Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Political Digest for September 20, 2011

Charities I support

The man who would be veep
I know it’s “too early,” but I’d be happy to have Rubio at the top of the ticket. ~Bob. The battle for the Republican presidential nomination is just heating up. But the choice of running mate is as good as settled, at least if the Beltway buzz is to be believed. Many party insiders feel that the attractions of Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) for the second spot on the ticket are irresistible. “Right now, he is head and shoulders above everybody else,” Florida-based GOP strategist Rick Wilson told The Hill. (Wilson supported Rubio during his 2010 Senate bid, but did not work for the campaign.)

The Hill Poll: U.S. stance on Israel important to voters
Excerpt: More than half of likely voters say the Obama administration’s policy on Israel is either somewhat or very important to the way they vote, according to this week’s The Hill Poll. The survey comes just as Republicans managed to win the Brooklyn- and Queens-based congressional seat of former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), in what many called a referendum on President Obama’s approach to Israel. The winner, newly sworn in Rep. Bob Turner (R), used the issue to bludgeon his Democratic opponent, David Weprin, in the heavily Jewish district. Obama is expected to meet early this week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York, as the United Nations holds its annual General Assembly meetings. (But will BO bow to Bibi? ~Bob.)

Fury over Solyndra loan threatens to sunset solar energy investments
I think we should put ACORN in charge of Greenloans. What could go wrong? ~Bob. Excerpt: Political fury over a failed $535 million loan guarantee to an Obama administration-backed solar company is threatening to poison the well for future green investments. The Obama administration is doubling down on its support for renewable energy, stressing that it will move forward on more loans like the one to Solyndra, the California-based company that announced its bankruptcy late last month. In fact, as many as 14 new loan guarantees from the Energy Department — nine of which are for solar projects — could be finalized by the end of the month. But congressional Republicans have signaled they’re prepared to start a huge political fight with the White House over the investments. The fight could be a major campaign theme next year, particularly since the loans are tied to the 2009 economic stimulus package the GOP already believes is a political liability for President Obama.

Cleaver: If Obama wasn't president, we would be ‘marching on the White House’
Excerpt: Unhappy members of the Congressional Black Caucus “probably would be marching on the White House” if Obama were not president, according to CBC Chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.). "If [former President] Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem, we probably would be marching on the White House," Cleaver told “The Miami Herald” in comments published Sunday. "There is a less-volatile reaction in the CBC because nobody wants to do anything that would empower the people who hate the president."

Entitled to Leisure?
Mary Steyn points out in his great book, After America, that most people were kids until about age 13, then worked until they died. Both “adolescence” and “retirement” are modern inventions. ~Bob. Excerpt: Since 1900, male life expectancy at age 20 has risen by 14 years, yet working-life expectancy is currently lower than it was when Theodore Roosevelt was first elected president. While life expectancy rose rather steadily throughout the 20th century, working-life expectancy for men generally declined slowly starting in 1950 (although it has increased slightly since 1990). A baby born in 1900 had a life expectancy of only 47 years. A baby born in 2007 has a life expectancy of 77.9 years. The health sector cannot take all the credit for this 30-year increase: public health measures such as improved sanitation and clean drinking water certainly played a role. But we also know that rapid growth in the healthcare sector in the United States made at least some contribution to these remarkable gains in years of life. For example, the 70 percent decline since 1960 in mortality for low birth-weight infants born in the United States was almost entirely the result of improved medical care. At the start of the last century, a 20-year-old man could expect to live an additional 42 years, during which he could expect to work 38 years (figure 10.6a). The average period of retirement was thus relatively short. By 2004, life expectancy for a typical 20-year-old man had climbed to 56 years, yet his working-life expectancy was still 38 years! With a longer life expectancy and no change in working-life expectancy, the expected duration of retirement rose to 18 years, a considerable increase over the four years of a century earlier. Another way to look at this is to consider that in 1900, a man surviving to age 20 could expect to work 90 percent of his remaining life; by 2004, that share was less than 65 percent.

Doubling Down on the Payroll Tax Holiday Still Won’t Create Jobs
I will, of course, be happy to have the additional dollars in my paycheck. That is different from saying it’s a good idea. ~Bob. Excerpt: Payroll tax relief is intended to stimulate the economy in two ways, neither of which works. ... First, payroll tax relief reflects the faulty Keynesian stimulus philosophy of putting money in people’s pockets that they would then spend, thereby increasing demand in the economy and ultimately increasing output and employment. The fundamental assumption of this theory is that since the economy is underperforming, total demand must be too low. The theory prescribes tax cuts targeted at those who are most likely to spend and additional government spending that can be spent quickly. These policies then increase the budget deficit but are also intended to increase total demand in the economy, driving it back toward full employment. It works perfectly in some mathematical models. Unfortunately, reality is a bit more complicated, and on closer examination, the details void the whole theory. The fundamental failing of the Keynesian stimulus theory is that it neatly ignores the presence of financial markets, which have as their primary purpose transferring savings from those who do not currently need to spend to those who need the funds, either to spend or to invest. In the Keynesian model, the money government borrows to finance the additional deficit spending magically appears in the form of cash in exchange for government bonds. In reality, this cash reflects savings that would otherwise be available to the private sector.

Slow Employment Growth? Look to Obamacare
Excerpt: But no one seems to be talking about the $2,000 per worker tax on employers, to begin in 2014. Enacted as part of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it will be levied on firms with 50 or more employees who do not offer the right kind of health insurance to their workers. Millions of Americans are looking for work, and the number in poverty, 46.2 million, is the highest since the Census Bureau began compiling poverty data 52 years ago. This tax might be one reason for the slow employment growth we observe two years after the end of the recession, in June 2009. Although the tax will not take effect until 2014, businesses are adjusting now. They are not stupid, they plan ahead. (Plan ahead? Gee, if only someone could explain that to BO. ~Bob.)

Energy Exploration Would Create Jobs and Raise Revenue Without Raising Taxes
Excerpt: Gas prices are above $3.60 per gallon nationally, the unemployment rate is hovering at 9 percent, and the country is $14 trillion in debt. Although it is not the be-all and end-all, there is a solution that would help lower energy prices, create jobs, and bring revenue into the financially strapped government: Increase access to America’s energy. Congress should require the government to provide a timely permitting process, as well as environmental and judicial review, and it should stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulatory train wreck by placing a freeze on new environmental regulations.

Measuring Teacher Effectiveness: Credentials Unrelated to Student Achievement
Excerpt: Given the challenges facing American public education today, identifying effective teachers is a more vital task than ever before. A wide body of research shows that teachers are the most important school-based factor related to student achievement. Policymakers and taxpayers want to know what factors create effective teachers—not only for the sake of their own children’s educations but also because teacher salary and benefits represent the nation’s single largest educational expenditure. And school administrators need to identify teachers who will be successful over the long term before those teachers earn the ironclad job protection of tenure. In the U.S. public school system today, the method used to determine teacher effectiveness—and thus to drive salary, promotion, and tenure decisions—is based on a few external credentials: certification, advanced degrees, and years of experience in the classroom. Yet according to a new analysis of student performance in Florida that two colleagues and I conducted, little to no relationship exists between these credentials and the gains that a teacher’s students make on standardized math and reading exams. Our expansive study included all test-taking public elementary school students in the state of Florida over a period of four years.

Obama to propose $3T in cuts, threaten to veto tax cuts for wealthy
Excerpt: President Obama on Monday will unveil a $3 trillion deficit-reduction and tax reform plan while promising to veto any package tackling debt that changes entitlement but doesn't raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations. Administration officials said the proposal Obama will announce at a Rose Garden event on Monday will pay for Obama's $447 billion jobs plan while cutting $3 trillion in deficit spending over 10 years. The $3 trillion in deficit reduction is made up of money saved from ending the war in Iraq and drawing troops down in Afghanistan, raising taxes for the wealthy and corporations and cutting about $540 billion in Medicare and Medicaid, administration officials said Sunday night.

Tensions high between White House, Europe as IMF, World Bank meet
Excerpt: Tensions between the Obama administration and Europe’s leaders will be high this week when Washington hosts the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. The debt crisis in Europe has spread to U.S. shores, causing gyrations to financial markets also unnerved by the near-failure of the administration and Congress to raise the debt ceiling. European leaders have struggled to get their hands around a debt crisis that started in Greece and has moved to European giants Italy and Spain. Worries about whether those countries can pay back their debts, and how this might affect banks on both sides of the Atlantic has contributed to a global economic slowdown. It is a slowdown that threatens a second term for President Obama, whose approval ratings have plummeted on his handling of the economy. (Watch for Obama to blame George Bushiloplous. ~Bob.)

Michelle Obama and the Muslim Brotherhood
Excerpt: So while an FBI "agent confirmed that at least three operatives of the Egypt-based Brotherhood -- whose credo is 'Jihad is our way and death in the cause of Allah is our dream' -- have penetrated the Obama administration," the First Lady is now dealing with an organization that boasts of such people as Yaser Haddara who is a member of the IRUSA board since 2006 and its chairman until May 2011. According to the IRUSA's own site, "Dr. Haddara was one of the developers and lead trainers for the Student Leadership Training Program that was jointly sponsored by the Muslim American Society and the Muslim Association of Canada. Dr. Haddara has been actively involved in several community organizations including the Islamic Society at Stanford University, the Muslim Community Association of the Bay Area, the Islamic Society of North America (Western Region), the Muslim American Society, and the Muslim Association of Canada." One of the main front organizations of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Society of North America's "leadership does not accept Islamic practices that fall outside the version of Islam propagated by Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood." Furthermore, in addition to terrorism, ... the Muslim Brotherhood [spreads] political Islam, which weds religion and politics into a potent force that clashes with pluralistic democracies."

Good Column: Allah Be Appraised!
Although I have never claimed to be as politically correct as, say, the N.Y. Times, I like to think of myself as a reasonably open-minded fellow where people who are different from me are concerned. And, inasmuch as most people are very different from me -- and glad of it -- I get a lot of practice. Furthermore, I have always contended that bigots are just plain lazy, and that if you just take the trouble to know people as individuals, almost invariably you will discover better reasons to despise them other than their race, religion or bizarre sexual proclivities. … To tell you the truth, when I first heard tell of the awards that allegedly awaited Islamic martyrs, even I began to see the attraction. I mean, on the face of it, moving from Jenin or Tehran, say, to Paradise sounds like an awfully good deal. Toss in six dozen beautiful virgins, and what healthy, red-blooded nincompoop wouldn't gladly blow himself to Kingdom Come? The problem, of course, is that, like most youngsters, they never bother thinking things through. For instance, in the natural course of events, what the impetuous young idiot will inevitably have on his hands are six dozen ex-virgins. And if he thinks he has it bad now, just wait until he winds up spending eternity with 72 women who while away each and every day complaining that he's always leaving his burnoose on the floor, doesn't help out with the kids, and never takes them dancing.

Specter of a Sequester
http://patriotpost.us/opinion/george-will/2011/09/18/specter-of-a-sequester/Excerpt: Panetta's most immediate worry, however, is visible from the windows of his office overlooking the Potomac -- Capitol Hill, where the "supercommittee" created by August's debt-ceiling agreement is sitting. By Thanksgiving it will either agree to do something important -- reduce the next decade's debt by at least $1.2 trillion -- or its disagreements will trigger something important: A sequester. This would take from military budgets nearly $500 billion, in addition to a minimum of $350 billion cuts already scheduled. An almost trillion-dollar trimming, Panetta says flatly, "cannot take place." Actually, he knows it can: "The gun to the head could really go off." Even without a sequester, the military "is going to be a smaller force." And with a sequester? The 1.5 million active-duty members of the armed services and 700,000 civilian employees of the Defense Department depend on an industrial base of more than 3.8 million persons. According to the Pentagon, a sequester would substantially shrink those three numbers, perhaps adding a point to the nation's unemployment rate. The cuts would leave the smallest Army and Marine Corps in more than a decade and the smallest tactical Air Force since this service became independent of the Army in 1947. The Navy has already shrunk almost to its smallest fleet size since World War I.

Obama defends new taxes: ‘This is not class warfare, it’s math’
Excerpt: President Obama defended his proposals to raise taxes on the wealthy Monday and promised to veto any deficit reduction plan from Congress that cuts entitlement programs but doesn’t raise taxes on the wealthy. “We are not going to have a one-sided deal that hurts the folks that are most vulnerable,” Obama said in Rose Garden comments where he formally announced his own recommendations to a 12-member “supercommittee” charged with finding deficit cuts. Obama’s $3 trillion deficit-cutting plan includes $1.5 trillion in tax hikes on the wealthy, including the elimination of Bush-era tax rates on households with annual income above $250,000. (Since WWII, every dollar in increased taxes has resulted in $1,23 in increased spending. That’s not politics—it’s history. ~Bob.)

Nobel physicist quits US group over climate stance
Excerpt: Norwegian physicist and Nobel laureate Ivar Giaever has quit a major US physics society due to its stance on global warming, a spokeswoman for the group told AFP Thursday. "I can confirm he has resigned," American Physical Society spokeswoman Tawanda Johnson said, noting that Giaever, 82, sent a letter to that effect to the group's executive director Kate Kirby on Tuesday. "His reason is that he takes issue with APS's stance on climate change." (Can’t be a scientist if you disagree with Al Gore—take back his secret decoder ring. ~Bob.)

New High: 40% Expect Their Home’s Value To Decrease Over Next Year
Excerpt: Homeowners remain very pessimistic about the potential short- and long-term values of their homes. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 40% of U.S. homeowners now expect their home’s value to go down over the next year, the highest level of pessimism to date. Prior to the latest finding, this number ranged from a low of 19% to a high of 37% since April 2009. Just 13% expect the value of their home to go up over the next year. While that shows no change from last month, it's up just two points from the all-time low reached in July. Forty-five percent (45%) think their house will be worth about the same amount in one year’s time. (We paid $160k for our condo in 2009, same unit now being offered—not sold—for $130k. On the plus side, the Cook County Tax Office still thinks it’s worth $167k. ~Bob.)

Obama's War on Job Creators
Excerpt: Today, President Barack Obama is expected to announce his latest plan for reducing the deficit, and central to it are $1.5 trillion in new taxes, aimed predominantly at wealthy Americans. Unfortunately for the 14 million unemployed Americans, the President is continuing down his steady path of ushering in big spending policies, then turning to even higher taxes in order to pay for them. Who ends up paying the price? America's job creators and those on the unemployment line. It's a "glut the beast" strategy the President has employed before--increase spending as much as possible, and then argue that the only answer to the massive deficits is to increase taxes. Last week, the President played that philosophy to a tee when he unveiled another series of tax hikes intended to pay for more stimulus--his newly unveiled $447 billion American Jobs Act. Not surprisingly, the tax policies the President proposed were more of the same he has offered up since he first took office.

Obama’s ‘New Civility.” ~Bob. Excerpt: [Madison, Wisc…] Thousands of liberal political activists, gathered here Saturday for an annual conference, cheered and laughed as a speaker recounted the recent assault of a GOP lawmaker. The crowd attending the Fighting Bob Fest also rejoiced at the suggestion that protesters, instead of dumping beer over the heads of Republicans, should urinate on them. “This is Wisconsin, this is the place where you had some guy pour a beer on the head of a Republican State Senator?” said Fest speaker Greg Palast as the crowd erupted with cheers. “No, no, no, that’s all wrong. You can’t do that. That’s just wrong. I’m from New York. If you’re going to pour beer on a Republican, you have to drink it first.” The crowd can then be heard breaking out in loud and sustained cheers and laughter.

Groucho Marx Saves America
Excerpt: America is roaring back -- with laughter. A fed-up nation with itchy Twitter fingers is bringing down what's left of an insufferably pompous presidency. How? By unleashing the most American weapon of all: the wisecrack. A hilarious barrage of catcalls and insults has greeted Obama's latest debacle, a Soviet-style website called Attack Watch. With its terrifying design of red and black cellblocks, and scary photos of Obama's critics looking like Mafia hoodlums, Attack Watch openly solicits Americans to turn in their friends and neighbors for thoughtcrimes against the president. Before we revel in our countrymen's deliciously rude response, let me show you the section of Attack Watch that truly creeps me out. Do the Stasi wannabes that write Obama's copy really think this invitation will win us over? "Join Attack Wire - and help stop the attacks on the President before they start." Before they start! Hey, comrades, is your wife muttering Rick Perry's name in her sleep? Does Grandma secretly watch Glenn Beck? Report your loved ones' pre-crimes to federal authorities now! A few friendly adjustments with a fist, and we guarantee we'll stop those deviant, anti-Obama attacks, "before they start." Help us, comrades!

How the ‘Buffett tax’ will kill jobs
Excerpt: So President Obama is about to come out for another “millionaires tax,” one White House insiders are calling “the Buffett tax.” The sad thing is, even if he could get it, it would just be another jobs-killer. With many economists worried that we’re heading toward a double-dip recession, our fearless leader is still playing politics. The new tax would presumably go to pay for some of the government spending he still says will spur the economy, despite the evidence of his first three years in office. Aspects of the new plan remain scant, but what we do know isn’t good. It’s supposed to be a tax on income, so instead of making the tax system less convoluted (as Obama’s own bipartisan deficit commission proposed), he’s looking to make it more complicated with a new tax bracket. Thing is, taxing income won’t get squat from the president’s favorite limousine liberal, Warren Buffett -- the guy who supposedly inspired Obama’s plan. Buffett doesn’t collect most of his money as the normal income that the tax would hit. (His salary is just $100,000 a year.)

Kabul Attack Continues Taliban Control of War Narrative
Excerpt: Gen. David Petraeus wrote in his 2006 counterinsurgency manual that the U.S. command headquarters should establish a "narrative" for the counterinsurgency war – a simple storyline that provides a framework for understanding events, both for the population of the country in question and for international audiences. But this week's Taliban attacks on multiple targets in Kabul, including the U.S. Embassy and U.S.-NATO headquarters, are the latest and most spectacular of a long series of operations that have given the insurgents the upper hand in establishing the narrative of the war as perceived by the Afghan population. Those attacks and other operations that generated headlines in 2010 have been aimed at convincing Afghans that the Taliban can strike any target in the country, because they have their own agents within the Afghan government's military, police and administrative organs. (We lost the narrative in Vietnam, where the media allies of the communists turned over whelming victories like the Tet Offensive into PR defeats, eventually leading Congress to abandon our pledges to our ally, resulting in millions of dead. ~Bob.)

America’s UN test Standing up for our ally Israel
Excerpt: President Obama’s expected veto of a Palestinian bid for full United Nations membership may not be as catastrophic for America as so widely predicted -- especially if the administration can continue showing gumption and drop its effort to “unite” the world. After all, Obama’s hopey-changey UN speech last year helped create this mess. Back last September, he told world leaders gathered at the General Assembly: “When we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations -- an independent, sovereign state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel.” His listeners -- especially Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas -- ignored the condition Obama set (“an agreement”), and the clock started ticking. On Friday, Abbas invoked Obama’s “promise” as one reason he’s decided to go to the Security Council this week to ask for full UN membership -- even though, in the last few weeks, US officials have made clear they’d veto the bid, which threatens to completely derail the peace process. (There is a natural disconnect between Jewish Liberals and other liberals, especially black ones like Jesse Jackson, who are often anti-Semitic. ~Bob.)

Big Labor's Yanqui Imperialism: The U.S. trade representative is trying to deny due process to Guatemala in defiance of free-trade agreement rules.
Excerpt: On the face of it, the National Labor Relations Board's effort to block a new Boeing plant slated for the right-to-work state of South Carolina seems like a futile exercise. After all, we live in a global economy, and that means U.S. producers who can't access a competitive labor market at home can go abroad. That is unless Big Labor manages to impose its stifling regulatory model beyond American borders. In that case, costs could be pushed up strategically elsewhere, and companies that might otherwise try to escape U.S. regulation would have nowhere to run. (The left loves poor people in the Third World—unless, of course, they want jobs and a decent stand of living instead of handouts. ~Bob.)

The UN Disaster is Obama's Fault: How the Arabs of Judea and Samaria succeeded at making a mockery of American diplomacy
Excerpt: But the lion's share of the blame ought to fall on President Obama. Though peace talks were stalled when he took office in January 2009, the deterioration of a relatively stable standoff into the volatile situation that exists today is due in no small measure to the blunders that the president's team has committed over the past 32 months. Though friends of Israel will rightly give Obama credit for sticking to his word and vetoing the Palestinian resolution — a stand that will be undertaken as much if not more in defense of U.S. interests than those of the Jewish state — the diplomatic disaster that is about to be played out is the fruit of his own misjudgments. It was three years ago in the fall of 2008 when then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered Abbas a Palestinian state in almost all of the West Bank, Gaza and a share of Jerusalem. Though the Palestinians had spent much of the previous months dickering with the Israelis over the terms of a peace agreement, in the end Abbas refused to sign much in the same way his predecessor Yasir Arafat had also declined to make peace after he had received such offers in 2000 and 2001. By the end of that year with a new American president about to take office, it was clear that the state of Palestinian politics was such that no PA leader could afford to make peace with Israel, no matter what the terms or where its borders would be drawn. Even if they were inclined to make peace, with Gaza in the hands of Hamas, Fatah leaders like Abbas couldn't survive an accord.

Silicon Valley gives conservative Christians a boost
Excerpt: Silicon Valley, the politically liberal technology hub, is an unlikely incubator of conservative Christian activism. But a group of its venture capitalists is backing an ambitious project that seeks to affect the 2012 election by registering 5 million new conservative Christians to vote. The nonprofit organization, United in Purpose, is using sophisticated data-mining techniques to compile a database of every unregistered born-again and evangelical Christian and conservative Catholic in the country. Through partnerships with Christian organizers and antiabortion groups, United in Purpose hopes to recruit 100,000 "champions" to identify unregistered Christians and get them to the polls as part of its Champion the Vote project. Profiles drawn from its database, which currently numbers more than 120 million people, will enable organizers to target potential voters with emails and Web videos tailored to their interests.

FBI Under Fire For Teaching the Truth
Conservatives used to say, “Better Dead Than Red.” Liberals now say, “Better your family’s tombstone we erect, than I should not be politically-correct!” ~Bob. Excerpt: The FBI came under fire again Wednesday from hard-Left journalist Spencer Ackerman in Wired, who has been conducting a campaign for some time to get the bureau to purge its terrorism training seminars of any hint of the truth about the global jihad and Islamic supremacism. Ackerman reported with breathless self-righteous indignation that “the FBI is teaching its counterterrorism agents that ‘main stream’ [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a ‘cult leader’; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a ‘funding mechanism for combat.’ At the Bureau’s training ground in Quantico, Virginia, agents are shown a chart contending that the more ‘devout’ a Muslim, the more likely he is to be ‘violent.’ Those destructive tendencies cannot be reversed, an FBI instructional presentation adds: ‘Any war against non-believers is justified’ under Muslim law; a ‘moderating process cannot happen if the Koran continues to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah.’

Justice Department boosts activity to police the police
How about doing something about the hundreds of decent black and Hispanic folks slaughtered every year by gangbangers? Or is that okay because they are minorities too? ~Bob. Excerpt: The Obama administration is ramping up civil rights enforcement against local police nationwide, opening a number of investigations to determine whether officers are guilty of brutality or discrimination against Hispanics and other minorities. In recent months, the Justice Department has begun inquiries into major city police departments such as Portland, Ore., where officers shot several people who had mental health issues, and Seattle, where police were accused of gunning down a homeless Native American woodcarver. The department issued a scathing report earlier this month accusing Puerto Rico police of a “staggering level of crime and corruption.’’

Violent Union Mob Mayhem in Washington State
Excerpt: In Longview, Washington, union thuggery has ramped up to a new level. On September 8th at around 4:30AM, hundreds of union workers broke down the gates and stormed the Port of Longview, where they “detained” six security guards for two hours. Their fellow unionists converged on the EGT terminal, where they cut the brake lines of several rail cars and dumped the grain contained in them. Windows in the guard shack were smashed, and a security vehicle was pushed into a ditch. No arrests were made, despite Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha’s characterization that the guards being held were “hostages.” He also said something far more ominous. ”We’re not surprised,” he explained. “A lot of the protesters were telling us this is only the start.” (Only the start indeed. In five years, these will be the good old days of peace and plenty. ~Bob.)

California unemployment rate hits 12.1% as employers slash jobs
Excerpt: Unsettled by signs that the recovery is stumbling, California employers in August cut jobs for the second month in a row, helping push the unemployment rate to 12.1% from 12% in July. Payrolls fell by 8,400 positions last month, according to figures released Friday by the state Employment Development Department. It's a worrisome sign for California's labor market, which has all but ground to halt. California has gained 98,500 jobs in 2011, but almost all of that hiring came early in the year. The state's employers have added just 11,000 jobs since March.

A total of seven women suffered acid attacks in the past two days in Faisalabad in separate incidents.
Didn’t get the “Islam is a religion of peace” memo. If the NY Times succeeds in its efforts to get America to incorporate Shari’a Law, will it supply head coverings to female employees to protect them? ~Bob. Excerpt: According to police officials, a first-year student suffered serious burns after being attacked … First year student Tayyiba was on her way back home from a local tuition academy when students Ali Raza and Hamza allegedly chased her and threatened her life. “Both boys go to the same college as me and they were heckling me for not wearing a dupatta on my head. They tried to grab me and when I yelled at them they attacked me with acid,” Tayyiba told police officials before being admitted to the hospital. “She said that both men had said she ‘deserved for her face to be ruined because she had not covered her head’,” Station House Officer Malik Zafar Iqbal said.

Two American universities teach journalists how to be even more obsequious and fawning towards Islam and Muslims
Excerpt: These courses are predicated on the assumption that Muslims and Islam are getting negative press coverage. That is, of course, howlingly absurd. After every jihad plot and jihad attack, journalists fill their publications with stories about pious, wise Muslims fearing a "backlash" -- that never comes. As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approached, the mainstream media was full of stories about how wise, pious Muslims were bearing up after a decade of discrimination and harassment -- despite the fact that hate crimes against Muslims are much rarer than hate crimes against Jews and others. News reports about Islamic jihad activity routinely characterize the perpetrators as "militants" or "insurgents," or if they're lone-wolf jihadis, as suffering from emotional or psychological problems -- never as what they are, Islamic jihadis. Ibrahim Hooper, old "Honest Ibe" himself, and others from Hamas-linked CAIR are routinely quoted in news stories as if they're representatives of a neutral civil rights organization, while those who are trying to stem the advance of Sharia and Islamization in the West are just as routinely demonized in the press, hung with negative labels or undercut in their statements in a way that Hooper or Faisal Abdul Rauf or any of the others would never believe even possible. And yet after all this, we're told that Americans still have a negative view of Islam? That isn't because of biased media coverage.

Syria: Anti-Assad Sheikh Threatens To 'Tear Christians Apart'
Thank Allah he’s a “moderate.” ~Bob. Excerpt: A Syrian sheikh who has been exiled to Saudi Arabia and has become one of the voices of the uprising against Assad, urges his followers, in television sermons that have been broadcast in Syria as well, to ''tear apart, chop up and feed'' the meat of all supporters of the current regime ''to the dogs,'' including all Christians. The fundamentalist turn part of the Syrian opposition is taking is denounced on the website Terrasanta.net, of the Franciscan Custody. Many Syrian Christians, the website reads, are terrorised; in some cities, like Homs, they are even afraid to leave their houses. Some churches have already been burned down. These appeals to hate were made in this context by sheikh Adnan al Aroor, who is described in a profile of television network Al Arabia as a 'moderate Sunni', a 'symbolic figure' for the anti-Assad activists, a man who invites people to 'peaceful and non-violent' rebellion.

Funny stuff. ~Bob. Excerpt: If you’re scared that cow farts are going to melt the ice caps.

Joe Legal vs. Jose Illegal

Pennsylvania Electoral College Plan Could Backfire on G.O.P.
I’ve long thought all electoral votes should be award this way, to make the campaigns truly national, with the GOP winning votes in CA, the Dems in TX. ~Bob. Excerpt: Republicans in Pennsylvania are considering a proposal that would award 18 of the state’s 20 electoral votes to the winner of each of its congressional districts, leaving the remaining 2 to the winner of the state at large. Had the proposal been in place in 2008, when Pennsylvania had one more electoral vote prior to reapportionment, Barack Obama would have carried only 11 of the state’s 21 electoral votes despite winning Pennsylvania by a 10-point margin.

Whoa! The Day I Left the Left
Excerpt: Against my better wishes, I found I do not have the inexhaustible capacity for cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias that most leftists seem to possess. While researching an article about wealth inequality, I came across a chart that showed the average corporate CEO’s IQ was 153, while the average manual laborer’s IQ was below a hundred. Something squirmed inside me. I didn’t want to hear this. While reading Timothy Leary’s Jail Notes in preparation for interviewing him, I ran across a passage where Leary describes how the Black Panthers held him hostage in Algeria. I resisted what this implied. I didn’t want to know that blacks could act like slave owners, too. While immersing myself in Orange County’s Vietnamese gang culture for a Playboy article, I was continually impressed with how these war-shattered Asians had come here penniless but owned businesses and mansions within a decade. This didn’t jibe with my belief that blacks and Mexicans were their equals.

Setting the Record Straight on Jackie O
Excerpt: Here’s the way things stood before November 22, 1963. Jackie’s sister, Lee Radziwill, was having a flirtation with the golden Greek Aristotle Onassis. Her husband, Stas, was also having a flirtation (I choose euphemisms in reaction to modern celebrity writing’s crudeness) with Henry Ford’s eldest daughter Charlotte. When JFK was told of the situation, he asked Lee and Stas to put their future plans (Lee to marry Onassis and Stas to wed Charlotte) on hold until after the 1964 election. Both agreed to do so. Jackie flew to Greece and spent a few days with her sister on the Onassis yacht, while Stas and Charlotte canoodled innocently around The Hamptons. Then the president was assassinated and their world went topsy-turvy. Onassis decided to go after bigger fish than the president’s sister-in-law—namely, Jackie. Stas and Lee decided to stay together, as the Polish prince rightly divined that leaving his wife after the president’s death would look callous and cruel. Charlotte Ford then turned to yet another oldie, Onassis’s brother-in-law, Stavros Niarchos, got pregnant by him, and married him briefly. Lee found solace in the company of Warren Beatty and yours truly.

Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in U.S., data show
Excerpt: Propelled by an increase in prescription narcotic overdoses, drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States, a Times analysis of government data has found. Drugs exceeded motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death in 2009, killing at least 37,485 people nationwide, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While most major causes of preventable death are declining, drugs are an exception. The death toll has doubled in the last decade, now claiming a life every 14 minutes. By contrast, traffic accidents have been dropping for decades because of huge investments in auto safety.

Why the U.S. economy is headed for a double dip
Excerpt: With another 428,000 new unemployment filings last week, the flood of bad economic news continues to point to a recessionary double dip that President Obama's $859 billion stimulus program was promised to prevent. And let's not forget that, while Obama and a Democratic Congress were pump-priming as never before, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke was injecting another $1.6 trillion in freshly printed bills into the economy. Surely now the Keynesian belief that massive government spending is the way to ignite economic growth during a recession has been utterly and forever discredited. But a congressional report released last week added another layer of explanation for the abject failure of Obamanomics since 2009. Along with the explosion of federal spending, Obama directed his appointees at key federal departments and agencies to embark on an unprecedented expansion of bureaucratic regulation. Thousands of new bureaucrats were hired at places like the Department of Heath and Human Services and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and legions of costly new regulations soon poured forth. (A “dip” would be good—I fear a complete collapse. ~Bob.)

So Which Are The Top 100 Twitter Accounts For The 2012 US Election? #2012Top100
Excerpt: If 2008 was the first blogs election, then 2012 is undoubtedly becoming the first Twitter election. Already, Twitter is transforming the way journalists and political operatives work. With the availability of news, comment and links in 140-character bites, Twitter has become a conversation that you just have to be in the midst of if you want to know what's going on in real time. It's possible that, in time, not being on Twitter could be the equivalent of not having a mobile phone. Four years ago, the quickest way of disseminating a quotation, thought or snippet of information was to write a quick blog post. That now seems laborious. Today, the medium of choice – nay, necessity – is Twitter.

Chicago Tribune: Why Obama Should Withdraw From 2012 Race
Excerpt: In hard times, voters have a powerful urge to punish incumbents. He could slake this thirst by stepping aside and taking the blame. Then someone less reviled could replace him at the top of the ticket. The ideal candidate would be a figure of stature and ability who can't be blamed for the economy. That person should not be a member of Congress, since it has an even lower approval rating than the president's. It would also help to be conspicuously associated with prosperity. Given Obama's reputation for being too quick to compromise, a reputation for toughness would be an asset. As it happens, there is someone at hand who fits this description: Hillary Clinton

Important: Evolution of European Gaza Strips: The 5 steps
excerpt: All over Europe, Islamic parallel societies are developing. Many of them seem to move towards becoming Gaza-like areas, characterized by overpopulation, a low level of education, high crime rates, racism against Jews and other non-Muslim groups, an Islamic political and economic infrastructure, and a general hateful and often violent attitude against non-Islamic authorities and the surrounding non-Islamic areas. This is the five-step evolution model of how European areas develops into violent areas violently fighting for autonomy and secession. Each steps naturally leads to and supports the next.

Thompson will run for Senate in Wisconsin
Excerpt: Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson has filed paperwork to run for the Senate and will officially announce his campaign soon, he told WTMJ radio in Milwaukee. "I've filed my corporation documents today, which allows me now to build my organization, raise money so I can go out there and tell the story," he said Sunday. "An announcement will be coming very soon...we're doing it in steps because that's what the federal law requires."

The Real Obama Budget Plan
Ray Stevens—too funny. ~Bob

Obama’s Economic Plan is Pure Genius!!
Excerpt: Yesterday, on the Sunday talking heads shows from one end of the channel spectrum to the other, Republicans lined up to tell us how the Obama plan, to be revealed today, is “Class Warfare.” At first blush, I admit that it looks like class warfare – but with sincere apologies to the likes of Karl Rove and Paul Ryan, They couldn’t be more wrong. Today, Obama will unveil the latest segment of his plan to fix everything from unemployment and a tanked economy to the deficit and the heartbreak of psoriasis. It’s not class warfare. It’s a domestic kinetic action. Obama, on the heels of announcing the$450 billion dollar American Jobs Act, which he said was completely paid for, will finally tell us HOW he intends to pay for it.

Kaiser Family Foundation 2009 grant to Michelle Obama’s ‘Urban Health Initiative’ sparks more Solyndra ‘crony capitalism’ questions
Excerpt: A Daily Caller review of the George Kaiser Family Foundation’s income tax returns found that during the same year billionaire investor George Kaiser successfully secured $535 million in government loan guarantees for the now-failed solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, his private philanthropy donated to a political cause close to the hearts of several high-ranking Obama administration officials. Kaiser, a major Obama donor, was a frequent White House visitor during the week before the Obama administration approved that taxpayer-underwritten financial deal. A $10,000 donation to the Urban Health Initiative at the University of Chicago Medical Center appears on the group’s 2009 tax forms. It was also in 2009 that Kaiser successfully sought to lock down a loan guarantee for the green-energy company Solyndra through his two investment vehicles: Argonaut Ventures and the GKFF Investment Company. While this donation seems small compared to the far larger numbers involved in the Solyndra scandal, it adds to the pattern of possible connections between the Obama administration and the growing Solyndra scandal. Several of President Barack Obama’s senior inner-circle advisers worked with or for now-first lady Michelle Obama when she held a leadership post at the University of Chicago Medical Center and helped create the Urban Health Initiative program. The Washington Post reported in 2008 that Valerie Jarrett was the medical center’s chairwoman, and David Axelrod provided community support-building services.

Retiree Benefits for the Military Could Face Cuts
Excerpt: As Washington looks to squeeze savings from once-sacrosanct entitlements like Social Security and Medicare, another big social welfare system is growing as rapidly, but with far less scrutiny: the health and pension benefits of military retirees. Military pensions and health care for active and retired troops now cost the government about $100 billion a year, representing an expanding portion of both the Pentagon budget — about $700 billion a year, including war costs — and the national debt, which together finance the programs. Making even incremental reductions to military benefits is typically a doomed political venture, given the public’s broad support for helping troops, the political potency of veterans groups and the fact that significant savings take years to appear. But the intense push in Congress this year to reduce the debt and the possibility that the Pentagon might have to begin trimming core programs like weapons procurement, research, training and construction have suddenly made retiree benefits vulnerable, military officials and experts say.

City police chiefs join feds in Washington to discuss partnership
Alas, cooperating with ICE isn’t PC, because letting criminal gangs into the country adds to our rich diversity. ~Bob. Excerpt: Just about every city and county in the United States is experiencing crime problems as a result of ethnocentric crime gangs such as Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Latin Kings, Bloods and Crips, Mexican Mafia and others, according to officials at the National Association of Chiefs of Police. On Thursday and Friday, September 15 and 16, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hosted a "Partnerships for Public Safety" roundtable discussion with 15 law enforcement leaders from cities across the country to discuss how communities are safer when local agencies partner with ICE. "Local, state and tribal law enforcement officers are critical to helping ICE achieve its public safety mission," said ICE Director John Morton. "All you have to do is look at the enforcement results to see how our partnerships are impacting public safety around the country. Together, we will continue our unwavering commitment to keep Americans safe."

Liberals pan benefit cuts in Obama plan
Excerpt: Liberals on and off Capitol Hill are hammering President Obama's proposal to scale back Medicare and Medicaid benefits as part of his newly released strategy to cut deficit spending. While the liberals are praising many elements of the president's plan – particularly the tax hikes for the wealthiest Americans – they're already vowing to fight provisions to push additional costs on seniors and other beneficiaries of the nation's popular healthcare entitlements. "While we support cutting waste, fraud and abuse, we reject any proposal that cuts benefits in Medicare or Medicaid," Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), co-chairmen of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a statement.

Excerpt: Is the Federal debt a criminal enterprise, enabled by a criminal syndicate? Read on before you pass judgment. Correspondent Doug laid out a compelling case that the Federal debt is fundamentally a criminal scam, operated by the criminal syndicate of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve:

Obama fundraiser linked to loan program that aided Solyndra
The revelation is likely to spur new inquiries about the solar company's political influence. Separately, California lawmakers seek investigation of a state tax break the firm received.

Gov. Daniels trying to 'recruit' a new GOP presidential candidate
Excerpt: Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said Monday that he’s “tried to recruit three or four people” to run for the Republican presidential nomination, and criticized the current field of candidates for failing to present a credible plan to address the budget crisis.
 “They should campaign to govern, not just win an election,” Daniels told The New York Times. “The candidate I could get instantly excited about is someone who is willing to level with the American people and assume they are prepared to listen to the mathematical facts and agree that whatever other disagreements we have aren’t as important.” Daniels did not disclose the prospective candidates he has urged to get in the race, but said he had been frustrated watching the performance of the current presidential hopefuls. Daniels, a fiscal conservative who served as director of the Office of Management and Budget for President George W. Bush, said he believes the current field of GOP candidates needs to be “more candid and honest” in addressing issues such as entitlement programs. Daniels specifically criticized the back-and-forth between current front-runners Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney over Social Security, indicating he doesn’t see a real plan for reform in the midst of their bickering.

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