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Showing posts from April, 2008

McCain beating Obama in state by state analysis

Washington Times:

Sen. John McCain would have an easier time beating Sen. Barack Obama than Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in this fall's presidential race, according to an analysis conducted by Karl Rove, President Bush's former political strategist.
In fact, the nationwide analysis of state polls shows that in a head-to-head matchup, the Arizona Republican would be just nine electoral votes short of the 270 needed to win the presidency. Mr. Obama was 75 votes from the magic number.
Seven weeks ago, the same compilation of state polls put the Illinois Democrat ahead of Mr. McCain 228-204, with the rest of the available electoral votes in the "tossup" pile, as about a dozen states had poll margins of less than 3 percentage points.
"In the seven weeks leading into Pennsylvania, Obama began to lose support among working-class Democrats and Catholics, two groups critical to any Democrat's victory in November," Mr. Rove said yesterday.
"And then his comment as…

Afghans attack assassin's lair

NY Times:

Afghan security forces attacked a house early Wednesday occupied by people suspected of plotting the foiled assassination attempt on President Hamid Karzai. Officials said the clash left three militants dead, one of them a woman, and also killed a child. Three intelligence agents were also killed during the attack, according to reports. Government officials announced the operation at a news conference in Kabul, the capital. They said the house was in a poor district in the western part of the city. They did not give the age of the child.One of the officials, Amrullah Saleh, director of the National Security Directorate, said the operation was based on information given under interrogation by a person who had infiltrated the security forces and was arrested shortly after Sunday’s assassination attempt on Mr. Karzai. The person gave three addresses in Kabul, and all of them were raided Wednesday, Mr. Saleh said. The two sides fired rocket-propelled grenades and automatic g…

Bush has plans for Jessica Simpson

AP/Newsday:

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Bush, a Texas guy, lauded the New York Giants on Wednesday for winning the Super Bowl. Any football championship is big to the team and its fans, but this one was all the sweeter because it required a riveting, comeback effort against the New England Patriots, who were heavily favored and had not lost all year.

The president noted that along the way the Giants vanquished a team from his home state -- the Dallas Cowboys. Many Dallas fans pinned their team's surprise playoff loss not on the Giants, but on Simpson. Seems the singer-actress was accused of being a distraction to her boyfriend, Dallas quarterback Tony Romo.

Apparently, Bush bought in.

"I'm a good sport," Bush said at the South Lawn ceremony. "We're going to send Jessica Simpson to the Democrat National Convention."

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I am sure she can liven up Denver if she can dodge the Recreate 68 wackos. I'm all for it and I haven't been a Cowboy fan since they fired Tom Landry. BTW, L…

NYC gun case tossed by 2nd Circuit

AP/Washington Post:

A federal appeals court Wednesday tossed out New York City's lawsuit accusing the gun industry of selling firearms with the knowledge they can be diverted into illegal markets. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a federal law provides the gun industry with broad immunity from lawsuits brought by crime victims and violence-plagued cities. A federal judge had allowed the lawsuit to proceed, though it had not yet reached trial. New York is one of several cities that had sued gun makers. It said the industry violated public nuisance law by failing to take reasonable steps to stop widespread access to illegal firearms. The lawsuit asked for no monetary damages. It had sought a court order for gun makers to more closely monitor those dealers who frequently sell guns later used to commit crimes. "I am disappointed in the court's decision," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "Regardless of this ruling, we will continue our fight against ill…

Seductive female voices tied to fertility cycle

Telegraph:

Researchers found that the female voice altered according to the time of the month. They recorded women counting from one to 10 at different stages of the menstrual cycle, then played the voices back at random to a group of students. Both men and women judged the voices to be most attractive when they were recorded at periods of peak fertility and less attractive during non-fertile periods.
"The results are in line with evidence that the female voice box, or larynx, is under the influence of sex hormones," New Scientist magazine reported.... One of the scientists, Martie Haselton, said: "We have found that voices are higher in pitch on high-fertility days of the cycle."That last finding surprises me because I have always thought it was the deep throaty pitch that was more sexy. Films also tend to portray that. The story does not indicate the effect of birth control pills which have a definite effect on fertility.

Lesbos want gay women to stop using "lesbian"

Telegraph:

Residents of the Greek island of Lesbos launched a legal action yesterday against a homosexual group, insisting that only islanders had the right to call themselves lesbians.

The inhabitants of the island said they were attempting to ban the Greek Gay and Lesbian Union (Olke) from bearing the name "lesbian".Residents of Lesbos now suffer "psychological and moral rape" from the "seizure" of their island's name by gays, according to the complaint by Dimitris Lambrou, a local activist. He has set out his argument in "The Misfortune of Being Lesbian", published on his website.Mr Lambrou, who has the support of a member of a nationalist pagan association, said that the case was likely to come before a court in Athens in June....

I have heard of other men who think they are lesbian. Perhaps a fair compromise would be for the residents of the island to call themselves "lesbos from Lesbos."

Obama's Wright turn moment

Richard Baehr:

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So why did this particular performance by Wright finally create the need for Obama to speak up more forcefully? That answer is simple: falling poll numbers in Indiana, North Carolina and nationally, and to that, we can safely conclude, Barack Obama takes great offense.

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Barack Obama has been showing up at Wright's church for close to 20 years and was exposed to his brand of crackpot racist anti-American lunacy on more than one occasion during this long period. So it is really way too generous, I think, to applaud the Senator for his dramatic "Sister Souljah moment" with his late-to-the party denunciation of Wright. A real Sister Souljah moment would have required leaving Trinity Church before Wright became politically inconvenient for Obama, and not when Wright is beginning to threaten Obama's bid for the Democratic nomination.

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It appears Obama has lost his fight with cynicism.

UN school headmaster/Deputy Commander Islamic Jihad

CNN:

One person was killed and three were wounded Wednesday in Israeli airstrike targeting a metal shop in Rafah, according to Palestinian security and medical sources.

Israel Defense Forces confirmed the airstrike. The person killed was the deputy commander of the Islamic Jihad military wing, according to the Palestinian sources, who said he also served as a school headmaster at a the United Nations Relief and Works Agency school. UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunnes said he could not immediately confirm that the person was employed by the United Nations, and added that said staff members who bring politics into U.N. institutions are fired immediately for violating staff rules....

It appears he want make it back to school to pick up his pink slip.

I'm sure they will miss his leadership and indoctrination skills. The UN apparently needs to work on its vetting skills when hiring.

Cornyn gets it right on fuel costs

Texas Insider:

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“It's been two years since Speaker Pelosi said that her party, the Democratic Party, had a common-sense plan to bring down prices at the pump. And I'm left to wonder how long we'll have to wait to hear what that common-sense plan is….In the two years that have gone by -- almost two years -- we've gone from $2.33 for an average price for a gallon of gas to $3.61. That translates for an average family, a $1,400 increase in expenses a year associated with their gasoline costs -- $1,400 a year. So the Federal government has essentially imposed an additional tax by its inaction for the average working family in this country.”“We know that Congress has been one of the biggest obstructions to increasing oil supply and lower prices at the pump…If we were to develop the known resources that we have available in Alaska that the Senator from Alaska just talked about, Senator Murkowski, it would be the equivalent of $55-a-barrel of oil -- $120-a-barrel for foreign…

Cult abuse investigation includes boys and broken bones

AP:

Texas officials told legislators Wednesday that they're investigating the possible sexual abuse of some young boys taken from a polygamist sect's ranch, as well as broken bones among other children.

The disclosures are the first suggestions that anyone other than teenage girls may have been sexually or physically abused at the ranch run by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a renegade Mormon sect.In written and oral testimony provided to lawmakers Wednesday, officials with the state Department of Family and Protective Services said interviews and journal entries suggested that boys may have been sexually abused.Earlier, the department's commissioner, Carey Cockerell, told lawmakers that at least 41 children, some of them "very young," have evidence of broken bones....

That is an extraordinary number of broken bones for a groups of children. Finding out the causes of the breaks may be difficult unless they fit a pattern. Whether the…

Another carrier in place to challenge Iran

CBS:

A second American aircraft carrier steamed into the Persian Gulf on Tuesday as the Pentagon ordered military commanders to develop new options for attacking Iran. CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports that the planning is being driven by what one officer called the "increasingly hostile role" Iran is playing in Iraq - smuggling weapons into Iraq for use against American troops.

"What the Iranians are doing is killing American servicemen and -women inside Iraq," said Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

U.S. officials are also concerned by Iranian harassment of U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf as well as Iran's still growing nuclear program. New pictures of Iran's uranium enrichment plant show the country's defense minister in the background, as if deliberately mocking a recent finding by U.S. intelligence that Iran had ceased work on a nuclear weapon.

No attacks are imminent and the last thing the Pentagon wants is another war, but …

Larry Elder discusses Wright's influence on Obama

Hat tip Gateway Pundit.

Was Wright right about Obama's sincerity?

Terrence Jeffrey:

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"He's a politician," Wright explained to Bill Moyers on PBS. "And he says what he has to say as a politician. He does what politicians do."

"Politicians say what they say and do what they do based on electability, based on sound bites, based on polls, Huffington, whoever's doing the polls," Wright said of Obama at the National Press Club. "He does what politicians do." Wright's insight on Obama highlights one of Obama's underappreciated skills: a Bill Clinton-like ability to say one thing and mean another, and to say things listeners must parse and parse again in search of a solid meaning. One of the best examples of this kind from Bill Clinton is found in the transcript of a White House press conference held on March 7, 1997. Reporters were pressing Clinton in those days on his campaign fundraising methods. "I don't believe you can find any evidence of the fact that I had changed government policy …

Mahdi army's war crimes in Sadr city

CNN:

The fighting that erupted in Baghdad's Sadr City last month has killed 925 people and wounded 2,605, a top government official said Wednesday.

Most of the casualties consist of civilians and "criminal elements attacked by us," said Tahseen al-Sheikhly, a spokesman for the Baghdad security crackdown called Operation Enforcing the Law. Civilians are being caught in the crossfire because militants "use the population to cover themselves," al-Sheikhly said. Earlier Wednesday, an Interior Ministry official said 321 people have been killed in Sadr City fighting this month. The reason for the discrepancy was unclear.
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Using human shields is a war crime. It would provide greater context if the media would point that out. At least this report is a step up from when our forces were being accused of targeting civilians. I have yet to hear a persuasive argument by the media for not holding the enemy responsible for violations of the Geneva Conventions. It is trou…

Obama's bomber friend

John Murtagh:

During the April 16 debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, moderator George Stephanopoulos brought up "a gentleman named William Ayers," who "was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol and other buildings. He's never apologized for that." Stephanopoulos then asked Obama to explain his relationship with Ayers. Obama's answer: "The notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn't make much sense, George." Obama was indeed only 8 in early 1970. I was only 9 then, the year Ayers' Weathermen tried to murder me.In February 1970, my father, a New York State Supreme Court justice, was presiding over the trial of the so-called "Panther 21," members of the Black Panther Party indicted in a plot to bomb New York landmarks and department stores. Early…

Remove the Democrat fingers from the throat of energy production

Robert Samuelson:

What to do about oil? First it went from $60 to $80 a barrel, then from $80 to $100 and now to $120. Perhaps we can persuade OPEC to raise production, as some senators suggest; but this seems unlikely. The truth is that we're almost powerless to influence today's prices. We are because we didn't take sensible actions 10 or 20 years ago. If we persist, we will be even worse off in a decade or two. The first thing to do: Start drilling. It may surprise Americans to discover that the United States is the third-largest oil producer, behind Saudi Arabia and Russia. We could be producing more, but Congress has put large areas of potential supply off-limits. These include the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and parts of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. By government estimates, these areas may contain 25 billion to 30 billion barrels of oil (against about 30 billion barrels of proven U.S. reserves today) and 80 trillion cubic feet or more of natural gas (compared with …

The quite McCain biography

Karl Rove:

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Mr. Day relayed to me one of the stories Americans should hear. It involves what happened to him after escaping from a North Vietnamese prison during the war. When he was recaptured, a Vietnamese captor broke his arm and said, "I told you I would make you a cripple."The break was designed to shatter Mr. Day's will. He had survived in prison on the hope that one day he would return to the United States and be able to fly again. To kill that hope, the Vietnamese left part of a bone sticking out of his arm, and put him in a misshapen cast. This was done so that the arm would heal at "a goofy angle," as Mr. Day explained. Had it done so, he never would have flown again.But it didn't heal that way because of John McCain. Risking severe punishment, Messrs. McCain and Day collected pieces of bamboo in the prison courtyard to use as a splint. Mr. McCain put Mr. Day on the floor of their cell and, using his foot, jerked the broken bone into place. Then,…

The victim cult

Ralph Peters:

THE saddest aspect of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's tirades is neither his dishonest charges, nor his egocentric claim to speak for all black churches, nor even the harm he's done to the dreams of his best-known parishioner. The sorrow and the pity of it all is that the Chicago pastor, who's reveling in his 15 minutes of fame, is only one of many demagogues in all races and creeds who foster cults of victimization around the globe. And nothing is more certain to keep those at the bottom down than self-appointed messiahs who assure them they'll always be victims. I haven't sat through 20 years of Wright's sermons, but the most striking aspect of the pastor's rants that I have heard is that - like demagogues on every inhabited continent - he prefers assigning blame to making progress. Blame is delicious. And easy. Progress takes work. Nor is it in the interest of demagogues to see their followers graduate from society's margins toward the c…

Mexico votes to stop criminal penalties for illegals

AP/Houston Chronicle:

Migrant rights activists applauded a vote by Mexico's Congress to remove long-standing criminal penalties for undocumented migrants found in the country. The measure passed unanimously in the lower house on Tuesday, a day after Senate approval. President Felipe Calderon's office declined to say whether he would sign the popular measure into law.Mexican lawmakers saw the harsh penalties as an anachronism, and some noted Mexico also owes migrants better treatment.Immigrants here, mostly Central Americans trying to reach the U.S., are often robbed, mistreated and subject to extortion by bandits and even police....Current law lays out punishments of 1 1/2 to 6 years, while the new measure makes undocumented immigration a minor offense punishable by fines equivalent to about $475 to $2,400.Some Mexican officials acknowledged that the current harsh penalties weakened Mexico's position in arguing for better treatment of its own migrants in the United States..…

Democrats' addiction to hating energy production

Houston Chronicle:

With the price at the pump climbing to another record Tuesday, President Bush reiterated his call for Congress to open more areas for drilling while dismissing suggestions he stop adding crude to the nation's emergency oil stockpile.

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Indeed, he deflated hopes the administration might be able to prod more production from Saudi Arabia, the powerhouse in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. "I have made the case ... the high price of oil injures economies," Bush said. "But I think we'd better understand that there's not a lot of excess capacity in this world right now."Bush argued the high gasoline prices reflect a situation in which global oil production is not keeping up with growing demand."If Congress is truly interested in solving the problem, they can send the right signal by saying we're going to explore for oil and gas in the U.S. territories," starting with the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Bu…

Bad news for Democrats--No Recession

AP/Houston Chronicle:

The bruised economy limped through the first quarter of this year at only 0.6 percent as housing and credit problems forced people and businesses alike to hunker down. The country's economic growth during January through March was the same as in the final three months of last year, the Commerce Department reported today. The statistic did not meet what economists consider the classic definition of a recession, which is a retraction of the economy. This means that although the economy is stuck in a rut, it is still managing to grow, even if modestly.Many analysts were predicting that the gross domestic product (GDP) would weaken a bit more — to a pace of just 0.5 percent — in the first quarter. Earlier this year, some economists thought the economy would actually lurch into reverse during the opening quarter. Now, they say they believe that will likely happen during the current April-to-June period....
Yes, the Democrats are still optimistic that they can have a…

Obama's tricky path

Maureen Dowd:

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“I learned to slip back and forth between my black and white worlds,” he said. “One of those tricks I had learned: People were satisfied so long as you were courteous and smiled and made no sudden moves. They were more than satisfied; they were relieved — such a pleasant surprise to find a well-mannered young black man who didn’t seem angry all the time.”

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Obama, of course, will only ratchet up the skepticism of those who don’t understand why he stayed in the church for 20 years if his belief system is so diametrically opposed to Wright’s. He’s back on the tricky path he faced as a child, navigating between two racial cultures. At Trinity, he may have ignored what he should have heard because he was trying to assimilate to black culture. Now, he may be outraged by what he belatedly heard because he’s trying to relate to the white lunch-pail set.Having been deserted at age 2 by his father, Obama has now been deserted by the father-figure in his church, the man who insp…

Democrats stalling on Mexico aid to fight drug insurgents

Reuters/NY Times:

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Tuesday urged Congress to approve a $500 million anti-drug program for Mexico, saying not to do so would be "a slap" against a crucial neighbor beset by drug violence.Gates, only the second U.S. defense chief ever to visit Mexico, told reporters that U.S. congressional inaction on the program known as the Merida initiative would undermine Washington's ability to aid Mexico's counternarcotics fight.President George W. Bush proposed the three-year, $1.4 billion initiative last October and put an initial $500 million segment for Mexico in the administration's fiscal 2008 supplemental request for Iraq and Afghanistan war funding.Gates said he hoped Congress would vote to approve the program by the end of May."Failure to do so would be a real slap at Mexico and would be very disappointing and it clearly would make it more difficult for us to help Mexican armed forces and their civilian agencies …

Europe notes al Qaeda command and control spot

AKI/Dawn:

Pakistan's tribal areas are the “command and control centre” for al-Qaeda, according to a report by the European Police Office.

Europol says the region is the headquarters of the organisation's "remaining core leadership” who are planning attacks in the European Union.

The annual Terrorism Situation and Trend Report-2008 by Europol is an important awareness tool for decision-makers at the European level.

“Afghanistan and Pakistan in general and the Pashtun areas in particular are of utmost importance to EU counter-terrorism,” said the report.

It said that in the past terrorist links between Pakistan and the EU were almost exclusively focused on the UK, but now that link is expanding to the rest of the EU.

It said that the foiled plot in Germany, related to an Uzbek group based in the tribal areas, and recent cases in the UK and Denmark indicated an increasingly assertive and efficient Pakistani-based command and control of terrorism in the EU.

It also said that a numbe…

Mexican leftist imitate loony left in US on oil investments

Washington Post:

Mexico's giant state-run oil company was once a source of universal pride here. Ballads were sung in its honor, and the money gushed as much as the crude. But the company -- Petróleos Mexicanos, or Pemex -- is not aging well, and it is fast eroding into a creaking, crippled behemoth that even its biggest defenders say must change to survive. In a once-unthinkable move, President Felipe Calderón urged an overhaul of Pemex earlier this month, calling on the Mexican Congress to allow the company more freedom to sign contracts with foreign firms better equipped to build efficient refineries and conduct expensive deep-water drilling. But the proposal -- being touted by its supporters as one of the most important economic reforms in recent Mexican history -- has drawn fierce resistance from a determined coalition of left-leaning opposition parties for whom outsider involvement in Pemex is anathema. They seized control of the Mexican congressional building for more th…

South Africa, usual suspects stall UN action on Zimbabwe

Guardian:

South Africa led efforts to block the dispatch of a UN envoy to Zimbabwe yesterday as the UN Security Council met on the election stand-off for the first time. Diplomats said that South African opposition to a UN mission meant that the next step would probably be a public meeting of the 15-nation Security Council on Zimbabwe under Britain’s presidency in May. Britain and other Western nations have been pushing for a greater UN role in resolving the month-old election crisis, since Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, raised it at a UN summit on Africa this month. The Security Council held a closed-door session in New York yesterday after Britain succeeded in pushing Zimbabwe on to its agenda under “other business”. Britain, backed by the US, France and other Western nations, called for the sending of a UN envoy and a moratorium on arms sales to Zimbabwe.
South Africa, China, Russia, Libya and Vietnam spoke up against any further Security Council action at this stage, diploma…

Marines draw the Taliban into fight in Afghanistan

Guardian:

A strike force of US marines punched through Taliban frontlines in southern Helmand yesterday as part of an Afghan "mini surge" intended to weaken the insurgents' grip on the war-ravaged south.The marine force, numbered in the hundreds, exchanged fire with Taliban fighters as they pushed through Garmser, a town abandoned by its inhabitants in recent years and ringed by poppy fields. The American soldiers are the core of a new 2,300-strong reserve force under the control of the US commander of international troops in Afghanistan, General Dan McNeill. The Helmand mission aims to disrupt drugs and smuggling routes into nearby Pakistan. The marines landed before dawn yesterday, some trundling in on Humvee trucks and others arriving by helicopter. Within a few hours, insurgents armed with guns and rocket launchers poured out of a local madrasa, sparking fighting that lasted several hours. The combat petered out by late morning after US helicopter gunships pounded sus…

Russia worried about an invasion from Georgia?

Guardian:

Russia accused Georgia yesterday of planning to invade the breakaway republic of Abkhazia and said it was sending more troops to the region.Russia's foreign ministry said Georgia had amassed more than 1,500 troops in the mountainous Upper Kodori valley - a small but strategic enclave inside the separatist territory but controlled by Georgian forces. It was "possible to conclude that Georgia is preparing a base for a military operation against Abkhazia", the Russian foreign ministry said. Russia was responding by sending more peacekeeping troops to prevent a Georgian attack, it added.Yesterday's move escalates the crisis between the two ex-Soviet neighbours over Abkhazia. Abkhazia broke away from Georgia following a civil war in 1992-3. Georgia wants the territory back. Russia's president Vladimir Putin recognised Abkhazia and South Ossetia, another breakaway region of Georgia, as legal entities this month - prompting Tbilisi to accuse Russia of "de …

Doggy conduct gets Oz politician in trouble

Telegraph:

Troy Buswell, the leader of the opposition Liberal Party in Western Australia, was under intense pressure to resign over the incident, which happened in 2005.

He dismissed allegations on 13 different occasions that he had sniffed the seat, before finally admitting yesterday that it had in fact taken place. “All I can confirm is that the events described in the paper [The West Australian] by the former female staffer are accurate,” he said. Holding back tears at a news conference, Mr Buswell admitted that his behaviour before becoming party leader three months ago had sometimes been highly offensive. He has previously admitted to snapping a woman’s bra as a drunken party trick and has been accused by a retiring Liberal MP of making sexist remarks to her. The emergence of the chair-sniffing incident had placed a strain on his marriage, he conceded.
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At least he had the grace to wait until after she left the seat. I had a dog who was fas…

Heparin contamination looks deliberate

NY Times:

Federal drug regulators believe that a contaminant detected in a crucial blood thinner that has caused 81 deaths was deliberately added.

“F.D.A.’s working hypothesis is that this was intentional contamination, but this is not yet proven,” Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the agency’s drug center, told the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in written testimony on Tuesday.Some heparin batches made by Baxter International consisted of more than 30 percent of the contaminant, “and it does strain one’s credulity to suggest that might have been done accidentally,” Dr. Woodcock said.David G. Strunce, chief executive of Scientific Protein Laboratories, the company that supplied the contaminated heparin material to Baxter, described the contamination as “an insidious act” that “seems to us an intentional act upstream in the supply chain.”Robert L. Parkinson, Baxter’s chairman and chief executive, told the committee, “We’re alarmed that one of our products was used, in w…

Teenage cult girl gives birth

AP/SA Express-News:

One of the hundreds of young polygamist-sect members taken into custody by the state was giving birth Tuesday while child welfare officials, state troopers and fellow sect members stood watch outside the maternity ward. The teenager was admitted to the Central Texas Medical Center and was in labor, said Rod Parker, a spokesman for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a renegade Mormon sect. He contends she is 18, but state officials have the girl on a list of minors taken into state custody.Two armed state troopers and at least one person wearing the shirt of a Department of Family and Protective Services worker stood outside the maternity ward. A woman wearing the FLDS's trademark pastel prairie dress and upswept braided hair sat calmly in the nearby waiting room. All declined to comment, as did a woman who said she was the girl's attorney....CPS spokesman Darrell Azar said he was unaware that an FLDS teen had gone into labor, but…

Bush holds Democrats responsible for energy shortage

Washington Post:

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"It's a tough time for our economy," Bush said in an opening statement. "Across our country, many Americans are understandably anxious about issues affecting their pocketbook, from gas and food prices to mortgage and tuition bills. They're looking to their elected leaders in Congress for action. Unfortunately, on many of these issues, all they're getting is delay." Bush said he has "repeatedly submitted proposals to help address these problems. Yet time after time Congress chose to block them." He charged that although lawmakers have called on foreign governments to increase their oil production, they have opposed efforts to expand production in the United States, blocking "environmentally safe exploration" for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Alaska. Bush cited an Energy Department estimate that drilling in the refuge could allow the United States to produce about 1 million additional ba…

Obama finally outraged by Wright

Washington Post:

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Using his sharpest language yet to describe a series of Wright performances that he said left him angry and sad, Obama accused Wright of exploiting racial divisions at the same time the Illinois senator is aiming to heal them and bring the nation together.

"When I say I find these comments appalling, I mean it," Obama told reporters in firm and somber tones. "It contradicts everything I'm about and who I am. Anybody who has worked with me, who knows my life, who has read my books, who has seen what this campaign is about I think will understand it is completely opposed to what I stand for and where I want to take this country."

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"I have spent my entire adult life trying to bridge the gap between different kinds of people. That's in my DNA, trying to promote mutual understanding. To insist that we all share common hopes and common dreams as Americans and as human beings. That's who I am," Obama said.

"Yesterday, we saw a …

Mahdi ambush backfires

Bill Roggio:

Heavy fighting broke out between Coalition and Mahdi Army forces in Sadr City as US troops killed 28 Mahdi Army fighters after being ambushed during a patrol. Seven more Mahdi Army fighters were killed during strikes yesterday. The 28 Mahdi Army fighters were killed during a four-hour battle in southern Sadr City after a US soldier was wounded by gunfire and US forces began to evacuate the soldier, Lieutenant Colonel Steven Stover, the chief Public Affairs Officer for Multinational Division Baghdad said. “The fire came from the portion of Sadr City we are not in – the northern neighborhoods – and militants fired at our patrol in the southern neighborhoods,” Stover said in an email to The Long War Journal.During the evacuation, Mahdi Army fighters triggered three roadside bombs and fired rocket propelled grenades and machineguns at the US patrol. Five more soldiers were wounded in the attacks and two vehicles were damaged. None of the soldiers' injuries are reported as …

UAV use against enemy spikes in Iraq

USA Today:

U.S. commanders in Iraq have ordered an unprecedented number of airstrikes by unmanned airplanes in April to kill insurgents in urban combat and to limit their ability to launch rockets at American forces, military records show. The 11 attacks by Predators — nearly double the previous high for one month — were conducted as the Pentagon has intensified efforts to increase the use of drones, which play an increasingly vital role for gathering intelligence and launching attacks in Iraq. Last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates prodded the Air Force to do more to rush drones to the war zone.The increase in Predator attacks coincided with a spike in fighting in Baghdad's slum of Sadr City and in the city of Basra, where the Iraqi government mounted an offensive to root out militias there.Commanders are expected to rely more on unmanned systems as 30,000 U.S. troops sent last year are withdrawn. The military has dozens of Predators in Iraq and Afghanistan. In all it operates …

Cigarette taxes helping to fund terror

Fox News:

Cigarette smuggling is generating millions of dollars every year that can be reaching terrorist groups, including Hezbollah, Hamas and Al Qaeda, according to law enforcement sources. In a single case, $100,000 was sent to Hezbollah.A 15-page report congressional report, obtained by FOX News, includes intelligence from law enforcement as well as New York State’s Department of Taxation and Finance.The report reads in part: Cigarette smuggling is generating millions of dollars every year that can be reaching terrorist groups, including Hezbollah, Hamas and Al Qaeda, according to law enforcement sources. In a single case, $100,000 was sent to Hezbollah.“This is a very serious homeland security issue, one that has gone unnoticed for far too long,” said Rep. Peter King, (R-N.Y.), the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, who called for the investigation.“Cigarette smugglers are able to generate millions of dollars in illegal profits with a great deal of this weal…

Why a liberal justice voted for voter ID

John Fund:

In ruling on the constitutionality of Indiana's voter ID law – the toughest in the nation – the Supreme Court had to deal with the claim that such laws demanded the strictest of scrutiny by courts, because they could disenfranchise voters. All nine Justices rejected that argument.Even Justice Stephen Breyer, one of the three dissenters who would have overturned the Indiana law, wrote approvingly of the less severe ID laws of Georgia and Florida. The result is that state voter ID laws are now highly likely to pass constitutional muster.But this case, Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, also revealed a fundamental philosophical conflict between two perspectives rooted in the machine politics of Chicago. Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the decision, grew up in Hyde Park, the city neighborhood where Sen. Barack Obama – the most vociferous Congressional critic of such laws – lives now. Both men have seen how the Daley machine has governed the city for so many years…

Obama the money launderer?

Contrarian Commentary make a strong argument that the revelation the LA Times about an arrangement Obama made to funnel payments through his law firm was money laundering.

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The Times details how Obama was still “of counsel” to his former law firm, but that he was not providing any services to that entity. Then Obama made a deal with Blackwell, and wanted to conceal that Blackwell was supporting him. So Obama “laundered” the “legal fees” by running them through the law firm and then issuing a list of the law firm's clients-none of which had anything to do with Obama--to disguise the Blackwell money in a laundry list of hundreds of unrelated “clients.” This was a classic case of money laundering and business fraud. Obama wanted to conceal the large sum he was receiving from Blackwell, so he concealed that Blackwell was the source of his income by pretending he was providing services to the law firm’s other clients....

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It is an interesting argument. It is also argued that the law…

Messing with the marketplace

Houston Chronicle Editorial:

Using a global staple such as corn for biofuel rather than food seemed to make sense when there was a surplus of cheap grain and worsening U.S. dependence on foreign oil. The federal government was quick to boost the new industry with escalating mandates that require 8 billion gallons of renewable fuel be blended with gas sold at the pump this year. As a result, more than 30 percent of the nation's corn harvest goes to fill our tanks instead of our stomachs. Now the world's stomachs are starting to growl. Increased demand has turned corn into yellow gold, with prices nearly quadrupled per bushel, delighting corn farmers and renewable fuel producers. Unfortunately, the diversion of food to burn in motors is fueling a global crisis and increasing the overhead of Texas beef, poultry and dairy production, all of which use corn to feed livestock. What was intended as a boon for energy independence is costing Texans an estimated $3.6 billion a year in ad…

DNC starts the politics of fraud early

Amanda Carpenter:

The Republican National Committee is accusing the Democratic National Committee of creating a misleading advertisement that doubles as an illegal campaign contribution to the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. RNC Chairman Robert “Mike” Duncan said a newly-produced DNC ad alleging Republican presidential candidate John McCain supports “100 years of war” is “maliciously false and misleading” in a conference call with reporters Monday.

He is calling on television networks not to air it. On Friday, the DNC emailed a fundraising solicitation to supporters asking them to contribute money to air the new spot on television. A link provided in the email went to a DNC website with an embedded video. Click here to watch. The video says McCain “wants to be in Iraq 100 years” and contains combat images and a photo of McCain and President Bush. The Washington Post, Columbia Journalism Review and Annenberg Public Policy Center have previously issued arti…

Afghanistan in perspective

Bret Stephens:

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... after a week spent shuttling between Kabul, Kandahar and Nangarhar province (in sight of Tora Bora), I found the notion of "losing Afghanistan" to be, at a minimum, overblown. Afghanistan has 34 provinces. Twenty-nine of them are more or less at peace, more or less better off than they were six years ago, and more or less governed by someone their own people can live with. That leaves five provinces that are the country's belt of real insecurity. Together with the adjacent provinces in Pakistan, these form what is sometimes called Pashtunistan, in reference to the ethnic group from which the Taliban sprang. In many ways it's another country. But even here the evidence that it is being "lost" is slight.Take Musa Qala, a town in Helmand Province that the British effectively ceded to insurgents in late 2006, after which it became the Afghan version of Fallujah. In December, NATO and Afghan forces retook the town, but not before flipping a…