Saturday, January 30, 2010

Duncan: Katrina the best thing for New Orleans School System

As bad as Katrina was, Arne Duncan is not lying when he said it was the best thing for their school system because in the end it gives you a once in a lifetime chance to tear down and rebuild the system into something better. You would have never had that chance if nothing had happened.
Insensitively worded. Yes
Wrong? Hell No.

ABC News' Mary Bruce Reports: Education Secretary Arne Duncan said today that Hurricane Katrina was “the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans” because it gave the city a chance to rebuild and improve its failing public schools.

In an interview to air this weekend on “Washington Watch with Roland Martin” Duncan said “that education system was a disaster. And it took Hurricane Katrina to wake up the community to say that we have to do better. And the progress that it made in four years since the hurricane, is unbelievable.”

The Education Department confirmed the quote to ABC and Duncan released the following statement in response: “As I heard repeatedly during my visits to New Orleans, for whatever reason, it took the devastating tragedy of the hurricane to wake up the community to demand more and expect better for their children.”

Here is Duncan’s full exchange with Martin on Katrina:

Martin: I was talking to you on James Carville and Mary Matalin. They’re of course very involved in what’s happening in New Orleans. What’s amazing is New Orleans, is that everything was devastated because of Hurricane Katrina. But because everything was wiped out, in essence, you are building from ground zero to change the dynamic of education in that city.

Duncan: That’s a fascinating one. I’ve spent a lot of time in New Orleans and this is a tough thing to say but I’m going to be really honest. The best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina. That education system was a disaster. And it took Hurricane Katrina to wake up the community to say that we have to do better. And the progress that it made in four years since the hurricane, is unbelievable.

They have a chance to create a phenomenal school district. Long way to go, but that city was not serious about its education. Those children were being desperately underserved prior. And the amount of progress and the amount of reform we’re seeing in a short amount of time has been absolutely amazing. I have so much respect for the adults, the teachers, the principals that are working hard.

I’ve spent a lot of time talking to students at John Mack high school there. Many who had missed school for six months, eight months, 13 months after the Hurricane and still came back to get an education. Children in our country, they want to learn. They’re resilient. They’re tough. We have to meet them half-way. We have to give them opportunity. And New Orleans is doing a phenomenal job of getting that system to an entirely different level.

Now the chances of these changes continuing and growing are slim considering it is New Orleans but hopefully they won't miss the opportunity.

BTW, If this was a Republican who said this all hell would break loose. Barbara Bush caught hell for pointing out the obvious that most of the New Orleans refugees who were stuck in a crap life out of this disaster were given a new chance elsewhere they would have never gotten before Katrina.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Obama officially kills off moon mission, NASA neutered.

They made it official.

Florida Today newspaper first reported the demise of the program Thursday, saying the plan was doomed by financial constraints in the 2011 budget which President Barack Obama is to present to Congress on Monday.

Reports added that the US space agency will work on finding a commercial solution to ferrying US astronauts to the International Space Station after the scheduled end of NASA's shuttle program in September 2010.

Only five more shuttle flights, including a mission by the Endeavour set for a February 7 launch, are planned.

Astronauts will be able to hitch rides aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft, but the United States will need a commercial alternative if Congress approves White House plans to scrap development of a successor to the shuttle program.

The administration reportedly plans to hike NASA's budget by 5.9 billion dollars over five years to boost commercial development, with the goal of a first commercial flight to the ISS launching by 2015, the source said.

Allahpundit asks if this is not something conservatives can get behind and Rand Simberg details why this is a good thing that the moon mission was scrapped.

What the administration is doing is to finally end the model that the government will have a state socialist design bureau to build a monopoly transportation system for its own use, at tremendous cost, but politically supportable because of all the pork it provides to Alabama, Florida and Texas.

It proposes to expand the COTS program to provision of crew changeout in addition to cargo delivery, encouraging competition, and providing a robust capability that won’t put us out of business when the government rocket fails (as has happened twice with the Shuttle in the past quarter century, for almost three years each time).

Instead of a program projected to cost many tens of billions over the next decade for a NASA-owned-and-operated new rocket (Ares I) that will cost billions per flight of four astronauts, it is going to invest six billion dollars in developing private capability, with multiple competitors, and do it on a fixed-price, pay-for-performance basis, rather than the wasteful cost-plus model that inevitably results in overruns due to the perverse incentives.

I would love to see an environment created where private space industry is thriving but I don't trust this Admin or the government in general to allow such a place to exist without regulation and heavy handness in place. When I see such a policy firmly in place I would say this is a great move. NASA has contributed and can contribute even more along side private companies but it needs to be 100% revamped and made a helluva lot more efficient.

My main fear with these cuts and stopping the moon mission which was just a stepping stone for deeper exploration is space travel is going to be held back by policies in place that hurts development more than helps.

This quote from a Neogaf thread sums up my initial reaction.

"Let me be clear, We choose not to go to the moon. We choose not to go to the moon in this decade and not do the other things, not because they are hard, but because not doing so is easy."

Obama whines and complains at GOP retreat.

Leftist are happy that Obama got up in the GOPs faces or something but they fail to see the same angry snarling narcissistic man who can't believe people are not behind his awesome policies.

To Obama, bipartisanship is voting for his policies. This clip encapsulates either his stupidity or lack of understanding on why his plans are not going thru on his demand.

The problem of course is not him or his policies its the GOP bowing down to their base and voters who are angry because the GOP lied to them about his plans and himself. Now the GOP has no space to compromise with him to make sure his plans are put in place. Stop doing what your supporters ask you to do and vote for him. The GOP is acting according to the will of their supporters, they are not pulling some jedi mind trick here. People genuinely do not like Obamacare and he can't deal with that reality.

To the point where he said his plan is centrist it is from his point of view when you realize he supports a single payer government program.

All this aside, I am pleased to see a small version of UK question time here in America and I agree with CSPAN, more of this on a regular basis.

Economy probably grew faster in 4th quarter due to stimulus.

Not a good sign considering its taxpayers money propping up a system that hasn't been allowed to correct itself properly due to Obama's continued interference.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters estimate the economy grew 4.5 percent in the final three months of 2009. If so, it would mark the best quarterly performance since 2006. Some predict even more dynamic growth -- possibly hitting 6 percent, a level not reached since 2003.

But many analysts worry that growth could slow or even stop in coming months. They point to temporary factors that propped up the economy in the fourth quarter but will eventually fade.

Much of the fourth-quarter expansion was due to government stimulus and to companies boosting output to restock supplies depleted by the recession. Such inventory restocking boosts production not only at manufacturers but also at their suppliers. That ripple effect can help boost an entire chain of related industries.

Economists estimate two-thirds to three-quarters of the fourth quarter's growth came from the inventory cycle, as companies shifted from sharply cutting stockpiles to rebuilding them or only slightly reducing them.

An increase in inventories, or even just a much slower rate of decline, means companies are producing more goods to fill orders and not shrinking their existing stockpiles.

But government stimulus will eventually be withdrawn. Inventory replacement, too, ends, unless demand picks up. And when it ends, so will the production gains that companies and their suppliers enjoy.

Nintendo's Iwata dismisses iPad as a bigger iPod Touch.

This is the first Apple device in years where I have seen more fun poked at it instead of being worshipped.

Nintendo's president shrugged off the just unveiled iPad tablet computer from Apple as delivering "no surprises," and displayed as little enthusiasm for 3-D technology and high-definition upgrades for games.

"It was a bigger iPod Touch," Satoru Iwata said of the much anticipated device shown Wednesday by Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs.

Dems are going for reconciliation over Obamacare.

This won't die because the Dems and the left are too close to seeing the government take over the health care industry to let it die. The added bonus is its going to cost over $1 trillion for the senate "fix" to be put it for the house to vote for it.

Obama admin opposes 9/11 health bill funding.

The Obama administration stunned New York's delegation Thursday, dropping the bombshell news that it does not support funding the 9/11 health bill.

The state's two senators and 14 House members met with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius just hours before President Obama implored in his speech to the nation for Congress to come together and deliver a government that delivers on its promises to the American people.

So the legislators were floored to learn the Democratic administration does not want to deliver for the tens of thousands of people who sacrificed after 9/11, and the untold numbers now getting sick.

"I was stunned — and very disappointed," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who like most of the other legislators had expected more of a discussion on how to more forward.

"To say the least, I was flabbergasted," said Staten Island Rep. Mike McMahon.

The 9/11 bill would spend about $11 billion over 30 years to care for the growing numbers of people getting sick from their service at Ground Zero, and to compensate families for their losses.

I know the admin likes to play games but this is one subject unless they have a really good defense will backfire on them badly. You can't play politics with this issue.

White House looking elsewhere for KSM trial.

It took NYC's police chief to point out the obvious that this show trial for Obama would be expensive and disruptive to the city. It was stupid and arrogant to put it there in the first place.

The White House ordered the Justice Department on Thursday night to consider other places to try the 9/11 terror suspects after a wave of opposition to holding the trial in lower Manhattan.

The dramatic turnabout came hours after Mayor Bloomberg said he would "prefer that they did it elsewhere" and then spoke to Attorney General Eric Holder.

"It would be an inconvenience at the least, and probably that's too mild a word for people that live in the neighborhood and businesses in the neighborhood," Bloomberg told reporters.

"There are places that would be less expensive for the taxpayers and less disruptive for New York City."

State and city leaders have increasingly railed against a plan to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in Manhattan federal court since Holder proposed it last month.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New scandal for 'Climate Gate' scientists

Its just keeps going and going.

The scientific unit at the heart of 'Climate Gate' has become embroiled in a further scandal following revelations that it broke the law by hiding data from global warming sceptics.

Scientists at the University of East Anglia were encouraged to delete emails and data concerning claims by its scientists that man-made emissions were causing global warming - in a blatant breach of the Freedom of Information Act.

By refusing to do so, they blocked public scrutiny of the raw data they had used to reach their conclusions on climate change.

The ICO yesterday revealed UEA had failed in it duties under the Freedon of Information Act.

However, it is powerless to prosecute those involved because the complaint was not made within six months of the offence, as required under the Act.

Deputy Information Commissioner Graham Smith said FOI requests were 'not dealt with as they should have been under the legislation'.

The circumstances surrounding the hacking and the actions of the scientists are the subject of an independent inquiry commissioned by the university, and separately by Norfolk police.

It is expected that ICO's pronouncement will carry significant weight with the inquiry.

Florida gets $1.25 billion for high speed train system..

Why? A Tampa to Orlando high speed train is ridiculous. A waste of money for a 90 min car ride that will ultimately cost less than building and maintaining a high speed system for such small distance.

If you want a high speed system, think bigger. A Miami to NYC or Los Angeles to NYC. Big city stops over multiple states first then build the shorter routes. All this is going to have is the state of Feds paying tax payer money to susibdies it.

The state had applied for $2.5 billion in stimulus funding for a line that would run from Orlando to Tampa. But the White House said no state would get more than half its request right away. Instead, Obama will cast the award as a down payment.

In addition to $8 billion in overall rail funding to be awarded to several states, Obama has pledged an additional $5 billion through the annual budget process.

``It's a pretty good start,'' said Sen. Bill Nelson, who was pushing for the full funding along with Gov. Charlie Crist and other elected officials in Florida, and longtime advocates of rail.

Despite the setback, advocates cast the announcement in breathless terms. ``This will be one of the largest boosts to the state's economy since Disney, since the interstate highway system,'' said Nelson.

``It's going to be the foundation of a more modern Florida,'' said U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa.

It will skyrockey in price with taxpayers paying out more to complete it.

Jetblue doing system change over the weekend.

Not for nothing, but if you are an airliner and you are doing a reservation change over is Friday really the best time for it? Especially in South Florida where you have people coming in for the Super Bowl starting this weekend, it could get messy.

Traveling on JetBlue this weekend could get messy.

The airline is transferring to a new reservation system. Passengers will be unable to check flight status, check in at or make changes to an existing itinerary online for 24 hours beginning at noon on Friday. They also won't be able to book travel at all.

In addition to those inconveniences, JetBlue is warnings of longer lines at airports and is urging passengers to arrive early.

For JetBlue, the biggest concern is ensuring a smooth transition and avoiding any customer service nightmare.

The airline says it is ready for potential delays and slip-ups after preparing two years for the switch. However, other airlines have attempted to switch reservation systems in recent years with less-than-stellar results, including widespread delays, baggage problems and help center backups.

Eh? ..Stock futures cheer Obama.

There was a hidden message in his awful SOTU speech I guess I missed.

Stock index futures shot up in late after-hours trading as Obama pushed job creation to the top of his agenda to bring down high unemployment, proposing the use of $30 billion of bank bailout repayments to boost lending to small businesses.

Analysts said investors were relieved that Obama's speech did not slam banks and Wall Street anew after days of heightened unease about restrictions on bank risk-taking that Obama proposed last week, which helped fuel a global market sell-off.

Financial shares were poised to be among the standouts heading into Thursday's session.

"In my opinion he articulated the crowning achievement of his administration so far, which is the stabilization of our banking system. I think he articulated that very well and why that's important and that this country's banking system is no longer on the brink," said Haag Sherman, co-founder and chief investment officer of Salient Partners, an investment firm in Houston.

"As it relates to pushing stock futures higher tomorrow, I think that maybe there's some degree of relief that there weren't more radical proposals that came out of this State of the Union address. It was largely conciliatory and somewhat balanced."

That is going to piss off the left.

EU dreams of being world leader fading. Only the G-2 remains.

Too little, too late and not enough backbone.

A growing number of European policymakers and analysts say the EU's international influence may have peaked thanks to a combination of political divisions and poor long-term prospects for its economy.

"The EU's attempts to be a coherent international actor seem to be decreasingly effective," says Charles Grant, director of the Center for European Reform, a pro-EU London think tank.

Europe's hope of playing a leading role in a multipolar world got a cold shower in Copenhagen last month, at the United Nations-sponsored talks on climate change. EU countries view themselves as leaders on the issue.

But no Europeans were invited when U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao held the make-or-break meeting on Dec. 18 that brokered the modest Copenhagen accord. The Chinese invited the leaders of India, Brazil and South Africa.

That meeting and Europe's absence was "the seminal image of 2009," says a senior European diplomat. "It was a signal that we are becoming more and more marginalized and peripheral" in the new balance of global power, he says.

....Many Europeans have long dreamt of a multipolar world, in which diplomacy and international law replace American dominance and military muscle-flexing. But EU-style soft power is turning out to be less useful than expected in dealing with China and other rising powers.

"China and Russia see the world in totally realist, zero-sum terms," says Mr. Grant, adding: "If we want China to take us seriously we have to have hard power," or the ability to twist arms through economic, military or other means.

Soros Endorses Obama’s Plan on Banks

Well there is the seal of approval that you want to have in fixing the economy.

Mr. Soros said he was “very supportive” of Mr. Obama’s plan but added that it “does not go far enough.”

“Some banks will spin off investment banks and those will be substantial,” he said at a lunch in Davos. “They then have to be controlled so that they don’t fail.”

But he also said that such rules should not be put in place until “banks earn their way” out of the financial crisis.

iPad: Jack of some trades, Master of one(maybe)

I read about the presentation on Engadget. Speaking of which, I know Engadget are Apple fanboys but the live blog event by Joshua Topolsky was an absolute disgrace in terms of info and presentation because Topolsky was such a fan boy it detracted from the event itself. But the blog title comes Steve Job's intro to the device and the four slides afterwards in order below.

10:08AM "SO all of us use laptops and smartphones... the question has arisen; is there room for something in the middle. We've wondered for years as well -- in order to create that category, they have to be far better at doing some key tasks... better than the laptop, better than the smartphone."

Here is my problem, other than e-books which the iPad should excel in given the form factor, what is the incentive to get it?

If the iPad is supposed to be the device in the middle, it should do all the things the ipod touch/ iphone can do much better plus somethings the Macbook can do. It doesn't have a camera, it can't multitask(read an e-book, listen to music), no flash, small ridiculous storage space, no usb, no way to add more memory.

If its truly more practical and better than a lowly netbook why can't it do or have many of the options that are standard on a netbook?

If you are going to brag that its better than a netbook and occupies the middle of the line up pass the iphone/itouch, it not only should have all the options but be better at them.

I know its going to be a hit with the Apple fangeeks but I am going to wait till at least V3.

U.S. May Retool Loan Program for Underwater Borrowers

Via Bloomberg.

The Obama administration’s $300 billion Hope for Homeowners program may be retooled to help the growing number of Americans who owe more than their properties are worth as current anti-foreclosure efforts fail to account for these “underwater” borrowers.

The changes would be at least the third lease on life for the program, which began in October 2008 during the Bush administration and has so far helped just 96 of the 400,000 homeowners originally targeted.

..With home prices down as much as 30 percent from their peak in April 2006, more borrowers are walking away from their homes even if they can afford the payments, administration officials and analysts have said. The Treasury Department is looking for a solution for the more than 10 million underwater homeowners that analysts estimate may willingly let their mortgages slip into default, which would push home prices even lower and hamper the economic recovery.

Tax dollars going to people who don't need the help, Fiscal Hawk Obama strikes again.

AP fact checks Obama into oblivion over his SOTU Speech.


President Barack Obama, who once considered government spending freezes a hatchet job, told Americans on Wednesday it's now part of his solution to the exploding deficit. He didn't explain what had changed.

His State of the Union speech skipped over a variety of complex realities in laying out a "commonsense" call to action.

A look at some of his claims and how they compare with the facts:

OBAMA: "Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will. Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don't."

THE FACTS: The anticipated savings from this proposal would amount to less than one percent of the deficit — and that's if the president can persuade Congress to go along.

Obama is a convert to the cause of broad spending freezes. In the presidential campaign, he criticized Republican opponent John McCain for suggesting one. "The problem with a spending freeze is you're using a hatchet where you need a scalpel," he said a month before the election. Now, Obama wants domestic spending held steady in most areas where the government can control year to year costs. The proposal is similar to McCain's.

OBAMA: "Because of the steps we took, there are about 2 million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed. ... And we are on track to add another one and a half million jobs to this total by the end of the year."

THE FACTS: The success of the Obama-pushed economic stimulus that Congress approved early last year has been an ongoing point of contention for the president. In December, the administration reported that recipients of direct assistance from the government created or saved about 650,000 jobs. The number was based on self-reporting by recipients and some of the calculations were shown to be in error.

The Congressional Budget Office has been much more guarded than Obama in characterizing the success of the stimulus plan. In November, it reported that the stimulus increased the number of people employed by between 600,000 and 1.6 million "compared with what those values would have been otherwise." It said the ranges "reflect the uncertainty of such estimates." And it added: "It is impossible to determine how many of the reported jobs would have existed in the absence of the stimulus package."

Go to the link for lots more fun.

Wall Street stunned that Obama is ready to hit them.

Funny thing is most of Wall Street sided with Obama during the election and now reaping the rewards.

When Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and White House adviser Valerie Jarrett hosted a private dinner with the leaders of six banks to discuss financial regulation on Jan. 20, the bankers soon changed the subject. The president needed to stop demonizing Wall Street, they told Jarrett, according to three people familiar with the meeting.

What the executives, including Brian Moynihan, the chief executive officer of Bank of America Corp., and Robert Kelly, the chief executive of Bank of New York Mellon Corp., didn’t know was that President Barack Obama, who had proposed a new tax on the biggest banks six days earlier, was about to strike again.

After leaving the meeting around 9 p.m., the executives learned that Obama would ask Congress the next day to ban commercial banks from running proprietary trading operations, owning hedge funds, and rapidly increasing market share. In his remarks, Obama indicated his willingness to go to the mat with the industry: “So if these folks want a fight, it’s a fight I’m ready to have.”

Industry officials said they were stunned. “We did not know it was coming, that’s for sure,” said Scott Talbott, a lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable, which represents large banks and insurance companies and whose chairman, Richard Davis, the CEO of U.S. Bancorp, also attended the dinner.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Obama to kill off moon mission and NASA at this rate.

I agree that NASA needs a tighter control over their budget and get rid of programs that become too expensive and overwhelming at the expense of other programs. But turning NASA from space exploration to watching over the earth for climate change is one damn stupid move.

There will be no lunar landers, no moon bases, no Constellation program at all.

In their place, according to White House insiders, agency officials, industry executives and congressional sources familiar with Obama's long-awaited plans for the space agency, NASA will look at developing a new "heavy-lift" rocket that one day will take humans and robots to explore beyond low Earth orbit. But that day will be years — possibly even a decade or more — away.

In the meantime, the White House will direct NASA to concentrate on Earth-science projects — principally, researching and monitoring climate change — and on a new technology research and development program that will one day make human exploration of asteroids and the inner solar system possible.

There will also be funding for private companies to develop capsules and rockets that can be used as space taxis to take astronauts on fixed-price contracts to and from the International Space Station — a major change in the way the agency has done business for the past 50 years.

Obama is killing off NASA and changing its primary mission which will cede ground to the likes of China in being the leader of space exploration. Good Job.

UMass Medical to use racist policies for admitting minorities.

Its not the fact this is a vile patronizing way of admitting, its a fact so many will embrace it as the way of boosting minorities in higher education. It is racist on so many levels.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School, seeking to bolster the number of minority physicians in Massachusetts, plans to offer high school seniors the rare opportunity to gain admission to college and medical school at the same time.

Under an initiative set to be finalized today, the state’s only public medical school will partner with UMass campuses in Boston, Amherst, Lowell, and Dartmouth to create a joint baccalaureate-MD program that would ensure admission for aspiring doctors from underrepresented ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

UMass officials say they hope the Medical Scholars Program - among a few of its kind in the country - will begin enrolling students in fall 2011. It is expected to boost the prestige of the state university system, providing an incentive for high-achieving students to attend a state university instead of a more prestigious private college.

“This helps other UMass campuses to attract more highly qualified students and helps us to entice those very talented individuals to stay in the state and practice medicine here,’’ said Dr. Terence Flotte, dean of UMass Medical School.

The medical school will set aside 12 slots in its 125-student, first-year class for qualified students from groups underrepresented among Massachusetts doctors. Those groups include African-Americans, Hispanics, certain Southeast Asians, and Cape Verdeans, Brazilians, and other Portuguese speakers.

Students of any ethnic background from low-income families or those among the first in their families to attend college would also qualify.

“The bulk of the class would remain open to free competition,’’ said Flotte, adding that there is no cap on the number of students accepted from any ethnic group or undergraduate school. “If you don’t fit into the pathway program, you will still receive a fair shot.’’

Rahm Emanuel: White House was Involved In Health Legislation

Realclearpolitics pointing out that Obama lied to Diane Sawyer about this issue. Video at the link.

COURIC: As you know, people were pretty disgusted by deals that were made up on Capitol Hill like the one given to Ben Nelson to win his support. If the White House was so involved, was this done with your blessing? But -

EMANUEL: Look, we were involved in the legislation all the way through.

This contradicts what President Obama told ABC earlier this week:

OBAMA: Let's hold on a second, Diane. I mean, I think that this gets into a big mush. So let's just clarify. I didn't make a bunch of deals. There is a legislative process that is taking place in Congress and I am happy to own up to the fact that I have not changed Congress and how it operates the way I would have liked. So that's point number one.

Praise Justice Alito for not taking Obama's bullshit.

I am still pissed off about the SOTU and how Obama acted. Alito was right in his "You Lie" moment at Obama because as a constitutional law prof, Obama knows he is full of it.

Randy Barnett
Professor, Georgetown University Law Center :

In the history of the State of the Union has any President ever called out the Supreme Court by name, and egged on the Congress to jeer a Supreme Court decision, while the Justices were seated politely before him surrounded by hundreds Congressmen?

To call upon the Congress to countermand (somehow) by statute a constitutional decision, indeed a decision applying the First Amendment? What can this possibly accomplish besides alienating Justice Kennedy who wrote the opinion being attacked. Contrary to what we heard during the last administration, the Court may certainly be the object of presidential criticism without posing any threat to its independence.

But this was a truly shocking lack of decorum and disrespect towards the Supreme Court for which an apology is in order. A new tone indeed.

Linda Greenhouse(NYTIMES):

This time, Justice Alito shook his head as if to rebut the president’s characterization of the Citizens United decision, and seemed to mouth the words “not true.” Indeed, Mr. Obama’s description of the holding of the case was imprecise. He said the court had “reversed a century of law.”

The law that Congress enacted in the populist days of the early 20th century prohibited direct corporate contributions to political campaigns. That law was not at issue in the Citizens United case, and is still on the books.

Rather, the court struck down a more complicated statute that barred corporations and unions from spending money directly from their treasuries — as opposed to their political action committees — on television advertising to urge a vote for or against a federal candidate in the period immediately before the election. It is true, though, that the majority wrote so broadly about corporate free speech rights as to call into question other limitations as well — although not necessarily the existing ban on direct contributions.

But this was a populist night and the target was irresistible.

Obama at his snarling, patronizing, egotistical worst at SOTU.

He lashed out at the Supreme Court Justices, the Military, Republicans and in small part the Dems as well. He acted petty and smug when talking to the America people as if we are just too stupid to understand the great things he is doing for the country.

He talked a lot about himself "I" and basically doubled down on his liberal agenda. If the Dems are going down this fall, he is going to make sure he pulls himself out of the fire because he is above the fray.

This was a tone that was to shore up his base which has been turning against him. Obama's reaction to public anger over his policies is thinking they are not angry at him but Washington as if he is not a part of the problem.

It was a speech that was undignified for any President to give at the SOTU address, but Obama is too egotistical to realize it. The worse part is he really is a man child, he refuses to take responsiblity for anything while casting blame on others as if he didn't do anything wrong so far.

He was not the President of the United States of America, he was a community organizer from south side of Chicago giving the "stupid" public a teachable moment.

Just grow up Mr. President.

Instapundit has a roundup of opinions.

Obama whines the press is against me.. REALLY?

Via Weasel Zippers. When Charlie Rose is in disbelief at you, you have problems.

Via Instapundit.

NFL heading to no salary cap season if deal not reached.

The players and union better be prepared for this because a bunch of rich guys whining about not getting paid to be more rich is not going to fly with the public.

Without a deal in the next five weeks to preserve the labor peace that has lasted since a bad month in 1987 — anybody remember scab football? — next season will have no salary cap. That means richer teams such as the Redskins and Patriots will be able to far outspend clubs such as Jacksonville and Buffalo for free agents, while the Jaguars and Bills might try to pinch pennies to stay in business.

And if no deal can be reached next season, that uncapped, maybe less competitive year will be followed by no NFL at all in 2011. Stay tuned as the nation's most lucrative and most watched sport heads into the Great Unknown.

Does that mean the NFL salary structure will resemble baseball's rich get richer-poor get poorer model — at least for one year?

No, says Marc Ganis, president of Chicago-based consulting company Sports Corp. Ltd.

"It won't happen, at least now, because of the competitive balance rules that are in effect during the uncapped year," Ganis says. "You will not see a baseball type of hoarding of the all-stars occur in the NFL, certainly not this coming season."

For one thing, the crop of players available won't be as substantial as in previous, capped seasons, with the likes of Shawne Merriman, Miles Austin, Elvis Dumervil, Owen Daniels, Brandon Marshall and DeMeco Ryans now becoming restricted free agents. And, as Mawae notes, if NFL owners are looking to save money on player costs, here's their opportunity.

Pro Abortion/liberal groups want Tebow Super Bowl Ad Ban.

What do these groups have against an ad that celebrates life? It doesn't seem the content will be anti abortion but pro life.

Tebow will appear in the commercial with his mother, Pam, who reportedly will tell one of the Tebow family's favorite stories: How, after severe complications arose in her 1987 pregnancy, she declined medical advice to have an abortion. Her fifth child -- Tim -- was born and went on to win the Heisman trophy in 2007 (and is rarin' to go for the 2010 NFL draft).

More from Reuters.

The Women's Media Center and over 30 other liberal and women's advocacy groups sent a letter to CBS, the TV network to air the Super Bowl on Feb. 7, saying: "... we urge you to immediately cancel this ad and refuse any other advertisement promoting Focus on the Family's agenda."

"We are calling on CBS to stick to their policy of not airing controversial advocacy ads ... and this is clearly a controversial ad," Jehmu Greene, the president of the Women's Media Center, told Reuters.

Democrats put a halt to passing health bill.

A halt, its not dead yet but it robs Obama of his signature piece of legislation in time for the SOTU speech. There is really no nice path to passing the bill as it stands now and in the public minds, half want to start over on it.

With no clear path forward on major health care legislation, Democratic leaders in Congress effectively slammed the brakes on President Obama’s top domestic priority on Tuesday, saying they no longer felt pressure to move quickly on a health bill after eight months of setting deadlines and missing them.

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, deflected questions about health care. “We’re not on health care now,” Mr. Reid said. “We’ve talked a lot about it in the past.”

He added, “There is no rush,” and noted that Congress still had most of this year to work on the health bills passed in 2009 by the Senate and the House.

Mr. Reid said he and the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, were working to map out a way to complete a health care overhaul in coming months.

“There are a number of options being discussed,” he said, emphasizing “procedural aspects” of the issue.

At the same time, two centrist Democrats who are up for re-election this year, Senators Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Evan Bayh of Indiana, said they would resist efforts to muscle through a health care bill using a parliamentary tactic called budget reconciliation, which seemed to be the easiest way to advance the measure. The White House had said in recent days that it would support that approach.

If the GOP is smart, they would start to push their own health care plan and/or measures to show they are interested to the public in driving down costs. That would take away the Dem's party of no nonsense and show the public they mean business.

Obama to throw gays Don't Ask, Don't Tell crumbs?

He has to do something as he is getting ripped daily over not overturning DADT policy. This will buy him some time with the left.

President Barack Obama is expected to discuss the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy during Wednesday night's State of the Union address, according to a top congressional leader.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Michigan, said he had no specifics, but said the president would bring up the issue during the speech. He made his comments after a news conference on Afghanistan Monday.

The "don't ask, don't tell" policy prohibits openly gay men and women from serving in the U.S. armed forces. The policy bans military recruiters or authorities from asking about an individual's sexual orientation, but also prohibits a service member from revealing that he or she is gay.

Obama has said he would end the policy.

UK Justice! 13 year old rapes and gets 3 year deal for saying sorry.

I don't care if the little piece of gutter trash is 13 years old, he knew what he was doing was wrong and even bragged about it. 10 years min.

A boy of 13 who overpowered a woman then raped her in front of his two friends will spend just three years locked away for his crimes.

Balal Khan - thought to be one of the youngest convicted rapists in Britain - targeted the 20-year-old as she walked home.

He subjected her to a severe beating then screamed at her 'Do what I say or I'll kill you', before putting her through the ordeal of a terrifying sex attack.
Then he stole her bag and phone and even took a call from his victim's boyfriend to whom he bragged about what he had done.

But after pleading guilty to charges of rape and robbery the teenager was sentenced to just three years because of his age - and because he said ‘sorry’.

NASA: Spirit Mars rover stuck, live out life as a science station.

Mars rover was only supposed to last a short time after it landed and six years later still going kinda strong. Just remember when we start to live on Mars, we pick up the little guy. NASA gets a lot of crap and deservedly so at times, but the rover projects were an outstanding success.

The vehicle became stuck in soft soil back in May last year and all the efforts to extricate it have failed.

Nasa says Spirit, which landed on the Red Planet just over six years ago, will now live out its remaining days as a static science station.

The robot geologist has taken thousands of images and found evidence in Mars' rocks of a wetter, warmer past.

"Spirit has encountered a golfer's worst nightmare - the sand trap that no matter how many strokes you take, you can't get out of it," said Doug McCuistion, director of the Mars exploration programme at Nasa headquarters in Washington DC.

"But this is not a day to mourn Spirit; this is not a day of loss at this point. Spirit will continue to make contributions to science."

Oregon voters approve tax hikes on businesses and the "rich"

In other news, businesses and the "rich" are now going to move out of state while any business staying behind will raise prices to cover the additional costs.

Oregon voters have given their approval to measures that raise taxes on businesses and the wealthy.

Voters in Tuesday's special election approved Measure 66, which raises rates on people earning well above six figures, and Measure 67, which increases business taxes.

"UK economy lies 'on bed of nitroglycerine'

Exploding debt and a very weak recovery is making the UK look like a must avoid if you are an investor.

The government's hopes of claiming credit for reviving the British economy suffered a severe blow today when the world's biggest buyers of bonds warned that the UK was a "must to avoid" for his investors as its debt was "resting on a bed of nitroglycerine".

The intervention by Bill Gross, co-founder of California-based fund mangers Pimco, came on the day official figures confirmed that Britain had emerged from the deepest recession since the 1930s – but only by the narrowest of margins.

The economy grew by 0.1% in the final three months of last year, much weaker than even the most cautious expectations in Westminster and the City. The unexpectedly sluggish performance prompted Alastair Darling to warn that Britain could yet fall back into recession, telling the Guardian "there will be hiccups along the way".

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

TARP becomes profit machine for America.

Basically the government brought low and now selling high.

The CBO projects the government will ultimately make a profit of $7 billion from assisting the banks: $3 billion from the Capital Purchase Program, in which the government propped up banks by purchasing preferred stock; $2 billion from helping Citigroup (C, Fortune 500); and another $2 billion from helping Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500).

In other words, the banks are on track not only to pay taxpayers back all the $200 billion plus we've lent them, but put a dent -- albeit a small one -- in our enormous budget deficits.

Now if we want to get it all back.

But if taxpayers really want their money back from TARP, which the CBO now estimates will cost $99 billion, they should go knocking on the doors of AIG (AIG, Fortune 500), GM, and Chrysler.

CBO projects the government will lose $9 billion from helping AIG, and another $47 billion from saving the auto industry. Yet another suck on taxpayer money: the $20 billion that will be lost from the Home Affordable Mortgage Program.

Chavez Currency ‘Burn’ Failing as $93 Billion Leave the Country.

This is what happens when you have an mental midget as your leader and the public is foolish enough to support him for the crumbs he throws their way.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is selling dollars from central bank reserves for the first time in six years in what Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Barclays Plc say is a futile bid to shore up the bolivar in unregulated trading.

The central bank, under orders from Chavez to “burn the hands” of speculators betting against the bolivar, said it sold $179 million since Jan. 13, the first dollar auctions since trading restrictions imposed in 2003 spawned the unofficial market. Chavez said on Jan. 15 he wanted to strengthen the bolivar more than 30 percent in unregulated trading, where it fetches 6.2 per dollar, to contain inflation after he devalued the official rate as much as 50 percent to 4.3.

The plan will fail because Chavez’s nationalizations and land seizures are prompting Venezuelans to pull money from the country, said Alberto Ramos, a Goldman Sachs economist. More than $93 billion has left the South American nation since 2005, according to the central bank’s capital account data.

Obama stimulus costs $75 Billion more than previous estimate.

Via the Spectator who points out the CBO's new math on Obama's stimulus package.

But today, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that his signature domestic achievement to date -- the economic stimulus package -- cost more than the $787 billion it originally estimated. On page 113 of its Budget and Economic Outlook for 2010 to 2010, CBO tells us:

Looking ahead, it appears that ARRA will have larger effects in later years than originally estimated. All told, CBO now anticipates that the law will increase deficits by $862 billion between 2009 and 2019...

More from CNN.

Obama throws Congress under the bus over health deals.

Dem congress critters are not going to like this bit at all.

After weeks of denials from the White House that the health care reform effort failed to exhibit the transparency President Barack Obama promised on the campaign trail, Obama is conceding that locking the public out of key discussions was a “mistake.”

“We had to make so many decisions quickly in a very difficult set of circumstances that after awhile, we started worrying more about getting the policy right than getting the process right,” Obama told ABC’s Diane Sawyer Monday. “But I had campaigned on process—part of what I had campaigned on was changing how Washington works, opening up, transparency. ...The health care debate as it unfolded legitimately raised concerns not just among my opponents, but also amongst supporters that we just don't know what's going on. And it's an ugly process and it looks like there are a bunch of back room deals.”

Obama said he planned to address the point in his State of the Union address on Wednesday.

“The process didn't run the way I ideally would like it to and that we have to move forward in a way that recaptures that sense of opening things up more,” Obama said.

The president called the lack of transparency “my responsibility,” but moments later in the interview he suggested that decisions to handle key discussions in private were made by Congress.

“Let's just clarify. I didn't make a bunch of deals,” Obama told ABC. “There is a legislative process that is taking place in Congress and I am happy to own up to the fact that I have not changed Congress and how it operates the way I would have liked.”

Not to point out the obvious but who signed off on the deal that unions wouldn't have to pay taxes on their health insurance?

Big Labor got some big love from President Obama and congressional Democrats yesterday after they agreed to exempt union workers from the whopping “Cadillac tax” on high-cost health-care plans until 2018.

The sweetheart deal, hammered out behind closed doors, will save union employees at least $60 billion over the years involved, while others won't be as lucky -- they'll have to cough up almost $90 billion.

The 40 percent excise tax on what have come to be called "Cadillac" health-care plans would exempt collective-bargaining contracts covering government employees and other union members until Jan. 1, 2018.

Okay then.

DSCC says drive a wedge between GOP and Tea Partiers.

Sen Robert Menendez who heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is trying to keep the heat from being poured on him over recent losses puts out a memo saying the best way to counter Republicans is to drive a wedge between moderate and tea party conservatives.

Showing that they’ve learned the lesson of Massachusetts, Menendez and his staff will distribute a memo Tuesday advising Democratic campaign managers to frame their opponents early — and to drive a wedge between moderate voters and tea-party-style conservatives.

“Given the pressure Republican candidates feel from the extreme right in their party, there is a critical — yet time-sensitive — opportunity for Democratic candidates,” the DSCC writes. “We have a finite window when Republicans candidates will feel susceptible to the extremists in their party. Given the urgent nature of this dynamic, we suggest an aggressive effort to get your opponents on the record.”

The memo urges Democratic candidates to force their opponents to answer a series of questions:

“Do you believe that Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen? Do you think the 10th Amendment bars Congress from issuing regulations like minimum health care coverage standards? Do you think programs like Social Security and Medicare represent socialism and should never have been created in the first place? Do you think President Obama is a socialist? Do you think America should return to a gold standard?”

If a Republican candidate says no to any of the questions, the memo says Democrats should “make their primary opponent or conservative activists know it. This will cause them to take heat from their primary opponents and could likely provoke a flip-flop, as it already has several times with Mark Kirk in Illinois.”

Someone has been reading too many liberal blogs and putting out advice based on a stereotype. They tried these tactics late against Scott Brown and failed. Now with the memo out any GOP candidate should be aware of these tactics. What the Dems fail to realize is that the tea party movement is based on the out of control spending and arrogance displayed by the Dems. THe choice of a GOP candidate is out of choice not love of the GOP. If Dem could tap into it against a spending GOP moderate, he/she would get support as well.

70% of Americans are happy Dems lost supermajority.

Via CNN.

Americans are divided on whether Democratic control of Congress is good for the country, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday also indicates that 7 in 10 Americans believe that the Democrats' loss of their 60 seat supermajority in the Senate is a positive move for the country.

Forty-five percent of people questioned in the poll said Democratic control of Congress is a good thing, with 48 percent disagreeing. The margin is within the survey's sampling error. But the results are a shift from last June, when 50 percent felt that Democratic control of both chambers of Congress was good and 41 percent felt it was bad for the country.

Australian Navy only has one working submarine

Way to show China and the rest of Asia your naval prowess.

THE navy's trouble-prone $6 billion submarine fleet has been reduced to one operational boat, raising serious questions about the long-term serviceability of the six Collins Class vessels designed to serve as Australia's frontline strike weapon.

Chief of the navy Russ Crane yesterday confirmed a generator failure last week on board HMAS Farncomb meant the submarine would have to be returned to dry dock for urgent repairs.

Opposition defence spokesman David Johnston said by his count, the Royal Australian Navy's operational submarines were now down to one - HMAS Rankin - and the Government had a major maintenance crisis to solve.

Citing security grounds, the navy declined to answer questions fromThe Australian about the number of submarines it can put to sea.

Senate Dems ponders $80 Billion Job Proposal .

Don't get happy because its a credit for hiring workers and addresses no other cost. It props up state governments who need to correct themselves.

Senate Democrats will consider a jobs-stimulus plan worth about $80 billion that would provide tax breaks to small and medium-sized businesses that hire workers, a Democratic senator said.

The plan, to be presented to Senate Democrats tomorrow, also would include aid to state governments to prevent layoffs and additional funding for infrastructure projects, said the senator, who asked not to be identified.

The package will also likely include energy-related provisions such as incentives to weatherize homes, a Senate aide said. Democratic leaders hope to have the measure on the Senate floor by the second week in February, the aide said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Obama's false spending freeze proposal.

Mr spend and spend is now going to be a fiscal deficit hawk.

President Obama will call for a three-year freeze in spending on many domestic programs, and for increases no greater than inflation after that, an initiative intended to signal his seriousness about cutting the budget deficit, administration officials said Monday.

The officials said the proposal would be a major component both of Mr. Obama’s State of the Union address on Wednesday and of the budget he will send to Congress on Monday for the fiscal year that begins in October.

The freeze would cover the agencies and programs for which Congress allocates specific budgets each year, including air traffic control, farm subsidies, education, nutrition and national parks.

But it would exempt security-related budgets for the Pentagon, foreign aid, the Veterans Administration and homeland security, as well as the entitlement programs that make up the biggest and fastest-growing part of the federal budget: Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

The payoff in budget savings would be small relative to the deficit: The estimated $250 billion in savings over 10 years would be less than 3 percent of the roughly $9 trillion in additional deficits the government is expected to accumulate over that time.

It has been pointed out this is just another Obama shell game.

This isn’t news. In the budget proposal that President Obama submitted to Congress last year, his budget office already projected actual cuts and freezes in “non-defense” discretionary spending for the next three years. That’s in part because of the huge increase in that area of spending that the President requested (and received) for the current fiscal year. To be specific: FY2009 (President Bush’s last budget) had $589 billion in non-defense discretionary spending. That number jumped to $687 billion in FY2010 (Obama’s first budget), and then drops to $641 billion in FY2011, $622 billion in FY2012 and $625 billion in FY2013. So for the White House to now boast that it will freeze non-defense discretionary spending is hardly news. If anything, it’s backtracking on its earlier plans to actually cut that area of spending.

The point is under Obama spending as skyrockted and now he wants a "freeze" is moving the goalposts from before where he said he was going to cut spending which is something entirely different.

He is proposing even more tax credits on various expenses by middle class families which would just make the budget problems worse because it doesn't cut the spending already going on now.

NBC already cancels David Tennant new show?

Its not like NBC can pick and choose plus with Tennant you would have a sorta built in audience to help create a buzz online.

NBC has delayed a verdict on Rex Is Not Your Lawyer, the much-buzzed-about drama pilot starring Doctor Who’s David Tennant. Peacock execs were eyeing Rex to possibly fill one of its post-Jay Leno Show holes at 10 pm this spring. But a source close to the show tells me, “The sets are coming down this week.”

An NBC rep declined to comment, but a Peacock source insists Rex remains under consideration for fall. “The sets are on fold-and-hold,” maintains the insider. “They will still be available if the show is picked up for the fall.”

Newsweek: Obamacare is still alive but short on votes.

The Dems will use every trick in the book to get this passed and this is the most creative I have seen yet.

For now, senior lawmakers are working the phones furiously to talk up the idea of the Senate promising to retroactively unravel several distasteful components. If House Democrats make the good-faith deal, Pelosi is arguing that the Senate promise would be easy to keep. Reconciliation votes require only a 51-vote majority. Or even 50, in which case Vice President Biden could break the tie.

This aide says that leadership considers reconciliation, with the House conditioning its support on promised fixes in the Senate, as the much more strategic route than breaking the package into parts, which isn’t ideal because all of the parts are interlocking. Asked what the timetable would be for that, this aide says weeks, not months.

Obama's bank curbs may not leave system safer.

Via Bloomberg.

President Barack Obama’s proposal to impose limits on commercial banks may win him support on Main Street and shake up Wall Street without doing much to make the financial system safer overall.

The plan, which is still lacking in details and must be approved by Congress, aims to make the banks more secure by forcing them to minimize the trading they do on their own account and give up their stakes in hedge funds and private equity firms. “It’s the right direction,” said Henry Kaufman, president of Henry Kaufman & Co. in New York and a former vice chairman of Salomon Inc.

The danger is that such risky activities could simply migrate to big non-bank financial institutions, leaving the system as a whole no better off. Banks also might try to make up for the loss of profits from proprietary trading by lending more to risky borrowers such as real estate developers, threatening the federal safety net, said Martin Baily, a former White House economist now with the Brookings Institution in Washington.

“Beware of unintended consequences,” said Robert Litan, vice president of research and policy at the Kansas City-based Kauffman Foundation, a group that promotes entrepreneurship, and a former Clinton administration budget official. “This could have perverse effects on risk-taking.”

AP: Obama share scare: Market drop shows vulnerability

The attack on banks put a hurting on the stock market and if he is arrogant enough to keep at it whatever small recovery the economy is going thru now will be wiped out. This will also hurt his standing with people big and small who have money invested in the market and saw some improvement over the last couple of months. It was a bone headed move.

It was the fat cats' fault before. But now it's becoming Obama's.

With the unemployment rate stubbornly high, people were already shifting blame for their economic woes to President Barack Obama one year into his presidency. Last week, investors joined them.

For 10 months, the stock market climbed at breathtaking speed. But the Dow Jones industrial average suffered its worst week since dropping to a 12-year low in early March. It fell 552 points Wednesday through Friday, including 216 on Friday.

One big reason investors scrambled to sell: Fear over a wave of populism that swept a Republican to an upset victory in the Massachusetts Senate race on Tuesday. When Obama responded on Thursday with a broadside against big banks, the market plunged. On Friday, investors feared mounting opposition in the Senate could derail Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's reappointment. Disappointing corporate earnings and concern that China will slow its economy added to the jitters.

....And that's especially true for voters who have a stake in the stock market. For years the number that politicians worried about was the unemployment rate. In the 1970s a second figure was added -- the inflation rate.

Now, with 45 percent of households owning mutual funds, up from 6 percent in 1980, there's a third: the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Obama going to do his Brett Favre impression at State of the Uniion.

Just like Favre threw a ball to the middle of the field across his body which you are not supposed to do in football because he is Brett Favre. Obama despite public opposition is going to forge ahead making his agenda bigger and more intrusiveAccording to WSJ.

Coming off one of the most difficult weeks of his presidency, Barack Obama has beefed up his political staff and is expected to deliver an uncompromising State of the Union address. Aides said Sunday that the White House wasn't making any abrupt policy shifts, even as the message was retooled to focus more sharply on job creation.

If anything, an unfinished agenda from 2009 will grow larger as, in addition to tackling health care and unemployment, the president presses for a bipartisan commission to tackle the budget deficit against resistance from Republicans.

White House officials said Obama campaign manager David Plouffe will be brought on as a political consultant as the White House gears up for the midterm elections. The president's party is facing a stiff headwind from an electorate angry about high unemployment and what they see as ineffectual government, White House officials say. Republican Scott Brown's victory for the Massachusetts Senate seat Tuesday was a first shot in what Democrats worry will be hard-fought contests in November.

Basically this is a rebranding effort of the same agenda but with a bit of I feel your pain thrown in to show that he cares about the public. The same public he basically said are too stupid to understand his brilliant plans. It takes a special kind of tone deaf arrogance to be this way.

Wash Post slams Obama admin for screwing up Abdulmutallab case.

Better late than never, but given the AP article over the weekend on how the FBI messed up as well, it is clear that between the Obama Admin and Eric Holder's DoJ the terrorism as a criminal fetish is going to bite us in the ass.

Whether to charge terrorism suspects or hold and interrogate them is a judgment call. We originally supported the administration's decision in the Abdulmutallab case, assuming that it had been made after due consideration.

But the decision to try Mr. Abdulmutallab turns out to have resulted not from a deliberative process but as a knee-jerk default to a crime-and-punishment model.

In testimony Wednesday before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, all said they were not asked to weigh in on how best to deal with Mr. Abdulmutallab.

Some intelligence officials, including personnel from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, were included in briefings by the Justice Department before Mr. Abdulmutallab was charged.

These sessions did provide an opportunity for those attending to debate the merits of detention vs. prosecution. According to sources with knowledge of the discussions, no one questioned the approach or raised the possibility of taking more time to question the suspect. This makes the administration's approach even more worrisome than it would have been had intelligence personnel been cut out of the process altogether.

Obama and majority of public disagree on Supreme Court Decision.

While Obama is proclaiming the end of the world, the majority of the public mostly agree with the Supreme Court decision which means in Obama's mind they are idiots.

Americans' broad views about corporate spending in elections generally accord with the Supreme Court's decision Thursday that abolished some decades-old restrictions on corporate political activity. Fifty-seven percent of Americans consider campaign donations to be a protected form of free speech, and 55% say corporate and union donations should be treated the same way under the law as donations from individuals are. At the same time, the majority think it is more important to limit campaign donations than to protect this free-speech right.