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From: FUBHO2/24/2012 4:22:52 PM
   of 564845
 
Debt doomsday may come sooner than expected


By SEUNG MIN KIM | 2/24/12 3:17 PM EST


The federal government could hit the debt ceiling sooner than expected — and possibly around the November election — according to a report out Friday.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill had hoped that last summer’s deal to end the nasty fight over lifting the debt ceiling would ensure the issue wouldn’t resurface until at least 2013.

But the Bipartisan Policy Center said Friday that the debt-limit doomsday could come earlier than that.

Analysts from the Bipartisan Policy Center projected that the United States will hit its $16.4 trillion debt ceiling between late November 2012 and early January 2013 due to lower-than-expected corporate tax revenues and the recent extension of the payroll tax holiday.


Read more: politico.com

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From: LindyBill2/24/2012 4:28:55 PM
   of 564845
 
Best of the foreign policy blogs (Feb. 18 to Feb. 24)
from The Enterprise Blog by Marc Thiessen
Here’s what AEI’s foreign and defense policy scholars are reading for the week of February 18-24:

Nic Robertsonand Paul Cruickshank at CNN.com’s Security Clearance blog report on Somali al Qaeda’s western reach.

Max Bootat CommentaryMagazine.com defends the president in Gingrich’s Criticism of Obama Response to Koran-Burning Is Way Off-Base.

Bill Roggio at LongWarJournal.org reports on a snag in Obama’s plan to negotiate peace with the Taliban: The Taliban say they will not renounce al Qaeda.

Ronald E. Neumann, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, writes at WashingtonPost.com that U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014.

Walter Russell Mead at the-american-interest.com reports that Russia Rewards Anti-Semitic Assad Toady.

Elise Labottand Adam Levine at CNN.com’s Security Clearance blog report that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the Syria opposition is credible.

Michael Singhat ForeignPolicy.com’s Shadow Government blog asks: Is the Iranian regime rational?

Jonathan Tobin at CommentaryMagazine.com says Put Palestinian Tactics, Not Israeli Military Justice, On Trial.

Robert Beckhusen at Wired.com’s Danger Room: Sacré Bleu! French Drone Documents Stolen From Paris Train Station.

John Roberts at FoxNews.com report that your GPS is at Risk From Attacks By Terrorists.

Stephanie Pappas at csmonitor.com reports that scientists have found the Sky is actually falling.

HotAir.comreports Bad news, Canada. America loves you.

Finally, from Blackfive.net, a video on the war on terror that President Obama should watch. When is the last time you heard our commander in chief speak like this about confronting the threat to America?

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To: ManyMoose who wrote (473765)2/24/2012 4:29:43 PM
From: Neeka
   of 564845
 
It's just politics MM. I think Santorum and Gingrich have talked about it and have formed their own kind of alliance. Gingrich pulled out of Michigan, and that can only help Santorum. This is getting interesting.

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To: Jorj X Mckie who wrote (473749)2/24/2012 4:30:50 PM
From: robert a belfer
   of 564845
 
<I am hypervigilant when I fly now.

i'd prefer going down fighting rather than waiting placidly in my seat for someone to save me.>




Yep, since I smoke I prefer not to fly but when I do, I wear a belt that would serve as a Garrotte. I found out the hard way the first time I had it on and needed to drop trow. I was ready to cut it off and throw it away before I figured out the trick.

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From: LindyBill2/24/2012 4:31:04 PM
1 Recommendation   of 564845
 
High-Tech Nothing
by Victor Davis Hanson
Faster or Smarter, Neither, Both?

I am not a Luddite who wants to destroy looms. The modern age has made life comfortable in ways unimaginable just twenty years ago. I live in a house that my great-great-grandmother built over 140 years ago—and cannot imagine doing so, as she did Hesiod-like, without running water, electricity, or a phone, not to mention some zantec and zyrtec in the cupboard.

But we should remember what technology is—a delivery system, a pump—not our essence, not water itself. Human nature remains constant and hence predictable in a way technology changes and confuses us about that latter fact. That I can talk to Argentina with a four-second dial, or find out how to treat Leprosy on the Internet in ten seconds, or be constantly directed by a soothing female voice how to navigate through downtown LA, does not thereby mean I have any more to say to an Argentinian than my great-great-grandmother might have, or that thereby I would be necessarily more or less willing to drop historic prejudices against Lepers, or that I would have any more business in LA than did my grandfather with his 9-farmer open party-line, strung along the road with vineyard wire on eucalyptus poles. I could, of course, but that fact would hinge on considerations that might outweigh the speed or ease of my knowledge and decision-making.

I bring all this up because in the last two weeks I heard and read some strange things about how technological changes have transformed our very politics and way of life. Here is a sample: the ubiquity of ultrasound scans has turned public opinion against abortion; drones have revolutionized our ability to conduct asymmetrical wars; cell-phone cameras have outraged the world about Bashar al-Assad’s butchery in Syria in a way that was not true during the news blackout over Hafez al-Assad’s earlier liquidation of Hama; social networking and the internet have created new sorts of communities and networks; and the Internet has kept politicians honest, since now we have instant recall of everything they’ve said or written.

All are true to an extent—but not to the extent that we think. Let me explain.

Abortion

It is a fact that the nation is now about split evenly between pro-choice and pro-life positions, in a way the former view used to easily trump the latter in polls. And it is also accurate to say that with the ability to see a moving, live fetus during the first trimester, it is harder to convince Americans that life does not begin until birth or at least the latter months of pregnancy. But does that fact mean that Roe vs. Wade will be overturned soon, or that the public will pass referenda and the courts will uphold them barring abortion?

I think hardly. The truth is that about half the voters still support abortion even if they know that they can now see the fetus that is to be aborted, very clearly even in the first few weeks—and with the latest equipment even earlier. Notions about choice, or convenience, or embarrassment—or almost anything—are innate to humans, and cannot so easily be changed by unequivocal evidence that abortion clearly entails terminating a visible living, growing human. Ultrasounds—and even more exact imagining to come—simply bring home the reality of abortion. But that fact does not necessarily thereby mean that many are not already accepting of that reality and know full well the consequences of abortion. Abortion remains, then, an ethical issue, whose contours can be altered, but ultimately not necessarily all that altered, by technology. Whether to kill a human or not was not the only consideration of the pro-choice adherents, and proving to them that such a choice entailed just that fact did not necessarily change hearts and minds, however it may have clarified some of the issues involved.

Drones

Predators allow us to kill hundreds of would-be terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan in ways that we otherwise might not have with special forces missions. It gives us, then, new advantages. Yet Afghanistan will be won or lost not through technology per se, but through age-old considerations about the cost in blood and treasure of making the Taliban accept our political agenda of a constitutional Afghanistan, and the degree to which we select the proper balance between hearts-and-minds counter-insurgency and punitive killing of the enemy—and have courageous troops, good officers, fine equipment, sound strategy, and public support to carry out those missions. The danger, then, is that some think we can disconnect from the war, and assume console killing from Nevada substitutes for much of the cruel calculus of the battlefield.

The horror, the horror…

Of course, we can now see daily horrific images from Syria. Thousands there are photographing the Assad (no longer apparently Hillary Clinton’s purported “reformer”) atrocities, which, in turn, can then be text-messaged in real time around the world. That results in millions watching grotesqueries in a way they could not when the father’s bulldozers leveled Hama and 20,000 corpses beneath it.

But is the world thereby more moral, more shamed, now more ready to intervene and stop what it did not in Cambodia or Rwanda? Maybe, maybe not. But the decision will be made largely through a balance of humanitarian considerations and realpolitik (blowback from intervention, costs, losses, aftermath, etc.). These photographs from Syria may make our choices more clear, but I doubt they themselves will change much about our ultimate decisions—other than to cause greater embarrassments for a short time should we not act. The German people did not need photos from Auschwitz to know well enough what their government was engaged in; I remember hearing vague accounts of Rwanda, and could imagine the level of carnage without seeing hourly pictures. The Clinton administration chose not to intervene not because it did not have enough evidence.

Facebook to Google

When I walk about in the rural countryside of central California I see the very poor texting while they peddle at intersections, and I see the same zombie-like mesmerization while walking a few hours later on University Avenue in Palo Alto, not far from the ground zero headquarters of it all at Google and Facebook. Millions are second-by-second obviously reading and typing away in a manner not true just a decade ago. And whatever they wanted to do back then, they are certainly doing it faster and more easily now. Twitter language surely is faster than old-fashion English.

But are they speaking any more clearly, writing more effectively, gaining more pleasure from reading a twitter than a letter? In some cases yes, in others no. But as an out-of-it observer, who reads students papers, receives lots of emails and paleo-letters, and visits many campuses, I do not see any marginal increase in either happiness or literacy. In our zero-sum lives, for every minute spent writing, “Hey, Liz, just hanging at the mall, whatsup?” at 60-second intervals, there is also another minute lost. I am not saying that those lost seconds would have been spent browsing Dante or reviewing advanced electronics, but they might have. It is not inconceivable that the brain can be more productive while silently walking than by walking and texting—or even that it might be pondering how to be a better friend or communicator than friending and communicating instantaneously without such requisite prep.

Electronic Gottchas

Thanks to the Internet, in about a minute I can find a past quote from Obama about recess appointments, filibusters, campaign financing, Super-pacs, taxes, debt ceilings, deficits, Guantanamo, renditions, tribunals, preventative detention, or Iraq, and then juxtapose it to another diametrically opposite quote—and thereby demonstrate that Obama is duplicitous, hypocritical, and demagogic in a way unusual even for politicians. These electronic trails surely make politicians more careful of what they say, since John Q. Citizen has access to it in a way unthinkable in our recent past.

But so what? I’ve written such columns frequently, and posted such a contrast today on the corner at National Review. Proof upon proof only makes Obama supporters sigh about these unfair and perhaps racist “gottachas,” and his opponents only more exasperated at the sheer hypocrisy of it all.

Instant access, exact quotations, even a video of the remark certainly bring high drama to the argument, but, like the fifth footnote about the articular infinitive in Thucydides at the page bottom, they become redundant. To the degree such juxtapositions are determinative depends not on their number or clarity, much less on mastery of Google, but rather to the degree that they are used effectively to illustrate an argument, a skill that is not so predicated on technology. Humans are just as likely to say “So what?” when presented with ten vivid discrepancies, as they are with a vaguely remembered single anecdote, if there is no higher purpose to such data retrieval.

Nothing, Everything—or Something?

Cell-phoning simply has accelerated what was—or was not already—there. I like finding the GPS directions to a Starbucks in a strange city, and appreciate those engineers who gave us such options. But coffee is coffee, existence is existence, and if I don’t use my saved time wisely, it is not necessarily any better invested than in stopping and asking directions.

The point is not to denigrate high tech, but to remind us that it a tool that is as good or bad—to paraphrase Shane—as the person using it. But with one great caveat, today’s glitzy technology is so impressive, so captivating to the human brain that it has the ability to confuse us about master and slave, cause and effect, the pump and water in a way the abacus or the telegraph did not. Sometimes consumer high tech is the Catholic pessimist Tolkien’s master ring, a thing seemingly of great potential, but one that might corrupt those who think they can use its power for goodness.

Use it—but beware that at best the speed, ease of use, and greater awareness at our fingertips simply accelerate, emphasize and accentuate whether we are dunces and boors or pretty informed and decent folk. And at worst, it is more likely to make us the former rather than the latter.

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To: KLP who wrote (473767)2/24/2012 4:34:03 PM
From: Neeka
   of 564845
 
"Billionaire Sheldon Adelson Says He Might Give $100M To Newt Gingrich Or Other Republican

Sheldon Adelson: The GOP's $25 billion man

This story is part of a larger profile appearing in the March 12th, 2012 issue of FORBES magazine. The complete cover story will appear online beginning Wednesday, February 22nd.

Sheldon Adelson plays as stubbornly in politics as he does in business. So the criticisms that he's trying to personally buy the presidential election for Newt Gingrich are met with a roll of the eyes. "Those people are either jealous or professional critics," Adelson tells me during his first interview since he and his wife began funneling $11 million, with another $10 million injection widely expected, into the former speaker's super PAC, Winning Our Future. "They like to trash other people. It's unfair that I've been treated unfair—but it doesn't stop me. I might give $10 million or $100 million to Gingrich."

Adelson, the 78-year-old CEO of casino giant Las Vegas Sands, certainly can afford to: With a net worth of roughly $25 billion, that $11 million, which jolted Gingrich's flatlining presidential bid back to life, equates to 0.044% of his fortune. For someone with a $1 million net worth, the equivalent would be $440, or a two-night stay at Adelson's Venetian casino. Adelson could personally fund an entire presidential campaign—say, $1 billion or so—and not even notice.

Is that fair? "I'm against very wealthy ­people attempting to or influencing elections," he shrugs. "But as long as it's doable I'm going to do it. Because I know that guys like Soros have been doing it for years, if not decades. And they stay below the radar by creating a network of corporations to funnel their money. I have my own philosophy and I'm not ashamed of it. I gave the money because there is no other legal way to do it. I don't want to go through ten different corporations to hide my name. I'm proud of what I do and I'm not looking to escape recognition."

He's also proud of his hawkish defense of Israel—his wife is Israeli and his young sons carry Israeli passports. Yet those who have categorized his patronage of Gingrich and other Republicans as a one-issue investment have it wrong. The man whose net worth, by Forbes' calculations, has jumped more ($21.6 billion) during the Obama administration than any other American — Mark Zuckerberg included — wants to take the president out for economic reasons."What scares me is the continuation of the socialist-style economy we've been experiencing for almost four years. That scares me because the redistribution of wealth is the path to more socialism, and to more of the government controlling people's lives. What scares me is the lack of accountability that people would prefer to experience, just let the government take care of everything and I'll go fish or I won't work, etc."

"U.S. domestic politics is very important to me because I see that the things that made this country great are now being relegated into duplicating that which is making other countries less great. … I'm afraid of the trend where more and more people have the tendency to want to be given instead of wanting to give. People are less willing to share. There are fewer philanthropists being grown and there are greater expectations of the government. I believe that people will come to their senses and not extend the current Administration's quest to socialize this country. It won't be a socialist democracy because it won't be a democracy."

So with Gingrich looking increasingly unviable, does that mean he'll throw his largess behind another candidate? "If Ron Paul is chosen I certainly wouldn't do that." What about front-runner Mitt Romney? "I don't want to say. Newspapers said I had two meetings with Romney and Gingrich [on Feb. 3], which is untrue. Most of what is being said about me in this current brouhaha is just not true. I know Romney; I like him. I know Santorum; I like him. … The likelihood is that I'm going to be supportive of whoever the candidate is. I just haven't decided that yet and will wait to see what happens."

Whomever he supports, Adelson claims he won't pay for mudslinging. "I don't believe in negative campaigning. I believe in saying that my opponents are very good people and I'm confident a lot of them would do a good job, but I would do a better job, and here's why," says Adelson. "Money is fungible, but you can't take my money out of the total money you have and use it for negative campaigning." Of course, that stance ignores the fact that an avalanche of negative ads against Romney won Gingrich South Carolina, and that Adelson's $5 million injection was the dominant source of his funding. "That's what everybody says, but that doesn't mean it's true," the billionaire says, waving his hands dismissively. "Most of what's been written about me in this is untrue."

(Follow me on Twitter at @StevenBertoni)"

forbes.com

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From: LindyBill2/24/2012 4:35:39 PM
2 Recommendations   of 564845
 
Busted — For an Imaginary Gun
by noreply@blogger.com (Baron Bodissey)
This is the first Bizarro News item of the day. More to come!

The following news story is extreme, even for notoriously gun-hating Canada. Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for uploading this video:


According to media articles, the Mr. Sansone was released without being charged later the same day he was arrested:

Kitchener man arrested, strip-searched, after daughter draws picture of a gun

A Kitchener man says he was arrested and subjected to a strip search after his daughter drew a picture of a gun at school.

Jessie Sansone, 26, was taken into custody when he went to pick up his three children from Forest Hills public school on Wednesday.

His wife and their 15-month-old child were waiting for them at home.

Sansone said he was taken to the principal’s office, where police officers were waiting. His children were taken in by Family and Children’s Services, and he was taken to a police station in handcuffs.

Then, Sansone said, police went to his home and searched it.

Kitchener Police have not responded to requests for comment.

In a published report, the school says they notified the authorities because they were concerned children in the home had access to a gun.

Sansone told CityNews he was subjected to a strip search while in custody. Several hours later, he was released. No charges were laid and no gun was found in the home.

Sansone added that the allegations were especially hurtful because he had worked with the principal in the past. Sansone, who is a certified personal support worker and life-issues coach, often works at Kitchener schools, including Forest Hills.

Sansone admitted he was convicted of assault and attempted burglary five years ago, but he has never faced weapons charges.
What do you think — does this man’s record give the authorities probable cause to arrest him for what his daughter drew in that picture?

I couldn’t find many articles about this story in the media. But the SUN TV reporters weren’t the only ones outraged about the incident. Matt Gurney, writing for The National Post, had some choice words:
Even in a country with gun laws as warped as Canada’s, the story of Jessie Sansone is still mindboggling.

Sansone, 26, is a father of three and Kitchener, Ont., resident. As a younger man, he admits getting into trouble with the law, but claims to have lived clean for years. He’s now a certified personal support worker, husband and father of three. He was even reportedly offered a job at the very same school where this bizarre story begins. On Wednesday, Sansone arrived at his children’s’ school to pick them up. He was asked to step inside and meet with the principal. In the principal’s office, Sansone was met by three Waterloo Regional Police officers and immediately arrested. He was taken to a nearby station, strip searched and locked in a cell. His wife was also summoned to the station, and their children taken by Family and Children’s Services. At no point were they told why this was happening. It was not until officers had told Sansone that he’d be held in custody overnight before a bail hearing in the morning that his lawyer was finally able to tell Sansone that he had been arrested for possession of a firearm.

After hours in custody, during which time Sansone understandably became alarmed, he was suddenly released, without charges or conditions. A detective with the Waterloo Regional Police service apologized to Sansone, and explained that the entire sequence of events had been set in motion because a teacher at the school became alarmed when his four-year-old daughter drew a gun and said the picture was of her father. The teacher then noticed Family Services, who decided that the police needed to be involved, telling the police that they had reason to believe that there was a gun in Sansone’s home that his children had access to. That is what led Waterloo’s finest to bust Sansone in front of the entire school, strip him naked, confine him in a cell, bring his wife to a police station and take away their children.

That sounds bad, but it’s actually worse even than that. The drawing that set all this off was a drawing of Sansone being a good guy — according to what his daughter told her kindergarten teacher, the picture was off her daddy using a gun against “bad guys and monsters.” Protecting her, in other words. It was essentially a comic strip with her father in the role of the hero. Good Lord! We’d better call in the SWAT team, quick!

[…]

Everyone involved in this debacle would obviously concede that it shouldn’t have gone this way. But as long as every party involved in wronging Sansone and his family continue to claim that they did everything correctly and by the book, they are essentially admitting that given a comparable situation on some other occasion, another innocent man or woman is going to be arrested, stripped, thrown into a cell and have their kids removed from them. That’s not acceptable. It’s long been the case that gun owners, or even rumoured potential gun owners, are viewed as threats to society by default in this country. But Sansone’s experience is not about general cultural sentiment, but established procedures used by civil servants. The schools, Family Services and police all owe Sansone, his wife and their children an apology, and owe every citizen a commitment that they will never again act so rashly.

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To: DMaA who wrote (473775)2/24/2012 4:36:59 PM
From: Neeka
   of 564845
 
I don't know enough about the industry to comment. It looks like some dealers are going for more profit than others? Perhaps mirage or mq will tell us more?

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To: KLP who wrote (473776)2/24/2012 4:39:10 PM
From: Neeka
   of 564845
 
I get my fuel at Costco because it's the cheapest around, it's made from Alaskan crude, and best of all it's closest to my house. I used to have a site bookmarked that showed what the various local stations were charging but since this Costco went in, I haven't looked for it. (just did, and it seems to be gone.)

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To: FUBHO who wrote (473783)2/24/2012 4:41:53 PM
From: Neeka
   of 564845
 
I wonder why they feel like they have to encourage them?

"(The) Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan calls on all the youth present in the security apparatus of the Kabul regime to fulfill their religious and national duty... by turning their guns on the foreign infidel invaders,"

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