Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mitt Romney: A New Course for the Middle East

An essay from the GOP nominee, at the Wall Street Journal:
Disturbing developments are sweeping across the greater Middle East. In Syria, tens of thousands of innocent people have been slaughtered. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has come to power, and the country's peace treaty with Israel hangs in the balance. In Libya, our ambassador was murdered in a terrorist attack. U.S. embassies throughout the region have been stormed in violent protests. And in Iran, the ayatollahs continue to move full tilt toward nuclear-weapons capability, all the while promising to annihilate Israel.

These developments are not, as President Obama says, mere "bumps in the road." They are major issues that put our security at risk.

Yet amid this upheaval, our country seems to be at the mercy of events rather than shaping them. We're not moving them in a direction that protects our people or our allies.

And that's dangerous. If the Middle East descends into chaos, if Iran moves toward nuclear breakout, or if Israel's security is compromised, America could be pulled into the maelstrom.

We still have time to address these threats, but it will require a new strategy toward the Middle East.
Continue reading for Romney's three-pronged plan.

Of course, Americans need to dump the Obama clusterf-k before we can repair U.S. foreign policy.

Paul Ryan: 'The Obama Foreign Policy is Unraveling Literally Before Our Eyes...'

Via Gateway Pundit:

Presidential Debates Will Be Crucial

If the polls are reasonably accurate (and I think they are), it's Mitt Romney who's got to come out on top in the October debates. He's got to remain calm most of all, which shouldn't be a problem given his past debate performances. And if he can get Obama rattled on a couple of key issues, that could be key. And he can't hold back. Obama's a cool customer and the press will call it an Obama win if neither candidate draws blood. This really is make or break for the GOP nominee. I think it's especially important for Romney to hammer Obama on foreign policy. I really, really hope this Los Angeles Times report proves false, that Romney's backing off his earlier criticism of the administration's Libya lies. There's a gold mine of vulnerability in foreign policy. Romney'd be foolish not to exploit it. We'll see.

The debates can be crucial:

RELATED: "John McCain: Debate will be most-viewed 'in history'."

More Libya Lies: Obama Stooge David Plouffe Denies Cover-Up, Claims Ambassador Rice Had 'Information From the Intelligence Community'

I watched it.

Plouffe argued that Ambassador Susan Rice was relying on extant intelligence reports in her Sunday comments on September 16th, discussed here.

He's lying.

Eli Lake reported that intelligence agencies knew it was a terrorist attack within hours, "U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates." And see Twitchy, "David Plouffe: ‘Libya wasn’t intel failure,’ canoodling after terrorist attack is hunky-dory; Media enables lies."

The video is here.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

And see the Washington Post, "David Plouffe defends Obama administration’s response to attack in Libya." Also at the Weekly Standard, "Plouffe Defends U.N. Ambassador, Axelrod Doesn't":
There were mixed messages from aides to Barack Obama this morning on the Sunday talk shows.

On the one hand, political adviser David Plouffe, who works at the White House, defended America's U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice, for her handling of the terrorist attack in Libya. But on the other hand, David Axelrod, a top Obama political adviser stationed at the campaign headquarters in Chicago, threw Ambassador Rice under the bus.
There's video at that link (via Memeorandum and PJ Media).

Obama's advisors can't keep track of all the lies. This is an epic scandal. David Gregory and Candy Crowley deserve credit for raising questions most of the Obama-Media doesn't want to discuss.

BONUS: At American Freedom, "Obama Senior Advisor David Plouffe Says There's Nothing Wrong With Obama Fundraising After Terrorist Attack And Not Meeting With World Leaders VIDEO."

Added: Blue Crab Boulevard links. Thanks!

Also at Director Blue. Thanks!

Taking Community Out of Community Colleges

Well, looks like I've got a little series on the community colleges going now.

And here's a nice addition, from Bob Whiting at the Orange County Register, "Whiting: Community college budget cuts hit special classes":
There's a storm coming that we can't avoid, and with the death of wheelchair basketball at Cypress College the raindrops already are falling.

For years, community colleges have been just that – nearly as much about community as college. But as one expert tells me, tough decisions have to be made in a tough economic climate – and academics come first.

Yes, we'll see many programs at many two-year colleges canceled in the coming months. Still, it's a sad state when budgets are so tight that we can't afford to keep alive a 40-year wheelchair basketball team.

A team that includes people like John Watkins, a 29-year-old former Army sergeant paralyzed by a sniper's bullet.
We should be hearing story after story like this, as the bills come due in California's public education system. I mentioned previously that the state can't afford to serve everyone, and it's going to be painful to see how that plays out, and sad too.

More at the link, with photos.

Support the Savage

Via iOWNTHEWORLD and the People's Cube.

Support the Savage

And at Pamela's, "Islamic Supremacists Demands Free Speech Judge's Removal," and "Dershowitz: Amended MTA Rules 'Unconstitutional' and 'It's Going to Encourage Violence'."

The Obama-Media's Tipping Point: The Middle East

From Walter Russell Mead, "MSM Tipping Point On Obama in the Middle East?":

Letterman Burn
The repercussions from 9/11/12—the day the roof fell in on the Obama administration’s Middle East policy—continue to rumble across the diplomatic and political landscapes. Before that day, much of the country’s political and media establishment had been studiously ignoring signs of trouble in the Middle East or, when problems were too serious to ignore, studiously refraining from drawing conclusions about the overall state of US policy in the region.

The anti-American riots that have been rocking the Muslim world since 9/11 have shaken the establishment out of its complacency. Increasingly, even those who sympathize with the basic elements of the administration’s Middle East policy are connecting the dots. What they are seeing isn’t pretty. It’s not just that the US remains widely disliked and distrusted in the region. It’s not just that the radicals and the jihadis have demonstrated more political sophistication and a greater ability to organize and strike than expected and that the struggle against radical terror looks longer lasting and more dangerous than thought; it’s that the strategic underpinnings of the administration’s Middle East policy seem to be falling apart. A series of crises is sweeping through the region, and the US does not—at least not yet—seem to have a clue what to do.

The New York Times and the Washington Post are both thoroughly alarmed by the state of the region after 9/11/12 and the reporters if not the editorial pages have moved on from the “Blame Bush” approach. The latest article by Helene Cooper and Robert Worth in the Times cites some pretty biting criticism about the President’s approach to the Arab Spring from (unnamed) top aides and associates. It even quotes an Arab diplomat who sounds nostalgic for the good old days of W to illustrate a criticism of the President made by an (unnamed) State Department official who said, speaking of the President:
“He’s not good with personal relationships; that’s not what interests him … But in the Middle East, those relationships are essential. The lack of them deprives D.C. of the ability to influence leadership decisions.”
This supposed cold fish is the man, we should remember, who came into office hoping that his personal magnetism and sincerity would heal the breach between the United States and the Muslim world. But here’s the (unnamed) Arab on The One:
Arab officials echo that sentiment, describing Mr. Obama as a cool, cerebral man who discounts the importance of personal chemistry in politics. “You can’t fix these problems by remote control,” said one Arab diplomat with long experience in Washington. “He doesn’t have friends who are world leaders. He doesn’t believe in patting anybody on the back, nicknames.

“You can’t accomplish what you want to accomplish” with such an impersonal style, the diplomat said.
To be fair to President Obama and his team, the Middle East is a challenge, and no president and no policy could solve all our problems there. There are plenty of armchair strategists around who will claim that there are easy and simple answers to America’s Middle East problems. This is delusional; American interests, values and ideas don’t work particularly well in this region and Middle Easterners and Americans have continually surprised and annoyed one another since Thomas Jefferson tried and failed to negotiate a peaceful solution with the Barbary Pirates.

The Israeli-Palestinian problem, for example, cannot be settled quickly; the consequence of the region’s lack of democratic traditions and liberal institutions cannot be overcome in four or eight years; the underdevelopment and mass unemployment afflicting so many countries has no known cure; the ethnic and sectarian hatreds that poison the region will not soon be tamed; the deep sense of grievance and injustice that shapes the attitudes of so many toward the Christian or post-Christian West will not soon fade away; the radical and terror groups now roaming the region cannot be easily stopped or mollified; the resource curse will continue to corrupt and poison large parts of the region; the resurgence of Islam, even in less radical forms, inevitably heightens a sense of confrontation with the US and its western allies; and Iran’s ambitions are hard to tame and impossible to accept.

Unfortunately, President Obama’s first and most fundamental mistake in the region was that he thought that he was an exception to this rule: he was the man for whom the Red Sea waters would part. His sincerity and sympathy would win him an initial hearing; his ability to pressure Israel to stop settlement building and reach a fair compromise with the Palestinians would restore such friendly relations between the US and the peoples of the Middle East that the terrorists would dwindle away—even as his sincere approach to Iran would induce the mullahs to lay down their nukes.

Right from the beginning this policy was doomed. As the Cooper/Worth story in the New York Times illustrates, Obama has lost the confidence of the Saudis. The peace process has largely given up the ghost on his watch. The Libya adventure was a costly sideshow that left the administration without viable policy options in the much more vital (and bloody) Syrian civil war. These things have been apparent for some time, but until the last couple of weeks there has been little appetite in the MSM for suggesting that the administration’s overall record in the region was one of failure and incompetence.

This is all changing six weeks before the election. While the MSM is still not interested in hammering home the picture of an administration reeling from one failed policy and faint hope to the next as it drifts inexorably toward a war with Iran it seems unwilling to fight and powerless to avert, the mainstream narrative has shifted decisively away from the old picture of cool-headed competence restoring order and promoting freedom and building peace. The turbulence in the region is impossible to miss, the problems for American interests and even security are disturbing to contemplate, and the failures of the Obama administration can no longer be ignored.
Continue reading.

Cartoon Credit: A.F. Branco at Legal Insurrection.

Jennifer Garner: My Husband's a 'Wonder Sperm Kinda Guy'

Ms. Garner's hubby is Ben Affeck, and she's pleased as punch that his boys can really swim.

See Babble, "Jennifer Garner Talks About Ben Affleck’s “Little Swimmers”." (Via Instapundit.)

Jennifer Garner

I remember watching Jennifer Garner opposite Benjamin Bratt on "Law and Order" years ago, before she was starring in movies. She's got a lovely down home style, almost a schoolgirl-ish thing, although she's 40 now --- and obviously still quite fertile herself.

PHOTO CREDIT: Wikipedia.

Kelly Brook Domestic Chore-Themed Photoshoot for Fabulous Magazine

Via The Sun UK:

The Best Navy in the World

Via America's Interests:

Ezra Levant Slams Mona Eltahawy

Ezra's always good:

And Oh ... I Been Thinkin' 'Bout You For So Long...'

I haven't heard much Billy Squier on the radio, although I always crank up "My Kinda Lover" when it comes on. I was reminded of Squier yesterday by Craig Ramsey, who tweeted the career-killing YouTube of Squier's "Rock Me Tonite." Rudolf Schenker of the Scorpions is quoted at Wikipedia's entry for the song, "I liked [him] very much ... but then I saw him doing this video in a very terrible way. I couldn't take the music serious anymore." Well, I still like "My Kinda Lover" actually. But no doubt that epic gay dance-strut meltdown rightly destroyed that guy's career. I mean, really, who would have ever thought something like that was respectable? I can think of someone, actually, but I'll hold off further comment on that idiot until later.

You got me runnin' baby
You give me somethin' way beyond revenue
You put the magic in me
I feel the magic when we do what we do
And oh...
I can't do without you for too're my situation
You're my kinda lover...

You keep me all together
You take me out whenever I'm lettin' down
You got the motions baby
I got a notion maybe I'll stick around
And oh...
I can never doubt you for too long...I can't see no reason
You're my kinda lover...

When you come 'round I never get down---I fly across the floor
I can see you comin' on me...and I can't ask for more
Rock me, sock me, baby you got me ridin' to the end
Rake me, shake me, baby you make me--turn me on again

You got my motor racin'
I find my thoughts embracin' your every move
I wanna set you reelin'
I wanna make you feel the way that I do
And oh...
I been thinkin' 'bout you for so long
I don't wanna lose ya--you're my kinda lover...

Adorable Kayla Fitz


President Eye Candy Visits 'The View'

Via Theo Spark:

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Harsh Reality Hits California's Community Colleges

I shared my thoughts earlier on the declining support for Governor Jerry Brown's multi-billion dollar tax initiative on the November ballot. If the measure fails, the state's public education establishment's going to face another round of cuts, and they're starting to get down to the bone now. Long-cherished programs will be slashed --- and the long-employed faculty members who run them will be laid off. There's a lot of reasons for this, but one big one is poor leadership, especially among the state's Democrats who're beholden to the teachers' unions, and who haven't worked to rationalize state budgets and adapt to changing fiscal times. It's an old story that I've written about frequently.

In any case, here's this report from the Los Angeles Times from last week, "FADING DREAMS: California's community colleges staggering during hard times":
Marianet Tirado returned to Los Angeles Trade Tech community college this fall, optimistic that she would get into the classes she needs to transfer to a four-year university.

Of the courses she wanted, only two had space left when she registered in May. She enrolled in those and "crashed" others. In one of those cases, she lucked out when the professor teaching a political science class admitted additional students. But she couldn't get into a biology class because she was too far down on the waiting list.

If the math and English courses she needs aren't offered next spring, she may have to push back her plans to apply to San Francisco State, UCLA or USC.

Photos:  Community college conundrum

Her mother is puzzled that Tirado may spend three or four years at what is supposed to be a two-year college.

"Because that's what we think community college is," said Tirado, 24, a journalism major who lives in Watts. "It's hard to explain to my mom that I'm trying to go to school but the courses are not there."

This is the new reality for Tirado and about 2.4 million other students in the nation's largest community college system. The system is the workhorse of California's 1960 Master Plan for Higher Education, which promised affordability, quality and access to all.

Graphic:  Tough times

In reality, the state's two-year colleges are buckling under the stress of funding cuts, increased demand and a weak record of student success.

The situation can be seen on all 112 campuses — students on long waiting lists, those who take years to graduate or transfer and others so frustrated that they drop out. Most of them enter ill-prepared for college-level work. Eighty-five percent need remedial English, 73% remedial math. Only about a third of remedial students transfer to a four-year school or graduate with a community college associate's degree.

"We're at the breaking point," said Jack Scott, who served as chancellor of the California Community College system for three years until retiring this month.

"It's like a nice-looking car you've been driving for several years: It looks shiny, but the engine is falling apart," said Eloy Ortiz Oakley, president of Long Beach City College. "The wheels fell off the Master Plan 20 or 30 years ago. We're finally feeling the results because we have enormous needs for our educational system to produce qualified workers, and we're playing catch-up now."

The consequences of not meeting those demands are huge: About 80% of firefighters and law enforcement officers and 70% of nurses embarked on their careers in community college. By some estimates, California will need 2.3 million more community college degree and certificate holders by 2025 to meet the demands of employers.
More at that top link.

And note that my college president, Eloy Oakley, is quoted at the article. He's a hatchet man, and his administration brought in another hatchet man, Dr. Gaither Loewenstein, to help cut loose faculty and staff to save enough money to keep up with paying the college's bloated administration costs and wasteful perks, like the rarely-attended athletic programs. That's not the image you'll hear from top college officials, but then again, they're the ones with decisive power over the narrative and policy outcomes. The Long Beach Post has an article on what's coming down the pipeline. See, "LBCC Says Program Cuts Necessary As State Resources Shift."

And back over at the Times, readers respond in the letters to the editor, "Letters: Community colleges -- in a fix, but fixable":
The community college situation gets tricky as the traditional enrollment increase during an economic downturn has gotten crushed by the state's budget woes. California's 2.4 million community college students are a state unto themselves.

The state's economic mismanagement, complete with upcoming pass-me-or-else propositions, is an albatross around the neck. Additionally, funding is intertwined with K-12 education, and community colleges get pushed to the bottom (see 2008's failed Proposition 92).

The biggest deficiency in the system is its inability to use the brainpower and helpfulness of the people at the individual schools in crafting solutions. Figure out a way to harness them and the system will thrive.

Mason Malugeon
Huntington Beach


According to the article, 85% of community college students need remedial work in English, and 73% need remedial math. This is a reflection of the failure of California's K-12 schools.

Standardized tests should indicate a student's progress in math and English over time and should be used to evaluate teachers and students. Any system that uses test scores to evaluate teachers should also include a way to asses student motivation (which is partly determined by a teacher) and improvement over prior years' results.

Overlooking the K-12 system is terribly shortsighted.

Frank E. Drsata
Huntington Beach
There's another letter-writer at the link, but her solution is privatization, which is Utopian, for one thing, and is simply not going to fly in blue-state California.

But I've highlighted the key passages from the second and third letter-writers. Faculty don't have input in ultimate decisions on fiscal policies and program termination. And even in other matters of the curriculum, outside forces push trends on the colleges that might not be beneficial to students in the end (student learning outcomes and assessment is a fad, for example, drawn from the standardized test movement, that's being implemented at the class level at my college this term, and they'll have absolutely no impact on how well my students do in classes or how well or quickly they'll be able to complete their coursework).

And while I agree with the last writer, Mr. Drsata, in addition to the issues at the K-12 level, the overriding concern is --- and should be --- the culture of learning at the family level. School districts like Irvine Unified --- where my kids attend --- send large numbers of students to the top universities, and the schools routinely rank among the best in the state, largely because the demographics include not just more affluent families, but many from groups that place high emphasis on academic achievement. It's not politically correct to say it, but those large numbers of students needing remedial classes at the community colleges are predominantly blacks and Hispanics. Other groups, whites and Asians, also have remedial issues, but their numbers are much smaller. The student population's frankly almost half Hispanic at my college at this point. And the greater Long Beach area has a large number of students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. These trends will continue as long as socio-economic inequality remains a major dividing line in the larger American society. For folks to do well in this environment, it's going to be up to the individual families to pull themselves up, to pass on a culture of learning and achievement to their children, because public resources will be strained for years while the U.S. and state economies continue to pull out of the long Obama Depression. Families can't just blame the schools for poor outcomes.

I'll have more on these issues as we move forward. And I especially hope for good news to report, but again, if the tax initiative fails at the polls, it'll be more cuts up front. It could easily be a decade until the state gets back to a fiscal environment where massive public funding can be devoted to restoring the education system to the status and stature that it enjoyed in earlier decades. I think that's possible, but it will take rationalizing services, along with changing some of the entitlement elements that have driven public expectations in the past. The community colleges are the weakest institution in all of California's educational sectors, so some of the final changes will be greatest at this level. I don't know, but the state ultimately may not be able to guarantee everyone a place in community college classrooms. It's too bad, but it's not as if it's not happening already.

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, 1926-2012

I can't find the entry now, but a few days back Walter Russell Mead noted that for all its faults, the New York Times remains the country's best newspaper for serious news reporting. And as my readers know, while I often flail away angrily at the Times' horribly biased reporting, I keep returning each and every day to read all the news that's over there, arguably "all the news that's fit to print," in the words of the paper's longstanding slogan.

In any case, I guess this makes the news of the passing of Arthur Sulzberger a bit more interesting and sad.

The obituary is here, "Publisher Who Transformed The Times for New Era":
Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, who guided The New York Times and its parent company through a long, sometimes turbulent period of expansion and change on a scale not seen since the newspaper’s founding in 1851, died early Saturday at his home in Southampton, N.Y. He was 86.

His death, after a long illness, was announced by his family.

Mr. Sulzberger’s tenure, as publisher of the newspaper and as chairman and chief executive of The New York Times Company, reached across 34 years, from the heyday of postwar America to the twilight of the 20th century, from the era of hot lead and Linotype machines to the birth of the digital world.

The paper he took over as publisher in 1963 was the paper it had been for decades: respected and influential, often setting the national agenda. But it was also in precarious financial condition and somewhat insular, having been a tightly held family operation since 1896, when it was bought by his grandfather Adolph S. Ochs.

By the 1990s, when Mr. Sulzberger passed the reins to his son, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., first as publisher in 1992 and then as chairman in 1997, the enterprise had been transformed. The Times was now national in scope, distributed from coast to coast, and it had become the heart of a diversified, multibillion-dollar media operation that came to encompass newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations and online ventures.

The expansion reflected Mr. Sulzberger’s belief that a news organization, above all, had to be profitable if it hoped to maintain a vibrant, independent voice. As John F. Akers, a retired chairman of I.B.M. and for many years a Times Company board member, put it, “Making money so that you could continue to do good journalism was always a fundamental part of the thinking.”
Continue reading.

Bret Baier Special Report: Evolving Narrative Over Benghazi Attack and Cover-Up

It's devastating. An absolutely devastating account.

Plus, at London's Daily Mail, "They DID know: Now White House admits they knew 'within 24 hours' that Al Qaeda was behind Libya attacks despite confusing public statements." (At Memorandum.)

Lacey Banghard Never-Ending L.A. Summer

An amazing woman, at Egotastic!, "Thank God It’s Funbags! Lacey Banghard Takes Off Her Swimsuit to Celebrate the Neverending L.A. Summer."

Canadian Held at Guantánamo Bay Is Repatriated

It's Omar Khadr, an al-Qaeda terrorist captured in Afghanistan in 2002.

The New York Times reports, "Sole Canadian Held at Guantánamo Bay Is Repatriated":

Born in Toronto, Mr. Khadr was mainly raised in Pakistan and Afghanistan by his father, Ahmed Said Khadr, who emigrated to Canada in 1977 from Egypt and eventually became a Canadian citizen. American and Canadian intelligence services identified him as a senior member of Al Qaeda. About a year after Omar Khadr’s capture, Ahmed Khadr was killed by Pakistani forces near the border with Afghanistan.

Omar Khadr’s mother, Maha, and his sister Zaynab lived on and off in Canada. In 2004, they provoked a sharp public reaction after appearing in a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation documentary about the family and seemed to condone the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and condemned Canadian social values. They briefly operated a blog that also contained provocative remarks.
F-king raghead terrorist, the kid became of symbol of "human rights" violations while held at Gitmo. BCF has more, "Khadr Back in Canada."

He could get parole in Canada as early as next year.

More at Atlas Shrugs, "GITMO jihad killer Omar Khadr repatriated to Canada after White House pressure for release #Savage." (At Memeorandum.)

#ProudSavage: Mona Eltahawy Gone Mad!

Epic lulz at Atlas Shrugs, "Moe Moe Moe Moe Moe-nuh!"

Plus, "#ProudSavage Mona Eltahawy Defends Jihad Massacres of Innocent Civilians."


More from Anne Sorock at Legal Insurrection, "MTA changes ad rules and rewards Eltahawy stunt."

PREVIOUSLY: "Pamela Geller's 'Savage' Aren't Being Taken Down."

Voters May Reject California's Proposition 32

It's the big payroll protection initiative, which I'd love to see passing in November. But it's a hard sell, since the measure is deceptive. It indeed appears to contain major loopholes for big business, and is hence seen as punitive and unfair.

At the Los Angeles Times, "California voters leaning against campaign finance initiative":

SACRAMENTO — California voters appear poised to reject a November ballot measure that would ban political contributions by payroll deduction, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.

Forty-four percent of those surveyed said they opposed Proposition 32, which would eliminate the main fundraising tool of unions. Just 36% said they supported the measure, which would also bar corporations and unions from contributing directly to candidates.

Proponents of the measure, having focused squarely on unions in two past attempts to end paycheck deductions for political purposes, adopted the language of the Occupy Wall Street movement this time around and rebranded their campaign as an effort to curb the power of special interests.

An ad touting the measure says it would "cut the money tie between special interests, lobbyists and career politicians" and "put people back in charge." The supporters' core argument is that the initiative would apply "evenhandedly, without exception," to corporations and unions.

Campaign finance experts disagree, saying the measure would disproportionately hobble organized labor by prohibiting payroll deductions to collect campaign cash. Corporations, they say, rarely use such a method to raise political money, instead tapping executive checkbooks and company treasuries.

The labor-backed opposition campaign has hit on that theme, airing radio and TV ads for more than a month that paint the measure as a deceptive corporate power grab, complete with exemptions for business. So far, unions have raised more than $43.4 million to defeat Proposition 32, which is being bankrolled by Republican donors, conservative activists and business executives.

As a result, proponents "aren't able to convince voters this is a clean-government, stop-special-interests initiative," said Dave Kanevsky of the Republican polling firm American Viewpoint, which conducted the survey in conjunction with the Democratic company Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.

Indeed, when respondents heard arguments for and against the measure — supporters saying it would end influence peddling and opponents calling it phony campaign finance reform — opposition grew, with 48% saying they would vote against the initiative. Only 36% said they would vote for it.

"People are ready to believe that … corporations are spending this money to rig the system more for them," said Stan Greenberg, the Democratic pollster.
PREVIOUSLY: "Support Dwindles for Proposition 30's Multi-Billion Dollar Tax Hike."

Support Dwindles for Proposition 30's Multi-Billion Dollar Tax Hike

A majority still favors the initiative, according to the Los Angeles Times poll out this week. But support has declined as folks take a look at the measure, with concerns especially about waste and abuse in spending. The buzz at my college is abject alarm, since a failure to pass the law will result in massive cuts to programs. The administration has an entire slate of vocational programs, and so forth, that are scheduled to get the ax next year. And that's going to entail full-time tenured layoffs, which is frightening to anyone who's employed at the community colleges. There's little danger to core general education programs, like political science, so rest assured dear readers, your humble blogger is quite safe (and I've got seniority as well, which is another layer of protection from layoffs). But there's no telling what could happen ultimately. It's not clear how the state's public education system can continue without massive reforms, from top to bottom, including revisiting historic guarantees to universal access to all education-ready Californians.

See LAT, "Support slips for Brown's tax hike":

SACRAMENTO — Support for Gov. Jerry Brown's plan for billions of dollars in tax hikes on the November ballot is slipping amid public anxiety about how politicians spend money, but voters still favor the proposal, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.

The findings suggest that voters are leery of sending more cash to Sacramento in the wake of a financial scandal at the parks department, spiraling costs for a multibillion-dollar high-speed rail project to connect Northern and Southern California and ill-timed legislative pay raises.

Brown's measure would temporarily raise income tax rates on high earners for seven years and boost the state sales tax by a quarter-cent for four years in a bid to avoid steep cuts in funds for schools and other programs.

Fifty-five percent of registered voters say that they back such an increase, a drop from May, when 59% of voters supported it. The new poll shows 36% of voters opposed, with the remainder undecided.

Views swing widely by political affiliation. Among Democrats, 72% favor the proposal. Only 27% of Republican voters support it. Sixty-three percent of independent voters approve.

An intense opposition campaign could derail the governor's initiative, Proposition 30. Support drops to 48% when voters are presented with arguments they might hear before the Nov. 6 election. Foes of the measure say, for example, that government wastes too much of the money it already has.

"An ongoing debate can make this very close," said Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, one of two firms that conducted the bipartisan poll. The other company, American Viewpoint, is a Republican concern.

The USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences/Los Angeles Times poll surveyed 1,504 registered voters by telephone from Sept. 17 to Sept. 23. The margin of error is 2.9 percentage points.

Brown, whose approval rating has dipped 3 points since May to 46%, has said the state needs new taxes because budget cuts alone won't solve its financial problems. He's counting on voters like Gerardine Gauch to turn out on election day.

The 60-year-old prison psychologist from Monterey County said California is facing the hard reality that it's no longer a sun-splashed land "where everything goes fine forever."

"When you're growing up, you have to choose what's valuable and what's not," said Gauch, a Democrat. "And you have to pay for what's valuable."

Others are skeptical of Brown's vow to cut almost $6 billion from the budget if taxes don't pass, with public schools taking most of the hit. The threat hasn't budged voters like Anna Carson, a 60-year-old Republican from San Diego.

"They use education as the emotional hook," she said. "It's just baloney."

Tiffany Axene, a 32-year-old Republican from Riverside County, won't support the tax hikes either, even though she has four small children who could be bound for public schools. "I'm just tired of seeing people who make money get taxed and taxed," she said.

Younger Californians are some of Proposition 30's most consistent supporters, with 77% of registered voters ages 18 through 29 in favor. Support slides to 47% among respondents older than 64. Voters with children of school age or younger fall in between, supporting the measure 59% to 35%.

The outcome in November could be influenced by the 8% of respondents who are unsure how to vote — and by whether opponents of the proposal can muster the resources to sway them.

"The biggest question now is whether the opposition will have the money to get their argument heard," said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC and a former GOP political consultant.
I'll be voting against the initiative, since I've long held that the state's blue model of governance is unsustainable. If Prop. 30 fails it will force a round of major restructuring that could save the state billions in the long run, and that should be just the start of rethinking the out-of-control California big government boondoggle.

Ambassador Susan Rice Appeared on Five Sunday Talk Shows on September 16th to Claim Libya Attack Was 'Spontaneous'

Check out Stephen Hayes, at the Weekly Standard, "Permanent Spin":

For nine days, the Obama administration made a case that virtually everyone understood was untrue: that the killing of our ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, was a random, spontaneous act of individuals upset about an online video—an unpredictable attack on a well-protected compound that had nothing do to with the eleventh anniversary of 9/11.

These claims were wrong. Every one of them. But the White House pushed them hard.

Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, appeared on five Sunday talk shows on September 16. A “hateful video” triggered a “spontaneous protest .  .  . outside of our consulate in Benghazi” that “spun from there into something much, much more violent,” she said on Face the Nation. “We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.”

On This Week, Rice said the consulate was well secured. “The security personnel that the State Department thought were required were in place,” she said, adding: “We had substantial presence with our personnel and the consulate in Benghazi. Tragically two of the four Americans who were killed were there providing security. That was their function, and indeed there were many other colleagues who were doing the same with them.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney not only denied that the attacks had anything to do with the anniversary of 9/11 but scolded reporters who, citing the administration’s own pre-9/11 boasts about its security preparations for the anniversary, made the connection. “I think that you’re conveniently conflating two things,” Carney snapped, “which is the anniversary of 9/11 and the incidents that took place, which are under investigation.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong. Intelligence officials understood immediately that the attacks took place on 9/11 for a reason. The ambassador, in a country that faces a growing al Qaeda threat, had virtually no security. The two contractors killed in the attacks were not part of the ambassador’s security detail, and there were not, in fact, “many other colleagues” working security with them.

The nature of the attack itself, a four-hour battle that took place in two waves, indicated some level of planning. “The idea that this criminal and cowardly act was a spontaneous protest that just spun out of control is completely unfounded and preposterous,” Libyan president Mohammad el-Megarif told National Public Radio. When a reporter asked Senator Carl Levin, one of the most partisan Democrats in the upper chamber, if the attack was planned, Levin said it was. “I think there’s evidence of that. There’s been evidence of that,” he responded, adding: “The attack looked like it was planned and premeditated, sure.” Levin made his comments after a briefing from Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

Representative Adam Smith, a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, agreed. “This was not just a mob that got out of hand. Mobs don’t come in and attack, guns blazing. I think that there is a growing consensus it was preplanned.” And according to CNN, Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy “has said that the attack appeared to be planned because it was so extensive and because of the ‘proliferation’ of small and medium weapons at the scene.” Not only was the attack planned, it appears there was no protest at all. Citing eyewitnesses, CBS News reported late last week: “There was never an anti-American protest outside the consulate.”

So we are left with this: Four Americans were killed in a premeditated terrorist attack on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, and for more than a week the Obama administration misled the country about what happened.

This isn’t just a problem. It’s a scandal.
More at that top link.

And see AoSHQ, "Obama Administration Directs Active Cover-Up of Benghazi Terrorist Attack; Media Enables and Joins."

And especially, "Rep. Peter King Calls for Resignation of Ambassador Susan Rice."

And check back for more reporting on this story...

Pamela Geller's 'Savage' Ads Aren't Being Taken Down

Foreign Policy has the background, "NYC’s transit authority changes advertising standards in wake of anti-Islam ads."


The New York Times has run a piece, and Hot Air is running with it as if it's accurate, claiming that the MTA has changed its guidelines to be able to prohibit my AFDI pro-freedom ads. I disagree with that interpretation. The New York Times piece is inaccurate, putting as negative a spin as they can on the MTA ruling, out of their hatred for freedom and zeal to enforce Sharia blasphemy laws. Hot Air has been very late to the party and has not been following the story at all, so I'm not surprised that they're slavishly following the Times' lead.

The fact is, the MTA doesn't mean that it will be enforcing the Sharia or adhering to the blasphemy laws under Islamic law. The enemedia is assuming that they will prohibit our ad, but it is not necessarily so. And if they do, we will certainly fight back. It's fairly safe to say that the MTA is referring to prohibiting ads that genuinely incite to violence, such as ads from Occupy Wall Street calling for people to get guns and shoot businessmen and police. It's the same as it was before. If they block us, we'll sue again.
More at the link.

And scroll down for all the hot coverage at Atlas Shrugs. She's changing the world over there.

The Audacity of Corruption

Via Accuracy in Media:

Mama Gorilla Kisses Her Newborn Baby at Jersey Zoo


Rush Limbaugh: Obama Regime Won't Send the FBI to Libya, 'It's a Harmful Campaign Issue...'

Via Freedom's Lighthouse:

Christina Aguilera: 'Your Body'

At London's Daily Mail, "Gyrating on the bed, promiscuity and bleeding pink glitter... feast your eyes on Christina Aguilera's new video Your Body."

BWHAHAHA!! Reviled Internet Troll Walter James Casper III Still Pestering Gay Activist Blogger Months After Being Dissed on Twitter

Damn, it's almost October and the reviled Internet troll and racist anti-Semitic hate-blogger Walter James Casper III, a.k.a. Repsac3, is still demonically hassling gay activist writer Evan Hurst.

What an embarrassing spectacle. A true loser exposes his psychiatric illnesses on the web for the entire world to see. He's deserving of all the vicious contumely he's so persistently earned. Gawd, what a total asshole, "Hatesac3"

I wrote about this at the beginning of August, and Repsac's stalking of Hurst dates back to July. The sick f-ker just won't let it go. After a while you have to bring in law enforcement to get this criminal off your back. See, "Walter James Casper III, Hate-Blogger and Internet Stalker, Harasses Gay-Politics Activist Evan Hurst on Twitter":
This is why hate-blogger Walter James Casper III, a.k.a. Repsac3, is blocked from my blog --- and this is why the evil "Hatesac" has been exposed, repudiated, and blocked all over the right wing blogosphere. When Zilla put up a huge "roll call" of conservatives supporting me against workplace intimidation, Hatesac3 infiltrated her comments and was promptly banned. As I wrote at the time: "RACIST = REPSAC's a nut case. A raving hatemonger and lunatic."
Yes, a raving hatemonger, and ever more dangerously, a pathological Internet predator. Keep away from this stupid f-ker, especially if you're an ethnic minority, a woman, or a Jew. Repsac's been spouting an increasingly venomous number of attacks on people, defending, for example, Maureen Dowd's universally discredited "slithering" slurs on Jewish neocons at the New York Times. See, "Walter James Casper III: Jewish 'Neocons' Should 'Stop Whining' About Being Slurred as 'Puppet Masters' for Bush/Cheney War Cabal."

Contacting the authorities is the best bet to stop this guy from harassing you on the Internet. See, "Intent to Annoy and the Fascist Hate-Blogging Campaign of Walter James Casper III."

Repsac3 = Dangerous Racist, Anti-Jewish Internet Stalker and Criminal.

Again, just stay away from that deranged pile of human excrement. And block him, on Facebook, on Twitter, and in your blog comments. When he emails, save those to hand over to the police for investigation. Someone like this needs to be behind bars and I'll be on the case until that time when the evidence piles up and we can put this guy away for good.

A White House Cover-Up on Libya

From Terence Jeffrey, at the Washington Examiner, "What did the White House know about Libya, and when?":

Upon hearing there had been an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans had been killed there and that this murderous assault had been carried out on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a rational mind might be tempted to conclude that this had been a premeditated act of terror.

The Obama White House and State Department resisted the temptation.

On Sept. 12, the day after the attack, White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked whether "the attack in Benghazi was planned and premeditated." "It's too early for us to make that judgment," Carney said.

The next day, Sept. 13, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland subtly pointed to a YouTube video as possibly creating a motivation for the attack. Asked "whether the Benghazi attack was purely spontaneous or was premeditated by militants," Nuland replied, "[W]e are very cautious about drawing any conclusions with regard to who the perpetrators were, what their motivations were, whether it was premeditated, whether they had any external contacts, whether there was any link, until we have a chance to investigate along with the Libyans ... [O]bviously, there are plenty of people around the region citing this disgusting video as something that has been motivating."
There's more at the link, but if you have time, spend a few minutes with the video from the State Department press conference cited by Jeffrey. The passage mentioned is at about 13:40 minutes, but Nuland repeats the "cautious" line at numerous points and she's heavily stonewalling throughout. Interestingly, the reporters there --- and I don't recognize any of them --- are asking some excellent questions, on security, on possible motivations and terrorist coordination, and so forth. It's fascinating given that sources have been reporting all week that the administration knew within hours that this was a terrorist attack. Nuland was acting in political crisis mode. She's probably lying, and she was certainly covering for her boss, Hillary Clinton, and the White House.

RELATED: At AoSHQ, "Obama Administration Scrubs State Department Memo Denying Threat of 9/11 Terrorism From Internet."

Dorothy Rabinowitz Reviews 'Homeland'

The new season starts Sunday.

Rep. Allen West Brutally Slams Opponent Patrick Murphy

Via Legal Insurrection:

Friday, September 28, 2012

Rep. Peter King Calls for Resignation of Ambassador Susan Rice

At Twitchy, "Rep. Pete King calls for Ambassador Rice to resign; John Kerry defends, advises ‘deep breath’."

Shepard Smith Apologizes After Fox News Broadcasts Live Car Chase Suicide

This is weird, because I was just watching a live car chase this morning. See, "Mercedes-Benz Driver Leads CHP on 100 MPH Chase." The suspects stopped and at least four highway patrolmen surrounded the car with guns drawn. I thought something bad was going to happen. Nothing did this morning, but local stations have showed cops blow away folks on live TV before.

So now it turns out some crazy dude blew himself away live on Fox News today, and Shepard Smith was horrified that Fox showed the whole thing.

The New York Times reports, "As It Followed a Car Chase, Fox News Showed a Man Kill Himself."

Mike Huckabee Slams Obama Administration's Benghazi Cover-Up: 'We Have Been Flat-Out Lied To...'

There's some steady outrage, getting more intense by the day. Mike Huckabee makes one of strongest comparison to the Nixon administration's Watergate cover-up.

At Gateway Pundit, "Huckabee Goes There – Compares Benghazi Cover-Up to Watergate… Except 4 People Are Dead (Video)."

It was a planned orchestrated attack led by terrorists, terrorists, Bill. And this White House has to explain why it hasn’t owned up to that. Why it can’t say it. I think frankly, if this issue really gets traction that it deserves, and let it say it deserves, go back. Richard Nixon was forced out of office because he lied. And because he covered some stuff up. I will be blunt and tell you this. Nobody died in Watergate. We have people who are dead because of this. There are questions to be answered and Americans ought to demand to get answers...
More at Memeorandum.

And at the link there, Crooks and Liars:
Who could have seen this coming? Here we go with the next step in the ridiculous, drummed up, non-scandal, Benghazi-gate that the right wingers have all been losing their minds over for the last couple of weeks at Fox...
A U.S. ambassador and three others have died, the adinistration's response has been changing virtually by the day, and radical left-wing outlets like the completely idiotic Crooks and Liars call this a "drummed-up non-scandal"? This is what destructive hyper-partisanship looks like. Some people really will do anything to evade the truth, even attack others who want real answers when Americans have been killed. Progressives are truly depraved, but that's nothing new, of course.

Keep checking back for updates on the story...

Deliberate and Organized Attack in Benghazi

This is the latest spin on the administration's FUBAR response to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.

See the Washington Post, "In statement, spy chief’s office defends evolving accounts of Benghazi attack, cites shifting intelligence":

The office of the nation’s spy chief issued a statement Friday defending the Obama administration’s accounts of the siege of U.S. missions in Libya, saying it only became clear in the aftermath that it was “a deliberate and organized terrorist attack.”

The statement appeared aimed at quieting criticism, mostly from Republicans, of the administration’s shifting characterizations of a Sept. 11 assault that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. Officials initially described the attack as spontaneous but in recent days have said it was an act of terrorism with links to al-Qaeda.

The release from the office of Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. came as lawmakers sought more details about the siege in Benghazi. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee sent a letter to the State Department on Thursday posing questions about intelligence leading up to the attack and the adequacy of the security at U.S. compounds.

Shawn Turner, spokesman for Clapper, said that U.S. agencies have altered their assessments based on intelligence that has emerged through an ongoing investigation.

“In the immediate aftermath, there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo,” Turner said. That information was conveyed to administration officials as well as members of Congress.

But analysts have since “revised our initial assessments to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists,” Turner said. “Some of those involved were linked to groups affiliated with, or sympathetic to al-Qaeda.”

The release marks a rare instance in which the intelligence director’s office has weighed in through a public statement on details of an event overseas, let alone one that remains under investigation during a presidential campaign. In an e-mail, Turner indicated that the director’s office, while seeking to stay out of the political fray, became convinced that it should clarify the intelligence community’s position.

“I put out the message because I think it’s important that people understand that early reports are often wrong or incomplete, but our intelligence community continues to work around the clock to gather details and understand exactly what happened in Benghazi,” Turner said.
And here's the editorial at WaPo, "Stop playing politics with the Benghazi attack":
THE OBAMA administration’s descriptions of what happened Sept. 11 in the Libyan city of Benghazi have evolved in a way that some — including congressional Republicans — find suspicious. Initially, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton described an “attack” in which “heavily armed militants” assaulted a U.S. compound, leading to the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Four days later, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said that “extremist elements” had joined a demonstration outside the U.S. Consulate against an anti-Muslim video.

By the end of last week, White House spokesman Jay Carney was calling the incident a “terrorist attack” but adding that it was likely “the result of opportunism” and not planned. But then Wednesday, Ms. Clinton suggested that al-Qaeda’s North African branch, operating from a safe haven in Mali, could have had a hand in the assault. Al-Qaeda and other terrorists, she said, “are working with other violent extremists to undermine the democratic transitions underway in North Africa, as we tragically saw in Benghazi.”

Critics see in this a deliberate attempt by the administration to portray the Benghazi violence as a spontaneous response to the video, as opposed to a terrorist attack that was timed for Sept. 11 and possibly planned by al-Qaeda. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and three other Republicans have demanded in a letter that Ms. Rice explain how she “could characterize an attack on a U.S. consulate so inaccurately,” while a group of congressmen accused the administration of adopting “a pre-9/11 mind-set — treating an act of war solely as a criminal matter.”

In fact, political calculations appear to have infected the rhetoric of all sides. The White House was slow to place the modifier “terrorist” in front of the word “attack,” at a time when President Obama claims credit on the campaign trail for the “decimation” of al-Qaeda. He continued to focus on the offending video — which also provoked demonstrations outside U.S. embassies in Cairo and around the Muslim world — long after it became clear that the Benghazi attack was the work of well-organized combatants who, among other things, accurately aimed mortar fire at an unmarked U.S. compound located half a mile from the consulate...
I'll have more later...

The Obama Administration's Benghazi Coverup

From Michael Graham, at the Boston Herald, "Prez weaves a web of lies":
A week after U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens was killed in an attack on the consulate in Benghazi, President Barack Obama sent U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice out to tell us, “What happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction . . . as a consequence of the video, that people gathered outside the embassy and then it grew very violent.”

Actually, Mr. President . . . no. There was no “spontaneous reaction.” It was a terrorist attack, and nothing but a terrorist attack.

For two weeks, Obama’s spokesman told us that this deadly attack was just a movie review gone wrong. As Jay Carney said on Sept. 18, “We saw no evidence to back up claims by others that this was a preplanned or premeditated attack.”

Actually, Mr. President . . . no. Multiple sources confirm that your administration knew it was a “preplanned,” “premeditated attack” within 24 hours. Far from having “no evidence,” your administration had already identified a possible target for retaliation within a day of Stevens’ murder.

Last week, Obama sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton out to say the FBI was on top of the investigation in Libya. FBI Associate Deputy Director Kevin Perkins told Congress on Sept. 19 that an investigation was underway.

Actually, Mr. President . . . no. As of this writing, no FBI agent has even arrived in Benghazi. CNN reports the “crime scene” has yet to even be secured.

And on Tuesday, Mr. President, you gave a speech at the United Nations about the violence against America, in which you mentioned YouTube a half-dozen times, but didn’t use the word “terrorist” or “terrorism” once.

Actually, Mr. President . . . that’s just pathetic.
More at the link.

And check Fox News, "Top intelligence official backtracks on Libya story, says initial assessment premature" (at Memeorandum).

Libya Terrorists Bragged About Attack on U.S. Consulate

Eli Lake keeps digging away at this story, at the Daily Beast, "Intercepts Show Attackers on U.S. Consulate in Benghazi Bragged to Al Qaeda" (at Memeorandum):
Conversations monitored by U.S. intelligence show Ansar al-Sharia jihadists boasted to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb about the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and others—more evidence the assault was not a spontaneous reaction to the anti-Muslim video.

In the communications, members of Ansar al-Sharia (AAS) bragged about their successful attack against the American consulate and the U.S. ambassador, according to three U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast anonymously because they were not authorized to talk to the press.

At this stage there is no consensus inside the U.S. intelligence community that AQIM planned the attack, but the communications are more evidence that the attack was no spontaneous reaction to an Internet video, as the Obama administration had said for the first nine days after the attack.

This week, Obama administration officials are coming around to the view that the assault on the consulate in Benghazi was a planned terrorist attack. Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, “As we determined the details of what took place there and how that attack took place, it became clear that there were terrorists who planned that attack.”

After the attack, there were multiple pieces of intelligence that strongly pointed to al Qaeda. The Daily Beast reported Wednesday that early intelligence pointed to al Qaeda, including strong leads on four of the attackers, and the location of one of those attackers. That said, the intelligence community did not offer Congress or senior Obama administration officials any consensus analysis on the perpetrator of the attack in those early days after it occurred...
Continue reading.

Plus, here's an interesting piece at Foreign Policy, "Kerry, Rice position themselves on Benghazi attack."

I'll be interested to see why Susan Rice continued to claim a spontaneous attack in Libya days after the event and in the midst of administration knowledge of the truth, including information on the Ambassador's notebook. Is she covering up for the president? What did she know and when did she know it?

More later...

Americans for Prosperity Ohio Bus Tour – Obama's Failing America

Robert Stacy McCain's got some excellent coverage.

See, "VIDEO: AFP’s Jen Ridgely Talks About ‘Obama’s Failing Agenda’ Ohio Bus Tour" and "Get on the Bus! AFP Leads ‘Obama’s Failing Agenda Tour’ Across Ohio."

BONUS: "ROMNEY RALLY IN TOLEDO: Huge Crowd Stands in Line in the Rain!"

Kirsten Powers: Media May Be Complicit in Another Terrorist Attack on America

The media's certainly helping to perpetuate a cover up, and if it turns out that information on planning was known prior to the attack, then that would be complicity in terrorism.

See Kirsten Powers on Fox News yesterday, via Right Scoop, "Kirsten Powers: The media may be complicit in another terrorist attack on America."

Red States' Income Growing Faster Than Blue States'

Some of the income gains were due to an increase in transfer payments in Republican states, but the key is that in a number of red states the rise in income is driven by energy-friendly economic development, and the differences between the Democrat states are dramatic.

At USA Today:
Income is growing much faster in Republican-leaning "red states" than in Democratic-tilting "blue states" or the pivotal swing states that will decide the 2012 presidential election, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

Personal income in 23 red states has risen 4.6% since the recession began in December 2007, after adjusting for inflation. Income is up just 0.5% in 15 blue states and Washington, D.C., during that time. In the dozen swing states identified by USA TODAY that could vote either way Nov. 6, income has inched ahead 1.4% in 4 ½ years. The big drivers of red state income growth: energy and government benefit payments such as food stamps.

By contrast, Democratic blue states are more affluent but were hit harder by the downturn. Connecticut, dependent on the financial industry, suffered the largest income drop except swing-state Nevada. Yet Connecticut residents still make $10,000 a year more on average than people in fast-growing North Dakota.

When averaged nationally, the robust gains in red states and meager gains in blue states produced a national growth rate remarkably similar to that in the swing states.

USA TODAY analyzed income data released this week by the Bureau of Economic Analysis to compare how red, blue and swing states have fared through June 30. The difference in income gains is partly because blue states are richer and more populated than red states — 42% of the nation's income vs. 30% in red states. Also, the economic recovery since the recession officially ended in June 2009 has been distributed unequally around the country.

North Dakota, a red state, tops the nation in income growth thanks to an oil boom. Other major energy states — Alaska, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas — are solidly Republican, polls show. Poor, southern red states depend heavily on government transfers for income and benefited from increases in Medicaid and other federal programs.
There's more at the link, including a very cool graphic.

Netanyahu Demands 'Red Line' on Iran

At the Wall Street Journal, "Israeli Leader Calls for Plan on Iran."

Plus, see Alana Goodman, at Commentary, "AP, Reuters Reportedly Post Bibi “Heil” Photos."

Johnny Lewis, 'Sons of Anarchy' Star, Allegedly Kills Landlady Then Dies in Fall

A frankly bizarre story, at the Los Angeles Times, "'Sons of Anarchy' actor was unraveling."

And at London's Daily Mail, "Revealed: Scientology past of Katy Perry's ex-lover and star of The O.C. who 'killed his 81-year-old landlady' and died in roof fall six DAYS after leaving jail."

Free Obama Phones

Update on the 47 percent, via Marooned in Marin:

'Wake the F—k Up'

At the New York Post, "Samuel L. Jackson debuts profanity-laced pro-Obama ad."

Robert Spencer: 'Any Moral Person Would Support Our Campaign'

Well, radical leftists like Mona Eltahawy aren't moral persons, but listen to Robert explain things at the clip:

And at Jihad Watch, "NYC MTA refuses to buckle to Leftist/Islamic supremacist intimidation, rules political ads will continue to run."

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Security Fears Hobble Libya Attack Investigation

The story is becoming way too big for the big media outlets to sweep under the rug. The New York Times is now doing the kind of critical reporting that we should have seen from the first day of this debacle. See, "Security Fears Hobble Inquiry of Libya Attack":

BENGHAZI, Libya — Sixteen days after the death of four Americans in an attack on a United States diplomatic mission here, fears about the near-total lack of security have kept F.B.I. agents from visiting the scene of the killings and forced them to try to piece together the complicated crime from Tripoli, more than 400 miles away.

Investigators are so worried about the tenuous security, people involved in the investigation say, that they have been unwilling to risk taking some potential Libyan witnesses into the American Embassy in Tripoli. Instead, the investigators have resorted to the awkward solution of questioning some witnesses in cars outside the embassy, which is operating under emergency staffing and was evacuated of even more diplomats on Thursday because of a heightened security alert.

“It’s a cavalcade of obstacles right now,” said a senior American law enforcement official who is receiving regular updates on the Benghazi investigation and who described the crime scene, which has been trampled on, looted and burned, as so badly “degraded” that even once F.B.I. agents do eventually gain access “it’ll be very difficult to see what evidence can be attributed to the bad guys.”

Piecing together exactly how Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died here would be difficult even under the best of conditions. But the volatile security situation in post-Qaddafi Libya has added to the challenge of determining whether it was purely a local group of extremists who initiated the fatal assault or whether the attackers had ties to international terrorist groups, as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton suggested Wednesday may be the case.

The Libyan government has advised the F.B.I. that it cannot assure the safety of the American investigators in Benghazi. So agents have been conducting interviews from afar, relying on local Libyan authorities to help identify and arrange meetings with witnesses to the attack and working closely with the Libyans to gauge the veracity of any of those accounts.

“There’s a chance we never make it in there,” said a senior law enforcement official.
Continue reading.

PREVIOUSLY: "Benghazi-Gate."


The Blaze reports, "'Benghazi-Gate': Lawmakers Demand Answers as Obama Administration's Inconsistent Libya Story Falls Apart."

And see the editorial at the Wall Street Journal, "The Libya Debacle":

In his United Nations speech on Tuesday, President Obama talked about the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya and declared that "there should be no doubt that we will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice." What he didn't say is how relentless he'll be in tracking down the security lapses and intelligence failures that contributed to the murders. Let's say there's some doubt about that.

None of the initial explanations offered by the White House and State Department since the assault on the Benghazi consulate has held up. First the Administration blamed protests provoked by an amateurish anti-Islam clip posted on YouTube. Cue Susan Rice, the U.N. Ambassador and leading candidate for Secretary of State in a second Obama term: "What happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction . . . as a consequence of the video, that people gathered outside the embassy and then it grew very violent."

Administration officials also maintained that the diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt, the site of the first attacks this September 11, were properly defended and that the U.S. had no reason to prepare for any attack. "The office of the director of National Intelligence has said we have no actionable intelligence that an attack on our post in Benghazi was planned or imminent," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week, calling the security measures in place there "robust."

Cell phone video footage and witness testimony from Benghazi soon undercut the Administration trope of an angry march "hijacked" by a few bad people. As it turned out, the assault was well-coordinated, with fighters armed with guns, RPGs and diesel canisters, which were used to set the buildings on fire. Ambassador Chris Stevens died of smoke inhalation. Briefing Congress, the Administration changed its story and said the attacks were pre-planned and linked to al Qaeda.

You'd think this admission would focus attention on why the compound was so vulnerable to begin with. But the Administration wants to avoid this conversation. The removal of all staff from Benghazi, including a large component of intelligence officers, would also seem to hinder their ability to investigate the attacks and bring the killers to justice.

Journalists have stayed on the case, however, and their reporting is filling in the Administration's holes. On Friday, our WSJ colleagues showed that starting in spring, U.S. intelligence had been worried about radical militias in eastern Libya...

Imagine the uproar if, barely a month before Election Day, the Bush Administration had responded to a terrorist strike—on Sept. 11 no less—in this fashion. Obfuscating about what happened. Refusing to acknowledge that clear security warnings were apparently ignored. Then trying to shoot the messengers who bring these inconvenient truths to light in order to talk about anything but a stunning and deadly attack on U.S. sovereign territory.

Four Americans lost their lives in Benghazi in a terrorist attack that evidence suggests should have been anticipated and might have been stopped. Rather than accept responsibility, the Administration has tried to stonewall and blame others. Congress should call hearings to hold someone accountable for this debacle.
Well, a good chunk of the media are complicit in helping to cover up the story. As I've argued, this is shaping up to be a massive scandal and I'm glad GOP members of Congress are starting to make a stink. At the clip Senator Bob Corker calls the administration's stonewalling a disgrace, it's "Benghazi-Gate." That's got quite a ring to it. Indeed, this morning Da Tech Guy tweeted that had such events taken place during the Nixon administration, "Tricky Dick" would have been able to serve out his 8 years in office uninterrupted. It's simply unreal what's happening during this administration and the American people need a full hearing.

Check back for developments...

Israel Must Be 'Eliminated'

At the Wall Street Journal:
'To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle."

George Orwell

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the United Nations today, which also happens to be Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. The timing is apt because when it comes to Iran and Israel, the hardest thing for some people to see or hear is what Iranian leaders say in front of the world's nose.

"Iran has been around for the last seven, 10 thousand years. They [the Israelis] have been occupying those territories for the last 60 to 70 years, with the support and force of the Westerners. They have no roots there in history," Mr. Ahmadinejad told reporters and editors in New York on Monday.

"We do believe that they have found themselves at a dead end and they are seeking new adventures in order to escape this dead end. Iran will not be damaged with foreign bombs. We don't even count them as any part of any equation for Iran. During a historical phase, they [the Israelis] represent minimal disturbances that come into the picture and are then eliminated."

Note that word—"eliminated." When Iranians talk about Israel, this intention of a final solution keeps coming up. In October 2005, Mr. Ahmadinejad, quoting the Ayatollah Khomeini, said Israel "must be wiped off the map." Lest anyone miss the point, the Iranian President said in June 2008 that Israel "has reached the end of its function and will soon disappear off the geographical domain."

He has company among Iranian leaders. In a televised speech in February, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called Israel a "cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut," adding that "from now on, in any place, if any nation or any group that confronts the Zionist regime, we will endorse and we will help. We have no fear of expressing this."

Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, chief of staff of the armed forces, added in May that "the Iranian nation is standing for its cause that is the full annihilation of Israel."
Continue reading.

In Spain, Austerity and Hunger — and Riots

The New York Times had this report on Tuesday, "Spain Recoils as Its Hungry Forage Trash Bins for a Next Meal."

And then that night, intense rioting broke out:

Der Spiegel has more, "Autumn of Discontent: Turmoil over Austerity Hits Spain and Greece."

FBI Agents Still Not in Benghazi, Libya; Consulate Still Not Secure

Yet more f-ked up news on the administration's Muslim world clusterf-k, from CNN, amazingly:

'It's the closest thing to real freedom I've ever known...'

This is a great story, at the Los Angeles Times, "A Utah man and his ghost town: a love story":
WOODSIDE, Utah — Roy Pogue has loved a lot of things in his 63 years — like his wife, Chris, and her little Daffy Duck tattoo, not to mention the couple's six children.

Yet few things have made his heart go flip-flop more than a dry-gulch piece of land out in the middle of Utah's nowhere.

Sometimes, love truly is blind. A lot of words describe Pogue's backside-of-beyond parcel, where rust rules and the thermometers have all surrendered to the cold and the heat. One of those words is Godforsaken.

More than 700 dusty, rocky acres in all, the spread sits along the trickling Price River, under the boxy shadow of the Book Cliffs. Like Pogue himself, a man in bib overalls, handlebar mustache and well-oiled cowboy hat, the property exudes a bit of Wild West panache: At its core is a creaky old ghost town complete with an abandoned gold mine, cold-water geyser and a supposed onetime hide-out for the outlaw Butch Cassidy when he wasn't riding with the Sundance Kid.

But now, in a move that breaks Pogue's heart, he's put it all up for sale. Despite its scruffy "as is" condition, he's asking a pretty price: $3.9 million.

Potential buyers might see only isolation and neglect: a jumble of abandoned trailers, water tanks, squat-looking shacks and the shell of an old service station, all surrounded by a fence to keep out vandals.

If most towns rise up out of the desert, this one just lies there. But for Pogue, the place has been a refuge.

The little hamlet of Woodside, located along a lonely rural highway three hours southeast of Salt Lake City, was already long abandoned when Pogue settled here, but that suited him just fine. A disabled veteran from the nearby town of Moab who had a hard time finding steady carpentry work, Pogue says that in his 20 years here, he's ruled his own fate: He's been a one-man sheriff, judge, jury and good Samaritan.

Over the years, he made ends meet by ranching, farming (yes, farming) and running his gas station. And for a long time he made it work. For 70 miles along isolated U.S. Route 6, between the towns of Price and Green River, it's been just Pogue and a herd of free-range llamas. But maybe not for much longer.

After decades of sweat, labor, battles with the federal government over cattle and water rights, fights with his wife, who prefers people to llamas — and, finally, declining health — Pogue performed the toughest chore of his life: pounding in the for-sale sign.

"This place has meant so much to me," he said, sweating under a relentless midday sun. "It's the closest thing to real freedom I've ever known in my life. At this price, it might be a cold day in hell before someone buys it. And maybe that's good."