Duquette looks to unearth 'value' in offseason
On the heels of a week that included trading closer Jim Johnson and watching two coveted players sign elsewhere, Baltimore general manager Dan Duquette finds himself in a precarious position at the Winter Meetings.
O's hoping to make a splash at Winter Meetings
The Winter Meetings are back at Disney World, but whether the Orioles will have a magical week remains to be seen. Baltimore's only big move in an otherwise busy offseason around baseball has been trading closer Jim Johnson to Oakland. This puts some pressure on executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette & Co. to try to make some major upgrades to keep pace in the American League East.
O's head to Winter Meetings with meaty to-do list
Dan Duquette and the Orioles head to the annual Winter Meetings with extensive needs this offseason. Among those concerns will be finding a new closer, following the recent trade of Jim Johnson to Oakland.
Lawmakers return to Capitol Hill on Monday to begin a critical week of budget negotiations with wide-ranging economic implications for Maryland — on issues that include Baltimore harbor dredging, preschool classrooms and the Eastern Shore's poultry industry.
Critics of Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration expressed dismay Sunday at the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Maryland, charging that he deliberately underplayed the state's problems in setting up its health care insurance exchange.
Comments about Baltimore Reporter:
Perhaps the best part of blogging or the internet in general is the occasional discovery of something unexpected.Over on
Baltimore Reporter and Conservative Thoughts is a great and thought provoking article by Robert Farrow.I hope you will follow
this link and read this great post.
I love your blog
Once again - as happens so often - I have been positioned here on the living room couch, immersed in your blog. You are
better than Fox News.
Awards and Rankings:
Voted one of the best local blogs:
Baltimore Examiner: 2006
Voted Top 10 most influential blog in Maryland in 2007.
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John Yoo writes an editorial today in which he blasts Obama for the decisions he has been making regarding Gitmo and the interrogation of terrorists:
During his first week as commander in chief, President Barack Obama ordered the closure of Guantanamo Bay and terminated the CIA’s special authority to interrogate terrorists.
While these actions will certainly please his base — gone are the cries of an “imperial presidency” — they will also seriously handicap our intelligence agencies from preventing future terrorist attacks. In issuing these executive orders, Mr. Obama is returning America to the failed law enforcement approach to fighting terrorism that prevailed before Sept. 11, 2001. He’s also drying up the most valuable sources of intelligence on al Qaeda, which, according to CIA Director Michael Hayden, has come largely out of the tough interrogation of high-level operatives during the early years of the war.
The question Mr. Obama should have asked right after the inaugural parade was: What will happen after we capture the next Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or Abu Zubaydah? Instead, he took action without a meeting of his full national security staff, and without a legal review of all the policy options available to meet the threats facing our country.
What such a review would have made clear is that the civilian law-enforcement system cannot prevent terrorist attacks. What is needed are the tools to gain vital intelligence, which is why, under President George W. Bush, the CIA could hold and interrogate high-value al Qaeda leaders. On the advice of his intelligence advisers, the president could have authorized coercive interrogation methods like those used by Israel and Great Britain in their antiterrorism campaigns. (He could even authorize waterboarding, which he did three times in the years after 9/11.)
Eliminating the Bush system will mean that we will get no more information from captured al Qaeda terrorists. Every prisoner will have the right to a lawyer (which they will surely demand), the right to remain silent, and the right to a speedy trial.
The first thing any lawyer will do is tell his clients to shut up. The KSMs or Abu Zubaydahs of the future will respond to no verbal questioning or trickery — which is precisely why the Bush administration felt compelled to use more coercive measures in the first place. Our soldiers and agents in the field will have to run more risks as they must secure physical evidence at the point of capture and maintain a chain of custody that will stand up to the standards of a civilian court.
Relying on the civilian justice system not only robs us of the most effective intelligence tool to avert future attacks, it provides an opportunity for our enemies to obtain intelligence on us. If terrorists are now to be treated as ordinary criminals, their defense lawyers will insist that the government produce in open court all U.S. intelligence on their client along with the methods used by the CIA and NSA to get it.
John Yoo also goes into the the staying of all military commission trials, which Yoo believes is a prelude to closing down the commissions entirely and transferring the cases to the US court system. A disasterous decision. While Yoo believes the interrogation practices used during the Bush years are all but gone, Obama backers are not so sure. Here is the World Socialist website:
On the question of so-called â€œharsh interrogation techniques,â€ i.e., torture, Obamaâ€™s orders leave room for their continuation. White House Counsel Gregory Craig told reporters the administration was prepared to take into account demands from the CIA that such methods be allowed. Obama announced the creation of a task force that will consider new interrogation methods beyond those sanctioned by the Army Field Manual, which now accepts 19 forms of interrogation, as well as the practice of extraordinary rendition.
Which in reality means its the same policy as what was in effect during the Bush years. Oh, and on the Army Field manual:
Retired Admiral Dennis Blair, Obamaâ€™s nominee for director of national intelligence, told a Senate confirmation hearing that the Army Field Manual would itself be changed, potentially allowing new forms of harsh interrogation, but that such changes would be kept secret.
Looks like plenty of Obamamites are going to be a bit peeved pretty soon.
Democrat Vote Buying “Stimulus” Bill to Give Tax “Credits” to Illegal Aliens?
No requirement for a valid Social Security number. Why not save postage and just send them a certificate of citizenship and a voter registration card along with the check?
In yesterday’s report on the Hogzilla stimulus bill, we cited the Wall Street Journal editorial which draws attention to $83 billion for redistribution of wealth through tax refund checks to people who don’t pay income taxes. And you thought it wasn’t a vote buying bill?
Dick Morris describes the problem this way:
GOP, Push Free Enterprise TownHall.com
by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
January 28, 2009
…In the name of economic stimulus, it not only has every item any liberal ever asked of Santa Claus on Christmas eve, it also contains the seeds of a permanent shift toward a European-style socialist democracy. Its dramatic exemption of more than half of Americans from paying federal income taxes (it is now about one-third who don’t pay them) and its generosity in awarding this voting majority a welfare check — called a refundable tax credit — moves the politics of taxation sharply to the left.
WASHINGTON: A top Republican congressional aide says the $800 billion-plus economic stimulus measure could steer government checks to illegal immigrants.
Republican officials are concerned that the Democratic-written legislation makes people who came to the United States illegally eligible for tax credits of $500 per worker and $1,000 per couple. (more…)
If you told me a Baltimore newspaper would close its doors this week the Baltimore Examiner would not have been my first answer. Yet that is just what happened.
The Baltimore Examiner will close next month. Denver-based Clarity Media Group confirms to WBAL News it’s closing the paper after its February 15th editions.
Clarity CEO Ryan McKibben says the company tried for several months to find a buyer but was unsuccessful. He says employees of the paper were told Thursday morning. McKibben says “strong revenue synergies” did not materialize as expected from the Baltimore newspaper’s proximity to Clarity’s Washington Examiner.
Iâ€™m going to miss the great reporting of Len Lazarick, Stephen Janis, and Luke Broadwater, along with the opinion writing of the incomparable Greg Kane. Unfortunately we wonâ€™t have Michael Olesker to kick around anymore.
The Examiner was a great foil to the Baltimore Sun. When it comes to state government, the Examiner cut through the spin of press releases from the governorâ€™s office and offered incisive editorials. Whereas the Sun editorial page appeared to regurgitate the governorâ€™s talking points almost verbatim.
I am also indebted to the Examinerâ€™s editorial page editor Marta Hummel Mossburg, who offered me space on the oped page on many occasions.
So long Baltimore Examiner, and good luck to all its employees.
I highly recommend the Washington Examiner. Mark Tapscott, the paper’s editorial page editor is a solid conservative with a keen eye for what the movement needs to do to compete in the the digital age. (more…)
The central economic calamity of the next five years may not be the current depression, high unemployment or economic contraction. It may, instead, be inflation coming in 2011 and 2012, which will be high in the double digits, caused by the massive increase in the money supply caused both by the stimulus package and the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bailouts.
By so vastly increasing the government debt, we are going to create a situation in which too much money will chase too few goods once the confidence crisis has lifted, triggering huge inflation. Democrats are historically willing to tolerate some inflation to lower unemployment, while Republicans have the opposite priority. But the spending binge now going on exceeds all bounds of reason and will lead to a catastrophe in the years ahead.
Once double-digit inflation appears, it will stay for a stubbornly long time. It will only be chased away by a Volker-like recession, induced by government raising interest rates to 15-18 percent. This second dipping of depression will dishearten the nation.
And the only reason we need to go through this is not to stop the depression. The stimulus package will have only a marginal impact on the restoration of confidence that is key to that. It is to mitigate the pain of the contraction. (more…)
Nancy Pelosi feels that she and her blessed Democrats have nothing to fear because after all they are the victors and have slain the Republican Party. So why may I ask is President Barack Obama trying so hard to win over the Republicans while she hides out in the cloakroom? Why isn’t he as self assured as she that they have nothing to fear from the Republicans? Is Obama so fearful of Rush Limbaugh that he wants the Republicans not to listen to him?
Congressional Republicans have indeed found their voices casting aside their electoral failures and Obama’s popularity, to push hard on both sides of the Capitol. Imagine the scare they gave the Democrats when they mustered 30 votes, including that of their three top leaders, against the confirmation of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has kept up a steady din of opposition to the stimulus package which is loaded with Democratic pork projects. They are not going to let the Democrats roll over them without a whimper. Republican nitpicking has taken a toll because funds for contraception, defended by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calf) on national television was removed. John Boehner (R-Ohio) urged his members to oppose Obama’s economic centerpiece hours before Obama paid the Republicans a compliment by coming to the Capital for private meetings with them. Obama had his hand slapped in an effort to embarrass the president because only a few weeks ago he was unavailable to them.
But the Republicans must be careful to give the appearance they are listening to Obama while at the same time the Democratic Congress is ruining Obama’s message. The Democrats want it their way even if they have to drift away from Obama’s stimulus message. What has happened to Obama’s 40 percent tax cuts and a stimulus package free of earmarks?
“This is a very dangerous vote for House Republicans, in particular those from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, “said a White House aide familiar with House districts. “Their constituents want them to take action to save the economy, not block progress.”( dyn.politico.com 1/27/09.)
Is it all Obama’s fault? No!!! It is what Pelosi has done with the bill and Republican’s while hoping to work with Obama feel they can’t in an atmosphere of a partisanship first strike approach. Obama has met with Republicans at least three times compared with not once has Pelosi met with them therefore, Obama’s diplomacy has not bought them votes. Pelosi has made it clear they won the election not the Republicans. Republicans are not the party of obstructionists but rather of bi-partisanship.
Rep. Tom Price (R-GA,) leader of the conservative Republican Study Committee has a message for Obama. ” This is bad policy and we think, Mr. President, with all due respect that you’re getting some bad advice from Ms. Pelosi maybe from Mr. Reid in regard to a lot of things that Democrats have been wanting from years even before you became a United States Senator and they are throwing all this in there, ” Price said. “It in no way shape or form looks like true emergency spending.” (dyn.politico.com 1/27/09.)
McConnell said Tuesday that the Republican Party can make a comeback since it is free of an unpopular president. While he wished President George Bush well the party has carried a political burden for two elections. “We’ve been here before, in ’93 and ’94,” he said. “The Democrats had a new president, President Clinton, large majorities in the House and Senate. We came back. We’ll come back again.” ( dyn.politico.com 1/27/09.) (more…)
*HOUSE PASSES BILL 244-188NO REPUBLICANS VOTE FOR SPEND SPREE IN HOUSE*
“Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.” White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel
Hogzilla started with the best of intentions as do most other Democrat big spending programs. Despite the fact that credit markets are improving after the first dose of $350 billion in the Bush bailout plan, Democrats insisted we had to act fast to do more because…. well…it’s a crisis you know!!!
Starting weeks after his election Obama’s plan began to take shape as Democrats first hinted at a plan costing in the range of $500 to $700 billion. But Democrats rushed to add billions more for their favorite programs quickly taking the estimated cost to $775 billion in the first week of January only to climb over $825 billion then $850 billion last week.
As Congress prepares to expedite passage of the bill the amount now reaches $ 900 billion with the total cost of the debt incurred taking the package over $1.2 trillion.
When you consider that all federal spending for budget year 2008 was less than $3 trillion you quickly realize that we are embarking on the most massive big government spending spree of all time.[Note to any conservatives disgruntled with Republican big spenders... we warned you that Dems would make things MUCH worse.]
Both House and Senate [searchable text] versions of the bill are staggering in the amounts and the sheer complexity and scope of the legislation. The Wall Street Journal sums it up by calling it “A 40-Year Wish List:”
…This is a political wonder that manages to spend money on just about every pent-up Democratic proposal of the last 40 years.
We’ve looked it over, and even we can’t quite believe it. There’s $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn’t turned a profit in 40 years; $2 billion for child-care subsidies; $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts; $400 million for global-warming research and another $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects. There’s even $650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons.
In selling the plan, President Obama has said this bill will make “dramatic investments to revive our flagging economy.” Well, you be the judge. Some $30 billion, or less than 5% of the spending in the bill, is for fixing bridges or other highway projects. There’s another $40 billion for broadband and electric grid development, airports and clean water projects that are arguably worthwhile priorities.
Add the roughly $20 billion for business tax cuts, and by our estimate only $90 billion out of $825 billion, or about 12 cents of every $1, is for something that can plausibly be considered a growth stimulus. And even many of these projects aren’t likely to help the economy immediately. As Peter Orszag, the President’s new budget director, told Congress a year ago, “even those [public works] that are ‘on the shelf’ generally cannot be undertaken quickly enough to provide timely stimulus to the economy.”
Most of the rest of this project spending will go to such things as renewable energy funding ($8 billion) or mass transit ($6 billion) that have a low or negative return on investment. Most urban transit systems are so badly managed that their fares cover less than half of their costs. However, the people who operate these systems belong to public-employee unions that are campaign contributors to . . . guess which party?
Another “stimulus” secret is that some $252 billion is for income-transfer payments — that is, not investments that arguably help everyone, but cash or benefits to individuals for doing nothing at all. There’s $81 billion for Medicaid, $36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits, $20 billion for food stamps, and $83 billion for the earned income credit for people who don’t pay income tax. While some of that may be justified to help poorer Americans ride out the recession, they aren’t job creators.
As for the promise of accountability, some $54 billion will go to federal programs that the Office of Management and Budget or the Government Accountability Office have already criticized as “ineffective” or unable to pass basic financial audits. These include the Economic Development Administration, the Small Business Administration, the 10 federal job training programs, and many more.
Oh, and don’t forget education, which would get $66 billion more. That’s more than the entire Education Department spent a mere 10 years ago and is on top of the doubling under President Bush. Some $6 billion of this will subsidize university building projects. If you think the intention here is to help kids learn, the House declares on page 257 that “No recipient . . . shall use such funds to provide financial assistance to students to attend private elementary or secondary schools.” Horrors: Some money might go to nonunion teachers.
The larger fiscal issue here is whether this spending bonanza will become part of the annual “budget baseline” that Congress uses as the new floor when calculating how much to increase spending the following year, and into the future. Democrats insist that it will not. But it’s hard — no, impossible — to believe that Congress will cut spending next year on any of these programs from their new, higher levels.
The Wall Street Journal scratches just the tip of a the most monstrous iceberg of congressional pork spending of all time. That may be Democrats objective. Load this Hogzilla up with so much crap that it just overwhelms us all.
Whether it’s education and environmental groups or ACORN this bill is starting to look like one massive pay for play reward to loyal Democrat supporters.
Payoff to ACORN?
House Republican Leader John Boehner issued a statement over the weekend noting that the stimulus bill wending its way through Congress provides $4.19 billion for “neighborhood stabilization activities.”
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., told FOX News Tuesday that the money could be seen as “payoff” for groups’ political activities in the last election. ACORN generally supports Democratic candidates and actively backed President Obama last year.
“It’s just a long list of spending items. Not a real economic stimulus job creation bill,” Vitter said. “It’s line after line after line of favorite liberal spending programs, and it amounts to a big government bill — not a job creation bill.”
We’re reminded that it was only January 7th when then President Elect Obama said this:
OBAMA: Weâ€™re not going to be able to expect the American people to support this critical effort unless we take extraordinary steps to ensure that the investments are made wisely and managed well. And thatâ€™s why my recovery and reinvestment plan will have – will set a new higher standard of accountability, transparency, and oversight.
We are going to ban all earmarks, the process by which individual members insert pet projects without review.
In addition to the above, does President Obama now suggest that the following, which are also part of the bill, are essential to his economic recovery plan?
$1.5 billion for a “carbon capturing contest”
$45 million for offroad trails.
$400 million for HIV and chlamydia testing.
$75 million for smoking cessation.
At least Democrats dropped millions for birth control after laughter erupted when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed that it was necessary for economic recovery. And Las Vegas can now pay for it’s own Mob Museum, Rhode Island won’t get the $4.8 million they wanted for a polar bear exhibit and Miami will have to do without the $1.5 million for a water park ride. But who knows whether some of that and more will sneak back into the final version?
Jeff Jacoby, writing at the Boston Globe reminds us of this Reagan parable:
RONALD REAGAN loved to tell the story of the unfailingly cheerful little boy who wakes up on Christmas morning to find, instead of presents, an immense pile of manure. Undaunted, he grabs a shovel and starts digging. “With all this manure,” he says excitedly, “there must be a pony in here someplace!”
Is there a pony somewhere in the $825 billion “stimulus” plan that Democrats in the House of Representatives plan to bring to a vote this week? The Congressional Budget Office started digging into this immense pile of, uh, deficit spending, and what it found would discourage even a Reagan-caliber optimist.
There Will Be Cuts…. In Defense!
For those who were concerned that Obama might totally abandon his pledge to cut government spending, not to worry. WH Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel assures us that there will be budget cuts. But it’s likely that most of them will be in the Dept. of Defense taking away the tools and training our troops need to keep them safe and succeed in their mission.
Republicans Have a Better Plan
Republican leaders in both the House and Senate have been adamant in their opposition to this bogus economic recovery spending spree. They continue to repeat that the correct course is tax relief that puts money back into the hands of American families who can generate economic activity faster than any government program. The danger of taking a $trillion or more out of the free market economy during a credit crunch and filtering it through the inefficient and wasteful government programs is clear to those on the GOP side of the aisle.
History has proven GOP economic principles work. Will Dems be held accountable after wasting trillions with little to show for it?
James Hansen’s Supervisor Calls Him An Embarrassment
Washington DC, Jan 27th 2009: NASA warming scientist James Hansen, one of former Vice-President Al Goreâ€™s closest allies in the promotion of man-made global warming fears, is being publicly rebuked by his former supervisor at NASA.
Retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist, Dr. John S. Theon, the former supervisor of James Hansen, NASAâ€™s vocal man-made global warming fear soothsayer, has now publicly declared himself a skeptic and declared that Hansen â€œembarrassed NASAâ€ with his alarming climate claims and said Hansen was â€œwas never muzzled.â€ Theon joins the rapidly growing ranks of international scientists abandoning the promotion of man-made global warming fears.
Okay, so I couldn’t let my kudos to one Democratic politician go by without ridiculing another one–kind of like that “revenue neutral” carbon tax.
From Chris Horner at Planet Gore
The creepiest moment of the day at Gore’s hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee came when Sen. Ben Cardin (D., MD) called, in the context of any new international global warming treaty, for international “support for uniform scientific information so that we all are operating with the same set of facts.”
Gulp. Boy, that actual scientific method is really proving inconvenient.
I suppose it goes without saying that Mr. Gore associated himself with Sen. Cardin’s remarks. If only they had thought of it sooner, we might have avoided allowing a court concluding after three days of evidence that Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth hysteria “arise[s] in the context of alarmism and exaggeration in support of his political thesis,” and that “there is a view to the contrary, i.e. (at least) the mainstream view” (ouch!). Think of the time (and hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in the stimulus bill alone) that we’d save!
It can certainly be claimed that no world area is more closelyâ€”even obsessivelyâ€”watched than the Middle East . This is quite understandable for many reasons, including the fact that many of the worldâ€™s crises, much of the worldâ€™s violence, and most of the worldâ€™s diplomatic energies are connected with that region.
And yet, despite all this, a tremendous transformation has happened in that nexus of global interests while being most incompletely comprehended. In short, the Middle East is totally different from the way it had been for the preceding half-century in ways that will profoundly affect the United Kingdom and every other country in the West.
To comprehend how much the region has truly changed, we need only consider its main features from the 1950s until well into the 1990s and even just past the last turn of a century. In those days, a trio of critical factors defined the tale.
First, the Arabic-speaking world was dominated almost totally by Arab nationalist doctrine, with all regimes and large movements being of that persuasion.
Second, much of Middle East politics consisted of dizzying maneuvers and mutual subversions among nationalist regimes seeking regional hegemonyâ€”usually Egypt, Iraq, and Syriaâ€”or those trying to play off the elephants to surviveâ€”Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the rest.
Third, Arab regimes lined up in two blocs, with more radical, anti-status quo military regimes and their client movements siding with the USSR, and more conservative monarchies seeking Western support in self-defense.
By the 1990s, this regional order was unraveling in the face of evidence that Arab nationalist ideology and regimes had failed. After all, they hadnâ€™t built a united Arab nation from Morocco â€™s Atlantic coast to Saudi Arabia â€™s Persian Gulf shore. Nor had they expelled Western influence, destroyed Israel , or generally brought their people high living standards, much less freedoms.
The winds of change were blowing, but in which direction? (more…)
How should House and Senate Republicans react to the Trojan horse stimulus package proposed by the Obama administration?
In the name of economic stimulus, it not only has every item any liberal ever asked of Santa Claus on Christmas eve, it also contains the seeds of a permanent shift toward a European-style socialist democracy. Its dramatic exemption of more than half of Americans from paying federal income taxes (it is now about one-third who donâ€™t pay them) and its generosity in awarding this voting majority a welfare check â€” called a refundable tax credit â€” moves the politics of taxation sharply to the left. The federal governmentâ€™s acquisition of preferred stock in virtually all our major banks sets the stage for full nationalization. After all, if the feds are using their â€œpreferredâ€ status to hog all the dividends, why should any private person buy bank stock?
By demanding that Citibank cancel its plans to buy a private jet, the Obama administration is tapping into a justified populist anger against the greed, privilege, stupidity and sense of entitlement of the Wall Street biggies. But he is also setting the precedent for government control over the actions of private banks. If Obama extends his power to the selection of management and policies regarding the lending of money, nationalization will become a de facto reality. And once the government controls the banks, it controls the economy. At best, we will have a Japanese system where winks and nods from bureaucrats turn industrial policy upside-down; at worst, we will have outright federal control, with government-appointed latter-day Blagojeviches determining who gets loans and who doesnâ€™t.
With only 41 votes in the Senate and a distant minority in the House, what should Republicans do in the face of this onslaught against the basic free-market, private-enterprise system?
The answer is for the Republicans to caucus and come up with a Free Enterprise Amendment to add to the stimulus package. The amendment should spell out what the government may not do in influencing the policy of private banks. It should, for example, make it illegal for the feds to urge certain lending policies on banks or to suggest specific loans that might be granted. It should enjoin the feds from intervening in decisions on who should manage various aspects of bank operations. The idea would be to cordon off large parts of the private sector, even in subsidized institutions, to bar public federal government influence.
A well-drawn amendment would be akin to the protections in the Bill of Rights against government intervention in certain activities such as religion, press, speech, petitioning and assembly. It would lay down markers indicating what the feds may not do. (more…)
Iran will have enough enriched uranium to make a single nuclear weapon later this year, the prestigious International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) predicts.
The International Institute of Strategic Studies (as well as Jane’s) is one of my absolute favorite sources to cite. Reputable, good history, non-partisan, fantastic database, incredible members.
The think tank’s Mark Fitzpatrick made the announcement at today’s launch of its annual global review of military powers.
“During 2009, Iran will probably reach the point at which it has produced the amount of low-enriched uranium needed to make a nuclear bomb,” he said.
“But being able to enrich uranium is not the same as having a nuclear weapon.”
However, the survey reports doubts over US Intelligence estimates that Iran halted its work on nuclear weapons six years ago. This points to Tehran’s continued development of long-range ballistic missiles able to reach targets in Israel and beyond.
The IISS recommends a mixture of carrot and stick as the best international response.
It concluded a dual policy of engagement and sanctions, testing possibilities for Iranian cooperation while adopting targeted containment strategies, is the best way to deal with Iran’s nuclear programme.
Feeling Hopeychangey yet?
Q: Faked Antarctic Data Another “Honest Mistake” by the Global Warming Crowd?
A: No. And this isn’t the first time, or second, or third the warming zealots have lied.
Remember last Fall when we had the highly unusual snow fall in London at the same time the Al Gore’s chief scientific ally, Dr James Hansen of NASA was telling everyone that October was the hottest month on record? Only later did we learn Hansen used temperature data from September. Oopss! Just as Democrats are fond of covering their asses with the phrase “honest mistake” we were supposed to swallow that one weren’t we?
Now, despite measurements showing an historic increase in Antarctic sea ice by the sophisticated instruments scientists assured us would prove the ice was melting, a new study comes out insisting that temperatures on the frozen continent are rising after all. But since there are not enough actual weather stations on the continent to provide the data necessary for a valid analysis, scientists conducting the study relied on another of those pesky computer models which thus far have been the only tool which continues to support the alarmist view that the earth is warming and it’s all man’s fault.
The warmers explain that it’s all perfectly simple: they just used the computer model to estimate what the temperature data would be if observation stations existed. In other words, they made the numbers up.
It’s getting harder and harder to cover up this bogus science with the “honest mistake” excuse. Even global warming adherents aren’t buying it:
Despite the hot air, the Antarctic is not warming up A deeply flawed new report will be cited ad nauseam by everyone from the BBC to Al Gore
By Christopher Booker The Telegraph
25 Jan 2009
…One of the first to express astonishment was Dr Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a convinced believer in global warming, who wryly observed “it is hard to make data where none exists”. A disbelieving Ross Hayes, an atmospheric scientist who has often visited the Antarctic for Nasa, sent Professor Steig a caustic email ending: “with statistics you can make numbers go to any conclusion you want. It saddens me to see members of the scientific community do this for media coverage.”
But it was also noticed that among the members of Steig’s team was Michael Mann, author of the “hockey stick”, the most celebrated of all attempts by the warmists to rewrite the scientific evidence to promote their cause. The greatest of all embarrassments for the believers in man-made global warming was the well-established fact that the world was significantly warmer in the Middle Ages than it is now. “We must get rid of the Mediaeval Warm Period,” as one contributor to the IPCC famously said in an unguarded moment. It was Dr Mann who duly obliged by getting his computer-model to produce a graph shaped like hockey stick, eliminating the mediaeval warming and showing recent temperatures curving up to an unprecedented high.
This instantly became the warmists’ chief icon, made the centrepiece of the IPCC’s 2001 report. But Mann’s selective use of data and the flaws in his computer model were then so devastatingly torn apart that it has become the most comprehensively discredited artefact in the history of science.
The fact that Dr Mann is again behind the new study on Antarctica is, alas, all part of an ongoing pattern. But this will not prevent the paper being cited ad nauseam by everyone from the BBC to Al Gore, when he shortly addresses the US Senate and carries on advising President Obama behind the scenes on how to roll back that “spectre of a warming planet”. So, regardless of the science, and until the politicians finally wake up to how they have been duped, what threatens to become the most costly flight from reality in history will continue to roll remorselessly on its way.
You have to hand it to these global warming zealots. They’ve been exposed multiple times as bungling fraudsters but they keep on trying. And why not? Most of the “news” media will report whatever they say with few questions and Democrat politicians continue to use their fake science as an excuse for their next power grab.
Guantanamo EO photo op collides with reality as Saudis arrest more Gitmo grads
In an effort to effect the promised “change”, the Obama administration embraced the Presidential authority of Executive Orders and began distancing itself from Bush administration policies… from lifting bans for abortion funding to the more notable and heralded closing of Guantanamo Bay as soon as possible, but no later than one year.
What to do with prisoners either picked up on the battlefield, or arrested via intel, is no new quandary, and one legal pickle faced by President Bush. Obama, however, has seen fit to minimize the legal complexities.
In truth, the appearance of immediate reversal of the controversial detention policy was little more than a photo op. The promise to close the facility was inked, but the details on what to do with the detainees vague. Per the EO language on the closure, any remaining detainees at the time of closure were to be released, or transferred… somewhere. And anyone not fitting those two categories were to be prosecuted… again somewhere under some court determined by a “review” and an appointed Special Task Force (see the second related executive order, Review of Detention Policy Options).
So where are we? All prosecutions and tribunals are put on hold for 180 days (2nd EO), and we still haven’t got a clue as to what will happen to the current denizens of “Club Gitmo”. All we do know is that Obama promises to close the facility within a year.
But reality has collided head on with Obama’s magic photo op of “change”. As Mike’sA noted in his Jan 23rd post, Said Ali al-Shihri was released Nov 2007, sent to Saudi Arabia, and emerged this past weekend on a jihadist website. He’s gainfully employed again … now the deputy leader of al-Qaeda’s Yemeni branch.
Almost as if in rebuttal to my comments about The Wire, Governor O’Malley mouthed off about it:
O’Malley also answered a question about the HBO television show “The Wire,” a gritty crime show that was based on and filmed in Baltimore, mostly while he was mayor. The student asked whether O’Malley believed the show had anything to offer about problems facing big cities.
“I tell you what: I can’t stand ‘The Wire,’” O’Malley said. “I can’t stand ‘The Wire.’ I can’t say that I’ve ever seen an entire episode of it. I watched enough of it to know that it did not portray the full picture of what Baltimore is all about as a city.”
The governor then added that he supposed the show has value as an art form “to the extent that it can make us more sensitive to the sort of carnage and suffering that goes on in so many big American cities, especially around the issue of drugs and drug dealing.
As I noted to the clerk in Seattle, the Governor is right in that The Wire “did not portray the full picture of what Baltimore is.” The city is much more violent and much more corrupt than it ever could have been portrayed on television and still be believable to the casual viewer.
(I’m sure that it didn’t help his opinion of the show that the character on the show based after O’Malley was elected Mayor and portrayed as a womanizer. Maybe it hit too close to home, I don’t know…)
Be that as it may, what really disturbed me is how divorced from reality Martin O’Malley is about life and the human condition in Baltimore City. Yes, it really is that bad and worse. And yet during his time as Mayor and during his time as Governor, O’Malley has done bumpkis to fix it. O’Malley didn’t root out corruption. O’Malley didn’t address the crime problem. O’Malley didn’t work to fix city schools. He merely played the blame game and looked forward to his next promotion, i.e. the Governorship. You could probably argue in reality that Martin O’Malley was, to an extent, an enabler that allowed the conditions portrayed on The Wire to persist. (more…)
There was an election on Hamasâ€™s mind when it cancelled the ceasefire with Israel, leading to the Gaza war. But it wasnâ€™t the February Israeli election but rather the January Palestinian non-election.
Four years ago, Mahmoud Abbas was elected leader of the Palestinian Authority (PA) for a two-year term. Two years ago, Hamas won a majority in the Palestinian parliamentary election. Hamas then made a coalition agreement with its rival Fatah, which previously controlled the PA. Shortly thereafter, Hamas staged a bloody coup and threw Fatah out of the Gaza Strip. But Fatah, and Abbas, still controls the internationally recognized PA and the West Bank.
While Hamas and Israel went to war, Israel and the PA remained at peace. The war had nothing to do with Israel-Palestinian relations as such but as a response to Hamasâ€™s extremism, rejecting not only any comprehensive peace agreement with Israel but even a real truce. How, then, does this triangular relationship figure in Palestinian politics?
Analysts have generally ignored the proximity of Hamasâ€™s decision for war to its impending January 2009 showdown with Abbas, Fatah, and the PA. It was widely predicted that Abbas was going to announce that, given the impossibility of holding new elections, he would simply extend his term for another year.
The event was expected to mark a major widening of the rift between the two groups. Hamas, it was thought, would declare Abbas a usurper, name its own candidate for â€œpresident,â€ and the establishment of two rival Palestinian governments would be complete.
Even before that date, the PA had apparently enjoyed some real successâ€”with Israeli helpâ€”in reducing Hamasâ€™s organization on the West Bank, ensuring any takeover bid there would be impossible, and making progress toward restoring order and even improving the economy.
Hamas no doubt saw choosing war as a way of upstaging Abbas, showing that it was the real fighter for Palestinian rights (principally the right to wipe Israel off the map), and even attracting support from some Fatah men who concluded that Hamas was macho and their own organization was too meek. In effect, it was a reiteration of traditional Palestinian politics in which those who take the most extreme action, evidence the greatest intransigence, and kill the most Israelis prove their credentials for leadership.
In practice, though, Hamas played into Abbasâ€™s hands. Now he has the perfect rationale to insist that elections cannot be heldâ€”which is, of course quite true–and he must remain as leader for the indefinite future.
Despite this, the relationship between Hamas and Fatah remain quite complex. It seems bizarre that Hamas set off a civil war, murdered Fatah men in cold blood, and kicked the group out of Gaza yet still most of Fatah is ready to forgive it. There is a strong likelihood that if given the choice, Fatah leadersâ€”though not necessarily Abbas himselfâ€”would prefer conciliation with Hamas, which would make any peace with Israel impossibleâ€”to making a diplomatic deal with Israel and getting a Palestinian state. (more…)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stirred up a hornet’s nest by promoting the idea of spending of millions of dollars on birth control and abortion as part of the economic stimulus package.
“Contraception,” argued Pelosi, “will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.” Her comments came on ABC’s This Week when asked by host George Stephanopoulos how expanding “family-planning services” to the tune of millions of dollars will stimulate the economy.
Pelosi has five children and six grandchildren. Catholic League president Bill Donohue finds her comments revealing. “We have reached a new low when high-ranking public office holders in the federal government cast children as the enemy,” he offers in a press statement. “But at least it explains their enthusiasm for abortion-on-demand.”
Will the spending on “family-planning services” help dig America out of its economic doldrums?
“That’s not going to help grow the economy,” Fani responds. “It doesn’t even make sense as a prospect for helping this country through our economic crisis. So it’s wrong on so many different levels, and just shows…a very flawed thought process.”
American Life League calls Pelosi’s remarks “a betrayal” of her Catholic faith, and the Christian Defense Coalition says it is “unthinkable” that she would try to stimulate the economy by “seeking to reduce the number of children.”
America needs to produce 2.1 children per couple to keep up with births to support the population — and that rate is not being maintained. Economies in Europe have been especially hurt by a drop in birth rates.
Syrian President Bashar Assad said in remarks broadcast Monday that he wants a dialogue with the United States but there should be no preconditions by the Obama administration.
Assad told Lebanonâ€™s Al-Manar TV that the new American administration sent officials close to it to Damascus, Syriaâ€™s capital, to start such a dialogue. He did not name them but said they visited before President Barack Obama took office on Jan. 20.
Syrian-U.S. relations deteriorated sharply during the administration of former President George W. Bush, which accused Syria of allowing foreign fighters to cross its border into Iraq. Syria denied doing so, while saying it was impossible to control its long desert border with Iraq.
Washington also pulled its ambassador out of Syria after the 2005 assassination in Beirut of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Damascus was widely accused of being involved in the killing but has denied the accusation.
And as Ed Morrissey notes, having been advised for a long time by Samantha Powers, we know he would be receptive to any kind of suggestion Syria has about the Israeli conflict.
Samantha Powers line of reasoning is that the President needs to alienate the Jews, because they are so powerful in the United States, investing billions into Palestine and then send a huge, massive protection force to protect Hamas and their cohorts:
It’s kinda humorous. Obama promised he would meet with the worst of the worst without preconditions and now they are calling it in.
So let me see. Don’t listen to Rush….Rush=bad
But listen to Syria….what exactly do they equal to Obama?
CARTER: … We’ve had a chance to meet two times with the leaders of Hamas, both those in Gaza and those that are top leaders in Damascus, Syria.
VIEIRA: And you’ve been criticized for that, sir, because Hamas is considered a terrorist group.
CARTER: By some, they are, and they’ve done some bad things. But for instance, the year before we had the cease-fire, that I helped to orchestrate last June, the 19th, there was one Israeli killed by rockets. And on an average, 49 Palestinians killed every month during that previous year. And as soon as the cease-fire went into effect, Hamas obeyed it completely. There was no serious rocket fire during the next four or five months.
Whereas, Israel did not restore providing provisions for the Palestinians and Gaza. But Hamas has pledged to me — and publicly — that they will accept any cease-fire that is negotiated between the Fatah leader, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Israelis, provided the cease- fire, in turn, is then submitted to the Palestinian people for approval and a referendum. So, that’s a major step forward.
VIEIRA: Do you believe that Hamas can be trusted?
CARTER: Yes, I do. I think they can, because of their own self- interest, not because they’re benevolent, or kind, or that sort of thing. But yes, I do. I think they can. And they’ve never betrayed any commitment that they’ve made to me, or publicly, as a matter of fact. …
VIEIRA: But Hamas has said its goal is to destroy Israel. How can you involve them in a peace process when they said their goal is to destroy Israel? They don’t recognize Israel.
CARTER: I’m not here to defend Hamas, but to tell you what they have pledged to me, and publicly: That if any agreement is negotiated between Fatah leaders and Israel, that Hamas will accept the agreement if it’s submitted to the Palestinian people in a referendum. And that’s a very good step forward. And I think they will do that because of their own self-interest.
And Hamas complied very thoroughly with the cease-fire agreement that I had worked out for the last June the 19th. For five months, there were no rockets fired until Israel did attack Gaza again on November 4th.
He’s not here to defend Hamas? Pretty much all he did.
His logic in this case is pretty much indefensible. Hamas didn’t violate the cease fire because there was no SERIOUS rocket fire. What the hell does that mean? They continued to lob rockets into civilian areas, plain and simple. 126 rockets and 71 mortars in November alone….guess that isn’t serious. Baloney. It’s a violation of the cease fire.
Then he dismisses out of hand the fact that Hamas doesn’t recognize Israel and wants them destroyed.
There they stood, all four living U.S. presidents at the White House, smiling and posing with the soon-to-be newest member of the club, Barack Obama. But at that historic gathering earlier this month, one member of the group, Jimmy Carter, appeared to be cut off from the rest, as if he had crashed the party but could stay if he didn’t cause any trouble.
“It was fascinating,” said Stephen Hess, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, who said the photo opportunity showed the others as clubby while Carter was a step apart. And there’s probably a good reason for that too, Hess said.
“He’s a person who has stuck his thumb in the eye of every president who has followed him,” he said.
“I think in my view, he’s jumped the shark,” said David Greenberg, a presidential historian with Rutgers University. “He passed the point of no return when he wrote the book.”
Greenberg said he believes Carter has morphed from an angry and resentful ex-president after losing to Ronald Reagan to a self-righteous man who has damaged his reputation with his acts.
“Now a lot of people don’t know or follow it closely,” he said. “They see a man who does conflict resolution and Habitat for Humanity and admire that part. And that is part of the record.
“But when you look at the whole record, with the Middle East and the meddling with other presidents’ foreign policy, I think he has, one, behaved badly and, two, discredited himself in a deep way.”
The man is an embarrassment who has meddled in every Administration since he was kicked out of office after one term. I would call him one of the principal reasons the North Korea deal went south during Clinton’s run. He ran interference for the North Koreans and they got themselves some nukes.
By Mark Bowden
No one should be prosecuted for waterboarding Abu Zubaydah.
> Several investigations are under way to find out who ordered the destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes, apparently an effort to cover up evidence of torture. Leaving aside for a moment the wisdom of destroying the tapes, Iâ€™d like to take a look at what was allegedly done to Zubaydah, and why.
> When captured in Pakistan in 2002, Zubaydah was one of the worldâ€™s most notorious terrorists. The 31-year-old Saudi had compiled in his young life 37 different aliases and was under a sentence of death in Jordan for a failed plot to blow up two hotels jammed with American and Israeli tourists. The evidence was not hearsay: Zubaydah was overheard on the phone planning the attacks, which were then thwarted. He was a key planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, was thought to be field commander of the attack that killed 17 U.S. sailors on the USS Cole, and was involved in planning a score of other terror attacks, successful and unsuccessful. He was considered to be a primary recruiter and manager of al-Qaeda training camps.
> He was, in short, a highly successful, fully engaged, career mass murderer. Think back to those pictures of workers crouched in windows high up in the burning World Trade Center towers, choosing whether to jump to their death or be burned alive. This was in part Abu Zubaydahâ€™s handiwork.
> At the time of his capture in 2002, just six months after the Sept. 11 attacks, there was strong reason to believe Zubaydah knew virtually the entire organizational structure and agenda of al-Qaeda around the world. He was supervising ongoing plots to kill hundreds if not thousands of people. He was, for obvious reasons, disinclined to share this knowledge. Subjected briefly to waterboarding – less than a minute, according to published reports – he became cooperative and provided information that, according to the government, resulted in preventing planned attacks and capturing other key al-Qaeda leaders.
> In the six years that have passed since the Manhattan towers collapsed, we have gained (partly through the interrogation of men like Zubaydah) a much clearer understanding of al-Qaeda and the threat it poses. While the chance of further murderous attacks is always with us, it is fair to say few of us feel the same measure of alarm we did then. The diminishment of this threat is at least in part due to the heroic efforts of the CIA, the military, and allies around the world in targeting terrorist cells. (more…)
I was wondering what happened to my old bÃªte noire, former Baltimore Sun environmental â€œreporterâ€ Tom Pelton. Turns out he is now the senior writer for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, natch!
Iâ€™m glad he found a new gig after taking the buyout. However, I would argue he was already working in that position when he was at the Sun. At least now he no longer has to feign the pose of an objective reporter.
After all, as 60 Minutes’ Scott-skeptics-are-Holocaust-deniers-Pelley says balance is bias.
Barack Obama arrogant? Perish the thought. What would ever give them that idea?
A senior Vatican official on Saturday attacked US President Barack Obama for “arrogance” for overturning a ban on state funding for family-planning groups that carry out or facilitate abortions overseas.
It is “the arrogance of someone who believes they are right, in signing a decree which will open the door to abortion and thus to the destruction of human life,” Archbishop Rino Fisichella was quoted as saying by the Corriere della Sera daily.
Fisichella is president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, one of a number of so-called pontifical academies which are formed by or under the direction of the Holy See.
“What is important is to know how to listen… without locking oneself into ideological visions with the arrogance of a person who, having the power, thinks they can decide on life and death,” he added.
Obama signed the executive order cancelling the eight-year-old restrictions on Friday, the third full day of his presidency.
The so-called “global gag rule” cut off US funding to overseas family planning clinics which provide any abortion services whatsoever, from the operation itself to counselling, referrals or post-abortion services.
“If this is one of the first acts of President Obama, with all due respect, it seems to me that the path towards disappointment will have been very short,” Fisichella said.
Despite Obama’s divisiveness and supreme arrogance, his handlers at the Associated Press laughably say he’s avoided divisiveness in his first week as Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler. George Bush, the guy who went out of his way to be nice to Democrats, was divisive, apparently.
Rush Accuses Obama Of Utilizing Tactics of Marxist Saul Alinsky
Rush Limbaugh accused Obama of using Rule #13 of Marxist Saul Alinksy’s Rules for Radicals.
Barack Obama was hired by an Alinsky protege back when he worked as a community organizer.
Rush Limbaugh responded to Barack Obama’s partisan attack from yesterday.
Byron York reported: (more…)
Nobody’s home at the House ethics committee that’s supposed to be investigating Rep. Charles Rangel.
The panel created on Sept. 24 to probe the Harlem Democrat’s alleged ethical lapses has been virtually disbanded, after meeting only twice in four months on the matter, The Post has learned.
Of the four congressmen named to look into the powerful Ways and Means Committee chairman, only one remains – Alabama Republican Jo Bonner. The three others left the Rangel probe last month when they were “rotated” off the 10-member Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.
The dormant investigation won’t be jump-started until three incoming ethics committee members are assigned to the Rangel probe later this month.
Because the committee conducts its work in secret, it is not clear if any progress has been made on the Rangel investigation. In the committee’s recently released 100-page report on its work in the 110th Congress, only four paragraphs mention the Rangel probe, listing five alleged ethics breaches and noting that the panel had not been able to complete the investigation.
The panel has already missed Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Jan. 3 deadline for filing a final report on Rangel.
The probers should have been required to stay on the investigation to avoid further delays, said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, an ethics watchdog group.
“Four months after the investigations started, there is no investigative subcommittee, no public hearings, and no sign of any progress whatsoever,” he said.
Critics also wonder why the panel has not officially taken up alleged ethical issues recently uncovered by The Post, including the 78-year-old congressman’s use of a tax credit on his DC home while he was living in New York, and his attendance at Caribbean junkets sponsored by lobbyists. Also missing are allegations that Rangel solicited donations from insurance giant AIG for his City College center.
He’s the gift that keeps on giving, but the Democrats and the MSM are doing it’s best to keep it outta sight, outta mind.
President Obama warned Republicans on Capitol Hill today that they need to quit listening to radio king Rush Limbaugh if they want to get along with Democrats and the new administration.
“You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done,” he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package.
Ya think anyone would of heard the same from President Bush? Nope, never happened. But with the one we are now commanded to stop listening to a conservative talk show to get along with Democrats. This is how the â€œunityâ€ and â€œbipartisanshipâ€ works with him I suppose.
to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.
Hearing our voices means the voice of Rush also.
But to this piece of work that unity means we are all commanded to stop listening to other conservatives and THEN we will all get along.
In an exchange with Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) about the proposal, the president shot back: “I won,” according to aides briefed on the meeting.
“I will trump you on that.”
It appears his agenda is to stop any and all voice of dissent. Where is the left now?
About that Presidential Executive Order on Interrogations…
U.S. President Barack Obama signs an executive order on Executive Branch ethics as news photographers document it at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in the White House complex in Washington, January 21, 2009. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES)
1. Torture is prohibited as defined in section 2340 of title 18, United States Code.
2. Murder, torture, cruel or inhuman treatment, mutilation or maiming, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, rape, sexual assault or abuse, taking of hostages, or performing of biological experiments is prohibited.
3. Other acts of violence serious enough to be considered comparable to murder, torture, mutilation, and cruel or inhuman treatment, as defined in section 2441(d) of title 18, United States Code are prohibited.
4. Any other acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment are prohibited.
5. We are prohibited from engaging in willful and outrageous acts of personal abuse done for the purpose of humiliating or degrading the individual in a manner so serious that any reasonable person, considering the circumstances, would deem the acts to be beyond the bounds of human decency, such as sexual or sexually indecent acts undertaken for the purpose of humiliation, forcing the individual to perform sexual acts or to pose sexually, threatening the individual with sexual mutilation, or using the individual as a human shield.
6. Acts intended to denigrate the religion, religious practices, or religious objects of the individual will not be tolerated.
The essence of Henry Hazlittâ€™s great book Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics is:
The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groupsâ€¦ the bad economist sees only what immediately strikes the eye; the good economist also looks beyond. The bad economist sees only the direct consequences of a proposed course; the good economist looks also at the longer and indirect consequences. The bad economist sees only what the effect of a given policy has been or will be on one particular group; the good economist inquires also what the effect of the policy will be on all groups.
Looking at the revamped Global Warming Solutions Act, now repackaged as the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act complete with Governor Oâ€™Malleyâ€™s imprimatur, we see that he and those who support this bill are the bad economists Hazlitt had in mind. In the short run, passing this legislation will salve their misplaced conscience about doing something to â€œsaveâ€ the planet, and line the pockets of a small group of rent seekers, like former Maryland Democratic Party Chair Wayne Rogers. In the long term, what this legislation would do is create a regulatory tax on all sorts of goods and services and raise the cost of living for Marylanders.
According to Baltimore Sun reporter Timothy Wheeler (past president of The Society of Environmental Journalists) the bill commits the state to reducing â€œclimate warming pollutionâ€â€”I guess its global warming again not climate change anymoreâ€”25% by the year 2020. Last yearâ€™s bill failed due to union and industry opposition. This year the watermelons co-opted their opponents and now they are on board.
The bill O’Malley is pushing is a carefully crafted compromise worked out in recent weeks among proponents and opponents of last year’s legislation. It would commit the state to achieving a 25 percent reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases – mainly carbon dioxide – by 2020. The state would have until 2012 to develop a plan for reaching the goal.
But in deference to manufacturers and labor leaders, the bill says the state’s plan must ensure that no manufacturing jobs would be lost, and it essentially exempts industry from state regulation of greenhouse gas emissions until 2016.
At one point in its history, one could argue that the West was too sure of itself as the foremost of civilizations. However, such is no longer the case today.
In theory, pluralists and multiculturalists contend that no way of life or culture is better than any other. Thus, one would think that Western and American perspectives and traditions would be welcomed into this expanded showcase of human achievement.
Yet unless one wants to bash the West for its past short comings, they had better think again. If anything, one is expected to feel the same kind of shame in regards to the most innocuous of traditions that was once reserved for more carnal subjects during exceedingly Victorian times.
As an endearing symbol of all that is good and beautiful in the world, one would think there would be no reason whatsoever to get all flustered over a Christmas tree. However, liberals in media and education who any other time believe next to nothing should be hidden even for the sake of propriety and decorum can’t even seem interestingly to speak this festive decoration’s name nor even that of the celebration in which this symbol has come to play an integral part.
Plastered across the front page of the Gazette papers of the Washington, DC Metropolitan for the week of 12/25/08 in bold oversized typeface was an otherwise bland “Happy Holidays”.
Above that and below a photo of an illuminated Christmas evergreen was a caption reading, “Crowds gather around the 60-foot tree for the lighting ceremony and fireworks show to kick off the holiday season on Nov. 28 at National Harbor.” What holiday is this editor referring to — Arbor Day?
Martin Luther King Day and Black History Month are just around the corner. Will this same paper tiptoe around these celebrations as well?
If not, why not? Christmas is probably celebrated by nearly 90% of the American population so we are basically forced to go out of our way to avoid stepping on the toes of a very miniscule demographic. (more…)
5 things to know after Broncos beat Titans 51-28 (The Associated Press)
All season, Matt Prater has been an afterthought on a team that's rewriting the record books on the strength of Peyton Manning's passing arm. Now, the Broncos kicker has his name next to one of the most hallowed NFL marks of all. Prater booted a 64-yard field goal to highlight Denver's 51-28 victory over Tennessee on Sunday, brushing aside the mark of 63 yards that was first set by Tom Dempsey, the club-footed Saints kicker, all the way back in 1970.
5 things to know after Patriots beat Browns 27-26 (The Associated Press)
In a career filled with fourth-quarter comebacks, Tom Brady never saw anything like this. He threw two touchdown passes in the last 61 seconds. The Cleveland Browns committed two key penalties in that stretch. And the New England Patriots recovered their first onside kick that led to the winning play in their history.
5 things to know after Ravens beat Vikings 29-26 (The Associated Press)
On their way to the Super Bowl last season, the Baltimore Ravens knocked off the top-seeded Denver Broncos by erasing a fourth-quarter deficit with a near-miraculous touchdown pass. That was nothing compared to what the defending champions did Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings in a 29-26 victory that kept Baltimore in the hunt for another trip to the playoffs. Three times the Ravens trailed in the fourth quarter. Three times they came back, the final time on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Marlon Brown with 4 seconds left.
5 things to know after Dolphins top Steelers 34-28 (The Associated Press)
Oh, the disruptive Miami Dolphins defensive end can deal with his resilient team making a playoff run. It's the way the Dolphins are doing it that is exasperating. Miami's 34-28 victory in the snow over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday allowed the Dolphins (7-6) to keep pace with Baltimore for the AFC's second Wild Card spot, but only after Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown stepped out at the Miami 12 following a five-lateral relay that nearly ended with one of the most bizarre finishes in league history. ''That's December football.'' Something the Dolphins looked decidedly comfortable with during a frenetic second half in which Miami blew a pair of leads only to rally behind tight end Charles Clay and quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
NFL Week 14 Winners and Losers: Patriots gifted a win on a horrible penalty call (Shutdown Corner)
The Patriots can't really complain much about the officials anymore this season.
New England was ticked about a non-call on Luke Kuechly on the last play of Carolina's victory a few weeks ago. The Patriots got away with a clear holding on their game-winning touchdown against New Orleans early in the season, but they did have a point with the non-call on the Panthers.
But now, it has more than evened out.
Giants-Chargers: What we learned (The SportsXchange)
SAN DIEGO -- For Chargers fans, it doesn't get much better: watching their team wallop the Giants, 37-14, and the opportunity to boo their quarterback, Eli Manning. "After 10 years, you think they would let up," Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. Rivers threw for three touchdowns and the Chargers' running game added another as the team's playoff hopes remain alive after winning for the second time in six outings. "We played our most complete game yet," said Rivers, who came to San Diego in exchange for Manning in a 2004 draft-day trade after the Chargers drafted Manning first overall.
Ravens plow through storm in game like no other (Comcast SportsNet Mid Atlantic)
Ravens coach John Harbaugh opened his post-game news conference by asking: "Will we ever see another game like that again?" Indeed, the Ravens' remarkable 29-26 win over the Vikings -- featuring five touchdowns in the final 125 seconds -- was like no other in Ravens history. It also was, meteorologically speaking, like no other Ravens game: Never in the Ravens' 17-year history had they played a home game in measurable, driving snow "In the first half, you could hardly see," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.
(VIDEO) Arthur Jones: "We are champions" (Comcast SportsNet Mid Atlantic)
It takes a special team to pull of what the Ravens managed Sunday against the Minnesota. As the Ravens watched the Vikings take the lead with only 45 seconds remaining, they still managed to gut it out and score the go-ahead touchdown with only 9 seconds remaining. How did the Ravens manage to rally and avoid collapsing after Minnesota took the late lead? "I just kept saying to the guys, 'we're champions,' you know?" said Arthur Jones.
Slipping, sliding, frantic finishes in snowy NFL (Reuters)
By Larry Fine NEW YORK (Reuters) - A wintry wonderland of games featured in National Football League action on Sunday with snow impacting several contests, while the Denver Broncos reached the playoffs and the Indianapolis Colts claimed the AFC South title. In more conventional settings, the Broncos (11-2) charged past the Tennessee Titans (5-8) 51-28 to clinch a playoff berth and hand the Colts the AFC South division title. Indianapolis (8-5) claimed their crown despite losing 42-28 to the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals (9-4).