Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Political Digest, January 27, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

Look Who’s Ripping Scott Brown
Well, it starts. Already the far right is starting to rip into Brown for saying a few things that may not meet their conservative orthodoxy. We must, you know, get down to the one, pure conservative Republican, everyone else must be drummed out of the party. The final Republican will be a pure conservative, but will win no elections, having only one vote. Some people prefer liberal victories to tolerating any divergence in thought. It is stupidity like this that has put Reid and Pelosi in charge. Liberal control of the Congress may be good for Rush’s and Glenn’s ratings, but they are terrible for the country, and too many Republicans/Conservatives have enabled them.

Here are the legislative facts of life for the politically naive:

1. The most important vote a legislator casts is the vote to organize. A liberal Republican votes to have the senate or house controlled by Republicans, which puts Conservative Republican in control of the agenda, the committees and the flow of business. A conservative Democrat votes to put Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi in charge.

2. Thus the conservatives who helped drive out Arlen Spector and Jim Jeffords, or who helped defeat Link Chaffee or, way back in 1976, Ed Brooke in Massachusetts, strengthened liberals and weakened conservatives. Brooke was replaced by Paul Tsongas, followed by John Kerry. Nice job, guys!

3. It is almost Mathematically impossible for Republicans to win control of the US Senate in 2010, and control is needed to put conservatives in charge. It would probably take, God forbid, the kind of terrorist attack we all fear, perhaps during the KSM trial. Therefore, our real chance to control the senate is to gain in 4-6 seats in 2010 and win full control in 2012.

4. Scott Brown will be up for re-election in 2012. We will need his vote to organize to win control of the Senate for conservatives. He will be the highest target on the Democrats’ hit list, both because of the party imbalance in Massachusetts and because his victory humiliated President Wobbly and the liberals this year.

5. Brown cannot win re-election in Massachusetts if he is seen as a rigid, lockstep conservative Republican. He has to fulfill his pledge to work with both parties and to be independent. He needs to make five well-publicized appearances in Massachusetts for every one for Republican’s nationwide. Otherwise, he loses in 2012 and we are one seat further from putting conservatives in control, and we have Kennedy-lite from Massachusetts in the senate, boosting liberals.

6. Anyone who rips into Brown should get a thank you note from Harry Reid. That’s why I’ve signed up to have $25 a month from my credit card sent to Brown’s committee, to support his re-election. Other than switching to the Democrats, nothing he says will change that. Those with half a brain about politics can do the same at www.brownforussenate.com.

And, yes, this blog goes to liberals. But they already figured this out, supported Blue Dogs in more conservative districts, and got control of the country, and it worked as we helped them beat “RINOs.” Get a clue, people.

Great Scott! by Thomas Sowell
http://townhall.com/columnists/ThomasSowell/2010/01/26/great_scott!
Excerpt: It was the same story with the government's health care takeover legislation. The Democrats have such huge majorities in both houses of Congress that they could literally lock the Republicans out of the room where they were deciding what to do, set arbitrary deadlines for votes, and cut off debate in the Senate. The mainstream media was on board with this bill too. To hear the talking heads on TV, you would think it was a done deal. Then Scott Brown got elected to the "Kennedy seat" in the Senate, showing that that seat was not the inheritance of any dynasty to pass on. Moreover, it showed that the voters were already fed up with the Obama administration, even in liberal Massachusetts, as well as in Virginia and New Jersey. The backtracking on health care began immediately. Politicians can count votes. Once again, the public was not helpless. One seat did not deprive the Democrats of big majorities in Congress. But one seat was the difference between being able to shut off debate in the Senate and having to allow debate on what was in this massive legislation. From day one it was clear that concealing what was in this bill was the key to getting it passed.

Deficits
Have you noticed all the sudden talk of controlling the deficit and spending and helping the middle class with tax breaks, from President Wobbly on down? Thank you, Massachusetts! Lawd, Lawd, I have seen the light!

Obama to propose freeze on government spending
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/25/AR2010012503549.html?wpisrc=newsletter
In other news, Bill Clinton and John Edwards propose freeze on adultery. Excerpt: though the freeze would shave no more than $15 billion off next year's budget -- barely denting a deficit projected to exceed $1 trillion for the third year in a row -- White House officials said it could save significantly more during the next decade. They described the freeze as a critical component of a broader deficit-reduction campaign intended to restore confidence in Obama's ability to control the excesses of Washington and the most lavish aspirations of his own administration.

The Obama administration loses the deficit -- and the spending – argument
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/01/the_obama_administration_loses.html?wpisrc=nl_pmpolitics
Excerpt: This video is not good for the White House. It shows Barack Obama repeatedly, and eloquently, rejecting John McCain's proposal for a "non-defense spending discretionary freeze." We need a scalpel, Obama says, not a hatchet. The White House can fairly say that they're trying to use a scalpel rather than a hatchet. Their budget doesn't freeze all programs (hatchet!), it freezes the overall numbers, and within that context, cuts some programs and increases others (scalpel!). The Obama administration can also say the budget deficit was larger than expected, and when the facts change, so too do their policies. But you can't look at this as anything less than a tremendous defeat for the Obama administration. It's not the policy itself. The freeze locks in a post-stimulus, and potentially post-jobs-bill, level of spending. It's not terribly onerous. But it's also the administration's white flag on the argument that the deficit must be understood as a health-care reform problem rather than a taxes and spending problem. This was their most audacious effort to change the way Americans think, and it didn't work. For all the effort Democrats put into building a health-care bill that cuts the deficit, a full 60 percent of Americans think (pdf) the legislation increases the deficit. Only 15 percent think it's a deficit reducer.

Senate rejects Obama plan to create commission on federal deficit
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/26/AR2010012601270.html?wpisrc=nl_pmpolitics
The Senate on Tuesday rejected a plan to create a bipartisan commission to tackle the nation's budget problems this year, leaving it up to President Obama to create such a panel by executive order. The commission voted down Tuesday would have been given broad powers to change the tax code and cut spending on entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Its recommendations, due after the November elections, would have been guaranteed an up-or-down vote in both chambers of Congress before the year is out. But the measure won just 53 votes in the Senate, not enough to overcome a threatened filibuster. Republicans opposed to tax increases joined Democrats fearful of being forced to make cuts to social programs in rejecting the idea.

State of the Union Bingo Card
http://tartanmarine.blogspot.com/2010/01/state-of-union-bingo-card.html
To help you get through it. I can’t stand to watch, myself.

Lawsuits increase despite White House transparency pledge, court records show
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/26/AR2010012602048.html?wpisrc=nl_pmpolitics
That was just to get votes from the rubes. Excerpt: More than 300 people and groups have sued the Obama administration fighting to get federal government records in the year since President Obama pledged his administration would be the most open in history.

The World Bids Farewell to Obama
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,673192,00.html
Interesting views from Germany. Excerpt: US President Barack Obama suffered a painful defeat in Massachusetts on Tuesday. With mid-term elections looming, it means that Obama will have to fundamentally re-think his political course. German commentators say it is the end of hope. US President Barack Obama has had a number of difficult weeks during his first year in the White House. Right after he took office, he had to wade through a week full of partisan bickering over his economic stimulus package combined with a tax scandal surrounding Tom Daschle, the man Obama had hoped would lead his health care reform team. Then there was the last week of 2009, when a failed terror attack on a flight inbound for Detroit exposed major flaws in US efforts to identify and stop potential terrorists. This week, though -- a week when Obama should have been celebrating the first anniversary of his inauguration -- may have been the president's worst yet. Scott Brown, an almost unknown Republican member of the Massachusetts Senate, defeated the Democratic candidate Martha Coakley for the US Senate seat vacated by the death of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. The defeat in a heavily Democratic state not only highlights Obama's massive loss of popular support during his first year in office, but it also could spell doom for his signature effort to reform the US health care system.

Democrats' election woes: Expectations crumble as retirements begin to mount
http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/77955-dem-midterm-woes
Democratic election expectations were crumbling Monday after a leading Senate recruit declined to run and another lawmaker announced his retirement. Rep. Marion Berry’s (D-Ark.) departure and Beau Biden’s (D) decision not to pursue the upper chamber came after Democrats said they expected the opposite. And now the party, which has said it doesn’t expect lots of retirements, is facing the possibility of several more.

Nelson: Obama must scale back agenda
http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/77749-bill-nelson-obama-must-scale-back-agenda-this-year
Ah, Ben, does that include scaling back the “Cornhusker kickback”? Excerpt: President Barack Obama will have to scale back his domestic agenda after finishing work on healthcare, one Democratic senator said Monday. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said that Obama would need to ramp down some of his plans in the months ahead if some of the most vulnerable Democrats are to go on to win this fall. “I think the president is going to have to scale back his agenda after we pass healthcare reform," Nelson said during an appearance on "Good Morning America." "Then I think some of those folks we think are in danger, like Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, I think you’ll see they’re going to win," Nelson added, making reference to the Senate majority leader, whose poll numbers have shown a tough reelection battle looms this fall.

Obama changes message to revive agenda, help Dems in 2010 races
http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/77949-obama-gets-back-to-basics-election-mode
Excerpt: President Barack Obama is changing his political strategy to revive public support for his endangered legislative agenda and avert a catastrophe in the midterm elections. Obama has decided to strike a more populist tone and will take his message outside of Washington, crisscrossing the nation to sell his policies to voters much the way he did during the 2008 campaign. The president’s new tack coincides with an announcement that David Plouffe, the manager of Obama’s successful White House campaign, will take on a formal role overseeing the Democratic Party’s political operations. (Great plan. Needs to be on TV more, apologize for America more, and keep disparaging pickup trucks along with guns and religion. If anyone crosses him, he can take another whack at Wall Street, drive everyone’s 401Ks down a few hundred points again.)

Obama’s promise on no bid contracts bites the dust
http://www.redstate.com/mark_i/2010/01/25/no-bid-barack/

Obama's honeymoon with media is history
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/jan/26/obamas-honeymoon-with-media-is-history/
Excerpt: He has an official pre-presidential logo and a dramatic custom-built dais — with columns — even before he arrived at the White House. President Obama drew instant love from the press, who were captivated by the image before them. Mr. Obama garnered more coverage — and more positive coverage — than former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan during their comparable times in office, according to a study released Monday by the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA). Much of the Obama coverage was breathlessly positive, even melodramatic. But then something happened.

Barack Obama Prepares to Drive Up the Costs of Education
http://www.redstate.com/erick/2010/01/25/barack-obama-prepares-to-drive-up-the-costs-of-education/
Excerpt: When Obama takes to the podium for the State of the Union, one of the things he is allegedly going to push is a wholesale federal take over of the student loan industry.
Already, his plans are causing a lot of students, particularly of private higher ed colleges and universities, problems with getting financing for education. Obama intends to shut out the usual third party lenders and put everything within the federal government — under a program that has been shown repeatedly to be highly inefficient and burdensome for academic institutions.

House Democrats say linking to private Haiti relief efforts prohibited
http://www.redstate.com/erick/2010/01/25/the-cold-heartedness-of-bureaucracy/
Okay to link to the White House, though—that makes BO look good.

Democratic Senate appointees are now looking vulnerable
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/25/AR2010012503935.html?wpisrc=nl_politics
Excerpt: This was supposed to be the sure thing. Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, the eldest son of Vice President Biden, was seen as a certain candidate in the open-seat Senate race to replace his father and keep the spot in Democratic hands. Just to be sure that the path was clear for his son, Biden saw to it that Ted Kaufman, a longtime aide to him in the Senate, was appointed to fill the anticipated two-year lacuna between Bidens. All that changed on Monday when Beau Biden announced that he would not run, citing his duty to his current job. That decision immediately turned Rep. Michael N. Castle (R) into an overwhelming favorite to claim the vice president's old seat this fall. It's not just in Delaware, however, that appointed Democratic senators have clouded, rather than clarified, the party's electoral prospects in 2010. President Obama's former Senate seat in Illinois is being targeted by Republicans who think they have an opening, after the controversy surrounding the appointment of Roland Burris (D) by Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was impeached shortly afterward. And in last week's Massachusetts special election, state Sen. Scott Brown (R) successfully made into a campaign issue the Democrats' changing of state law to allow Gov. Deval L. Patrick (D) to appoint Paul Kirk (D) as an interim replacement to the late Edward M. Kennedy.

The Fix: Poll shows Democrats slipping, Obama dismisses impact
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/morning-fix/126-obama-dismisses-poll.html?wprss=thefix
Worth reading, as there is other good political intel in this column. Excerpt: President Obama is deep in preparation for his state of the union address tomorrow but new CNN/Opionion Research Corporation poll numbers suggest that a single speech won't heal what's ailing Democrats. Just 45 percent of the sample said that it was a good thing that Democrats control Congress while 48 percent said it was a bad for the country that Democrats were in power. Those numbers compare very unfavorably to a June 2009 CNN poll (50 percent good for country/41 percent bad for country) and even less well to a Dec. 2007 poll (53 percent good/37 percent bad). And, while the overall favorability numbers for the Democratic Party have fallen over the past few months in CNN data, the GOP favorability numbers have bumped up a bit. (Both sides are at rough parity today; the Democratic party has a 46 percent favorable/46 percent unfavorable rating while Republicans have a 44 percent favorable/45 percent unfavorable score.) Perhaps most startling data point in the CNN poll is that seven in ten adults said that it was a good thing for the country that Democrats no longer have 60 votes in the Senate after the party's special election loss in Massachusetts. The sentiment clearly expressed in the data is that people like the idea of checks and balances on the two parties. After the 2006 and 2008 elections saw Democrats sweep into the majority and then broaden it considerably, the coming midterm election -- if this poll and others like it are to be believed -- could well be a natural move back toward middle ground for many voters who sided with Democrats over the last two cycles. Obama, for his part, is publicly dismissive of the current surveys, arguing that there is more to governing than positive poll ratings: "I don't want to look back on my time here and say to myself all I was interested in was nurturing my own popularity," Obama said in an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer. As we have said before, Obama has the luxury of riding out the current poll dip as he won't stand before voters until November 2012. House and Senate Democrats up for reelection this fall won't be so lucky.

Mike Pence says "no" in Indiana as Senate GOPers try to widen playing field
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/senate/mike-pence-says-no-in-indiana.html?wpisrc=nl_pmpolitics
Excerpt: Indiana Rep. Mike Pence (R) has decided against challenging Sen. Evan Bayh (D) this fall, robbing Republicans of a top-tier recruit who would have made the Hoosier State instantly competitive had he run. "After much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to remain in the House," said Pence in a letter released to supporters this morning. He cited two reasons for his decision to stay put: his role in House GOP leadership and his belief that Republicans will take back the majority in November. Two other unstated reasons seem likely to have influenced Pence's decision as well. First, Bayh is quite popular in the state and is sitting on $12.7 million in his campaign bank account. Second, Pence is positioning himself to be in the mix for the 2012 presidential race and seeking a very competitive Senate seat rather than staying in his safe House seat would almost certainly distract from planning for a national bid. With Pence out, national Republicans acknowledge they have no obvious second choice to put the swing state of Indiana in play -- making Bayh a solid favorite to win a third term.

An Economic Time Bomb
http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=18908&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DPD
Excerpt: Weather-wise it has been a very cold January, and politically the Scott Brown Senate victory has chilled Washington Democrats even further. But if the Democratic economic policies continue nevertheless, this year will be nothing like the bitter economic January we will be living in a year from now, says Pete du Pont, Chairman of the National Center for Policy Analysis and a former Governor of Delaware. Government spending has already hugely increased, and so has the size and scope of government, but next year there will also be substantial tax increases for a great many Americans. The first reason will be the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, explains du Pont: The top personal income tax rate will rise next Jan. 1 to 39.6 percent from 35 percent, a hike of nearly one-eighth. The dividend tax rate will rise to 39.6 percent, more than 2½ times the current 15 percent. And the capital gains tax rate will rise by a third, to 20 percent from 15 percent. If the House health care bill had passed, all three of these rates would have risen to 45 percent. (And it won’t matter if you make under $250,000 as President Wobbly promised. This will also chill the economy and job creation. Welcome to the wonderland of collectivism and big government.)

Givers And Misers
Haiti relief effort brings out the best and worst of the ''international community.''
http://www.forbes.com/2010/01/21/haiti-earthquake-aid-united-nations-opinions-columnists-claudia-rosett.html?boxes=opinionschannellighttop
Excerpt: The earthquake in Haiti has brought out the best and the worst of the so-called international community. It has especially highlighted the contrast between the generosity and capabilities of the free world and the miserly, self-serving ways of the oil-rich tyrannies of the Middle East. In the race to rescue Haitians stricken by the Jan. 12 quake and its aftershocks, two countries immediately stood out. One was Israel. Thanks to a mix of democratic enterprise and decades of suffering terrorist attacks, the Israelis have become experts in swiftly responding to destruction. While most of the rest of the world struggled to get organized, the Israelis had landed a modern field hospital and staff in Haiti and were busy saving lives. But the mother of all standout, standup countries has been, as usual, the U.S. As of Jan. 21, the United Nations' ReliefWeb database showed contributions from the U.S. government (a.k.a. U.S. taxpayers) worth $90 million, or 44% of the grand total pledged. That's just a fraction of the real U.S. contributions, which include millions in private donations plus a huge relief operation by the U.S. military. America has been sending ships, air-dropping rations and pouring in thousands of troops to open relief corridors and provide security. All this is politely styled as backup to a U.N. effort, which is in reality propped up by the U.S.

Parametric Estimations of the World Distribution Of Income
http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=18911&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DPD
Not to worry. The leftists will take care of that. They need poverty—where would they be without poor people to get dollars to help? Excerpt: World poverty is falling. Between 1970 and 2006, the global poverty rate has been cut by nearly three quarters. The percentage of the world population living on less than $1 a day (in PPP-adjusted 2000 dollars) went from 26.8 percent in 1970 to 5.4 percent in 2006, say economists Maxim Pinkovskiy and Xavier Sala-i-Martin.

Public Employee Unions Are Sinking California
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703699204575017182296077118.html
Excerpt: An old friend of mine has a saying, "Even the worm learns." Prod one several hundred times, he says, and it will learn to avoid the prodder. As California enters its annual budget drama, I can't help but wonder if the wisdom of the elected politicians here in the state capital equals that of the earthworm. The state is in a precarious position, with a 12.3% unemployment rate (more than two points higher than the national average) and a budget $20 billion in the red (only months after the last budget fix closed a large deficit). Productive Californians are leaving for states with less-punishing regulatory and tax regimes. Yet so far there isn't a broad consensus to do much about those who have prodded the state into its current position: public employee unions that drive costs up and fight to block spending cuts. Earlier this month, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed a budget that calls for a $6.9 billion handout from Washington (unlikely to be forthcoming) and vows to protect current education funding, 40% of the state's budget. He does want to eliminate the Calworks welfare-to-work program and enact a 5% pay cut for state employees. These are reasonable ideas, but also politically unlikely. As the Sacramento Bee's veteran columnist Dan Walters recently put it, the governor's budget is "disconnected from economic and political reality." Mr. Walters suspects what will happen next: "Most likely, [the governor] and lawmakers will, to use his own phrase, 'kick the can down the road' with some more accounting tricks and other gimmicks, and dump the mess on whoever is ill-fated to become governor a year hence."

The Kids Will Be Alright
The coming U.S. population boom will bring new economic vitality; the resurgence of Fargo
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704509704575018990188917592.html
Excerpt: America's population growth makes it a notable outlier among the advanced industrialized countries. The country boasts a fertility rate 50% higher than that of Russia, Germany or Japan and well above that of China, Italy, Singapore, North Korea and virtually all of eastern Europe. Add to that the even greater impact of continued large-scale immigration to America from around the world. By the year 2050, the U.S. population will swell by roughly 100 million, and the country's demographic vitality will drive its economic resilience in the coming decades. This places the U.S. in a radically different position from that of its historic competitors, particularly Europe and Japan, whose populations are stagnant. The contrast between the U.S. and Russia, America's onetime primary rival for world power, is particularly dramatic. Some 30 years ago, Russia constituted the core of a vast Soviet empire that was considerably more populous than the U.S. Today, even with its energy riches, Russia's low birth and high mortality rates suggest that its population will drop to less than one-third that of the U.S. by 2050. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has spoken of "the serious threat of turning into a decaying nation."… Within the next four decades, most of the developed countries in both Europe and East Asia will become veritable old-age homes: A third or more of their populations will be over 65, compared with only a fifth in America. Like the rest of the developed world, the U.S. will certainly have to cope with an aging population and lower population growth, but in relative terms the county will boast a youthful, dynamic demographic. As many other advanced countries become dominated by the elderly, the U.S. will have the benefit of a millennial baby boom as the "echo boomers" start having offspring in large numbers later in this decade. This next surge in growth may be delayed if tough economic times continue, but over time the rise in births will add to the work force, boost consumer spending and allow for new creative inputs. (And the European social welfare system will collapse—as will we if we follow suit.)

More Questionable Material Found in U.N. Climate Report
http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/60406
So will Al Gore give back his Nobel, the $100M he’s made off this scam, and say he’s sorry? Will I be Time’s Person of the Year? Excerpt: The U.N. climate report that contains an erroneous claim on the rate of glacier retreat also includes references to studies not originating from peer-reviewed scientific literature, some of them linked to environmental activists. A review of references listed in the four-volume 2007 U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report shows that it includes reports linked to various green groups, including WWF and Greenpeace. The IPCC has now admitted that the report contains a “poorly substantiated” prediction that Himalayan glaciers will disappear by 2035.

Obama’s core supporters still with his agenda
http://www.cpusa.org/
Excerpt: This is a time of transition and renewal. The election of President Barack Obama and ending Republican majority rule in the House and Senate has opened many padlocked doors. The long nightmare of right-wing misrule could be coming to an end. Our nation’s political landscape is changing. The possibilities for transformative, progressive changes are enormous. This past year of struggle for national health care reform proves that the ultra-right, bankrolled by Wall Street and the big corporations, will stop at nothing to filibuster meaningful change. They are a ferocious enemy. Yet the struggle was advanced and the foundation was laid for a health care victory in the months and years ahead. The main arena of battle in 2010 is the midterm elections. The Republican right is amassing a huge war-chest in hopes of recapturing majority control of the House and increase their ability to use the filibuster in the Senate . They want to misdirect the mass anger over the continuing economic crisis towards the administration, minorities and immigrant workers. Our convention will chart a fight back strategy to defeat this rightwing threat. We align ourselves with the broad multi racial, politically diverse coalition that delivered the historic victory in the 2008 election. The challenge now is to consolidate, widen and deepen that victory which can help open an era of progressive change. As we enter a new year — and a new decade — we are confident that the democratic, progressive majority can win the day. The struggle for green jobs and to end the plague of foreclosures can be won. Racial and gender equality can be advanced. All forms of bigotry, so poisonous to any democratic process, can be set back. The building of a much larger trade union movement and all people’s movement is within our grasp. And we can end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that cost thousands of Iraqi, Afghan and U.S. lives and a trillion tax dollars needed to rebuild our country. A larger Communist Party and YCL and a greatly expanded readership of People’s World and Political Affairs on the internet is necessary and possible in this period. (guess it’s the Gulag for this counter-revolutionary.)

Video: Jon Stewart mocks Obama for using a teleprompter in a classroom
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Video-Jon-Stewart-mocks-Obama-for-using-a-teleprompter-in-a-classroom-82686097.html
Jon Stewart lightly chided President Obama's use of a teleprompter last night, noting that the President's message was taking a beating in the public view. "You set up a presidential podium and a teleprompter in a 6th grade classroom?" Stewart asked incredulously, after showing a clip of Obama's 'address' to middle schoolers in Falls Church, Va.

Congress Sacks Samoan Economy
http://peterschiffchannel.blogspot.com/2010/01/congress-sacks-samoan-economy-by-peter.html
Excerpt: Like many football fans around the country, I recently tuned into a heavily promoted 60 Minutes segment on the uncanny ability of tiny American Samoa to produce a steady stream of NFL players. Although it was certainly interesting to learn how Pacific island warrior culture translated seamlessly into the disciplines of American football, and how the island's players adapted to the hard-scrabble terrain and poorly funded athletic fields, the most interesting aspect of the piece concerned economics rather than sports. In passing, the narrator mentioned that American Samoa had recently experienced major setbacks, both natural and man-made. Earthquakes and tsunamis had left scores dead and inflicted major damage on the islands’ infrastructure. More ominously, one of the two major tuna canneries, which together accounted for up to half of the islands’ private sector jobs,[i] had closed. If the second cannery closes, as 60 Minutes mentioned is a distinct possibility, American Samoa will become completely dependent on Federal support. Whether the reporters considered the subject off-target for their piece or simply could not connect the dots, the pending economic disaster was left largely unexamined. However, the Samoan situation offers a very clear lesson for the rest of America about how government policies can devastate an economy, and how the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Ukraine's Election and the Russian Resurgence
http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20100125_ukraines_election_and_russian_resurgence?utm_source=GWeekly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=100126&utm_content=readmore&elq=ce48c95dfa4f420797007c1485130498
Ukrainians go to the polls Feb. 7 to choose their next president. The last time they did this, in November 2004, the result was the prolonged international incident that became known as the Orange Revolution. That event saw Ukraine cleaved off from the Russian sphere of influence, triggering a chain of events that rekindled the Russian-Western Cold War. Next week’s runoff election seals the Orange Revolution’s reversal. Russia owns the first candidate, Viktor Yanukovich, outright and has a workable agreement with the other, Yulia Timoshenko. The next few months will therefore see the de facto folding of Ukraine back into the Russian sphere of influence; discussion in Ukraine now consists of debate over the speed and depth of that reintegration.

Report says Al-Qaeda still aims to use weapons of mass destruction against U.S.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/25/AR2010012502598.html?wpisrc=newsletter
well, if they’ve put it together, the KSM trial gives them a perfect time. Excerpt: When al-Qaeda's No. 2 leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, called off a planned chemical attack on New York's subway system in 2003, he offered a chilling explanation: The plot to unleash poison gas on New Yorkers was being dropped for "something better," Zawahiri said in a message intercepted by U.S. eavesdroppers. The meaning of Zawahiri's cryptic threat remains unclear more than six years later, but a new report warns that al-Qaeda has not abandoned its goal of attacking the United States with a chemical, biological or even nuclear weapon.

Hood Massacre Report Gutless and Shameful
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/hood_massacre_report_gutless_and_yaUphSPCoMs8ux4lQdtyGM
Excerpt: There are two basic problems with the grotesque non-report on the Islamist- terror massacre at Fort Hood (released by the Defense Department yesterday): It's not about what happened at Fort Hood. It avoids entirely the issue of why it happened. Rarely in the course of human events has a report issued by any government agency been so cowardly and delusional. It's so inept, it doesn't even rise to cover-up level. "Protecting the Force: Lessons From Fort Hood" never mentions Islamist terror. Its 86 mind-numbing pages treat "the alleged perpetrator," Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, as just another workplace shooter (guess they're still looking for the pickup truck with the gun rack).

Rape victim receives 101 lashes for becoming pregnant
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/bangladesh/7073191/Rape-victim-receives-101-lashes-for-becoming-pregnant.html
No doubt we’ll hear strong condemnations of Shari’a Law from American feminists—maybe after the child is a grandparent. Excerpt: A 16-year-old girl who was raped in Bangladesh has been given 101 lashes for conceiving during the assault.

Palestinian Wife-Beating: The Jews Made Them Do It
http://frontpagemag.com/2010/01/26/palestinian-wife-beating-the-jews-made-them-do-it/
Excerpt: Their study is titled: “Association between exposure to political violence and intimate-partner violence in the occupied Palestinian territory: a cross-sectional study.” And yes, they have found that Palestinian husbands are more violent towards Palestinian wives as a function of the Israeli “occupation”—and that the violence increases significantly when the husbands are “directly” as opposed to “indirectly” exposed to political violence. I believe that Arab and Muslim men, including Palestinian men, are indeed violent towards Arab and Muslim women. I also believe that war-related stress, including poverty, usually increases “intimate partner violence,” aka male domestic violence. But beyond that, how does one evaluate this study? First, let’s follow the money. This study was funded by the Palestinian National Authority as well as by the Core Funding Group at the University of Minnesota. The Palestinian Authority is not a disinterested party. But even worse: The data was collected by the Palestinian Central Bureau. These are the people who told the world that Israeli soldiers shot young Mohammed al-Dura, committed a massacre in Jenin, and purposely attacked Palestinian civilians (who just happened to be jihadists dressed in civilian clothing or hostage-civilians behind whom the jihadists hid).

Report: US weapon test aimed at Iran caused Haiti quake
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=116834&sectionid=351020104
Unfortunately, the Political-Religious system that is Islam keeps Muslims so ignorant that many will believe such rubbish. Excerpt: An unconfirmed report by the Russian Northern Fleets says the Haiti earthquake was caused by a flawed US Navy 'earthquake weapons' test before the weapons could be utilized against Iran. United States Navy test of one of its 'earthquake weapons' which was to be used against Iran, went 'horribly wrong' and caused the catastrophic quake in the Caribbean, the website of Venezuela's ViVe TV recently reported, citing the Russian report. After the report was released, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez also made a similar claim, saying that a US drill, carried out in preparation for a deliberate attempt to cause an earthquake in Iran, had led to the deadly incident in Haiti, claiming more than 110,000 lives.

Texas: Man beheads his 2-year-old niece, kills four other family members -- his sister blames his conversion to Islam
http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/01/texas-man-beheads-his-2-year-old-niece-kills-four-other-family-members----his-sister-blames-his-conv.html
Guess they didn’t give him the Islam-is-a-religion-of-peace briefing.

Pakistan: Abuse, death of 12-year-old girl highlights plight of Christian domestic workers
http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/01/pakistan-abuse-death-of-12-year-old-girl-highlights-plight-of-christian-domestic-workers.html
Excerpt: Qur'an 4:3 permits Muslim men to have sexual relations with captives and slaves, and it is the supposed divine endorsement of the idea that makes it so persistent in Muslim countries -- most notoriously in Saudi Arabia, but not only there. "Lahore: 12-year-old Christian domestic worker killed by Muslim employer," from Asia News, January 25:…. Local Christians say that during that period the girl was the victim of constant harassment, and that she was raped and tortured before she was killed.

Legends of Vietnam: Bronco's Tale
http://www.airspacemag.com/military-aviation/Legends-of-Vietnam-Broncos-Tale.html
Another Vietnam vet coming back for Afghanistan?

State of the Union speech pivots to employment reform
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/State-of-the-Union-speech-pivots-to-employment-reform-82637802.html
Satire. I hope. Excerpt: With his health care agenda on the back burner in the wake of Republican Sen.-elect Scott Brown's election in Massachusetts, President Obama plans to use Wednesday night's State of the Union address to unveil sweeping employment-reform legislation that would provide a good job to every American regardless of his ability to work, and would prevent companies from declining to employ applicants who suffer pre-existing conditions like laziness, incompetence, or kleptomania. While critics contend that Brown's election signals a rejection of centralized government control of the economy and its accompanying loss of liberty, senior Obama adviser David Axelrod said Americans merely disagree with the administration's priorities. "When you're unemployed," said Axelrod, "you don't have time to think about anything else. Americans are telling the president they want him to take the reins of the job market first, before taking over health care. They're going to hear a plan Wednesday night that takes career decisions out of the hands of greedy corporate fat cats, and guarantees employment regardless of economic conditions."

MasterLard
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McfkyBFiiIE
Too funny.

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