Saturday, February 21, 2009

Stimulus money goes to stadiums.

Business: This is another reason why the porkulus bill is garbage. Anything that even hints at job creation is considered a great thing that must be funded by taxpayer money. This latest tidbit about the money can now go to sports stadium is just ridiculous.

Taxpayers paying for UAW workers legal services

Nation: It must be nice to pay for the union's lawyers who get to bill the company which is now being paid for by American taxpayers for services that only benefit UAW workers.

This week in Detroit, as my colleague Brent Snavely reported in Tuesday's Free Press, the UAW has apparently preserved for 725,000 of its members, spouses and retirees a contractual benefit entitling them to obtain personal legal services -- to file bankruptcies or divorce papers, draw up wills, fight home foreclosures -- at company expense.

That's right, General Motors and Chrysler, which are being kept alive with federal bailout loans, and Ford Motor, which lost $14.6 billion last year, are paying the personal legal bills of hourly workers and families.

Think about it, if you're not a GM, Chrysler or Ford worker with this wonderful bennie.

Does your company offer to pay your personal legal bills? Can you even imagine it doing so?

Obama Widens Missile Strikes Inside Pakistan

Terrorism: Going beyond what even Bush wanted to do in Pakistan? This man is a war hawk!

WASHINGTON — With two missile strikes over the past week, the Obama administration has expanded the covert war run by the Central Intelligence Agency inside Pakistan, attacking a militant network seeking to topple the Pakistani government.

The missile strikes on training camps run by Baitullah Mehsud represent a broadening of the American campaign inside Pakistan, which has been largely carried out by drone aircraft. Under President Bush, the United States frequently attacked militants from Al Qaeda and the Taliban involved in cross-border attacks into Afghanistan, but had stopped short of raids aimed at Mr. Mehsud and his followers, who have played less of a direct role in attacks on American troops.

The strikes are another sign that President Obama is continuing, and in some cases extending, Bush administration policy in using American spy agencies against terrorism suspects in Pakistan, as he had promised to do during his presidential campaign. At the same time, Mr. Obama has begun to scale back some of the Bush policies on the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects, which he has criticized as counterproductive.

Mr. Mehsud was identified early last year by both American and Pakistani officials as the man who had orchestrated the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister and the wife of Pakistan’s current president, Asif Ali Zardari. Mr. Bush included Mr. Mehsud’s name in a classified list of militant leaders whom the C.I.A. and American commandos were authorized to capture or kill.

It is unclear why the Obama administration decided to carry out the attacks, which American and Pakistani officials said occurred last Saturday and again on Monday, hitting camps run by Mr. Mehsud’s network. The Saturday strike was aimed specifically at Mr. Mehsud, but he was not killed, according to Pakistani and American officials.

The Monday strike, officials say, was aimed at a camp run by Hakeem Ullah Mehsud, a top aide to the militant. By striking at the Mehsud network, the United States may be seeking to demonstrate to Mr. Zardari that the new administration is willing to go after the insurgents of greatest concern to the Pakistani leader.

First stimulus jobs goes to Auditors, lawyers

Nation: Of course it does and you will still see wasteful spending and criminal indictments in the next couple of years.

Obama: Tax Cuts by April 1st! April fools!

Politics: Black jesus touts the $400-$800(couples) a year tax cuts which means April 1st I will get about $13 more a week! I can finally afford a super-sized Big Mac meal.

"Never before in our history has a tax cut taken effect faster or gone to so many hardworking Americans," Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address.

He said the Treasury Department has begun directing employers to reduce the amount of taxes withheld from people's paychecks in accordance with the new law, and that in six weeks, a typical family will start taking home at least $65 more every month.

Obama says his signature "Making Work Pay" tax break will affect 95 percent of working families.

The $400 credit for individuals is to be doled out through the rest of the year. Couples are slated to get up to $800. Most workers are to see about a $13 per week increase in their take-home pay. In 2010, the credit would be about $7.70 a week, if it is spread over the entire year.

I am looking forward to that $28 a month tax cut in 2010.

People who do not earn enough money to owe income taxes are eligible for the credit, an attempt to offset the payroll taxes they pay.

Spread the wealth! Anyone going to ask why they didn't just slash the payroll tax for everyone instead of having the people who are still paying income tax to fund this other group's "tax credit?"

Remember Michelle Obama whining that 600 rebate check was crap?

PONTIAC, Mich -- In response to a question about the economic stimulus checks administered by the U.S. government earlier this year, Michelle Obama said her husband believes that short-term fixes don't solve economic problems.

"You're getting $600," she told an audience of mostly African-American women here. "What can you do with that? Not to be ungrateful or anything. But maybe it pays down a bill, but it doesn't pay down every bill every month."

"Barack's approach is that the short-term quick fix kinda stuff sounds good," she continued. "And it may even feel good that first month when you get that check. And then you go out and you buy a pair of earrings," she joked.

I am actually getting less than $600 so who is kidding who?

White House goes after Rick Santelli.

Politics: I will lazily point to Instapundit for the latest roundup. But it says a lot about the Obama White House method of debating by attacking a member of the press for pointing out the obvious on this tax payer funded housing bailout. It also shows they know this plan can create a backlash against them so they decide to paint it as wall street whining about helping main street. The problem is main street is not happy about it.

BTW, can Chip Reid of CBS being more of an ass kisser given how he asked the question to Robert Gibbs?

'No US rights' for Bagram inmates in Afghanistan

Terrorism: Expect righteous and outrageous condemnation from those who screamed at the Bush Admin for holding the same line not in this or any other lifetime.

Detainees being held at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan cannot use US courts to challenge their detention, the US says.

The justice department ruled that some 600 so-called enemy combatants at Bagram have no constitutional rights.

Most have been arrested in Afghanistan on suspicion of waging a terrorist war against the US.

The move has disappointed human rights lawyers who had hoped the Obama administration would take a different line to that of George W Bush.

Prof Barbara Olshansky, the lead counsel in a legal challenge on behalf of four Bagram detainees, told the BBC the justice department's decision not to reform the rules was both surprising and "enormously disappointing".

The BBC's Kevin Connolly in Washington says the move has angered human rights lawyers, with one saying the new White House was endorsing the view of the old one, that prisons could be created and run outside the law.

It is certainly evidence that having set the tone for his administration by announcing plans to close Guantanamo Bay, Mr Obama intends to adopt a much more cautious approach to the problem of detainees held elsewhere by the US military, our correspondent says.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bill Moyers the gay hunter part deux.

Nation: Old skeletons have been dug up again on Bill Moyers who was looking for gays in the White House. Back in 2005, Laurence Silberman who was deputy then acting attorney general in 1974-75 had to deal with the secret files of J. Edgar Hoover dug up by the Washington Post. Bill Moyers hunting for gays goes back to 1964.

Only a few weeks before the 1964 election, a powerful presidential assistant, Walter Jenkins, was arrested in a men's room in Washington. Evidently, the president was concerned that Barry Goldwater would use that against him in the election. Another assistant, Bill Moyers, was tasked to direct Hoover to do an investigation of Goldwater's staff to find similar evidence of homosexual activity. Mr. Moyers' memo to the FBI was in one of the files.

When the press reported this, I received a call in my office from Mr. Moyers. Several of my assistants were with me. He was outraged; he claimed that this was another example of the Bureau salting its files with phony CIA memos. I was taken aback. I offered to conduct an investigation, which if his contention was correct, would lead me to publicly exonerate him. There was a pause on the line and then he said, "I was very young. How will I explain this to my children?" And then he rang off. I thought to myself that a number of the Watergate figures, some of whom the department was prosecuting, were very young, too.

Rick Santelli: Man-god of the day.

Nation: In the rant heard around the world, Santelli put out in front the utter frustration and anger at the home owner bailout. The bailout rewards the idiot homeowners who brought a home that cost too much and saves the bank who was dumb enough to give money to these people. Let them fail and concentrate on the 90%+ who are paying on time and working hard to stay current.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Florida kills off LNG terminals to satisfy old people.

Nation: We wouldn't want to have added revenue, jobs and access to another source of energy in this state.

James Clyburn: Shut the hell up for once.

Nation: I am tired of the old guard who whenever something is not to their liking, they pull the race card. Clyburn does this on such a regular basis it would be a shock if he didn't.

Democratic Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina said Thursday that GOP governors who oppose the stimulus bill are giving African-Americans “a slap in the face.”

Clyburn has been sparring with his state’s governor, Republican Mark Sanford, who has been a leading voice of opposition to the stimulus package. But the highest-ranking African-American in Congress said his frustration with the bill’s opponents isn’t limited to Sanford.

“The governor of Louisiana expressed opposition,” Clyburn said of the bill at a roundtable in Columbia, according to WIS TV. “Has the highest African-American population in the country. Governor of Mississippi expressed opposition. The governor of Texas, and the governor of South Carolina.

“These four governors represent states that are in the black belt. I was insulted by that,” he said. “All of this was a slap in the face of African-Americans. It had nothing to do with Governor Sanford.”

Last I checked if the governors opposed taking any porkulus money, that would mean every race and color in those states would not benefit. Now if Clyburn found out about a pact that all these officials would not take money just to spite blacks, he should spill the details. Otherwise, shut up and act sensible.

Rapper M.I.A has the Sri Lanka's government attention.

Terrorism: After making statements reported by the NYTIMES that seem to imply support for the terrorist Tamil Tigers group, it looks like the government is making sure the other side is heard.

Sri Lanka's Foreign Secretary, Dr. Palitha Kohona, responded to comments made about the civil war in Sri Lanka by Oscar and Grammy-nominated hip hop artist, M.I.A. on tonight's edition of "Tavis Smiley" on PBS.

In an exclusive interview, Dr. Kohona took issue with the comments made by M.I.A. on "Tavis Smiley" three weeks ago, which were repeated in a New York Times article on February 11 (,%20sri%20lanka&st=cse).

"M.I.A. is a great artist and we wish her well," said Dr. Kohona. "But, sorry, I think she is misinformed and it's best that she stays with what she's good at, which is music. Not politics."

Obama turns to Hollywood to sell his porkulus bill.

Business: Black jesus going to call in his disciples to convert the non-believers.

President Barack Obama had to deal with cracks about his celebrity status during the campaign. Now, he may be turning back to Hollywood to sell his ambitious new foreclosure plan.

Administration officials briefing congressional staff on Wednesday morning let slip that they may use “well-known celebrities” to market the multi-billion dollar plan to the public.

Employing Tinseltown’s most well-known faces could help sway voters who are increasingly skeptical of the government’s role in trying to save the faltering economy and stabilize the financial system. Officials didn’t disclose which celebrities were being considered as pitchmen and whether it would include any fee paid for by taxpayers.

Beyond the celebrity mention, the briefing marked a much more successful trip to Capitol Hill for administration officials who were targets of derision last week when they tried to explain Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s revamp of the $700 billion financial-rescue plan. This time around, officials were able to provide concrete information, people present said.

Drug violence spins Mexico toward 'civil war'

Nation: Soon it will be a toss up on which place is more dangerous, Iraq or Mexico.

A shootout in a border city that leaves five alleged drug traffickers sprawled dead on the street and seven police wounded. A police chief and his bodyguards gunned down outside his house in another border city. Four bridges into the United States shut down by protesters who want the military out of their towns and who officials say are backed by narcotraffickers.

That was Mexico on Tuesday.

What is most remarkable is that it was not much different from Monday or Sunday or any day in the past few years.

Mexico, a country with a nearly 2,000-mile border with the United States, is undergoing a horrifying wave of violence that some are likening to a civil war. Drug traffickers battle fiercely with each other and Mexican authorities. The homicide rate reached a record level in 2008 and indications are that the carnage could be exceeded this year.

Every day, newspapers and the airwaves are filled with stories and images of beheadings and other gruesome killings. Wednesday's front page on Mexico City's La Prensa carried a large banner headline that simply said "Hysteria!" The entire page was devoted to photos of bloody bodies and grim-faced soldiers. One photo shows a man with two young children walking across a street with an army vehicle in the background, with a soldier standing at a turret machine gun.

Larry Birns, director of the Washington-based Council on Hemispheric Affairs, calls it "a sickening vertigo into chaos and plunder."

By most accounts, that's not hyperbole.

"The grisly portrait of the violence is unprecedented and horrific," said Robert Pastor, a Latin America national security adviser for President Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s.

Israeli consul general under fire at San Jose State University.

Nation: The usual collection of jerks and intolerant lynch mobs that show up at any Jewish event it seems these days to yell down anyone that doesn't tow the Palestinian line. A shame that a university in America and more places around the country are not putting a stop to it.

In a scene that was more a madhouse than a discussion, Akiva Tor, consul general of Israel for the Pacific Northwest region, was unable to finish his discussion about the conflict in the Gaza Strip in the Student Union Thursday night.

The moderator of the event, Frances Edwards, ended the discussion 15 minutes early as audience members turned their questions into pro-Palestinian speeches, while calling him a liar and heckling at him. More than half of the 130 people in attendance supported the Palestinian cause.

"I think it was very disappointing that we couldn't have intellectual discourse in a polite environment," said Frances Edwards, a political science associate professor.

Tor discussed two topics, the election of Israel's next prime minister on Feb. 10 and the conflict in Gaza, before taking questions from the audience.

Kaffiyehs allowed in Pennsylvania High School.

Politics: Yeah, the two who got told to take off their kaffiyehs are clearly spoiling for a fight.

A Pennsylvania high school is permitting Muslim students to wear scarves known as kaffiyehs in school just a day after ordering two students to remove them for class.

Gateway High School officials met with parents Wednesday after seniors Mohammad Al-Abbasi, 18, and Ahmad Al-Sadr, 17, left school Tuesday after refusing to take off the checkered scarves, believed by some to be a symbol of terrorism.

District spokeswoman Cara Zanella told the ban was an attempt to diffuse tension between Jewish and Muslim students, after three students wore shirts to school saying "RIP Israel."

The students removed the shirts when ordered to do so but the incident led to a petition from Jewish students saying they felt threatened, Zanella said.

A student then wrote an article in one of the local newspapers about Muslim dress, reportedly caling the scarves "hate" clothing.

"As a result then the tensions started to escalate between the two factions," Zanella said. "So the principal went back to the students and said, 'We're trying to get everyone on the same page here. Could you agree not to wear the scarves for the time being because the tensions are escalating?'"

Lets see what the two say about this incident.

"..."It's my culture, my ancestors wore it, you know?" Mr. Al-Abbasi said last night in a phone interview. "It's my roots. It's not political. It doesn't have any message."

The students said they were called into Principal William Short's office yesterday morning after, they believe, students and parents complained to school officials that the kaffiyehs are symbols of hate and terrorism, Mr. Al-Abbasi said.

It also comes about a week after Mr. Al-Abbasi wore a T-shirt to school airbrushed with an anti-Israeli sentiment. He said he took the shirt off when administrators told him the message was "threatening."

"I understood, and I shouldn't have worn that to school," he said.

Unlike the shirt, he said, the kaffiyehs aren't political or religious."

You have to have screws loose not to see why an "RIP Israel" shirt would cause offense especially worn by Arabs. Thats the reality of the situation. Now were they both wearing kaffiyehs before the t-shirt incident or after? If its after then they know what they are doing and it is very political.

They are successful due to the ignorance of the school staff plus the faith organizations who will push for more understanding and tolerance because of this event.

Sweden surrenders to Muslims over Israel's Davis Cup match.

World: Who is the AP and other media outlets trying to kid by not coming out saying what needs to be said about this so called boycott.

Malmo's Muslim population along with the requisite leftists groups would cause problems. This is just the cowardice of the Swedish officials who refuse to stop kowtowing to their Muslim population out of some misplaced fear of violence.

Sweden and Israel will play their first-round Davis Cup match in an empty arena next month because of security concerns.

Several anti-Israeli demonstrations are planned during the best-of-five series, which will be played March 6-8 at the 4,000-seat Baltic Hall.

Malmo officials announced the decision after a vote on the issue in the city's recreational committee. The Swedish Social Democratic Party and the Left Party won the vote 5-4 after a long debate.

The committee said it could not guarantee security for the fans.

The decision came after Israeli player Shahar Peer was denied a visa to play in this week's Dubai Tennis Championships.

Oh now, Nazi/President comparisons are not cool.

Politics: I missed the outrage for the last 8 years so excuse me if I am not outraged about this Malkin photo. You know the whole goose gander bit. Deal with it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

NY Post chimp cartoon not racist.

Politics: As soon as I saw it I knew the opportunistic and hypersensitive would use it as to decry the racism directed at Obama. So expect more manufactured outrage in the coming days.

If Eric Holder needs to know why race is not talked about it is because of knee jerk reaction like this to a poorly connected but not racist editorial cartoon. You really can't have a debate when the rules are already set.

Eric Holder's nation of cowards nonsense.

Nation: A nation of cowards or just sensible people who realize this sort of talk sounds great if you exist in a vacuum.

In his first major speech since being confirmed, the nation's first black attorney general told an overflow crowd celebrating Black History Month at the Justice Department the nation remains "voluntarily socially segregated."

"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards," Holder declared.

Holder urged Americans of all races to use Black History Month as a time to have a forthright national conversation between blacks and whites to discuss aspects of race which are ignored because they are uncomfortable.

The attorney general said employees across the country "have done a pretty good job in melding the races in the workplace," but he noted that "certain subjects are off limits and that to explore them risks at best embarrassment and at worst the questioning of one's character."

Are you trying to get companies sued so you can get a ready workload at the DOJ? People don't talk about race because people like you and others who want this big talk also want to set the criteria, limits and already have the solutions. It makes no sense to talk about race if the whole thing is rigged. That is why you will never have a honest talk about race in this country or anywhere in the world.

But this line is irritating.

He told Justice Department employees they have a special responsibility to advance racial understanding.

I am looking at the mission statement of the department.

To enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.

Social engineering doesn't seem to be anywhere in the duties of the DOJ and lets keep it that way.

London Times exposes Predator drone base in Pakistan.

Terrorism: The Nytimes would be proud of this piece of work putting an entire operation for killing terrorists in danger.

Cheating woman told to pay husband €200,000 in damages

Culture: Woooo! Us Men actually won one of these cases and got paid for it!

The woman, who had three children by her lover, pretended for years that they were fathered by her husband, according to reports.

After years of suspecting his of infidelity, the husband who can't be named, finally discovered she had kept a lover for six of the fourteen years the couple had been together.

DNA tests showed that three of their four children had been fathered by the other man, the Times reports. The husband then took his wife to court, demanding compensation.

The court in Valencia, southeastern Spain, ordered her to pay €100,000 for the suffering she caused him. She fought the ruling, but the Supreme Court has upheld it, and doubled the damages to €200,000 .

US privately backs Pakistan's 'Sharia law for peace' deal

Terrorism: What sort of idiots are in charge now that think this is a great deal?

On Tuesday night however, US officials in Islamabad privately backed the deal as an attempt to drive a wedge between Swat's Taliban, which is focused on its demand for Sharia law, and the al-Qaeda-linked Taliban led by Baitullah Mehsud, the notorious commander who controls much of North and South Waziristan and other tribal areas along the Afghan border.

While they expressed fears that the deal might yet be sabotaged by some Swat Taliban militants who support al-Qaeda, they said that if successful, the deal would break up the alliance between the two groups, which has caused alarm throughout Pakistan and in Washington.

Of the two Taliban groups, Mehsud's is the most feared – he has been accused of masterminding the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and trained Osama bin Laden's son as one of his commanders – but it is the alliance with Swat Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah which alarmed Pakistanis in the country's main metropolitan centres.

Swat is less than 100 miles from Islamabad, just a few hours from where Fazlullah's men have bombed girls' schools and murdered opponents and those who have defied its fatwas against "immoral behaviour". They included a popular dancing girl whose body was dumped in the main square of the valley's largest city, Mingora, last month.

Again, what sort of idiot thinks this is a great idea considering the Taliban won't mind living in a Sharia law runned area.

"The strategy has to be to divide the two groups. The TNSM and Baitullah's TTP found some common cause briefly, but a peace deal will separate them," said one US official, who explained that while Mehsud's TTP is part of the global jihad, Maulana Radio is regarded as more focused on local issues and the campaign for Sharia law.

One source suggested it reflected the "smart power" thinking outlined by Hillary Clinton in her Senate confirmation hearing as secretary of state.

Mehsud's Taliban on Tuesday night appeared unruffled by the prospect of a peace deal in Swat.

"If a true Sharia was enforced, we shall fully support it," said Maulvi Omar, a spokesman, adding that the group backed the involvement of TNSM chief Maulana Sufi Muhammad in any deal.

This is smart power thinking? You cave to a madman to try drive a wedge between him and another madman who doesn't mind what the first madman is doing anyway. Now that one part of the fight is done, they can concentrate on expanding their power together. Good move!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

GM wants 16.6 billion and more for pension plan.

Nation: You see when GM can't reach deals with the unions and bondholders, it is a-okay to come to the taxpayer demanding a loan not only to cover their operation costs but also their pension plans.

General Motors Corp. (GM) on Tuesday said it will need as much as $16.6 billion in additional aid from the U.S. government and could run out of money as soon as next month if it doesn't receive at least some of that funding.

The largest U.S. auto maker, surviving on $13.4 billion in emergency loans granted in recent months, laid out a plan to close more factories, eliminate thousands of dealerships and slash 47,000 jobs this year around the world.

GM, however, said it failed to strike critical deals with the United Auto Workers union and bondholders to reduce labor costs and shrink its $47 billion debt load. Negotiations with both parties are expected to continue.

....GM also says it would begin repaying federal loans in 2012, though it might need more money in 2013 and 2014 if it needs to contribute to U.S. pension plans.

This is a challenge to Obama if he has the guts to tell GM and the unions no. GM/UAW both feel he will never not bail them out so they keep making these outrageous demands.

Obama Plan for bailing out bad homeowners.

Nation: More of the same with judges being able to force down payments while responsible taxpayers foot the bill to "save" the people who took loans they couldn't afford in the first place.

California close to collapse because of stupidity.

Nation: If California is the bellweather state, then you would think after watching the state put itself into crippling debt, everyone will be smart enough to do the opposite. The only idea floating around to try and save itself is a tax hiking budget. The idiots never learn.

Vancouver Athletes Village again over-budget.

Olympics: You would think after a while people would get the idea having the olympics is 2-3 weeks of fun followed by years of heavy debt.

There's more bad news for the beleaguered athletes village under construction for the 2010 Winter Games.
A report prepared by city staff and sent Monday night to the mayor and council says the costs of the affordable, or social, housing component of the massive athletes village is over-budget by as much as $77 million.

"In order to achieve the full 100 per cent core-need subsidy, a further $77 million would be the additional required investment by the city," says the report that will be debated by council Tuesday during its regular meeting.

"This was never contemplated by the city at the inception of the project."

The latest problem means that council will have to find millions of dollars more to maintain the social housing component in the village, or reduce the number of units.

Council policy requires that 20 per cent of units in new neighbourhoods be developed as affordable housing.

Airline crew arrested for drug smuggling twice.

Crime: Background checks may be in order.

The entire crew of a South African Airways flight has been arrested on suspicion of drug smuggling - for the second time in a month.

Fifteen members of the flight crew, including the pilot, were detained yesterday at Heathrow airport after customs officers found five kilos of cocaine in a bag.

They were being held by officers after the class A drug, with an estimated street value of £250,000, was discovered as the crew tried to clear customs following a 12-hour flight from Johannesburg.

Players and officials condemn Peer's Dubai ban

Sports: The right thing to do is for a sick in and not play the tournament.

Players and officials have criticised the United Arab Emirates for denying top Israeli player Shahar Peer an entry visa at the weekend.

Peer had been expected to compete at this week's Dubai Championships but the future of the $2 million tournament remains uncertain after the women's world number 45 was stopped from entering the country.

As a result an ATP official said the men's tour would also review the status of its Dubai tournament which is due to begin next Monday.

"We are very disappointed to hear about the decision with Shahar Peer and we are looking at it and are very concerned," ATP board of directors member Justin Gimelstob told Reuters at the San Jose Open.

"We believe very strongly that players of all religions, ethnicities and nationalities be allowed to play. We discussed that with Dubai and are adamant all players get access to the tournament."

Monday, February 16, 2009

Obama will not have car czar as amateur hour continues.

Nation: I stand by my saying Obama will bailout GM and the UAW because his inaction so far indicates zero desire to put someone in charge who will do what is best for everyone.

The Obama administration will not name a "car czar" to help oversee the auto industry's restructuring and will instead create an inter-agency task force to deal with the issue, according to senior administration officials.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers, who heads the National Economic Council, will jointly oversee the task force, with Mr. Geithner overseeing the $17.4 billion in federal loan agreements between the automakers and the U.S. government.

As a condition of receiving government aid, General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC are required to submit extensive restructuring plans and concession commitments from unions and bondholders by Feb. 17 to a presidential designee, commonly dubbed the czar.

The administration has decided to forgo naming one individual to oversee the process. Treasury is expected to bring in Ron Bloom, a special assistant to the president of United Steelworkers union and a former investment banker, as a senior advisor to help handle auto-related issues, these people said.

More than one person in charge is a recipe for not getting anything done in a timely manner. Tresury electing to bring in a UAW lackey to advise them means even more inaction as Bloom will make sure the UAW gets all it can from either a bailout or banruptcy hearing.

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and other union leaders had expressed concern about the delay in naming an auto czar and its impact on the companies' restructuring plans, said a person familiar with the matter.

The czar had been expected to be in place by the middle of February and work with experts to analyze the restructuring plans submitted by GM and Chrysler.

You want to chalk this up to being inept or smart enough to delay enough to put plan B in place?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Somali radicals 'importing terror to UK'

UK: Another front to worry about for the UK and by extension America who is dealing with missing Somali youths in Minnesota who are suspected of going to Somalia to fight.

Dozens of Islamic extremists have returned to Britain from terror training camps in Somalia, the British security services believe.

Intelligence analysts are worried that they may attempt to launch attacks in this country or use the kudos from having trained and fought in Somalia to try to attract new recruits. The issue was raised by Jonathan Evans, the head of MI5, in his first interview last month.

In the US, the outgoing head of the CIA, Michael Hayden, has said that Ethiopia's invasion of Somalia in late 2006 “catalysed” expatriate Somalis around the world.

An investigation for Channel 4 News, to be broadcast tonight, also reveals that a suicide bomber who grew up in Ealing is thought to have blown himself up in an attack in Somalia that killed more than 20 soldiers.

Obama’s stimulus plan a “welfare spendathon?”

Nation: It does encourage states to expand their welfare rolls for more taxpayer money and more people on welfare means more Dem voters.

RONALD REAGAN started it, Bill Clinton finished it and last week Barack Obama was accused of engineering its destruction. One of the few undisputed triumphs of American government of the past 20 years – the sweeping welfare reform programme that sent millions of dole claimants back to work – has been plunged into jeopardy by billions of dollars in state handouts included in the president’s controversial economic stimulus package.

As Obama celebrated Valentine’s Day yesterday with a return to his Chicago home for a private weekend with family and friends, his success in piloting a $785 billion (£546 billion) stimulus package through Congress was being overshadowed by warnings that an unprecedented increase in welfare spending would undermine two decades of bipartisan attempts to reduce dependency on government handouts.

Robert Rector, a prominent welfare researcher who was one of the architects of Clinton's 1996 reform bill, warned last week that Obama’s stimulus plan was a “welfare spendathon” that would amount to the largest one-year increase in government handouts in American history.

Douglas Besharov, author of a big study on welfare reform, said the stimulus bill passed by Congress and the Senate in separate votes on Friday would “unravel” most of the 1996 reforms that led to a 65% reduction in welfare caseloads and prompted the British and several other governments to consider similar measures.

American Express chairman parties at NBA All Star game.

Business: While American Express and others hike up credit rates for those who are trying to play by the rules.

Lenders came under fire yesterday in a U.S. Senate Banking Committee hearing for raising interest rates, adding fees and cutting credit lines, even for consumers perceived to be low- risk with high credit scores. Connecticut Democrat Christopher Dodd, the chairman, called the practices “gouging.”

The federal funds rate, or the interest rate banks charge each other for overnight loans, is as low as zero and U.S. lawmakers have agreed to a $787 billion economic stimulus plan funded by taxpayers.

Rates for consumers should be falling faster than they are, said Ben Woolsey, director of marketing and consumer research at, an online resource for credit-card users. Banks, facing an increase in defaults and a decline in consumer spending, are “still very reluctant to pass lower rates or increased credit access to consumers,” said Woolsey.

Rate Changes

The average interest rate charged on credit-card balances decreased to 13.4 percent in November from 14.4 percent a year earlier, according to the Federal Reserve’s December G19 report, which tracks rates for credit-card accounts. The prime rate has decreased to 3.25 percent from 6 percent last February. Most variable credit-card rates are linked to the prime rate, which follows the federal funds rate.

Rate changes announced by New York-based Citigroup Inc., the biggest U.S. credit-card issuer, American Express Co. and Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America Corp. are intended to raise revenue, said Woolsey, who is based in Austin, Texas.

Meantime, Credit Card leaders like Ken Chenault of American Express is partying hard at the NBA All Star Events. I wonder if these extra fees are used to pay off the corporate credit card.

(L-R) Ken Chenault and Jay-Z attend Sprite's 3rd Annual Jay-Z And Lebron James "Two Kings" Dinner & After Party.

Stimulus Bill For Everyday Americans

Nation: This is what the public can get from the stimulus bill which isn't much when you break it down. Unless you are poor then you get a mass of tax "Credits."

(NYTIMES) "What's in the Bill for You"

(AP) "How the economic stimulus plan could affect you"

GM dares Obama/Congress to make them fail.

Business: This is why enabling crack addicts is a bad thing, now GM/UAW knows they have you over a barrel when they want more.

General Motors Corp., nearing a federally imposed deadline to present a restructuring plan, will offer the government two costly alternatives: commit billions more in bailout money to fund the company's operations, or provide financial backing as part of a bankruptcy filing, said people familiar with GM's thinking.

The competing choices, which highlight GM's rapidly deteriorating operations, present a dilemma for Congress and the Obama administration. If they refuse to provide additional aid to GM on top of the $13.4 billion already committed they risk seeing an industrial icon fall into bankruptcy.

Obama's two harpies approve of sending people to Jew bashing UN racism conference.

World: You know the the same racism conference that America walked out on before because it turned into a Jew bashing contest between Arab nations who hijacked it.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration said late Saturday it would participate in planning for a U.N. conference on racism despite concerns the meeting will be used by Arab nations and others to criticize Israel.
The U.S. will decide later whether to participate in the conference.

The State Department said it would send diplomats next week to participate in preparatory meetings for the World Conference Against Racism, which is set to be held in Geneva, Switzerland in April and which some countries including Israel have already decided to boycott.

During the Bush administration the United States and Israel walked out the first U.N. conference on racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001 over efforts to pass a resolution comparing Zionism—the movement to establish and maintain a Jewish state—to racism.

Those efforts failed but there are signs the resolution may be reintroduced at the so-called "Durban 2" meeting in Geneva and Israel has been actively lobbying the United States and European countries to stay away from this year's meeting.

In a statement released late Saturday, the State Department said the U.S. delegation to the planning discussions would review "current direction of conference preparations and whether U.S. participation in the conference itself is warranted."

"This will be the first opportunity the (Obama) administration has had to engage in the negotiations for the Durban Review, and—in line with our commitment to diplomacy—the U.S. has decided to send a delegation to engage in the negotiations on the text of the conference document," the department said.

"The intent of our participation is to work to try to change the direction in which the review conference is heading," it said. "We hope to work with other countries that want the Conference to responsibly and productively address racism around the world."

Canada has said its not going and several European countries are threatening to stay away if it turns into the debacle like the first Durban gathering. So who is pressuring America to participate in this horrendous gathering? Susan Rice and Samantha Power. It looks like senior state department heads are shocked Obama would send anyone to it.

The Foreign Ministry received confidential telegraphs from Israel's embassies in Washington, the United Nations and Geneva, about a possible change in the policy of the new U.S. administration regarding "Durban 2."

"Iran and Arab countries will once more take over the conference, and if the U.S. participates in 'Durban 2,' it will be a major blow," a senior Israeli diplomat told Haaretz. "This will pull the rug from under us and will lead to the participation of many more countries in the conference."

In one of the telegrams, a number of Obama officials reportedly pressed Secretary of State Clinton to announce the U.S. would participate in the conference.

One of the leading officials pressuring Clinton on "Durban 2" is the new U.S. ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, who was Obama's close campaign adviser.

Rice is also pushing for the U.S. to join the UN Human Rights Council, which is based in Geneva. The body had been boycotted by the U.S., in part because of its one-sided criticism of Israel.

President George Bush had accused the HRC of opting to focus on Israel instead of dealing with the genocide in Darfur.

The other official pushing for American participation in "Durban 2" is Samantha Power, another Obama adviser at the National Security Council.

Power participated in the initial Durban conference as the representative of a non-government organization and is known for her strong criticism of Israel. In the past, she expressed support for cutting U.S. military assistance to Israel and transferring the funds as aid to build a Palestinian state.

Senior State Department officials contacted Israeli diplomats and asked them to take swift action to block the Durban initiative.

"This is the time for Israel and Jewish organizations to intervene," U.S. officials said.

It looks like those two harpies are willing to let America muck about with Arab Street at any cost.

Nytimes spots Eric Cantor.

Politics: Watch out Cantor, the MSM has spotted you as a GOP target that might be a positive for the party. They are going into hunting mode.

GM considering Chapter 11 filing

Business: They should have considered this before they took the first of taxpayer funded bailouts. Given that the UAW refuses to do anything to cut costs and I can't imagine Obama or the Dems risking public wrath over giving even more billions, I say the Chapter 11 ploy is flying up to first choice.

U.S. now sees Iran as pursuing nuclear bomb

Politics: Anyone left that doesn't think there was a nice little gang who pushed the 2007 NIE report to discredit President Bush over Iran? Its ridiculous how off they could be if they were sincere in their findings. Either way they should be purged from their positions.

Little more than a year after U.S. spy agencies concluded that Iran had halted work on a nuclear weapon, the Obama administration has made it clear that it believes there is no question that Tehran is seeking the bomb.

In his news conference this week, President Obama went so far as to describe Iran's "development of a nuclear weapon" before correcting himself to refer to its "pursuit" of weapons capability.

Obama's nominee to serve as CIA director, Leon E. Panetta, left little doubt about his view last week when he testified on Capitol Hill. "From all the information I've seen," Panetta said, "I think there is no question that they are seeking that capability."

The language reflects the extent to which senior U.S. officials now discount a National Intelligence Estimate issued in November 2007 that was instrumental in derailing U.S. and European efforts to pressure Iran to shut down its nuclear program.

As the administration moves toward talks with Iran, Obama appears to be sending a signal that the United States will not be drawn into a debate over Iran's intent.

"When you're talking about negotiations in Iran, it is dangerous to appear weak or naive," said Joseph Cirincione, a nuclear weapons expert and president of the Ploughshares Fund, an anti-proliferation organization based in Washington.