Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
The political import of Avatar — and there’s no waving this aspect away because it’s right in your face start to finish, and especially in the third act — is ardently left. It is pro-indigenous native, anti-corporate, anti-imperialist, anti-U.S. Iraq War effort, anti-U.S.-in-Afghanistan (and anti-troop-surge-in-that-country, or strongly against the thinking of President Barack Obama and Gen. Stanley McChrystal), anti-rightie, anti-Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld, etc.
Yes, it’s very teenaged adolescent in its super-imaginative wacko visions and exuberant energy levels, but politically it’s pure Che Guevara (more the Motorcycle Diaries or Che-in-Cuba version than Che in Bolivia), Naom Chomsky, Hugo Chavez, Howard Zinn, Gore Vidal, Oliver Stone, etc. Cameron is an earth-hugging lefty from way back (the flagrant despise-the-arrogant-rich current in Titanic being but one example) so this should come as no surprise to anyone. I for one am cheered and heartened.
You could tell from the first trailer that it was Dances with Wolves meets Fern Gully in space. So I am not surprised by any of these review that its a leftist fantasy come to life with a reverse 9/11 twin towers analogy in it.
|The Post quoted unnamed sources as saying the White House is considering one plan that would spin off a new entity from the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program and provide money to banks without restrictions so long as the funds were used to support loans to small businesses.|
As an alternative, officials would also be prepared to ask Congress to modify TARP itself by easing pay limits and other restrictions that would be imposed on small business lenders, the newspaper said.
The report comes a week after President Barack Obama hosted a White House jobs summit to look for ways to curb 10 percent unemployment as the U.S. Congress enters an election year.
The Post said the White House is scheduled to hold a summit next week with executives from 12 of the largest U.S. banks to press the industry to increase lending, especially to small businesses.
Labor leaders and Democrats in Congress have backed the notion of using TARP funds to help small businesses as a way of preserving existing jobs and creating new ones.
If the Labor leaders are for it, I would suggest to any small business to read the fine print if you take money.
A lot better effort than you will get from theroot.com or blackamericaweb by far which is irritating the hell out of me over the last couple of weeks.
|House Democrats keep stepping on President Obama's applause lines about innovation and job creation. On Tuesday, Mr. Obama announced that "we're proposing a complete elimination of capital gains taxes on small business investment" for one year. |
Responding with rare dispatch, the House voted yesterday to change the capital gains rate for venture capitalists who invest in technology start-ups. But rather than eliminating the tax, the House more than doubled it, moving the tax rate to 35% from 15% by reclassifying such gains as ordinary income.
Private equity fund managers and managers of real-estate and oil-and-gas partnerships would also get socked with this 133% tax-rate increase. Now there's a way to encourage economic growth and new jobs.
|In a bold but risky year-end strategy, Democrats are preparing to raise the federal debt ceiling by as much as $1.8 trillion before New Year’s rather than have to face the issue again prior to the 2010 elections.|
“We’ve incurred this debt. We have to pay our bills,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told POLITICO Wednesday. And the Maryland Democrat confirmed that the anticipated increase could be as high as $1.8 trillion — nearly twice what had been assumed in last spring’s budget resolution for the 2010 fiscal year.
The leadership is betting that it’s better for the party to take its lumps now rather than risk further votes over the coming year. But the enormity of the number could create its own dynamic, much as another debt ceiling fight in 1985 gave rise to the Gramm-Rudman deficit reduction act mandating across-the-board spending cuts nearly 25 years ago.
Already in the Senate, there is growing pressure in both parties for the creation of a novel bipartisan task force empowered to force expedited votes in the next Congress on deficit reduction steps now shunned by lawmakers.
| Long-feared by US intelligence, Muslim radicalization is gaining momentum in the United States, hit by a spate of recent cases featuring youths recruited and trained overseas for jihad, analysts say.|
The latest case -- five US nationals arrested in Pakistan Wednesday on suspicion of plotting an attack -- deepened concern that militant Islamist groups are successfully enlisting potential attackers inside the United States, much as they have in Britain.
"We also as a community realize there is a problem," Nihad Awad told reporters in announcing that his organization, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), had steered worried parents of the five to the FBI.
He and others insisted the problem involved only a small minority of the Muslim community in the United States, but the implications remain disquieting because of how easily US nationals can move across borders or within the United States. Related article: FBI questions terror suspects
"We've known for several years that Al-Qaeda and its allies like Lashkar-e-Taiba have put a high priority on recruiting assets in the Pakistani communities in the United States, and the United Kingdom, the rest of the world," said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official.
Riedel, who led a White House review of US strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan earlier this year, said a recruit with a US, British or Canadian passport is "a gold mine for them."
"Put it this way: they know that 15 young Saudi males are not going to get into the United States on one-way visas to do flight training," he told AFP.
"What they need are people who are not going to arouse any suspicion when they arrive at JFK, or LAX or Washington-Dulles (airports). It's a high priority for them."
| The president made it clear that the US is willing to wage war, despite the fact that his heroes -- Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. -- might oppose, say, his decision to further escalate the war in Afghanistan. |
He stated clearly that war can be just, indeed, that sometimes it is the only path of justice.
"We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth: we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes," he said. "There will be times when nations -- acting individually or in concert -- will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified. As someone who stands here as a direct consequence of Dr. King's life work, I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence.
I know there's nothing weak -- nothing passive -- nothing naive -- in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King, but as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms."
With that in mind, he made clear his guiding principles:
1) that the US must hold itself to a higher code of conduct, hence his invocation of his ban on torture and his order of the closure of the detainee center at Guantanamo Bay;
2) that the international community, if it is truly serious about trying to avoid war, must fully engage tough diplomacy against rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran that would keep crises surrounding those nations from becoming wars;
3) that the world must engage with governments of ill-repute, and try to bring them back into the fold; and
4) that a nation's hostility towards human rights and economic injustice cannot be allowed to thrive, for those conditions lead to war in the long term.
He concluded by citing his heroes King and Gandhi again -- saying that their belief system is something to aim for.
All of this is nice and I can support those views if Obama meant what he said and not just playing to an American audience who would view him as weak if he went the peacenik route in Norway.
|There will be no "precipitous drawdown" of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and U.S. troops could still be in the country for years to come, President Barack Obama said on Thursday.|
Obama told Americans in a televised speech last week U.S. troops would begin withdrawing from Afghanistan on July 2011 as they transferred control to newly trained Afghan security forces.
Obama, in Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, shied away from repeating the word "withdraw" and said July 2011 would signal a shift in the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, when "we are beginning to transfer responsibility to the Afghan people."
| As many as three-quarters of state schools are failing to push their brightest pupils because teachers are reluctant to promote 'elitism', an Ofsted study says today.|
Many teachers are not convinced of the importance of providing more challenging tasks for their gifted and talented pupils.
Bright youngsters told inspectors they were forced to ask for harder work. Others were resentful at being dragooned into 'mentoring' weaker pupils.
In nearly three-quarters of 26 schools studied, pupils designated as being academically gifted or talented in sport or the arts were 'not a priority', Ofsted found.
Teachers feared that a focus on the brightest pupils would 'undermine the school's efforts to improve the attainment and progress of all other groups of pupils'.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
| Five people arrested in Pakistan had been reported missing in the United States, and police are confident they were planning terrorist acts, a Pakistani police official told CNN.|
It is too soon to link the men with any terrorist organizations, said Tahir Gujjrar, deputy superintendent of police in Sargodha, Pakistan, but preliminary investigations suggest they had sought to link up with the Jaish-e-Mohammed and Jamaat ud Dawa militant organizations. Neither group showed interest, however, Gujjrar said.
The five were from Virginia and their families had contacted the FBI soon after they went missing, he said. They include two Pakistani-Americans, two Yemeni-Americans and an Egyptian-American.
The arrests came after a raid on a home in Sargodha, about 120 miles south of Islamabad, Gujjrar said.
No U.S. officials have confirmed Gujjrar's information, and there was no evidence charges had been filed. The FBI had said earlier that it was trying to determine whether a link existed between the five missing men and the arrests in Pakistan.
A U.S. law enforcement official not authorized to speak for attribution said the five missing men were all American citizens. Asked if they are the same men arrested in Pakistan, the official said, "We think it is, but we don't have it firm ... The truthful answer is, we don't know."
The State Department said it does not have confirmation of the arrested individuals' identities or whether they are Americans. The U.S. embassy in Islamabad is seeking further information.
|Almost half of the Norwegians feel snubbed by U.S. President Barack Obama, who is on a low-profile trip to their country to collect his Nobel Peace Prize in Norway's capital, Oslo. |
A poll conducted by pollster In Fact showed that 55 percent of the more than 1,000 respondents thought Obama was "impolite" not to attend the award presentation music concert; 44 percent though this no-show at the state banquet was "unacceptable," and 34 percent thought his staying-away from the traditional Nobel concert was "unacceptable."
Nearly half of the respondents thought the visiting U.S. president should take questions from the media at a scheduled press conference in Oslo.
The poll results were published in the country's largest circulation newspaper VG on Wednesday.
Though government advisor Kjell Terje Ringdal said he fully understood Obama's desire to stay low profile during his two-day visit to Oslo, the Aftenposten newspaper quoted Svein Tore Bergestuen as saying that Obama was a little "arrogant" by deciding not to attend the state banquet to be given by Norwegian King Harald V and Queen Sonja.
The commentator added that the U.S. president should conduct his visit to the Nordic country in a more polite way.
|Spain became the latest euro-zone country to face a possible downgrade of its government debt, raising fears Wednesday that similar fiscal woes triggered this week in Greece are spreading.|
The situation highlights the divergent paths that euro-zone countries are taking out of the most severe economic downturn since the 1930s. Ireland and a number of Southern European countries that outpaced larger nations during flush times are emerging from the crisis with their economies and finances in much worse shape than Germany and France.
"Those countries that had these high growth rates are now in trouble because much of that growth was financed by debt," said Paul De Grauwe, a professor of economics at the University of Leuven in Belgium.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
|President Barack Obama told House Republican leaders to "stop trying to frighten the American people" even as he and Democrats said they see a possibility for bipartisan cooperation on job creation legislation.|
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) pushed back on Obama's request for an end to Republicans' scare tactics by saying that Obama's policies have led to a hiring freeze, and the GOP is simply telling constituents what is happening.
"[E]mployers are sitting there and they're frozen because they don't know what's really going to happen here," Boehner said. "And the president wants to blame us for informing the American people about what's happening here and how it will affect them, but it's not what we're doing; it's the policies that they're promoting here in Washington."
Telling the constituents what is happening is what is ticking off black jesus. The people should just sit back and thank their lucky stars Obama is here to save them.
|WASHINGTON — If negotiators reach an accord at the climate talks in Copenhagen it will entail profound shifts in energy production, dislocations in how and where people live, sweeping changes in agriculture and forestry and the creation of complex new markets in global warming pollution credits.|
So what is all this going to cost?
The short answer is trillions of dollars over the next few decades. It is a significant sum but a relatively small fraction of the world’s total economic output. In energy infrastructure alone, the transformational ambitions that delegates to the United Nations climate change conference are expected to set in the coming days will cost more than $10 trillion in additional investment from 2010 to 2030, according to a new estimate from the International Energy Agency.
As scary as that number sounds, the agency said that the costs would ramp up relatively slowly and be largely offset by economic benefits in new jobs, improved lives, more secure energy supplies and a reduced danger of climate catastrophe. Most of the investment will come from private rather than public funds, the agency contends.
“People often ask about the costs,” said Kevin Parker, the global head of Deutsche Bank Asset Management, who tracks climate policy for the bank. “But the figures people tend to cite don’t take into account conservation and efficiency measures that are easily available. And they don’t look at the cost of inaction, which is the extinction of the human race. Period.”
Whatever global warming’s effects — and most scientific projections are less dire — there are also varying estimates of the economic costs of failing to act to address the problem soon, some of them very high.
If you have investments with Deutsche Bank, you may want to double check with that idiot in charge. The toss away line that most of the investment will come from private and not public misses the point that in both cases the public will pay either way because the public will get hit with increased business costs from private firms while higher taxes with public funds.
It is a lose/lose situation the UN could care less about at this time.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
|But Washington is a city that likes its traditions, and Ms. Rogers has raised a few eyebrows by trying to bend them. When former social secretaries gave a luncheon to welcome Ms. Rogers earlier this year, one participant said, she surprised them by suggesting the Obamas were planning a “non-religious Christmas” — hardly a surprising idea for an administration making a special effort to reach out to other faiths.|
The lunch conversation inevitably turned to whether the White House would display its crèche, customarily placed in a prominent spot in the East Room. Ms. Rogers, this participant said, replied that the Obamas did not intend to put the manger scene on display — a remark that drew an audible gasp from the tight-knit social secretary sisterhood. (A White House official confirmed that there had been internal discussions about making Christmas more inclusive and whether to display the crèche.)
Yet in the end, tradition won out; the executive mansion is now decorated for the Christmas holiday, and the crèche is in its usual East Room spot.
How the hell does it make Christmas more inclusive if you even thought about taking away it away? How does it hurt to celebrate Christmas and also reach out to other faiths? Why does it click in a liberal like Obama that getting rid of traditional Christmas is the right thing to do in reaching out to others?
Just moronic this even came up in a discussion.
| President Barack Obama outlined new multibillion-dollar stimulus and jobs proposals Tuesday, saying the nation must continue to "spend our way out of this recession" until more Americans are back at work.|
Without giving a price tag, Obama proposed a package of new spending for highway, bridge and other infrastructure projects, deeper tax breaks for small businesses and tax incentives to encourage people to make their homes more energy efficient.
While his proposal did not include the kind of direct federal public works jobs that were created in the 1930s, he said government could set the stage for more job creation by private businesses.
A major part of his package is new incentives for small businesses, which account for two-thirds of the nation's work force. He proposed a new tax cut for small businesses that hire in 2010 and an elimination for one year of the capital gains tax on profits from small-business investments.
Obama also proposed an elimination of fees on loans to small businesses, coupled with federal guarantees of those loans through the end of next year.
He called for more government spending on infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges and water projects and for new tax breaks for consumers who invest in energy-efficient retrofits in their homes. This could be what some administration officials have called a "Cash for Caulkers" program modeled on the now-expired Cash for Clunkers program of tax rebates for people who turned in old cars for more fuel-efficient models.
.... Since the program is costing taxpayers at least $200 billion less than expected, Obama said, "This gives us a chance to pay down the deficit faster than we thought possible and to shift funds that would have gone to help the banks on Wall Street to help create jobs on Main Street."
But Republicans continued to insist that the leftover and repaid TARP money must be used exclusively for deficit reduction and not for a new jobs program.
"The president's announcement is further proof that TARP has morphed from an emergency injection of liquidity to thaw frozen credit markets into a $700 billion revolving slush fund to promote the Democrats' political, social and economic agenda," said Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas.
None of his proposals have a fresh date pass the 2010 elections which is all this is about for him. A short term gain for the elections. He clearly does not understand economics.
|If healthcare reform covers Viagra, it should cover abortion services, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said yesterday.|
Boxer suggested there was a double standard underlying proposals to restrict abortion coverage. Under those amendments, women would have to buy separate policies, known as "riders," if they wanted insurance for abortions.
"The men who have brought us this don't single out a procedure that's used by a man, or a drug that is used by a man, that involves his reproductive health care and say they have to get a special rider," Boxer said on the Senate floor.
"There's nothing in this amendment that says if a man some days wants to buy Viagra, for example, that his pharmaceutical coverage cannot cover it, that he has to buy a rider. I wouldn't support that," she said.
| The Haagsche Hogeschool college will not put up a Christmas tree this year because it does not want to cause provocation to immigrant students. The tree is too closely linked with Christianity, according to the school management.|
Traditionally, a meters-high tree always stood in the school's atrium. Now there are only some streamers and fairy lights hanging there. Management wants to "stress the international character and the diversity within the school" by this move. The school is opting for "light and heat," which can be enjoyed by everyone in his or her own manner, according to the management.
The college has 20,000 students. Thirty percent are of immigrant origin, as are 12 percent of the teachers. Many pupils expressed fury on the Internet about the decision not to put up a tree this year. "Because a handful of religious good-for-nothings take offence about a tree with some lights and coloured balls, the rest of the school community has to suffer," complained one pupil.
|The UN Copenhagen climate talks are in disarray today after developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN's role in all future climate change negotiations.|
The document is also being interpreted by developing countries as setting unequal limits on per capita carbon emissions for developed and developing countries in 2050; meaning that people in rich countries would be permitted to emit nearly twice as much under the proposals.
The so-called Danish text, a secret draft agreement worked on by a group of individuals known as "the circle of commitment" – but understood to include the UK, US and Denmark – has only been shown to a handful of countries since it was finalised this week.
....A confidential analysis of the text by developing countries also seen by the Guardian shows deep unease over details of the text. In particular, it is understood to:
• Force developing countries to agree to specific emission cuts and measures that were not part of the original UN agreement;
• Divide poor countries further by creating a new category of developing countries called "the most vulnerable";
• Weaken the UN's role in handling climate finance;
• Not allow poor countries to emit more than 1.44 tonnes of carbon per person by 2050, while allowing rich countries to emit 2.67 tonnes.
Developing countries that have seen the text are understood to be furious that it is being promoted by rich countries without their knowledge and without discussion in the negotiations.
"It is being done in secret. Clearly the intention is to get [Barack] Obama and the leaders of other rich countries to muscle it through when they arrive next week. It effectively is the end of the UN process," said one diplomat, who asked to remain nameless.
There are only two ways for this climate cutting to work. Developed countries cut down their economies or developing countries given money to subsidies them for not polluting as much while they are growing.
Both are unworkable since Developed countries are not that stupid to damage their own growth and developing countries are not going to stop their growth without being paid off while still being able to grow. In both cases cutting or slowing growth would earn the wrath of the countries population.
|So Damon executive-produced - and, we hear, largely bankrolled - this Sunday’s The History Channel special “The People Speak,” a collaboration between Zinn and some of the biggest names in Hollywood, to put a new twist on some old history lessons.|
“The film is an inspirational film about democracy,” Zinn told us. “It’s about how people - not governments - achieve social change.”
Of course, Damon and Zinn go way back. They were neighbors in Newton when Damon was 5 and Zinn was writing “People’s History,” and have been close ever since. In his breakthrough flick, “Good Will Hunting,” Matt’s character, a Southie genius janitor, tells his shrink, played by Robin Williams, to read Zinn’s book: “It’ll knock you on your ass.”
And Will Hunting’s monologue about why he shouldn’t work for the NSA (“It’ll be some kid from Southie over there taking shrapnel in the ass.”) was inspired by Zinn’s work.
“Ben and I were laughing our asses off writing that,” he recalled. “We liked it that the smartest guy in Boston was reading Howard Zinn.”
After Damon’s big-screen shout-out, Zinn’s book went on to sell 2 million copies. So it is only right that Matt is the first big name to appear onscreen in “The People Speak.” He reads The Declaration of Independence . The performance sets up the rest of the documentary, which, the producers say, “celebrates democracy.”
The film intersperses historical footage with dramatic performances of documents, letters, speeches and diaries written by some of the better-known Americans who shaped this country’s history: Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain and Susan B. Anthony . But other voices, not often heard in high school civics class, also are included: Nez Perce Chief Joseph, heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali, factory worker Genova Johnson Dollinger, socialist Eugene Debs and rebel Massachusetts farmer Plough Jogger .
The documentary, mostly filmed in Boston at the Emerson Majestic Theatre, features “W” star Josh Brolin, who also produced the flick, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Viggo Mortensen, Danny Glover, Kerry Washington, Marisa Tomei, Q’orianka Kilcher, Michael Ealy, Don Cheadle, Jasmine Guy, David Strathairn, Eddie Vedder, John Legend, Chris Robinson and Lupe Fiasco . It was co-directed by Chris Moore, Damon’s “Project Greenlight” partner and a “Good Will Hunting” producer.
“To have a normal history lesson on TV is nice, but you’ll probably fall asleep,” Brolin said. “We are aiming to convey the viscera of events through these speeches and hopefully they will wake you up and inspire you.”
But how will Damon & Co. convince the audience that “The People Speak” is not just some vanity project by a bunch of Hollywood lefties?
“I’m sure the Glenn Becks and Sean Hannitys and O’Reillys are going to say we’re out of touch,” said “The Road” dad Mortensen. “But how can you fault a project that’s about ordinary people? These things were said. These people had the courage to speak. They were fighting for people like themselves and others and they did it by speaking up. I think it’s really inspiring and has made me feel more connected to the idea of the United States of America.”
If you are wondering why the History Channel chooses to push this Anti-America, anti-capitalist, anti history piece to the screen.
|The flick had a star-studded premiere in New York last month where most of the cast turned out to celebrate the partnership with The History Channel. The cable channel signed on to distribute the film last summer, culminating Damon and Moore’s 10-year odyssey to make “The People Speak” and find it a home. (It didn’t hurt that History Channel GM Nancy Dubuc is a former BU student of Zinn’s.)|
Google did nothing for whatever reason even though they did something for UK's "Remembrance Day"
But lets celebrate Popeye's creator's birthday.
|Women and young girls at risk of being taken abroad and forced into marriage are being failed because local officials fear 'offending' minority communities, according to a Government report.|
Social workers are being slow to use new court orders aimed at stopping potential victims being spirited overseas to be married without their consent, the report said.
It pointed to 'a fear of being accused of racism or not being culturally sensitive'.
Judges who rule on applications for the orders warned of a 'political correctness agenda' hampering efforts to help.
Schools were accused of failing to alert pupils to the issue, for fear of offending parents.
Children as young as nine have been taken overseas by their parents and forced to marry complete strangers. Around 70% of cases are from families originally from Pakistan and 10% of Bangladeshi origin.
Police have seen 'honour' crime surge by 40 per cent due to rising fundamentalism, new figures show.
A report into the scale of the problem by Scotland Yard found there were 161 honour-based incidents recorded in 2007-8, of which 93 were criminal offences.
|Nine men are awaiting trial in eastern Spain after allegedly sentencing a woman to death for adultery in an unofficial Islamic law court, a police spokeswoman said Monday.|
The woman walked into a police station in March saying she had escaped captors who had taken her to a remote house in Catalonia where they “tried” and “convicted” her for adultery, the spokeswoman from the Catalonia regional police force said. The men were charged with illegal detention, attempted murder and forming a criminal band. The spokeswoman said seven of the men were in prison while two had been released on bail.
|The chief executive of Chrysler Group LLC, a big recipient of U.S. government aid, on Monday criticized European governments for the way they have aided their own auto makers, saying their efforts are too targeted to specific companies and could impede a necessary consolidation of the global auto industry.|
Actions by European countries to help their auto industries lack a "common vision," threatening to favor a select few car makers while hurting competition, Sergio Marchionne, who serves as the CEO of Fiat SpA as well as Chrysler, said in a speech at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a think tank.
Some European governments have provided aid packages aimed at saving jobs within their borders. "These unilateral interventions are by their very nature dangerous," Mr. Marchionne said. "In Europe, unfortunately, the central problem of overcapacity has not been tackled."
He singled out measures by the French government to help the two major auto makers in that country. He said other European nations have acted in self-interest by taking steps such as offering subsidies, loan guarantees and research aid, instead of coming up with a uniform policy to help the auto industry.
France, for example, has provided aid that requires Renault SA and PSA Peugeot Citroen SA to keep open certain plants in the country. Chrysler's U.S. bailout isn't conditioned on keeping plants open.
Its a matter of the size of the rescue because under normal conditions, Chrysler would be rightly out of business but instead got propped up by bailout money. France went a couple of steps further that the unions here would love. Either case is wrong and in the end the taxpayers are the ones who are going to pay because they are not going to see any of this money paid back. Chrysler is a dead company walking.
I am waiting for some black pundit or politician to cry racism about how the Generals don't respect Obama because he is a black man. You know someone is going to let it slip out.
|Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, goes before Congress this week, and with him comes this question: Who’s really in charge here, the generals or President Barack Obama? |
The long-awaited hearings, beginning Tuesday before the House and Senate Armed Services committees, are a bookend of sorts to Obama’s address last Tuesday at West Point committing 30,000 more troops to the war effort in Afghanistan. Implicit in the president’s decision is an effective cap of about 100,000 for the American force, but top Democrats fear that unless Obama is more assertive, the military chain of command will undermine his July 2011 target to begin some U.S. withdrawal.
“The president’s decision is already being softened and made mush of,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) told POLITICO. And within the House and Senate Appropriations committees, senior Democrats — themselves veterans of past wars — have grown increasingly concerned by the political clout of a generation of younger, often press-savvy military commanders.
McChrystal and his strong ally, Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the U.S. Central Command, are quotable stars in today’s modern media; their wartime budgets not only are large but also give them exceptional discretion that is the envy of their foreign policy partners in the State Department.
|Japan’s governing coalition announced $80.6 billion in stimulus spending Tuesday in a bid to buttress the country’s fragile economic recovery and underpin Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s popularity ahead of elections next year.|
The Japanese economy, still reeling from its worst recession in decades, has been again hit by a recent, damaging surge in the yen, causing Mr. Hatoyama to warn that Japan could fall back into recession.
In the package announced Tuesday, which comes to about 1.5 percent of Japanese gross domestic product, the government will spend $39 billion to prop up regional economies and pay for public works projects.
Environmental programs like incentives to purchase energy-efficient gadgets will receive $9 billion, and measures to increase employment will get $6.8 billion.
The government will also offer loan guarantees for small companies to ease the credit crunch, the cabinet said in a statement.
...Some of the $80.6 billion will come from funds shaved off the previous administration’s budget, and Japan will avoid selling new government bonds as much as possible, it said. Analysts have been skeptical as to whether the Democrats can afford to fund the fresh stimulus without new borrowing, however.
“We have no idea how this spending will be financed. Even though the Finance Ministry says no new bond sales are envisioned, we do not believe it,” Carl Weinberg of High Frequency Economics said Tuesday in a note.
|The Environmental Protection Agency has concluded greenhouse gases are endangering people’s health and must be regulated, signaling that the Obama administration is prepared to contain global warming without congressional action if necessary. …|
Under a Supreme Court ruling, the so-called endangerment finding is needed before the EPA can regulate carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases released from power plants, factories and automobiles under the federal Clean Air Act.
The EPA signaled last April that it was inclined to view heat-trapping pollution as a threat to public health and welfare and began to take public comments under a formal rulemaking. The action marked a reversal from the Bush administration, which had declined to aggressively pursue the issue.
Business groups have strongly argued against tackling global warming through the regulatory process of the Clean Air Act. Any such regulations are likely to spawn lawsuits and lengthy legal fights.
They have set themselves up as judge, jury and executioner and the public is just supposed to sit back and relax about it. Once they start to make rulings and the lawsuits from environuts start to fly all over the nation, you will see how drastic this big government entity can change your everyday life.
|Heavy taxes on passengers and a ban on expansion at regional airports will be needed to curb Britain's insatiable appetite for air travel, a climate change report will say today .|
But it will still be possible to build a third runway at Heathrow, add second runways at Stansted and Edinburgh and permit an extra 140 million journeys a year by 2050 without breaking the UK's commitment to cutting carbon dioxide emissions, according to the Committee on Climate Change.
However, that 60% increase in air travel over the next four decades will come at a cost of choking off expansion at other airports including Gatwick, Birmingham, Newcastle and Bristol.
The committee – set up under the Climate Change Act 2008 to independently advise the government on how to meet its legally binding targets – warns that the British flying boom, stoked by the emergence of Ryanair and easyJet, is unsustainable.
If the aviation industry continues to grow unchecked, passenger journeys would increase by 200% in the next 40 years, but that cannot be tolerated because carbon dioxide emitted by carriers in 2050 must not exceed 2005 levels.
"This is a very challenging target," said David Kennedy, the committee's chief executive. "Don't be deceived by the fact that demand can grow. It will have to grow by much less than if we didn't care about carbon dioxide."
Monday, December 7, 2009
| A parcel of land here that sold for $12,000 two years ago now costs more than $20,000. The price of a nice pair of men's shoes has gone up from $20 to $50.|
The reason: pirates.
The influx of millions of dollars in ransoms has changed life in this coastal Muslim community, driving prices up and creating a schism between the pirate haves and have-nots. As piracy ramps up again with the end of the monsoon season, the lifestyle of the pirates — big houses, fast cars and easy drugs — is decried by both religious leaders and ordinary villagers.
"The use of drugs such as cannabis and the drinking of alcohol, sex and other obnoxious misconduct are now becoming common within the pirates, causing social problems," said Sheikh Ahmed, a mosque leader in the town of Galkayo. "That is what is worrying us, a lot more than the risk they pose to the foreign ships and crew."
Clerics and village elders say they don't approve of the pirate lifestyle. Teenagers threaten their parents that they will join the pirates if they don't get their way, said a prominent Bossaso elder, Suldan Mohamud Aw-nor.
Marriage has also been affected by pirates with pockets full of cash. Hundreds of cars escort the bride and groom to the reception, where the house is crammed with expensive furniture, and the bride wears expensive gold jewelry, said Shamso Ahmed, the owner of a beauty salon. Thousands of dollars are paid to brides' families as a dowry.
"Pirates do not waste time to woo women, but instead pay them a lot," said Sahro Mohamed. "They did this to several girls I know."
|Liberals complain the war has been a big contributor to the nation's budget problems, and are insisting some way be found to pay for the buildup.|
But the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, though they have virtually all been funded by deficit spending, are not the main reason why the publicly held national debt has more than doubled -- from $3.339 trillion to $7.709 trillion -- since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
``It's a small part of the deficit,'' said Todd Harrison, fellow in defense budget studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington research group.
That's not to say the war costs don't matter.
``Over the short term, we are certainly spending a large chunk of money of the wars, money that could be devoted to other priorities or for deficit reduction, at least once the economy improves,'' noted Josh Gordon, policy director at the Concord Coalition, a bipartisan research group devoted to fiscal discipline.
But over the long term, he stressed, ``Our fiscal challenges are substantially larger, and just ending the wars would not change those projections -- because they all assume peacetime budgets.''
....What's driven the bulk of this decade's deficit boom has been spending growth in programs such as Medicare and Social Security. Human resources, which include those and other domestic programs, consumed 63.8 percent of the budget last year, compared to only 49 percent as recently as 1990.
The antidote to high deficits, say independent experts, is making tough choices on domestic spending and taxes.
``The purpose of a budget is to set priorities and make trade-offs,'' said Susan Tanaka, director of citizen education and engagement at the Peterson Foundation, a New York-based fiscal watchdog group.
|The government of President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, facing a crisis at several banks acquired by his supporters, moved over the weekend to assert greater financial control by detaining one of the country’s most powerful financiers and forcing the resignation of the banker’s brother, who is a minister and a top Chávez aide.|
The arrest on Saturday of the financier, Arné Chacón, and the removal of his brother, Jesse, as science minister, which Mr. Chávez announced Sunday, points to a broadening purge of a group of magnates known as Boligarchs, who built immense fortunes this decade on the back of close government ties. Their nickname is derived from the combination of Russian-style oligarchs and Simón Bolívar, the historical icon of Mr. Chávez’s political movement.
Mr. Chávez, seeking to calm the population, said he was simply seeking to protect depositors. In his Sunday newspaper column, he reserved some vitriol for the arrested bankers, calling them “vulgar thieves, white-collar robbers, pickpockets.”
Mr. Chávez’s government still faces questions about the quick accumulation of fortunes by the arrested bankers, who drew deposits to their banks from deals with regional governments controlled by the president’s followers, leaving open the possibility that the purge could spread.
|A decade before the Columbine high school shootings set off a national debate on gun violence in the United States, an angry, unemployed 25-year-old armed with a semiautomatic hunting rifle stormed the École Polytechnique, an engineering school in Montreal. Shouting “I hate feminists,” the gunman separated the female students from the men and killed 14 women before killing himself. |
The crime was the sort that, even then, most Canadians thought could happen only in the United States. The anniversary was observed Sunday, as it has been every year since, by ceremonies across the nation. In Montreal, hundreds of people linked arms around a park near the school and about 1,000 people attended a vigil at Notre-Dame Basilica.
Parliament’s response to the crime was passage of the long-gun registry, and few issues since have so divided rural and urban Canadians. The law’s looming demise has revived the national debate over gun control and, with the wounds of 1989 still tender, raised deep questions about Canadian identity.
“Canada is suddenly changing into a place that loves guns and armies and war,” said Gerald L. Caplan, a prominent academic and former campaign director of the liberal New Democratic Party. “I don’t know how we got there but I don’t like it.”
The law has been controversial since its approval in 1995, and there are competing theories as to why it suddenly appears doomed now. While Mr. Caplan cites a political shift signaled by the election of a Conservative government in 2006, many analysts credit an obscure Parliamentary maneuver by gun-control opponents that allowed them to assemble a voting majority.
Perhaps most surprisingly, the debate has pitted the Conservative government, which generally promotes a law and order agenda and wants to get rid of the law, against the police, who resoundingly favor keeping it. Arguments on both sides have been emotional, with opponents of the law adopting what Canadians consider to be American-style personal attack ads against gun-control advocates.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
You pay 60 bucks, the least you can expect is some replay value.
| In his latest job creation effort, President Barack Obama is trying to find practical and politically feasible ways of spurring hiring among skittish employers.|
Among the ideas expected in his economic speech Tuesday is an expanded program that gives people cash incentives to fix up their homes with energy-saving materials, senior administration officials have told The Associated Press. Obama is leaning toward new incentives for small businesses that hire new workers and new spending on roads, bridges and other public works, the officials said.
The president also is open to a federal infusion of money to cash-strapped state and local governments, considered among the quickest and most effective — though expensive — ways to stem layoffs.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the package and Obama's speech were being developed. The officials emphasized that Obama probably won't mention in his speech every job idea he will eventually support, and that his address is meant only as one step in a debate that's sure to keep going.
How is papering over state budgets that are out of whack to begin with helping to create jobs? How will it help the states to get their budgets in order if Big Daddy Fed willing gives them taxpayers money? Why should businesses hire someone based on a one time incentive? How does hiring someone with an incentive work if no one is buying? How does giving even more taxpayer money to home owners to buy materials help to create jobs if you are just moving money from the right to left hand? Its a damn shell game.
Taking Spain's dig a hole, fill a hole infrastructure programs is not going to help create jobs. In the end all Obama is interested in is getting bigger government in the everyday lives of people to make them dependent. Nothing mentioned here helps America create jobs.