A senior Saudi Arabian diplomat and member of the ruling royal family has raised the spectre of nuclear conflict in the Middle East if Iran comes close to developing a nuclear weapon.I remember predicting this some time ago, but I can't find the post. But it didn't take a particularly clear crystal ball to see it coming.
Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief and ambassador to Washington, warned senior Nato military officials that the existence of such a device "would compel Saudi Arabia … to pursue policies which could lead to untold and possibly dramatic consequences".
He did not state explicitly what these policies would be, but a senior official in Riyadh who is close to the prince said yesterday his message was clear.
"We cannot live in a situation where Iran has nuclear weapons and we don't. It's as simple as that," the official said. "If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, that will be unacceptable to us and we will have to follow suit."
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Perhaps Comedian George Carlin's most notorious routine was, "The Seven Words You Can't Say on TV," from 1978. Considering his list (which no, I am not going to reproduce here), I would say that now there are only five of those words you still can't say on TV, and I mean broadcast TV, not cable, where I think the list would be down to two (or maybe none?)
Today, though, an eighth word was discovered that you can't say on TV, and the MSNBC commentator who uttered it promptly got sacked. Hugh Hewitt : Suspended? Really?
Mark Halperin is a star of the Beltway-Manhattan media elite, a lefty and transparently so.Carlin's words could not be uttered on TV (in 1978, anyway) just because they were obscene. But really, today Halperin was not bounced for the particular word that he said. He could have called the president a blockhead or dimwit or lesser term of derision and he still would have been thrown out the door.
But he is also a terrific though deeply biased political reporter and his slip into street-talk on air today needed and got an apology, but a suspension? I have been in broadcast studios, both television and radio, for two decades and the pejorative Halperin used is as common as it is low on the scale of insults towards political figures. So what is MSNBC saying with this absurd display of "standards?" That none of its hosts talk this way, or that they don't talk this way on air? If it is the later [sic - I think Hewitt means the former - DS], it is a mistake in delivery, not a moral offense, and no suspension is necessary. If the later [sic], there will be a whole lot more suspensions coming down the pike at MSNBC.
Halperin crossed a line, but it wasn't lingual, it was political. He of all people should have known it. Sorry, Mark. No sympathy here.
Kids versus corporate jets.
If President Obama's news conference accomplished anything on Wednesday afternoon, it underscored, in striking tones, his strategy for winning the debt ceiling fight with Republicans: Make it a
clash of classes. Rich versus Poor. Us versus Them.
Those who support children, food safety, medical research and, presumably, puppies and apple pie versus the rich fat cats who don't.
In Obama's world, Democrats are for kids and Republicans are for corporate jets. That is a sharp distinction that could help put the GOP on defensive, but it may not be enough to persuade Republicans to change their posture on the debt-ceiling talks.
Republicans have cast Obama as a tax-raiser and a Big-Government spender. This was his jujitsu move to turn their arguments against them. With a hint of disdain, Obama even dredged up the death of Osama bin Laden to score a political point.
Typical Obama pablum, at least the part I heard, which rhetorically came down to, "If you don't want to eat poisoned food or your children to die so the heartless Republicans can give their fat cat friends more tax money, then you have to support me."
And his speech included this knee-slapping howler:
"Call me naive," Obama said, "but my expectation is leaders are going to lead."Which is kind of interesting for him to utter that on the same day that Doug Matconis posted, "Obama Is President, But Is He A Leader?"
From the start of his Presidency, Barack Obama has displayed a leadership style that, well, displays a distinct lack of leadership. His first major legislative achievement, the 2009 stimulus package, was really just a hodgepodge of Democratic pet projects that had been sitting around for most of the Bush Administration. The piece of domestic legislation that he said would be the cornerstone of his first term in office, health care reform, was drafted by, and guided through Congress by, the leadership in the Senate and the House, whatever role the President played in the process was behind closed doors.
The White House calls his style "leading from the rear." No, really.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
The London-based World Energy Council says Israel’s Shfela Basin, a half-hour drive south of Jerusalem, holds 250 billion barrels of recoverable shale oil, possibly making the energy-vulnerable country (as expressed by The Wall Street Journal) “the world’s newest energy giant.” With reserves of 260 billion barrels, Saudi Arabia would remain the world’s No. 1 oil country – though not, perhaps, for long. Howard Jonas, CEO of U.S.-based IDT Corp., the company that owns the Shfela Basin concession, says there is much more oil under Israel than under Saudi Arabia: Perhaps, he says, twice as much.
AFP: Iran secretly tested 'nuclear-capable missiles'
Another triumph for Obama's foreign policy!
Information Dissemination: Footage Of Dutch Freeing Pirated Vessel
In which the pirates off Somalia learn the hard way that the Dutch navy is small but professional and deadly.
Monday, June 27, 2011
And if you don't believe it, just try calling AT&T.
beating-customer-service-robots-smartmoney: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance
Saturday, June 25, 2011
The Great Depression began in 1929 and continued through most of 1941. By 1937, production, profits and wages had returned to 1929 levels, but unemployment remained high at more than 14 percent, though this was a considerable improvement over the 25 percent level seen in 1933.
In mid-1937, things went seriously south. From then through most of 1938, production declined sharply and unemployment rocketed to 19 percent. Wikipedia says,
The Recession of 1937–1938 was a temporary reversal of the pre-war 1933 to 1941 economic recovery from the Great Depression in the United States. Economists disagree about the causes of this downturn. Keynesian economists tend to assign blame to cuts in Federal spending and increases in taxes at the insistence of the US Treasury, while monetarists, most notably Milton Friedman tended to assign blame to the Federal Reserve's tightening of the money supply in 1936 and 1937.Comes now one Cullen Roche of "Pragmatic Capitalism," who says that the GOP's economic recovery plan will lead to a repeat of 1937. See what you think.
Who is right? I am reminded of Harry Truman's desire to meet a one-armed economist who could never say, "On the other hand . . ."
Remember just this week when President Obama ordered the release of 30 million barrels of oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve?
Looks pretty good, yes?
Do the math:
Daily consumption - 18,771,000 barrels per day (actually almost 3 million bpd less than it was before the recession).
SPR release - 30 millions barrels.
How long before the SPR release is all used up - 1.6 days, which is to say, yesterday.
The administration claimed that it was releasing the oil because of disruptions of supply from Libya (talk about a self-inflicted wound!) and other countries. But this is a canard. According to the US Energy Information Administration, worldwide consumption lags production daily by almost 117 million bpd. There is no meaningful disruption of supply.
So why release the oil from the Reserve? One thing we can discount right away: it could not possibly have anything to do with the 2012 election. Nope, not at all.
"Graduates, faculty, parents, relatives, undergraduates, and old people that just come to these things: Good morning and congratulations to the Dartmouth Class of 2011. Today, you have achieved something special, something only 92 percent of Americans your age will ever know: a college diploma. That’s right, with your college diploma you now have a crushing advantage over 8 percent of the workforce. I'm talking about dropout losers like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg. Incidentally, speaking of Mr. Zuckerberg, only at Harvard would someone have to invent a massive social network just to talk with someone in the next room."
Friday, June 24, 2011
Remember the flap over foreign ships and the Deepwater Horizon cleanup? | Mark Tapscott | Beltway Confidential | Washington Examiner
Let not the law stand in the way of a real emergency!
Thursday, June 23, 2011
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is questioning the priorities of lawmakers criticizing the U.S. intervention in Libya.
She’s asking bluntly, “Whose side are you on?”
Setting up a showdown on Libya, House Republicans agreed Wednesday to vote on dueling measures, one to give President Barack Obama limited authority to continue U.S. involvement in the NATO-led operation against Moammar Gadhafi and the other to cut off funds for military hostilities.
Imagine the media reaction if Condoleeza Rice had said this to a democrat-controlled committee in 2007.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
They are called Homeowners Associations and are essentially residential neighborhood tyrannies.
Homeowners’ Associations Becoming Unavoidable and Quasi-Governmental - Rachel Alexander - Townhall Conservative
Here is a release by the United Methodist News Service about a Methodist church in Missouri in which people text message to the pastor during the worship service, and he answers the questions then and there. But first, of course, the Youtube:
The article says,
[The Rev. Mike] Schreiner invites churchgoers to text him questions during his sermons, be it clarification of a point he made or some other topic.The texts are anonymous, at least by the time Rev. Mike gets them.
“We’ve seen everything from, ‘Did Pastor Mike forget to shave?’ to things from John Wesley’s theology,” said Mitch Aldridge, Morning Star’s associate music director.
Aldridge collects the questions as they come in and forwards the most relevant ones to Schreiner’s onstage laptop.
Food for thought. Bill Easum once wrote that if the 1960s ever return, the mainline American churches are ready. The fact is that churches, as a group, are slow adopters of innovations, especially when they might affect worship. This is not altogether a bad thing since "innovative" and "faddish" are not easy to distinguish. at least not until some time passes.
But by now using multimedia in worship cannot be seen as a fad. If churches are going to reach and communicate with young people any more, multimedia is essential. Yet I'd wager that only a minority of congregations have such systems installed.
Personally, I think this idea is brilliant.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
WASHINGTON — President Obama rejected the views of top lawyers at the Pentagon and the Justice Department when he decided that he had the legal authority to continue American military participation in the air war in Libya without Congressional authorization, according to officials familiar with internal administration deliberations.
Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon general counsel, and Caroline D. Krass, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, had told the White House that they believed that the United States military’s activities in the NATO-led air war amounted to “hostilities.” Under the War Powers Resolution, that would have required Mr. Obama to terminate or scale back the mission after May 20.
But those lawyers didn't understand what the real purpose of the Libya adventure is. Hint: success in the theater of operations isn't it.
WASHINGTON — American counterterrorism officials all but welcomed the announcement on Thursday that Ayman al-Zawahriwould succeed Osama bin Laden as leader of Al Qaeda, arguing that his deep flaws are likely to weaken the core of the terrorist network.
The al Qaeda figures who could have been groomed for high leadership are dead. And Osama bin Laden never really believed that he'd be popped, anyway. But let us not mourn their organizational incompetence.
The TV series, "Cops," is a reality show in which camera crews follow patrol officer around. A commentator awhile back remarked on the excuses and denials suspects would always give to officers. When questioned by police, potential suspects would offer the most blatant denials of the obvious and protestations of non-involvement, leading the commentator to predict that one day the cops would arrest a drug user with the needle still hanging from his veins, only to hear him claim, "That's not my arm."
And so with President Obama, except it's, "That's not my questionnaire:" Senior White House aide: 1996 Obama gay marriage questionnaire is a fake, even though Obama signed it
White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer told the Netroots Nation blog conference this morning that the Barack Obama never filled out the 1996 questionnaire, when he was running for the Illinois legislature, in which he averred that he supports gay marriage. The questionnaire - two questionnaires in fact - have been out there for years - 15 years in fact - and it has caused the President, who now claims to oppose marriage equality for gay couples, a good amount of heartburn as reporters, such as the Blade's Chris Johnson, keep asking the White House it.Yep, you betcha! Pfeiffer said,
This is the first time Obama has tried to question the questionnaires' authenticity. Both are fakes?
"If you actually go back and look, that questionnaire was actually filled out by someone else, not the President."Well, not to ask a, you know, stupid question here, but the responses were typed, so just how exactly can we "go back and look" to determine that the paper was "actually filled out by someone else"?
It would be one thing to insist that the signature was not his, that someone else signed it. But that might be real a troublesome door to open. Pfeiffer is not claiming the signature is inauthentic. The query is obvious, except to Pfeiffer: it does not matter who typed the answers because Obama signed it.
The implication of this kerfuffle goes beyond the surface issue. The real issue, which is of critical importance because the signer is the American president, is whether Obama is telling the truth about how his signature wound up below the answers on the questionnaire.
Whether Obama does or doesn't now believe what the record shows he affirmed in 1996 is not the core problem here. The core problem is now about the questionnaire itself: Is the president lying about it?
Right now there is no reason to say he's not. This is entirely a self-inflicted wound. With the economy tanking again, this president's credibility is more vital to him than ever. And yet with this relatively small issue, he shows once again that he simply has not learned the basic lesson of politics:
Friday, June 17, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Earlier this week a group of soldiers who had just returned from Afghanistan were making their way from Baltimore to their base in Louisiana, when they ran into a Delta Airlines baggage policy that said they would have to pay for the five bags per person they were carrying, which including not only personal gear but also equipment.Read James Joyner's excellent coverage and all the comments. Why is this a non-story? Because every soldier will be reimbursed by the government as usual.
Newt Ginrich's entire senior presidential campaign staff has resigned en masse. Developing...
Update: The AJC reports,
AP: Newt Gingrich’s staff resigns en masseMy personal opinion is that Gingrich threw his hat into the presidential ring not because of a burning desire to run, but because he just doesn't know what to do with himself. But whatever it is, he is driven to garner attention. Well, he's got plenty now.
2:51 pm June 9, 2011, by jgalloway
The Associated Press has just moved an alert reporting that GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s staff has resigned en masse.
Ginrgrich press spokesman Rick Tyler told AP that he’s resigned along with campaign manager Rob Johnson, senior strategists and aides in key early primary states. More to come.
No doubt Gingrich’s decision to go on a seven-day Mediterranean cruise was a factor. Larry Sabato of Crystal Ball fame posted the following this morning:
At the end of May, Gingrich took a previously scheduled two-week vacation while other candidates campaigned. All told, one can not only question the execution of Gingrich’s campaign, but also the commitment of the candidate to it.
Remember when failed Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley took a vacation between her primary victory and the special election against now-Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA)? Inviting comparisons to Coakley, who shockingly lost Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, is obviously not any campaign’s objective.
Update: More from Politico, "The Newt Gingrich campaign implosion:"
The mass resignation was, one source said, “a team decision.”Well, presumably the candidate is in charge of the campaign and how it will be conducted. If his staff don't agree with how the candidate wants to do that, then the staff either sucks it up and takes orders they think are ill-advised or they bail.
“We just had a different direction in which we wanted to take the campaign,” said a second source.
Gingrich was intent on using technology and standing out at debates to get traction while his advisers believed he needed to run a campaign that incorporated both traditional, grassroots techniques as well as new ideas.
One official said the last straw came when Gingrich went forward with taking a long-planned cruise with his wife last week in the Greek isles.
But how does the vacation figure in? I am guessing that the staff believed that it indicated an un-total commitment to the campaign that Gingrich's low-level campaign directions seemed to indicate.
Categories: domestic politics
From this morning's Google finance news feed:
Illustration shamelessly ripped off from American Digest.
Update: Monty Python, of course, foresaw this!
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
This is what happens when the federal government's Dept. of Education takes over college student loans: Dept. of Education breaks down Stockton man's door | news10.net
STOCKTON, CA - Kenneth Wright does not have a criminal record and he had no reason to believe a S.W.A.T team would be breaking down his door at 6 a.m. on Tuesday.The Blackshirts could not have done it better.
"I look out of my window and I see 15 police officers," Wright said.
Wright came downstairs in his boxer shorts as a S.W.A.T team barged through his front door. Wright said an officer grabbed him by the neck and led him outside on his front lawn.
"He had his knee on my back and I had no idea why they were there," Wright said.
According to Wright, officers also woke his three young children ages 3, 7, and 11 and put them in a Stockton police patrol car with him. Officers then searched his house.
As it turned out, the person law enforcement was looking for was not there - Wright's estranged wife.
Update: The original page, linked at top, disappeared from News10's site yesterday. I don't know why. (Possibly there was a redirect issue with it.) Now the site has a new page with a new URL for the story, http://www.news10.net/news/article/141108/2/Questions-surround-feds-raid-of-Stockton-home
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Drudge main headline this morning:
The accompanying story in the WaPO says:
The survey portrays a broadly pessimistic mood in the country this spring as higher gasoline prices, sliding home values and a disappointing employment picture have raised fresh concerns about the pace of the economic recovery.The poll also underscores Sarah Palin's (deserved) weakness as a presidential candidate:
By 2 to 1, Americans say the country is pretty seriously on the wrong track, and nine in 10 continue to rate the economy in negative terms. Nearly six in 10 say the economy has not started to recover, regardless of what official statistics may say, and most of those who say it has improved rate the recovery as weak.
New Post-ABC numbers show Obama leading five of six potential Republican presidential rivals tested in the poll. But he is in a dead heat with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who formally announced his 2012 candidacy last week, making jobs and the economy the central issues in his campaign.
Almost two-thirds of all Americans say they “definitely would not” vote for Palin for president. She is predictably unpopular with Democrats and most independents, but the new survey underscores the hurdles she would face if she became a candidate: 42 percent of Republicans say they’ve ruled out supporting her candidacy.The bad news for Obama v. Romney is that "independents split for Romney 50 percent to 43 percent."
More than six in 10 Americans say they do not consider Palin qualified to serve as president. That is a slightly better rating for the former governor than through most of last year, but is another indication of widespread public doubts about a possible presidential run.
Monday, June 6, 2011
The alternate history of June 6, 1944 is too terrible to contemplate
There are few days in history that continue to capture the imagination and fascination of Americans the way June 6, 1944 does. Perhaps the day's only close rival is the day President Kennedy was shot.
There is an old preacher story, so old it is a cliche of bad sermons now, that goes like this: An angel awoke who had slept through the first two centuries after Jesus had gone down to earth and ascended back to heaven. The angel went to the Lord and asked, “Where did you go?”
Jesus replied, “I've been down on earth.”
The angel asked, "How did it go?"
Jesus said, "They crucified me."
The angel protested, "You must have had a wide influence."
Jesus said, "I had twelve followers, and one betrayed me to my death."
The angel asked, "What will become of your work?"
Jesus said, "I left it in the hands of my friends."
"And if they fail?" asked the angel.
Jesus said, "I have no other plans."
There are many "pivot" days in human history, when the course of human events swung in a new direction because of discrete actions. It is hard to find another moment in all history when so much rested on an outcome of one day as rested on the success of the Allies' landings on Normandy.
Read the entire post here.
Saturday, June 4, 2011
More Than 9 in 10 Americans Continue to Believe in God
So says Gallup, down only slightly since 1940. But, as UMC Bishop Ken Carder wrote, belief in God is not the real issue. The real issue is the nature of the God in whom one believes.
Corporal Dipprasad Pun defeated more than 30 Taliban fighters single-handedly
Used the tripod of his machine gun to beat away a militant after running out of ammunition
A Gurkha soldier who single-handedly defeated more than 30 Taliban fighters has been awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross by the Queen.
Corporal Dipprasad Pun, 31, described how he was spurred on by the belief that he was going to die and so had nothing to lose in taking on the attackers who overran his checkpoint in Afghanistan.
His gallantry award is second only to the Victoria Cross - the highest honour for bravery in the face of the enemy. ...
The soldier fired more than 400 rounds, launched 17 grenades and detonated a mine to thwart the Taliban assault on his checkpoint near Babaji in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan, last September.
At one point, after exhausting all his ammunition, he had to use the tripod of his machine gun to beat away a militant who was climbing the walls of the compound.
Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion: So Now All These People Will Apologize to Sarah Palin About Paul Revere, Right?
Seems that Paul Revere's personally-written account of his famous ride includes his admission that he did, in fact, warn the British that American militia were waiting for them in force.
As long-time readers know, I am not a fan of Sarah Palin (link and link), and as Prof. Jacobsen points out, her words on the YT vid are not altogether clear. Ben Smith transcribes them thus:
"He who warned, uh, the British that they weren't going to be taking away our arms uh by ringing those bells and making sure as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free and we were going to be armed."Revere's own written account says this of his conversation with a British officer:
He demanded what time I left Boston? I told him; and aded, that their troops had catched aground in passing the River, and that There would be five hundred Americans there in a short time, for I had alarmed the Country all the way up. He imediately rode towards those who stoppd us, when all five of them came down upon a full gallop; one of them, whom I afterwards found to be Major Mitchel, of the 5th Regiment, Clapped his pistol to my head, called me by name, & told me he was going to ask me some questions, & if I did not give him true answers, he would blow my brains out. He then asked me similar questions to those above.Revere seems clear.
Friday, June 3, 2011
9.1% unemployment in May « Don Surber
First quoting Reuters:
Employment rose far less than expected in May to record its weakest reading since September, while the jobless rate rose to 9.1 percent as high energy prices and the effects of Japan’s earthquake bogged down the economy.Don adds,
A year ago, Vice President Joe Biden promised monthly gains of 250,000 to 500,000 jobs.
Success has many fathers.
Failure has one: President Barack Obama.
A $787 billion stimulus in 2009, a $150 billion stimulus in 2011 and a $600 billion Quanitative Easing in 2010 failed, failed and failed some more.
If we had done nothing, it would be 8%.
That is what Barack Obama said in January 2009.
Once again: "Unexpectedly" is the motto of this administration.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
House Vote On Libya Mission Set For Friday
But what they will be voting on, exactly, is unclear. Congress in both parties will roll over on this. This is one time I find myself actually admiring Dem. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, whose position on the Libya war in crystal clear.
Check Out What GDP Growth Would Look Like If The Government Were Using The Right Inflation Numbers
Negative GDP growth, that's what.