Thursday, March 31, 2011

Guns to Mexico

Political Digest for March 31, 2011

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.

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

Bumper Sticker
“No Kinetic Military Action for Oil!”

Worth reading: Measuring Force by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: It is the old liberal illusion that you can measure out force with a teaspoon, not only in military operations micro-managed by civilians in Washington, like the Vietnam war, but also in domestic confrontations when the police are trying to control a rioting mob, and are being restrained by politicians, while the mob is restrained by nobody. We went that route in the 1960s, and the results were not inspiring, either domestically or internationally. The old saying, "When you strike at a king, you must kill him," is especially apt when it comes to attacking a widely recognized sponsor of international terrorism like Colonel Qaddafi. To attack him without destroying his regime is just asking for increased terrorism against Americans and America's allies. So is replacing him with insurgents who include other sponsors of terrorism. President Obama's Monday night speech was long on rhetoric and short on logic. He said: "I believe that this movement of change cannot be turned back, and that we must stand alongside those who believe in the same core principles that have guided us." Just what would lead him to conclude that this includes the largely unknown forces who are trying to seize power in Libya?

Gaddafi’s forces push back rebels in key town; world leaders call for his ouster
If the “No Fly and Bomb the Hell out of Everything that moves” zone doesn’t topple Gaddafi (the war goal that dares not speak its name), and we have only created a bloody, long drawn out stalemate that kills more people than Gaddafi would have killed restoring his regime, what then, Student Prince? It’s hard for me to envision a good outcome for the US. ~Bob. Excerpt: Rebel fighters fled under fire from a key town in eastern Libya on Tuesday as world leaders convening in London insisted that Moammar Gaddafi step down but offered no new suggestions for how to dislodge him from power. The rebels’ chaotic retreat from the town of Bin Jawwad, which they had captured from troops loyal to Gaddafi just two days earlier, reversed the momentum they had seized over the weekend and suggested that the ad hoc and lightly armed opposition force may have reached the limits of its capacity. It was the fourth time Bin Jawwad has changed hands in less than three weeks, raising the specter of a prolonged stalemate along the sparsely populated stretch of coastal highway between the rebel stronghold of Benghazi to the east and Gaddafi’s heavily garrisoned home town of Sirte to the west.

Senate Hearing Juggles Rights, Terror Concerns
Sen. Durbin (D-Trial Lawyers) naturally has a different ethical sense than most of us. ~Bob. Excerpt: As the Investigative Project on Terrorism reported Monday, Durbin has developed warm relationships with two groups - the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Mosque Foundation of Bridgeview, Ill. - that federal law enforcement records show have clearly discernible Hamas-support histories. Committee members Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., said bigotry of any ilk should be condemned and Graham paid tribute to the "thousands of American Muslims serving in our military." But Kyl expressed concern that the hearing was an attempt to discredit or silence those who focus on Islamist extremism. "If it's part of a narrative that says it's improper to point out the obvious, that too many young Muslims being radicalized to join the jihad, then count me out," Kyl said.

Excerpt: As governors across the land pepper the federal government with requests to scale back Medicaid — many people are losing sight of the fact that health care reform (what some call ObamaCare) requires a huge expansion of Medicaid. In fact, in just three years the nation is expected to start insuring about 32 million uninsured people. About half will enroll in Medicaid directly; and if the Massachusetts precedent is followed, most of the remainder will be in heavily subsidized private plans that pay little more than Medicaid rates. That raises an important question: How good is Medicaid? Will the people who enroll in it and in private plans that function like Medicaid get more care, or better care, than they would have gotten without health reform? The answer to that question is not obvious. In fact it’s probably fair to say that we are about to spend close to $1 trillion over the next 10 years insuring the uninsured and we really don’t know what we expect to accomplish by spending all that money. The 32 million newly insured may not get more health care. They may even get less care. And even if they do get more, odds are that low-income families as a group will get less care than if there had never been a health reform bill in the first place.

The Price of Taxing the Rich: The top 1% of earners fill the coffers of states like California and New York during a boom—and leave them starved for revenue in a bust.
Excerpt: The working class may be taking a beating from spending cuts used to close a cavernous deficit, Mr. Williams said, but the root of California's woes is its reliance on taxing the wealthy. Nearly half of California's income taxes before the recession came from the top 1% of earners: households that took in more than $490,000 a year. High earners, it turns out, have especially volatile incomes—their earnings fell by more than twice as much as the rest of the population's during the recession. When they crashed, they took California's finances down with them. Mr. Williams, a former economic forecaster for the state, spent more than a decade warning state leaders about California's over-dependence on the rich. "We created a revenue cliff," he said. "We built a large part of our government on the state's most unstable income group." New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois—states that are the most heavily reliant on the taxes of the wealthy—are now among those with the biggest budget holes. (But class envy and “tax the rich” gets votes from the economically-ignorant, a majority. ~Bob.)

Detroit's Decline and the Folly of Light Rail
Excerpt: The Census just reported that Detroit's population dropped by 25% between 2000 and 2010, a stunning fall that is even larger than the 20% drop Detroit experienced during the 1970s. The story of this city's devastating decline reminds us that urban fortunes depend on entrepreneurial human capital. Failed public policies that tried to fix Detroit with urban renewal and transportation projects stand as stark evidence against the view that our economic woes call for more federal spending on infrastructure. The White House's fondness for transportation spending may reflect the fact that projects like the Erie Canal had great value when moving goods was near impossible. In 1816, it cost as much to move goods 30 miles over land as it did to ship them across the Atlantic. Public investments in waterways and railroads created a transportation network that made the natural wealth of the American interior accessible.

Buy Israeli Goods

Black Activist Confronts Bill Ayers With Facts

Vanessa, the "Afro-conservative" in the Ayers video

GOP sets sights on AARP over its support for healthcare reform
Why I resigned from AARP/. ~Bob. Excerpt: Newly empowered House Republicans are getting ready to renew their attacks against AARP over its support for the healthcare reform law, The Hill has learned. The Ways and Means health and oversight subcommittees are hauling in the seniors lobby's executives before the panel for an April 1 hearing on how the group stands to benefit from the law, among other topics. Republicans say AARP supported the law's $200 billion in cuts to the Medicare Advantage program because it stands to gain financially as seniors replace their MA plans with Medicare supplemental insurance — or Medigap — policies endorsed by the association. The hearing will cover not only Medigap but "AARP’s organizational structure, management, and financial growth over the last decade."
 An embarrassing hearing would not only hit AARP back for its support of the law, but fits in with the GOP's mantra that the law was written behind closed doors to favor Democratic allies.

Hospitals fear they'll pay cost of medical device tax
Hospitals groups are afraid a healthcare reform tax on medical device manufacturers will wind up hurting them more than the device makers. The reform provision, which is the target of repeal efforts in the House and Senate, imposes a 2.3 percent excise tax on the sale of most medical devices starting in 2013. But hospital groups are worried the device tax may be implemented in a way that allows the manufacturers to pass the bill onto other healthcare stakeholders, mainly hospitals. In fact, they warn of a “double benefit” if the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows the device makers to also deduct the tax. (All business taxes are eventually paid for by consumers, because that’s where business gets it income. But too many consumers are too dumb to figure that out. ~Bob.)

Trade groups want to halt reform law until courts decide
Excerpt: A group of more than 250 trade associations are backing a senator’s plan to halt healthcare reform implementation until legal challenges are completely settled. The StartOver! Coalition, which includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, says it is “prudent” to block implementation efforts as the courts hash out the constitutionality of healthcare reform. While three federal judges have upheld the law’s requirement for individuals to purchase insurance, two have struck it down. U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson in January struck down the entire law, but allowed implementation to continue.

Excerpt: U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) today reintroduced a bill, The Health Care Bureaucrats Elimination Act, cosponsored by Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS), John McCain (R-AZ), Tom Coburn (R-OK), John Barrasso (R-WY), Richard Burr (R-NC), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), James Inhofe (R-OK), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), and John Thune (R-SD) to remove unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats from American seniors’ personal health decisions by repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

The Missing Moderate Muslims
Excerpt: “I am already against the next war,” read the bumper sticker on a car ahead of me. I long to tell the driver: the next war is already here; Islamists are waging it in every corner of the globe and the “moderate Muslims” are either actively supporting them, placing the blame on the West, or simply looking the other way. This war aims to wipe out everything that free people cherish, including the right of expressing their sentiments. Banishing war has been the perennial dream of mankind’s best, while its worst have been frustrating its realization. To renounce war unilaterally and unconditionally is surrender and death. Humanity has suffered horrific wars in the past. Yet, the present multi-form and multi-front war waged by Islamists has the potential of inflicting more suffering and destroying more lives than any before it. Ruthless Islamic forces are advancing rapidly in their conquests while those of freedom are acquiescing and retreating. Before long, Islamism is poised to achieve its Allah-mandated goal of cleansing the earth of all non-Muslims. Any and all means and weapons are to be enlisted in the service of this final holy war that aims to establish the Islamic Ummah. (Actually, there are moderate or, better term, Secular Muslims. But they are on a bus being driving by the violent Jihadists. They fight only with words, thus are intimidated and get a lot less press from the “If it bleeds, it lead” Media. They are even more likely to be the victims of Allah-murder than we kuffer. It is easy to call on Moderate Muslims to speak out when it is they, not you, who will be murdered for apostasy. Unfortunately, the Jihadists are far more than the “tiny minority” the left would have us believe, and their violent Islamic Supremacism has as strong a theological basis in Islam, perhaps stronger, than the reformers beliefs. We must support the secular Muslims fighting an uphill battle to reform their faith, defeat Shari’a and make separate the political and religious authorities. And we must understand there are Jihadist making placating, secular, anti-terror statements in English to lull us, while preaching violent Jihad in their native tongues. See: Muslims Speak Out Against Terrorism:

Worth watching: Glenn Beck Reacts to WI Worker Who Wants to "Take Control" of Workplace to Be "Free"
I’m not a big Beck fan, but this is on point. I eat at Noodles and Company in Madison. If guys like this get their way, they will starve, the idiots. ~Bob.

Speaker Boehner to Senate Dems: If You Have a Plan to Cut Spending, "Pass the Damn Thing"
Don’t be silly, Mr. Speaker. The Senate Democrats couldn’t pass a budget when they had a super majority, because the numbers don’t work. Nor, in the long term, do the House Republican numbers work. Reality will force its iron hand on everyone. ~Bob. Excerpt: At a press conference with GOP leaders today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) once again called on Senate Democrats to stop rooting for a government shutdown and start working to pass a bill or offer a credible plan that cuts spending and helps create a better environment for job growth – just as the new House majority did nearly 40 days ago. Following are video and text of Speaker Boehner’s remarks: “Well it’s just that simple: it’s time for the Senate Democrats to pass a bill. “The House has passed our bill and it’s been nearly 40 days, and yet we’ve seen nothing pass the United States Senate.

Congressman Allen West Replies to user Laura B.
Speaking sense in Washington—can he last? ~Bob.

Quotes from The Patriot Post
"When you have Islamic jihadists going toe-to-toe with a mass-murdering thug and his followers, humanitarianism is in dangerously short supply. So, apparently, is sanity. If Colonel Cuckoo wins, we have the makings of a terrorist-led pariah state that hates the West in general, and the United States in particular. If the rebels win, we have the makings of a terrorist-led pariah state which hates the West in general, and the United States in particular. Is there clarity in redundancy?" --columnist Arnold Ahlert
"The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American statesman and senator Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves." --French philosopher Bertrand de Jouvenel (1903-1987)

Department of Injustice by Walter E. Williams
Excerpt: One of the requirements to become a Dayton, Ohio police officer is to successfully pass the city's two-part written examination. Applicants must correctly answer 57 of 86 questions on the first part (66 percent) and 73 of 102 (72 percent) on the second part. Dayton's Civil Service Board reported that 490 candidates passed the November 2010 written test, 57 of whom were black. About 231 of the roughly 1,100 test takers were black. The U.S. Department of Justice, led by Attorney General Eric Holder, rejected the results of Dayton's Civil Service examination because not enough blacks passed. The DOJ has ordered the city to lower the passing score….It is truly insulting to suggest that black people cannot meet the same standards as white people and somehow justice requires lower standards. Black performance on Dayton's Civil Service exam is really a message about fraudulent high school diplomas that many black students receive….The National Assessment of Educational Progress, sometimes called the Nation's Report Card, tests students at the fourth and eighth grades in math, reading, science and writing. The 2009 eighth-grade scores in Ohio were: In math, 54 percent of whites and 14 percent of blacks tested proficient; 54 percent of whites were proficient in reading while 13 percent of blacks were; in science, 43 percent of white and 6 percent of blacks tested proficient; and in writing, 38 percent of whites tested proficient compared with 13 percent for blacks. This black/white education gap remains through high school completion, as seen by huge score differences in college entrance exams taken during the senior year.

Project Gunrunner: Obama's Stimulus-Funded Border Nightmare
Excerpt: Buried in Barack Obama's failed trillion-dollar stimulus program was a $10 million bloody border racket that has now cost American lives. This goes far beyond the usual waste, fraud and abuse underwritten by progressive profligacy. It's bloodstained government malfeasance overseen by anti-gun ideologues -- and now anti-gun ideologue Attorney General Eric Holder will "investigate." Welcome to Project Gunrunner. Prepare for another Justice Department whitewash.

Wisconsin Republicans face new hurdle in union battle
I’ve read that her son is a former SEIU official. If so, why don’t we hear more about that conflict of interest? ~Bob. Excerpt: Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi chastised state officials Tuesday for ignoring her earlier order to halt the law’s publication. “Apparently that language was either misunderstood or ignored, but what I said was the further implementation of (the law) was enjoined,” Sumi said during a hearing. “That is what I now want to make crystal clear.”

Son of Wisconsin Judge Who Blocked Union Law is Left Wing Activist, Former Union Official
Excerpt: Not only is Judge Maryann Sumi’s son, Jacob “Jake” Sinderbrand, a left-wing activist, he’s also a former official of both the AFL-CIO and the SEIU State Council. Both of those unions represent public-sector workers in Wisconsin. Judge Sumi issued the restraining order blocking the publishing of the new labor law in Wisconsin. She also recently refused to order the striking teachers to go back to work. Can you say “conflict of interest“?

Obama’s Biggest Rival?
Excerpt: Who is Jon Huntsman, and why does he make the White House nervous. (Problem is, GOP primary voters are far more interested in having a nominee who is pure than in beating Obama. As long as the GOP nominee isn’t a RINO in anyway, they will be content with Obama destroying the economy through 2016, while they talk about his birth certificate endlessly. ~Bob.

New al-Qaida Magazine Lauds Arab Revolutions
In that they agree with our media weenies. ~Bob. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula released its fifth issue of Inspire Magazine, with a clear explanation of its views about upheaval in the Middle East and what that means for the organization's aim to retake the Holy Land. While uprisings in Bahrain, Egypt and elsewhere in the region have been peaceful, several articles in the issue stake the claim that such popular actions somehow validate al-Qaida's violent ethos.

Harry Reid Chooses Shutdown Over Responsibility
Excerpt: You would think liberals in Congress have nothing better to do with their time. Amid a war in Libya, an effort to aid earthquake and tsunami-stricken Japan, a continuing war in Afghanistan, rising gas prices and endless unemployment, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and the Democratic leadership in the U.S. Senate are refusing to accept a modest agreement to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year. And time is running short. What’s Senator Reid wrangling over? A mere $51 billion in additional budget cuts, which amounts to a few days of government deficit spending. But Reid’s stonewalling isn’t just about dollars and cents, or saving federal funding for a Cowboy Poetry Festival. Reid and the Democrats in Congress are setting the groundwork for a partial government shutdown so they can attempt to lay the blame at the feet of the Tea Party and Republicans in Congress and gain politically. They’re simply putting electoral politics over the business of our nation. (Well, given our fiscal situation, the Republican plan is irresponsible. Just not as irresponsible as the Democrats plan to spend until they run out of paper to print money on. ~Bob.)

Should Kagan Recuse from Health Cases? Internal DOJ Emails Raise Questions
Excerpt: “Absolutely right on. Let’s crush them,” wrote Principal Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal. “I’ll speak to Elena and designate someone.” The Elena here is then-Solicitor General Elena Kagan--now a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Katyal was writing at 10:57 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 8, 2010. Two weeks before that, on Christmas Eve, the U.S. Senate had passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the unprecedented bill promoted by President Barack Obama that mandated that individual Americans must buy health insurance. Already—as reported in a Dec. 30, 2009 New York Times article--Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum was examining the possibility of a lawsuit to challenge the bill if it became law and, as the Times put it, there were “nearly a dozen other states who have also threatened to sue over the mandate.” (Interesting. Who decides if she should recuse? Who enforces it, and how? War within the Court? Ron P. Yes, she should recuse. No, she won’t. No way to force her to. Things like this are why Obama put her on the Court. ~Bob.)

Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Caught Telling Senators to Smear GOP, Boehner
Doesn’t matter. Both sides know they do this, and the independents don’t pay attention. ~Bob. Excerpt: So much for civil discourse. Sen. Charles E. Schumer briefly revealed his true face Tuesday as reporters listened to him instruct fellow Democrats in how to paint Republicans and House Speaker John Boehner as extremist Tea Party zealots in the budget debates. “I always use the word extreme,” Schumer told his fellow Democrats. “That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week.”

The Freezing of the Rhine
Excerpt: Mr. Wilders finds a parallel to these events in the current decline of Western Civilization. He notes that modern-day barbarians — immigrants from the Islamic world — are anticipating the equivalent of the freezing of the Rhine, after which they will be able to overrun and sack the copious riches of an all-but-moribund Europe: Our opponents are hoping for an event that is akin to the freezing of the Rhine in 406, when thousands of immigrants will be given an easy opportunity to cross massively into the West. This has been the winter of Arab discontent, and as a result of the recent upheavals in North Africa and the Middle East, the metaphorical Rhine may finally have frozen over. Instead of a river, the barbarian invaders are crossing the Mediterranean Sea. Instead of walking, they are cramming themselves into rickety boats and crossing over into Italian territory.

Western double standards over Libya will help Islamists
In the eyes of many Arabs in the region, a deeply troubling Western double standard is emerging. Many in the region are asking a simple question: Why is the West willing to intervene in Libya, while there is total Western silence about the brutal suppression of dissidents in Bahrain? The West appears to be quite selective in lending its support to the "Arab Spring." As Ramy Khouri, an insightful analyst from Lebanon, warns us: "The lesson that many are drawing is that two distinct standards apply to Arab citizens' rights. In countries like Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, the world will accept or actively support constitutional changes that citizens of those countries demand. In other Arab countries, like Bahrain, the rights of citizens are secondary to wider energy and security needs."

30 ‘black genocide’ abortion billboards featuring Obama go up in Chicago
Excerpt: Thirty pro-life billboards featuring the image of Barack Obama are going up in South Chicago, U.S. president Barack Obama’s adopted hometown, starting tomorrow. “Every 21 minutes, our next possible LEADER is aborted,” states the ad, which features an artistic rendering of Obama’s profile with a caption directing viewers to “” “Our future leaders are being aborted at an alarming rate. These are babies who could grow to be the future Presidents of the United States, or the next Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington or Maya Angelou,” said Rev. Derek McCoy, a black pastor and board member of Life Always, which is responsible for the campaign. According to official U.S. data, black Americans account for approximately 36.9 percent (2007) of the total U.S. abortion numbers, despite accounting for only 12.9 percent (in 2009) of the total U.S. population.

Andrew (Cuomo) delivers
Excerpt: Gov. Cuomo vowed to bring fiscal sanity to Albany -- and the $132.5 billion state budget agreed to on Sunday represents a seismic shift in that direction.
The document still must be voted on, but as it stands, the budget: * Is on time. * Reduces spending year to year. * Contains no tax hikes or borrowing. This is good. Indeed, it would have been unthinkable in the recent past. But what's better is that from now on, spending for health care and education will be capped -- limited by taxpayers' ability to pay.

Shaking the house that Assad built
Excerpt: If the United States has good reason to support the popular revolt in Libya -- and President Obama argued Monday night that there is "an important strategic interest in preventing [Moammar] Qaddafi from overrunning those who oppose him" -- it has considerably more reason to do so in Syria. If it made sense to speed the departure of Egyptian ruler Hosni Mubarak, accelerating the fall of Syria's Bashar al-Assad should be an even higher priority. If North Africa was improved when the people of Tunisia threw off their dictator, the entire Arab world would be a healthier place if a Syrian uprising toppled Assad. So why doesn't Washington say so? Of all the waves of protest to wash over the Middle East in recent months, none has come as a greater surprise -- and none should be more welcome -- than the turbulence in Syria. Forty years under the fearsome rule of the Assad clan were supposed to have crushed the Syrians' will to resist. Though Bashar's brutality has not yet exceeded that of his father -- in 1982 Hafez al-Assad annihilated some 25,000 civilians in the city of Hama, then literally paved over their remains -- his own reign has nevertheless been a horror-show of repression, torture, assassination, disappearances, and the near-total denial of civil and political liberties.

U.K.: Thugs from "Muslims Against Crusades" intend to disrupt royal wedding
Excerpt: This is the same group that provoked public outrage by disrupting the traditional Armistice Day moment of silence and burning large replicas of the poppy, Britain's symbol of remembrance and respect for fallen soldiers, while chanting "British soldiers burn in hell," and holding banners proclaiming that "Islam will dominate." If you're not exactly charmed by that sort of behavior, you'll like it even less knowing the man charged and fined for disturbing the peace in that case works only part-time and takes in £792 a month in state benefits. For their next act of interfaith dialogue, they're targeting the royal wedding.

New documentary explores jihad attack in Arkansas
Excerpt: "Losing our Sons" is a documentary film investigation into the first successful homegrown jihad terrorist attack on American soil. This is the story of a young African-American man from Memphis who converted to Islam, went to Yemen for terrorism training, and came back to murder a young Marine in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Taking Feminism Overseas
No chance. In the PC world, “Muslim” is trump over even Gays, never mind women. ~Bob. Excerpt: The plight of women in other countries is not only dire, it’s central to global poverty and the war on terrorism. Jihadism is largely a male problem. This shouldn’t be a surprise, given that jihadis commit mass murder in pursuit of a virgin bonus in the afterlife. Islamist extremism and oppression of women go hand in hand. And while the correlation between poverty and terrorism is often overstated, the correlation between prosperity and women’s liberation is profound. Female education is tightly linked with GDP growth, lower birthrates, and even higher agricultural yields. It’s also tightly linked with human freedom and decency, which is why no Islamic “spring” is possible without a feminist revolution. Countless Islamist countries practice gender apartheid and countenance wife-beating, honor killings, and female genital mutilation. Islamist radicals have thrown acid in the faces of young girls for trying to go to school. In Turkey, long the crown jewel of secular, modern, and moderate Islam, the murder rate of women has gone up 1,400 percent since the country lurched toward Islamism, notes my American Enterprise Institute colleague Michael Rubin.

Caterpillar's Alarm Bell For Illinois
Excerpt: Caterpillar's CEO warned Illinois last week that the state's anti-business climate is forcing the company to consider leaving. The Illinois governor's response? No way. What planet does he live on? The Pantagraph of Bloomington, Ill., reported last week that Caterpillar Chief Executive Doug Oberhelman had starkly warned in a letter to Gov. Pat Quinn that he'd been "cornered in meetings" and "wined and dined" to relocate his company to Wisconsin, Texas, South Dakota, Nebraska and other states lining up in the wake of Illinois' massive tax hike this year on business. "I want to stay here," the CEO wrote. "But as the leader of this business, I have to do what's right for Caterpillar when making decisions about where to invest. The direction that this state is headed in is not favorable to business, and I'd like to work with you to change that." Amazingly, Quinn responded that it was impossible that one of Illinois' largest employers and taxpayers would move out of state, then changed the subject. It was pure Louis XVI:

Pawlenty's strong showing in the Insiders' poll
Excerpt: Many Republicans are currently lamenting the fact that for the second election in a row, they are entering the cycle with a distressingly lackluster field of candidates to take on Barack Obama. Of course, that may not be the real problem, or not the biggest problem, anyway. George W. Bush was not a terribly impressive candidate in 2000. The real difference between 2000 and 2012 (and between 2000 and 2008) is that there is no single choice that appears inevitable. Robert Novak always used to remind me that Republicans have a historical tendency to gravitate toward "inevitable" establishment candidates for president early on, whose nomination is almost a fait accompli. That's not to say that the normal choice is more conservative or less so -- just that the nominee usually locks it up early on and wins establishment support…. In this context, I note with interest that former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty comes in second in National Journal's poll of GOP insiders. This despite the fact that he is barely a blip on the national radar, with practically zero name recognition at this point. His strength among the insiders strikes me as reasonable, and here's why:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Political Digest for March 30, 2011

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.

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

Libyan Destruction—who pays?
You may be looking at all the destruction in Libya from the bombing, and wondering who is going to pay to rebuild the country. Go look in the mirror. On the plus side, the new Islamist government probably won’t begin terror operations against us until they’ve extracted all possible humanitarian and rebuilding dollars from American taxpayers.

Beware the Libyan Flying Tanks.
Obama said it’s a no-fly zone, right? Obama tells us the truth, right? We are bombing Libyan tanks, right? Conclusion: Libya has tanks that can fly.

U.S. deploys low-flying attack planes in Libya
Our gallant al Qaeda “freedom fighter” allies and war planes will show them no mercy! Oh, wait, sorry, that was the line that got Gaddafi in trouble. My bad. ~Bob. Excerpt: The U.S. military dramatically stepped up its assault on Libyan government ground forces over the weekend, launching its first missions with AC-130 flying gunships and A-10 attack aircraft designed to strike enemy ground troops and supply convoys. The use of the aircraft, during days of heavy fighting in which the momentum seemed to swing in favor of the rebels, demonstrated how allied military forces have been drawn deeper into the chaotic fight in Libya. A mission that initially seemed to revolve around establishing a no-fly zone has become focused on halting advances by government ground forces in and around key coastal cities. The AC-130s, which fly low and slow over the battlefield and are typically more vulnerable to enemy fire than fast-moving fighter jets, were deployed only after a week of sustained coalition attacks on Libyan government air defenses and radar sites. These aircraft, armed with heavy machine guns and cannons that rake the ground, allow strikes on dug-in Libyan ground forces and convoys in closer proximity to civilians.

Protecting Libyan citizens or aiding the rebels? Role of US, NATO partners under scrutiny
Excerpt: The U.S. and its NATO-led partners insist their mission in Libya goes no further than protecting civilians threatened by their own government’s guns, but as rebels regain the initiative and push to the doorstep of Moammar Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte, the protectors in effect have become an aerial arm of the rebels. The role of the international coalition is coming under greater scrutiny following weeklong airstrikes led by the U.S., France and Britain that helped the rebels take a critical step in their advance toward Tripoli, the capital.

Worth Reading: AP's ‘Fact Check‘ Hammers Obama’s Speech
Excerpt: In transferring command and control to NATO, the U.S. is turning the reins over to an organization dominated by the U.S., both militarily and politically. In essence, the U.S. runs the show that is taking over running the show. And the rapid advance of rebels in recent days strongly suggests they are not merely benefiting from military aid in a defensive crouch, but rather using the multinational force in some fashion — coordinated or not — to advance an offensive. Here is a look at some of Obama’s assertions in his address to the nation Monday, and how they compare with the facts:

Obama Still Murky on Libya
Excerpt: President Obama just gave a weird speech. Part George W. Bush, part trademark Obama — filled with his characteristic split-the-difference, straw-man (“some say, others say”), false-choice tropes. His support for those “yearning for freedom all around the world” was the sort of interventionist foreign policy that a Senator Obama — if his past reaction to the removal of Saddam Hussein is any indication — would have objected to, especially in the case of sending bombers over an Arab Muslim oil-exporting country. Since Saddam was a far greater monster (gassing thousands is far worse than turning off the water to neighborhoods) than the monsters that Obama now wishes to slay, I think he has confused rather than enlightened his audience. There was no mention of the Congress. Is he going to ever ask its approval? And if not, why the repeated emphasis on asking others such as the Arab League or the UN for their approval — given that their representatives, unlike ours, are largely not elected?

Thrilled by the ‘Arab Spring’? You’re Delusional
Excerpt: Whether Gaddafi flees to Venezuela, barricades himself in his Tripoli fortress for a prolonged siege, or finishes toes up in a ditch, the vacuum he leaves behind in a country he has dominated for 40 years is what should concern policymakers. And the question they should be asking is this: If freedom and democracy are waiting to sprout from Tunis to Manama, where are the seeds? Who exactly is doing the sowing? Unlike that other fertile era when democracy flowered across central Europe before the Berlin Wall finally collapsed twenty years ago, there are no Lech Walesas or Vaclev Havels to lead the way to a totally new and unfamiliar system of self-governance. Instead, in Egypt — the country for which most analysts have the highest hopes — we are witnessing the triumphal return of Yusuf Qaradawi, probably the preeminent Islamic scholar in the world and the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. While he was living in exile in Oman, Qaradawi preached jihad regularly on Al Jazeera and encouraged the murder of civilians in Iraq. Now, when he prays in
Tahrir Square
, he can draw a million people. The protesters who toppled Mubarak never exceeded a hundred thousand. (Be careful what you wish for; if you get it, it seldom looks the way you pictured it. Ron P.)

Excerpt: As his speech tonight confirms, President Obama intervened in Libya to prevent a massacre in Benghazi. That is the long and short of it. Yes, he also hoped that his action would blunt Qaddafi’s counter-revolutionary stroke, thereby putting us “on the right side” of the emerging revolt in the Middle East (Hillary’s chief concern). Yet that was a secondary motive. Fundamentally, Obama was unwilling to go down in history as the man who allowed a massacre in Benghazi. He also wanted to set a precedent for future multilateral humanitarian interventions under United Nations auspices. Everything else follows from this core motive, which is represented within his administration by Samantha Power and Susan Rice, above all. Obama is not a neoconservative democratizer. When he talks about our values of human rights and democracy, he has in mind the progressive vision of a UN-dictated rights regime that constrains and encroaches upon national sovereignty, including our own. This is the portion of his policy goals in Libya (drawn from advisors like Power) that he does not explicitly spell out…. In a tribal civil war, those we have saved are as likely to massacre Qaddafi’s supporters, should they take power with our help, as Qaddafi was to kill them. Getting out from our moral and military responsibility for that will be a neat trick.

Syrian Cabinet Resigns Amid Unrest
Excerpt: Syria's Cabinet resigned Tuesday to help quell a wave of popular fury that erupted more than a week ago, threatening President Bashar Assad's 11-year rule in one of the most authoritarian nations in the Middle East. Assad, whose family has controlled Syria for four decades, is trying to calm the growing dissent with a string of overtures. He is expected to address the nation in the next 24 hours to lift emergency laws in place since 1963 and moving to annul other harsh restrictions on civil liberties and political freedoms. (Assad can just kill the rebels. Obama won’t bomb without the UN’s approval—it’s in his version of the Constitution—and Russia would surely veto bombing Syria. ~Bob.).

Why Not Syria and Iran? Hell, Why Not North Korea?
Excerpt: The problem with Obama’s Libyan thing is twofold: First, if it’s right to intervene to save Libyan lives, then why isn’t it right to save Iranian, Syrian, Congolese, Sudanese, North Korean and Chinese lives, as well as millions of others? Remember, I was the first kid on the block to call for bombing the Libyan air force, several weeks before the Valkyries decided that it was urgent to do something, and convinced a clearly reluctant president to do the Libyan thing. And I have said that getting rid of Qadaffi is a worthy mission, but not a crucial one. Which brings us to the second part of the problem. Second — and here we get to the crux of the matter — why is it so important to save Libyans when this president won’t act against tyrants who kill Americans? (The difference is painfully obvious: the Libyan’s don’t appear able to fight back the same way the Syrians, Iranians, and North Koreans can. It looks like a cheap opportunity to beat up a regional bully. Let’s hope the appearance is what we get. Ron P)

Worth Reading: Voting With Their Feet Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: The latest published data from the 2010 census show how people are moving from place to place within the United States. In general, people are voting with their feet against places where the liberal, welfare-state policies favored by the intelligentsia are most deeply entrenched. When you break it down by race and ethnicity, it is all too painfully clear what is happening. Both whites and blacks are leaving California, the poster state for the liberal, welfare-state and nanny-state philosophy…. Detroit is perhaps the most striking example of a once thriving city ruined by years of liberal social policies. Before the ghetto riot of 1967, Detroit's black population had the highest rate of home-ownership of any black urban population in the country, and their unemployment rate was just 3.4 percent. (My job is in Illinois, but unless I die at my desk, my retirement is elsewhere than Blagobamaville. ~Bob.)

Black And Blue 2: Blacks Flee Blue States in Droves
Excerpt: It gets worse. One would think that the Blacks who choose to stay in the cold, unwelcoming North would cluster in the cities where more liberal and humane governance models mandate such generous policies as “living wage” laws and where all the beautiful features of the blue social model can be experienced at full strength. But one would be wrong. Blacks across the North are fleeing the urban paradises of liberal legislation and high public union membership for the benighted suburbs. The Times interviewed a professor to get the straight scoop: “The notion of the North and its cities as the promised land has been a powerful part of African-American life, culture and history, and now it all seems to be passing by,” said Clement Price, a professor of history at Rutgers-Newark. “The black urban experience has essentially lost its appeal with blacks in America.” [bold italics added]

Durbin's Flawed Hearing
Excerpt: U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., in an attempt to address what he claims is an increase in anti-Muslim bigotry, is relying on questionable statistics and a witness with a record of opposing virtually all law enforcement attempts to deal with Islamist-inspired terrorism. In a statement, Durbin said his hearing Tuesday on the state of Muslim civil rights in America comes "in response to a spike in anti-Muslim bigotry in the last year including Quran burnings, restrictions on mosque construction, hate crimes, hate speech, and other forms of discrimination." While hate crime data for 2010 has not yet been released, FBI reports in recent years show no spike in anti-Muslim attacks. Those statistics show 107 anti-Islamic incidents reported in 2009, compared to 156 anti-Muslim crimes in 2006. In both reports, race related crimes dominated, and religiously-targeted attacks involved Jews as victims about nine times more often than Muslims in 2009 and more than five times more in 2006.

Durbin Hearing to Fuel the Muslim Victimhood Myth
Excerpt: The FBI reports that anti-Jewish hate crimes are nearly eight times more common than anti-Muslim attacks—yet Sen. Richard Durbin (D.-Ill.) announced last week that he was going to hold a Senate hearing not on the resurgence of anti-Semitism, but on “anti-Muslim bigotry.” For the truth-adverse Left, it was just another day at the office. Compounding the irony was the fact that as Durbin announced his plans for this orgy of Muslim victimhood posturing, Islamic jihadists set off a bomb at a bus stop in Jerusalem, murdering at least one woman and wounding 30, while other Islamic jihadists opened fire on and killed two Christians who had committed the crime of attending a church in Pakistan. And don’t ask Egyptian Christian Ayman Anwar Mitri what he heard about this: Muslims in Egypt cut off his ear last week for the crime of having an affair with a Muslim woman (which he denies). 

The ‘anti-Pete King’ hearing
Excerpt: How curious. At the very moment the threat posed to U.S. interests by the toxic Islamist organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood is becoming ever more palpable, a top Senate Democrat seems determined to suppress Americans' understanding of that menace. Even the New York Times is now acknowledging the obvious: The principal beneficiary of the forced departure of an Egyptian dictator, Hosni Mubarak - a double-dealing leader who nonetheless passed for a reliable U.S. ally in the hall of mirrors that is Mideast politics - will likely be the Muslim Brotherhood. That means an organization explicitly committed to waging jihad to achieve the worldwide imposition of the Islamic politico-military-legal program its adherents call Shariah will soon run the most populous Arab Muslim nation; control the strategic Suez Canal, through which 5 percent of the world's oil passes every day; and be armed with a vast, American-supplied arsenal of sophisticated and modern weapons.

Interesting: "The Perfect Day" and Our Terrorist Opponent's Possible Plans For Future Attacks
Excerpt: I have been told (by those conducting interviews with captured enemy combatants) that when we ask them "What is coming next?" they sometimes refer to the "Perfect Day." You cannot understand what they are talking about if you do not understand the historical reference. The Sepoy Mutiny in India, in 1857, is an example of a "Perfect Day." This was a spontaneous uprising by Muslims (and Hindus), with everyone giving the British their "best shot." Nannies killed the kids, cooks poisoned the food, and shop owners murdered the British ladies as they came into the shop. And soldiers (sometimes complete units) killed their British officers and then used their weapons to attack the British. The current politically correct term for the Sepoy Mutiny is "The First Indian rebellion." (You can look it up on Wikipedia, where the event has been completely PC filtered and revised.) (The analogy the author attempts to draw is somewhat simplistic and historically it is rather one sided, but there is an interesting and thought provoking concept. Like any successful mutiny in history, the mutineers must act at the same moment, with surprise and violently (Blitzkrieg) . At this present moment there are insufficient number of Muslims in 95% of USA to accomplish a successful insurrection, however countries like France are particularly vulnerable. On a “Perfect Day” France would be lost in mere hours. 9/11 is a classic example of a “Perfect Day”. Time is on the side of Islamists and lack of vigilance, political correctness, and ignorance is our enemy. Muslims like many Asian cultures are not concerned about tomorrow, they are concerned with ten, twenty years and generations from now. The question du jour is when is our next Perfect Day? --S/F --TC)

A Gift for the Obvious
Excerpt: If there were an award for stating the obvious when it comes to the Middle East it would go to The New York Times. On its front page last Friday, the newspaper ran a story headlined, "Muslim Group is Rising Force in New Egypt." What group would that be? Why, the Muslim Brotherhood, of course. We have been repeatedly assured by certain pundits and members of the Obama administration that the Brotherhood are a small minority with no major influence in Egypt and that those Cairo protesters clamoring for "democracy" that led to the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak would be the ones to chart the country's future. Each time another myth is busted, the deniers of what is happening throughout the region simply create a new myth, one they desperately cling to against all evidence to the contrary. It would be well for the willfully blind to memorize the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood: "Allah is our objective, the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." Got that?

Fortnum & Mason -- just the most stupid target for those student rioters to pick
Excerpt: Fortnums is owned by the Weston family, which probably ranks third behind the Wellcome Foundation and all the Sainsbury trusts added together in the amount of money it gives away – yes, gives away in addition to the tax it pays – to exactly the causes that are close to the heart of UKUncut and the services that it was supposedly marching to maintain. Now, pay attention at the back, especially the youth that I spotted in the Fortnums atrium holding a sign saying “Share the Wealth” without any apparent sense of irony.

Durbin: Social Security reform a deal-killer for budget
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Trail Lawyers) is one of the many reasons the country is collapsing. ~Bob. Excerpt: In order to solve the budget impasse, Dick Durbin says that everything has to be on the table. In almost literally the next breath, Durbin then says Social Security reform will kill any budget deal, because even though budget talks can’t be serious without entitlement reform, Congress will refuse to address one of the Big Three entitlement programs. If you think that’s incoherent, wait until you find out why:

Decoding Libya
Excerpt: Fourth, and perhaps most significant, is the reason why war with Libya is dubious: We understand neither whom we are fighting for nor the consequences of invading a Muslim country. To apprehend these things requires a rudimentary grasp of sharia. You don’t need a doctorate in Islamic jurisprudence. As I contend in The Grand Jihad, the basics will more than suffice. The problem is that, since the World Trade Center was first bombed in 1993, the government has been telling us that Islam has nothing to do with the jihadist campaign against us, so we have studiously avoided informing ourselves about Islam and its law. It has come to light in just the last few days that commanders of the “rebels” (you know, those secular freedom fighters who are supposedly better for us than Qaddafi) include one Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi. And, I’ll be darned, it turns out that Hasadi is a jihadist who fought the United States in Afghanistan, and was detained for years until our forces turned him over to Libya. That was during the Bush years, when, through democracy-project alchemy, Qaddafi was transformed into a valuable U.S. ally against terrorism. Our new friend Qaddafi promptly . . . released him in 2008, in a deal designed to appease his Islamist opposition — a common practice in the Middle East, where, because Islam dominates life, even dictators must alternately court and repress jihadists in order to hang on.

Critics slam cost of FDA-approved drug to prevent preterm births
Big Pharma supported Obamacare with millions in TV ads.. They deserve some ROI on that. ~Bob. Excerpt: When a drug to prevent babies from being born too early won federal approval in February, many doctors, pregnant women and others cheered the step as a major advance against a heartbreaking tragedy. Then they saw the price tag. The list price for the drug, Makena, turned out to be a stunning $1,500 per dose. That’s for a drug that must be injected every week for about 20 weeks, meaning it will cost about $30,000 per at-risk pregnancy. If every eligible American woman were to get Makena, the nation’s bloated annual health-care tab would swell by more than $4 billion. What really infuriates patients and doctors is that the same compound has been available for years at a fraction of the cost — about $10 or $20 a shot.

Claims for Social Security benefits on the rise
The Democrats controlled the White House and both branches on Congress last year, and couldn’t pass a budget? ~Bob. Excerpt: Claims for Social Security and disability benefits have grown in recent years, the result of baby boomer retirements and high unemployment. The Social Security Administration received 10 million new claims in 2009, up from about 8.2 million in 2004. With 65 percent of new disability claims initially denied, appeals began piling up, and administrative law judges who hear these cases were overwhelmed. By August 2008, an appeal took an average of 532 days to resolve. The agency hired judges and support staff to speed up the process, and by last year the average appeal took 390 days. There was still a backlog of 705,370 pending hearings. But progress has been undermined by the budget impasse affecting most federal agencies, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service. Without a budget for the current fiscal year, the Social Security staff has had to cut short its efforts to improve efficiency.

Iranian Video Says Mahdi is 'Near'
Iranians/Imams really think the 12th Mahdi is returning, which will result in the end of time. Got to take this seriously as this may be the motivation for Iranians to employ extreme terrorist acts against the free world. If the end of time is apparent, then they may try to kill all infidels with the help of the Mahdi. At least that is their way of thinking. Click on the link for the video.
Excerpt: New evidence has emerged that the Iranian government sees the current unrest in the Middle East as a signal that the Mahdi--or Islamic messiah--is about to appear.
CBN News has obtained a never-before-seen video produced by the Iranian regime that says all the signs are moving into place -- and that Iran will soon help usher in the end times. (Anyone have any extra claymore mines? --GH)

A Solution to the GOP’s Defunding Problem
Excerpt: Significant disagreement lingers among House Republicans on whether fully defunding ObamaCare and Planned Parenthood, non-starters in the Democratic Senate, are worth the political risks associated with a potential government-wide shutdown. The GOP leadership is working to avoid such a shutdown at all costs, confirmed by their most recent continuing resolution that lacked defunding language, while the 54 conservative Members who voted against it believe now is the time to pick a fight with unserious Democrats. Fortunately for House Speaker John Boehner, a unifying solution might be one that he himself proposed last fall. At a September speech before the American Enterprise Institute, the Speaker called for doing “away with the concept of comprehensive spending bills…Rather than pairing agencies and departments together, let them come to the House floor individually.”

'Project Gunwalker' now definitively traced to near top of Justice Department
Excerpt: "Is the director aware of this," Gil asked the supervisor. Gil says his supervisor answered "Yes, the director's aware of it. Not only is the director aware of it, D.O.J.'s aware of it... Department of Justice was aware of it." Gil goes on to say senior Justice official Lanny Breuer and several of his deputies visited Mexico amid the controversy last summer, and spoke to ATF staff generally about a big trafficking case that they claimed was "getting good results."

Is the Mattress or the Stock Market a Better Place for Your Money?
Excerpt: Would an investor have been better off if he had steadily contributed to an equity fund from December 2008 through December 2010, despite the ups and downs of the stock market? Comparing returns from some of the alternatives that were available indicates he would have been better off staying in the market, says Pamela Villarreal, a senior policy analyst with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Suppose that an individual had transferred her accumulated contributions from December 2008 to November 2010 from a bond index fund to a stock index fund, then made an additional $100 contribution in December 2010. As of December 31, 2010, the total $2,400 principal contribution would be valued at about $2,588. The effective annual rate of return would be 7.14 percent. Suppose that a saver who had moved money into a bond index fund in December 2008 shifted her accumulated bond fund money into a stock index fund in March 2009 and made regular contributions to the fund starting in April 2009. As of December 31, 2010, the total $2,400 principal contribution would be valued at about $3,157, for a rate of return of 25.3 percent. Thus, those who contributed sooner during the market upswing experienced greater percentage gains than those who remained in money markets or bond funds. Everybody has their own comfort level when it comes to investment risk. But selling and shifting money out of an asset when it is priced low is a sure way to lock in a loss. It is a normal reaction to a sometimes jittery market, but it can cost a saver thousands, says Villarreal.

U.S. Property Rights Protections Continue to Decline
Without property rights, there are no political rights. ~Bob. Excerpt: This morning, I attended the Property Rights Alliance’s launch presentation of the 2011 International Property Rights Index. Overall, the United States declined to 18th place in the world (from 16th in 2010 and 14th in 2007, when the Index was originally created), losing out to top-ranked Finland. The biggest contributor to the U.S.’s reduced standing was in the Physical Property Rights category (real property), which accounted for nearly half of the year-over-year decline in points. The variables for this category are protection of physical property rights, property registration, and access to loans. It is here where one might be surprised by some of the countries who rank ahead of the U.S. (ranked 25th) in terms of real property rights: Bahrain (5th), Saudi Arabia (8th), Oman (9th-tie), Botswana (21st-tie), and Tunisia (21st-tie).

The Politics of Executive Pay: Ideology, not “social justice,” fuels calls for restraints
on executive compensation.
Excerpt: Current liberal ideology seeks “social justice” through the appropriation and redistribution of wealth — usually from members of the business class. Though we associate such redistribution schemes with places like the former Soviet Union, China, Cuba, North Korea, and Zimbabwe, it has a lengthy history in the United States. For example, in 1777, a Pennsylvania constitutional convention considered, but rejected, a provision that stated: “That, an enormous Proportion of Property vested in a few individuals is dangerous to the Rights, and destructive of the Common Happiness, of mankind; and therefore every free State hath a Right by its Laws to discourage the possession of such Property.” Today, the demand for wealth redistribution comes clothed in populist appeals to the unfairness of the gross disparity between executive pay and that of the average worker. This claim resonates well in the press, but efforts to redistribute wealth through taxes, mandatory public disclosure, and corporate governance “reforms” have all failed. Nevertheless, compensation politics continues unabated, as demonstrated by the latest fight over the Bush tax cuts.

How Taxpayers Subsidize March Madness
Excerpt: As the National Collegiate Athletic Association men's basketball tournament kicked off last week, U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan penned an op-ed in the Washington Post noting that graduation rates among the major college hoops powers are notoriously low. Even as Duncan's boss, President Obama, was revealing his own March Madness bracket predictions to ESPN, Duncan suggested that the NCAA adjust its distribution of television money from the tournament to reward schools that graduate more players. Duncan might have gone one step further, however, and noted that the schools participating in the tournament, both private and public universities and colleges, enjoy non-profit status ostensibly designed to support their educational purpose. But the major sports programs of Division 1 schools make liberal use of that nonprofit status to burnish their bottom lines at the expense of the taxpayer, a 2009 Congressional Budget Office report noted. Increasingly, these major sports programs look like for-profit commercial enterprises that have little to do with an educational mission that might justify their hefty and multiple tax exemptions, the CBO said.

Pig Flying Moment: Bull O'Reilly Has Wafa Sultan On
Excerpt: I had to rub my eyes. Bill O'Reilly, patron of Muslim Brotherhood-tied CAIR, was covering a story of rape and brutality against a Muslim woman in Libya. Typical treatment of Muslim women living under Islamic law. What was shocking was that O'Reilly had Wafa Sultan on to explain. I hardly watch O'Reilly, and I fell off my chair. I don't think he had a clue who she was. And did she school him. His responses were completely uninformed, but no matter, Wafa speaketh. Wafa Sultan was born and raised in Syria. She is a medical doctor who trained as a psychiatrist in Syria, and is an American author and critic of Muslim society and Islam, having self-identified as a Muslim, but not religious. Her must-read book is A God Who Hates.

Disturbing video about Narco-violence in Mexico—coming here

Trench water under investigation
Excerpt: In recent days it has been announced that pools of water in the basements of the turbine buildings of units 1, 2 and 3 contain significantly elevated radioactivity. Three workers were taken to hospital after exposure to the water, but have now been discharged with no ill effects. Judging by the composition of the radionuclides, officials think the water was probably in contact with the damaged reactor cores in each unit. Its presence indicates a leak from the primary circuit. This water is being pumped out of unit 1 so that cabling can take place in support of the restoration of power from diesel generators. Preparations for this are taking place at units 2 and 3. (…) The overall amount of radioactivity in seawater, as well as the amounts of radionuclides, near Fukushima Daiichi has been trending down in the last two days, although some remain far beyond normal regulatory limits. (Though the rollercoaster just keeps rolling, we still haven’t reached the Godzilla stage, nearly three weeks on. After failing to get enough of a response to announcing the finding of minute amounts of plutonium in the soil, the MSM seems to have moved on to the next big thing, at least for the moment. Ron P.)

Dilbert on Green Technology
Too funny, but too true.

Very funny: From The Comedy Store
Excerpt: Japan's nuclear plant disaster shut down Toyota of Japan's Prius factory. The plant halted production which halted exports which eventually will halt Prius sales in the U.S. It should be safe to walk across the street again by mid-May…..Sarah Palin learned she's polling behind Charlie Sheen for president among independent voters in the Reuters poll. Hey, they could both win. The next election will mark the twentieth year that Baby Boomers took over this country and started electing presidents for their entertainment value.

How Hot Is the Core of the Earth?
Great moments in Goreism. ~Bob.

Vietnam outsources deforestation to neighboring countries
Taking a cue from its much larger neighbor to the north, Vietnam has outsourced deforestation to neighboring countries, according to a new study that quantified the amount of displacement resulting from restrictions on domestic logging. Like China, Vietnam has experienced a resurgence in forest cover over the past twenty years, largely as a result a forestry policies that restricted timber harvesting and encouraged the development of processing industries that turned raw log imports into finished products for export. These measures contributed to a 55 percent of Vietnam's forests between 1992 and 2005, while bolstering the country's stunning economic growth. But the environmental benefit of the increase in Vietnam's forest cover is deceptive: it came at the expense of forests in Laos, Cambodia, and Indonesia. Authors Patrick Meyfroidt and Eric F. Lambin of the Universite Catholique de Louvain in Belgium calculate that 39 percent of Vietnam's forest regrowth between 1987 and 2006 was effectively logged in other countries. Half of the wood imports into Vietnam were illegal. (What is really neat about this is that Hanoi and the idiot Western supporters keep claiming that large areas of deforestation are due to the use of herbicides (Orange!!!) 40+ years ago. Total nonsense, and the photos of cleared forest make it obvious. But that beat just goes on and on. --Del)

Excerpt: By the way, what’s the difference between Pinocchio and Obama? Pinocchio had no strings attached….”Now let me be clear?—?I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him. But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States.” --Barack Obama in 2002.

Rule the waves: One used aircraft carrier for sale
China might be interested. ~Bob. Excerpt: Britain's Ministry of Defense (MoD) has put an aircraft carrier up for sale on an official used equipment website. The Royal Navy aircraft carrier Ark Royal was taken out of service earlier this year as part of government budget cuts. It was decommissioned in Portsmouth earlier this month, and is up for sale on, a website run by the MoD's Defense Equipment and Support (DE&S) arm.

Mark Steyn: Pushing Deviancy Up
Excerpt: On WGN the other night, Milt Rosenberg and I were talking about popular music and the University of Chicago's approval of "hook-up" culture, and I made the not terribly original observation that a song such as "It Had To Be You" or "The Very Thought Of You" pre-supposes certain courtship rituals. If you no longer have those, it's not surprising that you no longer have songs to embody them: A love ballad, after all, is a kind of aspiration. So, if the fundamental things no longer apply as time goes by, who needs a song about them? I was aware, as I was talking to Milt, that I sounded like Mister Squaresville, and so be it. Because, getting on for half-a-century in, there's not a lot of cool left in the Sexual Revolution. In fact, there's not a lot of anything left other than wreckage. Utopianism, writes Roger Scruton in his book on The Uses Of Pessimism, is “not in the business of perfecting the world” but only of demolishing it: “The ideal is constructed in order to destroy the actual.” And so we take a jackhammer to the foundations of functioning society, and proclaim paradise in the ruins.

Danger In Lies!
Excerpt: I recall my dad asking me a question when I was a young boy of about 7 or 8 years of age. I have lived my life of 70+ years and keep this question foremost in my mind when listening to another person. "Who is the most dangerous type of person? A murderer, a thief or a liar?" Dad asked. I thought about it for a while but before I could give my answer Dad spoke. "You know that a person that is a murderer must be watched like a hawk. You know to be on guard anytime you are near that person as you known to murder." "You know that if a person is a thief you must keep an eye on both that person as well as your belongings." "You do not know if a person is lying to you until you learn that something that person said was said to deceive you. The time it takes to learn that you have been lied to is crucial as many other lies may have been told that will have a profound on your life as well as the lives of others!"
Excerpt: At the time this bill passed, The Washington Examiner warned that such loosening of legal standards would create a lucrative new frontier for trial lawyers to fish for decades-old complaints among disgruntled employees. The imagination of the plaintiffs' bar, as we see in the case being heard in the Supreme Court today, is far more robust than ours. Instead of fishing for individual grievances, trial lawyers have attempted to create a multibillion-dollar class-action case on behalf of 1.5 million female Walmart employees, past and present, who worked for the company anytime after 1998. People who suffer discrimination on the job are entitled to a claim under our laws, whoever their employer is. But this lawsuit, Dukes v. Wal-Mart, has nothing to do with individuals suffering discrimination. Rather, it is an act of legal extortion by a large mob led by pin-striped advocates. By amassing hundreds of thousands of claims -- some of which might even be legitimate -- the trial lawyers can force Walmart either to settle for billions or else risk being held liable for hundreds of billions. Either way, the lawyers will make a mint -- which is the entire point.