April 16, 2008

Web Reconnaissance for 04/16/2008

A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

In the News: (Registration may be required to read some stories)
Pope 'ashamed' of sex scandal - Pope Benedict XVI commanded the American stage for the first time yesterday, welcomed by thunderous cheers and a rare presidential airport greeting after declaring that he was "deeply ashamed" by the sex-abuse scandal that rocked the church. The pontiff vowed to do all he can to ensure that priests never harm children again. (READ MORE)

Obama ad hits ties of Clinton, lobbyists - Sen. Barack Obama yesterday broke his vow against negative campaigning, attacking his rival's ties to lobbyists in an ad, while the presumptive Republican nominee again abandoned his free-market rhetoric by offering more government help for financially taxed Americans. (READ MORE)

A year later, Va. Tech grasps for normalcy - Virginia Tech's students and faculty have willed themselves to relinquish some of the horrors they witnessed a year ago when a crazed student gunman killed 32 people and himself, transforming a campus best known for its powerhouse football and tranquil mountain setting into the site of the worst college massacre in history. (READ MORE)

Bush to detail climate strategy - President Bush today will lay out how Congress should combat global warming, proposing a specific national goal for carbon-based pollution but rejecting a proposal by Democrats and Sen. John McCain to impose mandatory caps on industry to reduce greenhouse gases. (READ MORE)

McCain-omics - John McCain gave his big economic speech in Pittsburgh Tuesday, and many of the policies he proposed are laudable – the highlight being an optional flat tax for individuals. The weakness – especially heading into a general election amid a struggling economy – is that his pudding still has no theme. (READ MORE)

Campaign-Finance Meltdown - Someone get Harry Reid a handkerchief. On Monday, the Senate Majority Leader sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten lamenting the news that a Democratic nominee to the Federal Election Commission, Robert Lenhard, has withdrawn his name from consideration since the process is taking so long. (READ MORE)

Six-Party Giveaway - Kim Jong Il has done it again. The North Korean dictator rarely makes a promise he doesn't break, and sure enough, that includes his latest nuclear disarmament pledge. He can thank his enablers in Washington for letting him get away with it. (READ MORE)

Democrats Willing to Let Battle Continue - Sen. Barack Obama holds a 10-point lead over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton when Democrats are asked whom they would prefer to see emerge as the party's presidential nominee, but there is little public pressure to bring the long and increasingly heated contest to an end... (READ MORE)

Britain's Brown to Meet Presidential Candidates - A British prime minister is visiting Washington this week, and, for the first time in seven years, his most important meeting may not occur in the Oval Office: Gordon Brown is planning to meet tomorrow with each of the three U.S. presidential candidates, an effort to obtain a firsthand judgment of... (READ MORE)

Pontiff Begins Historic Visit - Pope Benedict XVI, the spiritual leader of 65 million American Catholics, arrived at Andrews Air Force Base yesterday, bringing his hopes for a religious revival to a country in the thick of a debate over the role of faith in public and private life. (READ MORE)

Risk of Nuclear Attack on Rise - Concerned that not enough attention is being paid to the risk of a nuclear attack, a Senate committee yesterday looked at the consequences of such a terrorist strike in Washington -- and said that more could be done to save lives. (READ MORE)

On the Web:
Richard Anderson & Doug Steenland: Some Myths About Airline Mergers - We know that the merger we've just announced between Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines will be much debated in coming weeks, and many voices will weigh in on the merits of the transaction. That is healthy and part of the process. Here's our view of where things stand. The U.S. airline industry is at a crossroads. One choice is to continue on the road now traveled, with network carriers whipsawed by the high price of oil: (READ MORE)

Holman W. Jenkins, JR.: Plane Wreck - Don't worry. Avert your eyes from the continuing disaster of the airline industry. Mergers will fix everything! Delta and Northwest are in full throes of the wedding dance, because businesses in a bad way must do something, and merging is something. But Monday's deal probably won't avail either companies' shareholders much, and may prove a folly if pilots are in an extortionate mood. Nor will a spate of mergers, however useful it would be to shrink the number of large network carriers, fix the industry's structural profit shortage, which has meant the entire industry flirts with bankruptcy at least once a decade. (READ MORE)

Mary Katharine Ham: Barack Obama to Rural Voters: I Can’t Believe in You - Perhaps the greatest lesson to be learned by Democrats from this week’s “bitter” brouhaha is that when you get advice about how to hook rural, white, blue-collar voters from a guy named Mudcat, you’d best listen. Dave “Mudcat” Saunders—Democratic strategist, bluegrass enthusiast, and general pied piper of the “Bubba vote,” as he calls it—had a little-noticed fight with liberal bloggers back in June 2007 that perfectly presaged this week’s controversy. (READ MORE)

John Stossel: Market Magic - "Stossel, who often touts his belief in 'market magic,' attacks lawyers who represent consumers and others harmed by corporations, and wants instead to let corporate America police itself. This is the same corporate America that today is making the dreams of millions of Americans 'disappear' in the form of home foreclosures and job losses. ... " That's what a class-action lawyer (who boasts he recovered "more than $2 billion in cash for average everyday American consumers") wrote to the Wall Street Journal in response to my op-ed about the parasite circus of class-action lawyers who practice legal extortion. (READ MORE)

Thomas Sowell: Political Crusaders - The latest political crusade is the crusade to replace ordinary light bulbs with the new CFL light bulb that is supposed to save electricity, reducing the need for fossil fuels and helping the fight against global warming. Since crusaders seldom stop to weigh the cost of what they are advocating, it is especially important that the rest of us do so before we get swept along by rhetoric and emotions. With the CFL light bulb, the initial cost -- several times that of a regular light bulb -- is only the financial cost. A bigger problem is what to do if a CFL light bulb breaks. (READ MORE)

Walter E. Williams: Foreign Trade Angst - Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, pandering to anti-trade activists, suggest that should they become president, they will restrict trade agreements. Before you buy into their promised paradise, there are a few trade questions you might consider. Suppose you were choosing a country to live in. Which country would you prefer: a country that has the world champing at the bit to put its money into or one where the world is unwilling to invest? Let's look at the numbers. (READ MORE)

Austin Bay: Food Crisis: The Maze Behind Maize - I enjoy baking, and "scratch" cornbread is my favorite kitchen oeuvre. I use stone-ground corn meal, and the product is gluten-free -- nix on the cup of wheat flour you'll find in many recipes. My cornbread hobby isn't the only reason I watch the price of corn. Gauging Mexican political stability is another. Corn (maize, as the Mexicans correctly call it) feeds Mexico. When corn prices rise, Mexico's poor must spend more to buy their staple. (READ MORE)

Tony Blankley: Bush Raises Temp on Global Warming - The last months of a presidential administration are often dangerous. Presidents -- looking to their legacies -- go to desperate lengths to try to enhance their reputations for posterity. A pungent example of such practices by the Bush administration was reported above the fold on the front page of The Washington Times Monday: "Bush prepares global warming initiative." Oh, dear. Just as an increasing number of scientists are finding their courage to speak out against the global warming alarmists and just as a building body of evidence and theories challenge the key elements of the human-centric carbon-based global warming theories, George W. Bush takes this moment to say, in effect: "We are all global alarmists now." (READ MORE)

Michelle Malkin: Snob-ama Is Not Alone - The odor of elitism is like onion breath: It's quick to acquire, hard to mask. Try as he might, Barack Obama cannot camouflage the political stink he exhaled when he dissed small-town Americans as "bitter" Neanderthals "clinging" to their guns, faith and belief in strict immigration enforcement. It wasn't the first time the effete Snob-ama revealed himself. In Philadelphia, he passed up the hometown cheesesteak -- gloppy, artery clogging and blue-collar (yum!) -- for a nibble of Spanish-imported, $100/pound ham. In Iowa, he moaned to voters about the price of arugula at Whole Foods market. (Fun fact: There aren't any Whole Foods markets in Iowa.) (READ MORE)

Dana Joel Gattuso: Congress Picks a Loser - Congress doesn’t trust consumers to make the right decision when it comes to selecting the right source of energy. Congress knows better. That’s why legislation out of Capitol Hill is all about weaning us off oil and putting us directly on a “renewable energy” diet. Witness the energy tax bill the House passed in February that slaps $18 billion in taxes on oil production to fund wind, solar, biofuels, and other “alternative” sources. Witness the new energy law passed in December mandating that Americans increase the use of ethanol and other biofuels at the pump to 36 billion gallons by 2022, up from 7 billion gallons required now. (READ MORE)

John McCaslin: Battle Ready - We had to laugh at the remarks Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain prepared for delivery yesterday to the Associated Press' annual meeting in Washington: "Thank you. It is a pleasure to be here. I want to keep my remarks brief, so that I can quickly get to your questions, comments or insults." Anybody who has been around Washington long enough realizes that it's not so much the presidents who shape the country, rather it's the people they surround themselves with. (READ MORE)

Lawhawk: Palestinians Still Actively Waging War Against Israel - This should come as no surprise. Not only are Fatah and Hamas still waging war against Israel, but Fatah's Mahmoud Abbas is busy sticking medals posthumously on mass murdering terrorists from Hamas. Mere Rhetoric has the details. Yesterday's mortar attacks resulted in damage to Israeli property, but that was followed up by still more kassam attacks today. Also, sadly, three Israeli soldiers were killed and two were wounded when they while they were patrolling on the Israeli side of the border and noticed a group of terrorists appearing to cross into Israel from Gaza. I suspect that it was meant as a trap to attempt and capture more Israeli soldiers to be used as bargaining chips, similar to what happened with Gilad Shalit. (READ MORE)

A Newt One: War News: Beating the Leftinistra Like A Rented Mule - Let them whine. Let them wail and gnash teeth. Let them scream and holler all the way into the Abyss of Obscurity. Yes, I said the Abyss of Obscurity because that is where they are headed whether they like it or not. McCain is already President Elect and the ball is in motion to undo that which took place in CONgress back in 2006. But, that isn't what this post is about - exactly. It is, however, relevant and appropriate. This post is about some idiot saying that upon taking office, this idiot was going to investigate the Bush Administration for War Crimes or other such inane ignorance and "udder" stupidity. What a moron. And the idiots that agree are worse morons than this moron. The moron that would be President of the United States is pandering and catering once more - SOP - to useful idiots all in the name of a vote because no one of sound mind and judgment will vote for this moron. (READ MORE)

Donald Douglas: Code Pink Bundling Contributions for Obama - I've noted in a number of posts that Barack Obama's the candidate of choice for contemporary "progressive" organizations (see my series, " No Enemies on the Left? Progressives for Barack Obama"). Don't forget that the terminology of "progressive" has been appropriated by far-left activists in order to secure more general acceptance of their radical agenda. But as I've indicated time and again, some of the left's most hardline organizations are in the tank for Obama (see, "Anti-McCain Mobilization Rooted in Hardline Anti-Iraq Constituencies"). Now it turns out that Code Pink, the left's terrorist-backing antiwar outfit, is bundling campaign contributions for the Obama campaign, according to this report from Human Events: (READ MORE)

Sachi: Move 'Em Out - Lock 'Em Up - I've been reading comments on my last entry, and I realized that many American readers are unaware of the atrocities committed by China against the Tibetan people in the last month. For that matter, many readers don't know that the Chinese government has been "cracking down" on Chinese dissidents, Christians, Buhddists, bookstore owners, unlicensed pamphleteers -- and even forcibly removing ordinary citizens and demolishing their homes, without compensation, just because they were in the way of new Olympic-related development. And all in the name of renewal for the 2008 summer Olympics. Shortly after Beijing was selected in 2001 by the International Olympic Committee -- years before the recent Tibetan problems began -- there was already talk of a boycott in the Japanese-language conservative blogsphere. By now, readers must have seen the "Boycott Beijing" logo of Reporters Without Borders: (READ MORE)

Big Dog: Obama had it All Wrong - Last week Barack Obama made a statement that has ended up being the most damaging of his campaign, at least up until this point. The young Senator indicated that people in small towns (the unstated message: mostly white people) turn to guns and religion and against immigrants because they are bitter about their economic situations. As an aside, most people are against ILLEGAL immigration and have no problem with those who come here legally. I have been listening to the talk shows and reading stories about the Obama gaff and I am amazed at the number of people who say that Obama was right in what he said but he chose his words poorly. I do not believe this to be the case and I refuse to accept the apologists point of view that Obama meant people were angry because of their economic situation. (READ MORE)

The Belmont Club: Terror, Oil and the Beijing Olympics - It turns out that China is unpopular with lots of groups. And I try to ennumerate some of them at an article at Pajamas Media. The Olympics has brought them all out. But even after the Olympics are over, they'll still be there. “The number and variety of groups which have some sort of grievance against China was reflected in protest efforts to disrupt the Olympic Torch relay through San Francisco. Zombie, in a photo-essay depicting the cat and mouse game between the Torch and the protesters, observed that it ‘turns out a lot of people have a beef with China. I counted at least 20 different causes being championed at the protest, on a dizzying array of topics.’” (READ MORE)

Blue Crab Bouelvard: Carter Gives Propaganda Coup To Hamas - The ill-considered decision by Jimmy Carter to lend his prestige as a former President of the United States to Hamas has handed the terrorist organization a major propaganda tool. Hamas is busily cashing in on their propaganda windfall in the global press. “GAZA (Reuters) - Hamas said on Wednesday that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter would meet two of its leaders from Gaza in Egypt, in further defiance of Israeli leaders, who have shunned him over his contacts with the Islamist group. Hamas official Ayman Taha told Reuters senior leaders Mahmoud al-Zahar and Saeed Seyam would travel to Cairo later in the day for talks with Carter, who began a Middle East visit on Sunday.” (READ MORE)

Jeffrey Breinholt: Of Art and Science and the Epistemology of Counterterrorism - Is counterterrorism more of an art than a science? That question may be irrelevant, since Americans take pride in practicing both effectively. We have plenty of world-class artists, as well as experts who tell us what art is meaningful and most likely to withstand the test of time, and why. We lead the world in government-sponsored scientific research. Few qualified scientists today have not been tempted to relocate to the U.S., for such a move would allow them to most effectively practice their trade. Whether counterterrorism is an art or a science, we have the means to practice it effectively, and to fully exploit the results. The problem is that neither art nor pure science result in immediate economic rewards for their practitioners. (READ MORE)

Jeffrey Imm: Where Does America Draw the Line on Consorting with Terror Groups? - According to the U.S. State Department's Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) listing, Hamas is a terrorist organization. It is a federal crime to provide "material support or resources" to a designated FTO. But the Washington Post, the New York Times, at least one of the Holy Foundation Trial criminal trial jurors, and Mr. Jimmy Carter do not accept that Hamas is a terrorist organization. Mr. Carter is meeting with the Hamas terrorist group and seeks to influence American foreign policy in regards to that group. As Mr. Carter embraces members of the Hamas terrorist group, what are the consequences of American tolerance of those who defend, consort with, and provide a platform of legitimacy for terrorist groups? (READ MORE)

David Hambling: Leaked: Insurgents' New Rockets Up To 50 Times More Deadly - The portable, long-range rocket is one of the insurgents favorite weapons; rocket attacks have been causing casualties in the Green Zone in Baghdad recently. So the emergence of this document in Wikileaks recently may suggest cause for concern. Called "Iraq: Proximity Fuses found on 107mm Rockets," it describes how a cache of rockets with unusual fuses (pictured) were discovered: “On 16 Feb 2006 Coalition forces discovered a weapons cache at a house located near the intersection of RTE Northstars and RTE Cannucks (38S MB 10569 98193; the WIT report indicated that there was no known city within 6 km of the location). Among the ordnance discovered in the cache were five 107-mm artillery rockets. At least three of these rockets were fused with a fuse not previously seen mated to 107-mm rockets in Iraq. These fuses have been identified as Chinese MD-21 RF proximity fuses.” (READ MORE)

The Discerning Texan: The Insanity of Jimmy Carter - The rumor going around is that Jimmy Carter and Al Gore are soon going to visit Hillary Clinton to advise her to step down and make way for the Elitist Marxist Messiah; there is only one problem with this "strategy". If the egomaniacal, anti-Semitic Carter continues to show his ass to the world, this "visit" to Hillary might actually get her more delegates: “Former President Jimmy Carter has an interesting way of saying more than he intends. He lusts in his heart. He turns to his 13-year-old daughter for foreign policy wisdom. He titles a book, ‘Palestine Peace Not Apartheid.’ What Mr. Carter means to say is that he is a flesh-and-blood human being, a caring father, a missionary for peace. What he actually communicates is that he is weirdly libidinal, scarily naive and obsessively hostile to Israel.” (READ MORE)

Dr. Sanity: Tedious And Dangerous - Two great psychological analyses of Barack Obama make my job easier. First Hugh Hewitt, who writes that Obama is shockingly out of touch with the majority of Americans: “…It is clear that Obama has spent much of the last 30 years in and around some very dysfunctional neighborhoods full of some broken and almost certainly bitter people. He has been hearing and speaking complaints against the powerful for just as long…” It would be nice to imagine that Obama really stands for such people, but the evidence is accumulating that he is nothing more than a cynical manipulator of the poor, in the grandest Marxist tradition (Karl Marx said, "The working class is revolutionary or it is nothing." In other words, they mattered only in so far as they were willing to carry out the Marxist agenda.) (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Kos calls Obama the N-word - The condescension of lefty bloggers is topped only by their hypocrisy. Throughout my brief career as a blogger, I have noticed the popularity of F-bombs and other profanity. People cannot articulate their case and so they resort to vulgarity. And so it degenerates into white “liberals” like Markos Moulitsas Zúniga are resorting to the most vile racial slur to ironically defend Democratic Sen. Barack Obama from those of us who simply disagree with his Super Government approach to all problems, both real and imaginary. I Google searched the blogs. It is repugnant and it includes such people as West Virginia University communications instructor John Cole. What kind of communications does Cole teach? Inarticulate grunting? (READ MORE)

Euphoric Reality: Haditha: Chessani Motions Demand Murtha, Former USMC Commandant Testify - The attorneys at the Thomas More Law Center are on the right track in their defense of Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani. Today in court they filed motions asking for dismissal of all charges based on undue command influence, and they are requesting that Rep. John Murtha, former Marine Corps Commandant Michael Hagee, current Commandant James Conway, and Secretary of the Navy Donald Winters be forced to testify about their role in the early days of the Haditha case. “The requested witnesses will show the dirty hand of unlawful command influence—considered by the courts as the ‘mortal enemy of military justice.’” (READ MORE)

Zenster: The Liberal Left Invokes a Discredited Racist Doctrine - I will ask that for one moment that everybody please disregard all of the media hype and preconceived notions or perceptions that have been bred up over the past year of Democratic Party electioneering. Let’s please have it understood that Barack Hussein Obama is not Black. He is, by proper definition, a mulatto, being descended from both black and white parents. Rest assured that Obama plays himself up as a Black Man but that in no way changes his actual genetic and ancestral heritage. What it does signify is that Barack Hussein Obama is more than willing to ignore racial realities within his own personal realm when they conflict with his overall political vision. What this bodes in terms of how he will deal with racial issues upon becoming President is not at all heartening. (READ MORE)

Baron Bodissey: Exposing Shariah Finance - Many companies in the United States did business with Germany during the rise of Nazis in the 1930s, and some of them continued to do so even after the USA went to war with Germany in 1941. Banks and other institutions continued to hold Nazi-derived assets and launder money for Hitler’s government. Questionable transactions were concealed and protected by the influence of prominent and well-connected individuals on Wall Street and throughout the business community. The same is true for Shariah Finance, one of the primary vectors through which the Great Jihad is currently injecting radical Islam into Western culture. In wartime, it’s inevitable that some people will do business with the enemy — if companies stand to make a lot of money from an activity, then the activity will tend to take place. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Some of my best friends are …. lawyers - The Obamas are trying very hard to avoid the elitist tag that Barack Obama’s remarks about middle America has stuck to them. This week, both Obamas have tried very hard to emphasize their modest upbringing as the lens through which they see the world. Unfortunately, as Jim Geraghty points out, that’s leading to some rhetorical gymnastics: “Elsewhere, Jen Rubin notes that Obama is talking about his humble roots to dispel the charge of elitism and snobbery. (He apparently keeps referring to his three-bedroom condo as a one-bedroom.) But snobbery is less about income than it is about one’s attitude towards other people — most often expressed when one is among one’s own (say, while drinking wine among San Francisco’s elites).” (READ MORE)

The Monkey Tennis Centre: We must listen to the IPCC say the climate alarmists – except when it's not hysterical enough - As the Earth chills, polar bears and penguins gambol on the expanding polar ice, and Al Gore tries to repackage his patented brand of hysterical dishonesty, the BBC's chief global warming climate change alarmist, Richard Black, is scrambling around with increasing desperation for stories to keep the doomsday scenario alive. And so we get reports like this on the BBC's website. Under the headline 'Forecast for big sea level rise', Black writes: “Sea levels could rise by up to one-and-a-half metres by the end of this century, according to a new scientific analysis. This is substantially more than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) forecast in last year's landmark assessment of climate science.” (READ MORE)

Neptunus Lex: First Reports - We staff weenies have a saying: “The first report is always wrong. The second report is a lie to cover the first report. The third report seeks to shift the blame for the first and second reports. The fourth report asymptotically approaches the truth as a function of the time taken to generate it.” Which is why I yawned when I read the first and second reports coming out of Basra, which the domestic news media predictably spun as a Failure of Bush’s Failed War Policy of Fail. Maybe al Maliki rushed the plan, and maybe some of his forces behaved poorly. But at the end of the day, the Iraqi Army controlled the ports so critical to Basra’s economy, ringed the city’s Sadrist neighborhoods and Mookie’s goons sued for peace. You don’t have to be perfect to win, just less imperfect than your opponent. And at the end of the day it matters who fades away, and who is left standing on the field. (READ MORE)

Patterico: L.A. Times Op-Ed: Muslims Love Equal Rights for Women and Hate Terrorism. Really? - It’s old news, but going through my e-mail, I see that one of my readers (Mike H. from Irvine) pointed me to this L.A. Times op-ed that was published when I was on vacation. The op-ed argues that Muslims really love women’s rights and hate terrorism. But it leaves out a few facts. The authors tell us: “Anti-Muslim sentiment fuels misinformation, and is fueled by it — misinformation that is squarely contradicted by evidence.” The authors go on to dispute the notions that, for example, Muslims are against equal rights for women, or that they support terrorism: (READ MORE)

McQ: State Dept. employees - the civilian job market awaits! - I’ve been talking the last few weeks about the need for a political/diplomatic surge in Iraq to help that side of the house more speedily do what is necessary to accomplish reconciliation and ensure a stable and functioning Iraqi government. Seems the people charged with that don’t really want to do their jobs: “The State Department is warning U.S. diplomats they may be forced to serve in Iraq next year and says it will soon start identifying prime candidates for jobs at the Baghdad embassy and outlying provinces, according to a cable obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. A similar call-up threat last year caused a revolt among foreign service officers who objected to compulsory work in a war zone, although in the end the State Department found enough volunteers to fill the jobs.” (READ MORE)

Pursuing Holiness: Brigitte Bardot on Trial for Insulting Islam - French former film star Brigitte Bardot went on trial on Tuesday for insulting Muslims, the fifth time she has faced the charge of “inciting racial hatred” over her controversial remarks about Islam and its followers. “Prosecutors asked that the Paris court hand the 73-year-old former sex symbol a two-month suspended prison sentence and fine her 15,000 euros ($23,760) for saying the Muslim community was ‘destroying our country and imposing its acts.’” (READ MORE)

Shrinkwrapped: Moral Modesty and Moral Relativism - There is a fascinating apparent paradox which manifests in our political discourse on an almost daily basis. It starts with the recognition that liberal political ideology has at its core moral relativism while conservative ideology has at its core a much more definitive morality, best encapsulated by the 10 Commandments. At the same time, Conservative policies typically emerge from a position of modesty while liberal policies conspicuously lack modesty; that is, Conservative policies contain a recognition that there are rather significant limits on the ability of man made structures to determine human behavior while liberal policies consistently suggest that government can create structures that can make people better. (READ MORE)

Warner Todd Huston: Let’s Fool Taxpayers And Hide Taxes Behind A New Name: ‘Dues’ - Well, it was just April 15th and we all know what that means. It was tax day, the day when we must pay tribute to the Lords in Washington. And on that day, The New York Times published a new spendaholic, high taxing idea to fool America’s taxpayers into accepting more tax by pretending it is something else. Stuffed with bad historic interpretation, Republican slamming, and typical old style Stalinist rhetorical games-playing this editorial by Richard Conniff whimsically dreams the dreamy, dream that we aren’t taxed enough and how we might fool Americans into paying more by just using a different name for them. To whit they aren’t to be called taxes anymore. They’re to be called “dues.” (READ MORE)

Cardinalpark: Economic Determinism, Arithmetic and America - I think Obama may have committed a terrible blunder, one more likely to undo his candidacy for President than any that he has yet committed. In some sense, he made an arithmetic error in delivering his now notorious San Francisco speech about small-town citizens' economic "bitterness" driving religiosity and gun ownership. Of course, there are other, more emotional problems with the content of his observation - it is an onfortunate stereotype at a minimum, and an ugly one. It is a form of bigotry certainly. And economic determinism is a largely Marxist formulation that the vast majority of Americans reject. So that is part of his arithmetic miss. (READ MORE)

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