For those who want further information about the topics covered in this blog, I recommend the following sites. I will add to this as I find additional good sources.
Syrian forces kill 40 as Arab League denounces attack
Excerpt: Syrian security forces opened fire on protesters following Friday afternoon prayers, killing at least 40 civilians, according to activists. After what was one of the bloodiest days in seven months of protests, Arab ministers sent their strongest message yet calling for an end to civilian killings. (...) One activist, Mustafa Osso, told the Associated Press that Syrian forces opened fire on as many as 2,000 people who had gathered to protest. "There was a very fierce reaction to the protests in Homs. There are many injured as well. Hospitals are having a hard time coping with the casualties," he said. It is believed there were at least 170 separate protests across the country.
White House to Review Energy Department Loans
Excerpt: On the defensive over a half-billion-dollar loan to a now-bankrupt solar company, the White House on Friday ordered an independent review of similar loans made by the Energy Department, its latest response to rising criticism over Solyndra Inc. The announcement came as House Republicans prepared for a possible vote next week to subpoena White House documents related to the defunct California company. White House officials said the review would assess the health of more than two dozen other renewable energy loans and loan guarantees made by the Energy Department program that supported Solyndra. (Sure, they’ll “check’em out” now that they already sent through the more than $4 Billion in loan guarantees they made at the end of September. We all balance the checkbook AFTER we write and mail the checks, don’t we? Ron P.)
GOP politicians "nuanced" on immigration
Excerpt: Representative Tim Griffin, a Republican freshman from Arkansas with a university in his district, supports legislation that would make it easier for foreign math and science professionals to get legal residency. Representative Bobby Schilling, Republican of Illinois, is resisting intense pressure to support a House bill that would require employers to verify the legal status of their workers because he is concerned that businesses would be unduly burdened. Senator Mike Lee of Utah, one of the most conservative members of the chamber, recently teamed with Senator Charles E. Schumer, the New York Democrat, on a bill that would provide three-year residential visas to foreign home buyers who invest at least $500,000. While the Republican presidential campaign trail bristles with talk of moats, militarization and electrified fences when it comes to illegal immigration, the view among some Congressional Republicans has become more nuanced and measured. (The closer we get to the election, the more politicians waffle on immigration. With 14 million, or more, Americans unemployed, there's little reason to import even more foreign workers. --jhf)
Still the “GOP Godfather”
Excerpt: A recent Newsmax internal tracking poll recently placed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in first place by a 12-point margin among GOP voters in search of a presidential nominee. While it wasn’t a scientific poll, an aggregate of the national scientific polls have Gingrich in third place and with strong numbers in the early primary states. Remember that Sen. John McCain was in 3rd place during this same week of the 2008 presidential race. Giuliani was in first; Fred Thompson was in second. So, here are four words for Gingrich’s fourth place standing: This is not over. Newt should never ever be underestimated.
We’re Approaching the Tipping Point
Excerpt: Of all the new poll numbers on all sorts of subjects that have come out recently, one number in particular caught my eye. It’s from the latest CBS News/New York Times poll and it tells us that a whopping 66 percent of Americans believe that wealth should be more evenly spread around in this country. Or to put it another way, two-thirds of Americans think that rich people have too much money — and that everyone else doesn’t have enough. Or to put it still another way, we’re approaching a tipping point in this country, if we haven’t already reached it. In science, a tipping point is the point at which a system is displaced from a state of stable equilibrium into a different state. The tipping point here is the one that takes us from capitalism to socialism. It’s bad enough when about half of Americans don’t pay any federal income tax and get all the goodies – like national security and interstate highways – for free. We can understand how that creates an entitlement mentality. But now we have a majority of Americans who think that wealth is not fairly distributed in this country – and they want some of that money. This explains why, according to the same poll, two-thirds of Americans are in favor of raising taxes on millionaires. This is how re-distribution of the wealth works: the government takes from the so-called rich and gives it to everyone who isn’t rich. ("In the end more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free." —Edward Gibbon. If you are not free to earn wealth and make yourself and your family better off, without having it taken from you to benefit those who didn't earn it, you are not free. Doesn't matter if the takers are a mob of barbarian invaders set on colonizing your wealthy country, a mob of inner-city criminals or a mob of the non-productive voting to confiscate your earnings for themselves. The results are the same. ~Bob.)
How 2013 Could Play Out in Congress
Excerpt: For years, only a handful of adroit legislative tacticians have mastered reconciliation, once the procedural province of budget geeks and manipulators of tax policy. It is the device by which big budget bills that merge—or reconcile—spending and tax policy are passed without having to run a filibuster gantlet in the Senate. This is how President Bush won approval of his income-tax cuts in 2001 and his dividend and capital-gains tax cuts in 2003—with Vice President Dick Cheney casting the decisive vote. Stripped to its essence, a bill that achieves numerical budget balance or reduces future deficits can pass on the reconciliation track, even if it includes sizable policy changes outside of spending and taxes or creates deficits outside a 10-year budget window. This procedure is how Obama and his Democratic majority passed the health care law in 2010. They used the reconciliation to shield the bill from a GOP filibuster that was sure to block it after Republican Scott Brown won the special election to fill the Senate seat of the late Democrat Edward Kennedy, an upset win that gave Republicans what they thought was the magic 41st vote. But Democrats thwarted that tactic: They wedged health care reform into a reconciliation bill, using Congressional Budget Office projections to argue that the complex changes brought by universal access to insurance would reduce existing government spending on health care by $170 billion over 10 years. (Speculation—fortune telling, for the more romantic readers—is always chancy. The farther in the future is the prediction, the chancier it becomes. Nevertheless, Garrett has clearly invested a lot of thought in this one. He could be right. Ron P.)
Another Obama fundraiser is investor in car company that won federal loan
This would only be of interest to most of the media if it was a Bush fundraiser. Anyone who didn't know The Chicago Way was coming toWashington in November, 2008 is an idiot. Period. ~Bob. Excerpt: An investment firm whose vice chairman has been an adviser and fundraiser for President Obama saw one of its portfolio companies win approval this year for $50 million in loans from the administration’s clean-energy loan program. Washington-based Perseus says its affiliation with James A. Johnson, a major fundraiser for Obama’s campaign, played no role in persuading the Energy Department to award the loan to Vehicle Production Group, a Miami start-up that is manufacturing wheelchair-accessible cars and taxis. Johnson headed Obama’s vice presidential selection committee in 2008 and is the former chairman of housing mortgage giant Fannie Mae. He was listed as a campaign fundraising bundler for Obama in the 2008 race, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and committed to raising $200,000 to $500,000 for the upcoming presidential race.
Oakland protesters re-"Occupy" plaza
Excerpt: Anti-Wall Street protesters in Oakland have erected more than two dozen tents in a plaza declared off limits for overnight camping, vowing to remain at the site despite city orders to vacate. Protesters began pitching the tents Thursday evening, according to Shake Anderson, an organizer with Occupy Oakland. On Friday morning, about 25 tents were up at the plaza near City Hall, where police armed with tear gas and beanbag rounds disbanded a 15-day-old encampment two days earlier. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan had issued a statement asking protesters not to camp overnight at the plaza. "We believe in what we're doing," Anderson said. "No one is afraid. If anything, we're going to show there's strength in numbers." (…) In a statement released last night Quan - who was booed away when she tried to speak directly to the crowd on Thursday - said she as "deeply saddened about the outcome on Tuesday." "It was not what anyone hoped for," Quan wrote, reports CBS Station KPIX. "Ultimately it was my responsibility, and I apologize for what happened." She said city officials have started an investigation into the use of force by police Tuesday night. Appearing on MSNBC Friday morning, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., who represents Oakland, criticized the police action against protesters as "inappropriate." Lee said she felt "outrage" at what went on, saying "the protesters are not causing this violence." (The article also contains a pretty good summary of happenings in the other cities with Occupiers. Rep. Lee needs to know “violence” isn’t just fists, guns, and knives. If it was, neither fraud nor stalking would be the crimes both are. In fact, “showing strength in numbers” strongly makes an overt threat of mob violence. Failing to obey a lawful Police order has long been a crime in every state and is always enforced by officers using whatever force is required. Criminal trespass, including by political protestors, is still a crime (if it weren’t, there’d be about a million people permanently camped on the White House lawn and running the WH corridors screaming insults to every president). Since Oakland has laid off almost its entire police force, I’m surprised there were any police to eject the Occupiers at all. And, if I was one of them hearing we’d be investigated for what had to be restrained action to disperse 1,000 protestors with so few injuries, I’d quit in disgust. Unless it WANTS to be defended, Oakland isn’t worth defending. Ron P. Rep. Lee is catering to left-wing voters. She doesn't CARE what the facts are. ~Bob.)
Hillary Clinton: 'No Evidence’ DOJ Sought Required License to Send Guns to Mexico in ‘Fast and Furious’
Excerpt: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified in the House Foreign Relations Committee Thursday that there was "no record" that the Justice Department had given the State Department a "head up" about Operation Fast and Furious, in which guns were allowed to flow from the United States to drug traffickers in Mexico, and that the State Department had found "no evidence" that DOJ had applied for a license or waiver to send guns to a foreign country, which a member of the committee told her would have been required under U.S. law. (I wonder how many brilliant legal minds it took to make these fools criminals in two different countries at the same time? Perhaps Mexico will ask for extradition? Or, maybe they could “win a cruise to Cancun,” an all expense paid vacation in Mexico for 15 years or so. Ron P.)
If you don't get what the "Occupy" movement wants, this college graduate will clearly explain it to you. ~Bob.
Michael Moore to OWS
Funny but probably true. ~Bob.
Lucky he's not a Republican--this would be embarrassing if it got in the news. ~Bob.
Tell me again how "all cultures are equally valid." ~Bob Excerpt: A nine-year-old girl who was seriously injured following an acid attack by her ‘husband’ fled the DHQ Hospital in Jhang on Friday afternoon. According to hospital officials, Saima was brought in with over 46 per cent burn wounds and was in critical condition. “Her father spoke to police officials and recorded a statement but now they have both fled. She may not survive for long without medical assistance,” said Dr Ejaz Khalid.
CBS: Gun buyer linked to "Fast and Furious" murder pleads guilty.
Excerpt: A Dallas County man linked to the murder of ICE Agent Jaime Zapata has pleaded guilty to weapons violations. Otilio Osorio, 22, of Lancaster, Texas, only pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to three counts of a 21-count indictment against him. Prosecutors say one of three guns found at the scene in Mexico where Agent Zapata was shot to death on February 15 was traced back to Osorio. Investigators believe he was the straw purchaser of the weapon, bought in Texas four months before the murder. As part of an agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office, Osorio pleaded guilty to conspiracy to make a false statement in firearms records and possessing a weapons with a removed serial number. Seven other defendants in the case have also entered guilty pleas. The maximum penalty for each count is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing dates have not yet been scheduled.
Robert A. Hall