Showing posts from September, 2009

Palin book already # 1

Politico: Two days after the release date of Sarah Palin’s book was announced, it's already become the top seller at both and Palin’s publisher announced Monday that the former governor of Alaska and Republican vice presidential candidate had finished her memoir, "Going Rogue: An American Life," early and was moving the release date up from the spring to November 17. A Palin source told POLITICO that she "is very grateful" for the strong early sales. "This book has taken off like a rocket," the source said. HarperCollins will print 1.5 million copies for the book’s first run, the same number that was printed for late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s memoir "True Compass." Kennedy’s book, published earlier this month, currently stands at number six on the Amazon list. ... Clearly there is a lot of interest in what Sarah Palin has to say. The book was compiled largely from a journal she kept while campaigning a year a


Michael Ramirez draws the troops as they wait for reinforcements.

Computer reveals ACORN plot in Oklahoma, Texas

NewsOK: A Republican state legislator released documents Tuesday which he says show the community-organizing group ACORN focused on helping Democrats in three legislative races in the November 2008 election and had developed a game plan to "take power” in Oklahoma within five years. The documents, which include legislative district maps and various forms, were recovered from computers abandoned by ACORN workers in Oklahoma City , said Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City. Also found was a script apparently used in Houston to go door-to-door to encourage voters to vote for Barack Obama in November 2008. "They say they’re not political, but one of the subdirectories was called political action plans,” Reynolds said. "It was their political plans to take over key targeted races in Oklahoma City to show how powerful they are.” ... There is much more. This is more evidence to the pile that exist that shows the partisan nature of this "non profit." It may b

The Boxer-Kerry pollution taxes

IBD : The Senate has finally rolled out its long-awaited cap-and-trade bill to slash carbon dioxide. Looking at its draconian restrictions on the U.S. economy, it's hard to believe its supporters are serious. The Boxer-Kerry bill isn't a whole lot different from the Waxman - Markey bill that was passed by the House of Representatives in June. And that's the problem. Both bills provide for a "cap-and-trade" system to slash the use of fossil fuels and replace them with solar, wind and other "alternative" energy sources. The idea is to impose strict limits on the output of CO2, a supposed cause of global warming. If this sounds like a good idea, it isn't. It'll lead to massive new taxes, the demise of entire industries, the elimination of millions of jobs and lost income for all. As the Heritage Foundation found when it ran the numbers on Waxman - Markey , the economic losses entailed in imposing cap-and-trade are enormous. Over 23 years, a cap-

A rat killer's reward

Independent: A Bangladeshi farmer who killed more than 83,000 rats and launched a nationwide campaign to kill millions more has been awarded a prize by the government for his efforts in protecting crops and reducing the need for food imports. Mokhairul Islam, 40, won a television for killing 83,450 rats over nine months in Gazipur, near the capital, Dhaka. He collected their tails for proof. "I am so happy to get this honour," he said upon receiving the set amid cheers at a ceremony attended by 500 farmers and officials. "I had no idea the government gives prizes for this." Officials say that the impoverished nation imports three million tonnes of food a year. The agriculture ministry estimates that rodents destroy 1.5 million to two million tonnes of food a year. ... If they can save half their grain imports by killing rats then his reward seems well worth it. I wonder what PETA thinks about it?

Taliban bomb factory and tunnel complex destroyed by UK Black Watch troops

Times: Hundreds of soldiers from the Black Watch have destroyed a Taleban stronghold after uncovering a network of tunnels that concealed bomb factories, the Ministry of Defence said. About 500 soldiers, including members of the Afghan National Army and Canadian experts, swooped into Howz-e-Maded in the Zhari district of Kandahar province in three waves of six Chinook helicopters. They were dropped within touching distance of Taleban positions. The insurgents were taken by surprise and quickly overwhelmed. The raid, before dawn on September 14, was the last major assault carried out by The Black Watch before they are to return home. The Black Watch (3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland) was supported by British, Canadian and US bombers, attack helicopters and unmanned drones. The target was known to be one of the biggest insurgent strongholds in southern Afghanistan. A series of intense firefights ensued. Private Kevin Murphy, 28, of The Black Watch recall

Democrats make liar out of Obama on Alien health care

The Hill: Senate Finance Committee Democrats rejected a proposed a requirement that immigrants prove their identity with photo identification when signing up for federal healthcare programs. Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said that current law and the healthcare bill under consideration are too lax and leave the door open to illegal immigrants defrauding the government using false or stolen identities to obtain benefits. Grassley's amendment was beaten back 10-13 on a party-line vote. The bill, authored by committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), would require applicants to verify their names, places of birth and Social Security numbers. In addition, legal immigrants would have to wait five years, as under current law, after obtaining citizenship or legal residency to access federal healthcare benefits such as Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program or receive tax credits or purchase insurance through the exchange created by the legislatio

Baucus reconsiders raising taxes on elderly

Washington Post: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is looking to revise a key financing provision of his health reform package in light of a new analysis showing that it would impose a particularly heavy tax burden on people over 65, aides said. A day after the committee soundly defeated proposals for a government insurance plan, Republicans are preparing to challenge Baucus's proposal to limit tax deductions for medical expenses as a direct hit on financially strapped seniors. According to an analysis by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, the proposal would raise $21.7 billion over the next decade, about half of it from people over 65. Baucus added the tax increase to the massive bill at the last minute to help lower coverage costs for uninsured middle-income families and individuals. It would change a provision in current law that permits people to deduct medical expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of income. Instead, Baucus would raise that thres

Obama's weird pragmatism

Jonah Goldberg: ‘When John McCain said we could just ‘muddle through' in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights," Barack Obama thundered as he accepted the Democratic nomination for president in Denver last year. "John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the gates of Hell. But he won't even go to the cave where he lives." It was a shabby bit of rhetoric, even for a campaign. Insinuating that McCain, of all people, didn't have the intestinal fortitude to take the fight to bin Laden was not only absurd on its face, it smacked of overcompensation coming from the former community organizer whose greatest foreign-policy passion prior to his presidential bid had been nuclear disarmament. But the line did what it needed to do: communicate that Obama ha

How Obama has helped Iran

Robert Kagan: The past two weeks have been a big success for the rulers in Tehran, despite what many in the United States and Europe may think. The Obama administration, the Europeans and the media have been obsessively focused on Iranian missile launches and secret enrichment facilities, on Russia's body language, and on the likely success or failure of Thursday's talks in Geneva. What the world has not focused on is the one thing Iran's rulers care about: their own survival. You have to give the clerics credit for keeping this grave matter off Western agendas. The fraudulent presidential election in June and the subsequent mass demonstrations produced the biggest regime crisis in years. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei must have been panicked at the prospect of losing control -- and with reason. Western democrats, not knowing what it is like to rule by fear and force, generally underestimate what a scary and uncertain business it can be, how a si

China puts business ahead of stopping Iran nukes

Washington Post: In its effort to muster support for sterner action against Iran, the Obama administration will have to overcome China's reluctance to punish a country that is one of its top oil suppliers and a major beneficiary of its energy-related investments. The administration's frustration with Beijing is growing. U.S. officials have noted that China has appeared even more reluctant than Russia to take action against Iran after disclosures about its nuclear program. U.S. officials said they are particularly concerned that China has blocked their efforts to target freight-forwarding companies based in Hong Kong that reship goods, including prohibited weaponry, to Iran. The Chinese "have not displayed a sense of urgency" on Iran, said a senior administration official. Instead, the official said, China has attempted to "have it both ways," preserving its relationship with Iran while also working with the United States and other countries involved in the

The unescorted deportee problem

Houston Chronicle: Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials routinely put illegal immigrants unescorted on commercial flights for deportation, including some who are sex offenders or have other criminal records, according to documents and field agent accounts. The practice has prompted complaints from a key U.S. senator and ICE union leaders, who contend that putting illegal immigrants convicted of serious crimes on commercial airlines unescorted poses a severe public safety risk. Unescorted deportees have caused disruptions on flights and have absconded after unscheduled stops, including two Peruvian deportees who disappeared from Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport in July, according to field agent reports collected by union officials. Internal ICE documents show that illegal immigrants convicted of sex crimes involving victims as young as 11 have been allowed to fly unescorted. “This is an absolute risk to public safety,” said Chris Crane, ICE Council 118's vice

Why Iran had a secret nuke site

Christian Science Monitor: Iran 's newly revealed second centrifuge plant hidden in a mountainside fits neatly into Tehran's nuclear program, as if it were a long-missing piece to a jigsaw puzzle that's almost complete. That is because Western intelligence analysts and experts outside government have long suspected that if Iran wanted to produce fissile material for a nuclear weapon , it would have to do so at a hidden facility. Known Iranian nuclear sites are too closely watched to serve that purpose. Two years ago, in its 2007 National Intelligence Estimate of Iran's nuclear intentions and capabilities, the US intelligence community concluded that "we assess with moderate confidence that Iran probably would use covert facilities – rather than its declared nuclear sites – for the production of highly enriched uranium for weapon." Information made public so far makes it appear the new site has all the attribu

Talking with Iran

Michael Ledeen discusses all the talks we have had with Iran since 1979. Every administration has attempted to deal with the religious bigots in charge and everyone has failed to achieve anything for their efforts.

Senators trying to block closing of Gitmo

Washington Times: Senators again are trying to stop the Obama administration from closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility by blocking the money needed to transfer the remaining and most notorious prisoners to the United States, Sen. James M. Inhofe said Tuesday. The restriction is part of the Defense Appropriations Bill now being debated on the Senate floor and would extend similar legislation that expires Oct. 1. Mr. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, supports the bill and thinks it will pass because the 148 remaining prisoners are what he calls "the real bad guys," including accused al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. "I think we may be in a (good) position," Mr. Inhofe, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told The Washington Times' "America's Morning News" radio show. "Now that we're down to the real hard-core, you've got to keep that thing open." ... The legislation that now blocks the funding and expires in

Canada's access to a wait list

Opinion Journal: ... When the pain in Christina Woodkey's legs became so severe that she could no longer hike or cross-country ski, she went to her local health clinic. The Calgary, Canada, resident was told she'd need to see a hip specialist. Because the problem was not life-threatening, however, she'd have to wait about a year. So wait she did. In January, the hip doctor told her that a narrowing of the spine was compressing her nerves and causing the pain. She needed a back specialist. The appointment was set for Sept. 30. 'When I was given that date, I asked when could I expect to have surgery,' said Woodkey, 72. 'They said it would be a year and a half after I had seen this doctor.' So this month, she drove across the border into Montana and got the $50,000 surgery done in two days. 'I don't have insurance. We're not allowed to have private health insurance in Canada,' Woodkey said. 'It's not going to be easy to come up with t

Penetrating al Qaeda

Washington Post: U.S. and international intelligence officials say that improved recruitment of spies inside the al-Qaeda network, along with increased use of targeted airstrikes and enhanced assistance from cooperative governments, has significantly reduced the terrorist organization's effectiveness. A U.S. counterterrorism official said that the combined advances have led to the deaths of more than a dozen senior figures in al-Qaeda and allied groups in Pakistan and elsewhere over the past year, most of them in 2009. Officials described Osama bin Laden and his main lieutenants as isolated and unable to coordinate high-profile attacks. Recent claims of significant success against al-Qaeda have become part of White House deliberations about U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, centering on a request by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top American and NATO commander there, for an expanded counterinsurgency campaign that will require more U.S. troops. Discussions began in earnest Tuesd

Marines in Combat Outpost Sharp, Afghanistan

Independent: Amid the maze of trenches and dug in positions, mortar barrels poke forth circled by sleeping bags encased in mosquito nets and camouflage ponchos offering shade from the searing heat of the day. Nearby a few industrious troops have fashioned small huts out of wire, sacking and dried up reeds. The lop-sided sign on one reads Home Sweet Home. A hammock strung from two trees offers somewhere to rest away from the beating sun. This is Combat Outpost Sharp, the US Marines’ most remote base in southern Helmand , deep into Taliban territory in the notoriously lethal green zone bordering the river. Here a few hundred Marines have set up camp in the shattered remains of a derelict school. The graffiti on the walls, childish pictures of planes next to Jihad proclamations, bear testament to the previous Taliban inhabitants who made it their headquarters. Every room and hallway is packed with cots, next to each are neat piles of body ar

A Chicom celebration of genocide

Michael Ramirez puts the celebration of Chinese Communism in context. It is too bad the Empire State Building ignored that context.

Border crossing deaths increse

Washington Post: Despite a 50 percent drop over the past two years in the number of people caught illegally entering the United States from Mexico, the number of those who died while trying to cross the border increased this year and is the highest since 2006, according to new U.S. data and a study by human rights groups in both countries. The American Civil Liberties Union and Mexico's human rights agency allege that consistently high numbers of border deaths -- hovering around 350 to 500 a year, depending on which government's figures are used -- are a predictable but largely unrecognized result of border security policies. "Border deaths have increased despite the economic downturn, fewer migrant crossers, and a steady drop in apprehensions," Mexico's National Human Rights Commission and the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties in California say in a report set for release Wednesday and obtained by The Washington Post. The rising fatality rates "sig

Senate committee rejects public option

NY Times: After a half-day of animated debate, the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday rejected efforts by liberal Democrats to add a government-run health insurance plan to major health care legislation, dealing the first official setback to an idea that many Democrats, including President Obama , say they support. All of the other versions of the health care legislation advancing in Congress — a bill approved by the Senate health committee and a trio of bills in the House — include some version of the government-run plan, or public option. But the Finance Committee chairman, Senator Max Baucus , Democrat of Montana, long ago removed it from his proposal because of stiff opposition from Republicans who call the public plan a step toward “socialized medicine.” The committee on Tuesday afternoon voted, 15 to 8, to reject an amendment proposed by Senator John D. Rockefeller IV , Democrat of West Virginia, to add a public option called the Community Choice Health Plan, an outcome t

UK information op kills Afghan girl

Times: A young Afghan girl suffered fatal injuries after a box of public information leaflets, dropped from an RAF transport aircraft over Helmand province, landed on top of her. The accident, which the Ministry of Defence said yesterday was “highly regrettable”, is being investigated. The incident has taken some time to emerge. The leaflet drop occurred on June 23. The crew of an RAF C130 Hercules had been flying over rural parts of the province to try to reach local people with a leaflet campaign. The boxes of leaflets are supposed to open up in mid-air, scattering the literature over a wide area. “But on this occasion one of the boxes failed to open, and the young girl was hit,” an official said. Defence sources said it was unfortunate that the injured girl was taken to a local hospital in Kandahar, neighbouring Helmand province, where she died after being given emergency treatment. ... There is more. There was obviously a failure of the box to open as designed.

Terrorist make the mistake of messing with farmer's daughter

Telegraph: Rukhsana Kausar, 21, was with her parents and brother in Jammu and Kashmir when three gunmen, believed to be Pakistani militants, forced their way in and demanded food and beds for the night. Their house in Shahdra Sharief, Rajouri district, is about 20 miles from the ceasefire line between Indian and Pakistani forces. It is close to dense forests known as hiding places for fighters from the Lashkar-e-Taiba group, which carried out the Mumbai terrorist attack last November. Militants often demand food and lodging in nearby villages. When they forced their way into Miss Kausar’s home, her father Noor Mohammad refused their demands and was attacked. His daughter was hiding under a bed when she heard him crying as the gunmen thrashed him with sticks. According to police, she ran towards her father’s attacker and struck him with an axe. As he collapsed, she snatched his AK47 and shot him dead. She also shot and wounded another militant

Taliban kill 30 civilians with roadside bomb

Dawn: A roadside bomb killed 30 civilians in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday including 10 children and seven women, the Interior Ministry said. At least 39 others were wounded when the bomb hit a bus in the Maiwand district outside the southern city of Kandahar, it said in a statement. Provincial government spokesman Zalmai Ayoubi said the bomb went off on a highway where a similar blast killed three civilians a day earlier. He blamed the Taliban for planting the devices. ... This was in a Pakistan paper. As of this posting I have not seen the story in US paper, but you know it would be a headline report if US forces had killed the civilians. It is a blatant example of the double standard of the media reporting on the war effort and it explains why the Taliban have been so successful with their media campaign. The US should be counter attacking in teh media battle space and it should be pointing out enemy atrocities like this.

Democrats try to shut off debate by personalizing

Politico: Liberal allies of President Barack Obama aren’t just getting mad at conservative attacks on his agenda. They are getting even in a way calculated to hit conservatives where it counts: their pockets. Former GOP House leader Dick Armey , former New York lt. gov. and conservative activist Betsy McCaughey and even Fox News’s Glenn Beck have all seen their financial livelihoods threatened by political activists — who in several cases managed to make good on the threats. The latest prominent figure in liberal cross hairs is U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue . Environmental activists, citing alleged conflicts of interest, have begun a campaign to pressure him to resign from the board of Union Pacific Railroad or from his longtime post as head of the nation’s top business lobby. “We’re losing our self-government with these Chicago-style arm-twisting tactics,” complained McCaughey, who resigned from the board of Cantel Medical Group after the firm was connected

Obama's Afghan weakness

Washington Times: Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said Monday that the U.S. would make a "disastrous" mistake if it withdrew from Afghanistan and warned that a delay in sending more troops would be seen as a sign of weakness. Mr. Musharraf also denied that Pakistan's elite Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was giving secret support to the Taliban, which the ISI helped build in the 1980s to confront the Soviet Union. Asked by reporters and editors at The Washington Times whether the U.S. and its allies might be seen as weak because of the prolonged debate over whether to send more forces to Afghanistan, Mr. Musharraf said, "Yes, absolutely. ... By this vacillation and lack of commitment to a victory and talking too much about casualties [it] shows weakness in the resolve." ... If a former Pakistan leader can see the weakness of the dithering strategy, then it should be more obvious to people in this country.

Hey Obama, the election is over. Trying being President

Richard Cohen: Sooner or later it is going to occur to Barack Obama that he is the president of the United States. As of yet, though, he does not act that way, appearing promiscuously on television and granting interviews like the presidential candidate he no longer is. The election has been held, but the campaign goes on and on. The candidate has yet to become commander in chief. Take last week's G-20 meeting in Pittsburgh. There, the candidate-in-full commandeered the television networks and the leaders of Britain and France to give the Iranians a dramatic warning. Yet another of their secret nuclear facilities had been revealed and Obama, as anyone could see, was determined to do something about it -- just don't ask what. The entire episode had a faux Cuban missile crisis quality to it. Something menacing had been discovered -- not Soviet missiles a mere 100 miles or so off Florida, but an Iranian nuclear installation about 100 miles from Tehran. As befitting the occasion,

The decline and fall of the evils of socialism

NY Times: A specter is haunting Europe — the specter of Socialism’s slow collapse. Even in the midst of one of the greatest challenges to capitalism in 75 years, involving a breakdown of the financial system due to “irrational exuberance,” greed and the weakness of regulatory systems, European Socialist parties and their left-wing cousins have not found a compelling response, let alone taken advantage of the right’s failures. German voters clobbered the Social Democratic Party on Sunday, giving it only 23 percent of the vote, its worst performance since World War II. Voters also punished left-leaning candidates in the summer’s European Parliament elections and trounced French Socialists in 2007. Where the left holds power, as in Spain and Britain, it is under attack. Where it is out, as in France , Italy and now Germany , it is divided and listless. Some American conservatives demonize President Obama ’s fiscal stimulus and health care overhaul as a dangerous turn toward European-styl

Palin remains popular with GOP

Politico: Despite a torrent of criticism from the media , Democrats and even some in her own party , Sarah Palin remains the hottest brand name in politics. Her recent resignation was perplexing. It’s raised doubts about her viability as a potential presidential candidate. Still, she remains extremely popular with the GOP grass roots , and most Republican Party leaders would jump at the chance to have her headline one of their events. That’s the picture that emerges from interviews with dozens of GOP state and local leaders from across the country. As part of an effort to gauge Palin’s popularity with the rank and file beyond the Beltway, where the GOP establishment is lukewarm toward the charismatic former governor, POLITICO surveyed nearly 50 prominent Republican Party officials and politicians, representing every region of the country and ranging from statewide-elected officeholders to state legislators to state and county party chairs. ... There is much more. I think she

Quetta becomes a target

Washington Post: As American troops move deeper into southern Afghanistan to fight Taliban insurgents, U.S. officials are expressing new concerns about the role of fugitive Taliban leader Mohammad Omar and his council of lieutenants, who reportedly plan and launch cross-border strikes from safe havens around the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta. But U.S. officials acknowledge they know relatively little about the remote and arid Pakistani border region, have no capacity to strike there, and have few windows into the turbulent mix of Pashtun tribal and religious politics that has turned the area into a sanctuary for the Taliban leaders, who are known collectively as the Quetta Shura. Pakistani officials, in turn, have been accused of allowing the Taliban movement to regroup in the Quetta area, viewing it as a strategic asset rather than a domestic threat, while the army has been heavily focused on curbing violent Islamist extremists in the northwest border region hundreds of mil

Democrats' delusions about Texas

Washington Times: President Obama will get a Texas twofer next month when he headlines the Presidential Forum on Service at former President George H.W. Bush's library — a bipartisan photo-op plus a chance to aid state Democrats itching for national political relevance. Texas Democrats — bolstered by party officials who think the Lone Star State is within reach — say Mr. Obama's Oct. 16 visit to Texas A&M University will energize volunteers working to win back the Statehouse. "There's good reason to believe Republicans won't be able to take Texas for granted like they have in the past," said Kirsten Gray, spokeswoman for the Texas Democrats. ... This is downright delusional. One recent poll gives Obama and overall 80 percent disapproval rating with 67 percent saying they strongly disapprove of the job he is doing. That suggest that even some Texas Democrats disapprove and probably almost all independents and Republicans. A trip to Bryan-College Statio

Whose right about Iran's nuke ambitions

NY Times: When President Obama stood last week with the leaders of Britain and France to denounce Iran ’s construction of a secret nuclear plant, the Western powers all appeared to be on the same page. Behind their show of unity about Iran’s clandestine efforts to manufacture nuclear fuel, however, is a continuing debate among American, European and Israeli spies about a separate component of Iran’s nuclear program : its clandestine efforts to design a nuclear warhead. The Israelis, who have delivered veiled threats of a military strike, say they believe that Iran has restarted these “weaponization” efforts, which would mark a final step in building a nuclear weapon. The Germans say they believe that the weapons work was never halted. The French have strongly suggested that independent international inspectors have more information about the weapons work than they have made public. Meanwhile, in closed-door discussions, American spy agencies have stood firm in their conclusion that wh

More bluster toward Israel follows Iran missile test

Times: Iran warned Israel yesterday that it faces destruction if it attacks the Islamic republic, only hours after Tehran provocatively test-fired missiles capable of hitting targets across the Middle East. “If this [an Israeli attack] happens, which, of course, we do not foresee, its ultimate result would be to expedite the last breath of the Zionist regime,” Ahmad Vahidi, the Iranian Defence Minister, said on state television. His defiant comments came after Western leaders dismissed a second day of rocket launches by Iran, calling them a “reprehensible” distraction from critical talks this week that will determine whether Tehran is ready to negotiate over its nuclear programme, or face biting new sanctions. ... Why does Obama think it will be productive to have a chat with people like this? While this may be bravado it is not something that can be discussed on a rational basis. We are dealing with religious bigots who think they are on a mission from God. They view

Cuba failed to pay farmers and tried to cover it up

Another massive failure of the command economy in Cuba was being hidden by "some local officials." I a capitalistic system, producers would have alternative customers who would pay for the goods and services, but in Cuba there is a bankrupt command economy that is stiffing producers. How would Michael Moore feel if he were producing work in Cuba and not being paid for it? Yet that is what he wants for all of us. BTW, this is another reason why it is wise not to loan money to the Castro regime. It will never be paid either.

Trial lawyers have money problems

Washington Times: The trial lawyers lobby has been awash in debt and bleeding members - just as it embarks on a national campaign to block any clampdown on medical malpractice lawsuits as part of President Obama's health care overhaul. The American Association for Justice, the most prominent group representing plaintiffs' attorneys, has seen a shake-up in its executive suite and has struggled to deal with what appears to be a mounting budget shortfall. To help it fight congressional efforts to make it harder for patients to sue doctors and lawyers, it recently sent out an extra solicitation to its members, asking them to fork over money for a lobbying campaign. The most striking evidence of its financial woes is a swift decline in income, which resulted in a more than $6.2 million deficit in its operating budget for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2008, the most recent year for which data are available. The biggest hit to its books was in membership dues, which dropped from $2

Support for Obamacare drops to 41%

Rasmussen Reports: Just 41% of voters nationwide now favor the health care reform proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That’s down two points from a week ago and the lowest level of support yet measured. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% are opposed to the plan. Senior citizens are less supportive of the plan than younger voters. In the latest survey, just 33% of seniors favor the plan while 59% are opposed. The intensity gap among seniors is significant. Only 16% of the over-65 crowd Strongly Favors the legislation while 46% are Strongly Opposed. For the first time ever, a slight plurality of voters now express doubt that the legislation will become law this year. Forty-six percent (46%) say passage is likely while 47% say it is not. Those figures include 18% who say passage is Very Likely and 15% who say it is Not at All Likely. Sixty percent (60%) are less certain. ... The Democrats are committed to passing some form of h

News you can use?

Mark Steyn: Given the president's claims about the cost savings of preventive care, I do hope he will consider acting on the results of this research and instituting a mandatory program: A study by German scientists showed that 10 minutes a day of ogling women’s breasts by men was as good at warding off heart disease, high blood pressure and stress as 30 minutes of aerobic exercise. By the way, this wasn't just some nickel'n'dime, fly-by-night survey. Two hundred men participated in this survey, for five years. Which is a lot of breasts. Or a lot of work-outs, if you drew the short straw. ... The article has since been taken down from the link. It sounds like the kind of article that many would find interesting. Who knew there were health benefits to boob watching?

Obama did not get the strategy he expected from McChrystal

Max Boot: During last year's campaign, Barack Obama stressed that while he wanted to withdraw from Iraq, he was no pacifist. "As president," he said on July 15, 2008, "I will make the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban the top priority that it should be. This is a war that we have to win." He began to make good on his word on March 27 when he announced a "comprehensive new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan" that included 21,000 additional troops. The goal, he said, was to "reverse the Taliban's gains" and "prevent Afghanistan from becoming the Al Qaeda safe haven that it was before 9/11." On Aug. 30, the president's handpicked commander in Afghanistan delivered a plan to do just that. Implementing his counterinsurgency strategy, Gen. Stanley McChrystal wrote, "requires more forces." If extra troops are not sent, and soon, the "likely result" would be "failure." One would expect, based on

Choices with Iran

Eliot Cohen: Unless you are a connoisseur of small pictures of bearded, brooding fanatical clerics there is not much reason to collect Iranian currency. But I kept one bill on my desk at the State Department because of its watermark—an atom superimposed on the part of that country that harbors the Natanz nuclear site. Only the terminally innocent should have been surprised to learn that there is at least one other covert site, whose only purpose could be the production of highly enriched uranium for atom bombs. Pressure, be it gentle or severe, will not erase that nuclear program. The choices are now what they ever were: an American or an Israeli strike, which would probably cause a substantial war, or living in a world with Iranian nuclear weapons, which may also result in war, perhaps nuclear, over a longer period of time. Understandably, the U.S. government has hoped for a middle course of sanctions, negotiations and bargaining that would remove the problem without the ugly conseq

Liz Cheney sounds like a leader

NY Times: Liz Cheney looks nothing like her father, but it is clear who he is. She was introduced as “our favorite vice president’s daughter” at a recent gathering of conservative women here. She kept invoking him in her speech, conveying his best regards, and likes to share cute stories about Dad trying to master his new BlackBerry. Like her father, Ms. Cheney speaks in understated, almost academic cadences, head veering down into her notes. She also shares his willingness to pummel President Obama in stark, disdainful tones, not so much criticizing as taunting him. “Mr. President, in a ticking time-bomb scenario, with American lives at stake,” she said, “are you really unwilling to subject a terrorist to enhanced interrogation to get information that would prevent an attack?” By speech’s end, the crowd was standing, and the former vice president’s daughter was being mobbed for photos and hounded to run for office. Liz Cheney is “a red state rock star,” declared Rebecca Wales, one o

Iran test long range missle after Obama drops missile defense

BBC: Iran has test-fired its long-range Shahab-3 missile, the country's state TV has reported. The launch comes one day after the elite Revolutionary Guards test-fired short and medium range missiles. The Shahab-3 has a range of up to 2,000km (1,240 miles), potentially putting Israel and American bases in the Gulf within range, analysts say. ... The rationale for dropping the European missile shield was that Iran was not concentrating on long range missiles. Granted, this is not and ICBM, but it does point toward their ambitions. If it could hit Israel, it could hit parts of Eastern Europe. Will we be basing the Aegis missile defense ships in the Black Sea soon?

New sanctions for Iran--Don't count on them

NY Times: The Obama administration is scrambling to assemble a package of harsher economic sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program that could include a cutoff of investments to the country’s oil-and-gas industry and restrictions on many more Iranian banks than those currently blacklisted, senior administration officials said Sunday. The administration also is seeking to build a broader coalition of partners for sanctions so that it may still be able to act against Iran even if China and Russia were to veto harsher measures proposed in the United Nations Security Council . “There are a variety of options still available,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates , speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said of the potential list of targets for Iranian sanctions, notably in energy equipment and technology. He called it “a pretty rich list to pick from.” Administration officials began describing what new sanctions might look like with a critical face-to-face meeting between the United