Saturday, March 14, 2009

Obama Open to Taxing Health Benefits

Politics: Hey look, yet another double talk exposed. You mean he was just talking to get elected? Shocking suprise.

The Obama administration is signaling to Congress that the president could support taxing some employee health benefits, as several influential lawmakers and many economists favor, to help pay for overhauling the health care system.

The proposal is politically problematic for President Obama, however, since it is similar to one he denounced in the presidential campaign as “the largest middle-class tax increase in history.” Most Americans with insurance get it from their employers, and taxing workers for the benefit is opposed by union leaders and some businesses.

In television advertisements last fall, Mr. Obama criticized his Republican rival for the presidency, Senator John McCain of Arizona, for proposing to tax all employer-provided health benefits. The benefits have long been tax-free, regardless of how generous they are or how much an employee earns.

The advertisements did not point out that Mr. McCain, in exchange, wanted to give all families a tax credit to subsidize the purchase of coverage.

At the time, even some Obama supporters said privately that he might come to regret his position if he won the election; in effect, they said, he was potentially giving up an important option to help finance his ambitious health care agenda to reduce medical costs and to expand coverage to the 46 million uninsured Americans. Now that Mr. Obama has begun the health debate, several advisers say that while he will not propose changing the tax-free status of employee health benefits, neither will he oppose it if Congress does so.

At a recent Congressional hearing, Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat whose own health plan would make benefits taxable, asked Peter R. Orszag, the president’s budget director, about the issue. Mr. Orszag replied that it “most firmly should remain on the table.”

Zimbabwe comes to Bolivia.

World: As one of Hugo Chavez's lapdogs rights the wrong by putting in place a plan for failure.

President Evo Morales asked large landowners to voluntarily relinquish some of their holdings to poor Indians during a ceremony held Saturday on property confiscated from a U.S. rancher for redistribution.

Morales made the plea as he handed out 34 rural titles to poor Guarani Indians and small farmers in Alto Parapeti, a region about 385 miles (620 kilometers) southeast of the Bolivian capital of La Paz, where ranchers and landowners have vehemently opposed his agrarian reform program.

The president held the event on the former ranch of U.S. citizen Ronald Larsen, one of several landowners in the wealthy eastern lowlands from whom the government seized a total of 139 square miles (88,960 acres; 36,000 hectares) last month.

...The new constitution limits future private landownership to about 12,350 acres (5,000 hectares).

"There are people ... who don't want to end large landownership," Morales told a gathering of hundreds of Guarani Indians on Saturday. "Those people should voluntarily give up their (excess) land to people who have none."

Clyburn: Zimbabwe crack "beyond the pale

Politics: Another weekend means its time for your Clyburn plays the race card again.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) told me he thinks S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford's quip comparing President Obama's stimulus package to Zimbabwe's economic policies are "beyond the pale" — and suggested they might carry a racial subtext.

"For him to compare the president of this country to Mugabe. ... It's just beyond the pale," said Clyburn, who has sparred with Sanford over the Republican's refusal to accept all the state's stimulus funding.

Asked if his "beyond the pale" comment implied a racial overtone to Sanford's remarks, Clyburn replied:

"I'm sure he would not say that, but how did he get to Zimbabwe? What took the man to Zimbabwe? Someone should ask him if that's really the best comparison. ... How can he compare this country's situation to Zimbabwe?"

BBC Tuesday, 4 April, 2000.

With elections looming, Mr Mugabe has printed money to give 90% pay rises to placate civil servants, tribal leaders and the army, while borrowing heavily in the domestic market in an attempt to cope with a hard currency crisis and a budget deficits expected to reach $45bn by the end of the year, the equivalent of 15% of GDP.

Well.... Anyway liberal bloggers are up in arms.

TPM's David Kurtz: "If you're the governor and a prominent black congressman from your state says refusing to take stimulus money will disproportionately hurt black citizens of your state, would you turn around and compare the stimulus plan to the economic policy of ... Zimbabwe? Only if you are Mark Sanford (R-SC)."

Oliver Willis: "I'm sure him being from South Carolina had nothing to do with this."

If I were governor, yes I would only to show the extreme version of what Obama is doing in terms of running up a credit bill to placate various dem interests.

U.S. autos task force hires bankruptcy lawyer

Business: He should have been on the team from the creation of this task force. Time for a change auto industry.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Japan picks its cute ambassadors

Japan: Japan once again brings the weirdness.

The appointment of the three envoys comes a year after Doraemon, a rotund blue cartoon cat with no ears, was named a special ambassador.

While serving as foreign minister, manga fan Prime Minister Taro Aso also launched an international prize for the genre.

"Whether this is a strategy on which the world's second largest economy can base its diplomacy, I have yet to be convinced," said Temple University's Deans.

Fort Lauderdale Spring Break pretty much dead.

South Florida: All we get down here are the college students that are well behaved but no energy or numbers. The braintrust that runs the tourism board likes it that way except for the fact business is down across the area and they have come up with zero ideas on how to improve it.

Also, Fort Lauderdale is turning into a pit toilet. Homeless and really not much to do anymore.

Coral Springs paid $109,000 for this piece of art.

South Florida: Going hyperlocal, Coral Springs just paid the above amount for this.

Yep, $109,000 of taxpayer money for that. Talk amongest yourselves.

European Leaders Push Back on Obama's Calls for Aid

EU: Popular with the EU masses doesn't mean they worship him to give in to his demands. Other hand, I do agree that the Brits plan to speak to Hezbollah is really dumb.

Ahead of a high-stakes economic meeting of the Group of 20 nations, European countries are striking an uncompromising tone toward Washington, bolstering President Barack Obama's political opponents at home and pouring some cold water on Europe's love affair with the new U.S. president.

In Berlin Thursday, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at his side, French President Nicolas Sarkozy explicitly rejected Mr. Obama's push for more global fiscal stimulus, declaring, "the problem is not about spending more, but putting in place a system of regulation so that the economic and financial catastrophe that the world is seeing does not reproduce itself."

Meanwhile, a U.S. official responded Thursday with pique to a British decision to initiate a direct dialogue with the political arm of Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia and political party, which the U.S. lists as a terrorist organization. Surprise splits on foreign policy between the U.S. and U.K. are rare. The U.S. official said he wants the British to explain "the difference between the political, military and social wings of Hezbollah, because we don't see a difference."

The divisions underscore that even when presidents change, some national interests don't. For continental Europe, focusing on underregulation helps deflect blame for the crisis to the more lightly governed financial markets of the U.S. and U.K. The American push for more stimulus, in turn, shifts the blame to Europe for being too slow to respond to the ongoing economic slump.

Republicans in Congress are brandishing Mr. Sarkozy's speech and others to paint Mr. Obama as to the left of Europe. "Economists, even Europeans, skeptical of Administration's economic recovery plans," blared an email headline from House Minority Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio).

NAACP says bank giants steered blacks to bad loans

Nation: Maybe, but it would be better for the NAACP not to have this person in the article as their poster child.

The NAACP is accusing Wells Fargo and HSBC of forcing blacks into subprime mortgages while whites with identical qualifications got lower rates.

Class-action lawsuits will be filed against the banks Friday in federal court in Los Angeles, Austin Tighe, co-lead counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, told The Associated Press.

Black homebuyers have been 3 1/2 times more likely to receive a subprime loan than white borrowers, and six times more likely to get a subprime rate when refinancing, Tighe said. Blacks still were disproportionately steered into subprime loans when their credit scores, income and down payment were equal to those of white homebuyers, he said.

...Amara Weaver of Milwaukee bought her first home in 1984, receiving a 6.25 percent fixed-rate mortgage. She says she had a steady job as a human resources director for a social services agency, never missed a mortgage payment and maintained excellent credit.

In 2004, she wanted to buy the house next door for her son to live in. She said the bank promised her a low fixed rate for a $40,000 loan, but at the closing, when reading the fine print, she noticed that the rate was actually 11 percent.

"I was blown away," said Weaver, an NAACP member. "I didn't have any choice (but to sign) ... it made me feel violated."

Really? You had no choice to sign? Usually if a bank says one thing and I see another, I would bitch and then walk out. But in this case I would like to know the type of Jedi mind trick that forced her to sign.

Being cynical, I wouldn't be surprised if this is the NAACP way of starting a shakedown from banks.

Obama not sending troops to the border.

Politics: The surprise of Obama saying sending troops to the border is an actual option is being downplayed. No way Obama sends them to the border considering his reluctance to strengthen border over illegal immigration.

The Obama administration said it is reviewing state requests for deployment of National Guard troops on the U.S. border with Mexico, but that it doesn't have immediate plans to press the military into border patrols.

With Mexican soldiers facing off in northern Mexico against heavily armed drug gangs, there are fears that gun battles could spill across the border, or that the U.S. could see a sudden stream of refugees seeking to escape the violence. Texas Gov. Rick Perry last month asked for troops to be deployed.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs on Thursday clarified remarks made by President Barack Obama in a Wednesday media interview that were interpreted by some to mean that U.S. troops would be sent to the border.

"Our long-term challenges relating to many policy decisions around the border are not going to be solved in that long term through the militarization of the border," Mr. Gibbs said.

Texas gov. rejects stimulus money for unemployment

Politics: Its one of the worst parts of the porkulus bill because it expands the definition and length of the unemployed that gets a check. Obama is trying to put more people on the government dole.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced Thursday he turned down $555 million of federal stimulus funding that would expand the state's unemployment benefits, saying the money would have required the state to keep paying for the expanded benefits after the stimulus money ran out.

Perry, an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus bill, did accept most of the roughly $17 billion slated for Texas in the plan. But he turned down the unemployment benefits because he said it would require the state to increase the tax burden on Texas businesses.

.....To receive the full amount of stimulus money available, lawmakers would need to adjust the time period used to determine whether people are eligible for benefits, using the four most recent quarters to determine how much a person gets instead of the current method that goes back 18 months.

Texas would also have to expand eligibility to include thousands of low-wage workers. Lawmakers have said the change would help part-time employees like single mothers, college students and senior citizens.
Perry said the requirements attached to the federal stimulus money would require a change in the state's definition of unemployment by expanding it to include part-time employees. He said such an expansion would counteract the package's objective of job creation by leading companies to limit hiring and raise prices.

Unemployed doesn't mean part time workers, I would rather see full benefits go to those without a job than this mish mash of people getting a welfare check while working part time. For some it would be a great excuse not to work more.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Maxine Waters and One- United bank ties.

Politics: Anyone really shocked that Waters is tied up to the largest black owned bank in the nation or she involved herself to help the bank get taxpayer money?

When Rep. Barney Frank was looking to aid a Boston-based lender last fall, the Massachusetts Democrat urged Maxine Waters, a colleague on the House Financial Services Committee, to "stay out of it," he says.

The reason: Ms. Waters, a longtime congresswoman from California, had close ties to the minority-owned institution, OneUnited Bank.

Ms. Waters and her husband have both held financial stakes in the bank. Until recently, her husband was a director. At the same time, Ms. Waters has publicly boosted OneUnited's executives and criticized its government regulators during congressional hearings. Last fall, she helped secure the bank a meeting with Treasury officials.

Her involvement isn't new. Ms. Waters has detailed her financial ties in a series of federal disclosure forms and has been vocal in public in support of the bank. Those ties, however, have received little public attention. Nor is it well known how the influential lawmaker has over the years acted to support the bank and its executives.

Which leads to this NYTIMES article which shows treasury officials are either stupid or liars.

Top federal regulators say they were taken aback when they learned that a California congresswoman who helped set up a meeting with bankers last year had family financial ties to a bank whose chief executive asked them for up to $50 million in special bailout funds.

Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, requested the September meeting on behalf of executives at One- United, one of the nation’s largest black-owned banks. Ms. Waters’s husband, Sidney Williams, had served on the bank’s board until early last year and has owned at least $250,000 of its stock.

Treasury officials said the session with nearly a dozen senior banking regulators was intended to allow minority-owned banks and their trade association to discuss the losses they had incurred from the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But Kevin Cohee, OneUnited’s chief executive, instead seized the opportunity to plead for special assistance for his bank, federal officials said.

“Here you had a tiny community bank that comes in and they are not proposing a broader policy — they were asking for help for themselves,” said Stephen Lineberry, a former Treasury aide who attended the meeting. “I don’t remember that ever happening before.”

Ms. Waters declined on Tuesday to comment on the meeting, or to say whether her husband still owned shares of OneUnited. Her staff released two letters that showed the meeting had been initially called to discuss industry concerns broadly.

Even if you don't look at disclosure forms there should be a big red siren going off if one congress critter comes to you to ask for a meeting involving one specific bank and especially if its Maxine Waters.

Obama: Economic crisis 'not as bad as we think'

Politics: You have three choices with this quote now after being told this was the greatest economic crisis since the great depression.
1) Phil Gramm was right.

2) Obama is out of touch.

3) Obama is full of it and saying all this greatest economic crisis ever for political gain for his socialist agenda.

October 2008.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said on Tuesday that the United States is in the worst financial crisis of the Great Depression as he opened a debate with Republican rival John McCain.

Obama said the U.S. government should ensure that Wall Street executives do not benefit from bonus payments from failing companies and that if elected, he would seek a tax cut for most Americans.

"We are in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and a lot of you I think are worried about your jobs, your pensions, your retirement accounts," he said.

Obama March 2009:

Confronting misgivings, even in his own party, President Barack Obama mounted a stout defense of his blueprint to overhaul the economy Thursday, declaring the national crisis is "not as bad as we think" and his plans will speed recovery.

"I don't think things are ever as good as they say, or ever as bad as they say," Obama added. "Things two years ago were not as good as we thought because there were a lot of underlying weaknesses in the economy. They're not as bad as we think they are now."

Ricky Gervais and Elmo AP interview.

Entertainment: I died when Elmo asked "Where did you lose this interview."

Freddie Mac gets $30.8 Billion in Aid

Politics: Anyone want to explain this business model? It seems to be good taxpayer money being thrown at people who shouldn't be getting the money.

Freddie and larger competitor Fannie Mae, which together account for about $5.2 trillion of the $12 trillion U.S. residential mortgage market, are part of Obama’s plan to help 9 million Americans avoid foreclosure amid the worst housing slump since the Great Depression.

The federal government took control of the companies on Sept. 6, and has been pressuring management to offer low-cost mortgage refinancings and waive some loan standards to help curb foreclosures. The conflicting demands of appeasing regulators and pursuing profit may have led Chief Executive Officer David Moffett to leave after six months on the job, Miller said.

“They want these guys to refi mortgages without new appraisals and to keep mortgage rates very low,” Miller said. “Those are not sound business decisions. They are being used as a public policy tool to save the housing market. That is just going to make it more difficult for them to be floated out as public companies down the road.”

Dems condemn D.C. children to garbage schools.

Politics: First time ever I agree with Roland Martin of all people on this subject. It is an abomination that the teachers union and their Dem lackeys killed off this program and sentenced kids back to the D.C. public school system.

Democrats say they believe in school choice, but they don't fully accept the gamut of choices. They will happily tout charter schools, also opposed by the national teachers unions, but stop at vouchers.

Why? Because Republicans have consistently advocated for vouchers, and Democrats have convinced themselves that vouchers will somehow destroy the public school infrastructure.

Now, some believe the Obama administration is sending mixed signals because Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said he doesn't want to see kids thrown out of Washington schools who are already in the existing voucher program. Fine. But the reality is that after this year, no new kids will be allowed to enroll in the program, and that folks, is killing the program.

Obama and his party have never been fans of vouchers. Why? They contend that vouchers would hurt the public school system. Vouchers allow parents who can't afford private school to remove their children from public schools in order to get a better education. Well, isn't that what the president and those in his party do themselves by sending their children to private school? Only they don't need the government's help.

The standard fallback position of Democrats and the Obama administration is that the Washington program only helps 1,700 children a year, and those who don't qualify are stuck in a sorry system, and they are largely poor and minority. They contend that since every student can't be helped by vouchers, none should be helped.

So parents and children are supposed to sit tight and wait on the promised reform to trickle down from Washington to the local school systems, and then all will be well?

To me, that's sort of like saying that historically African-Americans are likely to have high rates of diabetes and hypertension, so instead of launching a program to save some from developing the disease, let's wait for a comprehensive plan where all can be saved at one time.

Sorry, folks. I believe you save as many as you can now, and continue to save the rest later. This shouldn't be an either/or proposition, but an and/both situation.

Banks realizing Obama using them for liberal change.

Politics: From a purely business standpoint, the demands the Obama admin are making makes zero sense because it is just continuing bad business practices. Banks are realizing that with more strings attached its not worth it.

Financial institutions that are getting government bailout funds have been told to put off evictions and modify mortgages for distressed homeowners. They must let shareholders vote on executive pay packages. They must slash dividends, cancel employee training and morale-building exercises, and withdraw job offers to foreign citizens.

As public outrage swells over the rapidly growing cost of bailing out financial institutions, the Obama administration and lawmakers are attaching more and more strings to rescue funds.

The conditions are necessary to prevent Wall Street executives from paying lavish bonuses and buying corporate jets, some experts say, but others say the conditions go beyond protecting taxpayers and border on social engineering.

Some bankers say the conditions have become so onerous that they want to return the bailout money. The list includes small banks like the TCF Financial Corporation of Wayzata, Minn., and Iberia Bank of Lafayette, La., as well as giants like Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo.

.....But a growing chorus of industry experts are warning that asking weak banks to carry out the government’s economic and social policies could increase the drain on the public purse. These experts say that the financial assistance, while helpful in the short run, could force weak banks to engage in lending practices that will lose even more money, and that the government inevitably will become more heavily involved in dictating how banks do business.

“I honestly believe the people in power pushing this policy see it as a win-win — as something that is good for the banking industry and good for homeowners and others,” said Douglas J. Elliott, a former investment banker who is now an economics fellow at the Brookings Institution. “But there is a slippery slope and there are potentially significant negative consequences.”

Boy blunder Geithner needs stop.

Politics: When he isn't scaring people by saying he is looking at a different kind of capitalism, he decides that bailing out nations at this time is a good thing.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner yesterday unveiled a sweeping plan that calls on the United States and other nations to offer billions more to bail out economies in crisis and prods a reluctant Europe to prop up the reeling world economy with more aggressive government spending.

But the campaign is triggering controversy on both sides of the Atlantic. In Europe, some officials doubt the wisdom of falling deeply into debt to create jobs and halt the plunge in consumer demand, as the United States is doing. On Capitol Hill, members of Congress have grown wary of approving still more money.

Geithner said the administration will ask Congress to make $100 billion more available -- nearly doubling the current U.S. commitment -- to the International Monetary Fund to aid struggling nations. U.S. lawmakers said yesterday that they are already bracing for the administration to request hundreds of billions of dollars in more rescue funds for U.S. financial firms, and possibly a second massive economic stimulus package as well.

The debate over how to rescue the global economy is setting up a clash of ideas just as finance chiefs are converging in London this weekend to hash out a unified approach to the crisis.

Geithner said he plans to press his counterparts from major economies to boost their fiscal stimulus and to sustain that spending for as long as the downturn lasts. "Forceful" actions by the world's leading economies are needed because "the global recession is deepening," Geithner said.

COuntries can hardly bailout themselves much less a sustained bailout for other nations. It would be political suicide and lacking common sense just to throw money at other countries.

Obama decries earmarks, signs law with 9,000 of them

Politics: Nothing left to be said, Obama talks out of two sides at the same time and very few in the press will call him out on it.

Paranoid Freeman blames the Israel Lobby

Politics: Thus confirming suspicions that his bias would be a hinderance as chairman of the National Intelligence Council.

Just how controversial the choice would be became clear on Tuesday, when Mr. Freeman, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia under the first President Bush, angrily withdrew his name from consideration and charged that he had been the victim of a concerted campaign by what he called “the Israel lobby.”

Mr. Freeman had long been critical of Israel, with a bluntness that American officials rarely voice in public about a staunch American ally. In 2006, he warned that, “left to its own devices, the Israeli establishment will make decisions that harm Israelis, threaten all associated with them and enrage those who are not.”

He did not soften his tone even on Wednesday, saying in an interview that “Israel is driving itself toward a cliff, and it is irresponsible not to question Israeli policy and to decide what is best for the American people.”

The critics who led the effort to derail Mr. Freeman argued that such views reflected a bias that could not be tolerated in someone who, as chairman of the National Intelligence Council, would have overseen the production of what are supposed to be policy-neutral intelligence assessments destined for the president’s desk.

Some of Mr. Freeman’s defenders say his views on Israel are extreme only when seen through the lens of American political life, and they asked whether it was possible to question American support for Israel without being either muzzled or marginalized.

Washington Post points out how bad Freeman as a choice was for Obama.

It wasn't until Mr. Freeman withdrew from consideration for the job, however, that it became clear just how bad a selection Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair had made. Mr. Freeman issued a two-page screed on Tuesday in which he described himself as the victim of a shadowy and sinister "Lobby" whose "tactics plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency" and which is "intent on enforcing adherence to the policies of a foreign government." Yes, Mr. Freeman was referring to Americans who support Israel -- and his statement was a grotesque libel.

For the record, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee says that it took no formal position on Mr. Freeman's appointment and undertook no lobbying against him. If there was a campaign, its leaders didn't bother to contact the Post editorial board. According to a report by Newsweek, Mr. Freeman's most formidable critic -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- was incensed by his position on dissent in China.

If anything derailed Freeman the "realist" was his of the crackdown by China in Tiananmen Square. Going against Israel and the "lobby" plays well in leftist circles.

The most extreme manifestation of Freeman's realist ideology came out in a leaked e-mail he sent to a foreign policy Internet mailing list. Freeman wrote that his only problem with what most of us call "the Tiananmen Square Massacre" was an excess of restraint:

"[T]he truly unforgivable mistake of the Chinese authorities was the failure to intervene on a timely basis to nip the demonstrations in the bud, rather than -- as would have been both wise and efficacious -- to intervene with force when all other measures had failed to restore domestic tranquility to Beijing and other major urban centers in China. In this optic, the Politburo's response to the mob scene at 'Tian'anmen' stands as a monument to overly cautious behavior on the part of the leadership, not as an example of rash action. . . .

"I do not believe it is acceptable for any country to allow the heart of its national capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government, however appealing to foreigners their propaganda may be. Such folk, whether they represent a veterans' 'Bonus Army' or a 'student uprising' on behalf of 'the goddess of democracy' should expect to be displaced with despatch [sic] from the ground they occupy."

In the end the buck stops at Obama. He must have known what this guy was about but nominated him anyway which says something about him.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pelosi using Air Force as personal airliner.

Politics: This has been going since she got the post and Judicial Watch finally gets some of the irritated emails by the Air Force about how demanding she is with the military's planes.

Judge Reluctantly Condemns Sex with 14 Year Old

EU: A 26 year old with a 14 year old girl? Sorry, I would beat the hell out of you if it were my daughter.

A judge has reluctantly convicted a man of sex with a 14 year old girl. She is legally too young for sexual traffic, but Judge Michiel Severein considers the law is outdated, according to De Telegraaf newspaper.

Severein considered himself required to give the 26 year old man a suspended sentence of 20 hours of community service for sex with the 14 year old girl. But the judge urged that the minimum age at which sex is allowed, 16, should be lowered. "He considers the present threshold no longer relevant these days, because young people start having sex at younger and younger ages," according to the paper.

According to the judge, there was mutual love and consent. The Public Prosecutor also felt troubled about punishing the 26 year old, according to De Telegraaf.

Dutch Court: Insulting Islam is Not Insulting Muslims

EU: This looks to be a huge boost to Wilders case.

The Supreme Court yesterday produced an important ruling in principle in favour of freedom of speech. The highest court of the Netherlands acquitted a man of insulting Muslims although he dubbed Islam a tumour.

The Supreme Court quashed a ruling by an appeal court in Den Bosch. As had a district court earlier, the appeal court did find the man guilty. Yesterday's acquittal can have consequences for all future court cases on insulting followers of a faith or ideology, including the notorious case against MP Geert Wilders.

According to the country's highest court, people expressing themselves offensively about a religion are not automatically guilty of insulting its followers, even if the followers feel insulted. "The statement must unmistakeably refer to a certain group of people who differentiate themselves from others by their religion," ruled the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court acquitted a man who in November 2004 stuck a poster in his window with the text: 'Stop the tumour that is called Islam'. While people may not insult believers, they can insult their religion, according to the Supreme Court. "The sole circumstance of offensive statements about a religion also insulting its followers is not sufficient to speak of insulting a group of people due to their religion."

Obama's "hero" whitehouse directory.

Politics: In polite circles this would be known as being mighty full of yourself.

Obama defunds alternative stem cell research.

Politics: Via Secondhand Smoke. This rush to destroy embryos and take money away from alternative methods seems void of any moral anchor. I seem to get that vibe a lot from Obama when it comes to the unborn or potential life.

Top ten papers that may fold or go online.

Media: But mostly fold. Out of 10 I care about none of them. American media needs a tremendous shakeup and cleansing.

Obama and his Presidential Double-Talk.

Politics: Even Newsweek is seeing that Obama has the talent of a very good used car salesman.

To those who believe that Barack Obama is a different kind of politician—more honest, more courageous, more upfront—please don't examine his administration's recent budget. If you do, you may sadly conclude that he resembles presidents stretching back to John F. Kennedy in one crucial respect. He won't tax voters for all the government services they want. That's the main reason we've run budget deficits in 43 of the past 48 years.

Barack Obama is a great pretender. He constantly says he's doing things that he isn't, and he relies on his powerful rhetoric to obscure the difference. He has made "responsibility" a personal theme, and the budget's cover line is "A New Era of Responsibility." He claims that the budget begins "making the tough choices necessary to restore fiscal discipline." It doesn't.

....It is Obama's conceit—perhaps his cockiness—that he can ignore these blatant inconsistencies. Like many smart people, he believes he can talk his way around any problem. Perhaps he can. In this, he has an ally in much of the mainstream media, which seem so enthralled with him that they can't recognize glaring contradictions. During the campaign, Obama claimed he would change Washington's petty partisanship; he also advocated a highly partisan agenda. Both claims could not be true. The media barely noticed; the same obliviousness persists. But Obama still runs a risk: that his overworked rhetoric loses its power and boomerangs on him.

Monday, March 9, 2009

'White male' kept out of police chief job

EU: The Dutch seem to want to commit cultural suicide.

Home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst has refused to name a new police chief in the Zuid-Holland Zuid region because officials want the job to go to a white male, various newspapers report on Monday.

Ter Horst has agreed with the mayors of the big cities (who are effectively the head of police in their area), that 25% of the police force's top jobs should be held by women within four years.

'If you don't resist the automatic reflext to name men, white men, you will never get a diverse police force,' Ter Horst told tv show Buitenhof on Sunday.

Since the target was set, 17 men and three women have been appointed to senior functions. 'If we carry on at that speed, we will never reach 25%,' the minister said.

But many MPs are unhappy with the minister's decision. 'It is all about the best man in the right place,' said Christian Democrat MP Coskun Çörüz in the AD. 'We are already finding it hard to get good people for police vacancies.'

Sybil Wilkes is an ignorant twit with her Obama love.

Media: If you want to know what a die hard Obama supporter is really like when they put up the segment from this morning interviewing Barnes and Noble CEO about the monkey book in the Obama display. This started when someone put a book about monkeys in the middle of an Obama display in a Coral Gables, FL Barnes and Noble store. Outraged grew as the pic went viral and clearly people with very little in the common sense department blamed the Barnes and Noble for this incident.

B&N went over the top with the hysterics as well.

The founder and chairman of Barnes and Noble said the customer who placed a placed a book on monkeys among a display on President Barack Obama and the first family committed "nothing short of a hate crime, which should be punishable under federal statutes."

Officials from the book retailer claim an unknown person placed a copy of "Monkeys: A Captivating Look at These Fascinating Animals" in the display then snapped a photo. Store workers removed the book as soon as someone noticed it, decrying claims that it was put there by an employee.

“This malicious and despicable act is nothing short of a hate crime, which should be punishable under federal statutes,” said Leonard Riggio, founder and chairman of Barnes and Noble, in a statement.

Federal hate crime charges over a book display, nice. Riggio came on the show to talk about it during the Roland Martin segment and everything was going the predictable say sorry never happen again way till Sybil Wilkes opened up a mouth. The great suggestion is that with a Obama display you need tighter security and remodel the section. Riggio got annoyed and pointed out that it is cost prohibitive to do so over this one incident. Sybil got outraged that he wouldn't even consider adding security and it went downhill from there.

Tom Joyner and Jay Anthony Brown after the interview was over just razzed on her for the rest of the show because how over the top she was about it. They had some callers just as ignorant as Sybil saying they would never shop at B&N because the Riggio rightly shot back at Sybil never giving an inch over this incident.

This confirms to me that for people like Sybil, Obama is now in that Kim Jong Il territory of hero worship where any slight must be punished and money spent to make sure Dear Leader is not insulted again.

When or if the segment goes up under Roland Martin for Monday March 9th go here and listen to it. Just an incredible piece of nonsense.

George Galloway stoned in Egypt

World: AHA HA HA HA HA.....err... this is terrible.

A humanitarian convoy led by maverick MP George Galloway,carrying medical supplies for Gaza has come under attack in Egypt

The convoy, carrying aid worth £1m, was pelted with stones and vandalised after it stopped in El-Arish, a small town around 28 miles from the Rafah border crossing with Gaza.

"It's an absolute disgrace,'' convoy organiser Yvonne Ridley told AFP. "The power was cut. Under cover of darkness members of our convoy were attacked with stones.

"Vandals also wrote dirty words and anti-Hamas slogans,'' she said. "Several people in the convoy were injured in the attack.'"

China to lower export taxes to zero.

World: Its a sad day for America when China seems to be more pro-business.

China will steadily cut export-related taxes to "zero" and raise financial support for exporters to avert another sharp drop in external demand, the commerce minister said in an interview published Monday.

Commerce Minister Chen Deming told the Study Times newspaper that despite the recent abrupt drop in China's exports, broader, long-term trade trends remained in its favor.

"We should have ample confidence, seize opportunities to advance and lift our share of the international market," Chen told the Chinese-language weekly newspaper issued by the ruling Communist Party's Central Party School.

"Strive by all means to maintain stable export growth and prevent a dramatic fall in external demand."

To achieve that goal, Chen said, the government would "according to international rules steadily restore zero tax rates for export products," while ensuring high-energy and resource-consuming exports remain curtailed.

In order to encourage exporters, China has increased rebates of value added taxes on textiles, garments and other exports and also reduced or removed export taxes for some steel products as well as corn.

The commerce minister said the government would also "enhance levels of support" to help ease exporters' financing difficulties.

Did Jon Stewart prove Santelli's objection on the housing bailout wrong?

Politics: You see liberals cheering on Stewart for ripping CNBC because Santelli had the nerve to cancel on him and in some cases like Eric Deggans(tv critic) leading to revisionist history.

Now Jon Stewart has kicked that idea into the stratosphere, providing an eight-minute dissertation on the ways CNBC's cheerleading led viewers astray in the years before the collapse of America's stock market.

The bit was inspired by CNBC analyst Rick Santelli's decision to pull out of a Daily Show interview spot, as the cable channel and its parent, NBC, faced mounting criticism for showcasing his widely panned reaction against the government's bailout plan for homeowners.

Really? Widely panned by those on the left maybe but Stewart never answered the question raised by Santelli and others. Why should taxpayers bailout the losers? Especially since we now know Obama lied to the public about who is getting bailed out.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Coffee-fueled cars around the corner?

World: As if the price of coffee isn't high enough.

In the case of coffee, the biodiesel is made from the leftover grounds, which would otherwise be thrown away or used as compost. Narasimharao Kondamudi, Susanta Mohapatra and Manoranjan Misra of the University of Nevada at Reno have found that coffee grounds can yield 10-15% of biodiesel by weight relatively easily. And when burned in an engine the fuel does not have an offensive smell—just a whiff of coffee. (Some biodiesels made from used cooking-oil produce exhaust that smells like a fast-food joint.) And after the diesel has been extracted, the coffee grounds can still be used for compost.

Embryonic stem cell reversal is distraction

Politics: About time people started throwing back at Obama some of his more annoying habits like labeling everything that he doesn't like a distraction. In this case this is more than a distraction.

A top congressional Republican on Sunday criticized President Barack Obama's expected decision to reverse the Bush administration's limits on embryonic stem-cell research, calling it a distraction from the country's economic slump.

"Why are we going and distracting ourselves from the economy? This is job No. 1. Let's focus on what needs to be done," Rep. Eric Cantor, the Republican whip in the House of Representatives, told CNN's "State of the Union."

Obama's move, scheduled for Monday morning, is part of a broader effort to separate science and politics and "restore scientific integrity in governmental decision-making," White House domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes said Sunday. The Bush administration's 2001 policy bars federal funding for research on embryonic stem cells beyond the cell lines that existed at the time.

Cantor, R-Virginia, has been among the leaders of GOP opposition to Obama's economic policies.

"Frankly, federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research can bring on embryo harvesting, perhaps even human cloning that occurs," Cantor said. "We don't want that. That shouldn't be done. That's wrong."

UK Muslim leader urged to quit over advocating attacks.

UK: If he is one of the most influential and trying to counter extremist Muslims then there is a bigger problem for the UK.

One of the UK's most influential Islamic leaders, who has helped counter extremism in the country's mosques, is accused of advocating attacks on the Royal Navy if it tries to stop arms for Hamas being smuggled into Gaza.

Dr Daud Abdullah, deputy director-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, is facing calls for his resignation, after it emerged that he is one of 90 Muslim leaders from around the world who have signed a public declaration in support of Hamas and military action.

Abdullah, who led the MCB's boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day, was a member of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board, the body endorsed by the government that trains imams and was set up to curtail the activities of extremist clerics. In January, he briefed the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, and communities secretary Hazel Blears on the situation in Gaza and its likely impact on social cohesion in the UK.

The UK and Australia scoops on Obama and Geithner.

Media: Anyone want to explain why the Daily Telegraph broke the behind the scenes of the failed Gordon Brown visit and the Sydney Morning Herald has a savage attack piece by a former OZ Prime Minister on why Tim Geithner was a bad choice?

If you want to show examples of why the American MSM is in freefall, these two stories done overseas are two good examples. So far I have yet to see any discussion of them in the media unlike stories overseas during the Bush years that were happily reprinted.

Burn Notice's huge ratings for season 2 finale.

Entertainment: Considering the city of Miami is eager to kick them out by tearing down their studio for some water front project and the economy is down in Florida. You think its a good idea to get rid of a highly rated free tourist advertisement?

Dismissive David Frum piece in Newsweek.

Politics: Frum should get a lot of sleep this weekend because he will be the darling of the MSM and MSNBC this week for being the intellectual conservative daring to take down Rush Limbaugh. Captain Ed over at Hot Air does the best takedown of Frum being at least intellectually dishonest. But if you want to know why I can't be bothered with Frum is this open line from Wonkette.

David Frum, annoying former George W. Bush speechwriter but generally inoffensive conservative

When the far left site gotten rid of by Denton empire calls you an inoffensive conservative to their wacked out ideals, it is easy to dismiss his whining.