Paul Harvey passed away on 2/28/09 at the age of 90(video tribute)
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Presidential candidate Barack Obama criticized President Bush's lack of progress on human rights. In paticular he criticized President Bush's decision to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing. He said,
"In the absence of some sense of progress, in the absence of some sense from the Dalai Lama that there was progress, I would not have gone," the presidential candidate told reporters at a news conference.
Barack Obama also said,
"It strikes me that although some meetings have been taking place, that we were not aggressive in encouraging the Chinese government to make serious concessions there,"
Fast forward to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to China. She said,
"Our pressing on those issues" -- issues she didn't identify any more fully -- "can't interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis."
This is quite a turnaround in a few short months. Now, human rights are secondary to global warming and economic concerns. The Obama team has went from "How dare George Bush ignore the suffering in Tibet," to " Can we sell you some US shackles made with recycled materials?"
Rep. Barney Frank was very hypocritical when he criticized the Bush administration about the bank bailout. Of course, he was one of the congressmen who pressed for more loans to low income groups that could not afford them. Those loans are one of the reasons for the banking crisis. Now, he is criticizing banks for sponsoring sports teams. He should be criticizing banks for donating more than $230,000 to his campaign over the last two years.
Frank Rips CitiField Then Welcomes Bank Money
Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank is one of the most powerful politicians in the country, serving as head of the House Financial Services Committee. And lately, he’s been one of the more outspoken critics of banks receiving bailout money paying big bucks for corporate sponsorships, complaining to the NEW YORK TIMES about Citigroup’s 20-year, $400 million stadium naming deal with the Mets that “marketing expenses should be for real marketing, not ego boosts, which is what I think naming rights are.”
It seems Rep. Frank would rather banks stop frittering away money on sports sponsorships and put it where it can go to good use - into his own coiffers. That’s because the securities and investment industry has been Rep. Frank’s main contributor over the past two years, donating more than $230,000 to his campaign. (excerpt) read more at sportsbybrooks.com
The Wall Street Journal has reported that taxing the rich at 100% won't pay for Obama's budget. Barack Obama promised not to raise taxes on anyone making under $250,000 per year. Where is he going to get the money? The numbers indicate Obama will need to take 100% of the income of everyone making over $75,000.
The 2% Illusion
Take everything they earn, and it still won't be enough.
President Obama has laid out the most ambitious and expensive domestic agenda since LBJ, and now all he has to do is figure out how to pay for it. On Tuesday, he left the impression that we need merely end "tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% of Americans," and he promised that households earning less than $250,000 won't see their taxes increased by "one single dime."
This is going to be some trick. Even the most basic inspection of the IRS income tax statistics shows that raising taxes on the salaries, dividends and capital gains of those making more than $250,000 can't possibly raise enough revenue to fund Mr. Obama's new spending ambitions.
A tax policy that confiscated 100% of the taxable income of everyone in America earning over $500,000 in 2006 would only have given Congress an extra $1.3 trillion in revenue. That's less than half the 2006 federal budget of $2.7 trillion and looks tiny compared to the more than $4 trillion Congress will spend in fiscal 2010. Even taking every taxable "dime" of everyone earning more than $75,000 in 2006 would have barely yielded enough to cover that $4 trillion.(excerpt) read more at online.wsj.com
J.D. Power and Associates Reports that U.S. Light-Vehicle Retail Sales in February are down by nearly 38% from one year ago. GM and Chrysler LLC are receiving TARP money from a government bailout. The suppliers for the US auto companies are not getting any assistance. Many are facing a tight cash flow that could force them into bankruptcy. They have high priced materials (like steel) in their supply chains. Many have significant inventories of goods. While car sales have declined 38%, demand for auto parts for some vehicles have declined even more. Almost every vehicle is now over the desired 60 day dealer inventory window. Very low sales and high priced materials in the supply chain may force many auto suppliers bankrupt. This could lead to a domino effect of prolonged auto manufacturing plant shutdowns. The Obama Administration needs to stimulate car sales this year. Unfortunately, there is nothing in the works that will accomplish that goal. Here is an AP video highlighting the difficulties of one auto parts supplier.
First Person: Auto woes roll down to parts maker(AP)
The struggles of the Big Three auto makers means worry at a range of suppliers making the raw materials going into vehicles, suppliers like FormTech Industries in Royal Oak, Mich. (Feb. 27)
Friday, February 27, 2009
You did not read that number wrong. President Obama has proposed a $3.6 trillion budget for 2010. We used to think in billions, but now we have to shift our thinking to trillions. Do we have that much money in tax revenues? No. We will have to borrow $1.75 trillion dollars mostly from the Chinese. Is Obama turning the economy around with this record spending? No. This is a sad day for America.
Obama Unveils $3.6 Trillion Budget, Sets Aside Billions for Health Care
President Obama's fiscal 2010 budget calls for $3.55 trillion in spending and creates space for up to $750 billion in additional bank bailout funds.
President Obama on Thursday unveiled a $3.55 trillion budget for next year, part of a spending plan that sets aside billions for health care and the ailing financial industry and keeps the federal deficit north of $1 trillion. (excerpt) read more at FoxNews.com
Our founding fathers would have been outraged. Imagine if they had gone to Boston Harbor to dump tea in protest only to be thwarted by environmentalists who think tea would pollute the harbor? This is exactly what is happening in Grand Rapids Iowa. A group of citizens want to have a "Tea Party" tax protest. However, State officials will not allow them to dump real tea into the Cedar River. The Cedar Rapids group will only be allowed to dump dechlorinated tap water or river water from buckets labeled “tea.” If this had happened to our founding fathers, I suspect the Revolutionary War may have started a little earlier.
Cedar Rapids group plans 'tea' party
By ERIN JORDAN • firstname.lastname@example.org • February 26, 2009
A Cedar Rapids group will do a symbolic tea dumping into the Cedar River on Saturday because state officials won’t let them use the real thing.
An anti-tax group wanted to pitch in real tea like the Bostonian revolutionaries opposed to England’s tea taxes.
Tea, although natural and quite tasty, is considered a pollutant that can’t go into a body of water without a permit, said Mike Wade, a senior environmental specialist at the DNR’s Manchester field office.
“Discoloration is considered a violation,” Wade said.
Although not as steeped in history, the Cedar Rapids Tea Party will dump dechlorinated tap water or riverwater from buckets labeled “tea,” said Tim Pugh, the group’s founder. (excerpt) read more at desmoinesregister.com
Posted by Bluegrass Pundit at 5:52 AM
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are unhappy with Barack Obama's plan to begin drawing down troops in Iraq. They think keeping 50,000 troops in Iraq is not justified. perhaps they can arrange to bring in peacekeeping forces from neighboring Iran.
Top lawmakers skeptical of Obama's Iraq plan
By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer Anne Flaherty, Associated Press Writer –
WASHINGTON – Congressional leaders were skeptical as they awaited details on President Barack Obama's plan to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq while leaving tens of thousands behind. Senior administration officials were expected to outline a plan that would bring most of the 142,000 forces home by August 2010. As many as 50,000 troops could remain for cleanup and protection operations.
"I have been one for a long time that's called for significant cutbacks in Iraq, and I am happy to listen to the secretary of defense and the president," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters Thursday before the briefing at the White House. "But when they talk about 50,000, that's a little higher number than I had anticipated."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had said Wednesday that she too wanted to hear the president's justification for keeping 50,000 troops in Iraq. (excerpt) read more at news.yahoo.com
Posted by Bluegrass Pundit at 8:39 PM
The Senate took a step towards banning the re-institution of the Fairness Doctrine today. The measure was added as an amendment to the bill giving District of Columbia residents a vote in the Houses. It passed 87-11. Many democrats have sought a return of the Fairness Doctrine as a way to destroy Republicans edge in talk radio.
Senate bars FCC from revisiting Fairness Doctrine
By JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer Jim Abrams, Associated Press Writer – Thu Feb 26, 3:49 pm ET
WASHINGTON – The Senate voted Wednesday to bar federal regulators from reimposing a policy, abandoned two decades ago, that required balanced coverage of issues on public airwaves. The pre-emptive strike against the so-called Fairness Doctrine has been actively pushed by conservative radio talk show hosts who have warned that Democrats would seek to revive the policy to ensure that liberal opinions get equal time.
The 87-11 vote added the measure as an amendment to a bill giving District of Columbia residents a vote in the Houses.
Most Democrats voted along with the amendment, pushed by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., but said it was unneeded because President Barack Obama has stated he has no intention of reviving the Fairness Doctrine. They added that it is generally recognized that it is no longer relevant with the proliferation of television networks, some 14,000 AM-FM radio stations and the Internet.
The measure now goes to the House.(excerpt) read more at news.yahoo.com
Posted by Bluegrass Pundit at 8:15 PM
The apple did not fall far from the tree in the case of Roland Burris's son. Roland W. Burris II got a job as housing authority senior counsel on Sept. 10 despite facing foreclosure on his own home and a federal tax lien for $34,163 in unpaid taxes. Burris II built his home in the booming Bronzeville neighborhood on land he bought from the city of Chicago in 2000 for $1. In late December, then Governor Blagojevich appointed Roland Burris Sr. to the senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. This doesn't pass the smell test, but little about Chicago and Illinois politics ever does.
BURRIS' SON GOT STATE JOB FROM BLAGO
SCANDAL MUSHROOMS | He serves as housing authority counsel despite facing foreclosure on his own home
February 26, 2009
BY CHRIS FUSCO, TIM NOVAK AND DAVE MCKINNEY Staff Reporters
The son of embattled Sen. Roland Burris is a federal tax deadbeat who landed a $75,000-a-year state job under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich five months ago, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.
Blagojevich's administration hired Roland W. Burris II as a senior counsel for the state's housing authority Sept. 10 -- about six weeks after the Internal Revenue Service slapped a $34,163 tax lien on Burris II and three weeks after a mortgage company filed a foreclosure suit on his South Side house. (excerpted) read more at suntimes.com
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va) is accusing President Obama of a power grab. Sen. Byrd is concerned that the appointment of "czars" to oversee federal policy, instead of Senate approved cabinet officials, will threaten the system of checks and balances. Ironically, this is the same thing President Bush was criticized for.
Byrd: Obama in power grab
By JOHN BRESNAHAN | 2/25/09 10:34 AM EST
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the longest-serving Democratic senator, is criticizing President Obama’s appointment of White House “czars” to oversee federal policy, saying these executive positions amount to a power grab by the executive branch.
In a letter to Obama on Wednesday, Byrd complained about Obama’s decision to create White House offices on health reform, urban affairs policy, and energy and climate change. Byrd said such positions “can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances. At the worst, White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials.” (excerpt) read more at politico.com
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
What would you do if you had no police, fire protection or garbage pick up? The Mayor of Turrell, AR shut all city services down in response to a budget crisis. He is refusing to answer any questions about the cause. Reportedly, the budget crisis has to do with the IRS. Local residents are outraged. One resident stated he would rather have a dog for Mayor.
Video from ABC24 Top Stories
Voting along party lines, the Democratically controlled House passed another $410 billion in spending on top of the $787 billion stimulus bill that President Barack Obama signed last week. This bill has over 9,000 earmarks included in it. This legislation will grow the government at an 8.3 percent rate. Congress has passed $1197 billion in new spending in the last few sessions. When you add the $700 billion in TARP money for bank bailouts, the total is $1897 billion in new spending. When you divide this money by the approximately 110 million US households, the spending comes to $17, 245 per household. How much money will taxpayers get? Taxpayers are individually getting only $8 a week in tax cuts from these three bills. Democrats love to spend our money for us.
House OKs $410B spending, reverses Bush policies
Feb 25 06:13 PM US/Eastern
By DAVID ESPO
AP Special Correspondent
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Democratic-controlled House pushed through $410 billion legislation Wednesday that boosted domestic programs, bristled with earmarks and chipped away at policies left behind by the Bush administration.
The vote was 245-178, largely along party lines.
Republicans assailed the measure as too costly—particularly on the heels of a $787 billion stimulus bill that President Barack Obama signed last week. But Democrats jabbed back.
"The same people who drove the economy into the ditch are now complaining about the size of the tow truck," said Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., pointing out the large increase in deficits that President George W. Bush and GOP-controlled Congresses amassed.
From the GOP side, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas said the legislation was "going to grow the government 8.3 percent ... but the family budget which has to pay for the federal budget only grew at 1.3 percent last year. (exceprt) read more at breitbart.com
Wall Street yawns at President Obama's speech on the economy. All the leading indicators fell over 1% today by closing. A speech filled with misleading facts is not enough to turn around the record low consumer sentiment. America needs tax cuts and we need them now. The $8 per week is an insult to our intelligence.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 80.05, or 1.09 percent, to 7,270.89.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 8.24, or 1.07 percent, to 764.90.
The Nasdaq composite index fell 16.40, or 1.14 percent, to 1,425.43
Charles “Chas” Freeman was a former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia and he had strong business connections to the father of Osama bin Laden. For the last dozen years, Freeman, has been President of the Middle East Policy Council (formally known as the American Arab Affairs Council) a lobbying group for the Arab world. This is a very anti-Israeli organization. The Obama Administration is going to be the most pro-Arab Presidency in US history.
Charles Freeman, Obama’s reported pick for chairman of the National Intelligence Council, talked business with the Bin Laden family even after September 11.
Ashley Rindsberg, Feb. 24, 2009
Amid the criticism that has already emerged about President Obama's reported pick for the powerful position of chairman of the National Intelligence Council, there is an as-yet unmentioned problem that is likely cause even bigger troubles: He had business ties to the bin Laden family after the 9/11 attacks.
Charles “Chas” Freeman, a former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, had business connections with the bin Laden family and their Saudi Binladen Group, a multibillion-dollar construction conglomerate founded by the father of Osama bin Laden. As chairman of Projects International Inc., a company that develops international business deals, Mr. Freeman asserted in an interview with the Associated Press less than a month after September 11 that he was still “discussing proposals with the Binladen Group—and that won't change.(excerpt) read more at thedailybeast.com
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
America is tuning out the liberal Main Stream Media and turning to Fox News in droves. Fox News is leading prime time and daytime cable news ratings during February for the 86th straight month. Many Fox News shows were up over 30% compared to last February.
February Ratings: FNC Beats CNN and MSNBC Combined in Total Viewers
Fox News was the ratings leader during prime time and total day during February 2009 — its 86th month on top. FNC averaged more Total Viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined in prime time and total day.
FNC had nine out of the top 10 programs in cable news last month in Total Viewers. The O'Reilly Factor was #1 for the 99th consecutive month, and was up 33% in Total Viewers compared to February 2008. The other top programs included Hannity (up 38%), Glenn Beck (the 5pmET hour was up 100%), The FOX Report with Shepard Smith (up 30%) and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren (up 24%).(excerpt) read more at mediabistro.com
An active duty soldier is facing a possible court marshal for refusing to accept Obama as Commander-in Chief. Lt. Easterling joined the Army at the age of 40 after working in Iraq as a contractor. According to a WND story, Lt. Easterling wrote,
"Obama has absolutely refused to provide to the American public his original birth certificate, as well as other documents which may prove or disprove his eligibility, In fact, he has fought every attempt made by concerned citizens in their effort to force him to do so. Until Mr. Obama releases a 'vault copy' of his original birth certificate for public review, I will consider him neither my Commander in Chief nor my President, but rather, a usurper to the Office – an impostor."
According to WND,
Lt. has been advised to obtain legal counsel before making any statements regarding the commander-in-chief, but he insisted on moving forward. His contention is that as an active member of the U.S. military, he is required to follow orders from a sitting president, and he needs – on pain of court-martial – to know that Obama is eligible.
Lt. Easterling is the first active duty serviceman to join a lawsuit seeking verification of Obama's natural born status.
The economy will crash deeper into recession in the 2nd half of 2009. Previous predictions of a second half recovery are not expected occur. The economy will actually get worse later in 2009. Unemployment will rise to a level above 9%. The economy is expected to shrink by almost 2% this year. That will make this the worst economic contraction since 1982. This gloomy news comes from leading forecasters in the latest survey by the National Association for Business Economics.
Unemployment Could Hit 9% This Year: NABE
By: AP | 23 Feb 2009 | 09:39 AM ET
Brace yourself: The recession is projected to worsen this year.
The country stands to lose a sizable chunk of economic activity in 2009 as consumers at home and abroad retrench in the face of persistent economic troubles.
And the U.S. unemployment rate—now at 7.6 percent, the highest in more than 16 years—is expected hit a peak of 9 percent this year.
That gloomy outlook came from leading forecasters in the latest survey by the National Association for Business Economics to be released Monday. (excerpt) read more at cnbc.com
Monday, February 23, 2009
A Microsoft spokesman said, "This was a mistake on our part." I am glad they came to their senses.
Microsoft drops payback demand on ex-workers
Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:48pm EST
SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp has dropped an attempt to recoup some severance money from 25 recently fired workers it mistakenly overpaid.
The Redmond, Washington-based company, which announced a plan to cut up to 5,000 jobs in January, acknowledged on Sunday that it had tried to get the overpaid workers to return the extra money. But late on Monday, it reversed course.
"This was a mistake on our part," said a Microsoft spokesman in an e-mailed statement. "We should have handled this situation in a more thoughtful manner." (excerpt) read more at reuters.com
When I first heard this proposal, I thought it was a crazy idea. Now, I am not so sure. Pomegranates yield more then $2000 per acre than opium. The supporters of this proposal claim pomegranate farmers never return to growing opium. The downside is pomegranates are more difficult to transport in dangerous Afghanistan and the trees take 4~5 years to mature. The US Government is putting $12 million into publicizing the proposal.
Here is the video from msnbc.com
San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano wants California to smoke its way out of a budget deficit and I don't mean tobacco
Leave it to a loony Assemblyman from San Fransisco to suggest legalizing marijuana and taxing the sale of it as a way to improve the states budget. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano claims this would raise $1 billion dollars per year with a tax of $50 for every ounce. I wonder how he came up with that number? Perhaps, Assemblyman Ammiano has been doing a little personal research.
Ammiano presents bill to legalize pot
Monday, February 23, 2009 | 12:52 PM
By Terry McSweeney
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano believes California's budget problems can be helped by legalizing marijuana and taxing the sale of it.
He is so serious about this he introduced new legislation on Monday.
Assemblyman Ammiano is a former San Francisco supervisor and used his power in 2006 to make marijuana offenses a low priority for police.
Ammiano is very aware that the State of California is having trouble taxing or saving its way out of its economic mess. He thinks maybe we can smoke our way out of the problem. He wants to slap a tax, legalize and then tax the state's number one cash crop.
He wants to legalize the sale of it, the transportation of it and then tax it $50 for every ounce. No one under 21 would be allowed to purchase it and it would still be illegal to drive under the influence of it.
Ammiano says $1 billion could be raised every year by doing this. It would also save the state money in other ways. (excerpted) read more at abclocal.go.com
Posted by Bluegrass Pundit at 7:29 PM
Investors are refraining from buying stocks because they are uncertain about how the administration of President Barack Obama will handle the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. There is no confidence by investors that the bloated stimulus bill will do anything for the economy in any reasonable time frame. Investors were hoping for a tax cut, but they are now expecting tax increases instead. When you add the talk of nationalizing banks to this witches brew of economic problems, the Dow may see 6000 before the slide stops.
LEAD: Dow hits lowest closing since May 1997 on deeper economic concern
Feb 23 05:47 PM US/Eastern
(AP) - NEW YORK, Feb. 23 (
New York stocks tumbled Monday with the Dow Jones index ending at its lowest level in 11 years and nine months on increased pessimism about the future of the U.S. economy.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which fell 100.28 points and hit its lowest closing since October 2002 last Friday, lost an additional 250.89 points to 7,114.78, its lowest close since May 1997.
The Dow fell three trading days in a row, losing about 440 points during the period.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index, which fell 1.59 points Friday, lost another 53.51 points to 1,387.72. (excerpt) read more at breitbart.com
The US government is getting ready to convert their preferred shares of Citibank into common shares. This will give them a 40% ownership if Citibank. President Obama has tried to halt talk of a government takeover of Citibank and Bank of America. Moves like this make Obama's press statements seem very disingenuous.
Citi Moves One Step Closer To Toast (US May Take 40%+ Stake) (C)
Henry Blodget|Feb. 22, 2009, 9:29 PM
The government is in talks to convert most of its $45 billion of preferred stock in Citi (C) to common stock, the WSJ says. Other preferred shareholders might follow suit.
This plan would raise the government's ownership of Citi to 40%+ from just under 8%. Common shareholders would be severely diluted, especially if other preferred holders convert.(excerpt) read more at businessinsider.com
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Just when you think you could not be any more shocked by the things that got secretly stuck in the stimulus bill, Senator Charles Grassley finds a RAT has been "snuck" into the bill. RAT is an acronym for Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board. A provision of the bill creates this board which will have almost total control over Inspector Generals. This board will have the power to force investigations or halt investigations they do not like. The Chairman of the board will be appointed by(drum roll) President Barack Obama. The owner of this provision has not been identified, but the rumor is it was put in at the request of the White House.
The RAT hiding deep inside the stimulus bill
By Byron York
Chief political correspondent 2/19/09
The far-reaching — and potentially dangerous — provision that no one knows about.
You’ve heard a lot about the astonishing spending in the $787 billion economic stimulus bill, signed into law this week by President Barack Obama. But you probably haven’t heard about a provision in the bill that threatens to politicize the way allegations of fraud and corruption are investigated — or not investigated — throughout the federal government.
The provision, which attracted virtually no attention in the debate over the 1,073-page stimulus bill, creates something called the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board — the RAT Board, as it’s known by the few insiders who are aware of it. The board would oversee the in-house watchdogs, known as inspectors general, whose job is to independently investigate allegations of wrongdoing at various federal agencies, without fear of interference by political appointees or the White House.
In the name of accountability and transparency, Congress has given the RAT Board the authority to ask “that an inspector general conduct or refrain from conducting an audit or investigation.”
When Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, a longtime champion of inspectors general, read the words “conduct or refrain from conducting,” alarm bells went off. The language means that the board — whose chairman will be appointed by the president — can reach deep inside a federal agency and tell an inspector general to lay off some particularly sensitive subject. Or, conversely, it can tell the inspector general to go after a tempting political target.(excerpt) read more at dcexaminer.com
Many illegal immigrants steal social security numbers and use them as their own. They can not easily get a real social security number assigned to them. They must give something to their employer when they are hired. They may be using yours. Under a new law that was intended to strengthen efforts to combat identity theft, some prosecutors are taking these illegal immigrants to court on a charge that could bring two years in jail. Immigrants' rights groups have cried foul and took one of these cases to the Supreme court. They argue these criminals don't know they are using someone's social security number and have no intention of identity theft. If you are using someones social security number, you have already stolen their identification. That is the primary number used for credit, health insurance and taxes. Hopefully, the "Supremes" will rule on the side of protecting law abiding citizens this time.
High court to hear immigrant ID theft case
WASHINGTON (AP) — Ignacio Carlos Flores-Figueroa, an undocumented worker from Mexico, made a curious and undeniably bad decision. After working under an assumed name for six years, he decided to use his real name and exchanged one set of phony identification numbers for another.
The change made his employer suspicious and the authorities were called in. The old numbers were made up, but the new ones he bought happened to belong to real people. Federal prosecutors said that was enough to label Flores-Figueroa an identity thief.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday on prosecutors' aggressive use of a new law that was intended to strengthen efforts to combat identity theft. In at least hundreds of cases last year, workers accused of immigration violations found themselves facing the more serious identity theft charge as well, without any indication they knew their counterfeit Social Security and other identification numbers belonged to actual people and were not made up.
The government has used the charge, which carries a mandatory two-year minimum prison term, to persuade people to plead guilty to the lesser immigration charges and accept prompt deportation. Many of those undocumented workers had been arrested in immigration raids.
The case hinges on how the justices resolve this question: Does it matter whether someone using a phony ID knows that it belongs to someone else? (excerpt) read more at usatoday.com
Microsoft wants laid off employees to return part of their severance pay. I guess over $50 billion is not enough money for Bill Gates. Microsoft recently laid off 1400 workers ,mostly in the US. They have now decided their severance package was too big. They have sent the a letter (see picture) to them asking for the money back. Perhaps some of those mosquitoes Bill Gates recently released at a tech conference have infected him with an insanity virus.
Microsoft wants refund from some laid off workers
by Steven Musil
Microsoft says it made an accounting error when it laid off some employees last month and now feels the best way to correct the error is with what will likely add up to a public relations blunder.
The software giant, which recently laid off 1,400 employees, sent letters (see image below) this week to some of those former workers letting them know that their severance payouts were a bit too "generous" and respectfully requested that the former employees pay back that money, according to a report Saturday on TechCrunch.
"An inadvertent administrative error occurred that resulted in an overpayment in severance pay by Microsoft," the letter states. "We ask that you repay the overpayment and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience to you."
A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that the authenticity of a letter posted on TechCrunch, but declined further comment, saying it was "a private matter between the company and the affected people.(excerpt) read more at news.cnet.com
RINO Arnold Schwarzenegger want us to join the Obama team. He is frothing at the mouth for Obama because Nancy Pelosi , Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein packed lots of goodies in the "Spendulas" bill for cash starved California. Instead of cutting waste from California's budget, Arnold is focusing on smooching Obama's butt for cash. This should just about "terminate" what little relationship he has left with the GOP.
Schwarzenegger says he feels strongly that Obama needs team players right now. He says governors, Congress, the White House—everyone has to play together during these tough times, rather than playing politics and making attacks. (excerpt)read more at Breitbart.com
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) has rejected the "final" offer by Hollywood producers and may be headed for a strike. SAG is another union that just doesn't get it. We are in a recession and all industries are starting to be affected. Hollywood is not immune to this. Fewer movies may be made this year. Paramount, Viacom and NBC Universal have announced cuts. SAG is holding out for a two year contract. Most unions have a three year contract and other guilds and unions in Hollywood have have accepted this offer. The Screen Actors Guild is holding out for a shorter term and more royalty money. SAG is one of the greediest unions in America and one of the reasons why movies often cost over $100 million to make. Does anyone really think actors in Hollywood are underpaid? SAG even overcharges their membership. They charge their members an initiation fee of $2,277 to join. Then, they get 1.85% of all individual earnings under SAG contracts between $1 and $200,000. The scale slides down for higher amounts. SAG needs to face the reality of current economic conditions, but that is unlikely. People who live and work in Hollywood are out of touch with the rest of America. Hollywood was key to Obama winning the presidency. Perhaps he will give his Hollywood supporters a bailout.
SAG rejects 'final offer' from producers
Feb 22 03:50 AM US/Easter
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Screen Actors Guild board of directors on Saturday rejected the "last, best and final offer" by Hollywood producers for a new contract.
The contract was rejected by 73 percent of SAG's board members, spokeswoman Pamela Greenwalt said in a statement.
SAG called the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers' demand for the contract to run for three years instead of two, "regressive and damaging."
Producers insist the three-year contract would start when it is ratified, instead of when the last one expired, which would mean SAG would not be able to join with the writers' and directors' guilds to increase their bargaining power when their contracts expire in 2011.
A statement released by the producers alliance said its offer was strong and fair and it had always sought a three-year deal, just as it had negotiated with other guilds and unions.
"We simply cannot offer SAG a better deal than the rest of the industry achieved under far better economic conditions than those now confronting our industry," the statement said. (excerpt) read more at Breitbart.com
Saturday, February 21, 2009
I am not a big Alan Keyes fan, but I did enjoy this video. Alan Keyes calls Obama an "Obamanation" for his position on "born alive" abortion. Also, he questions Obama's status as a natural born citizen and calls him an "usurper". Then, he really gets going. Wow! No punches held here.
Terrorists are like cockroaches. Just when you think you have them eradicated, a new bunch reappear. The Al Qaida linked Abu Sayyaf terrorist group is making a resurgence in the Philippines. With US assistance,the Philippine military had this terrorst organization on the ropes in recent years. The Phillippines will need assistance once again to defeat Abu Sayyaf. With President Obama wanting to scale back military operations and spending, this assistance may not materialize.
Abu Sayyaf's new generation threatens Philippines
By JIM GOMEZ, Associated Press Writer Jim Gomez, Associated Press Writer – Sat Feb 21, 1:52 pm ET
MANILA, Philippines – Not long ago, the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group was dismissed as all but dead, thanks to a much-heralded joint effort against terrorism by the U.S. and the Philippine military.
Now there is fear that the Abu Sayyaf may be coming back.
The group is blamed for a spate of kidnappings in recent months, including the latest — that of a Sri Lankan peace worker on southern Basilan Island earlier this month. Abu Sayyaf raised more than $1.5 million last year through ransoms, and its ranks rose to 400 members last year from 383 in 2007, a confidential government report noted. Also, new leaders are rising to take the place of those captured by U.S.-backed troops.
The rebirth of Abu Sayyaf raises renewed fears of terrorism. So far Abu Sayyaf has focused on raising money through kidnappings, but it is likely to pursue high-profile assaults to reassert its stature as a terror group, the report noted. Abu Sayyaf has also allowed foreign militants, mostly members of the regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, to make the region their home.(excerpt) read more at news.yahoo.com
Abu Ghraib prison is reopening under Iraqi control. The prison was closed in 2006. It was handed over to the Iraqis and never used in any significant way until now. Abu Ghraib will now be called the "Baghdad Central Prison". We can all sleep well knowing the Iraqis treat their prisoners in a more humane manner than the Americans did. If you believe that, you have stopped drinking the Cool-aid and started eating the powder straight from the package.
Iraq's infamous Abu Ghraib prison reopened, with a new name and official promises Saturday of humane treatment in a lockup notorious as a center for abuse. (Feb. 21)
Many have wondered if the BBC had a pro-Palestinian bias in their reporting. This has now been confirmed. Over 400 of their staff have signed a protest petition because they failed to air a video that the corporation deemed to be too biased in favor of Palestinians. That must have been one very biased news video. Hat tip to Axis of Right.
BBC staff to deliver 400-strong petition over Gaza appeal decision
More than 400 BBC staff have signed a petition in protest at the corporation' decision not to broadcast the Gaza humanitarian aid appeal after the BBC Trust yesterday backed director general Mark Thompson's handling of the issue.
Broadcasting union Bectu said the petition would be handed to Thompson's office today while a copy would also be delivered to the BBC Trust.
Signatories to the petition expressed their "deep disappointment" with Thompson's decision to block the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal last month and urged him to reverse his stance. The decision led to 40,000 complaints to the corporation and nationwide protests outside its offices. (excerpted) read more at guardian.co.uk
The Chandra Levi murder was big news in 2001. She was allegedly having an affair with California Democratic Congressman Gary Condit. This bad publicity ended Congressman Condit's political career. He was never charged and settle a defamation lawsuit against several tabloids. Hopefully, the truth will soon be known about who slayed this young woman. The Lexington Herald-Leader is reporting an arrest may be near.
Reports: Arrest close in Chandra Levy slaying
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- An arrest may be near in the nearly decade-old slaying of federal intern Chandra Levy, whose disappearance in 2001 ended Gary Condit's congressional career, several television stations reported.
The California Democrat was romantically linked to Levy, but was not considered a suspect in her death or disappearance. Television stations, KFSN and KCRA in California and WRC in Washington, D.C., reported that police were seeking an arrest warrant.
Levy's parents said Friday outside their Modesto, Calif., home that police called them and told them an arrest was near.
"Your child is dead and gone and it's painful, but we're glad that the police and people are doing something, and investigating, and making a difference so somebody's not on the street to do it again," Chandra's mother, Susan Levy, told KGO-TV in San Francisco.
The parents did not say when an arrest warrant might be issued.
The 24-year-old Levy disappeared in May 2001 and at the time, she was wearing jogging clothes when she left her apartment. Her remains were found in Rock Creek Park in Washington about a year later.
Authorities questioned the married Condit in her disappearance. He reportedly told police that he and Levy were having an affair, and while he was not considered a suspect, the negative publicity was cited as the main cause of the Condit's re-election defeat in 2002. (excerpted) read more at Kentucky.com
This video from the Anchorage Daily News on Friday is a great example of how Sarah Palin connects to voters in rural and suburban areas. She comes across as extremely sincere and down to earth. She is able to relate her and her families lives and experiences in a way that makes people feel she understands them and shares their concerns. Also, Gov. Sarah Palin demonstrates she has depth and foresight when thinking about the issues faced by rural Alaskans.
Here is the video.
Here is the story. Read more at the alaskadispatch.com
Palin speaks from heart on struggling rural Alaska
Feb 20, 2009
This video, shot by the Anchorage Daily News on Friday, highlights interviews with Gov. Sarah Palin and Franklin Graham, and it's interesting, not because of Graham -- son of Rev. Billy Graham -- but because of Palin's thoughtful remarks on the never-ending struggle facing many villages.
Palin approached a topic that most Alaska politicians shy away from -- the need to seek employment and opportunities outside village Alaska. (For Outside readers, there are more than 200 villages in Alaska, most unconnected to roads and the power grid.)
This video from CBS News claims Pakistan screens drone missile targets. CBS is claiming high value targets like Mullah Omar are never targeted due to their close ties to Pakistani intelligence. CBS does not show any evidence to back up this statement. Pakistan denies this is true. Of course, Pakistan denies we are basing drones on their territory. That has now been proven to be false by a Google Earth photo(shown in video). Watch the video and decide for yourself.
February 21, 2009
Despite being strong allies, anti-American sentiment is growing in Pakistan as U.S. military drone missiles are being launched against suspected militants. David Martin reports.
Friday, February 20, 2009
The call for Burris resignation grows. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says Sen. Roland Burris should resign.(video)
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is now calling for Senator Burris to resign. My guess is Burris will ignore the growing clamor for his resignation. If he had an ounce of integrity, he would not have accepted the appointment in the first place. President Obama has been strangely silent on this controversy.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says Sen. Roland Burris should resign because the controversy surrounding his appointment has cast a shadow over his service in the Senate. (Feb. 20)
Sen. Jim DeMint is introducing a bill to force a vote on the Fairness Doctrine. The more I learn about Sen. Jim DeMint; the more I wish he was my Senator. He is a rising star in the Republican Party and a man who is willing to take a leading role, even if there is risk. The Republican Party is in need of bold leaders now. We should all support Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina.
DeMint to Force Vote on Fairness Doctrine
Thursday, February 19, 2009 6:49 PM
By: Jim Meyers Article Font Size
Sen. Jim DeMint announced that he will force a vote next week on a bill that prevents the Federal Communications Commission from reinstating the
The South Carolina Republican's bill, the Broadcaster Freedom Act, is co-sponsored by John Thune, R-S.D., and 27 others and will be offered as an amendment to the D.C. Voting Rights bill.
President Barack Obama is opposed to any move to bring back the Fairness Doctrine, spokesman Ben LaBolt said Wednesday.
But as Sen. DeMint notes in a statement, some Democrats in Congress have indicated that they would support a reinstatement.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, asked in a recent interview if she favored reinstatement, said: "I think it's absolutely time to pass a standard. Now, whether it's called the Fairness Standard, whether it's called something else, I absolutely think it's time to be bringing accountability to the airwaves."
Back in June, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked by John Gizzi of Human Events if she personally supported the revival of the Fairness Doctrine, and she declared: "Yes." (exceprted) read more at newsmax.com
This rant by CNBC analyst Rick Santelli has become an internet phenomenon. He makes an impassioned critique of President Obama's mortgage-rescue plan and suggest Americans have a "tea party". Watch the video.
Obama's housing plan will cost $275 billion in taxpayer dollars. He is spending $75 billion for direct support to distressed homeowners and $200 billion to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This money is in addition to the $700 billion in TARP program money already committed. This amount is far greater then the $50 billion first reported. Most Americans want to be sympathetic to homeowners facing foreclosure. If the reason is loss of employment due to the recession, many would support some form assistance. The truth is many of these homeowners bought houses they could not afford in overpriced markets. They were hoping the property values would keep climbing and they could make a killing. They made a poor financial decision. Now, Obama wants those of us who bought more modest housing to help pay for the speculators mistake. There is something fundamentally wrong in this plan. People who watch their budgets and make sound decisions should not have to pay for the mistakes of spendthrifts. This is socialism for the upper middle class.
$275 Billion Plan Seeks to Address Housing Crisis
Joshua Lott for The New York Times
Article Tools Sponsored By
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG and EDMUND L. ANDREWS
Published: February 18, 2009
MESA, Ariz. — President Obama announced a plan on Wednesday to help as many as nine million American homeowners refinance their mortgages or avert foreclosure, saying that it would shore up housing prices, stabilize neighborhoods and slow a downward spiral that was “unraveling homeownership, the middle class and the American Dream itself.”
Speaking in Mesa, Ariz., President Obama said that the housing bailout would “prevent the worst consequences of this crisis from wreaking even greater havoc on the economy.”
The plan, which was more ambitious and expensive than many housing analysts had expected, drew praise from consumer advocates as well as the financial industry.
It could ultimately cost taxpayers as much as $275 billion — $75 billion in direct spending to keep people in their homes and the rest in additional financial backing for the government-controlled mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (excerpted) read more at nytimes.com
Friday, Saab filed for bankruptcy protection from it's creditors. Saab is a Swedish-based subsidiary of GM. This move came after the Swedish government refused GM's begging for a bailout. This is very strange situation. Socialist Sweden is refusing to bailout their automotive industry. Allegedly, capitalist America is throwing billions of taxpayer dollars down the automotive bailout sinkhole. I never thought I would say this, but I hope our government finds the wisdom of Sweden. That really left a bad taste in my mouth.
GM unit Saab files for protection from creditors
Feb 20 04:56 AM US/Eastern
By KARL RITTER
Associated Press Writer
STOCKHOLM (AP) - General Motors Corp.'s Swedish-based subsidiary Saab filed for bankruptcy protection Friday so it can be spun off or sold by its struggling U.S. parent, officials said.
The move comes after Sweden turned down GM's request for government help for Saab.
An application to reorganize the Swedish-based unit was filed at a district court in Vanersborg, in southwestern Sweden, Saab spokeswoman Margareta Hogstrom said.
The move comes after the Swedish government rejected a request from loss-making GM to inject money into the carmaker. GM, which is seeking help from the U.S. government to avoid bankruptcy at home, has been looking for buyers for Saab but said it needs more funding to spin off or sell the division.
"We explored and will continue to explore all available options for funding and/or selling Saab and it was determined a formal restructuring would be the best way to create a truly independent entity that is ready for investment," Saab's managing director, Jan Ake Jonsson, said in a statement.(excerpted) read more at breitbart.com
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Officer pulls over driver and seizes anti-Obama sign. This is outrageous. No unbiased police officer should think a sign saying abort Obama, not the unborn was a threat to President Obama. The sign has now been returned to the driver. However, he did get a visit from the Secret service. They did not find him to be a threat.
John Kerry was very vocal about alleged war crimes committed by the U.S. in Vietnam. He doesn't have any problem accepting a letter from known terrorist group Hamas. The letter is for President Obama and it was delivered by U.N. officials. Senator Kerry and the U.N. seem to working be together for the benefit of a terrorist group. Why am I not surprised?
Kerry Accepts Letter from Hamas for Obama
Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman detours on trip to Israel into stronghold of Hamas terrorists, where he gets a letter for President Obama delivered by U.N. officials.
Sen. John Kerry accepted a letter for President Barack Obama from Hamas leaders on Thursday, FOX News learned.
A U.N. relief agency official could not say what the contents of the letter were but said U.N. officials passed the letter to Kerry on behalf of the European- and U.S.-designated terror group. (excerpted) read more at foxnews.com
Video of Kerry's Gaza visit
There is a growing chorus for Illinois Senator Burris's resignation. Even black pastors from Chicago are abandoning him now.
APNewsBreak: Black pastors to ask Burris to resign
Feb 19 04:56 PM US/Eastern
By TAMMY WEBBER
Associated Press Writ
CHICAGO (AP) - A Chicago minister tells The Associated Press he and other black pastors who previously supported U.S. Sen. Roland Burris now plan to ask him to resign. The minister spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because a meeting with Burris hadn't yet been scheduled. He says the senator can no longer serve effectively.(excerpted) read more at breitbart.com
I hope President Obama is not this foolish. I do believe, due to his Islamic roots, he has a more tolerant view of Islamic fanaticism than most Americans. Sharia Law is completely outdated and has no place in a modern society. The Taliban think stoning women to death for minor transgressions is a good thing.
US privately backs Pakistan's 'Sharia law for peace' deal with Taliban
American officials have privately backed Pakistan's "Sharia law for peace" deal with Taliban militants in the Swat Valley despite publicly criticising it as a "negative development".By Dean Nelson, Javed Siddiq in Islamabad and Emal Khan in Peshawar
Last Updated: 7:25PM GMT 17 Feb 2009
The deal, under which Sharia law will be introduced in the Malakhand and Kohistan districts of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province if Taliban militants end their armed campaign in the Swat Valley, has been met with alarm by Nato chiefs and British and American officials.
Nato fears the deal would create a new "safe haven" for extremists, said a spokesman on Tuesday night, while a statement from Britain's High Commission in Islamabad said: "Previous peace deals have not provided a comprehensive and long-term solution to Swat's problems. We need to be confident that they will end violence, not create space for further violence."
President Barack Obama's special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan voiced the greatest concern about the strength of Taliban militants in Swat as he ended his first visit to the region since taking up his post.
"I talked to people from Swat and they were, frankly, quite terrified. Swat has really deeply affected the people of Pakistan, not just in Peshawar but in Lahore and Islamabad," he said, while a Defence Department official described the deal as a "negative development".
On Tuesday night however, US officials in Islamabad privately backed the deal as an attempt to drive a wedge between Swat's Taliban, which is focused on its demand for Sharia law, and the al-Qaeda-linked Taliban led by Baitullah Mehsud, the notorious commander who controls much of North and South Waziristan and other tribal areas along the Afghan border. (excerpted) read more at telegraph.co.uk
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
The UAW has failed to give serious concessions to the Big Three as part of a deal to satisfy the terms of the automotive bailout. They have only offered token reductions that will mean very little to Detroit's bottom line. According to the Associated Press the UAW agreed to limit overtime, reduce cash bonuses, forgo cost of living pay increases and limit supplemental pay for laid-off workers. Are they serious? Who in the automotive manufacturing sector is working overtime now? Auto production is down almost 40% this year. Also, they are going to reduce their cash bonuses? How do you get a cash bonus when you have helped drive your company bankrupt? Who do they think they are? Bank executives? No one I know gets supplemental pay from their former employer when they are laid-off. When a company can not afford to pay their current employees, they should not be giving money to laid-off employees. The UAW have refused to take a cut in their base wages. The retiree health care cost issue is still not resolved. The 'Big Three' want the UAW to take half of their 20 billion dollar payment as stock. The UAW only wants to delay the payment, but this issue is still not settled. The CEO's of GM and Chrysler LLC should be embarrassed to beg for another 17 billion in taxpayer dollars. There is something unjust about taking money from a worker struggling by on 20 or 30 thousand dollars a year and using it to save the job of someone with a $70,000 wage and benefit package. The UAW will declare this deal a major concession. The leaders of the 'Big Three" will stay silent because they need more bailout money. The Obama Administration will look the other way and hand over more of our tax dollars.
AP: UAW, Big Three Reach Deal On Concessions
By Tom Krisher and Kimberly S. Johnson, AP Auto Writers
Manufacturing.Net - February 18, 2009
DETROIT (AP) -- The United Auto Workers' deal with Detroit's three automakers limits overtime, changes work rules, cuts lump-sum cash bonuses and gets rid of cost-of-living pay raises to help reduce the companies' labor costs, people briefed on the agreement said Wednesday.
The UAW announced Tuesday that it reached the tentative agreement with General Motors Corp., Chrysler LLC and Ford Motor Co. over contract concessions, as GM and Chrysler sent plans to the Treasury Department asking for a total of $39 billion in government financing to help them survive.
Concessions with the union are a condition of the $17.4 billion in government loans that the automakers have received so far.
Base wages for UAW workers will remain the same, but the deal limits supplemental pay that laid-off workers receive while they collect unemployment benefits, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because union members have not been told about the terms.(excerpted) read more at manufacturing.net
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
A-Rod should be banned for life from baseball for steroid use. Alex Rodriguez has done irreparable damage to the sport of baseball. Pete Rose was banned from the game for life for gambling on baseball. Do you think Pete Rose's gambling or A-Rod's steroid use had a larger impact on the outcome of any particular game of baseball? There is no proof that Pete Rose's bad habit ever affected a baseball game. We know what kind of effect steroid use has on an athlete's performance. When you correlate Alex Rodriguez's steroid use with his records and outstanding seasons, you can clearly see there could be a strong relationship. A-Rod should be banned to restore fans faith in the game.
See a video of A-Rod detailing his steroid use.
The bailout concessions sought by the "big three" may mean the death of the UAW. Reportedly, a tentative agreement has been reached to bring UAW union's wages and benefits in line with the transplants. Based on the UAW's history of delaying tactics, we will have to wait to see if this is true. The UAW has been trying to delay having any serious wage or benefit concessions take place until two or three years down the road. If that is what the current agreement is about, it is a sham. In two or three years, the auto market and economy will have recovered enough for the UAW to claim the concessions are unnecessary for Detroit's survival. If the UAW has agreed to accept wages, benefits and work rules similar to the transplant auto manufacturers, this will be a deathblow to them. Their death will not be quick or pretty, but it will be inevitable. After the reality sets in on the membership that they are paying union dues for the same wages, benefits and work rules the nonunion transplant workers are getting, they will revolt. The probability of "card check" passing and providing the UAW with an easier opportunity to organize the transplants and their suppliers won't be enough help to keep the UAW alive for long. Those nonunion workers are not going to want to pay union dues for a wage package similar to what they currently have.
Hillary Clinton talked tough to North Korea about nuclear weapons and missile launches while visiting Japan. This is a refreshing change from the weak position Hillay Clinton and the Obama administration have taken towards Iran. Clinton made these remarks unprompted. You have to wonder if they were planned or not. Hillary Clinton can talk tough all she wants, but President Obama has to support her. So far, he has not shown he has that kind of courage and wisdom.
Abandon nuclear programme or lose aid, Hillary Clinton warns North Korea
US secretary of state's comments come as Pyongyang reportedly prepares to test Taepodong-2 ballistic missile
The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, today warned North Korea that it stood to lose vital economic aid unless it took immediate steps to abandon its nuclear weapons programme.
In a move that could heighten tensions between the two countries, Pyongyang is reportedly preparing to test a Taepodong-2 ballistic missile believed to have sufficient range to reach US territory.
Speaking in Tokyo on her first overseas trip as secretary of state, Clinton warned the Pyongyang regime against going ahead with the threatened launch, saying it would damage its prospects for improved relations with the US and the world.
Without prompting, she told reporters at a joint news conference with the Japanese foreign minister, Hirofumi Nakasone, that the rumoured test would jeopardise the Obama administration's willingness improve ties with Pyongyang.
"The possible missile launch that North Korea is talking about would be very unhelpful in moving our relationship forward," she said.(excerpted) read more at guardian.co.uk
Monday, February 16, 2009
The Taliban are stealing U.S. supplies and selling them in roadside markets. You know this kind of thing happens in wartime, but it still steams your blood. I hope a predator fired 'hellfire' missile has their name on it soon.
The Taliban have taken vital U.S. military equipment and now sells these American supplies in markets along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sheila MacVicar reports from London.
Israel has seized another 425 acres of West Bank Land. This will create challenges for President Obama who has promised to get quickly involved in Middle East peace. President Obama will have great difficulty working with the next government of Israel if it is led by hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu. No party has enough votes to form a government at the moment, but the right wing Likud party seems to have the best chance.
Israel takes control of more West Bank land
Feb 16 05:35 AM US/Eastern
By KARIN LAUB
Associated Press Writer
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel has taken control of 425 acres of West Bank land, paving the way for the possible construction of 2,500 settlement homes, officials said Monday.
Successive Israeli governments have broken promises to the United States to halt settlement expansion, defined by Washington as an obstacle to peace. Ongoing expansion is likely to create particular friction with President Barack Obama, whose Mideast envoy, George Mitchell, has long pushed for a settlement freeze.
Obama has said he would get involved quickly in Mideast peace efforts.
The composition of Israel's next government is not yet clear following inconclusive elections last week. However, right-wing parties are given a better chance to form a ruling coalition, with hardline leader Benjamin Netanyahu at the helm. (excerpted) read more at breitbart.com
Barack Obama has dropped the 'car czar' idea for saving the U.S. auto industry. He plans to replace the car czar with a government task force. This sounds like another bureaucratic committee. It has been said a camel is a horse designed by committee. This is another step backwards for saving the American auto industry. They need a strong powerful overseer who can step in and force a deal. If GM and Chrysler can not get the UAW and their creditors to give major concessions, they are headed towards bankruptcy.
Obama drops "car czar" idea
By Matt Spetalnick
February 16, 2009
CHICAGO (Reuters) - President Barack Obama has decided to launch a government task force for restructuring the struggling U.S. auto industry instead of naming a "car czar" with sweeping powers, a senior administration official said on Sunday.
Obama is appointing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner as his "designee" for overseeing auto bailout loans and as co-head of the new high-level panel together with White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers, the official said.
But Obama, who took office on January 20 and last week won congressional approval of a $787 billion economic stimulus program, has dropped the idea of having a single appointee empowered to handle the politically sensitive task of revamping America's once-mighty auto sector.
"There is no 'car czar,'" the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. (excerpted) read more at boston.com
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is refusing to join in a coalition government with Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu. This increases the possibility the the right wing Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu will form the next government in coalition with other smaller right wing parties. Don't expect any negotiations with Hamas anytime soon.
Livni says "no" to joining Netanyahu-led coalition
By Jeffrey Heller
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni wrote in a private note captured by cameras on Sunday that her centrist Kadima party would not join any coalition government headed by right-wing Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu.
The note, which Livni handed to outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Kadima at the weekly cabinet meeting, set the battle lines in what could be weeks of political bargaining after Israel's inconclusive election last Tuesday.
Shortly after polls closed, both Livni and Netanyahu laid claim to the premiership, deepening uncertainty over the course Israel will follow after last month's Gaza war and in peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
Kadima won 28 seats in the 120-member parliament to Likud's 27, but a strong rightist bloc that emerged in the vote appeared to give Netanyahu the edge in putting together a governing majority. (excerpted) read more at reuters.com
The leaders of Pakistan don't have one quintillionth of judgment if they think making a deal with the Taliban for sharia is a good idea. They have agreed to end hostilities and implement sharia in the Malakand area of North Central Pakistan(yellow on map.) Don't they remember sports stadiums being used to stone women to death for minor transgressions? Don't they remember the al Qaeda training camps? The Taliban are religious fanatics and can not be expected to behave in a reasonable fashion. This is a move backwards in the war on terror.
Pakistan to end military operation and implement sharia in Malakand Division
By Bill RoggioFebruary 15, 2009 11:22 AM
The Pakistani government has negotiated an agreement with the Taliban in the war-torn district of Swat to end the fighting in exchange for the implementation of sharia, or Islamic law in a large region of the Northwest Frontier Province.
Negotiations on the five-point agreement have been conducted between the government of the insurgency-infested Northwest Frontier Province and Sufi Mohammed, the spiritual leader of the Movement for the Implementation of Mohammad's Sharia Law, and Mullah Fazlullah, the leader of the Swat Taliban and Sufi's son-in-law. (excerpted) read more at longwarjournal.org
American author, teacher, social critic and dissident feminist, Camille Paglia, blasts the democrats for wanting to re-institute the so called 'fairness doctrine'. She called them 'immature' and said they want to violate the 'essence' of free speech and the 'soul' of the Democratic Party. Meanwhile, former President Bill Clinton said we need something like the 'fairness doctrine' to provide 'balance'. Is he serious? We need to provide balance to the Main Stream Media, not political comment.
Here is what Camille Paglia said.
Here is what Bill Clinton said.
Gun ownership rights are under 'stealth' attack. While Congress and the public have been obsessed with the 'Spendulus Bill', three things have occurred that should make every gun owner fearful. The items are H.R. 45 introduction, confirmation of Eric Holder as Attorney General and the government medical records data base that is mandated in the stimulus bill. Let me explain.
First, H.R. 45 was filed in the House of Representatives by Rep Rush, Bobby L.[IL] on January 6, 2009. This bill will impose severe restrictions for licensing on gun ownership. This anti gun bill requires that all new guns be licensed. The bill goes retroactive after two years. What this means is that two years after the passage of this bill, all firearms in your possession must be registered. This will not just apply to new gun purchases.
Second, Eric holder was confirmed as Attorney General. Eric Holder has a very anti gun record. He supported the District of Columbia’s handgun ban and has argued the second amendment to the Constitution does not protect an individual's right to firearm ownership. Also, Eric Holder has supported national handgun licensing and mandatory trigger locks.
Third, sections 13101 through 13434 of HR 1 will set up the infrastructure to computerize the medical records of all Americans in a government-coordinated database. This database will contain all records of medical and psychiatric treatment. This will include what drugs you have been prescribed. Why is this worrisome? Under the NICS Improvement Act, 150,000 veterans have already been unfairly stripped of their gun rights by the government. These rights were removed without a court hearing. Now, we will all be susceptible to this tactic.