Friday, July 29, 2011

Of Animals and Men

Anyone who harms a child intentionally should be placed in a special category that includes death as punishment for their actions.

There is simply no reason why any child should be harmed - ever.

Likewise, anyone who harms an animal, or neglects an animal should be placed in a special category that includes jail for up to one year in a minimum security facility, paid for by the guilty party, and a fine for any and all costs associated with the animals involved, and that they are prohibited from owning another animal.

(prohibiting ownership of a pet would be difficult although it should be reasonable to assume the information could be sent to veterinarians who would see all animals in any given community and should the guilty party bring their new pet to a vet - the vet would hold the animal and notify authorities).


Obama's Secret Plan: To Tell Us He Has a Plan and Not Show Us.

I am curious.  Is there a plan or not.  It seems to me that there is no plan, rather, as Blitzer states, a framework (and the CBO) of what he wants.  Republicans have a plan.  Obama has a framework.  And Republicans do not cooperate or come together in bipartisanship over a framework. 

Media types who argue it is republicans who are not cooperating, not working together - this is not much different than someone telling you their vision, and then accusing you of not working with them to make it happen.  Obama spent a good part of a year reminding retardicans that 'we won, get over it' ... well, last November, 'Republicans won, so quit with the vision thing.  Voters are tired of your hope and change - they are hopeless and in debt.  Concrete plans, concrete policy statements - not ideas.  As soon as Republicans agree to your vision - you will shift the posts, and it is doable because it was on a vision, not a concrete plan.

They may be retardicans, but they are not stupid.

05:07 PM ET
July 28, 2011

CNN's Wolf Blitzer sat down in an exclusive interview with White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley to discuss the current debt negotiations. Highlights from the interview are after the jump. The full transcript of The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer is posted on

BLITZER: But then they've got 40 percent of the checks that are supposed to go out won't go out.

DALEY: Well, that - that will be the - the Treasury Department will lay out exactly how that would work after - at a certain point between now and Tuesday, obviously.

But we are optimistic. The four leaders of the Congress have said that the debt ceiling will be extended. We are confident that they will come together. The - the sense - look at the stock market. The market's dropped over the last four days like 3 percent. Real people are losing money - pensioners, people who depend on their 401(k)s and the value of the stocks in those. They're losing money right now while Congress and Washington is kind of just dallying here.

BLITZER: So the bottom line, you think there will be a deal between now and Tuesday somehow crafted...

DALEY: Um-hmm.

BLITZER: - but you're not convinced, necessarily, that the AAA credit rating that the United States government has will remain AAA?

DALEY: Well, I - I - I don't - no one can guarantee that, obviously. The rating agencies which make that judgment will look at this and will look at what comes out of this effort and to see whether or not - two things, whether or not we have a serious attempt that's going to affect the deficit and reduce the deficit and get this cloud of another vote of another debt ceiling of uncertainty off of the table for at least 18 months, until - it's not about the election, it's trying to give the general economy a chance to get healthier over the next 18 months.

BLITZER: When you say the president speaking to people on the Hill, is he speaking to the speaker of the House?

DALEY: He’s not spoken to the speaker in a few days. The truth is it looks as though the speaker is rather engaged in - in putting together his bill and getting the votes for his bill. So when that's put aside this evening, after it's, I assume, passed in the House, and then defeated in the Senate, then I think there will be a whole new stage of the Senate and House having to come together to avoid August 2nd as being a day that has never happened in the U.S., and that is a day where we wouldn't back up the full faith and credit of the United States.

BLITZER: You say the president has put forward a plan.

DALEY: Um-hmm.

BLITZER: But the Congressional Budget Office says there is no plan that they can score because it's just a framework, it's just a speech. They haven't seen a document...

DALEY: Well, Speaker Boehner knows - and Congressman Cantor knows the plan that they both worked on try to bring the debt down and get past this debt ceiling. He does not have a legislative fix right now to this, because there's a bill in the House and there's a bill in the Senate and they will deal with those two bills. He's endorsed Senator Reid's bill. He feels very strongly that the bill that the House may pass tonight does not help the economy.

And what all of this should be about is trying to not only lower the debt, but at the same, get this cloud of uncertainty off our economy.

And the thought we'd be right back in the - this same thing in four-and-a-half months, with an economy that's in a difficult shape with or without Washington's craziness that goes on, is just unfathomable.

BLITZER: So what you're saying is the president did present a plan to the speaker, John Boehner.


BLITZER: But - but he didn't...

DALEY: Right.

BLITZER: - make it public.

DALEY: No, because there's... both the speaker and - and the president had agreed and - that these sort of negotiations do not happen in public. There's not a plan out there in the public realm, whether it's the fiscal commission, whether it's the Gang of Six, whether it's Congressman Ryan's plan - Congressman Ryan's plan lost in the Senate overwhelmingly.

So there's no plan that's out there, by any of these people who are saying this, that has any sort of chance of passing both houses and getting signed by the president.


Obama Care = Obama Death Plan. Wait and Priority Lists

He stated, categorically - that no panel or committee would exist that would determine your care or lack of - except they have them in England, and have to, because everyone can't get the same care.  It is just not feasible and they know it.  Everyone knows it.  And so, we will have death panels deciding our care.  I sure hope the Obama voters are the group most in need of serious medical care - and get denied.

Almost two-thirds of trusts affected as cuts bite

By Oliver Wright, Whitehall Editor
Thursday, 28 July 2011
The Independent


Anne Ball, 71, a retired business consultant: 'I have bilateral cataracts and under the original NHS criteria I was entitled to have at least one of mine treated - but then the West Sussex health authorities decided to change the threshold level to save money'

Hip replacements, cataract surgery and tonsil removal are among operations now being rationed in a bid to save the NHS money.

Two-thirds of health trusts in England are rationing treatments for "non-urgent" conditions as part of the drive to reduce costs in the NHS by £20bn over the next four years. One in three primary-care trusts (PCTs) has expanded the list of procedures it will restrict funding to in the past 12 months.

Examples of the rationing now being used include:

* Hip and knee replacements only being allowed where patients are in severe pain. Overweight patients will be made to lose weight before being considered for an operation.

* Cataract operations being withheld from patients until their sight problems "substantially" affect their ability to work.

* Patients with varicose veins only being operated on if they are suffering "chronic continuous pain", ulceration or bleeding.

* Tonsillectomy (removing tonsils) only to be carried out in children if they have had seven bouts of tonsillitis in the previous year.

* Grommets to improve hearing in children only being inserted in "exceptional circumstances" and after monitoring for six months.

* Funding has also been cut in some areas for IVF treatment on the NHS.

The alarming figures emerged from a survey of 111 PCTs by the health-service magazine GP, using the Freedom of Information Act.

Doctors are known to be concerned about how the new rationing is working – and how it will affect their relationships with patients.

Birmingham is looking at reducing operations in gastroenterology, gynaecology, dermatology and orthopaedics. Parts of east London were among the first to introduce rationing, where some patients are being referred for homeopathic treatments instead of conventional treatment.

Medway had deferred treatment for non-urgent procedures this year while Dorset is "looking at reducing the levels of limited effectiveness procedures".

Chris Naylor, a senior researcher at the health think tank the King's Fund, said the rationing decisions being made by PCTs were a consequence of the savings the NHS was being asked to find.

"Blunt approaches like seeking an overall reduction in local referral rates may backfire, by reducing necessary referrals – which is not good for patients and may fail to save money in the long run," he said. "There are always rationing decisions that have to go on in any health service. But at the moment healthcare organisations are under more pressure than they have been for a long time and this is a sign of what is happening across many areas of the NHS."

According to responses from the 111 trusts to freedom-of-information requests, 64 per cent of them have now introduced rationing policies for non-urgent treatments and those of limited clinical value. Of those PCTs that have not introduced restrictions, a third are working with GPs to reduce referrals or have put in place peer-review systems to assess referrals.

In the last year, 35 per cent of PCTs have added procedures to lists of treatments they no longer fund because they deem them to be non-urgent or of limited clinical value.

Some trusts expect to save over £1m by restricting referrals from GPs.

Chaand Nagpaul, a member of the British Medical Association's GPs committee, said he was concerned about PCTs applying different low-priority thresholds and rationing access to treatments on the basis of local policies.

He said the Government needed to decide on a consistent set of national standards of "low priority" treatments to help remove post-code lotteries in provision. "Patients and the public recognise that with limited resources we need to make the maximum health gains and so there needs to be prioritisation. What is inequitable is that different PCTs are applying different thresholds and criteria," he said.

A Department of Health spokesman said: "Decisions on the appropriate treatments should be made by clinicians in the local NHS in line with the best available clinical evidence and Nice [National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence] guidance. There should be no blanket bans because what is suitable for one patient may not be suitable for another."

Bill Walters, 75, from Berkshire, recently had to wait 30 weeks for a hip operation instead of the standard 18. "I believe that the Government is doing this totally the wrong way," he said.

Case study: 'They changed the rules to save money'

Anne Ball, 71, is a retired business consultant who used to work in electronics

"I have bilateral cataracts and under the original NHS criteria I was entitled to have at least one of mine treated – but then the West Sussex health authorities decided to change the threshold level to save money.

"It's like looking through gauze. Everything is foggy, and I've got quite a large 'floater' in my left eye. The consultant was as distressed as me, having to tell me, and he thought with my eyesight he wouldn't be able to function.

"I've appealed because the cataracts are having a significant impact on my quality of life and it's left me depressed and fearful about my low vision, which will continue to deteriorate. The new guidelines mean that people who fall below the standard set by the DVLA still do not qualify to have surgery. My vision is not good enough to drive at night.

"I'm not a cranky old lady. I'm the chair of a local village charity and I do a lot of computer work that is affected.

"It will just store up costs for future years, putting a strain on resources as more patients will end up in falls clinics. The longer you put it off the more complex the operation becomes and the riskier it is for the patient."

health care

Terror Plot against Fort Hood - again.

No, he is NOT the same as the Norwegian killer.  Not even by a long shot.  Why did he need uniforms?  He already has 1-2 - HE IS in the army.  Hmm.

AWOL Muslim private arrested with bomb-making material

By Matt Cantor, Newser Staff
Jul 28, 2011

(Newser) – The US soldier arrested over a possible second attack on Fort Hood told police he wanted to attack troops there, reports CNN. Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo, 21, apparently acted alone, said the local police chief, noting that he wasn’t aware of any other threat to the base. Abdo, a Muslim soldier who went AWOL from Fort Campbell in Kentucky following child porn charges, was arrested at a traffic stop on a tip from a gun shop.

“We may well have averted a repeat of the tragic 2009 radical Islamic terror attack on our nation's largest military installation,” said Texas Rep. John Carter. A retired policeman working at the gun shop said Abdo asked him questions about the six pounds of smokeless gunpowder he bought. “That is a red flag for me," said the former officer. "He should know. Why is he buying that much?" Abdo also bought military uniforms and Fort Hood patches from a military surplus store, said Carter’s office. FBI agents found a pistol and enough supplies to make two bombs in the soldier’s hotel room, as well as “Islamic extremist literature.”

isl;amic terror

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Habitual: Checking Facebook or Email


(CNN) -- There I was at a long-awaited dinner with friends Saturday night, when in the midst of our chatting, I watched my right hand sneaking away from my side to grab my phone sitting on the table to check my e-mail.

"What am I doing?" I thought to myself. "I'm here with my friends, and I don't need to be checking e-mail on a Saturday night."

The part that freaked me out was that I hadn't told my hand to reach out for the phone. It seemed to be doing it all on its own. I wondered what was wrong with me until I read a recent study in the journal Personal and Ubiquitous Computing that showed I'm hardly alone. In fact, my problem seems to be ubiquitous.

The authors found smartphone users have developed what they call "checking habits" -- repetitive checks of e-mail and other applications such as Facebook. The checks typically lasted less than 30 seconds and were often done within 10 minutes of each other.

On average, the study subjects checked their phones 34 times a day, not necessarily because they really needed to check them that many times, but because it had become a habit or compulsion.

"It's extremely common, and very hard to avoid," says Loren Frank, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco. "We don't even consciously realize we're doing it -- it's an unconscious behavior."

Why we constantly check our phones

Earlier this year, Frank started to realize that he, too, was habitually checking his smartphone over and over without even thinking about it. When he sat down to figure out why, he realized it was an unconscious, two-step process.

First, his brain liked the feeling when he received an e-mail. It was something new, and it often was something nice: a note from a colleague complimenting his work or a request from a journalist for help with a story.

"Each time you get an e-mail, it's a small jolt, a positive feedback that you're an important person," he says. "It's a little bit of an addiction in that way."

Once the brain becomes accustomed to this positive feedback, reaching out for the phone becomes an automatic action you don't even think about consciously, Frank says. Instead, the urge to check lives in the striatum, a part of the brain that governs habitual actions.

The cost of constant checking

For Frank, constant checking stressed him out and really annoyed his wife.

Dr. Adam Gazzaley, a neurologist at UCSF, sees another cost: Whenever you take a break from what you're doing to unnecessarily check your e-mail, studies show, it's hard to go back to your original task.

"You really pay a price," he says.

Habitually checking can also become a way for you to avoid interacting with people or avoid doing the things you really need to be doing.

"People don't like thinking hard," says Clifford Nass, a professor of communication and computer science at Stanford University. Constantly consulting your smartphone, he says, "is an attempt to not have to think hard, but feel like you're doing something."

How to know if you're a habitual checker

1. You check your e-mail more than you need to.

Sometimes you're in the middle of an intense project at work and you really do need to check your e-mail constantly. But be honest with yourself -- if that's not the case, your constant checking might be a habit, not a conscious choice.

2. You're annoying other people.

If, like Frank, you're ticking off the people closest to you, it's time to take a look at your smartphone habits.

"If you hear 'put the phone away' more than once a day, you probably have a problem," says Lisa Merlo, a psychologist at the University of Florida.

3. The thought of not checking makes you break out in a cold sweat.

Try this experiment: Put your phone away for an hour. If you get itchy during that time, you might be a habitual checker.

How to get rid of your checking habit

1. Acknowledge you have a problem.

It may sound AA-ish, but acknowledging that you're unnecessarily checking your phone -- and that there are repercussions to doing so -- is the first step toward breaking the habit.

"We can be conscious of the habit of checking. We can unlearn its habits," says Sherry Turkle, a psychologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self.

2. Have smartphone-free times.

See if you can stay away from your phone for a few hours. If that makes you too nervous, start off with just 10 minutes, Merlo suggests. You actually don't have to stay away from your phone altogether -- you can just turn the e-mail function off (or Facebook or whatever you're habitually checking).

3. Have smartphone-free places.

You can also establish phone-free zones, which is what Frank did to cure his smartphone habit.

"The first thing I did was banish it from the bedroom," he says. "I would have to walk down the hallway to my study to actually be able to see it."

You could also force yourself to stop checking when you're in a social situation, like out to dinner with friends. (Last Saturday night, I shoved my phone way down into my purse where I couldn't see it).

Joanna Lipari, a psychologist who practices in California, uses this strategy when her teenage daughter has friends over.

"I have a rule. Like the Old Wild West which had you check your gun at the saloon entrance, I have a basket by the door, and the kids have to check their phones in the basket," she says. Otherwise, she says, the kids would stare at their phones and not interact with one another.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mexican Troops held at US Border

This is indicative of Mexico and its government on so many levels - an army that can't find its way, that gets lost.  It can simply go backwards - it is in Mexico and it can drive any which way it wants.

This is NOT the first time this has happened.

The Associated Press

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mexico's Defense Department says a group of Mexican soldiers involuntarily crossed into the U.S. after being unable to turn around on an international bridge.

The department says that the soldiers were on patrol along the border Monday when they crossed the new Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge over the Rio Grande. It says the only return along the bridge is on U.S. soil.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the department said the situation was clarified with U.S. immigration authorities and the troops returned to Mexico.

Mexico has maintained a strong military presence in the border state of Tamaulipas, across the border from South Texas, since early last year, when the Gulf and Zetas drug cartels broke their alliance, unleashing a bloody turf war.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Obama's Base Crumbles

Can he get it back?  Absolutely.  Some of it.

July 26, 2011
The Los Angeles Times

With all of the spotlights on the high-stakes debt maneuverings by President Obama and Speaker John Boehner the last few days, few people noticed what Vermont's Sen. Bernie Sanders said:

"I think it would be a good idea if President Obama faced some primary opposition."

This is political treason 469 days before a presidential election. Yes, yes, this is just a crusty old New England independent for now, albeit one who caucuses loyally with Harry Reid's Democratic posse.

But while most of the media focuses on Republican Boehner and the tea party pressures on him to raise the debt limit not one Liberty dime, Sanders' mumblings are a useful reminder that hidden in the shadows of this left-handed presidency are militant progressives like Sanders who don't want to cut one Liberty dime of non-Pentagon spending.

Closely read the transcript of Obama's Monday statement on the debt talks stalemate. The full transcript is right here. And the full transcript of Boehner's response is right here.

An Unbalanced Approach to a Balanced Approach

Using political forensics, notice any clues, perhaps telltale code words that reveal to whom he was really addressing his Monday message? Clearly, it wasn't congressional Republicans -- or Democrats, for that matter.

The nation's top talker uttered 2,264* words in those remarks. He said "balanced approach" seven times, three times in a single paragraph.

That's the giveaway. Obviously, David Plouffe and the incumbent's strategists have been polling phrases for use in this ongoing debt duel, which is more about 2012 now than 2011. "Balanced approach" is no sweet talk for old Bernie or tea sippers on the other side.

Obama is running for the center already, aiming for the independents who played such a crucial role in his victorious coalition in 2008. They were the first to start abandoning the good ship Obama back in 2009 when all the ex-state senator could do was talk about healthcare, when jobs and the economy were the peoples' priority.

Democrats lost the New Jersey and Virginia governor's offices largely as a result of that and Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in Massachusetts. And then came last November's midterms when voters chose the approach of that historic pack of House-bound Republicans.

Republicans have their own poll problems in some areas. But even without an identified GOP presidential alternative, we've had a plethora of recent polls showing Obama's fading job approval, especially on the economy.

Now, comes a new ABC News/Washington Post poll with a whole harvest of revelations, among them, strong indications that Obama's liberal base is starting to crumble. Among the nuggets:

Despite those hundreds of billions of blown stimulus dollars and almost as many upturn promises from Joe Biden, 82% of Americans still say their job market is struggling. Ninety percent rate the economy negatively, including half who give it the worst rating of "poor."

Are You Better Off Today Than Jan. 20, 2009?

A slim 15% claim to be "getting ahead financially," half what it was in 2006. Fully 27% say they're falling behind financially. That's up 6 points since February.

A significant majority (54%) says they've been forced to change their lifestyle significantly as a result of the economic times -- and 60% of them are angry, up from 44%.

To be sure, 30 months after he returned to home cooking, George W. Bush still gets majority blame for the economy.

But here's the breaking news for wishful Democrats: George W. Bush isn't running for anything but exercise.

"More than a third of Americans now believe that President Obama’s policies are hurting the economy, and confidence in his ability to create jobs is sharply eroding among his base," the Post reports.

Strong support among liberal Democrats for Obama's jobs record has plummeted 22 points from 53% down below a third. African Americans who believe the president's measures helped the economy have plunged from 77% to barely half.

Obama's overall job approval on the economy has slid below 40% for the first time, with 57% disapproving. And strong disapprovers outnumber approvers by better than two-to-one.


China: Not the Wave of the Future.

I have no idea why anyone doubts what the Chinese government has to say about ... anything. 

I know that in the West, we are always having plane and train accidents, and we begin investigations simultaneously with destruction of the evidence.  I remember TWA Flight 800.  July 1996.  Plane crashed and immediately the FTSB and FBI and all the governments involved began to destroy all the evidence.  Well, ok, they wanted to but the evidence was collected in a methodical and painstaking manner, and for four years they held hearings, investigations, and studies to consider all possible ... ok, so this was an exception, we must do what the Chinese do ... have an accident and within an hour bury the evidence.  Thats just who we are isn't it.


A viral video posted to the Internet was viewed over 1.2 million times before it was shut down. In the video, bodies are seen to fall from a carriage (passenger car) of the bullet train. The damaged carriage was part of a two-train collision on Saturday resulting in approximately 250 casualties.

YouTube and the Internet at large has become a platform for videos of various subjects to be disseminated throughout the world, even videos from areas of the world where there are tight controls over what is permitted from within a nation's borders. One such video, footage of the aftermath of the recent bullet train crash in China, was posted shortly after the collision. And as horrific as the images in the video appear, there is a possibility that they point to something even more disturbing, like a government cover-up.

The video hit the Internet and, although it was only available for viewing for less than a day, it received over 1.2 million views, according to The Telegraph.

The uncensored footage, as described by the British paper, showed what appeared to be bodies falling from damaged carriages (passenger cars). The trains collided on an elevated track in Wenzhou, a city in Zhejiang province, on Saturday after a lightning strike stalled one train and a second crashed into the rear of the immobile vehicle.

The Telegraph reported that at least 43 people died in the crash, while another 210 suffered injuries, although the Wall Street Journal reported that a U. S. Embassy spokesman put the number of dead at 39, the number of injured at 192.

The footage shows one body fall from a height of about 60 feet as a crane attempted to remove the car from the rails, according to the report. What sounds like a scream can be heard in the background. A second body appears to fall from a window as a mechanical earth mover pushes the passenger car into a ditch.

The day after the collision, earth movers dug a ditch and began burying two of the wrecked passenger cars, prompting some to accuse the government of attempting to cover up the bullet train crash, a program that was already under fire for corruption and accusations that the railway lines were unsafe.

Locals question the veracity of government claims that state that an investigation into the matter has been launched. Some ask how an effective investigation can be conducted if evidence of the crash is being buried. The viral video, which is no longer available (removed ostensibly for containing offensive material), seems to support the contention, not to mention displaying a certain callousness on the part of the government in its haste to put the bullet train crash in the past.

In answer to public concerns, Railways Ministry spokesman Wang Yongping, who also apologized to the families of the deceased and of the injured passengers on Sunday, stated that he had learned on-site that "wreckage manipulation" was necessary because of a muddy pool that was hampering rescue efforts.

Still, uneasiness persists. Chinese journalists report that the government sent out directives to media outlets suggesting how the train crash should be handled. A journalist at one television station, reported the Journal, said they were told to focus on rescue efforts and steer clear of stories about the accident, its causes, and government investigative measures.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Dumbest ideas

March 07, 2011

NEW YORK – Airlines may begin charging for new services including early boarding, fancier meal options and reclining seats, as they continue to dig around for ways to pile on more fees, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

In recent years, airlines from AMR Corp.'s American Airlines to Spirit Airlines Inc. found new ways to boost profits -- and annoy fliers -- by charging fees for checked bags, selecting a choice seat or other services once included in ticket prices. Airlines started charging for checked bags, snacks, pillows and other items in a big way in 2008. Last year, such fees brought in an estimated $22 billion, or five percent of global industry revenue.

But now they are mulling and testing various new fees for services that never were part of a ticket.

Want a seat that reclines more? A pre-ordered champagne brunch in coach? Insurance against a blizzard that waylays a trip? Access to speedy security lines and early boarding? Soon you might be able to get them all -- for a price.

Carriers could tap into "billions and billions of potential revenue" said Tom Douramakos, CEO of GuestLogix Inc., a Toronto technology supplier that helps airlines sell products and services.

"The airlines are only scratching the surface" with baggage and seat fees, he said. They could become virtual shopping malls, offering captive travelers a variety of buy-while-they-fly items such as theater tickets or a handbag, he says.

Two small, low-fare carriers, Spirit and Allegiant Travel Co., have led the way in the US by charging for almost everything but lavatory access and by marketing travel packages including hotels, rental cars and theme-park tickets along with air travel.

A rich new vein for airline fees is early boarding, which American and United Airlines already sell to their non-elite frequent fliers. As more passengers avoid paying checked luggage fees by hauling their bags on board, overhead bin space is at a premium. That means getting to board ahead of other travelers can be worth a few extra bucks.

Big carriers already have discovered passengers will pay for better seats in coach. Delta Air Lines Inc. recently said it will remove seats from its international planes by summer to create an "Economy Comfort" zone that offers up to four inches (10 centimeters) more legroom and 50 percent more recline than regular coach seats.


Dear Mr and Mrs Airline Directors and Owners -

Take heed, you are falling into a hole from which you will have a very difficult time extricating yourself.

Making money is fine.  If it costs 50 cents to produce a widget, charge $1.  If gas costs $1.80 a gallon, charge $3.25.  If soda costs 30 cents for a can, charge 90 cents.  But Sirs and Madams, you are greedy selfish bastards who whine like little children and deserve to be spanked and sent to bed.

The next time the terrorists attack, and use planes, and your planes are all kept on the ground for several days, and you feign poverty and bankruptcy, I will argue as passionately as possible to allow you all to fail and to go into bankruptcy.  Not one cent.  Never again.

The audacity of your airlines to charge for reclining seats.  The audacity to charge for drinks or peanuts.   Your airline gets the coke at such a low cost, it would be financially feasible for people who make pennies a day, to have a few cans of soda a week and you charge for it - not a few pennies, but dollars. 

The audacity to charge me to sit like a sardine, in a germ infested tube in the sky that at any moment could hurtle down to earth killing everyone on board - including those passengers who paid for the reclining seats.

You should be paying us to fly your airlines.  And that hole I referenced earlier - the time is coming when you will be unable to charge what you do currently.  Perhaps that is why you are gouging us in more ways than one - you know the future and you are not part of it. 



Sometimes people come into our lives at the least expected moment.  We could be walking down the street, and we drop something, and hear from behind us 'wait, you dropped ...' or we could be sitting at our desk, and someone walks up and asks us how our day is going, and just their sense of enthusiasm and energy make our day brighter and we look up and smile.

Sometimes people come into our life unplanned, unexpected, yet they make an impact bigger than if an asteroid hit.  Whether we just left the bank and dropped two hundred dollars, go home, and realize we lost the money - it was for our groceries or bills or something we needed or even, something we wanted and now ... it was gone.  We call the bank and we are told someone found some money but they wouldn't reveal how much.  We call, inform them of the amount and ... they return it.

Sometimes good people do appear in our life at the perfect time, to bring us something we needed at that time, and in some cases, to show us the path - to lead by example.  Hopefully the person who lost the $200 would do the same if they find cash next time.  Hopefully the person who dropped something will call out to another person who drops something, and good deeds multiply - just like good friends.

Sometimes we are privileged to know someone, to meet someone who brings warmth and happiness into our life - to feel happy, alive, excited, to know the person and to be part of each others life.  It is so rare we find people we can say mean a great deal to us, now and always, and when we find these friends - we need to keep them always.


Obama: A Pathological Liar? Or is it politics.

Clinton seemed to be a liar also.  Obama.  I have to wonder if it is their being a liar or whether politiocs simply makes you into a something you are not - political 24/7.

By Joseph Curl
The Washington Times
7:17 p.m., Sunday, July 24, 2011


"Mendacity is a system that we live in."

- Brick, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"

In the weird world that is Washington, men and women say things daily, hourly, even minutely, that they know deep down are simply not true. Inside the Beltway, we all call those utterances "rhetoric."

But across the rest of the country, plain ol' folk call 'em lies. Bald-faced (even bold-faced) lies. Those folks have a tried-and-true way of determining a lie: If you know what you're saying is patently false, then it's a lie. Simple.

And lately, the president has been lying so much that his pants could burst into flames at any moment.

His late-evening news conference Friday was a tour de force of flat-out, unadulterated mendacity — and we've gotten a first-hand insider's view of the president's long list of lies.

"I wanted to give you an update on the current situation around the debt ceiling," Mr. Obama said at 6:06 p.m. OK, that wasn't a lie — but just about everything he said after it was, and he knows it.

"I just got a call about a half-hour ago from Speaker [John A.] Boehner, who indicated that he was going to be walking away from the negotiations," he said.

Not so: "The White House made offers during the negotiations," said our insider, a person intimately involved in the negotiations, "and then backtracked on those offers after they got heat from Democrats on Capitol Hill. The White House, and its steadfast refusal to follow through on its rhetoric in terms of cutting spending and addressing entitlements, is the real reason that debt talks broke down."

Mr. Boehner was more blunt in his own news conference: "The discussions we've had with the White House have broken down for two reasons. First, they insisted on raising taxes. ... Secondly, they refused to get serious about cutting spending and making the tough choices that are facing our country on entitlement reform."

But back to the lying liar and the lies he told Friday. "You had a bipartisan group of senators, including Republicans who are in leadership in the Senate, calling for what effectively was about $2 trillion above the Republican baseline that theyve been working off of. What we said was give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues," Mr. Obama said.

That, too, was a lie. "The White House had already agreed to a lower revenue number — to be generated through economic growth and a more efficient tax code — and then it tried to change the terms of the deal after taking heat from Democrats on Capitol Hill," our insider said.

The negotiations just before breakdown called for $800 billion in new "revenues" (henceforth, we'll call those "taxes"), but after the supposedly bipartisan plan came out — and bowing to the powerful liberal bloc on Capitol Hill — Mr. Obama demanded another $400 billion in new taxes: a 50 percent increase.

Mr. Boehner was blunt: "The White House moved the goalpost. There was an agreement, some additional revenues, until yesterday, when the president demanded $400 billion more, which was going to be nothing more than a tax increase on the American people."

But Mr. Obama, with a straight face, continued. "We then offered an additional $650 billion in cuts to entitlement programs — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security."

The truth: "Actually, the White House was walking back its commitments on entitlement reforms, too. They kept saying they wanted to 'go big.' But their actions never matched their rhetoric," the insider said.

Now, Mr. Boehner and the real leaders in Congress have taken back the process. He'll write the bill and pass it along to the president, with this directive, which he reportedly said to Mr. Obama's face in a short White House meeting Saturday: "Congress writes the laws and you get to decide what you want to sign."

Watching the one-third-of-a-term-senator-turned-president negotiate brings to mind a child spinning yarns about just how the living room lamp got broken. Now, though, the grown-ups are in charge; the kids have been put to bed. Ten days ago, the president warned the speaker: "Dont call my bluff."

Well, Mr. Boehner has. He's holding all the cards — and he's not bluffing.


Norway: The Value of Life

In the United States, we execute people - minorities, poor, anyone and everyone, in large numbers.  The Europeans are far more civilized.  They do not execute, the punish and rehabilitate.  They embrace those who have done wrong, and show them the correct path in life. 

In Norway, the man who murdered more than 70 human beings, will get at most 21 years in prison - and he will find new friends in prison who believe what he believes about the government and the threats to Europe.

The article below suggests the years in prison divided by the total number of dead and he will spend about 80+ days in prison, per life taken. 

The Value of Life.  The Europeans understand it.  Americans believe if you take a life, you lose your life.

9:42 AM Monday Jul 25, 2011

A wounded woman is brought ashore after being rescued. Photo / APThe fact that Norway's maximum penalty for any crime is 21 years in prison is facing rising criticism in the wake of the twin attacks that killed 93 people, with many deeming the penalty too lax.

Ever since Norwegian media named 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik as the prime suspect, calls have been growing for the maximum penalty under the Norwegian penal code to be extended.

If found guilty, Behring Breivik's 21 years in prison would equal a penalty of 82 days per killing.

"So many innocent people have been killed that I think he doesn't have the right to live," Mari Kaugerud says on her Facebook group "Yes to the death penalty for Anders Behring Breivik" that already has 1783 members.

Dozens of similar groups have sprung up since Friday's killings, some calling for the death penalty, others for natural life in prison.

"People like that shouldn't be able to get out among normal people," says 31-year-old Mustafa. "If he gets 21 years, how old will he be? 53! No, he's ruined too much to ever get out," says the Iranian-born shopkeeper.

Like most people that AFP spoke to on Sunday, Mustafa is against the death penalty, but he wants the suspect, who has admitted responsibility, to spend his natural life in prison.

Norwegian law does allow for a convict to spend more than 21 years locked up, as experts can keep him or her behind bars up for additional five-year stretches if the prisoner is deemed dangerous.

"But how many times will that happen?" says Daniel de Francisco, a 25-year-old chef.

"European governments go too soft on this. Let's put them away for life," he says, drawing bitterly on his cigarette.

Helen Arvesen, a 21-year-old student, agrees that the sentence would be too lenient, but "I don't like the death penalty".

Even if he is released "he'll be facing a lot of angry people so he'll not be safe any more", she says, her mother standing next to her nodded in agreement.

As soon as Behring Breivik was arrested, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg tried to rally the famous spirit of tolerance in Norway, where prisons are comfortable and crime and repeat offending rates are low.

Stoltenberg said on Sunday that the response to the carnage was "more democracy, more openness, more humanity, but without naivety". He did not mention any eventual punishment.

Norway abolished the death penalty for most crimes in 1902, and for all crimes including war crimes in 1979.

The last execution dates from 1948, three years after that of Nazi collaborator leader Vidkun Quisling, who was shot for high treason.


Obama's Trillions

Friday March 18, 2011, 9:22 pm EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A new assessment of President Barack Obama's budget released Friday says the White House underestimates future budget deficits by more than $2 trillion over the upcoming decade.

The estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that if Obama's February budget submission is enacted into law it would produce deficits totaling $9.5 trillion over 10 years -- an average of almost $1 trillion a year.

Obama's budget saw deficits totaling $7.2 trillion over the same period.

The difference is chiefly because CBO has a less optimistic estimate of how much the government will collect in tax revenues, partly because the administration has rosier economic projections.

But the agency also rejects the administration's claims of more than $300 billion of that savings -- to pay for preventing a cut in Medicare payments to doctors -- because it doesn't specify where it would come from. Likewise, CBO fails to credit the White House with an additional $328 billion that would come from unspecified "bipartisan financing" to pay for transportation infrastructure projects such as high speed rail lines and road and bridge construction.

Friday's report actually predicts the deficit for the current budget year, which ends Sept. 30, won't be as bad as the $1.6 trillion predicted by the administration and will instead register $200 billion less. But 10 years from now, CBO sees a $1.2 trillion deficit that's almost $400 billion above White House projections.

The estimated cost of the new health care law increased by about $90 billion, to $1.13 trillion, from 2012-2021. But the budget office didn't issue a new estimate of the taxes and savings in the legislation that pay for Obama's expansion of health insurance.

CBO had earlier projected the total of those offsets at $1.25 trillion. So the margin by which the new health care law reduces federal deficits appeared to be shrinking.

The White House's goal is to reach a point where the budget is balanced except for interest payments on the $14 trillion national debt. Such "primary balance" occurs when the deficit is about 3 percent of the size of the economy, and economists say deficits of that magnitude are generally sustainable.

But CBO predicts that the deficit never gets below 4 percent of gross domestic product. That means that by the time 2021 arrives, the portion of the debt held by investors and foreign countries will reach a dangerously high 87 percent. And, as a result, interest costs for the government would explode from $214 billion this year to almost $1 trillion by decade's end.

"The President's budget never reaches 'primary balance,' meaning that it fails to clear even the low bar the administration set for itself in justifying its claims of sustainability," said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

White House budget director Jacob Lew said in a blog post that "CBO confirms what we already know: current deficits are unacceptably high and if we stay on our current course and do nothing, the fiscal situation will hurt our recovery and hamstring future growth."

The estimate adds urgency to calls on Capitol Hill for action on runaway deficits that many economists fear -- if left unchecked -- could trigger a European-style debt crisis that could force draconian measures such as cutting federal benefits for seniors or forcing broad-based tax increases.

Just on Friday, 64 senators -- 32 in each party -- signed a letter to Obama calling on him to take the lead in coming up with a comprehensive deficit reduction plan along the lines of a plan issued last year by his own deficit commission. That plan called for a comprehensive overhaul of the tax code that would trade dozens of expensive tax breaks for lower individual and corporate rates, curb Social Security benefits and clamp down on spending across the budget.

"While we may not agree with every aspect of the commission's recommendations, we believe that its work represents an important foundation to achieve meaningful progress on our debt," the senators wrote. They said that "with a strong signal of support from you, we believe that we can achieve consensus on these important fiscal issues."

Conversely, the report is a sobering blow to House Republicans charged with developing a budget blueprint that could satisfy its core supporters in the tea party. Republican lawmakers had already acknowledged that they won't be able to generate a budget that comes to balance by the end of the decade.

Friday's news makes that task even more difficult


Sunday, July 24, 2011

European governments “completely puzzled” about U.S. position on Libya

Admittedly this headline is a bit old, but still accurate.  Even more puzzling is Obama telling the world that the US would be involved for hours not days or weeks, and that gave way to days not weeks or months and now, we are several months into a war in Libya - a war that is costing us billions for some unknown reason that is even more obscure and convoluted than any action taken by the previous five presidents combined.

Posted By Josh Rogin Wednesday, March 16, 2011 -
Foreign Policy

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's meetings in Paris with the G8 foreign ministers on Monday left her European interlocutors with more questions than answers about the Obama administration's stance on intervention in Libya.

Inside the foreign ministers' meeting, a loud and contentious debate erupted about whether to move forward with stronger action to halt Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi's campaign against the Libyan rebels and the violence being perpetrated against civilians. Britain and France argued for immediate action while Germany and Russia opposed such a move, according to two European diplomats who were briefed on the meeting.

Clinton stayed out of the fray, repeating the administration's position that all options are on the table but not specifically endorsing any particular step. She also did not voice support for stronger action in the near term, such as a no-fly zone or military aid to the rebels, both diplomats said.

"The way the U.S. acted was to let the Germans and the Russians block everything, which announced for us an alignment with the Germans as far as we are concerned," one of the diplomats told The Cable.

Clinton's unwillingness to commit the United States to a specific position led many in the room to wonder exactly where the administration stood on the situation in Libya.

"Frankly we are just completely puzzled," the diplomat said. "We are wondering if this is a priority for the United States."

On the same day, Clinton had a short meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in which Sarkozy pressed Clinton to come out more forcefully in favor of action in Libya. She declined Sarkozy's request, according to a government source familiar with the meeting.

Sarkozy told Clinton that "we need action now" and she responded to him, "there are difficulties," the source said, explaining that Clinton was referring to China and Russia's opposition to intervention at the United Nations. Sarkozy replied that the United States should at least try to overcome the difficulties by leading a strong push at the U.N., but Clinton simply repeated, "There are difficulties."

One diplomat, who supports stronger action in Libya, contended that the United States' lack of clarity on this issue is only strengthening those who oppose action.

"The risk we run is to look weak because we've asked him to leave and we aren't taking any action to support our rhetoric and that has consequences on the ground and in the region," said the European diplomat.

British and French frustration with the lack of international will to intervene in Libya is growing. British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday that Arab sentiment was, "if you don't show your support for the Libyan people and for democracy at this time, you are saying you will intervene only when it's about your security, but you won't help when it's about our democracy."

France sent letters on Wednesday to all the members of the U.N. Security Council, which is discussing a Lebanon-sponsored resolution to implement a no-fly zone, calling on them to support the resolution, as has been requested by the Arab League.

"Together, we can save the martyred people of Libya. It is now a matter of days, if not hours. The worst would be that the appeal of the League of the Arab States and the Security Council decisions be overruled by the force of arms," the letter stated.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe wrote on his blog, "It is not enough to proclaim, as did almost all of the major democracies that ‘Qaddafi must go.' We must give ourselves the means to effectively assist those who took up arms against his dictatorship."

In an interview with the BBC on Wednesday in Cairo, Clinton pointed to the U.N. Security Council as the proper venue for any decision to be made and she pushed back at the contention by the British and the French that the U.S. was dragging its feet.

"I don't think that is fair. I think, based on my conversations in Paris with the G-8 ministers, which, of course, included those two countries, I think we all agree that given the Arab League statement, it was time to move to the Security Council to see what was possible," Clinton said. I don't want to prejudge it because countries are still very concerned about it. And I know how anxious the British and the French and the Lebanese are, and they have taken a big step in presenting something. But we want to get something that will do what needs to be done and can be passed."

"It won't do us any good to consult, negotiate, and then have something vetoed or not have enough votes to pass it," Clinton added.

Clinton met with Libyan opposition leader Mahmoud Jibril in Paris as well, but declined to make any promises on specific actions to support the Libyan opposition.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry (D-MA) also doubled down on his call for a no-fly zone over Libya in a speech on Wednesday at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"The international community cannot simply watch from the sidelines as this quest for democracy is met with violence," he said. "The Arab League's call for a U.N. no-fly zone over Libya is an unprecedented signal that the old rules of impunity for autocratic leaders no longer stand... The world needs to respond immediately to avert a humanitarian disaster."

And Clinton's former top aide Anne-Marie Slaughter accused the Obama administration of prioritizing oil over the human rights of the people of Libya.

"U.S. is defining ‘vital strategic interest' in terms of oil and geography, not universal values. Wrong call that will come back to haunt us," she wrote on Wednesday on her Twitter page.


Friday March 18,2011
By Anna Pukas

INEFFECTUAL, invisible, unable to honour pledges and now blamed for letting Gaddafi off the hook. Why Obama’s gone from ‘Yes we can’ to ‘Er, maybe we shouldn’t’...

Let us cast our minds back to those remarkable days in November 2008 when the son of a Kenyan goatherd was elected to the White House. It was a bright new dawn – even brighter than the coming of the Kennedys and their new Camelot. JFK may be considered as being from an ethnic and religious minority – Irish and Catholic – but he was still very rich and very white. Barack Obama, by contrast, was a true breakthrough president. The world would change because obviously America had changed.

Obama’s campaign slogan was mesmerisingly simple and brimming with self-belief: “Yes we can.” His presidency, however, is turning out to be more about “no we won’t.” Even more worryingly, it seems to be very much about: “Maybe we can… do what, exactly?“ The world feels like a dangerous place when leaders are seen to lack certitude but the only thing President Obama seems decisive about is his indecision. What should the US do about Libya? What should the US do about the Middle East in general? What about the country’s crippling debts? What is the US going to do about Afghanistan, about Iran?

What is President Obama doing about anything? The most alarming answer – your guess is as good as mine – is also, frankly, the most accurate one. What the President is not doing is being clear, resolute and pro-active, which is surely a big part of his job description. This is what he has to say about the popular uprising in Libya: “Gaddafi must go.” At least, that was his position on March 3.

Since then, other countries – most notably Britain and France – have been calling for some kind of intervention. Even the Arab League, a notoriously conservative organisation, has declared support for sanctions. But from the White House has come only the blah-blah of bland statements filled with meaningless expressions and vague phrases. Of decisive action and leadership – even of clearly defined opinion – there is precious little sign.

What is the Obama administration’s position on the protests in the Gulf island state of Bahrain, which the authorities there are savagely suppressing with the help of troops shipped in from Saudi Arabia? What is the White House view on the alarming prospect of the unrest spreading to Saudi Arabia itself? Who knows? Certainly not the American people, nor the leaders of nations which would consider themselves allies of America.

The President has not really shared his views, which leads us to conclude that he either doesn’t know or chooses, for reasons best known to himself, not to say. The result is that a very real opportunity to remove an unpredictable despot from power may well have been lost. Who knows when or if such an opportunity will come along again?

Every day for almost the last two months our television screens, radio broadcasts and the pages of our newspapers have been filled with the pictures, sounds and words of the most tumultuous events any of us can remember in the Arab world. The outcome of these events, once the dust has settled, could literally change the world. Yet Obama seems content to sit this one out. He has barely engaged in the debate. Such ostrich-like behaviour is not untypical of the 49-year-old President who burst through America’s colour barrier to become the first African-American to occupy the White House.

Two days after taking office in January 2009, he pledged to close down the prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, which has become notorious for holding detainees for years without trial. Obama promised to lose the prison within 12 months and to abolish the practice of military trials of terrorism suspects. It was an important promise. America’s reputation had been severely tarnished by revelations about the conditions at Guantanamo, by reports of waterboarding and extraordinary rendition (transporting prisoners to a third country for torture) and by the appalling treatment of detainees in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Closing Guantanamo was a redemptive gesture. Two years on, not only is the prison still in use but its future is as assured as ever. Ten days ago, the President signed an executive order reinstating the military commissions at the island prison. Human rights organisations were outraged. “With the stroke of a pen, President Obama extinguished any lingering hope that his administration would return the United States to the rule of law,” said Amnesty International while Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, declared the President’s action to be “unlawful, unwise and un-American.”

White House spokesmen insisted the President was still committed to closing Guantanamo, which currently has 172 detainees in custody. It was Congress, they said, that had refused to sanction the transfer of the prisoners to the US mainland for trial, leaving no option but to keep the prison open in Cuba. Very little has been achieved in the quest to secure peace in the Middle East. Under Obama, US foreign policy is founded on extreme caution. At first this cool-headedness was a welcome change from the naked aggression of George W Bush and his henchmen Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

It is also true that the President is constantly stymied by a hostile, Republican-ruled Congress. But Obama’s apparent reluctance to engage with momentous events is starting to look like more than aloofness. Some tempering of America’s role as the world’s No1 busybody may be no bad thing but under Obama the US appears to be heading towards isolationism. He is hardly doing much better at home. Economically, the US is in big trouble but the national debt is not shrinking.

Ditto the country’s ecological health; the American love affair with the car and oil remains undiminished despite any alleged commitment. But the White House appears to shy away from any tough action. The energy with which Obama entered the White House seems to have all gone in the push to bring in health care reform, which many Americans didn’t want (or still don’t realise they want).

All of which means that it is starting to look as if Obama and the Democratic Party have but one aim in mind for the rest of this presidential term: to get elected for a second. That means not doing anything that might upset any number of special interest or niche groups, which in effect means not doing very much at all. So, not too many harsh but necessary measures to tackle the financial deficit; no clear direction on where America goes with Afghanistan, even though the war there is going nowhere except from bad to worse.

The Obama government can’t even give clear direction on whether the American people are in danger of exposure to nuclear fallout from Japan following the devastating earthquake and tsunami. The US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin advised San Francisco residents to stock up on radiation antidotes, prompting a run on potassium iodide pills, while the President said experts had assured him that any harmful radiation would have receded long before reaching the Western shores of the US.

Yes we can was a noble and powerful mantra which secured for Barack Obama the leadership of the free world. Those than can, do. It is time he started doing.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Biden: Open Mouth, Insert Foot, leg, arm, and hand.

What more can we expect from a Vice President who attacked Cheney mercilessly (in part for all the secret things Cheney was purportedly doing while Bush was president) and then when he becomes Vice President - almost every meeting Biden has held in three years has been secret, off the record, and no logs kept.  A vice president who cannot keep his mouth shut, even if it means alienating everyone - including his own boss.

Perhaps this who comparison thing going on - like blaming the US for being attacked, for being hated ... it's our fault, we caused it, we invited it.

By Sam Youngman
03/18/11 06:47 PM ET
The Hill

Vice President Joe Biden, speaking at a fundraiser in Philadelphia Friday, compared Republicans in Congress to people who excuse rapists by blaming their victims.

The vice president, known for speaking his mind and at times putting his foot in his mouth, said that Republicans who want to cut spending while at the same time cutting taxes for the wealthy are similar to rape apologists.

In setting up his comparison, the vice president explained to the audience that before the Violence Against Women Act that he championed was passed into law, “there was this attitude in our society of blaming the victim," according to a press pool account of the event.

“When a woman got raped, blame her because she was wearing a skirt too short, she looked the wrong way or she wasn't home in time to make the dinner,” Biden said.

“We've gotten by that,” he said. “But it's amazing how these Republicans, the right wing of this party – whose philosophy threw us into this God-awful hole we’re in, gave us the tremendous deficit we’ve inherited – that they’re now using, now attempting to use, the very economic condition they have created to blame the victim – whether it’s organized labor or ordinary middle-class working men and women. It's bizarre. It's bizarre.”

After Biden's appearance at the fundraiser, his office tried to focus on the economic message.

"The vice president was obviously making the point that on any issue, we shouldn't blame the victim," Biden spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander said. "Blaming workers or union members for states' fiscal crises – an argument made by some Republican governors – isn't the answer."

President Obama has tapped Biden to be his lead negotiator with congressional Republicans on the budget.

Republicans quickly seized on Biden's comments with the party's House campaign arm calling them "tasteless and offensive."

"As much as Vice President Biden should retract this specific statement, he should apologize for comparing our country’s dismal economic situation to such horrid acts as violence against women,” said Joanna Burgos, spokeswoman for the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC).

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) raised about $400,000 from the fundraiser in Philadelphia. The DCCC raised more money than its Republican counterpart in February and January.


Crucifixion Nails Discovered, Says Filmmaker

Just weird.  I don't even want to consider the merits - simply the claim:  nails that are 2,000 years old, and someone would keep them versus throw them away.  If he kept the nails wouldn't he have kept the crown of thorns, maybe even the cross itself.  Now, assume Jesus was, who Christians believe Him to be - the apostles who followed the Son of God, did not collect trinkets, and they were the ones who knew the who He was with certainty (or near certainty), yet someone who was not certain beyond any doubt opted for the nails and not the cross. in fact why would anyone have collected trinkets - Mary the Mother of God, did not collect bits and pieces, neither did Magdalene.  Peter, the rock - he didn't keep even a locket of His hair ... but this guy thought he should keep nails.

Makes sense.

By Alex Johnston
Epoch Times Staff
Apr 14, 2011

Crucifixion nails found at a burial cave in Jerusalem could be connected to the crucifixion of Jesus 2,000 years ago, an Israeli-born Canadian documentary maker said on Wednesday, according to media reports.

The nails were shown to reporters this week at the premiere of a History Channel documentary series.

Simcha Jacobovici, the filmmaker making the claim, said the nails were found at the burial spot of the Jewish high priest Caiaphas, who turned Jesus over to the Romans, according to the New Testament.

“Two iron nails were found inside that tomb," he said, according to AFP. “Somebody went to his grave with that nail among his bones and nobody reported it.”

His documentary, The Nails of the Cross, will examine the question of the nails’ origin and use. The nails were discovered in the burial site around 20 years ago but disappeared.

According to the London Telegraph, Jacobovici said he was able to track them down.

“If you look at the whole story, historical, textual, archaeological, they all seem to point at these two nails being involved in a crucifixion,” he said, according to the Telegraph. "And since Caiaphas is only associated with Jesus's crucifixion, you put two and two together and they seem to imply that these are the nails.”

However, he admitted that he is not 100 percent sure if the nails were used for that purpose.

The Israel Antiquities Authority dismissed Jacobovici’s suggestion and said that there is no conclusive evidence that those were the nails used in the crucifixion, reported the newspaper.

“There is no proof that the nails are connected to any bones or any bone residue attached to the nails and no proof from textual data that Caiaphas had the nails for the crucifixion with him after the crucifixion took place and after Jesus was taken down from the cross,” Gaby Barkay, an archeologist at Bar Ilan University, told the Telegraph.


Pakistan: Mistakes added to Errors on top of Corruption

There is, very nearly nothing that could happen to Pakistan I would step back and wonder about.  A country corrupt from the top down, a political system so flawed, an intelligence community that is not committed to the people, but instead interested in power and control at the expense of a nation, terrorists who have control of nearly every level of government, having infected the civil society from top to bottom - they manipulate and lie and a populace to illiterate to comprehend truth, follow them blindly.

It is the second time in recent months that Pakistani media have revealed what they say is the name of the CIA's station chief in Islamabad. A wire service report disputes the claim.

By Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times
May 9, 2011, 11:54 a.m.

Reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan—

A private Pakistani television network has divulged what it claims is the name of the CIA's current station chief in Islamabad, the second time in six months that local media have attempted to unmask the agency's top spy in the South Asian nation.

However, the Associated Press on Monday reported without elaboration that the network got the name wrong.

The report by the private ARY network raised the possibility that Pakistan's intelligence community could be trying to broadside the CIA following embarrassment here over the U.S. raid last week that killed Osama bin Laden. The job of the CIA's Islamabad station chief is regarded as vital because of its role at the center of the agency's drone missile campaign against militants in Pakistan's tribal areas along the Afghan border.

Last December, Pakistani journalist Karim Khan filed a police complaint alleging that his brother and son were killed when a missile fired from a CIA drone hit their home in North Waziristan in December 2009. The complaint included the name of someone Khan claimed was the CIA's station chief in Pakistan, after which the agent was called back to the United States.

It was not known Monday whether the agency's current CIA station chief would remain in Pakistan.

Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence historically has nurtured strong ties with certain Pakistani reporters, who have published information designed to bolster the agency's interests.

Both a senior Pakistani intelligence official and U.S. Embassy officials declined to comment on the matter. ARY's news director, Mazhar Abbas, said he did not ask his reporter what his source was "because I have confidence in him." He defended his decision to run what the channel thought was the right name.

"It was a juicy story, and all stories coming out about the CIA-ISI relationship are relevant," Abbas said.


China: Not our friend

China is not our friend.

China is not a competitor.

China is an enemy we have allowed into our home.

China is a threat to the safety and security of Western Civilization.

And the might and power of the US is quickly being undermined by China's development of space programs.


Make Mine Freedom - 1948

American Form of Government

Who's on First? Certainly isn't the Euro.