Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Politics Trumps All: Fracking Opposition Has Little to do With Water Safety or Public Health

DNC donors laughed at President Obama last night as he delivered remarks claiming he had created 2.1 million jobs over the past 15 months. It is of course a laughable claim as over 2.5 million jobs have been lost during this administration. Maybe he meant that 2.1 million jobs had been created or saved. It is the same thing after all.

Last month, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry published a report that showed a nearly 1300% increase in core Marcellus industry jobs in the Northern Tier counties of Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga and Wyoming since 2008." That nearly 48,000 people have been hired in the last year by industries related to drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation, and 71% of those people were Pennsylvania residents".

This report was good news to everyone but the organized opposition to hydraulic fracturing, and confirmed anecdotal evidence from multiple sources that economic activity in the Northern Tier was hopping. This report cut against the meme that was being propagated by the anti-fracking coalitions who claimed that shale gas drilling would not benefit the local economy, that the hires that did occur would be brought in by big oil and that the only jobs that would be produced were those of truck drivers who would tear up the roads and spill brine fluid into pristine streams, lakes and ponds.

It didn't take long for the expected rebuttal was published. Actually it took only about six weeks for the Keystone Research Center (KRC) to crunch their own numbers and come up with a paltry 10,000 jobs created by the mighty Marcellus. In a report published today, Stephen Herzenberg, Executive Director of KRC, this editorial on the full policy brief. (Emphasis mine, for effect)

  • The 48,000 figure refers to “New Hires” — additions to employment. New hires are not the same as jobs created because many new hires replace workers who have quit, been fired or retired. Over the same period that Marcellus industries reported 48,000 new hires (the fourth quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2011), there were 2.8 million “new hires” in all Pennsylvania industries but only 85,467 jobs were created. This dramatic difference makes clear that the number of new hires by itself is not a meaningful indicator of job creation.
  • Since the fourth quarter of 2009, Marcellus “Core” and “Ancillary” industries — as defined by the Center for Workforce Information and Analysis (CWIA) of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry — created 1.7% of all new hires in Pennsylvania, one out of every 59.
  • An accurate picture of the contribution of the Marcellus Shale to recent growth of jobs in Pennsylvania requires the use of a data base that directly measures “employment” and “jobs.” Using such a jobs data base, CWIA finds that Marcellus Core industries in Pennsylvania created 9,288 jobs between the fourth quarter of 2007 and the fourth quarter of 2010. (Note: we use a different time period for the jobs data base than the new hires data base because CWIA does.) Marcellus Ancillary industries actually lost 3,619 jobs in this period so that, taken together, Marcellus Core and Ancillary industries created 5,669.
  • The number of jobs created by Marcellus industries is small — less than 10% — compared to the 111,400 increase in jobs in all state industries since Pennsylvania’s recent employment trough in February 2010.

All right, fair enough, I am not a statistician and haven't seen the numbers and sources of either report, but I do wonder why Mr. Herzenberg would take the exact opposite position in 2010 when his group was busy buttressing the claims of President Obama that the economic stimulus was some sort of success for Pennsylvania. An October press release by KRC stated that "federal action saved thousands of jobs in every region; regional unemployment would be 15% or higher in many parts of the state". You can read the entire press release here, or read the full report entitled, "Getting Pennsylvania's Economy Back on Track: Federal Policies Save Thousands of Jobs and Prevent Much Higher Unemployment Across Pennsylvania", at the link.

In the press release both Stephen Herzenberg and labor economist Mark Price state: (emphasis mine, for effect)

  • 20% in the City of Philadelphia and nearly 15% in the Philadelphia metro area, including Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties and parts of New Jersey and Delaware (110,000 jobs saved);
  • 17% in the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre metro area (15,000 jobs saved);
  • Nearly 17% in Erie County (5,500 jobs saved);
  • Nearly 16% in Altoona (over 5,000 jobs saved);
  • 15% in the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton metro area (27,000 jobs were saved by federal intervention);
  • 15% in the Pittsburgh metro area (76,000 jobs saved);
  • 15% in the Reading metro area (9,000 jobs saved);
  • 13% in the York-Hanover metro area (nearly 14,000 jobs saved);
  • Above 12% in the Harrisburg-Carlisle metro area (21,000 jobs saved);
  • Above 11% in Lancaster County (14,000 jobs saved).

So by his own accounting not a single job in Pennsylvania was created by President Obama's economic stimulus boondoggle, but is the veritable savior of the Pennsylvania economy and through private investment, the Marcellus shale creates/saves 48,000 jobs and this is considered tantamount to destroying the middle class while simultaneously polluting all fresh water and poisoning women and children. Not bad for an endeavor that has yet to cost the taxpayer a single dollar.

I have long thought much of the animosity demonstrated to hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale was politically motivated. This adds yet another confirmation to that suspicion.

While KRC continues to publish statistical analysis designed to confirm a desired outcome the mighty Marcellus continues to produce good, high paying jobs to the people and drive Pennsylvania out of recession. Today, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that "the Pittsburgh metropolitan area is weathering the recession better than many other parts of the country, partly because of Marcellus Shale production"

A report released by IHS Global Insight concludes "that many areas of Pennsylvania, including the Pittsburgh metro area, are benefitting from the Marcellus Shale drilling activity. That certainly is giving Pennsylvania a boost relative to the rest of the country in terms of employment and gross economic output."


It didn't take long for the DRC report to be shredded to tiny bits and pieces.

From Marcellus Fast Facts which gathers most of its data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW):

The economic impact of responsible shale gas development is being felt in every corner of the commonwealth:

Family Sustaining Wages

  • “The average wage in the core industries was $73,150, which was about $27,400 greater than the average for all industries.” (Center for Workforce Information & Analysis, June 2011)
  • “The average wage in the ancillary industries was $61,871, which was more than $16,100 greater than the average for all industries.” (ibid)

Employment Impact

  • “Areas with significant Marcellus Shale drilling activity have seen notable decreases in unemployment rates.” (ibid)
  • “The Northern Tier Workforce Investment Areas (WIA) experienced an increase of employment growth of over 1,500%.” (ibid)
  • “The Central WIA was second in terms of employment growth by volume and by percentage with an employment increase of almost 1,000%.” (ibid)
  • “Significant employment gains were seen in each WIA that had substantial Marcellus Shale drilling activity.” (ibid)

Infrastructure Investment

  • “Marcellus shale drillers spent $411 million in the past three years to help rebuild Pennsylvania roads…” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 21, 2011)
  • “Since 2008, approximately 21% of the payments have been made toward local roads, while approximately 79% went toward improving roads maintained by the state.” (MSC press release, June 21, 2011)

Tax Revenue Generated by Responsible Marcellus Development

  • “Drilling Industry Paid More Than $1 Billion in State Taxes Since 2006, Tax Payments in First Quarter of 2011 Already Surpass 2010 Totals” (Dept. of Revenue press release, May, 2, 2011)
  • “The Revenue Department’s analysis, which breaks out tax payments from oil and gas companies and their affiliates through April 2011, indicates that 857 of these companies have already paid $238.4 million in capital stock/foreign franchise tax, corporate net income tax, sales/use tax and employer withholding to the state in 2011. These figures from the first quarter of this year already exceed by nearly $20 million the total tax payments made in all of 2010.” (ibid)
  • “The data indicate that counties with 150 or more Marcellus wells experienced an 11.36 percent increase in state sales tax collections between 2007 and 2010.” (Penn State University, February 27, 2011)
  • “In counties with ten or more Marcellus wells, returns reporting royalty income increased 44.1 percent and tax income increased 325.3 percent.” (ibid)

Marcellus Shale Coalition president and executive director Kathryn Klaber issued the following statement:

“In the heat of a budget battle in Harrisburg, opponents of responsible natural gas development have launched yet another thinly-veiled, politically-timed attack on an industry that is creating family-sustaining jobs for men and women across the Commonwealth. But families across Pennsylvania are seeing firsthand the reality of Marcellus development: it is fueling economic growth, employment, and investments in roads and infrastructure at rates not seen in decades.

“According to the Department of Labor and Industry, unemployment in counties with Marcellus development remains below the state average. Along Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier, where development is most concentrated, employment has jumped 1,500 percent since the end of 2007. Furthermore, Marcellus operators are investing billions of dollars into Pennsylvania’s economy – from constructing state-of-the-art operating facilities, to building new offices, to leasing land for responsible development and driving economic growth in our rural communities. Take into account the more than $1 billion in taxes generated by Marcellus activity over the past half-decade, stable and affordable energy prices made possible by responsible natural gas development, and the ancillary employment impacts cascading through businesses across the Commonwealth, and only then can the full act of Marcellus development be realized. Once again, the rhetoric of opponents of Pennsylvania’s clean and abundant energy supply is simply not squaring with reality.

“People who were out of work and now have jobs thanks to Marcellus development are more than statistics, and they are proud that they now have jobs. Attempting to trivialize their new employment opportunities simply to fulfill a political agenda not only denies the real economic benefits from Marcellus, but also demeans the very people who are employed.”

If you think opposition to natural gas drilling in New York and Pennsylvania has anything to do with water purity, environmental contamination, or public health just remember it is mostly about politics and a very vocal minority that is willing to sell you out to maintain the status quo.Please bookmark!

Greek Confidence Vote Results

Prime Minister George Papandreou has survived the confidence vote in the Greek Parliament. The socialist leader had been forced to accept a second round of austerity measures in exchange for another European bailout.

His PASOK Socialist Party holds the majority in Parliament.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has survived a confidence vote in parliament after garnering more than the absolute majority of 151 votes he needed in the 300-member legislature.
It's a step but Greece is still near bankruptcy.

UPDATE: 6:10pm EST

The vote was 155 to 143, along party lines.

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Jon Huntsman Presidential Announcement Video


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Greek Confidence Vote

The Greek Parliament is voting on the confidence in Prime Minister Papandreau. There's 300 votes in the chamber and needs 151 for him to stay in office. He is expected to remain.

He said a primary surplus in 2012 is the fiscal goal of Greece.
Speeches prior to the vote are ongoing. Evangelos Venizelos, the country's finance minister, is now speaking. He says Greece needs to send the world a clear signal with this vote.
Earlier: We're just minutes away from the confidence vote in Greece's parliament for Prime Minister George Papandreou and his government.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/greek-confidence-vote-2011-6#ixzz1Pwu5dWUC

Live video:

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Another Jihadist Leader Living Freely in Pakistan

While Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbotabad may or may not have been known to Pakistan's senior leadership, it is apparent that at least some in the country realized it. Now we have the leader of another very deadly jihadist group living openly in Pakistan.

Fazle-ur-Rahman Khalil is the leader of the Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen, which was allied to al Qaeda. Khalil was a trusted confidant of bin Laden and signed the fatwa against the United States in the 1990s. Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen was and is an international group, with its jihadists ending up in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, and Somalia. Khalil is living openly in Pakistan, where even the US press knows about it.

Because of HuM's goal of 'liberating' Kashmir from India, it may be getting a pass from the government:

Like most of the militant groups that get a wink and a nod from Pakistan's security agencies, Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen's primary focus is Kashmir, a picturesque region divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by each in its entirety. Kashmir has been the cause of two of three wars between the South Asian neighbors and brought them perilously close to a nuclear confrontation in 2000.

Khalil's group has kidnapped foreigners in Indian Kashmir, killing one. His group also helped in the 1999 hijacking of an Indian airlines plane that resulted in the release of three militants, including Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who is now on death row for his part in the 2002 killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Further, they have ties with some very nasty people:

Khalil's militant ties include the anti-Indian Lashkar-e-Taiba group, blamed for masterminding the November 2008 assault on Mumbai that killed 166 people. The AP learned from the same official that seven training camps are operating in Pakistani Kashmir and most of them are run by Jamaat-ud-Dawwa, the name Lashkar-e-Taiba took after being banned.

When will the Pakistanis get serious, if ever?

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Palate Cleanser: Bob Hoskins Hated Playing Super Mario

For anyone that has seen the Super Mario movie (don't make believe you haven't) you can see why Bob Hoskins holds this regret (resentment):

What is the worst job you've done?
Super Mario Brothers.
What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.
If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.

Need more proof?

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Live Greek Parliament Vote Video

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Live Video Greek Confidence Vote Video 6/21/2011

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Papandreou Confidence Vote Video Greece

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ελληνική ψήφο εμπιστοσύνης βίντεο

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Greek Confidence Vote Video

Live here:

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Cynthia McKinney: US Sucks, Libya a Great Place to Live

Your daily dose of stupid:

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Jon Huntsman Presidential Announcement

Former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman will announce his campaign for the 2012 Republican nomination this morning at the Statue of Liberty in shades of Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential announcement.

Mr. Huntsman's campaign is likely dead-on-arrival because the 2012 field does not have room for centrist Republicans since the country has moved right, and some of his positions are in direct contradiction to crucial Conservative values: support for stimulus, support for cap & trade, and opposition to interventionist policies while toeing the dovish line on Afghanistan.

And to be perfectly realistic - we do not need another candidate in the field who has no chance of winning the nomination, or the general election. Republicans will not support someone who worked for President Obama, and Americans will not elect someone who runs against their former boss. Just ask McClellan.

What say you?

Jon Stewart Shows Out-of-Context Clips on Show, Then Claims Fox Edited Interview

Look, I know that Jon Stewart is a self-righteous douchebag and he's playing to his uninformed audience, but seriously?  Who the hell shows a ten second clip from a lengthy interview, then accuses Fox of cutting up the clip or showing it out of context?  This dumbass:

Here's the original interview:

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Jon Stewart on Fox News Sunday Video

Have a vomit bag close by:

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PP Question: Yes, or No on Puerto Rican Statehood

Note: This is the first edition of PP Question, which will be featured every Monday afternoon on the blog.

I have a question for the faithful readers of Pundit Press: should Puerto Rico become our country's fifty-first state, or remain one of our five territories?

Conservatives do not exactly have one general opinion on the subject, as some (including myself) support the notion of Puerto Rican Statehood, but we do not want it forced down their throats, while others strictly oppose the idea outright under all circumstances for several legitimate reasons.

The United States has not admitted a new state since Hawaii's entrance in 1959.

It will be interesting to hear some of your thoughts on the very important issue.

What say you?

Negotiate with the Taliban?

Reports from Hamid Karzai indicated last week that both Afghanistan and the United States were involved in low-level negotiations with representatives of the Taliban. American officials would neither confirm, nor deny the reports, while several police officers were killed in Kabul by Taliban fighters that day.

Is this really happening?

I thought the United States did not negotiate with terrorists, especially those who gave cover and safe harbor to al-Qaida. Or those that have steadily been pushed back since our vital troop surge last year - resulting in nearly 1,000 surrenders by the enemy.

We are not fighting German militarism, or Japanese imperialism, we are fighting something much worse - Islamic Jihadism. This enemy is crueler and eviler than the aforementioned two were, while following a religion that compels them to lie in order to deceive and gain the upper hand on the infidel.

America is fighting the face of pure evil in Afghanistan. Our goal shouldn't be to negotiate and make peace with men of hatred and oppression in their soul, who would undoubtedly attempt to overthrow the Afghanistan government if we did leave, but to destroy them once and for all - freeing our country from one more threat and Afghanistan for the chance to finally live in peace.

Don't negotiate with evil; destroy it.

What say you?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Welcome to Happy's World

It is a world we both share. The only thing he has that I don't is the "green bean casserole infusion". I have got to get me one of those.

Truly though, the most serious things are often said in jest, and this is the perfect example.

Sorry Happy, forgot the link back. Please visit The Happy Hospitalist!

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Anti-Frackers are a One Trick Pony the World Over

The opposition to hydraulic fracturing isn't very creative. They all say the same thing in the same way. Where they say it is the only thing unique. I came across this article recently and was astounded at the similarities. If you are at all familiar with the issue of natural gas drilling in shale you will immediately recognize the tactics at play.

Below I have taken the main body of an article and redacted any suggestion as to where it came of where it was written. As you read it see if you can't figure out where this is taking place. You will likely be surprised!

The main opposition have demanded that the government impose a moratorium on all shale gas drilling over concerns about its hazardous environmental effects.

End of May it was announced that the US energy giant Chevron has won a major bid to explore shale gas in the northeast.

The opposition has asked government authorities to impose a moratorium on shale gas drilling until further studies are conducted on the safety of the technique.

They have argued that not only production, but even exploration for shale gas might lead to severe damage to soils and underground waters.

Turns out, Socialists are all the same, no matter where the come from!

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Muslim Public Affairs Council, ACLU Launch Convention to Rid US of Anti-Sharia Laws

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and the ACLU have declared a "Capital Hill forum" to discuss Sharia Law, and how Americans can slow and turn back the progress of Anti-Sharia laws and sentiment.

“Sharia has become an inflammatory buzzword that is getting thrown about and used to craft pre-emptive legislation with little to no understanding of what it is and isn’t,” said Director of MPAC's Washington, DC, Office Haris Tarin. “In the face of a wave of anti-sharia bills cropping up all over the country, it’s time for a level-headed adult conversation on the issue.”

The point of the convention, in which four "experts" will speak on the "impact of anti-sharia bill," is to supposedly inform ignorant people of what Muslim law actually is.

"The topic of Islamic jurisprudence in the United States is now becoming a source of heated – and confused – debate," writes MPAC's launch article.

The forum is to take place at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC. The experts participating are Noha A. Bakr, Daniel Mach, who is the Director of the ACLU’s Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, "Executive Director" Gerry Serotta, and moderator Haris Tarin.
Proponents of Sharia Law in the United Kingdom
The official name of the program is A Solution in Search of a Problem: The Impact of Anti-Sharia Bills in America.

The official release reads:
The Muslim Public Affairs Council today announced it will host a Capitol Hill forum on "A Solution in Search of a Problem: The Impact of Anti-Sharia Bills in America" on Monday, June 20, to discuss the impact of state-level bills on various faith communities and the Constitutional guarantee to freedom of religion.

“Sharia has become an inflammatory buzzword that is getting thrown about and used to craft pre-emptive legislation with little to no understanding of what it is and isn’t,” said Haris Tarin, Director of MPAC's Washington, DC, Office. “In the face of a wave of anti-sharia bills cropping up all over the country, it’s time for a level-headed adult conversation on the issue.”

With the emergence of 40 anti-sharia bills in at least 20 states, the topic of Islamic jurisprudence in the United States is now becoming a source of heated – and confused – debate. This panel of experts will analyze what impact anti-sharia bills are having across our nation.

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Misery Index Highest in 28 Years

Thanks, Obama:
In fact, misery, as measured in the unofficial Misery Index that simply totals the unemployment and inflation rates, is at a 28-year high, reflective of how weak the economic recovery has been and how far there is to go.

The index, first compiled during the soaring inflation days of the 1970s by economist Arthur Okun, is registering a nausea-inducing 12.7—9.1 percent for unemployment and 3.6 percent for annualized inflation—a number not seen since 1983. The index has been above 10 since November 2009 and had been under double-digits from June 1993 through May 2008.

The good news, of course, is that the Fed-led Paul Volcker embarked on a highly successful inflation-slaying campaign that brought the level of misery down sharply through the rest of the ’80s recovery decade.

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Isn't that Special: Obama and Boehner beat Biden and Kasich in Golf Match

I'm sure a lot got done about Libya and the economy:
President Obama's not big on Oval Office addresses; no audience to play off of.

But he does love his outdoor summits.

Remember the White House beer summit after he called Cambridge police actions stupid after they handcuffed a Harvard professor friend? So POTUS had the cop and the professor and VP Joe Biden out back for a well-photographed beer.

Well, today was supposed to be the Golf Summit with the country's top two Democrats golfing all-friendly-like with Republican House Speaker John A. Boehner and his Ohio GOP pal, former representative and now Gov. John Kasich.

Republicans and Democrats in D.C. are currently arguing over trillions of dollars in cuts (scroll down for detailed stories) in order for the GOP-controlled House to go along with raising the national debt limit before the de facto Aug. 2 deadline.

They did play golf today. It was reportedly a $2 game (each), decided on the 18th hole and -- who would have guessed? -- the duo of bosses, Obama and Boehner, beat the other two.

There are ample news pool photos of the collegial gathering that were allowed to be taken at one hole. Back-pats and all that.

But judging from the official White House photo released above, it looks like it could have been the Schmooze Summit (also, there's at least one beer in there somewhere).

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Republican Leadership Conference 2011 Straw Poll Results

The Republican Leadership Conference's 2011 straw poll results are in - and surprise, surprise - Ron Paul's supporters flooded the event, and rigged him another meaningless victory. However, the rest of the results are absolutely interesting and quite telling about the mood of the 2012 Party faithful.

1. Ron Paul - 612.
2. Jon Huntsman - 382.
3. Michele Bachmann - 191.
4. Herman Cain - 104.
5. Mitt Romney - 74.
6. Newt Gingrich - 69.
7. Sarah Palin - 41.
8. Rick Santorum - 30.
9. Tim Pawlenty - 18.
10. Gary Johnson - 10.
11. Buddy Roemer - 9.
12. Thad McCotter - 2.

I understand the solid finishes of Bachmann and Cain, who are two grassroots favorites, but Jon Huntsman? He worked for President Obama as Ambassador to China, and is easily the Republican Party's token liberal in the Primary race. It just dumbfounds me that Huntsman would perform so strongly.

Interesting results.

What say you?

P.S. - Thad McCotter's potential campaign is officially dead, because placing last behind Buddy Roemer just isn't acceptable and represents real weakness.

Obama Ignored Legal Council on Unconstitutionality of "Non-War" in Libya

I'm sure this comes as a surprise to no one:
President Obama rejected the views of top lawyers at the Pentagon and the Justice Department when he decided that he had the legal authority to continue American military participation in the air war in Libya without Congressional authorization, according to officials familiar with internal administration deliberations.

Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon general counsel, and Caroline D. Krass, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, had told the White House that they believed that the United States military’s activities in the NATO-led air war amounted to “hostilities.” Under the War Powers Resolution, that would have required Mr. Obama to terminate or scale back the mission after May 20.

But Mr. Obama decided instead to adopt the legal analysis of several other senior members of his legal team — including the White House counsel, Robert Bauer, and the State Department legal adviser, Harold H. Koh — who argued that the United States military’s activities fell short of “hostilities.” Under that view, Mr. Obama needed no permission from Congress to continue the mission unchanged.

Presidents have the legal authority to override the legal conclusions of the Office of Legal Counsel and to act in a manner that is contrary to its advice, but it is extraordinarily rare for that to happen. Under normal circumstances, the office’s interpretation of the law is legally binding on the executive branch.
President Obama
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Friday, June 17, 2011

ATF Gunrunning Operation to Mexican Cartels- aka 'Fast & Furious'- Comes Under Congressional Scrutiny

Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry- slain in December 2010. Weapons from ATF's Operation Fast & Furious Were recovered at the crime scene along the Arizona/Mexico Border
Earlier this week, certain politicians and media outlets that support gun control were frantically out there trying to establish the 70% myth [i.e. the narrative that '70% of the weapons recovered in Mexico' come from America, which curiously is down from 90% in a few short months- NANESB!] just days ahead of the House Committee on oversight and Government Reform hearings into the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms operation Fast & Furious.

The full committee hearings got underway at Capitol Hill on Wednesday with testimony from Brian Terry's family, 6 months to the day after the Border Patrol was shot and killed by Mexican smugglers armed with AK-variant rifles acquired by straw purchasers who were under surveillance as part of the ATF operation. Yet instead of interdicting the guns before they could be moved across the Mexican border, field agents were ordered the allow the guns to 'walk'. Two of the guns found at the scene of Terry's murder were part of thousands the ATF allegedly allowed gun traffickers to purchase.
The ATF called it letting "guns walk" -- a tactic they hoped would lead to them to drug kingpins. Agents who disagreed with the strategy blew the whistle.

"To walk a single gun is in my opinion an idiotic move," said ATF senior special agent Pete Forcelli. "We weren't giving guns to people who were hunting bear. We were giving guns to people who were killing other humans."

After Terry's murder, ATF quickly rounded up gun trafficking suspects they'd watched for a year. That's when the first reports of gunwalking began to surface. Asked if they were true at the time, ATF Phoenix chief Bill Newell told reporters "hell no" -- surprising those who worked for him.

"I was appalled, because it was a blatant lie," Forcelli said. Newell didn't respond to interview requests.

Also under attack: the Justice Department which oversees the ATF. Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich says the agency is cooperating with Congress, but Rep. Darryl Issa says information is being withheld.

"You should be ashamed of yourself," Issa said at the hearing Wednesday holding up a blacked-out sheet of paper. "The pages go on like this forever. You've given us black paper instead of white paper. How dare you make an opening statement of 'cooperation.'"

Issa pressed Weich on who in Washington authorized the program -- and received no answer.

"There was serious profound disagreement about strategy -- but the common goal was to stop gun trafficking to Mexico," Weich said. "Some of the testimony provided today is of great concern. That is why the attorney general asked the inspector general to look into it."

When Brian Terry was gunned down last December, he'd already mailed Christmas gifts.

"The gifts that Brian had picked out with such thought and care began to arrive in the mail that same week," recalled Terry's cousin Robert Heyer, a Secret Service agent. "With each delivery, we felt the indescribable pain of Brian's death."

Terry's family wants someone to accept responsibility. The Department of Justice inspector general is investigating -- and any gunwalking that was taking place has been halted.
Perhaps to nobody's surprise, the Democrats on the Oversight Committee attempted to make the hearings about gun control rather than any sort of accountability from the Department of Justice or ATF. On top of apologizing to Assistant Attorney General Ronald Wiech after Committee Chair Darrel Issa (R- CA49) berated the Justice Department official for turning over pages of redacted documents in response to a subpoena, Representative Elijah Cummings (D- MD7) has proposed setting up a separate minority-led hearing with witnesses of his choosing. In doing so, the Democrats have demonstrated that they are deliberately ignoring the fact that even if the entire United States had strict gun control laws reminiscent of Chicago or Washington D.C. there's still the fact that it was a government agency that facilitated the acquisition of at least 2000 weapons to Mexican criminals. On top of that, US Diplomatic cables released by wikileaks indicate that the overwhelming number of weapons seized in Mexico- including explosives, grenades and anti-tank weapons- are actually procured by cartels from poorly-guarded military armouries in Central America before being smuggled into Mexico.

[I know I've asked this before, but it bears repeating- the Los Zetas organization is mostly comprised of former soldiers from the Mexican army, including Special Forces. Now, keeping in mind their connections to not only the black market, but the international arms market- why should I believe for a second that they are shopping for guns at Cabela's or Wal Mart?- NANESB!]

Weapons allowed across the border under Fast & Furious (or Rapido y Furiosa in the Mexican press) continue to turn up throughout Mexico- in April, Mexican police raided a house in Ciudad Juarez that turned up a half dozen Romanian-made AK-variant rifles that were traced back to the ill-conceived ATF operation [the raid also turned up dozens of grenades and three anti-aircraft machine guns, which probably weren't purchased from American gun stores- NANESB!] .

In May, Mexican soldiers came under fire and a Mexican Air Force helicopter was forced to make a crash landing during an anti-narcotics operation in Michoacan- weapons seized from there were also traced back to Fast & Furious.

Some of the preliminary findings of the Committee include:
● Agents expected to interdict weapons, yet were told to stand down and “just surveil.” Agents therefore did not act. They watched straw purchasers buy hundreds of weapons illegally and transfer those weapons to unknown third parties and stash houses.

● ATF agents complained about the strategy of allowing guns to walk in Operation Fast and Furious. Leadership ignored their concerns. Instead, supervisors told the agents to “get with the program” because senior ATF officials had sanctioned the operation.

● Agents knew that given the large numbers of weapons being trafficked to Mexico, tragic results were a near certainty.

● Operation Fast and Furious contributed to the increasing violence and deaths in Mexico. This result was regarded with giddy optimism by ATF supervisors hoping that guns recovered at crime scenes in Mexico would provide the nexus to straw purchasers in Phoenix.

That last finding is sure to anger Mexico, which has so far been muted in its criticism. In a March 2010 memo, ATF says it allowed gun smugglers to buy 359 guns while 958 people died in Mexico the same month. Internally, the agency was “trumpeting up the violence that was occurring as a result of an ATF sanctioned program
A full PDF file of the Committee's reports can be found HERE

Prior to the hearings and Agent Terry's murder, a number of gun stores in Arizona, Texas and New Mexico went to the ATF with their concerns about suspicious transactions and concerns that the guns could be used against Border Patrol agents and other lawmen. However, the ATF assured dealers that the suspected straw purchasers and the guns purchased were being 'continually monitored'.

[Cross Posted at Not Another New England Sports Blog!]

America A Greek Tragedy

After years of policies expanding the national government until it employed 1/3 of the workforce and expanding their social welfare net into a hammock for those who chose not to work the International Monetary Fund (IMF) demanded that Greece impose a budget that the unions saw as austere.  For weeks riots raged, buildings burned and people died.  Greece having cast their freedom into the wind is reaping the whirlwind.  By seeking to make everyone equal and to ensure that no one failed they have placed their entire nation in risk of failing.
After massive bailouts from their EU partners and the United States the Greek problem seemed to go away.  Now it’s back and our generous President has offered to borrow money from China to bail-out Greece once again.  As all the Progressive Internationalists scurry to keep Greece from swirling down the drain we shouldn’t fall for the illusion. Systems like this don’t work no matter how hard people try to keep the house of cards from collapsing.
Our turn is coming soon.
Even though we are the largest single contributor to the IMF they have recently issued a stern rebuke to The United States.  This rebuke stated that in order to meet goals previously promised we would have to implement austerity measures that would be tougher than any since records began in 1960.  Yet instead of austerity or even fiscal sanity our leaders, the same ones who have led us into not only mortgaging the farm but mortgaging the kids and the grandkids are acting as the cheerleaders and hand-wringers for the ritualistic rise in the debt limit.
In the last round of the serial continuing resolutions, the one that ended in the Republican House surrendering to the White House and passing the bloated 2011 budget we were told there would be massive cuts.  This would be truly historic, 38 billion dollars in cuts. This was so substantial it would only leave a record yearly deficit of 1.6 trillion.   There was joy in the House as they took a victory lap beating their chests for holding out for the BIG money. 
Then we learn the president and his staff of Chicago trained slight-of-hand bean counters had cooked the books, took credit for laying off people who were already laid off and presto-change-o the massive 38 billion was actually 352 million.  This is still a massive amount of money but in the rarified air our high flying government budget it doesn’t quite qualify as chump change.  This isn’t the change anyone was hoping for when we changed the chumps back in November of 2010.
This breath-taking cut still left the spending for 2011 more than 773 Billion above 2008 levels and thus President Obama was forced to agree to stealth stimulus almost as big as the one in 2009 that put America back to work, at least in Democrat campaign commercials.  And while every one of the serial continuing resolutions was reported with great fanfare as cutting the budget according to the Treasury the 2011 budget deficit actually increased by 15.7% in the first six months of fiscal 2011.  In other words the more these leaders who are so concerned about cutting the deficit cut the bigger the deficit grows.
All of this looting of the American economy has a tremendously high price.  While no one will ever know what didn’t happen because of the government crowding private capital out and soaking up all the time and energy required to make it through their red-tape bureaucratic maze we see the crippling effects every day. 
Although the officials in charge of the silly statistics department tell us there is no inflation even though they are printing money 24/7 as fast as the presses can go inflation is actually nearing 10%, which anyone who lives in the real world and has to buy food or gas knows.  And our once free economy is now in the hands of a Federal Government that has no limits and a gaggle of mega-banks that for all intents and purposes should be re-classified as government-backed.
Now the drums are beating for the Progressive Federal Government to bail out the Progressives who have destroyed our once great cities.  As Detroit begins to revitalize by surrendering entire communities to the gangs and bull-doze abandoned buildings the same thinking that picked America’s pocket to bail-out the crony capitalists is gearing up to prop up the culture of decline on the local level so the local level will deliver the votes in 2012.  This is nothing more than vote buying and money laundering on a grand scale.
This gamesmanship has done nothing to reign in the uncontrolled spending of our unlimited Federal Behemoth.  Even the politically blind are beginning to see that this profligate spending is unsustainable.  Unless we embrace the austerity needed to right our ship of state we will flounder on the shoals of self-indulgence which have been the death-bed of empires since Nimord tried to build a tower.  And if we continue to mortgage the lives of those who have not yet been born we will end up losing the deeds to the lives we think we own.   
So, no matter what the teleprompter readers tell us at the end of the day the Republican majority in the House will go along with their Progressive pals and raise the debt limit.  And no matter what they say about trillions of dollars of cuts, off in the future and over the rainbow, the deficits will continue and the debt will grow.
Come on Charlie Brown kick the football Lucy promised she won’t move it this time.
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.

The Republican to Replace Weiner: Eric Ulrich?

The Politico reported Wednesday afternoon that New York City councilman Eric Ulrich, who is one of only five Republicans on the City Council, has been encouraged by Rudy Giuliani to run for Weiner's vacant seat when the special election is held sometime later this year between August and November.

So who is the New York City councilman?

Mr. Ulrich, only 26, represents Queens on the City Council and nearly 60,000 of his current constituents also reside in the 9th congressional district. He was first elected to the City Council, coincidentally, by special election in February 2009 over three more experienced candidates and then comfortably reelected that November.

I don't want to sound overly optimistic, but Mr. Ulrich is one of the Republican Party's rising stars and he just might be the 'perfect candidate' to finally flip this rightward drifting district into Republican hands, especially if the Democrats go with a bad, or controversial candidate.

What say you?

82% See Obama’s Policies As “Somewhat,” “Mainly,” or “Solely” Responsible For Economic Mess

I thought it was all Bush's fault?!
The Wall Street Journal and NBC released a joint poll that shows 54 percent of respondents disapprove of the way President Obama is handling the economy, with 62 percent believing that the country is on the wrong track. 48 percent of respondents believe that Obama’s policies are “somewhat” responsible for the condition of the economy, while 34 percent believe his policies are “mainly or “solely” responsible.

Obama's general approval has slipped under 50 percent again after getting a bounce from the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces.

The economic news got no better for Obama this week.

Jobless claims came in better than the revised estimates on Thursday, but still show an economy struggling to create jobs.

In addition, the Philly Manufacturing index reported a significant contraction in manufacturing activity.

As our contributor Mike Shedlock reported: “Unfilled orders, delivery times, and inventory are currently in contraction and expected to remain so. The average work week is projected to contract,” adding that he expected hiring and wages to be weak even six months from now.

The BLS reported weekly unemployment claims of 414k versus estimates of 420k.

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Yonathan Melaku, Pentagon Suspect, was Arrested Less than One Month ago for Grand Larceny

Several hours after being taken into custody, Yonathan Melaku has been identified as the suspect arrested in Arlington Cemetery earlier today. He is a Muslim and a Marine Corps reservist.
Pundit Press has also discovered that Mr. Melaku was arrested less than one month ago with "with four counts of Grand Larceny, and is being held at the Loudoun County Adult Dentention Center on a $5,000 bond."

The arrest happened in Alexandria, Virginia, just a few miles away from Washington, D.C.

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Yonathan Melaku, Muslim Marine Corps Reservist, Identified as Pentagon Suspect

Update #2-  Melaku was arrested less than a month ago on four counts of Grand Larceny.

Several hours after being taken into custody, Yonathan Melaku has been identified as the suspect arrested in Arlington Cemetery earlier today.  He is a Muslim and a Marine Corps reservist.
It is also being reported:
Authorities said Friday they are investigating the man, whom they did not name, after he was found inside Arlington Cemetery overnight when the cemetery was closed.

FBI special agent Brenda Heck said during a press conference Friday that the man, described as in his 20's, had a backpack containing a "non-explosive, unknown material" that she said will require further investigation.

"The products in the backpack are inert," Heck said, though she described its contents as suspicious.
Though the man was "not forthcoming" when taken into custody, Heck said authorities later found his red 2011 Nissan near the Pentagon. She said authorities found "no suspicious activity" related to the vehicle.

Melaku, who lives in Alexandria, Va., joined as a reservist in August 2007 but military officials say he never deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.
Update- And go figure, this comes a day after Democrats ripped Rep. King (R, NY), saying that radicalization hearings about Muslims were unnecessary and "racist:"
Today, Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) spoke out against the second in a series of hearings on radicalization in the Muslim-American community convened by Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security. This hearing is focused on “The Threat of Muslim-American Radicalization in U.S. Prisons.”

Rep. Judy Chu (CA-32), CAPAC Chairwoman:

“Singling out a group of Americans for increased scrutiny based on their religious beliefs disregards the fundamental civil rights of these communities, does nothing to improve our national security, and alienates our partners abroad. As Chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I am troubled by the fact that Rep. King is continuing to use official Congressional resources to conduct targeted hearings on radicalization focused solely on Muslim-Americans. His actions are contributing to a climate of fear and prejudice against those who are, or are perceived to be, Muslim, and this Islamophobic sentiment has already yielded unfortunate consequences. These hearings send the wrong message to the Muslim-American community and to the American people.”

Rep. Mike Honda (CA-15), CAPAC Chair Emeritus:

"There is no question that a congressional hearing, which targets an entire religion, is morally and strategically wrong-headed. First, it is un-American. This is not the America that I know and have helped build as a life-long public servant. The America that I know has always provided refuge for those fleeing persecution, from early settlers to recent refugees. The America that I know, furthermore, does not hate and discriminate base on race, religion or creed. Second, it is counterproductive. Congressman King is undermining his own objective. In hosting these hearings, King, as chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, has declared, erroneously, that the Muslim-American community does not partner actively enough prevent potential acts of violence – or in the case of prisons, extremism. Despite the offensive and fallacious nature of King's concern, given extensive evidence that contradicts his claim, the Homeland Security chairman's strategy makes future partnerships unpalatable. In one fell swoop of his discriminatory brush, King, in his apparent attempt to root out radicalization, marginalizes an entire American minority group, making enemies of them all.”

Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-3), CAPAC Civil Rights Taskforce Chair:

"Once again, I am greatly concerned by the tone of the hearings that the Chairman of the Homeland Security has chosen to hold. Singling out one group based on race, ethnicity, religion or national origin does nothing to better protect our country, challenges the fundamental rights of the communities that are the subject of the hearing, and serves to increase inappropriate stereotypes and misperceptions about those communities. It is my hope that Chairman King will reconsider his decision to hold another hearing that singles out Muslim Americans and will instead consider the radicalization of all groups or cancel the hearings altogether."

Rep. Al Green (TX-9):

“We must proceed with caution as that which is done to one religion in the name of security today; can be done to any religion in the name of security tomorrow.”

Rep. David Wu (OR-1):

“I am outraged that Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King continues to hold these discriminatory hearings that single out a group of Americans solely based on religion rather than on the actual issue of radicalization. Violent extremism in America and the myriad problems within the U.S. prison system absolutely deserve congressional attention; but misguided hearings that perpetuate prejudice against a specific segment of the population have no place in Congress. Chairman King’s hearings fail to protect our country and are an affront to the constitutional ideals for which Congress should stand.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-16):

“I am deeply concerned by the Committee on Homeland Security’s decision to hold a hearing entitled ‘The Threat of Muslim-American Radicalization in U.S. Prisons.’ As with the Committee’s March hearing, ‘The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response,’ I am troubled by the narrow focus of this event, which singles out one community of Americans on the basis of their religious faith. As a former member of this committee, I understand well the importance and challenges of keeping our country safe from violent extremism, but holding hearings that foster fear and mistrust, and target Americans based on their faith, seems counterproductive to both our national security and to the beliefs that this country was founded upon.”

Rep. Pete Stark (CA-13):

"Yet again Rep. King is singling out a community for what he calls 'homegrown terrorism;' this time leading a hearing entitled, The Threat of Muslim-American Radicalization in U.S. Prisons. Violent extremism in our prisons may merit investigation, but only by examining such extremism in all its forms. Casting a negative light on an entire community, rather than focusing on actual dangerous fringe groups, will only strain the relationships and trust that Muslim American community leaders and local, state and federal law enforcement agencies have worked hard to develop. Muslim Americans are an integral part of our larger American society and should be treated as such, not viewed with suspicion. 
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Larry Flynt Offers Weiner a Job

Looks like disgraced former Democrat Rep. Anthony Weiner has landed on his feet... sort of.  He has been offered a job by Larry Flynt:
Mr. Weiner:

After having learned of your sudden and compelled resignation from your Congressional post, I would like to make you an offer of employment at Flynt Management Group, LLC in our Internet group. As a Congressman, you are known for your intensity and perseverance. I believe that this attitude, combined with your service in the House of Representatives' Committee on Energy and Commerce, will make you a valuable asset to this corporation.

This offer is not made in jest. To show our sincerity, Flynt Management Group, LLC is willing to pay twenty percent more than your former Congressional salary, ensuring that your medical benefits would be equal to what you were previously receiving. While you will have to relocate to our corporate offices in Beverly Hills, California, we would pay for all relocation costs.

Again, I cannot emphasize enough the genuineness of this offer. We are a serious corporation which, as you know, has been heavily involved in the political environment of this country for over thirty-five years. Our key missions have consistently included the crucial fight of battling hypocrisy within the federal and state governments. Flynt Management Group, LLC and Hustler Magazine have been dedicated to decades of serious political commentary. Just as we do not undertake insincere political crusades, we do not make insincere job offers.

While this employment opportunity is being offered in large part due to your qualifications and clear passion for making a change, I feel that your unfortunate resignation is a prime example of unfounded political pressure and the hypocrisy that has invaded democracy in Washington D.C. I hope you will sincerely consider this offer, and I look forward to your response.


Larry C. Flynt
I wonder what kind of video Weiner would make...
You know what, forget I asked.

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Man Arrested in Front of Pentagon with Suspicious Package

Update-  Identified as Yonathan Melaku.

Breaking- A man has been arrested after carrying a package that "looked like a bomb" to one official.

He was an Ethiopian male with notes in a backpack about the Taliban.  The police have detonated the package.

The man in question was walking around Arlington Cemetery in the middle of the night.  A vehicle that he had been operating was in "close proximity" to the Pentagon.

The vehicle turned out to be a Honda Pilot and the suspicious pack was found inside.  In the meantime, the man was not cooperating with authorities, so he was arrested.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Do Republicans Have a Chance in Weiner's District?

With the news that Representative Anthony Weiner will resign from office and that New York's 9th district will hold a special election to replace him, I believe now is the time to examine Republican hopes of flipping the Queens centered district.

When most of New York was going strongly for Barack Obama in November 2008, the 9th district actually gave Obama fewer votes than Senator Kerry received in 2004, while the Republican line received 44% in both elections. However, this did not impact Weiner because no Republican challenged him and most voters still liked him personally.

And that was still true in last November's 9th district election: Weiner won with a record low 60.8% of the vote, but his margin of victory was still 24,000. Not that bad by most estimates, but his personal likability was on the decline.

But what about now?

The 9th district's only Representative this century has been forced to resign because of immorality, while the voters have been moving away from the Democrat Party and this will likely be the last election under 2002-2012 lines.

Currents seem to be favorable for Republicans....

I'm not saying it's likely, but the Republican Party could win the upcoming 9th district special election if they nominate the perfect candidate to relate to the Queens and Brooklyn centered neighborhoods they hope to represent.

What say you?

Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff to Zawahiri: 'We will Kill You'

Straight-forward and awesome:
The United States will seek to hunt down and kill new Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri just as it did his predecessor Osama bin Laden, the top US military officer said Thursday.

"There is not a surprise from my perspective that he's moved into that position," Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told journalists after the Egyptian leader was named the new Al-Qaeda chief.

"He and his organization are still threatening us, and as we did both seek to capture and kill -- and succeed in killing -- bin Laden, we certainly will do the same thing with Zawahiri."
Looks like he already has a nice target on his forehead

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Union Leader in NJ: Christie is Adolf Hitler (with Video)

The modern public union movement is nothing if it is not colorful with its language. Similar accusations were made against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker when he made a move to reform the public-union dominated system in his state. The thousands of union protesters and young people made a game and celebration out of the protest rather than dealing with the issue at hand.

Enter in Chris Shelton, the vice President of the CWA-- the Communications Workers of America. Shelton was making a speech in the state in which he did not spare the invective. Instead, he made a bellicose speech to a ringer crowd.

Of course, not only did what he said not make sense, but it was downright offensive.

“Welcome to Nazi Germany!” Chris Shelton, vice president of Communication Workers of America District 1, told the crowd. “We have Adolf Christie and his two generals [Democratic state legislative leaders] trying to make New Jersey Nazi Germany. Are we going to let them?”

The crowd groaned its disapproval.

“In Nazi Germany, the first thing they did — the first thing that the Nazis and Adolph Hitler did — was go after the unions,” Shelton warned. “And that’s what Christie and his two generals are trying to do in New Jersey.”

Shelton later concluded: “It’s going to take World War III to get rid of Adolph Christie.”

This guy has no idea what is even going on. The last time I checked, Governor Christie wasn't charting a World War or genocide. To further the fact, Christie is attempting to smash corruption in his state and take it back from the public unions that push it towards bankruptcy.

Video below:


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Full Video of Rep. Weiner's Resignation (Including Heckling)

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Weiner Heckled at Press Conference; Man Yells "Bye, Bye, Pervert"

Here are pictures of disgraced Democrat Anthony Weiner resigning (click for better quality):

And some quotes:

"I have never forgotten my neighbors."
"I am here again to apologize."
"I am announcing my resignation from Congress."
"I want to thank the many people who have helped me."
"With God's help, we will all be successful."

In the midst of all of this, a man was heckling the now-former Congressman.  As his heckling intensified, members of the press could be heard yelling, "Get him out of here."

Mid-way through the conference, the heckling stopped as the man was apparently removed.

The full video:

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Weiner's Press Conference Streaming Live

Update:  The speech is over.  Pictures and partial transcript here.

The press conference is set to start at 2:00pm.  Watch it live below:

Free TV Show from Ustream

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Liberals Mourn the Coming Resignation of Weiner (With Pictures)

I don't think that this will come as a surprise to anyone: even though Anthony Weiner dressed up as a woman, sent obscene photos to various Twitter followers, and sent a message to a minor, liberals are mourning his coming departure.

Let the tears begin.  From the Huffington Post:

From Democratic Underground (obscenity obscured):

And from the Daily Kos:

And from the New York Times:

You know, I have a feeling that these people wouldn't be acting like this if it was a Republican on the hot seat.

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Weiner Will Resign

Representative Anthony Weiner, who has been in constant media spotlight for four weeks now, because of an inappropriate photo he sent of himself to a young college student on Twitter, will finally resign from office in shame.

The New York Times reports:
Representative Anthony D. Weiner has told House leaders and friends that he plans to resign his seat after coming under growing pressure from his Democratic colleagues to leave the House, said a top Democratic official and two people told of Mr. Weiner’s plans.
This ends the month long nightmare that Americans have had to endure from coast to coast, and will result in residents of New York's 9th district electing a new Congressman within the next couple of months.

What say you?

Weiner Stepping Down

Beleaguered Dem. Rep. Anthony Weiner is stepping down.  After a sexting controversy, in which Weiner sent inappropriate images to various women and one minor, the Congressman stated that he would stay in office.

Now, according to multiple sources, he will resign.
A picture of Weiner cross-dressing was released yesterday
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Bachmann Surges to Second Place in new GOP Poll

After a strong debate performance Monday night, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has surged in a new poll.  19% of likely GOP primary voters now support Ms. Bachmann.

Her 19% lands Ms. Bachmann in second place.  Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney came in first with 33%, and businessman Herman Cain, who surged in the polls after a successful debate last month, came in third, with 10% of the poll.

After these top candidates, Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich picked up 9%, Texas Congressman Ron Paul garnered 7%, ex-Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty received 6%, as well as Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. 8% polled prefer some other candidate

Another interesting aspect to the poll is the favorability Mr. Romney and Ms. Bachmann hold with people who identify themselves as Tea Party members.  According to the report, both candidates garner 26% support from Tea Partiers.

However, amongst Republicans who do not see themselves as Tea Party members, 36% favor Romney and 16% favor Bachmann.  55% polled stated that they saw Ms. Bachmann as "very conservative."  Only 11% see Mr. Romney as very conservative.
More from the report:
There is little difference of opinion among male and female GOP primary voters, although women give Romney slightly more support. The gap between Romney and Bachmann is narrowest among middle-aged primary voters.

Romney, Bachmann and Cain earn 31%, 22% and 12% support respectively among primary voters who describe themselves as conservatives. Romney runs strongest among party moderates.

Seventy-five percent (75%) of primary voters describe Bachmann as at least somewhat conservative. That includes 55% who say she is Very Conservative.

By contrast, 61% rate Romney as at least somewhat conservative, but that includes just 11% who say he is Very Conservative. Fifty-seven percent (57%) think Cain is at least somewhat conservative, with 32% who view him as Very Conservative.

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