Saturday, September 19, 2009
|There's nothing like the simple pleasures of a farm stand to return us to our agrarian roots.|
The first lady had encouraged Freshfarm Markets, the group that runs popular farmers markets in Dupont Circle and elsewhere, to set up near the White House, and she helped get the approvals to shut down Vermont Avenue during rush hour on Thursdays. But the result was quite the opposite of a quaint farmers market. Considering all the logistics, each tomato she purchased had a carbon footprint of several tons.
The promotion of organic and locally grown food, though an admirable cause, is a risky one for the Obamas, because there's a fine line between promoting healthful eating and sounding like a snob. The president, when he was a candidate in 2007, got in trouble in Iowa when he asked a crowd, "Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?" Iowans didn't have a Whole Foods.
For that reason, it's probably just as well that the first lady didn't stop by the Endless Summer Harvest tent yesterday. The Virginia farm had a sign offering "tender baby arugula" -- hydroponically grown, pesticide free -- and $5 for four ounces, which is $20 a pound.
Obama, in her brief speech to the vendors and patrons, handled the affordability issue by pointing out that people who pay with food stamps would get double the coupon value at the market. Even then, though, it's hard to imagine somebody using food stamps to buy what the market offered: $19 bison steak from Gunpowder Bison, organic dandelion greens for $12 per pound from Blueberry Hill Vegetables, the Piedmont Reserve cheese from Everson Dairy at $29 a pound. Rounding out the potential shopping cart: $4 for a piece of "walnut dacquoise" from the Praline Bakery, $9 for a jumbo crab cake at Chris's Marketplace, $8 for a loaf of cranberry-walnut bread and $32 for a bolt of yarn.
The first lady said the market would particularly appeal to federal employees in nearby buildings to "pick up some good stuff for dinner." Yet even they might think twice about spending $3 for a pint of potatoes when potatoes are on sale for 40 cents a pound at Giant. They could get nearly five dozen eggs at Giant for the $5 Obama spent for her dozen.
If Michelle wants to be seens as just the average American Mom, she better rethink her farmers market trips on the taxpayer's dime.
| President Obama said this week that his health care plan won’t cover illegal immigrants, but argued that’s all the more reason to legalize them and ensure they eventually do get coverage.|
He also staked out a position that anyone in the country legally should be covered - a major break with the 1996 welfare reform bill, which limited most federal public assistance programs only to citizens and longtime immigrants.
“Even though I do not believe we can extend coverage to those who are here illegally, I also don’t simply believe we can simply ignore the fact that our immigration system is broken,” Mr. Obama said Wednesday evening in a speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. “That’s why I strongly support making sure folks who are here legally have access to affordable, quality health insurance under this plan, just like everybody else.
Mr. Obama added, “If anything, this debate underscores the necessity of passing comprehensive immigration reform and resolving the issue of 12 million undocumented people living and working in this country once and for all.”
Republicans said that amounts to an amnesty, calling it a backdoor effort to make sure current illegal immigrants get health care.
Friday, September 18, 2009
|Everybody's racist, it seems.|
Republican Rep. Joe Wilson? Racist, because he shouted "You lie!" at the first black president. Health care protesters, affirmative action supporters? Racist. And Barack Obama? He's the "Racist in Chief," wrote a leader of the recent conservative protest in Washington.
But if everybody's racist, is anyone?
The word is being sprayed in all directions, creating a hall of mirrors that is draining the scarlet R of its meaning and its power, turning it into more of a spitball than a stigma.
"It gets to the point where we don't have a word that we use to call people racist who actually are," said John McWhorter, who studies race and language at the conservative Manhattan Institute.
"The more abstract and the more abusive we get in the way we use the words, then the harder it is to talk about what we originally meant by those terms," he said.
But keep bringing out the radical black left like Michael Eric Dyson who will spew this sort of BS to keep racism alive.
|LAUER: Let me read you both something that Maureen Dowd wrote in her column this week, and it's quite inflammatory. She wrote this, the normally, and she's talking about the incident at the speech before the joint session of Congress. "The normally nonchalant Barack Obama looked nonplussed as Nancy Pelosi glowered behind, surrounded by middle-aged white guys -- the sepia snapshot of the days when such pols ran Washington like their own men's club -- Joe Wilson yelled, "You lie!" at a president who didn't. But fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air. 'You lie boy!'" Frank did you hear that word?|
LUNTZ: Absolutely not. The anger is not directed just towards Barack Obama. It's directed towards a member, members of Congress. It's directed towards the Senate. It's directed towards the media, towards unions, towards institutions that we feel have failed us.
LAUER: Michael, did you hear "You lie boy!" in that comment from Joe Wilson?
DYSON: That and a lot more. "You uppity 'n'!" and so on. Here's the point, Matt.
LAUER: You really heard that?
DYSON: Well, well, obviously I didn't physically hear that, but the implication, the inference. You don't only deal with so-called empirically verifiable racism. You can point to a lynching or using a epithet. You look at the kind of atmosphere and attitude. Look at the opposition. President Obama wants to speak to the American schoolchildren. What's more American than that? People are keeping their kids at home because they fear he's gonna use their bully pulpit to try to drive home a Democratic agenda. The point is, Matt, when you look at the intense concentration on Mr. Obama. Painting him as a president with two eyes in a, in a black box. Calling him a Nazi. Calling him a chimpanzee. Calling him a monkey. How much evidence do you need?
People on the left like to fill in the blanks so it can fit their world view. Yelling at the President mean you must be racist not rude or out of line.
|The Massachusetts House of Representatives has approved a bill allowing Gov. Deval Patrick to name an interim appointment to the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Edward Kennedy.|
The House voted 95-58 in favor of the bill Thursday evening. The bill now moves to the Massachusetts Senate.
House Speaker Robert DeLeo, a Democrat, said the change is needed to ensure Massachusetts continues to be represented by two senators until voters can choose a replacement during a Jan. 19 special election.
| The House ethics panel said Thursday that it is investigating Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat who came under scrutiny for allegedly helping a bank with which she had ties secure a meeting with Treasury Department officials about obtaining bailout funds.|
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that Ms. Waters allegedly helped OneUnited Bank of Boston get a meeting with Treasury officials to negotiate a $12 million bailout. On Thursday, the ethics panel acknowledged for the first time that it is investigating her.
Sidney Williams, Ms. Waters's husband, was on the bank's board of directors until last year.
The congresswoman's 2008 disclosure report filed in May showed that Mr. Williams had at least $350,000 in investments in the bank. Ms. Waters serves on the financial-services committee that oversees financial institutions.
|Russian and American diplomats, as well as those of four other countries, are set to meet the Iranians October 1, and a tougher Russian line there could add muscle to the White House’s push to force a stop to Iran’s nuclear program. |
But Russia has given no ground on those questions, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov bluntly opposing tougher sanctions. And Medvedev suggested Thursday that any new American political capital would be more likely go toward the longer-term Obama Administration goal of deep cuts to the two countries’ nuclear weapons stocks.
"The announcement made today in Washington shows that the conditions for such work are not bad," Medvedev said."We together will work out effective measures regarding the risks of missile proliferation.”
Steps toward nuclear disarmament may not be enough even to satisfy Democrats, and the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday that they wouldn’t be enough for him.
“The administration has secured no apparent commitment from the Russians to work with us to reduce either the missile or nuclear threat from Iran,” said McConnell “More troubling will be if the administration has made these concessions to Russia in pursuit of expediting ill-considered arms control deals.”
Other conservatives said a deal on Iran could redeem the move – but they saw no evidence of one in the making.
“If they wanted to engage in a process of negotiation over this they should have been transparent with the Polish and the Czech governments,” said Randy Scheunemann, the top foreign policy advisor to the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain, who said cancelling the missiles in the countries was “seriously misguided.”
“Unilateral preemptive concession in the hope that your negotiating partners will follow suit? Anyone who believes that will work with Russia hasn’t looked at 70 years of Soviet history and 200 years of Russian history,” Scheunemann said.
|Mr Putin had repeatedly said "net" to the US initiative, arguing it had unacceptable implications for Russia's national security. |
Widely trailed but highly significant, President Obama's decision hands the Kremlin a coup that will boost Mr Putin's influence at home and abroad
Mr Putin had repeatedly said "net" to the US initiative, arguing it had unacceptable implications for Russia's national security.
Never mind that the Americans may have genuinely concluded that they did not need the shield. It is raw perception that counts.
The US about-turn therefore represents a qualitative step change in the two countries' relationship, an upgrade that sees diplomatic nicety become substance. Barack Obama's diplomatic "reset" with Russia now has real teeth.
Pointedly, the Russians have already interpreted the decision as a message they have been keenly waiting for: That the White House takes Russia, the world's largest country, seriously.
For the Kremlin's spin doctors, it is as if all their Christmases have come at once. In the coming days, weeks and months, ordinary Russians will be told that the policy reversal is definitive proof that Russia is once again a serious player on the world stage.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
| The White House officials are eager to avoid the perception that the president is directly engaging critics who appear to speak only for a vocal minority, and part of their strategy involves pushing material to liberal and progressive media outlets to steer the coverage in their direction, senior advisers said.|
When critics lashed out at President Obama for scheduling a speech to public school students this month, accusing him of wanting to indoctrinate children to his politics, his advisers quickly scrubbed his planned comments for potentially problematic wording. They then reached out to progressive Web sites such as the Huffington Post, liberal bloggers and Democratic pundits to make their case to a friendly audience.
|The Obama administration has privately concluded that a cap and trade law would cost American taxpayers up to $200 billion a year, the equivalent of hiking personal income taxes by about 15 percent. |
A previously unreleased analysis prepared by the U.S. Department of Treasury says the total in new taxes would be between $100 billion to $200 billion a year. At the upper end of the administration's estimate, the cost per American household would be an extra $1,761 a year.
A second memorandum, which was prepared for Obama's transition team after the November election, says this about climate change policies: "Economic costs will likely be on the order of 1 percent of GDP, making them equal in scale to all existing environmental regulation."
The documents (PDF) were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the free-market Competitive Enterprise Institute and released on Tuesday.
Lets be honest, Obama, admin and Dems knew about these numbers and lied about it, bash the CBO when it pointed out the numbers earlier,
| President Barack Obama's spokesman publicly disagreed with former President Jimmy Carter on Wednesday over Carter's contention that some conservative opposition to Obama is based on race.|
"The president does not think it is based on the color of his skin," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters.
Carter injected race into Obama's struggle for a healthcare overhaul after South Carolina Republican Representative Joe Wilson shouted "You lie" at Obama during a healthcare speech in Congress last week and thousands of conservatives rallied opposition to Obama at demonstrations in Washington
| The director of the CIA beseeched Arab-American and Muslim leaders Wednesday to join efforts to reduce the threat of terrorism in the U.S. |
Speaking in the heart of Michigan's large Middle Eastern Community, Leon Panetta said the country is safer than when it was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, though al-Qaida still remains a threat.
"I need you. The nation needs you," Panetta said during a 25-minute speech to about 150 people at an iftar, the evening meal that breaks the fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
The address represented one of the Central Intelligence Agency's highest-profile recruiting efforts aimed at Arab-Americans and Muslims. Panetta said it was his first speech at a Ramadan break-fast dinner.
The agency this year announced a five-year plan to boost fluency in Arabic and other languages the CIA deems critical to its work. Panetta aims to raise foreign language proficiency inside the CIA from less than a third to at least half of all analysts and intelligence operatives.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
|HANGHAI — U.S. President Barack Obama has quietly postponed an audience with the Dalai Lama until after he visits China in November.|
The move comes in the wake of Obama's decision to slap a 35 per cent import duty on tires from China and avoids a potential second affront to Beijing.
The news was contained deep in a press release issued by the Dalai Lama after his meeting Monday with top-level emissaries from Obama, senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett and State Department under secretary Maria Otero.
Issued from his home in exile in Dharamsala, India, the third from last paragraph of the press release said: "His Holiness is looking forward to meeting President Obama 'after' his visit to China."
The Tibetan holy man was widely expected to meet the president as part of his North American tour that begins in Memphis on Sept. 23, includes more than a week in Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal with events slated from Sept. 27 to Oct. 3, and ends up in Washington on Oct. 10.
The meeting was fraught with difficulty even before Obama last week signed the tire tariff which the Chinese claim violates World Trade Organization rules.
|According to reliable sources, Obama administration officials are on their way to Poland and the Czech Republic to deliver very bad news. The administration intends to cancel completely the missile defense sites that had been promised to these governments by the previous administration. This represents a complete capitulation to Russia's Vladimir Putin, who had demanded that the proposed deployments be halted as a price for improved relations. Ironically, the Obama administration, which is appeasing Russia in the hopes that Moscow will help put pressure on Iran, has made this mammoth concession just a few days after Moscow declared that it had no intention of supporting sanctions against Iran. |
The consequences of this action in Eastern Europe, especially in Ukraine and in other countries that feel vulnerable to Russian power, will be disastrous. It is a major American retreat in the face of Russian bullying. And we will get absolutely nothing for it.
This is an act of either a coward or a fool. I haven't decided which yet.
Update: More from WSJ, leaning towards fool now. If they are going to try and make the case based on the technical aspect of the program it won't work because they could have done that months ago. This is about currying favor with Russia while willing cutting off Eastern European countries who are still wary of Russia.
|The Obama administration's assessment concludes that U.S. allies in Europe, including members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, face a more immediate threat from Iran's short- and medium-range missiles and will order a shift towards the development of regional missile defenses for the Continent, according to people familiar with the matter. Such systems would be far less controversial.|
Critics of the shift are bound to view it as a gesture to win Russian cooperation with U.S.-led efforts to seek new economic sanctions on Iran if Tehran doesn't abandon its nuclear program. Russia, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, has opposed efforts to impose fresh sanctions on Tehran.
Security Council members, which include the U.S. and Russia, will meet with Iranian negotiators on Oct. 1 to discuss Iran's nuclear program.
Current and former U.S. officials briefed on the assessment's findings said the administration was expected to leave open the option of restarting the Polish and Czech system if Iran makes advances in its long-range missiles in the future.
But the decision to shelve the defense system is all but certain to raise alarms in Eastern Europe, where officials have expressed concerns that the White House's effort to "reset" relations with Moscow would come at the expense of U.S. allies in the former Soviet bloc. "The Poles are nervous," said a senior U.S. military official.
A Polish official said his government wouldn't "speculate" on administration decisions regarding missile defense, but said "we expect the U.S. will abide by its commitments" to cooperate with Poland militarily in areas beyond the missile-defense program.
Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he expected the Obama administration to drop the missile-defense plans. He said that Moscow wouldn't view the move as a concession but rather a reversal of a mistaken Bush-era policy.
Still, the decision is likely to be seen in Russia as a victory for the Kremlin. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet with Mr. Obama at next week's meetings of the U.N. General Assembly and Group of 20 industrialized and developing nations.
|As to the reasons for the dismissal, some speculate that there was an effort to conceal more widespread voter intimidation or fraud which inured to the benefit of the Obama campaign. But there is perhaps something more basic and more far-reaching than that at work.|
The liberal civil rights establishment and the left-leaning staff of career attorneys (a number of whom previously worked for or hope to work for the array of leftist civil rights groups) chaffed under the Bush administration. They vociferously opposed voter I.D. laws and resisted efforts to enforce portions of the Voting Rights Act which require states to clean up outdated voter rolls to eliminate the potential for fraud.
They grumbled when the administration pursued a civil rights case in Mississippi, U.S. v. Ike Brown. A former Justice Department lawyer explains: “Brown was the black head of the local Democratic Party who controlled the county, including the local election board, in a county that is majority black. He had his own local version of Tammany Hall. He was found guilty by a federal district court of engaging in blatant discrimination against white voters; case was upheld by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.” A line attorney pursued the case despite opposition by the then-section chief, Joe Rich. The former Justice Department attorney explains, “Other career lawyers refused to work on the case because they would not work on a case claiming discrimination by local black officials.”
And therein lies the most likely answer to the mystery as to why the Obama team would want to undo a victory in a high-profile civil rights case. The notion that civil rights laws apply to all citizens, and are not on the books merely to protect minority groups or to pursue white racists, is an anathema to the liberal civil rights establishment and their sympathetic partners in the Justice Department.
Another attorney familiar with the inner workings of the Civil Rights Division agrees with this take. He observes that Department staff “openly and proudly advocate for a different standard” depending on the race of the alleged civil rights violator. He contends that this view extends now up to the attorney general and to staff attorneys who “say it openly at the Justice Department when the topic of ‘reverse’ discrimination comes up.” He explains:
The half dozen of these cases the Bush Justice Department filed (and won) are loathed and criticized openly in the halls of the Department by so-called committed civil rights attorneys. Open contempt for these cases establishes one’s civil rights bona fides, especially to the new political appointees in the Civil Rights Division.
“The Department must refocus on the traditional mission of civil rights enforcement.” These are well-understood code words to mean federal law will not be used to bring cases against black defendants or institutions that discriminate against whites. … Sometimes these people express contempt for fair enforcement of the law to people who silently agree that the law should be enforced fairly, but don’t dare let anyone know they think it.
| In an interview with NBC's Brian Williams, former Democratic President Jimmy Carter attributed much of the conservative opposition that President Obama is receiving to the issue of race.|
"I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man," Carter said. "I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that share the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African Americans."
Carter continued, "And that racism inclination still exists. And I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of the belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It's an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply."
More guilt ridden white liberal projecting their own feelings onto others. I am not saying there isn't a fringe that is primarily basing opposition out of race but again to smear every conservative, every critic of Obama as racist is intellectual dishonesty designed to shut people up.
The problem is the race card has been played so many damn times at this point it is losing its effect.
|When Congress passed an $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers last winter, it was intended as a dose of shock therapy during a crisis. Now the question is becoming whether the housing market can function without it.|
As many as 40 percent of all home buyers this year will qualify for the credit. It is on track to cost the government $15 billion, more than twice the amount that was projected when Congress passed the stimulus bill in February.
In the view of the real estate industry and some economists, all that money is well spent. They contend the credit is doing what it was meant to do, encouraging a recovery in the housing market that is gathering steam. Analysts say the credit is directly responsible for several hundred thousand home sales.
Skeptics argue that most of the money is going to people who would have bought a home anyway. And they contend that unless it is allowed to expire on schedule in late November, the tax credit is likely to become one more expensive government program that refuses to die.
The real estate industry, including the powerful 1.1 million-member National Association of Realtors, wants Congress to extend the credit at least through next summer. The group hopes to expand the program to $15,000 and to allow all buyers, not just those who have been out of the market for at least three years, to qualify. The price tag on that plan: $50 billion to $100 billion.
The couple in this piece doesn't seem to understand that they spent money from fellow taxpayers...well future revenue since all this spending is on credit by OBama's government. But as I have approved before, if you are dumb enough then make sure you are smart enough to take advantage of it.
|On the other side of the issue is the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute. It labeled the original credit as one of the worst provisions of the stimulus package, on the grounds that the money is a bonus for people who would buy a house anyway. The center has an even dimmer view of extending the credit to all buyers.|
“Is this the best way to spend money we don’t have?” asked senior fellow Roberton Williams.
Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research called the credit “a questionable redistributive policy” from renters to home buyers, but said that he used it himself when he bought a house.
He wrote on his blog: “Thank you very much, suckers!”
|Auto makers are pushing European governments to continue their "cash for clunkers" programs, fearing that the fragile industry may face a major slowdown if the rebate programs end.|
The moves come as Germany and Britain are winding down their scrappage programs, which are aimed at getting buyers to turn in less-fuel-efficient vehicles and buy new cars with better mileage. Meanwhile, Ford Motor Co. and others say they are helping Russia get a scrappage program off the ground.
"We would like to continue the scrappage programs or we would like a more general winddown of the programs instead of letting them just come to a quick end," John Fleming, chief executive of Ford's European operations, said in an interview."
.....But car makers in Germany doubt the popular car-scrapping program there is likely to be picked up again anytime soon. The government pumped €5 billion into the plan, which ran out at the start of this month. Nearly two million German consumers participated in the program, which largely benefited mass-market auto makers like Volkswagen AG and Ford.
But skeptics say the program simply delayed a slump. Though car orders still being processed will fuel sales for a few more months, some analysts say German car sales next year could drop by one million cars from this year's expected 3.5 million.
"We said from the beginning it is not what we support," said BMW AG's finance chief, Friedrich Eichiner, of the way the short-term incentives were structured. "Others demanded it, and now they got it."
Spending taxpayer money to sell cars simply move up the car buyer's buy time while putting the country in more debt. Now you have the artifical sales bump, you have people who now expect "free money" or they won't buy a car. Eventually everyone has to pay for this program.
Here's what Orci had to say:
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
|In his first speech since he was reappointed, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the recession is "very likely over" but detailed the tough road ahead for the economy.|
Bernanke also said that despite delays, he is confident that Congress will pass changes to financial rules to ward off future collapses.
He hit hard on the "challenges" for the Fed and all policymakers in dealing with a sluggish unemployment rate as the economy recovers from a recession that began in December 2007.
"That's one reason why, even though from a technical perspective, the recession is very likely over at this point, it's still going to feel like a very weak economy for some time," Bernanke said. "As many people will still find their job security and employment status is not what they wish it was."
You are not getting the party days before the recession began unless everyone loses their senses and just credit card up again. Speaking of which this is why you have a weak economy.
U.S. retail sales surge as economy gains strength
U.S. credit card defaults up, signal consumer stress
|Rep. Charles Rangel reported no rental income for eight years on his rundown Harlem row house, even though public records show tenants were living there. |
The powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee said he received nothing from 1993 to 2000 on the six-unit building, according to federal financial disclosure forms.
But one current tenant told The Post she had lived at the building for 20 years -- and paid rent during that period.
Another said her former boyfriend called 74 W. 132nd St. home for many years, paying about $500 a month in rent.
While Rangel claims to have taken in not a dime in eight years, at least four tenants lived in the building during that time, The Post found.
His nephew, Christopher Rangel, still lives there.
But Pelosi and Congressional Black Caucus, you keep supporting him so when it finally breaks down to a point where can't stay in his post in your mind, I want to see the egg on your faces.
|The U.S. attended its first formal meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council as a member Monday, saying it will try to promote dialogue at a body it once avoided and heavily criticized.|
The U.S. was elected in June to the 47-nation council, which was criticized by the Bush administration for primarily denouncing Israel while ignoring abuses elsewhere. Washington left its observer seat on the council vacant during the last six months of President George W. Bush's second term.
"We will strive for discussions that are thoughtful, focused and open to all viewpoints and perspectives," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Esther Brimmer told the council.
Although the rights council is virtually powerless compared to the U.N. Security Council, its decisions carry considerable symbolic weight, particularly in the developing world, to which the Obama administration wants to reach out.
Western countries, human rights groups and senior U.N. officials have warned that the council needs to improve its work if it wants to avoid the fate of the discredited U.N. Human Rights Commission it replaced in 2006.
|Serena Williams did not want her lasting image from this U.S. Open to be the video, now played and replayed all over the world, of her profanity-laced, ball-thrusting outburst toward a line judge Saturday night that got her bounced from the semifinals and led to a $10,500 fine.|
So, she returned to Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday for the women's doubles final with a written apology for her ``inappropriate outburst'' and a desire to win back any fans and media who had soured on her in the previous 48 hours. After her 6-2, 6-2 victory with sister, Venus, over Cara Black and Liezel Huber, she thanked her fans for their support and they responded with loud cheers.
In fact, the fans booed ESPN2 commentator Patrick McEnroe when he tried to ask Serena about the written apology on the court during the award ceremony. Venus, acting as protective big sister, stepped into the microphone and said, ``What I think the crowd is saying, Patrick, is `Let's move on.' '' The crowd cheered again.
| A day after Kanye West earned widespread scorn for upstaging Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards, the remorseful rapper said on Monday he would take time off to reflect on his behavior.|
"... I need to, after this, take some time off and just analyze how I'm going to make it through the rest of this life, how I'm going to improve," he told Jay Leno on the premiere episode of the comedian's new comedy show.
West has already apologized twice for hijacking the 19-year-old country starlet's moment in the spotlight at the high-profile awards show in New York. But he told Leno he has not yet been able to apologize to Swift in person.
|President Obama called musician Kanye West a "jackass" during an interview Monday with CNBC, an ABC News anchor reported to his followers on Twitter. But the tweet caused some red faces at ABC, and the network soon apologized for publicizing what had apparently been an off-the-record comment.|
"Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a 'jackass' for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won. Now THAT'S presidential," "Nightline" co-anchor Terry Moran wrote Monday evening. Moran has more than 1 million followers on the microblogging service.
Monday, September 14, 2009
This would have a bit more credibility if he ever attacked the same way the vitriol directed at President Bush but more times than not he happily joined in on the attacks.
Liberals like him need to understand, some conservatives are playing in the political debate with rules that were created and used by the left over the last 8 years. Deal with it.
Very cool idea.
| Fast Flip, which is available at fastflip.googlelabs.com, first appears as a collection of images of news articles that Google has culled from the sites of its partners. The articles are displayed side by side in various horizontal rails that show them arranged by popularity; sections like politics, business, travel or entertainment; topics like tennis, Iran or the Beatles; and news source.|
Flipping from one article to the next, or from one rail to the next, is quick. The articles, which are images of Web pages that have been stripped of ads and other items that slow them down, load with scant delay. Readers can zoom into a specific section, publication or article. They can often read the majority of an article directly on Google, although if they click on it, they will be taken to the publisher’s Web site.
“We are helping people immerse themselves in the content,” Mr. Bharat said. “If they don’t like something, they can move on quickly until they find something they want to read.”
| A loophole in an Ohio policy allowed thousands of undocumented immigrants to register cars and get license plates even though many did not have valid Social Security numbers or car insurance.|
The practice was so widespread that law officers in other states asked the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles why they were seeing so many undocumented immigrants driving cars registered in Ohio.
State Public Safety Director Henry Guzman delayed a proposed crackdown for more than a year after he met with people who cater to such immigrants, including people who were profiting from obtaining plates.
....After Guzman delayed enacting the policy, records show that dozens of runners were obtaining ever-larger numbers of license plates for undocumented workers, particularly in Franklin County, and were shipping plates out of state.
U.S. postal inspectors and police in Hammonton, N.J., reported this year that packages of Ohio license plates were mailed regularly to that city and showed up on cars there. Checks showed the cars were registered to people with Latino surnames and Columbus addresses.
Documents obtained by The Dispatch show that then-BMV Registrar Mike Rankin regularly pushed Guzman and his staff to put the stricter policy into effect.
Read the whole thing to see incompetence and stupidity in action. But the timeline seems rather interesting.
|Guzman initially requested tougher regulations, describing them as vital to "the safety and security of all Ohioans from a Homeland Security perspective." The regulations were to take effect on Aug. 1, 2008.|
But he decided they needed more work after a July 31, 2008, meeting with dozens of mostly Latino business owners. The car dealers, financing and insurance-company officials, and others were worried about their bottom lines and undocumented workers' ability to drive and support their families.
Officials say that, unknown to Guzman, present at the meeting were some "runners" -- Latinos with legal U.S. residency who collected fees of more than $100 each from undocumented workers to register vehicles with falsified power-of-attorney forms.
Guzman's planned two-week moratorium ultimately stretched to more than a year. The stricter regulations weren't put in place until Aug. 24 this year.
Guzman was picked by the Dem governor of Ohio, Guzman also was the first Hispanic in a long time to hold a cabinet position, the delay in stopping the loophole was just before the election. So I wouldn't surprise if there were political considerations in play for the delay in stopping illegals from getting so many license plates
|With Williams serving at 5-6, 15-30 in the second set, she faulted on her first serve. On the second serve, a line judge called a foot fault, making it a double-fault — a call rarely, if ever, seen at that stage of any match, let alone the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament. That made the score 15-40, putting Clijsters one point from victory. Instead of stepping to the baseline to serve again, Williams went over and shouted and cursed at the line judge, pointing at her and shaking a ball at her. "If I could, I would take this ... ball and shove it down your ... throat and kill you," Williams said. The line judge went over to the chair umpire, and tournament referee Brian Earley joined in the conversation. Williams then went over and said to the line judge: "I didn't say I would kill you. Are you serious? Are you serious? I didn't say that." Williams already had been give a code violation warning when she broke her racket after losing the first set. So the chair umpire now awarded a penalty point to Clijsters, ending the match. "She was called for a foot fault, and a point later, she said something to a line umpire, and it was reported to the chair, and that resulted in a point penalty," Earley explained. "And it just happened that point penalty was match point. It was a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct."|
Update# Serena looks to be fined right now $10,000 but there could be even more punishment as taking away all the money she has earned and a suspension from next year's US Open.
|Serena Williams was fined $10,000 on Sunday for her tirade against a line judge at the conclusion of her loss in the semifinals of the United States Open on Saturday, and may face more penalties, including a possible suspension from next year’s Open.|
Williams, who has already earned $455,000 for singles and doubles at this tournament, was fined $10,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct and $500 for racket abuse, which occurred earlier in the match, by the tournament referee, Brian Earley. The $10,000 was the maximum fine that could be levied on site.
Additionally, the administrator for the Grand Slam Committee, Bill Babcock, has opened an investigation into the incident. If that investigation determines that Williams committed a major offense, she could be fined all the money she earned at the tournament and suspended.
The Grand Slam administrator has jurisdiction to suspend a player from a Grand Slam event; it would most likely be the same event where the player committed the offense.
According to Article V of the Grand Slam Rule Book, which deals with major offenses, no person shall engage in “aggravated behavior,” which is defined as “one incident of behavior that is flagrant and particularly injurious to the success of a Grand Slam, or is singularly egregious.”
At least one player has been suspended from the same Grand Slam tournament the next year. In 1995, Jeff Tarango walked off the court at Wimbledon in the middle of a match in protest of a call. He was suspended for the 1996 Wimbledon.
|NEW YORK -- More bad news for journalists: The percentage of people who believe their work is inaccurate and biased continues to grow.|
Nearly two-thirds - 63 percent - of Americans surveyed by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press believe that news stories are often inaccurate. That's a flip from when Pew first asked that question in 1985, when 34 percent of respondents believed stories were frequently inaccurate.
Pew also found that 74 percent of respondents believe stories tend to favor one side of an issue over another, up from 66 percent two years ago.
Those trends tend to go hand in hand, said Andrew Kohut, the Pew center's director.
"If people believe that news reports are often biased, they will say they're inaccurate," he said.
...Nearly three-quarters of Republicans surveyed (72 percent) view Fox News Channel positively, with 43 percent of Democrats feeling that way, Pew said. CNN had the opposite results: 75 percent of Democrats view the network favorably, while 44 percent of Republicans do. MSNBC, which has become more overtly liberal in primetime over the past year, has 60 percent approval from Democrats, with only 34 percent from Republicans.
Television is the dominant news source, while over the past year the Internet has surpassed newspapers as a dominant news source for national and international news. Newspapers still have a significant advantage over the Internet as a local news source, Pew said.
Seventy-eight percent of Republicans said the press was politically biased, compared with 50 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of independents, Pew said. In 1985, less than half of Republicans, Democrats and independent believed the press was politically biased.
| He made his announcement while visiting the Makeyevka orphanage for HIV-affected children in the former Soviet state on behalf of his own Aids charity. It is not known if Lev has the virus. |
But Sir Elton is likely to face a barrage of bureaucratic obstacles before he is allowed to take a child home - not least the fact that Ukraine does not allow gay men to adopt.
Sir Elton said: 'David always wanted to adopt and I always said no because I am 62 and I think because of the travelling I do and the life I have, maybe it wouldn't be fair for the child.
'But having seen Lev today, I would love to adopt him. I don't know how we do that but he has stolen my heart. And he has stolen David's heart and it would be wonderful if we can have a home. I've changed my mind today.'
Referring to the recent death of his long-term keyboardist, Guy Babylon, Sir Elton added: 'He was such a genius and so young and has two wonderful children. What better opportunity to replace someone I lost than to replace him with someone I can give a future to.
Am I overreacting as this being one of those celebrities spur of the moment business? Adopting a child because he can be a replacement seems superficial.
|When President Obama travels to Wall Street on Monday to speak from Federal Hall, where the founders once argued bitterly over how much the government should control the national economy, he is likely to cast himself as a “reluctant shareholder” in America’s biggest industries and financial institutions.|
But one year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers set off a series of federal interventions, the government is the nation’s biggest lender, insurer, automaker and guarantor against risk for investors large and small.
Between financial rescue missions and the economic stimulus program, government spending accounts for a bigger share of the nation’s economy — 26 percent — than at any time since World War II. The government is financing 9 out of 10 new mortgages in the United States. If you buy a car from General Motors, you are buying from a company that is 60 percent owned by the government.
If you take out a car loan or run up your credit card, the chances are good that the government is financing both your debt and that of your bank.
And if you buy life insurance from the American International Group, you will be buying from a company that is almost 80 percent federally owned.
Mr. Obama plans to argue, his aides say, that these government intrusions will be temporary. At the same time, however, he will push hard for an increased government role in overseeing the financial system to prevent a repeat of the excesses that caused the crisis.
How hard will it be to get government uninvolved in everything? This hard.
|On a practical level, experts say it will take years for the government to unwind some of its rescue programs.|
Thanks to the mortgage crisis and the collapse in housing prices, private investors have fled the mortgage market, and the federal government now finances about 9 out of 10 new home loans in the United States.
The Treasury took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored finance companies that own or have guaranteed more than $5 trillion in mortgages, in the first week of September 2008. Fannie and Freddie now buy or guarantee almost two-thirds of all new mortgages. The Federal Housing Administration guarantees another 25 percent.
The cost of keeping the two giant companies afloat has been huge. The Treasury has provided Fannie and Freddie with $95 billion to cover losses tied to soaring default rates and losses in value on their own mortgage portfolios. Analysts predict that the companies will need considerably more in the year ahead. At the same time, the Fed is buying almost all the new mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the F.H.A. Buying up those securities drives up their price and pushes down their effective interest rates, and ultimately lowers borrowing costs to homebuyers.
“It will be very difficult to unwind, having stepped in as big as they did,” said Howard Glaser, a senior housing official during the Clinton administration and now an industry consultant in Washington. “There is no structure, no mechanism, for private investors to come back into the market.”
Does anyone think this White House will step away from being able to command and order the private sector around as it does now in certain areas of finance? Nah. Just for political reasons alone, the government will be involved in areas like housing because it is not possible to unwind and get away from being the payer of low income housing. Since private investors can't or are afraid of getting back in, it is up to the government the Dems will argue to help the people.
Those people will become even more dependent on government to be their mommy and daddy which is just want the Dems like in the long run.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Update: Well, it wasn't staged and Kanye is a huge douchebag.
|His protest against Swift, however, was not well received. West stood briefly on the stage after his comments as the crowd was silent. Audience members then began to clap in support of Swift after West left the stage.
According to reports from inside the house, once cameras cut away from the action, West flipped off the crowd and returned to his seat. During the next commercial break, Pink walked by the rapper and appeared to shake her head in disgust before security escorted her away. West remained steadfast amidst the commotion as he kissed his girlfriend Amber Rose.
|Left-wing “comedian” Bill Maher is setting the news agenda for CNN. Literally. With “Motivated by Race?” on screen, CNN anchor Don Lemon previewed his 7 PM hour Saturday night by citing Joe Wilson, “town hallers yelling at lawmakers” and those “refusing to let kids hear the commander in chief. And on and on and on. What's behind it? Is it racial?”|
| Lemon soon read a Twitter comment as he divulged what prompted his topic choice: |
LEMON: “I'm with Ron Reagan and Bill Maher. If Obama's skin color was closer to his mom's,” talking about Joe Wilson, “he would not have shouted out.” And I have to tell you, for the first time last night I was watching Real Talk, Real Time with Bill Maher and I was like “finally someone's talking about this, finally someone is talking about this.” Do you think that Joe Wilson would have done that to a President who was of another color?
SO he joins the NNPA who said shouting at Obama is racist, he just doesn't have the balls to say that so he just "asks the question" throwing it out there for everyone. This is nothing more than a variation of the disagree with Obama it must be racist intent behind it nonsense.
| The White House and its Democratic allies on Sunday tried to play down the role of a government insurance option in health care legislation as the party in power worked to reclaim momentum on President Barack Obama's top domestic priority.|
His spokesman described the public option as just one way to achieve Obama's goal of providing coverage to the estimated 45 uninsured Americans without insurance. His senior adviser contended the White House was ready to accept that Congress would reject the idea, though he, too, said it was an option, not a make-or-break choice.
Congressional Democrats took care to say the idea, backed by liberals and targeted by conservatives, is not a deal breaker in a debate that has consumed Washington for the summer and shows now sign of abating.
|U.S. commanders, citing new rules to avoid civilian casualties, rejected repeated calls to unleash artillery rounds at attackers dug into the slopes and tree lines — despite being told repeatedly that they weren't near the village.|
"We are pinned down. We are running low on ammo. We have no air. We've lost today," Marine Maj. Kevin Williams, 37, said through his translator to his Afghan counterpart, responding to the latter's repeated demands for helicopters.
Four U.S. Marines were killed Tuesday, the most U.S. service members assigned as trainers to the Afghan National Army to be lost in a single incident since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. Eight Afghan troops and police and the Marine commander's Afghan interpreter also died in the ambush and the subsequent battle that raged from dawn until 2 p.m. around this remote hamlet in eastern Kunar province, close to the Pakistan border.
Three Americans and 19 Afghans were wounded, and U.S. forces later recovered the bodies of two insurgents, although they believe more were killed.
Don't forget back in April, Obama mocked people who were against his spending.
|•Undocumented immigrants would be able to buy insurance in the non-exchange private market, just as they do today. That market will shrink as the exchange takes hold, but it will still exist and will be subject to reforms such as the bans on pre-existing conditions and caps.|
Once again, Thanks Joe Wilson!
|WASHINGTON — The Obama administration said Friday that the United States would accept Iran’s offer to meet, fulfilling President Obama’s pledge to hold unconditional talks despite the Iranian government’s insistence that it would not negotiate over the future of its nuclear program.|
The decision to engage directly with Iran would put a senior representative of the Obama administration at the bargaining table, along with emissaries from five other nations, for the first time since Mr. Obama took office.
The decision is bound to raise protests from conservatives who contend that unconditional talks are naïve, and from human rights groups that say the United States should not legitimize an Iranian government that appears to have manipulated its presidential election in June and crushed protests after the vote.
In advance of Friday’s announcement, senior administration officials said that their offer to negotiate directly with the Iranians, for what could turn into the first substantive talks since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, was, as a senior official had earlier put it, a “bona fide offer.”
Susan Rice the UN lover has really pushed the diplo speak to disgusting heights.
| The first announcement of the decision was made Friday in Brussels by Javier Solana, the foreign policy chief of the European Union, who acts as an intermediary for the six countries.|
Hours earlier, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Susan E. Rice, appeared to take a softer line on Iran, saying the administration would not impose “artificial deadlines” on Iran.
It was difficult to judge Mr. Obama’s outreach to Iran because, she said, “the elections and their aftermath have added a layer of complexity to assessing the overtures and offers of diplomatic engagement.”
Some administration officials argued that Mr. Obama’s overtures, which included a videotaped New Year’s greeting and at least one letter to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, had thrown the Iranian leadership off balance. They thought that for the first time in recent history, the United States had Iran on the defensive, rather than the other way around.
Can this admin be this desperate to talk to Iran that they allow Rice to make a bitch statement like that to kiss up to the them. The election was stolen and people got killed and taken away by authorities, it is a little bit more than a layer of complexity.
Iran is not thrown off balance because of a letter, as Obama pointed out again and again, the supreme leader rules. If after these overtures they went out with that election and revenge spree on opposition protestors, they are not off balance. If they are saying full speed ahead on their nuke program while Russia say no to new sanctions, they are not on the defensive.
Iran is winning because the West are wimps
|Andrew M. Sullivan, the British author, editor, and political commentator, is one of the best-known figures in the new-media elite, and his blog, The Daily Dish, is among the most popular on the Web. But a federal judge says Sullivan did not deserve preferential treatment from prosecutors who dropped a marijuana possession charge after the journalist was recently caught smoking a joint on a federally owned beach on Cape Cod.|
In a strongly worded memorandum issued Thursday, US Magistrate Judge Robert B. Collings said the decision by Acting US Attorney Michael K. Loucks to dismiss a federal misdemeanor possession charge against Sullivan flouted a “cardinal principle of our legal system’’ - that all persons stand equal before the law.
Three other defendants charged with the same offense had to appear before Collings the same day as Sullivan, the judge noted. But Sullivan’s case was the only one prosecutors did not pursue, out of concern that the $125 fine carried by the relatively minor offense could derail his US immigration application.
“It is quite apparent that Mr. Sullivan is being treated differently from others who have been charged with the same crime in similar circumstances,’’ Collings wrote in the 11-page memorandum, adding that prosecutors’ rationale for the dismissal was inadequate.
Collings added with obvious irritation that he had no power to order prosecutors to pursue the case, and granted their motion to dismiss it. The fact that he did, however, “does not require the Court to believe that the end result is a just one,’’ he wrote.
The memorandum was first reported Thursday on a Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly news blog.
Brandy Donini-Melanson, a spokeswoman for the US attorney’s office, said yesterday that Loucks had no comment on the matter.
Sullivan, 46, declined to comment in an e-mail.
Sidenote, Provincetown/Cape Code National Seashore is a happening place.
|In the past decade, the number of complaints about explicit, open public sex in the Provincetown and Truro portions of the national park has more than tripled, Seashore acting chief ranger Craig Thatcher said. The activity ranges from flashing to masturbation to men's outdoor orgies, he said.|
.....An example of the complaints was a call reporting Wednesday that a 65- to 70-year-old man was flashing people at Herring Cove Beach, according to Seashore records.
In a Sept. 19, 2007, letter, a New Jersey family walking with children in the dunes encountered "several couples and then a large group of men having group sex in the nude, including oral and anal sex right out in the open."
In an August 2007 letter, a whale-watch boat captain leaving Provincetown Harbor with passengers reported seeing 20 to 30 nude men "playing around" near Wood End Lighthouse.
Other complaints describe Seashore visitors encountering public sex acts at Head of the Meadow Beach in North Truro and near a Seashore building off North Pamet Road in Truro.
Request for discretion
The Seashore does not release the names of the people making complaints, to protect their privacy, Thatcher said.
Provincetown has a relatively large gay resident population and is a popular destination for gay tourists.
|DETROIT (AP) — General Motors, in an effort to keep employees happy as it tries to climb back to profitability, has rescinded white-collar pay cuts it made last spring as it desperately tried to conserve cash and avoid bankruptcy protection.|
The struggling automaker was losing staff because its pay scales were no longer competitive with other automakers and manufacturing companies, spokesman Tom Wilkinson said Friday. He did not know how many had left or exactly how many workers were affected by the cuts.
The moves come as GM tries to lure buyers back to its brands and fix its image after filing for Chapter 11 earlier this year. This weekend it will launch a new advertising campaign that offers to buy back cars and trucks if customers aren't satisfied with them.
The earlier pay cuts, ranging from 3% for many lower-level workers to 10% for executives, saved the company about $50 million but eventually it spent 40 days under bankruptcy court protection, emerging on July 10. The cuts affected workers in the U.S. and Canada as well as some overseas countries.
"We're into a period where employee morale is really important as we're starting to launch products and rebuild the business," Wilkinson said.
The company has about 25,000 U.S. salaried workers mainly in the Detroit area. Some employees at the bottom of the pay grades did not see salary cuts.
It has really gotten to the point in politics in Trinidad where the PM is accused of dealing with the radical Islamic terrorist group responsible for the coup in 1990. This shouldn't be even a made up scenario much less getting it investigated. All politicians should stay away from them.
|A judge has ordered Trinidadian authorities to investigate allegations that the island's prime minister promised state resources to a radical Islamic group in exchange for supporting his 2002 campaign.|
The order came after Yasin Abu Bakr, the charismatic leader of the militant group Jamaat al Muslimeen, alleged in an affidavit that Prime Minister Patrick Manning offered him state lands, educational facilities and the promise to drop charges of damaging government property during a deadly coup attempt in 1990.
Bakr's group bombed police quarters and stormed Parliament during the failed coup, which resulted in the deaths of 24 people.
High Court Judge Rajendra Narine ordered the investigation Friday, citing "the extremely serious nature of the allegations."