Friday, July 30, 2010

Political Digest July 30, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

Rangel won't confirm report he's reached ethics settlement
Blago won’t testify. Rangel won’t be tried. Cover ups in place. Excerpt: Rep. Charlie Rangel has reportedly reached a deal on ethics charges that will avoid a public trial that could have hurt his party ahead of the fall elections, according to New York City news media. But Rangel told reporters Thursday at the Capitol that he didn’t know if a deal had been reached. Asked if there was a deal, Rangel said: “I don’t know. I’ll tell you one thing, until someone tells me that there is, there isn’t.” WCBS-TV in New York reported Harlem friends of Rangel said a deal had been struck, and details of the deal could be unveiled when the ethics panel meets as scheduled at 1 p.m. The network reported Rangel will admit to wrongdoing as part of the deal. The House ethics panel is meeting ahead of a scheduled organizational session for Rangel’s ethics trial. Rep. Jo Bonner (Ala.), the panel’s ranking Republican, said he didn’t know if there was a deal as he entered the meeting, and declined further comment.

Body of 2nd Missing US Sailor Found in Afghanistan
Excerpt: A second U.S. Navy sailor who went missing in a dangerous part of eastern Afghanistan was found dead and his body recovered, a senior U.S. military official and Afghan officials said Thursday. The family of Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarod Newlove, a 25-year-old from the Seattle area, had been notified of his death, the U.S. military official said on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to disclose the information. Newlove and Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McNeley went missing last Friday in Logar province. NATO recovered the body of McNeley - a 30-year-old father of two from Wheatridge, Colorado - in the area Sunday.

Why Are We Beginning to Hate Congress?
Is the country better off now than in 2006 when the Republicans last controlled Congress? Excerpt: Recent polls show that more than 70 percent of the public holds an unfavorable view of Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wins about a 10 percent approval rating; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has similarly rock-bottom poll numbers. Why this astounding -- and growing -- disdain for our lawmakers? After all, Congress has had plenty of scandals and corruption in the past, such as the House post office and check-kiting messes the Charles Keating payoffs, and the Abscam bribery. But lately, Congress seems not merely corrupt, but -- far more worrisome -- without apparent concern that it has become so unethical. A "culture of corruption" was the slogan of the Democratic Party to win back Congress in 2006. And indeed there was lots of sleaze then among incumbent Republicans.
Reps. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.), Bob Ney (R-Ohio) and Tom DeLay (R-Texas) all left Congress under a cloud. Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) and Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) saw their careers ruined over creepy sex allegations. Convicted felon Jack Abramoff ran a criminal lobbying syndicate by which big money earned special attention from Republican lawmakers. But when reform-minded Democrats took over, the mess got no better, and possibly worse -- suggesting that the problem was not politics, but what Congress itself had become. Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) was convicted on multiple counts, including bribery and racketeering. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), who recently stepped down as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, for over a year has been under investigation for numerous transgressions -- from rent-control violations and tax avoidance to improper lobbying and omissions from financial disclosure forms. The late Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) had seemed destined for an investigation into quid-pro-quo relationships between the money he received from boosters and the earmarks he earned them. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) managed to get a cut-rate home loan from a tottering bank -- and a great deal on a vacation home in Ireland from a seller with connections to someone for whom Dodd lobbied for a presidential pardon.

The Unpresidential President
Excerpt: With the peculiar magic of his presidential campaign now a faded memory, Obama is shoring up support by the cruder method of divisive appeals. Long before the current (already hugely extended) campaign season began, Obama made it a practice to target opposition symbols (“the insurance industry,” “speculators,” “a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street,” the oil companies), call out and assail individual opponents (Rush Limbaugh, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner), and refer disparagingly to the Tea Party movement and Republicans in general (“this crowd”). More than a half-year before the midterm elections, he tried to revive his electoral base of “young people, African Americans, Latinos, and women” by taking a page from Al Gore’s 2000 campaign and embracing the shop-worn slogan, “I won’t stop fighting for you.” An ass-thumping president frantically fighting for the little guy—it’s hard to imagine George Washington or Abraham Lincoln choosing to project an image of this kind. Barack Obama has managed a rare feat in American history: The longer he is president, the less presidential he has become. Obama has reversed the usual process of growth and maturation, appearing today far more like a candidate for the presidency—and a very ordinary one at that—than he did during the latter stages of his campaign.

BP Oil Spill: Clean-Up Crews Can't Find Crude in the Gulf
If I’d had the cash, would have bought gulf front property in west Florida a month ago. Funny how fast things get back to normal. Excerpt: For 86 days, oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico from BP's damaged well, dumping some 200 million gallons of crude into sensitive ecosystems. BP and the federal government have amassed an army to clean the oil up, but there's one problem -- they're having trouble finding it. At its peak last month, the oil slick was the size of Kansas, but it has been rapidly shrinking, now down to the size of New Hampshire. Today, ABC News surveyed a marsh area and found none, and even on a flight out to the rig site Sunday with the Coast Guard, there was no oil to be seen.

Opinion: More Kennedy, Less Obama
Excerpt: If President Barack Obama is going to lead the country to better times, he needs to start leading more like President John F. Kennedy. Nationally, unemployment is near 10 percent and could remain there for the foreseeable future. In June, the U.S. Department of Labor reported 652,000 people stopped looking for work. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, the magnitude of the current recession goes well beyond unemployment numbers. Pew found that 32 percent of adults have been unemployed at some point during the now 30-month recession. In addition to being unemployed at some point, 55 percent report a cut in pay or reduction in hours. To tackle these economic problems, Obama pressed Congress to pass a massive government stimulus package costing $862 billion and pushed forward a budget-busting $1 trillion health care entitlement program. He now seeks additional stimulus spending of $266 billion and the introduction of a new national energy tax, which one outside estimate predicts will kill 5.1 million jobs over the next 40 years and cost the American economy $125.9 billion per year, or $1,042 per household.

Unfunded Liabilities of State and Local Government Employee Retirement Benefit Plans
Excerpt: Due to the use of high discount rates, the liabilities of state and local government pension plans are underestimated, say Courtney A. Collins, an assistant professor of economics at the Stetson School of Business at Mercer University, and Andrew J. Rettenmaier, Executive Associate Director at the Private Enterprise Research Center at Texas A&M University and a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis. For example: Recent reports by the Pew Center on the States and others indicate that assets will cover about 85 percent of the pension benefits owed to participants. But other studies that adopted lower discount rates have found liabilities may actually be 75 percent to 86 percent higher than reported. As a result, taxpayers' role as insurer may be much greater than anticipated. In addition to pension benefits, state and local governments often also provide other retirement benefits, especially postretirement health care benefits. These nonpension postemployment benefits include such things as health insurance, dental and vision insurance, and prescription drug plans. Unlike pension plans, most of these nonpension benefit plans are completely unfunded. That is, assets are not being set aside to fund the obligations, say Collins and Rettenmaier: The Pew Center on the States reports that nonpension benefit unfunded liabilities across all states were about $537 billion in 2008. According to Collins and Rettenmaier, estimates of the reported unfunded liabilities of state and local governments for pensions and other postemployment benefits total $1.03 trillion, but when these unfunded liabilities are recalculated using a more appropriate discount rate, the total unfunded accrued liability is much higher. Collins and Rettenmaier analyzed 153 state and local pension plans, representing more than 85 percent of liabilities for state and local pensions and other benefits, and recalculated their liabilities using a lower discount rate. Their calculations show: Unfunded pension liabilities are approximately $2.5 trillion, compared to the reported amount of $493 billion. Unfunded liabilities for health and other benefits are $558 billion, compared to the reported $537 billion. Thus, total unfunded liabilities for all benefit plans are an estimated $3.1 trillion -- nearly three times higher than the plans report.

A moratorium we need
Excerpt: House Majority Leader John Boehner’s proposal for a one year moratorium on new regulations affecting business has the support of a plurality of voters, according to a new Rasmussen poll. The margin is slim: 38 percent approve of the idea, 34 percent disapprove and 28 percent don’t know. Many more people approve of the idea for regulations affecting small business than those affecting big business. What this suggests is that people know that regulation can make running a business unprofitable, but think that big business can absorb the cost. What they may not appreciate is that big business often lobbies for regulation for this very reason – it erects entry barriers against smaller maverick insurgents in their industry – and then pass on the cost of regulation to the rest of us.

Lift 'reckless' oil drilling ban, Gulf residents plead
Obama the Job Killer. Excerpt: President Barack Obama's "reckless" moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is suffocating small businesses and destroying livelihoods, lawmakers and residents said Tuesday. "The decision to stop energy exploration in the Gulf of Mexico appears to have been made in an uninformed manner that borders recklessness," Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu told the small business committee, which she chairs. "It has increased our risk to the environment, it has increased our national security risk, it has increased the risks to job security. It must be reversed now." A study by Louisiana State University finance professor Joseph Mason estimates the six-month moratorium, which ends in late November, would cost more than 8,000 jobs in Gulf states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

Emergency room waits drag as patient numbers rise
Obama, the healthcare killer. Illinois is 25, with an average wait time over four hours. Hope I don’t need to go to the ER, because as Obamacare kicks in, this is going to get much worse. Excerpt: Emergency room patients in Kansas had to wait an average of five hours and 43 minutes until they were seen by a physician, according to the most recent annual report from Press Ganey Associates Inc., a consulting firm that offers services and research to health care providers. That’s 21 minutes longer than last year and almost two hours longer than across the state line in Missouri. The wait makes Kansas the second-worst in the nation, ahead of Utah’s average wait time of eight hours and 17 minutes.

White House proposal would ease FBI access to records of Internet activity
Funny, the Left was screaming about Bush intruding into constitutional rights to privacy. Quiet now, though. Excerpt: The Obama administration is seeking to make it easier for the FBI to compel companies to turn over records of an individual's Internet activity without a court order if agents deem the information relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation. The administration wants to add just four words -- "electronic communication transactional records" -- to a list of items that the law says the FBI may demand without a judge's approval. Government lawyers say this category of information includes the addresses to which an Internet user sends e-mail; the times and dates e-mail was sent and received; and possibly a user's browser history. It does not include, the lawyers hasten to point out, the "content" of e-mail or other Internet communication. But what officials portray as a technical clarification designed to remedy a legal ambiguity strikes industry lawyers and privacy advocates as an expansion of the power the government wields through so-called national security letters. These missives, which can be issued by an FBI field office on its own authority, require the recipient to provide the requested information and to keep the request secret. They are the mechanism the government would use to obtain the electronic records.

Brother of Marine hero will follow in his path: 'I have big shoes to fill'
Excerpt: His brother, Sgt. Rafael Peralta, is one of the Marine Corps heroes of Iraq -- a leader who smothered a grenade to save his fellow Marines during the 2004 battle for Fallouja. Now Ricardo Peralta, 19, is following in his brother's path as a Marine private first class bound for the 3rd Battalion, 4th Regiment at Twentynine Palms to begin training for deployment to Afghanistan. It's the fulfillment of a promise that Ricardo made at his brother's funeral.

And the problem is what, exactly?
Excerpt: In news from Afghanistan, seems that the Brits identified a high-value target -- in this case a Taleban warlord. Local British Command rounded up a Gurkha patrol, gave them the intel and mentioned that they really needed positive ID once the Gurks caught up with him. Well, catch up they did, with the result that said warlord became intimately acquainted with the Gurkhas "Air In, Blood Out" diplomatic skills. Things got a little too warmish for the Gurkhas to retrieve the body -- positive ID and all that -- so when the patrol returned to base and the CO asked if they were sure they got the bastard ... A Gurkha pulled the warlord's head out of a backpack. *shrug* The end of the tale should read: "The Gurkha patrol was issued one case of gin, and three days leave." Unfortunately, we have discovered that the British Army has deemed this as being "culturally insensitive" and is in the process of disciplining the Gurkha who did the whacking and the carrying.

Gov. Brewer vs Robert Sarver
The owner of the Phoenix Suns basketball team, Robert Sarver, opposes AZ's new immigration laws. Arizona's Governor, Jan Brewer, released the following statement in response to Sarver's criticism of the new law: "What if the owners of the Suns discovered that hordes of people were sneaking into games without paying? What if they had a good idea who the gate-crashers are, but the ushers and security personnel were not allowed to ask these folks to produce their ticket stubs, thus non-paying attendees couldn't be ejected. Furthermore, what if Suns' ownership was expected to provide those who sneaked in with complimentary eats and drink? And what if, on those days when a gate-crasher became ill or injured, the Suns had to provide free medical care and shelter?" -Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer

DOJ Accused of Stalling on MOVE Act for Voters in Military
Excerpt: The Department of Justice is ignoring a new law aimed at protecting the right of American soldiers to vote, according to two former DOJ attorneys who say states are being encouraged to use waivers to bypass the new federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act. The MOVE Act, enacted last October, ensures that servicemen and women serving overseas have ample time to get in their absentee ballots. The result of the DOJ's alleged inaction in enforcing the act, say Eric Eversole and J. Christian Adams — both former litigation attorneys for the DOJ’s Voting Section — could be that thousands of soldiers' ballots will arrive too late to be counted. "It is an absolute shame that the section appears to be spending more time finding ways to avoid the MOVE Act, rather than finding ways to ensure that military voters will have their votes counted," said Eversole, director of the Military Voter Protection Project, a new organization devoted to ensuring military voting rights. "The Voting Section seems to have forgotten that it has an obligation to enforce federal law, not to find and raise arguments for states to avoid these laws." Adams, a conservative blogger ( who gained national attention when he testified against his former employer after it dropped its case against the New Black Panther Party, called the DOJ’s handling of the MOVE Act akin to “keystone cops enforcement.” “I do know that they have adopted positions or attempted to adopt positions to waivers that prove they aren’t interested in aggressively enforcing the law,” Adams told “They shouldn’t be going to meeting with state election officials and telling them they don’t like to litigate cases and telling them that the waiver requirements are ambiguous.” The MOVE act requires states to send absentee ballots to overseas military troops 45 days before an election, but a state can apply for a waiver if it can prove a specific "undue hardship" in enforcing it. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas – who co-sponsored MOVE – wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on July 26 saying he is concerned that the Department of Justice is allowing states to opt out of the new law. (The active military tends heavily to vote GOP, at 80-85%. Not getting all the absentee ballots counted can change an election, for instance, there almost certainly would be a different Senator from MN today if all their ballots got counted last time. So it's in the interests of a certain group to not really help get the military vote counted, which they balance out by counting the votes of convicted felons and dead people. Who, oddly enough, tend to not vote GOP. (Coincidence, of course.) Yep, our current Department of Justice is part of that dramatic change we were promised. It's changed from a nonpartisan function that enforces federal laws evenhandedly to one that has its own agenda. Just great....Del)

Veterans Affairs to Investigate Fallen Soldiers' Death Benefits
And if they die, the families get screwed. Excerpt: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said it is conducting a “full investigation” into a report that life insurance companies are putting veterans’ death benefits in corporate accounts and keeping most of the investment profits instead of paying the survivors. The agency was responding today to a report in Bloomberg Markets magazine on what has become a standard practice for life insurance policies issued by companies including Prudential Financial Inc. and MetLife Inc. Instead of paying a lump sum to survivors when a policyholder dies, insurers keep the money in their own accounts, pay uncompetitive interest rates to survivors and give them misleading guarantees about the safety of the funds. “The possibility that life insurance companies are profiting inappropriately from these service members’ sacrifice is completely unacceptable,” Mike Walcoff, acting undersecretary for the agency’s Veterans Benefit Administration, said in an e-mailed statement. “The VA is conducting a full investigation into the life insurance companies and their procedures in this program.”

Marine Vet Speaks to Tea Party
Guess he’s another racist, huh NAACP? Great tan, though.

Israel’s First Female Arab-Israeli Paratrooper
“Stand up, hook up, shuffle to the door….” Or so those who jumped out of perfectly functioning airplanes used to say—I wasn’t among them. But I believe a lot of troopers might follow this lass out the door without even having chutes on…

John Wayne on Liberty, Freedom, and the Role of Government
He looks better in a Marine uniform than I did….

Leaked War Files Expose Identities of Afghan Informants
Excerpt: Hundreds of Afghan lives have been put at risk by the leaking of 90,000 intelligence documents to WikiLeaks because the files identify informants working with NATO forces. In just two hours of searching the WikiLeaks archive, The Times of London found the names of dozens of Afghans credited with providing detailed intelligence to U.S. forces. Their villages are given for identification and also, in many cases, their fathers' names. U.S. officers recorded detailed logs of the information fed to them by named local informants, particularly tribal elders. (Linked through Fox News. London Times has put the article behind a pay-wall. Those who haven't been there very often may be able to get in; for the rest of us (me), this is it for free. I'm too mad to comment. Ron P.) (Calm down, Count. This has happened a lot through the years. When has a “journalist” ever cared if people died horribly, as long as they got their “scoop”? as a profession, “journalism” now ranks below trial lawyers and used car salesmen, but a bit above hit men and drug dealers. ~Bob)

Mexico Looks For Human Rights Violations
Excerpt: Let me just see if I have this correct. The Mexican government is sending "human rights" officials to the Arizona border to assure after the new law, SB1070 goes into effect today, its citizens that have paid "coyotes" to cross them into the United States illegally, some left in the desert to die with no water, stuffed in everything from trunks of cars to bale's of hay, held for ransom in drop houses, being raped and beaten by their traffickers, are treated humanly by U. S. Officials that transport the illegal immigrants by air conditioned greyhound buses to the Arizona / Mexico border with free food and beverage, medical care and wardrobes provided during incarceration. Please tell me these are not the same Mexican officials that provide maps and routes for the human traffickers to sneak illegal immigrants across the U.S. Borders, or the same Mexican officials that see "no harm no foul" when Mexican drug cartels behead a dozen people, including their own police, elected officials, women and children and leave their heads and body parts thrown in the streets of Mexican border cities, but they want to check on our humanity? I think what they are really doing is checking on our stupidity for even engaging this conversation with them. "Mexico looking for and finding their own human rights violations is like the Democrat's finding and acknowledging Charlie Rangel's ethic violations." "So think about it, if even one of the illegals we return to Mexico has a case of "flatulence" they intend to label us as inhumane." "It is already predetermined." "It’s a plan."

Evidence Links Manning to Leaked Afghan War Logs
Excerpt: Investigators have found concrete evidence linking Pfc. Bradley Manning with the leak of classified Afghanistan war reports, a defense official said. A search of the computers used by Pfc. Manning yielded evidence he had downloaded the Afghanistan war logs, which span from 2004 until 2009, the official said. It’s not clear precisely what that evidence is. The investigation is also looking at who might have helped Pfc. Manning provide the documents to WikiLeaks, a web-based group that earlier this week released 76,000 secret reports on Afghanistan. (“Listen up. Hall, Pittenger, Del Vecchio and the rest of you clowns in first squad fall out and draw weapons for firing squad detail. And for God’s sakes, shoot to kill this time—we don’t want this one thrashing around for a couple off hours like the last one.” “Sir, Aye, Aye, sir!”)

The Year America Dissolved
Excerpt: The first clans organized around local police forces. The conservatives’ war on crime during the late 20th century and the Bush/Obama war on terror during the first decade of the 21st century had resulted in the police becoming militarized and unaccountable. As society broke down, the police became warlords. The state police broke apart, and the officers were subsumed into the local forces of their communities. The newly formed tribes expanded to encompass the relatives and friends of the police. The dollar had collapsed as world reserve currency in 2012 when the worsening economic depression made it clear to Washington’s creditors that the federal budget deficit was too large to be financed except by the printing of money. (A little earlier than I was predicting here:

Anti-SB 1070 rally Che' is the A.N.S.W.E.R 7-28-2010
Useful idiots, Stalin supposedly called folks like this.

Cities Rent Police, Janitors to Save Cash
Avoids political favoritism increasing costs, government unions and all the rest of the usual government inefficiency. Excerpt: Cities say they have little choice. Municipalities across the U.S. will face a projected shortfall of $56 to $86 billion between 2010 and 2012, according to a report from the National League of Cities. "You can do across-the-board cuts for only so long," said Andrew Belknap, Western Regional Vice President for Management Partners, a government consulting group. "It's gone from the tactical cost cutting to get through a recession, to in some cases saying we have to exit that business or service altogether." Maywood, a tiny city southeast of Los Angeles, is taking contracting to the extreme. The city of around 40,000 is letting go of its entire staff and contracting with outsiders to perform all city services. The city is disbanding its police force and handing public safety over to the Los Angeles County Sheriff. Its neighbor, the city of Bell, will take over running Maywood's City Hall. Like many towns, Maywood is battling a budget deficit. But city officials said they were forced into the situation when the city's insurance carrier decided to cancel coverage because of the $21 million in legal expenses and judgments against the city stemming from the conduct of its police department. Without insurance, the city is barred from hiring employees who work directly for the city.

What I Saw At Moba Khan
Excerpt: Echo company got into a gunfight last Aug. 25 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. You'll learn that by reading the report found in WikiLeaks's database of Afghan war documents released on Sunday night. You'll learn that, after a chase, the Marines killed one insurgent. You'll learn that the insurgents supposedly fled and that the troops decided to stay the night in the area in case the militants returned. What you won't learn is that a Marine sniper team sparked the shoot-out with a surprise assault on the insurgents; that every member of that team was nearly killed in the battle; or that the incident would kick off a three-day siege in which the Taliban nearly surrounded the Echo company squad. You also won't learn that, in the midst of this battle, British and Afghan troops waged a more gentle counterinsurgency nearby, as they sat cross-legged under shady patches of farmland and talked with village elders. I know this because I was there with Echo company, reporting for Wired magazine. The vast difference between what actually happened at the Moba Khan compound in Helmand province and what the report says happened there should give caution to those who think they can discover the capital-T truth about the Afghanistan conflict through the Wikileaks war logs. It should also give pause to those officers in military headquarters who rely on these updates. The military has a problem in how it talks to itself. These reports—ultra-compressed and focused solely on the bombs-and-bullets part of the war—are a symptom of that shaky reporting system.

Claim of 'Islamic veil bus ban' thrown out
We have to stop automatically believing when groups manipulate us by playing the victim card. Excerpt: A bus driver accused by two students of banning them because of their Islamic dress has been cleared after CCTV showed he had actually barred them for their abusive behaviour. An investigation by Metroline - which operates the No7 bus - found the driver, who could have faced the sack over the allegation, was justified in not allowing the women on his vehicle. The 22-year-olds, Yasmin and Atoofa, from Slough, told the BBC that they had been refused access to the bus at Russell Square because of their dress. Yasmin was wearing a hijab and her face was uncovered while Atoofa was wearing a niqab, which covers the face. But the Standard has learned that the students, who asked for their full names not to be revealed, were denied entry "due to abusive behaviour towards bus driver and other passengers". On-board CCTV of the incident, on Monday last week, showed the women banging on the front doors and attempting to board the bus when it had come to the end of its run. They then get on through the rear doors and begin arguing with the driver. They get off and wait for the bus to start its journey back to Paddington - but another exchange follows, and the driver refuses to set off unless they disembark.

ATM attacks reveal security holes
Wonderful. Excerpt: A hacker has discovered a way to force ATMs to disgorge their cash by hijacking the computers inside them….Computer hacker Barnaby Jack spent two years tinkering in his Silicon Valley apartment with ATMs he bought online. These were standalone machines, the type seen in front of convenience stores, rather than the ones in bank branches. His goal was to find ways to take control of ATMs by exploiting weaknesses in the computers that run the machines. He showed off his results at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, an annual gathering devoted to exposing the latest computer-security vulnerabilities. His attacks have wide implications because they affect multiple types of ATMs and exploit weaknesses in software and security measures that are used throughout the industry. His talk was one of the conference’s most widely anticipated, as it had been pulled a year ago over concerns that fixes for the ATMs wouldn’t be in place in time. He used the extra year to craft more dangerous attacks.

Obama support falls among blacks, Hispanics
The 15% of blacks who don’t approve are all, of course, racists! Excerpt: Gallup’s latest weekly compilation of polling data on President Obama’s job approval rating shows him at 85 percent among black Americans, down from a 94 percent approval rating among blacks as recently as March. The 85 percent figure is also Obama’s lowest-ever as president among African-Americans in the Gallup weekly poll. The poll data is from July 19 to 25, meaning Gallup sampled opinion as the Shirley Sherrod matter, and the Obama administration’s handling of it, exploded into controversy. Obama’s approval rating among Hispanics in the latest poll, 52 percent, is also his lowest rating among that group in Gallup’s weekly measurement. He was in the low-to-mid 60’s earlier with Hispanics earlier this year. Obama’s approval rating among whites is 38 percent, mostly unchanged from recent weeks but down a few points from the beginning of 2010. Overall, Obama’s weekly job rating is 45 percent approve, 47 percent disapprove, down from a 51 percent approve, 42 percent disapprove in February. Obama remains above a 50 percent approval rating with several groups. His rating is 59 percent with people 18 to 29 years old; 53 percent with people who hold graduate degrees; 53 percent with people who make less than $24,000 a year; and 52 percent with people who seldom or never attend church. On the political spectrum, his numbers are 79 percent approval among Democrats and 76 percent approval among self-identified liberals.

Secret Democrat memo details challenges Tea Party candidates should consider
Excerpt: Republicans and conservatives have expressed confidence that they’ll be able to capture the U.S. House from Democrats in November. Democrats, as you would expect, are not buying that logic. A memo currently circulating on Capitol Hill obtained by liberal Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent lists several reasons why they think this: There are not enough open Democratic seats that can actually be captured by Republicans: “If Republicans have a great election night, they would still only win 50 percent of the Democratic open seats.” Democrats are poised to win at least a few GOP seats which means that Republicans will need to win at least 43 seats, a difficult task since Democrats enjoy significant fund-raising advantages in the at-risk seats The third point concerns the Tea Party. Instead of insisting that the public perceives the center-right movement as a group of extremists (something only liberal Democrats believe), the memo focuses on the policies which are being advocated by Tea Party-aligned Republican candidates which are definitely not as popular nationally–abolishing various federal departments, repealing the Seventeenth Amendment allowing for the direct election of senators, etc.–and argues that these policies will be a drag on candidates that insist upon talking about them. Of these talking points, I would say the last is the most significant. The second point about campaign warchest sizes, as pointed out numerous times by free speech advocates like the Center for Competitive Politics, is not nearly as significant as candidate quality and issue climate. Just ask former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine or former South Dakota senator Tom Daschle.
Nancy Pelosi spoke to liberal bloggers at the Netroots Convention in Las Vegas Saturday. She can't get away from work. When she walked through the casino, all the losers demanded a bailout while all the winners hid their cash in their underwear. ~Argus Hamilton

50 Most Beautiful People 2010
Once again, I was cheated out of my rightful place on the list by blatant discrimination.

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