Sunday, February 27, 2011

Political Digest for February 28, 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.

Book Recommendation: Caliphate by Tom Kratman
I took this scary little Science Fiction novel with me this weekend, visiting relatives, and stayed up very late Sunday morning finishing it at about 4:00 am. If you like SF adventure and are worried about the future of our world, check this one out. Kratman is a fine writer, and it was more gripping as it went on. Set 100 years in the future, when America has become of necessity a military empire facing the Muslim Caliphate of Europe, it lifts from today’s headlines to create a scary but plausible future. He uses current quotes like the one below as a basis for events in the book.

Excerpt: “Slavery is a part of Islam,” says Sheik Saleh Al-Fawzan, according to the independent Saudi Information Agency, or SIA. In a lecture recorded on tape by SIA, the sheik said, “Slavery is part of jihad, and jihad will remain as long there is Islam.” His religious books are used to teach 5 million Saudi students, both within the country and abroad, including the United States. Al Fawzan – a member of the Senior Council of Clerics, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body – says Muslims who contend Islam is against slavery “are ignorant, not scholars.” “They are merely writers,” he said, according to SIA. “Whoever says such things is an infidel.”

Emanuel transition team member resigns
Ho hum, another day, another Chicago political scandal. Who cares? ~Bob. Excerpt: A top member of Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel's transition team abruptly resigned after the Tribune inquired about recent findings that she violated state ethics rules by using taxpayer resources for political purposes while serving as executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Judy Erwin, a former state lawmaker who also co-chaired Emanuel's mayoral campaign, stepped down from her high-level state job last summer, was fined and promised to never seek a state job after conceding that she conducted political business on state time, according to a newly filed ethics report. Erwin admitted using her office e-mail and phone while working on a campaign committee for then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, using staff resources to plan her trip to the 2008 Democratic National Convention and engaging in campaign fundraising activity while on the job, the state's Executive Ethics Commission ruled in a decision filed Feb. 16.

Excerpt: While it’s certainly the case that a University may host an event paneled by individuals that the University leadership does not agree with or even may find reprehensible, it starts to look more like endorsement when they get into the habit of tossing law abiding citizens for asking questions of the University guest that may be uncomfortable.

Multiculturalism explained
Funny guy.

Oh, To Be a Teacher in Wisconsin
Excerpt: The showdown in Wisconsin over fringe benefits for public employees boils down to one number: 74.2. That's how many cents the public pays Milwaukee public-school teachers and other employees for retirement and health benefits for every dollar they receive in salary. The corresponding rate for employees of private firms is 24.3 cents. Gov. Scott Walker's proposal would bring public-employee benefits closer in line with those of workers in the private sector. And to prevent benefits from reaching sky-high levels in the future, he wants to restrict collective-bargaining rights. The average Milwaukee public-school teacher salary is $56,500, but with benefits the total package is $100,005, according to the manager of financial planning for Milwaukee public schools. When I showed these figures to a friend, she asked me a simple question: "How can fringe benefits be nearly as much as salary?" The answers can be found by unpacking the numbers in the district's budget for this fiscal year:

Utah Senator Robles holds simultaneous Utah and Mexican Government Offices
Excerpt: Often referred to as a "political newcomer", Utah Democratic Senator Luz Robles (UT-1) is described by legislative intern Drew Martinez as "an immigrant from Mexico" who "came here in 1996 to attend the University of Utah, where she earned a bachelor's degree in business marketing and a master's in public administration..." Martinez's January 15, 2009 blog post continues to detail an impressive list of local affiliations and boards served on by Senator Robles. The blog also concludes "[S]he [Robles] really is an exceptional public servant. She's not your typical Utah legislator. She's first off a woman. Also she is a minority in both race and political party..." Mr. Martinez leaves out some other facts that by all accounts, were also unknown by voters during the election that pushed Senator Robles in the political arena. Indeed, Senator Robles is not a political newcomer at all. In fact the Senator is a seasoned veteran, having previously held elected as well as appointed offices, in the Mexican government.
Jihad by lawyer. ~Bob. Excerpt: When a Tustin, Cal. man was indicted on immigration charges and accused of lying about his contact with a relative who worked for Osama bin Laden, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) blasted the case for its reliance on an informant it considered unreliable. In interviews with Southern California Public Radio in February 2009, CAIR-Los Angeles Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said the FBI has been "hiring shady characters," and "a convicted felon, a con artist" who should not be believed. Now, that same convicted felon is the foundation for a class-action lawsuit CAIR filed with the ACLU this week against the FBI. The Bureau, it alleges, sent informant Craig Monteilh into southern California mosques to conduct surveillance on people simply because they are Muslims.

Hendon abruptly quits state Senate
Another day, another Chicago Democrat political scandal—or maybe he quit to “spend more time with his family”! ~Bob. Excerpt: State Sen. Rickey Hendon, a flamboyant former West Side alderman known for his nickname "Hollywood" and his controversial mouth, abruptly quit Thursday. "I'm out," Hendon, 57, told the Tribune. "Out is out." The surprise announcement by the veteran lawmaker comes months after revelations that a federal grand jury issued subpoenas for records on dozens of state grants, some of which he sponsored. On Thursday, Hendon repeatedly said he was hanging up as a reporter tried to ask whether his decision to resign was related to the federal subpoenas.

How Chris Christie Did His Homework
Excerpt: Like a stand-up comedian working out-of-the-way clubs, Chris Christie travels the townships and boroughs of New Jersey­, places like Hackettstown and Raritan and Scotch Plains, sharpening his riffs about the state’s public employees, whom he largely blames for plunging New Jersey into a fiscal death spiral. In one well-worn routine, for instance, the governor reminds his audiences that, until he passed a recent law that changed the system, most teachers in the state didn’t pay a dime for their health care coverage, the cost of which was borne by taxpayers. And so, Christie goes on, forced to cut more than $1 billion in local aid in order to balance the budget, he asked the teachers not only to accept a pay freeze for a year but also to begin contributing 1.5 percent of their salaries toward health care. The dominant teachers’ union in the state responded by spending millions of dollars in television and radio ads to attack him. “The argument you heard most vociferously from the teachers’ union,” Christie says, “was that this was the greatest assault on public education in the history of New Jersey.” Here the fleshy governor lumbers a few steps toward the audience and lowers his voice for effect. “Now, do you really think that your child is now stressed out and unable to learn because they know that their poor teacher has to pay 1½ percent of their salary for their health care benefits? Have any of your children come home — any of them — and said, ‘Mom.’ ” Pause. “ ‘Dad.’ ” Another pause. “ ‘Please. Stop the madness.’ ”

New Jersey's Governor Speaks Loudly and Carries a Big Stick
Excerpt: Happy to wield a veto pen, seemingly eager to lambast anyone and anything that stands in his way and apt to use sarcasm to make his points, [Governor Chris] Christie is a phenomenon — and not just in New Jersey. He’s become a talk show regular, a star on YouTube and Twitter, a headliner at campaign events for conservative candidates, the favorite of some Republicans looking to the 2012 presidential race. All on the basis of his first year in office — a year defined by the fights he’d picked. He’s sparred with the federal government, the Legislature, the public workers’ unions, the state Supreme Court, and the authorities and commissions that oversee components of daily life like sewer fees and bridge tolls. No one seems off limits, including citizens who dare question him in his series of town hall meetings or those who question his policies on Twitter. What most call fighting, he calls having a conversation — Jersey style. Which is to say, brash, loud and direct.

Maryland Republican official in trouble for naming family cow Oprah
Excerpt: Liberals have so damn many rules that it’s tough to keep track of them all, especially at the pace with which they make up new ones. Who knew you couldn’t name a cow after big, beefy woman? (I don’t watch Opera, but tend to think she’s a great American success story, even if I disagree with her politics. But we are past the time when folks could laugh off such things—humor has given way to looking for things to be offended by to play “gotchya.” Have to report that when I was a state senator, I dated two sisters—at separate times—their dad, a retired Army Major with a great WWII & Korea combat record, named one of the beef cows on their farm “Dirty Bob” in my honor. Really. ~Bob.)

Plant closure bursts Ga.’s biomass bubble
Excerpt: The premise, and the promise, were brilliant in their simplicity: Turn tree waste into fuel, help break the Middle Eastern choke hold on America’s economy and bring hundreds of jobs to rural Georgia. What wasn't there to like? Plenty, starting with the closing last month of the Range Fuels cellulosic ethanol factory that promised to help make Georgia a national leader in alternative energy production. Then there’s the money — more than $162 million in local, state and federal grants, loans and other subsidies committed to the venture. Much of that has been spent; recovery would be difficult. Officials at Colorado-based Range Fuels, who didn’t return calls for this story, have said they plan to eventually re-open the Soperton plant. But critics — ranging from budget hawks to renewable energy experts to dispirited locals — say the shutdown is a case of good money thrown at unproven science and lofty promises. (Another “alternative energy” plant goes bust, this time having taken taxpayers for almost $160M. A few weeks ago, it was the bio-mass plant at Devon, MA (those pikers could only get us for $58M. Shows how much smarter we are in MA!). Without heavy subsidies, almost none of these alternative energy producers could remain open for business. That’s why they’re alternative, instead of primary sources like oil and coal. Ron P.)

The Week That Was: 2011-02-26 (February 26, 2011)
Excerpt: Early last Saturday morning, the US House of Representatives passed a budget resolution that threatens the environmental industry - the resolution eliminated the $13 Million proposed by the Obama administration to go to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Immediately, the environmental industry and other alarmists decried this action. Roy Spencer, who was with the IPCC at the beginning, praised the action and states that the climate change deniers have no one to blame but themselves - that is, the deniers who think that climate change began with their birth and deny natural climate change. Spencer also states the IPCC is not a scientific organization and was formed to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. Claims of human-cause global warming are only a means to that goal. Consequently, the physical evidence that contradicts the central claim that carbon dioxide controls the climate is ignored.

Sacramento: Union goons swarm - attack. 1 Tea Partier injured, 1 Teamster arrested
The new civility. Probably driven to violence listening to Palin and Beck. ~Bob. Excerpt: Is anybody really surprised that a group of Teamsters swarmed across a Sacramento street to physically attack our people during a Move On sponsored anti-Taxpayer rally Saturday (February 26, 2011) at the California State Capitol? This was the second such protest within days at the same location. Earlier in the week (Tuesday) the Service Employees International Union (which in California represents largely illegal aliens and is a chief advocate for amnesty) held a similar event. I had caused a stir around that one by suggesting that normal people show up dressed as union workers and say outrageously greedy things to the media. The punch line to my suggestion was that I used as my template an SEIU sponsored campaign called “Crash the Tea Party”[1] and created to harass Tea Party Express rallies across the country.  As it turns out (and as I knew would be the case) my suggested slogans were pale, limp-wristed tries at outrageous compared to the actual screeching from the event’s podium – and even more radical bile from the fringe element that focused on being verbally aggressive to our much smaller (and more civil) vigil across the street.

New Helmet Blocks Rifle Shots
The Army and Marine Corps may soon field a lighter combat helmet with nearly double the bullet and blast protection of the current Advanced Combat Helmet. Army officials said that recent tests of the so-called "Enhanced Combat Helmet" showed the helmets were so strong that engineers didn't have equipment powerful enough to penetrate them with simulated IED fragments. (Even being a materials engineer of sorts, I am totally amazed at this level of protection from a helmet. Even at $600 each, they are worth every penny. We do have the best research and engineering in the world still in many areas. (If we only had leadership anywhere near as good......) --Del)

Herman Cain: A Long Shot in 2012, but That's Not Stopping Him
Excerpt: When Herman Cain walks into a tea party event, he is greeted like a rock star. "It's him, it's him," spreads across the meeting room. And so it was here on Thursday. When people approached him, they acted like they knew him. They mentioned his Atlanta radio show. They asked about his book, "They Think You're Stupid." They told him they are curious about his possible 2012 presidential run. (Politics Daily tends to lean left, and the Woman Up column even more so. Thus, my surprise at this positive look at Herman Cain. I’d rather see Allen West run, but from what little I know of Cain, I could support him. It’d be nice to have a candidate who actually knew how to show a profit. Ron P.)

Unions And The Right To Work
Excerpt: If unions were formed to protect workers from employer abuse, right-to-work laws were created to protect taxpayers and workers from union abuse. States with such laws enjoy higher growth and purchasing power. With Wisconsin still under siege by the "angry mobs" of bused-in union workers, the Ohio of GOP Gov. John Kasich is the next target of those opposed to restricting the collective bargaining rights of public-sector unions that have bankrupted state after state. Ohio's SB5 also aims to address a similar Buckeye budget deficit in the billions and the anchor of state-funded union pension obligations. Bills in the Indiana House by Republicans who gained a majority in November would go both Wisconsin and Ohio one better by making Indiana a right-to-work state, removing the requirement that workers pay union dues. Those who have assembled the mobs of Madison are motivated more by the Wisconsin legislation's impact on coerced union dues than they are by "worker rights."

Well-Meaning or Not, Obama Threatens America
Excerpt: Imagine, if you will, a socialist/Marxist president whose party controlled both houses of Congress and who was determined to actually harm America diplomatically, domestically, economically, and in every other way. Apart from building a domestic KGB-like intelligence apparatus and paramilitary force, how would such a president and his actions differ from Mr. Obama and his own? Each of the few examples I’ve provided are, by themselves, cause for alarm in a people dedicated to liberty and prosperity. Taken together, they suggest that far more than poor policy, incompetence, stubbornness, or stupidity are at work.

Southern Poverty Law Fraud Center
Nice little place, but nothing compared to what a rich Republican like me has. Our condo has two bedrooms, two FULL baths, an IN-UNIT laundry ands a one car GARAGE. Eat your liberal hearts out. ~Bob. Excerpt: Excerpt: Photo of the multi-million dollar mansion of Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center -- how's that exploiting going for ya, Moe? Check out these 60 photos of his multi-million dollar complex (sheesh).

The Regime Kidnaps Mousavi and Karroubi
Excerpt: Yes it is true, not exactly as any one source has been reporting, but the two top leaders of the Green Movement, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, were kidnapped on Thursday night — when the streets of Tehran were full of armed men. It was a typical Mafia-style snatch. The two men — already under house arrest — were beaten and bloodied, and then were led out of their homes in blindfolds and handcuffs, stuffed in the trunks of their captors from the Revolutionary Guards and, along with their wives, taken to a location in Tehran, then, on Friday, to another in Parchin, and finally to a third location, a heavily protected private residence. So far only a few voices, most notably that of Ayatollah Dastgheib (sorry for the link in Persian, but I can’t find a translation online yet), have been raised to denounce the action and call for the release of the hostages. Needless to say, no Western leader has done anything yet, and nobody should expect any tough talk from Western capitals. After all, Mousavi and Karroubi were never contacted by any Western leader after the electoral hoax of June, 2009, although at least some of those Westerners sent intermediaries to negotiate with representatives of the Iranian regime. Terror works, you see. (Various versions of, “For Evil to succeed, it is only necessary for good men to do nothing” are attributed to Edmund Burke. Nothing is exactly what we in the West have been doing about the Greens in Iran. Ron P.)

VIDEO: Breast Milk Ice Cream A Hit At London Store
Excerpt: Anyone pining for some ice cream in London now has an unusual option to consider: ice cream made from mothers' breast milk. The Icecreamists shop has made headlines for using milk from as many as 15 women to make its new "Baby Gaga" flavor. The rare offering proved a hit with customers at the Covent Garden store — the first batch sold out within days of being introduced. A serving of Baby Gaga, which is reportedly flavored with vanilla and lemon zest, goes for 14 pounds — or about $22.50.

Who is Anonymous? A Look at the Hacktivists Aiding Revolution in the Middle East
Excerpt: Amidst the revolutionary turmoil of the Middle East, the shadowy online hacker group known as “Anonymous” has spread its influence. Government websites in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Algeria, and Iran – as well as Zimbabwe and Italy — have been attacked and at times shutdown by the hacker group which claims it fights in its own way for freedom. Leading the way in this new age of digital warfare, Anonymous has described its members as vigilante defenders of free speech and opponents of censorship. Their primary method of attack is distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), which rapidly overloads websites with simultaneous requests, freezing or crashing computer servers. So who exactly are these hacktivists?

Poll of Americans: 77% concerned radical Islamic terrorists may try to exploit unrest to further their violent aims
Reality begins to take hold. ~Bob. Excerpt: Americans now fear that the political unrest roiling Arab nations like Egypt and Libya may get America into another big war. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 58% of American Adults think the unrest in the Arab world will lead to a major new war involving the United States, with 26% who say it is Very Likely. Thirty-one percent (31%) see that outcome as unlikely, but that includes just four percent (4%) who say it is Not At All Likely. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Americans are concerned that radical Islamic terrorists may try to exploit the unrest in these countries to further their violent aims. Eighteen percent (18%) don’t share that concern. These findings include 53% who are Very Concerned and only four percent (4%) who are Not At All Concerned.

Wisconsin Capitol protesters disrespect the Veterans Memorial
One side doesn’t care, other side stretching the point. ~Bob.

For Egypt's Coptic Christians--already persecuted during Mubarak's rule--situation may be getting even worse
Excerpt: In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is a long way from officially running things, but the hero’s welcome given to Qaradawi a week ago couldn’t help but disconcert all of us who are old enough to remember quite vividly a similarly triumphal return made by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to Iran 32 years ago. Sure enough, radical Islamism —which involves, by definition, the persecution of Christians and Jews — is already rearing its ugly head in Egypt.

Islamists Suspected in Abduction of Christian Girl in Sudan
Excerpt: A Christian widow in north Sudan is agonizing over the kidnapping of her daughter eight months ago by suspected Islamic extremists in Khartoum. “Since my daughter was kidnapped, I have been living in a state of fear and terror,” said Ikhlas Anglo, 35, a mother of two daughters. She said her 15-year-old daughter, Hiba Abdelfadil Anglo, went missing while returning from the Ministry of Education in Khartoum on June 27, 2010. Hiba, a member of Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church in Khartoum, had gone to the education ministry office to obtain her transcripts for entry to secondary school.

Small Nuclear War Could Reverse Global Warming for Years
Excerpt: During the Cold War a nuclear exchange between superpowers—such as the one feared for years between the United States and the former Soviet Union—was predicted to cause a "nuclear winter." In that scenario hundreds of nuclear explosions spark huge fires, whose smoke, dust, and ash blot out the sun for weeks amid a backdrop of dangerous radiation levels. Much of humanity eventually dies of starvation and disease. (...) But nuclear war remains a very real threat—for instance, between developing-world nuclear powers, such as India and Pakistan. To see what climate effects such a regional nuclear conflict might have, scientists from NASA and other institutions modeled a war involving a hundred Hiroshima-level bombs, each packing the equivalent of 15,000 tons of TNT—just 0.03 percent of the world's current nuclear arsenal. (See a National Geographic magazine feature on weapons of mass destruction.) The researchers predicted the resulting fires would kick up roughly five million metric tons of black carbon into the upper part of the troposphere, the lowest layer of the Earth's atmosphere. In NASA climate models, this carbon then absorbed solar heat and, like a hot-air balloon, quickly lofted even higher, where the soot would take much longer to clear from the sky. The global cooling caused by these high carbon clouds wouldn't be as catastrophic as a superpower-versus-superpower nuclear winter, but "the effects would still be regarded as leading to unprecedented climate change," research physical scientist Luke Oman said during a press briefing Friday at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. (...) After ten years, average global temperatures would still be 0.9 degree F (0.5 degree C) lower than before the nuclear war, the models predict. (This is the first time I’ve ever been personally worried by a CAGW headline. There are enough true believers out there that some group of them may take this seriously enough to arrange to make it so. According to the text, just one small war could wipe out half of the warming from the past 100+ years. This is a damned shame; National Geographic was a fine publication back in the 50s and 60s. This madness is paid for by our tax dollars, too. I haven’t bought a copy of NG for years because of their blatant activism. Perhaps it’s time to stop watching their TV shows and shut off their federal money, too. I need a beer to cry in. Ron P. I’d buy you a beer, Ron, but I know it causes flatulence in you, thus adding to Global warming. ~Bob.)

“The Plan”—Agenda 21 and the Death Knell of Liberty
Excerpt: The death knell for freedom has been tolling for some time, and only now are people starting to hear it. It started tolling faintly, decades back, and has slowly progressed in volume, until today its tolling is impossible to ignore. The United States of America—that “shining city on a hill”—had a good run of it, and made a gallant effort at establishing liberty for all. But as the old saw would have it, all good things must come to an end. Liberty, after all, is an aberration in mankind’s history—a light that has flared here and there over the centuries, only to dissolve back into the darkness. America is barreling toward becoming a bit player on the world’s stage, and its vaunted middle class—once the envy of the world—is on the verge of being eliminated. For the good of the planet, for the good of Gaia. For the good of the collective—freedom is being replaced by servitude, capitalism by socialism, and property rights by “sustainable development.”  

Rally calling for Sharia law in U.S. must go forward
Excerpt: A U.S. Muslim group is planning a demonstration featuring controversial British imams who are advocating for the implementation of Sharia law in the United States. Rather than simply banning or protesting the event, it should not only be permitted, but become a prime-time television broadcast. “The event is a rally, a call for the Sharia, a call for the Muslims to rise up and establish the Islamic state in America,” said Imam Anjem Choudary, one of the proposed speakers. The Islamic Thinker’s Society has scheduled the event for March 3 and organizers claim it will be held in front of the White House. If the event does take place, American citizens will have the opportunity to see something that the media has largely kept hidden – that there is a segment of the American population that wants to subjugate our society under Islamic law. That is not to say that all American Muslims prefer Sharia by default – the group has to import speakers from Britain. The event itself may be appalling, but it provides Americans the perfect opportunity to learn the facts about Sharia and begin a national discussion as to whether Sharia is permissible in our society. If Americans can hear for themselves the words of those calling for an Islamic state in our country, rather than the secondhand soft-soaping we are likely to get from the New York Times or MSNBC, that will have a far greater impact. (Of course, if the government has any shred of sense and even a hint of cojones left, the crazy UK speakers will not be allowed into this country. But hey.... stranger things have happened. It will be very interesting if they are allowed in and hold this rally. --Del)
Must Read: What's The Difference Between A Wisconsin Public Employee And A Somali Pirate?
Must read for fans of sarcasm, anyway. Fellow seems a bit perturbed. ~Bob. Excerpt: I’m 64-years-old. I’ve worked full-time for almost 40 years. I’ve diligently paid my taxes, – with the knowledge that most of it goes down the rathole of public spending. I obey the laws, even those I consider idiotic. My principal assets are a heavily-mortgaged house and a car manufactured about the time Paris Hilton lost her virginity. The car and my furnace should be living in a retirement community in Florida. Savings? I was too busy raising four children, and helping to raise two grandchildren, to plan for my retirement. Fact is, I’ll never be able to retire. You can imagine, then, my sympathy for the Jacobin mob in Madison, Wisconsin. When public-employee spokesmen begin whining about “fairness for working families,” I wonder: What’s my family supposed to be? If I put in a 50-hour week, I think I’m on vacation. Guess you have to have a union card to be part of a working family. (I certainly admire the way this man can use language and also has done his homework on the numbers. The Wisconsin teachers and state employees have among the better deals of all such unions in the country. No wonder the rest of the people voted this governor in, when he promised to get serious about cutting costs. BTW, in Connecticut, my old home state, the new Democrat governor considers all the state's financial problems to be a matter of income shortfall, not overspending. So he is pushing all kinds of new taxes... like on haircuts, dog grooming, and other services that nobody ever thought of taxing before. I keep wondering when the people up there will revolt. --Del)

On Teachers and Others
Excerpt: So far the angry teachers of Wisconsin have not yet won over the public. They have not convinced the majority that, in an age of staggering budget deficits, they — or, indeed, public employees in general — must as a veritable birthright enjoy salary, benefits, and pensions on average far more generous than those of their private-sector counterparts, who make up the majority of taxpayers. Teachers are right that the crisis transcends compensation. Yet why, others might ask, would teachers’ unions oppose merit pay? Why should someone who did not join the union still have to pay its dues? Why should the state have to collect the dues from employee paychecks on behalf of the union? Moreover, when these questions are posed amid a landscape of teachers skipping classes to protest, urging students to join them, and soliciting fraudulent doctors’ notes to cover their cancellations of classes — while their supporters in the legislature hide out to prevent a quorum and thereby subvert the democratic process reaffirmed last November — the public becomes further estranged from their cause.

Implementing the US Neutrality Act to Prevent Support for Hamas
Excerpt: Some organizations, such as the US based Free Gaza Movement, are actively working to generate support for additional flotillas to Gaza. Several new ones are being planned for this Spring. Non Governmental Organizations in the US for example are engaged in gathering people to take part in breaching the Israeli blockade of Gaza, sometimes even in a violent manner, and soliciting funding for these ventures from financial backers. The stated goal of the Free Gaza Movement, even goes so far as to call for hostile action against Israel as a means of breaching the blockade (stating for example that the Israeli authorities around Gaza be completely ignored).

Having a tough day? Are you as up for a challenge as these guys?

Abbas: $460 million in US aid "does not mean they dictate to us whatever they want"
Excerpt: Palestinian Authority leaders and its official media have attacked the US with a barrage of anti-American statements. This follows the US veto of a UN Security Council resolution last week on the issue of Israeli building in Jerusalem and the West Bank. These verbal attacks come in spite of the continued substantial financial aid the PA receives from the US. A few weeks before the UN vote, Mahmoud Abbas already announced that US financial support of the Palestinian Authority will not allow the US "to dictate to us whatever they want." Abbas cited two examples of requests by the Obama administration that he personally had rejected:

John Coleman on the state of global warming
Coleman is that seldom-seen, rare creature, the honest TV journalist. As a meteorologist, he also has significant knowledge in his field of expertise. He’s been involved with trying to keep the science honest about what is—and isn’t—known about global warming for years. He has made many short video presentations, the latest of which is linked at this site. Ron P. Excerpt: There is a story I heard that I keep thinking about. It really underlines the problem I have in trying to counter the bad science behind the global warming scare predictions. So here is the story: “A group of over 200 environmentalists were in an auditorium listening to a symposium about climate change, i.e. global warming or climate disruption. One of the speakers asked, “If I could instantly produce a genie with a magic wand to stand here before you today. And if, that genie could wave his magic wand and wall-la….carbon dioxide would no longer be a greenhouse gas that produced uncontrollable global warming….How many in this room would be happy, satisfied and pleased?” Two people out of two hundred hesitatingly raised their hands. Of the others, some smirked, some laughed and some yelled out, “No, no. Hell no.” I cannot testify that this event actually occurred. But, I heard it as though it was a truthful report. In any case it haunts me because it demonstrates what I perceive to be something akin to the actual state of affairs in our efforts to quiet the Algorian scare predictions about the consequences of global warming. There are large segments of the population that believe the global warming pronouncements. They have heard them over and over again from people they trust and respect, in school, on television, in the news and in their communities. They have become “believers”, not unlike those who believe in a set of religious beliefs.

The Effects of Union Membership on Democratic Voting
Excerpt: How important are labor unions to the Democratic Party? The question isn’t easy to answer. Perhaps the biggest way that unions help the Democrats is by donating to them: unions are among the top contributors to Democratic campaigns and left-of-center causes, having given tens of millions of dollars to them in 2010. But, although campaign contributions undoubtedly have a fairly profound effect on elections and voting in the Congress, the literature studying this question is somewhat out of date and has to contend with numerous tricky methodological issues. One thing that’s a little easier to examine is the effect that being a member of a labor union, or being in a union household, has on someone’s likelihood of voting Democratic. In 2008, for instance, 59 percent of people in union households voted for Barack Obama, as compared to 51 percent of people in non-union households—

How About Adding a North Korea Crisis to the Mix?
Excerpt: Now is the time actually to pay attention and to anticipate further unrest in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea). The rulers of the DPRK are malign; they are not stupid and seem more adept at seeing out than we are at seeing in. Their slaves don’t know much about the world beyond the borders, but the rulers do. As the situation in the DPRK continues to descend into anarchy, its temporary avoidance will likely require dramatically increased military excitement. While the Obama administration’s fleeting attention to Asia is further diminished by developments elsewhere, it may become too late. Even the glorious mess in Wisconsin might have to get along without further help from the Obama administration. While continuing to enhance its already firm relationship with Iran, the DPRK continues to experience increasing difficulties, most self-inflicted. Widespread starvation was and remains bad but now there is also rampant hoof and mouth disease, which will lead to even more starvation. It began in Pyongyang, and “a guard post between Pyongyang and Pyongsong is preventing vehicles from entering the capital. … Pyongyang was the first location where the disease broke out”…. Animal hoof and mouth disease is different from human foot and mouth disease and the diseases are not transmissible from animals to humans or vice versa. However, the responsible viruses may mutate and, in any event, humans can carry highly contagious animal hoof and mouth disease to other animals. For that reason and others, it is necessary to dispose of the animal carcasses in ways likely to minimize spread of the contagion; distributing the meat and other body parts for sale, consumption, and other purposes throughout the country will only accelerate the spread of the disease. (The world never sleeps. While most eyes are on the Middle East, the North Koreans have gotten themselves into a major agricultural catastrophe. The only way I’ve ever heard of to contain H & M is to kill and burn the entire herds it is found in. “If there ISN’T any hoof and mouth disease, there WON’T be any” is how I heard it. In a country that’s already starving…. Ron P.)

Egyptian Armed Forces Fire At Christian Monasteries, 19 Injured
Didn’t get the memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: For the second time in as many days, Egyptian armed force stormed the 5th century old St. Bishoy monastery in Wadi el-Natroun, 110 kilometers from Cairo. Live ammunition was fired, wounding two monks and six Coptic monastery workers. Several sources confirmed the army's use of RPG ammunition. Four people have been arrested including three monks and a Coptic lawyer who was at the monastery investigating yesterday's army attack. Monk Aksios Ava Bishoy told activist Nader Shoukry of Freecopts the armed forces stormed the main entrance gate to the monastery in the morning using five tanks, armored vehicles and a bulldozer to demolish the fence built by the monastery last month to protect themselves and the monastery from the lawlessness which prevailed in Egypt during the January 25 Uprising.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Political Digest for February 26, 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.

Probably No Post Tomorrow
I will be tied up with family matters on Saturday, so will not be able to put the Digest together for Sunday. Therefore, you get a day off for rest, contemplation, and prayer. ~Bob.

Gunfire, new clashes in Tripoli as government offers money, pay hikes
Excerpt: Gunfire erupted in at least three neighborhoods of the Libyan capital of Tripoli Friday, as opponents of Moammar Gaddafi tried to revive their protests against his regime in spite of a massive security clampdown. Hours earlier, Libyan state television announced that the government would distribute $400 to each family in a bid to head off fresh demonstrations called for by regime opponents after Friday's midday prayers. It was the first time the regime--which also pledged pay hikes for state employees of up to 150 percent-- has attempted to offer incentives to Libyans to remain loyal. Gunfire was reported shortly after prayers finished, suggesting that some protesters were attempting to take to the streets, said a caller from Tripoli who requested anonymity because he feared for his life.

President Obama orders unilateral sanctions on Libya
Sanctions having proven their effectiveness against Iraq and Iran…. ~Bob. Excerpt: Saying that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has no legitimacy with his people, the White House on Friday said that President Obama is finalizing unilateral sanctions against Libya. White House press secretary Jay Carney would not specify what the sanctions would include or when they might be implemented, but he warned that they are only a "first step" if more action is required. Carney said the sanctions would be announced with more specificity in the "near future."

Excerpt: There is no aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time since Jimmy Carter was in office! It was apparent in Carter's days as President that aircraft carrier presence was 'pulled' to allow a, 'lame,' excuse to allow the Shah of Iran to be deposed and to lend an excuse to allow American hostages to remain in the hands of their Iranian captors. Obama must be a student of, 'an Inept President,' as he too offers a somewhat lame excuse for the impossibility to provide a, 'No Fly Zone,' over Libya. The Dictator of Libya has allowed it to be made known his intent to disperse chemical weaponry upon the citizenry of Libya. In his mind, "If I must go, so must you." If it were possible to establish a 'No Fly Zone' utilizing aircraft from an off coast carrier there would be thousands of lives saved and a notification made to the world, 'America still is the power to be reckoned with.' Instead it is Obama's position that due to a lack of presence in the Mediterranean of aircraft carriers he is helpless.

Rubicon: A river in Wisconsin
Excerpt: The magnificent turmoil now gripping statehouses in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and soon others marks an epic political moment. The nation faces a fiscal crisis of historic proportions and, remarkably, our muddled, gridlocked, allegedly broken politics have yielded singular clarity. At the federal level, President Obama's budget makes clear that Democrats are determined to do nothing about the debt crisis, while House Republicans have announced that beyond their proposed cuts in discretionary spending, their April budget will actually propose real entitlement reform. Simultaneously, in Wisconsin and other states, Republican governors are taking on unsustainable, fiscally ruinous pension and health-care obligations, while Democrats are full-throated in support of the public-employee unions crying, "Hell, no." A choice, not an echo: Democrats desperately defending the status quo; Republicans charging the barricades.
Wisconsin is the epicenter. It began with economic issues. When Gov. Scott Walker proposed that state workers contribute more to their pension and health-care benefits, he started a revolution. Teachers called in sick. Schools closed. Demonstrators massed at the capitol. Democratic senators fled the state to paralyze the Legislature. Unfortunately for them, that telegenic faux-Cairo scene drew national attention to the dispute - and to the sweetheart deals the public-sector unions had negotiated for themselves for years. They were contributing a fifth of a penny on a dollar of wages to their pensions and one-fourth what private-sector workers pay for health insurance.

Should the GOP pin hopes on 2016? Some contenders wait
And, of course, the country may be then have collapsed into fiscal ruin, making the nomination like becoming captain of the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. ~Bob. Excerpt: The GOP presidential field has weakened in recent weeks as Republicans seem to conclude they’d stand a better chance of winning the White House in 2016. Several strategists and observers say the potential candidates are weighing their options and deciding it’s best to wait until the next cycle, when President Obama is ineligible to run and Vice President Biden, who will turn 74 that November, isn't expected to seek the Democratic nomination. The downside to waiting, of course, is that the 2016 Republican primary could be more competitive on account of the openness of the race.

A Dozen Ideas: What to Do about Fannie and Freddie
Is shooting the former executives, like Franklin Raines, who made millions running up our debts, off the table? ~Bob. Excerpt: Marvin Bower, the great managing partner of McKinsey & Co. in the 1950s, offered this advice: Direct every action toward building a stronger position for the long term, but take the action now. I think we can apply this advice to addressing the government-sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the huge distortions and losses they have caused. We should aim in the long term for a housing finance sector which is principally a robust private market, and one in which you can be either a private company, or you can be a government agency, but you can't be both. In other words, in the long run, there should be no GSEs. As we all know, the GSE charters meant that Fannie and Freddie were private corporations with an implicit, but absolutely real, taxpayer guaranty; they were granted many special privileges and very large economic subsidies, which privatized profits and socialized risk, and as a result, have passed giant losses to the taxpayers. The GSEs were highly politicized, exercised duopoly market power, and transferred a portion of their subsidies to politically directed housing programs, thereby escaping the democratic discipline of appropriations. They were described as "Masters of Beltway Capitalism." Fannie, in particular was genuinely feared as a hard-ball political operator. They had especially high leverage and low capital ratios, because their real capital was known by the bond market to be the credit card of the U.S. Treasury. No private entity can compete with the government-granted advantages of the GSEs, which are even greater now that they have no capital of their own left to worry about. A private company is subject to market discipline; a government agency is subject to government discipline: GSEs escape both.

Federal Compensation: Why Government Pay Is Inflated
Excerpt: How Does Federal Compensation Compare to Market Rates? The average federal employee earns 57 percent greater cash pay and 85 percent greater total compensation (which includes benefits) than the average private-sector worker.  This is an apples-to-oranges comparison because federal employees have more education and experience than private-sector workers. Controlling for observable skills and characteristics allows economists to make an apples-to-apples comparison between private-sector and federal employees. Doing so shows that the federal pay system gives the average federal employee hourly cash earnings 22 percent above the average private worker’s. Including benefits raises the average compensation disparity to between 30 and 40 percent. Federal workers receive automatic seniority-based raises irrespective of performance. President Obama’s suspension of the annual cost-of-living adjustment does not affect these raises.

States Should Use Constitutional Amendment to Rein in Federal Government
Excerpt: Americans are increasingly questioning -- and resisting -- the endless growth of the federal government. Part of this resistance finds voice in efforts to enforce state sovereignty through litigation and legislation such as the Health Care Freedom Act and the Firearms Freedom Act. Measures such as these protect existing, fundamental rights from erosion at the federal level. But the growing discontent has also reignited interest in an even more direct route for the people and the states to regain control over the federal government -- the Article V constitutional amendment process, says Robert G. Natelson, a senior fellow at the Goldwater Institute. Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, the states have the power to apply to Congress to hold a convention for the purpose of proposing constitutional amendments. This power was meant to provide a fail-safe mechanism to control the federal government. Natelson's report demonstrates that the historical record during the Founding era establishes a clear roadmap to guide the Article V amendment process. Among other discoveries, this report reveals that the Framers rejected drafts of Article V that contemplated the very kind of wide-open convention that could "run away," substituting instead a provision for a limited-scope convention, attended by state-chosen delegates, and addressed to specific subject matters. Natelson recommends that states seriously consider initiating the Article V constitutional amendment process to restrain the federal government.

Accountable Care Organizations: The End of Innovation in Medicine?
The Obama administration is pinning its hopes for controlling Medicare costs on accountable care organizations (ACOs)—a system in which groups of doctors are given responsibility for a large population of patients, with a share of the doctors’ reimbursement dependent on their ability to reduce spending and improve clinical outcomes. The Department of Health and Human Services is expected to release regulations governing the framework for ACOs by the end of February. ACOs are supposed to offer incentives for doctors to improve the coordination of care. While this idea is not inherently wrong, the Obama team relies heavily on hospitals to develop these new organizations. Yet historically, most of the significant innovation in health care delivery has developed in for-profit companies, often started by entrepreneurs, and has aimed to move patient care away from costly hospital settings and into less expensive outpatient settings. But entrepreneurs are now exiting the health care services space because the Obama plan tilts the marketplace so heavily against their endeavors. The Obama team is forced to rely on hospitals as much by default as by design, but many hospitals are unlikely to succeed at running ACOs.

Excerpt: Say you want pay students to improve their grades. It turns out that the direct approach — just giving them cash for good grades — doesn't work. But paying them for other things — doing their homework, going to class — does seem to boost achievement, at least in some cases. That's according to a series of studies that paid out $6.3 million to 38,000 students in 261 schools. Here's the paper, by Harvard's Roland Fryer. The results are contrary to a basic economic idea: You should pay for output (in this case, grades), and let workers figure out the best inputs (in this case, studying and going to class). Of course, that idea falls apart if the workers don't really know the relationship between inputs and outputs — in this case, if they don't really know on their own how to get good grades. (I guess they’ve given up on thrashings. And the recent trend of teachers having sex with students does nothing to help those of us who were ugly under-achievers in high school. ~Bob.)

Judiciary chairman: Texas terror arrest shows we've 'not learned 9/11 lessons'
Guy doesn’t get it. We have to let potential terrorists in, or they will call us Islamophobic. Would you want to be non-PC, even to save your family’s lives? Heaven forfend! ~Bob. Excerpt: The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday said that the terror accusations against a Saudi man living in Texas are evidence that the country’s immigration system has failed, and potential terrorists will continue to enter the country if serious measures aren’t taken. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) pressed the White House to strengthen U.S. immigration laws in the wake of the arrest of Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, who was allegedly plotting to make a weapon of mass destruction and targeting former President George W. Bush and others. “This was a victory for our law enforcement community, but a failure of our immigration system,” said Smith. “We have not learned the lessons of 9/11. Until we crack down on our immigration laws that allow terrorists to enter the U.S., history will continue to repeat itself.”

Cutting — and growing?
It’s also interesting to ponder what will happen to the economy and poor folk when no one will lend us more money, and the alternative is a government default or printing money to have Zimbabwe-like hyper-inflation. ~Bob. Excerpt: As both parties gird for a battle over spending cuts that could shut the government down, it is interesting to ponder just what will happen to the economy when, yes, some public-sector jobs are lost as a result of the spending cuts now under consideration and, simultaneously, the rest of the stimulus money runs out.
Allen West not ruling out VP bid: 'I'm always willing to serve my country'
Unlikely. The media would “Palin” him, but I’d be happy to vote for him. ~Bob. Excerpt: Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) is not closing the door to being considered for the vice presidential spot, despite only having served in Congress for less than three months. Speculation over West was sparked Friday when former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), who is considering a presidential bid, said that a number of Florida GOP politicians would do well as vice president, including West.

CBO: Jobs Created and Saved By Stimulus Cost At Minimum An Average of $228,055 Each
Excerpt: In a report released Wednesday—“Estimated Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Employment and Economic Output from October Through December 2010”—the CBO said it now estimates the stimulus law cost a total of $821 billion, up from CBO’s original estimate that the stimulus would cost $787 billion. In the same report, the CBO estimated that in the fourth quarter of 2010 there were somewhere between 1.3 million and 3.5 million people who were then employed who would not have been had the stimulus not been enacted. (...) This estimate seeks to state the net impact the stimulus had on the number of people employed in the United States as a result of the stimulus, taking into account not only the new jobs believed to be created and the existing jobs believed to be killed by the stimulus, but also the existing jobs that were saved that otherwise would have been lost. (...) Thus, the $821 billion cost of the stimulus divided by the maximum of 3.6 million jobs the CBO believes the stimulus may have saved or created equals an average of $228,055 per job. (But, government is surely more efficient at creating jobs than private industry...isn’t it? The first line of the article contains a link to a PDF of the CBO report.  Ron P.)

Illinois Becomes Haven for Democrats on the Run
Excerpt: Illinois, known for its wayward politicians and back-door political dealings, is in the odd position of having become the Switzerland on the Prairie as lawmakers fleeing votes in Wisconsin and Indiana take refuge in its borders. (Is this news? I didn’t realize Illinois didn’t take in wayward politicians of other parties. Ron P. of course it’s news. Democrats usual shirk their duties at home, not in other states. Trips out of state are usually “fact finding” mission at taxpayer expense, to some lovely resort location. ~Bob.)

Bashir Says He Has Been Targeted by US and Its Allies
Excerpt: Radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir lambasted the United States and its allies for their relentless attempts to convict him of terrorism when he appeared in the South Jakarta District Court on Thursday. Reading his preliminary defense statement, Bashir told the court that the US and its allies were behind his three trials in the course of eight years. “When I returned from a journey to Malaysia, the Pharaoh America accused me of being an Al Qaeda leader that should be eliminated from Indonesia,” Bashir said as he read from the 90-page statement. “The US envoy said at UIN [State Islamic University]: ‘We will make efforts so as to prevent Abu Bakar from managing his organization,” the defendant said without citing names. He claimed the US government approached then President Megawati Sukarnoputri with a request to imprison him in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp for the rest of his life. (I wouldn’t put him in Gitmo. I’d put him in the ground. ~Bob.)

Ollie North on the Middle East turmoil

Put the REINS on EPA
Excerpt: EPA’s end-run around democracy — the agency’s hijacking of climate policy via the backdoor of Clean Air Act regulations — is meeting stiff resistance on Capitol Hill. The House Energy and Commerce Committee has already held a hearing on the Energy Tax Prevention Act, which would overturn EPA’s Endangerment Rule and an assortment of related rules imposing Clean Air Act permitting requirements on power plants, refineries, and other emitters of greenhouse gases. Passing the bill — sponsored by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), and Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) — is reportedly a top priority of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) have also introduced the “Defending America’s Affordable Energy and Jobs Act.” This even stronger legislation would prohibit all agencies from “legislating’” climate policy under any existing statute, none of which was ever designed or intended for that purpose. Not so long ago cap-and-trade advocates, such as Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), warned that if Congress did not enact “comprehensive energy and climate legislation,” opponents would end up with something they’d like even less — a cascade of Clean Air Act climate regulations promulgated by EPA. Cap-and-traders clearly implied that using the Act as a framework for climate policy would be worse for business — less efficient, less predictable, and potentially more costly. They tried to scare industry, Republicans, and coal-state Democrats into supporting cap-and-trade as a lesser evil. But this just means that if EPA’s climate regulations were put to a vote, they’d have even less chance of passing in the 112th Congress than cap-and-trade did in the 111th Congress. It also means that non-elected bureaucrats are “enacting” an economically riskier version of the same agenda that Congress recently rejected. (...) EPA’s power grab is, alas, only the most egregious example of a more pervasive disorder undermining our Constitution and endangering our prosperity. Americans live under a regime of regulation without representation. In the modern regulatory state, elected officials enact broad regulatory statutes, such as the Clean Air Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, or the Telecommunications Act. However, Congress and the president then delegate to non-elected officials the tasks not only of developing and proposing but also of enacting the implementing rules. (YES!!! Hang the bean-counters FIRST! I added emphasis to the last paragraph of the excerpt. Ron P.)

Quote from The Patriot Post
"Taxes should be continued by annual or biennial reenactments, because a constant hold, by the nation, of the strings of the public purse is a salutary restraint from which an honest government ought not wish, nor a corrupt one to be permitted, to be free. ... We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. ... The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning knife." Thomas Jefferson. 9revered as the founder of the Democrat Party. ~Bob.)

Income Redistribution: Of Green Schemes and Shams
Reports have surfaced that tie the Obama administration to a massive green energy stimulus scam by a failed California solar panel manufacturer whose billionaire majority owner happened to be a major fundraiser for the 2008 Obama-Biden campaign. Solyndra Inc. left taxpayers on the hook for $390.5 million by reneging on its promise to create 3,000 construction jobs and 1,000 manufacturing jobs. Instead of creating the president's utopian green manufacturing economy, Solyndra announced Nov. 3 that it planned to postpone expansion, close a plant and lay off workers. According to Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Solyndra should never have received a stimulus-guaranteed loan of $535 million. You don't say. The Obama administration's government payback of its own campaign fundraiser's "green" enterprises -- that predictably never turn a profit -- has yet to prompt this administration to make meaningful efforts to stop fraud and waste. The government has no legitimate business trying to fund new industries and unproven startups. Sad how the Obama administration's green energy stimulus schemes continue to be financial calamities for the taxpayers. -- The Patriot Post,

SEC cracks down on fake company that claims to fight global warming
Not surprising to find that scams beget scams. ~Bob. Excerpt: Ever heard of CO2 Tech? It turns out that the London-based company, which advertised products and services to combat global warming, is a fraud. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged seven individuals associated with the company with fraud. The group included fake stock promoters, traders and a lawyer. According to an SEC report, from late 2006 through April 2007, the group raked in $7 million in illicit profits.

Hate-A-Rama: The Vulgar, Sexist, Racist, Homophobic Rage of the Left
Excerpt: Barack Obama's new era of civility was over before it began. You wouldn't know it from reading The New York Times, watching Katie Couric or listening to the Democratic manners police. But America has been overrun by foul-mouthed, fist-clenching wildebeests. Yes, the tea party movement is responsible -- for sending these liberal goons into an insane rage, that is. After enduring two years of false smears as sexist, racist, homophobic barbarians, it is grassroots conservatives and taxpayer advocates who have been ceaselessly subjected to rhetorical projectile vomit. It is Obama's rank-and-file "community organizers" on the streets fomenting the hate against their political enemies. Not the other way around. The trendy new epithet among Big Labor organizers who've been camping out at the Madison, Wis., Capitol building for more than a week to block GOP Gov. Scott Walker's budget reform bill: "Koch whore." Classy, huh? It's a reference to the reviled Koch brothers, David and Charles, who have used their energy-industry wealth to support limited-government activism. A left-wing agitator based in Buffalo who impersonated Koch in a prank phone call this week used the slur to headline his "gonzo journalism" report. (If a right-leaning activist had perpetrated such a stunt, he'd be labeled a radical, stalking fraudster. But that's par for the media's double-standards course.) The 20-minute phone call undermined the grand Koch conspiracy by exposing that Walker didn't know Koch at all. No matter. "Koch whore" is the new "Halliburton whore." The Captains of Civility are sticking to it. And the sanctimonious "No Labels" crowd is missing in action -- just like Wisconsin's Fleebagger Democrats.

All of California now linked up to immigration enforcement network
But will they have the guts to use it? ~Bob. Excerpt: The federal immigration agency has finally linked all California police agencies to reveal immigrants -- legal or not -- arrested for violating laws and subject to deportation. The action, to be announced Friday morning in Southern California, enables U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, to tag arrests and travel to all of the state's county jails to pick up immigrants accused of committing crimes. In essence, local police, willingly or not, have become an arm of the federal immigration agency.

Can Al Qaeda Survive the Revolts?
Excerpt: Dictators weren’t the only ones caught off guard by the sweep of revolts across the Middle East—so was Al Qaeda. Bruce Riedel on how the revolutions will affect the future of global jihad. As the Arab world undergoes the most profound changes it has seen in over a half century, and the first-ever democratic revolutions in its history, al Qaeda has been caught off guard like everyone else. Now it is trying to regain its footing by looking for ways to gain advantage. So the stakes in Arabia’s earthquake include not just the outcome in each country, the price of oil, and broader regional security, they also involve a battle for the future of the global jihad. (This is an interesting take on the events in the Arab world. Though I hope for the best, I think the author is much too optimistic; the degree of “democracy” in these revolutions is yet to be determined. Al Qaeda has repeatedly proven itself very flexible in dealing with changes in circumstance. Al Qaeda has learned to apply the strongest feature of free market capitalism—the ability to swiftly respond to change in the marketplace—to their concept of locally franchised war. To them, this will simply be another change to adapt to and try to turn to their advantage. Ron P.)

Stand with Scott Walker
Good ad.

Newspapers, GOP call for congressman to resign
Excerpt: A photo of Rep. David Wu wearing a tiger costume and other unusual revelations about his mental health are increasing pressure on the seven-term Oregon Democrat to step down. But the lawmaker says he's not quitting even as an editorial in one of the state's largest newspapers and the state Republican chairman called for his resignation. Wu said this week that it was "unprofessional and inappropriate" to send pictures of himself wearing a tiger costume to staff members while he was in the middle of a heated campaign last year. He also acknowledged taking two tablets of a pain killer that were given to him by an unnamed campaign donor. (Wu's on First? –Michael F.)

A first taste of the New Middle East
Excerpt: The brilliant academic president who theorized that diplomacy-by-apology was more powerful than governing-by-strength is being outmaneuvered -- and outright humiliated -- by the Arab world: Hamas, the Muslim brotherhood and Fatah.

Qaradawi and The Treason of the Intellectuals
Excerpt: Last Friday (2/18/11) marked the triumphal return to Cairo of Muslim Brotherhood "Spiritual Guide" Yusuf al-Qaradawi. After years of exile, his public re-emergence in Egypt was sanctioned by the nation's provisional military rulers. Qaradawi's own words were accompanied by images and actions during his appearance which should have shattered the delusive view that the turmoil leading to President Mubarak's resignation augured the emergence of a modern, democratic Egyptian society devoted to Western conceptions of individual liberty and equality before the law. Egyptian cleric Safwat Higazi can be seen prominently behind al-Qaradawi for the duration of the latter's speech. Recently Higazi, during his Arabic-language program "Age of Glory," broadcast on the Egyptian al-Nas satellite television network, issued an unabashed call for aggressive violent, jihad. He quoted a hadith from ‘Ali, the son-in-law of the Muslim prophet Muhammad and Islam's fourth "Rightly Guided" caliph, in which ‘Ali tells his sons: "Go, fight, and please your grandfather [i.e. Muhammad]. Let him be pleased with you. Fighting is what pleases the prophet (peace be upon him)." Higazi also urged jihadists, graphically, when attacking non-Muslim infidels to "Strike and split the head, and cut it in half." Equally plain are Higazi's goals for this brutal jihadism -- the re-creation of a transnational Muslim Caliphate: I am convinced that Islam is imminent, the caliphate is imminent. One of these days, the United States of Islam will be established. Allah willing, it will be soon. Egypt will be one state in this [United States of Islam.] Morocco and Saudi Arabia will be states as well. And of course the requisite accompaniment to Higazi's jihadism would be a jihad genocide of Israeli Jews, as described in other media pronouncements the cleric has made, such as, "Dispatch Those Sons of Apes [Koran 2:65; 7:166] and Pigs[Koran 5:60] to the Hellfire," and "Yes, I Am an Antisemite; If Not for the Arab Rulers, We Would Devour the Jews with Our Teeth."

A Genuine Black American Hero for Black History Month
Excerpt: Don't look for this from Oprah, Tavis Smiley, The Congressional Black Caucus, or anywhere in the MSM, including (especially!) The History Channel or PBS, but the second in command of the freedom-fighters who hit the Bay of Pigs beachhead 50 years ago was a black Cuban (and today a proud U.S. citizen and retired Major General of the U.S. Amy) named Erneido Oliva. The Knights of Camelot dumped Oliva and his men on that beachhead with only light arms and no air cover—then abandoned them. Oliva's men were outnumbered 30 to one by Castro's Soviet led and supplied troops, who had swarms of Soviet T-34 Tanks and jets overhead. On the third day of unrelenting battle Oliva's men were virtually out of ammo for their carbines and the battlefield horrors were taking their toll. “Where are the U.S. planes?!” they kept bellowing into their radios. “Where is our ammo?!” Crazed by hunger and thirst, they'd been shooting and reloading without sleep for three days. Many were hallucinating. By then they knew damn well they'd been abandoned by the Knights of Camelot. That's when Castro’s Soviet Howitzers opened up, huge 122 mm ones, four batteries’ worth.

Violent Leftists Threaten Citizen Journalist “A$$hole White Boy” “I’m Gonna Hit Your Head”
Excerpt: It’s been at least 8 hours since I posted the last leftist assault video. So here’s the latest display of leftist tolerance…Enlightened St. Louis leftists threatened a conservative citizen journalist this week. St. Louis blogger sensation Adam Sharp confronted a group of pro-union thugs outside of Senator Claire McCaskill’s office earlier this week. They threatened to kick this a$$hole white boy’s a$$. HuffPo blogger Jeannine Molloff even joined in and smacked his camera. The poor leftists… Adam Sharp had them completely outnumbered.

$50k Eco-Classroom Scrapped 'Cause Solar Panels don't Provide Enough Heat
Maybe they’d have more heat if they just burned the money. ~Bob. Excerpt: Eco-campaigners who built a classroom powered by the sun believed they were paving the way for the future. Instead they have been taught a valuable lesson - there is not enough sun in North London to sufficiently heat their building. The much feted zero-carbon Living Ark classroom was opened three months ago to great fanfare. It boasts laudable green credentials and is made from sustainable wood, sheep's wool and soil. The roof is made of mud and grass and it has its own ‘rain pod' and solar panels. But there is snag - its solar panels only provide enough energy to power a few lightbulbs. As a result the classroom is bitterly cold and uninhabitable for lessons. Parents have branded it ‘useless', an ‘expensive piece of wood' and a ‘great idea for the Caribbean'.

New Soros investment fund, profiting off Obama's 'green energy' push, hires top Obama energy aide
Excerpt: George Soros -- whom we're always told is not serving his own economic interests at all by promoting liberal politicians and big-government policies -- is launching a new investment fund that plans to profit off of the "green energy" boom, which is entirely dependent on government subsidies supported by the groups Soros funds. As the press release puts it, this fund will "leverage technology and business model innovation to improve energy efficiency, reduce waste and emissions, harness renewable energy, and more efficiently use natural resources, among other applications." As Soros puts it in the same release: “Developing alternative sources of energy and achieving greater energy efficiency is both a significant global investment opportunity and an environmental imperative.” Cadie Thompson at CNBC's NetNet flagged this.