Friday, March 5, 2010

Political Digest March 5, 2010

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.

What ObamaCare means and phone numbers for swing votes
http://www.dickmorris.com/blog/2010/03/03/obamacares-defining-moment-its-do-or-die-literally/#more-729
Excerpt: We need to keep up the pressure. We can’t let these votes stand. If Obamacare passes if will provide: A $500 billion cut in Medicare. 30 million new patients with no new doctors. Health care rationing. Protocols of care to deny costly treatments based on how many “Quality Adjusted Life Years” remain. Require the uninsured to pay $8500 to buy policies. Fine them 2.5% of their income if they don’t. And send them to jail if they don’t pay. Tax medical devices like pacemakers and automated wheelchairs. Force up premiums for all Americans by $2,000 a year. Add $500 billion to the federal deficit (by 2024). Raise income taxes 2.5%. Raise capital gains taxes 2.5%. Cut reimbursement to doctors who order too many tests for patients. Phone Numbers for Swing Vote Congressmen:

ObamaCare with Lipstick
http://www.john-goodman-blog.com/obamacare-with-lipstick/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=HA#more-9235
Excerpt: The two most serious defects of ObamaCare were never discussed at the Health Care Summit or in the President’s speech this afternoon. I blame the Republicans for that. As a result, things have gotten worse for the GOP. President Obama is now offering to make minor concessions on the issues the Republicans did bring up and call the whole effort a “bipartisan compromise.” (More on that below.) Okay, what is the single worst feature of ObamaCare that no one ever talks about? It is something that would completely disrupt American labor markets. Take a look at the chart below. It shows why no employer anywhere is going to be able to (a) provide health insurance to employees and (b) employ workers who earn $30,000. The reason: Any competitor employing similar workers and not providing health insurance would have a huge, insurmountable cost advantage. In 2016, ObamaCare will require almost everyone to have insurance that costs an estimated $15,000 for a family (House version). For a $30,000-a-year worker, there are additional limits on out-of-pocket costs. If the employer is providing the insurance, the total tax subsidy from the federal government will be about $2,295. However, if the employee were not getting insurance from the employer, he would qualify for the better insurance (less out-of-pocket exposure) in a new health insurance exchange — with a federal subsidy that would be $17,105 higher! Think of this as an enormous federal government gift to the employer and the employee. With competition in the labor market, we would expect the worker’s wage to eventually rise by the full amount the employer was spending on health insurance. (Higher wages replace insurance in the compensation package.) But along the way, the employer and employee combined will have $17,105 more than they had before.

Obama calls for reconciliation to prevent filibuster on health-care reform
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/03/AR2010030302213.html?wpisrc=nl_headline
So much for Harry Reid’s bald-faced lie that no one was talking about reconciliation. This is like a bad horror movie. Every time you think the monster is dead, it rises from the grave to threaten the village and rape the taxpayers. Excerpt: President Obama's endorsement Wednesday of a risky legislative maneuver to complete health-care legislation sent Democratic leaders scrambling to settle policy disputes and assemble the votes necessary for passage in the coming weeks.

Brown: Reconciliation is 'political chicanery'
http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/84873-brown-reconciliation-is-political-chicanery
Excerpt: "It's a very big mistake," Brown said of the Democrats' use of the parliamentary tactic. "The American people right now don't want political chicanery and parliamentary maneuvering to basically push through something. They should start over." Asked if the use of reconciliation could paralyze the Senate legislatively, as Republicans have threatened, Brown said, "We'll soon find out, won't we?"

Paul Ryan v. the President
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704548604575097602436388116.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_opinion
Excerpt: The Republican dissects ObamaCare's real costs. Democrats stay mute. 'Every argument has been made. Everything that there is to say about health care has been said, and just about everybody has said it," President Obama declared yesterday as he urged Democrats to steamroll his plan through Congress. What hasn't been heard, however, is even a shred of White House honesty about the true costs of ObamaCare, or its fiscal consequences. Nearby, we reprint Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan's remarks at the health summit last week, which methodically dismantle the falsehoods—there is no other way of putting it—that Mr. Obama has used to sell "reform" and repeated again yesterday. No one in the political class has even tried to refute Mr. Ryan's arguments, though he made them directly to the President and his allies, no doubt because they are irrefutable. If Democrats are willing to ignore overwhelming public opposition to ObamaCare and pass it anyway, then what's a trifling dispute over a couple of trillion dollars? At his press conference yesterday, Mr. Obama claimed that "my proposal would bring down the cost of health care for millions—families, businesses and the federal government." He said it is "fully paid for" and "brings down our deficit by up to $1 trillion over the next two decades." Never before has a vast new entitlement been sold on the basis of fiscal responsibility, and one reason ObamaCare is so unpopular is that Americans understand the contradiction between untold new government subsidies and claims of spending restraint. They know a Big Con when they hear one.

Obama Selling Judgeships For Health Care Votes
http://www.newsrealblog.com/2010/03/03/obama-selling-judgeships-for-health-care-votes/
It’s the Chicago way. Excerpt: If you can’t beat ‘em, bribe ‘em! Chicago-style politics once again coming home to roost. The Weekly Standard is reporting that Obama is now selling judgeships for health care votes: Tonight, Barack Obama will host ten House Democrats who voted against the health care bill in November at the White House; he’s obviously trying to persuade them to switch their votes to yes. One of the ten is Jim Matheson of Utah. The White House just sent out a press release announcing that today President Obama nominated Matheson’s brother Scott M. Matheson, Jr. to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. “Scott Matheson is a distinguished candidate for the Tenth Circuit court,” President Obama said. “Both his legal and academic credentials are impressive and his commitment to judicial integrity is unwavering. I am honored to nominate this lifelong Utahn to the federal bench.” Huh. How convenient. Especially when one takes into account Matheson’s past record on the health care boondoggle: He voted against the bill in the Energy and Commerce Committee back in July and again when it passed the House in November. But now he’s “undecided” on ramming the bill through Congress. “The Congressman is looking for development of bipartisan consensus,” Matheson’s press secretary Alyson Heyrend wrote to THE WEEKLY STANDARD on February 22. “It’s too early to know if that will occur.”

Alice in Health Care: Part III by Thomas Sowell
http://townhall.com/columnists/ThomasSowell/2010/03/04/alice_in_health_care_part_iii
Excerpt: Insurance companies or the government pay directly for most of the costs of most medical treatment in the United States. That is virtually a guarantee that more people will demand more medical treatment than they would if they were paying directly out of their own pockets, instead of paying indirectly in premiums and taxes.
Since people who staff either insurance company bureaucracies or government bureaucracies have to be paid, this is not bringing down the cost of medical care, but adding to it. What also adds to the costs are politicians at both state and federal levels who mandate additional benefits to be paid for by insurance companies, thereby driving up the cost of insurance. If medical insurance simply covered risks-- which is what insurance is all about-- that would be far less expensive than covering completely predictable things like annual checkups. Far more people could afford medical insurance, thereby reducing the ranks of the uninsured. But all the political incentives are for politicians to create mandates forcing insurance companies to cover an ever increasing range of treatments, and thereby forcing those who buy insurance to pay ever higher premiums to cover the costs of these mandates. That way, politicians can play Santa Claus and make insurance companies play Scrooge. It is great political theater. Politicians who are pushing for a government-controlled medical care system say that it will "keep insurance companies honest." The very idea of politicians keeping other people honest ought to tell us what a farce this is. But if we keep buying it, they will keep selling it.
One of the ways of reducing the costs of medical insurance would be to pass federal legislation putting an end to state regulation of insurance companies. That would instantly eliminate thousands of state mandates, which force insurance to cover everything from wigs to marriage counseling, depending on which special interests are influential in which states.

To vote or not to vote (or health care and the 2010 midterms)
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/white-house/to-vote-or-not-to-vote-the-pol.html?wpisrc=nl_pmpolitics
Excerpt: On Wednesday President Barack Obama laid out in stark terms his belief that the time for talking about health care was over and the time for voting on the legislation had arrived. Of the coming vote, he said: "I do not know how this plays politically, but I know it's right." For Democratic Members of Congress, that line typifies the political danger surrounding the coming vote. While the coverage of the future of the health care debate has largely focused on the fight over reconciliation, the larger issue for the increasingly large pool of of vulnerable Democrats in the House and Senate is whether passing the bill at all is the right thing to do politically. Conventional wisdom in Democratic circles is that the only politically viable path for the party on health care is to pass something -- and do it as quickly as Congress' glacial pace allows -- and move on to more popular proposals (jobs bill, financial regulatory reform etc) in advance of the November election.

The Fix: House Democrats approach danger zone with retirements
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/morning-fix/34-house-democrats-retirement.html?wprss=thefix
Excerpt: The political import of New York Democratic Rep. Eric Massa's surprising retirement on Wednesday was largely eclipsed by the controversy surrounding why he decided to depart Congress after a single term. It shouldn't be. Massa is the seventh House Democrat leaving a seat that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) won in 2008. That means that 43 percent of the Democratic retirements in the House so far in this election have come in McCain districts. It also means that 14 percent of the 49 Democratic members who hold McCain districts are retiring this fall. (Here's the full list of Democratic-held districts that McCain won.) In addition to the seven McCain districts that are now open seats, there are two others -- Kansas' 3rd and Washington's 3rd -- where Obama won with 51 percent and 53 percent, respectively, of the vote in 2008. (All told, those nine districts gave McCain an average of 54 percent.) Conventional wisdom has suggested that if Democrats have to defend 10 or more seats either won by McCain or narrowly carried by Obama that their majority status might be legitimately in danger. "We're in the [danger] zone," said Charlie Cook, a political handicapper and former Fix boss. "The open seats are a problem but [Democrats] have lots of problems." Remember, too, that filing deadlines have passed in only eight states. The next month, which includes filing deadlines in places like California (March 12), Iowa (March 19) and Missouri (March 30), will be critical in determining just how bad it is going to get for Democrats this fall.

Second Ways and Means boss ousted; Levin replaces Stark
http://thehill.com/homenews/house/84943-democrats-to-continue-lively-discussion-over-ways-and-means-leadership
Chaos in Pelosiville. Excerpt: Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) will be the acting chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced to her caucus on Thursday. The startling announcement comes a day after Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) appeared ready to take the reins of the committee from Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.). Stark was the next in line for the post in terms of seniority, but some panel members recoiled at the idea of his leading the committee. Stark is known for making controversial and eccentric remarks, and in 2007 he apologized on the House floor for comments about President George W. Bush and the Iraq War. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who serves on the panel and in leadership as Assistant to the Speaker, acknowledged there had been "lively discussions" on Wednesday about the initial decision to have Stark bcome acting chairman. The shuffling of chairmen is sure to raise questions about how Pelosi handled the issue.

Speaker Pelosi fumbles in dealing with the Rangel situation
http://thehill.com/homenews/house/84971-pelosi-fumbles-in-dealing-with-rangel-situation
Confusion to our enemies! Excerpt: Speaker Nancy Pelosi made some rare missteps in ousting Rep. Charles Rangel as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. Pelosi (D-Calif.) initially defended Rangel (D-N.Y.) after the ethics committee admonished him last week, noting he did not break House rules willfully. Politically vulnerable members were not convinced, calling for Rangel to step aside as chairman and returning money the New York Democrat donated to their campaigns. Pelosi then made her move. During an hourlong meeting Tuesday night, Pelosi and Rangel agreed that he needed to relinquish his gavel. But even though Pelosi has known since 2008 that the embattled Rangel may need to be replaced, the Speaker fumbled in picking his successor. After defending Rangel late last week and on two Sunday talk shows, Pelosi reversed course after House Democrats let her know that Rangel had become a major political liability. More than two months after saying she was in “campaign mode,” Pelosi replaced the Rangel problem with another dilemma. Instead of selecting the mild-mannered Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), who is widely respected among House Democrats, Pelosi initially tapped Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.).

Study: Minimum Wage Hike, Recession Cost Jobs
http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=40017#middle
Liberals helping the poor until they starve: Excerpt: Increasing the minimum wage was meant to raise the living standards of millions of Americans holding unskilled, entry level positions. But it may have led to the elimination of 550,000 jobs — opening the possibility that such wage levels should be revised, suggests a new study from Ball State University.

Vietnam needs to improve rights: US envoy
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hYkCQLoGLbku4UgFkn6brJe6yDkw
Or they could just buy US treasuries—that got China off the Human Rights hook. Excerpt: Vietnam needs to improve its human rights record if it wants to build a close relationship with the United States, a senior US envoy said Wednesday ahead of a visit to the region. Kurt Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for Asia, told a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee that he will travel next week to Vietnam and Laos for talks on a range of issues.

The blackmail of America
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/04/the-blackmail-of-america/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_opinion
Clinton’s War—he’s a liberal Democrat so all’s good. Excerpt: Something happened after President Clinton's 1999 war in Kosovo: It never ended. Its continuation was characterized by anti-Serb arson, kidnappings, bombings of NATO-escorted civilian buses and efforts to kill everyone from schoolgirls to octogenarians, plus the rare peacekeeper who tried to prevent any of this. Toward the end of 1999, several major newspapers reported on findings that mass graves such as the infamous Trepca zinc mine turned up empty, as did the stadium we were told was being used as a concentration camp. Anyone reading this one-time follow-up also would have learned that the "cleansing" of 800,000 Albanians had more to do with NATO bombs and Kosovo Liberation Army orders than with the outrageous claim that Serbia was trying to empty the province of 90 percent of its population. But the bombshell postwar story had no legs. No media outlet, human rights organization or congressional subcommittee launched an investigation, and the press moved on, taking the public with it. So Americans don't know that within months of our serving as the Kosovo Liberation Army's (KLA) air force, the Albanian insurgents also tried to seize the Presevo Valley area in southern Serbia and by early 2001 started a civil war in Macedonia, which had sheltered 400,000 refugees during the Kosovo war….. We didn't want Albanians to start killing us, so we let them keep killing Serbs. Rather than see what would happen if we tried saying "no" to Albanian demands and designs, and risk Americans discerning the real nature of their new best friends - which of course would compound the domestic terror threat - we guaranteed ourselves a bigger, more entrenched and more global problem. When Kosovo re-entered the headlines in 2008, some started catching on. In March 2008, Northwestern University law professor Eugene Kontorovich wrote in the New York Sun, "An important ingredient of Kosovo's success in achieving self-determination seems to be their constant threats of violence. The Kosovar prime minister ... often warned of 'dangers' and 'unforeseeable consequences' if the province were not allowed to secede. ... As a result, NATO and America have become parties to the carve-up of a sovereign state that they subdued by force. ... For international law, the entire process is a string of humiliations ... peacekeepers are hostages; and sovereignty is trumped by the threat of terror."… In February 2007, Jim Jatras, a former senior analyst for the Senate Republican Foreign Policy Committee, asked a Hungarian member of the European Parliament, "Why are you rewarding Albanian violence with state power?" The member replied, "Because we're afraid of them."

CRUTEM3 “…code did not adhere to standards one might find in professional software engineering”
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc5502.htm
Excerpt: I am writing at this late juncture regarding this matter because I have now seen that two separate pieces of written evidence to your committee mention me (without using my name) and I feel it is appropriate to provide you with some further information. I am a professional computer programmer who started programming almost 30 years ago. I have a BA in Mathematics and Computation from Oxford University and a DPhil in Computer Security also from Oxford. My entire career has been spent in computer software in the UK, US and France. I am also a frequent blogger on science topics (my blog was recently named by The Times as one of its top 30 science blogs). Shortly after the release of emails from UEA/CRU I looked at them out of curiosity and found that there was a large amount of software along with the messages. Looking at the software itself I was surprised to see that it was of poor quality. This resulted in my appearance on BBC Newsnight criticizing the quality of the UEA/CRU code in early December 2009 (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/8395514.stm).

Green energy
http://www.softgreenglow.com/wp/?p=8941
Excerpt: After two studies refuted President Barack Obama’s assertions regarding the success of Spain’s and Denmark’s wind energy programs, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request reveals the Department of Energy turned to George Soros and to wind industry lobbyists to attack the studies. Via the FOIA request, the Competitive Enterprise Institute has learned that the Department of Energy — specifically the office headed by Al Gore’s company’s former CEO, Cathy Zoi — turned to George Soros’ Center for American Progress and other wind industry lobbyists to help push Obama’s wind energy proposals. The FOIA request was not entirely complied with, and CEI just filed an appeal over documents still being withheld. In addition to withholding many internal communications, the administration is withholding communications with these lobbyists and other related communications, claiming they constitute “inter-agency memoranda.” This implies that, according to the DoE, wind industry lobbyists and Soros’s Center for American Progress are — for legal purposes — extensions of the government.

Cherry blossoms a little battered but poised to peak April 3-8
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/04/AR2010030401018.html?wpisrc=nl_pmheadline
Alert Al Gore about GW-denying Elm trees. Excerpt: The ground has been frozen under layers of snow. Daffodils are just now breaking the surface. The elm trees are two weeks late in starting to flower. And Washington's hallowed cherry blossoms? A little banged up from the blizzards and wind and hampered by a lingering chill in the soil, but apparently not too far off schedule.

Jim Bunning: None In, None Left On
http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/03/jim_bunning_none_in_none_left.html
Excerpt: Late last week, the word on retiring Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning and his one-man bust-up with the Democratic majority was grim. "Looks like some dour Republican has opened his yap and picked a fight he can't win." By Sunday, a few details had penetrated the media firewall, and it looked like Bunning might have a valid point: Democrats were proposing to borrow ten billion dollars to save non-essential workers their jobs in the Transportation Department and to install satellite TV in rural areas, and this was bundled together with another extension of unemployment benefits. Bunning argued that there is no need to go deeper into debt to the Chinese government when hundreds of billions remain unspent in last year's "Stimulus" fund. By Tuesday, word was out that colleagues were meeting with the senator, trying to get him to give up his cause. His issue had turned into a gift to the Democrats. The mainstream press was having a party, yucking it up, cracking wise on poor old Jim Bunning, portraying the matter as a Republican Party effort to deny unemployment benefits to millions who are out of work. For Democrats, it couldn't get any better than this. Right in the middle of Congressman Charlie Rangel's corruption problems, Speaker Pelosi's gaffes, the Governor Paterson mess, and the terrorists' lawyers in the Justice Department, out of the blue came a cranky old Republican who, as a matter of principle, wanted to starve widows and orphans. Champagne corks were popping all over D.C. But the problem for Democrats is that Bunning was able to hold out for five long days. One lone U.S. senator was able to stop the gravy-train long enough to attract attention and for the real message to leak out. In '06 and '08, Democrats campaigned specifically on what they call "Pay-Go," whereby the government must match spending with revenue. The matter was hatched back when Democrats were trying to gum up the War on Terror. Pay-Go was an attempt to tie George Bush's hands. You see, voting for military cuts while troops were engaged in combat would have looked bad to voters, but Pay-Go, once passed, was to be a device whereby Democrats could cut military funding indirectly. "Hey, it isn't us. We're just following the law..."

How to ruin a child: Too much esteem, too little sleep
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/03/AR2010030303075.html?wpisrc=nl_pmheadline
Memo to that Massachusetts school where children in physical education classes jump rope without using ropes: Get some ropes. And you -- you are about 85 percent of all parents -- who are constantly telling your children how intelligent they are: Do your children a favor and pipe down. These are nuggets from "NutureShock: New Thinking About Children" by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. It is another book to torment modern parents who are determined to bring to bear on their offspring the accumulated science of child-rearing. Modern parents want to nurture so skillfully that Mother Nature will gasp in admiration at the marvels their parenting produces from the soft clay of children. Those Massachusetts children are jumping rope without ropes because of a self-esteem obsession. The assumption is that thinking highly of oneself is a prerequisite for high achievement. That is why some children's soccer teams stopped counting goals (think of the damaged psyches of children who rarely scored) and shower trophies on everyone. No child at that Massachusetts school suffers damaged self-esteem by tripping on the jump rope. But the theory that praise, self-esteem and accomplishment increase in tandem is false. Children incessantly praised for their intelligence (often by parents who are really praising themselves) often underrate the importance of effort. Children who open their lunchboxes and find mothers' handwritten notes telling them how amazingly bright they are tend to falter when they encounter academic difficulties. Also, Bronson and Merryman say that overpraised children are prone to cheating because they have not developed strategies for coping with failure.

Response to this article: Mothers in Combat Boots
http://www.hoover.org/publications/policyreview/82844182.html
I think that some one KNEW that this was a "potential" issue during Desert Storm. I was given 7 days to actuate my dependent care plan. Oh, what the report fails to mention is that every single parent regardless of gender is required to submit a detailed dependent care plan. When I was on active duty, I was required to prove that there were at least three people who could take my daughter for 1-30 days, 30-60 days, and 61-365 days. I also had to prove that I had a transportation plan in place to move my daughter to her long care provider if I were deployed. I had to prove that either one of my designated long-term care-givers has access to the account in my absence. My plan had to be precise, thorough AND approved by my superiors before it was placed in my file. Shame on the young lady's superiors for not keeping up with their end of the agreement. Shame on the young lady for not following regulation. I wish I could be more sympathetic to her situation, but having walked a similar path I fail to see where the military is unfounded in its actions.....she has a contract which makes her in essence government property. –Kerry.

Using Intelligence from the al-Mabhouh Hit
http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20100303_using_intelligence_almabhouh_hit?utm_source=SWeeklyM&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=100303&utm_content=readmore&elq=fb629e1ecc624ad1b6dbc7258cd34894
Excerpt: The assassination of senior Hamas militant leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh on Jan. 19 is still generating a tremendous amount of discussion and speculation some six weeks after the fact. Dubai’s police force has been steadily releasing new information almost on a daily basis, which has been driving the news cycle and keeping the story in the media spotlight. The most astounding release so far has been nearly 30 minutes of surveillance camera footage that depicts portions of a period spanning the arrival of the assassination team in Dubai, surveillance of al-Mabhouh, and the killing and the exfiltration of the team some 22 hours later. By last count, Dubai police claim to have identified some 30 people suspected of involvement in the assassination; approximately 17 have been convincingly tied to the operation through video footage either as surveillants, managers or assassins, with the rest having only tenuous connections based on information released by the Dubai police. In any case, the operation certainly was elaborate and required the resources and planning of a highly organized agency, one most likely working for a nation-state.

A MUSLIM leader has blasted a pub for using the name of holy city Medina - branding it an insult to his religion
http://www.thesun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/2875451/Muslims-fury-at-holy-city-boozer-in-Dundee-named-Medina.html
No word on his feelings about suicide bombing, child marriages, stonnings, FGM etc. Are they outrages too? Excerpt: The boozer in Dundee changed its name from Bar Rio to Medina Bar and Grill after a renovation. But this has sparked outrage - as Saudi Arabian city Medina is the second-holiest site in Islam behind Mecca. Medina is also a term used for a market or trading centre in north African cities.

Former Gitmo detainee said running Afghan battles
http://www.seattlepi.com/national/1104ap_as_from_gitmo_to_battle.html
The result of Bush caving to pressure from the left and Europe, and what did it buy him? Problem is that instead og Waterboarding them, we should be shooting them. Excerpt: A man freed from Guantanamo more than two years ago after he claimed he only wanted to go home and help his family is now a senior commander running Taliban resistance to the U.S.-led offensive in southern Afghanistan, two senior Afghan intelligence officials say. Abdul Qayyum is also seen as a leading candidate to be the next No. 2 in the Afghan Taliban hierarchy, said the officials, interviewed last week by The Associated Press. The story of Abdul Qayyum could add to the complications President Barack Obama is facing in fulfilling his pledge to close the prison at Guantanamo by sending some prisoners back to their home countries or to other willing nations, while putting others on trial. U.S. intelligence asserts that 20 percent of suspects released from the Guantanamo Bay prison have returned to the fight and the number has been steadily increasing.

Saudi Woman Gets 300 Lashes, Jail for Complaints, Group Says
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-03-03/saudi-woman-gets-300-lashes-jail-for-complaints-group-says.html
Must not be judgmental—the left reminds us knuckle-draggers that all cultures are equally-valid. Once we have the beauty of Shari’a law here, this will happen here. Excerpt: A Saudi woman who filed harassment claims in Saudi Arabia without being accompanied by a male relative has been sentenced to 300 lashes and 18 months in jail, Human Rights Watch said. Sawsan Salim lodged a series of complaints in 2007 at government offices and in court in the northern region of Qasim in which she alleged harassment by local officials, the New York-based rights group said. She was sentenced in January on charges of making “spurious complaints” against government officials and appearing “without a male guardian,” the group said in an e-mailed statement received today. “In Saudi Arabia, being a woman going about her legitimate business without a man’s protection is apparently a crime,” Nadya Khalife, women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in the statement. “The government needs to free Sawsan Salim and keep its promise to end this discriminatory system.” Bandar bin Mohammed al-Aiban, president of the government- run Saudi Human Rights Commission, couldn’t be reached immediately for comment. (The “Saudi Hunan Rights Commission.” Must be like the Charlie Rangel Ethics in Government Institute.)

Punjab: Christian couple touches Qur‘an with dirty hands, gets 25 years in prison
http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Punjab:-Christian-couple-touches-Qur%E2%80%98an-with-dirty-hands,-gets-25-years-in-prison-17778.html
Moderate, tolerant Islam. Excerpt: A court in Kasur district, Punjab, convicted a Christian couple, Munir Masih and Ruqqiya Bibi, to 25 years in prison. According to the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), judge Ajmal Hussein convicted the couple for touching the Qur‘an without washing their hands. Munir Masih and Ruqqiya Bibi were released on bail last January, but were re-arrested after the judge ruled against them. The husband was locked up in Kasur’s district prison; the wife was sent to the women’s prison in Multan. Both have started serving 25 years behind bars.

Toronto man investigated again for hate writings
http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=2633973
Didn’t get the “Islam is a religion of peace” memo. Excerpt: Just months after Ontario decided not to charge a Toronto man with hate crimes, partly because he was undergoing rehabilitation, he is again being investigated over his online writings on a website called Filthy Jewish Terrorists. Police are probing Salman Hossain's recent postings on the Arizona-based Internet site on which he writes harshly about Jews, Christians and moderate Canadian Muslims, whom he calls "traitors." He refers to Jews as "diseased and filthy," "the scum of the earth," "psychotic" and "mass murderers" and writes that "a genocide should be perpetrated against the Jewish populations of North America and Europe." In addition, he blames Jews for terrorist plots, such as the Toronto 18 bomb conspiracy, which was the work of Islamist extremists. He also praises God for "the victorious resistance operations" in Afghanistan.

Father and daughter shot dead, bomb wounds 5 in Thai southhttp://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/1041175/1/.html
Didn’t get the memo. Excerpt: Suspected Islamic militants shot dead a father and his young daughter in Thailand's troubled south, while a roadside bomb wounded five soldiers, police said Wednesday. The casualties were the latest in a six-year separatist insurgency in the Muslim-majority southern provinces bordering Malaysia that has left more than 4,000 people dead and thousands more wounded.

Obama Urges Straight Up-or-Down Vote on Constitution
http://www.scrappleface.com/?p=4524
Satire (The humor-impaired should look it up.) Too funny. Excerpt: In an effort to break through bipartisan opposition and public discontent with his latest health insurance reform proposal, President Barack Obama today called on the Senate to “take a final, straight up-or-down vote on the U.S. Constitution.” “The real obstacle to approval of my health care reform plan is this ancient charter of negative liberties that says what the states and the federal government can’t do to you,” President Obama said, while standing among a group of physicians dressed in white lab coats and fellow constitutional scholars in white powdered wigs. While the president didn’t use the word ‘reconciliation’ — a parliamentary maneuver allowing majority party leaders to pass bills without tiresome and time-consuming debate — he made his intentions clear. “The Constitution deserves the same kind of up-or-down vote that the Bush tax cuts received,” Mr. Obama said. “Once we break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, we’ll have no problem passing this historic health reform legislation.”

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this! I really like your blog!!

    Common Cents
    http://www.commoncts.blogspot.com

    ps. Link Exchange??

    ReplyDelete