Showing posts from July, 2009

Fighting Taliban treachery

Con Coughlin: Spurts of dust kicked up in the field to the left of the US Marines and the clatter of gunfire grew louder. The Marines began to run, their bodies taking on the hunched and wary posture of troops under fire. Shouting into radios, officers were struggling to catch up with the ambush that was beginning to envelop them. More regular, disciplined shots sounded close by. A pall of ugly brown smoke hung in the clear dawn air several hundred metres away, marking the spot where a bomb explosion had initiated the Taleban ambush. It was 6.45am. I was in the middle of the first squad of Marines. We pounded headlong towards a mud compound ahead. As we got to about 10ft of the corner of the building, the world went suddenly and inexplicably silent and everything turned white. Being blown up was too quick to be frightening. Instead, the sensation was one of odd detachment. The bomb — it was, we later discovered by looking at the debris, two devices strapped together — was buried at

Brits order extradition for hacker, his mom is hysterical at the thought

Guardian: There were emotional scenes outside the high court today after computer hacker Gary McKinnon lost a further attempt to avoid his extradition to America on charges of breaching US military and Nasa computers. McKinnon, who has been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, would suffer from a "severe mental breakdown" if forced to serve up to 60 years in an American jail, his mother, Janis Sharp, said, pleading with politicians to intervene. "Why aren't they stopping the extradition of a man who is clearly vulnerable and who on the accepted evidence suffers from Asperger's?" Sharp said. "Gary is clearly someone who is not equipped to deal with the American penal system and there is clear evidence that he will suffer a severe mental breakdown if extradited." In a judgment Sharp described as "heartbreaking", the court refused McKinnon's request that the home secretary, Alan Johnson , should be forced to reconsider the case, des

Democrats lost the seniors on health care

Gallup: Seniors are the least likely of all age groups in the U.S. to say that healthcare reform will benefit their personal healthcare situation. By a margin of three to one, 36% to 12%, adults 65 and older are more likely to believe healthcare reform will reduce rather than expand their access to healthcare. And by 39% to 20%, they are more likely to say their own medical care will worsen rather than improve. ... I think this is a result of Obama's obsession with cost containment and the seniors see their current care as the target. I think the have reason for concern as do veterans. Investor's Business Daily discusses some of the concerns.

Veterans object to health care bill

The Hill: ... In a letter to Pelosi that was obtained by The Hill, the groups state “the legislation could limit the health care choices for veterans, increase the cost of health care for veterans, deny coverage to dependent family members of veterans, and threaten the quality of health care offered to veterans through the VA health care system.” ... The groups also want the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to continue running the healthcare system offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs and not be “infringed” upon by any other healthcare organizations or administration departments. “By virtue of their service and sacrifices, veterans have earned special benefits that are separate and in addition to benefits the government provides to other citizens,” the six groups wrote to Pelosi. ... There will be a political price to pay if this situation is not corrected and it will extend far beyond veterans. It is certainly something elese to remind members of Congress of in their Town

Democrats new health care message

If you are happy with your current coverage by "villains" you are in trouble. ... “Our message is simple. It is now being echoed by the White House,” said the memo sent to all Democratic members. “And it counters the Republican ‘government takeover’ message.” The message in the memo, though, won't fit on a bumper sticker: “Remove the insurance companies from between you and your doctor— capping what they can force you to pay in out of pocket expenses, co-pays and deductibles, and giving you the peace of mind you will be covered for the care you need, if get sick, or if you change or lose your job.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) brought out the new message in an exchange with reporters in the Capitol, when she said, “They are the villains in this.” ... This is what the health insurance industry gets for not attacking the Democrats plan. Imagine how ugly the Democrats would be if these guys were actually fighting back.

Missile defense proves successful again

CNN: The United States successfully tested a sea-based component of its missile defense shield Thursday evening, intercepting a ballistic missile with a dummy warhead over the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said. The exercise was the 19th successful test in 23 attempts of the system -- known as the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Program -- since 2002. A target missile was fired from Hawaii about 5:40 p.m. (11:40 p.m. ET) and was tracked by Navy ships hundreds of miles away. The USS Hopper, one of three Navy ships tracking the launch, fired an interceptor missile, which struck the target about 100 miles above the Earth. The process -- from launch to shoot-down -- took less than five minutes, according to the U.S. military. The United States plans to use the sea-based system on Navy Aegis-class ships to protect against incoming short- to medium-range missiles fired from hostile countries. Eighty-six of the ships eventually will have the capability. ... Danger R

Enemy recruits traitors with victim strategy

CNN: An American who says he went to fight U.S. forces in Afghanistan told interrogators that about the time he became an al Qaeda member he came across several Belgian and French militants. Belgian counter-terrorism sources said the group traveled to Pakistan's tribal areas at the beginning of 2008, also intent on fighting in Afghanistan. The Europeans -- four Belgians and two French citizens, all of North African descent -- were recruited, Belgian police say, by Malika el Aroud and Moez Garsallaoui, a married couple who had long enjoyed a notorious reputation among European counter-terrorism services. El Aroud's previous husband, Abdessattar Dahmane, had assassinated Ahmed Shah Massoud, the head of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, in a suicide bombing attack ordered by Osama bin Laden two days before 9/11. When CNN interviewed the couple in 2006, El Aroud showed how she administered a pro-al Qaeda Web forum called Minbar SOS, which included pro-al Qaeda postings and pr

Congress not so hot at Town Hall meetings

Politico: Screaming constituents, protesters dragged out by the cops, congressmen fearful for their safety — welcome to the new town-hall-style meeting, the once-staid forum that is rapidly turning into a house of horrors for members of Congress. On the eve of the August recess, members are reporting meetings that have gone terribly awry, marked by angry, sign-carrying mobs and disruptive behavior . In at least one case, a congressman has stopped holding town hall events because the situation has spiraled so far out of control. “I had felt they would be pointless,” Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) told POLITICO , referring to his recent decision to temporarily suspend the events in his Long Island district. “There is no point in meeting with my constituents and [to] listen to them and have them listen to you if what is basically an unruly mob prevents you from having an intelligent conversation.” In Bishop’s case, his decision came on the h

Government health care clunkers

Maichael Ramirez looks at another program running on empty.

The human rights wackos double standard

Noah Pollak: Over the past two weeks, Human Rights Watch has been embroiled in a controversy over a fund raiser it held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. At that gathering, Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson pledged the group would use donations to “battle . . . pro-Israel pressure groups.” As criticism of her remark poured in, Ms. Whitson responded by saying that the complaint against her was “fundamentally a racist one.” And Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, declared that “We report on Israel. Its supporters fight back with lies and deception.” The facts tell a different story. From 2006 to the present, Human Rights Watch’s reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict have been almost entirely devoted to condemning Israel, accusing it of human rights and international law violations, and demanding international investigations into its conduct. It has published some 87 criticisms of Israeli conduct against the Palestinians and Hezbollah, versus eight criticisms of Palesti

The coming Democrat retreat on health care

Charles Krauthammer: ... Conventional wisdom always makes straight-line projections. They are always wrong. Yes, Obama's aura has diminished, in part because of overweening overexposure. But by year's end he will emerge with something he can call health care reform. The Democrats in Congress will pass it because they must. Otherwise, they'll have slain their own savior in his first year in office. But that bill will look nothing like the massive reform Obama originally intended. The beginning of the retreat was signaled by Obama's curious reference -- made five times -- to "health-insurance reform" in his July 22 news conference. Reforming the health care system is dead. Cause of death? Blunt trauma administered not by Republicans, not even by Blue Dog Democrats, but by the green eyeshades at the Congressional Budget Office. Three blows: (1) On June 16, the CBO determined that the Senate Finance Committee bill would cost $1.6 trillion over 10 years, delive

Black Panther Justice--Empathy for thugs

Washington Times Editorial: The Justice Department's decision to drop an already-won voter-intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party merits multiple, independent investigations. On Tuesday, Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican, officially asked Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to refile the case. Mr. Holder should comply. So far, the Justice Department has stonewalled legitimate inquiry. It has yet to provide records sought by this newspaper back in May. It has yet to answer a July 22 letter from Mr. Wolf that asks 35 questions on 17 different subjects relating to the Black Panther case. Justice has claimed, falsely, that the decision to drop the case was made by career attorneys only, not by political appointees. And it has declined to let congressmen interview the career attorneys who originally filed, and won, the case against the Black Panthers. As first reported by The Washington Times, career attorneys at Justice already had won a default judgmen

What would Israel get for halting settlements?

NY Times Editorial: ... Under pressure from Washington, Mr. Netanyahu’s government has dangled a possible compromise: a temporary freeze in new construction, as long as 2,500 units now in process can be completed and Arab East Jerusalem is exempt. It is a weak offer. While they press the Israelis, Mr. Obama and Mr. Mitchell are also asking the Palestinians and Arab states to do more. They are insisting that the Palestinians work harder to prevent incitement against Israel in schools and the media. They have asked Arab states — notably Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria — to signal the beginning of an acceptance by allowing Israel to fly commercial planes through Arab airspace or open government commercial offices in their capitals. They are also pressing Arab states to provide more aid for the fragile government of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. President Obama and Mr. Mitchell claim they are making progress, but so far there is little sign of it. Saudi Arabia, which has pushed

A new strategy in Afghanistan?

Washington Post: The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is preparing a new strategy that calls for major changes in the way U.S. and other NATO troops there operate, a vast increase in the size of Afghan security forces and an intensified military effort to root out corruption among local government officials, according to several people familiar with the contents of an assessment report that outlines his approach to the war. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who took charge of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan last month, appears inclined to request an increase in American troops to implement the new strategy, which aims to use more unconventional methods to combat the growing Taliban insurgency, according to members of an advisory group he convened to work on the assessment. Such a request could receive a chilly reception at the White House, where some members of President Obama's national security team have expressed reluctance about authorizing any more deployments. Senior militar

Roman city captured by Attila the Hun found

Times: The bustling harbour of Altinum near Venice was one of the richest cities of the Roman empire. But terrified by the impending invasion of the fearsome Germanic Emperor Attila the Hun, its inhabitants cut their losses and fled in AD452, leaving behind a ghost town of theatres, temples and basilicas. Altinum was never reoccupied and gradually sunk into the ground. The city lived on in Venetian folk tales and historical artefacts but its exact position, size and wealth gradually faded into obscurity. Now, using aerial photography of the region, Italian archaeologists have not only located the city, but have produced a detailed map revealing its remarkably intact infrastructure and showing it to be slightly larger than Pompeii. The abandonment of the city and its subsequent preservation makes it an archaeological time capsule, a unique find in Roman heritage. “It’s extremely unusual for a town to go out of use like this and that is what makes it absolutely inval

What is the rich's fair share of taxes?

Tax Policy Blog: Newly released data from the IRS clearly debunks the conventional Beltway rhetoric that the "rich" are not paying their fair share of taxes. Indeed, the IRS data shows that in 2007—the most recent data available—the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid 40.4 percent of the total income taxes collected by the federal government. This is the highest percentage in modern history. By contrast, the top 1 percent paid 24.8 percent of the income tax burden in 1987, the year following the 1986 tax reform act. Remarkably, the share of the tax burden borne by the top 1 percent now exceeds the share paid by the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers combined. In 2007, the bottom 95 percent paid 39.4 percent of the income tax burden. This is down from the 58 percent of the total income tax burden they paid twenty years ago. ... This is just more evidence of the Democrats' politics of fraud on taxes. The question they should be asked when they talk about the rich being under ta

But he does a pretty good imitation of one

From WCVB-TV: ‘I Am Not A Racist,’ Says Cop Who Wrote Gates Slur This is not about Sgt. Crowley.

Not that there is anything wrong with that

From the Austin American-Statesman: UPDATED: Hutchison site is loaded with hidden phrases—including two “Perry gay” references, which the campaign says it’s removing Apparently it was a glitch in some software and has been taken down.

Israelis support rebuilding 2nd Temple

Arab News: A news survey conducted by the Israeli Ynet news service and the Gesher organization found that about two thirds of the Israeli public want the Second Temple rebuilt. Gesher claims a 4.6 margin of error on a survey of 516 Israelis. The Temple Mount, which is the foundation of the First and Second temples is today home to Islam’s third-holiest mosque, Al-Aqsa. The Second Temple, built by Herod the Great, was destroyed in 70 A.D. when the Romans sacked Jerusalem. Sixty-four percent responded favorably to the question of rebuilding the temple commissioned by Herod the Great, while 36 percent responded negatively. Among the practicing and orthodox Jewish Israelis, virtually all respondents wanted to see the Second Temple rebuilt. Just under half of secular Israelis — 47 percent — also said they would like to see Herod’s Temple rebuilt. Eighty percent of respondents said it was “justified” to mark what many Jews consider the saddest day of their history (the destruction of the te

Illegal population declines

The Hill: A new report estimates that the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. has dropped nearly 14 percent in two years, a trend that mirrors the deflation of the once-fiery immigration debate. The Center for Immigration Studies, a nonpartisan think tank that favors reduced illegal immigration but does not advocate mass deportations, estimates that since summer 2007 the illegal-immigrant population has dropped from 12.5 million -- its peak -- to 10.8 million in the first quarter of 2009. The CIS report also said there is evidence that the number of new illegal immigrants arriving has fallen by about one-third in the past two years compared to earlier this decade. The drops have corresponded with a decrease in the number of illegal immigrants apprehended trying to cross into the U.S. and with a decline in the remittances sent back by immigrants to their home countries. The figures also correspond with the deflation of the hot-button immigration issue, which reached a frenzy with t

Nigeria Taliban leader found in goat pen

BBC: The leader of an Islamic sect blamed for days of deadly violence in Nigeria has been killed in police custody, police officials say. The news came just hours after security forces said they had captured Mohammed Yusuf in the city of Maiduguri. Mr Yusuf led Boko Haram, which wants to overthrow the government and impose a strict version of Islamic law. Hundreds of people have died in five days of clashes between his followers and security forces. "He has been killed. You can come and see his body at the state police command headquarters," Isa Azare, spokesman for the Maiduguri police command, told Reuters news agency. His bullet-riddled body was shown on state television, AFP news agency said. Troops had stormed Boko Haram's stronghold on Wednesday night, killing many of the militants and forcing others to flee. Mr Yusuf was arrested earlier on Thursday, after reportedly being found hiding in a goat pen at his parents-in-law's house. BBC News website Africa editor

Democrats have no mechanism for excluding illegals from health care

Fox News: Health care reform could end up bailing out employers who hire illegal immigrants and skimp on their health benefits. Under the legislation being considered on Capitol Hill, undocumented workers would technically not be covered. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said as much in an interview Sunday. "No, illegal immigrants are not covered by this plan," she said. But the reality, immigration analysts say, is that the legislation is missing any mechanism to keep illegals out of the system. And if they exploit that loophole, taxpayers could be on the hook for billions to cover health care costs their employers do not. Already, illegal immigrants account for $10.7 billion in state and federal health care spending, according to preliminary numbers from The Federation for American Immigration Reform. Special projects director Jack Martin said that amount, which derives in large part from emergency room visits and births, would only rise unless the health care proposals o

Drone war focus moves from al Qaeda to Taliban

LA Times: U.S. military leaders have concluded that their war effort in Afghanistan has been too focused on hunting Al Qaeda, and have begun to shift Predator drone aircraft to the fight against the Taliban and other militants in order to prevent the country from slipping deeper into anarchy. The move, described by government and Defense Department officials, represents a major change in the military's use of one of its most precious intelligence assets. It also illustrates the hard choices that must be made because the drones are in short supply. Senior government officials say that defeating Al Qaeda remains the overriding U.S. objective. However, they have determined that the best way to do that is by strengthening and stabilizing Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan, rather than endlessly looking for important Al Qaeda figures. But a shortage of drone aircraft could limit the effectiveness of the thousands of additional troops being sent as part of the Obama administration'

Ohio losing hope for change

Reuters: Hope and jobs are in short supply in Ohio eight months after President Barack Obama won the recession-battered state in the 2008 election with promises of a better future. "People were looking for a savior to get us out of this mess and that's why they voted for Obama," said Jeff Fravor, 55, a retired train conductor on his way to breakfast on the outskirts of Toledo. "I've nothing against Obama personally, but he's new to the job and 'hope' won't fix this mess." Candidate Obama delivered his message over and over again in Ohio, a politically diverse battleground state that often decides presidential elections . Obama went back to the state last week with an approval rating below 50 percent. A Quinnipiac University opinion poll released on July 7 showed the Democratic president's popularity in America's seventh most populous state had fallen to 49 per

Protesters overwhelm security forces at burial site in Iran

LA Times: Thousands and possibly tens of thousands of mourners, many of them black-clad young women carrying roses, overwhelmed security forces today at Tehran's largest cemetery to gather around the grave of Neda Agha-Soltan, the young woman whose videotaped shooting at a June 20 demonstration stunned the world. Mourners in a long procession converged on the burial site, kicking up clouds of dust as they walked. "Death to the dictator," they chanted. "Neda is not dead. This government is dead." Uniformed security forces initially clashed violently today with some of the mourners, supporters and leaders of the opposition, who were there to protest and grieve for those killed in recent unrest. Unsuccessful presidential candidates Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi attempted to attend the graveside ceremony marking the religiously significant 40th day since the death of Agha-Soltan and others killed in the fighting. "Oh, Hossein! Mir-Hossein,&

Polling leads Obama to change his health care pitch

Wall Street Journal: ... Trying to regain momentum, Mr. Obama is shifting his pitch to new consumer-protection rules for insurance companies, part of a bid to win over Americans who already have coverage. David Axelrod, one of the president's top advisers, acknowledged that the White House's months-long focus on controlling medical costs hasn't worked. "Consumer protections are a lot more tangible," he said. On Wednesday, Democratic leaders in the House reached accord with conservative party members to move their bill through the last of three committees, although the full House won't vote on the measure until at least September. "Failure is not an option," said California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman. The White House is eager to show progress and build public support before Congress breaks for summer, when opponents plan to continue their campaign. "If this bill hangs out there over the August recess my guess is it will get shredded," H

'Harmless as an enemy, treacherous as a friend'

Cliff May: H istorian Bernard Lewis has observed that a nation can make few mistakes worse than this: to be “harmless as an enemy and treacherous as a friend.” Is that a fair characterization of American foreign policy under the Obama administration? Start with Honduras, which has been a stable and valuable American ally for two decades. Recently, Pres. Manuel Zelaya attempted to subvert his country’s laws and democratic institutions in pursuit of the kind power enjoyed by such left-wing and anti-American strongmen as Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, Cuba’s Raul Castro, and Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega. Honduras’s Supreme Court stood up to Zelaya — eventually ordering the military to remove him from office. Honduras’s Congress voted to install a new president, Roberto Micheletti, the next in line under Honduras’s constitution, and a member of the same Liberal party to which Zelayla belongs. New elections, Micheletti said , should be held in November, as scheduled — or sooner, if that would ease t

Selling fear

Karl Rove: On the campaign trail last year, Barack Obama promised to end the “politics of fear and cynicism.” Yet he is now trying to sell his health-care proposals on fear. At his news conference last week, he said “Reform is about every American who has ever feared that they may lose their coverage, or lose their job. . . . If we do not reform health care, your premiums and out-of-pocket costs will continue to skyrocket. If we do not act, 14,000 Americans will continue to lose their health insurance every single day. These are the consequences of inaction.” A Fox News Poll from last week shows that 84% of Americans who have health insurance are happy with their coverage. And because 91% of all Americans have insurance, that means that 76% of all Americans will be concerned about anything that threatens their current coverage. By a 2-1 margin, according to the Fox Poll, Americans want coverage from a private provider rather than the government. Facing numbers like these, Mr. Obama

Valley hospital influences health care debate

NY Times: One of the largest sources of campaign contributions to Senate Democrats during this year’s health care debate is a physician-owned hospital in one of the country’s poorest regions that has sought to soften measures that could choke its rapid growth. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee collected nearly $500,000 at a reception here on March 30, mostly from physicians and others affiliated with Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, financial disclosure records show. The event was held at the home of a prominent McAllen developer, Alonzo Cantu, a hospital founder, investor and board member who has raised prodigious sums from the Rio Grande Valley for an array of Democrats. Another event at Mr. Cantu’s home, in September 2007, brought in at least $800,000 for the committee’s House counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, according to disclosure reports. The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi , was in attendance and cut a ribbon at the hospital’s new women’s cent

Obama's 2 major unemployment stimulus plans

Nina Easton: ... Obama officials insist we "can't afford not to" fix the health-care system and wean the nation off fossil fuels. "I don't see how anyone can look at the excessive growth rates [in health-care costs] and believe that can be sustained with a healthy economy," says Larry Summers, Obama's top economic adviser. Or as Zandi puts it, "Nothing is more important to the country's long-term fiscal outlook than health-care reform, and he only gets one bite at it. Investors know this, so they'll bid up interest rates" if reform isn't done right. "Done right," of course, is in the eye of the beholder. Zandi argues that reform needs to be "credibly paid for" -- ideally by limiting the tax deduction for employee-paid plans -- and it needs to contain costs. While the first question remains under debate in Congress, on the second, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office warns that evolving legislation could bu

The unemployment stimulus

Gov. Rick Perry: ... he Texas economy is the strongest in the nation. Our unemployment rate is 2 percent lower than the national average, and employers continue to relocate and expand in Texas. However, I am fully aware that because of the national recession, too many Texans are out of work or uncertain about their economic future. That's why I, state lawmakers and leaders at the Texas Workforce Commission have worked hard to keep our unemployment trust fund sound, adequately funded and safe from the meddling of Congress, the Obama administration and federal bureaucrats. Recent weeks have seen a flurry of news stories regarding unemployment benefits in Texas. Taken as a whole, they have painted a confusing and incomplete picture of unemployment insurance in our state. Here are the facts: Texas unemployment benefits are safe. Unemployed Texans are and will continue to be covered thanks to a combination of additional contributions from Texas businesses in the form of unemployment

Obama to short Navy on jets

Adm. Paul Rohrer: Hot on the heels of President Obama canceling the Air Force's most advanced strike fighter, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) announced this week that we now face a much greater shortfall in Navy and Marine Corps strike fighters than was previously estimated. Last year, CRS predicted a shortfall of 125 navy fighter jets by 2017. They now predict that the shortfall will more be more than 300 jets. The American people deserve to understand what those shortages really mean. On the surface, President Obama's defense budget calls for cutting the Navy's aircraft carrier strike groups from 11 to 10. But a closer inspection reveals that Obama's program delays and budget cuts will do terrible harm to the readiness and capability of our carrier groups. Although America does have 10 carrier groups, we cannot deploy all 10 at any given time. Both personnel and equipment require shore time for maintenance, rest, and training. Along with the carrier groups

Ouch! Not a good start to campaign

R.G. Ratcliff: U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's message Wednesday was as simple as it was confusing: If Gov. Rick Perry does not quit his re-election race to give her a free run at the Republican gubernatorial nomination, she will quit the Senate to run against him. In a bizarre series of interviews, Hutchison — who has been in the Senate for 16 years — said Perry is wearing out his welcome by wanting to win re-election so he can have 15 years as governor. And if he does not get out of her way, she will quit her job to take him out. ... Several hours later, however, she told reporters in Washington that her statements had been misunderstood and what she really wanted was for Perry to get out of the race. “Nobody expected (Perry) to run for 15 years, and I think there's a chance that he wouldn't run because he would see how divisive it is and that he's trying to stay too long and that he can really help in many ways if he doesn't run, in which case I could then be a

The Tea Party Poll

NY Times: Most Americans continue to want the federal government to focus on reducing the budget deficit rather than spending money to stimulate the national economy, a new New York Times/CBS News poll finds. Yet at the same time, most oppose some proposed solution for decreasing it. Fifty-six percent of respondents said that they were not willing to pay more in taxes in order to reduce the deficit, and nearly as many said they were not willing for the government to provide fewer services in areas such as health care, education and defense spending. ... Isn't that the message the Tea Party movement has been sending for months? The same message that many in the media, particularly the liberal MSNBC, have been criticizing and making fun of with homoerotic insults. It turns out that most voters are more concerned about the deficits than Obama and the Democrats. That is one reason why the health care bill is in such trouble. With the failure of the stimulus to stimulate the big sp

White roof savings

NY Times: Returning to their ranch-style house in Sacramento after a long summer workday, Jon and Kim Waldrep were routinely met by a wall of heat. “We’d come home in the summer, and the house would be 115 degrees, stifling,” said Mr. Waldrep, a regional manager for a national company. He or his wife would race to the thermostat and turn on the air-conditioning as their four small children, just picked up from day care, awaited relief. All that changed last month. “Now we come home on days when it’s over 100 degrees outside, and the house is at 80 degrees,” Mr. Waldrep said. Their solution was a new roof: a shiny plasticized white covering that experts say is not only an energy saver but also a way to help cool the planet. Relying on the centuries-old principle that white objects absorb less heat than dark ones, homeowners like the Waldreps are in the vanguard of a movement embracing “cool roofs” as one of the most affordable weapons against climate change . Studies show that white roo

Pakistan making use of US precision weapons against Taliban

NY Times: Pakistan’s Air Force is improving its ability to pinpoint and attack militant targets with precision weapons, adding a new dimension to the country’s fight against violent extremism, according to Pakistani military officials and independent analysts. The Pakistani military has moved away from the scorched-earth artillery and air tactics used last year against insurgents in the Bajaur tribal agency . In recent months, the air force has shifted from using Google Earth to more sophisticated images from spy planes and other surveillance aircraft, and has increased its use of laser-guided bombs. The changes reflect an effort by the Pakistani military to conduct its operations in a way that will not further alienate the population by increasing civilian casualties and destroying property. But they are also dictated by necessity as the military takes its campaign into areas where it is reluctant to commit ground troops, particularly in the rugged terrain of Waziristan, where it had

Sudan wants women out of their pants

Daily Mail: A Christian woman who faces 40 lashes for wearing trousers in Sudan made a dramatic appearance in court yesterday to fight her case. Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein walked into the packed hearing in the same green slacks that got her arrested. Under Islamic laws used in parts of the country, it is illegal for a woman to wear trousers rather than long skirts in public. But the law is not supposed to apply to non-Muslims like Miss Hussein, a former journalist who works for the United Nations. And it is only imposed sporadically in the capital, Khartoum, where she was arrested. Indecency cases are not uncommon in Sudan, but Miss Hussein has used hers to campaign against dress codes. Yesterday journalists scuffled with police armed with batons outside the court and some reporters, who were briefly detained, had equipment confiscated. Scores of women, some wearing slacks, attended to support Miss Hussein. The case was adjourned as lawyers discussed whether her status as a UN employee gav

Latin America swings right?

From the Guardian: Latin America's swing to the right The writer makes the case that in Chile , Uruguay and Brazil the voters are moving away from the left. Perhaps they have seen the mess Chavez and his cronies have made.

Gaza goes Taliban

Stephanie Gutmann: Freed from scrutiny by the EU and US focus on whether Israelis add extensions to their homes in Jerusalem, Hamas continues the quiet work of turning the Gaza strip into a Taliban-style Islamic state. A few days ago came the news that the Gaza Strip’s most senior judge “ has ordered all female lawyers to wear headscarves and a long, dark colored cloak under their black robes when they appear in court beginning September.” This is part of a general crackdown on female professionals — or maybe it’s just females. It follows the news several weeks ago, reported by Khaled Abu Toameh of the Jerusalem Post, that Hamas policemen attempted to arrest a female Palestinian journalist “under the pretext that she came to a Gaza beach dressed immodestly and was seen laughing in public.” ... These are very scared men who fear their hormones cannot be controlled unless they control what women wear. Also see the post below where a 27 year old woman was murdered by her father for h

Michael Williams makes his case for senate race

Cleburne Times-Review: ... From health care proposals to spending to the cap and trade bill, Williams decried the actions of President Barack Obama. “A child born today gets a birth certificate in one hand and a federal deficit bill for $30,000,” Williams said. “I remember hearing some, during the inauguration, say, ‘Well, how much damage can [Obama] do in four years?’ We didn’t realize how much he could do in six months.” By remaining true to the values of the party, Republicans have an opportunity to turn things around, Williams said. But they must reach out to do so. “To regain control, we have to make this party look a whole lot more like Texas than this room,” Williams said. “That means sitting down with black folk, Latinos and others to see what their thoughts and concerns are.” ... If you give Michael a chance you will like him and his policies. The contest still has a long way to go, and you will have more chances to get to know him.

Voters not buying Obamacare sales pitch

NBC: Despite his public-relations blitz over the past two weeks to promote his plans to reform the nation's health-care system — including holding two town halls on Wednesday — President Barack Obama has lost ground on this issue with the American public, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Pluralities now say that the president’s health care plan is a bad idea, and that it will result in the quality of their care getting worse. What’s more, just four in 10 approve of his handling on the issue. The poll also finds that Obama's overall job-approval rating has dropped to 53 percent. And it shows a public that has grown increasingly concerned about the federal government's spending as the administration defends its $787 billion economic stimulus and supports a $1 trillion-plus health-care bill. ... A NY Times pol l eroding support for Obama and his health care plan. ... Americans are concerned that overhauling the health care system would reduce the q