Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Political Digest for May 15, 2012

The Old Jarhead Blog: Bringing you news and information the MSM is too busy covering American Idol, celebrity affairs and sensational missing person cases to cover. Please forward to friends who need to be informed.

Information on my seven books

Excerpt: According to a Missouri local news station, Don Gibson, a high school senior, converted his 1994 Geo Metro into an electric car by pulling out the gas engine and replacing it with an electric forklift engine he bought on eBay for around $200. Don spent $3,000 total in his electric car but said that if he were to do it again, he could do it for $2000. … Doing the math here, that is equivalent to spending $0.016 or 1.5 cents per mile. Or as the article states, he is getting an equivalent of around 200 miles per gallon compared to a gas engine. (He had an unfair advantage—no government involvement or subsidies. The article blames “big oil” for blocking such, but at this cost, and small manufacturer could build them, if there was a demand. ~Bob.)

Excerpt: The RAND researchers we reviewed before have come out with a follow-up study in Health Affairs of the potential impact of consumer driven plans on the American health care system. This is “Growth Of Consumer-Directed Health Plans To One-Half Of All Employer-Sponsored Insurance Could Save $57 Billion Annually,” by Amelia M. Haviland, M. Susan Marquis, Roland D. McDevitt, and Neeraj Sood. Most of the media reports have been reasonably accurate, see The Hill and The Washington Post, but have missed the real potential in the study.

If Harvard Business School were a religion, it could be Mormonism
Excerpt: For the past year, as Mitt Romney has taken to the campaign trail, a number of news articles have explored why Mormons make good business leaders. An ethic of hard work, some say. A team mentality. These may be true, yet there are other values that underpin Mormon leadership even more deeply — and they’re the same ones espoused by Harvard Business School.

Worth Reading: Our Composite President: Obama's carefully cultivated image coming apart. By Matthew Continetti
Excerpt: As funny as the ‘Julia’ parodies and imaginary girlfriend jokes may have been, they skirted a larger issue: President Obama is a composite, too, and his carefully crafted political identity is coming apart.

Environmental groups collecting millions from federal agencies they sue, studies show
Excerpt: Deep-pocketed environmental groups are collecting millions of dollars from the federal agencies they regularly sue under a little-known federal law, and the government is not even keeping track of the payouts, according to two new studies. Under the Equal Access to Justice Act, or EAJA — which was signed into law by President Carter in 1980 to help the little guy stand up to federal agencies — litigants with modest means who successfully show government agencies wronged them can get their legal fees back from the taxpayer. (Your tax dollars at work, enriching greenie lawyers. ~Bob.)

Analytical Trend Troubles Scientists
Excerpt: One study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found no increase in patients' cancer risk. The second study, which ran three weeks later in the British Medical Journal, found the risk for developing cancer to be low, but doubled. Which conclusion was correct? (This same technique is currently being used to “study” a multitude of other things, climate science among them. Notice that what is being “studied” ISN’T the named subject, but second- (or even third-) hand statistics of variable credibility. The chance of error cascades with each step. Do funeral homes cause funerals? Statistics well may answer “yes.” Ron P.)

Pseudo-evidence is not science: Manipulating statistics
Excerpt: Observational studies use sophisticated computer software to analyze data previously collected by others. Unlike randomized controlled interventional studies — the gold standard of medical research — observational studies lack any human intervention; scientists merely draw inferences about the effects of treatments based on numbers obtained from a database. It’s not uncommon that such analyses bend the rules of statistics in order to achieve the desired result, or what we at ACSH familiarly refer to as data-dredging — allowing researchers to come up with “statistically significant” results by reanalyzing data from different perspectives. (This article from the American Council on Science and Health reinforces the previous article, Analytical Trend Troubles Scientists from the Wall Street Journal earlier in today’s TOJ. Think about the vast number of specific subjects it touches on. Ron P.)

Mars: climate change faster than thought
Excerpt: And Mars seems like a more boring, static place than the Earth with its constantly varying cloud cover and turbulence in the atmosphere. The idea that the Earth should be naturally keeping its global mean temperature constant within tenths of a degree doesn't sound sensible given the facts we know, especially the big-picture physical facts that also involve those from other celestial bodies.

Rethinking Our Approach to Iran's Search for the Bomb
Excerpt: The threat Iran’s nuclear efforts pose are not simply a matter of its present ability to enrich uranium to 20% U-235, and efforts to control its enrichment activities will not halt its ability to move forward in many areas even if its current enrichment facilities and stocks of highly enriched uranium are fully secured. Iran’s efforts are part of a far broader range of efforts that have already brought it to the point where it can pursue nuclear weapons development through a range of compartmented and easily concealable programs without a formal weapons program, and even if it suspends enrichment activity. These are also programs that have been examined in depth in recent reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). (Not a “five minute read,” but possibly critical information. Although I take any new bit of data with a grain of salt (a caution I’ve learned from watching the shenanigans in “climate science”), everything I see in this article fits with other things I’ve read from other sources and believe to be true. So, this really IS reason to be concerned. Ron P.)

The Week That Was: 2012-05-12 (May 5, 2012)
Excerpt: A strident opponent of coal-generated electricity, the Sierra Club campaigned that natural gas was the clean alternative. The Club has bragged that it prevented the construction of some 150 coal fired power plants. Now that the EPA has proposed rules to prevent the construction new coal-fired power plants, the Sierra Club has begun a campaign calling natural gas a dirty fuel. Of course, the objective is to cripple the economy by shutting down all forms of energy use and electric power generation. (There are lots of worthwhile articles this week. Especially see numbered articles #1 and #3, reprinted in full at the bottom of TWTW. The excerpt is from Ken Haapala’s summary. Ron P.)

63% See Conflict Between Islam and the West
Excerpt: Nearly two-out-of-three Likely U.S. Voters (63%) believe there is a conflict in the world today between Western civilization and Islamic nations, but most also think the United States should leave the Islamic world alone. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 18% of voters feel there is not a global conflict now between the West and Islamic nations. Another 19% are not sure.

Syrian clashes 'kill 23 soldiers' in city of Rastan
Excerpt; At least 30 people - including 23 soldiers - have died in heavy overnight clashes in the central Syrian city of Rastan, according to activists. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said dozens of others were wounded in the city, in the restive Homs province.

In Rebuke to Merkel’s Party, Social Democrats Win German Vote
Excerpt: Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party suffered a stinging defeat in elections in Germany’s most populous state on Sunday, one likely to embolden her political opponents both at home and abroad as the European debt crisis enters a critical new phase. (The “screw the future, let’s party now” anti-austerity movement spreads to Germany. ~Bob.)

Democrats quietly take corporate money for Charlotte convention
Excerpt: There’s yet another glitch with the Democrats’ trouble-plagued campaign convention in Charlotte, N.C. Democrats tried to burnish their anti-Wall Street claims by promising in February 2011 that the $37 million convention wouldn’t accept corporate dollars. But the convention’s host committee has been quietly soliciting corporate money to pay for convention-related activities.

The Lee Plan Offers a Clear Choice for Americans
Excerpt: Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) and others have courageously put credible and thoughtful plans on the table. But today, I am happy to report that a member of the Senate has put forward an unprecedented new plan that directly confronts all of the major economic challenges our nation faces. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has introduced a budget resolution that mirrors the bold and thorough reforms The Heritage Foundation first proposed in our comprehensive program, "Saving the American Dream."

Iranian defectors: Khamenei said anti-nuke ‘fatwa’ won’t matter
Excerpt: A group of defectors from Iran has cautioned that Iranian authorities believe the West has been lulled into a false sense of security by a fatwa — a pronouncement of Muslim law — by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has said that a “nuclear bomb is a sin in Islam.” It is based on a lie, they warned, despite the Obama administration’s apparent reliance on this declaration to guide its foreign policy.

Lawmakers: Probe, punish ‘bomb’ leak: Intel sources, methods feared at risk
Yup. ~Bob. Excerpt: Congressional lawmakers called Sunday for a criminal investigation over the leak revealing that the so-called “underwear bomber” who boarded a U.S.-bound jet last month was actually a Saudi Arabian intelligence agent who had volunteered for the mission, warning that the leak could seriously damage American credibility.

Feds nab 80 criminal aliens during southern dragnet
Excerpt: During a three-state dragnet in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, federal law enforcement officers arrested 80 convicted criminal aliens on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, according to a Law Enforcement Examiner source in Washington, D.C.

Charlie Rangel mired in primary
Excerpt: Hobbled by health issues, saddled with past ethics troubles and forced by redistricting onto unfriendly political terrain, the iconic 81-year-old Harlem congressman is campaigning desperately to extend his four-decade run in Washington.

Greece and the Last Gasp of European Fiscal Sanity: By Rick Moran
Excerpt: Voters across Europe have spoken in the last week and the message they have sent has upended the fragile consensus that budget cuts and fiscal discipline would bring the continent back from the brink of debt Armageddon.

Report: Al-Qaida doctors trained to implant bombs in humans
Excerpt: Western intelligence agencies believe that al-Qaida doctors have been trained to implant bombs inside the bodies of suicide bombers, Britain's Sunday Times reported. The doctors, thought to have been trained by a man who worked with the top bomb-maker for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), have the ability to put explosive compounds in breasts and abdomens of suicide bombers, the newspaper reported without citing its sources. (This should make the TSA pat-downs even more fun. ~Bob.)

Four Iranian men sentenced to death by hanging for sodomy
Excerpt: An Iranian court has sentenced four men from the town of Choram, in the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province, to death by hanging for sodomy. The four men — identified as “Saadat Arefi,” “Vahid Akbari,” “Javid Akbari,” and “Houshmand Akbari” — were due to be executed shortly after their verdict was approved recently by high court judges, according to a report from the Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) in Iran. According to HRANA and JOOPEA, the men will be hanged for sodomy in accordance with Sharia law. (Now, nay, gay folks, don’t go Islamophobic on use—this is just part of the beauty of multiculturalism, supported by all good leftists. Remember, all cultures—except western civilization—are equally valid. A few hanged gays are a small price for leftists to feel warm and funny about supporting the Islamists. ~Bob.)

LightSquared bankruptcy seen imminent: sources
Excerpt: LightSquared Inc MOSAV.UL, the startup telecommunications company bankrolled by hedge fund manager Philip Falcone, is expected to file for bankruptcy protection in the next hours, sources familiar with the matter said.

Protesters rush into building housing Obama campaign headquarters
Excerpt: Dozens of demonstrators dashed into the Loop building housing President Barack Obama's campaign headquarters this morning, slipping past security guards and running up escalators as they kicked off what they called a "Week Without Capitalism." Eight protesters were led out in handcuffs about half an hour later after they refused to clear the lobby. They were cheered by other demonstrators who began dancing and singing folk and gospel songs.

Excerpt:: The DNC is refusing to kick in $500,000 to help Wisconsin Democrats unseat Scott Walker. The DNC has $24.4 million cash-on-hand as of late April.

Poll puts Walker up nine in recall fight
Excerpt: This week, however, a new poll from We Ask America of over 1200 likely voters puts Walker on top by nine, 52/43:

Union Bosses’ Hypocrisy: They live in luxury while complaining of hard-hearted Republicans and CEOs. By Nathaniel Botwinick
Excerpt: These union leaders insist that only they can speak for regular Americans. In fact, their own salaries suggest that they have nothing in common with the average citizen. Here is a short list of some of the highest-earning, and most hypocritical, union presidents:

No Regrets for a Love Of Explosives; In a Memoir of Sorts, a War Protester Talks of Life With the Weathermen
Excerpt: ''I don't regret setting bombs,'' Bill Ayers said. ''I feel we didn't do enough.'' Mr. Ayers, who spent the 1970's as a fugitive in the Weather Underground, was sitting in the kitchen of his big turn-of-the-19th-century stone house in the Hyde Park district of Chicago. … Mr. Ayers, who in 1970 was said to have summed up the Weatherman philosophy as: ''Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, kill your parents, that's where it's really at,'' is today distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. (And, by my standards, one of the rich people. ~Bob.)

Canadian firm will receive up to $50M stimulus dollars for Nevada solar plant
Headline should read “may receive.” ~Bob. Excerpt: The company behind the recently opened Silver State North solar plant is eligible to receive up to $50 million in federal tax credits under the Obama administration’s “stimulus” legislation, even though the plant created only two full-time jobs.

Obama host rebuked Bain attacks
Excerpt: President Obama is headed to a fundraiser this evening at the apartment of financier Tony James, president of the Blackstone Group. 

Obama Courts Private Equity Cash at New York Fundraiser
Excerpt: The Obama campaign has been critical of other Blackstone executives — those who have donated to Mitt Romney’s campaign — accusing them of “betting against America” and doing “less-than-reputable” deals that resulted in outsourcing and layoffs. It has not singled out James for criticism, though the company profited from many of those practices under his leadership.

Big-Hearted Mitt: Romney’s life characterized by little-told stories of generosity. By Mara Gay, Dan Hirschhorn and M.L. Nestel
Excerpt: One cold December day in the early 1980s, Mitt Romney loaded up his Gran Torino with firewood and brought it to the home of a single mother whose heat had been shut off just days before Christmas. Years after a business partner died unexpectedly, Romney helped the man’s surviving daughter go to medical school with loans for tuition — loans he forgave when she graduated.

Book: Obama Team Tried To Pay Rev. Wright $150k To Keep Quiet Until After 2008 Election
Excerpt: “The Amateur,” author Edward Klein’s unauthorized biography of Obama, has been making waves with explosive claims that former President Bill Clinton called Obama an “amateur” and encouraged Hillary Clinton to quit her secretary of state post and run against him in 2012. The New York Post on Sunday published a conversation between Wright and Klein, the latest tidbit to come from the book. In it, Wright said once his fiery sermons surfaced during the 2008 campaign, he received an email asking him not to preach until after November:

"Mainstream" Islamist Group Attacks Law Enforcement and Whitewashes Jihadists
Excerpt: Few organizations in the United States have been as consistent in attacking law enforcement as the Muslim Public Affairs Council and its president, Salam al-Marayati. Marayati, who attended last year's White House Iftar Dinner during Ramadan, has suggested that Muslim Americans are at war with both al-Qaeda and the FBI. "We in the Muslim American community have been battling the corrupt and bankrupt ideas of cults such as Al Qaeda," he wrote in October in the Los Angeles Times."

More solar linkages to climate variations: Oases of the Chinese Taklamakan Desert Greened Up In Sync With Solar Millenial Cycles. By Sebastian Lüning and Fritz Vahrenholt
 Excerpt: The Taklamakan Desert is the 2nd world’s largest sand desert after the Rub el-Khali Desert in Saudi Arabia. A Chinese-Australian team of scientists lead by Keliang Zhao of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Peking studied the sediment-profiles from an oasis at the edge of the Taklamakan where they reconstructed the climate of the last 4000 years based on pollen. The scientists published their results in March, 2012. The study is yet another beautiful example of the global climatic impact of the solar millenial cycles …

Greece euro exit a time bomb under Obama reelection. By James Pethokoukis
Excerpt: And it might be a shattering lack of confidence that sinks the fragile U.S. recovery and makes President Obama a one-term president. As the European Commission puts it, “No other economic relationship in the world is as integrated” as the U.S.-EU economies. Keep that in mind as you ponder how a Greek exit from the euro would almost certainly send the eurozone region headed back to where it was in 2008 and 2009.

Amateur Genealogist Who Backed '1/32 Cherokee' Warren Now Admits Mistake
Excerpt: Lynda Smith, the amateur genealogist who unknowingly found herself at the root of the false “Elizabeth Warren is 1/32 Cherokee” meme introduced to the media by “noted” genealogist Chris Child of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, acknowledged in an email to me this past Saturday, May 12, that her statement in a March 2006 family newsletter upon which Mr. Child based his claim of Ms. Warren’s Cherokee ancestry was made with no supporting documentation. It was, in fact, an honest mistake that Ms. Smith now acknowledges is entirely without foundation.

Excerpt: A Media Trackers open records request revealed that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s wife, Kris Barrett, who taught at Dover Elementary used her Milwaukee Public School email account to twice lobby Democratic lawmakers and a third time to recruit fellow teachers to campaign against County Executive candidate Jeff Stone. The use of a taxpayer funded email account for such political purposes is a gross misuse of resources and forbidden by the Milwaukee Public Schools Employee Code of Ethics as well as the MPS Staff Acceptable Use Policy.

Omani jihadist killed in US airstrike in 'Khorasan'
Excerpt: An Omani jihadist was among several foreign fighters who were killed in a recent US drone strike in the "Khorasan," according to a statement released on jihadist Internet forums. The statement, which was unsigned, said that Abu Hamza al Omani, who is also known as Imran bin Abdullah bin Khamis al Balochi, and several other "brothers and supporters" who were not identified, were killed in a US airstrike that took place on May 5, 2012.

RNC Pivots Back To Debt and Deficits with New Web Ad
Excerpt: The video strings together clips of Obama promising to cut the debt beginning with his first month in office in January 2009 through the present with a debt clock running side by side.

Excerpt: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded a $5.9 million grant to a University of Chicago Medical Center program run by one of President Barack Obama’s closest friends. Obama’s longtime friend, Eric Whitaker, runs the Urban Health Initiative (UHI), which was founded as a means of connecting low-income patients with health clinics in their own communities. The UHI was one of only 26 programs — out of 3,000 applications — to receive a slice of the $1 billion in taxpayer money from the executive’s “We Can’t Wait” initiative, which is aimed at spurring job growth via executive action, reported Keith Koffler at White House Dossier.

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