Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Republican National Committee Has Worst Cash Flow in a Decade

Here's news you won't find on FOX.

in reference to:

"The Republican National Committee is heading toward the 2010 elections with the worst cash flow it has seen in a decade, The Hill reports. The party spent $90 million through November of 2009, including on advertising for hard-fought governors' races it won in Virginia and New Jersey. During last year's election alone, the GOP's cash reserves dropped $15 million. It now has $8.7 million in the bank, down from $22 million when current chairman Michael Steele was elected last January, in an election year that holds 37 governor's races, a dozen tough Senate battles and dozens of House contests. "They're spending money at 2002 levels when they are not raising money at those levels," said a GOP operative. "That kind of thing worked when RNC was awash in money, but you can't do that in this environment.""
- Republican National Committee Has Worst Cash Flow in a Decade -- Politics Daily (view on Google Sidewiki)

U.S. high school student shot to death in Mexico

At some point someone is going to get concerned about whats going on in Mexico. You can bet the assault rifles used to kill this U.S. came from the States.

in reference to:

"The slaying of a teenager from a prominent Tijuana family who attended high school in California was a targeted assassination, the attorney general of the Mexican border state of Baja California said Wednesday. Jose Fernando Labastida, 17, was shot in a late-model Audi car with California license plates near his home on Monday. Initial investigations indicate he was shot six times, and nearly 60 shell casings were found at the scene, most from assault rifles. Attorney General Rommel Moreno said Labastida was the victim of "a direct attack to assassinate him," apparently not a botched kidnap attempt. Labastida resided in Tijuana but attended the Catholic Mater Dei High School in Chula Vista, California. A U.S. consular official said Labastida was a U.S. citizen. His grandfather, Gilberto Fimbres, is one of the owners of the Calimax supermarket chain."
- U.S. high school student shot to death in Mexico - (view on Google Sidewiki)

'Syria will back Hizbullah if Israel attacks'

This is very serious. It is the kind of thing that could escalate into a World War. Yes - World War. All it would take is for Russia or China to get involved. It's known that those countries have armed countries hostile to the United States and Israel. This President better get his act together and start making it clear to Israel that the U.S. would not support another attack on Lebanon. The obvious solution is meaningful peace talks. Including talks to create and Palestinian state. And that ain't gonna happen. Not as long as the Israeli lobby controls Capitol Hill. This is from the Jerusalem Post:

If Israel were to attack Hizbullah in Lebanon, Syria would respond and not sit idly by, the Qatari Al Watan newspaper quoted unnamed Syrian sources as saying in a report published Wednesday.
A Hizbullah supporter holds a...

A Hizbullah supporter holds a poster of Nasrallah during a rally to mark the third anniversary of the Second Lebanon War in a southern suburb of Beirut.

The sources reportedly added that Damascus considered any threat to Lebanon's security and stability as a threat to Syria's security.

The paper reported that Damascus was worriedly taking notice of "Israeli deployment and maneuvers along the northern border," and that Syrian leadership assessed Israel was planning a military operation in Lebanon in May.

US officials have purportedly notified the Lebanese government that if it does not manage to disarm Hizbullah, "Israel plans to invade the country all the way to Beirut," the Syrian sources told the newspaper.

According to Al Watan, the sources said that "this is a message to both Syria and Lebanon." On Sunday, a senior Beirut-based Hamas official said that his group would work side-by-side with Hizbullah in the next war against Israel, Army Radio reported.

"Conspiracy Theory": The Bilderberg Group (Video)

I'm watching Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura. The topic: The Bilderberg Group. This conspiracy theory has truth in it. Whenever you have a group of wealthy and powerful people getting together every year in secret, that is sinister. It is also a threat to democracies worldwide.

Fed Missed This Bubble. Will It See a New One?

Nope. Greed continues to be good on Wall St. Like 9-11, nothing has learned and nothing is really being done about it. And this administration has so many Wall Streeters that any real financial reform won't come until some other financial disaster happens. And there is no indication that the government has a plan for salvaging the economy other than rewarding the very people whom destroying the economy.

If only we’d had more power, we could have kept the financial crisis from getting so bad.

That has been the position of Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, and other regulators. It explains why Mr. Bernanke and the Obama administration are pushing Congress to give the Fed more authority over financial firms.

So let’s consider what an empowered Fed might have done during the housing bubble, based on the words of the people who were running it.

In 2004, Alan Greenspan, then the chairman, said the rise in home values was “not enough in our judgment to raise major concerns.” In 2005, Mr. Bernanke — then a Bush administration official — said a housing bubble was “a pretty unlikely possibility.” As late as May 2007, he said that Fed officials “do not expect significant spillovers from the subprime market to the rest of the economy.”

The fact that Mr. Bernanke and other regulators still have not explained why they failed to recognize the last bubble is the weakest link in the Fed’s push for more power. It raises the question: Why should Congress, or anyone else, have faith that future Fed officials will recognize the next bubble?

Just this week, Mr. Bernanke went to the annual meeting of academic economists in Atlanta to offer his own history of Fed policy during the bubble. Most of his speech, though, was a spirited defense of the Fed’s interest rate policy, complete with slides and formulas, like (pt - pt*) > 0. Only in the last few minutes did he discuss lax regulation. The solution, he said, was “better and smarter” regulation. He never acknowledged that the Fed simply missed the bubble.

This lack of self-criticism is feeding Congressional hostility toward the Fed. Mr. Bernanke is still likely to win confirmation for a second term, based on his aggressive and creative policies once the crisis began. But Congress hasn’t decided whether to expand his regulatory authority and is considering reining in the Fed’s other main mission — setting interest rates.

A once-marginal proposal — from Representative Ron Paul, the Texas Republican — that would give Congress the power to review interest rate decisions recently passed the House and will soon be considered by the Senate.

Economists are generally horrified by this idea. If Congress could force Fed officials to answer questions about every interest rate move, the process could easily become politicized. A politicized central bank is a first step toward runaway inflation.

But politicizing monetary policy isn’t the only mistake Congress could make. It also could end up going in the other direction and handing Fed officials more power without asking them to grapple with their failures.

When Mr. Bernanke is challenged about the Fed’s performance, he often points out that recognizing a bubble is hard. “It is extraordinarily difficult,” he said during his Senate confirmation hearing last month, “to know in real time if an asset price is appropriate or not.”

Most of the time, that’s true. Do you know if stocks will keep going up? Is gold now in the midst of a bubble? What will happen to your house’s value? Questions like these are usually an invitation to hubris.

Study: Homegrown Terror Risk Exaggerated

Everything to do with terrorism is exaggerated. Probably because the politicians don't know. If we had an agency dedicated to fighting terrorism we wouldn't so many miscalculations and/or intelligence failures. Those who call for giving Muslims in America extra scrutiny might want to look at these facts:

A new study of homegrown terrorism in the United States says that the threat of radicalization among American Muslims has been overstated.

Researchers identified 139 American Muslims who had been accused of planning or carrying out terror-related violence since the September 11 attacks.

Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim-Americans

The report's authors say that number is significant but small compared to terror cases in other countries, and compared to overall violent crime in the U.S.

The study credits self-policing in American Muslim communities for limiting radicalization.

Researchers also found that most of the publicly known cases since the Sept. 11 attacks involved young men who were U.S.-born or naturalized citizens. More than half of the suspects were radicalized as part of a group.

The analysis by researchers from Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found the accused were almost evenly divided in terms of ethnicity.

Although Arabs formed the largest group of suspects, their numbers were only slightly higher than African-Americans, South Asians, Somalis and whites. About a third were converts to Islam.

Using a broad definition of homegrown terror, the report identified 139 American Muslims who were accused in the last eight years of planning or carrying out violent attacks motivated by extremism. The cases include Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, charged with the Fort Hood mass shooting last November, and the five young men from Virginia who were recently arrested in Pakistan, allegedly on their way to get terrorist training and join the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The largest number of cases by far occurred last year, with a total of 41 suspects, although researchers say it's too early to know if that is an aberration or a trend. The 2009 increase is partly due to the cases of young Somali-Americans in Minneapolis believed to have joined Somalia's al-Shabab jihadist, or holy war, movement, the report's authors said. U.S. Muslims accused of sending money to overseas terrorist groups were not part of the study.
Meanwhile, the administration tries to figure out what happened on Christmas.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Wednesday afternoon that the unclassified version of a "comprehensive" preliminary White House review of the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day will be released Thursday.

According to Gibbs, President Obama will make remarks in conjunction with the release of the review. He expected the release and comments in the early afternoon.

Officials are engaged in separate reviews of passenger screening procedures and the use of terror watch lists. The review to be released tomorrow largely relates to the watch lists, and was prepared by counterterrorism and homeland security adviser John Brennan.

Both Brennan and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will likely discuss their review at the White House tomorrow, Gibbs said. Napolitano's review has focused largely on detection capabilities and screening.

Following a meeting with top officials Tuesday, the president said that the reviews continue to "reveal more about the human and systemic failures that almost cost nearly 300 lives."

Officials have already updated government watch lists in the wake of the attack. The president says the system "is not broken" but lamented in comments Tuesday that 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the alleged bomber, was able to board the airplane despite numerous red flags being raised about him.

Fossil tracks record 'oldest land-walkers'

I wonder what the anti-darwinists think of this? They've been quiet lately. I guess they've been busy attacking global warming. Scientists believe that human life first originated in the water and migrated to land.

Rocks from a disused quarry record the "footprints" of unknown creatures that lived about 397 million years ago.

Scientists tell the journal Nature that the fossil trackways even retain the impressions left by the "toes" on the animals' feet.

The team says the find means that land vertebrates appeared millions of years earlier than previously supposed.

"This place has yielded what I consider to be some of the most exciting fossils I've ever encountered in my career as a palaeontologist," said team member Per Ahlberg from Uppsala University, Sweden.

"[They are] fossil of footprints that give us the earliest record of how our very distant ancestors moved out of the water and moved on to the land and took their first steps."

Numerous trackways have been identified in the Zachelmie Quarry in the Holy Cross Mountains.

They represent the movements of many animals as they scurried around what would have been a tropical muddy shoreline in the Middle Devonian Period of Earth history.

Slabs of carbonate rock are dappled with prints that range in size and detail.

Some indentations are obscured where successive animals have trampled over the same patch of ground; but others retain exquisite features of the pads and digits that made them.

The animals were probably crocodile-like in appearance and lived an amphibian-like existence (although those specific animal forms did not appear until many millions of years later).

The dimensions of the prints suggest some individuals were more than two metres long.

Transcript: Michael Steele on FOXNews (1-5-2010)

This was Michael Steele's appearance on FOXNews' Neil Cavuto program. Complete transcript here.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: My next guest says the guidelines are fine, here, but the president should call this what it is, a war on terror. RNC Chair Michael Steele, joining me right now. Michael`s got a new book called "Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda."

Terror is a big theme.

MICHAEL STEELE, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Terror is a big theme. And it`s an important issue, as we`ve seen since Christmas, that won`t go away. And it won`t go away because there are people out there who do not like the United States, who do not like, fundamentally, what we stand for when you look at our Constitution and the freedoms.

And, you know, what I find so ironic is that the very people that want to blow up that Constitution, if you will, now are going to be wrapped in it by this administration, when it comes to holding trials in civil courts here in the United States, addressing this young hoodlum, you know, terrorist as someone who has the same rights as you and I and treating him in that fashion.

This is not what Americans have invested in, in terms of the dollars spent so far, as the governor noted, through the work that the commission did on homeland security to protect this country, to have us now turn around and open up the doors to terrorists to use our very judicial system against us.

CAVUTO: But nevertheless, I mean, whether it`s -- they`re finally calling it a war on terror or what have you, I mean, there still seems something systemic in the process, whether you`re Republican or Democrat...

STEELE: Right.

CAVUTO: ... where they don`t talk to one another. They don`t communicate.


CAVUTO: And again and again, this reminds me of what led up to 9/11. They weren`t -- they weren`t connecting even the simplest of puzzles, here.

STEELE: Well, think about -- but think about it this way, Neil. Between 9/11 and 2008, you didn`t hear of this type of miscommunication and this type of misdirection and dismissing information that`s coming in from embassies in places like Yemen, for goodness sakes.

That`s because the Bush administration had a particular emphasis. They understood what it was they were engaged in. The battle before them was this war, as they described and defined, on terror.

CAVUTO: But couldn`t this have been a case, Michael, where -- again, I`m not casting sides here...


CAVUTO: These guys need to get lucky just once, right? So they could have gotten lucky just once under the last president...


STEELE: Exactly. But, again, I go back to the point -- look, I applaud the president for pulling in his team and sitting down and going, "What happened? Let`s figure out how we fix this so we don`t have this problem going forward."

Where my concern still remains, as I talk about in the book, is, when you refuse to call a thing what it is, then the American people and those of us outside, look at it and go, well, if you won`t call it what we see it to be...

CAVUTO: You`re talking about the war on terror?

STEELE: The war on terror.


STEELE: Or calling a terrorist a terrorist, as opposed to a criminal defendant.

CAVUTO: Do you think we`re trying to be too, you know, politically correct on this?

STEELE: No, I don`t think you need to be politically correct because it sets a tone...


CAVUTO: Let`s say you`re a TSA agent, all right, and a Muslim -- a Muslim guy is coming through the line. Would you pull him aside?

STEELE: No. Now you`re talking about something completely different.

CAVUTO: No, I`m talking about -- because that`s part of being vigilant.

STEELE: Well, but that`s -- but no, that`s not part of being vigilant. That`s something very different, which is not what America`s about and it`s not what we want to have happen here. This isn`t about singling out Muslims or those of the Islamic faith.

CAVUTO: But we do single out all the time, right?

There`s talk today that these Yemeni transfers from Gitmo are -- might ends up in Illinois.

STEELE: Yes, but to the point that you made initially, and I think that`s really where it is, when you build in the infrastructure and the network in which you`re not destabilizing central intelligence and their communications with national security and the FBI and even local law enforcement instead of -- you`re enhancing that, then the information you get flows through appropriately and you can put in place the checks and balances.

More to the point, if you build out your network on the ground in places like Yemen, in places like Afghanistan and so forth, you then enhance the opportunity to not make those mistakes going forward. You don`t have to single out someone or profile them because of their faith to get at the bad actors here. I mean, it`s pretty obvious, if you build the network in place.

But, you know, going back to the 70s, to the Carter presidency, where they destabilized the Central Intelligence Agency, where they took away the ability to collect this information, 30-plus years ago, and now you layer on top of that the inability to do the enhanced interrogations to get this information.

Daily Show Parodies Brit Hume Tiger Woods Conversion Comment

Brit Hume's conversion comment is a worse scandal than the Tiger Woods infidelity. The implications for our democracy are serious. The anchor of a major news outlet is proselytizing on the air. He's also caught insulting the religion of millions of Buddhists. But, of course, the press isn't treating it like a major scandal. This funny video puts things in perspective.

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Slovak Air Security Test Goes Very Wrong

And I thought the U.S. government was a f-up.

in reference to:

"In what no doubt seemed like a good idea at the time, Slovak officials decided to test security at two airports in Slovakia on Saturday by concealing plastic explosives in eight suitcases and waiting to see what happened next. Here’s what happened next: airport security intercepted seven of the suitcases but failed to detect 96 grams of the plastic explosive RDX loaded into one bag, which belonged to a Slovak electrician who lives in Ireland and had no idea his luggage had been tampered with. The man boarded his flight to Dublin, retrieved his bag and went home to his apartment. The man then unpacked but, The Irish Times reports, “the explosives had been concealed so well that he did not find them.” Two days later, on Monday, it occurred to someone in Slovakia that one of the explosive-packed bags had gone missing and Slovakian police contacted their counterparts in Dublin to ask for help. On Tuesday morning, the Irish Army’s bomb squad paid a visit to the apartment of the Slovak electrician in Dublin and secured the explosives."
- Slovak Air Security Test Goes Very Wrong - The Lede Blog - (view on Google Sidewiki)

GOP House Candidate: Battling Liberals More Important Than Battling Terrorists

The things that come out of the mouths of Republicans are becoming more and more foolish and outlandish.

in reference to:

"Allen Quist, a Republican who is seeking to defeat Rep. Tim Walz in southern Minnesota's First Congressional District, told attendees of the Wabasha County Republicans Christmas Party in mid-December that beating the "radical" liberals in Washington, D.C., is a bigger battle than beating terrorism. "Our country is being destroyed. Every generation has had to fight the fight for freedom... Terrorism? Yes. That's not the big battle," he said. "The big battle is in D.C. with the radicals. They aren't liberals. They are radicals. Obama, Pelosi, Walz: They're not liberals, they're radicals. They are destroying our country.""
- GOP House Candidate: Battling Liberals More Important Than Battling Terrorists (view on Google Sidewiki)

World Net Daily attacks Glenn Beck for lampooning its birther smear.

The Hatepublicans are fighting amongst each other again.

in reference to:

"On his radio show yesterday, Fox News personality Glenn Beck lampooned the birther movement, saying its claim that Obama is not an American citizen is the “dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” Beck argued that the birthers’ agitation is actually a “dream come true” for Obama because they are constantly “discrediting themselves” and making all conservatives look foolish. Far-right news website WorldNetDaily (WND), which has led the birther charge, took offense to the way Beck “caricatured” its movement’s argument. While both Beck and WND both traffic in extreme anti-Obama fear mongering, the site nevertheless accused Beck of sounding “reminiscent” of “Obama’s apologists” in the media:"
- Think Progress » World Net Daily attacks Glenn Beck for lampooning its birther smear. (view on Google Sidewiki)

Cat Found Frozen Thaws, Survives

Miracle on ice. Sorry.

in reference to:

"In the midst of the weekend's prolonged winter storm, Norfolk Animal Control Officer Hilary Cohen was driving through the snow, responding to a call about a cat. It didn't look promising. Cohen tells CBS Station WBZ Boston that the small gray and white cat appeared dead. She was stiff, showing no signs of life. "I kept her in the blanket and put her on my lap in the cruiser and headed to the hospital. Once in the car, I turned the heaters on and saw a whisker twitch. That was the real only sign of reflex I saw from her." Cohen took the frozen feline to Acorn Animal Hospital, where veterinarians were ready to apply heat therapy and administer IV fluids, among other things. Cohen says the staff there "worked miracles on this little cat.""
- Cat Found Frozen Thaws, Survives - CBS News (view on Google Sidewiki)

Obama, Dems Agree to Closed-Door Health Negotiations

So much for transparency.

in reference to:

"President Obama and congressional Democratic leaders agreed Tuesday to bypass a conference committee and keep negotiations to reconcile the Senate and House health care reform bills a closed-door affair. They concluded that the House will work off the Senate's version, amend it and send it back to the Senate for final passage, according to a House leadership aide, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the private meeting. Obama held an Oval Office meeting Tuesday evening with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his No. 2, Sen. Dick Durbin joined in by phone. Obama himself will take a hands-on role in the final health care talks, convening another meeting with congressional leaders at the White House on Wednesday, the aide said. The aim is to get a final bill to Obama's desk before the State of the Union policy address sometime in early February."
- - Obama, Dems Agree to Closed-Door Health Negotiations (view on Google Sidewiki)

Michael Steele: Republicans Won't Take Over House in 2010

GOP Chairman, Michael Steele, is a buffoon. And Republicans, whom are trying to play silly politics by pretending they are for African-Americans by appointing a black to head the party, are regretting they ever chose the current head of the party. Included below are transcript excerpt of Steele's latest appearance on FOX:


HANNITY: Republicans have been wrong. Admit mistakes.


HANNITY: I love that, because that's the first step to getting well.

STEELE: That's the first step to getting well. And it occurred to me that this really is a step-by-step process. It is taking some baby steps initially. But it really starts with taking your head out of your navel and paying ahead and looking to the...

HANNITY: Some people might use another term.

STEELE: ... The reality of it is you've got to start by looking within.


HANNITY: There are those that are saying that, for the Republican Party to be successful, they've got to, quote, moderate -- be more moderate.

STEELE: No, no! ... That's what has gotten us into trouble, when we walked away from principle. Our platform is one of the best political documents that's been written in the last 25 years, honest injun on that.

It speaks to some core principles, conservative principles on value of family, faith, life, economics. Those principles don't change.


STEELE: Look, are you going to trust someone who's not free enough with themselves to admit they have a problem? No. you're going to be suspicious. Because if I don't see you admit your problem, then how can I trust what you say going forward?

HANNITY: All right. So...

STEELE: Once you do that, Sean, once you do that, then it's got to be followed up with concrete action. And that's one of the things that -- it's not just in this book right now, drawing out contrasts between Democrats and Republicans. But then saying what it is we should be doing.

How do we begin to address those?

HANNITY: Positive messages?

STEELE: Positive messages. Again, looking to the future with the sense of empowering people, not government.


HANNITY: How do you deal with these left wingers in the party that don't stand on those principals?

STEELE: ... That's one of the dynamics that we're now beginning to discover as a party. That yes, we are diverse. The northeast is different from the south. It's different from the west ...

... But the thing that's important to note here, you've got to fall down on those -- those core principles, that thread, that common thread that defines us, regardless of the region of the country we're in. I look at it this way. If you've got four people wearing a hat and they wear the hat differently, what's the thing they have in common? That hat, that one thing that they put on. The GOP, everyday.


HANNITY: Predictions for the election?

STEELE: Predictions for the election, I think that overall -- and we're beginning now to do the assessments on the various races. But I think overall, given what we know so far and what this administration's proclivities are, we're going to see, I think, nice pick-ups in the House. I think we're going to see nice...

HANNITY: More specific.

STEELE: Well, I can't give a number right yet. Because like I said, we're just now beginning to look at the races. And we have races where it hasn't been clear...

HANNITY: Do you think you can take over the House? Do you think Republicans...

STEELE: Not this year.


STEELE: Well, I don't know yet, because all the candidates we still have vacancies that need to get filled. But then the question we need to ask ourselves is, if we do that, are we ready?

HANNITY: Are you?

STEELE: Are we...

HANNITY: Answer your own question. Are we -- do you think they're ready?

STEELE: I don't know. And that's what I'm assessing and evaluating right now. Those candidates that are looking to run have to be -- have to be anchored in these principles. They have to be -- they have to understand...

HANNITY: I'm agreeing with what you're saying. I think...

STEELE: They have to understand these steps, because if they don't, then they'll get to Washington, and they'll start drinking that Potomac River water. And they'll get drunk with power ...