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SATURDAY, JULY 3, 2010
ILLINOIS STOPS PAYING ITS BILLS – AT 8:15 P.M. ET: Illinois, home state to President Obama, we think...well, after Indonesia, Hawaii, Kansas, and maybe downtown Kenya...is on the verge of financial ruin, and has stopped paying its bills. The New York Times reports:
CHICAGO — Even by the standards of this deficit-ridden state, Illinois’s comptroller, Daniel W. Hynes, faces an ugly balance sheet. Precisely how ugly becomes clear when he beckons you into his office to examine his daily briefing memo.
He picks the papers off his desk and points to a figure in red: $5.01 billion.
“This is what the state owes right now to schools, rehabilitation centers, child care, the state university — and it’s getting worse every single day,” he says in his downtown office.
Mr. Hynes shakes his head. “This is not some esoteric budget issue; we are not paying bills for absolutely essential services,” he says. “That is obscene.”
For the last few years, California stood more or less unchallenged as a symbol of the fiscal collapse of states during the recession. Now Illinois has shouldered to the fore, as its dysfunctional political class refuses to pay the state’s bills and refuses to take the painful steps — cuts and tax increases — to close a deficit of at least $12 billion, equal to nearly half the state’s budget.
COMMENT: Uh, say guys, right next door is Indiana, run by a governor named Mitch Daniels, and Indiana's state government isn't sinking, and is paying its bills.
You think it has something to do with responsible government and careful planning? Nah. Whoever heard of that in the People's Democratic Party Republic of Illinois.
In the meantime, up north in Illinois, the city of Chicago has spent this week writing and adapting the most severe gun-control law in the country. Why? Because, as all truly enlightened people know, if you take guns away from law-abiding citizens, the murder rate goes down.
That's true, isnt it? It is true, no? Could you give me some coaching on this?
July 3, 2010 Permalink
OBAMA AND BP BOTH GET THUMBS DOWN ON GULF SPILL – AT 8:38 A.M. ET: I admire the American people. No matter how much the establishment media tries to protect The One (And Only), Americans see through the haze.
A new Fox poll makes it clear that our people do not approve of Obama's handling of Katrina II, the sequel, the oil spill:
Large majorities of American voters think the federal government and the oil company BP could be doing more to halt the disaster on the Gulf Coast.
A new poll released Friday by Fox News shows that few voters -- less than one in four -- think the federal government (24 percent) and BP (23 percent) are doing everything possible to combat the oil spill.
About 7 in 10 think there is more each organization could be doing to stop the leak and clean up the mess.
Even so, about twice as many voters approve of the how the Obama administration (41 percent) is dealing with the spill than with how BP is handling it (19 percent).
But approvers are in the minority. Just over half of voters disapprove of how the administration is handling the spill, while most voters -- 73 percent -- rate the job BP is doing negatively.
COMMENT: We've speculated here, and I believe the facts support the speculation, that the radicals behind Obama rather like the oil spill. The more damage, the better. More damage, more support for environmental extremism. Some will call that a conspiracy theory, but how else do we explain the utter sluggishness and marked indifference of the federal response?
July 3, 2010 Permalink
WHY WOULD THEY DO A LITTLE THING LIKE THAT? – AT 8:16 A.M. ET: There's been an ominous development in the Middle East, one that proves once again that Obama's grovel & appease policies are not working. From AFP:
Iran has moved radar to Syria that could provide early-warning against a possible surprise Israeli air attack against Tehran's nuclear sites, a US defense official said on Friday.
The radar transfer was first reported in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday and prompted the State Department to voice concerns about cooperation between Syria and Iran.
I just love this constant voicing of concerns. If we go on voicing concerns like this, we'll all wind up dead.
The sophisticated radar were deployed in Syria last year, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.
The move could bolster Iran's position amid long-running speculation that Israel might stage a bombing raid against Tehran's nuclear enrichment facilities.
Information from new radar also could potentially help the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah with its missile arsenal and air defenses.
Israel and the United States have refused to rule out military action against Iran over its nuclear program, which Washington says is designed to secure atomic weapons.
Iran has insisted its enrichment effort is purely peaceful and aimed at generating electricity.
State Department spokesman Philip Crowley on Thursday said Washington had concerns about the relationship between Iran and Syria.
"We don't believe that Iran's designs for the region are in Syria's best interest," Crowley told reporters.
In Syria's best interest? What about our best interest? Is State ever concerned about that in the age of Outreach Obama?
While acknowledging that all countries "have the right to protect themselves," the spokesman said the reported radar delivery would be of concern due to Syria's relationship with Hezbollah.
Oh please. That's our concern? Why shouldn't we be concerned about Iran's growing influence, as we fiddle with sanctions?
We're losin'. The rest of the world knows it, and hostile nations are doing what hostile nations do.
July 3, 2010 Permalink
A WARNING FROM RECENT HISTORY – AT 7:59 A.M. ET: Is it possible that the Obama administration is instructing Supreme Court nominees to lie, during confirmation hearings, about their view of the Second Amendment?
I think it's distinctly possible. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor this week joined the other liberals on the Court in specifically rejecting the usual interpretation of the Second Amendment, that Americans have an individual right to keep and bear arms. But she sang a different tune entirely during her confirmation hearings. Reason magazine has the facts:
During last year’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor, one of the most controversial issues centered on the would-be justice’s approach to the Second Amendment. As I argued at the time, her 2nd Circuit vote in the case of Maloney v. Cuomo, where she held that the Second Amendment did not apply to the states, did not bode well for her future treatment of gun rights on the Supreme Court. It turns out those fears were well-founded. On Monday, Sotomayor joined the dissent of Justice Stephen Breyer in McDonald v. Chicago. As gun rights expert David Kopel explains in today’s Washington Times, Breyer’s dissent did not just oppose extending the Second Amendment to Chicago, it opposed the Second Amendment itself:
Not only did Justice Stephen G. Breyer vote against extending the Second Amendment to state and local governments, he also argued forcefully and at length for overturning Heller and, therefore, for turning the Second Amendment into a practical nullity. Ominously, Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined the Breyer dissent - contradicting what she told the U.S. Senate and the American people last summer....
The Breyer-Sotomayor-Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissent urged that Heller be overruled and declared, "In sum, the Framers did not write the Second Amendment in order to protect a private right of armed self defense."
Contrast that with her Senate testimony: "I understand the individual right fully that the Supreme Court recognized in Heller." And, "I understand how important the right to bear arms is to many, many Americans."...
...To the SenateJudiciary Committee, Justice Sotomayor repeatedly averred that Heller is "settled law."
Sotomayor lied, plain and simple. I will be blunt in saying that some modern liberals, as opposed to the traditional liberals of the Paul Douglas stripe, feel they have a right to lie because they're superior creatures who must violate the minor rules of society to create a paradise on Earth.
Which brings us to Elena Kagan, whose confirmation hearings have now been completed. Kagan swore under oath that she believed that the Second Amendment embraced a personal right to keep and bear arms. She had never expressed such a view before. In fact, there is some evidence that she actually holds an entirely different position.
Did she lie too? I suspect so. And I suspect it was part of the strategy to take the issue off the table.
Kagan's nomination is now being opposed by top Republicans in the Senate. I join their position. She is the Barack Obama of 2010. We're asked to put a question mark on the Supreme Court, and to believe statements that she made during confirmation hearings that seem to contradict everything we know about her.
She'll be confirmed anyway, and I would hope that conservatives would brush up on the Constitutional amendment process, because we're going to need it.
July 3, 2010 Permalink
FRIDAY, JULY 2, 2010
TO YOUR GOOD HEALTH, MAYBE – AT 9:01 P.M. ET: The following news report from The Hill should fill us all with socialist pride as the advent of Obamacare approaches. After all that talk, and after all those pages, we get this:
The Obama administration has not ruled out turning sick people away from an insurance program created by the new healthcare law to provide coverage for the uninsured.
Critics of the $5 billion high-risk pool program insist it will run out of money before Jan. 1, 2014. That’s when the program sunsets and health plans can no longer discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.
Administration officials insist they can make changes to the program to ensure it lasts until 2014, and that it may not have to turn away sick people. Officials said the administration could also consider reducing benefits under the program, or redistributing funds between state pools. But they acknowledged turning some people away was also a possibility.
COMMENT: Let's see if I understand this: A program designed to make sure all Americans are covered may have to turn away desperately sick people, even though the cost of the program – some $5-billion – is a drop in the bucket of our national health invoice.
Nothing like a job well done. The founders, whose work we celebrate this weekend, must be wondering somewhere what we did with their country.
July 2, 2010 Permalink
NOT A MAN OF STEELE – AT 8:45 P.M. ET: Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, has been caught on videotape making disparaging remarks about the American effort in Afghanistan, and claiming that it's really Obama's war.
This isn't the first gaffe committed by Steele. He seems often to blunder his way through his term as chairman. But we are four months from an election, and the GOP seems to be revving up to give the Democrats every piece of ammunition they can. It's an old, and gracious Republican tradition.
We don't like that tradition here. It's time it was retired.
Bill Kristol has called for Steele's resignation, pointing out that Steele's comments are destructive of troop morale, and are untruthful. Whatever we may think of Obama, Afghanistan isn't his war alone, and that rewriting of history won't pass the common-sense test.
Charles Krauthammer has seconded the resignation call. I think both men are correct. Disparaging a war effort while at war is, as Krauthammer has called it, a capital offense. Steele must pay the price and a new chairman named. Otherwise, his quotes will come back to haunt the party.
There is the awkward issue of race. Steele is the first African-American to head the GOP, and forcing him out will infuriate him and possibly lead to the use of the race card. It will certainly not do anything to attract black voters.
Steele should be gracious about it and recognize the realities. If he doesn't, though, then the party has a serious problem and certainly doesn't want a racial brawl right before the election.
Republicans have grown too confident too quickly. Stumbling doesn't win elections.
July 2, 2010 Permalink
NOT TO WORRY, BUT...AT 9:39 A.M. ET: There's a little problem with Dubai, one of the world's richest little countries, and a country buying a great deal of influence in the United States. From London's Telegraph:
Shipments of illegal nuclear and weapons-building material have been intercepted in Dubai and other ports in the United Arab Emirates, local authorities have admitted.
Officials have accepted for the first time that the country is being used as a transit point for smuggling both money and illegal goods.
The admission comes as part of a drive to crack down on underground trade ties with Iran.
In the last week, the authorities have staged raids on dozens of firms regarded as fronts for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Dubai, and frozen 41 Iran-linked bank accounts.
And at a meeting of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism in Abu Dhabi, a senior figure revealed the extent of the trade in weapons and "dual-use" goods.
Hamad al-Kaabi, ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said new laws relating to the trade in nuclear and dual-use goods had "led to the shutting down of dozens of international and local companies involved in money laundering and proliferation of dual use and dangerous materials".
The goods included some whose trade was banned by United Nations regulations aimed at nuclear non-proliferation.
COMMENT: The issue is not what is intercepted, but what gets through, either through Dubai or other ports. We'd have to be awfully trusting to believe that all or even most of the material destined for Iran is being stopped. North Korea will not do its part. Neither will contraband operators around the world.
But at least Dubai, no friend of Iran, seems serious about the issue.
July 2, 2010 Permalink
MORE FROM THE DYNAMIC RECOVERY FRONT – AT 8:58 A.M. ET: More economic news is pouring in. We're booming, we're booming. Just ask Joe Biden. But, for some reason, not everyone in the work force is getting the message:
U.S. employment fell for the first this year in June as thousands of temporary census jobs ended and private hiring grew less than expected, dealing a blow to President Barack Obama who has identified job creation as a key priority.
Nonfarm payrolls dropped 125,000, the largest decline since October, as temporary census jobs fell 225,000, the Labor Department said on Friday.
However the unemployment rate fell to 9.5 percent, the lowest level since July, as people left the labor force.
The report will add to worries the recovery from the longest and deepest recession since the 1930s could be faltering. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected employment to fall 110,000 last month, with the jobless rate edging up to 9.8 percent from 9.7 percent in May.
The government revised data for April and May to show 25,000 more jobs created than earlier reported.
Private employment, considered a better measure of labor market health, rose 83,000 in June, less than market expectations for a 112,000 gain.
Public unhappiness with the economy, especially after a record $787 billion package of spending and tax cuts, is eroding Obama's popularity. Obama, has tried to put the blame on policies of the previous administration.
COMMENT: Look, everybody knows it's Bush's fault. As is the oil spill and Al Gore's divorce.
But, strangely, the ungrateful American people are putting some of the blame on President Obama, not appreciating all he has done for us and the peoples of the world. And when Obama and his crowd raise taxes to pay for all the good he has done, will Americans applaud it? Of course not. This is the damge that Fox News has done.
Oh, ignore the job statistics. They're just trying to scare us into sealing the southern border.
July 2, 2010 Permalink
JUST A LITTLE FAMILY MISUNDERSTANDING – AT 8:38 A.M. ET: From Britain there comes news of a little misunderstanding within a family that, I assure you, has nothing to do with religious belief or fanaticism.
The father and brother of an actress who starred in the Harry Potter films have been charged with threatening to kill her.
Afshan Azad, 22, has appeared in four of the movies as Padma Patil, a classmate of the young wizard.
She was allegedly attacked at her home in Longsight, Manchester, on May 21 this year.
Now her father Abdul Azad, 54, and brother, Ashraf Azad, 28, both of Beresford Road, Longsight, have appeared in court.
Abdul is accused of threatening to kill his daughter and Ashraf of threatening to kill and assault occasioning actual bodily harm against his sister.
Both men appeared at Manchester magistrates court and the case was adjourned until later this month for committal proceedings to crown court.
Afshan was studying for her AS levels at the Xaverian College in Rusholme when she was first cast in the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
COMMENT: Nowhere in the story, from Asian News, is there any indication of why a father might want to kill his daughter, or a brother his sister.
But it has become trendy, especially in the age of Barack Obama, to shove motive under the bed, for fear of "offending" (the worst crime these days) the world's Muslims. We are fighting a war in which we refuse to identify the enemy.
July 2, 2010 Permalink
BIAS BUILT-IN – AT 8:13 A.M. ET: We report periodically on the way President Obama has rigged federal investigation panels to make sure the "investigation" produces the right "facts." Here's a graphic example, from The Washington Examiner:
Francis Beinecke is president of the Natural Resources Defense Council and for several decades has been among the most active environmental legal activists in using court suits and the threat thereof to stop the fossil fuel energy development required to keep the American economy – aka as “the people” – moving.
She was also just appointed by President Obama as a member of his special commission tasked with investigating the Gulf Oil Spill. But they might as well shut down the commission and let the NRDC chief write the panel’s report because Beinecke already knows what caused the worst environmental calamity in U.S. history – We did.
If you doubt it, check out this quote from Beinecke from her May 27 column on Huffington Post:
“We can blame BP for the disaster, and we should. We can blame lack of adequate government oversight for the disaster, and we should. But in the end, we also must place the blame where it originated: America’s addiction to oil.”
I guess that's called "waiting for the facts."
That’s right – BP’s Deepwater Horizon blew up and has since been gushing thousands of gallons of thick, black crude oil in to the Gulf of Mexico because you and I insist on being able to drive our cars to and from work, to and from the grocery store, to and from school, to and from a thousand other places in our daily lives.
It’s all our fault, people.
And, of course, Ms. Beinecke is doing all of this for humanity:
By the way, Beinecke made more than $432,000 last year as NRDC’s president. Her non-profit organization also reported having in excess of $232 million in assets, employed more than 100 people full-time, and received at least $358,000 in government contracts.
Who knew that doing good could be so lucrative?
John McCain once said that all causes become businesses. We see it all the time, don't we? Environmentalism, while it surely can be a serious and important cause, has too often become a business. Al Gore, who seems to need a massage at the strangest times, has profited handsomely.
Not exactly change we can believe in.
July 2, 2010 Permalink