Saturday, January 29, 2011

Political Digest for January 29, 2011

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.

US consulate employee kills two in Pakistan, complicating ties
Excerpt: A US consulate employee shot dead two Pakistanis in the eastern city of Lahore Thursday, while a third Pakistani was killed in a traffic accident in the aftermath of the shooting, according to local police officials. Police told news agencies that the American claimed to be acting in self-defense, but the incident could raise already high-levels of anti-American sentiment in the country, an important US ally. Questions are also likely to be raised as to why the man was carrying a handgun and whether that is standard consulate practice. Lahore police chief Aslam Tareen told the Monitor that the American identified himself as Raymond Davis, a “technical adviser” to the US Consulate in Lahore, and that he confessed to the shooting after having been chased by two assailants on a motorcycle. Mr. Tareen says that Mr. Davis told him, “The moment I saw a gun I opened fire,” adding that the police are now in contact with Pakistan’s Foreign Office to determine whether Davis has diplomatic immunity from prosecution. One of the alleged assailants has been identified as "Faizan," a Lahore resident. Tareen says Faizan was carrying a pistol at the time of the attack. (Nice work. Now we have to get him out of there alive. ~Bob.)

Police beat, shoot protesters as thousands demonstrate for Egypt's 'Angry Friday'
Maybe BO should go there and call for “civility”? ~Bob. Excerpt: Heavily armed riot police battled thousands of protesters across Egypt on Friday, as the government sought to squelch a burgeoning pro-democracy movement that appeared to be gaining strength. Crowds surged onto the streets of Cairo and other cities immediately after noon prayers, responding to a call for protests dubbed "Angry Friday." Toward sunset, the demonstrations seemed to grow larger, even as police fired guns, tear gas and water cannons. The government ordered a 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez, the Associated Press reported. On the 6th of October Bridge, which spans the Nile in the heart of this teeming capital, two protesters were shot by police and collapsed on the ground, unresponsive. They were loaded into a van that appeared headed for a nearby hospital. But police stopped the van, pulled out the people accompanying those who had been shot and began beating them with wooden batons. The fate of those who were shot was not known.

As protests swell from Yemen to Egypt, Middle East faces uncertainty
Excerpt: A wave of political unrest threatening Middle Eastern governments grew ominously larger Thursday as new protests shook impoverished Yemen and Egyptian authorities braced for massive anti-government demonstrations set to begin Friday. The fresh turbulence deepened fears of a prolonged period of chaos and uncertainty in the region while raising new questions about the viability of autocratic governments that have been stalwart allies of the United States for more than a generation. (When a Muslim country throws off an autocratic secular regime for democracy, they usually elect an autocratic Islamist regime that stifles freedom even more. See Hamas. ~Bob.)

Mubarak's party HQ on fire, protesters storm foreign ministry
Looks like that 4:00 am call came, and neither BO nor Hillary know what to do. ~Bob. Excerpt: Protesters on the streets of Cairo are trying to storm the Egyptian Foreign Ministry and the state TV building, the Associated Press reports. The headquarters of the President Hosni Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party has been set afire.
Mubarak, who has deploy the army to impose a nationwide 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew, is to address the nation short on television, the AP says.

Egyptian Army Called in as Protests Rage
Excerpt: The unrest in Egypt came after weeks of turmoil across the Arab world that toppled one leader in Tunisia and encouraged protesters to overcome deep-rooted fears of their autocratic leaders and take to the streets. But Egypt is a special case — a heavyweight in Middle East diplomacy, in part because of its peace treaty with Israel, and a key ally of the United States. The country, often the fulcrum on which currents in the region turn, also has one of the largest and most sophisticated security forces in the Middle East. As darkness began to fall on Egypt, Al Jazeera reported a brief respite in the violence as some police and protesters agreed to hold their clashes to allow for evening prayers. But the chaos continued afterward. At least one person appeared to have been killed in Suez, east of Cairo and the site of some of the most violent clashes. Reuters reported that protesters were carrying a man’s body through the streets as one demonstrator shouted, “They have killed my brother." Details of his death were not immediately clear.

Egypt Approaches the Abyss
Obama Partners With The Muslim Brotherhood -- What Could Go Wrong?
Excerpt: Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s son who is considered as his successor has fled to Britain along with his family, US-based Arabic website Akhbar al-Arab reported. The report came as violent unrest broke out in Cairo and other Egyptian cities and hundreds of thousands of people reportedly took to the streets in a Tunisia-inspired day of revolt. The long reign of Hosni Mubarak seems to be in its final decline and the next few weeks will probably determine to a great extent the security picture of the Middle East for a generation. While we should all applaud the removal of a dictator we should do so with the realization that the odds of the Obama Administration producing an outcome superior to that produced by Jimmy Carter in Iran approaches zero. As I’ve said many times, no historical analogy is ever exactly right but the parallels developing between the way the Carter administration betrayed the Shah of Iran are chilling.

Worth Reading: Dustbins I Have Known
Excerpt: The ash heap of history. A lot more than Mideast foreign policy may be heading there now. The administration’s strategic miscalculations have been vast. Like the Mubarak regime, Washington has been weighed down by a corrupt memory space. It too is looking for a memetic reboot. From ignoring the fact that the Middle East, not Southwest Asia, was the strategic center of gravity, to starting the ObamaCare medical program in the middle of a deficit crisis and pushing carbon trading and green energy at a time when energy and food production are critical, they have set up a whole string of things for an epic fail. And they will fail. Because if something can’t go on, then it won’t. Gravity wins in the end. A generation of ideologues have spent the Western legacy into the dirt to pursue their fantasy. Now the mansion is dark and water may soon be cut off. The creditors are waiting at the door and calls to friends go unanswered. Slowly the idea may be sinking in. The talk show circuit can’t save them any more. Bad ideas live on in policy. And bad policy eventually creates a crisis which cannot be solved within its framework. The Obama administration probably ended at the beginning of 2011. It cannot think itself out of problems that it cannot understand.

Rahm Emanuel ruled eligible for Chicago mayoral race
Chicago is saved! ~Bob. Excerpt: The Illinois Supreme Court ruled today that former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel meets the residency requirements to run for Chicago mayor, overturning a lower court ruling and re-installing him as the race's frontrunner. "This is a situation in which, not only did the candidate testify that his intent was not to abandon his Chicago residence, his acts fully support and confirm that intent," the court wrote in the ruling, which you can read in full here.

Jane Hamsher’s Bad Day With the Marines
Excerpt: On Sunday, during the run-up to what was already destined to be a pretty disappointing evening for Jets fans, one of the oddest tales ever seen from the “strange but true” files began to unfold in my Twitter stream. Jane Hamsher, blogger at Fire Dog Lake, began frantically firing off tweets describing a situation where she was being detained, if not arrested, by the United States Marines at their base at Quantico. You’re to be excused if you find yourself wondering what Jane was doing at the Marine base in the first place, but there were a couple of reasons offered. First, she was in the company of a gentleman named David House, who is on the approved visitor list for accused traitor Bradley Manning, currently a guest of the government at the Quantico brig. House has apparently been visiting Manning on a regular basis, driven by Jane, and she would wait at the on base McDonalds while he went in to see the prisoner. Nothing too unusual so far, right? But might there be a bit more to the story than that?

Drug cartels ambush American photographer south of Nogales
Planning a vacation in Mexico? Best take Blackjack Pershing as a tour guide. ~Bob. Excerpt: On January 25, an American photographer narrowly escaped death when he was ambushed by cartel members and led the henchmen on a high-speed chase to the International Border Zone, just south of Nogales, Arizona. Matthew Besinger, a Los Angeles-based photographer was working on a photograph book about the Sonoran desert when he was ambushed by four young men. His vehicle suffered significant damage during his daring escape which ended at the U.S./Mexico border near Nogales.

What Barack Obama and General Electric have in common
Excerpt: Step back for a minute from the day to day policy fights and consider how an economy can grow faster. One way is to get people to work harder or longer. The government can contribute here with policies that reward work and investment, such as lower taxes. A second route to faster growth is innovation, which means inventions or new processes that increase productivity. Government can help with money for basic research, but private investment, human ingenuity and luck are the main drivers. The third way is through the more efficient use of capital, both human and monetary. These resources are scarce in any economy, and growth will be fastest if they are allowed to find their highest return. If resources are allocated to less productive uses or create asset bubbles due to bad policy, then overall growth will be slower than it should be. In our view, this third point has been the largest but least appreciated problem in the U.S. economy in recent years. First the Federal Reserve's subsidy for credit and other policies pushed resources into the financial industry, and especially into real estate. When that bubble burst, triggering the 2008 financial panic and recession, the U.S. responded over two years with a huge expansion of the federal government.

Johanns bill to repeal healthcare law's 1099 provision reaches 60 co-sponsors
Excerpt: A bipartisan bill in the Senate that would repeal the unpopular 1099 provision in the healthcare law garnered 60 co-sponsors on Thursday, giving the legislation its best chance at passage so far. Since Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) introduced the bill on Tuesday, lawmakers have quickly signed onto the measure, which would eliminate the requirement that businesses file the forms to the IRS for every vendor with which they have at least $600 in transactions.

Amber Waves of Ethanol: Four of every 10 rows of U.S. corn now go for fuel, not food.
Okay, so the poor may starve. A small price to pay for Big Green to bring us more expensive, less efficient fuel—that uses a lot of oil to produce and deliver. ~Bob. Excerpt: The global economy is getting back on its feet, but so too is an old enemy: food inflation. The United Nations benchmark index hit a record high last month, raising fears of shortages and higher prices that will hit poor countries hardest. So why is the United States, one of the world's biggest agricultural exporters, devoting more and more of its corn crop to . . . ethanol? The nearby chart, based on data from the Department of Agriculture, shows the remarkable trend over a decade. In 2001, only 7% of U.S. corn went for ethanol, or about 707 million bushels. By 2010, the ethanol share was 39.4%, or nearly five billion bushels out of total U.S. production of 12.45 billion bushels. Four of every 10 rows of corn now go to produce fuel for American cars or trucks, not food or feed. This trend is the deliberate result of policies designed to subsidize ethanol. Note the surge in the middle of the last decade when Congress began to legislate renewable fuel mandates and many states banned MTBE, which had competed with ethanol but ran afoul of the green and corn lobbies.

Assault on alcohol: Proposed Maryland tax would cost drinkers and nondrinkers alike
The statists never learn, but taxes are not a zero sum game, because people find ways to avoid them. ~Bob. Excerpt: A dime a drink may not sound that bad, but the deceptive name of Maryland's proposed new beverage tax hides its real impact on local businesses, jobs and the state's economy. The proposal would require wholesalers to pay the "dime per drink" tax on all of their liquor sales upfront and then pass along the cost to retailers and restaurants, which presumably would pass it along to consumers per drink. But the upfront cost to wholesalers and retailers could be overwhelming. The proposal would raise the tax on beer from 9 cents to $1.16 per gallon, the tax on wine from 40 cents to $2.92 per gallon and the tax on distilled liquor from $1.50 to an astonishing $10.03 per gallon. The tax would increase wholesalers' inventory costs by 700 percent to 1,300 percent. Proponents of the tax argue that it would raise revenue for the smarting state budget, but they underestimate its impact on businesses. In the end, the tax increase would hurt, rather than help, the state's economy. The taxes on alcohol are imposed directly on distributors, so the increase in the upfront cost of purchasing alcohol could bust their budgets. Distributors may have to purchase less inventory, fire workers or raise prices - or possibly all three.

Public Pension Hygiene Act
Excerpt: We're so accustomed to misnamed legislation like the Employee Free Choice Act (card check) that it's hard to believe that a welcome proposal called the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act describes what it actually purports to do. To wit, prohibit public pension bailouts by the federal government and expose the $3.5 trillion of unfunded public pension liabilities that local and state governments have obscured. Most state and local governments currently use their own estimated rate of return on their investments to discount their liabilities. By projecting unrealistically high rates of return, states minimize their unfunded liabilities, at least on paper. Lower unfunded liabilities in turn allow them to reduce how much they and public employees must contribute to their pension funds. Inflated investment assumptions are one reason that public pension funds are unfunded to the tune of $3.5 trillion. Public pensions typically assume an 8% annual return on average, but over the past five years state pension funds with more than $5 billion in assets have earned only 4.5%. Taxpayers must make up the difference between what the funds earn and what they need to pay retirees. For Californians that is roughly $5 billion this year. Local taxpayers are already seeing their services whacked and taxes raised to fill these pension holes.

State Bankruptcy Is a Bad Idea: Politicians already have the power to tame public unions without roiling municipal bond markets. They merely have to use it.
When politicians like Illinois Governor Pat “Jello” Quinn owe their elections to no-layoff deals with state unions, “merely” is a tough word. ~Bob. Excerpt: As states struggle with enormous deficits and exploding pension costs, some analysts are urging Congress to enact a law enabling states to declare bankruptcy the way municipalities can under Chapter 9 of the federal bankruptcy code. This is a bad idea. A state bankruptcy provision could create more problems than it solves. Bankruptcy proponents understandably worry that states such as California and Illinois are so deep in the hole they may end up petitioning Congress for federal relief. To forestall this possibility, the argument goes, even the threat of bankruptcy would give governors and legislators a powerful new weapon for forcing concessions from recalcitrant public employee unions. Yet state officials committed to cutting costs already have options for putting the squeeze on their unions. One is the threat of mass layoffs, which most governors can impose unilaterally. Governors and legislators also can prospectively freeze wages or even cut them through involuntary furloughs, as California and several other states did over the past two years.

Mike Pence passes on 2012 presidential bid
Excerpt: Indiana Rep. Mike Pence will not run for president but has left the door open to running for governor of the Hoosier State in 2012. "In the choice between seeking national office and serving Indiana in some capacity, we choose Indiana," Pence said in a letter to supporters first reported by the Indianapolis Star. "We will not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012." Pence has been publicly mulling whether to run for the open governor's office or for president for several months. In recent weeks, he has received considerable encouragement to run for president.

Unions make up 40 percent of employees exempted from Obamacare
Excerpt: Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced it had granted more than 500 new waivers to Obamacare's requirement that health plans have annual limits of no less than $750,000. This annual limit requirement climbs to $1.25 million next year and then to $2 million. The reason these exemptions from the law are needed is that Obamacare forces all health insurance consumers to over-insure themselves and pay high premiums as a result. Without the waivers, many companies, non-profits and unions would simply drop their health plans. As of 2014, the waivers will no longer be available -- at least, that's the way the law is written. It is worth noting that there are 166 union benefits funds now exempted from this requirement, which account for about 40 percent of the exempted workers. This means that although there are only 14.6 million unionized employees in the United States, and 860,000 of them are already exempted from this provision of Obamacare.

Wayne superintendent's $1M retirement package creates storm
Don’t bother me with this stuff—I’m busy trying to figure out why government is broke! ~Bob. Excerpt: But it wasn't until this month that board members realized just how lucrative that deal was, to the tune of more than $1 million. Thompson, 64, who retired in December after 15 years with the district, already has received more than $800,000 of his retirement deal, which included a year's base pay at more than $225,000, as well as contract provisions that kicked in hundreds of thousands more. But that's not all. The contract also created the position of superintendent emeritus -- a position that has been paying Thompson $1,352 a day since his retirement to advise his successor, among other duties. That amount, over the 150 days laid out in the contract, would pay him more than $200,000 -- bringing the total to more than $1 million.

WikiLeaks probe: Army commanders were told not to send Manning to Iraq
Excerpt: Investigators have concluded that Army commanders ignored advice not to send to Iraq an Army private who's now accused of downloading hundreds of thousands of sensitive reports and diplomatic cables that ended up on the WikiLeaks website in the largest single security breach in American history, McClatchy has learned. Pfc. Bradley Manning's direct supervisor warned that Manning had thrown chairs at colleagues and shouted at higher ranking soldiers in the year he was stationed at Fort Drum, N.Y., and advised that Manning shouldn't be sent to Iraq, where his job would entail accessing classified documents through the Defense Department's computer system.

Fix Immigration Now
I don’t know if this would work or not, but it makes more sense than a lot of what has been said. Ron P. Excerpt: Here’s an understatement: illegal immigration is a superheated issue. The all-or-nothing alternatives offered from the extremes on both sides seem unworkable, offering no possibility of compromise. Little wonder that viable solutions have not been seriously discussed for many months. To break the impasse, we need a new plan — one that retains core principles but requires all sides to compromise. The apparently intractable issues have to be acknowledged up front. Real immigration reform sets forth several principles that (hopefully) can be accepted by a majority of Americans….

Al-Qaeda to American Muslims: Kill the Infidel, Make a Living
Excerpt: In the case of the United States, both the government and private citizens should be targeted. America and Americans are the Imams of kufr in this day and age. The American people who vote for war mongering governments are intent on no good. Anyone who inflicts harm on them in any form is doing a favor to the ummah. … Since jihad around the world is in dire need of financial support, we urge our brothers in the West to take it upon themselves to give this issue a priority in their plans. Rather than the Muslims financing their jihad from their own pockets, they should finance it from the pockets of their enemies. (As you often say, guess the didn't get the memo. –MasterGuns)

The Left Must End Their War on School Choice
Excerpt: This Wednesday morning at 10 am, after serving nine days of a 10-day sentence, Kelley Williams-Bolar was released from the Summit County Jail in Akron, Ohio. Her crime? Trying to provide her two daughters with a better education. How on earth did trying to provide your children with a better education become a crime in the United States? Because the political party that currently occupies the White House is completely dependent on the power of education unions, and these unions see all efforts to shift power away from them, and to parents like Williams-Bolar, as a threat to their very existence. The case of Williams-Bolar is a perfect opportunity for the left to stop and reconsider their war on school choice. Before January 15, Williams-Bolar had no criminal record. She lived in an Akron housing project with her two daughters, worked as a teaching assistant at Buchtel High School, and was going to college to further her own education career. Like any parent, Williams-Bolar wanted to give her children the best education possible. But the grade 6 reading and math scores of students in the Akron City School District are almost 30 points lower than those in neighboring Copley-Fairlawn City School District. While Ohio does allow school choice intradistrict, Copley-Fairlawn does not offer open enrollment to children who live in the Akron City School District. Ohio also offers private-school-tuition scholarships to students in Cleveland, but that program is not available to children in Akron. So starting in August 2006, Williams-Bolar signed forms claiming her two daughters lived at their father’s address in the Copley-Fairlawn School District.

Obama vigorously defends Dems' healthcare reform: 'Granny is safe'
Excerpt: In his most vigorous defense of the healthcare law since Republicans took control of the House, Obama fired back Friday at GOP claims that the law deprives essential care for seniors and balloons the deficit. “You may have heard once or twice this is a job-crushing, granny-threatening, budget-busting monstrosity,” Obama said to pro-reform advocates at the Families USA annual conference in Washington. “That just doesn’t match up to the reality.”

Drill Here, Drill Now
Fun picture. ~Bob.

Too Good to Check: Suicide Bomber Killed by Text Message?
Gotta love Happy News. ~Bob. Excerpt: The would-be suicide bomber was planning to detonate a suicide belt bomb near Red Square, a plan that was foiled when her wireless carrier sent her an SMS while she was still at a safe house, setting off the bomb and killing her. The message reportedly wished her a Happy New Years, according to the report, which sourced the info from security forces in Russia. Cell phones are often used as makeshift detonators by terrorist and insurgent groups. If true, the SMS might be the only time that a wireless carrier’s SMS message has ever been useful.

CNN: Girls sold into sexual slavery, then jailed or punished for dishonour.
Well, Islam recognizes Mohammed (PBUH) as the perfect example of conduct in all things to be emulated by all Muslims, and he kept slaves. And Allah revealed to him that having sex with slave girls was allowed, in addition to your four wives and unlimited concubines. Since the Qur’an is permanently fixed, and cannot be re-interpreted (on pain of death) or updated, sex with slave girls remains and always will remain permissible for Muslim men. For a discussion, see: Slave-girls as sexual property in the Quran

US Debt Clock
Lots of depressing detail.

Classy: Tracy Morgan Calls Palin "Good Masturbation Material" on Live Television
Leftwing civility—well, we know what to call him! ~Bob. Excerpt: This wasn't a late night chat show, when relatively few young children would be watching. It was a pre-game show for a primetime NBA basketball game.

California Math Professor Charged with Urinating on Rival's Door
Excerpt: Prosecutors in California have charged a California State University professor with urinating on a colleague’s office door. Professor Tihomir Petrov, 43, was captured on video urinating on a fellow math professor’s door at California State University, Northridge. The colleague had previously discovered puddles of urine outside of his office, prompting the installation of a surveillance camera. Petrov will be arraigned Thursday on two misdemeanor charges of urinating in a public place at Los Angeles Superior Court in San Fernando. Fortunately for Petrov, he has not been charged with indecent exposure in relation to the alleged crimes. An indecent exposure conviction would require him to register as a sex offender. [This is the kind of person I spend my days with. – Kate. Higher education. ~Bob.]

"Because I'm not worth it." - Baseball Pitcher Gives Back $12 Million Dollar Salary He Didn't Feel He Had Earned
Excerpt: A baseball pitcher has handed back the $12million he earned last year because he ‘didn’t feel he was worth it’. In a rare show of humility from a top sportsman, Gil Meche gave the cash back to the Kansas City Royals after what he admitted was a miserable performance. The star signing was on three times more than anybody else on the team but only made nine starts all year without scoring a single win. He said: ‘This isn’t about being a hero - that’s not even close to what it’s about.

The Aim of Blood Libels
Excerpt: For Israelis, the American Left's assault on Sarah Palin and the conservative movement in the wake of Jared Loughlin's murderous attack in Tucson, Arizona was disturbingly familiar. Just as the American leftist media and political leadership immediately sought to blame Palin, the Tea Party and conservative media personalities for Loughlin's actions, so in 1995, their Israeli counterparts accused the Right - from then opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu, to rabbis to the two million Israelis who protested against the so-called "peace process" with the PLO - of responsibility for Yitzhak Rabin's assassination. Just as Palin and her fellow conservatives are accused of inciting the schizophrenic shooter to pull the trigger, so Netanyahu and his fellow rightists were accused of inciting the sociopathic Yigal Amir to plot and carry out his crime. And just as it doesn't matter to the American media elites that American conservatives engaged in no such incitement, and that Loughlin himself seemed motivated to act by a mad obsession with grammar, so it didn't matter to their Israeli counterparts that Amir's closest associate and the man responsible for the most incendiary anti-Rabin propaganda was Avishai Raviv - a government agent. Palin's characterization of the Left's appalling assault on her and her fellow conservatives as a "blood libel," was entirely accurate.

Pair Charged Over "gay execution leaflet" in first British "sexual hatred" case
Just exercising their religious freedom in accordance with Quranic teaching. ~Bob. Excerpt: Razwan Javed, 30, and Kabir Ahmed, 27, are to appear before magistrates in Derby accused of handing out leaflets calling for homosexuals to be executed. It is the first prosecution since laws outlawing homophobia came into force last March. The pair were yesterday charged with distributing the leaflet, titled “The Death Penalty?”, outside the Jamia Mosque in Derby in July last year. They are also accused of placing the leaflets through local letterboxes during the same month, the Crown Prosecution Service said. The pair, who were arrested after a tip-off from the public, have been charged with distributing threatening written material intending to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Affirmative Action Scandal Rocks Naval Academy: Students Disillusioned at Lower Admissions Standards, Easier Coursework for Minorities
Excerpt: Professor Bruce Fleming is not your typical US Naval Academy (USNA) Professor. He teaches English and he also happens to be a liberal. I’ve written favorably in my books about his work because he also happens to believe in speaking the truth. And by speaking the truth about the dirty secrets of affirmative action at the Naval Academy, he has set off a fire storm…. The result, he said, is a watered-down officer corps that weakens the military. Navy leaders haven’t fully articulated their reasoning for wanting more minority officers, he said. ‘What I hear is, what the enlisted people want is an officer who won’t get them killed,’ he said.” (Any sailor or Marine would be proud to die for political correctness. ~Bob.)

Secretary Napolitano Announces New National Terrorism Advisory System to More Effectively Communicate Information about Terrorist Threats to the American Public
Excerpt: Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will discontinue the color-coded alerts of the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) in favor of a new system, the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS), that will more effectively communicate information about terrorist threats by providing timely, detailed information to the public, government agencies, first responders, airports and other transportation hubs, and the private sector. The National Terrorism Advisory System will be implemented over the next 90 days in order for DHS and our federal, state, local, tribal, community and private sector partners to transition to the new system. (Getting rid of the color coded alert system for something else - is pissing on my leg and telling me it is raining. No one was paying attention to the color coded alerts any damn way. Gives you a real warm and fuzzy don’t it. While they stand back and let thousands through the south borders and tell us all that the borders are more secure now than they have ever been. Semper Fi, Micky.)

State not tracking benefits for aliens
Excerpt: During the campaign last fall, Gov. Mike Beebe told voters the state tracks how much it spends to provide services to people who are in the country illegally, but there is no central reporting and few state agencies said they track illegal aliens’ use of public services.

West says treat U.S. public as adults: Admit tough solutions needed on Social Security, Medicare
Excerpt: Changes to Social Security and Medicare and cuts in defense spending must be on the table as Congress grapples with long-term deficits and debt, new U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, told about 400 constituents tonight at his first town hall meeting.
West received a standing ovation from the crowd at South Florida Bible College and said he plans to hold two such meetings with constituents every month - one in Broward County and one in Palm Beach County.

Iranian Book Celebrating Suicide Bombers Found in Arizona Desert
But was it in Spanish? ~Bob. Excerpt: A book celebrating suicide bombers has been found in the Arizona desert just north of the U.S.- Mexican border, authorities tell Fox News. The book, "In Memory of Our Martyrs," was spotted Tuesday by a U.S. Border Patrol agent out of the Casa Grande substation who was patrolling a route known for smuggling illegal immigrants and drugs. Published in Iran, it consists of short biographies of Islamic suicide bombers and other Islamic militants who died carrying out attacks.

"Anyone who knows about Islam knows that stoning is Islamic law. There are people who call it inhuman, but in doing so, they insult the prophet"
And you know the punishment for insulting the Prophet! ~Bob. Excerpt: Nonetheless, there is this intriguing hadith: Umar said, "I am afraid that after a long time has passed, people may say, "We do not find the Verses of the Rajam (stoning to death) in the Holy Book," and consequently they may go astray by leaving an obligation that Allah has revealed. Lo! I confirm that the penalty of Rajam be inflicted on him who commits illegal sexual intercourse, if he is already married and the crime is proved by witnesses or pregnancy or confession." Sufyan added, "I have memorized this narration in this way." 'Umar added, "Surely Allah's Apostle carried out the penalty of Rajam, and so did we after him" (Sahih Bukhari 8.82.816). Muhammad carried out stonings. Islamic law prescribes them. And apologists' insistence on ignoring or downplaying that ensures the future suffering of men and women like Khayyam and Siddqa. Clearly, they would rather live with that than, as the Taliban spokesman said above, "insult the prophet."

Outspoken Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato brutally murdered
Excerpt: Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato was found brutally beaten and near death in his home on Wednesday. He died a short time later. The outspoken human rights proponent and teacher was found lying on the floor of his home with a severe head wound. At the time of his discovery he was alive however he died on the way to the hospital. Witnesses say a man entered his home with a hammer and beat the 42-year-old. Kato was one of just a few prominent campaigners in Uganda for gay rights. In Uganda homosexuality is illegal and gay men and women regularly face harassment, imprisonment of up to14 years and in some cases execution.

Sweden is a model for American school choice options
Excerpt: In 1993, Sweden introduced a system of school choice and vouchers inspired by the ideas of American economists Milton and Rose Friedman. Even though the system was just as controversial then as any U.S. voucher proposal, the right to chose your school and bring the funding with you is today considered a natural right for families and widely accepted by all political parties. Even Sweden's Social Democrat party supports the system and recently closed an internal debate on for-profit schools by deciding that there is no virtue in running schools at a loss: Schools should be judged on their academic performance, not financial. The reason for the Swedish voucher reform was both philosophical and practical. The philosophical argument was that since taxpayers have agreed to share the cost for a free and good education, then why should some have to pay for it twice - first with taxes and then in private school fees? The more practical argument came from Swedish experience with other reforms that created high costs for society and generations of students who saw few improvements.

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