Saturday, May 29, 2010

Political Digest May 29, 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.

Update on this story: 80-year old Army vet shoots, kills home invader,0,7198801.story

Excerpt: As an 80-year-old Army veteran, his wife and great-grandson slept in their Humboldt Park home just before dawn Wednesday, a would-be burglar busted a basement window, crawled over discarded bikes and paint buckets, and made his way up winding stairs to an enclosed porch. The intruder — who police said wore stockings over his hands to keep from leaving prints — wiggled the brass doorknob of the locked door that led to the first-floor apartment, but it didn't open, the family said. He then turned to the oversized glass window of the 80-year-old's bedroom, pulled out his gun and shot, police and family said. But just as the man got off a second round, the homeowner, who had a handgun of his own, fired a single shot, killing the intruder, a police source said…..But many in Chicago echoed the feelings of the victim's family that if he hadn't been armed, the frightening encounter could have ended in their deaths. "He saved our lives," said the man's wife, 83, who had been asleep with her husband when the noise of shattered glass startled the family from its sleep about 5:20 a.m. Police let the Korean War veteran, who walks with the aid of a cane, go without filing immediate charges because he appeared to act in self-defense, according to police sources. The homeowner bought his handgun after being robbed just six months ago, having vowed not to be a victim again, his family said. In an interview at the home, the wife said her first thoughts were of her 12-year-old great-grandson asleep in the next room. She rushed to wake him up and led him to the front living room, away from the gunfire. "The only thing I could think is 'God, please save my husband, myself and my grandbaby,'" she said…..The intruder was later identified by his family as Anthony Nelson, 29, who was on parole since December following a three-year prison sentence for a drug conviction, according to county and state records. He was pronounced dead at the scene, his blood splattered just feet away from the couple's bedroom window. Nelson had a 13-page rap sheet that includes a number of drug and weapons convictions dating to 1998, according to police and court records. He lived less than a mile from the home he broke into. Neighbors recognized him from his mug shot as a man they had seen at the corner liquor store who went by the name "Big Ant."

From The Patriot Post

Prominent Chicago attorney Joel Brodsky has already offered to take up the case and represent the Army veteran pro bono if the courts decide to prosecute him. Brodsky says, "Self-defense isn't just a right, it's a duty. If this man is prosecuted for saving his own life, it's not just a travesty, it's justice turned inside out."

Mexico gives nothing, takes much

Excerpt: By Jose A. Pacheco. 'Why do you betray your people?', someone recently asked me. Just because we are of the same color does not make us a common people. Since the day I was born, I have been an American. Who I am, what I have, and what I have done with my life, I owe it all to this country I call home: America. Mexico has never been there for its people, and even less for an American like me. Mexico has never protected me from any foreign or domestic enemies. It has never taken care of me in times of need; it has never paid my hospital bills, never given me a job, has never given me an education and has not allowed me to collect welfare. It has not even given me a mere meal. But Mexico has given to me the burden of supporting its people, and has made me tolerate its drug dealers, its human traffickers and criminals. We have had to endure many violations committed on us. We have had our national security violated by all who come here illegally; we have also seen murders, rapes, assault, theft and many more crimes committed. Some will say they don't do any of those crimes, that they are a good, honest hard working people. Coming here illegally is not a good way to immigrate; it is not an honest way. While many do not commit any federal crimes, they do take from us, by leaching off of our welfare system, overcrowding our hospitals, and depleting our school system of money that belongs to our children while not paying a cent into the American system. Since the signing of SB1070, many civil rights leaders and liberals have come out and criticized the new law. If people want civil rights, where's the concern for the civil rights of all those who have been violated by some of the people coming over illegally? What about the civil rights of the murdered rancher in southern Arizona, and the endless list of victims who have been murdered, raped, assaulted, had their identity or their car stolen, or numerous other crimes?

‘Synthetic’ Cell Research Isn’t Frankenstein Science

Excerpt: This technology is neither simple cloning nor is it the Frankenstein-like creation of new life. Specifically, the authors of the research article claim the successful “design, synthesis and assembly” and finally “transplantation” of the genome – or genetic map – of a specific type of bacteria. In other words, the scientists claim they were able to copy and create synthetic genetic information virtually identical to that of a “donor cell” of one bacterium and implant it into an already existing “recipient cell” of another bacterium. The recipient cell in turn operated completely on this synthetic genetic information that was transplanted into it so that it replicated and even constructed proteins like that of the donor cell. “People need to understand that, despite the more lurid headlines that Craig Venter ‘created synthetic life,’ (he didn’t) – not really,” Dr. David Prentice, senior fellow for life sciences at the Family Research Council and science adviser for several members of Congress, told Prentice said that Venter “did make a significant step forward in being able to design and put together these genomes for a very small bacterium.”

Mailing of brochure touting health-care law irks GOP lawmakers, who ask GAO to investigate

Not to worry. Honest Eric Holder, the AG, will be all over this use of our grandkids money to elect Democrats. Excerpt: The federal government this week spent millions of dollars mailing a brochure to 40.2 million Medicare beneficiaries describing how the recent health-care overhaul "will provide you and your family greater savings and increased quality health care." The Obama administration said the mailing is an effort to inform the public about the effects of the legislation. Republican lawmakers call it misleading propaganda and an illegal use of taxpayer funds. On Wednesday, senior Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a federal watchdog, to assess the issue. The dispute is part of a continuing battle to shape public opinion in the run-up to the midterm congressional elections. Democrats are arguing that the legislation was a historic step forward, while Republicans say that it will compromise medical care -- including coverage under Medicare, a federal insurance program for the elderly and disabled.

Ethics office asks for investigation of lobby firm PMA Group's clients

Not to worry. Honest Eric Holder, the AG, will be all over this—if it nails Republicans. Excerpt: A congressional ethics office asked the Justice Department on Thursday to review evidence it found suggesting that companies are providing campaign cash to lawmakers for no-bid contracts, and consider a criminal probe. The Office of Congressional Ethics investigation focused on companies that were clients of the once powerful lobby firm the PMA Group and sought earmarked contracts from lawmakers who sat on the House Appropriations committee. The referral was an end-run around the House ethics committee, which earlier this year declined to investigate the matter as the OCE recommended and said it found no substantiation that lawmakers were engaged in a quid pro quo with corporations that had been generous contributors. The referral to the Justice Department focuses on evidence that company executives privately discussed the importance of giving specific Congress members money in connection with those members steering lucrative contracts their way. In one noted e-mail exchange, a McLean defense contractor seeking an earmark complained he didn't want to go to a wine-tasting fundraiser hosted by PMA for Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.) because he didn't drink. His boss responded: "You don't have to drink. You just have to pay."

AZ State Legislators Team Up With Mexican Counterparts To Challenge SB 1070 in International Court

Good news. This will make Americans even more pissed off. Since Mexico’s immigration law is far more restrictive and racist than AZ or the US, will they challenge that too? Excerpt: To reverse the effects of SB-1070, legislators in Mexico and the U.S. (EU) have agreed to submit an appeal to the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), since this initiative criminalises migration with racial profiling in the state of Arizona. Amanda Aguirre, state Sen. governed by Jan Brewer, read-after a closed-door meeting in the City of Nogales, “a joint statement announcing the promotion of comprehensive immigration reform” before the U.S. Congress- to enable the safe and orderly flow of migrants, in response to the reality of both nations in labor. “We will seek to denounce the SB-1070 to the Organization of American States (OAS) through the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (…) in order to determine if the imminent implementation of this legislation violates the human rights of residents Arizona, regardless of their immigration status, “he said.

Defying Obama, House votes to keep F-35 second engine funds

Complicated fight, with lots of politics and lobbying dollars. But surely the bloom is off the Obama Rose. I recall Dukakis’s first term in Massachusetts, when the Senate, with 33 Democrats and only seven Republicans, used to override his vetoes unanimously. Excerpt: The House on Thursday voted to keep funding a second engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, defying the White House and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Gates has repeatedly threatened that he would personally recommend that President Barack Obama veto any defense bill containing funding for an engine made by General Electric-Rolls Royce that the Pentagon does not want. The Office of Management and Budget on Thursday followed up with its own veto threat in a statement of administration policy.

King Rudy's famous 'castle' sits on vacant and tax-exempt land, records show,0,7757312.column

A rap singer with a politically-connected lawyer and a property he values at $1.89M wasn’t paying much property tax, as his land was assessed public or vacant. Meanwhile, the condo we bought in June for $160k was valued at $210k and the appraiser denied our appeal. The Board of Review lowered it to $204k. Since the three other similar units in the complex for sale are all offered between $170k and $160k, I offered to sell it to them for a $10k discount, at $194k. So far, no bites. Must not have the right lawyer. And you wonder why we despise living in Crook County—but the job’s here. Excerpt: Despite howls from his neighbors, King Rudy got the right zoning lawyer, Jimmy Banks, from the Banks family, the first family of Chicago zoning. The city's Zoning Committee, then controlled by Jimmy's uncle Ald. William Banks (now retired), approved the zoning changes. The castle sits on several parcels of land once held by the Illinois Department of Transportation. King Rudy bought the land in 2002, but a miraculous thing happened. We discovered on Wednesday that, according to county real estate records, one parcel is still listed as vacant land. The other parcel is listed as tax-exempt state-owned property.

Society to review climate message

Excerpt: The UK's Royal Society is reviewing its public statements on climate change after 43 Fellows complained that it had oversimplified its messages. They said the communications did not properly distinguish between what was widely agreed on climate science and what is not fully understood. The society's ruling council has responded by setting up a panel to produce a consensus document. The panel should report in July and the report is to be published in September. It is chaired by physicist John Pethica, vice-president of the Royal Society. Its deliberations are reviewed by two critical sub-groups, each believed to comprise seven members. Each of these groups contains a number of society Fellows who are doubtful in some way about the received view of the risks of rising CO2 levels. One panel member told me: "The timetable is very tough - one draft has already been rejected as completely inadequate." The review member said it might not be possible for the document to be agreed at all. "This is a very serious challenge to the way the society operates," I was told. "In the past we have been able to give advice to governments as a society without having to seek consensus of all the members."

CNN poll: 82% oppose boycotts of Arizona over immigration-enforcement law

About that boycott of Arizona over its new illegal immigrant law? 82% of Americans say, Nah!

Excerpt: Out Wednesday is a new CNN/Public Opinion poll indicating that even more Americans want: The number of illegal immigrants decreased (76%, up from 73%). Illegal immigrants removed from the country (41%, up from 37%). To halt the influx of illegal immigrants and deport those here (60%). To assign more federal agents to security on the Mexico border (88%). To fine employers of illegal immigrants tens of thousands of dollars (71%). As you may know, frustrated with federal inaction on border security, Arizona recently passed its own tough new law on illegal immigrants. Asked, "Do you favor or oppose this law?" 57% were in favor of it and 37% were opposed. Now, how about boycotting Arizona over this new law? Nope -- 82%.

Small donors come up big for GOP candidates

Excerpt: For the first time in a decade, Republican candidates for Congress are raising more than Democrats from small donors. GOP candidates for the House and Senate this year have raised $70 million from small donors, compared with $44 million brought in by Democratic candidates, according to a Washington Post analysis of campaign finance data. The trend is another sign that Republicans have turned their political momentum into money. Reports covering the first quarter had shown that GOP candidates were closing the gap or exceeding Democrats in key races and that corporations have started to shift behind the party.

White House asked Clinton to talk to Sestak about Senate run

Ah, it was Impeached Perjurer Bill Clinton. It will depend on what the meaning of “job” is. Excerpt: Senior White House advisers asked former President Bill Clinton to talk to Joe Sestak about whether he was serious about running for Senate, and to feel out whether he'd be open to other alternatives, according to sources familiar with the situation. But the White House maintains that the Clinton-Sestak discussions were informal, according to the sources. The White House, under pressure to divulge the specifics of its interactions with Sestak, will release a formal statement later today outlining their version of events, including Clinton's involvement. According to the sources, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel asked Clinton and his longtime adviser, lawyer Doug Band, to talk to Sestak about the race. It's unclear right now whether the White House will say that Clinton was asked to suggest specific administration positions for Sestak, whether Clinton floated positions on his own, whether Clinton discussed other options not related to the administration, or whether employment even came up at all in the talks.

White House Asked Bill Clinton to Urge Sestak to Drop Out of Senate Race

Fox News take. I think they’ll be able to spin themselves free with media help. Excerpt: The White House asked former President Bill Clinton to talk to Rep. Joe Sestak about the possibility of obtaining a senior position in the Obama administration if he would drop out of the Democratic primary race against establishment-backed Sen. Arlen Specter, the Obama administration will say in a report to be released Friday morning, Fox News has confirmed. The report, by the White House Counsel's office, will describe the Clinton conversations as informal and unhinged from any precise job offer since, as a former president, Clinton could not guarantee Sestak anything. The conversations with Sestak were initiated by Clinton at the behest of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel was Clinton's political director when he was president. Clinton had promoted Sestak to vice admiral and made him his director of defense policy. Sestak was a loyal and tireless supporter of Hillary Clinton's run for the presidency in 2008. The report will be released one day after President Obama said the White House would issue a formal explanation that should answer questions about Sestak's allegation of a job offer and insisted "nothing improper" happened. On the same day, Clinton had lunch with Obama. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has also said nothing improper happened, but refused to elaborate when asked repeatedly about the charge at Thursday's briefing.

South Korea deploys troops in border zone to ‘punish’ North\05\28\story_28-5-2010_pg7_36

Excerpt: It is almost a replica of Operation Parakaram that India launched immediately after December 13, 2001 attacks on the Indian parliament; South Korean military divisions are marching with tanks, artillery and an assortment of American weaponry towards borders alongside Seoul announcing retaliatory measures against its Northern peer. At the Itaewon US military base near Seoul, marines and commandos seem gearing up for an assault. Railway stations and bus stations in South Korea are full with young soldiers in their battle dresses, kissing their girlfriends and bidding adieu to their families. Leaves have been cancelled and rumours are thick in Seoul that government is even drafting young men into the army in an emergency. At the Dorasan military station overlooking North Korea, a senior military officer with maps and sketches is briefing the visiting Japanese delegation about South Korean plans. As visitors, mostly Western tourists, were allowed inside the hall, I asked the officer, if his operations would be different from Operation Parakaram, which failed to achieve any objective for India eight years ago, he looks in surprise and replies curtly that he has not studied the Indian operation.

Mexican Pirates Prey on Boaters on Texas Lake

Just doing jobs Americans won’t do. Excerpt: In the first incident, on April 30, five American fishermen were exploring the small town of Old Guerrero on the Mexican side of the lake when, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, four "heavily tattooed" men who identified themselves as federal police but wore no uniforms boarded their boat and asked, "Where are the drugs?" No one was harmed, but the pirates got away with $200 in cash. Tom Bendele, owner of a Falcon Lake tackle shop, said the men who had been robbed told him the pirates bore tattoos that may mark them as members of the Zeta cartel.

Detecting a crime before it happens,0,6627385,full.story

Excerpt: If Bob Burns is correct, terrorists may betray themselves someday by jiggling on a Nintendo Wii balance board, blinking too fast, curling a lip like Elvis — or doing nothing at all. Burns and his team of scientists are researching whether video game boards, biometric sensors and other high-tech devices can be used to detect distinct nonverbal cues from people who harbor "mal-intent," or malicious intent. "We're looking pre-event," said Burns, the No. 2 at the Homeland Security Advanced Research Project Agency, a counterpart of the fabled Pentagon agency that developed Stealth aircraft and the Internet. "We're trying to detect a crime before it has occurred." (...) The need for improvement is clear. Security teams trained to spot suspicious behavior have pulled 152,000 people out of airport lines in recent years, according to a report this month from the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. That led to about 1,100 arrests, mostly for immigration violations and outstanding warrants. No one was charged with terrorism. But screeners failed to spot 16 travelers who later were linked to failed terrorist plots in New York and Virginia, jihadist training in Pakistan and lethal attacks in Somalia, Afghanistan and India.

Counterterror Adviser Defends Jihad as 'Legitimate Tenet of Islam'

Glad he cleared that up. I suggest we parachute him into the AfPak tribal border so he can explain to the…er…whatever they are that they are wrong about Islam. Excerpt: The president's top counterterrorism adviser on Wednesday called jihad a "legitimate tenet of Islam," arguing that the term "jihadists" should not be used to describe America's enemies. During a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, John Brennan described violent extremists as victims of "political, economic and social forces," but said that those plotting attacks on the United States should not be described in "religious terms." He repeated the administration argument that the enemy is not "terrorism," because terrorism is a "tactic," and not terror, because terror is a "state of mind" -- though Brennan's title, deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism and homeland security, includes the word "terrorism" in it. But then Brennan said that the word "jihad" should not be applied either. "Nor do we describe our enemy as 'jihadists' or 'Islamists' because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one's community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children," Brennan said.

Jihadist glorified on silver screen

Excerpt: Take, for instance, Johari Abdul-Malik. Recall he's the Virginia imam who starred in the State Department's cinematic hagiography "Eid in America." Abdul-Malik is an African-American from Brooklyn who converted to Islam. If the video is your only encounter, you'll reckon him up as the warm, avuncular "Director of Outreach" at the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church. For the unwary viewer, the friendly Islamic Center, and its ur-tolerant companion, the Dar al-Hijrah Mosque, instantiate Muslim life in the United States. I daresay the cutting room floor was more interesting ... and more accurate. State apparently thought it best not to include footage of Imam Abdul-Malik's call for "sabotage" terrorist attacks against Israel. As he put it in 2001: "You can blow up bridges, but you cannot kill people who are innocent on their way to work. You can blow up power supplies ... the water supply, you can do all forms of sabotage and let the world know that we are doing it like this because they have a respect for the lives of innocent people." Yes, what better way to show respect! Of course, not alluding to this speech spared State the embarrassment of explaining that the conference at which Abdul-Malik gave it was hosted by the Islamic Association of Palestine, the epicenter of U.S. support for Hamas, itself the Palestinian terrorist branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Perhaps Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has forgotten that the self-proclaimed "purpose" of Hamas -- according to its charter -- is "to create an Islamic Palestinian state throughout Israel by eliminating the State of Israel through violent jihad."

Detroit transit sued for nixing 'Leaving Islam?' ad

Excerpt: A bus-ad campaign that seeks to offer resources to those considering leaving Islam already has stirred up controversy in Miami and New York, but its next city may create the most fireworks - Detroit, the U.S. metropolitan area with the heaviest concentration of Middle Easterners. The Detroit-area bus authority has refused to run the ads from Stop Islamization of America, an organization headed up by conservative activist and anti-jihad blogger Pamela Geller, prompting SIOA to file a federal lawsuit Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Mrs. Geller said the transport authority's refusal to run her ads violates her First Amendment right of free speech, and she will take the lawsuit to the Supreme Court if necessary….. The consensus view among Muslim jurists worldwide is that apostasy, unless mitigated by such factors as mental illness or duress, is punishable by death. Mrs. Geller cited a fatwa, or ruling point on Islamic law, issued by the authoritative Al-Azhar University in 1978, that said: "This man has committed apostasy; he must be given a chance to repent, and if he does not, then he must be killed, according to Shariah [law]."…. "People are free to leave Islam or any religion at any time. This is the United States of America," he said. But a public educator in Dearborn, speaking on the condition of anonymity owing to fear of retribution, said there is a climate of fear in the Detroit area's Muslim community. "The fear is palpable. I know there are things I am 'not allowed' to say. A discussion of religion with a Muslim person is often prefaced by the statement, 'Dont say anything about the Prophet [Muhammad].' In free society, open and honest conversation is not usually begun by a prohibition. Threats and intimidation are just part of life here." CAIR's denial of the dangers of apostasy are part of the reason behind Mrs. Geller's campaign, which she defined as a religious-freedom issue.

The dhimmis: guilty people

Excerpt: Why must Maher El-Gohary and his daughter live in hiding, under serious daily threat of death? What crime have they committed? Obviously they have apostatized from Islam, and despite the willful ignorance of the American mainstream media and the deceptions of American Muslim advocacy groups, leaving Islam really does warrant the death penalty according to Islamic law. But there is more to this as well. Note that the imam shouts about Christians, "Do not shake their hands. Do not go into their homes. Do not eat their food." He is apparently referring not just to apostates, but to all Christians. The Qur'an does say that the idolaters are unclean (9:28) -- the Arabic word used in this verse is مشركون (mushrikun), those who commit شرك (shirk), which is the worst sin in Islam: associating partners with Allah. Christians are the worst practitioners of shirk, since they worship Jesus Christ as the Son of God; thus they are unclean as per this verse. Christians are also by definition guilty people.

Security charade

Excerpt: President Obama may have Katrina'd himself this week over the Gulf oil spill -- but at least it distracted attention from the fact that he also got caught using the National Guard as lipstick on a cactus. Anyone with military experience knew that the president's earlier decision to send 1,200 National Guard soldiers to Arizona's border with Mexico was a purely political move. But few realized just how cynical it was. Troop numbers don't matter as much as what the Guard is tasked and allowed to do. If the president doesn't authorize those in uniform to track and apprehend illegal border crossers, their presence is worthless -- the coyotes and narcos soon figure out that the troops are just decoration. In the past, our troops have not been allowed to bust illegals -- or drug smugglers. Even though the president has the authority to empower them to do so.

Ahmadinejad Threatens Russia, Receives Response

Excerpt: In the past 24 hours, there has been an exchange of harsh words between Iran and Russia. When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatened Russia by saying that its policy was turning it into an enemy of Iran, the Russians responded by calling Ahmadinejad a demagogue, and by issuing an unprecedented warning to Tehran while reminding it of the historic power balance between the two countries – under which Russia took for itself lands from the 19th-century Persian empire and forced it to sign humiliating agreements accepting these terms.

When Professor Obama Meets Dirty Reality

Excerpt: This is what happens when an academic finds himself in the position of actually having to get something done. Nothing written on a blackboard or recited from a textbook or lectured from a podium will plug the leak miles deep off of Louisiana. Nothing in Barack Obama's background full of lectures and text books makes him fit for any job where getting things done is important. Like many activities that impact our existence, drilling for oil is damned hard and damned risky and damned expensive and involves a lot of hard physical work and technical know how. The same can be said of making automobiles, building houses or manufacturing the heavy equipment that makes all of these activities possible. The problem is, academics unfamiliar with such work and know how believe their tenured cushiness and "think how" is enough. I guess if you can Google something, you can convince yourself you can actually do it. (About the time it started to look like Obama was going to win the Dem nomination, I asked some of my employees, separately, without knowing others had been asked, each of whom had made it clear they would be voting for him for President, if they thought he could be hired to manage our store (assuming he had applied). Without hesitation, each of the three said no, of course not. Their reason: he lacked the necessary job experience to be manager, though he'd probably make a great clerk until he learned. I then asked if they thought it might be more difficult to manage the entire country than just our store? Two of them just looked at me with blank expressions and wandered off to do some work. The third said: "Oh, he'll have advisors that know what to do to help him." I have no reason to believe any of the three changed their vote. Ron P.)

Why Obama's sinking in the polls

Excerpt: President Obama's job-approval rating just hit an all-time low. And there's a pattern behind the trifecta of issues that are driving the drop -- the oil spill, the Arizona immigration-policing law and the fallout from the Greek crisis. After four months of hovering between a low of 46 percent approval and a high of 49 percent, Obama just fell to 42 percent in the daily Rasmussen polls. What's hurting him, and why? The president originally seized on each of these issues to make populist political hay. But then the problem wouldn't go away -- and voters began to realize that Obama is, in fact, the president and (logically enough) started giving him much of the blame.

Whose Blowout Is It, Anyway?,_anyway

Excerpt: Here’s my question: Why are we drilling in 5,000 feet of water in the first place? Many reasons, but this one goes unmentioned: Environmental chic has driven us out there. As production from the shallower Gulf of Mexico wells declines, we go deep (1,000 feet and more) and ultra deep (5,000 feet and more), in part because environmentalists have succeeded in rendering the Pacific and nearly all the Atlantic coast off-limits to oil production. (President Obama's tentative, selective opening of some Atlantic and offshore Alaska sites is now dead.) And of course, in the safest of all places, on land, we’ve had a 30-year ban on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Kurdistan: the "Second Israel"

Worth reading. Excerpt: Twenty-two years ago, in this dusty town hard up against the mountainous border with Iran, Saddam Hussein's military used chemical weapons to murder 5,000 Kurdish men, women and children. The Halabja massacre was only the most infamous atrocity of Operation Anfal, a name Sadam took from a sura of the Koran that details permissible conduct against enemies of Islam. Of course, most Kurds are Muslims. But they are not Arabs. Kurds have had their own distinctive culture and language since long before armies from Arabia embarked on the first jihads -- wars of Islamic conquest -- in the 7th century. The goal of Operation Anfal was genocide. At least 150,000 Kurds were slaughtered, many having first been herded into concentration camps where mass executions were conducted. More than a million Kurds were driven from their homes. Kurds have not forgotten that, in 1991, Americans established a "no-fly zone" over Iraq's Switzerland-sized Kurdish region, to provide them some protection from Saddam's predations. They regard America's 2003 military intervention in Iraq as their liberation. Iraqi Kurds now enjoy substantial self-rule. Kurds living as minorities in Syria, Iran and Turkey do not. Six months after the collapse of Saddam's regime, the Kurds erected a memorial on the edge of Halabja. It includes haunting photos; those of mothers clutching babies to their breasts as they died in the streets are perhaps the most heart-wrenching. A sign, in fractured English, gets its point across nonetheless: "Live and victory for all nations. Death for all kinds of racism."

Doctors Reverse Stand on Circumcision

AAP backs down on female genital Mutilation. Excerpt: The American Academy of Pediatrics has reversed its decision last month regarding the practice of female circumcision by immigrants from some African, Middle Eastern and Asian cultures. The academy had suggested in a policy statement that doctors be given permission to perform a ceremonial pinprick or nick on girls if it would keep their families from sending them overseas for the full circumcision. Although the nick on a girl’s clitoris is illegal in the United States, the academy’s bioethics panel had noted it is practiced in some countries. The policy statement ignited a storm of criticism from opponents of female genital cutting. Dr. Judith S. Palfrey, president of the academy, said: “We’re saying don’t do it. Do everything that you can to support that family in this tough time, but don’t be pulled into the procedure.”

Government-Funded Jihad

Excerpt: Rep. Darrel Issa (R-C.A.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-M.E.) are demanding answers following the Investigative Project on Terrorism’s discovery that taxpayer money is going to the radical Dar al-Hijrah mosque of Falls Church, Virginia. The revelation is an unsettling reminder of how jihadists are using America’s freedoms and ineptitude of the government to their advantage. The Investigative Project on Terrorism has found that the Census Bureau has been paying Dar al-Hijrah about $23,000 per month since November 2008 to rent space in one of its buildings. The State Department has used the mosque in its videos about America’s Muslim community and sent students from its Foreign Service Institute to Dar al-Hijrah this month. Dave Gaubatz, a former Special Agent with the U.S. Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations, and author of Muslim Mafia, described Dar al-Hijrah to FrontPage as “Wahhabi quarter,” in reference to the oppressive form of Islam practiced and promoted by Saudi Arabia. He said that when he investigated the mosque, he found that its library included “very, very violent materials” that advocated physical jihad and sedition, and that extremism was promoted during the week but not during Friday prayers when they are most likely to be caught.

US money supply plunges at 1930s pace as Obama eyes fresh stimulus

This is scary. Hard to know what way to jump with personal finances. Excerpt: The M3 money supply in the United States is contracting at an accelerating rate that now matches the average decline seen from 1929 to 1933, despite near zero interest rates and the biggest fiscal blitz in history. The M3 figures - which include broad range of bank accounts and are tracked by British and European monetarists for warning signals about the direction of the US economy a year or so in advance - began shrinking last summer. The pace has since quickened. The stock of money fell from $14.2 trillion to $13.9 trillion in the three months to April, amounting to an annual rate of contraction of 9.6pc. The assets of insitutional money market funds fell at a 37pc rate, the sharpest drop ever. "It’s frightening," said Professor Tim Congdon from International Monetary Research. "The plunge in M3 has no precedent since the Great Depression. The dominant reason for this is that regulators across the world are pressing banks to raise capital asset ratios and to shrink their risk assets. This is why the US is not recovering properly," he said. The US authorities have an entirely different explanation for the failure of stimulus measures to gain full traction. They are opting instead for yet further doses of Keynesian spending, despite warnings from the IMF that the gross public debt of the US will reach 97pc of GDP next year and 110pc by 2015. Larry Summers, President Barack Obama’s top economic adviser, has asked Congress to "grit its teeth" and approve a fresh fiscal boost of $200bn to keep growth on track. "We are nearly 8m jobs short of normal employment. For millions of Americans the economic emergency grinds on," he said.

Sestak-gate: White House Offered Romanoff Job, Too

Excerpt: Allegations that the White House offered Joe Sestak a job in exchange for dropping out of the Pennsylvania Senate race echo an earlier report of a job offer to candidate Andrew Romanoff in Colorado. On Sept. 27, 2009, the Denver Post reported that the Obama administration offered Senate candidate Romanoff a position if he canceled plans to run for the Democratic nomination against incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet.

Public college in California creating scholarship specifically for illegal immigrants

Nothing for the kids of corrupt politicians? Excerpt: Santa Ana College will dedicate a scholarship for illegal immigrant students in memory of 27-year-old immigration activist Tam Ngoc Tran of Garden Grove, who was killed in a crash involving a suspected drunken driver in Maine on May 15.

Israel Start-Up Nation

A Final Farewell to Arms

Excerpt: For more than six decades, the remains of Sgt. First Class Carl J. Baller were hidden away. The World War I veteran's ashes weren't in an unmarked grave, but in a plastic box at a funeral home in this Detroit suburb. When the 52-year-old civil servant died in a veterans' hospital here in the spring of 1947, his body was cremated. His wife held a service for him at the red-brick Howe-Peterson funeral parlor on Michigan Avenue. But for some reason, nobody picked up the deceased. Sixty-three years later, Sgt. Baller and 18 other military men whose ashes were never claimed will receive a public farewell on Memorial Day, May 31. Plans call for an elaborate send-off with a horse-drawn caisson carrying the remains through this city before the playing of taps and a simple interment service at Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Mich.

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