Friday, October 23, 2009

Political Digest October 23 2009

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.

Torture songs spur a protest most vocal

Militant adherents to Islam-the-Religion-of-Peace cut the heads off of every prisoner they take, stone girls to death for being raped, and throw acid in the face of girls for going to school. When we capture them, we play them songs—and the world is indignant at us. Would that I could live to see how these musicians fare under the coming of Shari’a law. Excerpt: "I think every musician should be involved," said Rosanne Cash in a telephone interview Wednesday. "It seems so obvious. Music should never be used as torture." The singer-songwriter (and daughter of Johnny Cash) said she reacted with "absolute disgust" when she heard of the practice. "It's beyond the pale. It's hard to even think about." (Buy a burka, Roseanne, you’re going to need it.)

Tiny bat pits green against green
Wind farm could cut carbon, but could it also kill endangered species?

The revolution eats its children.

Subsidies for News?
Excerpt: Media: As newspapers and TV networks struggle and the administration presumes to define a proper news organization, what does the journalism establishment demand? No fair if you guessed a government bailout. The dead giveaway answer came this week as Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor and current vice president at large of the Washington Post, along with Michael Schudson, a professor at the mission-fatigued Columbia Journalism School, debuted their role-playing as cash-strapped bankers and auto execs. The news business' tenuous hold on profitability, they lamented, has threatened its sustainability. They demanded massive government involvement. (For President Wobbly and the League of Leftwing Lawyers, owning the media would be even better than owning car companies. Want to bet Hannah Giles of ACORN fame doesn’t get a government subsidy for her next project?)

To Cut Your Health Insurance Costs, Move

Excerpt: If you live in New York State and don't have health insurance but earn too much money to qualify for subsidized state insurance, you can always reduce your costs sharply by moving to Connecticut. There, you'll pay $7,750 a year for a family policy that would cost you $12,250 in New York State. If you are in the same boat in New Jersey, you can decamp next door to Pennsylvania and reduce your insurance bite from nearly $10,500 a year for family coverage to $6,500. Or, if you prefer a bare-bones high deductible policy, you can pay a mere $800 a year in Pennsylvania for your family coverage. All of this talk of health reform in Washington has created the illusion that we have a single health care system in America with prices that are roughly similar once adjusted for local costs of living. But in fact we have 50 different health care systems. Our states, through their insurance commissioners and legislatures, exercise enormous influence over the shape of health insurance by mandating to residents and businesses what kind of coverage they must have, and to insurance companies what kind of illnesses and therapies they must cover. The result is sharply different rates across the country. In a study, the trade group for the nation's insurers, America's Health Insurance Plans, estimated that the average premium for family coverage in the individual market nationally was $5,800. But the study found wide disparities in costs, ranging from average premiums north of $12,000 in New York and Massachusetts to premiums costing on average only $3,000 to $5,000 in more than a dozen states. Some states have even allowed insurers to introduce low-cost, high-deductible policies that can cost under $1,000 a year.

Millions of federal employees might be exempt from health benefits tax

Excerpt: Democrats are looking for ways to exclude a bevy of big groups from their proposal to tax so-called Cadillac health insurance plans. So far the list of groups seeking exclusions include labor unions, firefighters, coal miners and other high risk occupations. At this point, is there anyone else left to tax who has one of those big insurance policies? Oh right. Federal employees. Well, now some members of Congress want to carve out an exclusion for them as well.

President Obama has something important in common with Edward I, aka "Longshanks"

Excerpt: It has received far less notice than it deserves, but last week the United States joined with Egypt in sponsoring a resolution appoved by the UN Human Rights Council that could blow a gaping hole in the First Amendment's protection of freedom of speech and other civil liberties most of us take for granted. The resolution encourages member nations to define as criminal "any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence." Who defines what constitutes "national, racial or religious hatred?" Why, the government, of course. Who decides whether any given statement "constitutes incitement?" You guessed it. In other words, if you live in a country that adopts this approach to freedom of speech, be very careful what you say about any other nation, racial group or religious faith. And you better not make anybody in power mad because you would be amazed what can be construed by governments as "incitement" to "hatred." If you are an American with the notion that the First Amendment will protect your right to say whatever you want whenever you want about whomever you want, be advised that this resolution embodies exactly the conceptual assumptions about law and rights that lead directly to those speech codes that restrict civil liberties on hundreds of U.S. college campuses at this very moment

America’s Debt Paranoia

Good history of credit. Excerpt: The headlines are alarming. The New York Times panicked that Americans are “Running in Debt” and just a few years later warned that Americans were “Borrowing Trouble.” Business Week asked, “Is the Country Swamped with Debt?” and U.S. News and World Report worried that “Never Have So Many Owed So Much.” Harper’s even expressed fear that “Debt Threatens Democracy.” A labor leader bemoaned the improvidence of America’s consumers: “Has not the middle class its poverty? Very few among them are saving money. Many of them are in debt; and all they can earn for years, is, in many cases, mortgaged to pay such debt.” An academic report concluded that consumers’ promiscuous borrowing has “‘lured thousands to ruin’ encouraging people to buy what they could not pay for and making debt ‘the curse of countless families.’” And not merely the poor and improvident were lured into ruin, but upstanding middle-class families as well, as they engaged in a heated rivalry of conspicuous consumption with their neighbors. An indictment of our times? Not exactly. The first headline from The New York Times, as well as the labor leader’s concerns, were both from 1873, and the latter Times headline from 1877. The academic report appeared in 1899 and criticized the availability of installment credit, or the practice of buying consumer goods “on time.” Thorstein Veblen voiced his concerns about “conspicuous consumption” and Americans’ willingness to go into hock to fund it in 1899. The Business Week and U.S. News and World Report headlines ran in 1959. And Harper’s fretted that “Debt Threatens Democracy” in 1940.

You can fool some of the people….
President Obama's job approval dropped from 62 percent in the second quarter (April 20-July 19) of the year to 53 percent in the third quarter (July 20-Oct. 19) in Gallup data released last night. That nine-point drop is the largest between the second and third quarters for any president since Gallup began tracking job approval in 1953.

War on Fox News diminishes the White House

Excerpt: By Cokie and Steve Roberts (!!!). Presidents usually turn to their secretaries of state for foreign-policy advice. But Barack Obama must have been channeling Hillary Clinton when he decided to attack Fox News. It was Clinton, of course, who blamed her husband's troubles during Monica Madness on a "vast right-wing conspiracy." Now White House communications director Anita Dunn is accusing Fox of operating as "a wing of the Republican Party. Every White House, in every age, has blamed the press for its problems. In 1798, at the urging of President John Adams, Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, making it a crime to publish "any false, scandalous and malicious writing." Opposition editors were arrested, and their papers shuttered. Compared to Adams, even Richard Nixon, who kept an enemies list and wiretapped journalists, was a piker. So Obama is no different than his predecessors when it comes to mauling the media. But that's the problem. He said he WOULD be different. He would rise above the petty partisan bickering that has flooded the capital with verbal acid rain for years now. Apparently, those claims of civility are "no longer operable" (to quote another White House operative, Ron Ziegler, in the middle of Watergate).

Thug politics

Excerpt: So this is what "change we can believe in" done the Chicago way really looks like - Barack Obama and his White House capos muscling recalcitrant opponents and promising to crush those who don't get in line. Obama has zeroed in on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Fox News and doctors. There's nothing coincidental about this trio of targets, either: They are, respectively, the nation's most powerful business lobby, the television voice for Middle Americans worried about where Obama is taking the country, and the professional group with the greatest potential power to kill Obamacare.

Enriching Iran's Uranium: Obama Gives Iran's Nuke Program a Helping Hand

Excerpt: Thus, the Obama administration's offer to have the Iranians' impure 3.5% UF6shipped to Russia where it can be enriched to 19.75% in that nation's modern, high-capacity radio-chemical plants may not be of merely incremental assistance to the raving anti-Semitic military junta that runs Iran. It may be essential for the continuation of their own independent bomb program (independent, that is, from whatever of North Korea's bomb program they're sharing).

A Wisconsin Icon Pursues Tough Questions

Excerpt: Bryson is a believer in climate change, in that he’s as quick as anyone to acknowledge that Earth’s climate has done nothing but change throughout the planet’s existence. In fact, he took that knowledge a big step further, earlier than probably anyone else. Almost 40 years ago, Bryson stood before the American Association for the Advancement of Science and presented a paper saying human activity could alter climate. “I was laughed off the platform for saying that,” he told Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News. In the 1960s, Bryson’s idea was widely considered a radical proposition. But nowadays things have turned almost in the opposite direction: Hardly a day passes without some authority figure claiming that whatever the climate happens to be doing, human activity must be part of the explanation. And once again, Bryson is challenging the conventional wisdom. “Climate’s always been changing and it’s been changing rapidly at various times, and so something was making it change in the past,” he told us in an interview this past winter. “Before there were enough people to make any difference at all, two million years ago, nobody was changing the climate, yet the climate was changing, okay?” “All this argument is the temperature going up or not, it’s absurd,” Bryson continues. “Of course it’s going up. It has gone up since the early 1800s, before the Industrial Revolution, because we’re coming out of the Little Ice Age, not because we’re putting more carbon dioxide into the air.”….. This begs questions about the widely publicized mathematical models researchers run through supercomputers to generate climate scenarios 50 or 100 years in the future. Bryson says the data fed into the computers overemphasizes carbon dioxide and accounts poorly for the effects of clouds—water vapor. Asked to evaluate the models’ long-range predictive ability, he answers with another question: “Do you believe a five-day forecast?” Bryson says he looks in the opposite direction, at past climate conditions, for clues to future climate behavior. Trying that approach in the weeks following our interview, Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News soon found six separate papers about Antarctic ice core studies, published in peer-reviewed scientific journals between 1999 and 2006. The ice core data allowed researchers to examine multiple climate changes reaching back over the past 650,000 years. All six studies found atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations tracking closely with temperatures, but with CO2 lagging behind changes in temperature, rather than leading them. The time lag between temperatures moving up—or down—and carbon dioxide following ranged from a few hundred to a few thousand years.

Toronto imam preaching 'hate instead of harmony'

A Imam who didn’t get the message that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance.

Father runs down daughter in Peoria parking lot

Attempted honor killing…in Arizona. Didn’t get the memo about Islam. Excerpt: Peoria police are searching for a man they say ran down his 20-year-old daughter in a parking lot for becoming “too 'westernized’ and ... not living according to their traditional Iraq values.” Noor Faleh Almaleki of Surprise was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said. Another woman, Amal Edan Khalaf, 43, of Surprise also was struck and is in the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Massachusetts Man Accused of Plotting ‘Violent Jihad’

Didn’t get the Islam-is-a-religion-of-peace memo.

Toledo man gets 20 years in terror case

Didn’t get the memo. Sigh.

Regulating the Internet

Coming soon—the Blog Police.

74-year-old N.C. state senator shoots, wounds intruder at his home

This is a bit old. The e-mail I was sent claimed he was an anti-gun senator, but the story doesn’t say that. Interesting.

Epilogue for a lost Marine

Excerpt: Billy Lynch left Dorchester 72 years ago, and they’re pretty sure they’ve finally found him, a long way from home, deep in the ground in China. Staff Sergeant Billy Lynch was a Marine. He grew up on Victory Road, and if you go to the corner of Victory and Neponset Avenue, you’ll see the black street sign with the gold star that commemorates William Joseph Lynch Square. It is a place of honor for a Marine who disappeared 67 years ago. He left Neponset for the Marines in 1937, right out of high school, and never came back. He was stationed in China when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and then went to the Philippines and was there when the Japanese invaded. After the battle of Corregidor in 1942, the Japanese took him prisoner.

1 comment:

  1. Hello. The truth is that the US has been living in debt for ages and that caused the financial crisis. However, I would like to talk about the health care reform in the US as the situation now is alarming. There is still more than 15% of the American population with no health insurance coverage and even those who are covered can by refused by the insurance companies. First I thought that Obama's policy would help the people, but now I doubt it as it seem the insurance companies will be the only ones who will benefit from it.
    Take care,