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Representative Boren to Retire

Congressman Dan Boren (D-OK 2) announced earlier today that he will not seek a fifth term in the House of Representatives next year, because he has had quite enough of the "constant campaigning" that elected officials are almost required to do now.

Mr. Boren, who is Oklahoma's only Democrat lawmaker in Washington, is one of the last real Conservative Democrats serving today. He has largely opposed President Obama's legislative agenda and he even refused to endorse his fellow Democrat during the 2008 election. Obama lost all of Oklahoma's 77 Counties.

He was also one of the few pro-defense, pro-war Democrats left in office today.

I am glad to see another Conservative district open up for Republicans, but I am also very sad to see one of the brave Democrats, who have supported the War in Afghanistan since the very beginning, regardless of President, leave Congress.

What say you?

Which Country is the Least Funny?

Humor is supposed to be a cultural norm that crosses ethnic and linguistic lines. However, it appears that stereotypes have arisen around different countries and their ability to tell a joke. While the United States has its fair share of comedians, and we've been spared the shame (or pride, maybe?) of not being the world's least funny country.

One might think that France would be high up on the list with its cultural arrogance or perhaps Japan with its rigorous work ethic. Perhaps a fundamentalist nation, like Iran? Instead, it wasn't anyof these.

Instead, according to a survey including the votes of 30,000 respondents, one country fails to cause laughter.

Still can't get it? Let me give you a hint. Here are two jokes from the country:
‘Yesterday, I met my friend Horst at the hospital. He’d swallowed a sponge. He says it doesn’t hurt but he’s always thirsty.’

If that left your ribs untickled, try this: ‘Plants grow very well if you speak kindly to them. Which is why I sometimes go into the garden and insult the weeds.’

The country? Germany.

Despite their contributions to Western culture, laughter does not appear to be one of them.


The United States was near the bottom, believe it or not, with Russia coming in second least funny. The United Kingdom came in third.



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What About Our Afghan Soldiers' Sacrifice?

I know that I have become redundant on the War in Afghanistan over the past couple of months: we must stay and win the vital battle, regardless of what the economic costs are, but I just wanted to address one more Afghan related topic before returning to scheduled programming.

What about our soldiers' sacrifice?

We have fought for almost ten long years to eliminate al-Qaida training camps, obliterate the Taliban strongholds and stabilize Afghanistan's government. Over 1,500 American soldiers have fought and died for our objectives in the post-9/11 fight in Afghanistan's harsh terrain.

They have shed much blood to make our country safer and to disrupt our foes plots to attack the United States, while bringing the most precious treasure of all human existence to millions of Afghans: freedom.

Are we really going to leave before their job is done and allow their sacrifices to be completely in vain? This isn't just about winning the fight, but honoring our soldiers who gave their all to this country and this country's military objectives.

What say you?

Tribes Seize City in SW Yemen

Tribes in Yemen have actively been fighting government forces since Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh left several days ago to undergo emergency surgery. Last week al Qaeda took over two cities and now it appears that the tribesmen are doing the same.


Tribal fighters took over Taiz, one of the most important cities in the country, located in the southwest. It appears that the government is powerless to stop them.

Government forces have been regrouping in an effort to re-enter the city. Yemen's government has faced international criticism for excessive use of force against anti-regime protesters and the deaths of anti-government demonstrators in Taiz.

"The clashes continued for hours and no one was able to leave their houses. A large number of protesters in Freedom Square in Taiz left the square as the clashes were near there," said Sameer Saeed, an eyewitness said.

If Saleh dies or does not come back soon, his entire government may collapse under the weight of tribes, opposition, and Islamists. Even if he did come back, the situation is now in a state of civil war.

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Cop Fired After Helping Shot Officers

David Sedmak, a Rice University police officer, heard on his scanner, "Officer down, officer down!" As fast as he could, he responded to the call and learned that two Houston Police Department officers had been shot.

After aiding his fellow officers, possibly saving their lives, Mr. Sedmak was greeted with this message from his University:  you're fired.  Their reason: "dereliction of duty."

Specifically, the University reasoned, "Sedmak left his post when only two other officers were on duty and failed to notify his supervisor of his whereabouts for nearly an hour, which could have endangered the safety of our students and campus."  So, despite the fact that Mr. Sedmak was responding to officers who had been shot and the fact that they were in considerable danger, on those grounds his employment was terminated.

Understandingly, Mr. Sedmak was shocked.  However, he took the high road, saying, "My only concern on that day was to render aid to these two officers... Quite frankly, I couldn't believe that after being in law enforcement for nearly 17 years that I was being relieved of my duty for running an assist to an officer. There's been a lot of talk about me being a hero, and I just want to say personally that the real heroes here are these two officers and the job that they performed on that day,"
Mr. Sedmak
The college released this statement in response to inquiries:
"As a matter of policy, Rice University does not comment on personnel matters. However, out of respect for the Houston Police Department, we want to clarify that David Sedmak was terminated from the Rice University Police Department for dereliction of duty. Sedmak left his post when only two other officers were on duty and failed to notify his supervisor of his whereabouts for nearly an hour, which could have endangered the safety of our students and campus."
Kevin Lawrence, executive director of the Texas Municipal Police Association, stated, "You don't fire a guy for this unless he's a chronic disciplinary problem.  You call him in, you counsel him and you put him back out there (to work). If he's a good cop, he's a good employee. You use this as a training opportunity."

Twenty five officers came together in Houston Monday to show their support to Mr. Sedmak. "In this case, Officer Sedmak's reward was he was fired," said Ray Hunt, vice president of the Houston Police Officers Union.

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Yemeni Leader Saleh 'Severely Injured'

Ali Abdullah Saleh, the dictator of Yemen, is apparently far more injured than earlier reports have indicated. Saleh has not made any public appearances and has not been photographed since a rocket attack hit his compound. Initial reports said that he had minor injuries but still underwent surgery in neighboring Saudi Arabia.

Now it appears that he may die. Burns cover about 40% of his body and his condition is said to be 'grave.'

It was not immediately clear how severe Mr Saleh's burns and other injuries were but, on Saturday, sources close to the president told the BBC that he had second-degree burns on his chest and face, as well as a piece of shrapnel almost 7.6cm (3in) long under his heart.

The president underwent surgery on Monday to remove shards of wood from his chest and treat the heavy burns on his face and chest, AP reports.

Saleh is 69 years old and the injuries may be even worse than the Yemeni government is letting on. With Saleh on death watch, Yemen is in a state of civil war.

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Yikes: One in Three Employers Will Drop Health Benefits Under ObamaCare

ObamaCare in action:
Thirty percent of employers will definitely or probably stop offering health benefits to their employees once the main provisions of President Obama's federal health care law go into effect in 2014, a new survey finds.

The research published in the McKinsey Quarterly found that the number rises to 50 percent among employers who are highly aware of the health care law.

McKinsey and Company, which identifies itself as a management consultant that aims to help businesses run more productively and competitively, conducted the survey of more than 1,300 employers earlier this year. It said the survey spanned industries, geographies and employer sizes.

But the White House pushed back against the report.

"This report is at odds with the experts from the Congressional Budget Office, the Rand Corporation, the Urban Institute and history," a senior administration official told Fox News. "History has shown that reform motivates more businesses to offer insurance."

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Watch President Obama and Angela Merkel's Press Conference Live, June 7, 2011



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Score one for Ron Paul; No more Taxes on Tips

It's pretty odd for Pundit Press to be praising Ron Paul. But on domestic policy, he's almost flawless.

Excerpted from the NY Post "Raising a glass to Ron - Barkeeps hail 'no-tax' tips" June 6:
There's one congressman who will never have to pay for a drink in Manhattan.

Rep. Ron Paul, the libertarian-leaning Republican presidential candidate from Texas, has become an unlikely hero among bar and restaurant workers as he fights for a bill that would end all taxes on tips -- the bread and butter of bartenders and waiters.

Last Thursday, a group of Paul's Big Apple supporters, called the Ron Paul NYC Liberty HQ, held a Manhattan pub crawl in support of the legislation.

"It's just not right. That money is supposed to be a gratuity for [the workers], not for the government," said Dominic Inferrera, 38, a volunteer with the group.

"I worked as a server for 10 years, and I know how hard it can be," he said. "The sad thing is that a lot of the servers end up getting audited at the end of the year and usually work so hard that they don't have the time or financial resources to handle it."

Paul introduced the Tax Free Tips Act of 2011 in March. The measure would end all income tax, Social Security withholding and other federal levees on any tips earned by salaried workers
Now if we could only get him to get him to be a consistent freedom supporter on foreign policy, as well.

Note - I served as Congressman Ron Paul's Senior Aide from 1997-2003. As a Military Veteran serving on his staff, I resigned my position in late 2003 over his opposition to the War in Iraq.

June Snow in Hawaii During Summer

I know the headline is bad, but people might be looking this up on Google.

Anyway-- talking about global warming did you see the one about Hawaii getting snow-- in June!


“It was hailing in Waimea!” said Pam. “I dont know if it has to do the with the world climate change, or what.”

The Mauna Kea Access Road was closed for a period this weekend, but by Sunday afternoon, the summit was open to the public once more.

Employees on the roofs of the summit observatories worked to clear as much snow from the telescopes as possible before nightfall.

The roads were in good condition, and although the mountain was quiet for a snow day, there were still some brave groups who ventured up.

The snowy slopes were not ideal for sledding, but it was difficult for Akao and the kids to resist going down on their bodyboards.
We're all going to die!

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Vote in Our Poll: Should Rep Weiner Resign?

Following yesterday's admission that he had sent a lewd photograph to a women, as well as others, Democrat Rep Anthony Weiner is facing a hellstorm of criticism.  Republicans in Congress are calling for him to step down immediately, while Democrats, who had defended his lies, are now planning an ethics investigation.

Yet Weiner is refusing to step down.  Saying he did "nothing illegal," the Congressman stated yesterday that there is no real reason for him to step down.  Instead, he will try to win back his constituents and "prove" that he is trustworthy again.

So the big question today: Should Representative Weiner resign?  Or should he weather the storm?  Vote below:


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Weiner Should Resign

Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY 9) admitted to sending lewd pictures of himself to several women over the Internet yesterday afternoon. He also fessed up to lying all of last week to not only reporters, but his own constituents, which creates a situation where his district can no longer trust him.

That is why he should resign from office immediately.

When you are sent to Washington by your neighbors - a certain amount of trust exists between you the representative in Congress and the cititzenry back home. We expect you to mostly represent our interests, remain faithful to your spouse and not make us look like complete fools for electing you in the first place.

Anthony Weiner broke that trust.

He not only sent inappropriate messages and pictures to women while married, but he insulted his 9th district electorate by repeatedly telling them bold faced lies about his scandal for ten days while embarrassing them in the process when he finally admitted the truth.

The Congressman has no moral choice but to resign from Congress and save his constituents, and wife, from further shame because of his unbecoming actions.

What say you?

The International Committee of the Fourth International Hates Fracking Too

In a post yesterday I noted an interesting coalition that is forming around opposition to natural gas production and hydraulic fracturing in the United States and around the world. Wouldn't you know that today I come across this:

US gas industry refuses to release crucial data on hydrofracking. It is front page news at the World Socialist Web site. The name speaks for itself, but if you want to know this is a site published by the International Committee of the Fourth International. You can read the article if you wish, there is nothing new there. What I found very interesting though is the Fourth International.

This is deja vu all over again.From the website of the International Socialist Group ~ British Section of the Fourth International (emphasis added):

We stood firm to our double motto "the emancipation of the workers will be the work of the workers themselves" and "socialism will be international or it will not exist."

Of course many of the predictions made by Trotsky when he founded the Fourth International were proved wrong by history. But what was absolutely vindicated were his key political judgements, judgements which remain key to guiding our activity and analysis today.

- That it was necessary to have a political revolution in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (The theory of political revolution)

- That the Third International could no longer be reformed and it was necessary to build a new one (The Founding of the Fourth International)

- That the only solution to the poverty and degradation in the colonial countries was socialist revolution - that the national bourgeois’s could not be trusted to play a progressive role (The theory of Permanent Revolution)

- That given that in most situations the majority of working people will follow their traditional leaderships it is necessary for revolutionaries to attempt organise action around slogans that these leaders - be they social democratic or Stalinist - cannot but support. Within these broad campaigns it is then more possible for revolutionaries to gain an audience for their ideas. (The theory of the United Front)

- That in order to win political leadership it was necessary for revolutionaries to adopt an approach which built bridges between demands raised in the immediate struggle and demands which pointed towards a socialist solution. (The method of the transitional programme)

Organizing action around slogans that the populace has to support. Seeing that firsthand. I wonder if the most vocal critics of hydraulic fracturing are being used and manipulated by Trotsky wannabe's? My guess is no!

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Andrew Breitbart Takes the Podium at Weiner Press Conference, June 6, 2011



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Entire Video of Rep. Anthony Weiner's Press Conference Today, June 6, 2011



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Rep. Anthony Weiner Press Conference Pictures, Live Video

After weeks of lying about sending a lewd photo to a woman via Twitter, Democrat Rep. Anthony Weiner admitted that he did indeed tweet the picture, but refused to step down.

The visually shaken Weiner gave a despondent conference:

And live video:



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Some quotes from the Press Conference:

"I lied."
"I apologize to Andrew Breitbart."
"Nancy Pelosi was not happy about this...she told me that she loved me."
"I did a regrettable thing."
On the women he was writing: "I did not know their ages."
"I did it."
"It was a mistake."

After being heckled, in which someone shouted, "Were you fully erect or capable of more?" Weiner left the podium.

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Weiner- Yes, I Did It, But I'm not Resigning

After weeks of lying about sending a lewd photo to a woman via Twitter, Democrat Rep. Anthony Weiner admitted that he did indeed tweet the picture, but refused to step down.

The visually shaken Weiner gave a despondent conference:
Some of the quotes include:

"I lied."
"I apologize to Andrew Breitbart."
"Nancy Pelosi was not happy about this...she told me that she loved me."
"I did a regrettable thing."
On the women he was writing: "I did not know their ages."
"I did it."
"It was a mistake."

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WATCH ANTHONY WEINER'S NEWS CONFERENCE



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IS WEINER ROASTED?

Is New York Congessman Anthony Weiner going to step down or keep on fighting? Weiner has scheduled a news conference for 4 PM EST in New York to address the growing Weinergate scandle. The buzz on the net is that Weiner is roasted and he will resign. One thing for sure, I bet he has a few things to get off his chest today.

UPDATE: Weiner said that he will not resign.


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Japan Nuclear Reactors Melt Down, Says Gov't

The Japanese government has now reported that three nuclear reactors have, in fact, melted down stemming from the massive earthquake in the northeast part of the country three months ago.

The nuclear group's new evaluation, released Monday, goes further than previous statements in describing the extent of the damage caused by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

The announcement will not change plans for how to stabilize the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the agency said.

Reactors 1, 2 and 3 experienced a full meltdown, it said.

The plant's owner, Tokyo Electric Power Co., admitted last month that nuclear fuel rods in reactors 2 and 3 probably melted during the first week of the nuclear crisis.

It gets worse:

A massive hydrogen explosion -- a symptom of the reactor's overheating -- blew the roof off the No. 1 unit the day after the earthquake, and another hydrogen blast ripped apart the No. 3 reactor building two days later. A suspected hydrogen detonation within the No. 2 reactor is believed to have damaged that unit on March 15.

The trouble today appears to be less, but is concerning none the less.

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Weiner writes Woman: "ridiculous bulge in my shorts now. wanna see?"

Since a lewd picture was posted on Democrat Rep. Anthony Weiner's Twitter account, the New York Congressman has been doing backflips to get out of the controversy.  The only problem: he made it worse by giving half-answers and by starting more questions than he answered.

But now there's this.

In messages confirmed to originate with a Facebook page which belonged to Weiner, the Representative sent yet another woman provocative letters.  For example, this exchange between the two:

Weiner- ridiculous bulge in my shorts now. wanna see?

Woman- Yea! can u send a pic?

Weiner- jeez, im rushing. let me take a quick pic

After a little while, the woman asked when Weiner would send the photos.  He responded: "It wont go away. and now im taking pics of it. making me harder still."  Eventually, however, he never sent the picture.

According to Weiner, the photo he allegedly sent to another woman was posted by a hacker.  However, with these new messages, along with another picture, it looks like the Congressman is going down in flames.

In the new photo published today, the Rep. allegedly sent this picture to a woman with the subject line reading, "Me and the pussys:"

Update- The actual Facebook exchange (warning, explicit sexual language):
Eww.

Update 2- Yet another woman has come forward, sharing these pictures that Weiner sent to her:
And:
And:

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Uh-Oh for Weiner: New Woman Alleges Receiving Sexual Photo

It's May 4.  You've had a long day.  You settle down in a comfy seat, but wait, you need to check your email before relaxing!  So you walk over to your computer, open up your mail, and one subject catches your attention: "Me and the pussys."

You quickly go to delete it, but you inadvertently notice who sent it: AnthonyWeiner@aol.com.  Surprised, you sit in your chair, wondering what to do.  Eventually you decide to open it, and find this:
This is the scenario that allegedly befell a woman, who stated that she received the picture last month from Democrat Rep. Anthony Weiner (seen in the photo, left).

And are we sure that AnthonyWeiner@aol.com is indeed Anthony Weiner?  Well, another woman, the very next day, received this photo from that email:
Looks like a certain Representative is going down in flames.

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Drones Take Out Three Targets in South Waziristan

Good news this morning - courtesy of The Long War Journal.

United States Predator drone strikes in South Waziristan have reportedly killed seven Punjabi Taliban, and several foreign-born Jihadists in three separate, but coordinated attacks. This comes only days after we killed senior al-Qaida leader Ilyas Kashmiri in the same dangerous province.

We have begged Pakistani authorities to take care of their own problems in both North and South Waziristan for years, but now that we have advanced Predator drones at our disposal and our great displeasure with Pakistan's unwillingness to help - we're no longer asking; we're just doing it ourselves.

Our enemies will be defeated and our victory will be achieved, and Pakistan will not stand in the way of that.

What say you?

P.S. - I wrote about the need to attack North Waziristan just last week.

Interview with Elder of Ziyon

Pundit Press is proud to present interview number 38 in our ongoing interview series. Today we're interviewing Elder of Ziyon, one of the most prominent pro-Israel sites on the net. Make sure to check out the site if you don't already have it bookmarked.

1. When and why did you start Elder of Ziyon?

I started the blog in August 2004. At the time I was active in Yahoo discussion boards and spent a lot of time arguing with anti-Israel fanatics. I was frustrated when I wrote what I thought was a well-reasoned argument, only to see it disappear in the noise of the message boards. So I decided that a blog would be a better venue for me to write and publicize the Zionist side of the conflict.

2. What is the best part of running your site?

The best part of EoZ is the wonderful feedback I get from my readers. They keep me honest and they also often find me new topics to post on or links to check out. It is humbling that my site attracts such high-caliber fans.

3. Do you see anti-Semitism rising in the Western world in the near past/near future?

Unfortunately, anti-semitism is definitely on the rise in the West. It has morphed, however, from Nazi-style anti-semitism, which is still regarded as abhorrent, to the more socially acceptable substitute of anti-Zionism for traditional anti-semitism. The visceral hate for the Jewish state is endemic and growing, no matter what Israel does.

One difference between classic anti-semitism and the modern variant is the motivation. In the past, people blamed the Jews for their problems as individuals; now they blame the world's problems on Israel. This is in no small part due to the fact that the Arab nations have used the issue to avoid solving their own problems. The West, especially those in the "realpolitik" crowd, see a choice - have good relations with a huge and growing Arab world, which incidentally has lots of oil, or stay allied with a tiny Jewish country that is hated by her neighbors. Moreover, if the West sides with Israel publicly, we are under the veiled threat of terrorism. Between oil on one side and the fear of terror on the other, European nations have reasons to consider abandoning the one island of stability and democracy in the Middle East - and they have had decades to come up with excuses to justify this position.

4. Do you believe that the 'Arab Spring' will lead to semi-democratic, peaceful countries in the Mideast?


I am not optimistic about the "Arab Spring." True freedom takes time to nurture and grow, and it also takes time to for nations to build truly democratic institutions. Right now, the Islamists are the best organized non-governmental forces in the region, and the fear is that any election will be the last. Over the long term, it is possible that true freedom can win, but right now things are looking bleak.


5. How would you rate President Obama's policies regarding Israel? How is he regarded by the average Israeli?


President Obama's major problem, to Israelis and other Zionists, is that he doesn't really "get it." Unlike GWB and Clinton, he doesn't have any real feelings for Israel in his heart; to him the entire region is purely politics. Keep in mind that both Clinton and Bush asked Israeli leaders to offer very significant concessions - and Israel responded positively, both at Camp David and in 2008. The reason is that Israel trusted the White House to keep her interests at heart and, knowing that they had true friends in Washington, they were willing - naively, in my opinion - to offer very generous terms for peace. Israelis do not get the same warm and fuzzy feeling from Obama; quite the opposite.

Obama's Arab Spring speech actually has some very positive messages in it, once you took out the "1967 lines" part. But at this point, it is too late. Obama thinks that he can buy Israelis' loyalty and friendship with increasing funding for projects like anti-missile defense but the only way to gain friendship is to act like a real friend - to empathize with Israeli fears and to work together to ameliorate them That is not going to happen.

6. Will Egypt either place the Brotherhood in power or renounce its peace treaty with Israel?

I don't think that the Muslim Brotherhood will be in power in Egypt, but the fear is that it will gain a Hezbollah-type stranglehold on Egyptian politics - just powerful enough to have veto power over any real chance of democratization. The wild card is the army and so far they have not been acting irresponsibly, which is a great relief. I don't think that the peace treaty will be abandoned any time soon but there will be great political pressure to chip away at it.

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Plaxico Burress Released from Prison

Former New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress has been released from prison after serving a two-year term on gun charges.


"He's been very strong," Rosenhaus said. "He did a lot better than I would have. No question worked out, maintained a very positive attitude, always driven to get back to the NFL, be with his family again. As well as you could for 21 months of incarceration.

"Running, staying in shape, sprints, jogging, lifting weights, as much as you can do in a facility like this," Rosenhaus added. "Running routes, didn't have a quarterback here unfortunately. But he did very well -- push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, a lot of core strength, as much as you can imagine in this type of environment."

Rosenhaus said his client is a changed man and has learned from his mistake which he has paid dearly for.

Source: ESPN.

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A point on a curve

Recently, John Hawkins wrote a column regarding the Laffer curve. Just to remind you, the Laffer curve says that the revenue that comes from taxes will increase as the tax rate increases until it reaches a peak, and then the amount of revenue will fall as that tax rate continues to rise. Here's a sample of such a graph:



Well, you get the idea. In this graph, the x-axis (horizontal line) is the tax rate, and the y-axis (vertical line) is the total amount of revenue that each tax rate produces.

Anyway, Mr. Hawkins' argument is that just because the Laffer curve has been shown to increase revenue, that doesn't mean that the maximum amount of revenue has been reached by our government yet. In other words, it may be possible to raise taxes and increase revenue even more than we are receiving now.

Now, I don't want to be accused of distorting Mr. Hawkins' argument. I don't recall him arguing that we must raise taxes right now in order to increase revenue at this moment in time. No, it seems to me that Mr. Hawkins is arguing that sometime in the very near future, we may find it necessary to increase taxes. When that happens, we as conservatives must keep in mind that Laffer's curve will bear this move up as necessary and justified.

And this is the problem that I have with his argument. While I agree with his conclusion that it may be possible to raise taxes a little bit more in order to maximize revenue, I do not agree with the motivation. Let me explain in more detail.

It seems to me that Mr. Hawkins' argument is at some point we may find ourselves on the left side of the above graph. Let's say that at this undefined moment in time we are at a point just a little to the left of the apex on the graph. If we just increase the tax rate to the point that is the apex, we will then increase the amount of revenue. This is undoubtedly true.

But just because something is true, does not make it right. Or at least, does not make it automatically the right thing to do. While Mr. Hawkins focuses on the revenue part of the graph, I think that we should focus more on the tax rate of the graph. From a purely financial point of view, raising taxes to such a point would be good for increased revenue.

But I do not believe that we should focus exclusively on the purely financial point of view. I don't believe it is government's role to be more concerned with the raising of revenue. While government should raise revenue, it should be with the end view of fertilizing the fields for business to grow its crops in while providing for the common defense.

According to our Constitution, government has a very limited and defined role. Everything beyond that role is reserved for the individual states to deal with. And since the success of all of the businesses within a state's border can only be to the benefit of the individual state, it is in the individual states' interest to have successful businesses.

Whenever the federal government levies taxes on businesses, it is impeding the ability of those businesses to perform to the best of their ability. Obviously, the more the federal government levies taxes, the more those businesses are impeded. How much the federal government should impede those businesses (i.e. by imposing taxes) is up to whichever philosophy is in charge of the federal government.

As conservatives, I think that we should impede businesses as little as possible, for the obvious reason that the less that businesses are impeded, the better that they will do. The better that businesses do, the more jobs are created and the more wealth is created. With the creation of more jobs and wealth, government's strength over it's limited role becomes increasingly stronger.

Thus, government and business are in a symbiotic relationship, with neither controlling the other, but influencing the other. Businesses grow stronger, creating a stronger tax base and increasing revenue, while government protects businesses from any outside influences or inside poisoning.

In other words, I would rather prefer that we not tax businesses enough and create stronger businesses and weaker government interference, than to tax businesses at the very apex of the Laffer's curve and have businesses impeded by government interference.

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Opponents to Natural Gas Make Very Strange Bedfellows

Welcome Instapundit readers...

As I have been studying the debate surrounding natural gas development through hydraulic fracturing I have noted that there is a very interesting group of dissenters. In New York, for instance there are the true believers, those who believe that any carbon discharged through energy production is taboo. As Sally Courtright laments in an editorial she wrote to the Albany Times Union, "....Americans need to become informed about the unprecedented crisis we face by the end of this century if we do not curb our gluttony for fossil fuels. We need to turn to solar, wind and other modern technologies to sustain our precious planet for future generations." This cabal is joined by the NIMBY brigade. Those who have invested much money in the notion of what bucolic pastoral living should be and have little care for the societal and economic plight of their neighbors.

"Natural gas development can be pursued with sound environmental controls and with significant positive economic results, but the rich, unconcerned “green” elite will fight it without any regard to the socio-economic realities of what presently exists in the many depressed counties in our region."

Stated another way~

Gas can reduce carbon by 50 to 70%, but not by 100%, and even nuclear, CCS and renewables don't do that either. Gas does have substantial advantages however in economic development and social progress. Social progress is certainly the Achilles Heel of the NIMBY brigade. Much of the opposition in places like Pennsylvania comes from the weekend residents or drop ins who choose to act like organic goatherd/ peasants compared to the local permanent population who have never had an option but to live like peasants.

In the U.S. the greens are joined in common cause with the Coal Industry that has seen it's value as an energy producing giant handicapped by cheap, plentiful and clean natural gas. From the WSJ, " Coal-burning facilities are expected to slip to 10% of total new capacity in the U.S. in 2013, down from 18% in 2009, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports. Gas, meanwhile, is expected to soar to 82% of new capacity in 2013 from 42% last year." The small won't survive.

Moving across the Atlantic we come to France whose legislature has passed a bill banning unconventional resource development. France of course is a nuclear country, generating more than "75 percent of the countries electrical needs while exporting 18% of its total production to Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. What may come as a surprise is the French government is the main shareholder of two nuclear technology companies that manages the country's 59 nuclear power plants. As such, shale gas represented a potential competitive threat to a well entrenched, politically connected nuclear industry."

Poland sits atop so much shale gas they are using terms like "energy security". Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorsko (via No Hot Air) recently commented, "Exploration of our own resources is our chance and our obligation, ...a chance to limit Poland's and Europe's dependence on imports". This doesn't sit well with everyone in the region. Gazprom is the world's largest supplier of natural gas, it is state owned, supplies around 25 percent of Europe's natural gas and in 2010 its net profit totaled more than $35 billion with net income surging 24 percent in 2010. For what it's worth, Gazprom was actively lobbying the French to ban natural gas drilling there.

"South Africa generated 93% of their electricity from coal in 2008, and 0% from gas. That would put SA into one of the biggest carbon producers per capita if one overlooked the dire poverty that the majority of the population still find themselves in. Let's remember that the US EPA said earlier this year that coal generation is responsible for 17000 premature deaths in the US each year thanks to pollution." The Karoo formation holds up to 1,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas representing the fifth largest shale resource in the world, but for reasons completely inexplicable ANTI-fracking coalition Treasure the Karoo Action Groupbrags of a budget of "close to R10 million" to oppose fracking. Dr. Phillip Lloyd thinks thousands of jobs will be produced. He adds~

“I support Shell. Shell does not support me. So why do I support them? Because they are bringing money and modern technology to explore the Karoo gas field…

The precautionary principle – waiting until all things had been proven harm-free - was “an intellectual copout”. In the same way that Saddam Hussein could not prove that he did not have weapons of mass destruction, you can’t prove ahead of time that there will be no harm. Lloyd thought ordinary industrial processes would sort out water pollution and other potential problems.

“If the shale gas is proven, it will be a huge cheque for the nation – thousands of jobs and clean energy. And the Karoo will remain a perfectly good home for sheep.”

Finally I come to Saudi Arabia. They understand the implications of the United States and the world developing their own energy sources and are loathe to let that happen. Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal said today that "he wants oil prices to drop so that the United States and Europe don't accelerate efforts to wean themselves off his country's supply. We don't want the West to go and find alternatives, because, clearly, the higher the price of oil goes, the more they have incentives to go and find alternatives." According to the Prince the oil price should be somewhere between $70 and $80 a barrel. Look for increased production from OPEC in the coming weeks.

The alternative energy to which he is referring isn't solar, wind, or wave. It is natural gas and the new technologies that are being developed to utilize it.

Regarding this Charlie Martin over at Pajamas Media has a remarkable article today describing a process being developed and utilized by Shell to "transform natural gas into synthetic replacements for petroleum products. In other words, turning natural gas into oil."

This is news that will give the anti-fracking coalition stomach upset.

Cross posted at The Lonely Conservative

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A Call for Contributors

Pundit Press is slowly growing, in case you didn't hear. That's why we're asking for those that read the site and think that they should be heard if they would like to write for our blog. Your level of participation is up to you-- an article a day, an hour, or per week. It's a no-pay but rewarding experience.

We're looking forward to your response.

Send all inquiries to punditpress-at-gmail.com.

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Portugal Election Results June 5, 2011

The leftist Socialist Party has been ejected as the leader of the Portuguese government. This comes after the country was forced to accept a massive bailout following poor spending patterns. Portugal is not nearly out of the woods but appears to be in a better position with the center-right Social Democrats entering office.


The Social Democratic Party elected 105 lawmakers in the 230-seat Parliament compared with 73 for the second-placed Socialists. The Social Democrat share represented about 39 percent of the vote. The center-left Socialists' share was 28 percent.

Social Democrat leader Pedro Passos Coelho, who will likely become prime minister, said his government "will do everything in its power to overcome the great difficulties we face and also provide assurances that (Portugal) won't be a financial burden" on Europe.

Another conservative party won over 20 seats, giving the conservative factions a majority in Parliament.

However, the task is not going to be easy:

The new government inherits a record jobless rate of 12.6 percent and an anticipated economic contraction of 4 percent over the next two years. Necessary welfare and pay cuts, tax hikes and promises from trade unions not to strike will also present tough challenges.

Given its continuing difficulties, Portugal still hasn't escaped the possibility of a financial catastrophe.

The new government must move quickly to enact more than 200 measures over the next two years, cutting expenditure and reforming social and economic sectors in accordance with the bailout terms. At the same time, it has to find a way to engineer the fresh growth that will allow it to free itself from debt in the long term.

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Peru Election Results Lean Toward Chavez Supporter, June 5, 2011

Unofficial results appear to show a very tight presidential race in Peru. Facing off is leftist populist Ollanta Humala and the daughter of a former disgraced president, Keiko Fujimori.



As of now the results are:

Humala: 51%
Fujimori: 49%

Humala was supported by Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. There may be a recount. Source: Yahoo.

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Guess Who is the Least Popular Congressional Leader?

With all of the vitriol being leveled against the Republican members of Congress by the media and the Democrats, one would think that their popularity would be significantly lower. In addition, due to positive coverage as well as new Democrat talking points, their leaders must have gained some?

Well-- let's take a look at a new Rasmussen poll, shall we? Rasmussen is the most accurate of the major national pollsters and has largely predicted the last four election cycles. This time the organization is attempting to see who is well-regarded in Congress and who is not.

Of course, the least popular of the leaders of Congress is...

Nancy Pelosi.

Her numbers:

Favorable: 28%
Unfavorable: 63%
Other/dk: 9%


This is well below what former President Bush was pulling and her unfavorable numbers must include a tremendous amount of independents.

Harry Reid's aren't much better:

Favorable: 21%
Unfavorable: 50%
Other/dk: 19%


John Boehner's aren't great but they're more so-so than bad:

Favorable: 37%
Unfavorable: 39%
Other/dk: 24%


Poor, poor Nancy. Not coming back-- despite the fact that she says she's looking forward to being Speaker again.

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Newsweek Cover: The Mormon Moment

Newsweek has once again confirmed to the world that they are a liberal rag:
I do not remember if Newsweek published a similar cover of Joe Lieberman in 2000 posing as a Orthodox Jew, but I highly doubt it.

The liberal media will often attack the individual they fear, or despise, the most in such unbelievably personal ways. They know the Mitt Romney candidacy has the best chance of defeating Barack Obama, so they published this cover to push socially minded Conservative voters to deny him the nomination out of fear.

And that very well may happen, but I believe we will choose our nominee based on the issues and not on religion - unlike the intolerant left who seek to divide.

What say you?

Israeli Forces Fire on Pro-Palestinian Mob

The government of Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, is facing larger and alrger protests. Despite the fact that the government there has massacred over 1,000 civilians the protests do not appear to be relenting. To try and create an artificial crisis, it appears that Assad's government is sending mobs to the Israeli border, seeking to spark a conflict to create a common enemy with the protesters.

And the Syrians are hamming up the incident where Israeli forces fired on the violent crowd:

State-run Syrian TV reported six dead, including a 12-year-old boy, and 15 wounded. There was no immediate confirmation of those reports.

Mohammed Hasan, a 16-year old student, was wounded in both feet. "We want on this occasion to remind America and the whole world that we have a right to return to our country," he said.

Syria might just start a war if it thinks it will save their regime.

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McDonald's Stimulus Package

Remember yesterday's unemployment rate?

9.1% of American workers are currently unemployed and only 54,000* were hired last month. The news was so bad and uninspiring that President Obama completely ignored the numbers, which saved everyone from another speech touting the "job growth."

Economic eggheads have somehow found a way to make the news even worse.

Somewhere between 25,000 to 30,000 of last month's jobs came from only one private sector employer: the national fast-food chain McDonalds - which hired tens of thousands of new employees in April - after the May employment survey was completed and was subsequently reflected in yesterday's report.

America's unemployment situation was bad yesterday, but now it is absolutely horrible.

What say you?

* - The lowest in months.

Lawrence Eagleburger Dead at 80

Lawrence Eagleburger, who served briefly as President George H.W. Bush's Secretary of State, died earlier today after a short illness. He was eighty.

The former Secretary of State served beneath five different President's (two Democrat & three Republican) in various foreign policy assignments, including three years as Ambassador to Yugoslavia under Carter. In fact, he was actually dubbed "Lawrence of Serbia" by European press because of his strong ties with the Balkan nation.

He was a loyal Republican who often appeared on Neil Cavuto's Fox News show to criticize President Obama on foreign policy.

I do not know much about his thoughts on most subjects, but he did serve his country for almost four decades - and for that he deserves credit and respect.

Bipartisan Congress Delivers "Stunning Rebuke" of Obama on Libya

Finally, Congress is telling the President that his extra-constitutional actions (at least in Libya) are enough:
Crossing party lines to deliver a stunning rebuke to the commander in chief, the vast majority of the House voted Friday for resolutions telling President Obama he has broken the constitutional chain of authority by committing U.S. troops to the international military mission in Libya.

In two votes — on competing resolutions that amounted to legislative lectures of Mr. Obama — Congress escalated the brewing constitutional clash over whether he ignored the founding document’s grant of war powers by sending U.S. troops to aid in enforcing a no-fly zone and naval blockade of Libya.

The resolutions were non-binding, and only one of them passed, but taken together, roughly three-quarters of the House voted to put Mr. Obama on notice that he must explain himself or else face future consequences, possibly including having funds for the war cut off.

“He has a chance to get this right. If he doesn’t, Congress will exercise its constitutional authority and make it right,” said House Speaker John A. Boehner, the Ohio Republican who wrote the resolution that passed, 268-145, and sets a two-week deadline for the president to deliver the information the House is seeking.

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Booyah- Ilyas Kashmiri, Possible bin Laden Successor, Blown to Hell

Kashmir is probably having a nice, warm beer in hell with bin Laden as we speak:
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan – A top al-Qaida commander and possible replacement for Osama bin Laden was killed in an American drone-fired missile strike close to the Afghan border, a fax from the militant group he heads and a Pakistani intelligence official said Saturday.

Ilyas Kashmiri's apparent death is another blow to al-Qaida just over a month after bin Laden was killed by American commandos in a northwest Pakistani army town. Described by U.S. officials as al-Qaida's military operations chief in Pakistan, the 47-year-old Pakistani was one of five most-wanted militant leaders in the country, accused of a string of bloody attacks in South Asia, including the 2008 Mumbai massacre, as well as aiding plots in the West. Washington had offered a $5 million bounty for information leading to his location.

His death was not confirmed publicly by the United States or Pakistani officials. Verifying who has been killed in the drone strikes is difficult. Initial reports have turned out to be wrong in the past, including one in September 2009 that said Kashmiri had been killed. Sometimes they are never formally denied or confirmed by authorities here or in the United States.

But a fax from the militant group he was heading — Harakat-ul-Jihad al-Islami's feared "313 Brigade" — confirmed Kashmiri was "martyred" in the strike at 11:15 p.m. Friday in South Waziristan tribal region. It was sent to journalists in Peshawar.

"God willing, America, which is the 'pharaoh' of this, will soon see a revenge attack, and our real target is America," it said. The statement was handwritten written on a white page bearing name of the group, which has not previously communicated with the media.

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Flashback- Biden: ObamaNomics will Create Up to "500,000 Jobs a Month"

With the United States economy stalling under the policies of President Barack Obama, a flashback is required to remember the broken promises made by his Administration.

This one comes from April of 2010.  Vice President Joe Biden was inflating his boss's ego, explaining to a group at a fundraiser (yes, a fundraiser in early 2010) how well Mr. Obama was handling his job.

Mr. Biden explained that "in a couple months" the U.S. economy would not only come back, but come roaring back:

"All in all we're going to be creating somewhere between 100 and 200,000 jobs next month, I predict," he began. "Even some in the White House said, 'Hey, don't get ahead of yourself.' Well, I'm here to tell you, some time in the next couple of months, we're going to be creating between 250,000 jobs a month and 500,000 jobs a month."

Instead, over a year later, the economy added a mere 54,000 this May, approximately one tenth of what Mr. Biden had hoped.  The unemployment rate also rose to 9.1%.

In his statements from 2010, Mr. Biden continued, "We caught a lot of bad breaks on the way down. We're going to catch a few good breaks because of good planning on the way up."

This statement also came one month after Senator Harry Reid said this:

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History Doesn't Repeat It Rhymes

A series of imperial wars fought by the Kings of England culminating in the French and Indian War almost bankrupted England.  At the end of the war England was paying to maintain 10,000 troops in the North American colonies as well as fleets to protect America’s maritime trade. 
Americans had fought in the war including the first shots fired, under George Washington at Fort Necessity in Ohio.  With the people of England already restive under crushing taxes, the English politicians decided they would tax the American colonists to help pay off the massive war debt and to bear the cost of the colonies future defense.
First they tried the Stamp Act requiring the use of approved or stamped government-issued paper for all legal documents such as will, deeds and diplomas.  This brought our ancestors out into the streets.  They marched in protest.  The Governor of New York, where the first shipment of officially stamped paper was to arrive, was burned in effigy. They attacked the home of a British officer who had boasted he would collect the stamp tax by force of arms if necessary.  The Americans organized the states to act in unison calling the Stamp Act Congress to coordinate a boycott and to decide upon other measures of resistance to “Taxation without representation.”  In the face of this heroic opposition the British Government repealed the Stamp Act.
By this time the level of taxation in England produced riots and political turmoil, so the government once again tried to balance the budget on the backs of the Americans with the Townsend Acts.  These Acts included reprisals for the recent resistance to the Stamp Act such as: restraints upon the colonial assemblies, new courts to enforce the laws, troops quartered in private homes, and once again taxes, custom fees, and import duties enforced by the British military.
Once again our ancestors stood against the tyranny of taxation without representation and eventually forced the British to also repeal these offensive measures.  Not giving up on the idea of raising the money they needed from the colonies these disconnected leaders, far removed from the people, next passed the Tea Act.  This Act was designed to help the English East India Company avoid bankruptcy by giving them a monopoly on the importation of tea into the colonies. 
The Company was able to sell at a lower price including the required tax than any tea smuggled in without the tax.  The British reasoned the Americans would willingly pay the tax if they were able to pay it and still get tea for a lower price than without it.  But they reckoned without the strength of our principles.  This was still taxation without representation and our ancestors would have none of it.
When two ships arrived in Boston Harbor filled with the Company’s tea Samuel Adams vowed it would never be unloaded.  Adams held a series of public meetings in the Old South Meeting House.  Not able to fit in the building, crowds as large as 5,000 filled the surrounding streets.  They demanded that the ships leave.  When the agents of the Company refused Adams led a group of men, disguised as Mohawk Indians, to Griffin’s Wharf.  The vessels were boarded; the Patriots took the cargo of 342 chests, and threw them into the harbor to the encouragement of a cheering crowd on the dock.  This “Tea Party” was repeated in other ports throughout America.
Taxation without representation was the burden too evil to bear for our ancestors.  They faced tax burdens that never neared 1 or 2 % and we, their descendants, meekly line up to pay many times that to a government which no longer hears us as we petition them in every way we know to stop the over-the-top spending and return to financial reality.
Today many have forgotten that the “TEA” in the modern Tea Party stands for “Taxed Enough Already!”  Millions express frustration and the belief that our elected representatives no longer pay any attention to us once they get to Washington.  Our newly elected conservative majority joins the insider parade reaffirming the Patriot Act and passing continuing resolution after continuing resolution.  Are we about to learn that if History doesn’t exactly repeat itself it sure does rhyme?
To a generation who have watched our beloved nation fall from the greatest creditor to the greatest debtor, from the greatest manufacturer to an open market for Chinese expansion “Taxed Enough Already” and “No Taxation Without Representation” are starting to sound close enough for blank verse.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

Watch Obama Economy Speech at Chrysler Plant Live

The President is making a speech at a Chrysler Plant in Ohio about the May economic numbers, which were not good.


Free video streaming by Ustream

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Dipprasad Pun Received Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for Action in Afghanistan

The British government has bestowed its highest military honor on a true hero. Dipprasad Pun of Nepal single handedly fought back 30 Taliban fighters after being surrounded.

Pun fired over 400 rounds and over a dozen grenades, pushing the Taliban back. He is receiving the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for his actions.


Pun fired more than 400 rounds, launched 17 grenades and detonated a mine to repel the Taliban assault on his checkpoint near Babaji in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan, last September.
Surrounded, the enemy opened fired from all sides and for 15 minutes Pun remained under continuous attack, including from rocket-propelled grenades and AK47 guns.
At one point, unable to shoot, he used his machine gun tripod to knock down a militant who was climbing the walls of the compound.
Two insurgents were still attacking by the time he ran out of ammunition, but he set off a Claymore mine to repel them.
Pun was given his medal in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London on Wednesday.
A true hero.



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Dr. Kevorkian Dies

Dr. Jack Kevorkian, made famous for his efforts with euthanasia (mercy killing) died today from heart failure. He was 83. He served jail time for the practice, but defended it until his death.

Eleven years earlier, he was sentenced in the 1998 death of a Lou Gehrig's disease patient — a videotaped death shown to a national television audience as Kevorkian challenged prosecutors to charge him.
"The issue's got to be raised to the level where it is finally decided," he said on the broadcast by CBS' "60 Minutes."
Nicknamed "Dr. Death," Kevorkian catapulted into public consciousness in 1990 when he used his homemade "suicide machine" in his rusted Volkswagen van to inject lethal drugs into an Alzheimer's patient who sought his help in dying.

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John Edwards Indicted

Noted phony and 2004 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee John Edwards has had a difficult time since leaving politics in 2008. He came in third in the 2008 primaries, it became apparent that he had fathered a child while cheating on his cancer-stricken wife (who then died) and now may be going to jail.



He spent almost $1 million to cover up his affair and love child.

The grand jury's indictment in the case of USA v. Johnny Reid Edwards contained six counts, including conspiracy, four counts of receiving illegal campaign contributions and one count of false statements.

The indictment said the payments were a scheme to protect Edwards' White House ambitions. "A centerpiece of Edwards' candidacy was his public image as a devoted family man," the indictment said.

"Edwards knew that public revelation of the affair and the pregnancy would destroy his candidacy by, among other things, undermining Edwards' presentation of himself as a family man and by forcing his campaign to divert personnel and resources away from other campaign activities to respond to criticism and media scrutiny regarding the affair and pregnancy," the indictment added.

Send him away!

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Saleh Injured in Rocket Attack

Just a day after al Qaeda seized another city in Yemen the situation is falling off the cliff. Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is refusing to step down despite agreeing to earlier, was injured in a rocket attack in the capital Sa'ana.

It appears that tribesmen launched the rocket attack. There was heavy fighting in the capital yesterday between the government and the tribes.

The attack almost decapitated the government:

A volley of three rockets hit Saleh's presidential compound Friday as he and other officials were praying at a mosque inside, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. Six presidential guards were killed, according to a medical official.

Seven top officials were wounded, including the prime minister, the deputy prime minister, the parliament speaker and the governor of Sanaa, the official said. The most serious injuries were to Sanaa's governor Nooman Dweid, and Deputy Prime Minister Rashad al-Alimi, who is also the president's top security adviser and who remained unconscious from his wounds, the official said.

Yemen is now in a civil war.

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Unemployment Rises to 9.1%

America's unemployment rate rised "unexpectedly" in today's Bureau of Labor Statistics report to 9.1%, which we have not seen since earlier this year, because 105,000 folks left the workforce last month - due to continuing discouragement about the country's economic situation, which no-one can really blame them for having.

54,000 jobs were added last month, but that figure was influenced by the 28,000 local government workers that were cut. Accounting and bookkeeping services added 18,000 jobs; health care services added 17,000 jobs; computer services added 8,000 jobs and mining added 7,000. Manufacturing lost 5,000.

There is some good news in this monthly report, but the fact our unemployment rate has gone up the past two months and over 100,000 Americans have left the workforce, once again, tells me that economic hardship is far from being over.

What say you?

P.S. - After 22 months of searching, I was hired by a seasonal tourist attraction in Upstate, New York. Keep looking everyone - there's a job out there for you.

Al Qaeda Seizes Second Yemeni City

As if the news from Yemen wasn't distressing enough, it now appears that it could be getting worse. Just two days after al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula captured a city in the protest-riddled country they have done it again. Meanwhile, about 100 people have been killed in protests over the last several days.

Reportedly, the city of Shazzan in the southern part of the country has fallen to the terrorists. This comes as the dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh, refuses to step down.

"Following fierce battles with government forces, fighters of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) managed to seize the whole city of Azzan in the southeast province of Shabwa on Wednesday, announcing that the city of Azzan joins in their Islamic emirate," one local official told Xinhua.

Some tribal leaders and residents confirmed the news in phone conversations with Xinhua.

The tribal leaders said the AQAP militants were enjoying high- level activities nowadays because of the weak presence of security forces, which were pulled out to major cities to curb the four- month-long anti-government protests as well as to secure the government and foreign interests from sporadic riot acts.

It's becoming worse than Libya.

Cross-posted at WorldThreats.

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Five Shot Dead in Yuma, Arizona, June 2, 2011

Breaking:
YUMA, Ariz. -- Yuma police say five people have been killed in a shooting that has forced authorities to close schools and the courthouse.

Details about the shooter and victims were not immediately clear.

Yuma police Sgt. Clint Norred tells The Associated Press that five people were killed in the Yuma area. It's unclear if there were others who were injured.

Norred says police originally responded to a shooting call around 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

The Yuma Sun reports the Yuma County Courthouse and schools in the area have been placed on lockdown.

Romney Announcement Video

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney officially launched his campaign today:



Hat tip: Hot Air.

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Dems Turning on Weiner: "Like Watching a Charlie Sheen Meltdown"

Anthony Weiner, who is now embroiled in a Twitter controversy in which he allegedly sent a picture of an aroused man (wearing underwear) to a woman, is now losing support from his staunchest supporters:  Democrats.

After nearly a week of bumbling about and starting more questions than answering them, Democrats have become weary of the Congressman from New York.

"Watching Anthony Weiner's twitter and press blitz is like watching a Charlie Sheen meltdown. It's amusing, uncomfortable, and not necessary," said one high-ranking Democratic aide. "If Weiner really wants to get beyond this, he'll shut up and let Democrats get back to their Medicare message."

When asked about the controversy surrounding Mr. Weiner, one Democratic staffer stated bluntly: "How much schadenfreude is happening because of this? A lot."

Ed Koch, former New York City mayor, echoed these statements, saying, "I think he's in trouble…I think he has a problem."
Mr. Weiner
With his most ardent supporters leaving him, it is no surprise that Republicans are slamming Mr. Weiner for his alleged actions.

“I think the American people are sick of seeing their elected officials tied up in scandals like this,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor stated. “Come clean and clean it up," he added. "Perhaps he’s trying, but there’s a lot of explaining going on without a lot of clarity."

Even worse for Mr. Weiner is that he himself is fueling the controversy with vague, ambiguous statements.  For example, when asked if the picture was of him, he stated, "I'm reluctant to say anything definitively about this because I don't know to what extent our system was hacked."

Will this controversy sink the Congressman or will he survive?  Only time will tell.

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