Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
In a statement reministent of the early days of the War in Iraq Jennifer Heldmann, coordinator for NASA's observation campaign said "This is so cool, We're thrilled."
"This is going to change the way we look at the moon," NASA chief lunar scientist Michael Wargo said at the news conference. more...
Dieu le Roy!
Saturday, October 3, 2009
God save us from the man made god.
Just another reason why democracy fails the people it is supposed to represent.
Dieu le Roy.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
No thumbprint, no money, bank tells armless man
MIAMI (Reuters) – A bank in Florida refused to cash a check for an armless man because he could not provide a thumbprint.
"They looked at my prosthetic hands and the teller said, 'Well, obviously you can't give us a thumbprint'," Steve Valdez told CNN on Wednesday.
But he said the Bank of America Corp branch in downtown Tampa, Florida, still insisted on a thumbprint identification for him to cash a check drawn on his wife's account at the bank, even though he showed them two photo IDs.
In the incident last week, a bank supervisor told Valdez he could only cash the check without a thumbprint if he brought his wife in with him or he opened an account with them.
"I told them I neither wanted an account with them and couldn't bring my wife in because she was nowhere close by," Valdez told CNN.
Bank of America said in a statement cited by CNN: "While the thumbprint is a requirement for those who don't have accounts, the bank should have made accommodations." (ya think?)
Valdez said his treatment by the bank violated the U.S. Americans with Disability Act requiring institutions to provide reasonable accommodation to disabled persons.
(Writing by Pascal Fletcher; editing by Todd Eastham)
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
My only desire for health care is to have the same plan as he had.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Associated Press Writer Sinan Saleheddin, Associated Press Writer – 7 mins ago
BAGHDAD – A truck bomb exploded across the street from Iraq's Foreign Ministry near the Green Zone Wednesday, knocking out concrete slabs and windows and leaving a mass of charred cars outside as a wave of explosions around Baghdad killed at least 86 people.
It was the deadliest apparently coordinated attack in Iraq so far this year and marked a major challenge to Iraqi control of Baghdad. A steady escalation of attacks following the June 30 withdrawal of U.S. troops from urban areas has heightened fears that government troops are not ready to provide security.
Iraqi officials blamed al-Qaida in Iraq and other Sunni insurgents, echoing U.S. military warnings that the militant group is trying to provoke new bloodshed to undermine public trust in the Shiite-led Iraqi government.
"The terrorists are trying to rekindle the cycle of violence of previous years by creating an atmosphere of tension among the Iraqi people," Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said in a statement. "Our security forces must be more alert and firm. Also, the political groups must unite."
Sunni and Shiite extremists remain active in Iraq and the U.S. military has detected some political violence ahead of next year's national elections. But truck bombs and suicide attacks bear the hallmarks of al-Qaida in Iraq.
The most devastating strike blackened the facade of the Foreign Ministry, killing at least 59 people and wounding 250, according to police and hospital officials. Rescue workers dug through rubble and debris near the ministry, which is adjacent to the Green Zone, the most heavily protected part of the capital.
The explosives-laden truck was parked in a largely unguarded parking lot across the street but the force of the blast tore through the 10-story building, which itself is surrounded by a concrete blast wall, as well as nearby apartment blocs.
Dozens of cars were charred and plumes of smoke rose into the sky.
A recent rise in bombings has dealt a blow to Iraqi government efforts to restore a sense of normalcy in the capital as the overall level of violence remains low compared with recent years. Iraqi security forces have begun removing concrete blast walls, which have been credited with helping reducing violence. The walls have been coming down in residential and commercial areas with the aim of improving appearance and easing traffic congestion.
The midmorning attacks hit first near the Finance Ministry in northern Baghdad and then minutes later near the Foreign Ministry. Around the same time as the explosion near the Foreign Ministry, mortars struck inside the Green Zone. It was not immediately known what damage the mortars caused or whether there were causalities.
Another car bomb targeted a joint Iraqi police and army patrol just outside the Finance Ministry, killing at least 19 people and wounding 22, a police official said. Twenty-two were wounded, said the official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.
Another blast in the commercial area of western Baghdad's Baiyaa district killed two people and wounded 16, while a bombing in the commercial district of Bab al-Muadham killed six people and wounded 24, authorities said.
An Interior Ministry official, speaking separately, put the death toll at 88. Conflicting casualty tolls are common in the chaotic aftermath of bombings in Iraq. The officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information.
Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said Monday that he wanted to deploy U.S. soldiers alongside Iraqi and Kurdish troops in northern Iraq where some of the worst attacks in recent weeks have been carried out.
U.S. troops withdrew from Iraq's cities on June 30 under a security pact that outlines the American withdrawal by the end of 2011. President Barack Obama has ordered all U.S. combat troops out of Iraq by Aug. 31, 2010, leaving a contingency of up to 50,000 U.S. troops in training and advising roles.
Odierno said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been receptive to the idea, though has not approved it.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Page 16: States that if you have insurance at the time of the bill becoming law and change, you will be required to take a similar plan. If that is not available, you will be required to take the gov option!
Page 22: Mandates audits of all employers that self-insure!
Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed!
Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process)
Page 42: The "Health Choices Commissioner" will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. None.
Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free healthcare services.
Page 58: Every person will be issued a National ID Healthcard.
Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer.
Page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans (example: SEIU, UAW and ACORN)
Page 72: All private healthcare plans must conform to government rules to participate in a Healthcare Exchange.
Page 84: All private healthcare plans must participate in the Healthcare Exchange (i.e., total government control of private plans)
Page 91: Government mandates linguistic infrastructure for services; translation: illegal aliens
Page 95: The Government will pay ACORN and Americorps to sign up individuals for Government-run Health Care plan.
Page 102: Those eligible for Medicaid will be automatically enrolled: you have no choice in the matter.
Page 124: No company can sue the government for price-fixing. No "judicial review" is permitted against the government monopoly. Put simply, private insurers will be crushed.
Page 127: The AMA sold doctors out: the government will set wages.
Page 145: An employer MUST auto-enroll employees into the government-run public plan. No alternatives.
Page 126: Employers MUST pay healthcare bills for part-time employees AND their families.
Page 149: Any employer with a payroll of $400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays an 8% tax on payroll <>BR • Page 150: Any employer with a payroll of $250K-400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays a 2 to 6% tax on payroll
Page 167: Any individual who doesn’t' have acceptable healthcare (according to the government) will be taxed 2.5% of income.
Page 170: Any NON-RESIDENT alien is exempt from individual taxes (Americans will pay for them).
Page 195: Officers and employees of Government Healthcare Bureaucracy will have access to ALL American financial and personal records.
Page 203: "The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax." (Yes, it really says that.)
Page 239: Bill will reduce physician services for Medicaid. Seniors and the poor most affected."
Page 241: Doctors: no matter what specialty you have, you'll all be paid the same (thanks, AMA!)
Page 253: Government sets value of doctors' time, their professional judgment, etc.
Page 265: Government mandates and controls productivity for private healthcare industries.
Page 268: Government regulates rental and purchase of power-driven wheelchairs.
Page 272: Cancer patients: welcome to the wonderful world of rationing!
Page 280: Hospitals will be penalized for what the government deems preventable re-admissions.
Page 298: Doctors: if you treat a patient during an initial admission that results in a readmission, you will be penalized by the government.
Page 317: Doctors: you are now prohibited for owning and investing in healthcare companies!
Page 318: Prohibition on hospital expansion. Hospitals cannot expand without government approval.
Page 321: Hospital expansion hinges on "community" input: in other words, yet another payoff for ACORN.
Page 335: Government mandates establishment of outcome-based measures: i.e., rationing.
Page 341: Government has authority to disqualify Medicare Advantage Plans, HMOs, etc.
Page 354: Government will restrict enrollment of SPECIAL NEEDS individuals.
Page 379: More bureaucracy: Telehealth Advisory Committee (healthcare by phone).
Page 425: More bureaucracy: Advance Care Planning Consult: Senior Citizens, assisted suicide, euthanasia?
Page 425: Government will instruct and consult regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney, etc. Mandatory. Appears to lock in estate taxes ahead of time.
Page 425: Government provides approved list of end-of-life resources, guiding you in death.
Page 427: Government mandates program that orders end-of-life treatment; government dictates how your life ends.
Page 429: Advance Care Planning Consult will be used to dictate treatment as patient's health deteriorates. This can include an ORDER for end-of-life plans. An ORDER from the GOVERNMENT.
Page 430: Government will decide what level of treatments you may have at end-of-life.
Page 469: Community-based Home Medical Services: more payoffs for ACORN.
Page 472: Payments to Community-based organizations: more payoffs for ACORN.
Page 489: Government will cover marriage and family therapy. Government intervenes in your marriage.
Page 494: Government will cover men
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
As a student of history, from time to time I find parallels with the modern world. here for example is one...
It appears that the White House web site has placed this on their site:
..."There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The source of the quote and it's context may be found here...
It seems that thoughtful reflection upon this government's policies are considered subversive. Unlike the garbage they have been spewing, with the Chicago style thug policies of this administration. The Consitution? Just words?
the parallel is of course Nazi Germany, where the "Blockleiter," the political leaders of from 40 to 60 households insured that any one who desented from the party line was reported to the Gestapo This administration seems bent on recreating for us a reincarnation of Nazi Germany.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
July 26, 2009, 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B) (Jn 6:1-15)
...Jesus performed a great miracle for the people which in many ways mirrors the understanding of social justice and welfare we have today. Here was a large crowd of people, who had no food. So Jesus and his apostles found a way to provide everyone what they needed, for free. In addition to feeding, the Gospel tells us Jesus had also been healing the sick.
And the people responded: “this is the Prophet, let us make him our King!” But Jesus ran the other way, withdrawing to the hills! The next day, when the crowd found him on the other side of the lake in Capernaum, he criticized them. You follow me because I give you food, but the next day you are hungry again. Am I supposed to keep performing this miracle over and over, is that what my job as king is? more...
Thanks and a tip of the beret to Byron, and especially to Fr Mullen for this article.
Friday, July 17, 2009
NASA lost moon footage, but Hollywood restores it
Seth Borenstein, Ap Science Writer – Thu Jul 16, 7:11 pm ET
WASHINGTON – NASA could put a man on the moon but didn't have the sense to keep the original video of the live TV transmission.
In an embarrassing acknowledgment, the space agency said Thursday that it must have erased the Apollo 11 moon footage years ago so that it could reuse the videotape.
But now Hollywood is coming to the rescue.
The studio wizards who restored "Casablanca" are digitally sharpening and cleaning up the ghostly, grainy footage of the moon landing, making it even better than what TV viewers saw on July 20, 1969. They are doing it by working from four copies that NASA scrounged from around the world.
"There's nothing being created; there's nothing being manufactured," said NASA senior engineer Dick Nafzger, who is in charge of the project. "You can now see the detail that's coming out."
The first batch of restored footage was released just in time for the 40th anniversary of the "one giant leap for mankind," and some of the details seem new because of their sharpness. Originally, astronaut Neil Armstrong's face visor was too fuzzy to be seen clearly. The upgraded video of Earth's first moonwalker shows the visor and a reflection in it.
The $230,000 refurbishing effort is only three weeks into a monthslong project, and only 40 percent of the work has been done. But it does show improvements in four snippets: Armstrong walking down the ladder; Buzz Aldrin following him; the two astronauts reading a plaque they left on the moon; and the planting of the flag on the lunar surface.
Nafzger said a huge search that began three years ago for the old moon tapes led to the "inescapable conclusion" that 45 tapes of Apollo 11 video were erased and reused. His report on that will come out in a few weeks.
The original videos beamed to Earth were stored on giant reels of tape that each contained 15 minutes of video, along with other data from the moon. In the 1970s and '80s, NASA had a shortage of the tapes, so it erased about 200,000 of them and reused them.
How did NASA end up looking like a bumbling husband taping over his wedding video with the Super Bowl?
Nafzger, who was in charge of the live TV recordings back in the Apollo years, said they were mostly thought of as data tapes. It wasn't his job to preserve history, he said, just to make sure the footage worked. In retrospect, he said he wished NASA hadn't reused the tapes.
Of course no one thought that the first steps on a planet in the solar system by man would possibly be of interest to mankind. This is certainly the US Government.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
I think Rep Jackson-Lee should have tried a nomination for a Nobel peace prize. I mean they gave one to Al Gore...
SUZANNE GAMBOA, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shut the door Thursday to a resolution honoring Michael Jackson because debate on the symbolic measure could raise "contrary views" about the pop star's life.
Lawmakers are free to use House speeches "to express their sympathy or their praise any time that they wish," said Pelosi, D-Calif. "I don't think it's necessary for us to have a resolution."
A resolution sponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, cites some of the singer's charitable acts and proclaims him an American legend, musical icon and world humanitarian.
Even before Pelosi's comments, some Democrats said privately they did not support the resolution and a divisive debate would hurt House efforts to muster the votes for priorities such as health care and climate change.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who posted a video on YouTube calling Michael Jackson a "pervert" and a "pedophile," has pledged to do all he could to block the resolution.
Michael Jackson was acquitted in 2005 of charges that he molested a 13-year-old boy. Those allegations, and his admission that children slept in his bed at his home but nothing sexual occurred, have led some members of Congress to put distance between themselves and any formal honor for the entertainer.
"A resolution, I think, would open up to contrary views to — that are not necessary at this time to be expressed in association with a resolution whose purpose is quite different," Pelosi said at a Capitol Hill news conference where she discussed various legislative matters.
Unbowed, Jackson Lee said she will seek support from colleagues who thanked her when she introduced the measure June 26, one day after Michael Jackson died. She said honorary resolutions don't often "pass the next day."
"On this floor we elevate people and doing that we have to work to tell your story," she said after a House vote. But she would need support from Democratic leadership for the resolution to advance to the full House from the committee where it is now.
When members of the Congressional Black Caucus held a moment of silence in the House after Jackson died June 25, some lawmakers walked out of the chamber.
Jackson Lee has pledged that the resolution, now before the House Foreign Affairs Committee where she is a member, would come to the full House for debate. Such honorary measures normally move quickly from committee to the full House and pass on a voice vote.
But Jackson Lee's resolution was in trouble early. It drew only one co-sponsor, Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif., and was not endorsed by other black caucus members.
From the stage at Jackson's memorial Tuesday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Jackson Lee hoisted a framed copy of the resolution.
BAGHDAD – Bombs killed nearly 60 people in Iraq on Thursday in the worst violence since U.S. combat troops withdrew from urban areas last week, and American forces released five Iranian officials suspected of aiding Shiite insurgents.
U.S. officials said they believe the Iranians, detained in northern Iraq in January 2007, had facilitated attacks on American-led forces but handed them over to the Iraqi government at its request because they were obliged to do so under a U.S.-Iraqi security agreement.
The U.S. State Department said it was concerned their release could present a security threat to American troops in Iraq.
Iraq's foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, called the release a "good initiative" that could encourage dialogue between Washington and Tehran, which are longtime foes.
Iranian Embassy spokesman Amir Arshadi said Iraq had transferred the Iranians, described by their government as diplomats, to the embassy. Washington believes they are associated with the Quds Force, part of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps, and that they trained Iraqi militants.
The carnage within Iraqi borders Thursday was a sign that insurgents remain intent on destabilizing Iraq as the United States shifts its focus to the war in Afghanistan. Attacks are down sharply from past years of war and militants have been driven from many strongholds, but they routinely inflict casualties in Baghdad and northern Iraq, a cauldron of ethnic and sectarian tension.
The most lethal attack Thursday was in the northern city of Tal Afar, where women sat in the street amid torn and bloodied bodies in the aftermath of suicide bombings, wailing and beating their chests in grief. Several men crouched and wept into their hands. Others rushed the wounded to ambulances; some used a bed sheet as a makeshift stretcher.
In a statement on his Web site, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani condemned the attacks and said the "forces of evil and terrorism" were trying in vain to demoralize Iraqi security forces and the civilian population.
Some 130,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq, but they have a much lower profile and are preparing for a complete pullout by the end of 2011. Iraqi attitudes are mixed, with some rejoicing over the absence of American troops in their streets and a new sense of sovereignty, and others worried that extremists will now have more freedom to operate.
"Our security forces are still weak, with poor intelligence," said Saeed Rahim, a government employee in Baghdad. "Deploying more unqualified troops into the streets does not necessarily lead to better results."
The day's violence began at 6:30 a.m., when a suicide bomber in a police uniform and carrying a radio and a pistol knocked on the door of an investigator in the anti-terrorism police force in Tal Afar. When the officer opened the door, the bomber detonated his explosive belt, killing the officer, his wife and son, said Maj. Gen. Khalid al-Hamadani, police chief of the northern Ninevah province.
As people gathered in the aftermath, another suicide bomber detonated his explosives belt, al-Hamadani said. The coordinated attack killed a total of 38 people and injured 66. Army Brig. Abdul-Rahman Abu Raghef said the first suicide bomber was a local resident who had been jailed for one year on suspicion of terrorism, but was released in an amnesty in June.
A day earlier, car bombs in two Shiite villages near Mosul, another northern Iraqi city, killed 16 civilians and injured more than two dozen.
Haneen Qaddo, a lawmaker representing Shiites in the Mosul region, complained about a "big security vacuum" in the north and said Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, should withdraw from some areas and allow Iraqi army units to deploy. Tensions between Iraqi Arabs and Kurds, who run a virtual mini-state in part of northern Iraq, are considered a major threat to long-term stability.
Factions are maneuvering for control of Kirkuk, a disputed northern city in an oil-rich area that is seen as a flash point for conflict. Police there said a civilian bystander died in a bomb attack on a police patrol on Thursday.
Insurgents also struck Baghdad on Thursday morning, detonating bombs that killed 18 people and injured dozens. Eight of them died and 30 were injured in coordinated blasts near an outdoor market in the Shiite district of Sadr City, said Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Mousawi, spokesman for the city's operations command center.
Hassan Abdullah, a vegetable salesman, said he heard the first blast and went to see what was happening when a second bomb hidden in trash about 100 yards away exploded. He was taken to a hospital with hand and leg injuries.
In the Karrada district of central Baghdad, one civilian died in a bomb attack on the convoy of Central Bank Gov. Sinan al-Shibibi, a police officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. The governor was unharmed.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said the U.S. had to release the Iranians under a U.S.-Iraqi security agreement that took effect in January. Kelly said the release was not part of a deal or prisoner exchange with Tehran.
He said Iraq has issued arrest warrants for all non-Iraqi detainees held by American forces and asked the U.S. to transfer them to the Iraqi government's custody.
Kelly described the five Iranians as being "associated with" the Quds force. Kelly said the possibility of the five creating security problems in Iraq was "a big concern."
A senior Iraqi government official said on condition of anonymity that the Americans had advised Iraqi counterparts that the Iranians should leave the country.
Also Thursday, the U.S. military said it was investigating the death of a U.S. soldier who had been found "unresponsive" on a military base.
I thought Al Sharpton was out of line telling the Jackson children that there was "nothing strange about your Daddy". Well I was wrong.
From Michelle Malkin...
Sheila Jackson-Lee hits rock bottom;
By Michelle Malkin • July 7, 2009 03:10 PM
Oh, no, she didn’t.
Oh, yes, she did.
Democrat Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee just pimped the stupidest House resolution ever on stage at the Jacko memorial at Staples Center. She held up a big, framed copy of it as the crowd cheered. That was after she extolled “The King,” painted him as the world’s greatest humanitarian, and demagogued the child molestation cases by proclaiming that members of Congress “understand the Constitution” and “we understand laws” and we know that “people are INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE!”
Yes, she did. Right there in front of Jacko’s three children.
I thought Al Sharpton’s memorial rant (“There was nothing strange about your daddy!”) was the low point for American culture.
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, you win.
Question: Who paid for Jackson-Lee’s flight to L.A.?
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Having my French language stolen from me this song has an especial meaning to me.
Joan the maid calls out to from the past to remind France that it was for France that she Gave her Blood and Liberty.
Mireille Mathieu can be the Edith Piaf of the new millenium.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
VIAREGGIO - Sedici morti, decine di feriti di cui 15 in pericolo di vita, alcune persone disperse, decine contuse, sotto schock, un migliaio di abitanti evacuati. E poi due palazzine distrutte e altre tre evacuate, alcune centinaia di sfollati. Lutti e devastazione in un paradiso delle vacanze al mare, Viareggio, a causa di un treno merci carico di Gpl (Gas di petrolio liquefatto) che a mezzanotte deraglia in stazione e innesca l'apocalisse nel centro della città: una serie di esplosioni e l'incendio.
Le vittime. Il bilancio delle vittime è provvisorio. Il capo della Protezione Civile, Guido Bertolaso, verso le 11. definisce le cifre che, prima sembravano più alte. Dice: "I morti accertati sono dodici". Ma, purtroppo, si capisce che questo bilancio durerà poco. Quasi subito, arrivano nuove segnalazioni. Prima si passa a 14 decessi, poi vengono individuati due cadaveri in un punto ancora non sicuro che, quindi, verranno recuperati più tardi, quando sarà possibile. E' in condizioni molto critiche la bambina straniera di 4 anni che è stata trasportata in elicottero all'ospedale Bambin Gesù di Roma con ustioni su tutto il corpo.
L'esplosione. "Come un terremoto, come un tornado, ho avvertito uno spostamento d'aria e il pavimento muoversi" racconta un giovane. "Dormivo, mi è piombato il lampadario addosso, sono vivo per caso" dice un altro. "Mio marito, un eroe. Mi ha preso di peso e trascinato fuori da una porta sul retro prima che crollasse tutto. Da sola, con queste gambe malridotte, operate da poco, non ce l'avrei mai fatta" aggiunge un'anziana sorretta a braccia da due volontari della protezione civile che l'accompagnano nella tendopoli allestita in piazza del municipio. più... Dunque molti duole, prego per loro.
ROME — At least 16 people died, 3 of them children, and more than 34 were reported injured after a freight train carrying liquid petroleum derailed and exploded late Monday in a quiet seaside town on the Tuscan coast.
The accident, which took place as the train passed through a residential neighborhood in the town of Viareggio, caused five homes and buildings to collapse, killing some residents as they slept. Flames engulfed entire streets, including parked cars, until the authorities were able to contain the blaze.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is expected to travel to the town, about 220 miles north of Rome, on Tuesday afternoon to assess the damage.
The accident, the deadliest train-related disaster in the country since 2005, delayed train service nationwide. It comes a week before Italy is expected to host world leaders for the Group of Eight summit meeting, to be held in L’Aquila, where nearly 300 people were killed and 65,000 people left homeless by an earthquake on April 6. Already on Tuesday, critics were saying aging infrastructure had contributed to the derailment.
The accident was caused by a mechanical problem: the axle on the first car gave way, the director of Italy’s state railway, Mauro Moretti, said at a news conference. “From what we’ve seen so far, the engineers didn’t make any mistakes,” Mr. Moretti said, according to the news agency ANSA.
On Tuesday, rescue workers sifted through the wreckage looking for around 30 missing people. Three children were pulled alive from the rubble, and 16 of the injured were in critical condition, Italian news media reported.
The 14-car train was traveling to Pisa from the northern city of La Spezia and was near the Viareggio train station just before midnight when the car derailed, The Associated Press reported.
“We saw a ball of fire rising up to the sky,” said one witness, Gianfranco Bini, who lives in a building overlooking the station, according to The A.P. “We heard three big rumbles, like bombs. It looked like war had broken out.”
More than 1,000 people were evacuated, the mayor of Viareggio, Luca Lunardini, told ANSA.
Raffaele Gargiulo, a police spokesman for the nearby city of Lucca, told The A.P. that the bodies were severely burned and would be difficult to identify.
The director of Italy’s Civil Protection, Guido Bertolaso, called the incident one of the “worst tragedies” to occur in the Italian train system.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Rest in Peace Neda...
Iran's rulers scoffed. They had inherited a world, and they were in no need of opening it to outsiders. They were able to fly under the radar. Selective, targeted deeds of terror, and oil income, enabled them to hold their regime intact. There is a Persian pride and a Persian solitude, and the impact of three decades of zeal and indoctrination. The drama of Barack Obama's election was not an affair of Iran. They had an election of their own to stage. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- a son of the Ayatollah Khomeini's revolutionary order, a man from the brigades of the regime, austere and indifferent to outsiders, an Iranian Everyman with badly fitting clothes and white socks -- was up for re-election..." more...
Mr Obama get a clue.
The time to raise the ketchup alarm has come. Obama, not content to get his hot dog Chicago style wants ketcup too. Bells sghould be going off, and the people need to boo...
Michael Barone has written this article today...
By Michael Barone
We pundits like to analyze our presidents and so, as Barack Obama deals with difficult problems ranging from health care legislation to upheaval in Iran, let me offer my Three Rules of Obama.
First, Obama likes to execute long-range strategies but suffers from cognitive dissonance when new facts render them inappropriate. His 2008 campaign was a largely flawless execution of a smart strategy, but he was flummoxed momentarily when the Russians invaded Georgia and when John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate. On domestic policy, he has been executing his long-range strategy of vastly expanding government, but may be encountering problems as voters show unease at huge increases in spending.
His long-range strategy of propitiating America's enemies has been undercut by North Korea's missile launches and demonstrations in Iran against the mullah regime's apparent election fraud. His assumption that friendly words could melt the hearts of Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have been refuted by events. He limits himself to expressing "deep concern" about the election in the almost surely vain hope of persuading the mullahs to abandon their drive for nuclear weapons, while he misses his chance to encourage the one result -- regime change -- that could protect us and our allies from Iranian attack.
Second, he does not seem to care much about the details of policy. He subcontracted the stimulus package to congressional appropriators, the cap-and-trade legislation to Reps. Henry Waxman and Edward Markey, and his health care program to Sen. Max Baucus. The result is incoherent public policy: indefensible pork barrel projects, a carbon emissions bill that doesn't limit carbon emissions from politically connected industries and a health care program priced by the Congressional Budget Office at a fiscally unfeasible $1,600,000,000,000.
He quickly announced the closing of the prison at Guantanamo Bay and now finds his administration begging the likes of Palau and Bermuda to take a few detainees off its hands. His acceptance of Arabist insistence that all problems in the Middle East can be solved by getting an Israeli-Palestinian settlement has put us in the absurd position of pressuring Israel not to expand settlements by a single square meter but pledging not to "meddle" in Iran.
Third, he does business Chicago-style. His first political ambition was to be mayor of Chicago, the boss of all he surveyed; he has had to settle for the broader but less complete hegemony of the presidency.
From Chicago, he brings the assumption that there will always be a bounteous private sector that can be plundered endlessly on behalf of political favorites. Hence the government takeover of General Motors and Chrysler to bail out the United Auto Workers, the proposal for channeling money from the private nonprofits to the government by limiting the charitable deduction for high earners and the plan for expanding government (and public employee union rolls) by instituting universal pre-kindergarten.
Chicago-style, he has kept the Republicans out of serious policy negotiations but has allowed left-wing Democrats to veto a measure upholding his own decision not to release interrogation photos. While promising a politics of mutual respect, he peppers both his speeches and impromptu responses with jabs at his predecessor. Basking in the adulation of nearly the entire press corps, he whines about his coverage on Fox News. Those who stand in the way, like the Chrysler secured creditors, are told that their reputations will be destroyed. Those who expose wrongdoing by political allies, like the AmeriCorps inspector general, are fired.
Obama entered the presidency with what seemed like supreme self-confidence. He had, after all, advanced from the Illinois state Senate to the presidency of the United States in just four years -- a steeper and more rapid ascent than any president since Woodrow Wilson. The success of his long-range campaign strategy seems to have made him confident that his long-range policy strategies would work, as well.
But transferring large segments of the American economy from the private to the public sector has proved to be tougher than winning Democratic primaries and caucuses. And Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong Il have proved to be harder to charm than American mainstream media.
It's generally good for American presidents to have long-term strategies. But in setting public policy, it's important to get the details right. And in guiding the nation in a dangerous world, it's vital to adjust to face hard realities and adjust to unexpected events.
It may be that the Do-nothing-president may have his butt pulled out of the perverbial fire by The John McCain.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
What is done in darkness, is not hidden in the light.
Genocide pure and simple.
God save your children.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Americans should look carefully at the anti-politician, anti-government mood exhibited in California this week. Just as Proposition 13 and the anti-tax movement of 1978 were the forerunners of the Reagan presidential victory, so the results of Tuesday's vote are a harbinger of things to come.
The repudiation of the California establishment in the series of initiative defeats could hardly have been more decisive. Five taxing and spending measures were rejected by 62.6 to 66.4 percent of the voters. That is a consistent majority of enormous potential. An even larger majority, 73.9 percent, approved the proposition limiting elected officials' salaries when there is a deficit.
This vote is the second great signal that the American people are getting fed up with corrupt politicians, arrogant bureaucrats, greedy interests and incompetent, destructive government.
The elites ridiculed or ignored the first harbinger of rebellion, the recent tea parties. While it will be harder to ignore this massive anti-tax, anti-spending vote, they will attempt to do just that.
Voters in our largest state spoke unambiguously, but politicians and lobbyists in Sacramento are ignoring or rejecting the voters' will, just as they are in Albany and Trenton. The states with huge government machines have basically moved beyond the control of the people. They have become castles of corruption, favoritism and wastefulness. These state governments are run by lobbyists for the various unions through bureaucracies seeking to impose the values of a militant left. Elections have become so rigged by big money and clever incumbents that the process of self-government is threatened.
Sacramento politicians will now reject the voters' call for lower taxes and less spending and embrace the union-lobbyist-bureaucrat machine that is running California into the ground, crippling its economy and cheating residents. This model of high-tax, big-spending inefficiency has already driven thousands of successful Californians out of the state (taking with them an estimated $11 billion in annual tax revenue). The exodus will continue.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a smart, tough, charismatic leader who has been forced to submit to policies he knows are ruining California on behalf of interests he knows are cheating the state. His failure to tame the union-lobbyist-bureaucrat machine that owns the legislature is a symptom of just how powerful it is.
Albany is even more corrupt and dysfunctional. The special interests that own the legislators in both parties have been exploiting New York for two generations. They have impoverished the Upstate region to the point where it is a vast zone of no jobs and no opportunities. Their predatory tax and bureaucratic union behavior is beginning to cripple New York City. More and more successful New Yorkers are leaving the state. In the face of multiple crises, Gov. David Paterson has shown himself incapable of carrying out reform.
In other words, the political machines in California and New York are wrecking the states' economies and driving out successful residents. But the machines don't care because all they want to do is own the wreckage.
This system of ruining communities on behalf of interest groups first appeared in Detroit. Bad government, bad politicians and bad policies drove a city that had, in 1950, the highest per capita income of any large American city to No. 62 in per capita income as of 2007. The population has declined from 1.8 million to fewer than 950,000. Recently, 1,800 homes were sold for under $10,000 each. The human cost of bad politics and bad government in Detroit is staggering.
Now President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid want to impose on the nation this style of politics in which interest groups, politicians and bureaucracies dominate. Look at their record: a $787 billion stimulus no elected official had read, 8,000 earmarks, an Environmental Protection Agency plan to control the economy through carbon regulations, the government threatening retaliation against those who would protect their property rights against theft in the Chrysler bailout -- again and again, this team is moving toward a government that owns the country rather than a government that is owned by the people.
Watch Sacramento politicians and interest groups work to overrule the people of California. Watch Albany politicians and interest groups continue to undermine the economy of New York. Watch the arrogance of the elites in Washington as they impose their costs and special deals on the American people.
Then look again at the 62 percent-plus majority in California in favor of smaller government and lower taxes.
In the great tradition of political movements rising against arrogant, corrupt elites, there will soon be a party of people rooting out the party of government. This party may be Republican; it may be Democratic; in some states it may be a third party. The politicians have been warned.
The writer, a Republican, was speaker of the House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. He is chairman of the Gingrich Group, a communications and consulting firm, and general chairman of American Solutions for Winning the Future. © The Washington Post
Thanks to Carlos Rosendi, at Casorosendi.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The UK daily mail has an article at this URL: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/5036107/Spanish-man-is-pregnant-with-twins.html
Ok, let me get this straight (pun intended), we have a woman who wanted to be a "man", who is now having a homosexual relationship with another man, and got pregnant by that man. I am confused. I feel pity for the issue from this relationship.
The fellow(?) on the left in the picture is the one who is pregnant.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Joe Biden addresses students at Bellevue Elementary School in New York on May 10th: BIDEN:
"...How many of you kids want to go to college? Well, guess what? Barack Obama and Joe Biden are going to make sure that every single one you who qualify are going to get to go to college even if you don't have the money in your family to go. We're going to make sure you get there..."
See a film of this remarkable statement. here...
Hey Joe! I spent about 64,000 for my daughters 4 years at college, and semester in France. You got enough money for all the kids in the US who want to got to a college? I'll send you my next bill from NC, CFI.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Submitted by worker on Fri, 2009-04-24 23:09.
This May Day 2009 millions of workers in the US are under attack from layoffs and wage cuts to union-busting tactics by authoritarians who want a union-free environment. Working people are under assault; ICE raids continue to terrorize and demonize the immigrant communities nationwide, destroying families, maintaining exploitation.
The First of May was a symbol of the international proletariat’s struggle for emancipation. Neither military parades nor the ‘good little boy’ marches of the reformist union federations can blind us to the deep-seated international solidarity of the struggle. Worker autonomy, direct action — with no chiefs, guides, Great Leaders or Grand Helmsmen, but organized into our own rank and file agencies — will turn the revolutionary movement into a tool for liberation.
Let us demonstrate and march with the worker's of the world.
START DATE: Friday May 01
TIME: 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Dolores Park, San Francisco
Rally @ 12PM
March begins @ 2PM
Event Type: Protest
If the workers of the world are as apathetic as this blog indicates the nation is safe.
Funny Comment #1... comrade may 1st is on a
Submitted by anon on Sat, 2009-04-25 02:44.
comrade may 1st is on a thursday
Funny Comment #2...You are looking at an old
Submitted by hpwombat on Sat, 2009-04-25 02:48.
You are looking at an old calendar. It is on a Friday.
Talk about living in the past.
Funny Comment #3...That's why we need to
Submitted by anon on Tue, 2009-04-28 17:48.
That's why we need to takeover ;) Sometimes I dream about large scale protests setting off a chain of events leading up to nation wide rioting and finally full-blown rebellion!
But that's only in my dreams.
Can spontaneous insurrection really happen like that or would it take longtime planning for some kind of attack-sabotage?
While it would be fun I can't help but wonder if spontaneous revolution would lead to disaster.
If it ever were to go down due to tensions rising over the economy, war, racism, and police brutality we better try our hardest to make the best of the outcome.
Last thing I want is a horrible aftermath.
Tired of marching and holding a sign
Want freedom now
These people Should be arrested for BWH, Blogging While High.
Stupid signs are now available in Anarchist Red.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
That would have made those of the Muslim and Jewish, and Seventh Day Adventist Faith as well as vegetarians and vegan safe...
WHO to stop using term 'swine flu' to protect pigs
By FRANK JORDANS
Associated Press Writer
GENEVA (AP) -- The World Health Organization said confirmed swine flu cases rose to 257 worldwide Thursday and announced it will would stop using the term "swine flu" to avoid confusion over the danger posed by pigs.
The global body said the number of confirmed cases in Mexico rose to 97 from 26, with seven deaths. The WHO confirmed tally from the United States now stands at 109, with one death.
Other confirmed cases include 19 in Canada, 13 in Spain, eight in Britain, three each in Germany and New Zealand, two in Israel and one each in Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
WHO spokesman Dick Thompson told reporters in Geneva that at least one of the Spanish cases involved a person who had not traveled to Mexico. Spanish officials said that was a man who apparently got the virus from his girlfriend, who recently returned from Mexico.
Thompson said the flu name change comes after the agriculture industry and the U.N. food agency expressed concerns that the term "swine flu" was misleading consumers and needlessly causing countries to order the slaughter of pigs.more...
What our government can do for you. Feel safer now? Discuss among yourselves.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
“I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary,” said Specter in a statement. “I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election.”
“Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.” Senator Arlen Spector, April 28, 2009.
In light of this flip-flop I prophecy he will go far in the Democrat (er jacobin) party.
Breakin' up is hard to do...
Monday, April 27, 2009
Things the Obama White house doesn't know...
How to use a teleprompter...
How to deliver a speech with out a teleprompter...
That one doesn't pat the Queen anywhere...
The president of France is Sarkozy not Chirac...
There are bad people in the world who want to destroy the US and they are not Republicans...
It is a good thing to let the mayor of New York that the backup to Air Force One and Fighter Jets will be flying over the Hudson. Let Milhouse the press secretary know what is going on so he doe not make you look anymore inept than you are.
Your Chicago thuggy attitude is of no use in the big world out side of the south side.
That you are in charge of the Government now and you can stop blaming President Bush for everything.
Everything you do has a repercussion.
From Obamaism blog...
Obama and His Beloved Teleprompter ; fails him again
President Obama’s speech at the National Academy of Sciences Monday morning hit a brief snag when Obama got ahead of his script. (DOH)
Laying his plan for a President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Obama began to name the members of PCAST listed in his prepared remarks – before realizing he’d already introduced them, earlier in his speech. More...
I wish I could put a recipe for Crepes Suzette into a speech, just to see how far he got before he noticed.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
He did not bow to the Queen of England, just patted her. After all she is just a woman.
I have not said this before but my angst is overflowing. In his mind, he is showing his solidarity to the Muslim prince, and showing up Miss Daisy. He has continually insulted our allies and cosyed up to our enemies.
by these actions and because he has been in office for 11 weeks with out finding a church, i expect he will proclaim himself a Muslim in the next few months. After all he doesn't want a fatwa placed on him.
BTW the White House denied that Barry did not bow, then the video came out. I expect the administration to remove the video from YOUTUBE soon.
Friday, April 3, 2009
April 2, 2009 11:36 am SBrinkmann Breaking News
By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
The University of Notre Dame, still caught up in the enormous backlash over its invitation to Barack Obama to speak at this year’s commencement, is once again under fire for appointing a new law school dean who donated to pro-abortion presidential candidates such as President Barack Obama and Sen. John Kerry.
Notre Dame officials announced on April 1 that Nell Jessup Newton, most recently chancellor and dean of the Hastings College of the Law at the University of California, has been appointed as the new law school dean.
In a report by LifeSite.com, a web site devoted to identifying donors to political candidates, Fundrace 2008, indicates that Newton gave Obama’s presidential campaign $2,300 during the first quarter of 2007. She also gave $500 to pro-abortion Catholic presidential candidate John Kerry during the first quarter of 2004 in his race against pro-life President George W. Bush.
The campaign finance web site also lists Newton as giving $1,000 in 2008 to Congressional candidate Jackie Speier, who was endorsed by Emily’s List, a pro-abortion group that only backs candidates who support partial-birth abortion and the use of taxpayer funds for abortions.
Fr. Jenkins made no mention of her donations to candidates who hold positions contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church in his glowing announcement.
“In Nell Newton, Notre Dame has gained a superb scholar, a proven academic leader, and a person deeply committed to the University’s mission,” Father Jenkins said. “She will help us continue and deepen education and research in our law school, and I am delighted to welcome her to Notre Dame.”
Notre Dame’s provost, Thomas Burish, called Newton “an experienced, effective and admired leader” who supposedly has an “appreciation of the special mission of Notre Dame” and will “build on the Law School’s strong foundation to help it achieve even greater excellence.”
Burish did not say whether he thought Newton had an appreciation for the Catholic Church’s pro-life views or would instill such views in the future attorneys attending the law school.
Newton’s appointment is effective July 1.
To contact Fr. John Jenkins, President of Notre Dame, at 574-631-5000, fax 574-631-2770, email email@example.com, or mail to 317 Main Building, Notre Dame, IN 46556. You can call Notre Dame at (574) 631-5000 or use the email form at http://president.nd.edu/contact-us
Complaints may also be submitted to the law school at: University of Notre Dame Law School, P.O. Box 780 Notre Dame, IN 46556, call 574.631.6627, fax 574.631.3980 and email firstname.lastname@example.org.
© All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly/Women of Grace.
Borrowed from Living His Life Abundantly
Dieu le Roy!
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
A young friend of mine in Philadelphia’s St. Charles Borromeo Seminary sent me a column by Charles Krauthammer (photo) entitled “Morally Unserious in the Extreme.” Krauthammer there reacts to the President Obama’s signing the document overturning stem-cell research restrictions. Krauthammer knew that these so-called “restrictions” were, when spelled out, actually incentives for scientists to find more reasonable and ethical procedures to accomplish the very same purposes, which in fact they were doing. Most normal people recognize that “research” predicated on infant deaths has something seriously wrong with it, even if they do not know why. But evidently the president either does not or will not see this fact.
Krauthammer is withering in his analysis of the incoherence of the president’s actions and the reasoning that he presents. We are becoming used to a president who says one thing and does another. As the Canadian journalist David Warren has said, “The president declared that he is against human cloning. This was, typically for him, a rhetorical manoeuvre, belied by his deed. For what can a promise to prevent human cloning mean, when his decision opens the door wide to just such eventualities?”
Yet on life and morality issues, the president is consistent in deed. He ever ends up on the death or aberrant side of things. His record, both voting and rhetorical, all along suggested that he would. In this area, he is consistent.
But what was particularly interesting in Krauthammer’s column was the account of his being invited to the White House to witness the signing. He was on the President’s Bioethics Council, so he was familiar with the ins and outs of the issues. Krauthammer notes that George Bush had given a nationally televised speech on the stem-cell issue that was “the most morally serious address on medical ethics ever given by an American president.” Mr. Obama shows little of this moral seriousness.
Krauthammer speculates on the reason why he was invited. Apparently, he (Krauthammer) does not object to using cell lines from “discarded embryos in fertility clinics.” This somewhat questionable moral position led President Obama to assume that Krauthammer might be sympathetic to the signing. If someone of that journalist’s stature were there (Krauthammer also holds a medical degree from Harvard), it would cast an aura of legitimacy over this most dubious presidential decree.
Krauthammer’s dissection of the White House’s calculation is something that particularly drew my interest. As I thought about it, the scene reminded me of something. Of course, it was the famous case in the “Apology of Socrates.” We read it every semester in my class at Georgetown. The local rulers commanded Socrates to cross to the island of Salamis to pick up a certain Leon, an admiral. He was to be returned and executed for failing his duty in a naval battle.
Athenian law required that bodies of the dead (they were not interested in stem cells in those days) were to be returned for proper burial. The episode has a kind of prophetic import. By commanding Socrates and four other gentlemen to go over to pick up Leon, the authorities sought to implicate them in the executions. Socrates’ participation would implicitly make the act seem moral.
Socrates thought the trial that had condemned Leon was illegal. Athenian citizens had to be tried individually, not in a group, as had happened in this case. When the other four came to collect him to go over to grab Leon, Socrates told them to go on. In a famous phrase, he tells us that instead “he went home.”
That is, Socrates would not participate in such an illegal act. He further states that he would have been himself killed for this refusal had the current rulers not fallen from power. So he lived a few years longer, until his next trial, the one we all know about.
Krauthammer, with no reference to Socrates in mind, says of the White House invitation, “I declined to attend.” He gives his reason: “Once you show your face at these things, you become a tacit endorser of whatever they spring.” After seeing what the president signed, he added, “My caution was vindicated.”
Now I am not suggesting that Charles Krauthammer is Socrates. But in declining this presidential invitation, he is a man who stands in a certain tradition. He would prefer to stay home rather than be associated with something as morally dubious as the stem cell action. And, if I might extrapolate, this refusal is what civilization is about.
It is about Socrates’ “It is never right to do wrong.” If you refuse to go along, as Socrates eventually discovered, you pay the consequences. But in paying them, you stand for what is right, what is civilized. That is why in our current situation Charles Krauthammer’s words should be remembered: “I declined to attend.”
Rev. Fr. James Schall, S.J., is a professor at Georgetown University, and one of the most prolific Catholic writers in America. This article was published originally in The Catholic Thing
Friday, March 20, 2009
1. If congress can tax these bonuses what makes it impossible for them to tax us at 90%.
2. This is a distraction from the real banditos, Congress and in particular, Chris Dodd,(who took the largest campaign donation to any politician from AIG)who wrote the bill he never read, then lied and said he didn't put the words in about bonuses,
and had to retract that statement. Dodd's Steve Urkel explaination "Did I do that" ain't cutting it.
3. Why don't we ask the congress to tax themselves for their bonus this year, which, like the bailout went into effect at night in the dark, when no one was watching.
4. This shows now that the Congress of the United States can not, will not, honor a contract even if they wrote it.
5. Liddy who is getting only a dollar a year for his work at AIG should resign saying, "I quit, take this job and shove it. You put me in this job, with everything that was in the bill and now those of you who wrote it and voted for it are now in hypocritical indignation at me?"
6. And lastly, being a Duke fan, father-in-law of a Duke graduate, and resident of North Carolina, by not picking Duke in the final four the president once again show his lack of foresight. In his statement Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said, "The economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets."
I seem to remember Clinton saying "It's the economy stupid..."
House to vote on 90 percent tax for AIG bonuses...
AP… WASHINGTON – The House is scheduled to vote today on a bill that would levy a 90 percent tax on bonuses paid to employees with family incomes above $250,000 at companies that have received at least $5 billion in government bailout money.
"We figured that the local and state governments would take care of the other 10 percent," said Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.
Rangel said the bill would apply to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, among others, while excluding community banks and other smaller companies that have received less bailout money.
House Democratic leaders unveiled the bill as the head of embattled American International Group Inc., which has received $182 billion in bailout money, testified about $165 million in bonuses paid out in the past week to about 400 employees in its Financial Products unit.
Edward Liddy, who was brought in last year by the government to run AIG, told a House subcommittee Wednesday that the company was contractually obligated to pay the bonuses but that some of the recipients have begun returning all or part of them.
Liddy said that on Tuesday, he had "asked those who have received retention payments in excess of $100,000 or more to return at least half of those payments." Some have "already stepped forward and returned 100 percent," he added.
Lawmakers rushed to the microphones after word of the bonuses was leaked out by the government over the weekend. Bills were quickly drawn up in both the House and Senate to impose heavy new taxes on them.
The top two members of the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday announced a bill that would impose a 35 percent excise tax on the companies paying the bonuses and a 35 percent excise tax on the employees receiving them. The taxes would apply to all companies receiving government bailout money, but they are clearly geared toward AIG.
President Barack Obama, who took office just under two months ago, told reporters Wednesday that his administration was not responsible for a lack of federal supervision of AIG that preceded the company's demise.
But Obama added, "The buck stops with me."
Obama said his administration was consulting with Congress on creating a new "resolution authority" to seize giant institutions like AIG — including all their toxic assets — whose collapse in normal bankruptcy could cause calamity in the financial markets.
Republicans have pointed their criticism at Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, questioning how much he know about the bonuses in advance and efforts by the administration to stop them. And they complained anew about being locked out of discussions earlier this year when Democrats decided to jettison a provision in the economic stimulus bill that would have revoked the payments.
"The fact is that the bill the president signed, which protected the AIG bonuses and others, was written behind closed doors by Democratic leaders of the House and Senate. There was no transparency," said Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.
The oath of office required by the sixth article of the Constitution of the United States, and as provided by section 2 of the act of May 13, 1884 (23 Stat. 22), to be administered to Members, Resident Commissioner, and Delegates of the House of Representatives, the text of which is carried in 5 U.S.C. 3331:
“I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
I posted this just in case they forgot.
Dieu le Roy!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
AP – United States Attorney General Eric Holder, left, shares a moment with Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., prior … WASHINGTON – At least 13 firms receiving billions of dollars in bailout money owe a total of more than $220 million in unpaid federal taxes, a key lawmaker said Thursday.
Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., chairman of a House subcommittee overseeing the federal bailout, said two firms owe more than $100 million apiece.
"This is shameful. It is a disgrace," said Lewis. "We are going to get to the bottom of what is going on here."
The House Ways and Means subcommittee on oversight discovered the unpaid taxes in a review of tax records from 23 of the firms receiving the most money, Lewis said as he opened a hearing on the issue.more...
Perhaps if these tax cheats paid their taxes there wouldn't be a need for bailout problems.
Thursday, March 19, 2009 10:18 AM
President Barack Obama already has a job lined up after his presidency: writing another book.
The best-selling author reached a new book deal a few weeks before his inauguration. A financial disclosure report released this week shows Obama amended his agreement with Crown Publishing Group to deliver a new nonfiction book after he leaves office.
Obama also approved an abridged version of his book, "Dreams From My Father," suitable for middle-school or young adult readers. The publisher is giving him a $500,000 advance for that. Obama didn't say how much his deal for the new nonfiction book might be worth.
Obama received nearly $2.5 million in book royalties last year.
The deal was first reported by The Washington Times.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Obama signed the executive order on the divisive stem cell issue and a memo addressing what he called scientific integrity before an East Room audience packed with scientists. He laced his remarks with several jabs at the way science was handled by former President George W. Bush.
"Promoting science isn't just about providing resources, it is also about protecting free and open inquiry," Obama said. "It is about letting scientists like those here today do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it's inconvenient especially when it's inconvenient. It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology."
He said his memorandum is meant to restore "scientific integrity to government decision-making." He called it the beginning of a process of ensuring his administration bases its decision on sound science; appoints scientific advisers based on their credentials, not their politics; and is honest about the science behind its decisions.
Fulfilling a campaign promise, Obama signed the order that on stem cell research that supporters believe could uncover cures for serious ailments from diabetes to paralysis. Proponents from former first lady Nancy Reagan to the late actor Christopher Reeve had pushed for ending the restrictions on research.
Obama paid tribute to Reeve, calling him a tireless advocate who was dedicated to raising awareness to the promise of research.
Obama's action reverses Bush's stem cell policy by undoing his 2001 directive that banned federal funding for research into stem lines created after Aug. 9, 2001.
The president said his administration would work aggressively to make up for the ground he said was lost due to Bush's decision, though it can't be known how much more federal money will be spent on the research until grants are applied for and issued.
"Medical miracles do not happen simply by accident," Obama declared.
Embryonic stem cells are master cells that can morph into any cell of the body. Scientists hope to harness them so they can create replacement tissues to treat a variety of diseases — such as new insulin-producing cells for diabetics, cells that could help those with Parkinson's disease or maybe even Alzheimer's, or new nerve connections to restore movement after spinal injury.
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, criticized Obama, saying in a statement that the president had "rolled back important protections for innocent life, further dividing our nation at a time when we need greater unity to tackle the challenges before us."
Bush limited the use of taxpayer money to only the 21 stem cell lines that had been produced before his decision. He argued he was defending human life because days-old embryos — although typically from fertility clinics and already destined for destruction — are destroyed to create the stem cell lines.
The Obama order reverses that without addressing a separate legislative ban, which precludes any federal money for the development of stem cell lines. The legislation, however, does not prevent funds for research on those lines created without federal funding.
Researchers say the newer lines created with private money during the period of the Bush ban are healthier and better suited to creating treatment for diseases.
Obama called his decision a "difficult and delicate balance," an understatement of the intense emotions generated on both sides of the long, contentious debate. He said he came down on the side of the majority of Americans who support increased federal funding for the research, both because strict oversight would prevent problems and because of the great and lifesaving potential it holds.
"Rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values," Obama said. "In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent. As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering."
Obama warned against overstating the eventual benefits of the research, but he said his administration "will vigorously support scientists who pursue this research," taking another slap at Bush in the process.
"I cannot guarantee that we will find the treatments and cures we seek. No president can promise that. But I can promise that we will seek them actively, responsibly, and with the urgency required to make up for lost ground," he said.
It's a matter of competitive advantage globally as well, the president argued.
"When government fails to make these investments, opportunities are missed. Promising avenues go unexplored," Obama said.
But the president was insistent that his order would not open the door to human cloning.
"We will develop strict guidelines, which we will rigorously enforce, because we cannot ever tolerate misuse or abuse," Obama said. "And we will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction. It is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society." PHILIP ELLIOTT
Forget about creating jobs. No matter what the anti-christ says, it is just a matter of time before we start cloning body parts. In that way he can take credit for creating life too. Satan always has his parody.
God is the only Creator.
Cross posted from Le Fleur de Lys Too
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Dark Green Doomsayers
By George F. Will
Sunday, February 15, 2009; Page B07
A corollary of Murphy's Law ("If something can go wrong, it will") is: "Things are worse than they can possibly be." Energy Secretary Steven Chu, an atomic physicist, seems to embrace that corollary but ignores Gregg Easterbrook's "Law of Doomsaying": Predict catastrophe no sooner than five years hence but no later than 10 years away, soon enough to terrify but distant enough that people will forget if you are wrong.
Chu recently told the Los Angeles Times that global warming might melt 90 percent of California's snowpack, which stores much of the water needed for agriculture. This, Chu said, would mean "no more agriculture in California," the nation's leading food producer. Chu added: "I don't actually see how they can keep their cities going."
No more lettuce for Los Angeles? Chu likes predictions, so here is another: Nine decades hence, our great-great-grandchildren will add the disappearance of California artichokes to the list of predicted planetary calamities that did not happen. Global cooling recently joined that lengthening list.
In the 1970s, "a major cooling of the planet" was "widely considered inevitable" because it was "well established" that the Northern Hemisphere's climate "has been getting cooler since about 1950" (New York Times, May 21, 1975). Although some disputed that the "cooling trend" could result in "a return to another ice age" (the Times, Sept. 14, 1975), others anticipated "a full-blown 10,000-year ice age" involving "extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciation" (Science News, March 1, 1975, and Science magazine, Dec. 10, 1976, respectively). The "continued rapid cooling of the Earth" (Global Ecology, 1971) meant that "a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery" (International Wildlife, July 1975). "The world's climatologists are agreed" that we must "prepare for the next ice age" (Science Digest, February 1973). Because of "ominous signs" that "the Earth's climate seems to be cooling down," meteorologists were "almost unanimous" that "the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century," perhaps triggering catastrophic famines (Newsweek cover story, "The Cooling World," April 28, 1975). Armadillos were fleeing south from Nebraska, heat-seeking snails were retreating from Central European forests, the North Atlantic was "cooling down about as fast as an ocean can cool," glaciers had "begun to advance" and "growing seasons in England and Scandinavia are getting shorter" (Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 27, 1974).
Speaking of experts, in 1980 Paul Ehrlich, a Stanford scientist and environmental Cassandra who predicted calamitous food shortages by 1990, accepted a bet with economist Julian Simon. When Ehrlich predicted the imminent exhaustion of many nonrenewable natural resources, Simon challenged him: Pick a "basket" of any five such commodities, and I will wager that in a decade the price of the basket will decline, indicating decreased scarcity. Ehrlich picked five metals -- chrome, copper, nickel, tin and tungsten -- that he predicted would become more expensive. Not only did the price of the basket decline, the price of all five declined.
An expert Ehrlich consulted in picking the five was John Holdren, who today is President Obama's science adviser. Credentialed intellectuals, too -- actually, especially -- illustrate Montaigne's axiom: "Nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know."
As global levels of sea ice declined last year, many experts said this was evidence of man-made global warming. Since September, however, the increase in sea ice has been the fastest change, either up or down, since 1979, when satellite record-keeping began. According to the University of Illinois' Arctic Climate Research Center, global sea ice levels now equal those of 1979.
An unstated premise of eco-pessimism is that environmental conditions are, or recently were, optimal. The proclaimed faith of eco-pessimists is weirdly optimistic: These optimal conditions must and can be preserved or restored if government will make us minimize our carbon footprints and if government will "remake" the economy.
Because of today's economy, another law -- call it the Law of Clarifying Calamities -- is being (redundantly) confirmed. On graphs tracking public opinion, two lines are moving in tandem and inversely: The sharply rising line charts public concern about the economy, the plunging line follows concern about the environment. A recent Pew Research Center poll asked which of 20 issues should be the government's top priorities. Climate change ranked 20th.
Real calamities take our minds off hypothetical ones. Besides, according to the U.N. World Meteorological Organization, there has been no recorded global warming for more than a decade, or one-third of the span since the global cooling scare.