Saturday, December 11, 2010

Political Digest for December 11, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.

Medal of Honor Winner
Video of the story. Rough language.

House Democrats' last stand
Excerpt: In a big effort to show force, House Democrats voted just now to reject Obama's tax cut deal, and this behind-the-scenes detail really captures the essence of what's happening: By voice vote, the rank-and-file Democrats passed a resolution that said the tax package should not come to the floor of the House for consideration. At one point during the meeting on the vote, House Democrats erupted in a chant of "Just say no!" House Dems are refusing to support the tax cut deal in its current form and holding out for changes to some of its most onerous elements, most prominently the estate tax provision. Yet all indications are that it's going to pass anyway, with overwhelming Republican support, and it seems to be moving forward in the Senate. (They could flee to Mexico City, but Obama would send someone with an ice axe after them. ~Bob.)

Senate Dems move ahead with tax package despite House objections
Excerpt: Senate Democrats are moving full speed ahead with a package to extend the Bush tax cuts for two years, despite a vote by House Democrats earlier Thursday expressing strong disapproval of the proposal. House Democrats voted by voice vote during a private meeting to reject the extension of tax cuts unless substantial changes were made to the package, but the gesture seemed to have little impact in the Senate.

Pelosi pledges to win changes as House Dems reject tax deal
Excerpt: The House Democratic Caucus on Thursday rejected the tax deal negotiated between the White House and Senate Republicans. The non-binding vote of the caucus held during a closed-door meeting puts tremendous pressure on House leaders to win changes to a proposal the White House has presented as a "take it or leave it" package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued a brief statement after the vote indicating that lower-chamber Democrats will fight to alter the bill. 

There is No Tax Deal
Excerpt: On Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden reportedly told House Democrats that the tax deal cut with Republicans was a “take it or leave it” proposition that could not be changed. But by last night, after fierce opposition from his leftist base, President Barack Obama was singing a different tune, telling NPR: “My sense is there are going to be discussions between both House and Senate leadership about all the final elements of the package. Keep in mind we didn’t actually write a bill.” Well now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV) has submitted a bill, and it is clear that negotiations are still very much open … at least for the left. Politico reports that in order to buy the votes of Senators Maria Cantwell (D–WA) and Barbara Boxer (D–CA), Reid added cash subsidies for wind and solar corporations that were originally part of Obama’s first failed stimulus. And Senator Tom Harkin (D–IA) was also able to trade his vote for more ethanol subsidies. Other “sweeteners” added to buy leftist Senate votes include subsidies for energy-efficient appliances and mass-transit benefits for employees.

Tax-cut deal now taking fire from both sides as Republicans speak out
Excerpt: Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) sent an e-mail to supporters Friday headlined "Why I oppose the deal," and outlining his objections. DeMint, who emerged as a leader in the "tea party" movement this year, said his chief concerns are that the extension of the Bush tax cuts are only temporary, and that the package includes no spending reductions to offset other proposed tax cuts. "We've known for years that these tax rates were going to expire," DeMint writes. "Now Americans are being told they have to accept hundreds of billions in new spending and stimulus gimmicks, an increase the death tax, and a bunch of unnecessary earmarks or their taxes will go up." "I'm not going to be bullied into voting for things that will hurt our country because politicians in Washington ignored the problem until it was a crisis," he concludes.

Excerpt: But this bill does much more than simply extend tax rates. For starters, it includes approximately $200 billion in new deficit spending and stimulus gimmicks. That’s a lot of money that will have to be borrowed from China and repaid by our children and grandchildren. If we’re going to increase spending on new programs, we must reduce other spending to pay for it. The bill also only extends rates for two years. We don’t have a temporary economy so we shouldn’t have temporary tax rates. Individuals and businesses make decisions looking at the long-term and we’re not going to create jobs without giving people certainty as to what their taxes will be in future. The bill also fails to extend all of the tax rates. It actually increases the death tax from its current rate of zero percent all the way up to 35 percent. One economic study shows that this tax increase alone will kill over 800,000 jobs over the next ten years. Finally, the bill now includes dozens of earmarks for special interests, including ethanol subsidies, tax breaks for film and television producers, give aways for Puerto Rican rum manufacturers, favors for auto racing track owners, and a hand out for businesses in American Samoa. The President called Republicans “hostage takers” this week but he should be pointing his figure squarely at himself. We’ve known for years that these tax rates were going to expire but he did nothing about it until the last minute. Now Americans are being told they have to accept hundreds of billions in new spending and stimulus gimmicks, an increase the death tax, and a bunch of unnecessary earmarks or their taxes will go up.

Amazon, You're Next, Warn Cyber Warriors
Excerpt: Internet ‘hacktivists’ vowed to continue wreaking havoc on companies deemed to be enemies of WikiLeaks yesterday, with Amazon the next cyber-attack target.
If successful, an assault on the UK’s biggest online retailer could cost it millions in the run-up to Christmas. A self-appointed spokesman for Operation Payback – the banner used by hackers who have vowed to take revenge on companies which have refused to trade with the whistleblowing website – promised Amazon was in its sights.

Terrifying moment Charles and Camilla were surrounded by a baying mob and their car attacked in tuition fees riot
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1337088/TUITION-FEES-VOTE-PROTEST-Charles-Camillas-car-attacked-thousands-students-descend-Parliament.html
Enjoy these photos of the entitlement riots in Britain. Coming soon to a liberal, over-extended government near you. There is always a limit on resources, never a limit on desires. ~Bob.

Retired Royal Australian Marine becomes honorary US Marine
I have fond memories of Camp Hanson and Kin Village. ~Bob. Excerpt: CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan — Retired Royal Australian Marine, Col. Ivan J. Cahill, was awarded the title of Honorary U.S. Marine Nov. 19 for his conduct as the company commander of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, from Dec. 1, 1967 to Dec. 31, 1968 during the Vietnam War. “Wearing the title of United States Marine is challenging, rewarding and earned,” said Maj. Gen. James B. Laster, commanding general, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “Therefore, after carefully considering and reviewing Col. Ivan J. Cahill’s service to our (Marine) Corps, without a doubt, I recommend with utmost enthusiasm he be awarded the title of Honorary Marine.” Cahill served with the Marines in Vietnam from 1967-1968. While with the Marines, Cahill was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with combat distinguishing device for leading the Marines during Operation Auburn in Vietnam from 1967-1968.

State worker assaults TV reporter on video: “This is not public property; this is state property”
Apparently a growing view among our “public Servants.” ~Bob. Excerpt: Back on Tuesday, Nov. 23, a state worker grabbed at the camera of KOB-TV reporter Gadi Schwartz while the reporter shot videotape outside the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) Building in downtown Santa Fe. During the fracas, the state employee fell down and one of his associates told Schwartz to leave the premises, saying, “This is not public property; this is state property.” A security guard later tried to evict Schwartz from the vicinity uttering the same phrase.

In first days as assessor, Berrios hires son, sister
Excerpt: Just days into his tenure as Cook County assessor, Joseph Berrios has hired his son and sister to work for him. Berrios brought over his close relatives from the county's property tax appeals board, where he was one of three commissioners. The assessor's office is a key government operation because it sets the property values used to determine individual tax bills. Carmen Berrios, the assessor's sister, is director of taxpayer services at Berrios' new office. She is making about $86,000 a year, the same salary she made at the Board of (Tax) Review, where she headed up taxpayer outreach, Berrios said. Joseph "Joey" Berrios, the assessor's son, now is a residential property analyst, similar to the job he held at the Board of Review, where he also made about $48,000 a year…. Berrios' daughter, Vanessa Berrios, has worked in the assessor's office for more than a decade. She is now an analyst being paid $58,000 a year. Berrios, who is chairman of the Cook County Democratic Organization, took office on Monday. He was criticized during the recent campaign for hiring relatives, a practice he defended.

The case for announcing for president early
Excerpt: Much has been written of late about the fact that the 2012 Republican presidential fight is off to a slow start. What we find more amazing than the fact that frontrunning candidates like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin aren't as active as their predecessors have been is that not a single lesser known candidate has taken advantage of the current presidential news vacuum to get into the contest. "For anyone not Romney or Palin, it is an advantage to start early," acknowledged an adviser to one of the GOP candidates considering but not yet in the race. "Not only do you need the early exposure to secure political real estate before someone else does, but the best staff and consultants will go quickly." That's especially true in a field like this one, which is expected to be large and -- with apologies to Romney and Palin -- without a clearly defined frontrunner in the way past contests have had.

Strapped States to Hollywood: Stay Home
Government is going to have to stop subsiding everything from the arts, to public broadcasting to ethanol, just because there is a hungry interest group writing letters. The money’s gone, folks. ~Bob. Excerpt: Excerpt: The show's producers were lured by state incentives—a mix of tax credits, job-training subsidies, low-interest loans, and other aid. A state report says such subsidies are the most generous in the U.S., and cost Michigan taxpayers more than the economic activity they generate. The 355 full-time jobs created as a result of the program last year cost the state about $193,000 each, the study found. Rick Snyder, the Republican governor-elect, wants to curb the largesse.

For years, everyone was wringing their hands over high credit card debt and too much consumer spending. Now they howl about too little spending, as consumers retrench, thus not “stimulating” the economy. ~Bob. Excerpt: Eight million Americans cut up their credit cards this year, according to new data out from credit bureau TransUnion. Some of those plastic deserters were folks who faced scary economic conditions and decided to voluntarily cut back on debt spending. But for others, it wasn’t a matter of choice. Millions of customers found themselves unceremoniously ejected from the ranks of the card-worthy thanks to last year’s Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act, or Credit CARD Act. The new rules were supposed to “protect American credit card holders” by stopping “unfair rate increases.” Instead, credit card companies prepared for their new straitened circumstances by booting customers who would no longer be profitable (read: poor people and other risky borrowers), and hiking interest rates for others. American Express even offered $300 bonuses to customers willing to pay off their cards and close their accounts—a deal designed to entice the kind of cash-strapped customers AmEx was soon to find less lucrative.

Another effort to make the USA more like wonderful Europe. ~Bob. Excerpt: Tea party victories in November likely signal the beginning of the end for President Obama’s ambitious and expensive high-speed rail plans. Republican governors-elect of both Ohio and Wisconsin have vowed to return federal high-speed rail funds that had been granted to those states. The governor-elect of Florida is also a rail skeptic, and more and more obstacles are being thrown in front of California’s rail plans. The prospects for high-speed rail are so dire that the Onion recently suggested that President Obama would shift his support to high-speed buses instead. Even the Washington Post has sounded caution about spending much more money on this obsolete form of travel.

Illinois Getting $42M Extra for High-Speed Rail from Wisconsin, Ohio
But they will spend the money anyway. After all, it’s already printed! ~Bob. Excerpt: The State of Illinois is going to be getting $42 million in high-speed rail funds thanks to political maneuvering in Washington. Ohio and Wisconsin were supposed to get $1.2 billion in rail funds, but newly-elected Republican governors turned down the money, calling the project a waste. In response, the Obama administration is taking the money away from them and giving it to Illinois and 13 other states.

Unemployment insurance kills small business
Excerpt: The cost of the joint federal-state program is borne by employers who pay state and federal taxes on a portion of wages paid to each employee in a calendar year. (At the federal level, employers must pay 6.2 percent of the first $7,000 of income to keep the system afloat.) The combined burden of these hidden state and federal payroll taxes has exploded during the recession as President Obama's economic recovery interventions backfire and the jobless rate remains stuck near double-digits. State unemployment insurance funds have gone broke in nearly half the states.

Hezbollah On The Doorstep - And In The House
Quick, have BO tell them that “Islam is a Religion of Peace” and all will be well. ~Bob. Excerpt: Hezbollah has bases all over Latin America, but especially in the ultra-remote area where the borders of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet. The Tri-Border Area, or TBA, is one of the most lawless regions in the world, and is the Latin American “headquarters” of Hezbollah — the center of its fundraising operations as well as its terrorist training camps. The illegal arms trade flourishes in the TBA, assisted by over 100 illegal airstrips. The TBA has been Hezbollah’s launching pad for terror cells all over the Americas, including the one that destroyed the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1992, and a Buenos Aires Jewish community center in 1994.

German Troops Stationed in France for the First Time since World War II
Excerpt: A battalion of German combat troops was officially stationed in eastern France on Friday for the first time since Nazi forces ended their occupation at the end of World War II. The battalion, part of the joint Franco-German Brigade, is stationed at Illkirch-Graffenstaden outside Strasbourg, near the German border, and will by 2012 consist of 600 battle-ready soldiers.

WikiLeaks cables suggest Burma is building secret nuclear sites
Excerpt: The reports add rare detail to rumours that have circulated since 2002, most recently from a military defector this year, that Burma is covertly seeking a nuclear bomb with the help of North Korea. Both countries have strenuously denied this in the past and Burma insists there are no North Koreans in the country. The cables will compound existing international concern over Iranian and North Korean nuclear programmes, and show why Barack Obama has made nuclear non-proliferation one of the central planks of his foreign policy. According to the witness accounts, pieced together by US embassy staff, the work is at an early stage and haphazard. But they regard it as a troubling development, with the risk that Burma could join Pakistan, North Korea and possibly Iran in having a nuclear bomb.

Nader: Obama's a "con man," hints at indie run
Nadar must be a racist, opposing Obama! ~Bob. Excerpt: No good progressive rebellion would be complete without hearing from Ralph Nader, and the two-time presidential candidate and notorious spoiler finally weighed in on the tax deal Barack Obama cut with the GOP. Needless to say, Nader is less than impressed with the President, and demanded a primary challenge from the left to defeat the “con man” currently in the White House. And if one doesn’t step forward, well, Nader might pull his campaign out of mothballs and give it one more go himself: “He has no fixed principles,” Nader said, of Mr. Obama. “He’s opportunistic — he goes for expedience, like Clinton. Some call him temperamentally conflict-averse. If you want to be harsher, you say he has no principles and he’s opportunistic.” “He’s a con man,” Nader continued. “I have no use for him.”

She’s back!
Helen Thomas was at it again last week, this time making anti-Semitic comments at an Arab Detroit workshop and silencing Leftist speculation that her previous outburst was an aberration or age-related lack of tact. Thomas's decades-long career as a White House correspondent ended in June after she groused, "Israelis should get the hell out of Palestine." "We are owned by propagandists against the Arabs," Thomas informed the workshop's 300 attendees, "There's no question about that. Congress, the White House, and Hollywood, Wall Street, are owned by the Zionists. No question in my opinion." For this and other incendiary comments condemning America's involvement in the Middle East, the former press corpse reporter received a standing ovation. Not everyone was applauding, however, including Thomas's alma mater, Wayne State University in Detroit. Shortly after the workshop, the school announced it was ending the unfortunately named Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity Award. Thomas had the nerve to be angry about the decision, calling it a "sad day for students" and accusing the University of "making a mockery of the First Amendment." The fact that she's made a mockery of journalism for so long seems to have escaped her. The Patriot Post www.patriotpost.us/subscribe/

The Only Surviving Album of Auschwitz
Excerpt: This is the story of a Hungarian Jewish woman who survived Auschwitz and found a coat belonging to a guard which she took to shield her from the cold immediately after her liberation. In the pocket of this coat she found a photo album. It contained pictures of what went on in this extermination camp. Imagine her reaction when she saw a picture of herself coming off of the train as well pictures of her family who were already murdered. This album at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem was donated by this woman in 1980 and will forever be displayed there. When you have 5 minutes of peace and quiet in front of your computer, watch it and consider passing it around to people that you know so they can share it and know about it. It is truly moving and important. (Of course, according to the Muslims and their supporters on the left, this never happened. ~Bob.)

Student Day In Iran - They Don't Like The Regime
Excerpt: December 7th was National Student Day in Iran. It was created to commemorate the deaths of student protesters back in the shah’s day, but now it’s an occasion for protests against the Islamic Republic. The consensus of the Iranologists was that nothing much would happen, both because security on the country’s many university campuses was extremely tight, and because –according to many experts — the opposition was pretty much out of gas. It’s a tough life for Iranologists; once again they zigged when the Iranian people zagged. Have a look at this collection of videos from around the country, or this one, and you’ll see substantial resistance, quite a bit of fighting, and plenty of protest. At my last count, 56 students had been arrested, and you can expect that number to rise in coming days and weeks.

Life is like a case of C-rations
Excerpt: Look, forty years on I can forgive the guy who put powder in our ammunition so foul that it caused our M-16s to jam. I'm OK with helicopters that arrived late. I'm over artillery landing too close and the occasional canceled air strike. But I will never forgive the Pentagon bureaucrat who in an incredibly lame moment thought that a soldier would open a can of that green, greasy, gelatinous goo called ham and lima beans and actually eat it. But to paraphrase that iconic war hero of our generation, Forrest Gump, life is like a case of C Rations, you never know what you're going to get because for every box of ham and lima beans there was that rapturous moment when you would turn over the box and discover the bacchanalian joy of peaches and pound cake.

Communist Party Leader on Using the Democrats
Excerpt: Joe Sims is co-editor of the Communist Party USA newszine Peoples World. In a recent article in the Communist Party theoretical journal Political Affairs, Sims takes to task, another comrade, C.J. Atkins , who had effectively advocated dumping the “communist” label, in order to be able to work more effectively inside the Democratic Party. Sims acknowledges that working with and inside the Democrats “will be an area of engagement for those wanting to make a difference.” He even acknowledges the possibility that the communists may be able to “capture’ the Democratic Party entirely. But Sims warns, it would be dangerous to dissolve entirely into the Democrats. Communists must keep their options open, working both inside and outside the Democratic Party as circumstances dictate.

AFL-CIO Leader Accepts Communist Party Award: ‘I Stand With Them’
Excerpt: Those who doubt the connection between the communist party and the unions need only to read accounts of a recent awards ceremony to see how both groups view each other. On Sunday, December 5, the Communist Party USA gave awards to a pair of labor leaders and a former state legislator and assistant attorney general.* Among the recipients was Connecticut AFL-CIO head John Olsen, who not only gladly accepted the award, but garnered “loud applause” when he said he stands with CPUSA. (Gee, I was a state legislator and they never gave me an award. Maybe it was the,” I’d rather Be Killing Communists” button I wore on the senate floor. It got some attention in the Boston press. ~Bob.)

Hypocrisy Alive and Well at Cancun Climate Conference
Gee, I’m shocked! ~Bob. Excerpt: According to one conference attendee who described the “heavy-duty partying and food” as “remarkable in its hypocrisy,” common-sense efficiency would have done a lot to reduce the conference’s energy consumption. “There were buses that would transport the delegates to the hotel every ten minutes,” said Steve Lonegan, a state director for Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and Republican challenger for governor of New Jersey in 2009. According to Lonegan, the buses would run whether they had passengers or not. “Many times you would just see two to three delegates on a 60-person bus,” added AFP’s Erik Telford, who also attended the conference. Moreover for all the talk on reducing emissions, bicycles were not made available for attendees to use. “There was not a single bicycle in sight,” Lonegan told TheDC.

Why I Support the Ryan Roadmap-- By Sarah Palin
excerpt: The publication of the findings of the president's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform was indeed, as the report was titled, "A Moment of Truth." The report shows we're much closer to the budgetary breaking point than previously assumed. The Medicare Trust Fund will be insolvent by 2017. As early as 2025, federal revenue will barely be enough to pay for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and interest on our national debt. With spending structurally outpacing revenue, something clearly needs to be done to avert national bankruptcy. The commission itself calculates that, even if all of its recommendations are implemented, the federal budget will continue to balloon—to an estimated $5 trillion in 2020, from an already unprecedented $3.5 trillion today. The commission makes only a limited effort to cut spending below the current trend set by the Obama administration. Among the few areas of spending it does single out for cuts is defense—the one area where we shouldn't be cutting corners at a time of war. Worst of all, the commission's proposals institutionalize the current administration's new big spending commitments, including ObamaCare. Not only does it leave ObamaCare intact, but its proposals would lead to a public option being introduced by the backdoor, with the chairmen's report suggesting a second look at a government-run health-care program if costs continue to soar.

DHS confirms cheaper to deport every illegal alien than allowing them to stay
Excerpt: On December 3, Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, Nelson Peacock, responding to request from several U.S. Senators, including Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), wrote: “Our conservative estimate suggests that ICE would require a budget of more than $135 billion to apprehend, detain and remove the nation’s entire illegal immigrant population.” In July 2010, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) released the results of a study which examined the costs of illegal immigration at the federal, state and local levels. The study found that U.S. state and local governments shell out $84.2 billion annually in various services (law enforcement, schools, social services, etc.), with California taxpayers alone, spending $21 billion on illegal aliens every year. The same study found that $29 billion is spent every year in federal funds on illegal aliens.

Homegrown Hate Crimes Against our Troops
Excerpt: When jihad-bent American Muslims target American soldiers on American soil, why does America yawn? The Fort Hood massacre has faded from view. The Little Rock Army recruiting station ambush barely registered on the national radar screen. And the arrest this week of a Baltimore-area bomb plotter, intent on blowing up a military center and murdering our troops in the name of Allah, was met with a collective shrug. It's pointless to rally citizens around "never forget" when their heads are in the sand. Civil liberties absolutists are more outraged by the alleged "entrapment" of Muslim convert Muhammad Hussain than by his bloodthirsty scheme to blow up an Army recruitment office in Maryland. According to the FBI affidavit, Hussain "indicated that if the military continued to kill their Muslim brothers and sisters, they would need to expand their operation by killing U.S. Army personnel where they live. He stated that jihad is not only in Afghanistan or Pakistan, but also in the United States." Hussain explored using rifles, gas, propane tanks and vehicle bombs to maximize death. He planned to "shoot everybody in the place" and burn down the building to "instill fear" and to send a message that "(w)hoever joins the military, they will be killed."

The Mitch Daniels Dilemma
Excerpt: "If I could wave a magic wand and change just one thing, it would be to guarantee that every American child could grow up in a two-parent home until the age of 18. That would solve maybe three-quarters of our problems." So said Indiana governor and possible presidential candidate Mitch Daniels. The words may surprise those who know only that Daniels has proposed a "truce" on social issues for the 2012 campaign. Daniels, whose pro-life and pro-family credentials could not be more solid, was simply attempting to sketch the nature of the fiscal and economic catastrophe that he says is coming, and that, for now, must take priority. "The debt is a devastating enemy. The threat from the Soviet Union may have been more severe -- if you go broke, you're still alive -- but it was also less likely." National bankruptcy, on the other hand, "is a mathematical certainty" if we don't change course ... and fast. "The America that we have known is profoundly threatened." It's because the stakes are so high that Daniels has let himself be cajoled into considering a presidential run himself -- though with reluctance -- and I'll come back to that in a moment. A parade of political professionals, pundits, and scribblers (including me) has trouped to Indianapolis because the modest, humorous, and mild-mannered Daniels may well be the best chief executive in American government….. Inheriting a $600 million deficit, Daniels transformed it into a $370 million surplus within one year, without raising taxes. "You'd be amazed how much government you'll never miss," he grins. Six years on, Indiana now enjoys a AAA bond rating, boasts the fewest state workers per capita in the nation, enjoys the third-highest private-sector job growth in the nation, has seen property taxes drop by an average of 30 percent, and was ranked first in the Midwest for business climate by the Tax Foundation. Daniels was named Public Official of the Year in 2008 by Governing magazine.

Stanford Ushers In The Age Of Bookless Libraries
Excerpt: The periodical shelves at Stanford University’s Engineering Library are nearly bare. Library chief Helen Josephine says that in the past five years, most engineering periodicals have been moved online, making their print versions pretty obsolete — and books aren't doing much better. (How do you get an autographed copy ton line? I still have the battered copy of Kipling’s Poems I carried in my pack in Vietnam. The surgical tape still holds it together, forty-three years later. This makes me very sad. I don’t think they read, just browse. ~Bob.)

Calls to end child marriages rejected
Excerpt: Nazri Aziz, a minister in the premier's department in charge of legal affairs, said the government has no plan to review laws allowing for underage marriages because the practice is permitted under Islam. 'If the religion allows it, then we can't legislate against it,' he told a press conference. 'Islam allows it as long as the girl is considered to have reached her pubescent stage, once she has her menstruation,' he added. (This is actually better than many Muslim countries, where the marriage age is nine, based on the “perfect example” of the Prophet Mohammad. ~Bob.)

Islamic cleric misunderstands Islam, says female genital mutilation is Islamic
Excerpt: Islamic apologists in the West routinely insist that female genital mutilation is an African tribal practice, that it has nothing to do with Islam. Imam Mala Yassin Hakim Piskandi, although he holds a master's degree in Islamic jurisprudence, didn't get the memo. He here speaks of the Shafi'i school of Islamic law, which teaches this (with information on other schools in parentheses): "Circumcision is obligatory (O: for both men and women. For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce (Ar. bazr) of the clitoris (n: not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert). (A: Hanbalis hold that circumcision of women is not obligatory but sunna, while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the husband.)" -- 'Umdat al-Salik e4.3

Pakistan: Misunderstander of Islam murders 16 with jihad-martyrdom bomb
Excerpt: Probably this suicide bomber misunderstood the passage in the Qur'an that guarantees Paradise to those who "kill and are killed" for Allah (9:111) to mean -- now, I know this is crazy -- that Paradise is guaranteed to those who "kill and are killed" for Allah. Everybody knows, of course, that if you only understood Arabic, you'd know that the passage really means that Paradise is guaranteed to those who "hug and are hugged" for Allah, but Misunderstanding of Islam is sadly rampant among the devoutest believers.

Sharia in Sudan: Woman brutally lashed (with video of it)
Excerpt: Good thing Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange made Oklahoma safe for Sharia, eh?

Congress must act to stop the next housing crash
Excerpt: Many factors contributed to the Great Recession of 2008, but its root cause was simple: In a two-decade-long bipartisan campaign to expand homeownership, especially among minority and lower-income communities, federal authorities cajoled, threatened and ultimately mandated that mortgage institutions put aside traditional, common-sense lending standards. A real estate bubble predictably followed as adjustable-rate mortgages, subprime loans requiring little or no down payment, and other lend-at-all-costs incentives combined with corporate greed to encourage an irrational exuberance about the value of real estate. Americans borrowed trillions of dollars to buy millions of homes at unjustifiably high prices, using the overvalued homes themselves as collateral, even as commercial banks packaged millions of these shaky mortgages into securities for investors looking for quick, easy profits. And standing behind it all stood government-backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, implicitly guaranteeing everybody that nobody would lose their shirts.

ObamaCare—the gift that goes on giving. ~Bob. Excerpt: Nancy Pelosi told us that we needed to pass the ObamaCare bill to find out what was in it, but apparently we needed to pass it to find out what wasn’t in it as well. Thanks to one of the 2800 pages that apparently no one in Congress read before voting on the bill, the new law has drug manufacturers canceling discounts to children’s’ hospitals that helped provide medicine to children suffering from rare diseases. The change will cost these hospitals hundreds of millions of dollars, and will almost certainly curtail access to critical care for children: In an unintended consequence of the new health care law, drug companies have begun notifying children’s hospitals around the country that they no longer qualify for large discounts on drugs used to treat rare medical conditions. As a result, prices are going up for these specialized “orphan drugs,” some of which are also used to treat more common conditions.

Teen gets life term for murder
Excerpt: Jose Preciliano Quintero smirked as the prosecutor described how he stomped a woman to death two years ago in south Phoenix. And he kept smirking even after the prosecutor called it to the judge's attention. On Thursday, Quintero, 18, was sentenced to life in prison with a chance of parole after 25 years for killing Helen Coulter, 39, on Dec. 13, 2008. It has been more than 20 years since anyone has been granted parole for first-degree murder. But just to be sure, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Michael Kemp sentenced Quintero to 23 1/2 more years for kidnapping and sexual abuse, to be served after his life sentence. (As usual, the Arizona "La Republica" fails to note if Quintero is a citizen. My bet: The three names tell me he is not a citizen. –DH)

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