Thursday, December 24, 2009

Gitmo to stay open till 2011 because of bad planning.

If you are going to announce that you are moving prisoners to a new place, you may want to buy it first just to make it seem that you are not doing this on the fly.

President Barack Obama's commitment to close the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by next month may be delayed until 2011 because it will take months for the government to buy an Illinois prison and upgrade it to hold suspected terrorists.

The drawn-out construction timetable shows the political risk of Obama's pledge, a delay that could even be extended by congressional opposition to funding the purchase and upgrades for the Thomson Correctional Center, an underused state facility about 150 miles west of Chicago.

Lawmakers in both parties have been wary of bringing detainees to the United States. Attorney General Eric Holder already has decided that self-declared 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others will be tried in federal court in New York City.

In the Senate, a spokesman for Republican leader Mitch McConnell promised that the GOP would use delaying tactics to prevent funding the Illinois facility and added that he expected support from Democrats.

"I think there will be bipartisan opposition" to bringing detainees to Illinois, Donald Stewart said.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ouch. Guardian's editorial cartoon about Obama.

This has to be racist somehow. Educate me!

Muslims unhappy UK won't go after Israel officials on secret warrants.

Here is a small social test, some Muslim official from a country accused of war crimes comes over and gets arrested under this same law, you think the MCB would be equally against getting rid of this law?

Britain's flagship Muslim organization on Wednesday attacked a government pledge to reform a war crimes law used to try to arrest visiting Israeli dignitaries, saying the move could hurt Britain's image in the Middle East.

The Muslim Council of Britain said it was "deeply disappointed" that the country's foreign minister, David Miliband, promised to change the law so that judges could no longer issue secret arrest warrants against Israeli officials or military officers, saying the move was biased toward Israel.

"You appear to be committing the government to the path of selective compliance with the enforcement of international law," the council's Secretary General Muhammad Abdul Bari wrote in a letter to Miliband. "This is surely not in the best interests of our country as it will add a further dimension to the double standards that our government is seen to have in relation to the politics of the Middle East."

Britain is one of the European pioneers of universal jurisdiction, a broad legal concept that empowers judges to issue arrest warrants for nearly any visitor accused of committing war crimes anywhere in the world. Spain and Belgium have similar rules.

First of all, the hell is going on with secret warrants? If a judge has the balls to apply universal jurisdiction, make everything public. Second, universal jurisdiction is a concept formed by countries who are punching out of their weight class thinking they have the moral high ground to actually be the world police. It needs to be scrapped or turned on them.

Obamacare causes higher taxes and smaller FSA amounts

Merry Christmas!

Q.How will health care reform impact my flexible spending account?

A.Currently, the cap for contributions to flexible spending accounts is about $4,500 on average nationally, according to Save Flexible Spending Plans, an organization dedicated to protecting flexible spending accounts, also known as FSAs. But this cap is likely to drop to $2,500, as both the House and Senate bills lower the cap to that amount with the aim of helping the government collect more tax revenue.

“Unfortunately, the FSA is an unintended consequence of health care reform,” said Jody Dietel, executive director of Save Flexible Spending Plans. “They were identified early on as a source of revenue rather than as sound health care policy.”

Q.If I have particularly high-cost health insurance now or am considered wealthy, how will the legislation impact me?

A.You’ll very likely be paying more to help support the coverage of others less fortunate than you. The House bill imposes a 5.4 percent surtax on high-income people (couples with adjusted gross incomes of more than $1 million a year and individuals over $500,000), while the Senate bill would tax high-cost employer-sponsored health plans, known as “Cadillac health plans,” and increase the Medicare payroll tax on individuals with incomes over $200,000 and couples over $250,000. According to this New York Times article, “lawmakers said they could envision a compromise mixing the two approaches.”

Q.What happens if I don’t want health insurance?

A.You’ll have to pay some kind of a penalty, as both the House and Senate bills both require individuals to buy health insurance. According to this comparison of the bills, the House bill imposes a fine of up to 2.5 percent of a person’s adjusted gross income over certain thresholds, while the Senate plan imposes a fine that starts at $95 a year and grows to $750 in 2016 and beyond.

Q.Who will be considered a dependent?

A.While the exact age cut-offs will need to be worked out in conference if the Senate bill passes, the age of dependency is likely to rise. The House bill allows children to stay on their parents’ insurance plans through age 26, while the Senate bill allows children to stay on their parents’ insurance plans through age 25.

Chavez touts new discount 'socialist' stores

Chavez grasp of the economy is just spot on.

President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday announced a new chain of government-run, cut-rate retail stores that will sell everything from food to cars to clothing from places such as China, Argentina and Bolivia.

"We're creating Comerso, meaning Socialist Corporation of Markets," Chavez said at the opening of a "socialist" fast-food location for traditional Venezuelan arepas (cornbread).

"They'll see what's good. We'll show them what a real market is all about, not those speculative, money-grubbing markets, but a market for the people," said Chavez in his drive to change Venezuela from a market-based economy to a socialist one.

"We're going to challenge all that junk food that just fattens people up," he added referring to the arepa stand he opened to the public.

Chavez said the Comerso chain of stores will include "a network of subsidiaries" that will sell new vehicles directly imported from China and Argentina, "without capitalist intermediaries."

"We're going to defeat speculation. Private individuals in sales can still sell, but they'll have to compete with us and with a people who is now fully aware," Chavez said.

He said the new discount retail chain will also sell clothing and furnishings imported from Bolivia, Venezuela's closest leftist ally in the region.

So private individuals who sell goods and services that pay taxes to the government will now be run out of business with their own tax dollars which leaves what? I don't think Chavez understands what is a socialist market. The problem with socialism is soon you run out of other people's money.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thanks Tiger Woods. TMZ moves to launch TMZsports.

The amount of scandal you are going to get from this will be tremendous. I noticed that TMZ has been doing more sports related stories in recent months hitting the jackpot with Tiger Woods. The regular sports media is going to loathe this because they will be forced to cover stories they would otherwise ignore.

A blog
war is brewing for 2010, and it's going to enrich a whole lot of loose lipped sources, while making life more hellish for athletes.

TMZ is going to launch TMZ Sports in the coming months, Sports By Brooks reports. The site has been planned for months, but we're sure TMZ's boss Harvey Levin was encouraged by the success of its recent reporting on Tiger Woods.

This could hurt Gawker's Deadspin, which is already a TMZ-for-sports, of sorts, on its own. (Of course, it could help Deadspin too by opening new stories for them to chase.)

How's Deadspin going to defend its turf? By shelling out more money to sources.

Philadelphia Eagles fans throwing snowballs at 49ers fans

As we say.. Philly fan being Philly fan. But I do want to point out they were being mellow about it because you expect bottles or babies being thrown instead of straight up snowballs.

Gregg Easterbrook on the sorry Washington Redskins.

And Washington in general.

Only in Washington could you have one guy calling the running plays (Sherman Smith), another guy calling the passing plays (Sherman Lewis) and a third guy calling the fourth-down plays (Jim Zorn). Maybe what the Redskins need is an even more top-heavy coaching staff -- a guy who calls only screens, a guy who specializes in calling curls, a guy who calls only counter plays to the right on first down in the third quarter.

Only in Washington could it seem to make sense to address a problem by putting more people at the top and giving them confused, overlapping responsibilities. Bear this in mind as you hear that more rules and more bureaucracy are the solutions to health care and greenhouse-gas problems.

Wired: The death of Duke Nukem.

The fact its been 12 years is making me feel very old and nostaglic for my EGM and PC Gamer magazine subscriptions. This is a good example why in any business it is probably a good thing to have a middle man in charge of a creator and his money because you can go overboard.

3rd Q GDP revised downward from 3.5% to 2.8% to 2.2%

You take out taxpayer funded cash for clunkers and home tax credit, you got an economy that is barely breathing.

The US economy limped forward at a 2.2 percent pace in the third quarter, according to government figures Tuesday that suggest a tepid recovery from recession.

The downward revision from last month's estimate of 2.8 percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP) came primarily from a weaker contribution from business investment, as well as slightly slower consumer spending growth.

The Commerce Department report confirms that the world's biggest economy swung back to growth in the July-September period after four quarters of contraction in the worst recession in decades, but with little forward momentum.

Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates, said the report was "a bit disappointing" and suggests "that underlying domestic demand is pretty soft."

Brown said he expects a jump in growth to at least 4.0 percent in the current fourth quarter, but says much of that will come from restocking of business inventories drawn down in the recession.

(Audio) Tom Joyner interviews..okay fawns with Obama.

If you want a preview of the townhall meeting that Joyner is going to do with Chris Matthews, this is as good as it going to get especially at the end where Joyner slobbers all over the mic over Obama.

Direct Link.

Obamacare provides minority healthcare info, ACORN gets funding.

You dig around Obamacare enough and you find even more payoffs and race baiting that is more about throwing out money taxpayers don't have instead of providing healthcare reform.

Senator Roland Burris is claiming credit for a provision in Harry Reid's "manager's amendment," unveiled Saturday morning, that could funnel money to ACORN through the health care bill.

On December 9, Burris, an Illinois Democrat, pledged that he would filibuster a health care bill without a public option. "If we have to get 60 and it comes back and it does not have a public option in it, I will not vote for it," he said. Then early last week he said he could vote for the bill if there were changes made to achieve the goals of the public option: "until this bill addresses cost, competition, and accountability in a meaningful way—it will not win [my vote]."

Asked last night before the Senate voted why he was planning to support a bill without a public option, Burris said: "We have a great bill--the best we could get. And it also covers most of our concerns: competition, cost, and accountability." But had anything specifically changed in the text of the bill that helped him change his mind? Burris told THE WEEKLY STANDARD: "It was the disparity provision that was put in, which we had something to do with, in terms of making sure that diabetes and the other diseases that are affecting minorities are really studied by HHS in all of these pilot programs."

The provision he cites, found on pages 240 through 248 of the manager's amendment, requires that six different agencies each establish an “Office of Minority Health.” The agencies are the “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.”

According to page 241 of the amendment:

In carrying out this subsection, the Secretary, acting through the Deputy Assistant Secretary, shall award grants, contracts, enter into memoranda of understanding, cooperative, interagency, intra-agency and other agreements with public and nonprofit private entities, agencies, as well as Departmental and Cabinet agencies and organizations, and with organizations that are indigenous human resource providers in communities of color to assure improved health status of racial and ethnic minorities, and shall develop measures to evaluate the effectiveness of activities aimed at reducing health disparities and supporting the local community. Such measures shall evaluate community outreach activities, language services, workforce cultural competence, and other areas as determined by the Secretary.’’

According to a Senate legislative aide, the scandal-plagued Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now could qualify for grants under this provision. ACORN would also qualify for funding on page 150 of the underlying Reid bill, which says that "community and consumer-focused nonprofit groups" may receive grants to "conduct public education activities to raise awareness of the availability of qualified health plans."

Obama's nightmare: Passing health reform

Via Robert Samuelson, the reason why Obamacare is bad for everyone except the free loading parasites.

So Obama's plan amounts to this: partial coverage of the uninsured; modest improvements (possibly) in their health; sizable budgetary costs worsening a bleak outlook; significant, unpredictable changes in insurance markets; weak spending control.

This is a bad bargain. Health benefits are overstated, long-term economic costs understated. The country would be the worse for this legislation's passage. What it's become is an exercise in political symbolism: Obama's self-indulgent crusade to seize the liberal holy grail of "universal coverage." What it's not is leadership.

Insurance companies the big winners in Obamacare.

No wonder the liberals are up in arms.

Healthcare stocks rose after a bill to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system, which is perceived as less damaging to industry profits than expected, passed a crucial test in the U.S. Senate early Monday.

Retail stocks also gained as investors were optimistic about the rest of the holiday shopping season even after a heavy snowstorm hit the East Coast over the weekend, which may have deprived retailers of profits.

Legislation to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system passed a crucial test early Monday as backers cleared a procedural hurdle to approving the bill, which is President Barack Obama's top legislative priority.

Following the vote, the Morgan Stanley Health Payor index climbed 3 percent. Health insurers Aetna Inc added 4.7 percent to $34.04 and Cigna Corp rose 3.9 percent to $37.19.

"When it comes to healthcare, as it is with any industry, it's more about certainty," said Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. in San Francisco. "That way you know who the winners and losers are."

Monday, December 21, 2009

The London Guardian money problems gets worse.

Fire all the CIF America crew since they contribute nothing except their overinflated sense of purpose. The big news is the Guardian have 800+ journalists and that many working the business side. Bloated doesn't even cover it.

The news that Guardian Media Group (GMG) is thinking of selling the Manchester Evening News is therefore significant. This is not some recently acquired bauble that can be carelessly cast off. The significance is all the greater if The Daily Telegraph, which broke the story, is correct in suggesting that the Manchester title might fetch less than £40m, though it was supposedly worth £200m several years ago. Like all regional newspapers it has suffered from the advertising contraction, and sales have fallen. The days when it could subsidise The Guardian have long passed, and I doubt whether it is making any money.

GMG’s apparent willingness to flog off what was once thought of as the family silver suggests its management has woken up to the weakness of its position. Here is a company which by its own (possibly unwise) recent admission is losing £100,000 a day on The Guardian and The Observer, which we might round up to £40m a year. In such circumstances it has to consider selling anything.

....Will they ever wake up? There are still over 800 journalists, and as many commercial staff, on both papers and their website. The Guardian behaves as though it is The New York Times when it is, in fact, a newspaper selling just over 300,000 copies a day with an expensive website that may have attracted some notoriety in North America but is far from paying its way. Redundancies planned at the moment do not begin to address the scale of the problem.

GMG’s management has some good business brains, yet it seems incapable of applying tough business logic to its national newspapers, probably because of the power of the Scott Trust, the ultimate owner, and the enormous influence of the editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger. If editors are allowed to hold too much sway over the business side of newspapers, you may end up with no business at all. With that thought, I wish everyone a happy Christmas.

(AP) Natural Gas the cavalry in global warming fight?

Natural Gas as the alternative to coal? It looks promising.

An unlikely source of energy has emerged to meet international demands that the United States do more to fight global warming: It's cleaner than coal, cheaper than oil and a 90-year supply is under our feet.

It's natural gas, the same fossil fuel that was in such short supply a decade ago that it was deemed unreliable. It's now being uncovered at such a rapid pace that its price is near a seven-year low. Long used to heat half the nation's homes, it's becoming the fuel of choice when building new power plants. Someday, it may win wider acceptance as a replacement for gasoline in our cars and trucks.

Natural gas' abundance and low price come as governments around the world debate how to curtail carbon dioxide and other pollution that contribute to global warming.

....Coal may still be cheaper, but natural gas emits half as much carbon when burned to generate the same amount electricity.

Today, about 27 percent of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions come from coal-fired power plants, which generate 44 percent of the electricity used in the U.S. Just under 25 percent of power comes from burning natural gas, more than double its share a decade ago but still with room to grow.

....Bottom line: this new source of gas supply in Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, New York and other states holds out the promise of as much as 2,000 trillion cubic feet of supplies. It is estimated that the U.S. sits on 83 percent more recoverable natural gas than was thought in 1990.

"The question now is how does this change the energy discussion in the U.S. and by how much?" says Daniel Yergin, a Pulitzer Prize winning author and chairman of IHS CERA, an energy consultancy. "This is domestic energy ... it's low carbon, it's low cost and it's abundant. When you add it up, it's revolutionary."

What does Obama think about it?

In June, President Barack Obama lumped natural gas with oil and coal as energy sources the nation must move away from. He touts alternative sources — solar, wind and biofuels derived from corn and other plants. In Congress, the energy debate has focused on finding cleaner coal and saving thousands of mining jobs from West Virginia to Wyoming.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Black jesus!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hamas using UK law to demand arrest of Israeli leaders.

The sad part is a large segment of the UK population is going to be happy about a terrorist group like Hamas using their laws.

The Islamist group Hamas is masterminding efforts to have senior Israeli leaders arrested for alleged war crimes when they visit European countries including Britain, a top Hamas official involved in the effort has told The Times.

The claim comes amid continuing diplomatic fallout after a British arrest warrant was issued last week against Tzipi Livni, who served as Foreign Minister during Israel’s Gaza offensive last winter. The warrant was withdrawn when it became clear that Ms Livni, now leader of the opposition, was not in the country. Its existence apparently prompted her to cancel a trip to attend a meeting in London.

President Peres described the incident as “one of the greatest political mistakes” that Britain could have made and calling for the law to be changed. “Everything is based on ... a hostile majority public opinion,” he said last week. “The British promised they would fix this and it is time that they do so.”

Gordon Brown and David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, have each expressed their concern and their opposition to the warrant.

The campaign by Hamas takes advantage of an aspect of law in England and Wales that allows anyone to apply for an arrest warrant for alleged war crimes without the need for a prosecuting lawyer. The identity of the person or organisation that applied for Ms Livni’s warrant has not been made public, but Hamas says that it initiated the move.

Never mind the whole idiotic universal jurisdiction, who the hell makes a law that anyone can just apply for on a whim without any evidence or legal procedures? If Hamas can get a warrant you have a problem that needs to be eliminated.

Tom Joyner and Chris Matthews teaming up for racism fest.

On MLK Day, they are going to hold a townhall meeting about why people dislike Obama and yeah they are going to blame those white racists.

On the King Holiday Weekend 2010, I will co-host an MSNBC town hall special about race in America with Chris Matthews. This is also an important story because it will give me and you a rare opportunity to participate in a much needed discussion about whether racism is still a relevant topic now that President Obama has been elected. Of course, we know that it is. But now, we will get a chance to say why.

Having an audience of 8 million mostly African-American people is always a good thing, but it's a crucial thing when mainstream America wants to know what's on our minds. Together, we can give provide honest questions and answers about racism in this country.

In the days leading up to January 18th, I will be using this blog,, the Text Tom club, the morning show and all of its resources to garner your opinions about some of the specific topics that will be addressed on the program. Among the topics: Does Post-Racial America Exist? (Yep.) Is Affirmative Action Necessary? (duh!) and Generational Colorblindness. Isn't it funny that usually the only people who claim they don't see color always end up telling you they're married to a black person?

The two biggest Obama suckups in the media team up for what could be the biggest whinefest of 2010. Newsbusters may not have enough hosting space to write up for what is going to be a entertaining show of blaming racism for people disliking Obama and his policies.

Black American Muslims hold less unfavorable view of Al Qaeda?

Page 54 of a survey of Muslims living in America on various topics.

Views of al Qaeda

Overall, 68% of Muslim Americans
view al Qaeda either very unfavorably (58%) or
somewhat unfavorably (10%). Of the rest, a
large proportion (27%) declined to express an
opinion on the terrorist group, while just 5% of
Muslims in the U.S. have a very (1%) or
somewhat (4%) favorable view of al Qaeda.

While no group of Muslim Americans expresses high levels of support for al Qaeda, there are notable differences in the degree to which
certain groups express disapproval of the organization.

For instance, fewer than half (36%) of
native-born African American Muslims express a very unfavorable view of al Qaeda. By contrast, roughly two-thirds of other native-born Muslims (69%), as well as foreign-born Muslims (63%), hold very unfavorable views of al Qaeda.

Black Muslims, Can we at least break 50% on very unfavorable on a terrorist group.

Overall this report is what you expect for Muslims in America when it comes to foreign policy and war on terror. The 9/11 views are dismal until you realize its better than most Muslims elsewhere.

Muslim Americans express broad dissatisfaction with the direction of U.S. foreign
policy. Most say that the U.S. made the wrong decision in using force against Iraq, and while there is greater support for the decision to use force in Afghanistan, more say it was the wrong thing to do than say it was right. A majority of Muslim Americans say that the U.S.-led war on terror is not a sincere effort to reduce international terrorism, and fewer than half say they believe the attacks of 9/11 were carried out by groups of Arabs.

At the same time, Muslims in the United States are widely concerned about Islamic extremism, and express strong disapproval of terrorists and their tactics. In fact, about three quarters (76%) say they are very or somewhat concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism around the world, and 61% say they are concerned about the possible rise of Islamic extremism in the U.S.

Similarly, more than three-in-four say that suicide bombing in defense of Islam is never justified, and just 5% express favorable views of al Qaeda. On the question of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, most Muslims in the U.S say that a way can be found for Israel to exist so that the rights and needs of Palestinians are met, a view that is not shared by Muslims in predominantly Muslim countries.

Iraq, Afghanistan and the War on Terror

By an overwhelming margin, most Muslim Americans say that the U.S. made the wrong decision in using military force against Iraq (75% wrong decision vs. 12% right decision). Even with the gradual erosion in overall public support for the war, Muslims are much more likely than Americans in general (47% in April 2007) to say that invading Iraq was the wrong decision.

Broad opposition to the use of force in Iraq is found across all groups of Muslims in the U.S., although native-born Muslims are more likely than the foreign-born to say that using force in Iraq was the wrong decision (85% vs. 70%).

About two thirds of Muslim Americans are Democrats or lean
Democratic and, not surprisingly, opposition to the
war is strongest among them. But even among the
small minority of Muslims who describe
themselves as Republicans or lean toward the
Republican Party, most (54%) say that using force
in Iraq was the wrong decision. By contrast, among Republicans and Republican leaners in thepublic as a whole, a large majority (76%) says that using force in Iraq was the right decision.

CAIR wants leniency for Muslim men arrested in a terrorism probe

Groups that say they speak for Muslim groups constantly make Muslims look like fools with this sort of thinking.

At a retirement party last week for the head of the FBI's Washington field office, Muslim and Arab leaders presented the guest of honor with a crystal plaque.

It thanked Joseph Persichini Jr. for reaching out to the local Muslim and Arab communities. Yet even as the tribute on Capitol Hill went on, his agents had a different mission. They were flying to Pakistan to interrogate five Washington area Muslim men arrested in a terrorism probe. The outcome of that investigation threatens to undermine the very relationships their boss tried to foster.

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, FBI agents from the same office have met with Muslim leaders, fielded questions at mosques and participated in Ramadan feasts. The outreach might well have resulted in the families of the five men coming forward to the FBI to report them missing.

But that action now has agents and prosecutors facing a dilemma as the case has morphed from a missing persons investigation into a counter-terrorism probe. As U.S. officials consider whether to file criminal charges against the men and how aggressively to prosecute any potential case, some Muslim leaders are calling for leniency, saying the tough approach often used by the Bush administration would alienate a community whose relationship with law enforcement is uneasy.

"Charging them and throwing them in jail is not the solution," said Nihad Awad, national head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which approached the FBI on behalf of the families. "The government has to show some appreciation for the actions of the parents and the community. That will encourage other families to come forward."

...Nawar Shora, legal director for the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee -- who, with a representative from a Muslim group presented the award to Persichini -- said the Arab and Muslim communities will accept any charges against the men arrested in Pakistan as long as they are treated fairly.

Yet he indicated that tensions could flare, depending how the government approaches a case. "If the FBI and the prosecutors say these were five Muslims and they were trying to commit jihad, and they throw out all of these incendiary religious terms, that's different," Shora said.

Again we see the kid gloves treatment of Muslims in America. Everyone lives under the same laws and there should not be any special praise given that the families of these men came forward. This is their duties not only has people living in America, more importantly as parents and loved ones who suspected their sons have gone off the rails.

As for giving them easier treatment because they came forward, CAIR and any other group that comes up with that angle should be smacked down hard for such an idiotic suggestion. They went over there for jihad and got caught. They should be punished and thrown in jail.