Monday, October 10, 2011

Opposition to Natural Gas is Bad for Your Health

I am reminded of the Great Hoax of 1835.

Recently more than 250 "physicians and medical professionals" signed and sent letter to Governor Cuomo. The claim is that hydraulic fracturing for natural gas within the Marcellus Shale poses a significant public health risk and the granting of drilling permits must be delayed until a full an proper accounting of those risks can be assessed. Now I am not interested in impinging on anyone's right to petition their government for redress of grievances. Nor do I disagree with the underlying tenet of the letter. That is, the health of a community must be considered, the implications of a particular action must be assessed and accounted for and that when appropriate, regulations put in place to account for potential outcomes. In spite of the rhetoric, "Friends of Natural Gas" are not interested in seeing their communities poisoned with tainted water, nor the air made unbreathable by noxious chemicals and fumes. On that at least there may be some agreement.

In reality these doctors, nurses, PA's, NP's, social workers, and veterinarians have a problem. The truth is they have no evidence to support their claims and in end are left asking for more time and more study. "The trouble with health problems near gas tracking"is that any evidence is purely anecdotal. Investigative journalism sites like Pro Publica has spent considerable time and effort tracking down some of the complaints made by individuals across the country, but in the end are left little evidence.

"....[E]nvironmental epidemiologists warn that proximity and correlation don't add up to proof. Even when symptoms and contamination occur in the same place, they say, it doesn't necessarily mean the contamination caused the symptoms.

"You have a community where there is a putative exposure, and a community with putative illness," said Daniel Teitelbaum, a toxicologist who has spent years examining health issues around drilling and helped frame some of the early research in Colorado. "But you can't say whether the people exposed are the people who are ill."


But whether the more serious symptoms have anything to do with drilling is a complete unknown. "You hear and see everything you can possibly imagine, from miscarriages to multiple sclerosis to brain tumors," he said. "There is no way to document whether those things are real or not real."

That's why a health registry—a database to cross reference patterns of symptoms and locations where they occur with water and air tests—is so important, he said. Without this context, complaints from residents may not be taken seriously by doctors or environment officials, partly because people respond to chemical exposures differently. Their symptoms can vary widely and can be difficult to recognize.

"If someone comes in and just says I can't think straight, or I'm really tired or I have headaches, that's not measureable," said Dr. Kendall Gerdes, a Denver-based physician who specializes in ecological exposure cases and has seen a number of patients complaining about the gas patch. "Therefore it's considered psychosomatic by most doctors' training."

A health registry seems like a great idea. One I am sure would be supported by the energy industry. It would allow for epidemiologists, physicians, toxicologists and others to investigate symptoms and determine a causal relationship with shale gas production or not. Unfortunately, this common sense type of approach is nowhere to be found in the letter presented to Governor Cuomo. Instead, we find requests for consideration of yet another Health Impact Assessment which would do nothing to prove or disprove the correlation between shale gas production and illness. It would though, slow down gas production in the state by months, perhaps years, which in the end I suspect is the goal.

The health risks, regardless of the penumbra of symptoms are ultimately related to exposure, and exposure can only come from a few sources. Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units released a report in August of 2011 articulated the sources as water contamination, air pollution, and noise pollution. In a yet unpublished manuscript and a source article for the letter Theo Colborn, et al makes essentially the same argument. These sentiments are echoed by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

The key risks and impacts of shale gas and shale gas processes and development can be divided as follows:

  • contamination of groundwater by fracturing fluids/mobilised contaminants arising from:o wellbore/casing failure; and/oro subsurface migration;
  • pollution of land and surface water (and potentially groundwater via surface route) arising from:

o spillage of fracturing additives; and

o spillage/tank rupture/storm water overflow from liquid waste storage, lagoons/pits containing cuttings/drilling mud or flowback water;

  • water consumption/abstraction;
  • waste water treatment;
  • land and landscape impacts;
  • impacts arising during construction:o noise/light pollution during well drilling/completion; o flaring/venting; and
    o local traffic impacts.

The point is, for symptoms to occur, exposure has to take place, and for it to become a public health issue, must do so on a rather grand scale. NYS DEC Commissioner Joe Martens participated in an electronic town hall today and answered questions pertaining to potential health impacts and states.

DEC has fully considered the impact fracking could potentially have on public health and our communities. For example, the State Dept. of Health provided information (Chapter 5 in the dSGEIS) on the potential toxic effects of chemicals used in the process. We examined the history of spills and other problems in other states where the process was used. Most importantly, DEC carefully considered every possible way that people could be exposed to those chemicals and consulted with the State Dept. of Health about how to prevent that exposure. DEC’s approach is to address the potential causes of exposure to prevent them from happening in New York State. If there are no pathways of exposure in the first place, adverse health impacts cannot occur. That is why DEC has designed the most stringent set of requirements in the nation – to prevent contamination of our natural resources and thus eliminate human exposure pathways.

Indeed, "if there is no pathway of exposure in the first place, adverse health impacts cannot occur". This does not imply that local accidents haven't and won't occur, they do and will, but the isolated risks can and has been mitigated against in the recently published dSGEIS.

While I posit that water contamination is a much overplayed concern, I will concede that air pollution remains potentially problematic. I agree with the position of John Hanger as articulated in the NYT.

Air pollution is more of an Achilles' heel for drilling in the Northeast, he said last week, pointing to spikes in emissions that have followed natural gas development in other parts of the country.

Thousands of natural gas wells are expected to be drilled in Pennsylvania over the next few years, requiring a fleet of construction equipment, diesel engines and compressor stations. Together, they could be a large new source of smog-forming emissions along the Northeast corridor, much of which still struggles with old air quality standards at a time when U.S. EPA is preparing to make the rules stricter.

"If the industry ubiquitously uses the dirtiest choices, it won't fit into the Northeast," Hanger said. "It won't happen. There will be suits from New York, New Jersey, everywhere. From environmental groups. Maybe even from Pennsylvania state officials, trying to stop that.

"That's a real issue," he added. "The chemicals coming back up from fracking is not."

I would like to play the devil's advocate here for a bit though. Currently the United States gets 21% of its energy production from coal. As of 2005 New York had 48 coal-fired generating units at 17 locations producing 4,273 MW of capacity, representing 10% of the states total electric capacity. According to the EPA coal and oil fired plants are responsible for a public health disaster. On a yearly basis this energy source is responsible for 17,000 premature deaths, 11,000 non fatal heart attacks, 120,000 asthma cases and 11,000 episodes of acute bronchitis cases among children. In June of 2006 a study conducted by West Virginia Health Sciences Center concluded that coal was responsible for significant increases in morbidity and mortality in Appalachia.

While coal mining contributed $8 billion to Appalachia in terms of economic impacts, the costs of shortened life spans associated with coal operations ranged from $16.979 billion to $84.544 billion, the study found. Figures are from 2005, the latest year for which mortality rates were available.

"Those who are falling ill and dying young are not just the coal miners," Hendryx says. "Everyone who lives near the mines or processing plants or transportation centers is affected by chronic socioeconomic weakness that takes a toll in longevity and health."

Coal mining areas in Appalachia experience almost 11,000 more deaths each year compared with comparable areas elsewhere in the nation, with approximately 2,300 of those deaths related to environmental factors such as air and water pollution made worse by mining, Hendryx says. He adds:

"We know that in West Virginia we have high rates of poverty and illness, and we've been led to believe by government and industry that the coal companies help by creating jobs. But that's not true. Premature mortality is strongly linked to socioeconomic conditions where people live, and the evidence is that those areas of West Virginia that do not have coal do better. They develop economic alternatives."

While much has been made of noise pollution as a potent health risk I will not address it here other than to say, really? This is obviously a filler argument and as such, not worth debating.

When comparing the energy mix and number of deaths related to each of the main sources worldwide the effects of coal use becomes clear. Coal accounts for 161 deaths/TWh globally, while natural gas accounts for only 4 deaths/TWh. This highlights that while no energy source is without some risk, coal is responsible for a death rate of four times that of the closest energy source and more than 40 times that of natural gas.

This doesn't begin to account for the environmental impacts of coal. With this information in mind I have to wonder why letters aren't being sent to Governor Cuomo to shut down the coal-fired plants in New York and replace them with natural gas. Undoubtedly, the transportation costs would be minimal. Already we are seeing a trend where traditional coal-fired plants are being replaced by natural gas. New York could not only reduce its environmental impact, improve the health of its citizens, but also save money. Maybe I should write a letter?

It has been interesting to watch the evolution of the anti-drilling arguments. Initially we were all told that hydrofracking fluid would migrate up from the depths to pollute and contaminate our precious fresh water aquifers. The shining light to of scrutiny has effectively put to risk these claims. Then we were informed that wastewater would be so high in radiation that it would despoil our waterways, but the results of studies reported on here, here, here and here have put to rest this myth. Then is was the hazardous yet ubiquitous methane. This, we were told would dump as much or more carbon dioxide, than would coal, into the atmosphere thereby irrevocably plunging the region into eternal summer. This study has been effectively debunked by several subsequent studies. Then we learn of methane migrating into fresh water wells from faulty well head construction. Again, this turns out to not quite be the case in spite of the widespread publicity. One thing we did learn from the Duke study though is that there was no frack fluid contamination. The truth is natural gas has the potential to be the best thing to happen to New York since the Erie Canal. The economic benefits are clear to anyone willing to look due south, the regulatory framework is sound and thorough, and the risks to health are easily overcome with oversight and professionalism.

It was not so long ago that natural gas production was lauded by environmentalists throughout the nation as the optimal "transition fuel" away from coal and petroleum toward a truly green energy technology, but now that the prospect of energy production begins to hit close to home the concerns of coal production and use as an environmental and public health disaster has dissipated as the rhetoric against gas has escalated. Natural gas production is safer today than it was in July 26, 2009 when Robert F. Kennedy Jr. stated,

Natural gas comes with its own set of environmental caveats. It is a carbon-based fuel and is extraction from shale, the most significant new source, if not managed carefully, can cause serious water, land use, and wildlife impacts, especially in the hands of irresponsible producers and lax regulators. But those impacts are dwarfed by the disastrous holocaust of coal and can be mitigated by careful regulation.

The giant advantage of a quick conversion from coal to gas is the quickest route for jumpstarting our economy and saving our planet.

He was as right then as he is wrong now. It is a shame what political gamesmanship will do to a person.

Letter to Cuomo on Fracking

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NBA Cancels First Two Weeks of Season

Great.  The Knicks are finally good after a decade and there's a lockout to dash my basketball hopes all over again.
Commissioner Stern
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Occupy Wall Street Heavily Scrubbing Website; Remove Call to Deal with "the Jew," Hundreds of Comments

The scrubbing has begun on the Occupy Wall Street website as they realize their calls for genocide and hatred are being watched by millions of people.  If you happened to come across the site just a few days ago, it is markedly different from today.

Gone are articles such as, "Why so scared of naming the jew?"  You can read it because Google cached it.  If you try to go there now, you merely are greeted with a "four oh four, page not found" message.
Just one example of antisemitism from Occupy Wall Street
Here is the text of the original message:
does it make you feel dirty to acknowledge the ethnicity of these bankers/CEOs? jews have been getting kicked out of countries for thousands of years this movement is nothing new. granted there are many corrupt non-jews who also must be dealt with, but the khazars play an overwhelmingly disproportionate roll in all of this
And, no, this is not a "fringe" element of Occupy Wall Street.  There are dozens of posts and videos that show that antisemitism is extremely high in their "movement."  But Occupy Wall Street's hatred of Jewish people is not the point of this article, but the massive scrubbing and deletion of threads and articles that is going on all over their website.

So, for example, in the thread A transportation tip from a local, 41 comments magically become three:
Nothing Underneath the Third Comment
Under the article OCCUPY FRANKFURT BÖRSE!, 61 comments magically become zero:
And it goes on and on.  The thread "oh crap" goes from 44 comments to six. The topic The real problem is our Criminally Dysfunctional Political System goes from 40 comments to four. The discussion
Londons Occupation now Illegal ;-( went from 32 comments to exactly one, which simply said:
The topic What other organization are coming? goes from 33 comments to three.  I could go on and on, but there is only so much time in a day.

And, no, there was not some mix-up in the comment system where, somehow, comments more than a certain number of days old got deleted.  In older articles (from late July), comments are still there.  For example, in Logistics: Housing, the five comments are still there.

It's a clear scrub-job.  The saddest part is that the incoherent ramblings of the members claim that "the CIA" and conservatives are changing facts and deleting history.  They're too blind to realize that their "leaders" are actually the ones doing just that.

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Hey Occupiers, Complain About This

The Occupy Wall Street movement is a farce.  If they truly were upset about what was going on the country they would be outraged over the money our government is wasting on "green" jobs.  Solyndra is just the one that is being publicly talked about.  The list goes much deeper, take for instance SpectraWatt, Inc out of New York received $650K since June of 09 and as of August 19th is out of business. 

Evergreen Solar received $5.3 million from the fine tax payers of Massachusetts and went bankrupt on August 15th of this year. 

Even after already declaring bankruptcy in 09, Olsen's Mill Acquisition Co was given $10 million of our tax dollars less than year later, another company bought their assets last month. 

Now not all of these companies that you and I are paying for are going out of business, but the costs to create jobs is astronomical.  Case in point is SolarReserve Project in Harry Reid's home state of Nevada.  It is promising 600 temporary construction jobs and 45 permanent positions at a whopping $1.23 million each and $16.4 million each respectively.   But that is a bargain compared to Mesquite Solar Project in Arizona that is costing you and me $48.1 million for each of the seven permanent positions it will create. 

In Seattle, we paid to weatherize homes.  For the $20 million 14 new jobs were created and three homes have been retrofitted.  So that was another bargain at only $1.42 million per job. 

While it is perfectly understandable that the 14 people who got these jobs are very happy with the investment, the rest of us shouldn't be. 

Some of the signs you are seeing at the Occupy Wall Street protests are asking where is my bailout?  Well, I would say here is a big part of it.  The reason that many are sick and tired of the government raising taxes on anyone is because the money is being wasted.  Even if you believe in that green energy is the future, can we really afford to be spending more than a million dollars to create one job in this economic environment?  I would think even the movement on Wall Street would have to agree that this is not the wisest course of action. 

One would hope anyway. 

Deroy Murdock asks when will liberals fight as hard for the poor people in this country as they do for solar panels. 
Every dollar that chases a money-losing windmill is a dollar that cannot fund Head Start.  Every million that spawns only one job is a million that cannot fiance 270 average Pell Grants for needy college students.  And every billion that vanishes into green bankruptcy is a billion that cannot help impoverished Americans heat their homes with government assistance.
  Yes, indeed, it would be nice to see the liberals fight as hard for the poor.  Maybe we would actually be able to lift some of these families out of poverty if we just stop wasting our resources. 

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Children to be Banned from Blowing up Balloons Under EU Safety Rules

Can you say "Nanny State?"
The EU toy safety directive, agreed and implemented by Government, states that balloons must not be blown up by unsupervised children under the age of eight, in case they accidentally swallow them and choke.

Despite having been popular favourites for generations of children, party games including whistles and magnetic fishing games are to be banned because their small parts or chemicals used in making them are decreed to be too risky.

Apparently harmless toys that children have enjoyed for decades are now regarded by EU regulators as posing an unacceptable safety risk.

Whistle blowers, that scroll out into a a long coloured paper tongue when sounded – a party favourite at family Christmas meals – are now classed as unsafe for all children under 14.

The new rules are designed to protect children from the chance that a piece of the whistle could be swallowed and cause choking.

The EU directive will also force manufacturers and retailers to attach safety warnings to toys hitherto regarded as harmless.
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Romney Attacked From Both Sides

The Democratic National Committee and Republican candidates for President can agree on one thing: Mitt Romney is the front-runner to win the Presidential election next year.

Why else would both be attacking him so aggressively?

Democrats launched the website "Which Mitt" in an attempt to label him a flip-flopper, and Rick Perry's new web ad is attacking him for being the co-author of ObamaCare. Both were launched this morning against the former Massachusetts Governor and current GOP front-runner.

I think this will help him with Independents, because he can campaign on being attacked from the left and the right for his record, and it exposes a cold hard fact that most are unwilling to admit: he's currently on track to win both the nomination and general election. The Romney campaign is striking back, but I think they should wait until the Bloomberg debate and destroy the flip-flopping charges once and for all.

What say you?

New Perry Ad: Romney's Remedy

Attacks Romney on his health care plan:

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Gasp! Main Stream Media Actually Reports Truth for Once

The headline of a new AP article? Obama disconnects rhetoric, reality. Considering that Mr. Obama has been doing that for the last...forever, AP is a little late to the party. However, it's a start:
In President Barack Obama's sales pitch for his jobs bill, there are two versions of reality: The one in his speeches and the one actually unfolding in Washington.

When Obama accuses Republicans of standing in the way of his nearly $450 billion plan, he ignores the fact that his own party has struggled to unite behind the proposal.

When the president says Republicans haven't explained what they oppose in the plan, he skips over the fact that Republicans who control the House actually have done that in detail.

And when he calls on Congress to "pass this bill now," he slides past the point that Democrats control the Senate and were never prepared to move immediately, given other priorities. Senators are expected to vote Tuesday on opening debate on the bill, a month after the president unveiled it with a call for its immediate passage.

To be sure, Obama is not the only one engaging in rhetorical excesses. But he is the president, and as such, his constant remarks on the bill draw the most attention and scrutiny.

The disconnect between what Obama says about his jobs bill and what stands as the political reality flow from his broader aim: to rally the public behind his cause and get Congress to act, or, if not, to pin blame on Republicans.

He is waging a campaign, one in which nuance and context and competing responses don't always fit in if they don't help make the case.
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The Circlular Logic of Al Sharpton

Anytime I hear Al Sharpton speak I always end up asking my self the same question, does he ever stop and think before he opens his mouth?  The answer I always end up with is no.  Case in point is Al's reaction to the GOP liking themselves some Herman Cain. 

Cain is rising in the polls for the GOP nomination for president and that is something that is making the liberal heads explode.  After all the GOP are racists, they can't possibly like a black man.  But wait, maybe he is one of the traitorous kind of black men.  You know the one that dare to think for themselves and don't march in lockstep to the I am a victim mentality that permeates some of the black community.  You know Clarence Thomas is one.  After all he is married to white woman, so that must prove that he is race traitor.  It doesn't matter that his first wife was black, what matters is that today he has strayed from the group think of the Sharpton's of the world. 

You see Herman is married to black woman (so is Allen West, by the way) so the desire to blame the white women for the ones that got away doesn't work with Herman.  Herman grew up in the segregated south.  He is of the age that he remembers not being able to drink from the white fountain or use the white bathroom.  Mr. Cain was actually denied admission to his college of choice even though he graduated at the top of high school class.  Instead of getting bitter, he changed his plans and went to Moorehouse.  He didn't blame the "man", he went around him to achieve his goal of getting a college education.  A goal that was also the American Dream of his father; to see his children succeed in the world through education and hard work.  That is what Mr. Cain has accomplished in his life.  He doesn't feel the need to look at himself as a person who was held back because of his color, he has chosen to look at it as a challenge that was worth overcoming. 

Al Sharpton has criticized Cain's statements about the black community being brainwashed to voting for democrats. 
“What [Cain] does not have the right is to rewrite history by saying that blacks were brainwashed by becoming Democrats, We went with a Party that stood up for the Civil Rights Act of ’64 and Voting Rights Act of ’65.”
Which of course, on its face is incorrect, the acts more largely supported by republicans.  But during another discussion, he says this:
If Herman Cain were to come on my show radio or TV, I would say to him how could anyone in their right mind that grew up in the South and saw what they saw, or stand up there and act like anybody and that is unemployed and that is not rich did it to themselves starting with your momma (referring to Guest Professor Karen Hunter of Hunter College). I could have understood someone with Barack Obama’s background having that kind of confusion. So, I would only assume that he is either socially ignorant or playing games to get votes. Cause he couldn’t possibly have grown up and come to that conclusion unless he was one or the other.
Hey Al, maybe this statement is why Cain believes that blacks have been brainwashed by the likes of you.  Mr. Cain was born into segregation and found his own way out.  He has become a successful man that is now a viable candidate for President of the United States.  I don't think he needs you to tell him how ignorant he is.  He believed in himself, he believed in his God, he believed in hard work, and he believed in the American Dream.  Imagine if more people around the country took Mr. Cain's lead. 

So, let me see if I understand this.  If you are black and don't look at yourself as a person who has been victimized you are ignorant.  But, if you stay in the mindset of low expectations because people you have never met were once slaves, even though the practice ended almost 140 years ago, you are not.  OK, got it.

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Sunday, October 09, 2011

Bachmann Retreating to Iowa

Earlier this week we covered the Huntsman campaign's all-in shift to New Hampshire, which demonstrates his lack of national appeal, but today we have even more interesting 2012 news: Rep. Michele Bachmann's campaign is shutting down their Virginia office and focusing solely on Iowa - revealing her shrinking appeal.

Her national appeal, surprisingly like Huntsman's, is declining rapidly and she's putting all her eggs in Iowa's socially conservative friendly basket. While the former U.S. Ambassador is counting on those independent-democrat granite state voters; the Minnesota Representative is hoping for religious-ideological caucus goers.

I have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot of Republican candidates leaving after the first two contests, and if Mrs. Bachmann fails to win or finish respectably in Iowa, she'll be one of them.

What say you?

The Tolerant Left is at it Again

I give Herman Cain a great deal of credit for putting himself out there in the manner that he has.  He had to know this type of attacks were going to come, and come they have.  Below is audio of an interview that Al Sharpton with his guest Karen Hunter discussing if Mr. Cain is authentically black enough. 

It is very sweet of Ms. Hunter to remind Al that Herman thinks he is black.  I would think that all he has to do is look in the mirror for that, but apparently I am wrong. 

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Working Families Party Offers People Up to $650 a Week to Join Wall Street Protests

You know all of those lies from "protesters" on Wall Street?  'Occupy Wall Street' whines for free money and, at times, cannibalism.  They scream that they are the "99%," that they are impoverished and deserve more.  In the meantime, of course, they update their Twitter statuses on their iPhones and laptops.

Now, Pundit Press has discovered that those protesting are not simply doing it because they have their facts mixed up.  Instead, many are getting up to $650 a week protesting on Wall Street against... greed.

Go over to Craigslist and you will find an ad taken out by the Working Families Party.  The advertisement declares that "wallstreet (sic)" must be held "accountable."  Applicants must be "outgoing, articulate dedicated, determined (sic)."
Spelling: Not a Strong-suit of the Working Families Party
And, no, you don't need to worry about actually having a job or actually contributing to society.  Instead, the WFP will pay "$350-$650 A Week."  In other words, protesters saying that they are the "99%" and that they are impoverished could actually be making the equivalent of a $34,000-a-year job by simply holding up a sign for a couple of hours.

If you want some of the details, here are the first couple of paragraphs, exactly as they appear in the ad:
The Working Families Party (WFP) ( is New York's most energetic, independent and progressive political party. Formed in 1998 by a grassroots coalition of community organizations, neighborhood activists, and labor unions, we came together to build a society that works for all of us, not just Wall Street CEOs and the well-connected. WFP is independent from corporate and government funding and in-addition we are community based; community funded and equally uninfluenced by both major parties. Our agenda focuses on economic and social justice, corporate accountability, job creation, environmental protection, and investment in education and healthcare.

For the past twelve years the WFP has been at the fore front of progressive politics,

Leading the fight and helping to frame the debate. The WFP has a proud record of fighting for issues that matter and has been instrumental in implementing key pieces of legislation such as Raising New York's Minimum Wage, Enacting Living Wage Laws, Creating Thousands of Jobs In the Green Economy, Passing Healthcare Reforms on the Local Level, Fighting for Affordable Housing, Keeping Tuition Costs Low, A Progressive Tax Code, Reliable/Cost Effective Public Transit System, Public Financing Of Elections and Corporate Accountability . In addition, we have an unapologetic stance on supporting and pushing good candidates to enact progressive legislation

The WFP is seeking immediate hires.
The headline of the ad screams in all capital letters: "FIGHT TO HOLD WALLSTREET ACCOUNTABLE NOW! MAKE A DIFFERNENCE GET PAID!" If you are interested in calling for the end of capitalism, while making money off of capitalism, feel free to contact this email, which is contained in the ad:

Even more, this ad predates the "big" protests, which means that much of the "support" is fake and/or bought:
Occupy Wall Street looks to be getting faker and faker.

Update- And in case you simply cannot believe that the Workers Families Party would take out an ad on Craigslist, you are exceedingly wrong.  If you follow the link provided in this advertisement and fill out the job form, you have the option of saying where you heard about the opportunity.  Take a look what one of the options is:

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Pundit Press Breaks 1,000,000 Pageviews All-Time

It's taken a little over a year, but Pundit Press has broken 1,000,000 (One million!) pageviews all-time, according to Google Analytics.  We came into existence officially on September 12, 2011.  In 13 months we were lucky enough to expand our readership and contributors, including Kaptain Krude, Danny R. Butcher, Unlikely Hospitalist, MO Atty, and our newest writer, Just a conservative girl.

It's been a long, interesting, and at times frustrating year.  We'll soon publish a recap of our inaugural year, which will include a (long) list our most-viewed articles, who wrote how much, and a bunch of interesting facts.  It will be called The Year in Review.  Look for it in the next couple of days.

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Cain Dominates Midwestern Leadership Conference Straw Poll

Herman "Awesome" Cain continues his roll:
Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain rounded out a very good week with a straw poll victory at the Midwest Leadership Conference in Minnesota on Saturday.

Cain pulled off a decisive win, garnering 52.6 percent of the vote and beating Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann in her own backyard. Bachmann took a distant second place with 12.2 percent of the vote, followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 11.1 percent. Texas Rep. Ron Paul attracted 10.7 percent of the vote while Texas Gov. Rick Perry got just 4 percent.

Cain has had a strong few weeks. Several polls have had him leading the race for the GOP nomination, or tied for first, and an IBOPE Zogby poll released Thursday found Cain leading the Republican field by a staggering 20 percentage points. Cain also scored a surprise win at the Florida straw poll two weeks ago, trouncing Perry, who was the favorite.
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House Committee to Subpoena Holder in 'Fast and Furious' Probe

Can you say "corrupt?":
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is planning to subpoena Attorney General Eric Holder this week to determine who in the Justice Department knew about "Operation Fast and Furious" -- the plan to let thousands of guns sold in the U.S. get into Mexican drug cartel hands -- and when they knew it.

The subpoena targeting Holder aims to get at the heart of the authorization for the program, and when the people in charge decided the program was a problem.

"When did they know it wasn't the right way to do it and why (did) they keep doing it?" asked committee chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

Issa, who is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee where Holder testified in May that he'd only learned of the program a few weeks earlier, told "Fox News Sunday" that "people in the top" of the Justice Department knew about the operation, were "well-briefed about it, and seemed to be the command and control and funding for this program."

Issa said those officials, who may or may not include Holder, would have known that the program was facing objections from law enforcement personnel in the field, but appeared to continue to let guns "walk" across the border.

"We didn't just have a few (guns) not be tracked. The whole program was about not tracking them until they were found in the scene of crimes. And they didn't just allow. They facilitated just one guy buy, one straw buy, over 700 weapons," Issa said.
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President Bush: 'One of My Objectives Is to Make Sure' Americans Never Forget Our Troops

Thank you, Mr. President:
George W. Bush says that after eight years in the White House, he's happy to be back home in Texas and out of the spotlight.

But the former commander-in-chief tells The Associated Press there's one aspect of his presidency he still misses: interaction with U.S. troops. And Bush, who sent them to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, says that despite his desire to remain largely out of the public eye, he wants to make sure veterans and military members know they still have his support.

"I was a little concerned that our veterans don't think that I still respect them and care for them a lot," Bush told the AP. He added later, "There's nothing as courageous in my judgment as someone who had a leg blown off in combat overcoming the difficulties."

Bush is hosting next week's Warrior Open golf tournament in suburban Dallas, an event featuring members of the U.S. Armed Forces wounded while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, including those who lost limbs and suffered brain injuries. Bush joined more than a dozen wounded military members in the Warrior 100 — a 62-mile mountain bike ride he hosted in West Texas last spring.

These public appearances are the exception to the lifestyle Bush has led in his post-presidency.
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Political Connections Behind Solyndra Loans?

The Obama administration engaged in a pattern of approving loans that were not qualified to receive taxpayer money, according to one Republican House chairman who says the development is as disturbing as the potential loss of billions of dollars in investments.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Relations Committee, said Sunday that the administration's approval of a loan guarantee for solar power company Solyndra -- which went belly up shortly after a half-billion dollar investment by the federal government -- is just one example of a "breach of protocol" in approving loans.

Issa said the Energy Department actually approved $4.75 billion worth of loans on the last day that the law allowed for financial backing of alternative energy firms.

"We're finding it's not just Solyndra. It's a pattern of these sorts of investments," Issa told "Fox News Sunday." "One of the questions we have for (Energy) Secretary (Steven) Chu is, tell us why that last day, somehow, you had everything you needed and you didn't have it over a period of time before?"
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Occupy Wall Street Supporters Push Ron Paul for President

The 'Occupy Wall Street' "movement" demands free money, free living, free education, and free jobs from the government.  Another thing many of their supporters are pushing for:  Ron Paul in 2012.  The amount of pro-Paul writing is quite surprising, particularly because the group has stated that they believe "all politicians" are corrupt and evil.

Apparently Mr. Paul is an exception.  That's why you have declarations like this on
And comment:
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NFL Political Donations Show the League Leans Right

Doesn't surprise me:
NFL owners and players generally are not shy about expressing their political views—through campaign cash to candidates.

A new study out today from the Center for Responsive Politics ranked the teams by the volume of campaign money given by players, owners, executives and their spouses.

And what they found was that the NFL skews very, very red.

Of the top five most generous NFL franchises, four tilted heavily toward the GOP. The most politically active team in the league, the Houston Texans, was responsible for a total of $293,100 since January of 2009. Of that, $287,300, or 98 percent, went to Republicans. That's because of one man—team owner and energy executive Robert McNair. McNair has given $215,200 of his estimated $1.4 billion net worth to political causes since January 2009, almost entirely to Republicans.

The second highest donating team was the San Diego Chargers, where people affiliated with the teams forked over $171,523, with 79 percent of that going to Republicans.
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Saturday, October 08, 2011

Just a Note of Introduction

I just wanted to give a note of introduction.  As most of us, I have many titles in my life.  One of the ones that I am most proud of is American.  I am a first generation American, in fact.  I was told often as a child how lucky I was to be an American.  I grew up with a great sense of pride in this country and the freedoms it provides.  My parents left a land that offered little opportunity to come to a country that offered anyone who was willing to work hard a promise of the "American Dream". 

While I did pay attention to politics for the majority of my life, I realized several years back that I needed to become more involved.  Shortly after President Obama took the oath of office I started blogging.  My goal is to write from the heart about what it is like to be a conservative surrounded by liberals, in the suburbs of Washington, DC. 

I have a background in direct marketing and fundraising.  I firmly believe that we, as Americans, can make a real difference in the world.  Not by force, but by giving from our hearts. 

I write my own blog, just a conservative girl, and I contribute at PotLuck as well.  I write about culture and the hypocrisy I see everyday coming from the left.  Especially as it pertains to conservative women and minorities. 

I hope you will find my posts thought provoking, interesting, and maybe you will learn a little something too. 

I look forward to hearing feedback from the readers. 

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'Occupy Wall Street' Protesters Call for Cannibalism (With Pictures)

Here are some of the dumbest signs that I had the displeasure of reading from the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement, which calls on people who work to pay for everything.  In the meantime, the "poor" protesters get the word out on their laptops and iPhones.

Oddly enough, it seems that sign after sign talks about eating fellow human beings.  This "movement" was already bizarre and phony, without the push for cannibalism:
And you can't call for human flesh without weirdos dressed as creatures that eat human brains:
Or odd comments about "cannibal BBQs:"

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'Occupy Wall Street' Blasts Banking Industry... but Apologizes to Its Own Banker

Not terribly bright, are they?:
The protesters known as Occupy Wall Street may be critical of capitalism, but they still rely on the banking industry to collect and process the donations that they use to feed the troops and keep their rallies going.

So when an account for donations was mysteriously frozen, organizers accused the industry of holding the money hostage -- only to issue a public apology hours later when they realized it wasn't The Man who had brought them down.

The confusion began Friday morning when the Alliance for Global Progress, the nonprofit soliciting online contributions for Occupy Wall Street, sent out an alert to its supporters with the headline: "URGENT! Demand that e-onlinedata Stop Holding Hostage Contributions to 'Occupy Wall Street'! Release the funds! CALL TODAY!”

The alert listed the phone number for e-onlinedata, the credit card-processing company that had been receiving but not fully processing online contributions...

But after Occupy Wall Street supporters inundated e-onlinedata with complaints, protest organizers discovered the truth: It was their own fault. They issued a public apology and called off the troops, saying the volume of contributions had been more than their account could handle.

"Following extensive conversations with the company today, we are confident that the situation is on its way to a rapid resolution," the latest alert reads. "Please stop making calls to E-Onlinedata and please forward this alert to any listserves to which you may have forwarded our original alert."
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D.C. Smithsonian Museum Closed by Demonstrators

Thanks for closing down a free exhibit, douchebags:
Washington’s National Air and Space Museum has been closed for the day after demonstrators tried to enter the building on the National Mall with signs, and at least one person was pepper sprayed.

Smithsonian spokesman John Gibbons says a large group of demonstrators, estimated to be between 100 and 200 people, arrived at about 3 p.m. and tried to enter the building.

Gibbons says when a security guard tried to stop them, saying they could not enter with the signs, he was apparently held by demonstrators. A second guard who arrived used pepper spray on at least one person and the crowd dispersed.

Gibbons says one woman was arrested by police. The museum is expected to open as usual on Sunday.
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Italian Magazine "Oggi" Pairs Amanda Knox Cover Story With Knives Set

From Mediaite:
If you’re a reader of Italy’s Oggi magazine, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself receiving a little extra gift with your next magazine purchase. And we’re not talking about a dinky little tin ring or plastic animal figurine or strain of E. coli in your Cracker Jack box, no sir: You’ll get a set of four knives, and what appears to be a pizza cutter! …Right alongside a cover story declaring that “Amanda Knox è Libera” (“Amanda Knox is Free”). As in, the very same Amanda Knox whom, as you may be aware, was recently declared not guilty of having participated in the stabbing death of her flatmate in Italy.

We verified that the photo above is definitely not a hoax or Photoshop job. In fact, a source in Italy tells us that the magazine “teased last week that they would be giving away knives!”

Now, it’s important to note that this magazine, which is something like Italy’s version of People, routinely features giveaways, and there’s a distinct possibility that the pairing of a knives set and a cover story on a young woman who had been embroiled in a case involving a brutal stabbing is merely coincidental. Still: It most certainly gets attention! We wonder why Sports Illustrated never decided to capitalize on the O.J. Simpson trial by giving away a pair of gloves, or why Parenting never featured a cover story on Casey Anthony with the chance to win a “mom’s night out for you and your friends.” Seize the fervor, you know?
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Friday, October 07, 2011

White House Adviser on Solyndra: '*#~@ show'

No *#~@:
When Solyndra hit the fan in August, White House energy adviser Heather Zichal may have summed it up best.

"*#~@ show," Zichal wrote in an email Aug. 25.

Zichal’s email is one of dozens showing Obama administration officials were planning how to handle a Solyndra bankruptcy days before the solar company went under.

On Aug. 17, Dan Utech, an energy special assistant in the White House, wrote in an email that DOE had learned Solyndra was beginning to shut down operations.

“It’s unclear what that means in terms of how many people are involved at Solyndra, but we’re now in a place where this could break at any time. DOE communications will be reaching out to WH comms shortly to coordinate.”

The emails also show officials were staking out positions and assigning blame.

The White House and Office of Management and Budget were told by DOE on Aug. 11 — a full 20 days before Solyndra filed for bankruptcy — that the California solar company was “experiencing difficulties and that a bankruptcy or restructuring is imminent,” according to an internal OMB email.

“This issue could become public very quickly since Solyndra may already be unable to pay their suppliers,” the email states.
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Enter Sandman by The Mini Band; 8 to 10 years old


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Gingrich Wants Seven Three-Hour Debates

Newt Gingrich told the assembled crowd at the Values Voter Conference earlier today, which I turned on a few minutes before, that if nominated he would call for seven three-hour long debates between himself and President Obama in the spirit of the Lincoln-Douglas debates for the general election.

The crowd cheered.

As did I.

Presidential debates are insulting. Candidates are asked questions and have only one, maybe one and a half minutes to answer what they would do in a very complex situation, leaving room to be desired in many instances. Neither Lincoln, nor Douglas had that problem: one would speak for one hour; the other would go on for ninety minutes and the first would rebut for another thirty.

I think the former Speaker is absolutely correct.

What say you?

A Call for Contributors

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

If you're interested, email at

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Santorum Social Values

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum addressed the Values Voter Summit today and asked the assembled crowd to imagine his family in the White House:
Rick Santorum raised up his family as a model of Christian conservative principles at the Values Voter Summit, vowing to lead by example on cultural issues as president and recounting in emotional detail the death of one of his children.

Santorum recalled an episode in the 1990s in which he and his wife, Karen, were told by a doctor that their unborn son had “a fatal defect and is going to die.”
Senator Santorum's personal experience will definitely resonate with social conservatives, including myself, but unfortunately we're no longer fighting the culture wars and public attention is not on abortion, but on an unbelievably bad economy.

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Video- Lawrence O'Donnell's Offensive Interview with Herman Cain

Nothing like smug, white, liberal douchebag Lawrence O'Donnell lecturing Mr. Herman "Awesome" Cain about how he is not "authentic." MSNBC, as always, should be ashamed:

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New Perry Ad- Romney and Obama are Carbon Copies

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Obama Falls to Tie Low in Gallup Approval

President Barack Obama has not have a good several weeks. The economy is still struggling, with fears that the Greek credit situation can deflate world markets. Politically, Senate Democrats blocked his jobs bill and the Solyndra and Fast and Furious scandals continue to grow.

Obama has resorted to class warfare to try and bulk up his sagging poll numbers. This does not seem to be working. In fact, it very much may be handicapping his numbers.

His numbers in the Gallup daily tracking has fallen as of late. Since the October 1-3 period, it has fallen four percentage points, tying him with his previous low.

As it stands now, the Obama approval rating breaks down like this:

Approve: 38%
Disapprove: 52%

The disapprove number is slightly lower than the 55% registered in late August. However, it's apparent that Obama's speeches about punishing the successful and Biden's statements of blame on the Obama Administration are not helping.

Meanwhile, Rasmussen's numbers paint a similar picture:

Approve: 42%
Disapprove: 57%

Four more percent approve but five more disapprove. This is becoming a rocky road for re-election. Perhaps the Administration will order up more class resentment, stat.

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How Do We Re-Industrialize America

Manufacturing in America peaked in 1979 when 19.5 million Americans actually produced durable goods.  In the last 30 years our manufacturing sector has declined by 40% losing almost 8 million jobs.  Nearly 6 million jobs have been lost since 2000 and since the Great Recession began we have lost an average 89,000 manufacturing jobs every month for the last two years.  Due to this dramatic constriction America has fallen below 12 million workers employed in manufacturing for the first time since 1946 and is now below levels not seen since 1941.  This dismal record portrays the stunning decline of America as a manufacturing superpower.  And while a rise in productivity has helped America maintain a prominent position in the world this has not resulted in manufacturing continuing to be an avenue for upward mobility for Americans.
So how do we re-industrialize America?  How do we get back all the jobs that have been exported in the last 30 years?  What will be the consequences of taking the bold steps necessary to make America once again the engine that drives the world’s economy?  What will be the result of failing to do so?
To set this discussion into its proper context first we must look at how America grew from a rustic agricultural nation on the edge of Western civilization into the greatest industrial superpower ever known.
In the interest of full disclosure I must confess that I am a life-long capitalist.  I believe that capitalism is the only economic system ever devised by man that requires free choice as a necessary requirement.  Every other system is either more or less a command economy.  The defense and restoration of America’s capitalist economy is today a hallmark of the conservative movement.  Many study the works of Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek.  Those of us who want to see economic opportunity unshackled espouse the principles of both the Chicago and the Austrian Schools of economics as opposed to the theories of the Frankfurt School which have moved America in the direction of a centrally planned economy. 
Flying in the face of this conventional wisdom for the purposes of this discussion we must ask the question, was it capitalism that provided the environment which set America on the road to material riches and industrial power?  Culture to humans is like water to a fish.  It is everywhere.  It provides the medium through which we move.  However, since it is ever present it is not something we constantly notice or concentrate on.  Most of those who read these words were raised in a time or by people who taught American History as a positive, ever improving saga.  We were taught that America never started a war and never lost one.  We were taught that rugged individualism carved out an empire from a raw wilderness.  We were taught that capitalism paved and paid the way. 
At the hazard of being branded an apostate to conservatism I must continue to ask the question, was capitalism the catalyst for America’s industrial power or do we labor under the after-glow of a time when American History was taught in such a way as to magnify present circumstances by projecting them into the past?  Are we looking to a myth of free enterprise to recreate what it didn’t create in the first place?
Was it capitalism that fostered the founding of the colonies which became the seedbed of the United States?
Mercantilism was the economic system that proceeded capitalism in western civilization.  This was a system of economic nationalism which sought to build a strong country by maintaining a favorable balance of trade and by being self-sufficient.  This was one of the primary reasons why the sea-going European powers sought to establish colonies.  They wanted to secure sources of raw materials for their developing industrial sectors and to control external markets allowing them to produce and sell products all within their domestic economy, keeping all the gold at home.
The term mercantilism was coined by Adam Smith the philosophical father of capitalism, but it was not capitalism.  Inherently Mercantilism necessitated a centrally planned and controlled economy.  What benefitted the nation was permitted and encouraged.  What didn’t was prohibited and discouraged.  It was under this system that the English colonies were founded.  The first viable English colony in the New World, Virginia was founded by the Virginia Company a joint stock company which was given a charter by James I.  This charter, like subsequent charters given to the Massachusetts Bay Company and proprietary charters given to individuals such as William Penn and the Lords Baltimore gave these companies and individuals monopolies within specific geographic areas.  Government imposed and enforced monopolies are a restraint of trade and by nature incompatible with a free capitalist system. 
The colonies founded upon this restraint of trade followed suit giving monopolies to companies and individuals to do everything from making iron to importing. Government planning and control of the economy did not stop there.  The colonial governments also granted subsidies, bounties, land grants, loans and money prizes to encourage the birth and prosperity of the industries and services desired.  Through these actions the precursors of modern America were doing what is today reviled as inherently un-American, picking winners and losers.
If we fast forward to the founding of the United States do we find the unbridled free enterprise seen today to be the natural state of the Republic? 
In 1791 Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton issued his third path-breaking report to Congress the Report on Manufactures.  Of all his reports this one is considered the most innovative.  It provided a stark revelation of Hamilton’s and his Federalist compatriots’ vision for America and its economy.  So did this report outline an economy based upon capitalism and free enterprise?  No it did not.  This report envisions an America “independent of foreign nations for military and other essential supplies” this is the heart of a mercantilist program.  Hamilton proposed subsidies to encourage industry.  Some of the mercantilist policies advocated by Hamilton encouraged the central government:
·         To constitute a fund for paying the bounties.
·         To constitute a fund for a board to promote arts, agriculture, manufactures, and commerce.  Hamilton wanted the fund to:
1.      to defray the expenses of the emigration of artists, and manufacturers in particular branches of extraordinary.
2.      to induce the prosecution and introduction of useful discoveries, inventions, and improvements, by proportionate rewards.
3.      to encourage by premiums, both honorable and lucrative, the exertions of individuals and of classes.
The historical evidence of America’s reliance upon protectionist and economic interventionist policies as tools in the building of our greatness can be found everywhere.  The central government built, licensed, and encouraged roads and canals to foster interstate trade by providing monopolies, subsidies and grants.  It fought wars to safeguard sea lanes and to expand territory and markets.  And it birthed, regulated and controlled the financial industry from its very inception.
The incontrovertible evidence points to the fact that America was founded, launched, and nurtured as the successor to and the continuation of mercantilist not capitalist policies.
If these were the policies of economic nationalism which helped foster America’s rise to industrial greatness wouldn’t it seem appropriate for these policies to be the ones that would help it rise again?  There is only one national figure who has consistently urged a return to economic nationalism, Patrick Buchanan.  He has pointed out for years that our rush to embrace so-called free trade has put American workers at a decided disadvantage.  The dissolution of tariff protection forced our workers to compete against people who will work for a small percentage of what Americans can afford to work for in societies with little or no regulation.
How do we get back all the jobs that have been exported in the last 30 years? 
If we want to re-industrialize America we have to protect our markets and support our industry otherwise we will soon sink to a supplier of raw materials and a market to China and the other rapidly rising industrial powers of Asia. 
What will be the consequences of taking the bold steps necessary to make America once again the engine that drives the world’s economy? 
Such a policy calculated to re-build our industry and re-capture our domestic markets from China, Japan, and the four tigers of Asia will carry as many risks as it does benefits.  Just as any predator will react to resistance on the part of its prey so to if we enact tariffs on Chinese goods it may well ignite a trade war.  Then again anything worth having is worth fighting for.  If we want to once again rise to the top of the industrial world to once again have a favorable balance of trade we need to look to what is best for America not what is best for the U. N. or what is best for the globalization lobby. 
What will be the result of failing to rebuild our industrial sector?
Some may deride this proposed return to mercantilist policies as isolationism.  However, just as a nation without borders will soon cease to be a nation any nation that fails to protect and encourage its industry will find itself an agricultural and raw material colony in all but name for those nations which do.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ © 2011 Robert R. Owens  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

Poll: Cain Expands Lead Over GOP Field & Leads Obama, 46%-44%

The Hurricain keeps on moving:
Herman Cain has opened up a 20 percentage point lead among likely Republican primary voters in the race for the Presidential nomination, and also holds a narrow lead among all likely voters over President Barack Obama.

Cains share of the GOP primary has jumped 10 percentage points since Sept. 26 and is now at 38%. Mitt Romney is second with 18%, followed by both Rick Perry and Ron Paul, at 12% each.

The Oct. 3-5 IBOPE Zogby interactive poll also matches Cain, Romney and Perry against Obama. Cain led Obama, 46%-44%, while Obama is one-point ahead of Romney, 41%-40%, and leads Perry, 45%-40%.

As for President Barack Obama, both his job approval (41%) and the percentage who believe he deserves re-election (38%) are virtually unchanged from recent polls.
Herman "Awesome" Cain
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Thursday, October 06, 2011

Muslims in Spain Declare "Jihad on Dogs;" Poison Canines in Street

Reports from Spain are now indicating that Muslims have declared a new enemy: dogs.  In the course of the last several weeks, fifteen canines have been apparently poisoned by Muslims in Lérida, in northeast Catalonia.

A natural reaction to this would be: what the hell?  Local residences say that Muslims are murdering the dogs.  Muslims in the area consider canines "unclean" and therefore their existence violates their religious freedom.
A poor, poisoned dog
Islam, they believe, forbids the keeping of dogs unless they are for hunting.

The region is heavily populated by people of the Islamic faith.  Not ironically, dozens of dogs were poisoned in the same area several years ago.  Understandably, non-Muslim citizens of the region are "alarmed" and now have set up groups which escort people who walk their dogs.

It is unknown when, or if, the attacks will stop.

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