Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Political Digest December 8, 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.

Aide: Baucus nominated girlfriend for US attorney
Excerpt: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus was having an affair with his current girlfriend when he recommended her for U.S. attorney last year, his spokesman said late Friday. Ty Matsdorf said the Montana Democrat and his former state office director Melodee Hanes began their relationship in the summer of 2008, after Baucus separated from his wife. Baucus nominated Hanes for the U.S. attorney post in Montana in March, but she later withdrew her name.

CBO: Financial overhaul would hike deficit by $4.5 billion
Chump Change. Excerpt: A wide-ranging House bill to crack down on Wall Street and revamp the nation's financial markets will increase the nation's deficit by $4.5 billion over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The nonpartisan CBO said late on Friday that the effort between 2010 and 2019 would increase revenues to the federal government by $4.9 billion and increase spending by $9.4 billion. The package would have its biggest fiscal impact between 2010 and 2014, when budget deficits would increase by $10.7 billion, CBO said.

In e-mails, science of warming is hot debate
Stolen files of 'Climate-gate' suggest some viewpoints on change are disregarded
The MSM notices. If the science was settled, as they claimed, wouldn’t have to use tricks and suppress data. Excerpt: It began with an anonymous Internet posting, and a link to a wonky set of e-mails and files. Stolen, apparently, from a research center in Britain, the files showed the leaders of climate-change science discussing flaws in their own data, and seemingly scheming to muzzle their critics. Now it has mushroomed into what is being called "Climate-gate," a scandal that has done what many slide shows and public-service ads could not: focus public attention on the science of a warming planet. Except now, much of that attention is focused on the science's flaws. Leaked just before international climate talks begin in Copenhagen -- the culmination of years of work by scientists to raise alarms about greenhouse-gas emissions -- the e-mails have cast those scientists in a political light and given new energy to others who think the issue of climate change is all overblown.

Child brides' enduring plight Problem illustrates hold of tribal doctrines http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/04/AR2009120404352.html?wpisrc=newsletter
PC should stand for “Political Cowards.” It is strict Shari’a Law which promotes child marriage, based on the perfect example of the Prophet Muhammad, who married his youngest wife at 6, consummated the marriage when she was 9, according to the Hadith, the holy texts that support the Qur’an. Which is why the marriage age in Iran is—nine! But they say “tribal” because they can’t mention “Islam” or “Shari’a” in such a story. Excerpt: SANAA, YEMEN -- Ayesha rested her head on the doctor's desk. She had removed her black veil, revealing a round face contorted in pain. She had married a 53-year-old man when she was 13. Now 15, she wanted her childhood back. She clutched her sides and groaned. It was 3:30 p.m. in Arwa Elrabee's office. The gynecologist looked at Ayesha and shook her head. She knew Ayesha's pain was as much psychological as it was physical. "I don't want to be married," Ayesha explained, her mother standing next to her. "Why did you marry her off so early?" the doctor demanded. "Why didn't you allow her to continue her education?" "It wasn't me. It was her father," Ayesha's mother replied. "He wanted to marry her off." Yemen has no minimum age for marriage, and girls as young as 8 are often forced to wed. Many become mothers soon after they reach puberty. The country has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world. The death of a 12-year-old in childbirth this fall highlighted the health risks.

Chicago Suspect Linked to Mumbai Attacks
Excerpt: A Chicago man accused of plotting a terror attack on a Danish newspaper also helped scope out targets in the Indian city of Mumbai before they were attacked last year, federal prosecutors said Monday. David Coleman Headley and another man, Tahawwur Hussain Ranawere, were charged in October with plotting an attack on the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten out of revenge for a dozen cartoons printed in 2005 depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Authorities on Monday unsealed new charges alleging Headley conducted extensive surveillance of targets in Mumbai for more than two years preceding the November 2008 terrorist attack on India's largest city that killed approximately 170 people and injured hundreds more. Authorities say he has been cooperating with investigators in both the Danish and Indian plots since his arrest.

A French Infantryman's View of American Soldiers
Excerpt: And they are impressive warriors ! We have not come across bad ones, as strange at it may seem to you when you know how critical French people can be. Even if some of them are a bit on the heavy side, all of them provide us everyday with lessons in infantry know-how. Beyond the wearing of a combat kit that never seem to discomfort them (helmet strap, helmet, combat goggles, rifles etc.) the long hours of watch at the outpost never seem to annoy them in the slightest. On the one square meter wooden tower above the perimeter wall they stand the five consecutive hours in full battle rattle and night vision goggles on top, their sight unmoving in the directions of likely danger. No distractions, no pauses, they are like statues nights and days. At night, all movements are performed in the dark - only a handful of subdued red lights indicate the occasional presence of a soldier on the move. Same with the vehicles whose lights are covered - everything happens in pitch dark even filling the fuel tanks with the Japy pump.

The Threat at Home
Excerpt: As the United States turns its attention to security threats abroad, the disturbing trend of extremism in America’s Somali communities is a reminder that there are also real and present dangers at home. A growing body of evidence suggests that Somali communities in the Unites States have become fertile ground for terrorist groups to recruit and implant operatives. On November 23, the federal government announced eight more indictments of Somali-Americans in Minnesota on charges of recruiting members of their community to join the al-Shabaab terrorist organization in Somalia. This brings to 14 the number of Somalis from Minnesota who have been indicted for helping the Al-Qaeda-linked group.

Scholars from a country that doesn't allow churches or synagogues slam Swiss minaret ban http://www.jihadwatch.org/2009/12/scholars-from-a-country-that-doesnt-allow-churches-or-synagogues-slam-swiss-minaret-ban.html
Excerpt: Hypocrisy. That is, it is hypocrisy from a Western point of view. As far as these "scholars" are concerned, Islam is the truth, its truth is self-evident, and therefore the Swiss are obligated to accommodate it in a way that the Saudis are not obligated to accommodate non-Muslim religious observance.

Barbara Kay: Toxic classrooms (anti-semitism) http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/11/30/barbara-kay-toxic-classrooms.aspx
Excerpt: My attention has been drawn to the disturbing phenomenon of overt Jew hatred in high schools, especially those with high populations of students from countries where Jew hatred is officially sanctioned in the law of their countries of origin. As a case in point I offer one particularly disturbing story, because I believe it points to wider issues of concern for the educational system and for our society. It involves a Jewish teacher in an Ontario French high school whose name I cannot reveal because she fears physical retaliation. "Miriam" had taught in French language schools in the 1970s and 1980s in schools with large Lebanese Christian populations without incurring any anti-Semitism. In her current career she works amicably with Muslims. A child of Holocaust survivors, Miriam is demonstrably neither racist nor anti-Muslim. In 2001 Miriam started teaching at a school largely populated by children of refugees, mainly from Djibouti and Eritrea, countries where there are no Jews but where hatred of Jews is deeply entrenched in the culture. During the academic year of 2002-2003 Miriam started to encounter anti-Semitic taunts from students, such as "Does someone see a Jew here, someone smell a Jew? It stinks here." When she reported this and similar insults to the principal, the principal did not follow up. Indeed, the principal seemed more concerned about the students' sensibilities than hers.

Deals cut with health groups may be at peril
Top Senate Democrats fight to sustain support in face of amendments http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/05/AR2009120503235.html?wpisrc=newsletter
Excerpt: Heading into a make-or-break week, Senate Democratic leaders are struggling to preserve the fragile support of interest groups for an overhaul of the nation's health-care system, even as lawmakers seek to change the carefully crafted provisions that brought the groups on board. On the floor and behind closed doors, the Senate wrestled Saturday with amendments that would impose additional cost-control requirements on hospitals, doctors and drug companies, squeezing out savings beyond the considerable sums those groups had already volunteered to give up. Of particular concern to seniors groups is an effort to strengthen a new independent board that would determine the future of Medicare, raising the possibility of cuts much deeper than those envisioned in the $848 billion health-care bill.

Obama meets Dems (votes “present”) without addressing divisive issues http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/70811-obama-meets-dems-without-addressing-divisive-issues
Excerpt: Obama didn't take questions from the senators or mention the two issues now dividing Senate Democrats and preventing passage of the bill: a government-run insurance plan and restrictions on federal funds for abortion.

Obama the mortal
Wonder if Chris Matthew’s leg still tingles? Excerpt: Some parishioners in the Church of Obama discovered last week that their spiritual leader is a false prophet. Consider the blow suffered by the liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, who issued a plaintive plea to the president on the eve of his announcement that he was sending 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan. By escalating the war, Moore wrote: "[Y]ou will do the worst possible thing you could do -- destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they've always heard is true -- that all politicians are alike."

Obama Hosts Closed Meeting on Open Government http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5joOOsTVD57lFwm_InpZY_nRbg4KQD9CDRVOO0
Gotta love this.

What’s Wrong With the Way We Pay Doctors
Excerpt: End-of-life counseling. Death panels. Pulling the plug on Gramma. Putting her on the ice. Some of this is amusing. Some good theater. Some over the top. But there is a serious issue here that everyone is overlooking. The only reason we are even discussing whether Medicare should pay doctors for end-of-life counseling is because of the totally dysfunctional way doctors are paid in the first place. Imagine a discussion with a lawyer. The conversation might begin with life insurance, move to annuity contracts, ease over into living wills, jump to the problem of your worthless heirs, segue into legal issues surrounding cremation and perhaps end with you questioning whether you can require your surviving spouse to keep the urn with your ashes on the mantel over the fireplace, next to your photograph. You would expect to pay your lawyer for the time you spent in consultation. Right? But what if lawyers were paid the way doctors are paid? If Medicare were paying lawyers, there would be a long list of approved consultation services, and next to each service there would be an approved fee. There would be one fee, say, for advice on insurance contracts, another for annuities, and yet another for living wills. But if a service were not on the list at all (say, advice on worthless heirs or urns on mantel shelves) the lawyer would get nothing whatsoever for those parts of the conversation. If you think that sounds wacky, it gets even worse. But let’s turn to doctors for a moment. Medicare has about 7,500 tasks it will pay doctors to perform and it has an approved fee for each task. As everyone knows by now, end-of-life counseling is not among them. But that’s not surprising. There are all kinds of useful doctor services that aren’t on Medicare’s list.

Excerpt: For two years, our space agency has refused Freedom of Information requests on why it has repeatedly corrected its climate figures. A leading researcher threatens to sue to find more inconvenient truths. What's become known as "Climate-Gate" may be about to explode on this side of the pond as well. Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has threatened a lawsuit against NASA if by year-end the agency doesn't honor his FOI requests for information on how and why its climate numbers have been consistently adjusted for errors. "I assume that what is there is highly damaging," says Horner, who suspects, based on the public record, the same type of data fudging, manipulation and suppression that has occurred at Britain's East Anglia Climate Research Unit. "These guys (NASA) are quite clearly determined not to reveal their internal discussions about this."

The climate turns colder for global warming
Excerpt: When announcing the postponement, the White House said it was because of recent "progress toward a meaningful accord." In fact, all of the news on man-made climate change has been bad for Obama and other believers. Perhaps the most shocking thing about the scientific scandal at the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit is how much of the global warming belief structure was based on the outfit's research. Once it was revealed that scientists at the school had colluded with their peers around the world to cook results and silence skeptics, the whole international climate complex came unraveled like an old cotton sweater. The White House sent Science Adviser James Holdren up to Congress to answer questions about the first great fraud of the 21st century. It was an unfortunate choice. Holdren's rapid blinking, jerking gestures and shaggy beard suggested Ted Kaczynski more than Robert Oppenheimer. Holdren's answers were astonishing -- yes, the data from the Climate Research Unit are in doubt; yes, the data provide the partial basis for the only two other long-range temperature studies; no, this should not give us pause about proposals to shrink the economy by trillions of dollars.

Earth's Next Last Chance
Excerpt: With 20,000 delegates, advocates and journalists jetting to Copenhagen for planet Earth's last chance, the carbon footprint of the global warming summit will be the only impressive consequence of the climate change meeting. Its organizers had hoped it would produce binding caps on emissions, global taxation to redistribute trillions of dollars, and micromanagement of everyone's choices. China, nimble at the politics of pretending that is characteristic of climate change theater, promises only to reduce its "carbon intensity" -- carbon emissions per unit of production. So China's emissions will rise. Barack Obama, understanding the histrionics required in climate change debates, promises that U.S. emissions in 2050 will be 83 percent below 2005 levels. If so, 2050 emissions will equal those in 1910, when there were 92 million Americans. But there will be 420 million in 2050, so Obama's promise means that per capita emissions then will be about what they were in 1875. That. Will. Not. Happen.

Groupthink and the Global Warming Industry
Excerpt: First, the climate change industry is shot through with groupthink (or what climate scientist Judith Curry calls "climate tribalism"). Activists would have us believe that the overwhelming majority of "real" scientists agree with them while the few dissenters are all either crazed or greedy "deniers" akin to flat-earthers and creationists. These e-mails show that what's really at work is a very large clique of scientists attempting to excommunicate perceived heretics for reasons that have more to do with psychology and sociology than physics or climatology. Second, the climate industry really is an industry. Climate scientists make their money and careers from government, academia, the United Nations and foundations. The grantors want the grantees to confirm the global warming "consensus." The tenure and peer-review processes likewise hinge on conformity. That doesn't necessarily mean climate change is untrue, but it does mean sloppiness and bias are unavoidable.

Business Fumes Over Carbon Dioxide Rule http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126013960013179181.html?mod=djemITP
Excerpt: An EPA endangerment finding "could result in a top-down command-and-control regime that will choke off growth by adding new mandates to virtually every major construction and renovation project," U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue said in a statement. "The devil will be in the details, and we look forward to working with the government to ensure we don't stifle our economic recovery," he said, noting that the group supports federal legislation. The Copenhagen Comedy from the Heritage Foundation Despite the fact that the entire conference is founded on the belief that human economic activity, especially flying and driving, is emitting levels of greenhouse gasses that will soon kill us all, plutocrats from around the world have marshaled over 1,200 limos and 140 private planes to travel to and around Copenhagen over the next two weeks. When they are not participating in the world’s oldest profession, conferees will be negotiating over a successor treaty to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol which obligated most developed nations to reduce their greenhouse emissions by 5 percent below 1990 baseline levels by 2012. So how did those Kyoto emissions reduction pledges turnout? According to U.N. data, between 2000 and 2006, the 27 European signatories actually increased their emissions by 0.1%. Canada even saw a 21.3% emissions rise. Meanwhile, the U.S., who was not bound by the treaty since the U.S. Senate voted 95-0 not to subject our economy to costly regulations that China and India were specifically exempted from, actually reduced our emissions by 3% over the same time period.

Long-term Lifestyle Trends Prove Positive
You’d never guess this if you just read the Leftstream media and listened to liberal calls to join the list of victims. Bottom Line: Life expectancy for Americans has never been longer, food has never been cheaper, and the U.S. economy has never been more energy efficient than today. These are just a few of many long-term trends that demonstrate that the “good old days” are now, and life for the average American keeps getting better and better all the time.

$10 an hour with 2 kids? IRS pounces
From the bureaucrats who want to run healthcare. Excerpt: "They showed us a spreadsheet of incomes in the Seattle area," says Dante Driver, an accountant at Seattle's G.A. Michael and Co. "The auditor said, 'You made eighteen thousand, and our data show a family of three needs at least thirty-six thousand to get by in Seattle." "They thought she must have unreported income. That she was hiding something. Basically they were auditing her for not making enough money."

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