Saturday, April 30, 2011

Political Digest for April 30, 2011

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. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.

For those who want further information about the topics covered in this blog, I recommend the following sites. I will add to this as I find additional good sources.

So they’re married
Is it safe to turn the TV back on?

Gasoline Taxes vs. Exxon Profit, Per Gallon
Excerpt: The map above from API shows gasoline taxes by state (combined local, state and federal), which range from a low of 26.4 cents per gallon in Alaska to a high of 66.1 cents per gallon in California, averaging 48.1 cents per gallon across all states. How does that compare to oil company industry profits per gallon? According to this post on Exxon Mobil’s Perspective Blog , “For every gallon of gasoline, diesel or finished products we manufactured and sold in the United States in the last three months of 2010, we earned a little more than 2 cents per gallon. That’s not a typo. Two cents.”

Debt ceiling: More Democrats threaten to vote against raising borrowing limit
Well, then-Democrat Senator Barack Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling, calling it a “failure of leadership.” Apparently these Democrats agree with the ghost of Obama past. ~Bob. Excerpt: A growing number of Democrats are threatening to defy the White House over the national debt, joining Republican calls for deficit cuts as a requirement for consenting to lift the country’s borrowing limit. The tension is the latest illustration of how the tea-party-infused GOP is driving the debate in Washington over federal spending. And it shows how the debt issue is testing the Obama administration’s clout as Democrats, particularly those from politically competitive states, resist White House arguments against setting conditions on legislation to raise the debt ceiling.

Obama escapes blame for the economy, but he can’t escape the economy
Inherited them—from Democrat spending/statist policies he supported as a senator. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama continues to dodge taking the blame for causing the country’s economic problems, but people are more than happy to blame him for failing to pull the nation “out of the ditch” fast enough. New polling from Marist College for McClatchy newspapers shows Obama’s approval on the economy hitting a new low, with just 40 percent of voters now approving of the job he’s done. His disapproval is also at a new high, 57 percent. At the same time, voters continue to ascribe the financial crisis to Obama’s predecessors, with just 30 percent saying the problems are mostly a result of his policies, and another 63 percent saying he inherited them.

The Consumer Benefits of Electric Power Competition
Excerpt: For most of the 20th century, electric power was generated by utilities with legally protected monopolies in geographically defined service territories and sold to captive consumers at state-regulated rates. Meanwhile, in the 1970s and 1980s, deregulation of other network or utility-type industries -- including natural gas, telecommunications, airlines, trucking and railroads -- reduced prices at least 25 percent below prereform levels. This experience led to expectations that electric power competition would provide similar consumer benefits. Thus, beginning in the late 1990s, a number of states restructured their retail power markets, say Carl Johnston, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis, and Lynne Kiesling, a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics at Northwestern University. Restructuring generally means that prices are set competitively, utilities shed generating plants and transmission lines, and consumers have a choice of providers. Two-thirds of the U.S. population lives in states that have introduced competition and choice. Electricity prices in these states reflect the actual cost of production better than politically determined rates. Overall, electricity prices have adjusted more quickly in restructured states to changes in fuel costs and demand than in unrestructured states. As a result, in response to market demand as indicated by price, restructured states have added efficiency improvements, plant upgrades, additional generation and transmission capacity at a faster pace than nonrestructured states. In competitive markets, consumers may pay less for electricity than they once did under monopoly -- for example, Texas retail customers in some competitive markets paid up to one-third less in 2010 than in 2001, after adjusting for inflation. However, many states are not ready for the revolution. Among the steps necessary to realize the potential of the new technologies and markets: Continue the process of state restructuring. Allow retail market competition. Devolve or divest federal power generating and transmission assets. Build a national transmission grid. Give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the authority to site long-distance transmission lines. Implement smart technologies. Avoid preferential subsidies or mandates for particular forms of energy.

The Case against President Obama's Health Care Reform
Executive Summary: Multiple challenges to President Obama’s health care reform are percolating through the federal courts. Soon the Supreme Court will be asked to weigh in on perhaps the most im­portant question of the post–New Deal era: Are there any remaining limits on the breadth and scope of federal power? Reinforced by decades of Court decisions that have gutted the Framers’ original concep­tion of limited government, the Obama ad­ministration has embraced an unprecedented expansion of centralized control. This paper addresses the Patient Protection and Afford­able Care Act, which includes a mandate that individuals either purchase a government-pre­scribed health insurance policy or pay a penalty. The Department of Health and Human Ser­vices has asserted three constitutional provi­sions as sources of authority for the mandate—the Taxing Power, the Commerce Clause, and the Necessary and Proper Clause. Each of those purported sources is deficient. First, the penalty for not buying health insur­ance is not a tax. Even if the penalty were a tax, it would fail the constitutional requirements for income, excise, or direct taxes. Second, the power to regulate interstate commerce extends only to economic activities; it does not permit Congress to compel such activities in order to regulate them. Third, the mandate is not necessary; in­deed, it is merely a means to circumvent prob­lems that would not exist if not for PPACA itself. Nor is the mandate proper; it cannot be recon­ciled with the Framers’ original design for a lim­ited federal government of enumerated powers. An essential aspect of liberty is the freedom not to participate. PPACA’s directive that Amer­icans buy an unwanted product from a private company debases individual liberty. And it’s unconstitutional.

Green Energy: Don’t Envy Germany
Excerpt: Needless to say, this massive subsidization of wind and solar power attracted a lot of investors: after all, if the government is going to guarantee a market for several decades, and set a price high enough for renewable producers to make a profit, capital will flow into the market. Germany became the second-largest producer of wind energy after the United States, and its investment in solar power was aggressive as well. But, according to Frondel, things haven’t worked out as Germany’s politicians and environmentalists said they would. Rather than bringing economic benefits in terms of lower cost energy and a proliferation of green energy jobs, Frondel found that implementing wind and solar power raised household energy rates by 7.5 percent. Further, while greenhouse gas emissions were abated, the cost was astonishingly high: more than $1,000 per ton for solar power, and more than $80 per ton for wind power. Given that the carbon price in the European Trading system was about $19 per ton at the time, greenhouse gas emissions from wind and solar were not great investments.

High Quality Can Coexist with Lower Cost
Excerpt: High-quality hospitals deliver lower-cost care to trauma patients, according to a study published in the Annals of Surgery. The study found high-quality hospitals have death rates that are 34 percent lower, while spending nearly 22 percent less on trauma patient care than average-quality hospitals, suggesting high quality can coexist with lower cost. One possible explanation for the new finding is that higher-quality hospitals may have fewer patient complications compared with lower-quality hospitals. Potentially preventable complications have been shown to result in greater rates of death, hospital length of stay and cost, so fewer complications could translate into cost savings. "There is a growing recognition that, when it comes to health care, we have a quality problem in this country," says Laurent G. Glance, M.D., lead study author and professor of Anesthesiology and Community and Preventive Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Glance's team analyzed data from the largest inpatient database in the United States, focusing on 67,124 patients admitted to 73 trauma centers across the country in 2006. Most patients were between 40 and 50 years old, male and admitted to a trauma center following a car crash, fall, gunshot or stab wound, or other type of serious injury.

Boehner rejects oil-subsidy vote
Oil is a world market. The more taxes the companies pay, the more they charge for gas. Duh. ~Bob. Excerpt: As the country's largest oil companies report near-record profits, the office of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) rejected on Thursday Democratic calls to consider legislation eliminating billions of dollars in tax breaks for the same corporations. “The Speaker wants to increase the supply of American energy to lower gas prices and create millions of American jobs," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in an email. "Raising taxes will not do that."

Obama’s Millionaire Obsession
Excerpt: With less than 19 months left before the next presidential election, Barack Obama has kicked off his campaign, doing coast-to-coast "town hall" meetings last week. At the top of President Obama's re-election strategy is what appears to be a personal jihad against America's "millionaires and billionaires," many of whom, he seems to think, are—there's no other word for it—un-American. So naturally the place he picked to pitch an assault on the wealthy was the Silicon Valley headquarters of Facebook, a place filled with millionaires and billionaires. As has become his habit, Mr. Obama pulled his audience into his narrative by personalizing public policy. And so it was with his Facebook host, Mark Zuckerberg.

Don't Look Now, But Obama Is Unloved Here And Abroad
Excerpt: In the Bush years, poll results that showed the American people losing confidence in their president were featured routinely on the front page of major newspapers like the Washington Post. But when the Post discovers that President Obama's ratings are collapsing, you need a search party to find where inside the paper they're buried.

Barney Frank touts tort reform, higher co-pays as ways to trim budget
Excerpt: Liberal firebrand Barney Frank (D-Mass.) broke with party orthodoxy on Tuesday by calling for restrictions on lawsuits against doctors and hospitals that experts think contribute to the nation's growing healthcare costs.

Study Shows Litigation Doesn’t Improve Nursing Home Safety
Excerpt: A New England Journal of Medicine article casts yet more doubt on one of the cherished concepts underpinning the U.S. litigation system: That lawsuits improve patient care.

How California can add jobs, and prosper as Texas does
With the lawyers and unions party in charge, states like California and Illinois will continue to lose jobs. ~Bob. Excerpt: When our company recently expanded the number of its restaurants in Texas, I was startled to receive a call from Gov. Rick Perry thanking me for our decision. In the 10 years I've been CEO of CKE Restaurants, no governor had ever made such a gesture. Perry went further during our conversation and asked what it would take to move our headquarters from California to Texas. This is a question weighing on many California CEOs right now. Do we grow our businesses here where the tax and regulatory hurdles remain high, or do we relocate to a more business-friendly state like Texas?

Excerpt: In recent days, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime has used its army to murder hundreds of innocent civilians as part of a vicious campaign of violence against unarmed Syrian demonstrators. What we are witnessing in Syria is another tragic outrage in the Middle East that requires immediate condemnation backed by specific measures from the United States and the international community. U.S. President Barack Obama needs to make clear whose side America is on, back up our rhetoric with action, and clearly articulate why Syria matters to the United States. Clearly, we should be on the side of the Syrian people longing for freedom and challenging the regime's corrupt and repressive rule. Unfortunately, the Obama administration's hesitancy to weigh in has been mistaken for indecision at best and indifference at worst.

Worth Reading: The Obama doctrine: Leading from behind
Excerpt: Obama may be moving toward something resembling a doctrine. One of his advisers described the president’s actions in Libya as “leading from behind.” — Ryan Lizza, the New Yorker, May 2 issue. To be precise, leading from behind is a style, not a doctrine. Doctrines involve ideas, but since there are no discernible ones that make sense of Obama foreign policy — Lizza’s painstaking two-year chronicle shows it to be as ad hoc, erratic and confused as it appears — this will have to do. And it surely is an accurate description, from President Obama’s shocking passivity during Iran’s 2009 Green Revolution to his dithering on Libya, acting at the very last moment, then handing off to a bickering coalition, yielding the current bloody stalemate. It’s been a foreign policy of hesitation, delay and indecision, marked by plaintive appeals to the (fictional) “international community” to do what only America can.

Excerpt: In Friday’s Wall Street Journal, Janet Murguía had an ostensibly sensible enough op-ed, “Hispanic Values Are American Values” — arguing that Americans wrongly see “Latinos” as “foreigners,” “aliens,” and “others.” “It’s time for people to stop thinking about Latinos as “foreigners”, “aliens”, or “others” and start thinking of us as their fellow workers, classmates, colleagues, worshipers, neighbors, friends, and families.” Aside from the fact that some 10–14 million “Latinos” are, in fact, “aliens,” as properly described by legal statute rather than prejudicial slurs, the essay is a good-hearted reminder that few Americans should wish to see anyone separated by racial divides. But why then, a mere eight lines below that noble sentiment, does Ms. Murguía sign off as “President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza”? I cannot think of any more divisive notion than an American lobbying group self-identifying itself as “The National Council of ‘the Race.’”

In theory, Libya was supposed to save lives, use the military for humanitarianism rather than mere national interests, showcase a new multilateral internationalism, enhance the reputations of organizations like the U.N. and the Arab League, contrast Obama’s careful planning with the plagued Iraqi occupation, reveal Europe as a full strategic partner, and bolster the national-security credentials of the U.S. As of now, the misadventure has had the opposite effect on all counts:

Climate Change This Week: Apple Named 'Least Green' Tech Co.
Apple aficionados are a loyal bunch, and with good cause. From iPads and iPods to iPhones and Macs, the tech company -- which posted 95 percent growth in its latest quarterly earnings -- must be doing something right. For all the colorful apps Apple offers, however, it seems one color that's missing is green. Last week, Greenpeace named Apple the least green tech company in the world, thanks to "dirty data" centers. As the UK's Guardian opines, "Greenpeace's report, How Dirty is Your Data? reveals that the company's investment in a new North Carolina facility will triple its electricity consumption, equivalent to the electricity demand of 80,000 average US homes." Indeed, the facility's power will draw on "a mix of 62% coal and 32% nuclear." (Incidentally, as The Heartland Institute points out, the U.S. Department of Energy itself praises coal, calling it "the workhorse of the nation's electric power industry, supplying more than half the electricity consumed by Americans.") Still, those of the monochromatic political ideology would rather stifle productivity altogether than benefit from "dirty" coal. In fact, one would think Al "It's Not Easy Being Green" Gore would be the first to call for Apple to cease and desist its dirty ways given that he's on Apple's Board of Directors. Ah, the irony.

The Wisconsin Witch Hunt Goes National
Is this the new normal in politics? Two can play. Meanwhile, buy these products. ~Bob. Excerpt: On May 1, left-wing vigilantes will target companies across the country that have committed a mortal sin: sending donations to GOP Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Rest assured, such intolerable acts of political free speech will not go unpunished by tolerant Big Labor activists. They're calling for both a national boycott of Walker's corporate donors and a coordinated sticker vandalism campaign on GOP-tainted products. The Wisconsin Grocers Association is bracing for the anti-Walker witch hunt. Anonymous operatives have circulated sabotage stickers on the Internet and around Wisconsin that single out Angel Soft tissue paper ("Wiping your (expletive) on Wisconsin workers"), Johnsonville Sausage ("These Brats Bust Unions") and Coors ("Labor Rights Flow Away Like A Mountain Stream"). Earlier this week, a "Stick It To Walker" website boasted photos of vandalized Angel Soft tissue packages at a Super Foodtown grocery store in Brooklyn, N.Y.

That 3 a.m. Phone Call
Excerpt: Now, Hillary admitted to Ryan Lizza that people are being killed all over the world by nasty dictatorships. But she knew we needed to act in Libya. "People are being killed in Cote d'Ivoire; they're being killed in the Eastern Congo," she acknowledged over breakfast with Lizza. "What is the standard?" Apparently, the standard is that we will intervene only if the U.S. has no vital interest in the threatened area and only if the victims are Muslims and not Christians.

Born To Be Mild
Excerpt: As applied to the Syrian situation, that duality implied that Obama would always show a two-sided coin. He will exhibit “modesty” towards Assad and show “military strength” — but elsewhere. How the two are connected has not yet been explained. A cynic might characterize the characterization of “leading from behind” as the most flattering description of opportunism that anyone has ever had the temerity to articulate. It justifies, in advance, any action the president might choose to take, appealing to his greater wisdom and unimpeachable intellect.

Somali Human Smuggler Sentenced to 10 Years
Excerpt: A Somali man who knowingly smuggled people tied to a terrorist group into the United States received a 10-year prison sentence Thursday afternoon. Ahmed Muhammed Dhakane pleaded guilty in November to two counts of making false statements on his 2008 application. On the application, Dhakane failed to report his connections to two terrorist organizations and that he ran a smuggling operation out of a hotel in Brazil which brought members of one of those terrorist groups into the U.S.

Rifts in Iran’s Leadership. Plus: Secret Meetings with Obama Admin?
Excerpt: According to reports, last month Heydar Moslehi — the former minister of Intelligence — presented an extensive report on Ahmadinejad’s political and economic activities to Khamenei. In addition, the report is said to have contained information on a number of serious violations. In late January/early February, a group calling itself “a trade association” — all of its members belong to security forces close to Ahmadinejad — traveled to Dubai. The group’s announced intentions were to cozy up to a trade association of Iranians in Dubai, and to reveal a plan to open a special office for their economic activities. However, reports claim that they also held clandestine meetings with two American officials with political and military connections. (…) The Ministry of Industries delivered a classified report to the Iranian parliament and an official memo to the Ministry of Intelligence, both of which stated their inability to explain or justify oil contracts with China and Malaysia. They admitted they had no information on any of the details of the contracts, and declared they had no involvement with these deals. Then, during the last week of February, a classified report from the Ministry of Petroleum tipped off the Energy Commission within the Iranian parliament: a substantial amount of fuel had been exported by the Revolutionary Guards to the Chinese via underwater pipelines in the Persian Gulf (Kish Island). The Ministry of Petroleum acknowledged a $3 billion oil sale discrepancy, which could not be accounted for.

In Shift, Egypt Warms to Iran and Hamas, Israel’s Foes
Excerpt: Egypt’s shifts are likely to alter the balance of power in the region, allowing Iran new access to a previously implacable foe and creating distance between itself and Israel, which has been watching the changes with some alarm. “We are troubled by some of the recent actions coming out of Egypt,” said one senior Israeli official, citing a “rapprochement between Iran and Egypt” as well as “an upgrading of the relationship between Egypt and Hamas.”  “These developments could have strategic implications on Israel’s security,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the issues were still under discussion in diplomatic channels. “In the past Hamas was able to rearm when Egypt was making efforts to prevent that. How much more can they build their terrorist machine in Gaza if Egypt were to stop?”

Is Ayaan Hirsi Ali a racist? She was born in Somalia, from which she escaped to avoid an arranged marriage, and she eventually became a member of Parliament in the Netherlands. She helped produce a film with Theo Van Gogh which criticized Islam's treatment of women. Van Gogh was shot to death by a Muslim in retaliation, and a note was pinned to his chest with a knife — a note that threatened Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

The War on Walmart: Who's Afraid of Cheap Groceries?
Hilarious: There is a woman at about 1:03 in this Video who says Walmart gives children criminal records because the children go into Walmart and steal things. Not making this up. –Kate.

Three Convicted in Terror-Related Cases Later Granted U.S. Citizenship by Obama Administration
Excerpt: Three people convicted of crimes as a result of a terrorism-related investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) were later naturalized as U.S. citizens by the Obama administration, according to federal auditors. The March 2011 audit (released on April 21, 2011) by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), entitled Criminal Alien Statistics: Information on Incarcerations, Arrests and Costs, shows that three individuals were among “defendants where the investigation involved an identified link to international terrorism but they were charged with violating other statutes [not directly related to terrorism], including fraud, immigration, drugs, false statements, and general conspiracy charges,” referred by DOJ as Category II terrorism-related cases. The three individuals in question can be found in a DOJ list of unsealed terrorism-related investigations conducted from Sept. 11, 2001 through Mar. 18, 2010. There are 403 defendants on that list of which, according to the GAO, at least 43 percent were aliens--both legal (26 percent) and illegal (17 percent)--at the time they were charged with crimes. (Citizenship? Why were they even allowed to remain within our borders after completing whatever minor punishment was meted out for their crimes? Why weren’t they issued an inflatable boat, two oars, a week’s rations of food and water, and transportation 300 miles due east in the Atlantic or due west in the Pacific, whichever is closer to the land of origin? Ron P. You kind-hearted liberal! Shooting would be cheaper and discourage others. ~Bob.)

The Issue of the Hour from The Goldberg File by Jonah Goldberg
Frankly, I'm perfectly happy Obama released his birth certificate. I always thought that the only thing worse than the birthers being wrong would be the birthers being right. Igniting a whacky constitutional crisis because Barack Obama spent a few weeks or months in Kenya as an infant seemed like madness to me. Throwing out the first black president in the middle of his presidency would be absurdly difficult, painful, and counterproductive in every way, dredging up a level of biliousness this country has rarely if ever seen. And at the end of the process, even if a "birther Congress" could have successfully impeached and removed the guy for being ineligible, we would have . . . President Joe Biden.

Big labor leaders mum while Bay State Dems launch attack on collective bargaining rights
Excerpt: In the traditionally far-left Massachusetts statehouse, House Democrats passed legislation this week that strips municipal public sector workers of their right to collectively bargain on health insurance plans. The bill has yet to make it to the state Senate or Gov. Deval Patrick, but national labor leaders like AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, National Education Association (NEA) President and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Mary Kay Henry don’t seem eager to get involved. Notorious left-wing advocate and filmmaker Michael Moore hasn’t showed up or weighed in either, nor has self-proclaimed civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson.

The Arab Spring and U.S. Policy: The View From Jerusalem
Excerpt: Israeli officials want a public commitment from Washington to protect the Saudi regime should it come under threat. It is provocative, but not entirely inaccurate, to suggest that U.S. foreign policy these past few months has been sufficiently erratic to make America's allies reconsider the degree to which we can be trusted—and our adversaries re-evaluate the degree to which we must be feared. The canary in the coal mine on such matters is Israel. None of America's allies is more sensitive to even the most subtle changes in the international environment, or more conscious of the slightest hint of diminished support from Washington.

Obama's Silence on Boeing Is Unacceptable by Nikki Haley
Excerpt: The president's appointees have moved to block the company from building planes in my state. He owes us an explanation In October 2009, Boeing, long one of the best corporations in America, made an announcement that changed the economic outlook of South Carolina forever: The company's second line of 787 Dreamliners would be produced in North Charleston. In choosing to manufacture in my state, Boeing was exercising its right as a free enterprise in a free nation to conduct business wherever it believed would best serve both the bottom line and the employees of its company. This is not a novel or complicated idea. It's called capitalism. Boeing has since poured billions of dollars into a new, state-of-the art facility in South Carolina's picturesque Low Country along the Atlantic coast. It has created thousands of good jobs and joined the long tradition of distinguished and employee-friendly corporations that have found a home, and a partner, in the Palmetto State.

Apprehensions of illegal aliens at the border are way down…why?
Excerpt: Seems like every where you look these days US Customs and Border Protection is touting statistics that apprehensions of illegal aliens is way down from previous levels. The other day at the meeting between border ranchers and the Border Patrol it was noted that apprehensions in the Nogales Station area had dropped from something like 1,000 a day to 50. Of course the story spin from the Department of Homeland Security is that the much higher numbers of Border Patrol agents deployed in the region is why apprehension levels are way down. But there are many competing theories why the number of illegal aliens being caught in the Tucson Sector has dropped significantly.

'Change' via executive power grab
Excerpt: Having lost the House of Representatives in the last election, the Obama administration is now imposing "fundamental change" via executive order, regulatory fiat and political pressure. Talk about the unitary executive:

Excerpt: Two members of an extremist group open fire at the car of Rev Ashraf Paul in Lahore. His 24-year-old son is critically wounded but is now out of danger. In Faisalabad, a police officer rapes a 24-year-old woman over four days.

Blast kills 14 in Marrakesh cafe
Excerpt: A powerful blast ripped through a cafe in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh on Thursday, killing 11 foreigners and three Moroccans in what authorities suspect was the work of a suicide bomber.

University campuses are 'hotbeds of Islamic extremism'
They’d be happy to spy if the students were in the EDF. Don’t want to be non-PC—death is better. ~Bob. Excerpt: Islamic fundamentalism is being allowed to flourish at universities, endangering national security, MPs and peers said yesterday. Academics are turning a blind eye to radicals because they do not want to spy on students, a report claimed. Despite "damning evidence" of a serious problem, little progress had been made in tackling the unsustainable situation, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Homeland Security said.

Tea Party Presidential poll
Long. ~Bob

The Troubling Past and Frightening Future of Jihad, Part 2
Excerpt: Over the years, I've returned many times to Egypt, the land of my birth. That land has changed dramatically since my boyhood. In recent years, this formerly secular and religiously tolerant nation has become a hotbed of Islamic extremism. Though there has been political repression in Egypt throughout my lifetime, the one benefit of that repression is that Muslims, Jews, and Coptic Christians lived together in relative peace and security. Today, however, the peace and security of Egypt have been shaken. Radical, fundamentalist Islam is grabbing for power in Egypt. The radicalization of Egypt was vividly illustrated for me during my most recent visit to the Mediterranean resort city of Alexandria. There, men and women still go to the beach as they did when I was a boy—but now they do so in full Islamic garb. For decades, anti-Western, anti-Israel, anti-Christian militancy has been on the rise across the Muslim world.

They Raped Me with their Hands: Lara Logan Reveals Terrifying Details of Mob Sex Attack in Egypt
Excerpt: She told the New York Times: 'For an extended period of time, they raped me with their hands...What really struck me was how merciless they were. 'They really enjoyed my pain and suffering. It incited them to more violence.'

Foul-Mouthed Far Left Thugs Disrupt Another Allen West Town Hall
Excerpt: Foul-mouthed far left goons were kicked out of Allen West’s town hall last night. The activists flipped off and swore at the crowd as they were escorted from the building.

Obama Administration punishes reporter for using multimedia
Excerpt: The hip, transparent and social media-loving Obama administration is showing its analog roots. And maybe even some hypocrisy highlights. White House officials have banished one of the best political reporters in the country from the approved pool of journalists covering presidential visits to the Bay Area for using now-standard multimedia tools to gather the news. The Chronicle's Carla Marinucci - who, like many contemporary reporters, has a phone with video capabilities on her at all times - pulled out a small video camera last week and shot some protesters interrupting an Obama fundraiser at the St. Regis Hotel.

Oil Industry Fat Cats
Who gets those “obscene profits”?

SBY: Save Our Nation From Radicalization
Excerpt: In a rare acknowledgment that religious-based violence posed a serious threat to the nation, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called on Indonesians not to rely on the police but to help to stamp out extremism’s spread from inside their communities. “Our nation faces a continuous and serious threat in terrorism and in horizontal violence,” he said on Thursday while addressing a National Development Planning Meeting in Jakarta.

VIDEO: Buddhists in Thailand Finally Fight Back. Media Fail to Celebrate.

Excerpt: After years of murder, torture, rape and horror by Muslims to the Buddhists in the ‘restive’ areas of Thailand (Video not available since youtube closed my channel, will try and replace it) Buddhists are doing something they learned the very hard way. “The way of peace cannot work against those who have closed hearts” (paraphrasing the Dalai Lama on Islam) These Buddhists have formed militias in cooperation with local police and are attempting to protect themselves, their culture, history, religion, women, nation and ancestral homes against an invading Islam. Here is the video from the AP:

The 91-Year-Old Woman Selling $60 Suicide Kits
Excerpt: A shadowy online company selling suicide kits recently claimed its first confirmed victim. Winston Ross talks exclusively with the entrepreneur behind it: a grieving 91-year-old woman. The paramedics who showed up to Nick Klonoski’s house on Highland Drive four months ago discovered the 29-year-old’s lifeless body, covered up to the neck by a blanket. It was his brother Jake, detectives learned, who’d found Nick lying in his bed less than an hour beforehand, a clear plastic bag over his head, and a plastic tube running from the bag to an orange metal helium tank. Next to the tank was a white box, decorated with a butterfly, the box the plastic bag and tube had arrived in the mail in, with a book titled Final Exit inside. “Is it the book and the kit?” asked the first police officers to arrive on the scene. The paramedics nodded knowingly. “Yep.”

247 People On Terror Watch List Bought Guns In U.S. Last Year
Excerpt: More than 200 people suspected of ties to terrorism bought guns in the U.S. last year legally, FBI figures show. The 247 people who were allowed to buy weapons did so after going through required background checks as required by federal law. It is not illegal for people listed on the government's terror watch list to buy weapons. For years, that has bothered Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., who is trying again to change the law to keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists.

What would Machiavelli do?
Excerpt: For a really devastating critique of Barack Obama check out Walter Russell Mead’s American Interest blogpost “Falling Between Two Stools.” It’s particularly devastating, since Mead is not part of any right-wing attack machine—he voted (I believe) for Obama and he sympathizes with many (but not all) of his policies—and in much of his writing he has shown a sympathetic understanding of those on many points of the political spectrum. Here his harshest criticism is directed not at Obama’s policy goals but at the way he does business. Key paragraph: “Here is the paradox we face: The President is a consensus-seeker whose decision making style rewards polarization and a conciliator who loses friends without winning over enemies.”

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