Friday, May 28, 2010

Political Digest May 28, 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. It also doesn’t mean that I don’t agree with them. I have to say all this to give some of my critics the benefit of the doubt, assuming they are thick, rather than deliberately taking things the wrong way.

Republicans continue to press White House on Sestak job offer
For the better part of the last week, Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) has been under sustained attack from national Republicans about whether or not he was offered a job in the Obama Administration in exchange for ending his ultimately successful primary challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter.” I think it's looking increasingly like there's something that they're trying to hide," said former Rep. Pat Toomey (R), who is running against Sestak for the Senate seat this fall, in an interview with Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity Tuesday night. "If Joe is going to be the man of principle that he says he's going to be in this campaign, I think he would be more forthcoming." Regardless of his motivations, Toomey's comments are the latest in a barrage of rhetoric coming out of the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee that seeks to raise questions about a largely ignored comment -- at the time -- made by Sestak to a local television show in late February regarding White House involvement in trying to drive him from the race.

Dem from border district says security must precede immigration reform
The people closest to the problem are scared and angry—and the problem is spreading to our cities. Excerpt: A Democratic lawmaker from a district bordering Mexico concurred with Republicans Wednesday in saying border security must precede comprehensive immigration reform. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D), who represents Arizona's 8th congressional district, which borders Mexico, said border security must be the first priority for lawmakers and President Barack Obama and his administration. "First and foremost, we have to secure the border," Giffords said during an appearance on CBS's "Washington Unplugged" webcast. "I really don't believe at this point, in the national dialog, we're going to have a comprehensive bill until we really, finally secure the border." Giffords, a second-term lawmaker, had goaded Obama into agreeing to send 1,200 National Guard troops to the border in the state, mirroring a GOP proposal but still well short of the 3,000 troops Arizona Republican Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl had requested.

In Somalia's war, a new challenger is pushing back radical al-Shabab militia
Excerpt: From behind green sandbags, Abdul Gader fired his rusting AK-47 down a narrow road. A Koran, its pages open, rested on the earth near his sweat-soaked body. So did a pile of bullets. Before him was territory controlled by radical al-Shabab fighters. Behind him was territory Gader and his comrades had taken away from them. They are the enemy of my religion and my culture," Gader, a strapping 17-year-old with a boyish face, declared after pumping another burst of bullets at his targets lurking among crumbling houses. Four days earlier, Gader's moderate Islamist militia had accomplished what the Somali government, backed by tens of millions of dollars in U.S. assistance, could not do for two years: It pushed al-Shabab out of Sigale, a forlorn Mogadishu enclave. The militia, a Sufi group known as Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa, is posing the strongest challenge yet to al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda-linked organization. The Sufis potentially offer an alternative strategy for the United States and its allies in the struggle to stem the rising tide of Islamist radicalism in this failed state on Africa's east coast. "There's a gap to be filled, and Ahlu Sunna is filling it," said Ahmed Haji Hassan, 22, a fighter who swaggered with confidence near the sandbagged front line of Somalia's brutal civil conflict. The rise of Somalia's moderate Muslims often draws comparisons to the Sunni tribes in Iraq's Anbar province that rose up to fight al-Qaeda extremism in their country. Like them, the Sufis have wider political ambitions and could bring a measure of stability and relief from the brutal thuggery of al-Shabab. But many skeptical Somalis, jaded by nearly two decades of war, fear that the Sufis are just the latest jumble of self-interested holy warriors competing for turf and power.

Jamaican police have tenuous hold on Kingston violence; death toll more than 44
More victims of American drug users. Excerpt: Jamaican security forces claimed a tenuous hold over the slum stronghold of an alleged drug kingpin and gang leader sought by the United States, but only after clashes that killed at least 44 civilians, the country's official ombudsman said Wednesday.

Death of the Postmodernist Dream
Excerpt: As crises mount abroad and voters’ anger grows at home, Obama’s dream of a new world order has died a quiet death. In just a few months the brave new dream world as we knew it has died — but with a whimper, not a bang. There will be no more lectures on soft power and a Baltic-to-Mediterranean postmodern culture. Suddenly European Union expansion is dead in its tracks. The question of Turkish membership, after a decade-long controversy, has been settled without so much as a demonstration. The Europeans don’t want another Greece in their midst; the Turks don’t want German bankers running their sagging finances. A soaring Euro was supposed to reflect the sobriety of socialism; instead, it hid its profligacy, but only for a while. So the welfare state is discredited. In the past, we used to be warned that static population growth, vast public-sector employment, early and generous retirement benefits, and high taxes were not sustainable. In recent years, those lectures were caricatured as partisan or hypothetical. No longer. The Greek meltdown — with Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain on the brink — has shown that European socialism does not work. Bankruptcy, not politics, is the final arbiter: Individuals, firms, and nations either buy particular bonds or they don’t. And a nation like Greece, in turn, either pays what it has borrowed or it doesn’t. All the op-eds in the New York Times cannot change that fact. Al Gore will continue to channel from his Montecito hilltop the latest green consensus of the international academic community. But fairly or not, neither he nor it will be listened to all that much: He has made one too many millions off his hysteria, and professors have fudged one too many publicly funded studies. The result is that almost at once both have lost the people’s trust. A volcano, not hot weather, shut down European air travel. The Sierra Nevada is still buried under snow in late May. At least this year, a wet, cold state of California is not going to blow away, as Energy Secretary Chu warned not long ago.

Marines brave sniper fire in Marjah
Excerpt: Have you noticed that the main stream media seldom reports on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Monday is Memorial Day, and President Obama will not attend the traditional ceremony at Arlington. Instead, he is going to Chicago and then back that evening for a Paul McCartney event. Four Marines have died this week in Afghanistan, and it doesn't seem to matter to Obama or the media. The counterinsurgency operation is not going well as stated by General McChrystal. This Administration does not have the will to win the war in Afghanistan, so I'm going on line to say it is time to bring our troops home. There is no reason for our troops to sacrifice their lives for an ungrateful President, media and many Americans who just don't give a damn. National prestige is already lost. (The author of this blog is a retired Marine Major General, who doesn’t post as often as I’d like, but is worth reading when he does. He’s working on a book. On dogs. My guess is after a full life of dealing with both, he admires the dogs’ virtues of loyalty and integrity over humans.)

DOJ Lawyers Draft Challenge to AZ Law
Don’t they have to be using the federal law to have it impeded? A team of Justice Department attorneys reviewing the new immigration law in Arizona has recommended that the U.S. government challenge the state law in federal court, but the recommendation faces an uncertain future and tough scrutiny from others in the Justice Department, sources with knowledge of the process tell Fox News. Staff attorneys within the Justice Department recently sent higher-ups the recommendation. At the same time, the Justice Department's Civil Division, which oversees the majority of immigration enforcement issues for the department, has drafted a "civil complaint" that would be filed in federal court in Arizona, sources said. The draft complaint challenges the Arizona law as unconstitutional, saying it is illegal because it impedes federal law, according to the sources, who would not offer any more details about the draft complaint or the arguments made in it.

ObamaCare vs. Small Business
Excerpt: This law is death by a thousand cuts for small business owners. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the overhaul will cost about $115 billion more than first projected, bringing the total to more than $1 trillion. Small businesses will also now have to deal with an onslaught of new taxes and burdensome paperwork.

A Massive Incumbent Protection Program
Excerpt: At least two influential unions will spend close to $100 million on the 2010 election, with most of those funds going to protect incumbents. Union officials told The Hill they plan to help endangered members — particularly freshmen — who made politically difficult votes in a year during which an anti-incumbent mood has filled the country. And the number will be even higher since the AFL-CIO declined to give its figures. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) plans to spend in excess of $50 million during the 2010 campaign, part of which will fund “a massive incumbent protection program,” according to Gerry McEntee, president of the union. AFSCME spent roughly $67 million on its political activities in 2008. But the $50 million slated for the 2010 elections is the largest expenditure the union will make in a midterm election, according to union officials. The money will go to help defend the union’s top tier of eight Senate seats and 34 House members.

Physician-Owned Hospitals Face New Regulations, Limits on Growth
Victory for the people, or the high-priced lobbyists at the American Hospital Association? Excerpt: Obamacare was going to expand access to higher-quality health care for all Americans, right? Well, though the legislation can purport to extend health insurance for millions of currently uninsured Americans, when it comes to access to high-quality care, Obamacare is more likely to have the opposite effect. One way the President’s health plan will kill quality care is by putting a chokehold on physician-owned hospitals. Tight regulations include a ban on expansion, restrictions on new investments, requirements to submit annual reports to the feds, and fines for failure to comply with new transparency rules. As Heritage’s Rob Bluey highlights in the Washington Examiner, Obamacare will cause development of 24 new physician-owned hospitals to cease. An additional 47 will struggle to meet the deadline to complete construction and receive their Medicare certification. Physician-owned hospitals provide competition, which forces physician-owned and community hospitals alike to perform better. Opponents of physician-owned hospitals claim that they cherry-pick their patients, but according to Bluey, “More than 90 percent of the patients at [physician-owned] Westfield Hospital aren’t affiliated with the hospital’s partners. [The] hospital takes pride in a lower nurse-to-patient ratio than the community hospital and an efficient emergency room with a 15-minute wait.” At a time when access to care will be in growing demand due to a greater number of insured Americans, Congress and the President should have been doing everything in their power to expand access, especially to higher-quality care. So why put the kibosh on physician-owned hospitals? Bluey points to the combined $22 million the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals spent on lobbying in 2009, effectively buying their way out of competition.

Renewable Energy: Free as the Wind
Excerpt: The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources met this morning and, among other things, discussed a national renewable electricity standard (RES). The RES, which mandates that a certain percentage of our nation’s electricity production come from wind, solar, biomass and other renewable energies, already passed out of committee but is likely to be a part of any energy agenda this year. A new Heritage Foundation study analyzing the costs of an RES finds that a national mandate for pricier, less reliable electricity would be harmful to American families, American businesses and the American economy. The Heritage analysis models the effects of an RES that starts at 3 percent for 2012 and rises by 1.5 percent per year. This profile mandates a minimum of 15 percent renewable electricity by 2020, a minimum of 22.5 percent by 2025, and a minimum of 37.5 percent by 2035. It looks solely at onshore wind, which is currently the cheapest renewable energy source that can be scaled in significant fashion. While some studies have attempted to model the economic effects of an RES and found only marginal price increases, they fail to take into account the true cost of renewable sources. Wind is not dependable, it cannot be stored and it must be built in geographically disadvantageous locations that require significant new build for transmission lines. A detailed analysis of this can be found in the study. The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis projects that an RES would: Raise electricity prices by 36 percent for households and 60 percent for industry; Cut national income (GDP) by $5.2 trillion between 2012 and 2035; Cut national income by $2,400 per year for a family of four; Reduce employment by more than 1,000,000 jobs; and Add more than $10,000 to a family of four’s share of the national debt by 2035.

North Korea scraps South Korea military safeguard pact
Having taken Obama’s measure, the bullies are strutting worldwide. Excerpt: An international probe found the Cheonan was sunk by a Northern torpedo. North Korea has denied the allegation. In a statement on the North Korean official news agency on Thursday, the North Korean military said the country would "completely nullify the bilateral agreement that was concluded to prevent a contingent clash in the West Sea of Korea [Yellow Sea]. "In connection with this, [we] will completely stop using international maritime ultra-short wave walkie-talkies and will immediately cut off the communication line that was opened to handle an emergency situation."

This Congress Has No Shame
Like most people with jobs, I don’t have time to go to Tea Parties. But here’s my sign if I go: Enforce PayGo or YouGo! Excerpt: On February 4, 2010, pushing for passage of her pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) legislation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said on the House floor: “When I became Speaker of the House, the very first day we passed legislation that made PAYGO the rule of the House. Today we will make it the law of the land. … So the time is long overdue for this to be taken for granted. The federal government will pay as it goes.” That was the promise. But here is the reality: in the three years that Speaker Pelosi has enforced her PAYGO rule, the House has violated it by nearly $1 trillion And now with the U.S. Debt Clock officially passing the $13 trillion milestone Wednesday, the House is set to violate their own PAYGO law yet again, this time to the tune of around $150 billion. The legislation clocks-in at almost one-fifth the size of President Barack Obama’s original $862 billion failed economic stimulus, and the leftist majority in Congress has titled it “The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act.” And it is a tax-hiking, spending-exploding, job-killing, deficit-hiking wonder.

Seven questions for President Obama
Good questions—hope the media has the stones to ask them. Excerpt: By waiting 10 months to hold a solo, East Room press conference, President Barack Obama has raised expectations. By pegging it to the BP oil spill, Obama has upped the ante even further. He’s putting an issue that appears increasingly out of his control up for discussion in what has not always been his most successful forum. (At his last one-man East Room session, he said Cambridge cops “acted stupidly” in arresting a Harvard professor, and the “beer summit” was born.)

NASA accused of 'Climategate' stalling
Excerpt: The man battling NASA for access to potential "Climategate" e-mails says the agency is still withholding documents and that NASA may be trying to stall long enough to avoid hurting an upcoming Senate debate on global warming. Nearly three years after his first Freedom of Information Act request, Christopher C. Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said he will file a lawsuit Thursday to force NASA to turn over documents the agency has promised but has never delivered. Mr. Horner said he expects the documents, primarily e-mails from scientists involved with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), will be yet another blow to the science behind global warming, which has come under fire in recent months after e-mails from a leading British research unit indicated scientists had manipulated some data.

Positive and Negative Government
Excerpt: Early on in life, kids are taught the concepts of positive and negative in science. They learn about positive and negative poles on magnets and positive and negative terminals on batteries. By junior high school, kids are introduced to positive and negative numbers in mathematics. Unfortunately, few schools teach the concepts of positive and negative as they pertain to civics and government. Understanding positive and negative law and government is the most life-impacting positive/negative polarity of all. It is the fundamental difference between oppression and freedom. Negative law tells us what we may not do; positive law tells us what we must do. Breaking a law incurs penalties. Under negative law, government penalizes someone for doing something that he isn't supposed to do. Under positive law, government penalizes someone for not doing something he is supposed to do. The distinction is profound and crucial.

Running, not Shrugging
Excerpt: Before what he calls "the jaw-dropping" events of the last 19 months -- TARP, the stimulus, Government Motors, the mistreatment of Chrysler's creditors, Obamacare, etc. -- the idea of running for office never crossed Ron Johnson's mind. He was, however, dry tinder -- he calls Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" his "foundational book" -- and now is ablaze, in an understated, upper-Midwestern way. This 55-year-old manufacturer of plastic products from Oshkosh is what the tea party looks like. He is trim, gray-haired and suddenly gray-suited. For years he has worn jeans and running shoes to his office, but now, under spousal duress, he is trying to look senatorial -- "My wife upgraded me to brown shoes." He has been endorsed by the state party and will almost certainly win the September primary for the Republican nomination to run against Russ Feingold, who is seeking a fourth term in a year in which incumbency is considered a character flaw. Former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson led Feingold in polls and froze the race on the Republican side before deciding not to run. But in this season of simmering resentment of the political class, a neophyte such as Johnson might be a stronger candidate than a recycled executive. Johnson can fund himself. Asked how much of his wealth he will spend, if necessary, his answer is as simple as it is swift: "All of it."

From Failed Bombings to Armed Jihadist Assaults
Widely acknowledged Islamic scholar didn’t get the “Islam is a religion of peace” memo. Excerpt: In the May 23 al-Malahim interview (his first with AQAP), al-Awlaki not only said he was proud of the actions of Hasan and Abdulmutallab, whom he referred to as his students, but also encouraged other Muslims to follow the examples they set by their actions. When asked about the religious permissibility of an operation like Abdulmutallab’s, which could have killed innocent civilians, al-Awlaki told the interviewer that the term “civilian” was not really applicable to Islamic jurisprudence and that he preferred to use the terms combatants and non-combatants. He then continued by noting that “non-combatants are people who do not take part in the war” but that, in his opinion, “the American people in its entirety takes part in the war, because they elected this administration, and they finance this war.” In his final assessment, al-Awlaki said, “If the heroic mujahid brother Umar Farouk could have targeted hundreds of soldiers, that would have been wonderful. But we are talking about the realities of war,” meaning that in his final analysis, attacks against civilians were permissible under Islamic law. Indeed, he later noted, “Our unsettled account with America, in women and children alone, has exceeded one million. Those who would have been killed in the plane are a drop in the ocean.” While this line of logic is nearly identical to that historically put forth by Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, the very significant difference is that al-Awlaki is a widely acknowledged Islamic scholar. He speaks with a religious authority that bin Laden and al-Zawahiri simply do not possess…. None of this is to say that the threats posed by suicide bombers against mass transit and aircraft will abruptly end. The jihadists have proven repeatedly that they have a fixation on both of these target sets and they will undoubtedly continue their attempts to attack them. Large bombings and airline attacks also carry with them a sense of drama that a shooting does not — especially in a country that has become somewhat accustomed to shooting incidents conducted by non-terrorist actors for other reasons. However, we believe we’re seeing a significant shift in the mindset of jihadist ideologues and that this shift will translate into a growing trend toward armed assaults.

White House: Sestak is delusional and deserves your vote for senator
Excerpt: This is all rather counterintuitive to me as I don’t follow Democrat politics. Maybe the Administration is dragging this story out in an effort to give Sestak anti-Administration cred as he goes into an election. Maybe they’re just inept. Whatever the reason, the Obama Administration is now in the interesting position of potentially supporting a candidate they have branded as either a liar or delusional.

AP sources: Minerals Management Service head fired
Everything’s good, the scapegoat has been found. Excerpt: Democratic sources say the Obama administration has fired the head of the U.S. Minerals Management Service in response to blistering criticism over lax oversight of offshore drilling. The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity before the official announcement, tell The Associated Press that President Barack Obama will announce the decision Thursday. Elizabeth "Liz" Birnbaum had run the service in the Interior Department since July 2009.

Boehner Asks Oberstar to Drop All GOP Earmarks From WRDA Bill
A needed step. Republicans cannot have it both ways and expect to be given the right to govern. Excerpt: House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is asking Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) to disregard all Republican requests for projects in the Water Resources Development Act reauthorization he is drafting — even if the original sponsors have not yet withdrawn their projects.

Pakistan restoring access to YouTube, but will block videos offensive to Muslims -- beheadings? Nope -- cartoons
Excerpt: Pakistan blocked Facebook and YouTube last week to save sensitive Pakistani eyes from seeing the cartoons of their prophet generated on "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day." Now they're easing some of the blockage, but material offensive to Muslims will still be blocked. I expect that means websites like this one, not, say, the video of the beheading of Daniel Pearl.

Aceh's religious police crack down on tight jeans
See, rape is women’s fault for tempting men by wearing provocative clothing. Men cannot be expected to control themselves—at least not Muslim men. Excerpt: Starting today, he will begin distributing 20,000 long skirts, a campaign to stop women wearing trousers. While almost all women in Aceh wear the jilbab, or headscarf, many follow the Indonesian fashion for tight jeans, even if they are worn modestly under a tunic. ''Obviously, there is a problem with sexy dressing,'' Mr Ramli explains. ''We see that rapes take place in big cities where free access is allowed between different sexes. Here the economy is small and we don't want it to be like that.'' Even before the policy is introduced, West Aceh's Wilayatul Hisbah, or religious police, have been setting up roadblocks outside the district's capital of Meulaboh, inspecting every car and stopping motorcycles if there is a female rider on board wearing trousers. In a 60-minute operation in the hamlet of Arongan, more than 25 women were yesterday taken aside for a lecture on Islamic morals and asked to sign a document, vowing not to repeat their mistake and pledging to ''immediately report'' to the religious police if they notice someone else violating Islamic law.

Islamic scholars against trans working in women’s beauty salons
Don’t ask, don’t tell, or get stoned? Excerpt: A group of Islamic experts from the al Bahtul Masa’il have issued a fatwa against transsexuals and transvestites. The scholars, who represent 125 pesantren in the provinces of Java and Madura Island, have decreed that transgendered people must be viewed as male and for this reason “cannot cut or prepare women’s hair” in beauty salons “to whom they are not linked by blood or marital ties.” Leaders from the Indonesian Muslim Clerical Council (MUI) chose instead not to comment the issue.

Hezbollah vows to bomb ships in event of new war with Israel
Excerpt: Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said on Tuesday that his militants would bomb military, civilian and commercial ships heading to Israel in the event of a new war with the Jewish state.

L.A. County auditors find widespread fraud,0,2553704.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+latimes/news/local+(L.A.+Times+-+California+%7C+Local+News)&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher
Excerpt: Los Angeles County auditors substantiated 101 instances of fraud during the last six months of 2009, uncovering cases large and small in which taxpayers were cheated, according to a report released Wednesday. The county's fraud hotline typically receives about 500 tips every six months. The latest report was unusual because it found misconduct that touched the highest levels of the Fire Department and the office of the county's chief executive, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraud. Fraud hotline auditors said that since July 2009, they found more than 360 tips either to be unsubstantiated or otherwise resolved. As of the end of 2009, more than 630 cases remained open.

The Problem With Having an Olympian God for a President
Excerpt: "Plug the damn hole." So spake The Great Obama from high atop Mount Olympus, looking down upon the mere mortals struggling below. Those pitiful human beings were covered in oil, their bodies slick with it; they were weeping as they looked over the vast panoramic sea, which shone grimily in great rainbow smears, dead animals floating on the surface. The executives of British Petroleum sat on the beaches, heads in their hands, gazing gloomily at the hazy horizon. And then, they heard the Great Obama's words from on high. "Why didn't I think of that?" asked BP CEO Tony Hayward. "What a magnificent idea!" shouted Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer. And together, they built an enormous cork and placed it in the hole in the ocean floor (along with Jack Shephard from "LOST"), and thus was ended the saga of the BP oil spill.

Troops Sent to Border Won't Be Used to Stop Illegals
“Turn in your guns and drugs here and get your driver’s license and healthcare card. Thank you and enjoy America. “Excerpt: US National Guard troops being sent to the Mexican border will be used to stem the flow of guns and drugs across the frontier and not to enforce US immigration laws, the State Department said Wednesday. The clarification came after the Mexican government urged Washington not to use the additional troops to go after illegal immigrants. President Barack Obama on Tuesday authorized the deployment of up to 1,200 additional troops to border areas but State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters, "It's not about immigration." He said the move was "fully consistent with our efforts to do our part to stem, you know, violence, to interdict the flow of dangerous people and dangerous goods -- drugs, guns, people."

Daily Presidential Tracking Poll
Excerpt: The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows that 26% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-two percent (42%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -16.

47% Now Hold Unfavorable View of Kagan
Excerpt: Voters have an increasingly unfavorable opinion of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan but are more convinced than ever that she will be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 41% of U.S. voters now hold a favorable opinion of Kagan but 47% view her unfavorably, up from 43% a week ago and 39% just after President Obama announced her nomination. These findings include 15% with a Very Favorable opinion and 23% who regard her Very Unfavorably. This, too, marks a shift from the first survey when Kagan’s Very Favorables were 18% and Very Unfavorables were 17%.

63% Favor Repeal of National Health Care Plan
Excerpt: A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 63% of U.S. voters now favor repeal of the plan passed by congressional Democrats and signed into law by President Obama in March.

Wisconsin Senate: Feingold 46%, Johnson 44%
Businessman Ron Johnson, endorsed at last weekend’s state Republican Convention, is now running virtually even against incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold in Wisconsin’s race for the U.S. Senate. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Wisconsin shows Feingold with 46% support to Johnson’s 44%. Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate, and six percent (6%) remain undecided. As he has in surveys since the beginning of the year, Feingold continues to fall just short of 50% regardless of which Republican he’s matched against. Incumbents who earn less than 50% of the vote at this stage of a campaign are considered potentially vulnerable. Feingold was reelected to a third term in 2004 with 56% of the vote.

Eyes on Vietnamese Catfish farming
Excerpt: Despite long-time complaints, Vietnam continues to export catfish tainted by pollution and antibiotics. Morgan says video shot in 2003 shows the same fish-farming conditions captured on film just a few weeks ago. “Nothing has changed — and isn’t going to change.” Only 2 percent of imported seafood is inspected annually. Seeking to remedy that, the 2008 farm bill requires the USDA to begin inspecting imported seafood, a job that had been held by the Food and Drug Administration. However, for fear of igniting a trade dispute, U.S. trade representatives have prevented such inspections from taking place. A ruling on the inspections is expected soon.

Phoenix police ID suspect in officer's shooting death
Excerpt: A Phoenix police officer was shot and killed while searching for a man near Indian School Road and 19th Avenue early Wednesday morning. Officer Travis P. Murphy, 29, was shot about 1:30 a.m. He had a wife and children ages 2 years old and 2 weeks old. The line-of-duty death marks the first in Phoenix since an officer was fatally wounded by a drunken driver in 2008. Police said the suspected shooter, Danny L. Martinez, was booked into jail on suspicion of first-degree murder. He is being held without bond……Danny Ledesma Martinez, 30, served almost three years in prison for felony charges of misconduct involving weapons from the Tucson area, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections.

80-year-old shoots and kills burglar,0,7198801.story
Given that in Chicago, only police, politicians and gang-bangers are allowed to be armed, he’s probably in trouble. Saw a TV interview with a neighbor, a young black woman. She said the old people never bothered anyone, that it could have been her home invaded and in her opinion it was one less crook! Excerpt: Chicago police have declined to comment on whether charges may be filed against an 80-year-old homeowner who fatally shot a burglar who had broken into his West Side home. Police questioned the homeowner for several hours after the early Wednesday morning shooting, but released him without comment. Family members and neighbors said the man was a Korean War veteran and his 83-year-old wife is a retired nurse. They said the couple have been married about 60 years and have lived in the same house for 40 years. The man, his wife, and their 12-year-old great-grandson were all unharmed. Relatives said the man bought a gun after his home was burglarized last November

Slaves to the government dole
Excerpt: Throughout our history, politicians and pundits have often said "America is at a crossroads." Sometimes it was true, as in the final convulsive years leading up to the Civil War when we decided to end slavery. New data on personal income, taxes and dependency makes clear that the country is again at a historic crossroad and another form of slavery is the central issue. There are no iron chains involved this time, but dependence on government for economic sustenance is no less an enslavement. Based on Bureau of Economic Analysis data, USA Today reported Tuesday that the portion of personal income received from private sector paychecks declined to 41.9 percent, its lowest point ever, during the first quarter of 2010. The figure was 44.6 percent in December 2007 at the outset of the current recession and 47.6 percent in the first quarter of 2000. By contrast, the personal income received from government programs climbed to 17.9 percent. Add another 9.8 percent for government employee compensation and 27.7 percent of all personal income is derived from government sources. (The remaining 30.1 percent of personal income results from small-business proprietor profits, farm profits, privately funded pensions, investment sales and dividends, and insurance annuities.)

At stake: Control of Congress through 2022
Excerpt: In the run-up to November, everybody is wondering whether Republicans can retake the House of Representatives this year. They should really be wondering whether the GOP can take back the Indiana House of Representatives and the New York state Senate. U.S. House races will determine who controls Congress until 2012, but state-level races for legislature and governor this fall could determine who controls Congress through 2022. Next year, states will redraw their legislative and congressional district lines based on the results of the U.S. census. And in most states, the party in power gets to draw the map to its own advantage. The last time this happened, in the 2000 election, Republicans fared poorly. After George W. Bush lost the national popular vote for president, the party was left with complete control of the redistricting process in states that accounted for only 98 House seats. Democrats had total control over creating 120 new districts. Of the remaining 217 districts, seven are in states with just one House seat; 173 were drawn under split-party power; and 37 were drawn by nonpartisan commissions under state law. This year, it's generally agreed that Republicans will make gains. If they win a few key, competitive races, their control over redistricting could increase dramatically. And if Democrats lose a few key races, their control could diminish just as dramatically.

Some devastating polls for Democrats
Excerpt: Back in 1994, I wrote a column for U.S. News arguing that Republicans had a serious chance to capture a majority of seats in the House of Representatives. The article appeared on the newsstands on July 11, and was the first article I’m aware of that suggested that Democrats might lose the majority they had held for 40 years. My argument was based on a number of polls showing Democratic incumbents trailing Republican challengers. Usually House incumbents don’t trail challengers in polls at any point in the campaign, because they almost always start off better known. For an incumbent to trail in a poll is a sign of serious danger. Such signs abound for Democrats these days. For example, Republican Jim Renacci leads incumbent Democrat John Boccieri 47%-36% in Ohio 16. Boccieri won this district, which had been held by Republicans since 1950, by a 55%-44% margin in 2008. He switched from no to yes on the health care bill in March 2010. That doesn’t seem to have helped. Another late switcher on health care, Steve Driehaus of Ohio 1, is also trailing. From my colleague David Freddoso comes the news of a poll by the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies showing Republican former Congressman Steve Chabot leading Democratic incumbent Steve Driehaus 53%-39%. Driehaus was one of the “Stupak five” who said they wouldn’t support a health care bill that funded abortion but who turned around and provided the key votes that passed the bill March 21. The result is very similar to a poll conducted in January for the liberal blog Fire Dog Lake showing Chabot leading Driehaus 56%-39%. Meanwhile, Scott Rasmussen reports that Republican Rick Berg leads 18-year incumbent Democrat Earl Pomeroy 52%-43%. This is the fourth straight Rasmussen poll in which Berg has led Pomeroy.

'Dead' Manassas man returns to life -- and to jail
Chicago Voter Profiled in VA? Excerpt: Rodney Newsome's life as a dead man lasted about seven months, until he got arrested again. He might have been better off "dead." On Wednesday, he got tossed back in the Fairfax County jail. After a guilty plea for attempted fraud in 2007, Newsome's attorney submitted documents to the Fairfax court saying his client was in a coma after unsuccessful brain surgery. He was "in a vegetative state," a Manassas doctor allegedly wrote, "while being assisted by ventilation means." On May 23, 2009, at 19:23 hours, Rodney T. Newsome Sr. died at age 37, leaving behind a wife and two children, according to a report allegedly prepared by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. That prompted Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Bruce D. White to dismiss the charges. Newsome, of Manassas, had been looking at jail time because of nine prior convictions in state and federal court for various fraud and drug charges dating back to 1995. After his apparent death, Fairfax police allege, Newsome somehow returned to illegal activity, including taking a stolen check from a Culpeper County check-cashing store, opening a bank account in Oakton and trying to withdraw funds from the account. That was Dec. 17, almost seven months after his alleged death. Newsome was arrested in February, and again charged with attempted fraud. Newsome was released on bond, made several court appearances on the new charge and was scheduled to plead guilty Wednesday. His tragic demise and resurrection had escaped the notice of police and prosecutors. But a sharp-eyed Circuit Court clerk named Mary McGaffic spotted Newsome's case last week in the stack of monthly indictments. As White's clerk, she remembered Newsome's death and the repeated sentencing postponements that preceded it.

Two New Ads Hit Virginia Democrats Hard on Standing Up for Calderon, or the 2nd Amendment – Videos
Excerpt: Here are two ads put out by the Republican Party of Virginia. The ads focus on the behavior of Virginia Democrats Tom Perriello and Rick Boucher when Mexican President Felipe Calderon spoke to a Joint Session of Congress and advocated for reinstating the Assault Weapons Ban. He did so under the false statement that most of the assault weapons in Mexico are coming from the United States. The ads point out that Congressional Democrats “couldn’t get to their feet fast enough” to applaud Calderon when he made his statement. The ads urge people to call Perriello or attend a Boucher Town Hall Meeting and ask them in they stood up for Calderon, or if they stand up for the Second Amendment.

Goodbye to 'Law & Order:' 20 Years of Attacking Businesses, Conservative Ideals
Profiling businessmen. Excerpt: Not every store owner, executive, banker or broker you meet in life is a criminal, yet on “Law & Order,” nearly every businessperson introduced is guilty of something unethical, immoral or criminal. Primetime television has been painting this negative view of corporate employees for years. From white collar crimes to murders, businessmen were often found guilty on TV dramas including NBC’s “Law & Order” franchises. The Business & Media Institute examined the portrayal of businessmen in TV dramas in 2005 and found that a person was 21 times more likely to be kidnapped or murdered at the hands of a businessman than the mob. Businessmen also committed crimes five times more often than terrorists and four times more often than gangs. That analysis included all three popular “Law & Order” shows (original, “Special Victims Unit” and “Criminal Intent”). On those programs, almost 50 percent of felonies (13 out of 27) – mostly murders – were committed by businessmen.

What a Free Society is like
Excerpt from the Sgt Grit newsletter: I was working for a major air carrier at SFO and there were two "roach coach" catering trucks that came by. One was operated by a Vietnamese family. I began talking with the boss one day, mentioning that I'd flown as a helicopter crew chief in Quang Tri. He told me he'd walked thru Quang Tri on his way south in 1971-72. He was an NVA army Lt. We chatted off and on, and over time his story came out. He was disillusioned by the Party line after "we defeated" the Americans, and questioned orders to round up selected South Viet politicians, teachers, doctors, etc. He said he was eventually sent back north to a "re-education camp" for what amounted to an attitude adjustment. As soon as he got out he began planning his escape with his family to anywhere out of Nam. He eventually got to Laos and found was sponsored by a church group in the US. He feels very lucky to be allowed to become an American citizen, and that his children would be growing up and educated in the US. He said the news in the North was so controlled by the state that nobody knew anything but what the government wanted them to know, and until he came to the US and saw all the different points of view on just about anything and everything he had no idea what a free society was really like.

Memorial Day Material
Greed, self-interest, entitlement, love of ease and indifference are losing the country they fought for. ~Bob

"With hearts fortified with these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, declare, that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers, which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the arms we have compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverance employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live as slaves." --Declaration of the Cause and Necessity of Taking up Arms, July 6, 1775. The Patriot Post

Last Iwo Jima Chaplain Dies
Excerpt: In the bloodiest days of Iwo Jima, he spoke the last words over fallen Marines and Navy corpsmen as they were buried in the island’s black sand. On 20 May 2010, Marines, sailors and soldiers returned the favor to the late Rev. E. Gage Hotaling of Agawam MA, sending the old Navy chaplain on to join his comrades with military honors. Hotaling was the last surviving chaplain who served ashore with the Marines at Iwo. He joined the Chaplain Corps at age 28 in 1944 because he didn't feel he could preach to the WW II generation unless he knew what they had endured, so he found himself with the 4th Marine Division on Iwo Jima. Some of his experiences on Iwo Jima are included in the book, “Flags of Our Fathers,” which tells the stories of the men who raised the American flag during the battle of February 1945. Rev. Hotaling's first sermon was delivered at a Manton, Rhode Island church on November 19, 1933. At that time the country was in the depths of the Great Depression. Rev. Hotaling was 17 years old and had promised his father, who was dying of cancer, that he would carry on the work of ministry. Hotaling, 94, died Sunday 16 May 2010 in a Springfield hospital, 65 years after the iconic battle for the Pacific island. In a 2007 documentary, he talked about the grim task he faced as Marines fell in bitter combat against the dug-in Japanese enemy. Of the 6,821 Americans killed, Hotaling believed he buried about 1,800. “We would have four Marines with a flag over each grave. And while they were kneeling with the flag, I would stand up and I would give the committal words for each one,” he told the filmmakers. He said he took up smoking to overcome the stench of decay. “I did it not as a Protestant, Catholic or a Jew, but as a Marine,” the Baptist minister said. “Every man was buried as a Marine. And so I gave the same committal to each one.”

For Memorial Day: Ashes Found in Trash Led to Proper Burial
Excerpt: The two teenagers got to the cemetery first. He wore his dark green dress uniform from the National Guard. She wore a long black dress. They stood on the edge of the road, across from rows of matching military headstones, waiting for the funeral of the man they had never met. Mike Colt, 19, and his girlfriend, Carol Sturgell, 18, had driven more than an hour from their Tampa homes last month to be at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell. They weren't really sure why they had come. They just knew they had to be here. "It's kind of sad, huh?" asked Sturgell, scanning the sea of white gravestones. Colt nodded. "Yeah, but it feels kind of important."

Thank you, soldiers
Kids singing. Maybe there is hope?

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