Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mayor Bloomberg Cites Al Qaeda Video in New Ad Calling For More Gun Control

Obligatory gun show image
New York City Mayor (as well as anti-gun and anti-salt crusader) Micheal Bloomberg and an organization called Mayors Against Illegal Guns has launched a new video featuring quotations from a fugitive American member of Al Qaeda, claiming that terrorists will take advantage of a so-called 'gun show loophole'.

Frankly, I would be more concerned about firearms falling into the hands of thieves and convicted felons like Mayors Against Illegal Guns alumni Kwame Kilpatrick, Eddie Perez, Rod Blagojevich or Sheila Dixon.
An ominous television ad commissioned by Mayor Bloomberg will soon blanket the airwaves - warning that Al Qaeda could exploit the so-called "gunshow loophole."

This is a golden opportunity," said Al-Amriki. "America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms."

"You can go down to a gun show and come away with a fully-automatic assault rifle without a background check," Al-Amriki said on the terror tape. "So what are you waiting for?"

Bloomberg and his coalition - dubbed "Mayors Against Illegal Guns" - have long urged for the repeal of the gunshow loophole, which allows unlicensed sellers to peddle weapons without running a background check of the buyer.

"Criminals already know how to take advantage of gaps in our gun laws, and now Al Qaeda knows too," said Bloomberg about the new commercial.

"Weak gun laws aren't just a crime problem, they're a national security threat," Bloomberg said, "and this ad should be a wake-up call to Congress."
The Mayor's Against Illegal Guns ad makes reference to a video made by "American Al Qaeda" Adam Gadhan that was released earlier this month calling for "lone wolf" style attacks against high profile targets and institutions.
He said: 'America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms.
'You can go down to a gun show at the local convention centre and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check, and most likely without having to show an identification card.
Seriously- is it just me, or does it sound like Gadhan and Mayors Against Illegal Guns get their talking points from the exact same place? Perhaps this is an attempt by Bloomberg, other MAIG members and other gun control advocates to deflect attention away from the Congressional hearings into the ATF's Operation Fast & Furious with damning testimony from field agents who were ordered to allow weapons sold to straw purchasers in the USA to be illegally exported to Mexican drug cartels where they would be recovered from crime scenes on both sides of the border.

You'll have to excuse me if I call Mayor Bloomberg's counterterrorism expertise into question, given not only how the latest Mayors Against Illegal Guns video tidily overlaps with a number of long-standing gun control memes but his assessment of the attempted Times Square bombing last year.

US, Afghans Launch Kunar Offensive

United States and Afghan forces have launched an airborne assault against Taliban fighters in Kunar province. Hundreds of soldiers were airlifted to the region with the idea of defeating organized pockets of Taliban control. In this region bordering Pakistan, the Taliban functions more as a pseudo-government than simply a terrorist group.

The offensive operation is the largest for the 3rd Brigade since its deployment to eastern Afghanistan in April. A brigade spokesman, Maj. David Eastburn, said it was at least "five to seven times larger than any previous operation conducted by the brigade."

So far the operation appears to be going well:

U.S. military commanders said they have so far killed close to 80 insurgents.

Brigade Intelligence Officer Maj. Chris Rankin said the militants were part of the Taliban and Pakistani insurgent groups such as the Tehrik-i-Taliban, known as the TTP, and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Lashkar-e-Taiba, which regularly cross the ill-defined border to wage attacks on American and Afghan troops.

"It's (Watahpur) an ideal insurgent safe haven," Rankin said.

The LeT launched the Mumbai attacks and could be considered (no turn of phrase meant) as al Qaeda 1.5-- ready to launch attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. Soon perhaps outside of South Asia.

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Qaeda Consolidates Hold on Southern Yemen

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and linked groups have consolidated their control over a portion of southern Yemen as that nation spirals into virtual civil war. It appears that the Yemeni government and military is nearly powerless to stop this.

The militants, operating under the name "Ansar al-Sunna," or supporters of Islamic Sharia law, captured the coastal city of Zinjibar in late May.

Zinjibar is on the Arabian Sea and normally has a population of about 150,000. But residents on Monday said large parts of the city are deserted and most stores are shuttered. There is a shortage of drinking water, forcing residents to bring water from wells on the city's outskirts.

They said the province's main hospital, al-Rajaa, on the road to the nearby city of Jaar, has been taken over by the militants and is being run by physicians from Sudan and Syria. They said the militants also have taken over local government offices.

"Why has not the army moved in to retake the city?" asked Zinjibar resident Ali al-Sumeiti, 22. "Now, from every 10 shells they fire on the city, only one hits the militants."

Another Zinjibar resident, 65-year-old retiree Abdullah al-Mohandes, said residents were running out of food and were heavily dependent on kitchen gardens to survive.

Al-Mohandes, however, had some praise for the militants.

"To be completely honest, we have not been badly treated by the mujahideen. On the contrary, they try to win our goodwill all the time," he said. "If you tell them you want to leave town, they escort you out and give you money to tide you over."

The jihadists are attempting to placate the civilians with programs, just as Hamas and Hezbollah have done. This could engender trust from the locals, which would be a very bad sign.

Cross-posted at WorldThreats.

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Martens: DEC may or may not hit Friday deadline for fracking report

Friday this week is July 1st. This is the deadline given by Governor Coumo for the DEC to submit the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the Marcellus shale. They have been working on it since at least December 2010 and were given an initial soft deadline of June 1st by former Governor David Patterson. Now we find they may not yet be finished. Can't say I am surprised....

Martens: DEC may or may not hit Friday deadline for fracking report

With a Friday deadline looming, Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens said today that his office is “working full time” on a report detailing the permitting process for hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale.

But the commissioner said the report may or may not be completed on time for July 1, as requested by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

“We’re still working on it, so stay tuned,” Martens told reporters exiting a meeting of Cuomo’s cabinet. “We’ll tell you later in the week whether we’re going to make the deadline or not.”

Martens said the report—which is a revised draft of one released in 2009—may be partially released Friday.

“We’ll see again what we get out Friday versus days after Friday. We’re in the production process right now.”

High-volume hydrofracking has been on hold since former Gov. David Paterson ordered the DEC to complete the review in July 2008. It remains on hold until the report, called the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, is finalized, which won’t happen until the department holds a public comment period on the new draft and has time to deal with suggestions and shortcomings.

Courtesy of YNN’s Capital Tonight, here’s video of Martens addressing reporters:

For added background on this and the historical battle between natural gas and New York state you should check out Andy Leahy at NY Shale Gas Now blog site. He has lots of background and seven reasons why the July 1st deadline and the SGEIS report will do nothing to hasten gas production in the Southern Tier or Upstate.

July 1, 2011, that's the day, Cuomo said so — the day New York's landowners would finally see some regulatory headway on shale gas.

As this date approaches with a crescendo (and surely passes us by, with one roar or another), I think it's worth reminding everyone of some insufficiently considered recent history in New York State.

As of July 1, folks who happen to wittingly or unwittingly own shale gas under upstate New York will have been restrained in the exercise of their private property rights for nearly three full calendar years, and by seven different shale gas moratoriums.

Seven! (Yes, it's true, that's including two bans which were proposed, but which were pushed back in the final hours.)

But, still, seven! It's not a good sign. Let's break it down.

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"Huge" Attack on Luxury Hotel in Kabul

From CNN:
A group of people using bombs and small arms attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul Tuesday, and fighting was ongoing with Afghan security forces, Chief of Criminal Investigation Mohammed Zahir told CNN.

Among the attackers were suicide bombers, he said.

A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabiullah Mujahid, said a group of Taliban bombers was responsible for the 10 p.m. attack on the hotel, which is popular among international guests. There were no immediate details on casualties.

A news conference had been scheduled to take place Wednesday in the hotel to discuss the planned transition of security from international to Afghan forces. The hotel is on a hill on the outskirts of Kabul and is typically protected by heavy security.

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Bolton for President?

John Bolton for President?

No, I am not kidding at all.

There is continued buzz within Conservative networks that the former U.N. Ambassador might throw all political caution to the wind, and jump into the 2012 Republican nomination battle. His campaign platform would revolve around foreign policy and he would be the first U.N. Ambassador to run for President since George H.W. Bush, which bodes well for Mr. Bolton.

Bolton would not play to the opinion polls, and talk about withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, like many of the Republican Party's announced candidates, but he would stand strong and talk about why we will win the war for the good of America, regardless of how long it will take, or how much it will cost.

His campaign would be hard hitting and tough; not for the weak of heart, or mind.

Should the former U.N. Ambassador run for President?

I absolutely believe so. His campaign would bring focus to foreign policy issues that have shamelessly been ignored since the race started and represent a home for wandering hawks who currently have no real home in the 2012 field. And we could always use his awesome moustache in the race.

John Bolton for President? Why not!

What say you?

"Unexpected" Cartoon of the Day

For your amusement:

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Headline of the Day, Care of The Tatler

Stephanopolous to Bachman: We'll Investigate Your Foster Kids

And of course he means it. If any doubt remains in the minds of voters that the MSM is anything but a press office for the Democratic party this should eliminate it.

Stephanopoulos: Finally one—one final question. I think one of the most impressive things that people find in your background is the fact that you and your husband have helped raise 23 foster children and I know you want to shield them but are they prepared and are you prepared for the loss of privacy that comes with the president campaign? And is that something you are concerned about for them?

Bachmann: Well when we were making this momentous decision we sat down for a long time as a family and contemplated what this was meaning and yes, we are ready. We have five wonderful biological children. Our last one is off to college our oldest one is a doctor. And then we had great – a great 23 foster children in our home as well. And as you can imagine and appreciate we’ve tried to keep a good handle on their privacy and we will do that, we will respect their privacy. We are thankful that we had them but we also want to observe their privacy and that of their families.

Bryan Preston adds this:

George Stephanopolous was deep in the Clinton administration, which pleaded with everyone to “leave Chelsea alone.” And everyone has mostly complied with that, for all these years. Michele Bachmann and her family’s 23 foster children, though, will not be afforded the same courtesy, not by George or anyone else in the MSM. The same MSM, it’s worth pointing out, has still left President Obama’s pre-Senate life largely unexamined. Stephanopolous has fired up the flare that if any of those foster children, which the Bachmann family took in out of love and compassion, has run into any kind of trouble over the years, the media will try to hang it on Bachmann.

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Reason Dispels Frackophobia Myths

Reason.tv offers a fair accounting of hydraulic fracturing. “The Truth About Fracking" is a short 5 1/2 minute interview conducted by Reason’s Nick Gillespie with science correspondent Ronald Bailey. In the interview, Bailey tackles the question of whether or not fracking is safe—its potential benefits and potential problems. Well worth five minutes of your time.

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Weiner Thrusts Himself into Choosing "Heir"

Go figure, a married man who sent naked pictures of himself to random women (and possibly a minor) has no boundaries:
In a dazzling display of arrogance, disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner is trying to insert himself back into politics -- calling power brokers and would-be candidates for his old seat, hoping they'll let him play a role in choosing his own successor, The Post has learned.

Weiner, who became a national dirty joke after he was caught sexting young women, now wants to be a kingmaker.

One Democratic insider confirmed that Weiner has spoken to the Queens party chairman, Rep. Joe Crowley, about whom the Dems should pick.

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Democrats Propose $400,000,000,000 Tax Increase in Budget Talks

Can't possibly imagine why this is buried in an article from the Main Stream Media (the issue of the four hundred billion dollar tax increase is in the 23rd paragraph of the story):
"The president needs to take a chance himself, and do something that shows he's willing to give up something that's very large to move this forward," Zandi said in an interview.

The president stepped up his personal involvement in negotiations after bipartisan talks led by Biden stalled last week. Republican lawmakers abandoned the negotiations, saying the issues still on the table had to be addressed by the president.

Obama already has met privately with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and with House Democrats.

Until Friday, Biden had held a series of meeting over several weeks with bipartisan teams from the House and Senate, focusing on areas where the two sides were amenable to cuts until the dispute over taxes caused Republicans to walk out.

Carney rejected suggestions that Obama should have become more involved earlier. "If you honestly believe that the public is out there wondering why the president wasn't in every one of these meetings, you know, I think that's nuts."

The White House is pushing for some tax increases on the wealthy or the elimination of tax breaks for big companies and wealthy individuals as part of a deficit-cutting plan. During the Biden-led negotiations, Democrats proposed about $400 billion in additional tax revenue, including ending subsidies to oil and gas companies, an idea that has failed previously in the Senate.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Frackophobia at the New York Times

Ian Urbina who writes for the New York Times published an expose over the weekend that purported to provide evidence that the natural gas industry was being less than honest in its assessments of natural gas reserves that are to be found with in various shale gas plays across the country and indeed the world. He also happens to be the author of the February 2011, NYT hit piece that claimed fracking fluid being returned from the depths of the Marcellus shale was polluted with high levels of radionuclides that were being deposited into our rivers and waterways and thus polluting the very water we drink.

This line of reasoning took very little time to dispel as John Hanger performed a community service in his seven part take down of Urbina's claims. I have linked this NYT article before and won't here, but would recommend that you search the February 2011 archives at Mr. Hanger's blog Facts of the Day if you are interested in his specific arguments. Or course you could also do a quick google search and find that thePennsylvania Department of Protection researched this claim and found that seven Pennsylvania rivers studied results showed "normal" or below-average levels of radiation.

"Here are the facts," said acting DEP Secretary Michael Krancer in a statement. "All samples were at or below background levels of radioactivity; and all samples showed levels below the federal drinking water standard for Radium 226 and 228."

The Pa DEP press release can be found here.

So it will come as a surprise to no one that I take the latest salvo from Mr. Urbino with more than a grain of salt. He has already proven himself to be a vocal frackophobe whose information and it's supporting facts are less than up to par.

I originally thought I would provide a detailed point by point fisking of the NYT article, but that has already been done by many. I do have some thoughts that I will share, but would like to point out some of the finer points of contention that have been raised by others.

First the article at hand, Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush. In the article Ian Urbina and Robbie Brown dig into some industry emails that allegedly cast a pall on the natural gas industry and the "rush" to expand it's influence before the whole thing falls in on itself. The second, Behind Veneer, Doubt on Future of Natural Gas, seeks to find the most cherry picked emails to support a preconceived agenda. Both are really must reads for those remotely interested in natural gas as it highlights the extent those suffering from "frackophobia" will go to sully the industry.

My first thought was that the whole thing was nonsense. I mean, the Energy Information Administration estimated that technically recoverable shale gas resources jumped 134 percent in one year.

In the Annual Energy Outlook 2010, technically recoverable shale gas resources were estimated to be 368 trillion cubic feet. In the Annual Energy Outlook 2011, the estimate shot up to 862 trillion cubic feet. The increase in shale gas brings total U.S. recoverable natural gas resources to 2,629 trillion cubic feet. This is a welcome change because as little as 10 years ago, analysts and politicians said that the United States could not drill its way out of a natural gas shortage. [i]But, with new technology and investment, we did just that.

The huge increase in shale gas technically recoverable resources is due to the extraction technique: hydraulic fracturing in conjunction with horizontal drilling that allows the capture of much more natural gas than using conventional drilling techniques. With hydraulic fracturing, water, sand and gels are injected into the well to break up the shale rock. And then, horizontal drilling is used to capture the gas from the fractured shale rock. Shale gas resources are found in many areas in the lower 48 states, but the largest formations being drilled today are the Barnett in Texas; the Marcellus that extends from southern New York, across Pennsylvania, and into western Maryland, West Virginia, and eastern Ohio; the Fayetteville in Arkansas; and the Haynesville in Louisiana.

This account is buoyed by a recent AP report by Michael Rubinkam that highlighted the potential of the Marcellus shale:

Two unexpected gushers in northeastern Pennsylvania are helping to illustrate the enormous potential of the Marcellus Shale natural gas field.

The technology has unleashed a drilling frenzy in Pennsylvania — where more than 3,300 Marcellus wells have been sunk the past few years — and accounts for a twelvefold increase in U.S. shale gas production since 2000. Gas harvested from the Marcellus and other shale fields around the country — including the Barnett Shale in Texas and the Haynesville Shale in Louisiana — now represents a quarter of total U.S. natural gas production.

The NYT articles in question are based primarily on a pile of emails, first from industry sources and the second from EIA staff. I haven't read through all of the hundreds of pages of documents that the Times posted on its site. But I've gone through a fair number of them to get a feel for how Urbina used them for his stories. Urbina was clearly looking for negative views of shale gas and had no problem finding them. Given the massive size of the industry, and the number of financial bets being placed upon the sector, that shouldn't be a surprise. What should be a surprise is that the author hasn't done much to put them into context.

So without further ado, here is the case against the NYT and Ian Urbina.

Lets start with the Council on Foreign Relations. Michael Levi offers three serious problems with the NYT articles.

Next Nick Grealy offers a serious rebuttal in a series of articles at his blog No Hot Air. Of particular interest to me is the reference to theInternational Monetary Fund and their perspective on the shale gas play's taking place:

We show that US natural gas prices have decoupled from oil prices following substantial institutional and technological changes. We then examine how this interrelationship has evolved in Europe using data for Algeria, one of Europe’s key gas suppliers. Taking into account total gas exports and cyclical conditions in partner countries, we find that gas prices remain linked to oil prices, though the nexus has loosened. Both high oil prices and a modest industrial recovery in partner countries have kept gas exports at low levels in recent years, suggesting changing market forces. The paper then shows how such shifts can have important macroeconomic implications for a big gas exporter such as Algeria

Otsego ProActive Network share their thoughts, as does Forbes!

Energy In Depth, an industry proponent, highlights what could be considered the smoking gun of the Times attempt to poison the debate entirely. To set up the argument lets start with some background from the Sunday expose:

“I think we have a big problem.”

Deborah Rogers, a member of the advisory committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, recalled saying that in a May 2010 conversation with a senior economist at the Reserve, Mine K. Yucel. “We need to take a close look at this right away,” she added.

A former stockbroker with Merrill Lynch, Ms. Rogers said she started studying well data from shale companies in October 2009 after attending a speech by the chief executive of Chesapeake, Aubrey K. McClendon. The math was not adding up, Ms. Rogers said. Her research showed that wells were petering out faster than expected.

A member of the advisory committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Pretty impressive stuff. That is until you look a little deeper.

Tell your readers that Deborah Rogers does work for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, but don’t mention that she also works for environmental groups that seek to ban hydraulic fracturing — even though most folks might think that’s relevant here.

  • Urbina quotes Deborah Rogers several times in his story (and even includes her picture), describing her as “a member of the advisory committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.” What Urbina fails to mention is that Ms. Rogers is also an active “steering committee member” of the Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP), an activist group that considers natural gas to be a “filthy energy” source, and has actively worked in New York and Pennsylvania to institute bans on hydraulic fracturing.
  • Last year, Ms. Rogers was a featured speaker at OGAP’s “People’s Oil and Gas Summit” in Pittsburgh, even directing her own anti-shale group in Texas to pitch in as a sponsor for the event. In advocating for her position, Ms. Rogers rarely mentions her involvement with the Federal Reserve Bank – but often mentions her work as an artisanal cheese maker and goat farmer in Fort Worth.
  • Urbina reports that Ms. Rogers “started studying well data from shale companies in October 2009 after attending a speech by the chief executive of Chesapeake.” In fact, Rogers was tied in with OGAPlong before she attended that event, working with OGAP contractor and supporter Alisa Rich to prepare a paper in May 2009 that sought to blame air quality impacts on natural gas development.
  • According to an independent report commissioned by the city of Fort Worth, the Rich paper is “based on very limited data” and “too general and limited” to arrive at the conclusions that it did. Speaking about the Rich paper, the authors wrote: “Reasonably possible sources for contamination, other than gas well operations, appear to have been ignored.”

Now that doesn't seem nearly as objective.

Lastly, most of the emails were from 2009. In hydrofracking parlance, that is an eternity.

The third problem is that many of the emails come from 2008 and 2009, when shale gas was still a much murkier industry. Lots of the technical debates that are played out in those emails have come a long way since. In particular, the steep initial decline rates for shale gas well were indeed surprising to many at the time. But they are not today – steep initial declines are standard in industry and analyst understanding of shale gas economics. The Times story implies that it’s got news on how these wells operate, that that this news might force a revision of analysts’ assessments. But what it presents isn’t news in 2011, and hence the impact on assessments of shale gas ought not be nearly as significant as one might superficially expect.

So there you have it. The only one who believes the rhetoric expounded in the article is the author, the NYT publisher, and the frackophobes who will use this as yet another excuse to beat shale gas proponents about the head with more nonsense!

I have more, but it is getting late. Too be continued!

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VIDEO REPOST: Why I'm a Democrat

It seems that a liberal nerve was hit with the original post of these young college students proudly proclaiming why they are Democrats. The College Democrats of America have since removed the original video, but here is a lower quality version entitled "The Obama Generation" for your laughter and enjoyment.

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Yikes: Obama Admin. to Set Up "Mystery Shoppers" to Spy on Doctors

What could be the worst that could happen?  I mean, we only have a President over-stepping has bounds in an attempt to weed out physicians that don't like his policies...
Here's looking at you (literally), UH
From the New York Times:
Alarmed by a shortage of primary care doctors, Obama administration officials are recruiting a team of “mystery shoppers” to pose as patients, call doctors’ offices and request appointments to see how difficult it is for people to get care when they need it.

The administration says the survey will address a “critical public policy problem”: the increasing shortage of primary care doctors, including specialists in internal medicine and family practice. It will also try to discover whether doctors are accepting patients with private insurance while turning away those in government health programs that pay lower reimbursement rates.

Federal officials predict that more than 30 million Americans will gain coverage under the health care law passed last year. “These newly insured Americans will need to seek out new primary care physicians, further exacerbating the already growing problem” of a shortage of such physicians in the United States, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a description of the project prepared for the White House.

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Blagojevich Trial Verdict Results

Update-  Guilty! Guilty on 17 counts--
 Blagojevich showed no reaction as the jury announced their decisions. Once the verdicts were read, he sat back in his chair with his lips pursed,  looked toward his wife Patti and whispered, "I love you."

As the first guilty verdict was read, Patti Blagojevich slumped into the arms of her brother, who stroked her head. She kept shaking her head "no" as the jurors left the courtroom, and once the judge was gone, the former governor grabbed his wife’s right hand and hugged and kissed her.
Blagojevich spoke briefly as he and his wife left the federal courthouse. "Patti and I are obviously very disappointed," he said at a bank of microphones. "I frankly am stunned."
"There's not much left to say other than we want to get home to our little girls and talk to them and explain things to them and try to sort things out," he added. The two then walked to a waiting car as some in the crowd booed.
more here.

UPDATE: Live here.

Disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod "Blago" Blagojevich's trial has now finished. The jury has reached verdicts on 18 counts against him.

From Yahoo:

CHICAGO – Jurors deliberating in the corruption trial of ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich told a judge on Monday that they have reached a verdict on 18 of the 20 counts against him, and attorneys in the case have agreed that the verdict should be read.

Judge James Zagel said that will happen Monday afternoon.

The jury had returned to the federal courthouse in Chicago on Monday after nine days of deliberations. They had been talking over the evidence in the case over a three-week period.

Blagojevich, 54, has denied all wrongdoing, including allegations that he sought to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat in exchange for

The ousted governor faced 20 charges, including that he sought to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat and schemed to shake down executives for campaign donations.

Blagojevich took the stand at the retrial and denied all the charges.

Jurors at the first trial came back deadlocked after deliberating for 14 days. They agreed on just one of 24 counts, convicting Blagojevich of lying to the FBI.

Despite that, hung juries are rare. According to one federal study, using data from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, just 2.5 percent of federal trials from 1980 to 1997 ended hung — a lower rate than for juries in state courts.

When jurors do deadlock, it is often at trials where the charges are complex and where the evidence appears ambiguous, a 2002 federally funded study by The National Center for State Courts found.

"You have both in the Blagojevich case — complexity and evidence that's not straightforward," said Gal Pissetzky, a Chicago defense attorney who tries cases in federal court.

Prosecutors almost certainly factored that in going into the retrial. They streamlined the case by dropping racketeering counts against the ex-governor and dismissing all charges against his then co-defendant brother, Robert Blagojevich.

And at the retrial, they presented just three weeks of evidence — half the time taken at the first trial. They called fewer witnesses, asked fewer questions and played shorter excerpts of FBI wiretaps that underpin most of the charges.

There was also a new variable at the retrial: Testimony from Blagojevich himself. At the first trial, the defense rested without calling any witnesses and Blagojevich didn't testify despite vowing that he would.

But retrial jurors saw a deferential Blagojevich look them in the eyes and deny each and every allegation, telling them his talk on the recordings was mere brainstorming. This time, jurors must decide if they believe him.

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Enough Huntsman Talk

I am sick and tired of hearing Jon Huntsman Jr's. name mentioned in the 2012 Presidential election. He has little chance of breaking ten percent in any opinion polls, and many of his policy positions are in direct opposition to rank-and-file Republican principles. Especially in the more Conservative Republican Party of 2012.

His entire 2012 campaign is the creation of liberal media types obsessed with sabotaging our electoral chances next year by saddling the base with someone just as detestable as Obama. And Jon Huntsman Jr., who until recently served as Obama's Ambassador to China for two years, fits that bill almost perfectly.

In fact, Huntsman has even admitted that his campaign will be chiefly targeting Independent voters in South Carolina and New Hampshire's open primaries; not registered Republicans. Talk about your ideal liberal media type candidate.

So could we please retire the Huntsman campaign? Put it on medicare; throw it a retirement party, and kick it out of the 2012 Republican nomination process. We can and we must do better than Huntsman next year against Barack Obama.

What say you?

LA Dodgers Bankruptcy Filing

This is definitely strange news. The LA Dodgers have filed for bankruptcy:

Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an effort to prevent a takeover by Major League Baseball, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

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American Consumer Spending Slows

In yet another bad sign for the economy, consumers are spending less cash. This comes as the unemployment rate has climbed to 9.1% and QE2 is coming to an end.
Slow wage growth hurts the broader economy because consumers have less money to spend. Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity. The spike in gas prices has forced many consumers to cut back on discretionary purchases, such as furniture and vacations, which help boost growth.

The economy expanded at an annual rate of 1.9 percent in the January-March period. Many economists believe that growth is only slightly better in the current April-June period.

Recovery summer continues!

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No Kidding: Jon Stewart is a Lying Douchebag

Well, knock me over! Jon Stewart is utterly full of shit:


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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lib Moron: Obama Pursuing War on Terror More than Bush Did

Quite possibly the stupidest thing you will ever hear (today, from liberals):

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VIDEO LAUGH OF THE DAY: Why I'm a Democrat

Time for a good laugh on this Sunday afternoon.

This very embarrassing video was produced by the College Democrats of America. All of these students are a great example of what spending thousands of dollars on a liberal 4 year degree will get you.

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Yemen: Saleh to Return 'Soon'

The Yemeni government is now claiming that dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was seriously hurt in a rocket attack earlier this month, will appear publicly shortly. This comes as the situation in the country appears to be in the early stages of a civil war. The government stated that Saleh would return to the country after undergoing extensive surgery in neighboring Saudi Arabia.

"He will appear within the next 48 hours despite our fear that the burns on his features and on different parts of his body will be an obstacle given that his appearance will not be as the media expects it," said Ahmed al-Sufi, the President's media secretary.

A nearly failed state, Yemen has been rocked by months of protests against Saleh's three decades of rule. Before that, he was grappling with a rebellion in the north, separatist violence in the south and a resurgent wing of al Qaeda.

Sufi said Saleh was in good health and continued to direct Yemeni affairs from abroad. Saleh's deputy Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has been at the helm while the president recovers.

This won't be enough to stop the civil war. It may be too late for that.

Cross-posted at WorldThreats.

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Video: Christie to Obama: Show up for Debt Talks


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Yikes: Egyptian Muslims Torch 8 Christian Homes on Rumor of Church Construction

From AINA:
A mob of nearly 200 Muslims torched eight Christian homes on Saturday morning in the Upper Egyptian village of Awlad Khalaf. The attack was initiated by a rumor that a house which is being built by Wahib Halim Attia will be turned into a church. Two Christians and one Muslim were injured, no fatalities were reported.

Wahib Halim Attia obtained a license to build a house in the village on a 95 square meter plot. The house grew to an area of 350 square meters but was still on agricultural land that he owns. This gave rise to the rumor that he intended to build a church instead.

Father Weesa Azmy, the priest at St. George Church in the neighboring village of Negou Madam East, said that someone went to the City Council in Dar es Salam and told them about the irregularities in the house construction, and Wahib was ordered to remove the excess by June 24. "Instead Wahib carried on with the construction, which angered the Muslims, who decided to play God and take the law into their own hands; they attacked the construction site and other Christian homes."

According to Father Weesa, Muslims broke into the home of Ihab Tamer, who defended himself with a rifle. A Muslim who was there to help Ihab was injured by a bullet in his leg from Tamer's rifle. The matter was explained and resolved with the family of that Muslim.
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Taliban Attack Hospital; Kill 25 Civilians

A suicide bomber drove his car packed with explosives into a crowded hospital in Logar Province yesterday afternoon - killing 25 women and children. Dozens of civilians were wounded in the cowardly attack and taken to hospitals in Kabul.

The attack is most likely the butchery of local Taliban, but one of their allies could also be responsible.

This comes only five days after President Obama announced the draw down of 33,000 American troops over the next fifteen months. I wonder if this attack in Logar Province, which is still partially under the Taliban's control, might cause him to reconsider his politically motivated move.

Our friends cannot win this fight without American boots on the ground and we should never consider talks with these bloodthirsty animals. We must stay the course; cancel all draw downs and fight this war until we successfully defeat the enemy, which can only be measured in the number of dead Taliban.

But that will only happen if the American people demand we stay involved, of if the American President grows a spine and shoves the poll numbers.

What say you?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hugo Chavez in Critical Condition? Dead? Rumors are Flying

I commented previously about the unusual nature of having an unexplained pelvic abscess requiring emergent surgery. It just doesn't happen without some sort of provocation. Now we are getting word as to a possible explanation.

Yesterday the Real Cuba Blog commented that Hugo Chavez was "undergoing a critical clinical condition".

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they could not confirm reports that the Venezuelan president is being treated for cancer of the prostate, which is the rumor that is currently being heard with increasing frequency in Venezuela's high places.

But the health of the Venezuelan president, who underwent surgery two weeks ago in Havana, "is in a critical state, not grave, but critical, complicated," said one of the sources, whose identity can not be revealed due to the sensitive location where he is.

On the other hand, the intelligence sources who have been following closely the situation in Caracas confirmed that Chavez's daughter, Rosinés, together with her mother, Marisabel Rodriguez, mysteriously left Venezuela for Cuba on an Air Force plane .
"Marisabel and her daughter left Venezuela in a hurry said another of the sources. "That was 72 hours ago." El Nuevo Herald (Spanish)

The Devil's Excrement calls it the best kept secret in Caracas, wondering if he has prostate cancer and postulating that he had undergone a radical prostatectomy and implying that there was metastasis.

Fausta's Blog is asking the same questions, quoting Fox News Latino, Associated Press:

Some people suspect Chávez has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness such as prostate or colon cancer while others claim doctors botched liposuction surgery and he suffered an infection.

The chronology of events is

  • Chavez had surgery in Venezuela
  • Following the surgery, he left Venezuela and made stops in Brazil and Ecuador
  • He then flew to Cuba, where he was operated for a pelvic abscess on June 10
  • Chavez was interviewed by phone for Telesur on June 12
  • On Friday June 17, Fidel and Raul Castro dropped by Chavez’s hospital room for a photo-op
  • On June 21, Adan Chavez, Hugo’s brother, said that the president would return to Venezuela by July 4

Venezuela News and Views has been following the events closely and are great resource of any of the goings on in Venezuela. He quotes a spanish language source Gustavo as he rethinks the possibility that Hugo Chavez may indeed be in serious medical trouble. "I do not know how trustworthy is Gustavo's source, but the thing is that his "conspiracy theory" matches so many things so well that, that as Italians would say, si non e vero, e ben trovato. And thus, even if this blogger is always reticent on reporting rumors, for once he will make an exception."

From the post Chavez croaking? Well, maybe...

In short, Chavez would be suffering from a prostate cancer that has metastasized.

This already would explain several things: why Chavez never remarried; why he occasionally seems to get all bloated; why his ample clothing when he does an extended cadena as it could hide adult diapers better; why the mystery around the whole thing as prostate surgery for a macho man is tantamount to recognize that he is not that macho anymore.

Since the post of Gustavo is in Spanish, follows my interpretation of his text in English.

Apparently the "knee" problem was a way to hide the prostate surgery which today can be dealt well enough in a couple of weeks. But if we are to believe Gustavo the post biopsy was not encouraging and they decided to do some advanced body scans which in Venezuela can only be done in a couple of private clinics. Not only Chavez entourage would not trust the discretion of private clinics but it would have been also an admission that the "socialist" care was not as performing as the "capitalist" care since the regime had not been able to match the equipment of the private sector for "el pueblo". Thus the trip to Cuba. One caveat here: where would have Chavez got prostate surgery in full discretion? Has he set an O.R. inside Miraflores or Fuerte Tiuna?

Before, for show, Chavez stopped in Brazil and Ecuador and that must have been a mistake because he got a post op infection. And also some people found him walking strangely well for someone with an alleged serious knee injury. Arriving in Cuba he got feverish soon and they had to drain the abscess. That would have been the real "emergency" part. In a way that was a convenient excuse to justify Chavez stay while the real stuff was being done, namely the body scans.

He seems to have recovered well enough form his infection but apparently the scans were not good and they decided to start radiotherapy. Another caveat: why not chemotherapy? The more so that he has metastasized. A explanation is that under chemo he would have had to resign temporarily since you might go bonkers during the treatment. Chavez cannot go for an interim prez to preserve his tough image of caudillo. Whatever it is, the lone photo of him in Havana shows him rather gaunt and leaning on both Castro brothers. Some people said it reeked of Photoshop but then again... it matches the symptoms.

According to Gustavo's source, the radio therapy will take 25 days twice, with a ten days rest, which explains quite well how they keep postponing the return announcement. In fact they are trying to postpone the traditional July 5th parade to the eight which pretty much would fall in between two treatments, maybe allowing Chavez to set foot in Venezuela for a couple of days. After all if you travel in a plane with a medical bed incorporated, well, you can manage the round trip with a minimum of damage.

The problem is that radio therapy also leaves visible sequels that must be explained (I do not think it includes loss of hair unless it is coupled with some form of chemo). Thus the regime is faced with the unavoidable problem to have to fess up and admit Chavez sickness. And this for sure explains all the nervousness within the grandees of the regime left behind to mind the joint. That is, the drastic reactions to events that do not deserve such reactions, the mistakes in handling the jail crisis, etc,.. as the regime upper echelons know what is going on, or suspect it considering the shroud of silence which is worse than any serious medical communique. In other words within chavismo there is at the same time a succession war open, probably where Cuba is trying to pick its next viceroy, AND a sauve qui peut (1) as all the corrupt fortunes are bailing out of doge before they get arrested in a post Chavez regime, even if led by a chavista.

Do I believe it? Not yet but it is awfully tempting. However let me make something perfectly clear: THIS WOULD BE POSSIBLY THE VERY WORST CASE SCENARIO FOR VENEZUELA.

Much of this speculation is driven by an article published by the WSJ yesterday.

Venezuelan officials scrambled Thursday to reassure compatriots that President Hugo Chávez was not seriously ill after his brother said the president would remain in a Cuban hospital for up to 12 more days, making it likely that Mr. Chávez will be away from the country for nearly a month.

The absence has sparked furious speculation about the president's health and led many in Venezuela to ask: What happens if the former army officer who has ruled Venezuela for 12 years is suddenly incapacitated or even dies?

Now Public trumps all the rumors and asks if Hugo Chavez is dead?

Wikileaks Argentina tweeted earlier today:

"BREAKING NEWS! The president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez died in Cuba this morning. 06/25/2011 08:43AM"

I would only add:

"Regardless of the diagnosis, the real cancer is the destruction of the Venezuelan economy, the people’s rights and freedoms under Chavez’s Bolivarian revolution, which he wants to metastasize through our hemisphere."

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Hugo Chavez in "Critical" Condition

From Fox Latino:
Hugo Chávez extended stay in a Cuban hospital is because he is in critical condition, according to a report in El Nuevo Herald.

The Venezuelan president, who was last seen in public June 9 and last heard from on June 12, on a phone call with Venezuelan state television, was said to have been treated for a pelvic abscess in Cuba.

During the call Chávez said that medical tests showed no sign of any "malignant" illness.

But according to the report in El Nuevo Herald, Chávez finds himself in "critical condition, not grave, but critical, in a complicated situation."
Soon to have a meeting with Satan?
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Crossroads GPS New Ad: Shovel Ready

A pretty effective ad from Karl Rove's group:

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Vote in Our Poll: Do You Support NY Legalizing Gay Marriage?

The New York State Senate has passed, and Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed, a bill that officially legalizes gay marriage. The question is, do you support it? Vote in the poll below and leave a comment:

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Gov. Christie Releasing Campaign Videos?

You tell me what this is:

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The Sin of New York

New York became the sixth state yesterday evening to redefine the traditional definition of marriage to include homosexuals - joining Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Iowa, and New Hampshire - in deciding 5,000 years of civil society based on morality was wrong, unfair and even bigoted.

The State Senate voted 33-29 to redefine marriage. Four Republicans crossed over to the other side, while only one Democrat, a former Pentecostal minister, remained adamantly in opposition to the moral depravity until the final vote. It will become official when Governor Cuomo signs the legislation.

As a proud citizen of New York - I have never been more ashamed of my state government before now. Banning bug bombs is one thing; desecrating marriage is another. There are no feelings of cheer - or pride - inside me, but sadness and disappointment that my state believes it knows better than human biology, and God's morality.

Shame on New York.

What say you?

Michelle Obama Thanks Media for "Support, Kindness"

Seriously, who can say the Main Stream Media isn't biased with a straight face?
Mrs. Obama
From RCP:
In an interview with CNN, First Lady Michelle Obama thanks the media for their "support" and "kindness."

CNN reporter: "How's the family ready for this [the election]? It's going to be quite vicious, isn't it? How do you prepare for that?"

First Lady Michelle Obama: "You know, it's … we're ready, you know. Our children, you know, could care less about what we're doing. We work hard to do that. Fortunately, we have help from the media. I have to say this: I'm very grateful for the support and kindness that we've gotten. People have respected their privacy and in that way, I think, you know, no matter what people may feel about my husband's policies or what have you, they care about children and that's been good to see."
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Friday, June 24, 2011

Video: Genius Computer Stops Rockets Right Before Impact

'Iron Curtain' defense smacks rockets in mid-flight.

Blowing up rockets in midflight is easy — as long as you’ve got a fast enough computer.

That’s the thinking at Artis, the Virginia firm trying to outfit the Army’s armored vehicles with so-called “active protection” technology — defenses that can stop incoming projectiles before they ever have a chance to hit. If the approach works, it could not only protect U.S. forces from rockets and missiles. It could shield troops from the most lethal roadside bombs, as well.

Rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles are some of the most potent weapons in the guerrilla arsenal, because they can punch through even the thickest armor. The Israelis, for instance, saw 40 of their tanks get hit by the projectiles in their 2006 war in Lebanon. So U.S. and Israeli defense contractors have tried all sorts of ways to blast these munitions while they’re still hurtling toward their target — to hit one speeding bullet with another, essentially.

But pulling off that trick shot requires a whole bunch of split-second calculations: from detecting the incoming rocket to figuring out its flight pattern to deciding when to fire the countermeasure. To do it all, you need a whole heap of processing power.

“Active protection is a testament to how fast computers are these days — especially when you’re not burdening them, by running an operating system,” says Artis CEO Keith Brendley.

Artis’ approach is a little more algorithm-intensive than others. Rather than blast the projectile early in its flight, Artis’ Iron Curtain system waits to fire its countermeasure until the very, very last moment, when the munition is just a few inches away from ramming into its target. Iron Curtain doesn’t shoot out at the projectile. Mounted on the vehicle’s roof, it shoots straight down.


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New York Passes Same Sex Marriage. Republican Controlled Senate Get No Credit

Just some thoughts.

This is a good thing for New York and the nation. This represents, I believe, the first time that a Republican controlled legislative body has voted to support same sex marriage and there are some obvious reasons for that. There has been considerable behind the scenes negotiations taking place between Governor Cuomo and a minority of Republican senators to carve out strong and specific religious exemptions.

From the Democrat and Chronicle Vote Up Blog:

The language expands the religious carve outs by ensuring that religious organizations or non-profit groups associated with them would not be penalized if they choose not to recognize same-sex marriages. It would also ensure that state and local governments couldn’t penalize organizations who didn’t want to recognize gay couples, essentially ensuring that state aid or state licenses couldn’t be revoked.

Gay-rights groups said they accept the language.

“The amended marriage equality legislation protects religious liberties without creating any special exceptions that would penalize same-sex couples or treat them unequally. The legislation strikes an appropriate balance that allows all loving, committed couples to marry while preserving religious freedom,” the group New Yorkers United for Marriage said in a statement.

This has always been a major sticking point as far as my views on legalization of gay marriage is concerned. I don't begrudge unions of one particular kind or another, but have always been suspicious of activist liberal court judges who seek to impose politically correct dogma on the masses. This bill finds a reasonable medium, I think.

The bill also contains a severability clause that means if one part of the bill were found unconstitutional, the entire bill would be unconstitutional. This is important and means that if the constitutionality of the religious protections are challenged in court and are found not to meet constitutional muster, then the whole bill fails. This is wording I think that conservatives should be proud of.

Senator Steve Saland proved to be one of the key votes in passage. His remarks on the floor of the senate are well worth reading and considering.

In 2009 when the marriage equality bill came before the Senate for a vote, I struggled with the decision. This is an issue which a great many have a deep and passionate interest, both those for marriage equality and those who support the traditional view of marriage. In part, the difficulty in arriving at my decision is that I respect and understand the views coming from both sides of the issue.

In fact, my decision today is rooted in my upbringing. My parents taught us to be respectful, tolerant and accepting of others and to do the right thing. I’ve received thousands of calls, e-mails, post cards and letters. Many of them, whether they were from proponents or opponents, concluded by calling upon me to do the right thing. I want to do the right thing, but needless to say, that decision cannot be the “right thing” for both sides of the equation and, whatever my decision, there will be many who will be disappointed.

As a traditionalist, I have long viewed marriage as a union between a man and woman. As one who believes in equal rights, I understood that the State was denying marriage to those in same sex relationships. In 2009, I believed that civil unions for same sex couples would be a satisfactory conclusion.

Since that time, I have met with numerous groups and individuals on both sides of the issue, especially during the last few months. As I did, I anguished over the importance and significance of my vote. My intellectual and emotional journey has at last ended. I must define doing the right thing as treating all persons with equality in the definition of law as it pertains to marriage. To do otherwise would fly in the face of my upbringing.

For me to support marriage equality, however, it was imperative that the legislation contain all the necessary religious exemptions, so as not to interfere with religious beliefs which I hold as important as equal rights. I believe this legislation satisfactorily resolves the religious exemptions.

I was part of a trio of Senators that negotiated with the Governor and his staff for greater religious protections in this legislation – vastly in excess of the prior defeated version and substantially more than this year’s earlier version. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the important and direct role of the Governor in these negotiations and his genuine sensitivity and concern to the importance of religious freedoms.

While I understand that my vote will disappoint many, I also know that my vote is a vote of conscience. I have contemplated many difficult votes throughout my career and this is by far one of the most, if not the most difficult. Struggling with my traditionalist view of marriage and my deep rooted values to treat all people with respect and as equals, I believe after much deliberation, I am doing the right thing in voting to support marriage equality.

On the whole, good job New York. Now can we get back to the more pressing matters that face the state?

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Watch it Live: Same Sex Marriage Bill Set for Passage in New York? (Bumped)

NY Senate is now in session and will soon vote on bill legalizing same sex marriage. Watch it here and tell me what you think!

nysenate on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free

Vote Yes/Vote No

New York state lawmakers have been working to pass a bill legalizing the union between same sex couples. The vote is coming down to the wire and is expected to come to the floor later tonight or tomorrow.

"A National Organization of Marriage poll recently found that 57% of NY state is for traditional marriage. This is in contrast polls conducted by Siena College, Marist, and Quinnipiac that found that a majority of New Yorkers actually support the passage of a marriage equality bill. Those polls also talked to many more people than this poll, which only surveyed 302 “registered voters with voting history randomly selected from the voter registration file in NYS.”

According to the WSJ Metropolis there are many political observers that expect the legislation to pass once lawmakers are able to settle on language that would allow for churches and religious institutions to recuse themselves from performing same-sex unions.

This seems exactly correct. As it stands the Senate is currently deadlocked at 31-31, on shy of the number of votes needed to pass. According to Capital Tonight Sen Greg Ball has now confirmed he is a no vote on the measure. More to the point:

Sen. Greg Ball, who had sought greater protections for religious institutions, released a formal statement this evening confirming that he’s voting no on the same-sex marriage bill.

Ball says there’s just not enough religious exemption language in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s same-sex marriage. The Hudson Valley Republican’s statement isn’t that surprising, since he had said since the bill’s introduction that he would vote no unless broader exemptions were added to the bill.

This leaves only three Republican senators who are undecided on the measure: Mark Grisanti, Steve Saland and Andrew Lanza.

Sen Saland and Lanza have both met with Governor Cuomo in recent days to develop an amendment within the bill that would allow for broader religious protections.

Specifically, a spokeswoman for Sen. Ball said the final legislation protects "religious corporations", but not employees of those "religious corporations" like pastors and ministers, who actually do the work of marrying people.

Personally I don't think the government has any real role in deciding who does and doesn't get "married" and believe that it is incumbent that any potential legislation protect the real first amendment rights of freedom of religion. I also think it more than prudent for legislators to seek particular protections for those religious institutions who will not comply with the joining of a man to a man or a woman to a woman in holy matrimony.

The likely result of legislation legalizing gay marriage without those protections and maybe with them, is the courts will seek to impose their will on a religious groups through lengthy litigation and tax law.Please bookmark!

List of House Republicans Who Voted to Continue Funding Non-War in Libya

Today there were two important votes in the House of Representatives regarding Libya.  In the first, a super-majority in the House rejected a measure to continue the US role in Libya.  Yet when it came to crunch time, a bill to defund President Obama's military action in Libya failed.

The vote was specifically to "limit the use of funds appropriated to the Department of Defense for United States Armed Forces in support of North Atlantic Treaty Organization Operation Unified Protector with respect to Libya, unless otherwise specifically authorized by law."

89 Republicans voted no (along with 149 Democrats).  They voted to continue funding the non-kinectic-military-action-war.  Here are their names:

Broun (GA)
Burton (IN)
Duncan (SC)
Duncan (TN)
Franks (AZ)
Graves (GA)
Johnson, Sam
King (IA)
King (NY)
Kinzinger (IL)
Miller (MI)
Poe (TX)
Rogers (MI)
Ross (FL)
Ryan (WI)
Smith (NJ)
Thompson (PA)
Walsh (IL)

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Liberal Group "I hate it when I wake up and Sarah Palin is still alive" Swells to Over 3,000 Members

Is this what the Left calls civility?  The Facebook group I hate it when I wake up and Sarah Palin is still alive has grown to well over 3,000 members.  3,249 people to be exact.  Over three thousand left-wingers wish to see Mrs. Palin die.  We've written about this disgusting group before. And their group's official picture:
Some of the comments underneath read:
And the seemingly obligatory moron who blames her for the shootings in Arizona (the third one):
Oh, and isn't that special, the group admin laments the death of Osama bin Laden:
Don't forget about comments like these (swearing obscured):

Never in my life have I seen such hatred towards a person for absolutely no reason.  These people are truly disgusting.

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