Saturday, October 22, 2011

Political Digest for October 22, 2011

Away from my computer Saturday, so will leave a Guest Post for Sunday. Enjoy. ~Bob

Blog Removed.
If you log on to the Old Jarhead blog and get this notice, please check back. From time to time, Google’s Spam Filter pulls my blog. They restore it when I appeal, but they don’t seem to have the technical ability to fix the problem. I hate to move to another platform with page views running to 10k a week and over 1,150 followers here.

The 99%

The Coming Collapse of the American Republic
All royalties go to a charity to help wounded veterans. E-Book available at Smash Words:
Please forward and post where possible.

It's the Values, Stupid: Why Character Counts in 2012
Excellent column that makes many good points. --Ron P. Excerpt: The Pew Research Center recently did a survey asking for one-word impressions of the candidates. When you look at the breakdown of words used about Herman Cain, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (especially among Republican voters), the vast majority of words used had nothing to do with issues and everything to do with character impressions or traits or even biography points. For example, Republicans aren’t supporting Cain primarily because of his tax plan, they are supporting him because he is likable, smart, conservative, different, and a businessman. And Romney’s vulnerabilities (and why conservatives are reluctant to support him) don’t really have to do with issue positions; they have to do with character impressions related to trust and authenticity. So let’s look at the debate this week among the Republicans and President Obama’s standing with the public with the dynamic of character impressions in mind, rather than issues.

Lovely: Car Company Gets U.S. Loan, Builds Cars In Finland
Excerpt: With the approval of the Obama administration, an electric car company that received a $529 million federal government loan guarantee is assembling its first line of cars in Finland, saying it could not find a facility in the United States capable of doing the work. Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department's $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs. But two years after the loan was announced, the job of assembling the flashy electric Fisker Karma sports car has been outsourced to Finland. "There was no contract manufacturer in the U.S. that could actually produce our vehicle," the car company's founder and namesake told ABC News. "They don't exist here." (These people are malevolently stupid. When Obama promised his election would create thousands of Green Jobs, we thought he meant in the US. Want to bet it sells as well as the Volt? ~Bob.)

How Drivers Helping Drivers Avoid Speedtraps Are Winning Fight Against Police
Excerpt: When it comes to speed traps set by law enforcement to snare unsuspecting drivers, it turns out that drivers are trying to help other drivers slow down and avoid the hefty tickets. One such county where there has been a kind of headlight driven on-road social network has been Volusia County, Florida where some 2,900 motorists earned tickets between 2005 and 2009 for flashing their headlights at other drivers to warn them of the approaching speed trap. The police didn't like being ratted out, so they issued tickets to the whistle-blowers turned headlight flashers. An Oviedo, Florida attorney last September filed a class action lawsuit against the Volusia County Sheriff's Office alleging that the tickets were wrongfully issued. Last Monday, the Sheriff's office was standing fast in defending their ticket issuing policy. But, a day later, the office reversed direction and said it would stop the practice for now. (If he wins this case, Jones may not get much money, but I bet he gets elected to whatever local office he chooses to run for. I’d vote for him, and I don’t even live there. Ron P.)

Napolitano: Homeland Security Dept. Allows Illegals to Work
Excerpt: The Department of Homeland Security has a policy of allowing some illegal aliens to work in the United States, confirmed agency head Janet Napolitano, reports “Prosecutorial discretion” gives the agency leeway, Napolitano told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. “According to the information from your department, some individuals who are given relief will obtain work authorizations. So people with no right to be in the country will be allowed to work here. Is that correct?” asked Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. Napolitano said a policy allowing illegals to work has been in place since 1986, but did not name the policy. CNS News points out that late President Ronald Reagan signed into law the Simpson-Mazzoli Act that year, which allowed illegal aliens who had entered the United States before Jan. 1, 1982, to request a change of work status. It is unclear whether or not Napolitano was referring to this legislation or how it would apply to current cases.

Public Radio Host Fired After Speaking for Occupy D.C.
Excerpt: Lisa Simeone, the freelance host of public radio Soundprint and World of Opera, confirmed on Thursday that she had been dismissed from Soundprint after it was discovered she had been working as a spokeswoman for Occupy D.C. Simeone has been talking to the press on behalf of the offshoot of Occupy Wall Street since early October, but the news of her involvement only reached the public radio network's headquarters this week. She remains host of World of Opera. (As an opera fan married to an opera singer, I’m offended they kept her even in that limited capacity. Ron P. But will she get the $20/hour OWS thinks people should be paid for not working? At that rate, I can not work 24/7. ~Bob.)

Forest Service Evicts WWII Memorial
Simple. Tell the Muslims there is a copy of the Holy Qur’an inside the statue, and they’ll murder anyone who touches it. ~Bob. Excerpt: The U.S. Forest Service has ordered the Knights of Columbus to remove a nearly 60-year-old World War Two memorial from Montana’s Big Mountain because the memorial includes a statue of Jesus.

Biden is ignorant or a liar, according to FBI report
Excerpt: Vice President Joe Biden asserted that crime will increase if Congress rejects President Obama's plan to spend additional billions to save or create jobs. "Murder will continue to rise; rape will continue to rise... (Biden has a great respect for the truth—which is why he uses it sparingly. Like Obama, he will say anything that pops into his head to make his case, secure in the knowledge that the media will shield him from the effects of misstatements. ~Bob.)

Barbara from Harlem - Working For Freedom** Pomona, NY Oct. 15, 2011
Here is a woman speaking with passion, who embodies Americanism for me. She's makes her speech in the style of a Southern small town minister, something not all of us are used to, but her content is spot on. I found her to be reassuring and inspiring. Worth a listen...Del.

Judicial Watch Uncovers Intelligence Document on Beslan Terrorist Attack
Excerpt: Judicial Watch, the public interest organization that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has uncovered an intelligence document detailing the September 2004 attack by Chechen Islamic militants on a school in Beslan, North Ossetia, Russia, in which 380 of the 1,100 hostages (children, parents, teachers, and visitors) held captive for three days were murdered. The document was obtained from the State Department by Judicial Watch in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed on August 26, 2005. The document, jointly released by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is dated October 12, 2004, and analyzes the Beslan terrorist attack with a view toward gleaning lessons for potential attacks on schools in the United States. While the ultimate conclusion of the report is that such attacks pose no immediate threat to the U.S., the bulletin details “several items that law enforcement, school administration and security personnel may consider when developing school security and emergency response plans.”

LightSquared refuses to release communications with White House
Excerpt: Wireless company LightSquared has refused a request from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to release its communications with the White House and the Federal Communications Commission. Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, requested the documents earlier this month to probe whether the company benefited from improper influence in its effort to secure regulatory approval. LightSquared told Grassley it would "respectfully decline" his request in a letter Wednesday night. LightSquared plans to launch a wholesale wireless broadband service, but tests earlier this year revealed its network interferes with Global Positioning System (GPS) devices. The company is currently undergoing a new round of testing to determine if technical modifications have addressed the interference problem. 

Paul Ryan: Obama ‘preying on emotions of fear, resentment and anger’’s all he’s got—get used to it. ~Bob. Excerpt: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) ramped up his criticism of President Obama on Thursday, saying he is “going all in” on class warfare while “preying on emotions of fear, resentment and anger.” In a wide-ranging interview that aired on Milwaukee-based radio station 620 WTMJ, the chairman of the House Budget Committee declined to criticize the Occupy Wall Street protesters, so long as “no property gets damaged.” But Ryan lambasted Democrats for backing a movement of people that he says is looking for someone “to pay off their loans and debts.”

Excerpt: President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign is asking artists to design promotional posters that convey a message: “support American jobs.” The brutal irony for artists, however, is that they will receive no payment for their work. The campaign, which has $61 million on hand, will reward only the three artists whose work is selected for use. The compensation? A copy of their artwork, signed by the president. The Graphic Artists Guild isn’t pleased with the ask. On Saturday, the guild issued an open letter to the campaign voicing outrage over what it called a “shameful” competition. “American artists should be outraged that our President does not recognize that we are entitled to be paid for our work, as are all Americans,” the guild wrote. (Why would they work for free when OWS is going to get everybody $20/hour for not working? ~Bob.)

Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. –Flannery O'Connor

Sen. Levin: US should threaten to cut ties with Pakistan over terrorism
Excerpt: Pakistan should be warned that the U.S. will cut ties with Islamabad if it continues to support an extremist group linked to attacks on U.S. troops, a key Democratic lawmaker said Friday. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said Friday there is evidence of “direct support” between Pakistan’s intelligence agency and the Haqqani Network, echoing a comment made last month by then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen. The Haqqani Network is an Islamic extremist group that operates out of Pakistan and has, U.S. officials say, launched many attacks on American and Afghan forces in Afghanistan. (If you make threats, you better be prepared to carry through. Otherwise, it creates contempt for you, and feeds the flames of action against you. Never make a threat you are not prepared to carry out. ~Bob.)

Unemployment Insurance Taxes
Excerpt: Record high levels of unemployment and record low reserve funds have placed great pressure on the federal-state unemployment insurance (UI) tax and benefit system, says Joseph Henchman, vice president of legal & state projects at the Tax Foundation. Between 2008 and 2011, $174 billion was paid in unemployment taxes while $450 billion was paid out in benefits, a gap of $276 billion. In 2011 alone, employers and employees are projected to pay $51.8 billion in taxes, while $131.4 billion is projected to be paid out in benefits for workers recently unemployed. Benefits are drawn for an average of 18 weeks, with many claimants receiving the maximum 99 weeks of benefits. Over the past two years, 34 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands exhausted their unemployment insurance trust funds and have had to borrow from the federal government to pay unemployment benefits; 27 states have outstanding balances. While some states have repaid their balances and others are no longer borrowing additional amounts, the current outstanding balance of loans is $37.3 billion. Beginning on September 30, 2011, states must pay approximately $1.3 billion in interest on those outstanding balances; in many cases, businesses and employees in those states will also face increases in federal unemployment insurance tax rates as a result of those federal loan balances. These unemployment insurance fiscal policies may exacerbate negative job growth and tax trends, instead of operating countercyclically as the program was intended. Consequently, this may be an appropriate time for the federal government and the states to contemplate significant changes to the structure of unemployment insurance taxation and benefits. Program design alternatives could offer more innovative and more sustainable methods to find jobs for the short-term and long-term unemployed while preserving benefits to support them in the meantime. These options include eliminating the firewall between administrative costs and benefits, reducing cross-subsidies through greater use of experience ratings, relying more on face-to-face training and advising, adopting elements of state workers' compensation programs, and experimenting with individual accounts to encourage saving, says Henchman.

A New Spending Record: Washington had its best year ever in fiscal 2011.
Excerpt: The Congressional Budget Office recently finished tallying the revenue and spending figures for fiscal 2011, which ended September 30, and no wonder no one in Washington is crowing. The political class might have its political pretense blown. This is said to be a new age of fiscal austerity, yet the government had its best year ever, spending a cool $3.6 trillion. That beat the $3.52 trillion posted in 2009, when the feds famously began their attempt to spend America back to prosperity.

Excerpt: Japan melted down, but that doesn't mean the end of the atomic age. (Long but interesting. ~Bob.)

Great news for Team Obama: They might win Illinois
Excerpt: When an incumbent can’t get to 50% against challengers in the other party’s primary, that’s a big red flag in any state. Undecideds usually break hard against the incumbent, and being below 50% means that the possibility of a loss becomes much greater, especially if turnout shifts in favor of the opponents. When that occurs in an incumbent President’s home state — especially one so solidly Democratic as Illinois — it’s practically a cue for a dirge. Pat Quinn’s 35% job approval rating as Governor isn’t exactly helpful either, as it will depress enthusiasm and grassroots efforts to turn out the vote. Obama may have to avoid Quinn in order to campaign effectively, and that won’t be easy to do. Does this mean Republicans could end up winning Illinois in a general election? I wouldn’t bet money on that outcome, but that’s not the real issue here. What this means is that Obama will have to bet money on Illinois, and a lot of it, to keep the GOP from taking his home state in November 2012. That’s money that Obama won’t be spending elsewhere, like Virginia, Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina, and other states that he needs to keep in order to win re-election.

California becomes first state to adopt cap-and-trade program
Excerpt: The California Air Resources Board on Thursday unanimously adopted the nation's first state-administered cap-and-trade regulations, a landmark set of air pollution controls to address climate change and help the state achieve its ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (The unelected and wholly appointed California Air Resources Board has succeeded in setting in motion the final stages of bringing the economy of the State of California to its knees. There is already a net loss of companies moving out of state due to regulations and now the exit en mass will begin. Not to worry though, the increase in utility costs are allowed to be passed on to consumers so I'm sure most every consumer will want to stay and pay higher utility costs. This would be a joke if it weren't so damn sad. I can not think of a single business that will not be negatively impacted at the end of the day while the members of the CARB will be insulated with their salaries footed by tax payers. These people treat global warming as a religion and consider "consensus" as somehow proof of scientific facts. 95% of greenhouse gas is water vapor and 10% of less than 1% of CO2 is caused by humans but no, these stupid bastards can't grasp how minimal that figure is and would never understand that sun spots would have anything to do with the earth warming and cooling. We are doomed, hoisted on our own petard. Lindsey Lohan missed her community service work today at the LA County Morgue so it’s all good. –Cal)

Will “Fast and Furious” Topple Obama and Holder?
Excerpt: As much as the media have tried shielding the Obama administration from responsibility for corruption and malfeasance, the combined weight of the fallout from the Solyndra fiasco and the Operation Fast and Furious scandal have begun taking a serious toll on the administration. I will address Solyndra, the so called green energy company that received federal loans of more than a half a billion dollars, and then went bankrupt, in an upcoming report.

Calif. Dem rips White House 'inaction'
Excerpt: Dennis Cardoza didn’t simply announce his retirement.
The California Democratic congressman went out with guns blazing Thursday, torching the Obama administration as he revealed he would not run for reelection in 2012 . The typical congressional retirement statement offers a grateful appreciation of country and constituency, a recitation of accomplishments and a requisite nod to the sacrifices made by family and friends. Cardoza offered all of that, but went one angry step farther. In an unusual departure from House custom — and a stunning breach of political etiquette — the five-term Democrat ripped the White House in sharp and politically loaded terms, providing ammunition that its GOP enemies will be certain to use for the foreseeable future. “Looking back on disappointments, I am dismayed by the Administration’s failure to understand and effectively address the current housing foreclosure crisis,” Cardoza said in his statement. “Home foreclosures are destroying communities and crushing our economy, and the Administration’s inaction is infuriating.”

Senate blocks $35B hiring bill
Excerpt: A united GOP Conference, along with three members of the Senate Democratic Caucus — Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) — voted 50-50 to block a debate on the package, which would have been funded by a 0.5 percent surtax on those earning more than $1 million. … The Senate on Thursday night also rejected by a 57-43 vote a separate portion of the president’s jobs bill, pushed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), eliminating a much-criticized rule allowing federal and local agencies to withhold 3 percent of payments to contractors. Ten Democrats, which included a mix of moderates and those up for reelection, voted for the McConnell plan, but 60 votes were needed to break a Democratic-led filibuster. (One side had bi-partisan votes, the other was all one party. ~Bob.)

Qaddafi’s End
Excerpt: After months of evading rebel forces that had toppled his regime in August, Moammar Qaddafi died as viciously and vengefully as he ruled. Rough video footage released yesterday showed a badly beaten and bloodied man resembling Qaddafi set upon by a violent mob. Qaddafi’s death, later confirmed by Libya’s transition government, officially ends the dictator’s 42-year grip on power in Libya and ushers in an uncertain future for the North African country. (The dreamy-eyed TV talking heads were on this morning about the “Dawn of Democracy in Libya.” I suppose we can hope, but what I fear is an Islamist regime the vents it frustrations with its backward state in anger, violence and contempt towards America. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: By now you’ve probably heard about Barack Obama’s interview with Jake Tapper where he says, “I believe all the choices we’ve made have been the right ones.” I want to focus on something else that I think gets to the heart of the matter. It’s Barack Obama’s fun use of the pronoun “it,” as in the economy. He tells Tapper, “The economy is not where it wants to be.” Since when did the economy have an opinion on where it wants to be? When did we anthropormophize the economic? Does Walt Disney know about this? Maybe we should put this economy in the Hall of Presidents or something and let it speak for itself. “I want to be bigger,” said Mr. Economy. Nooooooo. This is the President giving away the game. Barry O thinks, like with the physician, the economy should heal itself. The economy does not want anything. People want jobs. Investors want growth. The economy Does. Not. Want. (Maybe the Economy will vote Republican in 2012 to get to where it wants to be. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: So the left would have you believe that the voter fraud debate is really about racist Republicans trying to prevent African-Americans and other minorities from voting. The New York Times ran this argument earlier this month, conveniently ignoring that the right-wing bastion Rhode Island passed a voter ID sponsored by leading African-Americans and Latinos, all Democrats. Well, today we are greeted by an op-ed by former Congressman Artur Davis, who was one of the shining lights of African-American Southern Democrats. Davis says that he made a mistake in opposing voter ID and that the real thing that needs immediate action is “manufactured” ballots in Alabama’s Black Belt, which refers to the color of the dirt.

The End of the Affair
Excerpt: The death of former Libyan ruler Muammar el-Qaddafi allows the Obama administration to claim credit for ending a war it never wanted to fight. The White House wavered for weeks before it reluctantly joined the NATO campaign. It deployed far fewer aides to Libya than its allies, pledged much less money, and was the last major allied power to recognize the interim government. But the White House has a simple reason for celebrating—and slightly exaggerating—its role in ousting Qaddafi: American power is on the wane throughout the Middle East, and Libya is a rare success story. From Iraq to Israel, Egypt to Bahrain, Washington finds itself relegated to the sidelines rather than directing the action. During the George W. Bush administration, Washington—using carrots and sticks—persuaded a number of governments to do its bidding: Saudi Arabia made peace overtures to Israel; Palestine held elections; monarchies like Jordan and Morocco pursued halting democratic reforms; Iraq cracked down on Shia militias and enfranchised its disenchanted Sunni minority; and Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip and offered a peace deal to the Palestinians. The Bush White House suffered many stumbles—none bigger than the invasion of Iraq—but regional governments at least took Washington’s wishes seriously. Today, not so much. (A war it never wanted to fight? Does this author think evil Republicans forced Obama to surprise the nation by joining a fight he’d already declined? In the first month of the rebellion, when we could have made an enormous difference with moral support, cash and/or supplies, Obama wanted no part of the mess in Libya. When, in the THIRD month of the rebellion, he decided to “join our NATO partners,” it appeared to be at the urging of his own staff and administration and was so late in the game, it required the use of military force to stave off imminent defeat of the rebels rather than less invasive methods. At least now that it’s over, he’ll no longer have to worry about notifying Congress under the War Powers Act. And, after six months of watching a pipsqueak country like Libya stand off mighty NATO—who ran out of bombs during the first weeks of the intervention—we have to look weak to any other regional powers thinking about thumbing their noses at us. It NEVER pays to look weak, especially if you are. I think the Iranians and Syrians have probably already noticed. Ron P.)

The 'Fair Share' Farce by Edwin J. Feulner
Excerpt: It's about time the rich started paying their fair share, according to the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters. Those fat cats aren't chipping in as much as the less fortunate. When are they going to start spreading their wealth around? Unfortunately for the occupiers, facts have a way of ruining a good storyline. Because when we check the dollars and cents behind who pays what, we find the rich are already sharing quite a bit of their earnings. Start by putting one of the left's favorite talking points in context: that the rich are earning a bigger share of the nation's income today. It's true: one out of every $5 in income goes to the wealthiest 1 percent of American households. That's more than double the share they earned in 1980. But they also shoulder a disproportionate share of the tax burden. They pay more than 38 percent of all federal income taxes. In 1980, they were paying 19 percent. How about the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans, those making at least $114,000 in 2008? They're earning 45 percent of the nation's income, and paying 70 percent of all taxes. The top 25 percent (those earning at least $67,280), meanwhile, take in 67 percent of the income -- and foot 86 percent of the income tax bill. That doesn't leave much of a tax burden for everyone else. In fact, the average tax rate paid by those in the bottom half of the income scale is only 2.6 percent.

Multiple honor killings in Canada: "God's curse on them for generations. May the devil ... (expletive) on their graves ... They betrayed Islam."
Didn’t get the “Islam is a Religion of Peace” memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: Qur'an 4:34 allows for physical violence (yes, it says to hit) against "disobedient women." Islamic law is inconsistent at best on whether parents who kill their children face any consequences at all. It is no surprise, then, that Muslims commit 91 percent of "honor killings" worldwide. Even in Canada, in an update on this story. "Family saw slain girls as treacherous for having boyfriends, court hears," by Allison Jones for the Canadian Press, October 20 (thanks to Kenneth): KINGSTON, Ont. - A Montreal family couldn't bear the "treachery" of their three teenaged daughters having boyfriends, so they drowned them and the father's first wife, pushing a car into a canal and staging the scene to look like an implausible accident, court heard Thursday. Days after the bodies were found the father was recorded saying, "There is nothing more valuable than our honour." Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 41, her husband Mohammad Shafia, 58, and their son, Hamed Mohammad Shafia, 20, are each charged with four counts of first-degree murder.

Is America Disenigrating? (Sic—meant “disintegrating” I think.)
Excerpt: In "Suicide of a Superpower," out this week, I argue that the America we grew up in is disintegrating, breaking apart along the fault lines of politics, race, ethnicity, culture and faith; that the centrifugal forces in society have now become the dominant forces. Our politics are as poisonous as they have been in our lifetimes. Sarah Palin was maligned as morally complicit in the murder attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Terms like "terrorists" and "hostage-takers" are routinely used on Tea Party members who one congressman said want to see blacks "hanging on a tree." Half a century after the civil rights revolution triumphed, the terms "racist" and "racism" are in daily use. We remain, said Eric Holder in calling us a "nation of cowards," as socially segregated as ever. "Outside the workplace, the situation is even more bleak in that there is almost no significant interaction between us. On Saturdays and Sundays, America ... does not, in some ways, differ significantly from the country that existed some 50 years ago." He is not altogether wrong in that. In California's prisons and among her proliferating ethnic gangs, a black-brown civil war has broken out. Yet, by 2042, there will be 66 million black folks and 135 million Hispanics here, the latter concentrated in the states bordering Mexico. What holds us together, then? (Short answer to title question: Yes. ~Bob.)

The European Banking Crisis, Part 1: Assessing the Damage
Excerpt: Europe faces a banking crisis it has not wanted to admit even exists. The formal authority on financial stability, International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde, made her institution’s opinion on European banking known back in August when she prompted the European Union to engage in an immediate 200 billion-euro bank recapitalization effort. The response was broad-based derision from Europeans at the local, national and EU bureaucratic levels. The vehemence directed at Lagarde was particularly notable as Lagarde is certainly in a position to know what she was talking about: Until July 5, her title was not IMF chief, but French finance minister. She has seen the books, and the books are bad. Due to European inaction, the IMF on Oct. 18 raised its estimate for recapitalization needs from 200 billion euros to 300 billion euros ($274 billion to $410 billion).

Green energy, high prices, and political manipulation
I’ve said it before, but business people make economic decisions, politicians make political decisions. ~Bob. Excerpt: Then the regional electric utility company, National Grid, got a nasty shock when the state General Assembly passed a law forcing them to buy an unexpectedly high 150 megawatts of electricity from the Deepwater Wind project in a 20-year power purchase agreement. Being forced by law to buy "RES" (renewable energy sources) had become a way of life in the utility world, but it wasn't just the quantity. National Grid mutinied when Deepwater Wind told them the new price: 25.3 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared with the 9.2 cents they were paying for conventional electricity ?-- so they rejected the proposal outright. The two wrangled for nearly a year, and finally finagled a contract that passed the higher costs on to consumers, but the state's Public Utilities Commission rejected it, saying the price of electricity was too high. Then things got weird. Carcieri hastily moved to protect his legacy and convinced the Rhode Island General Assembly to pass a law mandating that the PUC reconsider its rejection. Hangdog, the PUC approved the pricey National Grid/Deepwater Wind deal.

Mohammad Hassan Khalid, Maryland High School Student, Charged In 'Jihad Jane' Terror Plot
Didn’t get the memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: A high school honors student from Maryland helped the American terror suspect dubbed "Jihad Jane" plot to kill a Swedish artist and used the Internet to raise money and recruits for overseas terrorists, federal prosecutors charged in an indictment Thursday. Mohammad Hassan Khalid, a legal immigrant from Pakistan, had been the rare juvenile in federal custody until he turned 18 last month. The FBI arrested him July 6 at his family's home in Ellicott City, near Baltimore. He was charged Thursday with material support of terrorism. According to the indictment, Khalid tried to recruit men to wage jihad, or a violent holy war, in Europe and South Asia, and women who had passports to travel through Europe. He had met Colleen LaRose, who had dubbed herself "Jihad Jane" in YouTube videos, in an online chat room when he was about 15, according to the indictment.

Fun Read: The Organizers vs. the Organized in Zuccotti Park
The anarchists are having their usual trouble getting organized. What fun. ~Bob. Excerpt: All occupiers are equal — but some occupiers are more equal than others. In wind-whipped Zuccotti Park, new divisions and hierarchies are threatening to upend Occupy Wall Street and its leaderless collective. As the protest has grown, some of the occupiers have spontaneously taken charge on projects large and small. But many of the people in Zuccotti Park aren't taking direction well, leading to a tense Thursday of political disagreements, the occasional shouting match, and at least one fistfight. It began, as it so often does, with a drum circle. The ten-hour groove marathons weren’t sitting well with the neighborhood’s community board, the ironically situated High School of Economics and Finance that sits on the corner of Zuccotti Park, or many of the sleep-deprived protesters. “[The high school] couldn’t teach,” explained Josh Nelson, a 27-year-old occupier from Nebraska. “And we’ve had issues with the drummers too. They drum incessantly all day, and really loud.” Facilitators spearheaded a General Assembly proposal to limit the drumming to two hours a day. “The drumming is a major issue which has the potential to get us kicked out," said Lauren Digion, a leader on the sanitation working group. But the drums were fun. They brought in publicity and money. Many non-facilitators were infuriated by the decision and claimed that it had been forced through the General Assembly.

Florida banker's wife left family to join Wall Street protesters
Excerpt: A married mother of four from Florida ditched her family to become part of the raggedy mob in Zuccotti Park -- keeping the park clean by day and keeping herself warm at night with the help of a young waiter from Brooklyn. “I’m not planning on going home,” an unapologetic Stacey Hessler, 38, told The Post yesterday. “I have no idea what the future holds, but I’m here indefinitely. Forever,” said Hessler, whose home in DeLand sits 911 miles from the tarp she’s been sleeping under. Hessler -- who ironically is married to a banker -- arrived 12 days ago and planned to stay for a week, but changed her plans after cozying up to some like-minded radicals, including Rami Shamir, 30, a waiter at a French bistro in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. (Tee shirt idea: “I occupied Wall Street and all I got was this lousy case of the crabs.” ~Bob.)

Tehran's Long History of Murder in the West
Some analysts have expressed doubt that the Iranian government was involved in a recently uncovered plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States. Skeptics have questioned whether the Iranian regime would participate in such a scheme carried out by non-intelligence professionals and have even suggested that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was "set up" and knew nothing about the conspiracy. But Roya Hakakian, author of a book about Tehran's transnational terror campaign against dissidents, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the alleged plot bears striking parallels to an earlier crime committed by the Islamist regime: the September 1992 massacre of four Kurdish dissidents at Mykonos restaurant in Berlin. One of the Mykonos shooters was Abdulrahman Bani-Hashemi, an Iranian hit man. Hashemi (who flew to Turkey later that night before boarding a bus and escaping into Iran) had assassinated an Iranian exile in Switzerland in 1989. The following year, he was arrested and briefly held by Swedish authorities after attempting to kill the Saudi ambassador there. Several weeks after the Mykonos slayings, German authorities arrested one Iranian and "a ring of small time Lebanese crooks" in connection with the attack, Hakakian wrote. Iranian Minister of Intelligence Ali Fallahian tried unsuccessfully to persuade German authorities to derail the legal proceedings in the Mykonos case. During the trial, which lasted nearly four years, an Iranian intelligence official defected. He testified that Tehran had a list containing 500 "enemies of Islam" who were targeted for death. In 1997, five men - four Lebanese and an Iranian - were convicted of the Mykonos murders. The trial judge found that Khamenei and Fallahian were among those who ordered the killings. Interpol has issued a warrant for Fallahian's arrest in connection with the Mykonos case and several other assassinations ordered by the Iranian government.

Excerpt: President Obama will announce Friday that all U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of the year. The decision reflects an agreement between the U.S. and Iraq after months of speculation that some number of U.S. troops could remain in the country beyond Dec. 31, when they had been scheduled to leave, according to a White House official. The end-of-year schedule was set up by the Bush administration in negotiations with Iraq's government. (Let the slaughter begin, as peace-loving Muslims murder each other over the burning question, “Was Ali the rightful successor to Mohammad in the 7th century.” Our only troops will be Marines guarding the embassy. Will they be allowed to fight if attacked or ordered to surrender, as Carter did in Iran? ~Bob.)

House panel votes to amend Medicaid eligibility requirements
An attempt to slow the coming fiscal collapse that is, alas, going nowhere. ~Bob. Excerpt: A House panel voted along party lines Thursday to make it harder for Americans to become eligible for Medicaid and insurance subsidies under the federal healthcare reform law. The law counts only the taxable portion of Social Security benefits when calculating Medicaid eligibility, allowing up to a million middle-income early retirees to potentially be eligible for a program meant to help low-income people.

They are not “immigrants.” They are “colonizers.” ~Bob. Excerpt: A fundamentalist Islamic group wants to set up zones in Copenhagen where Islamic Sharia Law should be upheld. The group, ‘The Call to Islam’, belongs to a branch of Islam called Salafism, whose followers in the UK attempted to introduce similar Sharia zones in London earlier this summer.

My family's flight from Castro
Excerpt: But the Post story misses the point completely. The real essence of my family’s story is not about the date my parents first entered the United States. Or whether they travelled back and forth between the two nations. Or even the date they left Fidel Castro’s Cuba forever and permanently settled here. The essence of my family story is why they came to America in the first place; and why they had to stay. I now know that they entered the U.S. legally on an immigration visa in May of 1956. Not, as some have said before, as part of some special privilege reserved only for Cubans. They came because they wanted to achieve things they could not achieve in their native land. And they stayed because, after January 1959, the Cuba they knew disappeared. They wanted to go back — and in fact they did. Like many Cubans, they initially held out hope that Castro’s revolution would bring about positive change. So after 1959, they traveled back several times — to assess the prospect of returning home. (Funny how the media can find every detail of the life of conservative politicians, from Palin to Rubio, but nothing much about Obama. ~Bob.)

Wall Street protests force Cantor to cancel economic speech
Excerpt: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) abruptly canceled an economic address Friday at the University of Pennsylvania after learning that the event could be flooded with protesters aligned with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Cantor was to deliver a speech titled, “A Fair Shot at the American Dream and Economic Growth” at the university’s elite Wharton School of Business, but the school announced that the event was off about three-and-a-half hours before Cantor’s scheduled 4:30 p.m. start time. (This is what democracy looks like? Yes, leftist democracy—silence anyone they disagree with. ~Bob.)

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