Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gallup: 'Unprecedented' GOP lead

by Mike Memoli
For the first time in history, Gallup finds that Republicans have a double-digit advantage in its generic ballot test.

If the election were held today, 51 percent of respondents surveyed from August 23-29 say they'd vote for the Republican Congressional candidate, while 41 percent say they'd choose the Democratic candidate.
Gallup has conducted this generic ballot test since 1942, and until this year Republicans never had an advantage of more than 5 points.

The poll also finds that Republicans are twice as likely to be "very enthusiastic" about voting -- 50 percent say so, compared to 25 percent of Democrats.

"The last Gallup weekly generic ballot average before Labor Day underscores the fast-evolving conventional wisdom that the GOP is poised to make significant gains in this fall's midterm congressional elections," the pollster says in its release.

Girding for a tough November, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee today launched its first TV ad of the cycle, targeting the open-seat contest in Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District. Rep. Dave Obey, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, is retiring.

The race is currently classified as a Toss Up by the respected Cook Political Report. Former "Real World" cast member Sean Duffy is the GOP nominee, targeted in this spot for his stated support for a budget blueprint from another Wisconsin Republican, Rep. Paul Ryan.

Ryan today said that blueprint is not necessarily the course House Republicans would pursue, however, if they retake the majority. But he cited the presence of a new class of conservative members like Duffy who would help the party restore its record as responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars.

"We just didn't go far enough on controlling spending, on reforming entitlements, and we let discretionary get out of control, especially earmarks," Ryan said of the previous Republican majority. "We need to face up to it, own it, and make sure we never do it again. And I think what you're seeing is a new generation of conservative leaders coming into the Republican caucus that is basically making atonements for that and making sure that we don't repeat those kinds of mistakes."

ACLU Sues Obama Over Targeted Killing Orders

That would be the headline, with a change to one word, were Bush still president, rather than the generic “U.S.” used by Bloomberg News. Anyhow, the ACLU is having their typical hissy fit, and doing their darned best to protect terrorists
The American Civil Liberties Union sued the U.S. government over an alleged policy of killing American citizens who are suspected of terrorism.
The lawsuit, filed today in federal court in Washington, argued that such targeted assassinations by the government are unconstitutional.
“A program that authorizes killing U.S. citizens, without judicial oversight, due process or disclosed standards is unconstitutional, unlawful and un-American,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said in a statement announcing the filing of the case against U.S. President Barack Obama, the Defense Department and the Central Intelligence Agency.
The New York-based group, together with the Center for Constitutional Rights, brought the case on behalf of Nasser al- Awlaki, father of a U.S.-born Islamic cleric in Yemen, Anwar al- Awlaki, who is accused of having ties to al-Qaeda.
I sure hope the government’s response was “a citizen that travels overseas, joins an acknowledged international terrorist groups, threatens to kill American civilians (among others), and destroy American property has informally renounced their American citizenship and is not entitled to Constitutional protections, and should expect to be wacked if found.”
“There is very little information available to the public about the U.S. targeting of people far from any battlefield,” the ACLU said on its website. Names are added to the list on the basis of a secret, internal process, the group said, citing unidentified news reports.
Well, duh! The ACLU thinks they have a right to know everything, that way they can leak it to the enemy, which, in my book, is un-American.

by William Teach

USA 70, Brazil 68

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant (USA Basketball, Nike)

In many ways, today’s USA/Brazil game was a typical Team USA game. The Americans overcame sloppy play (22 turnovers) and poor outside shooting (2-of-11) from all players not named Kevin Durant, and survived against the Brazilians, who had every chance to steal a win against the superior talent of Team USA. But Leandro Barbosa went cold in the second half, finishing 3-of-13 from 3PT after a hot start, and Brazil came up short.

Outside of Durant (27 points, 10 rebounds) and maybe Chauncey Billups (15 points) and Derrick Rose (11 points), this team is a mess. The bench managed a paltry six points, but Coach K leaned heavily on his starters, playing each guy a minimum of 29 minutes. (Durant played 39 minutes.) There was little or no offensive movement, leaving Durant, Billups and Rose to create on their own. How a team with this much talent can turn the ball over 22 times in 40 minutes is mind-boggling.

Moreover, there was little to no enthusiasm from the U.S. bench, while the Brazilians were standing and cheering their teammates throughout the game. At one point, I think Danny Granger (zero minutes) fell asleep. (Kidding. Not really.) They played hard enough defensively, and even though they gave up a ton of open shots, they eventually wore the Brazilians down.

One reason I tuned in was to see the Spurs new center, Tiago Splitter, who Fran Fraschilla called the best center in Europe. He’s 25, moves well for his size, and has a pretty nice jump hook with both the right and the left hands. I suspect he’ll be in foul trouble for the entire month of November as he figures out how NBA officials are going to call the game, but he has the potential to be as good as any center Tim Duncan has played with since David Robinson. (I realize that’s not saying a whole lot.)

Roger Clemens enjoys big meal before being arraigned

There was nothing wrong with Roger Clemens’ appetite as he made his way through the cafeteria on the first floor of the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse at the lunch hour yesterday. Onto his tray went a big salad. And an overstuffed sandwich. And a large cup of orange juice. And an extra large bottle of Poland Spring. “How are you doing today?” the woman behind the cash register asked the man who in less than two hours would be arraigned up on the sixth floor on Indictment No. 10-223, six counts that would charge that William R. Clemens (“also known as ‘Roger,’” as the court clerk helpfully added) lied under oath before Congress. “I’m doing great!” Clemens chirped affably, and soon he was sitting with his legal team, with Rusty Hardin and four other lawyers who will try to extricate him from the biggest jam of his life, one he created for himself by insisting on testifying a few blocks away from this building back in February 2008. Clemens talked all through lunch, reducing his legal team to gales of laughter a dozen times. A courthouse worker came by, offered a piece of paper and a pen, and Clemens signed with a smile. — NY Post

Tiger Woods Moving To Manhattan

Tiger Woods 

TIGER Woods is already embracing the single life.

The sex-mad golfer — who last week finalized his divorce from his sexy Swedish wife Elin Nordegren — has just moved into luxury New York bachelor pad.
According to Us Weekly magazine, Woods moved into the his new apartment in downtown Manhattan over the weekend.
A witness saw Woods, 34, “introducing himself as the new neighbor”.
Reports last week claimed Tiger is dating a former NYC ad executive who is in her mid fifties.
“They’re a great couple, I’ve never seen Tiger so in love,” a source said.
“This might be exactly what Tiger needs. His ill fated affairs behind Elin’s back are long behind him.
“He spends most of his nights watching films and giving back rubs to the new woman in his life, who is the mother of three grown children from a previous marriage to a well known Texas financier. I have never seen Tiger so happy.”
The woman in question, the source said, used the be nicknamed “The Cougar” in her office.
“She only dates men young enough to be her son,” dished the mole.
“I’m sure Tiger will be able to satisfy her physical needs.”

China Confirms That North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Il Was In The Country

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, left. shakes hands with China's President Hu Jintao on August 27, 2010. Reuters

China, North Korea Tout Friendship Amid Kim Visit -- Wall Street Journal

SEOUL—North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il met Chinese President Hu Jintao during his five-day visit to northeast China, the Chinese government confirmed Monday night as Mr. Kim left the country, in a surprise get-together that underscored their solidarity as they cope with pressure from the U.S. and other countries to act more responsibly.

The announcement was the climax of what appeared to be a coordinated public-relations push by China on Monday, beginning with stories in several media outlets praising the China-North Korea relationship while also saying Beijing shouldn't be held responsible for Pyongyang's provocative actions.

Read more ....

Troy Polamalu’s $1 Million Dollar Hairdo

If you follow college sports, quite often you’ll hear of athletes going out and getting an insurance policy against injuries that might harm their NFL career.  A quarterback might get his shoulder insured, or a running back his feet.  Either way, athletes getting insurance policies is nothing new, but what is something new is NFL safety Troy Polamalu has gotten a $1 million dollar insurance policy on his hair.

That’s right, the All-Pro member of the Pittsburgh Steelers has a very important head of hair, both to himself and to Head & Shoulders, the company for which Polamalu promotes hair-care products.  The Samoan-American has not cut his hair in 7 years, which lead him to his lucrative endorsement deal.  Now, to protect their investment, Head & Shoulders have gotten Lloyd’s of London to insure Polamalu’s hair from trampling, tearing, or damaging removal for seven figures.

It kind of makes me wonder how much George Gaspar’s epic beard would be worth to an insurance agency!

Obama's World versus Real World Report Released by ALG Foundation

By Rick Manning
Fairfax, Virginia-based, free enterprise education foundation, Americans for Limited Government (ALG) Foundation released a report titled “Obama’s World v. Real World” today to commemorate President Obama’s returning from what seemed like an endless summer of vacations.
The report features a cover photo of a golf-shirt clad President with putter in hand, kicking his cleated foot in the air in exuberance after apparently sinking a putt — or Obama is auditioning for a Karate Kid 2 remake.

The report itself is serious. Detailing date after date when the President or the First Lady were engaged in recreational, vacation or fundraising activities while at the same time, Americans were dying in combat, losing jobs and going into bankruptcy.
One example from the report shows that on June 5, 2009, in Obama’s world, the President and First Lady enjoyed a date night in Paris, France, and managed to snub the French President in the process. On that same day, the U.S. Department of Labor released data showing that 345,000 Americans lost their jobs the prior month and the unemployment rate jumped to 9.4 percent.
Bill Wilson, president of ALG explained, “This report shows just how out of touch the Obama’s are from the real problems facing the rest of America, and should be taken to heart when the President embarks on a compassion offensive in 2011.”

The report spans from February 11, 2009, when the Obama’s made a highly publicized visit to Ford’s Theater just a few days into his presidency to August 28, 2010, his most recent late-August family vacation to Martha’s Vineyard. The report also includes the First Lady’s controversial vacation to Spain, and the 27-hour Gulf of Mexico frolic in Panama City, Florida.

Get full story here.

Contender in November

Get permalink here.

U.S. Credit Rating Deserves to Be Downgraded

By Bill Wilson
Last week, FOX Business host Neil Cavuto came forward with a dire prediction: Thanks to the rising $13.375 trillion national debt, a downgrade of the United States’ triple-A credit rating is imminent.
“For the first time in the history of the United States, our credit rating will get a nick,” Cavuto declared. “Let me be clear, in the next few months — you heard me right, months, not years — a credit ratings agency will downgrade U.S. debt.”

Is Cavuto merely being provocative, or was he telling the truth? I’m inclined to think the latter.
Get full story here.

The Ugly Truth of Obamacare

By Rebekah Rast
In case you missed the battle last month between Obama and Snooki from MTV’s reality television show “Jersey Shore,” here’s a recap:
Snooki is staying away from the tanning salon and blames Obama for this new disruption in her life.

“I don’t go tanning anymore because Obama put a 10 percent tax on tanning. [Sen. John] McCain would never put a 10 percent tax on tanning. Because he’s pale and would probably want to be tan,” said Snooki during the second season premier of “Jersey Shore.”
If you are like Obama and claim to not know who Snooki is, you can still sympathize with her outrage over the new ObamaCare tax of 10 percent on indoor tanning salons that went into effect July 1.

This tax is also trickling into small business’ bottom line. A smart-tan poll found that 76 percent of tanning salon business owners believe the tax is hurting their sales.

There is no harm in being boisterous over your opposition to the tax, like Snooki was towards Obama, but there is more you can do to fight against this tax and many more of the 20,000-plus regulations in ObamaCare.

Americans for Limited Government (ALG) has launched a new website called ObamaCare Watcher. This website is dedicated to keeping track of the most harmful and damaging regulations tucked inside ObamaCare.
Get full story here.

Caribbean Soccer Star Murdered in Brooklyn

Caribbean Soccer Star Murdered in Brooklyn 

On Sunday, Phillip Tisson scored the winning goal for St. Lucia's soccer team in its game against St. Kitts-Nevis in the Digicell Caribbean Cup tournament being held in Brooklyn. Hours later, he was shot dead.

Tisson, who'd turned 28 three days earlier, was celebrating his team's victory with teammates at a Brooklyn club Sunday night. At around 3:30 a.m., he was sitting in a car outside the club with a woman. A man came up and shot Tisson in the head, killing him. Police have no motive yet. He leaves behind a three year-old daughter.
[Pic: AP]

Hurricane Earl threatens Puerto Rico coast

"Satellite image of Hurricane Earl, by the National Hurricane Center U.S." .- AP
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) of the United States, Hurricane Earl, of category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson scale of a total of five levels, with winds that can reach 217 kilometers an hour, is about 200 kilometers northeast of Puerto Rico. 

Earl was moving west-northwest at 24 kilometers per hour. The eye of the storm would pass east of the Turks and Caicos. The prognosis for a five-day period indicates that it could affect the U.S. East Coast beginning Thursday.

Puerto Rico governor Luis Fortuño said “the island’s schools will not open its doors today and working time is suspended by officials to prevent the effects of Hurricane Earl.”

The NHC said it also remains alert for the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Anguilla, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Saba and St. Eustatius.

Rick Sanchez Regrets Calling Obama “The Cotton-Picking President”

Oops! During a discussion with CNN cohort Jessica Yellin regarding recent controversies surrounding President Obama and his religious faith, Rick Sanchez used an old fashioned (and some might add racist) phrase that he immediately regretted, exasperating “he’s the cotton picking President!” Shortly after he made that comment CNN went to commercial, and immediately upon coming back from the break Sanchez offered a thoughtful apology and clarification regarding his very poor choice of words.

According to Phrase Finder, “the term ‘cotton-picking’ originated in the southern states of the USA, where it is usually pronounced cotton-pickin’” Newsweek Senior Editor Julia Reed came under criticism for making a similar comment while guesting on CNN’s AC 360 when she said that President Obama was “out of his cotton picking mind.”

The high price of the war in Iraq

As President Obama fulfills his campaign promise to end the combat role of U.S. armed forces in Iraq it is worth taking time to consider the high price of that conflict which began with the U.S. invasion in March of 2003. Aside from the very real costs in blood and treasury, Anne Applebaum examines some of the casualties:
Justify Full
America's reputation for effectiveness. The victory was swift, but the occupation was chaotic. The insurgency appeared to take Washington by surprise, and no wonder: The Pentagon was squabbling with the State Department, the soldiers had no instructions and didn't speak the language. The overall impression, in Iraq and everywhere else, was of American incompetence—and, after Abu Ghraib, of stupidity and cruelty as well. Two years ago, a poll showed that vast numbers of our closest friends felt that the "mismanagement" of Iraq—not the "invasion" of Iraq—was the biggest stumbling block for allies of the United States.

No wonder, then, that America's ability to organize a coalition has also suffered. Participation in the Iraq war cost Tony Blair his reputation and the Spanish government an election. After an initial surge of support, the Iraqi occupation proved unpopular even in countries where America is popular, such as Italy and Poland. Almost no country that participated in the conflict derived any economic or diplomatic benefits from doing so. None received special U.S. favors—not even Georgia, which sent 2,000 soldiers and received precisely zero U.S. support during its military conflict with Russia.

It will be a lot harder to get any of the "coalition of the willing" to fight with us again. Indeed, "Iraq" is part of the reason why there is so little enthusiasm for Afghanistan and why it is so difficult to put organized pressure on Iran.

Another victim of the conflict was America's ability to influence the Middle East. Admittedly, we were never as good at this as we would like to be, but the chaos in Iraq has clearly strengthened Iran. It has had no positive impact on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By helping raise the price of oil for a few years—this was supposed to be a "war for oil"; remember that?—it has also strengthened Saudi Arabia, the regime that produced 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers.

Of course, the high oil price also strengthened Russia and Venezuela—not that anyone has much noticed—because another casualty of the Iraq war has been America's ability to think like a global power. Even if we eventually pull out of Iraq altogether, we will have been bogged down in that country for the decade that also saw China's rise to real world-power status, Latin America's drift to the far left, and Russia's successful use of pipeline politics to divide Europe—all trends that commanded hardly any attention from the Bush administration and so far even less from Obama.

Finally, there are few domestic items that are often overlooked. One worries me in particular: America's ability to care for its wounded veterans. In historical terms, the number of U.S. fatalities in Iraq has been low—some 4,400, as compared with nearly 60,000 in Vietnam. But thanks, in part, to extraordinary advances in medical technology, the number of severely wounded veterans—men and women who will need the highest level of medical and psychological care for the rest of their lives—is far higher than ever before. We need innovative programs—programs like Musicorps, which I described last year—but high levels of bureaucratic energy are required to create and fund them. And the bureaucracy is understandably tired.

All of which is a roundabout way of saying that the assessment of the Iraq war is a project for the next decade, not the next week. Before speaking on Tuesday, Obama might ponder the words of Chou En-lai—who, when asked to assess the long-term impact of the French Revolution, allegedly told Nixon, "It's too soon to tell."

posted by Sisyphus

Restoring Honor in America Raises More Than $5 Million


By Rachel Rossitto

Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin bring Americans together in honor of people who represent the country's key principles. 

Thousands of patriotic Americans came to Washington D.C. on Saturday to participate in the Restoring Honor rally, organized by talk-radio host and Fox News political commentator Glenn Beck.
The free, "non-political" event at the Lincoln Memorial paid tribute to the nation's heroes who have embodied what the country stands for: integrity, truth and honor. More than $5 million in donations from the event went to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which supports the families of soldiers who become severely wounded or die while serving.

Also in attendance was Sarah Palin.
"It is so humbling to get to be here with you today, patriots — you who are motivated and engaged and concerned, knowing to never retreat," Palin said. "I must assume that you too know that we must not fundamentally transform America as some would want. We must restore America and restore her honor!"
Read the rest of her speech here.

According to Beck, the well-intentioned rally coincidentally fell on the 47th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

Here are photos and video from this historic event.

Chicago-Amsterdam Flight Terror Arrest

Boxcutters and cellphone taped to Pepto-Bismol. A test run.

Checked the luggage to Yemen but boarded the flight to Amsterdam.

Why Chicago.

...Lots of activity lately.

More. NBC Chicago. (A real PC media pooh-pooh report.)
The men were arrested at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport on Monday. One U.S. official said it appears the Dutch were not asked to hold either man but were instead notified of the odd behavior and apparently decided on their own to detain them.
While two men were picked up by the Dutch, tal Murisi is now thought to be uninvolved and was simply coincidentally sitting next to al Soofi, who's from Detroit.
Neither of the two men were previously of concern to law enforcement, a law enforcement official says, nor is there anything to suggest they had ill intent.
Really. Because everyone tapes a cellphone to a Pepto-Bismol bottle. And why didn't we ask the Dutch to hold these guys? Apparently they have a different grasp of reality. Clearly they recognized a threat.

...Wonder if this will make the next Chicago-area Islamic Society of North America newsletter. (Stimulus $$$ for Sharia?)

...In other Chicago news: Durbin throws support behind Ground Zero Mosque:
Sen. Dick Durbin, the man who could lead the U.S. Senate depending on how November’s elections go, had a strong message for Illinois’ 400,000 Muslims and other residents about the Ground Zero Mosque Monday.
“They are patriotic peace-loving Americans,” Durbin said of Illinois’ Muslims. “They are the doctors who administer your anesthesia; the nurses who care for you in the hospital; the engineers who build the buildings; the people who run the hotels and motels and businesses. If there was ever a time we needed to step up and embrace them and remind them that they are as much a part of America as anyone, it is now.”
How do you want your Pepto-Bismol.
And Lithuanian grandmothers, you are on notice for strip searches.
...If they blow a hole in O'Hare Sen. Durbin will support a mosque there too. It's only fair.
Related: Captured on Video: Fundraising for Hamas in U.S. Mosque. And this:
According to press accounts, more than $1 million in aid for Hamas, including the cash and supplies raised in Orlando at Musri’s mosque, along with funds raised in Kansas, New York and Illinois, was provided on Galloway’s July 2009. There to greet them and take possession of the cash was Hamas economic minister Ziad al-Zaza and Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, another designated global terrorist.

More. 2004 Tribune article on the Muslim Brotherhood in Chicago:
The Brotherhood slogan became "Allah is our goal; the Messenger is our model; the Koran is our constitution; jihad is our means; and martyrdom in the way of Allah is our aspiration."[snip]
A U.S. chapter of the Brotherhood, documents and interviews show, was formed in the early 1960s after hundreds of young Muslims came to the U.S. to study, particularly at large Midwestern universities, such as Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Some belonged to the Brotherhood in their homelands and wanted to spread its ideology here.

But to protect themselves and their relatives back home from possible persecution, they publicly called themselves the Cultural Society and not the Brotherhood.
P.S. Here's the WaPo's headline--talk about uninformative, you'd think maybe they had a stuck umbrella in there or something: Pair held after odd items turn up in luggage. It was Mary Poppins and her carpetbag.

"We don't know yet if these two end up being bad guys or are just really strange people," said one official.
There ya go.

with more buzz. They don't have this one up yet.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Real “Radicals”

By Bill Wilson
There was a time in the not-too-distant past — 234 years ago to be precise — when the ideas articulated by the tea party movement would have rightly been considered “radical.”
Not just radical in their ideological composition, either, but radical in the more “irrational” sense — in that advancing these ideas was a good way to wind up dead. And that’s exactly what happened to more than 25,000 American Revolutionaries — patriots who gave their lives in order to provide the liberty we enjoy today (and which we now aspire to pass down to future generations).

From its founding documents to the blood that was shed on its battlefields, the American Revolution was by definition “radical.” According to Merriam-Webster, that means it was “marked by a considerable departure from the usual or traditional,” and “tending or disposed to (making) extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions.”

It was also quite clearly “advocating extreme measures” to bring about a new “state of political affairs.”
Get full story here.

The “Green” Stimulus Fails in More Ways than One

By Rick Manning
June, July and August were supposed to be the months. Democrats clinging to re-election hopes just knew that between the artificial job gains from Census Department hiring, the impact of their almost $900 billion in “stimulus” spending, and the tens of billions spent in other programs, that the economy would be roaring, people would be working, and the path to November would be made easier. Their so-called “Recovery Summer” was going to save the day.

Now, as we approach Labor Day, the results are in. Big Government has failed.

Gross Domestic Product, which is the standard measure of economic growth in the country, was revised downward in the second quarter of the year from 2.4% to an estimated 1.6% as private sector employers are opting against expansion in favor of a cautious course.

It’s no wonder. Companies are staring in the face of a basic cost of business increases anticipated in 2011 due to the passage of the health care law.
Get full story here.

Krugman’s Attack on Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap” Perpetuates Entitlement Myths

By Kevin Mooney
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has offered a comprehensive, highly detailed plan for financial and economic renewal that has inspired small government activists across the country. It has also earned positive media coverage from left leaning sources that are normally hostile toward free market concepts.

But the New York Times is not part of this mix. Columnist Paul Krugman claims Ryan’s plan is an unrealistic giveaway to the rich. He is agitated, if not panicked. An audacious proposal aimed at reforming collapsing entitlements, reducing debt and alleviating burdensome taxation has been on the receiving end of positive press coverage.

It must therefore be taken down and discredited as an unrealistic sham replete with tax favors for the rich. Even as The Washington Post and other left-leaning publications provide readers with a balanced and comprehensive critique, it is instructive to note that The New York Times feels a need to perpetuate entitlement illusions.

Get full story here.

In AL Central, Manny Shifts Balance of Power & Balance of Braids

mannyramirezinatimbrownjersey.jpg The honeymoon in Chavez Ravine, as they say, is over. I'd say the writing is on the wall, but for some time, the writing has actually been removed from the left field wall: Manny Ramirez is leaving Los Angeles after leading the team to the promised LCS for two straight seasons and heading eastbound and down to the second place White Sox. I'd like to call this a trade, but with no players heading west, it's a complete and total salary dump. It's four point three million dollars that the McCourts can put towards some more useful expense, like phrenology.

Along with general manager Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen, Manny fills out the third slot in the South Side triumvirate of crazy minorities; he replaces owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who could never truly approach the level of "what's he going to do next?" questioning. All Reinsdorf ever did on that dumb White Sox reality show on MLB Network was share a bowl of matzoh ball soup with Bud Selig. Boring. Manny is here now to up the wackiness and sell some grills.

Odd, isn't it, that on the same weekend the Manny Ramirez trade to Chicago was getting the final touch-ups and signatures that Jim Thome, the former White Sock spurned by Kenny and Ozzie who signed instead with the division-rival Twins, was pulled from two games with a bad back. Thome's been nothing short of magnificent for the first place Twins this year. But it is not outside the realm of possibility that Manny, at DH in a tidy hitters park in Chicago, makes up for five Thome-less months in just four short weeks.
Because after choosing not to sign Thome, the White Sox instead have marched out a series of crappy DHs that rivaled anything the weak-hitting Royals could produce. When "Mendoza Line" Mark Kotsay is getting the plurality of DH at-bats for your favorite team, you begin wishing that American League pitchers would just start hitting again. Manny needs the designated hitter position as much as the DH needs Manny. It just makes sense.

Manny Ramirez brings no guarantees in his carry-on luggage from L.A. and the White Sox make no promises to their fans. They're four and a half games behind the Twins and possess but a mere 8.6% chance to make the playoffs. Fortunately for the ChiSox, they have three remaining games left against the Twins. Unfortunately for the ChiSox, they have seven remaining games against the Red Sox. Fortunately for the ChiSox, they have thirteen remaining games against the Royals, Tigers, and Indians. Unfortunately for the ChiSox, the frogurt is also cursed.

Conclusion: all I want to see is a close race in the AL Central, and Manny at DH in Chicago might make that happen.

Arson at site of Islamic center in Tennessee

We may not know who did this, but I think we know what caused it (and who, ultimately, is behind it):

Federal officials are investigating a fire that started overnight at the site of a new Islamic center in a Nashville suburb.

Ben Goodwin of the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department confirmed to CBS Affiliate WTVF that the fire, which burned construction equipment at the future site of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, is being ruled as arson.

Special Agent Andy Anderson of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told CBS News that the fire destroyed one piece of construction equipment and damaged three others. Gas was poured over the equipment to start the fire, Anderson said.

It's anti-Muslim bigotry, of course, but at this time, with conservatives like Palin and Gingrich screaming about the "Ground Zero mosque" and targeting Muslims as the anti-American Other, as jihadists to a man, woman, and child, is it any wonder we're seeing more of this lately? 

Palin, Gingrich, and their right-wing ilk -- and there are many of them, showing up regularly on Fox News and spewing their venom wherever they can -- may not have set the equipment on fire, but they certainly provided the gas.

(For more, see Greenwald.)

Beck Versus Sharpton ...Whose Dream?


Today saw two diametrically opposed rallies in DC...one by FOX News and talk radio personality Glenn Beck dubbed the Restoring Honor rally and another by 'activist' Al Sharpton designed specifically to counter Beck's rally called 'Reclaim the Dream.'

The name of Sharpton's rally comes from the fact that today was the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's famous "I have a dream " speech.

In view of that, it's worth looking at what occurred at the two rallies and the speakers who were there, the nature of the media coverage and most importantly, which rally best mirrored the ideals espoused by Dr. King.

Beck's event was deliberately non-political in nature. He focused on honoring America's military, calling on the nation to revitalize its religious faith and honor the principles on which the country was founded.

It was also a charity event that raised $5.5 million, for the veterans' charity Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

The speakers included Beck, Cardinal's star Alfred Pujols, Sarah Palin and Dr. Alveda King, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s niece.

The message of all of the speakers was largely religious and patriotic in tone, with little or no political content.

There were references during the rally to Mr. King's famous appeal in 1963 that people be judged by their character rather than their skin color. "We are a nation that has terrible, terrible scars, but we must look past them,'' Mr. Beck said. "We must look at the person inside.''

Taking the stage early as the warm up, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, told the crowd that she was speaking not as a politician but "as something much more -- the mother of a combat veteran."
"May this day be the change point," she said. "Let's stand together. Let's restore America."

Beck called for America to set itself back on course. "We must advance or perish," he said. "And I choose advance."

He predicted that the rally would "start the heart of America again."

Glenn Beck's full speech is here

Crowd estimates? between 300,000 and 500,000.

Now let's look at Reverend Al's counter demonstration.

The crowd consisted of 2,500-3,000 sullen activists and rent-a-bodies from the SEIU, the NAACP and Sharpton's own group, the National Action Network.There were so few people there that Sharpton instructed the line to march single file for the cameras to appear larger.

"Like Dr. King, we believe that the bank of justice is not bankrupt," she said. "We thank you God for raising up President Barack Obama as a small down payment on that dream." - Barbara Skinner-Williams, Head of the Skinner Leadership Institute.

"We will not stand silent as some seek to bamboozle Dr. King's dream... We reclaim the dream of Dr. King for the 21st century." - Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League.

“Shame on them. We still have a dream. We are here to let those folks on the Mall know that they don’t represent the dream. They sure as hell don’t represent me. They represent hate-mongering and angry white people. The happy white people are here today. We will not let them stand in the way of the change we voted for!" - Jaime Contreras, local SEIU president

“They (referring to the Beck rally) want to disgrace this day. We won't let them..

“They may have the mall, but we have the message. They may have the platform, but we have the dream. The dream was not about state's rights..and those that are trying to take his place are trying to nullify." Al Sharpton

So let's compare the two rallies again.

We have a charity event that raised $5.5 million for a veteran's charity, drew 300,000 - 500,000 people and focused on non-political themes of unity, faith and patriotism.

And then we have another rally that drew 2,500 - 3,000 people that focused on racial bean counting, divisiveness, grievance mongering and partisan politics.

With that in mind, let's look at how the dinosaur media and the flacks for the Ruling Class portrayed Al Sharpton's little circus. Just a few examples:

From the Washington Post: 'Sharpton's 'Reclaim the Dream' event brings thousands to honor MLK'

From Newsday: 'Beck rally draws big crowd as Sharpton leads thousands honoring King'

From the Government sponsored Voice of America: Civil rights leaders criticize 'Restore Honor' rally

From the Baltimore Sun: Glenn Beck's Rally: Stealing King's moral authority

From CNN: Sharpton-led rally recalls King's "Dream" speech

From Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times:Boorish Beck Makes Mockery of King's Dream

In the end, it comes down to who really exemplified Dr. King's ideals.

Whatever one might say about Glenn Beck, he has never publicly used racial or anti-Semitic slurs, never deliberately exacerbated racial divisiveness, never led a pogrom against Jews in a place like Crown Heights, never falsely libeled a state prosecutor over a cooked up phony race baiting scheme and has not made a career out of leaching off other people's money.

What does it say about these people when they're willing to look at a race pimp and anti-Semite like Al Sharpton and applaud him for the color of his skin (and his politics) over the content of his character?

Hurricane Earl Aims For East Coast

Hurricane Earl was upgraded to a "major category three" storm this morning by the National Hurricane Center. It looks like Labor Day Weekend could be rather wild for some of us. The last hurricane to hit the northeast was 1991's Hurricane Bob.

Teen's Life Tragically Ended At Today's MotoGP Race

The life of 13-year-old Peter Lenz tragically came to an end today during a warm-up event for younger competitive motorcylists at today's running of the MotoGP motorcycle race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Lenz was struck by another young motorcyclist after he spilled his bike in the fourth turn of the track. According to WTHR, Lenz had already won nine national championships, countless awards and more than 100 wins during his short career. His father posted the following message on Facebook after the tragic loss of his son's life:

"Peter passed away early this morning when he was apparently struck by another rider. He passed doing what he loved and had his go fast face on as he pulled onto the track. The world lost one of its brightest lights today. God Bless Peter and the other rider involved. #45 is on another road we can only hope to reach. Miss you kiddo. - Dad"
A number of riders complained after Saturday's qualifications for today's MotoGP race that track conditions were bad and led to a number of crashes. WTHR reported on the competitor's complaints:

"Seventy percent of this track needs to be resurfaced - not just that; it really needs to be ripped up, smoothed out again and resurfaced. The curves on this joint, we don't need all those draining points in there. You may as well be riding around the streets and I'm sure that except for around here a lot of streets would be a lot smoother than this joint. So it's not much of a race track," said Casey Stoner.

"The conditions of the track are quite difficult for everyone. It's so bumpy, the track, compared to a normal track, especially to the last track in Bruno. The conditions don't give you the best confidence," said Jorge Lorenzo.
Spain's Dani Pedrosa won today's MotoGP race at the Speedway. News reports indicated attendance at this year's event like other events held this year at the IMS were down considerably over previous years.

No One Can Say He’s Shai By Joe Siano

I had the honor of participating in a forum on the immigration issue on Thursday evening.  The meeting was produced by Today’s News NJ and moderated by Richard Lee of the Hall Institute of Public Policy.

Joining me on the panel were:

·         Adrianne Knobloch of Tax Revolt NJ and a realtor by trade
·         Dr. Gayle Kesselman co-Chair of NJ Citizens for Immigration Control
·         William Garces, Esq, founder and managing partner of Garces & Grabler
·         Shai Goldstein – Executive Director NJ Immigration Policy Network

Ms. Knobloch and Dr. Kesselman kicked off the discussion from what I would characterize as a conservative perspective.  Both offered compelling accounts of the social and economic challenges that undocumented aliens bring to New Jersey.  Ms. Knobloch spoke mostly from first hand experience stemming form her real estate business while Dr. Kesselman based her presentation on mostly secondary statistical data.

I have no doubt that the problems that they presented are very real.  My main objection was to their conclusions that the problems that they outlined were the fault of the immigrants.  I see the issue as one of a failed welfare state combined with statist no-growth economic policies that create misery for everyone.

Mr. Garces took a human interest approach by relating the inspirational story of his own father who arrived in America unable to speak English, took a janitor’s job, got an education and worked his way up to being a top research scientist at a major corporation.  While Mr. Garces was very sympathetic to the plight of immigrants, he is also cognizant of the threats that unbridled immigration poses to taxpayers within our current welfare state.

My presentation was based upon the precepts of Classical Liberalism that inform our founding documents as well as free market Austrian economics.  From a libertarian perspective, I support the free movement of people to better their lives.  However this must be balanced with the reality that America cannot afford to provide no-charge social welfare services to millions of undocumented aliens who are not paying into the system.  In a nutshell, my position reflects Milton Friedman’s axiom that, “You cannot simultaneously have free immigration and a welfare state…As long as you have a welfare state, I do not believe you can have a unilateral open immigration.”

Then came Mr. Goldstein.  His performance did nothing to edify us the audience regarding immigration policy.  But it did teach us plenty about demagoguery.

His first tactic was to claim “victimhood” by asserting that he was being ganged up on by a panel that was stacked against him 4-1.  Clearly not true.  As you can see from the above the breakout was, at worst, 2-2-1.

His next parry was to question the veracity of the two female panelists by denigrating their presentations as “lies, damned lies and statistics”.

He followed up this with an impressive combination of cheap shots and low blows that were reminiscent of vintage Bruce Lee in their speed, fury and intensity.  These included:

·         Name calling by inferring that other  panelists were “bigots”, “fear mongers” and perhaps even “white supremacists”
·         Playing the race card by saying that the forum was skewed because there were no African-Americans present.  In fact there were several in the room who voiced opinions that did not sit well with Mr. Goldstein.  Therefore he discounted them.
·         Distraction and divisiveness by introducing the libertarian position on drug policy and trying to use it as wedge between me and the other panelists.
·         Discrediting the panel’s competency to even discuss the issue by claiming that this topic should only be legitimately addressed by an authority figure with an advanced degree in Urban Studies.
·         Misrepresentation by inferring that Richard Land and the Southern Baptist Convention supports open immigration while, in reality, their approach is more in keeping the common sense libertarian position that I advocated.
·         Being just plain rude, talking over, shouting down and trying to intimidate everyone in the room.  There is just no excuse for bad manners.

Once his tirade was completed, Mr Goldstein ran home for cover well before the discussion was concluded.  In fact, Mr. Goldstein completely disregarded the moderator’s instructions to give an opening statement outlining his position and to refrain in that statement from commentary on the other panelists positions.  He simply went straight into attack mode.

Mr. Goldstein, we are still waiting to hear a well reasoned and dispassionate discourse on your immigration policy.  We promise that we will listen respectfully.

However, we do thank you for a vivid demonstration of what statists do when they have no reasonable or defensible positions to put forward.

Libya’s Gaddafi upsets Italy with bid to convert women to Islam

gaddafi 1 
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s attempt to convert dozens of young women to Islam during a visit to Italy led to an angry reaction from Italian media on Monday. The mercurial Gaddafi invited a large group of young women hired by a hostessing agency to an event at a Libyan cultural centre in Rome on Sunday and tried to convert them to Islam.

“What would happen if a European head of state went to Libya or another Islamic country and invited everyone to convert to Christianity?” asked the daily Il Messagero. “We believe it would provoke very strong reactions across the Islamic world.”
(Photo: Italian woman with Koran at Gaddafi meeting, 30 August 2010/Max Rossi)
gaddafi 2Press reports said three women had converted, but there was no way to verify if that was true. The event, due to be repeated on Monday, followed a similar reception involving some 200 women on a previous visit by Gaddafi to Rome last year.
Italy is now Libya’s biggest trading partner and buys much of its oil and gas from the energy-rich North African state. Libya is also a big investor in the Italian economy. But many commentators were not happy. “The national interest does not justify and certainly does not require anyone to agree to playing host to grotesque acts of clowning,” wrote La Stampa in an editorial.

Leading Israeli Rabbi and Shas Party Leader Calls for a Plague on President Mahmoud Abbas and The Palestinian People Before The Start of Negotiations

Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef called for a lethal plague on the head of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian people — shortly before the start of negotiations with the Palestinians.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday distanced himself from Yosef’s comments. A spokeman said that praying for death and plague on the Palestinian people (and specifically its president) does not “represent the views of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu or the Israeli government.” That is reassuring. It makes negotiations a bit awkward when you are waiting for a plague to kill the guy across the table and all of the men, women and children in his country.

According to reports, Yosef used his weekly sermon to call for death of Abbas and all Palestinians — praying for “the Lord strike them down.”

Yosef has been known to make other shocking statements, including his recent denouncing of the secular education system and calling some secular people “fools” who behave like “animals.” He later added that parents who send their children to secular schools will be punished in both this world and the afterlife.
Source: JPost


Mel B & Stephen Belafonte Divorcing?

Mel B and Stephen Belafonte pics Mel B & Stephen Belafonte Divorcing?
Mel B is remaining tight-lipped about marital problems but her hubby, Stephen Belafonte, reportedly spoke to Britian’s Mirror paper saying the marriage is over.  Read what Stephen Belafonte said below.

Film producer Stephen Belafonte told the Mirror,  “Dude, it’s over. Mel’s coming back to the UK soon – but I won’t be coming with her.”

Belafonte has reportedly spoken to lawyers in Los Angeles about getting a divorce from the former Spice Girl.

Mel B, whose real name is Melanie Brown, and Belafonte wed in 2007 just six months after Mel’s divorce from comedian/actor Eddie Murphy.

And now it looks like they will be divorcing after three years of marriage.  Belafonte stated,  “There’s been problems lately. I don’t know what’s happening.”

A friend of Mel’s stated,  “They’ve not been happy for a long time and there’s been rowing.  Mel’s been talking about getting out. They’re still talking to see if things can be worked out. But she’s making plans to come back to the UK on a more ­permanent basis. Stephen hasn’t been ­mentioned as joining her and has been consulting lawyers.”

Another source said, “Part of the problem is jealousy. They are both livid when the other one gets ­attention for another person. They constantly want to know where the other one is… it’s been an ongoing problem right from the start.”

Gulf Coast slowly rebuilds five years after Hurricane Katrina

By Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Five years after the devastating effects of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, rebuilding efforts are still very much a work in progress. Many, but not all, Gulf Coast residents have returned and although many homes and buildings have been rebuilt, more still needs to be done.

Amid the ongoing recovery, many exasperated locals say they just want to move on, especially as the nation remembers the five-year anniversaries of Hurricane Katrina, which slammed into the Gulf Coast Aug. 29, and Hurricane Rita, which made landfall in Texas and Louisiana Sept. 24.

Moving past the collective grief and frustration of Katrina is the impetus behind a scheduled ecumenical service at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Parish in Chalmette, La., Aug. 28 dubbed "a funeral for Katrina." The church is located in the largest city in St. Bernard's Parish, a civil entity just east of New Orleans that was almost entirely flooded from the breached levees and has yet to completely recover. According to U.S. Census Bureau reports, the region is only half as populated as it was before the storm.

New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond and other religious and community leaders were to direct the service where participants will be invited to write their feelings on strips of paper and toss them into a casket. After the service, the casket will be loaded into a horse-drawn vehicle and a high school jazz band will lead the funeral procession to the local cemetery to place the coffin in a newly built Katrina memorial vault.

A parish bulletin announcement of the event said: "It is time to move on with our lives and put Katrina to final rest. Many of us have already moved on, and the community is experiencing renewal and much growth."
A big part of moving on depends on the help people received and continue to get after the largest natural disaster in U.S. history. Catholic Charities USA outlined the broad extent of its outreach in a new report "Katrina & Rita: Five Years Later."

The report notes that the national organization raised $163 million for hurricane relief. Of these funds, $116 million went to Louisiana, $23 million to Mississippi and $13 million to Texas. Five other jurisdictions -- Florida, District of Columbia, Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee -- received more than $1 million for their assistance to evacuees.
In the five years since Katrina, Catholic Charities New Orleans alone distributed $55 million in direct financial assistance to those in need, provided 335,000 nights of shelter, gutted and rebuilt 3,200 homes, distributed 250 million pounds of food and provided counseling for 900,000 people.

Since Katrina, the organization has increased its efforts on preparing for future disasters.

"Now we've got a plan for whatever comes our way," said Carol Spruell, communications coordinator for Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has told reporters that his office is similarly better prepared for a major disaster after being severely criticized five years ago for a perceived slow response.

In the days before Katrina's fifth anniversary, U.S. government officials announced more than $25 million in aid for newly approved Gulf Coast rebuilding projects, which includes $11 million to the state of Louisiana to help rebuild the student center at Xavier University in New Orleans -- the country's only historically black Catholic university.

Xavier University was virtually underwater after Katrina. When floodwaters subsided, they left behind layers of mildew and mold along with damaged books, furniture, carpeting and a buckled hardwood gym floor. The storm also destroyed buildings and ripped off roofs.

Since then, the university has focused on getting back on track. This fall semester it opens a new wing at its College of Pharmacy and starts construction on a chapel in honor of the university's founder, St. Katharine Drexel. It is also starting work on a new student center and other campus building renovations.

President Barack Obama was scheduled to speak at the school Aug. 29. Members of his Cabinet and other administration officials were making several stops in New Orleans and at least one stop in Mississippi to mark the storm's anniversary and emphasize recovery and restoration efforts.

Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, planned similar visits to local Catholic Charities agencies.

Sarah Comiskey McDonald, director of communications for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, told Catholic News Service that FEMA had given the archdiocese about $61.9 million by the end of 2009 for rebuilding, repairs and alternate projects. The archdiocese anticipates receiving another $108.1 million for ongoing repairs and upgrades.

Although Mississippi has received less attention than New Orleans, the state's coast was devastated when the hurricane hit and some areas are still struggling to recover. In the Diocese of Biloxi, schools and churches damaged from wind and severe flooding are slowly being repaired.In some cases destroyed or damaged schools have merged and some churches will not be rebuilt.

When Katrina hit Mississippi, the sign outside Our Lady of the Gulf Church in Bay St. Louis read: "Sometimes, you have to lose everything in order to do anything."

The irony of the message is not lost on the pastor, Father Michael Tracey. In the Aug. 20 edition of the Gulf Pine Catholic, diocesan newspaper of Biloxi, the priest said the electronic parish sign will reflect the same message this Aug. 29.

"This time," he said, "rather than being providential or prophetic, it may be a sign of realistic hope, lessons learned and providential care."

Friday, August 27, 2010

Trenton, NJ - Governor Fires Education Commissioner over Funding Mistake

Trenton, NJ - Gov. Chris Christie has fired state education commissioner Bret Schundler in the wake of the controversy over the state’s loss of up to $400 million in federal school funding, Eyewitness News has learned.

The Newark Star Ledger reports Schundler refused to resign after the state lost out on federal school funding blamed on a clerical error.

However, video surfaced that appeared to contradict Schundler’s account of what happened when the state delegation took part in the application process.

MLB Odds: Nationals Get Terrible News on Stephen Strasburg

     Stephen Strasburg could be out until 2012 now. (AP Images)  
Could the career of Washington Nationals rookie phenom pitcher Stephen Strasburg have already peaked after just 12 major-league starts? Let’s hope not, but now Strasburg faces a long road back as a second MRI on the pitcher’s right elbow revealed a significant tear in his ulnar collateral ligament and will likely require Tommy John surgery – that means he’s out anywhere from 12-18 months. So we may not even see him next year, and that’s a shame.

"It's a tough day for him and for all of us, for everyone who's a Nats fan," Team president Stan Kasten said in an understatement.

The good news is that Tommy John surgery now is fairly routine and most pitchers are able to come back 100 percent from it — the success rate for pitchers returning to full strength and capability is roughly 90 percent. The Washington Post had a great stat, listing nine pitchers who underwent the surgery in their career who were selected for the 2010 All-Star Game: Chris Carpenter, Tim Hudson, Josh Johnson, Arthur Rhodes, Brian Wilson, Joakim Soria, Hong-Chih Kuo, Rafael Soriano and Billy Wagner. And possible National League Rookie of the Year Jamie Garcia of the Cardinals also had the operation. The Nationals lost another top pitching prospect, Jordan Zimmermann, a year ago to Tommy John surgery. He made his big-league return Thursday and allowed five runs in four innings against St. Louis. It was slightly more than 12 months since Zimmerman’s surgery.

Strasburg, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft, is 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 92 strikeouts in just 68 innings pitched this year. He left his last start Aug. 21 against the Phillies after feeling a twinge in his pitching elbow. He landed on the DL for the second time this season; also going there in July when he felt tightness in his shoulder warming up. The Nats said for more than a few days they expected this recent injury to be minor before the second MRI showed the tear. Strasburg will get a second opinion before actually having the surgery but it’s mostly a formality.

by Allen James