Saturday, January 8, 2011

Political Digest for January 9, 2011

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. Nor that I disagree with them, of course.

Hospital: Ariz. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords expected recover after Tucson shooting that killed six including a 9-year-old and a federal judge
Excerpt: Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot and critically wounded Saturday morning while hosting an event outside a Tucson grocery store, according to local news reports, a tragic turn of events after an unusually heated campaign season.

When something terrible like this happens, it reminds us how fortunate we are to live in the American Republic, where this is type of horror is rare, compared to many other countries.

The 24-hours news cycle has trouble with these things. There is little hard news, but the story is too big to go to other things, so they spend time running down rumors and letting talking heads speculate, which adds little to our understanding. And the usual leaders are asked to weigh in—it’s hard for any of them to sound authentic in the face of tragedy.

With few facts out, people are already putting spin on it. Within the first few hours I heard the Tea Party blamed. And there was speculation the shooter was a vet of Afghanistan, though no confirmation. See:

Jane Fonda Blames Giffords Shooting on Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and the Tea Party

A YouTube search turns up some weird videos claiming to be his thoughts. HotAir has links to some, scroll down.

Illinois faces steep tax increases to meet fiscal crisis
Have to feed the public unions no matter how many jobs it drives out of state. ~Bob. Excerpt: After years of papering over severe budget shortfalls, Illinois lawmakers Friday were closing in on a plan to raise the state income tax by 75 percent and refinance roughly $8.5 billion in debt in an effort to stabilize the state's finances.

House clears way for health-care repeal vote
Excerpt: On a largely party-line vote, the House on Friday cleared the way for debate on legislation that would repeal the national health-care overhaul, setting up a repeal vote next week. The House approved the terms of debate for the repeal bill on a 236-to-181 vote. Four Democrats -- Reps. Dan Boren (Okla.), Larry Kissell (N.C.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.) and Mike Ross (Ark.) -- joined Republicans to vote in favor of proceeding on the measure. All four voted against the health-care overhaul last year. The vote came after a heated debate Friday morning on the House floor in which Democrats accused Republicans of fiscal irresponsibility and protested the GOP's efforts to push along the repeal bill as quickly as possible.

Obama's $5-a-gallon gas just ahead
Excerpt: Most politicians play word games to cast themselves in the most favorable light, so perhaps it's understandable that few people took it seriously when President Obama unaccountably said during his 2008 presidential campaign that energy prices would "necessarily skyrocket" under his program. With gas steadily approaching $4 per gallon and projected by federal Energy Information Administration experts to hit $5 in 2012, it's time to accept Obama at his word. The costs of heating and cooling our homes and offices, keeping gas in the cars and trucks that get us to work and the grocery store, and generating the electricity that keeps our laptops humming are heading skyward because Obama thinks that's what is best for us. It's a classic illustration of liberals using government to do to us what we would never do to ourselves. It is important to take note of this now because signs point to a 2012 Obama re-election campaign based on a bogus claim that he is pro-business, pro-jobs and pro-growth. That Obama is none of these things is nowhere better illustrated than in his energy policies. Here are just some of the ways Obama has constricted U.S. energy exploration and development, thereby forcing prices upward and making America more dependent on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and other costly, unreliable foreign oil sources who bear this country ill will:

Destruction of the Warrior Culture
Excerpt: If you could put your finger on a point in time when it started it would have to be the decade of the 1960s. That is when Americans stood by and allowed the destruction of the warrior culture to start. The warrior culture is the unique culture that exists in varying degrees in all branches of the United States Armed Forces. To use the lingo of the day, it is the American spirit and probably the last stronghold of it, only on steroids.

HOA Sues Marine for Flying American Flag on Flagpole
Excerpt: A homeowner’s association in Houston, TX is suing a former Marine for disobeying its rules and erecting a 20 ft. flagpole to fly his Marine Corps and American flags. The HOA’s argument? The pole flapping in the wind poses “imminent harm” and “causes noise to other homeowners.” But neighbors say they don’t mind, and now a prominent U.S. lawmaker has stepped up to support the Marine. The Marine is 60-year-old Mike Merola, an 8-year veteran who served from 1969-1977. He moved to the Lakeland Village Community in 2009, and almost immediately started lobbying the Lakeland Village Community Association to allow him to erect his flagpole. They said no. Recently, he did it anyway:

Somali Islamists ban men, women from shaking hands
Misogyny—it’s not just a good idea—it’s Shari’a law! ~Bob. Excerpt: Somalis say Islamist insurgents have banned unrelated men and women from shaking hands, speaking or walking together. Residents of the southern Somali town of Jowhar said Saturday that the al-Shabab insurgents threatened to whip, imprison or execute anyone found breaking the recent edicts. Resident Hussein Ali says he will no longer greet women he knows for fear of punishment. Student Hamdi Osman says gunmen are searching buses for improperly dressed women or women traveling alone. She says she was once beaten for wearing Somali traditional dress instead of the long, shapeless black robes favored by the fighters. The insurgents have already banned women from working in public, leaving many families completely destitute.

Lynn Woolsey (D-CA): A National Embarrassment
Excerpt: Spitting on the graves of those who have died in their nation's service is just one of the rights secured to Ms. Woolsey by the blood and sweat of others. A free press is another right. This would be the same press that has maintained a deafening silence about this war ever since it became Obama's war -- the same press that reports Ms. Woolsey's inane pronouncements without offering vital context. Though Ms. Woolsey makes ten times the money my nephew does, he is the one who does the heavy lifting. He is the one on the front line, braving Taliban bullets and following orders. Ms. Woolsey, on the other hand, spends her time, along with fellow Democrats, improvising insane rules of engagement which make my nephew's job much more dangerous. She is also busy ensuring that terrorists are given the same rights as the Americans they are so intent on killing.

Excerpt: This morning, in a move that defiled the symbol of our nation and violated an understanding made earlier, eight U.S. Border Patrol agents, led by a supervisor, tore down thousands of American flags from a border fence and dumped them on the ground. I will let the record and these photos speak for themselves that our government is the enemy of the people. We were told that the flags could remain and but that small tags had to be removed. We were told that the U.S. Border Patrol would remove the tags if we didn't.

House Republican Introduces Bill to Block FCC's Internet Grab
Excerpt: Rep. Marsha Blackburn introduced legislation Wednesday to deny the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulatory oversight over the Internet, which the Tennessee Republican insisted was the “sole prerogative of Congress” to administer.

Vinton meth-maker's proudly displayed GED told cops who ran drug lab
I wonder why they call it ‘dope”? ~Bob. Excerpt: A man who hung his GED certificate above his methamphetamine-cooking rig, then fled police by taking to the woods with a tent and a bowl of macaroni and cheese, pleaded guilty today to charges that could send him to prison for years. John Thomas Nelon Jr., 29, of Vinton, pleaded guilty in federal court in Roanoke to charges that he manufactured meth and that he did so in the presence of a minor. U.S. District Judge Samuel Wilson ordered a pre-sentencing report. A sentencing date was not immediately available. Nelson made his meth in a garage, where he and his 15-year-old girlfriend also lived…

Periodical Perspective
Excerpt: ...the more they remain the same. The love affair which the left has with socialist monsters is still quite real. So, too, is the left's certainty that being nice to these brutal monsters will miraculously bring a millennial peace. The truth about the real brutes around the world is easy to ignore or even to paint as benign. But pretense does not change anything. Evil in the world must be defeated. The ballooning size of the federal government and the oceans of meaningless regulations which follow constitute a danger seen long ago, and it more and more squeezes out productive people. The left's idea that federal deficit borrowing and "investment" in make-work jobs will somehow create wealth is a fallacy which seems indestructible. The truth that private citizens acting on their own initiative create wealth -- wealth which "the bureaucratic minds would never conceive" -- is just as true now as in July 1943. If we leave the shallow pond of now for a moment, and if we travel back and see the battle of ideas fought seven decades ago, it is clear that the left is immune to truth and, probably, indifferent to truth as well.

Radical Islam video
With the hit song: “Live to die for virgins in the sky.”

WikiLeaks: US demanding our Twitter account info
Excerpt: In a statement, WikiLeaks said U.S. investigators had gone to the San Francisco-based Twitter Inc. to demand the private messages, contact information and other personal details of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and other supporters, including the U.S. Army intelligence analyst suspected of handing classified information to the site and a high-profile Icelandic parliamentarian. WikiLeaks blasted the court order, saying it amounted to harassment. "If the Iranian government was to attempt to coercively obtain this information from journalists and activists of foreign nations, human rights groups around the world would speak out," Assange said in the statement. (Assange is absolutely correct (most of the groups he mentions are just as anti-West as he is) except the Iranian government wouldn't have bothered with the court order or other legal niceties, they'd simply have had him shot. Which might be a simple and valid solution. Ron P.)

Dambisa Moyo: Without Change U.S. Will Almost Certainly Become a Socialist Nation
Excerpt: How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly – And the Stark Choices Ahead goes so far as to predict that the US will be a “bona fide socialist welfare state” by the latter part of this century. “Indeed, if nothing else changes it from its current path,” writes Moyo, “it is almost certain that America will move from a fully-fledged capitalist society of entrepreneurs to a socialist nation in just a few decades. “The trouble is, it won’t be just any socialist welfare state... the US is on a path to creating the worst and most venal form of welfare state [poorly developed and designed] – one born of desperation from many years of flawed economic policies and a society that rapaciously feeds on itself.”

Weimar Cities: No One Dies For A Target Ad
Excerpt: But it is in the 19th and 20th Centuries that the hypothesis of the Weimar City, doomed and knowing it, creating great art as it dies, is proven wrong. Consider art people have actually heard of, and loved. Throughout the ages. From Sherlock Holmes, to Peter Pan, to Charles Dickens, to Beatrix Potter, to Winnie the Pooh, to Harry Potter, to Narnia, to Lord of the Rings, to Mr Toad and "Wind in the Willows," a certain type of Englishness still holds the world's imagination. Perhaps no more powerful (and tragically sad) statement can be made than a young girl at Beslan, who reported that she prayed that Harry Potter would come with his invisible cloak to rescue them all. She didn't want an Angel to rescue her. Or a hip, gay, trendy and uber-PC Multicultural spokesman. Nor a combination of Michael Moore, Sean Penn, and Alec Baldwin. She wanted Harry Potter. The very model of a young English boy filled with magical goodness. (...) Sherlock Holmes offers the prospect of hyper-rationality coupled with artistic instinct and moderated by solid English heroism (Watson), the ability to uncover and punish wickedness, no matter how bizarre and sordid and hidden. Winnie the Pooh, the Wind in the Willows, and Beatrix Potter offer a stylized and comforting version of the English countryside, for children and adults. Peter Pan, a vision of one last childhood adventure on the verge of adulthood, and the fantasists of Tolkein, Lewis, and Rowling, offer a particularly English assurance that decency can still win out over depravity no matter how powerful. This fundamental decency and optimism has power still, even as the worlds its creators lived in no longer exists....

Outstanding example of helping vets
This 8 minute video is super impressive, about two guys who have made it the drive of their lives to take care of returning amputee vets. And one of them was born in northern Ireland, but has become a very proud and patriotic American. The part that deals with the first quadruple amputee from the war is both heart rending and inspiring. I recommend this highly. –Del

Injured Marine to undergo another surgery
Excerpt: U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Michael Martinez will undergo surgery Jan. 18 to remove more bone from his right leg. "The bone didn't heal properly and causes him great pain when he walks," said his father, Larry Martinez. "He can walk short distances, but it's very painful." Michael is undergoing advanced physical rehabilitation at the Military Advanced Training Center at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Michael, a 2008 graduate of Prescott High School, lost one leg above the knee and the other leg below the knee after a remotely set off improvised explosive device detonated during a mission March 11 in the Helmand Province of southwestern Afghanistan.

Knowledge is Power
Excerpt: Paul Ryan was 28 when he arrived in the House of Representatives in 1999 as a Republican freshman from Wisconsin. Eager for advice, he sought the counsel of dozens of veteran House members on how to be an effective congressman. The most consequential advice came from an unexpected source, Democrat Barney Frank of Massachusetts. It was guidance for a committed conservative from one of Washington’s leading liberals. And it was quite simple: Be a specialist, not a generalist. As they talked over breakfast in the members’ dining room, Frank went into considerable detail. “Pick two or three issues and really focus on them rather than being a yard wide and an inch deep,” Ryan says Frank told him. Do your homework. Concentrate on committee work. Study. If you do, you’ll be in the room when bills are written.

A Farewell to Arms
If the Taliban eliminated 10% of our troops all at once, it would be a terrible defeat. ~Bob. Excerpt: Today the Army is up to 566,045 active-duty soldiers, an 18 percent increase since 2001. That is still too small—a force that size has too little “dwell time” at home and places too much stress on soldiers. It also imposes constraints, helping to curtail the size of the force we send to Afghanistan even though more troops could get the job done with less risk. But now we learn from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that the force is going to shrink again. Last week he announced that, starting in 2015, the Army is going to lose 27,000 soldiers on top of an already planned cut of 22,000. That will bring the Army’s active duty strength down to 517,000—still larger than it was in 2001 but far smaller than it was in 1991, and not big enough to meet all of the contingencies for which it must prepare. The Marine Corps will lose 15,000 to 20,000 personnel. So our ground combat forces—the most heavily deployed forces since the end of the Cold War—will be deprived of 70,000 troopers or almost 10 percent of their strength.

Adding Islam to a Latino Identity
Q. Why Latino Muslims? Why do you think so many are converting? A. Many describe disillusionment with the practices of Catholicism and the church establishment. These Latinos are lured by Islam’s simplicity and the Muslim’s independence from a mediating clergy in his or her relationship with God. Converts are seeking a different identity. Islam provides a moral code of conduct in everyday life, providing them with a more regimented and disciplined lifestyle. I met women who were affiliated with the North Hudson Islamic Educational Center in Union City, N.J., which has a large Latino Muslim congregation. They have created an extended family for themselves. I was fascinated by the duality of being Latino and Muslim and how religion could bring two disparate cultures together. Most converts were still immersed in their original culture — through food, music and closeness to their families — but had created a Muslim identity through their daily devotion to the religion, modest dress, prayer, preaching and fasting.

Guess he doesn’t like bacon! ~Bob.

Al Qaeda Plotting UK Terror Campaign
Excerpt: An alert issued by the security services warns of plots against transport hubs by al-Qaeda's "international operations wing" designed to cause "a large number of casualties". The "restricted" document, seen by The Daily Telegraph, details plans for "one or more attacks against Europe, including the UK", aimed at "high-profile Western targets". It warns of attacks against British airports and the London transport network – including the Underground – with the aim of inflicting "political, economic and psychological" damage.

Pakistani Men See White Girls as 'Easy Meat' Claims MP Jack Straw
Excerpt: The Blackburn MP has called on the Pakistani community to be "more open" about the issue after describing about a "specific problem" involving young Pakistani men's attitudes towards white girls.

Biding Their Time
Excerpt: Last night we posted a translated news article from the Netherlands about serious infighting among radical Muslims in the Netherlands. The spat included a secretly recorded phone call between Imam Fawaz Jneid and the leader of Shariah4Belgium and Shariah4Holland. A commenter named heatsketch left a very interesting analysis of the exchange between the two leaders. His observations are spot-on — better than anything I could do.

Hamas leader says Nazi genocide was a 'lie'
Quick, let’s send Hamas more tax dollars to “engage” them. ~Bob. Excerpt: A senior Hamas leader on Thursday accused Israel of carrying out "countless holocausts" against the Palestinians while saying the Nazi genocide was a "lie." Mahmud Zahar made the remarks during a memorial ceremony for 43 Palestinians who were killed at a UN school in the Jabaliya refugee camp during Israel's 22-day war on Gaza that began in December 2008. "The lie according to which they were a victim of a holocaust and the (Jewish) people are a victim -- this lie has crumbled with the holocaust of Beit Hanun, the holocaust of Al-Fakhura and the other countless holocausts ... committed by the Zionist enemy," he said.

U.S. Alleges Mexican Drug Cartel Rented Apartments in U.S. to Recruit Young Americans
Excerpt: Investigators used court-authorized wiretaps to capture 50,000 phone calls over a six-month period that led to a case against 43 suspects, including some Mexican police officers and top officials, such as Jesus Quinones Marquez, the director of International Liaison for the Baja California Attorney General’s Office. In that position, Marquez is one of the primary Mexican liaison officials providing information to U.S. law enforcement officers. According to the investigation, Marquez used his position to provide the drug cartel Fernandez Sanchez Organization (FSO) with confidential law enforcement information. He also allegedly arranged the arrest of FSO rivals by Mexican authorities.

When Will America's Sanctimonious Liberal Elites Stop Whining About the Tea Party and Finally Accept They Lost the Midterms?
Excerpt: What drives this great animosity towards the Tea Party? Undoubtedly anger, resentment and envy. But above all it is a reflection of the Left’s declining power in America, at a time when the nation is moving strongly to the Right. As Gallup’s recent survey showed, conservatives now outnumber liberals by nearly 2.5 to 1. The Left’s hatred of the Tea Party is born out of a frustration that the American people clearly prefer the message which the movement is sending rather than the increasingly discredited Big Government policies of the liberal elites. Their anger is also based on fear that the Tea Party, and small government conservatism in general, represents the future of America. For all the talk of the Tea Party as an anachronism, it represents a powerful vision of a revitalised United States based on free enterprise principles, individual liberty, and a deep-seated belief in American exceptionalism – everything the Left abhors.

Ten Things You Need to Know About Obama's New Chief of Staff William Daley
Excerpt: President Obama thinks his new chief of staff, William Daley, is just what his administration needs. “He [Daley] will bring his tremendous experience, strong values, and forward-looking vision to this White House,” Obama said Thursday. “I’m convinced he’ll help us in our mission of growing our economy and moving America forward and I very much look forward to working with Bill in the years to come.” Here are 10 things The Daily Caller thought you should know about the White House’s new gatekeeper:…7. He was an outspoken critic of the health-care bill. Obama’s new chief of staff openly criticized what the president considers to be his greatest legislative achievement. Last year, he was quoted in the New York Times saying “They miscalculated on health care. The election of ’08 sent a message that after 30 years of center-right governing, we had moved to center left — not left.”

EDITORIAL: Liberal distaste for the Constitution: America won't survive severed from our founding principles
Excerpt: The Constitution was read at the opening of the new session of the House of Representatives yesterday. What was most remarkable about this was the almost hysterical opposition from congressional Democrats and left-wing commentators. In what should have been a united celebration of the nation's foundation document in a period of partisan rancor, liberals instead reinforced the view that they are profoundly uncomfortable with the essential truths underlying American freedom. Some leftists smugly observed that the literal reading of the document does not convey its full meaning, which has been defined, redefined and sometimes misdefined by successive generations of courts. This argument fit neatly into liberal talking points about the new congressional majority being composed of naive bumpkins who know little of the sophisticated workings of government. Yet Washington's corrupting climate is the very basis of the conservative critique. (At every opening of Congress, all members stand up and repeat the oath that they are to defend the Constitution "against all enemies, foreign and domestic". Yet we know with certainty that many members of Congress do not believe at all in the central place of the Constitution in our nation structure, and in fact consider it just an old piece of literature to be ignored and overridden whenever it suits them. How can they stand and take that oath? If they were honest people, they would stand perhaps, but with closed mouths, tightened lips, and not allow a syllable to escape them during the oath. And we could then examine the films of the session and know who considers him-or-herself to be above any of the limitations the Founders thought necessary to the maintenance of a free society. We must hope that the new Congress will see some knock-down-drag-out fights about the Constitution, that lead to a return to observance of its precepts and limitations. And that those who disparage it become identified, so that in 2012 the voters can decide if they wish to be represented by those who feel they can act however they please, for whom the oath is nothing but a public lie. --Del)

A San Francisco Standoff a Comedian Would Relish
Excerpt: Mayor Gavin Newsom, California's duly elected lieutenant governor, will not leave town. It doesn't matter that the bulk of state government chose Jan. 3 to move along. Newsom is ensconced under City Hall's ornate dome at least in part so his political enemies cannot replace him with someone less moderate than he is. Yes, moderate. This is where a language lesson comes in handy. In San Francisco, the mayor who champions universal healthcare and brought the nation gay marriage is called a moderate. His enemies — those more liberal than he — are progressives. Political consultant Alex Clemens describes this "one-party town": "Our moderates would be burned as witches in Indiana. Our progressives would be burned as witches while people shouted, 'Hippie!' in Indiana."

Surprise Choice for Immigration Panel
Excerpt: In practice, Mr. [Elton] Gallegly does not differ substantially with Mr. [Steve] King on immigration. Mr. Gallegly, who represents a southern California district, supports tough border enforcement and opposes measures to give legal status to illegal immigrants. He has described himself as one of the “top ten illegal immigration hawks in Congress.”
But Mr. King, as top Republican on the subcommittee, had made immigration a hallmark issue, appearing frequently in the media to denounce illegal immigrants and recount crime waves and job losses he said they had brought to the country.

British salafi Abu Mounisa - The Islamic Awakening Conference
The link is to a video of a Muslim conference that took place in December. The speaker is a perfect example of a fanatic Islamist, talking very directly about destroying the system he lives in (due to UK tolerance) to replace it with his particular brand of Islam. These guys are that minority that is the tail wagging the dog, at least much more than is good for anyone. Listen to him for just a few minutes and the picture becomes quite clear what he and the others like him are about. I have to give him credit, he does not mince words, he is totally candid about his beliefs and goals. Something like Hitler was in Mein Kampf, except maybe more so. Yes, by our standards he's a religious nutcase, but unfortunately there are too many listeners and believers affected by this kind of rhetoric. –Del

Thank God These People Live on the Other Side of the World
Excerpt: These people are crazy. They live in a world that most Europeans left behind when Hieronymus Bosch hung up his paintbrushes -- a world that most contemporary American leave behind somewhere around first grade. I remember well the panic we all felt that year trying to escape some particularly unpopular girl's "cooties." After another year, however, the terror subsided. We began to lead rational lives. Not so in the great Islamic Republic. The phobias, irrational fears, superstitions, and delusions that most cultures would ascribe to madness are part of daily life. The place is a lunatic asylum. Thank god they live on the other side of the world.

VIDEO: Pence Introduces Bill to Deny Federal Funding to Planned Parenthood with 122 Co-sponsors
“It is morally wrong to end an unborn human life by abortion. It is also morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use them to promote abortion at home or abroad. "Last year, Planned Parenthood received more than $363 million in revenue from government grants and contracts. During that same time, they performed an unprecedented 324,008 abortions. “The largest abortion provider in America should not also be the largest recipient of federal funding under Title X.

Agents of Influence
Excerpt: On Sunday December 19, the self-proclaimed "Israeli human rights" group B'Tselem disseminated a shocking story to the local and international media. B'Tselem claimed that the previous day Palestinian shepherd Samir Bani Fadel was peacefully herding his sheep when he was set upon by a mob of Israeli settlers. He alleged that these kippah-clad Israelis drove up in a car and chased him away. Then they torched the pasture and burned 12 pregnant ewes alive and badly burned five others. B'Tselem furnished reporters with graphic photos of the dead sheep. While the media published the account without a shred of suspicion, the police found Fadel's account hard to believe. Observant Jews neither drive nor light fires on Saturdays.
And indeed, when questioned by police investigators, Fadel admitted he made the whole attack up. He accidentally killed his herd himself when he set fire to a pile of bramble. Too embarrassed to admit his mistake, he decided to blame the Jews and become a local hero. B'Tselem was only too happy to spread his lies.

Disappointing Silence on Pakistani Blasphemy Murder
Excerpt: American-Muslim groups were swift to issue statements condemning New Year's Eve bombing attacks at a Nigerian army barracks and at a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt. But those same groups have been silent since Tuesday's assassination of a moderate Pakistani governor over a religious dispute as Islamists rejoice and hail the killer as a hero. Punjab Governor Salman Taseer "is a blasphemer and this is the punishment for a blasphemer," confessed killer Malik Muntaz Qadri told Pakistani television. The definition of blasphemy for Islam, therefore, has been extended to policy differences. Taseer's unforgiveable sin was declaring Pakistan's blasphemy law, calling for the execution of those who insult the religion or its prophet, a "black law." He did so while defending a Christian woman facing the death penalty for an alleged blasphemy. "Those who support blasphemy of the Prophet are themselves indulging in blasphemy," the Jamaat-i-Ahl-i-Sunnat Pakistan said in a statement claiming to represent the views of more than 500 scholars.

Pentagon Is Poised to Cancel Marine Landing Craft
Excerpt: It was supposed to be a tank that swims, a new way for the Marines to storm hostile beaches. But as military budgets come under pressure, the 38-ton landing craft that turns into an assault vehicle seems destined to be the next bit of high-tech wizardry to bite the dust. Pentagon and industry officials say the defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, is poised to cancel the long-delayed $14.4 billion program on Thursday, when he is expected to announce a new round of belt-tightening at the Pentagon. The hybrid vehicle, being built by General Dynamics, is the most expensive weapons system to be cut since Mr. Gates canceled or trimmed three dozen programs in April 2009.

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