Saturday, February 9, 2008

In Virginia, a Longtime Republican Votes for Change

Politics: Or my title, " A damn good example why Women shouldn't vote" or at least most of them.

Laura Barchi DeBusk threw on her boots and sunglasses as the school bus rounded the corner. Clutching her preschooler's hand, she crossed the street along with half a dozen other stay-at-home moms. DeBusk and her neighbors -- Republicans all -- rarely discuss politics, but days before a primary election here she decided to send a little shock through her subdivision.

"You'll be surprised to know I'm voting for Barack Obama," DeBusk, 37, announced as the school bus pulled up.

"Really?" her friend Sherry Tierney, 36, said as their first-graders hopped off the bus. "Why?"

"I feel like we need to get out of the Bush black-and-white way of thinking," DeBusk said. "I feel like McCain would also say, 'It's my way or the highway.' . . . Obama's message of inclusion and working together is what we need."

At this point, my head begins to throb due to her "feeling" the message of inclusion and working together, sort of like don't worry be happy.

The Laura DeBusks of the country are just the kind of voters that Sen. Obama (D-Ill.) has courted -- sick of what they've been offered, tired of where things are headed and willing to try something, anything, new. Exit polls from elections across the country last week showed that Obama won the majority of independent voters. DeBusk, like many voters, worries about Obama's lack of experience, and she disagrees with him on a handful of issues, particularly his tax policies. But her desire for change is so great, she's willing to take the chance.

"Even if he doesn't do everything the way I'd like, I really feel like he can move us forward," she said.

Then my eye starts to twitch as I see more emotional BS than logical thinking because hey he can move us forward by raising our taxes. So far she has said nothing of substance just "change."

"....Walters had mentioned that Mitt Romney had dropped out of the Republican race, so DeBusk pulled up a video of Romney and heard him say: "If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror."

"I don't get his logic," DeBusk said, and she shut down the computer.

She had never seriously considered voting for the former Massachusetts governor and business executive, although her husband, Chris, 38, who is also a registered Republican, often says: "Why can't they run the government more like a business? Be more efficient?"

Romney would have been an efficient manager, she thinks. But still, DeBusk felt he would have been "the same older white man."

"It kind of makes you wonder: Why can't the Republicans put up somebody different? We've had women and minorities serving as governors, senators and businesspeople," she said. "We keep churning out the same people over and over."

Right here I realize that Oprah Winfrey has done more harm to this country than any living being. This is the oprahfication of politics in a nutshell.

Romney would have been an efficient manager, but he is older white man, F him. She doesn't get the logic because she can't believe the Dems would actually pull back on fighting terrorism, Obama tax policies are bad but he can move us forward. It is full on emotion with someone who wants to make history than an informed choice. Obama is for change,inclusion and won't polarized the country.

This is your typical American voter. Phear her.

Deval Patrick Aide Accused of Sex Assault on Boy

Crime: This happened last year and just now being reported?

A top official in Gov. Deval Patrick's administration is accused of sexually assaulting a boy in the steam room of a Florida resort and has been placed on unpaid leave.

Carl Stanley McGee, the assistant secretary for policy and planning, was arrested Dec. 28 after the suspected assault at the Gasparilla Inn and Club in Boca Grande, according to the Lee County Sheriff's Office.

McGee, 38, met the boy, who police said is between 12 and 16 years old, in a bathroom at the resort a day earlier where they engaged in small talk, according to the police report.

The boy told police he ran into McGee again the next day in the resort's steam room. McGee sat next to him, removed his towel, rubbed the boy's back and shoulders and performed oral sex on him, according to the police report.

The boy's father contacted police, who spotted McGee at the resort using a description from the boy.

...."Mr. McGee was placed on unpaid administrative leave effective January 7th pending the outcome of the matter," Kofi Jones, a spokeswoman for Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Dan O'Connell, said in a statement.

McGee, who made $115,000 as a state employee, worked at Boston law firms before joining the administration. His marriage to John Finley IV in November 2005 was featured in The New York Times' Vows column.

MSNBC kiss up to Hillary Clinton continues.

Media: *Cackles*

Now on MSNBC
A full hour of its biographical program, "Headliners & Legends."
The subject: Hillary Clinton.
(This pre-empts the regularly scheduled programming, a show called Deadly Encounter. Not joking.)

Why is Puerto Rico getting a tax rebate anyway?

Politics: So you have this little hubbub about U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite saying

A week ago, Brown-Waite sent out a press release about the economic-stimulus package pending in Congress. She said the package shouldn't give $600-per-person checks to residents of Puerto Rico and Guam.

"I do not believe American taxpayer funds should be sent to foreign citizens who do not pay taxes," Brown-Waite said.

Puerto Ricans are angry, Brown-Waite said she meant "territorial" citizens, but her main point stands which is correct in the first place considering...

While Puerto Ricans living on the mainland are subject to the same taxes as all citizens, island residents pay Social Security and payroll taxes but no federal income taxes on income earned on the island. Instead, they pay income taxes to the island government.

Similarly, Guam residents pay income taxes to their island government. Brown-Waite's comments have raised hackles there as well. Three Guam senators reportedly have sent a letter to Brown-Waite asking for an apology.

The economic-stimulus package treats residents of Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa the same as taxpayers living on the mainland, according to House tax lawyers.

Most taxpayers will get $600 each, plus $300 for every child.

Serrano, who chairs a House Appropriations subcommittee, said he's the one who pushed to have residents of territories included in the rebate.

It's a matter of fairness for Puerto Ricans, he argued, since they are citizens and the tax structure is Congress' doing, not theirs. And, Serrano said, "If you really want to stimulate the economy, you have to do it everywhere."

Fairness is not giving someone money they didn't earn in the first place. Fairness is Puerto Rico and the rest paying income taxes to get a rebate back from in the first place.

What this means is the "mainland" is helping to hand out welfare checks to Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa. That is money that should be going to the pockets of people who do pay income tax.

No criticism of Chinese regime from British athletes

UK: So say the British Olympic officials.

British Olympic chiefs are to force athletes to sign a contract promising not to speak out about China's appalling human rights record – or face being banned from travelling to Beijing.

The move – which raises the spectre of the order given to the England football team to give a Nazi salute in Berlin in 1938 – immediately provoked a storm of protest.

The controversial clause has been inserted into athletes' contracts for the first time and forbids them from making any political comment about countries staging the Olympic Games.

It is contained in a 32-page document that will be presented to all those who reach the qualifying standard and are chosen for the team.

From the moment they sign up, the competitors – likely to include the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips and world record holder Paula Radcliffe – will be effectively gagged from commenting on China's politics, human rights abuses or illegal occupation of Tibet.

Yesterday the British Olympic Association (BOA) confirmed to The Mail on Sunday that any athlete who refuses to sign the agreements will not be allowed to travel to Beijing.

Should a competitor agree to the clause but then speak their mind about China, they will be put on the next plane home.

The clause, in section 4 of the contract, simply states: “[Athletes] are not to comment on any politically sensitive issues.”

It then refers competitors to Section 51 of the International Olympic Committee charter, which “provides for no kind of demonstration, or political, religious or racial propaganda in the Olympic sites, venues or other areas”.

The BOA took the decision even though other countries – including the United States, Canada, Finland, and Australia – have pledged that their athletes would be free to speak about any issue concerning China.

To date, only New Zealand and Belgium have banned their athletes from giving political opinions while competing at the Games.

Geert Wilders describes his anti-Koran film set for March.

EU: As the Dutch government hunkers down and sucks up, Wilders points out what is going to happen.

Wilders said he has called the film Fitna, an arabic word that in Islam is used to describe all things that can test the faith and is sometimes synonymous to evil.

"I use the term in an inverse sense because for me Islam ... is fitna," he said.

Wilders also gave some more details about what would be shown in the film, which for months has been causing concern in the Netherlands.

It would lead viewers through the Koran, Islam's holy book, he said, and show texts illustrated by documentary video images to show the Koran is not a symbolic text "but that Islam can take away our freedom unless we act against it".

In the end the film returns to the situation in the Netherlands and finishes with a picture of the prophet Mohammed, he explained. Muslims consider images of their religion's founder to be blasphemous.

"Something will happen to that picture but I won't say what," Wilders said.

There has been media speculation in the Netherlands that Wilders will tear up or burn the Koran in his film.

Keith Olbermann sucking up for MSNBC

Politics: What a pathetic self righteous hypocrite.

I could care less about David Shuster because the guy is a partisan douchebag of the highest order second only to Olbermann who had no problem with the term pimping when it comes to describing an American military General as Extreme Mortman points out from a "special comment" last year.

It is quite alright in Olbermann's mind when it concerns anyone who is not a liberal like himself. But David Shuster to point out the obvious though I wouldn't have put it in such terms on a cable news network all hell breaks loose. So now Olbermann is out there to protect the MSNBC rep as the liberal network by blowing what little credibility he has left in covering for Shuster with a suck up apology. MSNBC has shown how weak it is under this attack from the Clinton machine.

Mayor of Toledo tells Marines to leave before training exercise.

Nation: You can't compare this to Berkeley, this is just Mayor Finkbeiner acting like a diva.

A company of Marine Corps Reservists received a cold send-off from downtown Toledo yesterday by order of Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.

The 200 members of Company A, 1st Battalion, 24th Marines, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., planned to spend their weekend engaged in urban patrol exercises on the streets of downtown as well as inside the mostly vacant Madison Building, 607 Madison Ave.

Toledo police knew days in advance about their plans for a three-day exercise. Yet somehow the memo never made it to Mayor Finkbeiner, who ordered the Marines out yesterday afternoon just minutes before their buses were to arrive.

"The mayor asked them to leave because they frighten people," said Brian Schwartz, the mayor's spokesman.

"He did not want them practicing and drilling in a highly visible area."

...The Reservists' visit was no surprise to Toledo police, who Tuesday issued a news release to media outlets on behalf of the Marines that asked Toledoans not to be startled by the sight of camouflaged soldiers toting M16 rifles.

Police officers were awaiting the Marines' arrival yesterday afternoon and had set up a roadblock at Madison Avenue and Huron Street.

"There was apparently a break in communication somewhere between the mayor and the police department," Mr. Schwartz said.

"Where that break was, we don't know yet."

Sweden funds fight against honour crimes

Crime: You got a big problem when you have to directly fund to fight one kind of crime.

Sweden said on Thursday it had set aside 32 million kronor ($4.9 million) to fund local efforts to combat so-called honour crimes.

"The government prioritises work to fight honour-related violence and oppression," said Integration and Gender Equality Minister Nyamko Sabuni in a statement.

"Many youths, mainly girls, who are the victims of honour oppression are living in very difficult conditions, sometimes risking their lives... The victims must have easy access to protection and support."

Honour-related violence, including killings, are sometimes seen by male relatives as a way to avenge their honour if a woman is suspected of being unchaste and of having brought shame on her family.

While such crimes are most common in some Muslim parts of the Middle East and Asia, and are increasingly being seen in certain immigrant communities in Western countries, experts say Islam in no way condones the practice.

Canada: Muslims claiming cash for numerous wives.

Canada: Ontario paying out millions in welfare. It is illegal under Canadian federal law but province law seems to trump that which shows once again the greatness of Multiculturalism.

Mumtaz Ali, president of the Canadian Society of Muslims, said wives in polygamous marriages are recognized as spouses under the Ontario Family Law Act, providing they were legally married under Muslim laws abroad.

"Polygamy is a regular part of life for many Muslims," Ali said yesterday. "Ontario recognizes religious marriages for Muslims and others."

He estimates "several hundred" GTA husbands in polygamous marriages are receiving benefits. Under Islamic law, a Muslim man is permitted to have up to four spouses.

However, city and provincial officials said legally a welfare applicant can claim only one spouse. Other adults living in the same household can apply for welfare independently.

The average recipient with a child can receive about $1,500 monthly, city officials said.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Rowan Williams backlash is out of control

UK: I have never seen everyone just round up on someone like they are doing to the Archbishop of Canterbury. His position was already under attack as being a weak leader before this disaster now there are calls for him to go.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will try to put aside the row over sharia law as he makes his first public appearance since the controversy erupted.

Dr Rowan Williams hit back on Friday night over criticism of his comments amid growing calls for his resignation.

He made no proposals for sharia, and "certainly did not call for its introduction as some kind of parallel jurisdiction to the civil law", a statement on his website said.

He was "exploring ways in which reasonable accommodation might be made within existing arrangements for religious conscience" and his core aim was "to tease out some of the broader issues around the rights of religious groups within a secular state".

The Archbishop will preach at a thanksgiving service at Great St Mary's in Cambridge on Saturday for the life and work of the Rev Professor Charles Moule, an eminent New Testament scholar who died last year aged 98.

A spokesman for Lambeth Palace, the traditional residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury, said there would be "no oblique references" to sharia law during the service.

At least two Synod members have already called for Dr Williams to go and he has faced criticism from leading bishops, secular groups and government figures.

Colonel Edward Armitstead, a Synod member from the diocese of Bath and Wells, told the Telegraph: "I don't think he is the man for the job.

"One wants to be charitable, but I sense that he would be far happier in a university where he can kick around these sorts of ideas."

And Alison Ruoff, a Synod member from London, told the newspaper: "He is a disaster for the Church of England. He vacillates, he is a weak leader and he does not stand up for the Church. I would like to see him resign and go back to academia."

Google News him because there are too many opinion pieces and articles that expand on the general themes above to list.

Daily Mail:

Sharia 'crime courts' are ALREADY operating in Britain
Sharia UK: What exactly does it mean?
Parties unite to attack 'recipe for social chaos'
How religious laws already operate in Britain?
Sharia at work: A brutal beating and justice meted out in a humble back street cafe

But you do have the Scots backing him up.
Scots faith leaders support Sharia debate

But in Australia.
Aussie Anglicans reject Sharia law talk

Studies Deem Biofuels a Greenhouse Threat

Enviro: Biofuels were well thought out beforehand.

Almost all biofuels used today cause more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels if the full emissions costs of producing these “green” fuels are taken into account, two studies being published Thursday have concluded.

The benefits of biofuels have come under increasing attack in recent months, as scientists took a closer look at the global environmental cost of their production. These latest studies, published in the prestigious journal Science, are likely to add to the controversy.

These studies for the first time take a detailed, comprehensive look at the emissions effects of the huge amount of natural land that is being converted to cropland globally to support biofuels development.

The destruction of natural ecosystems — whether rain forest in the tropics or grasslands in South America — not only releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere when they are burned and plowed, but also deprives the planet of natural sponges to absorb carbon emissions. Cropland also absorbs far less carbon than the rain forests or even scrubland that it replaces.

Together the two studies offer sweeping conclusions: It does not matter if it is rain forest or scrubland that is cleared, the greenhouse gas contribution is significant. More important, they discovered that, taken globally, the production of almost all biofuels resulted, directly or indirectly, intentionally or not, in new lands being cleared, either for food or fuel.

“When you take this into account, most of the biofuel that people are using or planning to use would probably increase greenhouse gasses substantially,” said Timothy Searchinger, lead author of one of the studies and a researcher in environment and economics at Princeton University. “Previously there’s been an accounting error: land use change has been left out of prior analysis.”

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Arizona's Illegal-Immigrant Hiring Law Upheld

Immigration: Via AP.

PHOENIX (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday upheld an Arizona law that prohibits businesses from knowingly hiring illegal immigrants and yanks the businesses licenses of those that do.

U.S. District Judge Neil Wake's ruling was a defeat to employers who argued the law was an unconstitutional attempt by a state to regulate immigration, traditionally the federal government's responsibility.

Wake rejected arguments by business groups that federal immigration law severely restricts Arizona's ability to punish people who knowingly employ illegal immigrants.

Yusuf al-Qaradawi's banned from the UK.

UK: The usual suspects are not happy, threats are flying but it is about time.

A controversial Muslim scholar has been denied a visa to visit Britain, the Home Office said Thursday, triggering criticism from Islamic groups.

The decision to block Yusuf al-Qaradawi's entry, which he reportedly requested for medical treatment, was described as an "unwarranted insult" by one Muslim organisation.

The Egyptian-born Qatari visited Britain in 2004 but that trip sparked protests from gay and Jewish groups, who accused him of homophobia and anti-Semitism.

Last month, David Cameron, leader of the opposition Conservative Party, demanded that Prime Minister Gordon Brown ban "preachers of hate" from Britain, naming Qaradawi.

Twenty members of parliament's lower House of Commons signed a motion expressing "grave concern" at the prospect of Qaradawi being granted a visa.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We can confirm that al-Qaradawi has been refused a visa to visit the UK.

"The UK will not tolerate the presence of those who seek to justify any acts of terrorist violence or express views that could foster inter-community violence."

...But the Home Office's decision was sharply criticised by the Muslim Council of Britain, an umbrella group seen as moderate.

Its secretary-general, Muhammad Abdul Bari, said Qaradawi enjoyed "unparalleled respect and influence throughout the Muslim world".

"I am afraid this decision will send the wrong message to Muslims everywhere about the state of British society and culture," he said.

"Britain has had a long and established tradition of free speech, debate and intellectual pursuit.

"These principles are worth defending, especially if we would like to see them spread throughout the world."

Archbishop of Canterbury is a complete wussy.

UK: If there was any doubt about how much Rowan Williams would stand up for his own religion and norms/ways of the UK. This load of garbage put an end to all of it. It is no wonder the CoE is losing members and the Anglican community has so many crackups. The man stands for everyone and stands for nothing.

Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has sparked a political storm by calling for aspects of Sharia law to be adopted in Britain.

Dr Williams said it "seems inevitable" that elements of Islamic law, such as divorce proceedings, would be incorporated into British law.

Dr Williams said the UK had to "face up to the fact" that some citizens do not relate to the British legal system, and argued that officially sanctioning Sharia law would improve community relations.

"Nobody in their right mind would want to see in this country the kind of inhumanity that has sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states," he told the BBC's World at One programme.

"But there are ways of looking at marital disputes, for example, which provide an alternative to the divorce courts as we understand them."

Religious groups and secularists also attacked the Archbishop, saying that his comments were "baffling and bewildering" and would undermine social cohesion.

Stephen Green, the national director of Christian Voice, said: "This is a Christian country with Christian laws. If Muslims want to live under Sharia law then they are free to emigrate to a country where Sharia law is already in operation.

"Any accommodation with Sharia law does nothing to help social cohesion. Christian law has been eroded by secularism and this country was founded on Christian values."

But Dr Williams said the argument that "there's one law for everybody" was "a bit of a danger" and called for "a constructive accommodation" with some aspects of Muslim law.

One law for everybody means everyone is treated equally in the nation. If someone wants to use Sharia law because they can't relate to British law they can leave and go somewhere else. This idea that giving in is the best way to improve relations is from someone who doesn't have the backbone to stand up for his own beliefs. This man should be removed from his post, but this is what you get when you put a liberal in charge of religion. Mush.

People are asking what was he thinking. But some Islamic groups are very happy.

Sheikh Michael Mumisa, an Islamic scholar, theologian and academic at Cambridge University: "I believe that the introduction of personal status laws, such as marriage, divorce and inheritance, within the UK will undermine the rights of Muslim women, the poor and anyone who doesn't really understand Islamic laws. The people who interpret these laws are male scholars and I know from experience that they always disadvantage women. Moreover, some senior Muslim clerics in the UK want more than just the personal status laws and would prefer that the penal laws were introduced as well."

Ajmal Masroor, a spokesman for the Islamic Society of Britain, an influential mainstream organisation: "We have been having this discussion for a long time and I'm glad the Archbishop has caught up with it. I think it's a pragmatic, commonsense approach. If certain elements of Sharia law to do with private and personal life were incorporated in British law it would make for smoother integration as well and enhance community cohesion. We are not talking about penal law, but marriage, inheritance, divorce and custody. It could mean that instead of a Muslim marrying twice - once in a mosque and again at a register office - the mosque wedding would be officially recognised by the state. According to a large number of lawyers the British legal system is indebted to the Ottomans, so it's not alien to Islamic influence


Mexico's Calderon enjoyed Super Tuesday results.

Immigration: I wonder why.

President Felipe Calderon said Wednesday that a shifting political climate in the United States could improve the chances that a new administration in Washington would help bring a comprehensive reform law that would legalize the status of Mexican immigrants.

"My hope is that whoever the next president is, and whoever is in the new (U.S.) Congress, will have a broader and more comprehensive view of the (immigration) problem," Calderon said. Speaking at his presidential residence on the morning after the Super Tuesday presidential primaries in the United States, Calderon said he took heart from the results, although he did not mention specific candidates.

"It seems to me that the most radical and anti-immigrant candidates have been left behind, and have been put in their place by their own electorate," he said.

Calderon is scheduled to arrive in Sacramento, Calif., next Wednesday, on the final leg of a five-day U.S. visit that also will take him to Chicago, Boston and New York to visit local officials and representatives of Mexican immigrant communities. Calderon said he planned to tell fellow Mexican citizens "that we are actively working to defend their human rights."

"No matter their immigration status, they are human beings with dignity and rights that should be respected."

He said one goal of his trip, which will include a talk Monday at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, would be to build public support for an immigration law that would allow millions of Mexicans to work in the U.S.

He said Americans would recognize "sooner or later" that the health of the U.S. economy is linked to integration with its neighbor.

That is right you plebs, you must let the Mexican government take charge of our immigration policy. The interference by outside forces is just starting up.

Obama: Politician to Magic Negro to Black Jesus.

Politics: We started with Obama: Magic Negro and David Greenberg piece where upper white liberals want to vote for Obama to make "history," to now the almost religious devotion shown to Obama by his legion of devoted followers.

I am glad that the MSM is picking up on the more fervered parts of the Obama fan club. I have been complaining for months that Obama's popularity is based on emotional attachment instead of popularity of his issues which are at best spoken about in generalities. I am not saying the emotions are bad or pathetic, but others even on the left are catching on its going overboard.

And Obama Wept
February 07, 2008 9:43 AM

Inspiration is nice. But some folks seem to be getting out of hand.
It's as if Tom Daschle descended from on high saying, "Be not afraid; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in the city of Chicago a Savior, who is Barack the Democrat."

Obama supporter Kathleen Geier writes that she's "getting increasingly weirded out by some of Obama's supporters. On listservs I'm on, some people who should know better – hard-bitten, not-so-young cynics, even – are gushing about Barack…

Describing various encounters with Obama supporters, she writes, "Excuse me, but this sounds more like a cult than a political campaign. The language used here is the language of evangelical Christianity – the Obama volunteers speak of 'coming to Obama' in the same way born-again Christians talk about 'coming to Jesus.'...So I say, we should all get a grip, stop all this unseemly mooning over Barack, see him and the political landscape he is a part of in a cooler, clearer, and more realistic light, and get to work."

Joe Klein, writing at Time, notes "something just a wee bit creepy about the mass messianism" he sees in Obama's Super Tuesday speech.
"We are the ones we've been waiting for," Obama said. "This time can be different because this campaign for the presidency of the United States of America is different. It's different not because of me. It's different because of you."

Says Klein: "That is not just maddeningly vague but also disingenuous: the campaign is entirely about Obama and his ability to inspire. Rather than focusing on any specific issue or cause — other than an amorphous desire for change — the message is becoming dangerously self-referential. The Obama campaign all too often is about how wonderful the Obama campaign is. “

The always interesting James Wolcott writes that "(p)erhaps it's my atheism at work but I found myself increasingly wary of and resistant to the salvational fervor of the Obama campaign, the idealistic zeal divorced from any particular policy or cause and chariot-driven by pure euphoria. I can picture President Hillary in the White House dealing with a recalcitrant Republican faction; I can't picture President Obama in the same role because his summons to history and call to hope seems to transcend legislative maneuvers and horse-trading; his charisma is on a more ethereal plane, and I don't look to politics for transcendence and self-certification."

Then there's MSNBC's Chris Matthews who tells Felix Gillette in the New York Observer, “I’ve been following politics since I was about 5. I’ve never seen anything like this. This is bigger than Kennedy. [Obama] comes along, and he seems to have the answers. This is the New Testament."
And behold, Obama met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.

The Holy Season of Lent is upon us. Can Obama worshippers try to give up their Helter-Skelter cult-ish qualities for a few weeks?
At least until Easter, or the Pennsylvania primary, whichever comes first...

The substance part of Obama is not even needed via the NRO CORNER. and TPM CAFE.

But the clincher came on March 17, when she met the Democratic contender face to face. She describes how he lit up the room with his wide smile, shook her hand and thanked her for volunteering.

" He looked at me, and the look in his eyes was worth 1,000 words," said Mack, now a regional field organizer. Obama hugged her and whispered something in her ear – she was so thrilled she doesn't remember what it was.

....Mack wanted to drill home one of the campaign's key strategies: telling potential voters personal stories of political conversion.

She urged volunteers to hone their own stories of how they came to Obama – something they could compress into 30 seconds on the phone.

"Work on that, refine that, say it in the mirror," she said. "Get it down."

She told the volunteers that potential voters would no doubt confront them with policy questions. Mack's direction: Don't go there. Refer them to Obama's Web site, which includes enough material to sate any wonk.

Let those crackheads free!

Crime: I am a firm believer in letting people learn the hard way after making/supporting a stupid choice.

The Bush administration wants Congress to thwart a plan to give thousands of federal crack cocaine offenders a chance to marginally reduce prison sentences that are a hundred times more severe than those meted out for powder cocaine offenses.

In a statement prepared for his scheduled appearance before the House Judiciary Committee today, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said that unless Congress acts, "1,600 convicted crack dealers, many of them violent gang members, will be eligible for immediate release into communities nationwide" under a decision by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

"Retroactive application of these new lower guidelines will pose significant public safety risks . . ." Mukasey said in the statement. "Many of these offenders are among the most serious and violent offenders in the federal system and their early release . . . would produce tragic, but predictable results."
The judges are not happy in being seen as inept but any retro action is going to release thousands of people back into the community which they terrorized and made worse because in part of their dealings.

Under current law, possession of five grams of crack cocaine triggers the same mandatory minimum sentence as possession of 500 grams of powder cocaine. Because most crack cocaine offenders are black, and most powder cocaine offenders are white and Latino, civil rights activists, some lawmakers and scores of judges have said this disparity is discriminatory.

When the commission eased the guidelines in May, Congress had until November to prevent them from going into effect. It declined to do so. After that, the commission moved to apply the guidelines retroactively.

Supporters of the commission's action say the fears raised by Mukasey are overblown. They note that inmates would have their petitions to be released heard by judges who would consider filings from prosecutors and probation officers before determining an offender's fitness to reenter society.

"I'm really kind of shocked that Attorney General Mukasey would seemingly not have faith in the American judicial system to do all it can to ensure that violent offenders are not released early and to address a fundamental injustice in the criminal justice process," said U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, who presides in the District. "His position presupposes that judges will be irresponsible in exercising their discretion."

The federal judiciary supported the Sentencing Commission, citing the law's harsh impact on first offenders. It was joined by federal public defenders, probation officers and activists.

Obama once again shows a pollyannish take on crack fiends.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) said she was against making the guidelines retroactive. "In principle, I have problems with retroactivity," she said. "It's something a lot of communities will be concerned about, as well."

Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) wavered. "Even if we fix this, if it was a 1 to 1 ratio, it's still a problem that folks are selling crack. It's still a problem that our young men are in a situation where they believe the only recourse for them is the drug trade."

I doubt most of them anguish over selling crack or getting a McJob.

Vicente Fox: "Most illegals don't want to be citizens."

Immigration: If anyone else said this it would be so racist.

During a visit to Oklahoma, the former president of Mexico has urged lawmakers to develop sensible immigration reform.

Vicente Fox, who served as Mexico's president from 2000 to 2006, spoke in Oklahoma City and Tulsa on Tuesday at events hosted by Oklahoma State University's Spears School of Business.

...."At the very end, it's a federal issue so in the end it should be satisfied by the federal government, by the U.S. Congress," Fox said. "Immigration is an asset to every nation. It's an asset to the United States, no doubt. What we need to do is take advantage of that asset by bringing order to it and by bringing legality to it."

Fox's favored plan is similar to one proposed in 2005 by Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Massachusetts. The McCain-Kennedy proposal would have allowed illegal immigrants currently in the U.S. to become legal citizens and provided funding for border security, but it ever came to a floor vote.

Fox said most illegal immigrants from Mexico don't want to become U.S. citizens and plan to return to their homeland someday because "they like better tacos, tortillas and chilies than hot dogs or hamburgers." He thinks a temporary guest worker program would solve many problems.

He said he is opposed to the building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
"That's the worst of the answers to a problem that has to be dealt with among different nations," Fox said. "The threat to the United States is not immigration ... The threat to the United States is isolation by building a wall."

I said it many a times, but people like Fox think America is the downtown area of the world where people come along make money and then leave. I seriously doubt a wall is a threat to America, its a threat to keep more Mexicans in Mexico which the government doesn't want. That would actually force it to fix Mexico into a working country.

Kwame Kilpatrick text message scandal gets even worse.

Politics: A whole lotta worse, talking fraud, secret settlements, taxpayers being fleeced. DEEEEEETROITTT POLIIIITICS!

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick suffered two major setbacks Tuesday in his battle to contain a growing text message scandal that already has placed him under criminal investigation.

Tuesday morning, a Wayne County judge ordered the release of secret documents that confirm a concerted effort to hide the mayor's text messages in a lawsuit settlement. The judge even raised the prospect that the settlement amounted to criminal fraud.

Later Tuesday, City Council members expressed dismay that they had approved the $8.4-million lawsuit payout without being told of the secret settlement pact. They then voted 7-1 to order a financial investigation into the mayor's office and the city Law Department.

The latest developments came as new information revealed more about the role Kilpatrick and his advisers played in burying the text messages within the settlement of police whistle-blower lawsuits.

The day began with Wayne County Circuit Judge Robert Colombo Jr. unsealing records that the city repeatedly had said did not exist, but now argues should remain private. Colombo released them because of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Detroit Free Press.

Colombo said the documents must be released because they are part of a lawsuit settled with public funds. But he also cited case law that allows for confidential documents to be made public if they may shield evidence of a crime.

Meredith Vieira the new Paulina Kael?

Media: Via Newsbusters.

Catching up with a revealing comment from Monday morning, the day before the New York primary, Today show co-host Meredith Vieira recalled how over the weekend in her suburban New York town she was “with a group of friends” who “were trying to choose between Clinton and Obama.” She then recited how those for both liberal candidates cited the “electability” of their preferred candidate, but Vieira didn't say anything about having any friends struggling between John McCain and Mitt Romney. Could that be because she doesn't have any friends close enough to hang around with on weekends who would consider voting Republican?

In the February 4 interview session, with Democratic strategist Paul Begala, Republican operative Mike Murphy and Michele Noris of NPR, Vieira included her weekend activities in a question:

Let me tell you something that, that came up yesterday, I'm in the super market in my town, and people are talking and I was with a group of friends who, actually were trying to choose between Clinton and Obama and the, for example, the ones who were for Clinton said, "Well I want to vote for her but I think I'm gonna vote for Obama because I think he, he can win the general election." And then some of the Obama people said, "Well I'm gonna vote for Clinton because I think she's gonna win." So how much is electability gonna be a factor tomorrow?

Amsterdam starts horrendous campaign against Geert Wilders.

EU: I think the title of big wussies of Europe goes to the Amsterdam city government as it can't be legal to run such a campaign against an individual with taxpayer's money. What a sickening display of cowardice.

"The city of Amsterdam has developed teaching material warning children against the politics of Geert Wilders, newspaper De Telegraaf yesterday reported. Wilders calls the campaign "sickening".

The newspaper quoted from a letter that the city council has sent to three hundred primary and secondary schools in Amsterdam. Primary school heads believe that the letter is intended to anticipate the anti-Islam film that Wilders, MP and leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV), intends to release in March.

The letter, which the newspaper claims is intended as teaching material, contains cartoons of Wilders, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and a white family that wants nothing to do with a polite Islamic boy. The text reads: 'If you say bad things about someone, they will feel hurt. They may not dare to say anything in return, because they are afraid of being hurt even more. Then there is not much left of freedom of speech,' according to De Telegraaf.

The Amsterdam council, which is dominated by Labour (PvdA), concludes the pamphlet with the words, 'Unfortunately there are politicians who think they will become more popular by being extremely negative about certain groups of people. They think you should be able to say anything, even if it is hurtful. But this does not make things very pleasant in the Netherlands, as before you know it, they are setting one against the other'.

A spokesman for the Amsterdam city council stated that the message did not only refer to Wilders' opinions. Moreover, the 'teaching letter' also calls on pupils to talk to each other and respect each other's views, the spokesman pointed out."

Six Million parasites living off UK taxpayers.

UK: The governments created this permanent underclass so they are stuck with them unless drastic measures are taken. That ain't happening anytime soon.

Six million Britons are living in homes where no one has a job and "benefits are a way of life", a report by MPs revealed yesterday. And they cost the taxpayer nearly £13billion a year in state handouts.

This army of families on benefit - nearly one in six of all households in the country - has been untouched by a decade of Labour's attempts to get them into work, said the Public Accounts Committee. Four out of five of these homes have no one who is even looking for a job.

Richard Bacon, a Tory MP on the committee, which acts as a watchdog over public spending, said: "The Department for Work and Pensions does not know how many people are out of work by choice, rather than by chance.

"Properly targeted help must be put in place for those who want to work. Only then will the Government be able to flush out the shirkers who are sticking up two fingers at hard-working families and treating the benefit system like a cash machine."

Yesterday's report said there are three million homes where no one works, nearly one in six of all households. They include 4.3million adults, excluding pensioners, and nearly 1.8million children.

They cost £12.7billion a year in benefits. Six out of ten workless families are concentrated in just 40 deprived districts of the country, it added.

Yesterday's report said six out of ten of those on incapacity benefit have been living on it for more than five years.

It also found that only two New Deal schemes are producing more for the Treasury in saved benefits and taxes from people working than they cost to run. The New Deal for Lone Parents cost taxpayers £40 for everyone it found a job for in 2006, the MPs said.

The New Deal 25 Plus cost £360 per job and the New Deal for Young People cost £390 a job. The most spectacular failure was the New Deal for Partners, aimed at finding jobs for the domestic partners of long-term benefits claimants.

In 2006, it found jobs for only 61 people at a cost to the taxpayer of £1,100 each.

The programme persuaded only one in three of those considered candidates for help to go to interviews about the possibility of getting a job. Only three in 100 joined the scheme and began looking for work.

• Some 100,000 drug users and alcoholics are claiming state handouts on the grounds that their habit is a disability, it was revealed yesterday.

It means nearly one in 25 of the 2.64million claiming Incapacity Benefit say they are too ill or unable to work because of drink or drugs.

The figures also revealed that the number of those receiving the benefit has risen dramatically in only five years - mainly because it pays more than Jobseekers' Allowance.

Animal welfare snobs decry Tesco's Chicken.

UK: At some point it is going to hit them that most people don't give a flying flip about chicken especially when they can get it at a lower price. Paying extra money for a free range chicken, hell it should be way cheaper right off the bat considering all you have is a bunch of chickens running around a field. The bottom line is people's budgets are tight and they want cheap food, so go pound sand.

Tesco has come under fire from animal rights campaigners for slashing the price of its standard chickens by more than a third to £1.99.

Welfare groups argue that the discount undermines their efforts to get consumers to pay more for poultry that has been reared more humanely.

Jonathan Church, a spokesman for the supermarket, said the reduction from £3.30 for a standard whole bird would help cash-strapped shoppers keep their bills down.

He added: "No one should feel guilty for buying a chicken just because it is good value. The only reduction we make is in the price - not the welfare."

But Compassion In World Farming last night claimed the chain could have kept shoppers happy while still encouraging ethical shopping.

The charity's director of research and food policy, Dr Lesley Lambert, said: "If Tesco is prepared to drop their prices in this way, why don't they decrease it on the higher welfare chickens and make that more accessible to poorer consumers rather than following this race to the bottom with a product that comes from chickens that have been reared in terrible conditions?"

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Senate GOP Blocks Additions to Fiscal Stimulus Bill

Politics: Additions my tuckus, it was getting ladden with pork. At least the GOP did something right but again proves the Senate is a bunch of earmarking prima donnas.

The political brinkmanship in the Senate stood in marked contrast to the House, where Republicans and Democrats led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi took just a week to reach a deal on an economic stimulus package with President Bush, and just four more days to pass the bill.

But eight days after that House vote, the Senate remained bitterly divided along party lines with just a few Republicans, some in tough battles for re-election, willing to cross over and support the Democrats.

The measure was opposed by Republican leaders who said the Democrats added too many costly provisions, including an extension of unemployment benefits, tax credits for the coal industry and increased subsidies for home energy costs.

The total cost of the Senate plan came to about $204 billion over two years, or about $40 billion more than the House version.

Immigration as a Latino issue not the only issue.

Immigration: Mickey Kaus had this to say.

Bye, Bye Immigration? I've now heard two** Latino commentators--an NPR academic and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa--argue that it's mistaken to try to appeal to Latinos only through the issue of immigration, Latinos also care deeply about schools, economic development, etc.

Now they tell us! For years we've been hearing little except the argument that anyone who doesn't deliver on "comprehensive immigration reform" was going to lose the crucial sleeping giant ethnic swing vote for a generation. Suddenly it's 'Don't be condescending. There are other ways to win over Hispanics.' Glad to hear it.
But why this shift now? I can think of several theories:

1) Obama tried pandering to Latinos on amnesty and drivers' licenses and it didn't work;

2) Now that California is out of the way, Democrats are looking to the general election, and are therefore trying to move away from the immigration issue because a pro-amnesty and pro-license position would cost them centrist votes; Indeed, after his week of immigration-based Hispandering, Obama didn't even mention those issues (or Latinos) in his laundry-listish Election Night speech, at least as far as I can hear.

3) Specifically, Democrats are preparing for a general election campaign against McCain. The legalization issue won't cut against McCain, who is Mr. Legalization. So Dems have to emphasize other issues--e.g., their traditional support for public schools. And maybe--just maybe--they are setting set the stage for a sneak attack against McCain from his right (at least by Hillary, perhaps on the license issue).

4) The Dems are looking beyond even the general election to governing, and they are trying to avoid leaving Latinos with the expectation that "comprehensive reform" will actually be accomplished early in Clinton or Obama's term--something the Dems have no intention of doing because they want to concentrate on health care; 5) Latinos recognize that by seeming to be single issue voters focused obsessively on allowing more Latinos into the country, they are giving themselves a bad name with everyone else. ...

Here is some info from the NYTIMES about the exit polls.

"The figures on the Latino vote in California alone hold portent, showing a considerable uptick in the number of Hispanic Democrats. Nearly 3 of 10 Democrats here identified themselves as Latinos, according to exit polls conducted by Edison/Mitofsky for the National Election Pool. That’s up from 16 percent in the 2004 Democratic primary.

Despite efforts by Senator Barack Obama to attract more Latinos his way, (including the endorsement of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, a chief architect of the comprehensive immigration bill last year that would’ve offered ways for illegal immigrants to gain citizenship) Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has dominated that bloc here, 69 percent to 29 percent.

Overall, in the states where exit surveys were conducted, Senator Clinton took 63 percent of the Hispanic vote and Mr. Obama 35 percent, on the Democratic side.

For example, Hispanics made up 10 percent of New York’s Democratic primary voters, about the same representation as in the 2004 Democratic primary. There, 73 percent went to Senator Clinton, 26 percent for Senator Obama.

In Connecticut, however, Mr. Obama took 53 percent of the Hispanic vote, which is about 6 percent of the Nutmeg State’s Democratic primary vote. In his home state of Illinois, Mr. Obama won 50 percent of Hispanics, who make up 17 percent of the voters.

In the border states of New Mexico and Arizona, it broke out more evenly. Senator Clinton got 56 percent of Hispanics in New Mexico and 55 percent in Arizona.
Now, the exit surveys also asked voters to list their most important issues, for example the economy, health care, etc. On the Democratic side, immigration was not a choice. (We find that odd, given how important the issue is to Latino voters as a whole and how much weight was given to the idea last year that Republican opposition to overhauling immigration — a plan President Bush had backed — would harm any dream of attracting Hispanic support to the G.O.P. side. Remember the enormous rallies across the country?)"

I can't tell if he is talking overall about Dems, but for immigration not even to show up is ridiculous. If Obama keeps harping on illegals getting driver's licenses it will hurt him in the general. Maybe Kaus is right.

Utah trying to pass a bill to ban smoking in cars

Politics: How does this work?

A House committee approved a bill Tuesday that would make it a secondary offense to smoke in a car when a child under 5 is present - but not without three Republicans trying to amend the bill in an attempt to kill it.

Rep. Wayne Harper, R-West Jordan, tried to lift the age to 12, but not because he supports the idea. He spoke of "infringing" on parental and property rights.

And Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem, said he opposes smoking in front of children, but said the bill puts the state on a "slippery slope." Next up, he wondered: banning smoking in homes, regulating obese children's diets? "We're mandating behavior. We're mandating personal responsibility."

Rep. John Dougall, R-American Fork, also opposed the bill, which has passed the Senate and now must be approved by the full House.

Sen. Scott McCoy, D-Salt Lake City, equated smoking in a car to smacking a child. He told lawmakers to vote on his bill based on what it says. The slippery slope stops "where a majority of this Legislature says it stops."

Bull and he knows it. Once you get this passed later on he or someone of his controlling nature will want to put more draconian measures in place. How do you enforce this? The police sees someone smoking in a car and there is a child so just walk over and demand to know how old he/she is to charge the parents? It will probably pass because you have to think of the children.

CAIR bugs out over ex-terrorists speaking at Air Force Academy.

Terrorism: I wonder if Ibrahim Hooper is smart enough to realize he just stepped in it.

The Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling an Air Force Academy lecture on terrorism today a broadside on the Islamic faith, based on past comments of its speakers.

The 50th annual Academy Assembly, which began Tuesday and concludes Friday, will include "reformed terrorists" Zachariah Anani, Walid Shoebat and Kamal Saleem among its roster of speakers.

The theme of the assembly for undergraduates is "Dismantling Terrorism: Developing Actionable Solutions for Today's Plague of Violence."

Based on the three speakers' past criticism of the Islamic faith, CAIR asked Tuesday that the Academy offer a broader slate of speakers about Islam.

The program as it stands "sends an entirely negative message to the Muslim-American community in Colorado and across the country. . . ," said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.

Major Brett Ashworth, spokesman for the Air Force Academy, said religion is not the subject of the speech.

"These individuals are going to speak about their experiences with terrorism, not Islam," he said.

If they are ex-terrorists and CAIR has said that Islam and terrorism doesn't mix, why object to them and offer a balance on Islam? Air Force made it clear and here comes CAIR to cry victimhood over a setup they have wanted forever.

Wordpress shuts down site because of Islam complaints.

Blogs: It looks like some busybody censor group either misrepresented themselves or the wordpress help is full of idiots. An exchange between another site and wordpress customer relations has me thinking it is the latter. Especially when one of the email has this bit of genius.

> Also, their translations are not fair and complete.

Can you be more specific?

We don't speak Dutch and have relied on the accuracy of their translation.


Read it.

Sania Mirza refuses to play in India anymore.

India: Who can blame her, she gets harrassed by a bunch of nutjobs and is under constant threat of harm to her life.

Sania Mirza, the most successful tennis star in India, has announced that she has no desire to play in her country any more after a string of controversies that have exposed her to months of negative publicity.

“Every time I play in India, there is a problem,” Mirza, ranked 29th in the world and No. 1 in Asia, said Monday. “Considering all that, I thought it would be better not to play in Bangalore,” she added, explaining her decision to boycott India’s most prestigious tournament, the Bangalore Open, in March.

“In fact, I feel it would be better if I don’t play in the country for some time.”

Mirza’s immense popularity has brought with it intense and often hostile scrutiny from fringe religious groups and from India’s newly aggressive television and print media.

In December, Mirza, a 21-year-old Muslim, was accused by Indian nationalists of desecrating the national flag after she was caught on camera resting her bare feet on a table next to the Indian colors. Earlier that month there was anger from Muslim groups when she filmed an advertisement at a 17th-century mosque in her home town, the southern city of Hyderabad.

The cases made front-page news and led to two lawsuits. After the flag incident, Mirza was summoned to appear before a court in Bhopal, to answer a case, filed by a private citizen, under the Prevention of Insult to the National Honor Act. The police are pursuing a case of trespass in relation to the filming in the mosque.

Her decision to stop playing in her home country has dismayed India’s tennis community, but has also raised deeper concerns about levels of intolerance across the nation.

Ramachandra Guha, a historian, argued that it was a reflection of “the rising power of bigotry and intolerance in Indian society.”

Italy head to dissolve parliament and call elections

Italy: Berlusconi is ready for it.

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's president was due to dissolve parliament on Wednesday ahead of snap elections, likely in mid-April, that could mark a return to power of media magnate Silvio Berlusconi.

President Giorgio Napolitano held talks with the speakers of both houses of parliament on Tuesday -- the penultimate formal step mandated by the constitution before calling elections.

Caretaker Prime Minister Romano Prodi was due at the presidential palace at about 1030 GMT to counter-sign the presidential decree dissolving parliament some three years ahead of schedule.

Then Prodi was to hold a cabinet meeting to decide the timing of the two-day elections, with April 13-14 seen as the most likely dates.

Dumb Florida voters try to cast ballots a week after elections.

Politics: Only in Florida and Palm Beach county. I am hoping they do the same in the general election.

Millions of Americans in 24 states are turning out vote to in Super Tuesday presidential primaries from Georgia to Alaska today. Meanwhile, some dedicated if confused Florida voters are trying to, as well.

Elections offices across the state are reporting hundreds of calls from voters wanting to know where they can vote today. The answer is that Florida already had its presidential primary -- last week.

"We've had over 100 calls at least over the last two days," said Kathy Adams, a spokesperson for the Palm Beach County Election Supervisor.

Closer to home, Orange County elections officials say they are dealing with a combination of confused voters from Florida and California.

"One of my staffers has figured it out," said Orange County Election Supervisor Bill Cowles. "They are California voters going online and looking for the Orange County [California] election office and calling us instead."

Of course that doesn't explain the man who showed up at a polling site this morning in Orlando wanting to vote, Cowles conceded.

BBC apologises for debate about 'black man's willy'

Weird: There is a whole bunch of jokes that can be made other than railing against PC idiots, but the slang BMW will catch on.

"For some, it was nothing more than a piece of Carry On-style humour.

But for others, it was deeply offensive racial stereotyping.

Yesterday the BBC apologised after a debate about a plant known as a "black man's willy" was broadcast on Gardeners' Question Time.

A caller to the Radio 4 show asked for advice on the Rhodochiton volubilis, which he said was "commonly known as the BMW, the black man's willy".

Panellists were heard giggling their way through a discussion about the plant. Gardening author Bob Flowerdew admitted he had "only ever seen one close up - and not that colour".

Horticulturalist Anne Swithinbank added: "I've never seen one in my life. They don't really like the cold, as you can imagine. They shrivel up and look very unhappy."

But some listeners failed to see the funny side, complaining of racist stereotyping and vulgarity by the broadcaster.

The BBC made great play of not offending racial sensitivities in its apology. But it seemed less bothered about broadcasting vulgarity early in the afternoon. "

How the government helped make mortgage mess.

Nation: The loosening of credit standards to appease professional race groups did have a hand in putting too much money into the hands of people regardless of their skin color who should have never gotten them.

"...In the 1980s, groups such as the activists at ACORN began pushing charges of "redlining" - claims that banks discriminated against minorities in mortgage lending.

In 1989, sympathetic members of Congress got the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act amended to force banks to collect racial data on mortgage applicants; this allowed various studies to be ginned up that seemed to validate the original accusation.

In fact, minority mortgage applications were rejected more frequently than other applications - but the overwhelming reason wasn't racial discrimination, but simply that minorities tend to have weaker finances.

Yet a "landmark" 1992 study from the Boston Fed concluded that mortgage-lending discrimination was systemic.

That study was tremendously flawed - a colleague and I later showed that the data it had used contained thousands of egregious typos, such as loans with negative interest rates. Our study found no evidence of discrimination.

Yet the political agenda triumphed - with the president of the Boston Fed saying no new studies were needed, and the US comptroller of the currency seconding the motion.

No sooner had the ink dried on its discrimination study than the Boston Fed, clearly speaking for the entire Fed, produced a manual for mortgage lenders stating that: "discrimination may be observed when a lender's underwriting policies contain arbitrary or outdated criteria that effectively disqualify many urban or lower-income minority applicants."

Some of these "outdated" criteria included the size of the mortgage payment relative to income, credit history, savings history and income verification. Instead, the Boston Fed ruled that participation in a credit-counseling program should be taken as evidence of an applicant's ability to manage debt.

Sound crazy? You bet. Those "outdated" standards existed to limit defaults. But bank regulators required the loosened underwriting standards, with approval by politicians and the chattering class. A 1995 strengthening of the Community Reinvestment Act required banks to find ways to provide mortgages to their poorer communities. It also let community activists intervene at yearly bank reviews, shaking the banks down for large pots of money.

Banks that got poor reviews were punished; some saw their merger plans frustrated; others faced direct legal challenges by the Justice Department.

Flexible lending programs expanded even though they had higher default rates than loans with traditional standards. On the Web, you can still find CRA loans available via ACORN with "100 percent financing . . . no credit scores . . . undocumented income . . . even if you don't report it on your tax returns." Credit counseling is required, of course.

Ironically, an enthusiastic Fannie Mae Foundation report singled out one paragon of nondiscriminatory lending, which worked with community activists and followed "the most flexible underwriting criteria permitted." That lender's $1 billion commitment to low-income loans in 1992 had grown to $80 billion by 1999 and $600 billion by early 2003.

Who was that virtuous lender? Why - Countrywide, the nation's largest mortgage lender, recently in the headlines as it hurtled toward bankruptcy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I support Sam Zell's F Bomb.

Media: Here is the backstory of Zell cursing out Orlando Sentinel photographer Sara Fajardo.

"In Orlando, Sentinel photographer Sara Fajardo asked Zell at the staff meeting for his views on "the role journalism plays in the community, because we're not the Pennysaver, we're a newspaper."

Zell, standing at a podium, responded, "I want to make enough money so that I can afford you. You need to in effect help me by being a journalist that focuses on what our readers want that generates more revenue."

Fajardo told Zell that "what readers want are puppy dogs," presumably referring to soft feature stories. She added, "We also need to inform the community."

Zell shot back: "I'm sorry but you're giving me the classic, what I would call, journalistic arrogance by deciding that puppies don't count. . . . What I'm interested in is how can we generate additional interest in our products and additional revenue so we can make our product better and better and hopefully we get to the point where our revenue is so significant that we can do puppies and Iraq."

As he finished his remarks, he stepped back from the podium and muttered the obscenity.

Fajardo, who isn't visible on the video, declined to comment for this article.

Zell's spokeswoman, Terry Holt, said her boss wasn't offended by the photographer's questions but rather by Fajardo's "sarcastic tone" and that she turned her back on Zell as he was speaking. Holt added that Zell, who was out of the country Monday, had been trying to reach Fajardo to apologize "if he offended her in any way."

Gawker has the video and I am would be irritated to considering the tone right off the bat plus taking a shot at the readers who she considers beneath her because they want "puppy dogs." Zell put her straight by pointing out this is a business and I guess he said fuck you because she did turn her back. More arrogant journalists or in this case a freaking Orlando Sentinel photographer need to get rid of the attitude and realize things are not done their way 100% of the time.

Backlash over Labour forcing people to work or lose their homes.

UK: This is where a generous welfare state gets its catch 22.

Radical plans to force the unemployed to seek work or lose their council homes were in doubt last night after an angry backlash from charities and Left-wing Labour MPs.

The new Housing Minister, Caroline Flint, said tenants should be made to sign "commitment contracts" pledging to seek employment.

Council housing should become a "springboard to opportunity, not just a safety net", she said.

But campaign groups and Labour MPs accused her of proposing a "return to the workhouse" in a move that could see thousands thrown onto the streets.

Miss Flint's Department of Communities and Local Government was forced to stress that the minister was merely "starting a debate", adding: "Nothing is definite at the moment."

Downing Street sources said Gordon Brown knew she intended to float the idea and regarded it as a "good issue to be having a debate" around.

In her first speech since being promoted in the reshuffle forced by Peter Hain's resignation last month, Miss Flint said there was clear evidence that many long-term unemployed in social housing could find work with the right support.

The latest statistics show the number of unemployed council tenants has risen by 20 per cent to 55 per cent since 1981.

The problem is you can't just throw these people on the street, UK started this social housing creating what amounts to ghettos which leads to creating a parasitic underclass that realizes it doesn't need to work considering the benefits they already get from taxpayers. The only reasonable thing to do is squeeze the benefits to the point they can survive but would force them to find work.

Muslim protests against Wikipedia.

Culture: But Wikipedia says no thanks to the demands.

An article about the Prophet Muhammad in the English-language Wikipedia has become the subject of an online protest in the last few weeks because of its representations of Muhammad, taken from medieval manuscripts.

In addition to numerous e-mail messages sent to, an online petition cites a prohibition in Islam on images of people.

The petition has more than 80,000 “signatures,” though many who submitted them to, remained anonymous.

....A Frequently Asked Questions page explains the site’s polite but firm refusal to remove the images: “Since Wikipedia is an encyclopedia with the goal of representing all topics from a neutral point of view, Wikipedia is not censored for the benefit of any particular group.”

The notes left on the petition site come from all over the world. “It’s totally unacceptable to print the Prophet’s picture,” Saadia Bukhari from Pakistan wrote in a message. “It shows insensitivity towards Muslim feelings and should be removed immediately.”

The site considered but rejected a compromise that would allow visitors to choose whether to view the page with images.

Immigration Start Rush to Citizenship by Hispanics

Immigration:This could have been titled "illegals and open borders support start hispanic rush to citizenship."

Not that I want to point out the obvious. But a piece titled like this where the main issue is every hispanic profiled in the piece demands laws favorable to illegals, which is the main reason they rush to get citizenship to vote only serves to irritate the majority of people. It fits neatly into the image of citizenship being used not for love of country and ideals but personal usage for your own ethnic group.

Spurred by the widespread crackdown on illegal immigration and by the contentious tone of the national immigration debate, Latinos are gearing up for Tuesday’s voting with an eye toward making Hispanics a decisive voting bloc nationwide in November.

....One newly energized and mobilized Hispanic voter is Silvia Benitez, 45, who was born in Mexico but has been living in Arizona for more than a decade. A community outreach worker in a federal preschool program in Phoenix, Mrs. Benitez sat on the sidelines in the elections of 2004 and 2006 as a legal immigrant.

Frustrated that President Bush, in her estimation, had failed to push through a bill to give illegal immigrants a path to become legal, Mrs. Benitez applied for citizenship last year and took her oath as an American in October.

With her measured voice and folded hands, Mrs. Benitez does not look like a firebrand. But she is talking like one. “It is about time for us to take action and make a big movement of political change for Latinos,” she said.

....Another Phoenix resident, Silvia Trinidad, 20, is among a fast-growing group of young Hispanics who have recently reached the voting age of 18. A legal Mexican immigrant since she was a child, Ms. Trinidad is studying criminal justice in college and working for the county sheriff as a detention officer, hoping to become a police officer. She signed up last fall to become a citizen.

“Every vote counts,” Ms. Trinidad said, “and I will be able to vote against the laws they are trying to make now against the immigrants.”

...Ricardo Tavizón, 29, a recently naturalized citizen who sells used cars in South Phoenix, said he wanted to vote to challenge immigration enforcement and to represent other immigrants who are not citizens.

There are other issues.

While immigration is a litmus-test issue for many Latinos, it is not their only concern. Polls show that the war in Iraq, the economy and education are also on their minds.

Watch for this piece to be passed around as a rally cry against illegal immigration.

Obama the gun grabber

Politics: I pointed out a couple of days ago Obama's statement on gun ownership being nuanced. Now Jake Tapper points out this curious bit about Obama in Illnois.

On the other side of the aisle, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, campaigning in Idaho over the weekend said "there are people who say, `Well, he doesn't believe in the Second Amendment,' even though I come from a state — we've got a lot of hunters in downstate Illinois. And I have no intention of taking away folks' guns."

In 1996, however, Obama said in a questionnaire that he "supported banning the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns" -- a fairly extreme position.

"Well he has to speak to his own record, which has obviously changed over a relatively short period of time," shot Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY.

HOWEVER, it should be pointed out that this appears to be yet another example of Obama not being able to get good help.

You guessed it -- his campaign says this questionnaire was filled out incorrectly by a staffer. (Read more on that HERE.)

USATODAY pointed out his gun grabbing details.

Then there's another crime-related issue, gun control.

That 1996 questionnaire asked whether he supported banning the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns in Illinois. The campaign's answer was straightforward: "Yes." Eight years later, he said on another questionnaire that "a complete ban on handguns is not politically practicable" but reasonable restrictions should be imposed.

His legislative record in Illinois shows strong support for gun restrictions, such as limiting handgun purchases to one a month, but no attempts to ban them. Today, he stands by his support for controls while trying to reassure hunters that he has no interest in interfering with their access to firearms.

Obama's presidential campaign contends that voters can't learn anything about his views from the 1996 questionnaire, which was for an Illinois good-government group known as the IVI-IPO. Aides say Obama did not fill out the questionnaire and instead it was handled by a staffer who misrepresented his views on gun control, the death penalty and more.

"Barack Obama has a consistent record on the key issues facing our country," said spokesman Ben LaBolt. "Even conservative columnists have said they'd scoured Obama's record for inconsistencies and found there were virtually none."

IVI-IPO officials say it's inconceivable that Obama would have let a staffer turn in a questionnaire with incorrect answers. The group interviewed Obama in person about his answers before endorsing him in that 1996 legislative race, and he didn't suggest then, or anytime since, that the questionnaire needed to be corrected, they said.

Australia bugging out about saying sorry to aboriginals.

Australia: I give good odds the Rudd government will say such an insipid apology they will be hit up on claims to get money. The opposition leader wants to see the wording, the rest of the liberals(conservatives down there) have turned scared and falling over themselves to kiss some ass. The leftist media in turn is helping Rudd push the implication anyone opposed is racist.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is increasing the pressure on the Federal Opposition to support the apology to the Stolen Generations.

Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson has repeatedly said that he wants to see what the apology will contain before giving it his approval.

Mr Rudd says he will be able to give Dr Nelson a clear indication of the content when the two meet later this week, but he has told ABC TV's 7.30 Report the principle of the apology is clear cut.

"We said before the election we were apologising," he said.

"I'm not sure what Brendan's position is as of today, but you can play around with text here and there and we've got to get that right in terms of Indigenous people, to ensure the apology is effective," he said.

"But can I say, let's not just play word games with the Opposition, you either support it or you don't."

So when are they going to stop aboriginal girls from getting gang raped, curb the violence and rampant alcoholism in these aboriginal areas? That would actually take political courage instead of this we sorry nonsense.

Further pussification is the complete suck up to the United Nations.

ABC tricked us, say Muslim women

Australia: This took place in Australia and here is the complaint.

TWO Muslim women say their participation in an ABC documentary pitched as a "bridge-building" exercise between Islam and the wider community has left them fearful for their safety.

Raisah bint Alan Douglas and 54-year-old Rabiah Hutchinson, the so-called "matriarch" of radical Islam in Australia, have accused the makers of an ABC documentary, Jihadi Sheilas, of deceitful and unethical conduct, saying they were tricked into participating in what they fear will be a misleading documentary.

Yesterday, the women delivered a formal letter of protest to the ABC's Sydney headquarters.

Ms Hutchinson said she had already been subject to a verbal attack as a result of the documentary, scheduled to screen tonight.

The two women told The Australian that they were approached separately by an ABC documentary crew last year and invited to participate.

They said they were explicitly and repeatedly told the material would be used on the ABC's long-running Australian Story, a show Ms Douglas described as "patriotic (and) sympathetic". She said she was told the focus of the program would be the women's conversion to Islam, not their alleged links to extremists.

"They said, 'We're going to put you on Australian Story'," Ms Douglas told The Australian.

"'We'd like to because there's a lot of negative publicity around Muslims and it seems to be getting worse. We, as a community channel, want to do something about it ... It will be a bridge-building exercise between the Muslim community and the Australian general public."'

The women - neither of whom has seen the program - are concerned the final product portrays them as traitors.

Here is what they said on television.

RABIAH HUTCHINSON, the Mudgee-born grandmother accused of being the "grand dame" of extremist jihadis in Australia, says she has limited sympathy for the victims of the Bali bombings because those holidaying on the Indonesian island engaged in pedophilia and drug taking.

And her close friend, Raisah bint Alan Douglas, another Australian convert to radical Islam who also married a suspected terrorist supporter, has praised Osama bin Laden, saying he followed a "correct" version of Islam.

The women are featured in a documentary to be aired on ABC television tonight, Jihad Sheilas.

Now even if they thought this was a bridge building show which I highly doubt they did in the first place. How the heck does statements like that help build bridges? They got caught and now trying to cover their asses.

Monday, February 4, 2008

"Now they want to ban mums and dads"

UK: Richard Littlejohn rips into efforts by a professional gay lobby group for its part in social engineering favorable to them.

"For some unfathomable reason, Labour has franchised out social policy to single-issue headbangers.

Putting Stonewall in charge of what goes on in schools is like putting potty Pete Doherty in charge of the declassification of heroin.

This used to be a sensible organisation, with the laudable aim of ending discrimination against homosexuals.

I supported many of its aims and was one of the first in the mainstream Press to argue the case for civil partnerships.

But having ended inequality in fields such as pensions, housing and health care, and got so-called gay marriage on to the statute books, it should have been wound up.

Instead, it has extended its interference into areas which are none of its damn business.

Stonewall is now effectively an arm of the Government, receiving hundreds of thousands of pounds from the public purse for "research" and "education."

The grand fromage of Stonewall is hereditary Labour lackey "Dame" Ben Summerskill. Ministers fall over themselves to accommodate his every demand.

He gets his own way by screaming "homophobe" at anyone who disagrees with his agenda - whether it's bullying church charities over gay adoption or trying to force through fascistic restrictions on free speech.

And what exactly qualifies him to dictate policy? Absolutely nothing. No one voted for him. "

Interactive Baltimore Homicides Page confirm the worst.

Crime: Via the Baltimore Sun. First it proves the Wire is a documentary and second when you do the site by the race option, it is depressing as hell.

Goofy Judge still refuses to let Navy sonar train.

Nation: Another case of an activist judge thinking the Navy has an easy time to just up and go at her demands without screwing them up over a bunch of whales.

President Bush cannot excuse the Navy from abiding with environmental laws banning sonar training, a federal judge ruled Monday.

U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper had ruled Jan. 3 that the Navy could not use sonar within 12 nautical miles of the Southern California coast, and she required numerous procedures to shut it off when marine mammals are spotted.

Environmentalists have fought the use of sonar, saying that it harms whales and other marine mammals.

The White House responded Jan. 15 by exempting the Navy and its anti-submarine warfare exercises from a major environmental law. Complying with the law, Bush said, would "undermine the Navy's ability to conduct realistic training exercises that are necessary to ensure the combat effectiveness of carrier and expeditionary strike groups."

Polar bear vs Alaska oil sale...Screw the bear.

Nation: Once again, any sort of benefit the nation could get from more domestic oil drilling is being screwed up by environuts.

Animal activists on Monday pressed the US government to add the polar bear to the list of endangered animal species before the sell-off of oil and gas drilling rights in Alaska begins in the coming days.

"An endangered listing can affect the sell-off of the oil drilling rights," Brandon Frazier, a spokesman for global animal welfare group International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said.

"The authorities would have to get approval through the Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct drilling if there is an endangered species that inhabits the area."

The US government is due on Wednesday to offer several million acres of polar bear habitat in the Chukchi Sea in Alaska for sale for oil and gas exploration leases.

The lease-sale would make the polar bears' habitat "vulnerable to big business interests and jeopardize the government's ability to protect it," IFAW said in a statement.

US lawmakers have proposed listing the polar bear as "threatened", but IFAW said that did not go far enough.

"A 'threatened' listing leaves open the possibility for exemptions and doesn't shut loopholes, such as the one that allows Americans to trophy-hunt for polar bears in Canada and bring their heads and hides back to the US," Frazier told AFP.

But listing polar bears as endangered before the sell-off of the drilling rights it would also "truly complicate getting the lease-sale in Alaska," he added.

"That's why the decision on listing the polar bear has been delayed," Frazier said.

Democrat state rep resigns over exposure claims.

Politics: Worst pick up line ever.

Former state Rep. Michael Garcia, who resigned Friday amid allegations that he exposed himself and made lewd comments to a female lobbyist, termed the Jan. 7 incident "consensual" in a statement released Friday afternoon.

"Initial press reports are highly inaccurate regarding my alleged conduct. The other party and I engaged in consensual conduct that was inappropriate, given my position in the legislature and the fact that the other party is a lobbyist," Garcia said in a statement.

The Aurora Democrat, who had been House Assistant Majority Leader, referred reporters to his attorney.

House Speaker Andrew Romanoff's office announced Garcia's resignation shortly before 9 a.m.

The lobbyist, who spoke to The Denver Post on Thursday on condition of anonymity, said Garcia exposed himself to her last month and said, "Wouldn't this be real nice inside of you?"

The woman said she decided to bring the issue to Romanoff's attention after four other female lobbyists told her of similar encounters with Garcia stretching back seven years.

The woman said she and Garcia were playing pool at the Lancer Lounge in Denver with a group of lobbyists after a fundraiser for Garcia on Jan. 7. He exposed himself when the rest of the group had left that side of the bar, she said.

"He just walked around the pool table and unzipped his pants and pulled everything out," she said.

She has not filed criminal charges.

The lobbyist said her attorney met with Romanoff's office this week. Romanoff said he could not confirm any meeting and could not comment on the matter because House rules prohibit him from discussing a sexual harassment complaint or even acknowledging whether one was filed.

"We have acted as swiftly and as responsibly as possible," Romanoff said.