Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Political Digest for December 28, 2011

Hit 400,000 blog page views today
Since inception of The Old Jarhead in October, 2008. That's a lot of bored or pissed off people! Thanks contributors and readers. ~Bob.

Excerpt: Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) plans to announce his retirement at a press conference on Tuesday, according to a Democratic source. The decision by the conservative Democrat is a blow to his party's chances for holding the Senate. Nebraska is a solidly Republican state in the presidential contest, and Nelson would have faced a tough race if he had been the Democratic nominee.

Modern Medicine Is Undergoing Industrialization
Excerpt: Medicine is undergoing industrialization where doctors who previously operated in small offices with relative autonomy are becoming owned commodities of large hospitals and health plans. This model was made largely inevitable years ago with the passage in 1997 of the Balanced Budget Act. Under the Obama health care plan, it's become the standard for the entire system. Even aside from policy-specific changes that Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will make, it will also greatly impact the method by which medicine is delivered, says Scott Gottlieb, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Government Workers Perform Union Duties on the Taxpayers' Dime
Excerpt: Title V of the U.S. Code allows federal government employees to do union work while on the job. Known as "official time," this allows unionized government workers to perform union duties unrelated to their jobs while still being paid their government salary, says Vincent Vernuccio, labor policy counsel at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. There is no law or regulation requiring the government to determine and report how much time union members spend on union work at the taxpayer's expense. The amount of official time awarded to employees performing union duties varies greatly. Some government employees can devote 100 percent of their time to union representation activities despite receiving a government paycheck. There have been numerous instances of union official time abuses. (Legalized corruption. You pay the salaries of people who lobby to pick your pocket. ~Bob.)

Alternative Solutions to Florida's Medical Malpractice System
Excerpt: For many years the cost of health care in the United States has been rising faster than the rate of inflation. This trend affects families, employers and governments at all levels. The rising cost of care -- and of the insurance to pay for ­­­it ­­-- is a major drag on a struggling economy. Unfortunately, additional factors are further inflating health care cost. The pending phase-in of various provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will further accelerate healthcare inflation. Therefore, any steps states can take to rein in costs while protecting the interests of patients and practitioners should be explored, says Beth Ann Fiedler of the James Madison Institute. Medical malpractice is strongly associated with the rising cost of health care. States have repeatedly attempted various remedies to address problems related to medical malpractice and defensive medicine -- particularly when confronted by crises in which malpractice insurance was said to be in danger of becoming unavailable or unaffordable. The challenge now is to act before another crisis arises.

Solyndra: Politics infused Obama energy programs
He's from frickin Chicago, media weenies. Politics infuses everything. Duh. ~Bob. Excerpt: Then came the August morning when Sterio heard a newscaster announce that more than a thousand Solyndra employees were out of work. Only recently did she learn that, within the Obama administration, the company’s potential collapse had long been discussed. The Solyndra Scandal “It’s not about the people; it’s politics,” said Sterio, who remains jobless and at risk of losing her home. “We all feel betrayed.”

Watchdogs say Obama has not done enough on government transparency
Excerpt: Government reform groups say President Obama has fallen short on several of his promises to make the White House more ethical and transparent. During his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama promised to create a centralized and searchable public database for lobbying reports, ethics records and campaign finance filings. The promise was part of the Obama-Biden ethics plan to lessen the degree of influence special interest groups have on his administration. ("Fallen short" as in "gone in the opposite direction." ~Bob.)

Iranian Lawmaker: 'These War Games Are a Warning to the Western Countries'
Excerpt: Naval spokesmen were quoted as saying the “Velayat 90” maneuvers, the biggest ever of their kind, were being held across a vast area from the Gulf of Oman to the Gulf of Aden – waters stretching between Somalia in the west, the Indian subcontinent in the east, and Oman and Yemen to the north. The exercises would involve warships, submarines, helicopters and the testing of missiles, torpedoes, missile defense systems, drones and electronic warfare equipment. (If we take his threats seriously.... Ron P.)

Outside Groups Spending Millions on Ads in Massachusetts' U.S. Senate Race
Excerpt: Watch the political advertising and Elizabeth Warren, the leading Democratic Senate candidate in Massachusetts, either "sides with extreme left" protesters or has a history of being too cozy with Wall Street. Or Republican freshman Sen. Scott Brown, whom she hopes to defeat next year, is portrayed as an enemy of the environment. Outside groups on both sides are spending millions of dollars on the race, highlighting the national prominence of the fight over the seat held for nearly 50 years by the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. (...) The flood of money and ads from outside the state is expected to surge as the Warren-Brown race intensifies. (The anti-Brown ads began back in August, the actual Warren ads began running in October—more than a year before the election—and the Rove’s groups ads only showed up within the past three weeks. Notice that Warren disapproves only of “unfair attack ads,” which translates to mean only the ones against her; she approves of all others. Expect this election to be long, dirty, and very expensive. Ron P.)

How can we remain silent while Christians are being persecuted?: A new evil is sweeping the Middle East and the Foreign Office is failing to confront it.
Excerpt: The Americans have gone now, and Iraq’s Christian communities – some of the world’s oldest – are undergoing an exodus on a biblical scale. Of the country’s 1.4 million Christians, about two thirds have now fled. (Christians are endangered species. Now, if these were Muslims being persecuted, would O be having a $14 million vacation with Pelosi on a neighboring island at $10,000 per night and asking for yet another increase in the debt limit, or would he be trying to help the brethren? Noted press release said O “attended Christmas services” but did not say where…. --Barb.)

Islamic honor killing in Texas: "Santa" who murdered family on Christmas morning was Muslim who didn't like his daughter dating a non-Muslim
Excerpt: Aziz Yazdanpanah, a Muslim, didn't like his daughter's non-Muslim boyfriend and was exhibiting stalker behavior. “She couldn’t date at all until she was a certain age, but when he was going to let her date she couldn’t date anyone outside of their race or religion.” Again and again we have seen honor killings in which fathers kill daughters who are dating non-Muslims or have supposedly besmirched the family honor by some sexual indiscretion. Lt. Todd Dearing says that motive isn't important -- which is generally only the case when Islam is involved.

7 Reasons Why Mitt Romney's Electability Is A Myth
Excerpt: Mitt Romney was a moderate governor in Massachusetts with an unimpressive record of governance, who left office with an approval rating in the thirties, and whose signature achievement was a Hurricane Katrina style disaster for the state. Since that's the case, it's fair to ask what a Republican who's not conservative and can't even carry his own state brings to the table for GOP primary voters. The answer is always the same; Mitt Romney is supposed to be "the most electable" candidate. This is a baffling argument because many people just seem to assume it's true, despite the plethora of evidence to the contrary.

When Islam met the diversity industry…
Excerpt: This week, I was told about a London primary school whose pupils are overwhelmingly Muslim. It isn’t having a nativity play. There was a plan to sing carols in a lesson, but parents banned their children from attending. Mixed swimming lessons will soon be a thing of the past. Canteen food has to be halal. “This is effectively a faith school – a Muslim one,” says a teacher. Maybe so, but a visit to the school’s website reveals that the school also has an official religion: multiculturalism.

Greece: economic crisis causes increase in crime. Most crimes committed in Athens, robberies double in one year.
Excerpt: The deep economic crisis that has hit Greece, entering its fourth year of recession, has had many negative consequences. One of these is a sharp increase in crime across the country. (Coming soon to an unsustainable-debt country near you. ~Bob.)

Why Tyrants Fall
Excerpt: Finally, don’t forget that the Almighty put us on earth for entertainment value. Most of the time we’re likely to get it wrong. How many of us expected Qadaffi to fight to the death? How many expected Gorbachev and his Soviet Empire to implode without a fight? We’re usually not smart enough to foresee such things.

The Chicago (Housing) Code ...The feds sue to block a law that will raise costs to taxpayers.
Excerpt: Rahm Emanuel hasn't been mayor of Chicago for long, but he sure has a knack for the city's backroom politics. Instead of tackling a growing foreclosure crisis, he has struck a deal with Chicago's big banks and pushed ahead with plans to squeeze private investors for upkeep on vacant homes. Too bad the arrangement isn't legal.

Georgia woman who threatened 2 New York lawmakers is shot to death by cop
Excerpt: A Muslim woman who had been charged with sending fake weapons and a pig’s foot to two New York lawmakers was killed during a struggle with a cop in Georgia on Sunday, authorities said. Jameela Barnette, 53, of Marietta, was slapped with federal charges last month for sending New York State Sen. Greg Ball (R,C-Patterson) a vial of perfume, a hate-filled letter and a doll of the monkey Curious George wearing two Stars of David. She had also mailed a pig’s foot to Rep. Peter King (R-L.I.) in response to controversial hearings he held in March on the purported radicalization of American Muslims, Politico has reported. (Well done, officer. Donuts all around. ~Bob.)

Random Thoughts by Thomas Sowell
Yes, I swiped the Random Thoughts idea from Dr. Sowell. I'm sure he doesn't mind, since his are always better. ~Bob. Excerpt: What do you call it when someone steals someone else's money secretly? Theft. What do you call it when someone takes someone else's money openly by force? Robbery. What do you call it when a politician takes someone else's money in taxes and gives it to someone who is more likely to vote for him? Social Justice.

In family horror, some Canadians see culture clash
Excerpt: On a summer morning in 2009, in canal locks east of Toronto, police made a grisly discovery: In a submerged Nissan car were the bodies of three teenage sisters and a 52-year-old woman. A joyride gone tragically wrong, claimed the father, Mohammad Shafia, 58, who reported the disappearance. An "honor killing," prosecutors allege.

Recruiting tightens race for control of Senate: Democrats out to blunt GOP edge in numbers
Excerpt: Just six months ago, Senate Republicans seemed poised to march to victory in 2012 and easily retake control of the upper chamber of Congress, but some successful Democratic recruiting and some unintentional help from the tea party in recent months have made next year’s overall contest more competitive. (The Tea Party arguably saved Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats in 2010, in Nevada and Delaware, as they'd rather liberals be in power than vote for a less pure Republican. ~Bob.)

Iran threatens to close key Gulf oil route over nuclear sanctions: Tehran says no crude will flow through Strait of Hormuz if its own is embargoed
Excerpt: Iran threatened on Tuesday to stop the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz if foreign sanctions were imposed on its crude exports over its nuclear ambitions, a move that could trigger military conflict with economies dependent on Gulf oil.

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