Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Political Digest for January 17, 2012

Debt Limit Increase

Blog Page Views
309 from the Ukraine in the last week, 115 from Australia, 92 from Russia, and 30 from Slovenia. You are part of a world wide community of the well informed! ~Bob.

Excerpt: Every lawyer, every accountant, every architect, every engineer — indeed, every professional in every other field — is able to do something doctors cannot do. They can repackage and reprice their services. If demand changes or if they discover a way of meeting their clients’ needs more efficiently, they are free to offer a different bundle of services for a different price. Doctors, by contrast, are trapped. To see how trapped, let’s look at another profession: the practice of law. Suppose you are accused of a crime and suppose your lawyer is paid the way doctors are paid. That is, suppose some third-party payer bureaucracy pays your lawyer a different fee for each separate task she performs in your defense.

Worth Reading: The Income-Inequality Myth: Reports of skyrocketing incomes for the wealthy and stagnating wages for the rest are unfounded. By Michael Tanner
Excerpt: Yet for all the sound and fury — and beating drums in Zuccotti Park — almost everything that people presume about inequality in America is wrong. For example, nearly all reporting on income inequality in America has suggested that the incomes of the rich have been rising, while incomes for the rest of us have been stagnant or even declining. But that may represent a significant misreading of the data.

Plans for high-speed rail are slowing down
Excerpt: Critics began panning the first leg of California’s futuristic high-speed rail network as a “train to nowhere” soon after officials decided to build it not in the major population centers of Los Angeles or San Francisco, but through the state’s Central Valley farming belt. Since then, things have only gotten worse. Spiraling cost estimates and eroding political and public support now threaten a project crucial to a 21st-century vision of train travel that President Obama promised would transform U.S. transportation much as interstate highways did more than a half-century ago. (Not to worry, He can find endless Green rat holes to pour Chinese dollars down. ~Bob.)

Netanyahu deputy "disappointed" with Obama on Iran
Excerpt: A senior Israeli official voiced disappointment in the Obama administration on Sunday, saying "election-year considerations" lay behind its caution over tough Iran sanctions sought by U.S. legislators. While Washington has been talking tougher about Iran's nuclear work and threat to block oil export routes out of the Gulf if hit with harsher sanctions, new U.S. measures adopted on December 31 gave President Barak Obama leeway on the scope of penalties on the Iranian central bank and oil exports.

Lawmakers Tied to VIP Loan Program
Excerpt: Two more congressmen have been identified as receiving loans through a Countrywide Financial Corp. program that has prompted a House investigation into whether the fallen mortgage giant approved loans on favorable terms to win political favor. Howard McKeon and Elton Gallegly—veteran Republicans from Southern California—acknowledged they are among the four whose names were recently sent to the House Ethics committee by Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, which is probing Countrywide's so-called VIP program. Neither has been accused of any wrongdoing.

No innocent abroad By Benny Avni
Excerpt: Mitt Romney is no amateur when it comes to foreign policy. At least, that’s the opinion of Richard Williamson, the Romney adviser who’s stepped into the role that Condoleezza Rice played for George W. Bush in 2000 and that Susan Rice (now UN ambassador) did for Barack Obama in 2008. “Mitt Romney is a very sophisticated guy. This isn’t his first rodeo,” Williamson says.

Dirty Spending Secrets: Washington liberals don’t want you to know . . .
This quiz would be funny if it wasn’t good Chinese dollars they were wasting. ~Bob.

Interesting History: The strange birth of NY’s gun laws By Michael A. Walsh
Excerpt: Recent months have seen a former Marine from Indiana, a Tea Party activist from California and a nurse from Tennessee all arrested and charged in New York City for possession of firearms they had legal permits to carry back home. All were “nabbed” when they naively sought to check the weapon with security. These innocents fell afoul of the nation’s toughest gun laws. But few New Yorkers know how those laws came to be. The father of New York gun control was Democratic city pol “Big Tim “Sullivan — a state senator and Tammany Hall crook, a criminal overseer of the gangs of New York.

Too Funny: Private-sector experience? Oh, no! By Frank Fleming
 Excerpt: People have started to learn some disturbing facts about likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney: He once worked for Bain Capital — which is what’s known as a private-sector business. Harmless as the term sounds, it’s much scarier once you understand how such outfits operate. A private-sector business doesn’t even pretend to make decisions based on how to best help people or what creates the most jobs or even on what will most equally distribute income. It makes decisions based only on what creates a profit.

Dumb Marines, Delighted Media -----The Left's nostalgia for My Lai is forever
Excerpt: A few Marines in Afghanistan did a really dumb thing: They emptied their “short arms” on a trio of Taliban corpses. The act was unacceptable. It was against military regulations and constituted a minor—very minor—infringement of the Geneva Convention. Those Marines showed terrible judgment and should receive appropriate “non-judicial punishment” that will impact their careers. If a non-commissioned officer was involved, his career should end.

48% Think Romney Would Do Better Job With Economy, 39% Trust Obama More
Excerpt: Voters are closely divided over whether Mitt Romney’s business career is a plus or a minus, but most Republicans see it as a plus. Additionally, a plurality of all voters think he would do a better job than President Obama dealing with the economy.

Worth Reading: Three Fundamental Mistakes in Dealing with Islam by Daniel Greenfield
Excerpt: We made three fundamental mistakes in our dealings with Islam. First, we assumed that the only politically acceptable answer was also the right answer. This is the most common mistake that politicians make. Second, we established a construct of a moderate and extreme Islam that reflected how we saw it from the outside. This construct had no theological relationship to any actual belief or movement within Islam.

Excerpt: But here’s the question: If Congress is in recess and cannot fulfill its responsibility to advice and consent, as the President has suggested, how can Obama fulfill his obligation of submitting a certification to Congress?

Taliban militants torch TV sets, mobile phones
Excerpt: The Pakistani Taliban confiscated computers, television sets and mobile phones from residents of the largest town of the restive South Waziristan tribal region and set them on fire at a market, according to a media report today.

Kenya Islamic group claims ties to al-Shabab
Excerpt: An increasingly vocal Islamist group says its leader has been appointed to represent an al-Qaida-linked Somali militia in Kenya, a development that underscores the dangers Kenya faces from Somalia's insurgency. The statement by the Kenya-based Muslim Youth Center came amid a flurry of warnings from embassies about planned terror attacks in Kenya. The Somali militant group al-Shabab has promised to attack Kenya for its decision to send troops to Somalia in October.

Mario’s Kid to NY Teacher’s Unions: Suck It! by John Brodigan
Excerpt: Anyway, Governor Cuomo is announcing his budget for New York tomorrow and apparently he’s using it to push for education reform, specifically the arcane concept of tying teachers pay to job performance. How? By tying “…4 percent state aid increases promised to the districts in last year’s budget — some $800 million — to adoption of the teacher-evaluation system developed by the state Education Department, which has been blocked from city schools by a teachers-union lawsuit.”

The Shakedown at the King Monument: The builders of the memorial paid almost $800,000 to the King family to use his words and pictures.
Excerpt: Another battle involved a $1.4 million book deal with the Penguin Group for Coretta Scott King's ghostwritten memoir, during which Dexter went to court to compel his siblings to turn over personal papers and photos for the book. Bernice and Martin III resisted, insisting that their mother had decided before she died that she no longer wanted Barbara Reynolds as the ghostwriter.

Romney expands his base
Excerpt: Mitt Romney is pulling away from the field, at least in the polls. Moreover, it is getting increasingly hard to argue that he is purely attracting moderate Republicans. … Plainly, Romney is riding high on the electability issue (63 percent say he’s the most likely to beat President Obama), but he is also now leading among Tea Partyers (31 to 20 percent over Santorum) and among self-identified conservatives (40 to 16 percent over Santorum).

Obama Isn't Working: Labor
Worth watching. ~Bob.

Excerpt: A leading university is embroiled in a race row after a Jewish student was assaulted at a Nazi-themed drinking party. The 21-year-old London School of Economics student was subjected to anti-semitic abuse and left with a broken nose following a brawl during a ski trip to Val d’Isere, France.

Video: MLK niece says her uncle would have been a pro-life social conservative today
Excerpt: Dr. Alveda King is a tireless activist for the pro-life cause, and she asserts in this interview that had her uncle lived to see today, he’d be considered a pro-life, social conservative:

Derby gay death call leaflet 'was Muslim duty'
Excerpt: A man who handed out a leaflet calling for homosexuals to be executed has said he was just doing his "duty as a Muslim".

“Pious” Pakistani Muslim Sells Christian Girls
Excerpt: If you're waiting for Western Muslims to show their outrage at the kidnapping, rape, and forced conversion of Christian girls in the Muslim world, you'll just have to wait. They're too busy showing their outrage at Lowe's Home Improvement, and people who criticize Islam, and Marines who urinate on dead terrorists. --“I saw two of my daughters being raped in front of me,” an old lady from Essa Nagri told The News.

Beware Of The “CCC Aches” Bubbles
Excerpt: Most mainstream economists and economic commentators, the same group that didn’t foresee the housing crisis & Great Recession, are now saying that the economy is on the “road to recovery” as the housing market and the consumer slowly but surely heal. What these mainstream economists do not realize is that our bubble problems didn’t end with the housing bubble.

Dissidents hint Iran Orchestrated the killing of its Nuclear Scientist to Portray itself a Victim.
Excerpt: The mysterious killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist this week has led to speculations about the real motives behind these coordinated operations. This latest is the fourth of its kind in the past two years. As the news of the assassination broke out, a number of well-known pro-Iran lobbyists started to blame Israel, the U.S. and the main Iranian opposition group the Mujahedin-e Khalq, MEK, for the killing. (Doubtful. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: Since the 1960s, only one American corporation has independently begun to produce steel on a large scale, and Bain Capital deserves a good deal of the credit for its success. In the spirit of globalization and creative destruction, private-equity firms are supposedly drivers of off-shoring and outsourcing, accelerating the decline of key American industries.

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