Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Political Digest for August 17, 2011

Barack Obama Stood Firm

Worth Reading: The New Britannia
Excerpt: As part of my promotional efforts, I chanced to find myself on a TV show the other day with an affable liberal who argued that what Obama needed to do was pass another trillion-dollar — or, better yet, multi-trillion — stimulus. I think not. The London rioters are the children of dependency, the progeny of Big Government: They have been marinated in “stimulus” their entire lives. There is literally nothing you can’t get Her Majesty’s Government to pay for. From page 205 of my book: “A man of 21 with learning disabilities has been granted taxpayers’ money to fly to Amsterdam and have sex with a prostitute.” Hey, why not? “He’s planning to do more than just have his end away,” explained his social worker. “Refusing to offer him this service would be a violation of his human rights.” Why do they need a Dutch hooker? Just another hardworking foreigner doing the jobs Britons won’t do? Given the reputation of English womanhood, you’d have thought this would be the one gig that wouldn’t have to be outsourced overseas.

Important: The Arab Spring and the Arab Bomb
These developments could kill your family. I’m currently reading a great but frightening novel about an Iranian terrorist attack on Washington, DC, The Woolsorter’s Plague by a former CIA agent. Will report on it when I finish. ~Bob. Excerpt: Iran’s race towards a nuclear bomb is causing its Arab adversaries to contemplate building their own weapons, with Saudi Prince al-Faisal recently hinting that his country is considering the option. The Arab Spring has thrown a wildcard into the impending nuclear arms race, as it is uncertain who is coming to the forefront—and whose hands such capabilities will fall into. In late June, Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former chief of Saudi intelligence, told NATO officials that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons “would compel Saudi Arabia…to pursue policies which could lead to untold and possibly dramatic consequences.” Another official provided more specificity, saying “We cannot live in a situation where Iran has nuclear weapons and we don’t. It’s as simple as that.” Earlier this year, Prince al-Faisal said that the Gulf Cooperation Council must start “acquiring the nuclear might to face that of Iran.” The GCC includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Jordan and Morocco are set to become members as well, moving the GCC closer to a NATO-like alliance with the purpose of deterring Iran. In 2008, King Abdullah privately told the U.S. that if Iran goes nuclear, “everyone in the region would do the same, including Saudi Arabia.”

Going 'green' adds $200,000 to Nashua liquor store building tab
Excerpt: The new $3.37 million state liquor store in Nashua has been at the center of controversy for the location of its parking spaces for hybrid vehicles, which are closer to the entrance than the handicapped parking spots. The spaces were designated for hybrids as part of the store's “green” design, which added $200,000 to its cost, according to the New Hampshire Liquor Commission. But officials say the investment will save the state money in five to six years. (It’s official—Going Green makes you stupid. ~Bob.)

Obama Lies 7 Times In Under 2 Minutes!
Excerpt: So we decided to take a quick trip around the 'Net to see if we could find a video that gives some examples of the kind of lies Dr. Krieg credits to Mr. Obama. Lo and behold it didn't take too long to come up with a vast selection from which to choose and we decided this one from his previous presidential campaign might suffice. Hopefully the voting public all get to see "performances" like this one prior to the upcoming 2012 election.

Five Questions About Rick Perry: He’ll face these obstacles on his way to the nomination.
Excerpt: When the implosion of the Gingrich campaign freed up key former aides to Rick Perry, chatter in the pundit class immediately focused on the possibility of the Texas governor’s running. It initially seemed like inside-baseball talk run amok, but soon enough came word that Perry was seriously thinking about it, reports of his meeting with outside policy experts, and then this weekend — the announcement. There are two schools of thought on Perry. One says his strength on the cusp of his announcement mostly had to do with his being a relative unknown and not yet in the race. Others see a truly formidable candidacy in the making — one that can steal establishment support from Mitt Romney and compete with Michele Bachmann for tea-party and evangelical voters, all while touting a record of accomplishment more impressive than any of the other candidates’.

The U.S. Content of “Made in China
Excerpt: Goods and services from China accounted for only 2.7% of U.S. personal consumption expenditures in 2010, of which less than half reflected the actual costs of Chinese imports. The rest went to U.S. businesses and workers transporting, selling, and marketing goods carrying the "Made in China" label. Although the fraction is higher when the imported content of goods made in the United States is considered, Chinese imports still make up only a small share of total U.S. consumer spending. This suggests that Chinese inflation will have little direct effect on U.S. consumer prices. … Table 1 shows that, of the 11.5% of U.S. consumer spending that goes for goods and services produced abroad, 7.3% reflects the cost of imports. The remaining 4.2% goes for U.S. transportation, wholesale, and retail activities. Thus, 36% of the price U.S. consumers pay for imported goods actually goes to U.S. companies and workers. This U.S. fraction is much higher for imports from China. Whereas goods labeled “Made in China” make up 2.7% of U.S. consumer spending, only 1.2% actually reflects the cost of the imported goods. Thus, on average, of every dollar spent on an item labeled “Made in China,” 55 cents go for services produced in the United States. In other words, the U.S. content of “Made in China” is about 55%. The fact that the U.S. content of Chinese goods is much higher than for imports as a whole is mainly due to higher retail and wholesale margins on consumer electronics and clothing than on most other goods and services.

Schools mislead parents by dumbing down meaning of ‘proficient’
Excerpt: “Proficient” is relative. Across the country, student performance on standardized reading and math tests is worse than most states lead parents to believe, according to a new report from the National Center for Education Statistics, an arm of the federal Education Department. Under current law, states set their own benchmarks for student proficiency, but those bars are often far below the standards used by the federal government. Only Massachusetts meets the federal threshold, according to the report.
“Low expectations are the norm. Setting 50 different bars in 50 different states is tremendously problematic. That’s actually lying to parents,” Joanne Weiss, chief of staff to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, said while speaking at a press conference Wednesday at the National Press Club, where the report was released. The survey examined data from 2005 to 2009 and found that many states decreased proficiency standards over that four-year span. The trend has lessened in recent years; from 2007 to 2009, only South Carolina and New Jersey lowered the bar, while some states set it higher.

Pork barrel ethanol subsidies have doubled corn prices
Good for farmers, especially huge agricultural companies. Bad for eaters. Desperately bad for eaters in the third world. Thank you, Big Green. ~Bob. Excerpt: Last month, with Washington mired in the debt ceiling battle and facing a potential default, public disapproval of Congress reached a record 82 percent. That figure might have been a little lower had Congress succeeded in solving another long-festering issue: putting an end to the massive subsidies being given to the corn ethanol scam. Alas, it was not to be. In early July, it appeared that a bipartisan group of senators had come up with a plan to end the 45-cents-per-gallon subsidy almost immediately rather than wait for it to expire, as planned, on Dec. 31. But that deal never passed both houses of Congress. The result: $6 billion in annual subsidies are still being given to an industry that is helping drive up food prices during the worst recession in modern history. So the ethanol industry will continue getting subsidies while gobbling up gargantuan quantities of corn, which, in turn, is increasing the cost of food at the grocery store at the very same time that huge numbers of Americans are unemployed and/or collecting food stamps.

States start to require courses in financial literacy
So many teachers don’t understand economics and finances. Who would have guessed? ~Bob. Excerpt: Starting this fall, Virginia high school students will need more than reading, writing and arithmetic to snag a diploma. Incoming high school freshmen will be required to take a one-credit course outlining the ABCs of economics and personal finance. Virginia joins a handful of states, including Missouri, Utah and Tennessee, that mandate a class in financial education. … Students aren't the only ones with a steep learning curve. More than half of teachers say they feel unqualified to use their state's financial education standards, and few feel "very competent" lecturing a class on topics such as risk management and debt, according to a study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. If states are serious about students' financial education, Pelletier says, they need to be equally serious about ensuring that teachers are qualified to take on these concepts.

Touting a Downhome Résumé
Excerpt: Rick Perry became an Eagle Scout and Air Force pilot after growing up as the son of a cotton farmer "from a little place called Paint Creek, Texas," whose house had no indoor plumbing. As Texas's longest-serving governor, he says he cut taxes and red tape and helped boost job growth.

U.S. Military's Hypersonic Glider Launched, Lost
Excerpt: The launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles, was the second of two planned flights of a Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2. Contact was also lost during the first mission. Shaped like the tip of a spear, the small craft is part of a U.S. military initiative to develop technology to respond to threats at 20 times the speed of sound or greater, reaching any part of the globe in an hour. The HTV-2 is designed to be launched to the edge of space, separate from its booster and maneuver through the atmosphere at 13,000 mph before intentionally crashing into the ocean. Defense analyst John Pike of wasn't surprised with the latest failure because the hypersonic test flight program is still in its infancy. "At this early stage of the game, if they did not experience failures, it's because they're not trying very hard," he said.

The Week That Was: 2011-08-13 (August 13, 2011)
Excerpt: As nature continues her fickle ways, increasingly, observations contradict the projections of the models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Tricks being used by alarmists to cover these inconsistencies include expanding the range of error of the observations, the projections, or both. The error range of observations can be expanded by adding data that is not rigorously collected. The error range of projections can be expanded by adding projections from models the significantly deviate from other models. The sloppier the science, the more difficult it is to statistically demonstrate the inconsistencies between observations and model projections. When alarmists, defending the IPCC, expand error ranges in observations and / or models, they undermine the claim that the “science is settled.”

Excerpt: As bad as the present financial crisis is, how much worse would it be if the enemies of the United States of America, emboldened by a smaller Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, decided that they could engage in military aggression against their neighbors with impunity? Or worse. With time out for conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. has played an essential role in maintaining global peace and the safety of the sea lanes. The threat horizon, however, is always changing. The same week the U.S. was grappling with the aftermath of the Standard and Poor’s downgrade of our credit rating, the Chinese announced they were putting an aircraft carrier, their first, out to sea for its initial trials before further retrofitting. Two others are reportedly being built. (...) Not only did the raising of the debt ceiling initiate the decision by Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+, a Heritage Foundation scholar, Kim Holmes, noted that the political deal incorporated spending cuts envisioned to be between 6 percent and 7.5 percent “in defense spending from the President’s budget request in February for fiscal years 2012 and 2013, respectively. We will have to sacrifice the future security of all Americans,” said Ms. Holmes, “without actually getting at the cause of the debt crisis—namely, runaway spending on Social Security and other big social entitlements.” (There are few things I feel safe in saying about fellow readers of TOJ. We are a very diverse group. I think, though, I’m safe in believing most of us favor a strong national defense policy. My biggest single fear about the debt ceiling compromise is that it will end up making us less safe in our homes, less secure—if that’s possible—within our borders, and less able to stand off aggression by non-state actors or hostile governments. This is an important article with reference to our future national security. Ron P. As I say in Collapse, the deficit and debt crises works against us solving the Jihad, immigration and China problems--and they work against solving the debt crisis. ~Bob.)

Seeds of life on Earth may have originated in space
Excerpt:  This is exciting news. NASA-funded researchers have evidence that some building blocks of DNA, the molecule that carries the genetic instructions for life, found in meteorites were likely created in space. The research gives support to the theory that a “kit” of ready-made parts created in space and delivered to Earth by meteorite and comet impacts assisted the origin of life. We may all be immigrants on Earth. (…) “People have been discovering components of DNA in meteorites since the 1960′s, but researchers were unsure whether they were really created in space or if instead they came from contamination by terrestrial life,” said Dr. Michael Callahan of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. “For the first time, we have three lines of evidence that together give us confidence these DNA building blocks actually were created in space.” Callahan is lead author of a paper on the discovery appearing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. The discovery adds to a growing body of evidence that the chemistry inside asteroids and comets is capable of making building blocks of essential biological molecules. (I see little conflict with creationists here. Genesis never says HOW creation was done, just like it never defines the Almighty’s “day” or a “year.” Think about the incredible ages folks lived to at the beginning of the Bible. Now add in that years might have been counted by cycles of the Moon rather than cycles of the solar seasons. Methuselah’s 900 years is very believable if the year was only 28.25 days long; it comes to 69+ years at a time when most people never saw 35 solar years. If the calendar changed—and we know the Babylonians changed it when they discarded the 13th astrological sign [there are 13 lunar months to a solar year] about 1500BCE—why bother to mention in writing something so obvious “everybody knew” at the time? Ron P.)

Police Let Flash Mob Rob 7-11
Gee, I can't figure out why prices are higher in minority neighborhoods. ~Bob.

"Flash Flashrobs" 110620
Symptoms of the collapse. Another type of “community organizing” to rip off the productive. Stores will have to close in the face of this. There will be violence as they get bolder. ~Bob.

Worth Reading: Social Degeneration by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: While this might seem like it is just plain common sense, what Mayor Nutter said undermines a whole vision of the world that has brought fame, fortune and power to race hustlers in politics, the media and academia. Any racial disparities in hiring can only be due to racism and discrimination, according to the prevailing vision, which reaches from street corner demagogues to the august chambers of the Supreme Court of the United States. Just to identify the rioters and looters as black is a radical departure, when mayors, police chiefs and the media in other cities report on these outbreaks of violence without mentioning the race of those who are doing these things. The Chicago Tribune even made excuses for failing to mention race when reporting on violent attacks by blacks on whites in Chicago. Such excuses might make sense if the same politicians and media talking heads were not constantly mentioning race when denouncing the fact that a disproportionate number of young black men are being sent to prison. … In the United States, despite the higher poverty level among blacks than among whites, the poverty rate among black married couples has been in single digits since 1994. The disparities within the black community are huge, both in behavior and in outcomes.

Flash Mob Racism
Excerpt: Earlier this year, the Justice Department of the Obama administration announced its objective to aggressively monitor the police departments of major urban cities. The purpose of this effort is to determine whether such departments are involved in racial profiling of blacks and Latinos and whether they are engaged in police brutality. Since that announcement, events have unfolded in some of those cities that reveal how misplaced that policy initiative actually is. In Chicago, the District of Columbia, Milwaukee and Philadelphia, a group of “flash mobs” have unmercifully terrorized residents of those communities – attacking citizens, breaking windows of business establishments and stealing merchandise, and committing other random acts of violence. In each instance, the mobs have been overwhelmingly, if not exclusively, black youth. This fact has accounted for the failure of most of the news media to report either the events themselves or the racial background of the perpetrators. Several news sources have readily admitted that it is their practice not to mention the racial identity of those involved in criminal activity. Jim Stingl, a columnist for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, recently wrote, “This newspaper normally avoids mentioning the race of people involved in crimes, unless it’s part of a description to help apprehend someone at large.” Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter is not afflicted with the same disease of political correctness as many in the media.

Multi-tentacled Mann o’ war raging over UVA emails
Excerpt: This week four groups, whose boards represent a distinctly liberal worldview and who oppose scrutiny of taxpayer-funded science by academics, asked the University of Virginia to disregard its agreement before the court with American Tradition Institute to provide the records of former climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann, which belong to the public. The groups, led by the far-left Union of Concerned Scientists, sent a letter to University president Teresa Sullivan on Tuesday complaining the agreement gives ATI’s in-house lawyers “needless access” to documents its Environmental Law Center requested, and the agreement “threatens the principles of academic freedom protecting scholarly research.” (…) “The groups seek to have the court find a non-existent ‘academic freedom’ exemption, and also claim there is a so-called ‘balance’ between academic freedom and public accountability, which is similarly imaginary. The court’s, and UVA’s, only fealty is to follow the law, which our agreement reflects. (It appears a “court-sanctioned agreement” made in the face of a possible finding of contempt is insufficient to bind UVA in the minds of some folks. I wonder if they are offering to pay the legal expenses if UVA has to go to trial, or if they expect the taxpayers of Virginia—who paid for the research to begin with, that’s what the suit is all about—to get stuck with the expense? Are they offering to spend the time in jail if contempt is found? I guess they deserve credit for being stubborn, though. Ron P.)

On mortgage rates, Obama wants proposal for how government can keep big role
Great. The value of our small condo has dropped from $160k when we bought it two years ago to $130k today. Please stop helping us. ~Bob. Excerpt: President Obama has directed a small team of advisers to develop a proposal that would keep the government playing a major role in the nation’s mortgage market, extending a federal loan subsidy for most home buyers, according to people familiar with the matter. The decision follows the advice of his senior economic and housing advisers, who favor maintaining the government’s role as an insurer of mortgages for most borrowers. The approach could even preserve Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance giants owned by the government, although under different names and with significant new constraints, said people knowledgeable about the discussions.

PIPES: White House mischief
Excerpt: The White House engaged in two furtive gambits last week that painfully exposed the Obama administration's amateurish, deceitful Middle East-Islamic policies. The first case concerned the thorny issue of Jerusalem's legal status in American law. In 1947, the United Nations ruled the holy city to be a corpus separatum (Latin for separated body) and not part of any state. All these years later and despite many changes, U.S. policy holds that Jerusalem is an entity unto itself. It ignores that in 1950 the Government of Israel declared western Jerusalem to be its capital and in 1980 declared the whole of Jerusalem to be the capital. The Executive Branch even ignores U.S. laws from 1995 (requiring a move of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem) and 2002 (requiring that U.S. documents recognize Americans born in Jerusalem as being born in Israel). Instead, it insists that the city's disposition be decided through diplomacy.

Fitch Ratings Affirms U.S.'s ‘AAA’ Rating, Says Outlook Stable
Excerpt: Fitch Ratings on Tuesday, citing the “exceptional creditworthiness” of the U.S., reaffirmed its highest AAA credit rating for U.S. debt. Fitch, one of the ‘big three’ ratings firms along with Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investor Service, said the U.S. would maintain its coveted AAA rating because of the ability of its broad and diverse economy to withstand economic shocks. “The affirmation of the US 'AAA' sovereign rating reflects the fact that the key pillars of US's exceptional creditworthiness remains intact; its pivotal role in the global financial system and the flexible, diversified and wealthy economy that provides its revenue base, Fitch said in a statement.

Body Bags and “Speedballs.”
Photos from Afghanistan.

Obama blows whistle on his own law enforcement agents in Mexico
Excerpt: President Barack Obama surprised federal, state and local law enforcement commanders and officers when he told a group of Latino reporters at the White House last week that the U.S. deployed at least 25 U.S. undercover agents to drug war-torn Mexico.

Obama debuts monster campaign bus
I’m sure it’s a hybrid, because BO stopped the seas from rising. ~Bob. Excerpt: The US leader swept onto the campaign trail Monday with a sleek and even sinister looking set of wheels with blacked out windows worth $1.1 million. The shiny, black armored bus, bristling with secret communications technology, with flashing police-style red and blue lights on the front and the back, made its debut on Obama's three-day tour of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. The vehicle was commissioned by the Secret Service, which has always hired buses for election campaigns and retrofitted them to provide suitable protection for presidents and rival party nominees. But the Service decided to commission its own vehicles, reasoning that the initial total outlay of 2.2 million dollars for two buses would soon pay for itself over a projected 10-year lifespan.

Putting England Back Together Again
Excerpt: There were two Englands, even among the whites. Then, when mass immigration flooded low-income areas with nonwhite and Muslim populations -- often from conflicting cultures -- life on that side of the wall became far more complex. The riots in London and elsewhere were attended by both minorities and white, the poor and not-so-poor -- many of whom don't like living with each other. The government reacted with shock, but it shouldn't have. "Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism," British Prime Minister David Cameron said back in February, "we've encouraged different cultures to live separate lives. We have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run completely counter to our values." The New Yorker magazine recently reported on the English Defence League, a collection of largely (though not entirely) working-class whites demanding that Muslims leave Britain. They describe themselves as "a human rights organization" protecting the right "to protest against radical Islam's encroachment into the lives of non-Muslims." The members are thuggish and often drunk, but not without a point of view, writes author Lauren Collins. Among other anti-social acts of violence, Muslim men in several cities have gang-raped white girls to show disgust with their "easy ways."  

Putting an Antebellum Myth to Rest
Typical academic leftist, setting up a straw man to knock down. Read the vow. It does not say that slavery was an “idyllic world. In fact, slavery was an abomination practiced in every culture and members of every race were at times made slaves. It is even endorsed by the Qur’an, perhaps why slavery was most persistent in Muslim cultures—and still is in some of them. Thankfully, western civilization—and only western civilization, turned against slavery and fought it. My great grandfather was shot twice putting down the slave power here (before he had children, so I almost died in that war!). Being forced to labor for the benefit of others who do not is a terrible thing, as the 53% of Americans who pay income taxes to support the 47% who don’t can attest. What the vow said was that, despite how terrible slavery was, despite the obscene power of slave holders to rip families apart, despite the absence of legal marriage for slaves, black children under the horrors of slavery were still more likely to have a father present than black children born today, where 70% are born in single parent households. Is that true? I don’t know. I’ve read it stated by some respected scholars, but have not done the research myself. But argue the point honestly, don’t claim the “vow” said that slavery was idyllic then knock down your bogus claim. ~Bob. Excerpt: WAS slavery an idyllic world of stable families headed by married parents? … The vow, which included the assertion that “a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President,” was amended after the outrage it stirred.

Re-Examining the Arab Spring
Excerpt: On Dec. 17, 2010, Mohammed Bouazizi, a
Tunisian street
vendor, set himself on fire in a show of public protest. The self-immolation triggered unrest in Tunisia and ultimately the resignation of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. This was followed by unrest in a number of Arab countries that the global press dubbed the “Arab Spring.” The standard analysis of the situation was that oppressive regimes had been sitting on a volcano of liberal democratic discontent. The belief was that the Arab Spring was a political uprising by masses demanding liberal democratic reform and that this uprising, supported by Western democracies, would generate sweeping political change across the Arab world. It is now more than six months since the beginning of the Arab Spring and it is important to take stock of what has happened and what has not happened. The reasons for the widespread unrest go beyond the Arab world, although, obviously, the dynamics within that world are important in and of themselves. However, the belief in an Arab Spring helped shape European and American policies in the region and the world. If the assumptions of this past January and February prove insufficient or even wrong, then there will be regional and global consequences.
Excerpt: Dear Belladonna Rogers, I, a McCain-voting, Rick Perry-supporting, longtime active Republican ever since I donned my first “I LIKE IKE” button, have fallen in love with a liberal. We’ve been together for three months. She’s everything I ever dreamed of in a woman: very sexually attractive; highly intelligent (except for her politics); empathetic; kind; adored by my children (I’ve been a widower for two years, was married for 35, with four grown children) and loved by my grandchildren and we enjoy spending time together Can this ever work in the long term? If so, how? Every time I see her Obama 2012 bumper sticker as her car recedes in the distance, my blood pressure rises 50 points. Red Gent With Blue Lady in Austin, TX

Upcoming reports could calm — or validate — recession fears
Excerpt: The stock market's wild ride last week showed just how jittery investors are about the threat of another recession. A series of economic reports coming out in the days and weeks ahead could calm their fears — or confirm their worst suspicions. Economists and investors alike will scrutinize unemployment claims, retail sales and consumer confidence numbers like a doctor watching an ailing patient's vital signs. On tap for today: government reports on housing starts and industrial production for July, and second-quarter earnings from retail bellwether Walmart Stores Inc. And later this month, Wall Street will be closely focused on consumer confidence, manufacturing activity and an updated estimate of gross domestic product for the second quarter. With the economy still ailing, any bad numbers could be amplified by big institutional investors ready to push the sell button at the first hint of trouble.

Norway and Anti-Semitism
Excerpt: In June this year, a quantitative study was published on racism and anti-Semitism in Oslo high schools. It was the first official report on an aspect of anti-Semitism in Norway. The study revealed that one third of Jewish children were physically or verbally harassed at least two or three times a month. That was far more than other children. The next in line were Buddhists at 10%, followed by Muslims at 5%. Fifty-one percent of the students consider the word “Jew” as pejorative.

Female Genital Mutilation 'Is an Obligation' Says Mullah in Iraqi-Kurdistan
If you say this, you’ll be condemned as a racist Islamophobe. ~Bob. Excerpt: A mullah in Iraqi-Kurdistan talked in a Friday sermon about the new bill against domestic violence that passed the parliament of Iraqi Kurdistan in June. This law also forbids the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Various clerics and members of Islamic groups started a campaign against this law and demand from the president of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Mr. Massud Barzani not to sign the bill. The mullah is one of the outspoken opponents of this bill. In his sermon he defends FGM as a Islamic practice of the Shafi'i law school. Additionally he defends the right of men to beat their women and children. Here is a translation of some excerpts from his sermon:

Iranian report attacks Jews, Israel and the UK
Excerpt: Iran’s parliament report states that Murdoch is a “Jewish Australian- US-American Capitalist,” a “Jewish Zionist” and a “right-wing conservative.” The Iranians contend that Murdoch’s mother was Jewish and that he was raised Jewish. Both assertions are fabrications. Murdoch, who has voiced strong support for Israel’s security and strongly opposes expressions of modern anti-Semitism, is not Jewish. Speaking last year at an Anti- Defamation League event in his honor, he said, “When Americans think of anti-Semitism, we tend to think of the vulgar caricatures and attacks of the first part of the 20th century. Now it seems that the most virulent strains come from the Left. Often this new anti-Semitism dresses itself up as legitimate disagreement with Israel.”

Gran killer turns Muslim to dodge work
Excerpt: Evil David Millar - who stabbed frail 82-year-old Lucy Marshall to death - will skip his duties in the laundry because of his new faith. He will be excused from work on Fridays so he can attend prayers. And he's told pals he'll not have to do chores during the holy month of Ramadan. The 28-year-old will also receive special halal meals such as curries at Dumfries prison.

Smuggling in North Sinai Surges as the Police Vanish
Pity the poor, starving Palestinians in Gaza. I can’t afford a $100k car—but I’m not getting millions from US taxpayers. ~Bob. Cars are driven from the chaos in Libya to this small patch of sand amid the fig trees in the North Sinai desert, where Palestinians can pick out their model and haggle over the price. Then they wait in Gaza for delivery through tunnels snaking beneath the border. The police have all but disappeared from the northern Sinai since the Egyptian revolution, and the smuggling business has grown so exponentially that Hamas, the militant group controlling Gaza, recently decided to limit the car imports to 30 a week for fear of pollution and traffic congestion in the narrow Mediterranean enclave, smugglers say. … Smugglers said they earned a generous profit on cars purchased in Libya. One said he might buy a Libyan car for the equivalent of $22,000 and sell it in Gaza for about $30,000. Another said he bought a black BMW x6 sports car for $80,000 and planned to sell it for $100,000, after a few desert joy rides for himself. Smugglers say they pay about $6,000 to Hamas and the tunnel owner and, after various other bribes, typically pocket $2,000 to $2,500 in profit per car. Though unemployment is high in Gaza, there are plenty of salaried Palestinian government officials, small-business people and those active in the black market who can afford to buy a car.

Al-Qaida in North Africa seeks Arab Spring jihad
Excerpt: Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb wants to put its footprint on the Arab Spring now that violence is fueling the uprisings, and in a two-part video is trying to lure new followers for revolt by jihad. The push comes as the group has sought to expand its operations beyond its Algerian base and desert outposts to countries around Africa, from Nigeria to Libya, after the death of Osama bin Laden and after being sidelined when the Arab revolts erupted earlier this year. During the mostly peaceful uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, the al-Qaida offshoot kept up sporadic attacks on Algerian security forces in its bid to overthrow the government and install an Islamist state. But the world was looking elsewhere. Now, with Arab uprisings meeting increasingly violent resistance from autocratic regimes in countries such as Libya and Syria, AQIM wants to be seen as an alternative force.

Egypt's double standard in Muslim and Christian abduction cases
Excerpt: The reason for this is simple: even though Egypt is not an Islamic state, it is rapidly Islamizing, and authorities don't dare cross Islamic sensibilities. And in Islam, a Christian's life is worth less than a Muslim's: "The indemnity for the death or injury of a woman is one-half the indemnity paid for a man. The indemnity paid for a Jew or Christian is one-third the indemnity paid for a Muslim. The indemnity paid for a Zoroastrian is one-fifteenth that of a Muslim." — 'Umdat al-Salik, o4.9 That has to do with the blood money paid for a death, not kidnapping, but the principle is the same: a non-Muslim's life simply is not as important or as valuable as a Muslim's.

Obama's Jobs Agenda For Congress: Does It Actually Create Jobs?
A surprisingly negative story from reliably liberal Huffington Post. Ron P. Excerpt: It's become almost daily practice for President Barack Obama to point out the four things he says Congress can pass now to create jobs "immediately," if only lawmakers would act: infrastructure investments, patent reform, free trade deals and a payroll tax cut extension. But even if all four proposals became law -- a huge "if" with a dug-in House GOP -- it's not clear they would actually create jobs. In fact, the proposals with the best shot of passing Congress appear the least likely to create jobs. One of the most likely to pass, the trade pacts, will probably cost jobs. Obama has been injecting new urgency into the measures since early July, when he spoke during a press conference that coincided with a dismal monthly jobs report. "There are bills and trade agreements before Congress right now that could get all these ideas moving," he said at the time. "All of them have bipartisan support. All of them could pass immediately. And I urge Congress not to wait."

Antimatter belt discovered around Earth
Excerpt: A thin band of antimatter particles called antiprotons enveloping the Earth has been spotted for the first time. The find, described in Astrophysical Journal Letters, confirms theoretical work that predicted the Earth’s magnetic field could trap antimatter. The team says a small number of antiprotons lie between the Van Allen belts of trapped “normal” matter. The researchers say there may be enough to implement a scheme using antimatter to fuel future spacecraft. (Damn! I took off a few days last week. Nothing exciting could happen in science, it’s August. But, just possibly, Scotty MAY be able to beam you up someday because of this. Damn! None of my plans ever survives first contact.... The links are worth following, too. Ron P.)

[Gore] did not know, as the others did, that the conference was being streamed…
Excerpt: These remarks were recorded in the Doerr-Hosier Center, where the event took place, through the center’s sound board. The reporter who recorded them, Brent Gardner-Smith, had a press pass to the event and was recording what he understood to be remarks that were also being streamed on the Internet and were therefore public. Here’s the essence of Gore’s “bullshit” remarks in high quality audio, plus other highlights we haven’t heard before.

Ominous parallels between Obama, Roosevelt grow
Excerpt: People are beginning to compare Barack Obama's administration to the failed administration of Jimmy Carter, but a better comparison is to the Roosevelt administration of the 1930s and '40s. Let's look at it with the help of a publication from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the Foundation for Economic Education titled "Great Myths of the Great Depression," by Lawrence Reed. During the first year of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, he called for increasing federal spending to $10 billion while revenues were only $3 billion. Between 1933 and 1936, government expenditures rose by more than 83 percent. Federal debt skyrocketed by 73 percent. Roosevelt signed off on legislation that raised the top income tax rate to 79 percent and then later to 90 percent. Hillsdale College economics historian and professor Burt Folsom -- author of "New Deal or Raw Deal?" -- notes that in 1941, Roosevelt even proposed a 99.5 percent marginal tax rate on all incomes more than $100,000. When a top adviser questioned the idea, Roosevelt replied, "Why not?"

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