Monday, January 31, 2011

Political Digest for January 31, 2011

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Nor that I disagree with them, of course.

Egyptian Police Redeploying
Excerpt: Egypt’s internal security forces are reportedly redeploying across the country Jan. 30 after abandoning the streets the previous day in a demonstration, showing what chaos would ensue should they be undermined by the military. As the protests show early signs of dwindling, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Interior Minister Habib al-Adly, who have negotiated a stay in power so far, are likely betting that the protesters, who thus far have been unable to coalesce into a unified group, will clear the streets under pressure. However, serious potential for clashes remain, especially considering hostilities between the army and the police and between the police and protesters. The coming hours will thus tell whether Mubarak’s bet on the opposition was a wise one. Egyptian Interior Minister Habib al-Adly reportedly ordered Egyptian police patrols to redeploy across Egypt during a Jan. 30 meeting with the commanders of the Central Security Forces (CSF) in Nasr city east of Cairo. The decision to redeploy the internal security forces follows a major confrontation that has played out behind the scenes between the Interior Ministry and the military. The animosity between Egypt’s police and soldiers was amplified Jan. 28 when demonstrators overwhelmed the CSF and plainclothes police and the army stepped in to attempt to restore order.

Egypt Protests: Bloodshed on the streets as human price of Hosni Mubarak's clampdown emerges
Excerpt: A tally of credible figures from around Egypt collated by The Sunday Telegraph showed that at least 89 people had died, compared with the 62 admitted by officials on Saturday. A further 2,500 were said to have been injured. Among the dead were 10 policemen — some had been attacked by protesters. The civilian dead and injured included many shot with live rounds: doctors and protesters displayed bullets they had picked up from the streets after police — and in some cases soldiers — opened fire. The use of live ammunition against his people, with witnesses claiming that deadly rounds had been fired by units of the elite presidential guard, throws into further doubt continued American support for Mr Mubarak’s regime.

Biden: Mubarak not a dictator, protests not like Eastern Europe
Hard to know if this is administration policy, or Biden running off at the mouth. Or maybe they plan to keep BO in power thirty years? ~Bob. Excerpt: Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is not a dictator and shouldn't step aside in the face of mounting protests against his nearly 30-year rule.

Egypt protests: Hillary Clinton urges 'orderly transition'
Excerpt: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called for an "orderly transition" to democracy in Egypt, but warned there is a long way to go in the process. "Democracy, human rights and economic reform are in the best interests of the Egyptian people," she told ABC News. "Any government that does not try to move in that direction cannot meet the legitimate interest of the people." (But if he’s not a dictator, why is a transition needed? ~Bob.)

Working Group on Egypt Calls for Suspension of U.S. Aid
Excerpt: The prestigious and, since its formation less than a year ago, consistently ahead-of-the-curve Working Group on Egypt, co-chaired by Michele Dunne of Carnegie and Robert Kagan of Brookings, has just issued a new statement late Saturday. The Group includes Middle East and foreign policy experts ranging from Elliott Abrams of the Council of Foreign Relations and Ellen Bork of the Foreign Policy Initiative to Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch and Brian Katulis of the Center for American Progress. Its members have been warning for months that the situation in Egypt is unstable, and they’ve been urging the U.S. government to take a more active role in planning for a post-Mubarak Egypt. They’re now calling for a suspension of aid to Egypt until the Egyptian government commits to free and fair elections and the transfer of power to a legitimate government.

Egypt Protests Show George W. Bush was Right about Freedom in the Arab World
Excerpt: In November 2003, President George W. Bush laid out this question: "Are the peoples of the Middle East somehow beyond the reach of liberty? Are millions of men and women and children condemned by history or culture to live in despotism? Are they alone never to know freedom and never even to have a choice in the matter?" The massive and violent demonstrations underway in Egypt, the smaller ones in Jordan and Yemen, and the recent revolt in Tunisia that inspired those events, have affirmed that the answer is no and are exploding, once and for all, the myth of Arab exceptionalism. Arab nations, too, yearn to throw off the secret police, to read a newspaper that the Ministry of Information has not censored and to vote in free elections. The Arab world may not be swept with a broad wave of revolts now, but neither will it soon forget this moment.

Worth Reading: The Egypt Crisis in a Global Context: A Special Report
Excerpt: It is not at all clear what will happen in the Egyptian revolution. It is not a surprise that this is happening. Hosni Mubarak has been president for more than a quarter of a century, ever since the assassination of Anwar Sadat. He is old and has been ill. No one expected him to live much longer, and his apparent plan, which was that he would be replaced by his son, Gamal, was not going to happen even though it was a possibility a year ago. There was no one, save his closest business associates, who wanted to see Mubarak’s succession plans happen. As his father weakened, Gamal’s succession became even less likely. Mubarak’s failure to design a credible succession plan guaranteed instability on his death. Since everyone knew that there would be instability on his death, there were obviously those who saw little advantage to acting before he died. Who these people were and what they wanted is the issue. Let’s begin by considering the regime. In 1952, Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser staged a military coup that displaced the Egyptian monarchy, civilian officers in the military, and British influence in Egypt. Nasser created a government based on military power as the major stabilizing and progressive force in Egypt. His revolution was secular and socialist. In short, it was a statist regime dominated by the military. On Nasser’s death, Anwar Sadat replaced him. On Sadat’s assassination, Hosni Mubarak replaced him. Both of these men came from the military as Nasser did. However their foreign policy might have differed from Nasser’s, the regime remained intact…. It is certainly not clear that they are weaker than the democratic demonstrators. It is a mistake to confuse the Muslim Brotherhood’s caution with weakness. Another way to look at them is that they have bided their time and toned down their real views, waiting for the kind of moment provided by Mubarak’s succession. I would suspect that the Muslim Brotherhood has more potential influence among the Egyptian masses than the Western-oriented demonstrators or Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who is emerging as their leader.

Tourists Besiege Cairo Airport, But Flights Halt
Excerpt: Thousands of passengers were stranded at Cairo's airport on Saturday as flights were canceled or delayed, leaving them unable to leave because of a government-imposed curfew. Several Arab nations, meanwhile, moved to evacuate their citizens. As Egypt's unrest neared its sixth day, the cancelations of flights and the arrival of several largely empty aircraft appeared to herald an ominous erosion of key tourism revenue for the country, hitting hard at its pocketbook even as protesters centered many of their grievances on the grinding poverty they endure daily. Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan organized an additional 10 flights to evacuate their citizens, officials at Cairo International Airport said. Among those who left were families of diplomats. Egypt's national carrier, meanwhile, was forced to cancel 15 scheduled flights because it was unable to secure the necessary crew and service personnel, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media. (Think I’ll put off visiting the Pyramids. ~Bob.)

Egypt and Islam: Democracy or Dictatorship?
Excerpt: Politics abhors a vacuum. Just like the Palestinians fell for the lies of Hamas, it is not impossible that some day soon Egypt will be ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood. Democratically elected. And who could then discount an Iran-Lebanon-Egypt alliance against Israel? We can no longer afford to gaze at our navels and debate minutiae. These revolutions are the beginning of a jihad the likes of which the world has never seen. Wahhabi Islam must be rooted out and eradicated for it has no respect for democracy, liberty, free markets or civil liberties. It does not care for the rule of law, freedom of conscience of freedom of religion. We must assist those who seek to promote a peaceable Sunni Islam, a moderate Shi’a expression, and encourage all towards an understanding of the Sufi tradition.

Good column: The Fall of the Strongmen
Excerpt: The attempt to establish a post-colonial order of kings and strongmen to replace the British and French colonial rule over the Arab Muslim world was doomed from the start. Some of the kings were overthrown by native officers who had been trained by the British and the French to fight their wars. The officers who overthrew them became strongmen themselves. The recently deposed Ben Ali was a Tunisian officer trained in French and American schools, who had helped push out the French and his predecessor. Egypt's Mubarak was an Air Force officer who replaced Sadat, who replaced Nasser-- all members of the Free Officers Movement which overthrew the Egyptian monarchy. Saddam Hussein took power in a coup against the coup led by army officers which had deposed the King of Iraq. Syria's Assad was an Air Force officer who took power after a long series of coups by army officers that it would take too long to list. If you're seeing a pattern here, congratulations and welcome to the Middle East. The only Middle-Eastern Arab countries which held onto their monarchies, were either oil rich enough to spread the wealth to the important families and retain only a weak military to avoid the risk of being overthrown by their own army while relying on US protection (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE) or so small and deliberately apolitical to avoid attention (Jordan, Morocco). The rest ended up with military strongmen, some backed by the US, some backed by the Soviet Union. The Soviet backed strongmen usually unveiled some poorly thought out version of Arab Socialism. The US backed strongmen just stuck to taking a cut of everything and packing it away in foreign banks. But there was a ticking time bomb underneath these pyramids of wealth and misery. Islam…. Most of the 'reformers' are usually fighting for either a takeover by the local socialist party or the local Islamist party. The general public will join in the stone throwing and the looting, without necessarily taking sides. Often the socialists and the Islamists will actually cooperate to bring down the dictator. Then one will take power and begin killing the other. Western media rarely bother to report this, either out of ignorance or due to propaganda. They treat most of the crowd scenes as popular uprisings, which they are but not in the sense that the people will get to decide one way or another. Only that they get a chance to take part in the brief spurt of violence before being ordered to go home…. When Mohammed invented Islam, he took existing beliefs and laced them up into a grand tribal identity. Islam is the meta-tribe, less a religion than a makeshift political system based on tribal alliances with the convenient sanction of a deity. Islam expands by creating a two-tier system that puts non-Muslims on the bottom, and encourages Muslims to wage constant war against them. None of this makes for a stable system, but it does make for a very volatile and expansionistic one. Arabs who will not die for Saddam or Ben Ali or Mubarak, will die for Islam.

Gaza-Egypt border sealed indefinitely
Excerpt: Egyptian authorities have closed indefinitely the crossing with the Gaza Strip as the army deployed in the northern Sinai, a Ma'an correspondent said Sunday. Egyptian security contacted the government in Gaza to check up on the situation along the Rafah border, and Hamas authorities confirmed that large numbers of security officers were deployed at the crossing. Authorities in Gaza also confirmed that strict instructions were given to smugglers telling them all tunnels would remain closed to ensure no Palestinians in Gaza were able to enter Egypt. Gaza border official Ghazi Hamad confirmed that Rafah would be closed Sunday in both directions.

Watch video released by Detroit police showing police station gun battle
Split screen camera angle to left is entranceway to PD---camera angle to right is desk officers working area. This will ruin your morning coffee and donuts!! –TC

It Doesn't Have to Make Sense: It's Just the Law – Statements
Excerpt: In 1996, an unhappy consumer attacked the City Marshal of Lancaster, Missouri with a hammer.(1) The Marshal defended himself and later vented his adrenaline to the responding Sheriff stating, “I hope the son-of-a-bitch is dead.” This led to the Marshal’s conviction for involuntary manslaughter and a sentence of seven years in prison.(2) The story had a happy ending, but a story four years and tens of thousands of dollars in the making, and not a story the Marshal enjoyed very much. The Marshal might have avoided the worst part of the story had he not confused his right to remain silent with the right of free speech. (The article is pretty well done. I have had private conversations with assorted law officers, some retired, on this subject, and their advice is pretty much the same. The system does make mistakes, there are cops and prosecutors who are intent on getting a conviction on any remotely likely suspect. We know too well these days that innocent people have even wound up on Death Row. So caution is the watchword if you're ever involved in violent self-defense. --Del)

What ‘Obama the Unready’ Could Learn From Alfred the Great
Excerpt: Would Barack be better named “St. Peter Obama”—considering how overwhelmingly he embodies the Peter Principle? On that question there can be no debate. He offered himself unready for any leadership position, and was then rewarded for his incompetence. Not only is Barack no Ronald Reagan, he can’t even lead. As such, Obama hearkens back to another unfortunate historical character—Æthelred the Unready. Æthelred was an English king who so completely misused his opportunity he became synonymous with lack of preparation and poor decisions. Obama and Æthelred have many coincidences during equally cursed reigns. When we compare the lives of the worst and best English potentates, certain truths can be gleaned by our Marxist boy king. Such lessons are the subject of this essay. (As a descendent of Æthelred—really—I take offense at the comparison. ~Bob.)

American facing possible murder charge in Pakistan
Simple. If they don’t release him, we sell bigger A-bombs to India. ~Bob. Excerpt: Pakistan will pursue murder charges against a U.S. consular employee suspected of shooting two armed men during a possible robbery attempt, a prosecutor said Friday as protesters called for the American to be severely punished. The killings in this bustling city on Thursday have attracted intense media coverage in Pakistan, and the government - already viewed by some critics as being subservient to the United States - will be under pressure to allow the law to run its course. Many Pakistanis already regard the U.S. with suspicion or enmity because of its occupation of neighboring Afghanistan and regular missile attacks against militant targets in Pakistan's northwest. Islamist and rightwing opponents of Washington and the U.S.-allied government here said the incident was a further example of American brutality.

How BBC warmists abuse the science
Excerpt: Horizon’s “Science Under Attack” turned out to be yet another laborious bid by the BBC to defend the global warming orthodoxy it has long been so relentless in promoting. Their desperation is understandable. The past few years have seen their cherished cause crumbling on all sides. The Copenhagen climate conference, planned to land mankind with the biggest bill in history, collapsed in disarray. The Climategate emails scandal confirmed that scientists at the heart of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had distorted key data. The IPCC’s own authority was further rocked by revelations that its more alarmist claims were based not on science but on the inventions of environmental activists. Even the weather has turned against them, showing that all the computer models based on the assumption that rising CO2 means rising temperatures have got it wrong. The formula the BBC uses in its forlorn attempts to counterattack has been familiar ever since its 2008 series Climate Wars. First, a presenter with some scientific credentials comes on, apparently to look impartially at the evidence. Supporters of the cause are allowed to put their case without challenge. Hours of film of climate-change “deniers” are cherrypicked for soundbites that can be shown, out of context, to make them look ridiculous. The presenter can then conclude that the “deniers” are a tiny handful of eccentrics standing out against an overwhelming scientific “consensus”. (Although the legacy media here in the USA are just as bad, our worst offenders are the producers of the series for the Discovery, History, National Geographic, and nature-related channels. Never will you see coverage that presents a balancing view without an almost mocking tone. Never will you be told that 63% of all weather scientists—they're called meteorologists, by the way—have reservations, at a minimum, about accepting the science as "settled"—a term from law, not science—or about accepting global warming as being caused or curable solely or even largely by human activity [see bottom item of page 4 and the top two items of page 5 in this 2010 study by George Mason University (]. Science is not a democratic process with truth being determined by counting votes or by consulting past precedents. When asked how many scientists it would take to disprove his Theory of General Relativity, Albert Einstein replied: "One, of course." Ron P.)

Climate Change: Sir Paul Nurse's Big Boo Boo
Excerpt: (Comment): Using the stats, as the Cap mentioned, can work either way. I have tried to explain this before as does Lee Gerhard below. He summarises the true situation on warming/ cooling with some more good sense from Rob Davis and Paul Reiter: USA - Dr. Lee C. Gerhard, UN IPCC expert reviewer, past director and State Geologist with the Kansas Geological Society and a senior scientist emeritus of the University of Kansas. "I never fully accepted or denied the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) concept until the furor started after [NASA's James] Hansen's wild claims in the late 1980's. I went to the scientific literature to study the basis of the claim, starting at first principles. My studies then led me to believe that the claims were false, they did not correlate with recorded human history." "Depending on the period in earth's history that is chosen, the climate will either be warming or cooling. Choosing whether earth is warming or cooling is simply a matter of picking end points.”

Giffords receives treatment denied to US troops
Excerpt: As U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords begins rehabilitative therapy in Houston after being shot in the head in Tucson earlier this month, nonprofit news organization ProPublica reported. The news outlet added that because of the Pentagon’s health care program, thousands of U.S. troops who have suffered brain injuries in the line of duty have not been able to receive the same treatment. Dr. John Holcomb, a retired Army colonel and trauma surgeon at Memorial Hermann, has described Giffords’ treatment as a “tailored and comprehensive rehab plan” that includes “speech, cognitive [and] physical rehabilitation,” ProPublica reported on its website. If Giffords does end up receiving it, she’ll be getting a treatment that many troops don’t, ProPublica said. The Pentagon’s health program, Tricare, has refused to cover cognitive rehabilitation therapy for the tens of thousands of service members who have suffered brain injuries in the line of duty. Tricare, which provides insurance-style coverage to troops and many veterans, does cover speech and occupational therapy, which are often part of cognitive rehabilitation.

The case for mercenaries in Somalia
Excerpt: In 1969, as a member of the presidential commission appointed to consider replacing the draft with an all-volunteer military, the great University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman had a famous exchange with General William Westmoreland, the US commander in Vietnam. Westmoreland strongly supported the draft, and told the commission that he didn't want to command an army of mercenaries. "General," Friedman interrupted, "would you rather command an army of slaves?" Replied Westmoreland indignantly, "I don't like to hear our patriotic draftees referred to as slaves." Friedman shot back: "I don't like to hear our patriotic volunteers referred to as mercenaries." The economist pressed his point. "If they are mercenaries," he told Westmoreland, "then I, sir, am a mercenary professor, and you, sir, are a mercenary general; we are served by mercenary physicians, we use a mercenary lawyer, and we get our meat from a mercenary butcher." What brings that colloquy to mind is a report in the New York Times that the government of Somalia is being urged to hire Saracen International, "a controversial South African mercenary firm," to protect Somali officials and help fight pirates and Islamic militants. Erik Prince, the former US Navy SEAL who created Blackwater Worldwide, another private military firm, has been involved in brokering the arrangement (precisely how, the Times noted, "remains unclear.") The story was headlined "Blackwater Founder Said to Back Mercenaries," and its disapproving tone was hard to miss. (Mercenaries are often thought of as murderers-for-hire, and of course in the flow of history, some have more or less fit that description. But not all by a long shot. Professional soldiers doing a job with all the control and rules of professionalism can do and have done in the past very good work that brought about a good end. Personally, I think we would benefit from having an American Foreign Legion, recruiting people from wherever in the world, given good training and US officers in command. Decent pay, life and disability insurance too, and the cost to taxpayers would still be less than it is for our own military. But this will not happen. In any case, I hope they manage to put together a force that will go in and kick ass/take names, and bring some sort of stability to Somalia. And wipe out the pirates while they're at it. –Del)

BBC Running Sanitized Clip of Female Genital Mutilation Happening Now in the UK

Have American Teachers Moved 'To the Left' of Obama?
Excerpt: It seems like a strange time to “move to the left.” But it seems to be happening nonetheless. Since his self-confessed “shellacking” in last November’s election, much has been said about how President Obama’s rhetoric has shifted to the philosophical “right.” Gone are the pejorative remarks about how Americans must stop consuming more than their “fair share” of the earth’s resources, and the scolding of oil and pharmaceutical companies for earning “record profits” (the President would probably be thrilled if any American business were to set profit records today). “In” are the kinds of comments that are typical of an American President. Mr. Obama recently announced that he wants to embrace “Thomas Edison’s principles,” and that he desires for Americans to “invent stuff” and “make stuff.” He has even stated that he wants to open-up more foreign markets so American companies can sell more of their products and services globally. Indeed, the past few weeks have seen a dramatic change in the President who spent two years bowing to foreign heads of state, and lamenting America’s superpower status. But while the President and most of America have moved to the right, big labor doesn’t even seem willing to move the center. In fact, some unions that represent America’s public school teachers seem to have moved further towards the philosophical “left,” even as state and local governments struggle with debt and deficits, and in some cases, the threat of bankruptcy.

Outwitting Lethal Government Policies
Excerpt: Over the past fifty years, at least a half-million Americans, and perhaps many more, have died prematurely due to ill-designed and badly executed liberal programs. The causes, as I reveal in detail in Death by Liberalism, range from the criminal justice "reforms" of the 1960s, which triggered a crime wave that that killed up to 268,000 Americans, to government-mandated fuel standards responsible for up to 125,000 lives. At least a thousand people are murdered each year by the derelict insane, with many deinstitutionalized lunatics dying as well, giving us a total of as many as 70,000 deaths. The number of deaths of children under the "protection" of state child care agencies is unknown (largely concealed by "privacy" laws) but must total in the thousands. (Twenty-one children died in this manner last year in Los Angeles County alone.) All this strikes very close to home. There are few families that have not suffered a death from one of these causes over the last half-century. It's horrifying to consider that our lives are threatened by the actions of our own government, but we must consider it or risk becoming victims. How do we protect ourselves against democide? (How about the tens of millions who died from banning DDT, over-throwing the Shah, establishing Mugabe in Zimbabwe or the slaughter that followed the communist victory in SE Asia? All the result of liberal chimeras. ~Bob.)

Clarice's Pieces: She Wouldn't Hurt a Fly
Excerpt: This week, Glenn Beck called [Frances Fox] Piven out on her advocacy of violence. In response, the New York Times, a group that has amusingly chosen to call itself the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the American Sociological Association have attacked Beck for daring to take her at her word. Now, with Piven exposed to a broader audience than usual as a firebrand who holds views dangerous to democratic life, her friends have dolled her up in widow's weeds (her equally radical husband, Richard Cloward, died in 2001) and noted her age (78) to distract us from her work. They want us to think, as did Psycho's Norman Bates channeling his long-dead mother, that "[t]hey'll see and they'll know and they'll say, 'Why she wouldn't even harm a fly.'" Stanley Kurtz at NRO; Ann Althouse, a law professor at the University of Wisconsin who has her own blog site; and the Wall Street Journal's James Taranto have taken the lead in this fight to expose Piven and her defenders.

IFAK First Aid
Excerpt: Training today is really amazing, covering lots of things in depth that people never used to see until on the ground and in the fight. And it's made our guys the best professional soldiers on the planet. Below is one video that I found fascinating. It's great that we have lots of creative people using modern resources and methods to give our guys as much preparation for the real thing as is humanly possible. –Del

Is there any politician (besides Allen West of course) who will stand against Islam?
Excerpt: Some of us first started getting a bad feeling about Christie when we heard his wishy-washy comments about the Ground Zero Mosque — which were especially disturbing since so many New Jerseyans died in the Twin Towers on 9/11. But we liked Christie so much that we tried to overlook it. Unfortunately, Christie’s Muslim-coddling comments look even worse now, in the light of recent revelations about Christie’s associations with radical Islamists.

The 10 families costing Britain 1 Million Pounds a Year in Housing Benefit Alone
Excerpt: The Nur's house was on the market for 1,050 pounds a week, but rent has been set at 2,000 pounds - the maximum under housing benefit rules. [There used to be inspections of rental properties by government officials to ascertain the 'fair rent' but apparently no longer. - Kate]

Classic Countermoonbattery from Ronaldus Maximus
Excerpt: 2011 marks two great centennials: the adoption of the M1911 by the US Army (acknowledged recently) and the birth of the heroic countermoonbat Ronald Reagan, which will be acknowledged throughout the year, starting with this.

Grooming of Girls by Asian Gangs Fuelled by Unhappy Arranged Marriages to Cousins Claims Muslim Peer
Excerpt: Studies have shown that 55 per cent of British Pakistanis marry their first cousins, usually from abroad. In Bradford, the figure is as high as 75 per cent. Although marriages between first cousins is lawful in Britain, it is frowned upon by many who see it as a form of incest. In America, the practice is illegal in 30 states. First-cousin marriages among other British Muslim groups such as Bangladeshis or Indians are less prevalent. Earlier this month, two ringleaders of a Pakistani gang in Derby were given indeterminate jail terms for grooming 26 white girls aged between 12 and 18 after plying them with alcohol and drugs. Mohammed Liaqat, 28, and Abid Saddique, 27, were jailed for a minimum of 11 and eight years respectively for charges which included rape. Both had wives through arranged marriages and had young children with them. In Rotherham, a gang of five Asian men were jailed in November for grooming white girls as young as 12.

Obama swaps Iraq and Afghanistan
Bad teleprompter! No biscuit! But, really, should people be pilloried for the kind of mis-speak we all do? Okay, sure, the press does that to Republicans like Bush, but is it fair? ~Bob. Excerpt: Hit with a tough question about his administration’s policy in Afghanistan and Iraq on Thursday, President Obama made a muddled mess out of his plans for withdrawing troops from the region. Obama swapped “Iraq” for “Afghanistan” when he answered a question on YouTube about whether he still believes soldiers need to die in the wars there. “As I said, we will be out of Afghanistan by the end of this year,” Obama said, a fairly significant misstatement of his administration’s Afghanistan policy, which doesn’t call for a troop withdrawal until 2014.

Turkey: Islamic supremacists enraged over realistic TV portrayal of Suleiman the Magnificent
Excerpt: Reality is always inconvenient for them. Remember, "slander" in Islamic law refers not to telling untruths about someone, but to saying something about someone else that he doesn't want known, even if it's true. That sums up the whole Islamic apologetic enterprise in the West, as well as the rage over this TV series.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Political Digest for January 30, 2011

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Nor that I disagree with them, of course.

Egyptian troops let protests proceed as Mubarak names vice president
If this results in the Muslim Brotherhood coming to power in Egypt, the world will be a more dangerous place. ~Bob. Excerpt: Tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators swarmed central Cairo on Saturday in the largest demonstration yet against the rule of the country's longtime autocratic leader, President Hosni Mubarak. The crowd went unchallenged by troops, who, in extraordinary scenes unfolding around the capital's central
Tahrir Square
, smiled and shook hands with protesters and invited them up onto their tanks. Meanwhile, Mubarak named a vice president for the first time since coming to power 30 years ago, a government spokesman said - an apparent step toward setting up a successor other than his son, Gamal, whom he had appeared to be grooming for the post, despite public opposition. Mubarak chose as his deputy his intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, a close confidant who is well-known to U.S. officials. Even as protesters celebrated, word of Suleiman's appointment disappointed those who had expected wholesale change. "He is one of Hosni Mubarak's people, and we reject those people. The people should get to pick their leaders," said Mohammed Abdel Rahman, 25.

Red Alert: Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood
From The following is a report from a STRATFOR source in Hamas. Hamas, which formed in Gaza as an outgrowth of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (MB), has an interest in exaggerating its role and coordination with the MB in this crisis. The following information has not been confirmed. Nonetheless, there is a great deal of concern building in Israel and the United States in particular over the role of the MB in the demonstrations and whether a political opening will be made for the Islamist organization in Egypt. The Egyptian police are no longer patrolling the Rafah border crossing into Gaza. Hamas armed men are entering into Egypt and are closely collaborating with the MB. The MB has fully engaged itself in the demonstrations, and they are unsatisfied with the dismissal of the Cabinet. They are insisting on a new Cabinet that does not include members of the ruling National Democratic Party. Security forces in plainclothes are engaged in destroying public property in order to give the impression that many protesters represent a public menace. The MB is meanwhile forming people’s committees to protect public property and also to coordinate demonstrators’ activities, including supplying them with food, beverages and first aid.

Egypt: Revolution? By Whom? For What?
Excerpt: All of which is a long way of saying that there’s a lot of tumult in the Middle East (and not only the Middle East; there were big demonstrations a few hours ago in Albania), a great perturbation in the Force, as Obiwan would say. Lots of fighting. Lots of factions. In Egypt, which is by far the most important of the Arab countries affected by the tumult, there are genuine democrats and also members of organizations (from the Muslim Brotherhood to Islamic Jihad, Hamas, et al.) who would transform Egypt from an authoritarian to a totalitarian regime. Remember my Grandma Mashe: “Things are never so bad they can’t get worse.” So how are we to look at it all? The basic point is that most everything and everywhere is up for grabs. From Yemen to Iran to Lebanon and Somalia, from Egypt and Jordan to Syria and Tunisia, we’ve got tumult. There are lots of different forces in play, and in many cases there is no way to know who will make what decisions, let alone what decisions they will make. Orders will be given, some of them will be obeyed while others will be ignored. Welcome to the real world. (As little sympathy as I have for dictators, I doubt this “revolutionary surge” will play out to our advantage. Which groups are already organized in depth to take advantage of such turmoil? Radical Islamists. Envision another five or six Irans added to the current Middle Eastern mix. We should have supported the Iranian Greens years ago when their movement first started. Instead, we sat on our hands. Now, we’ll pay for that inaction. Ron P. Unfortunately, the life of the average person in a Muslim majority country is blighted by being bound down to a 7th century ideology which destroys the chance for a free and modern life. Which they blame on Jews and other infidels. ~Bob.)

Egypt: Some in Army Appear to Side with Demonstrators
Excerpt: In another sign that the army was showing sympathy for the demonstrations, in a different central Cairo square on Saturday a soldier in camouflage addressed a crowd through a bullhorn declaring that the army would stand with the people. “I don’t care what happens,” the soldier said. “You are the ones who are going to make the change.” The crowd responded, “The army and the people will purify the country.” Workers at the Alexandria morgue said they had counted more than 20 bodies from the last 24 hours of violence. Meanwhile, protests had started up again in the city. But there too, the demonstrators and the soldiers showed sympathy for one another. Demonstrators brought tea to the troops and had their pictures taken with them. Protesters walked by armored carriers unmolested with few signs of animosity. People gathered outside the morgue looking for their relatives. In the main hospital, there were a number of people lying wounded from live fire.

Egypt protests: America's secret backing for rebel leaders behind protests
Excerpt: The American Embassy in Cairo helped a young dissident attend a US-sponsored summit for activists in New York, while working to keep his identity secret from Egyptian state police. On his return to Cairo in December 2008, the activist told US diplomats that an alliance of opposition groups had drawn up a plan to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak and install a democratic government in 2011. He has already been arrested by Egyptian security in connection with the demonstrations and his identity is being protected by The Daily Telegraph. (This does not bode well. If accurate, this explains why US Dept of State is in full panic. The brain trust in DC expected a quiet, peaceful regime change, not a full scale riot and open warfare. They obviously did not anticipate Iran’s rapid rise to power in the Mid East and the Muslim Brotherhood and/or Al Qaeda stepping into the breach. Now there are questions re the Suez Canal being endangered and the cost of crude oil skyrocketing. I hate to ask this painful question: “What else can go wrong?” –TC)

John Bolton on the situation in Egypt
Excerpt: Bolton tells Levin this isn’t Jeffersonian democracy vs the Mubarak regime, it’s the Muslim Brotherhood vs the Mubarak regime. He agrees that people on the streets have legitimate grievances about open government and what not, but says that it’s likely that their grievances still wouldn’t be met to any level of satisfaction with whatever regime replaces Mubarak. Levin started the show out suggesting that given all of the radical players trying to create a bottom up revolution, supporting the people against Mubarak may not be best in this instance. This isn’t Iran in 2009 where it was clear that we should support the people, and Bolton seems to agree. Siding with the people in this instance could facilitate another Islamo-Nazi state.

Worth Reading: The Egyptian Unrest: A Special Report
Excerpt: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak remains the lifeblood of the demonstrators, who still number in the tens of thousands in downtown Cairo and in other major cities, albeit on a lesser scale. After being overwhelmed in the Jan. 28 Day of Rage protests, Egypt’s internal security forces — with the anti-riot paramilitaries of the Central Security Forces (CSF) at the forefront — were glaringly absent from the streets Jan. 29. They were replaced with rows of tanks and armored personnel carriers carrying regular army soldiers. Unlike their CSF counterparts, the demonstrators demanding Mubarak’s exit from the political scene largely welcomed the soldiers. Despite Mubarak’s refusal to step down Jan. 28, the public’s positive perception of the military, seen as the only real gateway to a post-Mubarak Egypt, remained. It is unclear how long this perception will hold, especially as Egyptians are growing frustrated with the rising level of insecurity in the country and the army’s limits in patrolling the streets. There is more to these demonstrations than meets the eye. The media will focus on the concept of reformers staging a revolution in the name of democracy and human rights. These may well have brought numerous demonstrators into the streets, but revolutions, including this one, are made up of many more actors than the liberal voices on Facebook and Twitter.

For GOP hopefuls, a race before the race
Rather like Rahm raising $11 million to run for mayor of Chicago, mostly before new “Spending limits” kicked in. Attempts to control spending always founder against the First Amendment. And they result in absurdities like $1000 contributions to Hillary Clinton from poor Chinese workers in NYC making only $15k a year, which the media passed over, though clearly they came from Chinese interests using these folks to exceed the limits. They also result in PACs that supposedly have zero ties to the candidates who can launch any attack, without a blame link to the campaign. I think the only solution is to let any one and any entity donate as much money as they wish to a candidate, but require it to be entered into a searchable, public on-line database immediately on receipt, so we know who is supporting whom. ~Bob. Excerpt: On a single day in October, Eldon and Regina Roth each wrote separate checks to political funds set up by Republican Mitt Romney in five states around the country. That allowed the South Dakota beef barons to donate $190,000 - well beyond limits for contributions to federal political action committees. The state-based funds are among several creative - and perfectly legal - strategies embraced by potential GOP presidential contenders as they lay the groundwork for 2012. The efforts amount to an aggressive and sophisticated preliminary campaign, in which candidates exploit incentives and gaps in the nation's patchwork election system. In essence, the strategies allow hopefuls to begin running for president before they actually run. These pre-presidential efforts are particularly important in the current election cycle, which is unfolding far more slowly than it did four years ago, when more than a dozen candidates had already launched their campaigns by this point. By setting up state political funds, as Romney and several others have done, presidential hopefuls can go to their most loyal supporters with deep pockets - funders like the Roths - and solicit larger donations than they could for the federal PACs required of official candidates.

Warfare of the Future
Excerpt: A light-bulb moment for me last year was hearing a Chinese defense expert named Dingli Shen in Shanghai talk about the future of warfare. No, he wasn't expressing a pipe dream about building a blue-water navy to challenge U.S. dominance in the Pacific. Instead, he was talking about the irrelevance of traditional land and sea power in the dawning age of combat -- where weapons will include cyberattacks, space weapons, lasers, pulses and other directed-energy beams. Shen, who teaches at Fudan University, was countering the view of some Chinese analysts that Beijing should embrace the gospel of Alfred Thayer Mahan, the 19th-century American missionary for sea power. Mahan is outdated, he said: With a laser weapon fired from space, "any ship will be burned." China's future isn't in competing to build aircraft-carrier battle groups, argues Shen, but in advanced weapons "to make other command systems fail to work." The Chinese theorist's comments suggest a trend you might not appreciate watching the news footage of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. The nature of warfare is nearing another "hinge point," due to the advance of technology. Just as gunpowder, cannons, airplanes, rockets and nuclear power changed the face of combat, so too will a new generation of weapons that are on the drawing boards -- not just in America, but in China, India and other advanced technological nations.

China Passes Off 'Top Gun' As Air Force Footage
Excerpt: few days ago, China Central Television showed footage of what they claimed was an air force training exercise conducted on January 23. From the looks of things, they were actually just playing clips from Top Gun.

Should You Kick Your Dog Out of Bed Tonight?
Excerpt: Irresponsible reporting on the chances of your pet giving you a life-threatening disease does far more harm than good. (…) It’s easy for the MSM to exploit pets because obviously, they can’t speak up for themselves. But with animals proven to advance human wellness, pets deserve not to be demonized as so many bundles of contagion or opportunistic infection, and pet coverage needs to be taken more seriously. It merits the same level of accurate, responsible, balanced reporting — complete with hard facts, not hearsay — as any other new topic. A sensationalist, clearly biased story such as Schneider’s merely speculates about a potential public health hazard where none actually exists. Not surprisingly, AOL swings both ways when exploiting pets for fun and profit: When it’s not publishing anti-pet articles like this one, it’s taking a decidedly pro-pet position on its dedicated animal site, Paw Nation. (Gee, this sounds like the early reporting on the global warming/climate change/climate chaos "crisis." Failure to give a realistic probability for the "bad outcome" to actually occur ruins any value this study might have had to the general public, and the blame for that can be laid to poor reporting. BAD REPORTER! Go sit in the corner. No treat for you! Ron P. On any given night, you will find one to three cats on our bed, depending on the thermostat setting and the disappointing lack of the promised global warming here in Chicago. Doubtless this proves I’ll die someday. ~Bob.)

Muslims post death threats on doors of Christian homes
Didn’t get the “Islam is a Religion of Peace” memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: Officials in the south Ethiopian city of Besheno are looking the other way as Muslim mobs in the city put death threats on the doors of Christian villagers, according to organizations that work in the area. The door-mounted death threats are only the latest incidents in a series of acts of intimidation that include taking away church property, beating evangelists and killing family members. International Christian Concern's Jonathan Racho says the list of violent acts against Christians is growing. "Christians in the southern Ethiopian city of Besheno are being harassed and physically abused after Muslims posted notices on the doors of the Christian homes, warning the Christians that they had to convert to Islam, leave the city or face death," Racho stated.

The Midwesterner
Excerpt: At the Reagan conference, Devan Bissonette of Delta College in Michigan noted that “part of [Reagan’s] remoteness dated back to his childhood” in the Midwest. Reagan certainly thought so. He was nine when he moved to Dixon and “a little slow in making really close friends,” he wrote. “In some ways, I think this reluctance to get close to people never left me completely. .  .  . I’ve been inclined to hold back a little of myself, reserving it for myself.” The most ambitious paper was delivered by Jon Peterson of Ohio University. “Reagan’s anticommunist pronouncements, which shook the Cold War world, were rooted in ideas of good and evil that came from his mother and his Midwest upbringing,” he wrote. This is a new assertion about Reagan, so far as I know, and one worth taking seriously. [Maybe I'll go to Eureka...sounds great. -K.]

Lawmaker (Jim Moran, D-VA): Racism Cost Dems Election
COMMENT from PNUTBUTTER: The Dems are the original racists from the south, they are the ones who created the KKK to keep blacks from voting. They made sure for years that the republican party didn't exist in the south. Blacks have always faired better under republicans. They are the ones that were responsible for the civil rights bills. Dems wanted to take our right to vote away in the south. President Obama along with the Democrats have ignored black folks. All we got from him is we need to be better fathers and quit feeding our children fried chicken and letting them play a video games. He has done more to help illegal aliens than he has done for his black base. I think he is in for a rude awakening in our community when it comes to re-election time. I know quite a few of us have learned not to just vote for someone because they are black and a Democrat. We were ignored until the midterm elections then it was "I want you to go to the Barber shops and beauty Salons and get people to vote with us" Now he want to push Rahm down the people of Chicago's throat. This is one black man that won't be on the Obama bandwagon. (They always play the race card, though more white folks voted for Obama than for Kerry or Gore. If racism vanished tomorrow, it would be a disaster for Democrats who must keep it alive, just as Republicans “waved the bloody shirt” in the decades after the Civil War. Until no one cared anymore. ~Bob.)

Judicial Watch Uncovers New Documents Detailing Pelosi's Use of Air Force Aircraft in 2010
Excerpt: Pelosi Logged 43 Flights Covering 90,155 Miles from January to October 2010; Received “Chocolate-Covered Strawberries” for Birthday Surprise. (We'd heard some of this before, but the actual details are a kick in the head. I especially like the part about top shelf liquor being made available for the comfort of the passengers. Using the AF resources for flights almost every single week was way past reasonable. And this is the person who worries about taking care of the "common people". Riiight! Funny how the most sanctimonious people in power cheerfully abuse the power for their own comfort and aggrandizement. –Del)

Here's One Story the Right-wing Media Didn't Make Up: In 2030 Britain Will Be 8.2% Muslim
Excerpt: Yesterday the highly-respected, non-partisan Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life’s released its projection that in 2030 Britain will have a Muslim population of 5.5 million people, roughly 8.2 per cent of the total population. That’s hardly Eurabia, I hear some saying. But that figure will not be spread evenly across the UK. By that stage Oldham, Bradford, Blackburn and Burnley, and possibly Birmingham, may well be Muslim-majority towns. What will race relations be like in those places, I wonder? Any tension that ensues will of course be blamed on “Islamophobia”, and yet no society in history has watched a minority grow from 0 to 8 per cent in two generations with such tolerance. Even without the problems associated with Islam in the West, Britain’s record would be fantastic – and there certainly are problems. For example, opinion polls of British Muslims consistently show around 7 per cent support terrorist attacks on UK civilians, more than 10 per cent support attacks on UK troops, and anywhere between 30 and 50 per cent wish for Sharia law and the death penalty for apostates and homosexuals. Project those figures onto a population of 5.5 million and then tell me it’s “Islamophobic” to be concerned.

Being over seventy is like being engaged in a war. All our friends are going or gone and we survive amongst the dead and the dying as on a battlefield. –Muriel Spark

Sharks Are Not Misunderstood Dolphins, and Islam Is Not a Religion of Peace
Excerpt: The reason terrorist attacks are reported on with the same style of coverage reserved for shark attacks is because the left sees both sharks and Muslims as just dumb animals who do what they do, unexpectedly, in gruesome fashion, without any blame assigned for their actions.

The Rest of the World and Obama
Excerpt: One of the primary narratives of the Democrats and the media during the entire tenure of the George W. Bush's term was that the United States was held in historically low regard throughout the rest of the world. This became, after "Bush lied," the second-most frequently repeated talking point. Whether there was any basis for this claim was immaterial; it was a handy cudgel for defeating and humiliating the president. For the past twenty-five-plus years, I have been involved in the international marketplace, having dealt in countries as varied as the United Kingdom, China, and Ghana. Never in that period of time, from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama, have I found it more difficult to defend the polices of the United States and listen to more overt criticism of any sitting president than I do today.

Irish Muslim Group Calls For Introduction of Sharia Law in Ireland
No Guinness, no Irish Whisky, no pork bangers. ~Bob. Excerpt: An Irish Islamic website which argues for the introduction of Sharia law in Ireland had nearly 270,000 hits last month alone. The site is targeted at what it calls Irish "O'Muslims", the Muslim Public Affairs Council website,, according to the Sunday Tribune An editorial post says introducing Sharia is a patriotic duty. "And who could doubt that establishing the authority of Allah in the land is in the best interests of Ireland?" it asks.

Watchdog Group Wants House Ethics Opinion On Sanchez Staff-sharing
Excerpt: A watchdog group is calling on Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) — the new ranking member on the ethics panel — to produce a private Ethics Committee opinion about her decision to share staff with her sister. Sanchez and her sister, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), were the subject of Ethics Committee scrutiny in 2009 for potentially violating House rules for improperly sharing staff. Linda Sanchez put three of her sister’s legislative aides on her payroll after an embezzlement scheme left Loretta Sanchez’s office short of funds.

F.B.I. Warrants Into Service Attacks by WikiLeaks Supporters
Excerpt: The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had executed more than 40 search warrants in the United States on Thursday as part of an investigation into an international group of computer hackers who attacked corporate Web sites last year in a show of support for WikiLeaks. The F.B.I. investigation is part of a larger international inquiry into a loose confederation of hackers calling itself “Anonymous” that coordinated the cyberattacks against the Web sites of companies like PayPal, Visa and MasterCard late last year after they severed ties with WikiLeaks. Law enforcement agencies in France, Germany and the Netherlands have also sought to find members of the group. On Thursday, the authorities in Britain also executed several search warrants and arrested five people, whose ages were said to range from 15 to 26, accusing them of playing a role in the attacks.

Comment on “I’m Tired”
Believe it or not, I actually agree with most of your post. I will correct you only on the point about Muslims. FGM is not in the Quran and is a tribal practice originating in Africa. Most Muslim women outside of the African continent do NOT undergo this barbaric practice. As it stands, Sharia Law and the Quran are being interpreted in the way that suits the interpreter. Please keep that in mind. I am a Canadian Muslim and I NEVER want to see Sharia law in North America. If I wanted to live by Sharia, I would move to Saudi Arabia. You know what I am tired of (at the ripe old age of 36?) I am tired of being lumped with all the other crazies when I came to Canada legally, I work, I pay my taxes, I call the police and report a crime and I support my troops. I am sick of being a target for all the redneck racists who have no idea what they are talking about and a target for all the crazy fanatics who want to kill me because I hate the Taliban and their ilk. Is it too much to ask to just be taken for who I am? Is it too much to ask to not be stereotyped because I don't wear a scarf or I do? I loved your post because I agree with almost every single word of it. Literally. (We need more Muslims like this to speak publicly and defend their faith against the murderers who defame it by their actions. ~Bob.)

John Wheeler Died From 'Blunt Force Trauma,' Officials Say
Excerpt: John Wheeler III, a defense consultant and former Pentagon official who was seen stumbling around Wilmington, Del., and acting strangely days before his body was found in a landfill, was beaten to death, the state medical examiner's office says. Wheeler "died as a result of blunt force trauma after being assaulted," the Delaware medical examiner's office announced Friday. Police said the case remains under investigation. Wheeler, 66, worked for three U.S. presidents and was an expert on chemical and biological weapons. His body was found in a load of garbage picked up in Newark that was dumped at a Wilmington landfill on New Year's Eve, and his death quickly was ruled a homicide. Authorities, however, refrained from releasing a cause of death until this week's announcement, saying they were awaiting the results of toxicology reports.

The Incredible True Story of the Collar Bomb Heist
To take your mind off current events, here’s a weird story. ~Bob. When you read this---keep playing these two sentences back to yourself: “The team of federal agents investigating the collar bomb mystery hadn’t been paying much attention to the Roden murder. It was a local matter and seemed to have nothing to do with their case.” Think of the proximity of events and think to yourself—Gee---that is odd---this event occurred here and this event occurred there. What are the chances? --TC.

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.