Thursday, September 30, 2010

South of the border, down Mejico way

A mayor who took the job when every other official in his town quit out of fear of drug traffickers was reported slain Monday, the fifth Mexican mayor killed in six weeks.

Authorities said Gustavo Sanchez, mayor of the town of Tancitaro in Michoacan state, had apparently been beaten to death with rocks. He had been missing since Saturday and his body was discovered Monday along with that of an aide on the side of a rural road. Large bloodied rocks were found nearby, witnesses said.

"We’ve had executions of people, a town official, a councilman, but always shot to death ... never anything like this," Michoacan state prosecutor Jesus Montejano said in a radio interview. "We are worried because this situation is very different from what organized crime usually does."

On the other side of our porous undefended unguarded border, Mexico is becoming more unstable than Iraq. I know that five Iraqi mayors were not slain in the last six weeks.

Our government needs to confront and contain this growing menace on our border, and let someone else worry about the rest of the world for a little while.

Cuba: Gas prices rise, but people don't have cars

That's the ultimate ironic dead end of socialism - - if you keep taxing the rich, eventually there's no rich left to tax.

Cuba has upped already-high gasoline prices by about 10 percent amid sweeping changes to the economy, a move that could lead to grumbling among cash-strapped islanders, particularly private taxi drivers who are not allowed to raise their own prices.

. . . The prices approach those paid in Europe and are apparently the highest in the hemisphere, topping pump prices in Brazil and Bermuda. They are a fortune for Cubans who make the average salary of just $20 a month.

. . . But the changes are not likely to affect many islanders, a reason why past gas hikes here have not led to unrest, as they sometimes do in other developing countries.

Few people on the island own a car, and those lucky enough to have been issued a vehicle through their state-run companies usually have a monthly quota of gas paid through work.

This is a good lesson regarding the future of Obamacare - - if we keep charging the insured more money for private insurance policies in order to subsidize coverage for the uninsured, eventually there will be no more private insurance policies.

There's only so many things the private sector can heavily subsidize before there's no more private sector to extort.

The "Obama effect" hits the FBI

A Justice Department investigation has found that FBI agents, including several supervisors, cheated on an important test covering the bureau's policies for conducting surveillance on Americans.

Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine said Monday that his limited review of allegations that agents improperly took the open-book test together or had access to an answer sheet has turned up "significant abuses and cheating."

. . . In one FBI field office, four agents exploited a computer software flaw "to reveal the answers to the questions as they were taking the exam," Fine said.

Other test-takers used or circulated materials that essentially provided the test answers, he said.

Fine said that almost all of those who cheated "falsely certified" that they did the work themselves, without the help of others.

. . . Most FBI employees took the exam between May 2009 and January 2010.

Of course, Obama was president from May 2009 to January 2010.

It's amazing how Obama has presided over the decline of every American institution.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Aren't you glad Obama always trusts BP?

Mark Bly, BP's lead investigator into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, told an independent panel of experts Sunday that the company's internal probe has limitations.

Bly, head of safety and operations for BP PLC, said a lack of physical evidence and interviews with employees from other companies limited BP's study.

Bly was appearing before a National Academy of Engineering committee on Sunday.

The explosion aboard BP’s Gulf rig in April killed 11 people and released 172 million gallons of oil.

BP's study said eight separate failures led to the oil rig accident.

The report said BP and other companies were mainly responsible, but the conclusions were made without examining the drilling rig or a key piece of equipment, the blowout preventer.

Obama trusted (without verifying) the accuracy of BP's drilling permit application. We know how that turned out.

Next, Obama trusted BP to investigate the oil disaster. We now know how that turned out.

Fool us once, shame on BP.

Fool you twice, you must be Obama.

By the way - - do you think this has anything to do with the fact that Obama received more campaign cash from BP than any other U.S. politician during the most recent election cycles?

L.A. record temps: More "proof" of global warming?

Lots of media "experts" are citing the recent ridiculously high L.A. record temperature as more "proof" of global warming.

Forecasters may never know just how hot it got in Los Angeles during a day of record-breaking heat: After the temperature soared to 113 degrees in downtown, the thermometer took the rest of the day off.

. . . The temperature of 113 recorded just after noon Monday was the hottest registered in the usually moderate downtown area since record-keeping began in 1877. The previous high of 112 was set on June 26, 1990.

Of course, no one mentions that the second highest temperature, a "mere" 112, was in 1990 - - before there was global warming.

Remember, it's hot in summer and cold in winter and pollution messes up the environment. Hot in summer doesn't prove the theory of global warming, and cold in winter doesn't disprove the theory of global warming. Beyond that, it's all politics.

Self hating Jews

A boat carrying a group of Jewish activists has set sail from northern Cyprus with the aim of breaching Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The 10m (32-foot) catamaran is carrying supplies including medical equipment, textbooks, nets and children's toys.

The activists - from Israel, the US, Germany and the UK - say they will not resist if Israel tries to stop them.

Earlier this year, Israeli commandos killed nine people in clashes on board a Turkish ship trying to reach Gaza.

I hope these "Jewish activists" all decide to stroll through the Hamas controlled ghettos of Gaza, individually, alone, unarmed, unidentified, wearing Jewish ritual head coverings, Chai necklaces, and maybe Star of David emblems on their tee shirts, as all the area residents get out of Friday night mosque services.

If they get out alive, we can listen to what they have to say about the Middle East peace process.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More Islamophobia

Iranian forces crossed into neighboring Iraq and killed 30 fighters from a group it says was involved in last week's bombing of a military parade, state TV reported Sunday.

Gen. Abdolrasoul Mahmoudabadi of the elite Revolutionary Guards said the "terrorists" were killed on Saturday in a clash "beyond the border" and that his forces were still in pursuit of two men who escaped the ambush.

While Iran has said in the past it would target armed groups on Iraqi soil this is a rare case of it actually admitting to an attack.

Iraqi officials have complained in the past about Iranian artillery shelling its northern mountainous region where armed Kurdish opposition groups have taken refuge.

An explosion during a military parade in the town of Mahabad, in Iran's northwestern Kurdish region, killed 12 women and children on Wednesday.

The richest, freest, safest, most educated and most liberated Islamic community in the world is in America.

Meanwhile, it seems as if the Islamic nations are constantly engaged in intra-religious warfare, with Muslim killing and exploiting Muslim.

But, according to our mainstream media, the threat to the Muslim world is American Islamophobia. That's nuts.

Extending tax cuts

There's only one thing worse for a party in control of the White House and both houses of Congress than being unable to enact a popular middle class tax cut one month before an election.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had hinted last week that Democrats might vote on extending tax cuts for both the middle class and the wealthiest Americans before the election.

But three top Dems disagreed Sunday on whether a quick tax-break vote was likely.

"We are absolutely gonna get this done before the end of the year," Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told NBC. "We may well take it up before the midterms."

Yet Democratic vote counters in the House and Senate said it's unlikely to happen before November.

"I doubt that we will" vote before the election, House Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said on "Fox News Sunday."

President Obama's political adviser David Axelrod has accused GOP senators of holding middle-class tax cuts hostage to extend tax breaks for those earning more than $250,000 a year.

"One way or the other, we're going to get it done," Axelrod told ABC's "This Week."

The GOP will "have to explain to their constituents why they're holding up tax cuts for the middle class," Axelrod said.

Senate Democrats said they don't have the votes.

"What it gets down to is we can count. And we know we don't have 60 votes for our tax position," Assistant Senate Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on CNN's "State of the Union." "We want to basically say after the election . . . by the end of the year, we'll take up all of these tax issues."

That would be presiding over the expiration of a time limited tax cut, and allowing a middle class tax increase, one month before an election.

A political party that can't figure out how to use its power and authority gives the voters no reason to extend its power and authority.

At some point, you can't blame people if they decide, "Well, the Republicans will extend tax cuts for millionaires, but at least they'll figure out how to extend middle class tax cuts, too."

Mideast peace talks "uncertain"?

Jewish settlers released balloons and broke ground on a kindergarten in celebration Sunday as a 10-month construction slowdown expired. Meanwhile, U.S. and Israeli leaders tried to figure out how to keep Palestinians from walking out of peace talks over the end of the restrictions.

After the slowdown ran out at midnight, there was no Palestinian statement about the future of the talks. The Palestinians asked for an Oct. 4 meeting of an Arab League body to discuss the situation, possibly giving diplomats a week to work out a compromise.

Minutes after the expiration, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the Palestinians not to walk away, but instead to maintain constant contact “to achieve a historic framework accord within a year.” In a prepared statement, Netanyahu said his “intention to achieve peace is genuine.”

Mideast peace talks "uncertain"?

No, they're very certain.

There will be no peace.

Even if the parties sign a peace agreement, there will be no peace in Israel / Palestine, because at least 20% of Palestinians will never accept the existence of a Jewish majority state in Israel. Never.

Monday, September 27, 2010

More Islamophobia

A Pakistani neuroscientist who was convicted of trying to kill American soldiers and F.B.I. agents in Afghanistan, was sentenced to 86 years in prison on Thursday in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

The case of the scientist, Aafia Siddiqui, 38, had attracted wide attention, including in Pakistan where she was portrayed by politicians and the news media as a heroine, as well as from human rights groups. Her lawyers had requested a sentence of 12 years, while prosecutors had pressed for a life sentence.

In 2004, she was described by Robert S. Mueller III, the director of the F.B.I., as “an Al Qaeda operative and facilitator.” And when she was arrested in 2008, she was carrying in her purse instructions on making explosives and a list of New York landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building.

"[I]n Pakistan . . . she was portrayed by politicians and the news media as a heroine", after she was caught "trying to kill American soldiers and F.B.I. agents in Afghanistan" and "carrying in her purse instructions on making explosives and a list of New York landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building."

I'm sure the guilt ridden liberals at Time magazine think she's another victim of Islamophobia.

Rapper turned politician quits politics to promote new album

Another reason why Haiti is doomed to fail.
Wyclef Jean has officially ended his bid for Haiti's presidency.

A statement sent Tuesday by his publicist says the singer is leaving Haitian politics to promote a new album.

Jean's candidacy ended last month when the Caribbean country's eight-member provisional electoral council left him and more than a dozen other hopefuls off the ballot. Nineteen candidates were approved.

No official reasons were given for the exclusions. Jean is presumed not to have met constitutional requirements including living in Haiti. He lives in New Jersey.

The announcement ends speculation the singer would contest the disqualification, though the council does not allow appeals.

The election is slated for Nov. 28.

Wyclef Jean, a millionaire rapper from a rich and powerful Haitian family, raised in the U.S., became one of the leading candidates for president of Haiti on a whim, until he was disqualified because he hadn't lived in Haiti in decades. Then, he gave up his appeal of the decision, and quit the presidential race, because he has a new album coming out.

Until Haiti develops a mature and responsible political culture, it is doomed to failure.

Giving Haiti billions of dollars more in aid won't change a thing until that happens.

Iranian Islamophobia?

Twelve people were killed and dozens injured in a bombing at an annual military parade in Iran’s West Azerbaijan province. The Iranian Foreign Ministry blamed the attack on foreign “elements.”

At least 80 people were hurt in the blast early today, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. Some were in critical condition, a nurse said by telephone from the emergency room at Imam Khomeini Hospital in the city of Mahabad, about 550 kilometers (340 miles) west of Tehran. She declined to give her name.

. . . The region has been the scene of anti-government attacks by the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan, or PJAK, which says it wants autonomy for Iran’s Kurdish areas.

Notwithstanding all the blather about American Islamophobia in the American mainstream media, Muslim Americans are safer, healthier, and more prosperous than Muslims anywhere else on earth. No one bombs Muslim gatherings in America.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Florida court strikes down gay adoption ban

The Democratic Party takes money and support from the gay community, and gives it nothing in return.

Ironically, it's the courts, and Republican appointed judges, who are advancing gay rights.

There is no rational reason to prohibit all homosexuals from adopting children, a Florida appeals court said on Wednesday in a ruling that upheld a gay man's adoption of two young boys.

Florida was the only remaining U.S. state to expressly ban adoption by gay men and women, and state officials said after the court ruling the ban would no longer be enforced. They have 30 days to decide whether to appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.

More irony? President Obama files appeals to reverse pro gay rulings. Republican governors? Not so much.

Tea Party racism? No, Democratic Party racism

The survey found [Republican / Latino] Rubio expanding his support to 40 percent, [Republican turned Independent / White] Crist slipping to 28 percent and [Democratic / Black] Meek rising to 23 percent. The Sept. 20-22 survey of 625 likely voters has a margin of error of four percentage points.

Meek "has an outside chance to pull off a major comeback, but it is largely predicated on his ability to convince Crist's newfound Democratic friends that the former Republican's campaign is hopeless and it is time for them to come back to their party," said Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker. "That will be a tough challenge, but it is now the only apparent way for Rubio to lose."

. . . A prominent Democratic fundraiser who is backing Crist, Orlando attorney John Morgan, told MSNBC earlier this month: "The only votes Kendrick Meek will get are from African-Americans and those who just see a `D' next to the candidate's name and vote Democratic."

It's more fashionable for the media to discuss Tea Party racism, but it appears that the African American Democratic primary winner may lose because white Democrats won't support him (including the leading white Democratic bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Arab Islamophobia?

Bahrain stripped a powerful Shiite cleric with close ties to Iraq of his citizenship as authorities Monday widened a crackdown against alleged dissidents ahead of next month's elections in the tiny Gulf nation.

The move against Ayatollah Hussein al-Najati - the Bahraini representative of Iraq's most powerful Shiite figure - shows the increasingly hard line by the island kingdom's Sunni leadership against the majority Shiites, who have religious and cultural ties to both Iraq and Iran.

If Time magazine really wants to track down discrimination and violence against Islam, it should stop looking in the United States. Muslims in America enjoy full political and civil rights, and on average have attained higher levels of economic and educational achievement than most of their fellow Americans.

Real Islamophobia, real discrimination against Muslims, and almost all violence against Muslims occur almost entirely in countries with Arab and Muslim majorities.

Afghan candidates linked to notorious warlord . . . linked to al-Qaida

Dozens of candidates in Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections represent a party linked to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former prime minister with ties to al-Qaida who is believed to be a mastermind of attacks on U.S. troops.

Hekmatyar, thought to be in Pakistan, is the most feared and notorious of various warlords who supported candidates in last Saturday’s balloting. Observers allege the warlords engaged in widespread intimidation and vote-buying.

Almost 10 years, thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars after invading Afghanistan in order to displace al-Qaida in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks, we've made Afghanistan safe for a resurgence of . . . an al-Qaida tied "mastermind of attacks on U.S. troops".

Huckuva job, Baracky.

The Iraqi prime minister is a thief

More than 600 looted artifacts that were retrieved by the United States, shipped back to Iraq, then mysteriously lost have been found in the prime minister's warehouse alongside boxes of kitchen supplies, the Iraqi tourism minister said Monday.

The ancient pieces — including clay pots, a bronze Sumerian figurine and stone tablets etched with cuneiform writing — were returned to the Iraqi National Museum, resolving a real-life caper that began when many items were stolen from a museum in the northern city of Kirkuk in 1991.

U.S. authorities had recovered the pieces over several years, some of which had been put up for auction. In December 2008, Gen. David Petraeus, then the commander of American forces in Iraq, had arranged to have them transported to Iraq, which had seen tens of thousands of artifacts from one of the world's most ancient civilizations plundered during the 1990s and after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

The U.S. military delivered the pieces, packed in about a dozen boxes, to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office, American and Iraqi officials said. Somehow, the boxes were sent to al-Maliki's official storage facility, where they sat for nearly two years, apparently forgotten.

"Somehow" "the boxes were sent to al-Maliki's official storage facility"?

Not "somehow". Obviously, they were stolen. And, when al-Maliki left office, they were leaving with him.

Think of how many American boys and girls were killed in action in Iraq while hunting down and retrieving these artifacts, only to have them stolen by the Iraqi prime minister.

A tale of two Crist mailers

Here's a new political parlor game: See if you can guess which mailer for Gov. Charlie Crist's Senate bid is going to Democrats and which one is going to Republicans?

1) "Charlie Crist for U.S. Senate shares our values'' is the headline. The mailer talks about Crist lowering taxes, vetoeing pork, defending gun rights, and being tough on crime. See it here.

2) "Charlie Crist for U.S. Senate: A Leader who Stands up for Us"' is the headline. The mailer describes Crist vetoing an bill that was unpopular with teachers and another bill that would have required women seeking abortions to get ultrasounds. It also touts his support for the federal economic stimulus plan and opposition to offshore oil drilling. See it here: Download Untitled

Of course the idea of targeting voters with tailor-made messages is nothing new. Lots of candidates do it. But Crist's divergent appeals supports his rivals' criticism that he talks out of both sides of his mouth.

Crist switched his party, his ideology and his sexual orientation in pursuit of higher office.

How could anyone believe anything Crist promises to do in higher office?

Friday, September 24, 2010

How low can he go?

President Barack Obama is contending with the lowest approval rating of his 20-month presidency, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll finds.

The president's approval rating now stands at 42 percent – an all time low in CNN polling and 8 points lower than where Obama was only three weeks ago. Moreover, 56 percent of all Americans think the president has fallen short of their expectations.

. . . In even worse news for congressional Democrats, likely voters say they are considerably more likely to vote for a candidate the president opposes than one he supports. On the other hand, 50 percent of voters said they would be more likely to vote for a Tea Party-backed candidate while a third of Americans said Tea Party support would dissuade their vote for a candidate.

You can lie and cheat and steal your way into office with undisclosed and illegal excessive and foreign donations.

But, once in office, you need to do a good job.

Obama hasn't hit bottom yet.

Modern mercenaries make big profits

On July 31, 2006, an employee of the Louis Berger Group, a contractor handling some of the most important U.S. rebuilding projects in Afghanistan, handed federal investigators explosive evidence that the company was intentionally and systematically over billing American taxpayers.

Neither the whistle-blower's computer disk full of incriminating documents nor a trail of allegations of waste, fraud and shoddy construction prevented Louis Berger from continuing to reap hundreds of millions of dollars in federal contracts.

In fact, two months after the government learned of the employee's allegations, the U.S. Agency for International Development tapped Louis Berger to oversee another $1.4 billion in reconstruction contracts in Afghanistan.

Contractors accused of fraud and over billing continue to get military support and reconstruction contracts.

The only explanation is that they share a portion of their blood money with bureaucrats and politicians, in the form of bribes, kickbacks and campaign contributions. In return, the bureaucrats and politicians continue and expand our wars.

When will anyone start investigating that side of the story?

What happened to Colin Powell's "Pottery Barn rule"?

Colin Powell famously said "You broke it, you bought it", meaning that if we invade and destabilize any country, we have to stay and rebuild it.

It seems that the presidential candidate endorsed by Powell is breaking the Powell rule.
Three car bombs tore through Baghdad and the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah Sunday, killing at least 36 people. The blasts in the capital were so powerful they sheared the sides off buildings and left streets choked with chunks of rubble.

It was the worst violence since the U.S. military dropped to 50,000 troops in Iraq and formally declared an end to combat operations on Sept. 1, saying Iraqi forces were up to the task of protecting their own country.

I hate the way these big shots always have one rule for others, and another easier one for themselves and their friends.

Of course, Powell's the guy who stood in front of the world at the U.N. to justify the invasion of Iraq with bogus and fraudulent evidence of Iraqi WMD's.

Afghan voter fraud - - is anyone surprised?

Afghanistan's leading election watchdog expressed deepening alarm Sunday at reports it was amassing of vote-rigging and bloodshed that claimed at least two dozen lives in the nation's second legislative election since the 2001 U.S. invasion.

With elections officials beginning the laborious process of certifying votes in the closely watched races, independent observers raised new warnings about the scale of fraud, intimidation and unrest that could undermine the credibility of the new Parliament.

"We are more concerned because we are collecting more information," said Nader Nadery, head of the Free and Fair Election Foundation, a coalition of civic groups that fielded some 7,000 observers during Saturday's elections to the 249-seat lower house of Parliament.

Nadery, whose organization alleged extensive ballot-stuffing and security problems almost immediately after the polls closed Saturday, declined to elaborate on the new data that the group is reviewing until a news conference set for Monday.

Don't be surprised by voter fraud in Afghanistan. It's what they do.

The only surprises are that any one's surprised, and that our successful "anti war" presidential candidate has increased America's commitment to that corrupt dangerous hellhole.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

South of the border, down Mejico way

Mexico's military says 22 suspected drug gang members were killed in a gun battle with soldiers near the U.S. border.

The Mexican Defense Department said gunmen opened fire on soldiers who were conducting reconnaissance patrols at a ranch outside a town about 18 miles south of the Texas border.

In the ensuing gunfight, the department says 22 gunmen were killed and one soldier was wounded.

Soldiers seized 55 grenades, 18 rifles, four handguns, 99 ammunition clips, more than 1,500 rounds of ammunition and vehicles.

They also found military style uniforms, which are frequently used by drug gangs staging attacks.

The battle broke out Wednesday morning, hours before celebrations began across Mexico for the bicentennial anniversary of the country's independence from Spain.

The Mexican authorities fought 22 armed and dangerous narco terrorists, holding 55 grenades, 18 rifles, four handguns, 99 ammunition clips, more than 1,500 rounds of ammunition, and vehicles, only 18 miles south of the Texas border.

There is no justification for not beefing up border security immediately.

Illegal immigrants do Colin Powell's home repairs

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell says illegal immigrants do essential work in the U.S. and that he has firsthand knowledge of that — because they fix his house.

A moderate Republican, Powell urged his party on Sunday to support immigration generally because those who come from abroad are, in his words, "what's keeping this country's lifeblood moving forward."

Powell said a path to legal status should be offered to illegal immigrants because they do work that needs to get done.

At his own house, he said on NBC's "Meet the Press," illegal immigrants are always around when he needs work done.

He did not specify whether he hired them directly or they showed up with contractors.

In medieval times, rich and powerful people had serfs to do their bidding.

Today, rich and powerful people such as Powell have illegal immigrants, because "illegal immigrants are always around when he needs work done" or to "fix the house".

Supporters of open borders may express their position in terms of freedom or justice or humanitarian impulse.

But, open borders and amnesty are about exploiting illegal immigrants and depressing the wages of native born Americans. That's neither humanitarian nor pro worker. And, with real unemployment approaching 20%, and poverty rates increasing, it's inexcusable. We need more self sufficient employed American workers, not foreign born serfs.

More Islamophobia!

The Seattle cartoonist whose artwork sparked the controversial "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day!" has gone into hiding at the advice of the FBI after being targeted by a radical Muslim cleric, according to the newspaper that published her comics.

Molly Norris has moved and changed her name, the Seattle Weekly said Wednesday, after U.S.-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki placed her on an execution hit list. Awlaki -- who has been linked to the botched Times Square bombing and cited as inspiration for the Fort Hood massacre and a plot by two New Jersey men to kill U.S. soldiers -- reportedly called Norris a "prime target" for assassination and that her "proper abode is hellfire."

Time magazine recently had a cover story on supposedly racist America's alleged "Islamophobia".

I'd say it's safe to assume that Time magazine will not now deem the victims of outrages like this worthy of a cover story.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Will this be blamed on Islamophobia?

A one-legged Chechen boxer injured in an explosion at a Copenhagen hotel was preparing a letter bomb, likely intended for a Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, police said Friday.

The device went off as the man was assembling it in a hotel bathroom on Sept. 10, said Svend Foldager, a police spokesman. The suspect received cuts to his face and no one else was injured.

. . . Denmark's intelligence service says the Scandinavian country remains in the cross-hairs of Islamic terrorists because of Jyllands-Posten's cartoons, which were reprinted by a range of Western papers, igniting a tense debate about the freedom of speech and religious sensitivities.

Notwithstanding what they say in Time magazine, it seems to me that the Islamophiles, not the Islamophobes, are the one's setting off the bombs.

An economics question from a stupid guy

According to the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research, the recession ended in June, 2009.

Doesn't that mean that the entire stimulus bill, passed in early Spring '09 and effective no earlier than late Spring 2009 (and still not yet fully disbursed), was a complete and unnecessary waste of time, effort and money?

And, that all the claims that the stimulus bill "kept things from getting worse" are simply not true, because the recession had already ended?

I guess those stupid guys who said "focus on unemployment" weren't so stupid after all.

Global warming idiocy: Early winter edition

Over 20cm of snow blanketed Banff-Lake Louise today, with more forecasted. The snowstorm started yesterday and continued non-stop throughout the night.

Every summer, certain people point out that it's very hot and humid, and advocates of the theory of global warming argue that very hot and humid weather in summer is proof of global warming.

Then, every winter, certain people point out that it's very cold and snowy, and opponents of the theory of global warming argue that very cold and snowy weather in winter is proof that global warming is a hoax.

The truth? We really don't know much, except that pollution messes things up, summer's hot and winter's cold.

And, that it will be an awesome year to ski at Banff-Lake Louise.

Alaska: Another out of touch sore loser

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Monday she feels that Republican leaders have turned their backs on her as she mounts a write-in bid to try to hold onto her seat.

Murkowski, who lost last month's GOP primary to tea party-supported Joe Miller, told The Associated Press that the focus in Washington seems to be more on "adding numbers to the team" and less on the quality of a candidate.

"We all know that Washington, D.C., is far too partisan right now," she said in an interview from Anchorage. "And I think when we allow the numbers to dominate over quality, I don't think that that helps us."

When Murkowski conceded the race Aug. 31, support within the Republican establishment began shifting to Miller, a self-described "constitutional conservative" who believes the federal government is on the brink of bankruptcy, spending must be reined in, and Alaska must be given greater control over its resources to help wean it off what he calls its over-dependency on the government.

This woman was appointed to an empty senate seat by her father, the then governor of Alaska.

She doesn't seem to understand that most people never accepted that appointment as either legitimate or ethical (although it may have been technically legal).

The woman is obviously too arrogant and too stupid to be in the senate.

By the way, senator, the leaders of your party did not "turn their backs" on you. They are simply respecting the choice of their primary voters (something you pledged to do, before you lost).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Harry Reid strikes again!

First, he wanted a black president who didn't "talk black".

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had an unusual form of praise for New York's junior senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, this morning at the fundraiser Mayor Bloomberg hosted for him at his townhouse - referring to her as "the hottest member" as she sat just a few feet away, according to three sources.

Are Democratic women really going to support a Democratic senate majority leader who ranks the women in his senate Democratic caucus on the basis of their "hotness"?

Federal hypocrisy on state immigration action

The nation's homeland security chief left little doubt Friday that Texas Gov. Rick Perry – rebuffed repeatedly in his demands for more National Guard along the border – can forget about getting more troops.

The federal government has already invested $600 million to tighten security, Secretary Janet Napolitano said, noting that illegal immigration and smuggling are down, while violence from Mexico's drug war remains contained across the border.

"He is a governor. He always has the ability, in a way, to bring up National Guard, if he's willing to pay for them," she said. "That's always an option available to a governor."

The federal government hasn't secured our border with Mexico.

Therefore, Arizona passed a law authorizing its cops to enforce federal immigration law. In response, the federal government sued Arizona to enjoin enforcement of the state immigration law, arguing that immigration is an exclusively federal responsibility which preempts state action.

Next, Texas deferred to the federal government, but asked the federal government to increase the clearly inadequate 286 federal troops on Texas' 1,200-mile stretch of border with Mexico. In response, the federal government told Texas' governor to call out the state National Guard.

What hypocrisy! Two months after suing Arizona to establish the principal that any and all state immigration action is preempted, the federal government is telling Texas to call out the National Guard.

There seems to be only one clear consistent federal policy - - they won't secure the border, and they don't want anyone else to secure the border.

Texas: How to lose an election

Rick Perry reaffirmed Tuesday that he won't debate rival Bill White unless the Democratic nominee for governor publicly releases income taxes from his years as deputy U.S. energy secretary.

"I'm pretty much set on doing what I said I would do," Perry said in a Dallas visit. "He needs to come clean with the people of this state. There's obviously something in those tax returns, or he would have released them by now."

. . . Perry's campaign says White, the former Houston mayor, should release tax returns from his time in public service. Perry has focused on the years 1993, 1994 and 1995, when White worked in the Clinton administration. White has declined to do so, and his campaign hasn't said why.

White admits he paid no taxes for a least one year while a (paid) federal employee serving as deputy U.S. energy secretary. White refuses to release his tax return for that year, and he won't say why. That's how a challenger with a reasonable shot at winning blows an election.

Democrats need to adopt a new "John Edwards rule", i.e., if you know you have a fatal skeleton in your closet, don't run for high office!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Obama goes to church - - sixth time in 20 months

Six times in 20 months. Maybe that's why so many people don't think he's a Christian.

President Obama and his family attended St. John's Episcopal Church today, a rare appearance for the President who said earlier this year that his family has decided to not join a church because they are disruptive.

The Chicago Sun-Times says this visit is his sixth in D.C. since taking office. The church visit comes after the Pew Forum and others released polls that suggested that at least 18 percent of Americans believe Obama is a Muslim.

Obviously, no rational person believes Obama skips church because it's "disruptive". That never stopped any other president, and it never stopped candidate Obama.

Clearly, Obama doesn't go to church because he doesn't believe. There's nothing wrong with that. But, he needs to stop making lame excuses.

Carter says Kennedy killed healthcare bill

Former president Carter committed another major gaffe - - he told the truth about Ted Kennedy.
Former President Jimmy Carter says Americans could have had comprehensive health care coverage decades ago if Sen. Edward M. Kennedy hadn't blocked a plan Carter had proposed.

Carter revisited the old spat in an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" to be aired Sunday. Portions of the interview, prompted by the publication of his White House diary, were posted on the program's website Thursday.

"The fact is that we would have had comprehensive health care now, had it not been for Ted Kennedy's deliberately blocking the legislation that I proposed," Carter said in the interview. "It was his fault. Ted Kennedy killed the bill."

You're not allowed to mention that Ted Kennedy killed real healthcare reform, any more than you're allowed to mention that girl he killed.

Of course banks should share bailout costs!

Why is this even a question under discussion?

The nation's largest banks have an obligation to pay some of the cost for bailing out mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because they sold them bad mortgages, a government regulator said Wednesday.

Edward DeMarco, the acting director for the Federal Housing Finance Agency, said the banks this summer have refused to take back $11 billion in bad loans sold to the two government-controlled companies, in written testimony submitted for a House subcommittee hearing Wednesday. A third of those requests have been outstanding for at least three months.

DeMarco said the banks have a legal obligation to buy back the loans and called the delays "a significant concern." He said the government may take new steps to force those buybacks if "discussions do not yield reasonable outcomes soon."

. . . it has cost taxpayers about $148 billion so far.

. . . Fannie and Freddie have a legal right to return bad loans, especially if they later discover fraudulent statements on applications. Any money they recover offsets their losses.

If the banks have a legal obligation to buy back bad loans, the government should insist the banks buy back their junk mortgages. Doing anything else is throwing away the taxpayers' billions.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Delaware: The pundits still don't get it

And, they still insist that the candidate with more experience is always more worthy, and always must win. . . . even if it's experience raising taxes, approving deficit spending, overseeing the collapse of the financial system, and fighting pointless wars to draws.

Here's a good example:
In Tea Party theory, inexperience is itself seen as a kind of qualification. People like O'Donnell are actually preferable to people like Rove, because they haven't been tainted by public trust or actual achievement. This is the attitude of the adolescent -- the belief that the world began on their thirteenth birthday. It is also a sign of childish political thought.

Most people believe that things have gotten worse over the past 30 years. Therefore, a significant number of people believe that if you've been in office continuously for the past 30 years, you're at least partly to blame. It's really not so hard to figure out. And, it's not so illogical.
By the way - - 2 years ago, during the primaries and in the general election, when Obama was running, we were told political experience was way overrated, and "progressive community organizer" was awesome experience for high political office. Well, now the tea party is promoting O'Donnell in Delaware and Miller in Alaska, two conservative community organizers.

Talk about unintended consequences.

Wasting time in Mexico

President Felipe Calderon on Monday criticized both Americans and Mexicans for their roles in the 1846-1848 war that cost Mexico half its territory during a ceremony commemorating the definitive battle of the conflict.

Speaking on the 163rd anniversary of the Battle of Chapultepec, Calderon called the war an "unjust military aggression motivated by clearly imperialistic interests."
President Felipe Calderon's conservative National Action Party has revived a proposal to change the country's formal name, which is now "The United States of Mexico."

In casual use, few people use the title adopted in 1824.

And that's the point. According to the Senate proposal, "when nobody, not even us, uses the name 'The United States of Mexico,' conserving it appears to be little more than an imitation of our neighbor."

Mexico's president wants to argue about events of 163 years ago, and try to change his country's name.

Blaming your problems on the gringos is probably much easier than dealing with crime, poverty, drugs, violence, immigration and nascent terrorism.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Imam says Gound Zero mosque site is not 'hallowed ground

It is two blocks from ground zero, but the site of a proposed mosque and Islamic center shouldn't be seen as "hallowed ground" in a neighborhood that also contains a strip club and a betting parlor, the cleric leading the effort said Monday.

Making an ardent case for the compatibility of Islam and American values, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf reiterated that he is searching for a solution to the furor the project has created. But he left unanswered exactly what he had in mind.

If anything, Rauf only deepened the questions around the project's future, telling an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank that he was "exploring all options" - but declining to specify them - while also arguing that a high-profile site is necessary to get across his message of moderate Islam.

While opponents of the project see it as insulting the memories of the thousands killed by Muslim extremists in the 2001 terrorist attacks, Rauf said he doesn't see the spot as sacred memorial space.

"It's absolutely disingenuous, as many have said, that that block is hallowed ground," Rauf said, noting the nearby exotic dance and betting businesses. "So let's clarify that misperception."

I'm from the school that believes if body parts were found on your property, it's part of Ground Zero.

But whatever you believe, you should agree that this "imam" doesn't help his cause with insensitive statements.

If a widow wants you to respect the site where they found her dead husband's hand, you don't argue with her. You don't have to give in, but you don't argue with her.

And it begins . . .

Gunfire was exchanged across the Mexican border over the weekend, when Border Patrol agents were shot at while seizing a drug shipment, the Customs and Border Protection agency said on Tuesday.

The incident occurred on September 11 around 7:40 a.m. near Mission, Texas, a CBP spokesperson told the Daily News.

"Several Border Patrol Agents returned fire after being fired upon multiple times from the Mexican side," the agency said in a statement.

It is unclear who fired at the agents, or how many were involved. Authorities were in the process of seizing a shipment of marijuana when the gunfire broke out.

The most serious terrorist threat to America is not based in Afghanistan or Iraq or Pakistan. It's on the other side of our unprotected border with Mexico.

Who's burning Obama in effigy?

Nope, it's not Palin or Beck or Hannity or those wacky crazy Tea Party activists.

It's Kashmiri Muslims.
Indian forces fought Kashmiri demonstrators in street battles that killed 15 people — including one police officer — in the deadliest day in a summer of violence challenging Indian rule in the disputed territory.

Reports of a Quran desecration in the United States intensified the anger, with activists chanting "Down with America" and burning an effigy of President Barack Obama in a rare anti-U.S. protest here. . . . .

In the past three summers, the mainly Muslim protesters have taken to the streets to throw stones and demand that the Himalayan region be given independence from Hindu-dominated India or be allowed to merge with predominantly Muslim Pakistan.

What do you think those protesters in support of a Ground Zero mosque would do if a 9/11 widow went to Kashmir as a missionary and tried to build a Baptist church? Actually, we know the answer.
Despite a rigid curfew after a weekend of violence, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets Monday, throwing rocks, torching government buildings and a Christian school, and chanting, "Go India, go back. We want freedom."

Remember - - don't expect our president, New York's mayor, or any of the self appointed progressive intelligentsia in support of a Ground Zero mosque to speak out against the burning of a Christian school in Kashmir.

Obama in "wrestling match" over taxes . . .

but everyone knows he's eventually taking a dive.
Ahead of midterm elections likely to produce big Republican gains, President Barack Obama said Monday that conservative activists are right to be worried about the deficit and he foresees compromising with the GOP on that issue and others.

. . . Still, the president coupled the talk of compromise with familiar attacks on the GOP. He rapped Republicans for holding up a small business lending bill in the Senate and took a couple swipes at House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, with whom the administration has been sparring over Boehner's support for an extension of tax cuts for the top 2 percent of income earners.

"We could get that done this week, but we're still in this wrestling match with John Boehner and Mitch McConnell about the last 2 to 3 percent," said Obama, adding the Senate's Republican leader to his list of targets.

After weeks of "tax the rich" rhetoric to fire up his base, Obama is set to cave.

His standard old school class warfare talking points were ineffective. So, Obama will give in on the Bush tax cuts - - which will only further suppress Democratic voter turnout.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The most effective pro Republican ads of the campaign season . . .

are news stories like this:
A judge on Tuesday sentenced former Mayor Eddie Perez to three years in prison for taking a bribe and attempted extortion, saying he must be held accountable for his actions despite his good deeds.

. . . Prosecutors said Perez accepted $40,000 in kitchen repairs, bathroom renovations and other home improvements as a bribe from a contractor who wanted to keep a $2.4 million city contract. Then, they say, he lied to investigators and paid half the cost in hopes of deflecting suspicion about the work.

They said Perez also tried to extort $100,000 from a developer for a political ally.

Perez, a Democrat, had faced up to 60 years in prison if given the maximum sentence, but prosecutors asked for five years.

. . . Perez was convicted of receiving a bribe, conspiracy to fabricate evidence, accessory to the fabrication of evidence, conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny by extortion and criminal attempt to commit first-degree larceny by extortion.

If your choice for U.S. senate from Connecticut was a long time Democratic incumbent state office holder and political ally of Mayor Perez, or the wrestling executive who never met this crook, who would you be inclined to vote for?

Do you still think there's no government waste?

How does a city lose 2,500 feet of tunnels under its streets?

North Miami Beach would like to know.

Over a four-year period, the city contracted with a construction company to build 254 manholes -- the tunnels that run down from street level to utility pipes 8 to 10 feet below.

No one -- not the city public services department, the City Council or residents -- appears to know when, where, or if the manholes, part of a $2.2 million project, were ever built.

Of course, it gets worse - - the city does not know if over 22,500 feet (more than four miles) of water-and-sewer pipes it paid for were ever laid, or if 142 valves used to shut off flow to water pipes were ever installed.

That's in one small south Florida working class suburb.

Now, think of how much was stolen and / or wasted during the Obama administration's madcap multi trillion dollar spending spree.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Casual anti-semitism

A classic example from Andrew Sullivan, in an off hand remark while discussing Palin and the tea party:
This hope that somehow they can mean the down-playing of Christianism seems like wishful thinking to me. And the idea of these people running foreign policy on the basis of religious doctrine, Greater Israel, institutionalized torture and anti-Muslim bigotry, is terrifying.

Catch that? Support for Israeli policy is the equivalent of support for "institutionalized torture and anti-Muslim bigotry", all three being equally bad evils.

What's the classic Jew hater's excuse? Oh, right, "I'm anti Israel, not anti Semitic!"

Don't buy it.

Now the hypocrites are asking Bush to "calm anti-Islamic hysteria"

The new rallying cry among the MSNBC / "progressive" blogosphere / Post / Newsweek / NY Times crowd is, "George Bush could calm down the anti-Islamic hysteria by speaking out much as he did in the months and years after September 11th".

Instead of "Where's Waldo?", it's now "Where's Dubya?"

How's this for why not? In his every public utterance, Obama either expressly or implicitly blames Bush or his administration for every problem and crisis and wrong in the world, i.e., "It's the Bush administration's fault that my administration gave BP that drilling permit". Maybe, if Obama ever mans up, and stops blaming everything on his predecessors, Obama could ask Bush to come out of retirement and help bail him out of this mess. In the interim, it's hard to get help from someone you slam daily.

By the way - - I truly resent being forced to defend a man who is arguably one of our worst presidents ever, but fair is fair.

Because our president is a wimp . . .

kidnapped Americans will be held hostage by terrorist governments until they pay $500,000 ransom.

There's no other way to interpret this chain of events.

The American woman released by Iran on Tuesday after more than a year in prison said she was grateful to Iran's president for her freedom shortly before she boarded a flight to the Gulf sultanate of Oman where her mother greeted her with a warm embrace.

Iran freed Sarah Shourd, 32, after arrangements were made to satisfy Iran's demand for a $500,000 bail.

Why does anyone ever expect a good outcome in Afghanistan?

Thirteen months after their fraud-scarred presidential elections, Afghans head to the polls Saturday to vote for a new lower house of parliament. It's a high stakes endeavor that could roil the war-ravaged nation's political scene still further - or conceivably help stabilize it.

If the voting proceeds with minimal violence and vote-rigging, it could restore some of the legitimacy that President Hamid Karzai lost in his re-election last year and bolster support for his embattled government and U.S.-led security forces.

But if the polls are marred - as many fear - by a repetition of the bloodshed and fraud of August 2009, popular anger could intensify against the corruption-tainted government and against Western-style democracy. This could boost sympathy for the Taliban-led insurgency with its goal of re-establishing Islamic rule, and complicate the Obama administration's search for a way out of the increasingly costly 9-year-old war.

Afghan history guarantees a few things - - voting will not "proceed with minimal violence and vote-rigging", and the polls will be "marred by a repetition of bloodshed and fraud".

Eventually, you reach a point at which optimism is foolishness. Our leaders are at that point.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What the "experts" just don't get

The Delaware results, and their analysis of those results, tells you everything the "experts" just don't get about the current mood of the American public:
[I]n the case of Christine O’Donnell, who defeated Michael N. Castle in the Republican Senate primary in Delaware last night, it hadn’t even occurred to me to add that possibility to the model until a few weeks ago. Mr. Castle had been elected statewide 12 times — twice as governor, once as lieutenant governor and nine times as Delaware’s at-large United States representative.

It "hadn't even occurred" to them that people are tired of the same permanent office holders running for the same offices year after year after year.

The experts just don't understand that when most people hear someone was "elected statewide 12 times", they think it's a bad thing, not a good thing.

Now, Obama's breaking campaign promises regarding medical marijuana

Despite campaign promises to the contrary, the Department of Justice under President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder hasn’t stopped raiding marijuana dispensaries operating in states where sale of the drug is legal for medical purposes. But the DOJ has demonstrated one marked change now that it’s under Democratic control: The department has stopped publicizing medical marijuana raids, both by requesting that more cases be sealed under court order and by refusing to distribute press releases.

. . . In all of the above cases, the DEA and the U.S. Attorneys’ offices issued no press releases and held no press conferences. The websites for DEA and the U.S. Attorneys’ offices in Detroit, Denver, Northern California, and Los Angeles (which also handles cases in Nevada) make no mention of the above dispensary raids . . .

Breaking your promise to stop raids on medical marijuana, but covering it up by trying to seal court records and refusing to release information to the press?

Absolutely Nixonian. But, when Nixon tried to suppress public records, the press deemed it an impeachable offense.

Tax and spend Democrats?

Congress returns this week with embattled Democrats torn between trying to show they have the economic answers and fearing the further wrath of voters over new government programs.

It appears the fears will win out.

The inbox is overflowing as lawmakers end their summer recess and undertake four weeks of writing and trying to pass bills before leaving town ahead of the Nov. 2 election: Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire at year's end; annual spending bills await action; and President Obama has just come out with a new plan to stimulate the economy through tax credits, breaks for business investment and public works projects.

Bill Clinton spent eight years successfully overcoming the Democrats' reputation as "tax and spend liberals". He delivered balanced budgets, surpluses, peace and prosperity.

In his first 20 months, Obama has destroyed that accomplishment.

Now, on the eve of the mid term elections, the Democratic-controlled House and Senate are gathering in Washington, D.C. - - to tax and spend.

This is sheer political incompetence by the Democratic Party leadership in the White House and Congress. They should have disposed of their unpopular or controversial agenda items 6 months ago. Their timing could not be worse.

It's not as if they didn't know these elections were coming . . . since 1776.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

High youth unemployment boosts military recruitment

But what happens to the rest of them?
For the first time, the four largest branches of the service -- the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines -- are far exceeding their recruiting goals. About 99 percent of enlistees have a high school diploma, and scores on the military entrance exam are the highest in the history of the all-volunteer force.

Those numbers are important, recruiters say, because enlistees with book smarts and discipline are usually easier to train.

"We know that unemployment is stubbornly high, around 9.5 percent, and that's high by historical standards," said Curtis Gilroy, the Defense Department's director of recruiting.

"When jobs are scarce in the civilian sector, the military is relatively attractive as a post-high school option for young people."

Record high youth unemployment is sending the cream of the crop into the military.

But, with too few jobs available for young people, too many unemployed, unemployable, under educated, less intelligent and less disciplined youth will face two options - - welfare or crime.

Obama economic adviser expects jobless rate to stay high

So why has Obama kept promising to quickly lower unemployment?

President Obama's chief economic adviser warned Sunday that the nation's dismal unemployment numbers aren't likely to improve anytime soon.

Austan Goolsbee, appointed last week as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, told "Fox News Sunday' that the nearly two-year-old recession has "put us very deep in the whole."

'It's going to be a long battle to get out of that," he said. "I don't think the unemployment rate will be coming down significantly in the near future."

The nation's jobless rate is currently at 9.6 percent. When pressed, Goolsbee declined to say what that figure may be by year's end--but he did admit he doesn't expect it to decrease. "I don't want to get into specific forecasting," Goolsbee said. "It's clear the labor market is significantly weakened and has been for some time. We have to do everything we can to try to create jobs."

Of course, this explains why Obama's new strategy is "change the subject / class warfare / tax the rich".

Suspicious goings on in Venezuela

A state governor and close confidant of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has died after a vehicle he was riding in plunged into a river.

Willian Lara's body was found early Saturday in Uverito River in Guarico state, where he was governor.

State administrator Gustavo Mendez said the driver, who survived, lost control in a rainstorm Friday and the Toyota 4Runner fell in. He said the driver managed to help Lara out of the vehicle but he was lost in the rushing waters.

The 53-year-old was a leader of Chavez's party, a lawmaker and former president of the National Assembly. He was Chavez's information minister before being elected governor in 2008.

Chavez mourned his death on Twitter, calling him a "true revolutionary."

As in any political thriller or mafia movie, the driver survived the accident, and managed to get Lara out of the car, but then "lost" Lara "in the rushing waters".

Lara was a potential intra party rival of Chavez, and was establishing an independent regional power base. More than just a lucky coincidence for Chavez?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why only 2 percent of earthquake debris in Haiti is cleared

[R]ubble is one of the most visible reminders of Haiti's devastating earthquake.

Rubble is everywhere in this capital city: cracked slabs, busted-up cinder blocks, half-destroyed buildings that still spill bricks and pulverized concrete onto the sidewalks. Some places look as though they have been flipped upside down, or are sinking to the ground, or listing precariously to one side.

By some estimates, the quake left about 33 million cubic yards of debris in Port-au-Prince — more than seven times the amount of concrete used to build the Hoover Dam. So far, only about 2 percent has been cleared, which means the city looks pretty much as it did a month after the Jan. 12 quake.

The Haitian government is incapable of organizing work crews to remove construction debris from public spaces. Of course, the overwhelming majority of the Haitian workforce would leap at the opportunity to do the same job on a construction site in Miami.

Clearly, and unarguably, the Haitian government is corrupt, inefficient and incompetent. It always has been and it always will be.

Giving any more money to the Haitian government serves no purpose.

Anyone who wants to fix anything in Haiti has to push the "government" aside, and do it themselves. Otherwise, you're simply wasting time and effort.

Iran's release of female U.S. hiker on then off then on

This is because they neither fear nor respect the president who "reached out in friendship" to our enemies.

Iran delayed the release of a female U.S. hiker scheduled for today because legal procedures in her case are incomplete, state-run Press TV reported.

The release of Sarah Shourd is “canceled,” Press TV cited Teheran prosecutor General Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi as saying late yesterday. He didn’t say when she may be freed.

Shourd was arrested with two U.S. citizens for illegally entering Iran in 2009. Iranian state-run news agencies earlier this week reported she would be released today.

Obama stumps for Guantanamo closure - why doesn't he ask the president?

President Barack Obama on Friday admitted he fell short on his vow to empty the prison camps at Guantanamo, calling it a rare unfulfilled campaign promise, then stumped for closure by calling the Pentagon outpost too expensive.

"The costs of holding folks in Guantanamo is massively higher than it is in holding them in a SuperMax maximum-security prison here in the United States," Obama said at a White House news conference a day before the Sept. 11 anniversary.

The Pentagon reports the annual cost of running the prison camps, staffed by a variety of U.S. military troops, at $116 million. With a current population of 176 war-on-terror detainees, that's more than $650,000 each. In contrast, it costs nearly $5,575 a year to keep a prisoner in federal detention, said Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Traci Billingsley on Friday. A SuperMax captive's cost might be a bit higher, she said, because of additional security.

Obama also defended his administration's practice of choosing to send some Guantanamo detainees to trial in civilian courts and others to the Pentagon's military commissions.

Soon after taking office, Obama signed an executive order setting a one-year deadline to empty the prison camps that were then holding some 260 detainees. The Jan. 22 closure date passed with business as usual in the outpost in southeast Cuba.

If only Obama knew the president, maybe he could get the president to help him keep his promise. Oh, wait, he is the president . . .

By the way, it's not "a rare unfulfilled campaign promise". But, it is a promise no one would care about if he had kept his promise to keep unemployment under 8%.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Obama administration "reduces threat of deportation for millions of illegal immigrants"

The Obama administration is changing the federal immigration enforcement strategy in ways that reduce the threat of deportation for millions of illegal immigrants, even as states such as Arizona, Colorado, Virginia, Ohio and Texas are pushing to accelerate deportations.

The changes focus enforcement on immigrants who have committed serious crimes, an effort to unclog immigration courts and detention centers. A record backlog of deportation cases has forced immigrants to wait an average 459 days for their hearings, according to an Aug. 12 report by Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), which analyzes government data.

Among the recent changes:

-- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton ordered agency officials on Aug. 20 to begin dismissing deportation cases against people who haven't committed serious crimes and have credible immigration applications pending.

-- A proposed directive from Morton posted on ICE's website for public comment last month would generally prohibit police from using misdemeanor traffic stops to send people to ICE. Traffic stops have led to increased deportations in recent years, according to Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank whose research supports tighter enforcement.

The directive said exceptions would be made in certain cases, such as when immigrants have serious criminal records.

-- ICE officers have been told to "exercise discretion" when deciding whether to detain "long-time lawful permanent residents, juveniles, the immediate family members of U.S. citizens, veterans, members of the armed forces and their families, and others with illnesses or special circumstances," Daniel Ragsdale, ICE executive associate director of management, testified July 1 in the administration's lawsuit to block Arizona's controversial immigration law. The law requires police officers to determine the immigration status of suspects stopped for another offense if there was a "reasonable suspicion" they are in the USA illegally. A U.S. district judge has held up the provision pending review.

In other words, we now have open borders.

Catch, imprison, escape, repeat

Four detainees are on the run in Iraq after escaping from a U.S.-controlled maximum-security compound near Baghdad, the American military said.

Guards discovered that the detainees were missing on Sept. 8 when they conducted “an accountability sweep” after two other people were caught trying to escape, the military said in a statement e-mailed late yesterday.

U.S. forces are working with Iraqi authorities and Iraq’s Justice Ministry to track down the escapees, the military said, without providing further details. The compound is located within the prison formerly known as Camp Cropper.

American officials transferred the site to Iraq’s Justice Ministry on July 15 as part of an agreement paving the way for the exit of U.S. troops by the end of 2011. Iraq renamed the site Karkh Prison and asked U.S. forces to retain custody of about 200 detainees there, most of whom are alleged to be members of al-Qaeda.

This week’s incident was the second escape from the compound in about three months. Days after the handover, four men broke free, including al-Qaeda’s so-called local ministers of finance and interior, state-sponsored al-Iraqiyah television reported at the time.

We turned the prison over to "Iraq’s Justice Ministry".

The "escapes" began "days after the handover".

It's amazing that anyone truly believe we can trust our "allies" in the region.

More riots in L.A. after drunk with knife attacks cop and is shot

People have been throwing "eggs, rocks and bottles" at police officers and "setting trash fires", but we're not supposed to call it riots. That's because declaring L.A. a "sanctuary city", refusing to enforce immigration laws, and "struggling to gain trust in poor and immigrant communities" was supposed to guaranty their peaceful behavior. Of course, it hasn't worked out that way - - people who break one set of laws tend to break other sets of laws, too.

After three nights of protests, Los Angeles police and city officials are struggling to calm community anger over the fatal shooting of a knife-wielding man by a police officer.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Thursday that officers involved in the shooting Sunday night were heroes who "acted with bravery."

He said it was "outrageous" that residents called Police Chief Charlie Beck a murderer during a tense community meeting Wednesday night where 300 people packed into a school. The school is a short distance from the site of the shooting.

The death of Manuel Jamines, 37, a Guatemalan-born man working as a day laborer, has triggered protests in a city where the police department has long struggled to gain trust in poor and immigrant communities, and where use of force by police has been a flashpoint for decades.

. . . Authorities have said three bicycle officers were flagged Sunday by people concerned about a man with a knife.

The officers approached the man and told him to put the knife down. Instead, Jamines lunged at Officer Frank Hernandez, said Capt. Kris Pitcher, who heads the police department's force investigation division.

Hernandez shot Jamines twice in the head. Several witnesses later told police Jamines had been drinking.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

More kids raised by grandparents since recession began

More kids are being raised by Grandma and Grandpa since the economy began its downward spiral in 2007, according to a new report.

In fact, one in 10 children in the United States lives with a grandparent, the study from the Pew Research Center found.

The largest increase was seen among whites, where the rate of grandparents as primary caregivers rose 9 percent from 2007 to 2008. For blacks the number of grandparents raising grandkids went up by 2 percent, while no change was seen among Hispanic families.

In all, 2.9 million -- 4 percent of all children -- are being raised by at least one grandparent, the Washington Post reported.

Statistically, this means more poverty, less educational achievement, more crime and more teen pregnancy.

Obama administration continues to harass Arizona

In the past 3 months, the Obama administration sued the state of Arizona to enjoin state enforcement of federal immigration law, sued an Arizona sheriff in an immigration probe, and sued an Arizona community college for asking job applicants for their work permits.

Now, this:

Arizona's education chief says the federal government has launched an investigation into whether the state discriminates against teachers who are nonnative English speakers.

The probe was launched by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education. It's the most recent of several federal investigations aimed at Arizona, which has been in the spotlight for its law targeting illegal immigrants, Senate Bill 1070.

Obviously, the Obama administration is on a campaign to chill anti-immigration activities in Arizona.

Apparently, in Obama-world, the first amendment only protects those who would build a mosque at Ground Zero.

Meanwhile, Iran keeps working on nuclear technology

Former head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Akbar Etemad said that the agreement between Tehran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) grants Iran the right to accept or refuse the agency's inspectors.

The terms of a contract between Iran and the IAEA stipulate that the Iranian government "has the right to accept or refuse the inspectors introduced by the Agency," Etemad told the Islamic republic news agency on Thursday.

The remarks come days after the UN body noted in its latest report that Tehran's "repeated objections" to the designation of experienced inspectors could hamper the process of monitoring Iran's nuclear facilities.

As our "leaders" focus on the right to build a Ground Zero mosque, and whether you have the right to burn a Koran, Iran's nuclear program keeps chugging along.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Torture: Another Obama promise bites the dust

A former CIA officer accused of revving an electric drill near the head of an imprisoned terror suspect has returned to US intelligence as a contractor training CIA operatives, the Associated Press has learned.

The CIA officer wielded the drill, which was bitless, and an unloaded handgun — unauthorized interrogation techniques — to menace suspected USS Cole bombing plotter Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri inside a secret CIA prison in Poland in late 2002 and early 2003, according to several former intelligence officials and a review by the CIA’s inspector general.

Adding details to the public portions of the review, the former officials identified the officer as Albert, 60, a former FBI agent of Egyptian descent who worked as a bureau translator in New York before joining the CIA. The former officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because many details of the incident remain classified.

Both Albert and his CIA supervisor at the time, a second official known as Mike, were reprimanded for their involvement in the incident, the former officials said. The AP is withholding the last names of the two men at the request of US officials for safety reasons.

Human rights activists say the men’s actions were emblematic of harsh treatment and oversight problems in the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, amounting to torture that should have been prosecuted. They also say Albert’s return as a contractor raises questions about how the intelligence community deals with those who used unauthorized interrogation methods.

“The notion that an individual involved in one of the more notorious episodes of the CIA’s interrogation program is still employed directly or indirectly by the US government is scandalous,’’ said Ben Wizner, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union.

Remember Obama's campaign stands against torture and secret detention?

It is truly amazing how many of Obama's lofty campaign promises were abandoned after he was elected and confronted with the harsh reality of his job.

Low primary turnout means big trouble for Democrats

Voter turnout for Democrats has hit historically low levels in this year's primary elections, a new American University study shows, which could mean trouble for President Obama's party this fall.

"Democrats are at an enormous disadvantage," said Curtis Gans, director of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate at the university. Gans' examination of 35 states that held statewide primaries this year, released Tuesday, showed turnout among Democratic voters at its lowest level in 80 years.

At stake Nov. 2: control of Congress, 37 governor's seats and the state legislatures that will redraw congressional district boundaries after this year's Census.

Gans said 4 million more Republican voters than Democrats voted this year, the first time that has happened in midterm elections since 1930.

The apparent enthusiasm gap comes after a presidential election when the energy was on the Democratic side. Gans said he's seen similar reversals in party turnout before, most notably after the 1992 contest that put Bill Clinton in the White House. Two years later, voters booted Democrats from power on Capitol Hill.

"This is precisely the kind of disillusion that brought the Democrats down in 1994," Gans said. He blamed the faltering economy for the latest numbers. "What the last 16 months have done is rob the public of the hope that was engendered in 2008."

Gans found that as of Sept. 1, 17.1 million people voted in Republican contests, compared with 12.9 million voting in Democratic primaries. He put GOP turnout at 10.5% of eligible voters, up from 8.2% four years ago. Democratic turnout was down, from 8.7% to 8.3%.

Catch that - - "17.1 million people voted in Republican contests, compared with 12.9 million voting in Democratic primaries"

The smaller Republican party has turned out over 4 million more voters than the larger Democratic party - - almost one third more!

So far this year, Democrats are staying home, while Republicans are voting.

Afghanistan tab: $6 billion per year after planned drawdown

The United States expects to spend about $6 billion a year training and supporting Afghan troops and police after it begins pulling out its own combat troops in 2011, the Associated Press has learned.

The previously undisclosed estimate of U.S. spending through 2015 is detailed in a NATO training mission document reviewed by the AP. It outlines large-scale infrastructure projects, including a military hospital and military and police academies aimed at "establishing enduring institutions" and "creating irreversible momentum."

Spending for training is projected to taper off from $11.6 billion next year to an average of $6.2 billion over the following four years, the document shows. Much of the reduction reflects less spending on infrastructure.

After we end out combat mission, we intend to continue spending $6 billion per year on Afghanistan.

Who ever voted for that? That commitment was never on the table.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Obama is losing a generation of voters

The worst summer on record for young people who wanted a job staggered to an end this Labor Day weekend.

Only 47.6% of people ages 16 to 24 had jobs in August, the lowest level since the government began keeping track in 1948, according to the Labor Department. By comparison, 62.8% of that age group was employed in August 2000.

The ongoing recession hit young people especially hard this summer, sending many back to school with fewer dollars to spend.

The unemployment rate averaged a record 18.3% during June, July and August for those younger than 25.

That's more than twice the jobless rate for people 25 and older. Overall, the jobless rate edged up to 9.6% in August. It was 9.5% in July.

This could have been another "30's depression generation", converts to the Democratic Party for the next 50 years. Instead, after overwhelmingly winning the youth vote in 2008, Obama has overwhelmingly disappointed them.

Obama's support keeps dropping . . . even in Illinois!

President Barack Obama won his home state with 62 percent of the vote in 2008, but new poll numbers show Obama's support in Illinois has slipped.

The Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV poll shows Illinois voters are split on Obama's job performance. The poll found 51 percent approve of how the president is doing, compared with 39 percent saying they disapprove.

The poll also shows 47 percent of voters disapprove of the way Obama has handled the economy, compared with 42 percent who say they approve. Those findings are split along party lines, with Democrats supportive of Obama's economic efforts and Republicans not supportive.

Fifty-four percent of independent voters say they disapprove of Obama's economic policies and 31 percent say they approve.

. . . Obama remains popular with black voters in Illinois. The poll shows 94 percent of blacks approve of Obama's job performance while 5 percent say they disapprove.

White voters are split on Obama's job performance with 45 percent saying they disapprove and 43 percent saying they approve.,0,672851.story

If white voters are split almost evenly on Obama's job performance, but 94 percent of black voters approve of Obama's job performance, why are white voters the ones always accused of racial bias regarding Obama?

Senior aide to Sen. Barbara Boxer arrested for trying to bring marijuana into the Senate Office Building

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Although it's not exactly helpful to an endangered incumbent who's opposing the California ballot initiative to legalize pot, it's better than the last time a Boxer senior staffer was arrested . . . for child porn.

A senior aide for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) was arrested Tuesday for attempting to bring marijuana into the Hart Senate Office Building, according to U.S. Capitol Police reports.

Marcus Stanley, who served as a senior economic adviser and at one time worked on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee — chaired by Boxer — was stopped by a police officer Tuesday morning when he allegedly tried to “remove and conceal” a leafy green substance from his pocket during a security screening at the Constitution Avenue door of the Hart building around noon, according to a Capitol Police report.

Police confiscated the substance, which later tested positive for marijuana, and Stanley quickly resigned.

. . . The legalization of marijuana is a hot issue in Boxer’s senatorial race as well as other California elections. California Democrats have been largely divided over Proposition 19, a ballot question that would legalize marijuana and allow the government to impose taxes on pot. Boxer and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) have been opposed to the measure.

This is not the first time a member of Boxer’s senior staff has been arrested. Senior policy adviser Jeffrey Rosato, who also worked on the EPW committee, was fired in 2008 after he was arrested and charged with the receipt and distribution of child pornography.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mixed messages on immigration

Employers who hire illegal immigrants can be fined, but the Obama administration warned this week that they also can be fined for asking legal immigrants to show their green cards before hiring them.

The Justice Department's civil rights division sued the Maricopa County Community Colleges in Arizona, seeking damages from schools for having "intentionally committed document abuse discrimination."

Prior to this year, the local colleges in the Phoenix area asked job applicants who were not U.S. citizens to show a driver's license, a Social Security card and their permanent resident card, commonly called a green card.

The Justice Department said a valid driver's license and a Social Security card are usually sufficient to show that a person is authorized to work. Requesting a green card amounts to "immigration-related employment discrimination," said Thomas E. Perez, the assistant attorney general for civil rights.

Federal law forbids treating "authorized workers differently during the hiring process based on their citizenship status," Perez said. He said the department's Office of Special Counsel would bring legal actions against employers who impose "unnecessary and discriminatory hurdles to employment for work-authorized noncitizens."

Amid the fierce controversy over immigration, the Obama administration has launched three lawsuits this summer to protect the rights of Latinos and legal immigrants — all three targeting Arizona.

In July, the administration successfully blocked Arizona's law that authorized state and local police to check the immigration status of persons who were arrested. On Thursday, it sued Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio seeking documents that could show he has illegally targeted Latinos in the course of his immigration sweeps.

The suit against the Maricopa community colleges, announced Monday, and could affect employers across the nation.

On one hand, employers must verify their workers are legal, and hiring "an unauthorized alien" can result in fines of up to $3,000 per worker.

On the other hand, if you request "more or different documents" than are needed to prove legal status, you can be sued for discrimination.

The safest option for an employer is to simply stop hiring until the federal government gets its act together. Is that really what Obama wants?

By the way - - The feds filed three lawsuits against three of Arizona's governmental entities in three months. Talk about discrimination and selective prosecution!

U.S. combat mission may have ended, but 2 soldiers killed in Iraq

Two American soldiers were killed and nine were injured Tuesday when a man wearing an Iraqi army uniform opened fire on them in an Iraqi commando compound in the province of Salahuddin, an attack that highlighted the danger U.S. troops continue to face in Iraq despite the formal end of combat operations announced by President Obama last week.,0,5955866.story

Obama's declaration of "the end of combat operations" is no comfort to the family and friends of the 2 U.S. troops killed, and 9 wounded, in Iraq yesterday. It is no comfort to the family and friends of the 50,000 U.S. troops still in Iraq.

Obama's announcement was a false and cynical campaign speech.

Political incompetence and extending the "Bush tax cuts"

The "Bush tax cuts" are set to expire soon.

The big conversation today is over whether to extend the "Bush tax cuts".

Obama says extend the "Bush tax cuts" only for those earning under $250,000.

Some Democrats, and most Republicans, say extend the "Bush tax cuts" in full and for all.

The most amazing thing about this discussion is that Obama's political team did not type those "Bush tax cuts" he wanted to extend on a clean sheet of paper, and title it the "Obama tax cuts".

Any truly savvy political operation would be having a conversation about the president's proposed "Obama tax cuts", and who will be given an "Obama tax cut".

Instead, we're talking about "Bush tax cuts", for which Obama will never get primary credit.

This is sheer political incompetence by the Obama political operation.