Saturday, June 30, 2012
'Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, most often the pivotal vote in the court's ideological battles, said the law is an affront to individual liberty and should have been rejected in its entirety'
'on Tuesday, the New York Times published an article about the efforts of the Palestinians from Battir, an Arab village southwest of Jerusalem, to have their ancient terraced irrigation system recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They claim the designation is necessary and urgent because if they don't get it, Israel may build a portion of the security barrier through the village and harm the irrigation system.
Isabel Kershner, the Times' reporter, referred to the irrigation system as "a Roman-era irrigation system."
But as the bloggers Yisrael Medad and Elli Fischer pointed out, it is a Jewish irrigation system from the Second Temple period. And while Battir is a reasonable candidate for World Heritage Site status, it is first and foremost a Jewish heritage site. Battir is the Arab name for the ancient Jewish village Betar, the site of Bar- Kochba's last stand against the Roman Empire.
It is the last place where Jews were sovereign until the establishment of the State of Israel.
But Kershner didn't mention any of that.
Doing so would lead to too many inconvenient truths – about the nature of Palestinian nationalism, about UNESCO, about Jewish rights to the land. So the historical significance of Battir was left unreported, and the nature of the irrigation system was reported incorrectly.'
'Mr. Rahimi, second in line to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said the Talmud teaches to "destroy everyone who opposes the Jews."
The "Zionists" are in firm control of the illegal drug trade, Mr. Rahimi said, asking foreign dignitaries to research his claims. "Zionists" is Iran's ideological term for Jews who support the state of Israel.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran will pay for anybody who can research and find one single Zionist who is an addict," Mr. Rahmini said. "They do not exist. This is the proof of their involvement in drugs trade."
What made his remarks even more striking is that Iran's fight against illegal drugs is one of the few issues on which the Islamic republic can count on Western sympathy. Iran's battle to stop the flow of drugs coming in from neighboring Afghanistan has often been mentioned as a potential field of cooperation during negotiations over the country's nuclear program…
Mr. Rahimi, who spoke after Mr. De Leo, told stories of gynecologists' killing black babies on the orders of the Zionists and claimed that the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 was started by Jews, adding that mysteriously, no Jews died in that uprising.
He also said the Talmud teaches Jews to think that they are a superior race. "They think God has created the world so that all other nations can serve them," he said. Halfway through his speech, Mr. Rahimi said there was a difference between Jews who "honestly follow the prophet Moses" and the Zionists, who are "the main elements of the international drugs trade."
A European diplomat said afterward: "This was definitely one of the worst speeches I have heard in my life. My gut reaction was: why are we supporting any cooperation with these people?"'
Here is the best plan I have seen to Replace Obamacare:
Here is Romney's replacement plan:
On his first day in office, Mitt Romney will issue an executive order that paves the way for the federal government to issue Obamacare waivers to all fifty states. He will then work with Congress to repeal the full legislation as quickly as possible.
In place of Obamacare, Mitt will pursue policies that give each state the power to craft a health care reform plan that is best for its own citizens. The federal government's role will be to help markets work by creating a level playing field for competition.
Restore State Leadership and Flexibility
Mitt will begin by returning states to their proper place in charge of regulating local insurance markets and caring for the poor, uninsured, and chronically ill. States will have both the incentive and the flexibility to experiment, learn from one another, and craft the approaches best suited to their own citizens.
Block grant Medicaid and other payments to states
Limit federal standards and requirements on both private insurance and Medicaid coverage
Ensure flexibility to help the uninsured, including public-private partnerships, exchanges, and subsidies
Ensure flexibility to help the chronically ill, including high-risk pools, reinsurance, and risk adjustment
Offer innovation grants to explore non-litigation alternatives to dispute resolution
Promote Free Markets and Fair Competition
Competition drives improvements in efficiency and effectiveness, offering consumers higher quality goods and services at lower cost. It can have the same effect in the health care system, if given the chance to work.
Cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits
Empower individuals and small businesses to form purchasing pools
Prevent discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage
Facilitate IT interoperability
Empower Consumer Choice
For markets to work, consumers must have the information and the power to make decisions about their own care. Placing the patient at the center of the process will drive quality up and cost down while ensuring that services are designed to provide what Americans actually want.
End tax discrimination against the individual purchase of insurance
Allow consumers to purchase insurance across state lines
Unshackle HSAs by allowing funds to be used for insurance premiums
Promote "co-insurance" products
Promote alternatives to "fee for service"
Encourage "Consumer Reports"-type ratings of alternative insurance plans
Friday, June 29, 2012
'The new tax, which Congress passed in 2010, affects the net investment income of most joint filers with adjusted gross income of more than $250,000 ($200,000 for single filers). Starting on Jan. 1, 2013, the tax rates on long-term capital gains and dividends for these earners will jump from their current historic low of 15% to 18.8%, assuming Congress extends the current tax rates.
If, on the other hand, Congress allows the tax rates set in 2001 and 2003 to expire on Dec. 31—an unlikely scenario, according to many experts—the top rate on capital gains will rise to 23.8% and the top rate on dividends will nearly triple, to 43.4%.'
'In his first public speech addressing tens of thousands of mostly Islamist supporters, Egypt's president-elect Mohammed Morsi has vowed to free the blind sheik jailed in the U.S. for a plot to blow up New York City landmarks.
Morsi, Egypt's first Islamist and civilian president-elect, promised Friday to work to free Omar Abdel-Rahman, the spiritual leader of men convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.'
'After the first World Trade Center bombing in February 1993, the FBI began to investigate Rahman and his followers more closely. With the assistance of an Egyptian informant wearing a listening device, the FBI managed to record Rahman issuing a fatwa encouraging acts of violence against US civilian targets, particularly in the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area.[not in citation given] The most startling plan, the government charged, was to set off five bombs in 10 minutes, blowing up the United Nations, the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, the George Washington Bridge and a federal building housing the FBI.[not in citation given] Government prosecutors showed videotapes of defendants mixing bomb ingredients in a garage before their arrest in 1993.[not in citation given] Rahman was arrested on 24 June 1993, along with nine of his followers. On 1 October 1995, he was convicted of seditious conspiracy, and in 1996 was sentenced to life in prison.
Rahman is currently serving his life sentence at the Butner Federal Medical Center in North Carolina.
Abdel-Rahman's imprisonment has become a rallying point for Islamic militants around the world, including Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. In 1997, members of his group Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya conducted two attacks against European visitors to Egypt, including the Luxor massacre. In addition to killing women and children, the attackers mutilated a number of bodies and distributed leaflets throughout the scene demanding Rahman's release.'
Friday, June 22, 2012
Friday, June 15, 2012
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
"I believe the Ryan budget will have a devastating impact on America," he added. "It is as if these guys don't know what made America in the first place."
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
'Every generation has an incentive to borrow money from the future to spend on itself. But, until ours, no generation of Americans has done it to the same extent. Why?
A huge reason is that earlier generations were insecure. They lived without modern medicine, without modern technology and without modern welfare states. They lived one illness, one drought and one recession away from catastrophe. They developed a moral abhorrence about things like excessive debt, which would further magnify their vulnerability.
Recently, life has become better and more secure. But the aversion to debt has diminished amid the progress. Credit card companies seduced people into borrowing more. Politicians found that they could buy votes with borrowed money. People became more comfortable with red ink.
Today we are living in an era of indebtedness. Over the past several years, society has oscillated ever more wildly though three debt-fueled bubbles. First, there was the dot-com bubble. Then, in 2008, the mortgage-finance bubble. Now, we are living in the fiscal bubble.
In this country, the federal government has borrowed more than $6 trillion in the last four years alone, trying to counteract the effects of the last two bubbles. States struggle with pension promises that should never have been made. Europe is on the verge of collapse because governments there can't figure out how to deal with their debts. Nations around the globe have debt-to-G.D.P. ratios at or approaching 90 percent — the point at which growth slows and prosperity stalls.
It all goes back to the increase in the tolerance for debt.
Democrats and Republicans argue about how quickly deficits should be brought down. But everybody knows debt has to be restrained at some point. The problem is that nobody has been able to find a political way to do it.
The common view among politicians is that pundits may rail against debt, but voters don't actually care. Voters don't want to face the consequences of their spending demands. They'll throw you out of office if you make the tough decisions required to cut deficits. That's why debt mounts and mounts. Voters want it to.'
Monday, June 4, 2012
This is by far, the creepiest thing I've seen. I'm laughing and recoiling at it at the same time.