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Showing posts from 2011

Health care issues in India

Why don't they pay the US for not drilling in ANWR?

Observer/Guardian:
World pays Ecuador not to extract oil from rainforest As long as the environmental wackos  are blocking drilling in "sensitive" locations shouldn't they have to pay for the privilege?

Fighting al Qaeda in Yemen

Washington Post:
 In this remote, sun-blasted corner of southern Yemen, there’s a battle raging that is as important to the United States as it is to this nation’s beleaguered government.  Each day, American-backed Yemeni forces engage in a grueling struggle to retake territory from militant Islamists — a conventional army pitted against a guerrilla militia with grand ambitions to stage an attack on U.S. soil. Each day, the soldiers feel increasingly besieged.  “We are like an island in a sea of al-Qaeda,” said Lt. Abdul Mohamed Saleh, standing at a checkpoint on a desolate highway that connects Zinjibar with the port city of Aden. “We are surrounded from every direction.”
... In May, they overran large swaths of Abyan province, including this regional capital. Today, they rule over significant territory in this strategic region, near important oil shipping lanes.  The al-Qaeda affiliate has already targeted the United States several times, including sending parcel bombs on flights in…

Suing for vote fraud

Stltoday.com:
Gingrich: Justice Dept wants to "steal elections"...Gingrich went on to say that, "you have to ask, why is it that they are desperate to retain the ability to steal elections and I think that's what it comes down to."...
Defending vote fraud seems to be the4 objectives, because it is absurd to suggest that blacks cannot get picture IDs.  I don't know any of voting age who do not already have the ID.   It is an insult to their intelligence to suggest otherwise.

The other fact is that in many places Republicans have to win by more than three percentage points to overcome the vote fraud.

Bottom story of the day

NY Times:
Obama to Turn Up Attacks on Congress in Campaign It has been his obvious plan all along, but how will Harry Reid take the criticism.  After all it has been over a 100 days since he has produced a budget.  Talk about a do nothing Congress.

Obama's claims about border crossings suspect

Washington Post:
New fencing doesn't stop crossings The thing you must remember about fencing is that is tends to channel traffic.  You still need to have surveillance along the channels.   The Rio Grande is not a real barrier to entry, but Texas land owners tend to oppose a fence because it would be a barrier to their use of he water for their live stock.

Paul wins support of Democrat mischief makers

NY Times:
Paul’s Stance on Foreign Policy Divides Many Traditional G.O.P. Voters Paul is who he is, but Democrats who want to screw up the Republican primary find it easy to support his foreign policy which is to the left of Obama's.   Every four years they vote in Republican elections for a squish on foreign or domestic policy.  Those voting for Paul are unlikely to vote for a Republican in the general election even if Paul some how got the nomination.

Because there isn't any?

AOL:
Volt Fires Won't Hurt Electric Vehicle Demand There wasn't any demand for these vehicles before the fires were reported.  They just are not good cars.  While they have an on board generator to keep you from getting stuck they cannot get you very far on your overnight charge.   They cost too much even with the government subsidies.

California should raise their taxes even higher

Daniel Mitchell: ...
...  not everybody is learning the right lessons from California’s fiscal and economic mess.There’s a group of crazies who want to increase the top tax rate by five percentage points, an increase of about 50 percent. And they have made Kim Kardashian the poster child for their proposed ballot initiative.  I’m relatively clueless about popular culture, but even I’m aware that there is a group of people know as the Kardashian sisters. I don’t know who they are or what they do, but I gather they are famous in sort of the same way Paris Hilton was briefly famous.  And they have cashed in on their popularity, which may not reflect well on the tastes of the American people, but it’s not my job to tell other people how to spend their money.
...
I suppose I could criticize the petty dishonesty of the proponents, since they deliberately blurred of the difference between “tax rates” and “taxes paid.”  Or I could expose their economic illiteracy by pointing out that higher tax …

Perry's latest Iowa ad

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He seems to be catching his stride in this campaign.  Whether he is peaking too late want be clear until Tuesday night.

Syrians launch huge protest in front of Arab League

Guardian:
The largest demonstrations in Syria since the summer have laid siege to parts of Damascus and most key towns and cities, emboldened by Arab League monitors whose presence appeared to provide protesters with cover from regime gunmen. An estimated 500,000 people are thought to have taken to the streets across the country, with the largest and most defiant protests taking place in areas where the observers were present. The touring members of the Arab League states could not stop the bloodshed, however, with opposition groups claiming up to 31 people were killed nationwide. Almost all deaths were reportedly in areas that the 60-man delegation is yet to visit. At least four areas of Damascus and parts of Syria's second city, Aleppo, were occupied by large groups of demonstrators – a marked difference from the time when rallies only took place in the south and west of the country. The main opposition group inside Syria, the Local Co-ordination Committees, claimed that 150,000 peop…

Shell deep water Gulf well could cut imports in half

Houston Chronicle:
Two hundred miles off the coast of Texas, ribbons of pipe are reaching for oil and natural gas deeper below the ocean’s surface than ever before.  These pipes, which run nearly two miles deep, are connected to a floating Shell platform that is so remote they named it Perdido, which means “lost” in Spanish. What attracted Shell to this location is a geologic formation found throughout the Gulf of Mexico that may contain enough oil to satisfy U.S. demand for two years.  While Perdido is isolated, it isn’t alone. Across the Gulf, energy companies are probing dozens of new deepwater fields thanks to high oil prices and technological advances that finally make it possible to tap them.  The newfound oil will not do much to lower global oil prices. But together with increased production from onshore U.S. fields and slowing domestic demand for gasoline, it could help reduce U.S. oil imports by more than half over the next decade.  Eighteen months ago, such a flurry of activ…

Perry gaining support with huge crowds in Iowa

CBS News:
Rick Perry's events have taken a turn for the crowded. He'll arrive, typically, to find that a coffee shop built to accommodate 75 people is crammed with up to twice that many, spilling out the door and jammed into every available corner. The crowds are excited, too. They'll murmur "mmm-hmms" and exclaim "yeahs!" as he winds through his stump speech, breaking into loud applause when he calls for a balanced budget amendment, a part-time Congress and the end of Obamacare. Despite the excitement and enthusiasm, though, the Texas governor remains very firmly stuck in the middle of a race for third place in the Iowa caucuses with Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. The problem? The enthusiastic crowds he draws are made up heavily of the fabled undecided voters in this cycle. Voter after voter at his events will tell you they like Perry. But they also like Santorum, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and Rep. Michele Bachmann. And while Perry's nu…

The solar subsidy money pit

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Subsidizing inefficiency is a loser.

Romney makes the case for optimism

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It is a good ad, that goes after Obama instead of his Republican opponents.

Obama is a pudding with no theme

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A couple of liberals notice a weakness in the Obama 2012 message or lack there of.

Obama getting a pass from the media

Richard Benedetto:

Over the past five months, the Republican presidential candidates participated in 13 debates where they fielded dozens of penetrating questions on every major issue facing the nation, and some not so major.The nationally televised and/or Internet-streamed forums each drew an average of 5 million to 6 million viewers, along with breathless wall-to-wall coverage, commentary and criticism from the news media, radio and TV talk shows, Internet blogs and partisan websites.Indeed, the GOP hopefuls have been thoroughly queried on a laundry list of issues ranging from immigration problems to the faltering economy,Iran’s nuclear program to trade deficits with China, the intricacies of climate change to strategies to combat terrorism, exploding government regulations to skyrocketing public debt, plus some uncomfortable questions about their pasts and their personal lives.Yet, during all that time, the man they hope to defeat next November has rarely been asked by news reporter…

Navy too important for automatic cuts Obama wants

Arthur Herman:
Anyone wondering if we still need a strong US Navy should consider the current commotion over the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has decided to raise the tension over its nuclear-weapons program by threatening to shut down that all-important waterway at the mouth of the Persian Gulf if Washington and its allies tighten sanctions on its crude-oil exports. “Closing the Strait of Hormuz for Iran’s armed forces is really easy,” Iran’s top navy commander told Iranian TV Wednesday, “easier than drinking a glass of water.” World oil markets immediately swooned. Crude-oil prices spiked as high as $104 a barrel — then jumped back down once everyone realized the threat was largely idle. The reason is America’s Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain. Its warships, including USS John C Stennis (CVN 74) carrier-strike group, with 90-some aircraft, are there to keep just such a nightmare from happening, by protecting one of the world’s most important maritime-trade choke points — the hub of the world’s oi…

Norks still nuts

Washington Post:
North Korea blasts South, other foes So, has anything happened outside the hermit kingdom to provoke the blasts since the death of the last nut in charge of North Korea?  No.  It is just business as usual among the paranoid  style that prevails in North Korea.  How nuts are they?  They think that the US would like to occupy their god forsaken country.

No kidding

NY Times:
Paul’s Stance on Foreign Policy Divides Many Traditional G.O.P. Voters He is the only candidate running to the left of Obama on foreign policy issues.  To most Republicans, his position on the Middle East don't just make no sense, they are an anathema.   His foreign policy positions would fit better with the kook fringe of the Democrat party.

Operation Welcome Home

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The story behind the video is here.

Democrats screwy payroll tax cut undermines Social Security

Washington Post:
By extending the payroll tax cut, Congress and the administration have quietly made a critical change in how Social Security is funded — one that some in Washington worry could undermine the program’s foundation if lawmakers keep renewing the tax break. For the first time in the program’s history, tens of billions of dollars from the government’s general pool of revenue are being funneled to the Social Security trust fund to make up for the revenue lost to the tax cut. Roughly $110 billion will be automatically shifted from the Treasury to the trust fund to cover this year’s cut, according to the Social Security Board of Trustees. An additional $19 billion, it is estimated, will be necessary to pay for the two-month extension. ...  You have to ask yourself why the Post sat on this story during the debate on the extension of the payroll tax cuts before Christmas.   The cuts make no sense from any policy consideration.  they do not stimulate the economy because they are bo…

Answer--Nothing

Washington Post:
How much would you pay for a serial killer’s fingernail clippings? In fact, you could not pay me take take this kind of waste.

Iran threat makes the case for Keystone XL

Houston Chronicle:
Threats by Iran to cut off the Strait of Hormuz, a vital artery for one-fifth of the world’s oil, have given further ammunition to both sides in the debate over the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline. Iran has reportedly said it would close the strait if the U.S. and other nations impose new sanctions that target the Islamic republic’s oil exports, but The New York Times has reported that the U.S. is working on a plan to keep the strait open if Iran does attempt to block it. The U.S. and some European nations have imposed sanctions against Iran to get the nation to halt its nuclear program. Keystone XL supporters argue the threats from Iran highlight the need to reduce dependence on Mideast oil and proves the need to approve the TransCanada Corp.’s proposed 1,700-mile Keystone XL. But environmentalists, who have long opposed the project because pollution concerns, say the threats show the need to reduce oil reliance in general, and they argue Keystone’s approval would d…

Obama approval plummets during Hawaii vacation

The Hill:
President Obama enjoyed a surge in popularity this week — but the bounce proved to be remarkably short-lived. A Gallup tracking poll released Thursday showed that Obama is once again underwater, plummeting to 41 percent approval and 50 percent disapproval, a sharp drop from earlier in the week. ...  I think the earlier poll must have been an anomaly.   It never made that much sense to me since the argument he had with the Republicans was not particularly consequential.  It is hard to believe that voters were saying "Give me that two month tax cut instead of a 12 month tax cut."

Canada shows the way to prosperity

IBD:
Away from the low growth and high regulation of an America under Washington's thumb, our northern neighbor is economically strong. As 2011 ends, Canada has announced yet another tax cut — and will soar even more. The Obama administration and its economic czars have flailed about for years, baffled about how to get the U.S. economy growing. In reality, the president need look no further than our neighbor, Canada, whose solid growth is the product of tax cuts, fiscal discipline, free trade, and energy development. That's made Canada a roaring puma nation, while its supposedly more powerful southern neighbor stands on the outside looking in. On Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that he will slash corporate taxes again on Jan. 1 in the final stage of his Economic Action Plan, dropping the federal business tax burden to just 15%. Along with fresh tax cuts in provinces such as Alberta, total taxes for businesses in Canada will drop to 25%, one of the lowest …

Obama energy 'policy'

IBD:
As our enemy Iran threatens to close a vital waterway for the shipping of oil, plans for a secure, job-creating supply from our ally Canada gather dust on the president's desk....  The sentence sums up the idiocy of the delay on the Keystone XL project.  Obama is too tied to the carbon phobia of the anti energy left.  While there maybe other strategic reasons for defeating Iran's attempt to block the straights there are also strategic reasons for allowing Canada to pay for a pipeline that benefits us.

Obama looks at prisoner transfer from Gitmo to Afghanistan

Guardian:
The Obama administration is considering transferring to Afghan custody a senior Taliban official suspected of major human rights abuses as part of a remote bid to improve the prospects of a peace deal in Afghanistan, Reuters has learned. The potential handover of Mohammed Fazl, a "high-risk detainee" held at the Guantánamo Bay military prison since early 2002, has set off alarms on Capitol Hill and among some US intelligence officials. As a senior commander of the Taliban army, Fazl is alleged to be responsible for the killing of thousands of Afghanistan's minority Shi'ite Muslims between 1998 and 2001. According to US military documents made public by WikiLeaks, he was also on the scene of a November 2001 prison riot that killed CIA operative Johnny Micheal Spann, the first American who died in combat in the Afghan war. There is no evidence, however, that Fazl played any direct role in Spann's death. Senior officials have said their 10-month-long effort to …

Al Qaeda sends fighters to Libya

CNN:
Al Qaeda's leadership has sent experienced jihadists to Libya in an effort to build a fighting force there, according to a Libyan source briefed by Western counter-terrorism officials. The jihadists include one veteran fighter who had been detained in Britain on suspicion of terrorism. The source describes him as committed to al Qaeda's global cause and to attacking U.S. interests. The source told CNN that the al Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, personally dispatched the former British detainee to Libya earlier this year as the Gadhafi regime lost control of large swathes of the country. The man arrived in Libya in May and has since begun recruiting fighters in the eastern region of the country, near the Egyptian border. He now has some 200 fighters mobilized, the source added. Western intelligence agencies are aware of his activities, according to the source. Another al Qaeda operative, of dual European-Libyan nationality, was arrested in an unnamed country on his way to…

Iran could disrupt traffic but not stop it near Hormuz

AP:
With missile batteries, fleets of attack boats and stocks of naval mines, Iran can disrupt traffic through the Strait of Hormuz but probably cannot completely shut down the world's most important oil route, military analysts say. The question for Iran's leadership is whether it is worth the heavy price. Trying to close the strait would bring down a powerful military response on Iran's head from U.S. forces in the Gulf and turn Tehran's few remaining international allies against it. That Iran is making such dire threats at all illustrates its alarm over new sanctions planned by the U.S. that will target oil exports — the most vital source of revenue for its economy. Iran's leaders shrugged off years of past sanctions by the U.S. and United Nations, mocking them as ineffective. But if it cannot sell its oil, its already-suffering economy will be sent into a tailspin. "It would be very, very difficult for Iran even to impede traffic for a significant period of ti…

Sending crooks to prison reduces crime

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Charles Murray:
I got into a good-natured argument with my friend Pete Wehner of the Ethics and Public Policy Center over lunch last week about the importance of incarceration in explaining the gratifying drop in crime since the 1990s. Pete cited some credible technical analyses (summarized in John DiIulio’s fine overview on crime trends showing that increased incarceration accounts for only 10 to 35 percent of the reduction in crime), while I muttered that we would see how true that is if we freed a whole lot of violent criminals. Without pretending to refute the technical analyses, let me give a quick illustration why I think simple incapacitation—we’ve locked up a huge percentage of the really nasty guys—plus a substantial deterrent effect is a plausible explanation for why violent crime dropped at all. I specify violent because I’m sure that much of the drop in property crime is explained by target hardening. It’s impossible to steal most new cars this day because there is no way to…

Ron Paul and the Mullahs

David P. Goldman:
Rep. Ron Paul’s defense of Iran’s nuclear weapons program should surprise no one. The same resentment motivates Ron Paul and the Iranian leadership — a paranoid hostility toward a world that is swiftly changing and has little mercy, and a Millenarian desire to return to a mythical, untroubled past. Get rid of the Federal Reserve, scourge the bankers, return to a gold standard and erect a wall around the United States — and we will return to when? To 1957, when the Russians launched the first space satellite, alerting the United States to the danger that it might lose the Cold War? Then, as always, we prevailed, but by the skin of our teeth. Ron Paul’s program is an American version of the Iranian desire to return to a world of Islamic purity that never existed, any more than did a golden age of American isolationism....  There is much more.

Goldman captures the thinking of both Paul and Iran's current rulers.  I am sure Iran would like to see us withdraw from the …

Army to get helicopter drone to track enemy

BBC:
New helicopter-style drones with 1.8 gigapixel colour cameras are being developed by the US Army. The army said the technology promised "an unprecedented capability to track and monitor activity on the ground". A statement added that three of the sensor-equipped drones were due to go into service in Afghanistan in either May or June. Boeing built the first drones, but other firms can bid to manufacture others. "These aircraft will deploy for up to one full year as a way to harness lessons learned and funnel them into a program of record," said Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Munster, product manager at the US Army's Unmanned Aerial System Modernization unit. The A160 Hummingbird systems are capable of vertical take-off, meaning access to a runway is not necessary.The army also confirmed that they have hovering capabilities - something its existing unmanned aircaft lack. Test flights will be carried out in Arizona at the start of the year before they are shipped to the…

Surviving Marine Corp recon training

It is a tough job.

The swim test is not like anything you have ever seen or done.

Amazing pool shots around pretty girl

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Hat tip to Fausta.

Death squads target suspected drone informants

LA Times:
The death squad shows up in uniform: black masks and tunics with the name of the group, Khorasan Mujahedin, scrawled across the back in Urdu.

Pulling up in caravans of Toyota Corolla hatchbacks, dozens of them seal off mud-hut villages near the Afghan border, and then scour markets and homes in search of tribesmen they suspect of helping to identify targets for the armed U.S. drones that routinely buzz overhead.

Once they've snatched their suspect, they don't speed off, villagers say. Instead, the caravan leaves slowly, a trademark gesture meant to convey that they expect no retaliation.

Militant groups lack the ability to bring down the drones, which have killed senior Al Qaeda and Taliban commanders as well as many foot soldiers. Instead, a collection of them have banded together to form Khorasan Mujahedin in the North Waziristan tribal region to hunt for those who sell information about the location of militants and their safe houses.

Pakistani officials and tribal eld…

A world turned upside down

LA Times:
Kadafi's daughter reportedly eyeing asylum in Israel That is an unlikely spot for her, but she should be mostly safe from Arab attacks.

Get ready for media savagery

Brent Bozell:
For those Republican presidential candidates who eventually conclude there is no path to the nomination, there is consolation in the notion that they won't be the ones to face the brutal onslaught being prepared for the GOP king-of-the-mountain by team Obama and its army of "objective" media allies.

This time around, the Obama machine cannot run on the fairy dust of hope and change. It cannot suggest after four years of dreadful executive-branch performance, that the promised one is on the horizon. Its only path to victory is the one that finds its opponents even more disliked. So it can be guaranteed that whoever wins the Republican contest will face one of the most scorching personal assaults the country has ever witnessed. Occasionally, the old style, thrill-up-my-leg over Obama quote still emerges. The Media Research Center's 2011 winners of "Best of Notable Quotables" provide examples. Stephen Marche of Esquire magazine won over judges of the…

Romney takes six point lead over Obama

Rasmussen Report:
Mitt Romney has now jumped to his biggest lead ever over President Obama in a hypothetical Election 2012 matchup. It’s also the biggest lead a named Republican candidate has held over the incumbent in Rasmussen Reports surveying to date. The latest national telephone survey finds that 45% of Likely U.S. Voters favor the former Massachusetts governor, while 39% prefer the president. Ten percent (10%) like some other candidate in the race, and six percent (6%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.) A week ago, Romney trailed Obama 44% to 41%.The week before that, he held a slight 43% to 42% edge over the president. The two candidates have been essentially tied in regular surveys since January, but Romney remains the only GOP hopeful to lead Obama in more than one survey. Despite Romney’s current six-point lead, his latest level of support is in line with the 38% to 45% he has earned in matchups with the president this year. However, Obama’s 39% is a …