims loudly (in Arabic) in our Friday prayers in the Mosques. What message do we convey to our children when we call the Jews "Descendants of the pigs and monkeys".. Is this a message of love and peace, or a message of hate? I have been into churches and synagogues where they were praying for Muslims. While all the time we curse them, and teach our generations to call them infidels, and to hate them. We immediately jump in a 'knee jerk reflex' to defend Prophet Mohammed when someone accuses him of being a pedophile while, at the same time, we are proud with the story in our Islamic books, that he married a young girl seven years old (Aisha) when he was above 50 years old. I am sad to say that many, if not most of us, rejoiced in happiness after September 11th and after many other terror attacks. Muslims denounce these attacks to look good in front of the media, but we condone the Islamic terrorists and sympathise with their cause. Till now our 'reputable' top religious authorities have never issued a Fatwa or religious statement to proclaim Bin Laden as an apostate, while an author, like Rushdie, was declared an apostate who should be killed according to Islamic Shariia law just for writing a book criticizing Islam. Muslims demonstrated to get more religious rights as we did in France to stop the ban on the Hejab (Head Scarf), while we did not demonstrate with such passion and in such numbers against the terrorist murders. It is our absolute silence against the terrorists that gives the energy to these terrorists to continue doing their evil acts. We Muslims need to stop blaming our problems on others or on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. As a matter of honesty, Israel is the only light of democracy, civilization, and human rights in the whole Middle East. We kicked out the Jews with no compensation or mercy from most of the Arab countries to make them "Jews-Free countries" while Israel accepted more than a million Arabs to live there, have its nationality, and enjoy their rights as human beings. In Israel , women can not be beaten legally by men, and any person can change his/her belief system with no fear of being killed by the Islamic law of 'Apostasy,' while in our Islamic world people do not enjoy any of these rights.. I agree that the 'Palestinians' suffer, but they suffer because of their corrupt leaders and not because of Israel. It is not common to see Arabs who live in Israel leaving to live in the Arab world. On the other hand, we used to see thousands of Palestinians going to work with happiness in Israel , its 'enemy'. If Israel treats Arabs badly as some people claim, surely we would have seen the opposite happening. We Muslims need to admit our problems and face them. Only then we can treat them and start a new era to live in harmony with human mankind. Our religious leaders have to show a clear and very strong stand against polygamy, pedophilia, slavery, killing those who convert from Islam to other religions, beating of women by men, and declaring wars on non-Muslims to spread Islam.
National Debt Up $3 Trillion on Obama's Watch
When do we hit the wall and become France? ~Bob. Excerpt: New numbers posted today on the Treasury Department website show the National Debt has increased by more than $3 trillion since President Obama took office. The National Debt stood at $10.626 trillion the day Mr. Obama was inaugurated. The Bureau of Public Debt reported today that the National Debt had hit an all time high of $13.665 trillion. The Debt increased $4.9 trillion during President Bush's two terms. The Administration has projected the National Debt will soar in Mr. Obama's fourth year in office to nearly $16.5-trillion in 2012. That's more than 100 percent of the value of the nation's economy and $5.9-trillion above what it was his first day on the job.
In 15 of last 25 months, Treasury needed to borrow money to pay Social Security http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/august-social-security-paid-out-more-it
But what about all that money in the Social Security Trust Fund? Chuckle, snort. Yes, I know it went to buy votes in past elections. ~Bob. Excerpt: "Prior to August 2008, the Social Security system usually—but not always—ran monthly surpluses, and surplus Social Security taxes were always used by the government to cover deficits in the general federal budget with a promise by the Treasury to eventually pay the money back to the Social Security trust fund when the funds were needed to cover anticipated shortfalls in Social Security revenue. Surplus Social Security tax revenue was never actually set aside to cover these anticipated deficits in Social Security. It was always immediately spent. In August, the latest month on record, the Social Security system was $8.621 billion in the red, according to the Social Security Administration. That was the fifteenth month since August 2008 in which the system posted a monthly deficit. Back in August 2008, the Social Security system dipped into deficit by $118 million. For more than decade prior to August 2008, however, the Social Security system ran up an unbroken string of monthly surpluses. The last time before August 2008 that the system posted a deficit in any given month was November 1997, when it ran a $154 million deficit. November was the only month in 1997 that the Social Security system ran a deficit. In the 259 months from January 1987 to August 2010, according to data published by the Social Security Administration, Social Security ran deficits in 22 months, or about 8 percent of the time. In the 25 months since August 2008, Social Security has run deficits 60 percent of the time. In a summary of their annual report released in August, the Social Security trustees predicted that the Social Security system would run an annual deficit in 2010 for the first time since 1983, and that it would also run an annual deficit in 2011. After that, the trustees predicted, Social Security would run “small surpluses” in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and then, barring changes in the system, lurch permanently into the red as the bulk of the Baby Boom moved into retirement began collecting benefits."
Republicans Kind of Suck … Which Is Why They Will Win Huge in November
Excerpt: Now let’s look at what led us to the political situation we’re in. During the second term of the Bush presidency people just got fed up with Republicans. They were idiots, they were no good at the whole fiscal conservatism thing (which is sort of the whole point of them), we had these wars that seemed to be going nowhere, and the economy was beginning to fail. They sucked, and people were sick and tired of them. Thus people turned to the Democrats. And Obama. Let’s just say they also sucked. AMERICANS: “So, the economy is pretty bad and there’s high employment. You think you can do something about that?” DEMOCRATS AND OBAMA: “We can spend a trillion dollars we don’t have on pork and stuff.” AMERICANS: “No … that’s not what we want. We’d really like you not to do that.” DEMOCRATS: “You’re stupid. We’re doing it anyway.” AMERICANS: “That’s not going to help us get jobs!” DEMOCRATS: “Sure it will; millions of them … though they may be invisible. You’ll have to trust us they exist. And guess what else we’ll do: We’ll create a giant new government program to take over health care.” AMERICANS: “That has nothing to do with jobs!” DEMOCRATS: “We don’t care about that anymore. We really want a giant new health care program. We’re sure you’ll love it.” AMERICANS: “Don’t pass that bill. You hear me? Absolutely do not pass that bill.” DEMOCRATS: “Believe me; you’ll love it. It has … well, I don’t know what exactly is in the bill, but we’re sure it’s great.” AMERICANS: “Listen to me: DO. NOT. PASS. THAT. BILL.” DEMOCRATS: “You’re not the boss of me! We’re doing it anyway!” (...) So the Democrats sucked. But not just plain old, usual politician sucked, but epic levels of suck where it’s hard to find an analogue in human history that conveys the same level of suckitude. It was sheer incompetence plus arrogance — and those things do not complement each other well. (The author makes his point with humor that is nevertheless true. Bob has said many times he votes for Republicans because they are killing us slower than Democrats. I agree. Ron P.)
Obama may opt for new military advisers
Excerpt: President Obama, who has clashed with the military top brass over war and gays, will soon have a chance to reshape the Joint Chiefs of Staff as he faces contentious decisions next year on withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and on ending some weapons systems. The admirals and generals who today make up the six Joint Chiefs were largely nurtured by Bush administration Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who took a keen interest in finding and promoting officers who impressed him. Mr. Obama has had differences with some of them. The outgoing Marine Corps commandant, Gen. James Conway, for example, has openly questioned the White House's July 2011 deadline to start a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Mr. Obama and his top military adviser clashed privately over Afghanistan troop strength, a new book reveals. Next year, the president will have the opportunity to replace four of the six, unless he breaks with tradition and extends their tenures. The pending exits include the Joint Chiefs chairman, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, whose term ends in September, and Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, the vice chairman, whose term ends in August. Also due to retire in 2011 are the heads of the Army, Gen. George Casey in April, and the Navy, Adm. Gary Roughead in September. Mr. Obama made his first appointment to the chiefs this summer when he nominated Gen. James Amos to replace Gen. Conway. Retired Gen. Carl Mundy, a former Marine Corps commandant who served on the Joint Chiefs under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, said Mr. Obama's chance to reshape the body "probably does" help the president, "especially in the case of the chairman. He is, after all, the principal military adviser to the president."
The new Republican right
Excerpt: A fundamental change is gripping the Republican grass roots as they animate the GOP surge to a major victory in the 2010 elections. No longer do evangelical or social issues dominate the Republican ground troops. Now economic and fiscal issues prevail. The Tea Party has made the Republican Party safe for libertarians. There is still a litmus test for admission to the Republican Party. But no longer is it dominated by abortion, guns and gays. Now, keeping the economy free of government regulation, reducing taxation and curbing spending are the chemicals that turn the paper pink. It is one of the fundamental planks in the Tea Party platform that the movement does not concern itself with social issues. At the Tea Parties, evangelical pro-lifers rub shoulders happily with gay libertarians. They are united by their anger at Obama’s economic policies, fear of his deficits and horror at his looming tax increases. Obama’s agenda has effectively removed the blocks that stopped tens of millions of social moderates from joining the GOP. As a byproduct of this sea change in the Republican Party, GOP grassroots activists are no longer just concentrated in the South. They are spread all throughout the nation, as prominent in Ohio as in Alabama, in New York as in Georgia, in California as in Nevada. The Tea Party’s focus on fiscal and economic issues finds deep resonance among voters of all stripes, united as they are in economic hardship and disappointed as they all are by Obama’s economic program. This antipathy to federal policies is paving the way for vast Republican inroads in normally solid Democratic turf like New York state, Massachusetts, California and Washington state.
France burns as strike descends into violence: President Sarkozy vows to crush petrol blockades crippling country
When you run out of other people’s money to pay the entitlement bills, it gets ugly. It will here, too. ~Bob. Excerpt: France teetered on the edge of a complex and multi-layered crisis yesterday as petrol shortages worsened and violence by disaffected suburban youths spread and intensified. Around 3.5 million people, according to unions – about the same or marginally fewer than last week – joined marches around the country to protest against President Nicolas Sarkozy's plans to raise the retirement age to 62. One-day strikes in the public sector disrupted rail and air services but were patchily observed by workers in other sectors. The sense of crisis threatening the country came not from these "official" protests but from spreading blockages of schools and universities by students and by continuing strikes at oil refineries and the picketing of fuel distribution depots by hardline union branches.
Hardliners call for deaths of Surrey Muslims
Didn’t get the memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: Islamic extremists have started openly calling for the destruction of a controversial Muslim sect in a major escalation of sectarian conflict within British Islam, an investigation by The Independent has revealed. Members of the Ahmadiyya Community have seen a significant upsurge in threats and intimidation over the past four months, sparked by an extremist attack on two of their largest mosques in Pakistan earlier this year. Hardline Islamists in Britain have been distributing leaflets calling for the murder of Ahmadi Muslims in Kingston-upon-Thames whilst mosques have been vandalised in Newham and Crawley. Preachers in south London have also been orchestrating a boycott of Ahmadi businesses and Ofcom has had to reprimand an Islamic satellite channel for repeatedly calling the sect "Wajib-ul Qatal" - an Arabic phrase used to describe those who digress from mainstream Islam that translates as "liable for death". Community leaders say the upsurge in animosity towards Ahmadis is directly linked to violence in Pakistan where local Taliban militants have declared war on sects that they deem to be heretical such as the Ahmadis and the Shi'a. Although the Ahmadis have been targeted by extremists in the past, the combined attacks on two mosques in Lahore in May was the most brazen assault on their community yet, with 93 worshippers killed as they gathered for Friday prayers, including a number of Britons.
Toughest job in the world: Woman, 20, becomes police chief in one of Mexico's most violent border towns... because no one else will do it
Not sure this was a good career move. ~Bob. Excerpt: A twenty-year-old woman has been appointed as police chief of one of Mexico’s most violent border towns. Criminology student Marisol Valles Garcia is about to get a quick lesson in the harsh realities of keeping the peace in a state overrun by drug traffickers. She took charge on Monday of security in crime-plagued Guadalupe Distrito Bravo, a town with a population of 10,000 close to the U.S. border. The town’s last mayor, Jesus Manuel Lara Rodriguez, was killed in June after receiving death threats from drug gangs that control the region. Local police officers have also been kidnapped and murdered over the past four years. At least eight people were killed in the town during the last week alone, according to local reports. Guadalupe is just 50 miles east of Ciudad Juarez, branded one of the deadliest cities in the world
The Liberal Elite and Black Intellectual Serfdom
Excerpt: Recently, while campaigning for the upcoming midterm elections, President Obama engaged in classic liberal race-baiting by demagogically asserting that Republicans are counting on blacks not turning up to the polls. However, despite Obama's agenda in making that assertion, unfortunately, the underlying premise of his comment is accurate: the majority of blacks unthinkingly vote for Democrats in droves. It is my contention that black people who diligently vote for Democrats are intellectual slaves to the liberal agenda, inasmuch as they, for the most part, are ignorant of the history of the Democratic Party and vote for policies that harm their communities. It is only a black intellectual slave who can observe the impact of liberal policies on the black community without having a scintilla of unease about pulling the lever for Democrats -- election after election. Black liberals have been cleverly coaxed into believing that Democrats have their best interests at heart because these Democrats no longer don white pointed hoods, lynch people, and burn crosses. With more sophistication than the mass-murdering tactics they employed in the days of yore, Democrats continue to actively perpetuate insidious policies that keep blacks on the lowest rung of the socioeconomic totem pole. The most prominent method that Democrats currently use to advance their atrocious policies in the black community is the use of black liberal elites as decoys. Capitalism for the Goose, Socialism for the Gander. Unsurprisingly, the actions -- as opposed to the rhetoric -- of people who promote the "magnificence" of socialism show that they believe socialism is good only for others, whereas capitalism is fit for their lives. Career race-baiters, like Al Sharpton, would not be doing what they do if there were little to no financial incentive. Fanning the flames of racial division across the country and incessantly calling for socialist handouts for blacks, frankly, would get rather boring without a lucrative $1,000,000 paycheck at the end of the year. Likewise, Barack Obama has earned millions of dollars in royalties from his two soporific, self-important books, and he plans to continue his book-flogging bonanza by inking another deal for close to $2,000,000 for a children's book series.
AP-GfK Poll: Likely voters ready to embrace GOP
Excerpt: All signs point to huge Republican victories in two weeks, with the GOP now leading Democrats on virtually every measure in an Associated Press-GfK poll of people likely to vote in the first major elections of Barack Obama's presidency. In the final survey before Election Day, likely voters say the GOP would do a better job than Democrats on handling the economy, creating jobs and running the government. Most also think the country's headed in the wrong direction. More than half disapprove of Obama's job performance. And even more don't like the Democratic-controlled Congress. Neither party is popular. But likely voters view the GOP a bit more positively than they do the Democrats. Slightly more say they will vote for the Republican congressional candidate in their district over the Democrat. And most think the GOP will win control of Congress from the Democrats. "If we get some new blood in there who will do what the people want, maybe this can get turned around," said Sharon Klawender, 70, who lives in rural Kingston in Michigan, one of the most economically troubled states. She hopes Republicans will "get things back under control."
Former Washington D.C. schools chancellor hesitates in accepting offer to become N.J. education chief
Excerpt: Washington, D.C.’s former schools chancellor is seriously considering an offer from Gov. Chris Christie to become the state’s next education commissioner, but family concerns may prove an insurmountable stumbling block for her, two people familiar with the negotiations said. When state officials initially approached Michelle Rhee, she quickly turned down the offer, thinking the governor wanted her to make a lateral move and run the Newark Public Schools, something Mayor Cory Booker wanted, Newark school officials said. Even Oprah Winfrey endorsed the possibility of Rhee becoming Newark’s next superintendent. In fact, the Christie administration wanted Rhee to consider the vacant state education commissioner’s post, a more attractive offer to her because it signified a step up on the ladder of national education reform influence, according to sources who sought anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss confidential matters. But the state could not get Rhee "past the gate" because of frustration that a move to New Jersey would take her away from her family. Her husband Kevin Johnson, a former NBA All-Star, is the mayor of Sacramento, Calif. (...) Speaking on CNN Tuesday, Rhee would not confirm that New Jersey officials had contacted her about becoming the state’s next education commissioner or Newark’s next superintendent, nor would she deny that she’s not interested in the opportunity. (She's probably more concerned about the political war that will erupt with the teacher's unions and their supporters. Trenton just isn't that much farther east than DC, so the distance from "home" is basically unchanged. Hell of a commute, though. Ron P.)
Chris Coons Lied, Granny Died
Excerpt: In all of life's tribulations, there is nothing so aggravating as being condescended to by an idiot. In last week's CNN debate in the Delaware Senate race between the astonishingly well-spoken Christine O'Donnell and the unfortunate-looking Chris Coons, O'Donnell had to put up with it from Coons for 90 minutes. O'Donnell wiped the floor with Coons, moderators Wolf Blitzer and Nancy Karibjanian, and the idiotic University of Delaware students asking questions -- all of whom were against her. (With the nation on the verge of another great depression -- the brunt of which, to my delight, will fall most heavily on college students -- guess what the dunderheads asked? GUESS! That's right: They asked about abortion "in the case of rape or incest," "don't ask, don't tell," doing something about "our carbon footprint," and the kook-minister who was going to burn Korans, because ISLAM IS A RELIGION OF PEACE, I TELL YOU!) O'Donnell's responses couldn't have been better if Thomas Sowell were whispering them in her ear. But after every well-thought-out answer she gave, Coons would act as if O'Donnell were speaking in tongues and make a dismissive remark to the moderators: "If you can reconcile all those comments, you're an even more talented reporter than I think you are, Nancy." O'Donnell managed to simply answer the questions without wasting everyone's time with snippy asides about Coons' replies. Then Coons would say something incomprehensible, false or insane -- such as his conspiracy theory about the Australians uniting with the Chinese against America. Yes, Australia, America's most loyal ally. After O'Donnell described the China problem with absolute precision -- the Chinese hold so much of our debt, we can't hold them accountable in their dealings with Iran or North Korea -- Coons smirkingly replied: "It's hard for me to respond effectively, Wolf, to all the different issues that my opponent has raised in previous statements, and I'll just let that stand."
The culture of building confidence in climate models
Excerpt: As climate models become increasingly relevant to policy makers, they are being criticized for not undergoing a formal verification and validation (V&V) process analogous to that used in engineering and regulatory applications. Further, claims are being made that climate models have been falsified by failing to predict specific future events. To date, establishing confidence in climate models has targeted the scientific community that develops and uses the models. As the climate models become increasingly policy relevant, it is critically important to address the public need for high-quality models for decision making and to establish public confidence in these models. An important element in establishing such confidence is to make the models as accessible as possible to the broader public and stakeholder community. (Dr. Curry is writing about computer models to predict how the climate will react to changes, implying that we can force some changes that might be good (or at least better than doing nothing). Well, maybe. Interesting discussion of how models might be verified and validated. Ron P.)
Democrats Pull Support From Alan Grayson & 12 Dem Losers
Excerpt: Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) is one of a dozen liberals who Democrats are cutting loose. Hotline On Call reported, via Free Republic: The Democratic Congressional Committee is spending millions of dollars in key districts around the country on late independent expenditures, demonstrating the districts Democrats believe can be saved from a national wave — and the members the party believes are already too far behind their Republican rivals to save. Where the DCCC didn’t spend money is as indicative as where it did. With two weeks to go, Democrats are using their checkbooks as acknowledgement that nearly a dozen members are beyond saving. The DCCC did not spend money on behalf of Reps. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Ohio), Debbie Halvorson (D-Ill.), Betsy Markey (D-Colo.), Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), Suzanne Kosmas (D-Fla.), Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) and Steve Kagen (D-Wis.), the filings show. Republicans believe those seven seats are all but guaranteed to fall their way. Even in some races where Democrats did spend money, their advertising indicates little more than a token effort at salvaging seats that are also likely to fall to the GOP. The DCCC is spending just $30,000 for Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio), who polls show trailing ex-Rep. Steve Chabot (R) by wide margins. That follows reports that the DCCC was pulling out of Driehaus’ district. Democrats are only spending $42,000 on behalf of Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Texas), who trails businessman Bill Flores (R) in most polling. Rep. Jim Marshall (D), a perpetually vulnerable incumbent in a deeply conservative district in southern Georgia, is getting just $9,000 in assistance, likely for radio advertising, as he faces state Rep. Austin Scott (R). And Rep. John Hall (D-NY), who faces a surprisingly stiff challenge in ophthalmologist Nan Hayworth (R), will benefit from just $83,000 in advertising this week.
President Václav Klaus: Inaugural Annual GWPF Lecture
Excerpt: Even though it may seem that there is a whole range of institutions both here and overseas which bring together and support those who openly express doubts about the currently prevailing dogma of man-made global warming and who dare to criticize it, it apparently is still not enough. We are subject to a heavily biased and carefully organized propaganda and a serious and highly qualified forum here, on this side of the Atlantic, that would stand for rationality, objectivity and fairness in public policy discussion is more than needed. That is why I consider the launching of the foundation an important step in the right direction. We should keep saying very loudly that the current debate about global warming –and I agree with the Australian paleoclimatologist Prof. Carter that we should always speak about “dangerous human caused global warming” because it is not “warming per se that we are concerned with” – is in its substance not part of the scientific discourse about the relative role of a myriad of factors influencing swings in global temperature but part of public policy debate about man and society. As R. M. Carter stresses in his recent book, “the global warming issue long ago ceased being a scientific problem.” The current debate is a public policy debate with enormous implications. It is no longer about climate. It is about the government, the politicians, their scribes and the lobbyists who want to get more decision making and power for themselves. It seems to me that the widespread acceptance of the global warming dogma has become one of the main, most costly and most undemocratic public policy mistakes in generations. The previous one was communism. The debate has, of course, its scientific dimension but this part of the debate doesn’t belong here. I also do not intend to play the role of an amateur climatologist. What belongs here is our insisting upon the undisputable fact that there are respectable but highly conflicting scientific hypotheses concerning this subject. What also belongs here is our resolute opposition to the attempts to shut down such a crucial public debate concerning us and our way of life on the pretext that the overwhelming scientific consensus is there and that we have to act now. This is not true. Being free to raise questions and oppose fashionable politically and “lobbystically” promoted ideas forms an important and irreplaceable part of our democratic society. Not being allowed to do so would be a proof that we have already moved to the “brave new world” of a postdemocratic order.(Václav Klaus is President of the Czech Republic, and a staunch anti-statist known in the West for many decades. He is speaking at the GWPF Annual meeting. Emphasis is in original. Ron P.)
About Time: At Least 14 States Move to Deny Citizenship to “Anchor Babies”…
Let’s have the same law on this as Mexico and other countries. Sounds fair. ~Bob. Excerpt: Lawmakers in at least 14 states are collaborating on proposed legislation to deny U.S. citizenship to children of illegal immigrants, according to lawmakers, including the sponsor of Arizona’s 2010 law targeting illegal immigration. “We’re taking a leadership role on things that need to be fixed in America. We can’t get Congress to do it,” Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce, of Mesa, said Tuesday. “It’s a national work group so that we have model legislation that we know will be successful, that meets the constitutional criteria.” The efforts by the state legislators come amid calls to change the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which grants automatic citizenship to U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants. Supporters cite costs to taxpayers for services provided to illegal immigrants and their children. Pennsylvania state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, the founder of a national group of legislators critical of illegal immigration, said the 14th Amendment “greatly incentives foreign invaders to violate our border and our laws.” He had a news conference Tuesday in Harrisburg, Pa., on the multistate endeavor. Metcalfe’s office said lawmakers in at least 12 other states besides Arizona and Pennsylvania said they were making their own announcements about working on the citizenship legislation. Those other states: Alabama, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah. Legislators from a total of 41 states are involved in a Metcalfe-founded group concerned with immigration issues.
Obama ads on YouTube draw overwhelmingly negative response
Excerpt: Like many, the Obamas have taken to YouTube to encourage voters to get to the polls, but if the comments in reaction to their urging are any indication, the ads will do little to help their cause. YouTube viewers have made their opinions known on the message boards en masse, disparaging and voicing their displeasure with the Obama administration. The most recent Obama ad, released Monday and visible on his YouTube channel, features a close up of the first couple, Barack with his American flag lapel pin and Michelle in a dark cardigan, directly addressing their viewers. “Hello everybody it’s Barack and Michelle,” Obama begins. “Election Day is almost here and people are getting fired up,” Mrs. Obama cheers. “And we need you to stay fired up, all the way until November 2nd,” President Obama adds. Their encouragement is falling on hostile ears, if the popularity of comments from the likes of TeSigoSenor are any indication: “This encourages me more to vote Republican or anyone else against their policies…Mr President, please go back to the White House and think about getting jobs for the people of America. We are hurting….we are pleading.”
Appeals Court Rules for Pro-Life Advocates Shackled, Strip-Searched by Police
Excerpt: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit issued a ruling on Monday upholding a district court decision that denied the request of several Maryland state police officers to be immune from a lawsuit filed by Alliance Defense Fund attorneys representing pro-life advocates. The case involves a lawsuit on behalf of pro-life women who were shackled and strip searched after peacefully protesting abortion in Maryland. The officers handcuffed and arrested 18 pro-life advocates for sharing a peaceful pro-life message along a Bel Air, Maryland public street in August 2008. Among those arrested were three young women who were later shackled, strip-searched, and detained overnight by other police.
That Strange Summer of 2008
Excerpt: Historians will look back at the 2008 campaign in the light of the 2010 midterm elections. Almost everything the president has done in the last two years is simply a continuance of that now strangely distant summer. The only disconnects are (1) that the media are now embarrassed by Obama’s rapid decline in the polls and so suddenly, in catch-up fashion, have chosen to highlight his inexperience and hypocrisy in a way they did not in 2008. And (2) that governance requires concrete action in a way campaign rhetoric does not, and thus the American public can evaluate the consequences of deeds rather than the implications of mellifluent hope-and-change rhetoric. Remember the 2008 claims of bipartisanship and an end to the old style of politics? Yet there was nothing in Obama’s prior career to substantiate those idealistic claims. In his first race, for the Illinois state senate in 1996, he sued to remove opponents from the ballot, and in his campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2004, the divorce records of both his primary- and general-election opponents were mysteriously leaked. Subsequently, Obama compiled the most partisan record in the entire Senate, proving that he was the least willing senator to veer from a doctrinaire ideology. So if we are surprised that Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Fox News, John Roberts, the tea parties, John Boehner, the Chamber of Commerce, Karl Rove, and Ed Gillespie have later become bogeymen of the week, we must remember that this is merely the logical continuance of Obama’s earlier hardball modus operandi. Remember Obama’s praise for public campaign financing, with its attendant restrictions? Yet Obama was the first candidate in the history of publicly financed presidential campaigns to renounce such funding (after promising that he would accept it). His renunciation of the Carter-era program has probably wrecked the idea that presidential candidates will ever again be bound by public-financing protocols. In fact, Obama raised the largest pile of campaign cash in history, much of it from Wall Street, some of it from unnamed donors. So if we are surprised that he is now ritually attacking Wall Street financiers and alleging that his opponents are raising funds from unnamed sources, it is simply because he knows such landscapes firsthand only too well.
Muslim Sect Sees Struggle Through Christian Lens
Excerpt: Among the ruins on the edge of this ancient oasis city are deep trenches littered with bones. That, local people say, is all that remains of one of the great atrocities of antiquity, when thousands of Christians were herded into pits here and burned to death by a Jewish tyrant after they refused to renounce their faith. Residents of Najran say that the ruins on the edge of their city include deep trenches littered with the bones of thousands of Christians who were burned to death by a Jewish tyrant after they refused to renounce their faith. It is impossible to know whether the periphery bone fragments are related to the massacre or not. The massacre, which took place in about A.D. 523, is partly shadowed by myth and largely unknown to the outside world. But it has become central to the identity of the people now living here, who mostly belong to the minority Ismaili sect of Islam. The Ismailis, widely reviled as heretics by Sunni Muslims both here and abroad, see the oppressed Christians of ancient Najran as their literal and figurative ancestors in a continuing struggle for recognition by the Saudi state. “This story means so much to us,” said Ali al-Hattab, a 31-year-old hospital worker and graduate student. “Our life and our struggle today comes from those martyrs who gave their lives for their beliefs.” The Saudi government does not take kindly to this analogy. Part of the site where the Christians are said to have been killed — including charred remnants from the fires — was buried and paved over years ago. In a small museum next to the ruins that is dedicated to the city’s ancient history, there is only one brief reference to the massacre. In part, this is a reflection of the deep hostility among Saudi conservatives toward any artifacts that predate the birth of Islam in the seventh century. Najran, a fertile valley on Saudi Arabia’s southern border with Yemen, was the last territory to be conquered by King Abdulaziz al-Saud, the country’s founder. He promised to respect the faith and customs of Najran — which had been an independent sheikdom — after bringing it into the kingdom in 1933. But Ismailis say his successors failed to follow through, denying them government jobs and pressuring them to convert to Wahhabism, the hard-line school of Sunni Islam that is dominant in Saudi Arabia. A drive down Najran’s main street conveys some of this: it is lined with government-built Sunni mosques, even though Ismailis are the majority of the town’s 500,000 people (the Saudi census does not include sects, so it is impossible to know the true proportions). The government has naturalized Sunnis from Yemen in an effort to alter the sectarian balance, Mr. Hattab and many other Ismailis say. Saudi officials have often publicly maligned Ismailis as infidels. The Shiites of eastern Saudi Arabia have long faced similar discrimination, but because they are more numerous, their situation is better known.
Obama avoiding Indian temple over Muslim rumors
Excerpt: The New York Times is reporting that on his upcoming visit to India, President Obama will not stop at the famous Golden Temple to avoid stoking rumors about his faith. But the United States has ruled out a Golden Temple visit, according to an American official involved in planning. Temple officials said that American advance teams had gone to Amritsar, the holy city that is the site of the temple, to discuss a possible visit. But the plan appears to have foundered on the thorny question of how Mr. Obama would cover his head, as Sikh tradition requires, while visiting the temple. Sikhs wear turbans on their heads. They're not Muslim, they are often confused for Muslims in the U.S. and have been victims of hate crimes directed at Muslims. Actually, the Muslim fundamentalists have the same attitude towards Sikhs as other kuffer—convert them, subjugate them or kill them. ~Bob.)
Majority says no 'change' under Obama, or change for the worse
Excerpt: A majority of voters in key battleground races say President Obama has either brought no change to Washington or has brought change for the worse. In 10 competitive House districts, 41 percent of likely voters say Obama has brought change for the worse, and 30 percent say he has made no difference. Almost two years after Obama declared on election night that “change has come to America,” only 26 percent believe he's delivered on his promise to end business-as-usual in the capital. Strikingly, 63 percent of voters under the age of 34 said the president either has not changed Washington or has made it worse. In 2008, voters under the age of 30 voted 2-to-1 for Obama against his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.). But in The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll, only 34 percent of young people say the president has effected change for the better.
The Hill's 2010 Midterm Poll: Media has gotten more partisan, likely voters say
Excerpt: A majority of likely voters across 10 key congressional districts say the media have become more partisan in the past five years, according to a new poll from The Hill. The poll found that 51 percent of respondents think the press has turned either more partisan Republican or more partisan Democrat since 2005. Breaking that number down, 30 percent say the media are more biased in favor of Democrats, while 21 percent say the media are more biased in favor of Republicans. Overall, 30 percent think the level of partisanship in the media has remained about the same. Among those who believe there has been a shift, both men and women in all age groups detect an increased bias toward Democrats. Black and Hispanic voters, on the contrary, believed the press has shifted to the right. Republicans are more apt than Democrats to see a shift; 46 percent of GOP supporters said the media has moved to the left, while 32 percent of Democrats saw a shift to the right. More independents think the media has moved to the left than to the right, with 31 percent seeing a shift toward the Democrats, compared to 22 percent who say the shift has been in the other direction.
Majority of independent voters say Dem leadership is more left wing than they are
Excerpt: In another potentially troubling sign for Democratic candidates, three in five independent voters in key House districts say Congress’s Democratic leadership is to the left of them on the political spectrum. The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll found that 61 percent of likely independent voters in 10 battleground House districts — a critical swing demographic — think the leadership under House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is more liberal than they are. Only 16 percent of independents say Pelosi and Reid — both of whom have been vilified by Republicans on the campaign stump — hold political views similar to their own. “That’s a very significant finding that tells you where independents are likely to go,” said Mark Penn, president of Penn Schoen Berland, which conducted the poll. “In terms of independents, Reid and Pelosi are viewed as out of step.”
A Trenchant Tale Of Two States
Excerpt: In Texas, the payroll count is back to pre-recession levels. California is nearly 1.5 million jobs in the hole. Why such a difference? Chalk it up to taxes, regulation and attitude. The contrast between America's two largest states, in terms of both population and economic heft, is as stark as it has ever been. Texas is leading the country out of the recession; California is holding it back. By August, the job count in Texas had rebounded to where it was when the recession officially began in December 2007. California's payroll was still 1.46 million below the pre-recession level. The nation as a whole was down by 6.42 million jobs. In other words, California, with one-eighth the nation's population, accounts for more than a fifth of its job deficit left over from the downturn. What country needs a state like that dragging it down?
Where France Goes. . . other Western entitlement nations are likely to follow.
Excerpt: Americans arriving in Paris these days will notice that France's planes, trains and automobiles are all being slowed or stopped by nationwide protests over President Nicolas Sarkozy's proposal to raise the retirement age by . . . all of two years. Protesters are blockading refineries, truckers clog the roads, and yesterday air-traffic controllers walked off the job. Hundreds of schools around the country are closed, leaving students free to declare their solidarity with pensioners. Mr. Sarkozy's reform is intended to shore up France's public pension system, which faces a €32 billion ($45 billion) shortfall. But this modest reform, which has passed the lower house and is scheduled for a vote in the Senate this week, is merely a downpayment on France's unfunded liabilities. The larger issue is whether France and other Western nations will grapple with their entitlement obligations before it's too late, or sink under their weight, dragged down by intransigent government-employee unions. Sound familiar, Californians? France's prospects don't look good: Some polls show that as many as 70% of the French support the protesters, who seem to think the budget shortfalls can be addressed by raising payroll taxes on businesses, currently north of 40% for employers. The ironic core of France's problems was well-expressed, albeit inadvertently, by a student protester named Pascal. "I've not even started working yet, but I will now have to work longer—that is, if I can find a job," the young man told Sky News. French youths now anticipate retirement before they even have jobs, which are harder to get because of the costs on business of financing that anticipated retirement.
Fighting the Nanny state. ~Bob. Excerpt: A German entrepreneur is bypassing a European Union ban on light bulbs of more than 60 watts by marketing his own brand as mini heaters. Siegfried Rotthaeuser and his brother-in-law have come up with a legal way of importing and distributing 75 and 100 watt light bulbs — by producing them in China, importing them as “small heating devices” and selling them as “heatballs.” To improve energy efficiency, the EU has banned the sale of bulbs of over 60 watts — to the annoyance of the mechanical engineer from the western city of Essen. Rotthaeuser studied EU legislation and realized that because the inefficient old bulbs produce more warmth than light — he calculated heat makes up 95 percent of their output, and light just 5 percent — they could be sold legally as heaters.
Fire in the Hole
Communist murders acting like…Communist murders. Or is that redundant? ~Bob. Excerpt: “The richest iron mine in India was guarded by 16 men, armed with Army-issued, self-loading rifles and dressed in camouflage fatigues. Only eight survived the night of Feb. 9, 2006, when a crack team of Maoist insurgents cut the power to the Bailadila mining complex and slipped out of the jungle cover in the moonlight. The guerrillas opened fire on the guards with automatic weapons, overrunning them before they had time to take up defensive positions. They didn't have a chance: The remote outpost was an hour's drive from the nearest major city, and the firefight to defend it only lasted a few minutes. The guards were protecting not only $80 billion-plus worth of mineral deposits, but also the mine's explosives magazine, which held the ammonium nitrate the miners used to pulverize mountainsides and loosen the iron ore. When the fighting was over and the surviving guards rounded up and gagged, about 2,000 villagers who had been hiding behind the commando vanguard clambered over the fence into the compound and began emptying the magazine. Altogether they carried out 20 tons of explosives on their backs -- enough firepower to fuel a covert insurgency for a decade." Four and a half years after the attack in the remote Indian state of Chhattisgarh, the blasting materials have spread across the country, repackaged as 10-pound coffee-can bombs stuffed with ball bearings, screws, and chopped-up rebar. In May, one villager's haul vaporized a bus filled with civilians and police. Another destroyed a section of railway later that month, sending a passenger train careening off the tracks into a ravine. Smaller ambushes of police forces on booby-trapped roads happen pretty much every week. Almost all of it, local police told us, can be traced back to that February night. The Bailadila mine raid was one of India's most profound strategic losses in the country's protracted battle against its Maoist movement, a militant guerrilla force that has been fighting in one incarnation or another in India's rural backwaters for more than 40 years. Over the course of the half-dozen visits we've made to the region during the past several years, we've come to consider the attack on the mine not just one defeat in the long-running war, but a symbolic shift in the conflict: For years, the Maoists had lived in the shadow of India's breakneck modernization. Now they are thriving off it."
Climate Model Deception – See It for Yourself
Excerpt: The two principal claims of climate alarmism are human attribution, which is the assertion that human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide are warming the planet significantly, and climate danger prediction (or projection), which is the assertion that this human-caused warming will reach dangerous levels. Both claims, which rest largely on the results of climate modeling, are deceptive. As shown below, the deception is obvious and requires little scientific knowledge to discern. The currently authoritative source for these deceptive claims was produced under the direction of the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and is titled Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis (PSB). Readers can pay an outrageous price for the 996 page bound book, or view and download it by chapter on the IPCC Web site at http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/contents.html Alarming statements of attribution and prediction appear beginning on Page 1 in the widely quoted Summary for Policymakers (SPM). Each statement is assigned a confidence level denoting the degree of confidence that the statement is correct. Heightened alarm is conveyed by using terms of trust, such as high confidence or very high confidence. Building on an asserted confidence in climate model estimates, the PSB SPM goes on to project temperature increases under various assumed scenarios that it says will cause heat waves, dangerous melting of snow and ice, severe storms, rising sea levels, disruption of climate-moderating ocean currents, and other calamities. This alarmism, presented by the IPCC as a set of scientific conclusions, has been further amplified by others in general-audience books and films that dramatize and exaggerate the asserted climate threat derived from models. For over two years, I have worked with other physicists in an effort to induce the American Physical Society (APS) to moderate its discussion-stifling Statement on Climate Change, and begin to facilitate normal scientific interchange on the physics of climate. In connection with this activity, I began investigating the scientific basis for the alarmist claims promulgated by the IPCC. I discovered that the detailed chapters of the IPCC document were filled with disclosures of climate model deficiencies totally at odds with the confident alarmism of the SPM. For example, here is a quote from Section 8.3, on Page 608 in Chapter 8: “Consequently, for models to predict future climatic conditions reliably, they must simulate the current climatic state with some as yet unknown degree of fidelity.” (...) The full set of climate model deficiency statements is presented in the table below. Each statement appears in the referenced IPCC document at the indicated location. I selected these particular statements from the detailed chapters of the PSB because they show deficiencies in climate modeling, conflict with the confidently alarming statements of the SPM, and can easily be understood by those who lack expertise in climatology. No special scientific expertise of any kind is required to see the deception in treating climate models as trustworthy, presenting confident statements of climate alarm derived from models in the Summary, and leaving the disclosure of climate model deficiencies hidden away in the detailed chapters of the definitive work on climate change. Climategate gave us the phrase “Hide the decline.” For questionable and untrustworthy climate models, we may need another phrase. I suggest “Conceal the flaws.” (Currently, the blogosphere is paying a lot of attention to computer climate models and their inherent problems. This discussion by noted physicist Robert E. Levine, PhD brings up several (14) that do not require any particular scientific background to understand. Bear in mind that when you see conditional and/or qualifying adverbs or adjectives, that indicates uncertainty of unknown (but potentially large) magnitude. It is worth mentioning that many of the claimed projections in the IPCC report have already been proven false (in one case a projection of 350 years was "accidentally" shortened to 35 years). Ron P.)
Feds Consider Limiting Potatoes Offered to Kids
The Nanny state gone wild. ~Bob. Excerpt: Potato growers are fighting back against efforts to ban or limit potatoes in federal child nutrition programs, arguing the tuber is loaded with potassium and vitamin C and shouldn't be considered junk food. One Washington man is so exasperated by the proposals that he's in the midst of a 60-day, all potato diet to demonstrate that potatoes are nutritious. “We’re just really concerned that this is a misconception to the public that potatoes aren't healthy," said Chris Voigt, head of the Washington Potato Commission. "The potato isn't the scourge of the earth. It's nutrition." Healthy food advocates said they're not anti-potato, but they think children need a greater variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains to fight a tripling of child obesity rates in the past 30 years. "The potato is the most common vegetable," said Diane Pratt-Heavner, spokeswoman for the School Nutrition Association. "My impression is that the goal is to increase the amounts of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. I don't believe anyone is specifically attacking the potato."
Chavez and Ahmadinejad say united to change world order
Buzzards of a feather, flock together. ~Bob. Excerpt: In words which showed his ambition to represent developing countries that feel oppressed by the West, Ahmadinejad said Iran and Venezuela was part of a revolutionary front from Latin America "stretching all the way to East Asia." "If one day, my brother Mr Chavez and I and a few other people were once alone in the world, today we have a long line of revolutionary officials and people standing alongside each other," he said. "The enemies of our nations will go one day. This is the promise of God and the promise of God will definitely be fulfilled," said Ahmadinejad in a comment likely to be seen by Israel as a threat from someone who has often said the Jewish state will one day cease to exist. Washington led a push for tougher sanctions against Iran to pressure it the over nuclear activities it fears are aimed at making a bomb. Iran says it merely seeks peaceful nuclear technology and accuses its foes of trying to stop it progress. Following in Iran's footsteps, before coming to Tehran, Chavez secured a deal with Russia to help build Venezuela's first nuclear power plant, a move which has rattled some people in Washington. Iran hopes its own Russian-built nuclear power station will start adding power to the grid early next year. Many countries view Iran's nuclear activities with suspicion, particularly as it is enriching uranium to much higher purity than is needed for power generation.
Secret China: Thousands of Women Used and Discarded by Mao
The fellow whose photo adorned the Obama Christmas tree. ~Bob. Excerpt: The author chooses to be anonymous. Mao Zhedong’s licentious life may be well known by many people, especially overseas Chinese who are able to talk freely among their acquaintances. Recently, as there are many people talking on the web about the adultery of Mao and his daughter in law, I recalled what I had known about Mao, and hope it may help those women who had suffered and maybe help release some of their sorrow.
Abused by Hope: Famine and Foreigners in Ethiopia Since Live Aid
Excerpt: "If anything, Gill remarks, “our expectations and promises have become grander” since Geldof recorded his charity single about starving children , “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” with its chorus of “Feed the world/Let them know it’s Christmastime again,” and when, in the acerbic formulation of the Zambian-born neo-liberal economist Dambisa Moyo, one of the fiercest recent critics of the aid system, “Africa became the focus of orchestrated worldwide pity.” When New Labour came to power in Britain, Blair declared that one of its goals was “eliminating world poverty.” Bono, generally more sensible than Geldof (who does not seem to be able to imagine how any decent person could question either his motives or the effect of his initiatives), has popularized Jeffrey Sachs’s wildly over-optimistic view that poverty can be ended in our time—a theme taken up on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Ethiopian famine by the charity Christian Aid, with its “Poverty Over” publicity campaign."
Patriotism explained by a particular group
This PJTV Video: "Calling Their Bluff: Tea Party Express Responds to NAACP's Charges of Racism" just impressed the hell out of me. Listening to the unashamed passion of the speakers for American idealism, and their clear messages about the movement was really inspiring. If you want a lift to your spirit in these days of so much misinformation, slanders, lies, and political corruption, take a few minutes to hear these patriots speak. –Del
The NAACP doesn’t really think the Tea Party is racist, except in the way they think everyone who disagrees with them, or refuses to support new entitlements, is racist. Just carrying water for the Democrats to try to earn points by turning out black voters. They are making themselves irrelevant. But like most in politics on both sides, full of short-term thinkers. ~Bob.
The Chicago Way Expands
Excerpt: In a brazen extension of the Chicago Way's principle of never wasting a crisis and/or a brazen display of a total lack of morals that awed even hardened Cook County (which encompasses Chicago) pols, Carla Ogelsby, former chief of staff to the president of the County Board, who left her job after being recently charged with public corruption, theft and money laundering, has filed for unemployment compensation.
Connecticut Sees Red After Horrific "Home Invasion" Murders
Excerpt: Blue-state Connecticut has undergone a jolting metamorphosis over the past three years, with potential ramifications for the Senate contest between Linda McMahon and Richard Blumenthal. Many residents have become a lot more like red-state Texans than blue-state New Englanders. Now, they're enthusiastic supporters of the death penalty and are fond of handguns and shotguns. It's all due to a horrific home invasion in 2007 in the affluent town of Cheshire, a New Haven suburb.
Coalition Forces Routing Taliban in Key Afghan Region
Excerpt: American and Afghan forces have been routing the Taliban in much of Kandahar Province in recent weeks, forcing many hardened fighters, faced with the buildup of American forces, to flee strongholds they have held for years, NATO commanders, local Afghan officials and residents of the region said. A series of civilian and military operations around the strategic southern province, made possible after a force of 12,000 American and NATO troops reached full strength here in the late summer, has persuaded Afghan and Western officials that the Taliban will have a hard time returning to areas they had controlled in the province that was their base. Some of the gains seem to have come from a new mobile rocket that has pinpoint accuracy — like a small cruise missile — and has been used against the hideouts of insurgent commanders around Kandahar. That has forced many of them to retreat across the border into Pakistan. Disruption of their supply lines has made it harder for them to stage retaliatory strikes or suicide bombings, at least for the moment, officials and residents said.
Three wars we can't keep ignoring
It is a busy time in America. The Major League Baseball playoffs are competing with the upcoming midterm elections for the public's attention. There is endemic fear among Americans that continual $1 trillion-plus annual deficits and near-10 percent unemployment are about to destroy the vaunted American standard of living. Who has time to worry about much else? Yet, that said, we have been sleeping through three major wars that will soon wake us up. This summer, Americans were dying in combat in Afghanistan at rates not seen since the summer of 2007 in Iraq. In congressional hearings that year, furious legislators grilled Gen. David Petraeus and cited the high number of monthly combat deaths to prematurely declare his surge a failure. Moveon.org ran ads calling Petraeus a traitor ("General Betray Us") for continuing the war amid such losses. No such furor surrounds Afghanistan. Yet more Americans have been killed so far this year in Afghanistan than during the entire six years of fighting there from 2001 through 2006. This depressing news warrants little commentary in the mainstream media but surely raises vital questions of national security. Why has the so-called "good war" suddenly heated up at precisely the same time American combat operations in the "bad war" in Iraq are largely over? Are casualties spiking because of the surge of US troops, as once happened in 2007 in Iraq? Or has the enemy stepped up the offensive in hopes that announced US troop withdrawals mean victory is on the horizon? Does President Obama plan to win, or is he willing to concede the war with the Taliban? Does the media fear that depressing coverage of Afghanistan will damage this administration in the way daily headlines of violence from Iraq nearly destroyed the prior one? Meanwhile, almost imperceptibly, America has been waging a full-scale Predator drone war again suspected al Qaeda terrorists inside Pakistan. This year, we've conducted more than twice as many air strikes inside Pakistan as in the eight years from 2001 through 2008.
Bill Clinton 'lost vital White House nuclear codes'
Excerpt: Gen Hugh Shelton, who was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time, said in his new memoir, "Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior" that "the codes were actually missing for months. That's a big deal -- a gargantuan deal." A similar claim was made by Lt Col Robert Patterson, a former aide, in a book published seven years ago. He was one of the men who carried the briefcase, known as the "football", and he said that the morning after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke that he made a routine request of the president to present the card so that he could provide an updated version. "He thought he just placed them upstairs," Lt Col Patterson recalled. "We called upstairs, we started a search around the White House for the codes, and he finally confessed that he in fact misplaced them. He couldn't recall when he had last seen them." He said the President lost the card holding the codes, which is known as the biscuit, in 1998, but according to Gen Shelton, the card went missing in 2000. Former president Jimmy Carter was rumoured to have once left the '"biscuit" in a suit that was sent to the dry cleaners.
The Falcon Lake Murder and Mexico's Drug Wars
Excerpt: STRATFOR published an analysis last Wednesday noting that a reliable source in Mexico informed us that the Sept. 30 shooting death of U.S. citizen David Hartley on Falcon Lake — which straddles the U.S.-Mexico border — was a mistake committed by a low-level member of the Los Zetas drug trafficking organization. The source also informed us that those responsible for Hartley’s death are believed to have disposed of his body and that the Zeta hierarchy was conducting a damage-control operation to punish those responsible for the death and to distance the cartel from the murder. The source further reported that the murder of the lead Tamaulipas state investigator on the case, Rolando Armando Flores Villegas — whose head was delivered in a suitcase to the Mexican military’s Eight Zone headquarters in Reynosa on Oct. 12 — was a specific message from Los Zetas to Mexican authorities to back off from the investigation.
Obama Administration's Priority Is Public Relations
Excerpt: Vote for Endicott Peabody. He’s better than you are. That bumper sticker slogan appeared, mischievously, in South Boston decades ago. Endicott Peabody, grandson of the founder of the elite Groton school, was then the liberal governor of Massachusetts. Some of those Irish-American wags, “Southies,” had had it with Peabody’s insufferable moralizing. They put out that gag bumper sticker, and it had its intended effect. Peabody was dumped unceremoniously in a Democratic primary. His political career never recovered. His prep school nickname, “Chub,” spoke to his aristocratic pedigree. It’s not something you should flaunt in our democratic republic. Barack Obama is the latest Harvard liberal to give us the “Chub” treatment. His comments about the American people (“they”) show how out-of-touch he is. During the `08 campaign, he dismissed the folks who live in what liberals call “flyover country” by saying they cling to their guns and religion and fear people who are not like themselves. This is an administration that allowed a known jihadist to roam freely through a major army base in Texas. Nidal Hasan openly defied higher authority. He even gave PowerPoint presentations on why our enemies were right to use violence against us! When this walking time bomb finally exploded, killing fourteen at Fort Hood, the Obama administration promised us an “investigation.” What they delivered is nothing more than a whitewash of years of bureaucratic coddling of terrorism and winking at treason. It didn’t even mention Islamism or jihad. The murderer had a business card calling himself a “Soldier of Allah.” He cried out “Allahu Akbar” as he murdered his fellow soldiers. Federal investigators had known about Hasan and his family going back to 2001. The FBI, we learn, was aware that Nidal Hasan had been exchanging emails with Anwar al-Awlaki, the al Qaeda leader holed up in Yemen. But the feds determined that because Nidal Hasan was said to be an Army psychiatrist and because he was asking Awlaki about the mental stresses on Muslims in our army, his emails were okay. What? Imagine it’s World War II, and we have a German-American soldier whose parents were members of the pro-Nazi Bund in the 1930s. And we learn that our soldier has been exchanging letters with top Nazi brass. Do we think for a minute that the FBI in 1943 would have given him a pass?
With regard to your VA Issue, I did some of my surgical train rotations through VA Hospitals so I have a good idea of how they operate. I have noticed there is a very high number of medical and ancillary staff to patients, yet everything takes for ever. I got some numbers from Susan Collins office and I was shocked. It was doing research on medical cost only. I took the total of the money allotted to health care costs and divided it by the number of vets getting medical treatment. The VA spend $40,000 per patient a year. This was 4 years ago, but you could have purchased a gold plated private insurance policy for that and deliver fast top shelf care and do for half that cost. But of course that would never happen. --Dr. Joe
More lawyers, fewer doctors, and much worse health care
Excerpt: First-time mother Melissa Green woke up in the middle of the night bleeding from a ruptured placenta. She rushed to the closest maternity ward -- Jeanes Hospital in Philadelphia -- where her son was born only 12 minutes after she arrived. "Melissa almost didn't make it with the amount of blood she was losing," said her husband Bill. "If Jeanes wasn't there, we wouldn't have been able to get to another hospital, and I might not have either one of them today." Melissa made it in the nick of time, in more ways than one. Jeanes shut down its maternity ward a month later, joining 13 others -- a third of all Philadelphia-area maternity wards -- that had closed in recent years due to lawyers gone wild. Out-of-control medical liability lawsuits have triggered the closure of medical facilities and caused a mass exodus of high-risk specialists such as obstetricians and neurosurgeons from Pennsylvania and other overlawyered states. Patients ultimately suffer, as they face higher prices and fewer options for care. One of eight doctors is hit with a lawsuit each year alleging malpractice. The American Medical Association reports that 42 percent of doctors have been sued at least once and 20 percent at least twice. The longer they practice, the greater the likelihood they will endure a lawsuit. Some 61 percent of physicians age 55 and older acknowledge they have been sued once. Most lawsuits are dismissed or result in a judgment for the doctor. But doctors lose even when they win since the average defense cost per trial approaches $100,000. And trials keep doctors from working for extended periods. "I've personally been sued by patients that I've never cared for. I've been accused of ordering medicines that I've never ordered," said Pennsylvania physician Marc Rabinowitz. Noting that his medical group's malpractice insurance rates have increased 25 times, Dr. Rabinowitz asked, "Imagine if your car insurance went up 25 times. Would you still be able to drive?"
Why a potential Republican majority shouldn't excite fiscal conservatives
Excerpt: If you're a fiscal conservative who expects a Republican majority in Congress next year, Phil Klein at the American Spectator provides a good reason to not get your hopes up, even if the GOP does win.