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Mea culpa: Strauss-Kahn rush to judgement

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Roger L Simon

It appears that many of us – myself very much included – may have rushed to judgement in the rape charges against now former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. If reports first surfaced by the New York Times are in any way correct, this is clearly not a simple rape. Whatever it is, I blew it by assuming too much in my reaction to the allegations. I hope I’ve learned a journalistic lesson.

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Hugo Chavez has cancer

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Fausta has translated his admission, and has video:

However, and in spite of the favorable general course, throughout the process of draining and healing, there appeared suspicion of the presence of other cellular formations that had not previously been detected. Therefore, a series of special tests was started immediately, cytochemical, cytopathologic, microbiologic, and pathologic, which confirmed the presence of an abscessed tumor with the presence of cancerous cells, which necessitated a second surgery.

No hint when he might return to Venezuela.

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BOTALI

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Charlie Martin

… stands for “Big Organizations That Act Like Idiots”, a topic that has puzzled me for a long time.  This is an Ignite talk I gave some while ago:

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… in which I talk about my own view of some of the reasons big organizations act like idiots.  I’m not just posting this to get it above the amazing 196 viewings it’s had (although that’d be cool), but because I’m setting up another video I’ll post tomorrow (not mine) on how people are really motivated.

This is building up toward a conclusion I’m going to give away up front: I think the evidence is that top-down central planning is flawed, whether in a company or a government, and the flaws are inherent, essential, and inescapable. The notion that a top-down central control can possibly be effective is at the heart of why big organizations act like idiots.

(One tiny update: I do say a Naughty Word in the course of the talk. )

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Geithner cites the 14th amendment to justify blowing past the debt ceiling

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

This would be quite a gambit from the Treasury Sec who has presided over the fastest debt run-up in US history.

“I think there are some people who are pretending not to understand it, who think there’s leverage for them in threatening a default,” Geithner said. “I don’t understand it as a negotiating position. I mean really think about it, you’re going to say that– can I read you the 14th amendment?”

Geithner whipped out his handy pocket-sized Constitution. Allen tried to brush it aside. “We’ll stipulate the 14th Amendment,” he said.

Geithner read part of it on the air. The 14th Amendment is a Reconstruction-era amendment. The clause Geithner cites deals with debt incurred during the Civil War, and says:

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Some of our Con Law folks can help me out here, but that doesn’t strike me as a blank check for public debt and isn’t directly relevant to the debt ceiling. It’s on the one hand a statement on the validity of the nation’s debts, and on the other hand a rejection of the Confederacy’s debts, and specifically bans the US government from compensating slave owners who lost their slaves as a result of emancipation. This amendment is, remember, part of the overall reconstruction of the Union after the Civil War, so the history and original intent is very important to understanding its purpose (unless you’re a liberal). In other words, I don’t think that amendment means what Geithner thinks it means.

Update: Commenter GBM directs our attention to Section 5 of the 14th.

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

That says Congress has the legal power to enact a debt ceiling, no?

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Comedy Central at the FEC

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Hans A. von Spakovsky

It was standing room only at this morning’s Federal Election Commission hearing. The reason for the big box office: the query from Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert about setting up a “superPAC.”

Colbert’s lawyers had requested an advisory opinion from the FEC on whether Colbert’s proposal was legal under applicable federal campaign finance laws. For months the comedian has used this request to lampoon and belittle the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case. In that decision, the court threw out the federal ban on political speech by corporations and unions.

Colbert is a comedian paid by a media corporation. Both he and Comedy Central are making a lot of money because of the First Amendment. It protects his right to satirize politicians and others. Yet apparently Colbert thinks First Amendment protections should not extend to other entities, like non-media corporations.

In other words, Colbert thinks the government should have the authority to censor political speech and decide who can speak. Of course, he doesn’t admit that but it is the logical result of his satiric criticism.

I spent two years as an FEC commissioner. Most of its hearings attract just a handful of attendees. Few receive any media coverage at all. But today the line to get in stretched for half a block beyond the doors of the FEC headquarters building, and inside the hearing room the cameras nearly outnumbered the audience.

While Colbert may have been joking about his superPAC, the FEC treated it as a real request for legal advice. In a five to one vote, the FEC approved his request, giving him the go-ahead to form a political action committee that can take unlimited contributions from the general public for the purpose of making independent expenditures. The FEC also said that, while coverage of the PAC by Comedy Central and its parent VIACOM would fall within the press exemption (and thus not be reportable political activity), if VIACOM produced advertisements for the PAC, the cost of those ads would have to be reported to the FEC as in-kind contributions.

Colbert was at the hearing but did not say much. His attorney, Trevor Potter, did the talking for him. Colbert’s reticence in a room full of cameras was perhaps the biggest surprise of the proceedings.

Colbert’s proposal was designed to make fun of the Supreme Court, but in the end, the joke was really on him. Through the FEC review process, he found out just how complicated the federal campaign finance laws are and just how expensive, confusing, and burdesome it is for anyone trying to navigate the Byzantine morass of laws and regulations governing campaigns for federal office.

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Arlington, TX police testing drone air force

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Interesting.

The Arlington Police Department is in the first part of its experiment in using unmanned aircraft to assist in law enforcement.

The department has been testing and evaluating two battery-operated, remote-controlled aircraft over a small, restricted airspace near Lake Arlington Dam, away from populated areas.

They have fire fighting applications too, but technology intended for one use always has several other potential applications.

In a City Council briefing Tuesday, Bowman said the aircraft are capable of carrying cameras that shoot high-quality still pictures and video and have night-vision capability. The aircraft also have heat-sensing technology the fire department can use.

“Obviously, Texas is prone to a lot of dry weather and large fires,” said Deputy Chief Lauretta Hill, who oversees homeland security and special events for the department. “Being able to send a vehicle up and sense the origin of the fire will give them the the tools in order to determine where they’ll deploy their resources.”

Video at the link. They’re slick looking, I’ll give them that. Their price and expendability makes them obviously useful. But maybe a little too useful. Their potential deployment seems like the beginning of a big change in the citizen’s relationship to law enforcement.

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Global warming counterargument

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Charlie Martin
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… from Roy Spencer and Bill Whittle.

(I love these animated chalk talk things.  I’ve got to learn how to do this.)

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You Know the Dollar’s In Trouble When…

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Claudia Rosett

… the Myanmar Times is lamenting its plunge against the Burmese kyat.

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Andrew Klavan: Why Do Blacks Vote for Democrats?

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Owen Brennan

Move over Birthers. Get a life, Truthers. Get thee to Costco for a new supply of tinfoil.

This diabolical conspiracy is going to be the one that all the cool crackpots are talking about. So get on board, cause we’re all doomed.

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NOTE: To learn more about the history of racism in the Democrat Party, buy Ann Coulter’s latest bestseller, Demonic.

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Latest crime in D.C.: kids opening up a fire hydrant

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Richard Pollock

In American cities, when the temperature spiked, it was time to open up a fire hydrant. It was a splashy fun moment for kids of all ages.

But no more.

It is now Politically Incorrect to open up a fire hydrant.

The Washington City Paper reports on a stern, new no-fun policy of the D.C. government: “Opening a fire hydrant sounds like a really urban and fun thing to do,” explains Pete Piringer, public information officer for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Management Services. “But you can’t open a fire hydrant here anymore.”

Now the city has spent gobs of money on a new fangled alternative called “spray parks.”  This is the politically correct way for kids to beat the heat.

The problem is the parks don’t quite work.  After $4 million, a nearby spray park in my neighborhood still has not opened.  The drains have been recalled and the green Canadian company cannot get the replacement parts.

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Hard workin’, leading-from-behind president splits DC for a pair of closed-door fundraisers

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Sen. John Thune was half right when he said the best way to score time with the president was to set up a tee time. The other best way is to raise money for his re-election. For that, Obama will make time. For meeting with Republicans to have an intervention on his debt addiction…he will not.

President Obama will head to Philadelphia for two events organized by the Democratic National Committee Thursday, the same day the first major and closely-watched fundraising quarter of the 2012 presidential campaign cycle draws to a close. …

The president’s trip caps off a busy fundraising schedule over the last month as both the Obama campaign and the DNC hope to report monster numbers as the 2012 reelection effort officially gears up. Less than a week ago, Obama hit three back-to-back fundraisers in New York City, including a $35,800-a-plate dinner at an Upper East Side restaurant. He was also the main attraction at two fundraisers at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in the nation’s capital 10 days ago.

The CNN story says the various operatives have signaled that Team O has outpaced its quarterly fundraising total. I have my doubts about that, but if that’s true it’s even worse for him to be jetting off to fundraisers rather than do what leaders do…lead. Isn’t that what he said yesterday between fits of quelled rage? Instead of leading, Obama is leaving.

Not that I, personally, want him leading anything, mind you. I’d prefer to see him sprucing up his resume in anticipation of a looming job loss.

Update: Yid with Lid helps out with the golf forecast. You’re welcome, Mr. President.

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See the red ink of our indebtedness with new video release

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Richard Pollock

“Congress is drowning America in a sea of red.”

That’s  the theme of a new video, “Red Ink” that was released today by the “Cut, Cap and Balance” coalition.  The coalition represents more than 150 fiscal conservative organizations.

Since its launch last week they claim 170 Members of Congress and 50,000 citizens have signed the CCB pledge.

Their new video vividly captures the seeping red ink that’s washing over our country.  Our current $14.2 debt load is estimated to cost $125,000 for each American taxpayer.

See the video here:

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Military voting conference

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Christian Adams

Everyone says they support the right of service members to vote.  But shocking new statistics are now available about the mess in military voting in 2010.  I will have more on the new data shortly.  On July 19, a morning conference will be held at the Heritage Foundation on military voting.  You can register here.  It is free.  I will be appearing on a panel (for the first time since we both left DOJ) with former Voting Section Chief Christopher Coates.  But the lineup goes well beyond the black panther prosecutor reunion. 

Other presenters will include Attorney General Edwin Meese, Don Palmer the Virginia elections director, Senator John Cornyn of Texas (the leading defender of military voters), Admiral Edmund P. Giambastiani, Jr. (former Vice-Chair of the Joint Chiefs), Eric Eversole of the Military Voter Protection Project, Natalie Tennant and Beth Chapman Secretaries of State of West Virginia and Alabama, and Bob Carey, head of the Pentagon unit designed to help military voters.  

Who should attend?  Anyone who cares about members of the armed services participating in elections, Congressional staff who want to learn about the problems in the current system and citizens who simply want to understand more about the issue.

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Just Call It the UN’s Conference On Dignifying North Korea

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Claudia Rosett

If there’s a silver lining to North Korea holding the presidency this month of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament, it is that this outrage is focusing some attention on the truth that apart from managing to dignify one of the worst rogue states on the planet, this UN outfit has accomplished virtually nothing in years — except to spend millions in taxpayer money. Over at National Review, the Heritage Foundation’s Brett Schaefer looks at the $4.64 million slated to sustain this Conference for 2012-2013, and draws the reasonable conclusion: It’s time to just scrap the entire outfit.

Of course, the UN being a vast bureaucracy sustained by collective appropriation of other people’s money, shutting down UN gravy trains is no easy job. But one place to start is with truth in advertising. The U.S. Mission to the UN has a new ambassador for UN Management and Reform, Joseph Torsella. If he wants to make do right by his responsibilities, there’s a wide open opportunity for him here: Why not make a pitch to rename the Conference on Disarmament to reflect is real function? — The UN Conference on Dignifying North Korea.

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Geithner on his way out? (Updated)

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

But…they sold him as the only man in America who could do the job.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has signaled to White House officials that he’s considering leaving the administration after President Barack Obama reaches an agreement with Congress to raise the national debt limit, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Geithner hasn’t made a final decision and won’t do so until the debt ceiling issue has been resolved, according to one of the people. All spoke on condition of anonymity to talk about private discussions.

Geithner would be the last of the original economic team to leave Obama’s sinking economic ship. The SS Obama has pushed American into titanic debt, while its captain blames others for failures that he at least shares, both as president and as a Senator. Geithner may be taking the last lifeboat out of this tired metaphor.

Update: The Hill asks around and finds out that maybe Geithner is leaving, or maybe he isn’t.

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Bearded Mickey, veiled Minnie not so magic in the new Egypt

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

How’s that Arab Spring working out? Let’s see, everyone’s expecting the Islamists to grab a share of power, and the Obama administration is establishing official contact with them. If Egyptians speak out against the Islamists, even if they’re rich and powerful owners of tech industries, they can expect to face charges, boycotts and death threats for insulting Islam. Even if the “insult” is harmless in the extreme.

An Egyptian Christian telecom mogul has angered Islamic hard-liners by posting an online cartoon of Mickey Mouse with a beard and Minnie in a face veil.

The ultraconservative Islamists, known as Salafis, called the cartoon posted by Naguib Sawiris on Twitter a mockery of Islam. They launched an online campaign calling on Muslims in Egypt to boycott Sawiris’ mobile phone company Mobinil. Shares of Mobilnil and Orascom Telecom, which Sawiris founded, both fell Monday on the Egyptian stock exchange. …

Named “We are joking Sawiris,” the Facebook group said: “If you are really a Muslim, and you love your religion, boycott his projects. We have to cut out the tongue of any person who attacks our religion.”

At least 15 Salafi lawyers have filed lawsuits accusing Sawiris of religious contempt, an official at the prosecutor general office said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Here’s the offending tweet. It’s far less offensive than the tasks Hamas tends to put its faux Mickey to. Apparently it’s cool to steal Mickey Mouse to teach Palestinian kids to be terrorists, not so cool to slap a beard on him to criticize the terrorists’ ideology.

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Video: Herman Cain unleashes wicked attack ad on Obama

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

I mean “wicked” in a good way.

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There are aesthetic elements here and there in the ad that don’t work for me, but I’m a very jaded producer. A music build overtaking and replacing the heartbeat would have done wonders. Overall, the ad says two things. One, Barack Obama is a radical whose own words give that game away. And two, Herman is back to raising Cain. The narrative thread of his voice countering Obama’s is a very nice touch.

Herman needs to start raising even more Cain – Michele Bachmann’s rise has come at his expense to some extent, and the Perry buzz may have died down over the past week or so, but a Fox poll has him jumping to second place without even announcing a run. The Iowa Straw Poll is sneaking up on all of us, as is the quarterly fundraising deadline. So it’s a good idea to create some buzz and get some traction. This ad may be a good start.

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Obama turns down GOP offer to meet today to discuss the debt crisis

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

A day after scolding Congress for failing to do its job, the prolific golfing president declines to do his.

On the Senate floor this morning, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell invited the president to meet with GOP senators at the Capitol “anytime this afternoon” to discuss their objections to his deficit-cutting package. McConnell said the meeting would give Obama an opportunity to “hear directly from Senate Republicans” why Congress will not pass his proposals, which include increased tax revenues. The Kentucky Republican said that would move the discussion to “what’s actually possible.”

White House responded, saying all Republicans were interested in doing at the proposed meeting was to “restate their maximalist position” and force the president “to hear what would not pass.” Spokesman Jay Carney added: “That’s not a conversation worth having.”

Facing an August 2 deadline for raising the nation’s debt limit, the Senate has dropped plans for a Fourth of July break. Declaring, “we have work to do,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced this morning that the Senate will be back in session on Tuesday.

The Aug 2 deadline is false. Treasury will only default if Obama decides that default is in his political interests. Revenue will continue to come into the government’s coffers; Treasury can prioritize payments and debt service to avoid default.

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Mogulite and the $100 million balance

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Charlie Martin

Mogulite has a story up about a “mysterious” ATM receipt that shows a balance of just less than $100 million:

Jaws dropped yesterday when a dropped ATM receipt from an East Hampton Capital One Bank was discovered, showing a savings account with a balance of nearly $100 million. The first question, naturally, is who the heck is this person!? The second question was a bit more complex — why would someone keep $100 million in a savings account and what exactly are they planning to do with that money?

Well, the folks over at Dealbreaker got to the bottom of that first question pretty swiftly — or so we thought.

A tipster told them that the receipt belonged to none other than hedge fund manager David Tepper, and noted that someone overheard him saying that he “hadn’t used an ATM since Lehman.” Cute.

Sadly, I’m willing to bet that’s just a software error in the ATM code, and a pretty common one — a field overflows somewhere.

But what’s more interesting to me is: who the hell at Mogulite is spending his/her time digging through the trash at an ATM looking for interesting receipts?

 

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Video: Democrat Dennis Kucinich praises Syria’s Assad on Syrian TV

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

This sends an awful signal to the people of Syria, who have been rioting and dying to gain some freedom from Bashar Assad’s dictatorial regime. Coupled with the Obama administration’s relative silence about Assad’s crimes, the people of Syria could be forgiven for thinking that American leadership is hypocritical and doesn’t care about them or their freedom.

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May 2008

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Charlie Martin

I wrote this comment on Just One Minute on May 7 2008:

Look, I really try not to fall for the usual cant (or Kant, but that’s another story), but I’m beginning to suspect that the Obamas are telling us exactly what his program will be.

Obey.

Consider: “Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your division. That you come out of your isolation. That you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual; uninvolved, uninformed.” … as quoted on the previous thread.

Consider the demands for unity — and the apparent insistence that we unify, not behind an idea, but behind a person. The constant theme that criticism is a “distraction” that isn’t legitimate.

I think he’s running for Caudillo.

Of course, we just had a post here on PJM noting that Obama’s policies aren’t really so much Communist or even Marxist, as fascist and particularly Peronist.  Marco Rubio, just yesterday, said of Obama’s press conference:

“It was rhetoric, I thought, that was more appropriate for some left-wing strong man than for the president of the United States.”

I’d say “I hate to say I told you so”, but actually I don’t.

 

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Tony Katz’s All Patriots Media offers reduced cost ads to private jet industry

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

President Obama maligned private jets in his strange press conference Wednesday. Now Tony Katz steps up to help them out.

In an effort to support the now maligned private jet industry, and the people they employ, All Patriots Media is offering reduced cost advertising on its websites, and on The Tony Katz Radio Spectacular. Trade-out also possible.

In an email to me, Tony adds:

More and more radio hosts, and those who control their ad sales (bloggers, content creators, etc.) need to support business owners when they are attacked from on high government officials and insincere, out of touch elitists. The companies that make private jets might deal with a large dollar purchase, and large dollar clients, but they are no different than main street business.  The person who manufactures jets is just as much a business person as the one who makes cookies on main street.  Each one went into a business where they felt they could compete.  People (in the main) who make cookies wouldn’t know the first thing about making a jet.  Jet manufacturers don’t make cookies…it’s not their wheel house. I’m simply disgusted by the president’s continued attacks on capitalism and entrepreneurs.  I won’t sit idly by.  I want to help.

Perhaps we can add ATM manufacturers, since Obama went out of his to call their product job killers.

Tony Katz appears regularly on PJTV, where he hosts The Conversation.

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WaPo awards Obama Two Pinocchios

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Charlie Martin

File under “rube enlightenment.”

We realize the symbolic value of things like corporate jets, particularly when Republicans appear to be refusing to accept even a single dollar of additional revenue, but Obama is misleading when he suggests that closing this loophole would make much of a dent in the federal budget. He also should made clear that he would like to raise taxes on people making more than $250,000, rather than just “millionaires and billionaires.”

The president’s claim of an “unprecedented” effort to trim federal regulations is laughable. And it would be nice to hear Obama acknowledge for once that, until a few months ago, his administration was eager to do business with Gaddafi.

Two Pinocchios

 

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How the media contributes to racial strife

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Howard Nemerov

The Houston Chronicle reported that two men robbed a cell phone store in Harris County. Here’s their written description of the perpetrators:

The store’s surveillance camera recorded images of the men.

One is described as heavy set and about 6 feet 3 inches tall. He wore a black hat, black T-shirt and green-and-black army-style pants.

The other man is described as about 6 feet 3 inches tall and he weighed about 250 pounds. He wore a black T-shirt and light-blue jeans.

What’s wrong with this narrative? The accompanying video explains.

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24% say the country is on “the right track”

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Belladonna Rogers

My favorite aunt used to say, “Everyone is different.”  That seemed a mysterious statement to me as a child, although, as with most such lessons, the full force of its wisdom didn’t hit me until decades later.  Its insight struck me again today, when I read the latest Rasmussen Report that 24 percent of likely voters think the country (the United States, that is) is “on the right course.”  To think that, one would have to be very different, indeed.  I’m amazed that Rasmussen pollsters were able to find such people, given that they must be ensconced in reality-repellent caves, lacking all contact with anyone actually living in this country at this time.  Wherever Rasmussen located this cheerfully oblivious lot, they found, “Just nine percent (9%) of Republicans and 19% of voters not affiliated with either of the major political parties feel the country is heading in the right direction. Even a plurality (47%) of Democrats now think the country is heading down the wrong track.” When even Democrats begin to sense that something is rotten in the state of our country, there may be hope for us yet.

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Durbin: Hey, maybe an illegal alien will become president some day

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

It’s hard to top this for evidence of Democrats’ contempt for citizenship, the rule of law, the Constitution and for the American people.

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) said in a congressional hearing Tuesday that a young person who is an illegal alien in the United States today may someday become president.

“When I look around this room, I see America’s future, our doctors, our teachers, our nurses, our engineers, our scientists, our soldiers, our congressmen, our senators, and maybe our president,” Durbin said immediately after having asked all young persons in the room to stand if they were currently undocumented aliens who would be eligible to become citizens if the DREAM Act were passed.

A US Senator, addressing a room full of illegal aliens, and touting a law the Democrats want that would give those aliens preferential treatment over US citizens in some circumstances. Appalling.

Something else here is worth noting, too. Durbin’s remark wasn’t a gaffe. It fits within his party’s overall policy and goals, which are on the one hand weakening border security to allow more illegals in, and then weaken resistance to amnesty and eventually make citizens of them, both to create more potential Democratic voters and to weaken the idea of national sovereignty. The MSM will exhaust itself chasing every word Michele Bachmann says whether it’s a gaffe or not, but won’t bother looking into statements like Durbin’s, at all, when they reflect his and his party’s actual policy. That’s almost as appalling as what Durbin said.

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He can’t even run his own life…

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Charlie Martin
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… I’ll be damned if he’ll run mine!

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US to recognize Muslim Brotherhood (Updated)

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Well, the Muslim Brotherhood is just another secular force in Egyptian politics, right?

The U.S. has decided to formally resume contact with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood group – which does not recognize Israel – in a move that could further alienate some Jewish voters already skeptical of President Barack Obama, it was reported.

One senior U.S. official said the Brotherhood’s rise in political prominence after the forced departure of former President Hosni Mubarak earlier this year makes the American contact necessary.

“The political landscape in Egypt has changed, and is changing… It is in our interests to engage with all of the parties that are competing for parliament or the presidency,” said the official, who confirmed the news to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The Muslim Brotherhood is the fountainhead of Islamic terrorism, from Hamas to the PLO to to al Qaeda. The Obama administration has been signalling this move for months, with the “mostly secular” line and with its overall support for the Egyptian uprising even after it became apparent that the Brotherhood was among the powerful forces driving it.

The Brotherhood doesn’t recognize Israel, but the US is poised to recognize the Brotherhood. Its potential victory in Egypt’s upcoming elections has started a bit of a panic there among the actual secularists who thought they were gaining freedom with Mubarak’s ouster. The Obama administration’s decision to recognize the Brotherhood ahead of Egypt’s elections will impact that election, and possibly his own re-election next year as Jewish Democrats may be forced to reconsider their support for him.

Update: Andrew McCarthy weighs in.

This day has been coming since President Obama’s first day in office. In 2007-08, the Brotherhood was proved by the Justice Department to be engaged in what the Brotherhood itself describes as a “grand jihad” aimed at the “elimination and destruction of Western civilization from within” by “sabotage.” The title of my book was not my words but theirs — taken from their internal memoranda, seized by the FBI from the home of a Brotherhood official. The Brotherhood’s anti-U.S. strategy was not news to anyone who follows Islamist movements, but the proof for all to see came during the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial, during which several defendants were convicted of funneling millions of dollars to Hamas. Supporting Hamas’s terrorist war against Israel has been the Brotherhood’s highest priority in the U.S. since Hamas was formed, and trial evidence showed unmistakably that the leading Islamist organizations in the U.S. — almost all either formed by or having ties to the Brotherhood — were complicit.

 

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More evidence that Obama’s fundraising numbers are lagging (Updates)

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

On Wednesday the Obama campaign sent around a slightly panicky email about its quarterly fundraising numbers. Today, they have sent out another, slightly panickier, email about their quarterly fundraising numbers. The email is titled “Midnight,” just to make it a little bit scary.

Friend –

If you’re planning on donating to this campaign at any point in the next 16 months, you should do it now.

Tonight at midnight is not just your last chance to enter the “Dinner with Barack and Joe” contest, it’s also a hugely important fundraising deadline for this campaign — the first time we’ll report on our progress to the public and the press.

The next few hours are critical for us. Please donate $5 or more today:

Later in the email, Team O runs with a bit stronger language:

Come next fall, people might not remember this date — or make the connection between the strength of our campaign then and the steps we took in these early months. But anyone worth their salt in politics knows tonight is one of the most important tests we’ll face as a campaign this year. (emphasis added)

Really — a quarterly fundraising number is “one of the most important tests we’ll face as a campaign this year”? Only if your numbers have gone south and you expect that to generate a lot of static about your campaign’s weakness. The Obama campaign could be playing a head game here, but I wasn’t alone in taking yesterday’s email as a sign of weak numbers. We’ll see soon enough; midnight tonight is the close of this quarter, so the campaign’s numbers will be due for release shortly.

Update: Welcome Drudge readers! While you’re here, check out our posts on the games some people are playing on Capitol Hill, and a fond wish expressed by Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois. Or hit the Tatler’s front page and see the latest from our team.

Update: Some folks counter that these emails are typical of the end of a fundraising cycle. Based on their tone I don’t think so, and I just received an email from Ted Cruz’s Senate campaign in Texas that is also promoting the end of the fundraising quarter, and doesn’t push any panic buttons at all. In fact, it’s very optimistic and motivating — which is typical of a campaign that’s exceeding its goals and pushing for even better numbers. Obama’s pessimistic emails strike me as goading supporters to just get with it and contribute already. It’s a very different tone, hence my speculation that they’re getting underwhelming numbers.

More: Jim Geraghty shares my doubts.

Update: The little scare tactic may have worked. Or, Obama picked up enough cash in his dual fundraisers tonight to make up the difference. Team O just sent out a new email.

Friend –

I wanted to say thank you before the midnight deadline passes. And I’m looking forward to thanking four of you in person over dinner sometime soon.

If you haven’t thrown your name in the hat yet, make a donation of $5 or more before midnight tonight — you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to be one of our guests.

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BREAKING: Four Hezbollah members indicted in Hariri murder

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Roger L Simon

Via Ynet:

Four Hezbollah members have been indicted in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Lebanese media outlets reported on Thursday.

A delegation from the Special Tribunal for Lebanon filed an indictment in the assassination of Hariri to Lebanon’s Attorney General Said Mirza.

Members of the UN backed tribunal met Mirza on Thursday and handed him the 163-page report, which includes four arrest warrants against Hezbollah members.

This is a huge embarrassment to the Lebanese government. How will they react?

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Cornyn shut out of hearing on EPA regulations impacting Texas’ economy

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

Consider this a follow-up to Patrick’s post on Republicans being shut out of a Democrat “Gun Forum”: Texas Sen. John Cornyn has been shut out of a Senate hearing on regulations that will impact his state. The hearing concerns the EPA’s new Cean Air Transport Rule, which adversely impacts 31 states including Texas, and threatens thousands of jobs in the state. Cornyn isn’t on the committee holding the hearing, which is chaired by CA Sen. Barbara Boxer, but neither are several Democrats who are apparently being allowed to participate.

The chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is scheduled to testify at tomorrow’s hearing. Republicans say Cornyn wants to ask questions of Bryan Shaw and the EPA witness, Asst. Administrator Gina McCarthy. But Cornyn has been told he’ll only be able to introduce Shaw and submit a written statement.

“Senator Cornyn is concerned that the issues addressed in tomorrow’s hearing will have enormous impacts on his state,” wrote Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK., the top Republican on the committee. “If Texas is required to comply, the state could be faced with a large number of plant retirements, thousands of lost jobs, and significantly higher energy costs.”

Texas has its own EPA, the TCEQ, and its clean air program has been running since the 1990s and has been found to be more effective than the EPA’s clean air programs. But the EPA is choosing to override the TCEQ anyway.

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Well isn’t that IN-teresting (Updated)

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Patrick Richardson

Sources are telling me Republican members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform were initially not being allowed into Rep. Elijah Cummings’ (D-Maryland) “Gun Forum” hearing today on Capitol Hill. After a delay, and of course the fact that majority staffers weren’t even told what room the hearing would be in, they were finally allowed in, but are not being allowed to film the proceedings.

This is interesting because it would seem Cummings is out to prove the whole Gunwalker scandal where the ATF allowed thousands of guns to be purchased illegally and sent across the border is actually the fault of the gun industry and the Republicans, not an ill-conceived and poorly executed operation by ATF. He’s trying to change the subject and make this about policy rather than about the criminal stupidity of the operation.

More as it develops…

Update: The phone number for the minority side of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is 202.225.5051. Readers might want to call and ask why majority staffers were not told where the forum would be, why they were initially locked out, and why, once they were allowed in, they were told they could not film the proceedings — just a thought.

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Man boards plane at JFK with expired boarding pass

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

When you fly domestically in the US, TSA might or might not grope you, but they are supposed to look at your boarding pass and ID as you get into the security line. That’s a pre-grope requirement. So how did this happen?

CBS News has confirmed that authorities are looking into a shocking security breach that took place at John F. Kennedy International Airport last week.

Investigators say Olajide Oluwaseun Noibi, a Nigerian, boarded Virgin America Flight 415 to Los Angeles without a valid passport or identification, using an expired boarding pass for a flight the day before that belonged to someone else.

Officials say Noibi got through security and was able to board the plane. No one noticed until the flight was airborne when a flight attendant realized Noibi was sitting in a seat that was supposed to be vacant.

He showed the attendant the expired boarding pass that was in someone else’s name and then showed him a University of Michigan identification card with his picture on it.

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Mark Halperin calls Obama a ‘Durbin’ on MSNBC (Update: Halperin suspended ‘indefinitely’)

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Bryan Preston

My bad, Halperin didn’t use the Turbin’s last name, he used his first name to describe Obama’s performance in Wednesday’s press conference.

Mark Halperin offered a very candid, and bleep-worthy, assessment of the president’s Wednesday press conference performance Thursday on “Morning Joe.”

“I think he was kind of a dick yesterday,” Halperin said, after first checking if the broadcast was on a 7-second delay to allow for correcting four-letter FCC violations.

“Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski encouraged Halperin to “go for it,”and go for it he did. The offending word was not bleeped.

Halperin later apologized, but I’m not sure why he needed to. The president’s behavior ranged from petulant to piggish during that press conference. He replaced the misguided assault on ATM’s with a misguided assault on corporate jets. He chided Congress for its work schedule, when everyone knows he’s the most golfingest president evah. And he tried lecturing and hectoring, but never seems to have thought that it might be a good idea to try leading.

So the president was a Durbin in that press conference. Halperin got this one right.

Update: MSNBC has suspended Halperin “indefinitely” over this remark. Just a guess here, but it’s not so much the remark that has him in hot water, but the target. This is MSNBC we’re talking about.

“Mark Halperin’s comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable. We apologize to the President, The White House and all of our viewers,” in a statement by MSNBC spokesperson Jeremy Gaines. “We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air. Therefore, Mark will be suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst.”

Right. This is the same network that had Keith Olbermann ranting about President Bush’s “fascism” in Special Comments for years on end. Calling Obama a “dick” was a bit off-color, but wasn’t far off from the channel’s typical fare — other than the fact that this remark was aimed at Obama.

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A dark suspicion

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 - by Charlie Martin

Would Obama and his Administration default on August 2 — even though we know that in fact current cash flow would let them continue for quite a while — just to ensure economic turmoil he could blame on Republicans?

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