Thursday, June 2, 2011

Political Digest for June 2, 2011

The Coming Collapse of the American Republic
Info about my book. All royalties go to wounded veterans. Please forward and post where possible.

Response on Collapse from a retired Marine officer
Bob: I read your book. It’s great! Almost staggering in depressing statistics but your humor keeps the reader from blowing his brains out. You could probably get the Republican nomination for president, at least the Tea Party’s, if you got your book widely spread and in a platform format with your solutions. I couldn’t agree more with your assessments of our problems. Re China though, I’m not sure that China will not rule the world as Spangler predicted. All they have to do is remain the last man standing. Anyway, I’m ordering copies for numerous family members from Amazon. ... Again, that’s a great piece of work! Semper Fi, John

Reader Comment on Collapse
Hi Mr Hall, I just wanted to send you a note to let you know I read your book over the weekend and thought it was great!! I told (my bosses) to get on it and read it!! Wow! You hit the nail on the head and I'm thinking of several people I want to get the book for because I think they would really enjoy reading it. I was working out all weekend, training for my Ironman Triathlon in September and it has consumed my life for several months. After reading your book it made me realize how trivial that is and that I'd better start paying more attention to the rights and freedoms that are slowly and surely being taken away from me. Also that I'd better learn how to use to use the guns we have in the house (my husband has been telling me that for years)! --BL

Sen. DeMint mulls White House bid
I sent him a copy of Collapse. Maybe if he reads it, he’ll run. ~Bob. Excerpt: Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) says he is considering running for president after frustrated conservative activists have pleaded with him to run. DeMint told The Hill that he has discussed a White House bid with his wife and will pray on the question out of respect for his supporters across the country. The Tea Party favorite, who had indicated he was not going to run in 2012, would significantly shake up the race if he were to jump in.

Seductive Beliefs: Part II by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: The only thing surprising about Barack Obama's latest blow against Israel is that there are people who are surprised. As for a Palestinian homeland, that was never a big issue when the Arabs controlled that land, up to 1967. Obama's declaration that Israel must give up the land it acquired, after neighboring countries threatened its survival in 1967, is completely consistent with both his ideology of many years and his previous actions as President of the United States. Whether as a radical student, a community organizer or a far left politician, Barack Obama's ideology has been based on a vision of the Haves versus the Have Nots. However complex the ramifications of this ideology, and however clever the means by which Obama has camouflaged it, that is what it has amounted to. No wonder he was moved to tears when the Reverend Jeremiah Wright summarized that ideology in a thundering phrase-- "white folks' greed runs a world in need."

Stocks Fall as New Data Shows Slower Job Growth
We could face a rough ride in the near future. ~Bob. Excerpt: Weak reports on the job market and on the manufacturing industry cast more doubt on the economic recovery on Wednesday and dragged down stocks. Private employers added just 38,000 jobs in May, down from 177,000 in April, according to the payroll processor ADP. It was the weakest result since September. The report may offer a preview of Friday’s more comprehensive job report from the Labor Department, which includes hiring by both private employers and the government.

Stocks Sell Off Amid Downbeat Data
Excerpt: Disappointing private employment and manufacturing reports pushed the markets deep into negative territory
CBO: Stimulus law will cost $43 billion more than estimated
Your dollars down the rat hole. ~Bob. Excerpt: The Congressional Budget Office said in a new report that President Obama’s economic stimulus law will raise the federal deficit $830 billion over ten years, $43 billion more than the initially estimated cost of $787 billion. During the law’s consideration in Congress, the Joint Committee on Taxation made the initial estimate. CBO estimated the law lowered the unemployment rate by between .6 and 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2011 and increased the number of people employed by between 1.2 million and 3.3 million during that same period. Obama and congressional Democrats enacted the law, arguing it would provide a quick jolt to the economy. Republicans opposed the law, saying it would increase deficits and wasn’t designed to work quickly. CBO estimated the government spending in the law had a major impact on the economy, increasing the Gross National Product by as much as 4.6 percent in the second quarter of 2010.

Faculty Productivity and Costs at the University of Texas at Austin
Excerpt: Recently released preliminary data from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin strongly suggest that the state of Texas could move toward making college more affordable by moderately increasing faculty emphasis on teaching. Looking only at the UT Austin campus, if the 80 percent of the faculty with the lowest teaching loads were to teach just half as much as the 20 percent with the highest loads, and if the savings were dedicated to tuition reduction, tuition could be cut by more than half, says the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. Other highlights of the study: Twenty percent of UT Austin faculty are teaching 57 percent of student credit hours. They also generate 18 percent of the campus's research funding. This suggests that these faculty members are not jeopardizing their status as researchers by assuming such a high level of teaching responsibility. Conversely, the least productive 20 percent of faculty teach only 2 percent of all student credit hours and generate a disproportionately smaller percentage of external research funding than do other faculty segments. Research grant funds go almost entirely (99.8 percent) to a small minority (20 percent) of the faculty; only 2 percent of the faculty conduct 57 percent of funded research. Non-tenured track faculty teach a majority of undergraduate enrollments and a surprising 31 percent of graduate enrollments. The most active researchers teach nearly the average of all faculty; increasing teaching loads of others would trivially impact outside research support.

Space Policy And The Constitution #2
Excerpt: Since 1957, national space policy, like naval policy in the centuries before, has set the geopolitical tone for the interactions between the United States and its international allies and adversaries. The President’s FY2011 budget submission to Congress shifts that tone away from leadership by America by abandoning human exploration and settlement of the Moon and Mars to China and, effectively, leaving the Space Station under the dominance of Russia for its remaining approximately 10-year life. With the Station’s continued existence inherently limited by aging, these proposals sign the death warrant for NASA-sponsored human space flight. Until the Space Station’s inevitable shutdown, the President also proposes Americans ride into space at the forbearance of the Russians, so far, at a cost of more than $60 million a seat. Do we really want to continue to go, hat in hand, to the Russians to access a Space Station American taxpayers have spent $150 billion to build?

Great Column: Do We Deserve Our Fate?
Excerpt: The latest Social Security Trustees Report tells us that the program will be insolvent by the year 2037. The combined unfunded liability of Social Security and Medicare has reached nearly $107 trillion in today's dollars. That is about seven times the size of the U.S. economy and 10 times the size of the national debt. Those entitlement programs, along with others, account for nearly 60 percent of federal spending. They are what Congress calls non-discretionary spending. About half of discretionary spending is for national defense. Each year, non-discretionary spending consumes a higher and higher percentage of the federal budget. The language Congress uses to describe their spending is corrupt beyond redemption. Think about the term entitlement. If one American is entitled to something he didn't earn, where in the world does Congress get the money? It's not Santa or the Tooth Fairy. The only way Congress can give one American a dollar is to first take it from another American. Therefore, an entitlement is a congressionally given right for one American to live at the expense of another. In other words, Congress forcibly uses one American to serve the purposes of another American. As such, it differs in degree, but not kind, from that uglier part of our history where black people were forcibly used to serve the purposes of their slave masters. (I believe the only thing required for a majority of people to approve of slavery is that they believe they will be among the masters, not among the slaves. It doesn’t work that way. If there is one slave among us, we are all slaves. Ron P.)

Excerpt: In the New York of the late 1800s, Boss Tweed famously complained about Thomas Nast cartoons: Though many immigrants in the city couldn’t read, even the illiterate could understand “those damn pictures.” Rep. Anthony Weiner and his staff now face a similar problem. By now, you’ve heard about the Tweet picture sent from Weiner’s account to a young lady named Gennette Nicole Cordova. The congressman has insisted his accounts were “hacked.” Cordova, in a statement released late Sunday night (36 hours after the tweet in question), says, “The account that these tweets were sent from was familiar to me. This person had harassed me many times after the congressman followed me on Twitter.” She also said that her previous tweet, “I wonder what my boyfriend @repweiner is up to,” was a joke. Such statements notwithstanding, those on the left trying to paint this as a conspiracy must deal with an array of odd elements that an increasingly tech-savvy public may find suspicious:

House Rejects Bill to Raise Debt Limit
Excerpt: House Republicans dealt defeat to their own proposal for a $2.4 trillion increase in the nation's debt limit Tuesday, a political gambit designed to reinforce a demand for spending cuts to accompany any increase in government borrowing. The vote was lopsided, with just 97 in favor of the measure and 318 against. House Democrats accused the GOP of political demagoguery, while the Obama administration maneuvered to avoid taking sides -- or giving offense to majority Republicans. (Democrats, who had demanded a “clean vote” on the debt limit, called the clean vote a cheap political stunt. The voters, whose memory doesn’t go as far as last week, probably agreed. ~Bob.)

MacArthur: 'Duty, Honor, Country'
Excerpt: Editor’s note: Presented here is the text and audio of U.S. General Douglas MacArthur’s (1880-1964) speech in accepting the Sylvanus Thayer Award for outstanding service to the nation, at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., on May 12, 1962. (Douglas MacArthur spent 33 years as a flag (general) officer, longer than any soldier needs to retire on three-quarters pay without counting the many years he served before reaching that rank. He is often numbered among the most eloquent public speakers of the twentieth century. I consider him second only to Winston Churchill. This is one of his finest speeches. Ron P. Yeah, but he should have listened to the Marines in Korea about the Chinese they were seeing, instead of his desk-bound advisers at HQ in Japan. ~Bob.)

DNC Chair: Republicans Believe Illegal Immigration 'Should be a Crime'
Excerpt: Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D.-Fla.), chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, denounced Republicans last week for believing illegal immigration “should in fact be a crime.” (No, believe it or not, it's NOT already a crime, it's merely "illegal." Maybe that means we have to sue them to get them to leave. Boy, the lawyers would love that, wouldn't they? Ron P. Is it illegal to shoot someone who isn't really here, in a legal sense? ~Bob.)

EPA Says It's ‘Prohibited’ From Considering Costs When Issuing Air-Quality Regulations
Excerpt: Environmental Protection Agency informed Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) in a recent letter that it considers itself “prohibited” by law from considering costs when setting National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). “I received this week a letter from the EPA regarding a letter I’ve written them about some of their rules and they wrote here, quote, ‘Thus, the agency is prohibited from considering costs in setting these standards,'" Hartzler said last week. "Now in business we do a cost benefit analysis before we make policy changes. Washington should as well.” (EPA claims they “do consider costs when it comes to implementation rules.” In other words, “Bleed until I tell you to stop” is all they ask. Except for the politically favored who get waivers. Beware the politics of pull and hang the beancounters first. Ron P.)

Florida GOP Governor Signs Bill Requiring Welfare Applicants to Pass a Drug Test…
Excerpt: Expect challenges to a bill signed by Governor Rick Scott which will require welfare applicants to undergo drug testing. The bill also requires that those who apply for welfare must pay for the drug testing out of their own pockets. However, the cost would be reimbursed if the person passes the drug test. Republicans said the measure was needed because if taxpayers are screened at their place of employment, so should welfare recipients. The drug testing bill was a priority for Scott. (Boy, if druggies can’t get welfare, next they’ll try to take it away from illegal immigrants, prison inmates, where will the madness stop? ~Bob.)

Obama awarding Medal of Honor to Wash.-based Army sergeant who lost hand in Afghanistan
Excerpt: President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to a Washington state-based Army sergeant who lost his hand in Afghanistan when he tried to toss an enemy grenade away from himself and two colleagues. Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry will be the second living, active-duty service member to receive the nation’s highest military decoration for actions in the Iraq or Afghanistan wars. Last year, Obama awarded a Medal of Honor to Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta, also for actions in Afghanistan. Petry was being recognized for courageous actions during combat operations against an armed enemy in the eastern Afghan province of Paktia in May 2008, the White House statement said. The 31-year-old native of Santa Fe, N.M. will receive the medal in a ceremony July 12, a White House statement said Tuesday.

Yes, we can . . . enforce
After it passed a robust immigration-enforcement measure last year, Arizona was practically expelled from the union. The great and good denounced the state for its Gestapo tactics. The Obama administration sued it. The professionally outraged announced boycotts. Arizona stood condemned before the world, a byword for hatred and defiance of federal law. Yet the Supreme Court last week implicitly ratified Arizona's leadership role on immigration enforcement. It's everyone else who is out of line, not Arizona.

San Francisco circumcision ban replicated in Santa Monica
Liberals are against cutting anything. In ten years, vigilantes will be hanging politicians from lampposts in California. You read it here first. ~Bob. Excerpt: That proposed ban on circumcision on November's ballot really isn't so only-in-San Francisco at all. We may be the first city in the country to see the ban make it onto the ballot, but opponents of male circumcision certainly hope we're not the last. In fact, they just took out papers to qualify the same ban for the 2012 ballot in Santa Monica, too. The nonprofit MGM Bill - it stands for Male Genital Mutilation in case you were wondering - has called for a ban in various states and at the national level. Earlier this year, the nonprofit's regional directors around the country submitted proposed bills to 2,800 legislators in a host of states and in the U.S. Congress.

Cyberwarfare -- the Doctrine of Equivalence
Excerpt: Essentially, the U.S. military will no longer treat cyberspace as a semi-mystical gray zone somehow detached from the physical world. In 21st century Information Age societies that rely on digital devices for an array of critical safety, economic and security services, cyberspace provides fundamental connectivity. Fundamental reliance creates fundamental vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities require protection. Determining equivalence relies on judgment, and very likely a judgment made in the midst of a crisis. The odds are, however, like pornography, you and the Joint Chiefs of Staff will know it when you see it -- for example, when every computer screen in Washington freezes, geosynchronous military communications satellites suddenly fritz and die, and the entire East Coast's electrical grid stalls then quits. (Yes, but whom do we nuke? Iran? Pakistan? North Korea? China? Mecca? Or, to be sure, all of them? ~Bob.)

Jihad in the Digital Age
Excerpt: Jihad has gone digital. Al-Qaida has long embraced the Internet and modern technology, but loosely-affiliated jihadists are hunting for new ways to fight the West in the Information Age. At the cutting edge of technology, from Apple IPad 2 to using new internet protocols, jihadists are carrying the 7th century idea of an Islamic Caliphate well into the 21st century. Recently, jihadi hackers have produced a magazine of their own and Islamist programmers have modified a shooting game for al-Qaida. A major jihadi commentator even released his first message to the 'brothers' on Facebook, a sign that Western social media is being used by those who want its destruction. Collectively, there is a growing jihadi reliance on high technology, social media, and the Internet. The "Magazine for the Technical Supporters of Al-Qaida for Information Security and Hacking," provides news about hacker attacks on high-level political and economic sites, as well as holes in security to exploit. Word Press blogs, PlayStation's Internet network, and, "the world's most popular open source databases," appear to be popular targets.

Judge says new (AZ) law won't help rancher
Excerpt: A new Arizona law that retroactively prevents courts from granting punitive damages to illegal immigrants will not help rancher Casey Nethercott, a Cochise County judge ruled Tuesday. The Legislature earlier this year passed a law to make a 2006 referendum apply to cases dating back to 2004. The law was targeted at helping rancher Roger Barnett, who had lost a civil lawsuit alleging he held immigrants caught on his land at gunpoint in 2004, assaulted them and caused emotional distress. He was ordered to pay them $87,000. Nethercott said he believed the new law also would help him. In 2003, Nethercott and several other members of a volunteer border-patrol group called Ranch Rescue stopped two illegal immigrants on a ranch they were patrolling in Texas. The immigrants alleged that Nethercott threatened them and pistol-whipped a male immigrant in the head. Nethercott was criminally charged with aggravated assault, unlawful restraint and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. He was convicted of the unlawful-possession charge and sentenced to serve several years in a Texas prison

The New America Movement
Excerpt: I think in a world that puts premiums on ideas, our best days are ahead of us. And you can’t talk me out of it.  In fact, I think that the way forward for Europe and China will either look a lot more like the free-market principles that conservatives around the world advocate- essentially American principles- or the progressive economies- and those of their acolytes- will be relegated to decades of stagnation and market subservience. Just as will we in America if we continue to follow a Progressive course. That’s the simple choice that’s before peoples of the entire world today.

Fayyad: Promised donor aid not arriving
If you do destroy Israel, your “Arab Brothers” will let you starve, you idiots. ~Bob. The Palestinian Authority is facing a financial crisis because funds pledged by donor nations are not arriving on time, Prime Minister of the West Bank government Salam Fayyad said Tuesday. … "We need to see an acceleration in the receipt of aid that has been committed," he added, stressing that the Palestinians "are not asking for anything more than what we need." "In 2011, we have been receiving $52.5 million dollars a month from the Arab countries, which is much less than the amount they committed to deliver," he said. The Palestinian Authority is largely reliant on foreign donors to make up its yearly budget. It also receives tax and tariff revenue that is collected by Israel and delivered periodically.

Iraqis indicted on terrorism charges came to US as refugees
Excerpt: Before being granted refugee status in the U.S. and settling down in Bowling Green, Ky., Waad Ramadan Alwan was allegedly a sniper and skilled bomb maker targeting U.S. forces who bragged that his "lunch and dinner would be an American." Alwan is one of two Iraqi refugees who the Justice Department announced Tuesday had been charged for participating in an alleged plot to send cash, explosives and Stinger missiles to Iraq for use against Americans. The men are among 56,000 Iraqis who took advantage of special programs to come to the U.S. for people who demonstrated they were in danger from militias in Iraq for their religious beliefs or because they were translators for U.S. government or media organizations. (..........and how about the flood of 100,000 Palestinian 'refugees' who are being 'welcomed' into our country by Hillary's 'smart diplomacy' foreign policy?.................or the hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer money being given to finance the expert military training of these anti-Israeli, anti-American Palestinians by American trainers? Is this insanity..........or what? –DH)

And now, for the rest of the story
Excerpt: You probably remember when GM made the big announcement that it had paid off its loans from the bailout? You most likely also remember that subsequent investigation found that GM was simply using borrowed money from a government extended line of credit to “pay back” part of what was loaned under the bailout? In other words it took taxpayer money extended under the LOC and gave it to the government as a payment of “debt”. Overall, though, its debt remained the same. This week Chrysler went through the same sort of shenanigans as Conn Carroll reports:

Old prediction may fit the present pattern
Excerpt: Prediction: Warming trend until year 2000, then very cold. (This is a picture of a news story from the St. Petersburg (FL) Times written by the LA Times from 1 Jan 1979. Because it is posted as a picture, I found it impossible to get a decent excerpt, but I urge you to read it for historical context, if nothing else. Climate science was then still relatively uncorrupted. There is a link (called “full news story”) to the picture of the original that contains some interesting information. Ron P.)

Greenland and AGW
Excerpt: It follows that temperatures must have been higher than those of today’s during that first settlement of Greenland which lasted from approximately 900 until the mid-1400s AD, when these settlements died out. There is no written explanation for this sudden demise but climate scientists have discovered that Iceland, like the rest of Europe, was gripped by a rapid and centuries-long drop in temperature, known as the Little Ice Age. And in a recent study, William D’Andrea and Yongsong Huang of Brown University, Providence RI (4) have traced the variability of the Greenland climate over a period of 5,600 years when previous inhabitants were also subjected to rapid warm and cold swings in temperatures. Yet the whole reason for the existence of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPPC) is to thrust upon the world’s population the idea that industrialisation in the West over the last 100 years and our profligate use of fossil fuels is producing a run-away heating of the planet through the emission of greenhouse gases, mainly CO2, which unless checked will lead to its — and humanity’s — death. (The two sciences Warmers hate (and fear) most are archeology and geology. Both show repeated global warmings and coolings—and huge variations in CO2 levels that always follow the change by about 30+ years—that cannot possibly be laid to any human cause and thus refute the core AGW belief, “it’s humanity’s fault.” Ron P.)

Another HPD Officer Dies at the Hands of an Illegal Immigrant
Video on the subject.

Woman Cuts Off Attacker's Genitals: Bangladeshi Woman Brought Penis To Police As Evidence
Excerpt: A 40-year-old Bangladeshi woman cut off a man's penis during an alleged attempted rape and took it to a police station as evidence, police in a remote part of Bangladesh said. The woman, a married mother of three, was attacked while she was sleeping in her shanty Saturday night, officers told AFP. "As he tried to rape her, the lady cut his penis off with a knife. She then wrapped up the penis in a piece of polythene and brought it to the Jhalakathi police station as evidence of the crime," police chief Abul Khaer said.

For Baha'i educators, a lesson in power from Iran
I must have missed the Baha’i Crusades or the “Baha’i Entity” established in the Middle East, leading the “Religion of Peace” to attack them. ~Bob. Excerpt: The man is one of 16 Baha'is swept away in raids on or after May 21 targeting educators dedicated to teaching members of their community who are denied entry to universities in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Of those 16, nine have since been released. But this educator remains in prison, a Baha'i official told CNN. The crackdown is the latest example of the Shiite Muslim regime's relentless persecution of those who adhere to a faith deemed heretical by the ruling ayatollahs. The Baha'i faith, founded during the 19th century in Iran and now with 5 million to 6 million adherents worldwide, is a monotheistic religion that focuses on the spiritual unity of humanity.

Excerpt: Seventy years ago, on June 1, 1941, the most dramatic and violent pogrom in the Arab Middle East during World War II took place in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. Known in Arabic as the FarhÅ«d, this devastating pogrom left approximately 150 Jews dead, hundreds more wounded, and led to the ransacking of nearly 600 Jewish businesses. The grim events of June 1-2, 1941 were the Iraqi Arab equivalent of the mass violence on Kristallnacht, which had taken place some two and a half years earlier across Nazi Germany. The anti-Jewish riots were mainly led by Iraqi soldiers (bitter and frustrated by their defeat at the hands of the British Army), some members of the police and young paramilitary gangs, swiftly followed by an angry Muslim population that went on the rampage in an orgy of murder and rapine. The pogrom struck at what was the most prosperous, prominent and well-integrated Jewish community in the Middle East – one whose origins went back more than 2,500 years – long before there was any Arab presence in the country. The 90,000 Jews of Baghdad, it should be said, played a major role in the commercial and professional life of the city.

Egyptian sheikh says poverty in Islamic world can be solved by jihad and plundering the Infidels
Excerpt: Where did Sheikh Abi-Ishaq al-Huwayni get these ideas? Why, from Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, of course. Umar, the second caliph, said: "I advise you to fulfill Allah's Convention (made with the Dhimmis) as it is the convention of your Prophet and the source of the livelihood of your dependents (i.e. the taxes from the Dhimmis.)" That is, subjugating the dhimmis and bleeding them dry is to be the source of the Muslims' livelihood.

Sanctuary Cities Must Go! Democrats Fight For Rights Of Illegals And Criminals
Excerpt: What would happen if you hung a sign on your front door that read; "No locks, No weapons, No alarms". Do you think you might be robbed? Repeatedly! Many cities in Texas have hung such a sign at the city limits and the results are what any rational thinking person would expect.

'Buy American' Is Un-American
Unfortunately, the public is profoundly ignorant of basic economic issues, thus subject to political manipulation. ~Bob. Excerpt: Buy American! A conventional, well-intentioned, patriotically affirming sentiment. We've heard it all our lives. But unless you crave less competition, fewer choices and higher prices, it's also a completely irrational one. Naturally, then, as we kick off "Recovery Summer! Part Deux," the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee says that buying homemade cars is a matter of national importance. "If it were up to the candidates for president on the Republican side, we would be driving foreign cars," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz explained while defending the protectionist auto/union bailout. "They would have let the auto industry in America go down the tubes." (And by "we," Wasserman Schultz, proud American, is talking about herself and her sweet Japanese-made Infiniti FX35.) As if that weren't enough, those who oppose this brand of corporate welfare, according to Wasserman Schultz, also reject the very idea of "American exceptionalism." Now, one might argue that those who claim we must bankroll a few politically favored companies because an entire manufacturing sector could collapse are the ones skeptical of American ingenuity, perseverance and exceptionalism.

The liberal dream
It's a morbid observation, but if every one on earth just stopped breathing for an hour, the greenhouse effect would no longer be a problem. –Jerry Adler

John Ashcroft Lawsuit Thrown Out By Supreme Court
Excerpt: The Supreme Court on Tuesday threw out damage claims against former Attorney General John Ashcroft over an American Muslim's arrest, but four justices said the case raises serious questions about post-9/11 detentions under a federal law intended to make sure witnesses testify. The justices were unanimous, 8-0, in holding that Ashcroft cannot be personally sued over his role in the arrest of Abdullah al-Kidd in 2003. The court sets a high bar for suing high-ranking officials, and all the justices agreed al-Kidd did not meet it, even though he was never charged with a crime or called to testify in the terrorism-related trial for which he ostensibly was needed.

Trial lawyers working to let trespassers sue you
Excerpt: "Rick assaults Sasha on a public street and snatches her purse. In the course of his escape from the scene, he climbs over the fence at Rachel's bed and breakfast and is injured by [an] uninsulated [electrical] wire." So, can Rick the purse-snatcher sue Rachel the hotelier, whose property he violated? This hypothetical, the sort of puzzle placed before law students each year, appears as an example in a recent installment of the prestigious American Law Institute's Third Restatement of Torts. You've probably never heard of that publication or that organization, but it definitely affects your life. It is an influential source of what lawyers refer to as "black letter law." It would be just a slight exaggeration to say that judges in civil lawsuits look to ALI's Restatements the way ministers look to the Bible.

Iran's Defense Minister Kicked Out of Bolivia Over Long-Ago Terror Attack
Excerpt: Vahidi is one of eight senior Iranians accused by prosecutors in Argentina of involvement in the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israel Mutual Association (AMIA), a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Eighty-five people were killed in the suicide truck bombing, Argentina’s deadliest terror attack ever. Investigators accused Iran of ordering and facilitating the bombing and its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, of carrying it out. Iran was also implicated in the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires two years earlier, an attack that cost 29 lives. Iran has consistently denied any involvement in the bombings. Argentina in 2006 issued arrest warrants for a Lebanese – Hezbollah terrorist chief Imad Mughniyah – and eight senior Iranians, including former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, former foreign minister Ali Akbar Velayati, and intelligence officials including Vahidi, who at the time headed the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Qods Force.

Terry Jeffrey: Has America Opened Its Last Frontier?
Excerpt: Looking back from 2,000 years in the future, were a historian to see that America had sent men to the moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s and then never sent them back again, he would justifiably conclude that this nation had peaked as an historical force in the last half of the 20th century. By the time America elected Barack Obama, this historian would see, it was already on the way down. Were he to simultaneously examine the rise of the welfare state, he would notice a telltale trend: As socialism dug deeper into the soul of America, America's pioneering spirit waned.

Clock Ticks for a Key Homeless Program
Excerpt: The program, called Advantage, started in 2007 and offers subsidies for up to two years to help people in shelters afford their own apartments, provided they work or take part in job training. But several months ago, the administration warned that if the state followed through with its plan to stop its financial support, the city could not afford to maintain the program and would cut off aid even to those already participating.  After those warnings, the number of applicants to enter shelters dropped by 17 percent, evidence, the city said, that the program might have enticed some people to leave their homes for the promise of the subsidy. “You never know what motivates people,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said during a recent radio show. (Geez, only a madman would’ve guessed that giving people $11,544 (or more for larger families) per year to rent an apartment in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country might influence their behavior. That’s the annual amount cited in this story for a family of one adult and one child. “Homeless” families from shelters could get this for two years, a minimum of $23,088 per family, for moving out of the shelters. But, they had to get into the shelters first to qualify. How to qualify to be in a homeless shelter? I guess you’d have to be homeless. So, you stop paying rent. It takes from 3 months to a couple of years to finally be evicted, and then you’re IN. In where they will pay you to leave. Unintended, but obvious, consequence = more homeless families. Results count; intentions don’t. Ron P. results count more than intentions? We’ll never make a Transnational Progressive out of you! ~Bob.)

77,000 federal workers paid more than governors
Excerpt: More than 77,000 federal government employees throughout the country — including computer operators, more than 5,000 air traffic controllers, 22 librarians and one interior designer — earned more than the governors of the states in which they work. (My crystal ball predicts the only outcome from this will be a quick movement to give pay raises to those governors. Ron P.)
Excerpt: So it’s going to take a day or two to gather and run the numbers, but the German decision to phase out all its nuclear power plants over the next decade or so is astounding for one simple reason: It will make it nearly impossible for Germany to reach the ambitious greenhouse-gas-emissions reduction targets that every environmentally-correct public official there says is Priority #1. Three years ago I was a guest of the German government on a week-long junket to learn about their energy policy, which emphasized all the usual green pieties in a rather unconvincing way. They’ve got all the most expensive stuff you can get in the way of geothermal, biomass, wind, and solar. My conclusion to my hosts was that two of the most magical words in the English language are “German engineering,” but although it was all very impressive from a geeky-gadgety point of view, their approach was obviously not scalable to the poorer developing world, and may not be scalable even for Germany. (Germany claims to get about 16 percent of its electricity from renewables, but much of this figure is hydro — the solar and wind share is much much less.) We’ll find out over the next decade.

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