Saturday, March 19, 2011

Political Digest for March 19, 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.

For those who want further information about the topics covered in this blog, I recommend the following sites. I will add to this as I find additional good sources.

The President’s Unfinished Bracket
You can see how busy he’s been. ~Bob

Obama, Gates to leave Washington for official visits as Libya crisis deepens
Hope he’s taking Michele and the girls, get in some relaxed shopping, enjoy the fall weather. ~Bob. Excerpt: As war clouds gathered over Libya on Friday, the U.S. commander in chief and his defense secretary were each preparing to leave Washington to visit places far removed from any military operations. President Obama was due to depart Friday for Brazil, the first stop on a five-day tour of Latin America that will also take him to Chile and El Salvador. Meanwhile, Pentagon chief Robert M. Gates was scheduled to fly Saturday to Russia, where he will spend three days in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

CBO: Obama budget worse than projected on 10-year deficit
And are you surprised? ~Bob. Excerpt: The Congressional Budget Office on Friday released its analysis of President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal and found it does less to rein in deficits and the debt than the administration had estimated. CBO estimates Obama's plan would produce 10 years of deficits totaling $9.5 trillion. By 2021, it would increase the debt held by the public to 87 percent of gross domestic product.

Islam 101
If you are not well versed on the topic. ~Bob.

UN Security Council approves no-fly zone over Libya and extra measures to protect civilians
Cool. I suggest France, Germany and Italy take the lead. We’re busy. ~Bob.

Allen West on Washington Watch with Roland Martin
Excerpt: This is a really good interview, especially considering that Roland Martin is part of the very liberal MSM. He doesn’t challenge West’s ideas much (probably cause he would have lost that debate big time) but I love to see Allen West going on liberal shows, especially with African American audiences. My favorite line was when West was quoting a maxim his father gave him: “Never read your own press and never drink your own tub water.” Allen West has no fear. He is what other Republicans should aspire to be.

Catch and release. ~Bob. Excerpt: An illegal alien apprehended by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency during the last fiscal year had an estimated 84 percent chance of never being prosecuted, according to figures compiled by the office of Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas). Culberson submitted the figures for the record during a hearing Wednesday of the House Appropriations subcommittee on homeland security. Of 447,731 illegal aliens apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol during fiscal year 2010 (which ended last September), only 73,263 (16.4 percent) were prosecuted, according to the submitted data. That means that 374,468 illegal aliens that were taken into custody (83.6 percent) were never prosecuted.

The next nuclear meltdown: China
Excerpt: The worsening Japanese predicament is a reminder of how much damage Mother Nature can cause. With a little help from her friends - for example, poor urban planners - Japan is facing a full-blown nuclear crisis not imagined since U.S. forces dropped two big ones on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 66 years ago. Radical greens are taking advantage of the tragedy to make doomsday warnings for the rest of the world. It’s doubtful that Japan’s unique geographical vulnerabilities are a hazard universally, but there is one place where nuclear power generators are susceptible to big trouble: China. The Middle Kingdom is earthquake-prone and suffers regular damage from major tremors. This augurs poorly for Beijing’s nuclear blueprint. “China National Nuclear, the country’s top nuclear-power developer, said this week it planned to build a new nuclear plant in the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing,” reported the Wall Street Journal. Chongqing “is around 480 kilometers from the epicenter of a 7.9-magnitude earthquake in 2008 that left nearly 90,000 people dead or missing in neighboring Sichuan province.” Fault lines crisscross the mainland, but the communist government has high-priority plans to hastily construct 28 new reactors in the next nine years. The People's Republic of China (PRC) already is the world’s second-largest consumer of nuclear energy. (I found this very interesting, I knew China had some nuclear plants, but no idea of how ambitious their plans are. And, as the writer points out, they sure aren't free of serious earthquakes there. On the other hand, I still maintain that truly careful, conservative designs, a big notch beyond past practice, can make nuclear plants safe against all but the worst possible quakes. It would make plants more expensive to build, but it's a lot cheaper to build it right than pay the price when something goes wrong. --Del)

The Wisconsin Assembly's Bold Leap
Excerpt: On the day Joe Knilans stood to address his Republican colleagues in a closed-door meeting, he was celebrating his sixty-day anniversary as a Wisconsin assemblyman. It was March 10, the day the assembly was set to take its final vote on Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial bill to limit collective bargaining for public employees in Wisconsin. But as the words fell out of Knilans’ mouth, it was clear he was not up for celebrating. “I just want to say that taking this vote today will probably cost me my job,” he began. “But that’s why I came to Madison — to take votes like this. I never wanted to be a career politician — it’s about doing the right thing.” Knilans, 46, is an old union hand who used to assemble cars at the recently mothballed General Motors plant in Janesville. In November, he won a shocking victory over the sitting speaker of the assembly, Mike Sheridan, who had been caught having an affair with a registered lobbyist. It was the first time since 1938 a sitting Wisconsin assembly speaker had lost. After such a historic election, “how can I not vote with the people who voted for me?” Knilans told me. When Knilans finished speaking, his colleagues gave him a standing ovation. Many that watched him speak remember feeling a jolt of electricity pass through the room. They were numb from the passion Knilans exuded in his speech. Soon, more vulnerable representatives stood and expressed their resolve in voting for the collective-bargaining bill.

Sharia Law Gains Foothold in US—Federal Judge Upholds Government Funding of Islam
Sharia Law is religious law based on the Qur’an and the Hadith. Would they uphold his is they were working to comply with Christian or Jewish law? ~Bob. Excerpt: Last week, Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff, a federal district court judge in Michigan, dismissed a constitutional challenge to the U.S. Government’s bailout of AIG, which used over a hundred million dollars in federal tax money to support Islamic religious indoctrination through the funding and promotion of Sharia-compliant financing (SCF). SCF is financing that follows the dictates of Islamic law. The challenge was brought by the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and co-counsel David Yerushalmi, on behalf of Kevin Murray, a Marine Corps veteran of the Iraqi War. TMLC filed a notice of appeal immediately after the ruling and will be seeking review of the decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of TMLC, commented: “Judge Zatkoff’s ruling allows for oil–rich Muslim countries to plant the flag of Islam on American soil. His ruling ignored the uncontested opinions of several Sharia experts and AIG’s own website, which trumpeted Sharia-compliant financing as promoting the law of the Prophet Mohammed and as an ‘ethical product,’ and a ‘new way of life.’ His ruling ignored AIG’s use of a foreign Islamic advisory board to control investing in accordance with Islamic law.”

House votes to defund NPR
Excerpt: After a contentious debate and over procedural objections from Democrats, the House on Thursday voted to prevent federal funds from going to National Public Radio.
The proposal, sponsored by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), passed the House on a 228-to-192 vote, with one Republican voting present. All but seven Republicans voted for the measure, and all Democrats present voted against it. The measure is unlikely to be taken up by the Democratic-controlled Senate. The White House on Thursday issued a statement “strongly opposing” the bill but stopping short of a veto threat.

Reid: GOP must give in on Planned Parenthood to get spending deal
If Republicans were pushing Planned Parenthood, Democrats would cry racism, giving the higher percentage of abortions for poor black women. ~Bob. Excerpt: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) declared Thursday that a Republican proposal to defund Planned Parenthood will not be part of any agreement to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year. Asked Thursday about the GOP proposal, Reid defended group, which provides abortions, and said it would not be part of a long-term funding deal. “They stuff they’ve done with — something I’ve worked on for years — contraception is untoward and won’t be part of an agreement,” Reid said.

Al-Shabaab Plagued by Defeats, Desertion
Excerpt: Al-Shabaab's stranglehold over Somalia appears to have weakened in recent months, with the al-Qaida ally suffering an ugly string of military losses to Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeeping force. Last month, government and African Union forces recaptured the Somali Defense Ministry in Mogadishu from the jihadists, and last week they repelled a coordinated al-Shabaab effort to retake the building. The facility is now a base for Burundian members of AMISOM

Libya declares-cease fire after U.N. approves intervention
Good thing for the “People of Libya” that Obama is president. If Bush was President, Gaddafi could kill ten times as many of his own people, as Saddam did, and the left and the media would oppose doing a thing about it. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Libyan government declared a cease-fire Friday in its battle against rebels seeking to oust longtime leader Moammar Gaddafi, saying it was acting to protect civilians in the wake of a U.N. Security Council resolution that opened the door to military action. “We decided on an immediate cease-fire and on an immediate stop to all military operations,” Libyan foreign Minister Musa Kusa told reporters in the capital. He said Libya “takes great interest in protecting all civilians and protecting human rights,” adding that the government would also protect foreigners and foreign assets in the country. Libya “accepts that it is obliged to accept the U.N. resolution,” Kusa said in explaining the decision to declare a cease-fire.

Obama's Indecision On Libya Has Pushed Clinton Over The Edge
Excerpt: At the tail end of her mission to bolster the Libyan opposition, which has suffered days of losses to Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s forces, Clinton announced that she’s done with Obama after 2012 — even if he wins again. “Obviously, she’s not happy with dealing with a president who can’t decide if today is Tuesday or Wednesday, who can’t make his mind up,” a Clinton insider told The Daily. “She’s exhausted, tired.”

Libya Declares Immediate Ceasefire
Excerpt: But Anita McNaught, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Tripoli, said the statement was "very carefully crafted ... very deliberate, almost forensic". "Clearly the Libyans have been poring over their United Nations charters to decide which bits to disagree with and on the whole they can't find very much." "My hunch is that it is an effort to buy time because the Libyans I think have been taken completely by surprise by this sudden resurgence of an [international] consensus on action." The latest announcement contrasted with earlier comments by Muammar Gaddafi, the country’s leader, who warned residents of Benghazi, the eastern rebel stronghold, that his forces would show "no mercy" in an impending assault on the city.

What then?
Suppose after each airstrike, the Gaddafi forces take 100 rebel prisoners out and shoot them, and announce they will do the same each day there are airstrikes. And if Iran again kills its own people, will Obama and the UN support a “no-fly” zone there?

Five Questions Obama Has Not Answered on Libya
Excerpt: In reality the U.N. resolution is nothing more than a “feel-good” palliative measure that is not likely to decisively affect the fighting on the ground in Libya. As Secretary of Defense Robert Gates testified last week: “Let’s just call a spade a spade. A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses. That’s the way you do a no-fly zone. And then you can fly planes around the country and not worry about our guys being shot down. But that’s the way it starts.” But is that what the Obama Administration is planning? Even if the Administration has a plan on Libya, it certainly has not communicated it to the American people. Here are just some of the fundamental questions the Administration has failed to answer as our military stands on the brink of a new and costly commitment:

Libya Crisis: Implications of the Cease-Fire
Excerpt: Libya’s government announced an immediate cease-fire on March 18, a day after the U.N. Security Council approved a no-fly zone over the North African country. The move complicates European efforts to spearhead a campaign against Libyan government troops. Assuming Tripoli follows through on its declaration, the affect on operations against the Libyan rebels remains in question. Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim said March 18 that Libya would positively respond to the U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a no-fly zone over Libya. The statement was soon followed by a declaration by Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa of an immediate unilateral cease-fire and halt to all military operations. Tripoli added that it was ready to open “all dialogue channels with everyone interested in the territorial unity of Libya,” that it wanted to protect Libyan civilians, and that it was inviting the international community to send government and nongovernmental organization representatives “to check the facts on the ground by sending fact-finding missions so that they can take the right decision.” The Libyan declaration comes as members of the NATO military alliance were ramping up for airstrikes authorized by the United Nations against troops loyal to Moammar Gadhafi. French diplomatic sources have been quoted as saying airstrikes could start “within hours.” Libya’s move potentially throws a wrench in plans to establish and enforce a no-fly zone — and take additional military action — against the Gadhafi government.

Sixty senators call on Obama to take up tax, entitlement reform
Everyone is for “entitlement reform”—as long as they don’t touch Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Benefits, Government Workers retirement and Bargaining Rights, Healthcare Reform, and other little stuff like that. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama came under new pressure Friday to broaden talks about government spending to include tax and entitlement reform. Sixty senators – 29 Democrats and 31 Republicans – called for the expanded talks to a letter to Obama. The letter was circulated by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who were able to get a supermajority of the Senate within 24 hours. It urges Obama to "engage in a broader discussion about a comprehensive deficit reduction package." 

Japan’s ‘black swan’: Scientists ponder the unparalleled dangers of unlikely disasters
Excerpt: That was what geologists call an intraplate earthquake, an event within one of the planet’s major tectonic plates rather than along the margin, where earthquakes are easier to understand and anticipate. What causes these intraplate earthquakes is a thorny scientific question. Some intraplate faults might have a major quake every few thousand years, so infrequently that they are not in sync with the human time scale and do not factor significantly in the U.S. Geological Survey’s seismic hazard maps. Conversely, some hazards are well publicized at this point but highly unlikely for centuries to come, such as a full-blown eruption of the Yellowstone caldera, sometimes referred to as a supervolcano. If Yellowstone were to explode, it would be an event thousands of times more violent than the Mount St. Helens eruption, and its effect would be felt across much of the western United States. But it has been 640,000 years since the last such event and, although the caldera is active and generates swarms of small earthquakes, there is no sign that a major event will happen in the lifetime of anyone around today. Some hazards become more prominent with new scientific research. Only in the past couple of decades have scientists come to appreciate the threat posed by the Cascadia subduction zone, a tectonic plate boundary running just off the coast of the Pacific Northwest, from Northern California to Vancouver Island. It could generate a mega-quake like the one that just hit Japan.

Excerpt: The recent publication of two articles in Nature magazine proclaiming a link to rainfall extremes (and flooding) to global warming, added to the heat in Russia and the floods in Pakistan in the summer of 2010, and the back-to-back cold and snowy winters in the eastern U.S. and western Europe, have gotten a lot of public attention. This includes a recent hearing in the House of Representatives, despite its Republican majority. Tying weather extremes to global warming, or using them as “proof” that warming doesn’t exist (see: snowstorms), is a popular rhetorical flourish by politicos of all stripes. The hearing struck many as quite odd, inasmuch as it is much clearer than apocalyptic global warming that the House is going to pass meaningless legislation commanding the EPA to cease and desist from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. “Meaningless” means that it surely will not become law. Even on the long-shot probability that it passes the Senate, the President will surely veto, and there are nowhere near enough votes to override such an action. Perhaps “wolf!” has been cried yet again. A string of soon-to-be-published papers in the scientific literature finds that despite all hue and cry about global warming and recent extreme weather events, natural climate variability is to blame.

Watch Out for Urban Legends
Excerpt: This sort of thing is the Christian equivalent of the “blood libel” about Jews that remains so popular among Muslims. Retailing spurious information about Muslims can only harm our efforts. The truth, though often less gory, is sensational enough — why opt for sensational lies? I recommend that any unsourced information, especially a photo forwarded by email, be researched to establish at least a minimum of plausibility before it is published or forwarded again. Charles Johnson is notorious for using photographs (even doctored ones) without any context, as an indictment of persons or groups he opposes. We should decline to use the same tactics ourselves. (As I’ve said about bogus and Photoshop attacks on Obama, using lies discredits your position and hands your opponents a club to fustigate you with. If we can’t win on the truth, we don’t deserve to win. ~Bob.)

North Dakota Economy Booms, Population Soars
Excerpt: North Dakota, the state with the nation’s lowest unemployment rate, capped a decade of economic prosperity with dramatic population growth in its biggest cities. Fargo added nearly 15,000 residents to hit a record population of 105,549, the Census Bureau reported Wednesday. Its fast-growing neighbor of West Fargo added an additional 11,000 residents to reach a population of 25,830. Fargo has seen steady growth over the decade — the housing boom missed it — to reach a size that surprised city officials. “Above 100,000? Wow. That puts us into a different category of city. That’s great,” says Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker. The city is now home to about one of every six North Dakota residents. Fargo’s growth is especially striking considering North Dakota’s population is only 672,591, the nation’s third smallest. The state’s total population grew 4.7% from 2000 to 2010, below the national average of 9.7%, but robust for a region that has suffered for decades from a depopulation of the Great Plains. (Be a great retirement spot, if winter didn’t last nine months. But the weather tends to keep out the less hardy and self-sufficient. ~Bob.)

Helen Thomas is Playboy's April Interview
The irrelevant interviewing the unspeakable. ~Bob. Excerpt: You finally get fed up…I finally wanted to speak the truth," explains former dean of the White House Press Corps Helen Thomas when asked about her now infamous May 27, 2010 comments on Israel in Playboy's April Interview (issue on newsstands and online at Friday, March 18). The outspoken journalist sparked controversy when a rabbi and blogger asked her for remarks on Israel and she responded "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine," adding that the Jews "can go home" to "Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else." Shortly thereafter her comments went viral and Thomas abruptly resigned from her post at Hearst Newspapers on June 7, 2010. The 90-year-old veteran reporter sat down with Playboy Contributing Editor David Hochman for her first in-depth interview following her contentious remarks. Not only did she share her thoughts on Israel and Palestine, she also discussed her sentiments towards Jews, her supposed retirement, President Obama, Congress's anti-Arab agenda and her obituary.

AFL-CIO Boss Richard Trumka Tells Members to Equate Lavish Union Benefits to Black Civil Rights...
Excerpt: (Bryan York/DC Examiner) ”Madison is just the beginning!” AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka told a union rally in Annapolis on Monday. “Like that old song goes, ‘You ain’t seen n-n-n-n-nothing yet!’ ” Fresh from defeat in Wisconsin, union leaders are planning a new campaign not just to head off future challenges to their collective bargaining powers but also to make the case that organized labor’s benefits and prerogatives — wages, health care, and pensions that are more generous than those of comparable workers in the private sector — are the moral equivalent of rights won by black Americans during the civil rights movement. To make the point, the AFL-CIO is planning a series of nationwide events on April 4, the 43rd anniversary of the day the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated after speaking in Memphis, Tenn., on behalf of striking black garbage collectors. The message: King’s cause, and that of angry schoolteachers in Madison, are one. (He’s right. We ain’t seen nothing yet. In five or ten years, this will be viewed as a golden age of civility, as the collapse takes hold. ~Bob.)

Chilling Threats Made Against [Blogger Ann] Althouse
Leftist Brownshirts flexing their muscles. There will be violence. ~Bob. Excerpt: It's like living in Venezuela. Blogger, lawyer Ann Althouse, who has been covering the Wisconsin labor dispute, received what can only be called a declaration of war on her from someone - or, more likely, some people - who don't like her anti-union sentiments. "This isn't a one way fight any more. We will take it from the internet right to 2114Chamberlain Avenue. Do you have any idea where you live? Let us spell it out for you. We understand that you like to eat on the square. You like the Baked Potato at the Old Fashioned, do you? There were five of us in there last Tuesday. You like to eat at Fresco? We're in the Overture eating, serving, cooking, playing, and performing. At least twenty of us have worked for Food Fight. You like to f***g drink at FAIR TRADE do you? At FAIR TRADE? You are citizen-BANNED from Fair Trade. We will Walker you straight out of the place whenever you show up. We are at every coffee shop on State, open to close, all the time..."

Democrat Rep. Lynn Woolsey: Capitol Hill's Lindsay Lohan
Excerpt: A grown woman in public office who acts like Lindsay Lohan has no business comparing one of America's finest generals to Charlie Sheen. But anti-war Democratic Rep. Lynn Woolsey has never shown any restraint when it comes to trashing America's military leaders before the world. That's because being a Code Pink liberal -- like being a Hollywood brat -- means never having to apologize for your reckless words and deeds. Woolsey took to the House floor on Wednesday to report on her "Congressional Progressive Caucus Peace and Security Task Force" hearing with critics of the Afghanistan war. She parroted Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings (he'd be labeled an "activist," of course, if he supported the surge), who said: "Gen. Petraeus is giving us the Charlie Sheen counter-insurgency strategy, which is to give exclusive interviews to every major network, and to keep saying 'we're winning' and hope the public actually agrees with you."

Rising to the occasion
Medicare is prohibited by law from covering prescriptions for those little pills advertised as remedying certain, er, dysfunctions, thereby allowing happy couples to lounge in bathtubs on scenic hillsides (if you know what we mean). Yet the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General found that Medicare spent $3.1 million in 2007 and 2008 on those very drugs. In response, the IG has recommended that Medicare recoup payment for the drugs and "strengthen internal controls to help ensure that drugs covered by Medicare Part D comply with federal requirements." The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services blamed the mix-up on faulty software. And all this time we thought the drugs were supposed to fix dysfunctional software. The Patriot Post

It's Still an Empty Lockbox
Excerpt: Last week, President Obama's budget chief, Jack Lew, took to his White House blog to repeat his claim that the Social Security trust fund is solvent through 2037. And to chide me for suggesting otherwise. I had argued in my last column that the trust fund is empty, indeed fictional. If Lew's claim were just wrong, that would be one thing. But it provides the intellectual justification for precisely the kind of debt denial and entitlement complacency that his boss is now engaged in. Therefore, once more unto the breach. Lew acknowledges that the Social Security surpluses of the last decades were siphoned off to the Treasury Department and spent. He also agrees that Treasury then deposited corresponding IOUs -- called "special issue" bonds -- in the Social Security trust fund. These have real value, claims Lew. After all, "these Treasury bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government in the same way that all other U.S. Treasury bonds are." Really? If these trust fund bonds represent anything real, why is it that in calculating national indebtedness they are not even included? We measure national solvency by debt/GDP ratio. As calculated by everyone from the OMB to the CIA, from the Simpson-Bowles to the Domenici-Rivlin commissions, the debt/GDP ratio counts only publicly held debt. This means bonds held by China, Saudi Arabia, you and me. The debt ratio completely ignores the kind of intragovernmental bonds that Lew insists are the equivalent of publicly held bonds.

State monitor orders Asbury's Barack Obama School closed
The irony of statist failure. ~Bob. Excerpt: The century-old Bangs Avenue School … renamed for President Barack Obama just a year ago … will be closed as a neighborhood school this summer, largely because of a steep slide in the district's total enrollment the past decade. Bruce N. Rodman, the state-appointed monitor who oversees the district's finances, Thursday ordered that elementary students be reassigned to the city's two other elementary schools as of July 1.

Marines use destruction to succeed in Afghanistan
Excerpt: In a war where winning the hearts and minds of Afghans is the ultimate goal, damaging homes with powerful explosives and bulldozing a mosque and scores of other buildings may not sound like a wise idea. But U.S. Marines in this key Taliban sanctuary say that's sometimes the only way to make progress, even if it risks angering the same people whose loyalties are required for success — a difficult trade-off that troops have grappled with throughout Afghanistan. "We are here to rebuild, but sometimes that takes destruction," said Capt. Matthew Peterson, a company commander whose Marines were tasked in late December with clearing a key part of southern Helmand province's Sangin district — the most dangerous place for coalition troops in Afghanistan last year. The Marines have used a much more aggressive strategy in Sangin than British troops who were there for four years before the U.S. took over. The contrast has sparked debate both inside and outside Afghanistan. (I love the headline... yep, that's us, the nasty guys who destroy things. Maybe that could have been described just a little bit better? Marines use careful clearing of Taliban-used sites to save lives? Oh well, we know how the media work. S/F --Del)

Wis. judge blocks union law from taking effect
The layoffs should come first in the courts. ~Bob. Excerpt: A Wisconsin judge has temporarily blocked the state's new and contentious collective bargaining law from taking effect. The ruling was handed down this morning by Judge Maryann Sumi in a lawsuit filed by Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne. Ozanne contended a legislative committee that broke a stalemate that had kept the law in limbo for weeks met without the proper 24-hour notice required by Wisconsin's open meetings law. A separate lawsuit that Sumi will also consider alleges full Senate's vote on the law was improper. The Republican-controlled Legislature passed the measure last week and Gov. Scott Walker signed it into law on Friday. Both Walker and Republican leaders insist it was enacted properly. The law can't take effect until it's formally published by Secretary of State Doug La Follette, a Democrat. He has 10 days after the governor signs a law to publish it, and he has said he plans to use all the time allotted to him before doing so on March 25.

Wisconsin Judge Blocks Collective Bargaining Bill From Taking Effect
Excerpt: Though Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a bill last week to curtail collective bargaining rights for public sector union employees, the legal battle has only just begun. Friday, a Wisconsin judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking the law from taking effect, at least for now. Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi issued the ruling in a lawsuit that was filed by the county’s District Attorney, Ismael Ozanne. The basis for Ozanne’s suit is that the legislative committee that broke the weeks-long deadlock over the bill broke state open-meetings law by assembling without posting a 24-hour notice. In response to the ruling, Assistance Attorney General Steven Means said the state plans to appeal the decision, though he did not give any indication as to when that would happen. A spokesperson for the governor released a statement saying Walker is still confident the bill will become law in the near future.

20 Days of Union Thuggery in Wisconsin
Below, you’ll find a compilation of 20 days worth of the death threats, vandalism, and intimidation practiced by pro-union thugs opposed to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s budget repair bill. Wisconsin is my home state. I lived there until I was 27 years-old in 1993 and most of my family, including my parents still live there. For that reason and because the issue of education and teachers unions has been a passion of mine for going on two decades, I’ve been following this story very, very closely. My original intent was to compile all of this earlier in the week, but after reading Lee Stranahan’s superb editorial I decided to wait and see if that might have some effect on the national and local Wisconsin media in moving them towards giving the ongoing violence, intimidation, vandalism, and overall thuggery occurring at the hands of union activists and their supporters, the coverage it needs and deserves.

Republican Lawmaker Protests 'Whistle-Blower' Demotion of Homeland Security Employee
Excerpt: The Homeland Security Department demoted a senior career employee who confidentially complained to the inspector general that political appointees were improperly interfering with requests for federal records by journalists and watchdog groups.

World to Israel: Surrender before it's too late
Excerpt: Over the past several years, a growing number of patriotic Israelis have begun to despair. We can't stand up to the whole world, they say. At the end of the day we will have to give in and surrender most of the land or all of the land we took control over in the 1967 Six Day War. The world won't accept anything less. These statements have grown more strident in the wake of the slaughter of the Fogel family last Friday night in Itamar. For example on Thursday Ari Shavit , a columnist for Israel's equivalent of the New York Times, Ha'aretz, called Israeli communities built beyond the 1949 armistice line the local equivalent of Japan's nuclear reactors. Like the reactors, he wrote, they seemed like a good idea at the time. But they have become our undoing. The international community's response to the Palestinian atrocity in Itamar is pointed to as proof of that Israel must surrender. Instead of considering what the savage murder of an Israeli family tells us about the nature of Palestinian society, the world media have turned the massacre of the Fogel family into a story about "settlements." Take the Los Angeles Times' for example From the Times' perspective the Fogels were not Israeli civilians. They were "Jewish settlers." (The leftist verdict is in: cutting babies throats is okay, because the Joos had it coming. ~Bob.)

The death of an illusion
Excerpt: In the great Middle East whodunit, the verdict is in: The Jews are innocent. They aren't responsible for the violence, extremism, backwardness, discontent or predatory government of their Arab neighbors. The past few months should have finally shattered the persistent illusion that the Israeli-Palestinian question determines all in the Middle East. In an essay in Foreign Policy magazine titled "The False Religion of Mideast Peace," former diplomat Aaron David Miller recounts the conventional wisdom running back through the Cold War: "An unresolved Arab-Israeli conflict would trigger ruinous war, increase Soviet influence, weaken Arab moderates, strengthen Arab radicals, jeopardize access to Middle East oil, and generally undermine U.S. influence from Rabat to Karachi." Behind these assumptions has long stood a deeply simplistic understanding of the Arabs. Professional naif Jimmy Carter insists, "There is no doubt: The heart and mind of every Muslim is affected by whether or not the Israeli-Palestinian issue is dealt with fairly." This is reductive to the point of insult. Carter thinks that Muslims have no interior lives of their own, but are all defined by a foreign-policy dispute that is unlikely to affect most of them directly in the least. He mistakes real people for participants in an endless Council on Foreign Relations seminar.

Brit-Muslim woman convicted of trafficking woman she used as slave
Excerpt: A former hospital director in Britain has been convicted of trafficking a woman from Tanzania and using her as a "slave". (Slavery is permitted by the Qur’an and Shari’a law, and Muslims are required to follow that when they conflict with secular law, so what’s the big deal? ~Bob.)

Libyan rebellion has radical Islamist fervor: Benghazi link to Islamic militancy: U.S. Military Document Reveals
Insha’Allah, the Kuffer will help us take over Libya, then we can go back to killing them. ~Bob. Excerpt: Well known to the United States policymakers in Obama White House and Clinton State Department along with the National Security Council but not widely known to American mainstream media, the U.S. West Point Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center document reveals that Libya sent more fighters to Iraq’s Islamic militancy on a per-capita basis than any other Muslim country, including Saudi Arabia. Perhaps more alarmingly for Western policymakers, most of the fighters came from eastern Libya, the center of the current uprising against Muammar el-Qaddafi. The analysis of the Combating Terrorism Center of West Point was based on the records captured by coalition forces in October 2007 in a raid near Sinjar, along Iraq’s Syrian border. The eastern Libyan city of Darnah sent more fighters to Iraq than any other single city or town, according to the West Point report. It noted that 52 militants came to Iraq from Darnah, a city of just 80,000 people (the second-largest source of fighters was Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which has a population of more than 4 million).

Malaysian police seize parts for weapon of mass destruction
Excerpt: Malaysian police said they have seized dismantled equipment that were meant for producing a weapon of mass destruction, including nuclear warheads, from a vessel in the country's major port, reported Xinhua. The equipment was found in two containers on a Malaysian-registered vessel bound for Iran. Malaysian police chief, Ismail Omar, said the police believe the items seized were aggregate boilers and they are still being inspected by the national atomic agency and the forensics department.

Actual facts, instead of ratings-driven, politically motivated hysteria. Site updates periodically. –Pat T.

Fukushima: it’s not about radiation, it’s about tsunamis
Excerpt: A lot of wrong lessons are being pushed on us, about the tragedy now unfolding in Japan. All the scare-talk about radiation is irrelevant. There will be no radiation public health catastrophe, regardless of how much reactor melting may occur. Radiation? Yes. Catastrophe? No. Life evolved on, and adapted to, a much more radioactive planet, Our current natural radiation levels—worldwide—are below optimum. Statements that there is no safe level of radiation are an affront to science and to common sense. The radiation situation should be no worse than from the Three Mile Island (TMI) incident, where ten to twenty tons of the nuclear reactor melted down, slumped to the bottom of the reactor vessel, and initiated the dreaded China Syndrome, where the reactor core melts and burns its way into the earth. On the computers and movie screens of people who make a living “predicting” disasters, TMI is an unprecedented catastrophe. In the real world, the molten mass froze when it hit the colder reactor vessel, and stopped its downward journey at five-eights of an inch through the five-inch thick vessel wall. And there was no harm to people or the environment. None. (The emotional rollercoaster continues, due mainly to the near impossibility of getting accurate information from the vague reports by the Japanese government and then sifting through what has already been filtered through every anti-nuclear and political interest group that can influence what gets on the air or on the web. US government officials are now “guesstimating” it may take weeks to resolve this crisis—true, but only if it ends well, as disaster could lurk behind every shadow. On the positive side, ABC News, at least, has begun portraying the plant workers who have stayed on their jobs as the heroes they actually are. Also positive is that President Obama hasn’t caved in yet, at least publicly, to the anti-nuke groups. But, don’t fool yourself, this incident will add years and billions of dollars to the cost of getting any new permits to operate a nuclear reactor of any sort. The post says this will be the thread that carries any updates during the day today (18 Mar) [they’ll be in the Comments Section]. The excerpt is drawn from an essay within the post that is literally “by the man who wrote the book” on reactor shielding, Dr. Ted Rockwell, PhD. It is well worth reading in its entirety. And, keep up the prayers—they can’t possibly hurt. Ron P.)

Dumbest Warning Labels: Manufacturers still go to painful lengths to avoid getting sued.
Funny, but our trail-lawyer litigation system, which owns the Democrat party, is a key factor in destroying our economy. ~Bob. Excerpt: Our society doesn't think much of the average consumer. To wit: Only a moron would try to wash her daughter in a washing machine; or shake hands with the business end of a chainsaw; or light a match to check the contents of a gas tank. And yet manufacturers still go to laughable lengths to protect their customers from harm, bombarding them with ridiculous warning labels or stunningly obvious explanations of how their products work. Why else would a carton of eggs actually say that the product may contain eggs?

Fraudulent Medical Research Could Affect Your Diagnosis
Excerpt: The press has led us to believe that the recall of a medical research paper represents a rare, media-worthy event. Case in point: the week-long blitz announcing the retraction of a single, disputed paper, published in The Lancet in 1998. By comparison, the retraction of more than 100 papers by two medical researchers didn't even make the Evening News. The enormity of that recall rattled the entire subspecialty of anesthesiology and pain management. The identification of many more recalled papers exposes the extent of scientific misconduct and the failure of peer review across the entire medical industry.

Acclaimed Crime Fiction Writer Ruth Rendell, now a member of the House of Lords, on Female Genital Mutilation
Just repeat the Liberal Lie—all cultures are equally valid. Ignore the screams of little girls. ~Bob.

Excerpt: No wonder Judge Primomo set this guy free. He’s apparently “pro-immigration” and judged a kids essay contest sponsored by an illegal alien law firm and open border immigration lobby. The problem with America is that it takes trying to blow up a plane with your underwear or actually murdering multiple soldiers in an Army base massacre to actually be locked up and taken seriously as a threat.

Democratic Plot to Rig Michigan Elections Prompts Nine Felony Charges
Business as usual for the Demo-corrupt party. ~Bob. Excerpt: Excerpt: If you can’t beat ‘em … fake ‘em out? Two Democratic Party leaders in Michigan face nine felony counts after prosecutors allege that they forged documents to put fake Tea Party candidates on the ballot. Unlike other schemes where Democrats allegedly recruited candidates to run on ersatz Tea Party organization identities, these “candidates” had no idea they were on the ballot at all, some of them only discovering it after receiving delinquency notices on filings. Fox News in Detroit reports that the grand jury is still probing the matter and that there may be more indictments coming:

Hamas-Associated CAIR Applauded By White House
Excerpt: White House officials have applauded advocacy efforts by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, even though top FBI managers refuse to meet its leaders, the council has been judged by courts to have been associated with the Islamic terror group Hamas, and several of its employees and members have been jailed or expelled for jihadi-related terrorist offenses since 2001.CAIR was publicly applauded at a Mar. 10 White House event by Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs and public engagement, for its work with MTV to counter “bullying.” “Bullying can be prevented if we all take action,” said Jarrett, as she cited the MTV project, and named CAIR as a partner.

The Obama money machine
16 years ago, in 1996, Bob Dole spent $56M running for President. In 2000, Jon Corzine spent 462M, mostly his own, to win a senate seat in NJ by 2% points. In 2008, Obama promised to take public financing and abide by limits, but it was a typical Obama promise. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama continues to say little about his re-election plans publicly, but behind-the-scenes his senior aides are plotting a vast fundraising network designed to build on the $750 million he collected during the 2008 campaign. On Wednesday night, Obama spoke at a reception for major donors, telling them that “when you look back at the track record of work that we’ve done over the last two years, I think that it’s fair to say the promise that we made to the American people has been kept.” Then on Thursday, Jim Messina, who is expected to serve as campaign manager for Obama’s re-election bid, met with 450 major donors and issued a directive for each person to collect $350,000 by the end of 2011. (The news of the meeting was first reported by the New York Times’ Jeff Zeleny.) The twin events come hard on the heels of a series of visits by Messina with major donors scattered all over the country and, when taken together, suggest that the Obama money machine is quickly ramping up — 19 months before the November 2012 election.

Inconvenient Truth: Wind Energy Has Killed More Americans Than Nuclear
Excerpt: The dangers of nuclear power, while serious, need to be put in perspective. To that end, here's an interesting fact you won't be hearing from the mainstream press: wind energy has killed more Americans than nuclear energy. You read that right. According to the Caithness Windfarm Information Forum, there were 35 fatalities associated with wind turbines in the United States from 1970 through 2010. Nuclear energy, by contrast, did not kill a single American in that time.

Nuclear Power in Perspective
Excerpt: Every practical form of energy involves risks the public chooses to take in return for the benefits of power. Each year, some 300 Americans are killed mining accidents and in train and trucking accidents during transportation of coal. More die from black-lung-related diseases after long years in coal mines. Studies by the Brookhaven National Laboratory suggest that from 10,000 to 50,000 Americans die prematurely each year, mainly from respiratory diseases attributable to the burning of coal. Oil, too, takes its respiratory toll - some 10,000 lives per year according to one estimate. By contrast, nuclear power ranks as one of the safest forms of energy. In more than 500 reactor years of service in the United States, there has never been a death or a serious injury to plant employees or to the public caused by a commercial reactor accident or radiation exposure. Says Philip Handler, president of the National Academy of Sciences: "Nuclear power is the safest major technology ever introduced into the United States."

Facing Defamation Lawsuit, NYT Finally Corrects Story That Smeared FBI Informant
Excerpt: It took the threat of a defamation lawsuit, but the New York Times finally corrected a story from late February that accused FBI informant Brandon Darby of "encouraging" a plot to bomb the 2008 Republican National Convention, when in fact Darby was integral to law enforcement efforts to disrupt that plot. The Times was aware of the error as far back as March 3, according to emails included in the brief filed by Darby's attorney. Yet the error remained uncorrected on the Times website until Wednesday. As I wrote earlier this week, the fact that the Times was aware of the error and yet continued to publish it online may have made it liable. Darby's attorney certainly thought it did, and at least one legal expert concurred.

663 Illegal Aliens With Ties To Terrorism Arrested Along Southwest Border In 2010, Senator Says
Don’t bother the Obama Administration. They are too busy watching veteran and Christian groups, not to mention the Tea Party, who might learn violence from the Wisconsin union thugs. Could happen. ~Bob. Excerpt: Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), speaking at a conference on border issues Thursday, said 663 individuals arrested along the southwest border in 2010 were from countries designated as “special interest” or from countries known to have ties with terrorism. “It’s not just that we’re seeing immigration across our southern border from countries like Mexico -- people seeking to work and provide for their families,” said Cornyn, a member of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on homeland security and terrorism. “Indeed in the last year alone -- where 445,000 individuals were detained at the southwest border -- 59,000 came from countries other than Mexico. “These included 663 individuals from special-interest countries like Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen and four countries that have been designated by the U.S. Department of State as state-sponsors of terror – Cuba, Iran, Syria, and Sudan,” Cornyn said.

Some things never change.

The Rising Irrelevance of Barack Obama
Excerpt: Caught flat-footed by the uprising in Tunisia, the White House could only offer belated congratulations to the demonstrators who had deposed and driven out our longtime ally, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. After Tunisia, Vice President Joe Biden insisted the embattled Hosni Mubarak was not a dictator in Egypt. Obama sided with Mubarak and then said he ought to go. Then, when the Saudis and Israelis protested that we were abandoning a friend of 30 years, Obama concluded Mubarak should stay. When the army suddenly sent Mubarak packing, the White House hailed the revolution as the harbinger of an Arab spring.

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