WELL, THIS IS NICE: "The al-Qaeda leader who is thought to have devised the plan for the July 7 suicide bombings in London and an array of terrorist plots against Britain has been captured by the Americans. Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, a former major in Saddam Hussein’s army, was apprehended as he tried to enter Iraq from Iran and was transferred this week to the 'high-value detainee programme' at Guantanamo Bay."
Hey, wait -- an "al-Qaeda leader" who's also a "former major in Saddam Hussein's army"? But I thought there was no connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda. Or between Al Qaeda and Iran . . . .
UPDATE: Don Surber: London bombings? What London bombings? The U.S. announced on Friday that it captured the mastermind behind the 7/7/2005 bombings in London. But you would not know it by reading the New York Times, the Washington Post or the Associated Press. None of them mentioned the London bombings in reporting on the capture of the man who organized that attack, Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi (aka, Abu Abdallah). Instead, reporters concentrated on where this major player in the war on terrorism was held after his capture. Incredible.
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey comments: "All of these papers had hours after the Times of London report to get the London bombings into the story. The Times goes to bed at 7 pm ET and hits the feeds and wire services. None of the American media bothered to check on Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi. Readers should ask themselves whether that comes from a lack of intellectual curiosity, or whether it comes from a bias that puts the circumstances of the detention of a terrorist at a higher priority than the
Either way, they're doing a crappy job. But if he'd had a connection to Jack Abramoff, you can bet they'd have mentioned it!
28 April 2007
27 April 2007
We now know that Kathryn Johnston fired only a single bullet, through the door as police were trying to break in. They responded with a storm of bullets, which apparently both wounded Johnston and the officers themselves. When they realized their fatal error, they planted cocaine and marijuana in the woman's home. They then pressured an uninvolved informant to testify to having made controlled buys at Johnston's home to cover their tracks.Shot to death in her own home, during an ill-conceived no-knock raid, executed under false pretense and then covered up by even more systemic crookedness. The often-abused phrase 'travesty of justice' applies perfetly here.
Kathryn Johnston obviously didn't know that the invaders forcing their way into her home were police. She had the right to defend her home. That's true now that we know that the drugs the police claim to have found in her home were planted. But it would have been just as true if she were, say, a medical marijuana user. Or if someone had been using her porch as a drug perch without her knowledge.
Pay no mind to the available labor pool and the free markets it promotes; we will have union brothers hammering those nails - YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?
Basically, the PLA scheme was sold to the MOA officials on the basis that they could reduce costs and ensure "labor peace." Both of these propositions are erroneous. First, by limiting the bidding pool to union-only contractors you reduce healthy competition and drive up costs, almost guaranteeing wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars. Second, the unions also agreed not to strike in exchange for the concession that all MOA workers must be hired through union halls. They contend this saves money by avoiding costly delays and keeping labor peace.
The real meaning of labor peace is that, since only union labor will be working on the future MOA project, unions will not engage in strikes. In any other realm an agreement not to disrupt business in return for an economic concession would be clearly identified as a protection racket.
26 April 2007
This won't ever be a scam within the Gotcha Crowd until Haliburton makes its first dollar in this space.
The FT has also found examples of companies setting up as carbon offsetters without appearing to have a clear idea of how the markets operate. In response to FT inquiries about its sourcing of carbon credits, one company, carbonvoucher.com, said it had not taken payments for offsets.
Blue Source, a US offsetting company, invites consumers to offset carbon emissions by investing in enhanced oil recovery, which pumps carbon dioxide into depleted oil wells to bring up the remaining oil. However, Blue Source said that because of the high price of oil, this process was often profitable in itself, meaning operators were making extra revenues from selling “carbon credits” for burying the carbon.
The Dexter Lake Club still has the neon rooftop sign that drew "Animal House" location scouts to the site in the fall of 1977. The film was set in the year 1962 and the lights that shout out the club's name and advertise "Cocktails" and "Dining" appealed to the film's producers, location scout Katherine Wilson says.
House Democratic leaders are not expected to pressure embattled Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) to forfeit his lone remaining committee assignment, even as two Republican lawmakers who similarly face intense FBI scrutiny have relinquished their posts in recent days.If either the Democrats, or the House Ethics Committee, or the people of Louisiana and any shame between them, they might kick this guy to the curb. But no; he's a got the 'D' after his name, therefore standards will not apply.
Democratic sources indicated that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is unlikely to ask the Louisiana lawmaker, who is under federal investigation, to give up his seat on the Small Business Committee.
The Louisiana (what a shocker!) lawmaker has not been indicted in the investigation, but the FBI has asserted it videotaped Jefferson allegedly accepting $100,000 in marked bills from an informant, and a related raid of his home reportedly found $90,000 in cash in his freezer.
But wait, there's more.
Jeez; I love everything about Washington DC.
Democrats in Congress appear to be taking full advantage of the "pay to play" system they said led to a "climate of corruption" under Republicans, an ABC News investigation has found. "Washington looks pretty much the same as it always did," said Ellen Miller of the Sunlight Foundation, despite Democratic promises of reform.
One of the Democrats' biggest fundraisers, held at a private estate in suburban Washington, required lobbyists and other big donors to pay as much as $28,000 to have dinner and access to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic House leaders.
During last year's campaign, Pelosi strongly criticized Republican fundraising efforts. "The Republicans have turned Congress into an auction house, for sale to the highest bidder. You have to pay to play," she said as the Democrats announced how they planned to reform Congress.
24 April 2007
Halberstam was a great journalist, writer and chronicler of our times. At 30, he won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting in Viet Nam, later covered the other side of the war in The Best and the Brightest, and also crafted a lesser known book that is among may favorties on American history.
So, MSNBC features analysis from a "retired ATF agent" who also happens to be: (1) Member of an organization that is apparently a gun control front; (2) in the employ of Handgun Control Inc, the premier handgun control lobbying group in the country (aka the Brady folks); and (3) supports legal actions against firearm dealers.
And they fail to mention this affiliation at all in their story. Surely they knew Mr. Vince's bio when they sought him out for comment. It's almost as if MSNBC has some sort of agenda to push or something and doesn't want it audience to be informed.
20 April 2007
Many Muslim students use restroom sinks to wash their feet before prayer. Other students have complained, and one Muslim student fell and injured herself while lifting her foot out of a sink. Some local Muslim leaders have advised the college staff that washing is not a required practice for students under the circumstances, according to (MCTC President Phil) Davis. Nevertheless, he says, he wants to facilitate it for interested students. "It's like when someone comes to your home, you want to be hospitable," Davis told me. "We have new members in our community coming here; we want to be hospitable." So the college is making plans to use taxpayer funds to install facilities for ritual foot-washing.Maybe you just think that MCTC is trying to be seen as tolerant, open and welcoming to people of all faiths, but this is really just a suck-up to Islam. Don't you dare try to let on that it's Christmastime:
A memo from (Dianna Cusick, MCTC's director of legal affairs) and President Phil Davis, dated Nov. 28, 2006, exhorted supervisors to banish any public display of holiday cheer: "As we head into the holiday season ... "all public offices and areas should refrain from displays that may represent to our students, employees or the public that the college is promoting any particular religion." Departments considering sending out holiday cards, the memo added, should avoid cards "that appear to promote any particular religious holiday." Last year, college authorities caught one rule-breaker red-handed. A coffee cart that sells drinks and snacks played holiday music "tied to Christmas," and "complaints and concerns" were raised, according to a faculty e-mail. College authorities quickly quashed the practice.If you think installation of simple plumbing is where this is going to end, pull your head out:
The task force's eventual objectives on American campuses include the following, according to the website: permanent Muslim prayer spaces, ritual washing facilities, separate food and housing for Muslim students, separate hours at athletic facilities for Muslim women, paid imams or religious counselors, and campus observance of Muslim holidays. The task force is already hailing "pioneering" successes. At Syracuse University in New York, for example, "Eid al Fitr is now an official university holiday," says an article featured on the website. "The entire university campus shuts down to mark the end of Ramadan." At Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, Mich., "halal" food -- ritually slaughtered and permissible under Islamic law -- is marked by green stickers in the cafeteria and "staff are well-trained in handling practices."A letter to the Strib further focuses the hypocrisy of MCTC:
If, therefore, an issue of safety is involved in the foot-washing ritual as asserted by Phillip L. Davis, (Counterpoint, April 18), the proper response is to forbid the unsafe activity. American laws prohibit genital mutilation of little girls, and also polygamy, despite religious justifications for those practices. Constitutional law, not the Bible or the Qur'an, governs America.Meanwhile, not unrelated, in Spain:
Religious adherents of any faith, who think they cannot conform to existing religiously neutral standards, may establish and attend private schools where all their strictures can be observed. But they are not entitled to impose or establish their faith with tax expenditures.
Indeed, Zapatero seems to believe that multilateral group therapy is the best way to work out his differences with the Islamic extremists who want to take over his country. But the prime minister’s initiative has been widely criticized in Spain and elsewhere because of its failure to comprehend that Al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremists are at war not just with Spain or other individual states, but with the very ideals of Western society…and especially with post-modernist hyper-secularists like Zapatero himself.
When people capable of performing acts of heroism are discouraged or denied the opportunity, our society is all the poorer. And from the selfless examples of the passengers on Flight 93 on 9/11 to Virginia Tech professor Liviu Librescu, a holocaust survivor who sacrificed himself to save his students earlier this week, we know what extraordinary acts of heroism ordinary citizens are capable of.Contrast Thompson's vision with the institutional victimization and "mop up after the fact" doctrine driven by so many contemporary leaders.
Many other universities have been swayed by an anti-gun, anti-self defense ideology. I respect their right to hold those views, but I challenge their decision to deny Americans the right to protect themselves on their campuses -- and then proudly advertise that fact to any and all.
Whenever I've seen one of those "Gun-free Zone" signs, especially outside of a school filled with our youngest and most vulnerable citizens, I've always wondered exactly who these signs are directed at. Obviously, they don't mean much to the sort of man who murdered 32 people just a few days ago.
When she asked a man what he was ding, he relied "scrapping, " and said he would leave. "I said, 'Oh, no you won't,' and I shot their tires so they couldn't leave," Ramey said.
She had to balance on her walking stick as she pulled out a snub-nosed .38-caliber handgun. "I didn't even think twice. I just went and did it. If they'd even dared come close to me, they'd be 6 feet under by now."
"They've been stealing from me for years. Those good-for-nothing slobs," she said.
19 April 2007
Latino advocates are wary that the additional content that Burns has promised will appear during breaks in the film, or otherwise outside the main story arc. They insist that the new material should be part of the story itself, which focuses on the wartime experiences of four towns or cities in different regions of the country.Don't like Burns' work? Make you own damn film.
"It does not satisfy our concerns to be an amendment or some kind of addendum" to the documentary, said Raul Tapia, a spokesman for the American G.I. Forum, a Latino veterans organization. Latinos "who contributed so much to winning the war deserve better. They are not an addendum. They stood up for their country, and we are standing up for them."Burns' film is not intended to be the end-all, beat-all final word on WWII, but that doesn't matter. In America in 2007 everyone who wants anything are entitled to whatever they want.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), a member of the group, issued a statement last night, saying: "Ken Burns is a well-known filmmaker, and whether it's fair or not, his films are viewed by many as definitive histories. It is socially responsible and historically accurate to include the invaluable contributions of Hispanic Americans not as a footnote, but as part of the actual story of World War II."
Boy oh boy, thanks Senator. Us dum-dums need pinheads like you to ascribe meaning and purpose to everything under the sun. Jeez, maybe we should have laws that force people to keep changing their work until it satisfies every constituency in the land - maybe somehting like affirmative action for art. What a wonderful nation we'll have then.
Tucker Carlson scrounged up a copy and put a simple question to her: since she’s so worried about weapons with barrel shrouds, could she at least explain to the viewers what a “barrel shroud” is?I didn't think so. Follow the link to see the video.
Congress; you make us so proud.
What is curious about Reid's statement, as NPR and some news outlets have noted, is not Reid's criticism of Alito -- Reid opposed Alito's confirmation -- but the fact that Reid supported, and voted for, the federal statute upheld in yesterday's decision. Reid was one of 17 Senate Democrats voting in favor of the bill in 2003.
18 April 2007
With about as much discussion as you would expect for a road-cleaning resolution, the seven members of the Ramsey County Board raised their salaries by 25 percent, to $80,000, on Tuesday.Read it all. There's a great punch line at the end of this joke.
The board based its decision on a study it paid a public relations firm to conduct. The study paid no attention to lower-paid or unpaid boards such as St. Paul City Council ($50,896 per member), St. Paul School Board ($10,800), the Metropolitan Council ($20,000), the Metropolitan Airports Commission ($50 per meeting) and the University of Minnesota Board of Regents (no pay or benefits). The PR firm focused on other county commissioners (Hennepin County board members pay themselves $90,276) and on full-time professional managers. It recommended the $80,000 salary that the board ultimately adopted. The study never mentioned the benefit package board members receive - health, dental and life insurance; pension; free parking in downtown St. Paul; mileage reimbursement.
Not all parody has to be funny, it just needs to be accurate in its needling.
A practical, commonsense way of reducing gun violence - especially in the schools - would be a federal law prohibiting, or at least seriously limiting, the interstate reporting of sensational gun crimes like Virginia Tech for five working days. Such a law would not affect local coverage, where there is a need for the immediate dissemination of information, but would make the event 'old news' when it was finally reported nationally and therefore unlikely to get the massive publicity that invites further, copycat violence.
Even a small reduction in today's intense coverage of such events might, by not stimulating some potential gunman to action, save lives. While 'gun' laws are hard to enforce because of the easy concealment of firearms, the public nature of 'news' would make enforcement of this law virtually automatic. Because the delay would be short and serve a compelling government interest, it should pass constitutional muster; the Brady law serves admirably as a precedent here. While First Amendment absolutists will cavil, the simple fact is that it is as wrong to hold that the Press Clause protects a media 'right' to lethally endanger the public as it would be to hold that the Religion Clause protects human sacrifice.
Almost too much to tell and well worth the price of admission.
Tuesday night, Boogaard helped produce the first goal of the Wild's season-sustaining 4-1 victory over Anaheim, and he threatened to have the last word on the fight that could light up this series like a stray cigarette in a California forest.
Boogaard watched from the bench as Anaheim's Brad May sucker-punched Wild pacifist Kim Johnsson, leaving Johnsson face-down on the ice. Boogaard then challenged to a fight everyone who ever lived in Orange County, including the Rally Monkey and a certain Ducks winger of similarly stunted evolution.
17 April 2007
Upon exiting the classroom, we were met at the doors leading outside by two armor-clad policemen with fully automatic weapons, plus their side arms. Once outside, there were several more officers with either fully automatic rifles and pump shotguns, and policemen running down the street, pistols drawn.As Forrest Gump says: "That's all I have to say about that."
It was at this time that I realized that I had no viable means of protecting myself.
Please realize that I am licensed to carry a concealed handgun in the commonwealth of Virginia, and do so on a regular basis. However, because I am a Virginia Tech student, I am prohibited from carrying at school because of Virginia Tech's student policy, which makes possession of a handgun an expellable offense, but not a prosecutable crime.
I had entrusted my safety, and the safety of others to the police. In light of this, there are a few things I wish to point out.
All told, the military flew at least 13 congressional delegations to various destinations during the Easter recess -- at an estimated rate of $10,000 or more per flying hour.Ka-ching!
(Rep. Bennie) Thompson’s office said he toured the Caribbean because he now chairs the Homeland Security Committee and wanted to see vacation hot spots to “examine border security and port security.” Three other members of the delegation also brought along their spouses.
At the Caneel Bay resort, where room rates reach $1,100 per night, the spokeswoman said Thompson and his wife paid the “government rate.” But, according to the reservations department, Caneel Bay doesn’t “offer any
14 April 2007
The conduct of the lacrosse team of which they were members was not admirable on the night of the incident, to say the least. And there are so many other victims of prosecutorial misconduct in this country who never get the high-priced legal representation and the high-profile, high-minded vindication that it strikes me as just a bit unseemly to heap praise and sympathy on these particular men.Oh I love it when objective media wades into the opinion waters and goes back and forth at will. No one is heaping praise on theses men, Terry, and God knows no on has anything positive to say about the way Big Media played along in Nifong's sicko power trip. Here's a tip for Terry Moran and all the other bearers of information - just because these guys might have been the kind that beat you up in high school doesn't mean there should be different tiers of justice in the United States. If you know of someone getting the shaft, Terry, go tell their stories and please try to be objective for a change.
There is a very large cushion under them--the one that softens the blows of life for most of those who go to Duke or similar places, and have connections through family, friends and school to all kinds of prospects for success.
Thousands of demonstrator march with Turkish flags in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, April 14, 2007. Some 300,000 Turks protested against their Islamic-rooted prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, demonstrating the intense opposition he will face from Turkey's secular establishment if he decides to run for president next month.
13 April 2007
Indeed, one overlooked mystery is why temperatures are not already higher. Various models predict that a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere will raise the world's average temperature by as little as 1.5 degrees Celsius or as much as 4.5 degrees. The important thing about doubled CO2 (or any other greenhouse gas) is its "forcing"—its contribution to warming. At present, the greenhouse forcing is already about three-quarters of what one would get from a doubling of CO2. But average temperatures rose only about 0.6 degrees since the beginning of the industrial era, and the change hasn't been uniform—warming has largely occurred during the periods from 1919 to 1940 and from 1976 to 1998, with cooling in between. Researchers have been unable to explain this discrepancy.The Romans used to have vineyards in today's England. The Vikings used to raise cattle on Greenland. Where I'm typing this used to be under a mile of ice as recently as 12,000 years ago, which is practically yesterday if you buy that Earth is 4.2 billion years old. But we're supposed to accept man-made climate change because guilty 40-year olds 'remember' more white Christmases when they were kids.
How could Renaissance popes, cardinals, and princes poison their rivals, launch wars against their fellow Christians, auction off church offices, and commit other misdeeds too loathsome to mention, without fear of spending eternity in Hell? As everyone familiar with Reformation history knows, they bought indulgences - church-sanctioned pardons for sins past, present, and yet to come. So, if you're a fabulously rich celebrity and you fret about leaving a nasty "carbon footprint" on the breast of Mother Earth, you simply buy some carbon credits and then jet off to the next awards ceremony. And just to add piquancy to the jest, the man whose corporation sells you the carbon credits is... Al Gore!Like all luxuires, carbon credits will be the conspicuous consumption of the hopelessly conspicuios at first but, like all hollow vice, will trickle down to the little people someday.
The whole business is eerily religious in feel. Back in the 15th century, the question was: Do you believe in Christ? It was required in Spain by the Inquisition that the answer should be affirmative, leaving to one side subsidiary specifications. It is required today to believe that carbon-dioxide emissions threaten the basic ecological balance. The assumption then is that inasmuch as a large proportion of the damage is man-made, man-made solutions are necessary. But it is easy to see, right away, that there is a problem in devising appropriate solutions, and in allocating responsibility for them.The Senate shot down Kyoto 95-0 back in '97. Where are the calls to have them strung up?
Those stranded polar bears on the shrinking Arctic ice - victims of global warming - certainly tugged at the heart-strings. That photo was published not only in the Sunday Telegraph. It made it onto the front page of the New York Times. And the International Herald Tribune. It also ran in London's Daily Mail, The Times of London and Canada's Ottawa Citizen - and that's just to name a few. All used it as evidence of global warming and the imminent demise of the polar bear. But the photo wasn't current. It was two and a half years old. And it wasn't snapped by Canadian environmentalists.It was taken by an Australian marine biology student on a field trip. And in what month did she take it? The time of year was August, summer.It only gets better in the part where Al Gore paid for the photo.
12 April 2007
A. The one in which the likes of Don Imus, who you do not ever have to listen to, is free to ply his trade in the marketplace of choices.
B: The one in which anyone and everyone who talks on the radio and Tee Vee has to pass the Al Sharpton litmus test.
Hate Imus all you want, but don't whistle past this graveyard, for our freedoms are being buried bit by bit. Be careful what you wish for on this one; that fat, parasitic, race hustling pimp is already laying down the gaulntlet:
It is our feeling that this is only the beginning. We must have a broad discussion on what is permitted and not permitted in terms of the airwaves.CBS has essentially been blackmailed and has showed itself to be spineless.
More than 100 Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority bus and train operators took home paychecks topping $100,000 in fiscal 2006 because of lush overtime earnings that have skewed Metro’s budget and sent pension costs spiraling out of control under a uniquely generous employee retirement plan.The DC transit system has over 400 people making $100k or more. Normally, you'd have to knock on the doors of Fortune 500 companies to find that sort of earning under one roof, but here, it can be found in an outfit that LOSES money.
Roughly $30 million of the overtime payments went to Metro’s 2,400 bus operators and 500 train operators, 125 of whom earned more than $100,000 that year. Another 284 hourly Metro workers in other departments earned more than $100,000 because of overtime. Only 180 of Metro’s salaried management employees earned more than $100,000.
Metro Board of Directors member Ray Bricuso said the rich overtime system “needs to stop. An employee who makes $65,000 can work a lot of overtime their final years on the job and make $100,000 a year. That would increase their annual pension to about $80,000 for what is really a $65,000 job.”The whole financial structure of this system is diseased. Who could possibly be against blowing it up and starting over? Oh yea, the union:
Metro’s employee union enjoys immense clout when it negotiates contracts with Metro’s board, which is not profit-focused like the board of directors of a private company. (You don't say . . ) They are political appointees and often are also elected officials, who are concerned with pleasing voters — such as Metro’s 10,000 employees. “The make up of the board is heavily political, let’s leave it at that,” Metro Board Chairman Charles Deegan said.I'm not sure what all the fuss is about; it's only taxpayers' money being pissed away here. I wonder how long before we have such high-caliber civil service in our fair city.
11 April 2007
In the grand scheme, Don Imus is no threat to us in general and no threat to black women in particular. If his words are so powerful and so destructive and must be rebuked so forcefully, then what should we do about the idiot rappers on BET, MTV and every black-owned radio station in the country who use words much more powerful and much more destructive?I don’t listen or watch Imus’ show regularly. Has he at any point glorified selling crack cocaine to black women? Has he celebrated black men shooting each other randomly? Has he suggested in any way that it’s cool to be a baby-daddy rather than a husband and a parent? Does he tell his listeners that they’re suckers for pursuing education and that they’re selling out their race if they do?Read it all.
The first blonde said, "Easter is a holiday where they have a big feast and we give thanks and eat turkey." St. Peter said, "Noooooo," and he banished her to Hell.
The second blonde said, "Easter is when we celebrate Jesus' birth and exchange gifts." St. Peter said, "Noooooo," and he banished her to Hell.
The third blonde said she knew what Easter was, and St.Peter said, "So,tell me. "She said, "Easter is a Christian holiday that coincides with the Jewish festival of Passover. Jesus was having Passover feast with His disciples when He was betrayed by Judas, and the Romans arrested Him. The Romans hung Him on the cross and eventually He died. Then they buried Him in a tomb behind a very large boulder . . ." St. Peter said, "Verrrrrry good."
Then the blonde continued, "Now, every year they roll away the boulder and Jesus comes out. If he sees his shadow, we have six more weeks of hockey!"
10 April 2007
09 April 2007
Amid the deaths and the grim daily struggle bravely borne by Britain's forces in southern Iraq, one tale of heroism stands out. Private Johnson Beharry's courage in rescuing an ambushed foot patrol then, in a second act, saving his vehicle's crew despite his own terrible injuries earned him a Victoria Cross.
For the BBC, however, his story is "too positive" about the conflict. The corporation has cancelled the commission for a 90-minute drama about Britain's youngest surviving Victoria Cross hero because it feared it would alienate members of the audience opposed to the war in Iraq.
Iraq is a mess and a steady parade of bad news, but this is the most egregious attempt at spin that I've seen yet.
07 April 2007
(S)ome senators (are) itching to put the brakes on charter expansion, worried that the new schools are hurting regular public school enrollment. They point to a state finance report that identifies charters as one of the state’s fastest-growing expenses.This is just more evidence that the teachers' union's interest is not in educating students, they are only interested in full employment for union teachers. This is the union that opposed charter schools from the start, opposes vouchers for private schools, and elements of the union sought to criminalize home schooling. They have opposed every conceivable alternative to Government/Union Schools. Even the StarTrib's editorial, notoriously loyal to Government Schools, came out against the cap.
Which is, of course, rubbish. Publicly-financed schools of all types - traditional or charter - get paid a certain amount of money for every day every child is in school. Except that charter schools get a little less of it; charter schools don’t get their parent districts’ supplemental appropriation proceeds, for example. So keeping a kid in a charter school for a given day - or year - costs the state the state’s taxpayers less than keeping the kid in a traditional public school.
It is true that growth has been rapid; the number of charter students has risen from 10,000 in 2001 to 23,700 today. But that growth has been driven by interest and demand. Let me digress a moment here; that is a very curious turn of phrase. Of course the growth is triggered by interest and demand! The big question - why is there such “interest” and “demand”? And why does the DFL feel the need to choke that “interest and demand” off?
05 April 2007
We've been sitting on the tarmac for over 45 minutes waiting to take off. They're having some maintanence issues with the plane. The poor guy next to me already missed one connection today after sittting on the runway in West Palm for 3 hours. It looks like he's all set to miss his next connection flying into Denver. I don't know if it's just me, but it seems like this kind of stuff is becoming more common.
Well, maybe this will bring a few Hollywood clowns around:
Security surrounding the Dalai Lama has been tightened after reports of an attempt by the al-Qa'ida-linked terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Toiba to assassinate the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader. A three-tier security ring has been thrown around the 72-year-old Buddhist head, who lives at Dharamsala, in the Himalayan foothills, Indian police spokesman Prem Lal said.C'mon, what's the deal? I keep hearing that Al-Queda only hates W, Republicans and other decadent Westerners. Where is Brad Pitt, fer cryin' out loud?
In a recent document, Osama bin Laden denounced "pagan Buddhism" as part of his general attack on anything not Islamic.
Only one problem: The Israeli prime minister entrusted Ms. Pelosi with no such message. "What was communicated to the U.S. House Speaker does not contain any change in the policies of Israel," said a statement quickly issued by the prime minister's office. In fact, Mr. Olmert told Ms. Pelosi that "a number of Senate and House members who recently visited Damascus received the impression that despite the declarations of Bashar Assad, there is no change in the position of his country regarding a possible peace process with Israel." In other words, Ms. Pelosi not only misrepresented Israel's position but was virtually alone in failing to discern that Mr. Assad's words were mere propaganda.I am woman, hear me roar, I guess.
As any diplomat with knowledge of the region could have told Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Assad is a corrupt thug whose overriding priority at the moment is not peace with Israel but heading off U.N. charges that he orchestrated the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri. The really striking development here is the attempt by a Democratic congressional leader to substitute her own foreign policy for that of a sitting Republican president. Two weeks ago Ms. Pelosi rammed legislation through the House of Representatives that would strip Mr. Bush of his authority as commander in chief to manage troop movements in Iraq. Now she is attempting to introduce a new Middle East policy that directly conflicts with that of the president.
02 April 2007
Worried they may be turning out too many electricians, leaders of Minnesota's technical college system have ordered their schools to cap enrollments for electrician training - one of the system's most popular skilled trades.Ordered? Really. What would prompt such an order? Who has that kind of authority?
Officials with the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system say it's the first time MnSCU has capped a degree program. The decision came after talks with an electricians union, which argued the system is training too many electricians for the market, worsening unemployment.Oh, so Big Labor now gets to decide what Big Education offers to willing applicants and what it doesn't? It's almost life one huge labor union scratching the back of another huge labor union.
"We thought our numbers were OK," said Manuel Lopez, MnSCU associate vice chancellor for continuous improvement. "There is a possibility that we have been oversupplying the market." MnSCU, he added, plans to study degree offerings in all trades "to see if supply and demand are in sync."Yea, Manuel; you wouldn't want to look at your numbers and make an institutional decision within MnSCU. It's better to let the union tell you what to do.
MnSCU trains about 80 percent of the state's electricians in 13 technical colleges. The system still places about nine of every 10 graduates in jobs, and enrollment has fallen on its own in the past couple of years, from a peak of 493 in 2004 to 460 in 2006.So what's the problem? Oh yea, 'cuz the IBEW says there's a problem. You got a problem with that?
"It doesn't appear from the data that the supply or demand for electricians has changed over the last five years," said Oriane Casale, assistant director of the state's labor market information office. "Yes, there is a slowdown in the construction industry now, and the demand for electricians will slow, but we don't expect that to last for more than a year or so at the very most."More electricians means more competition which means better service and lower prices for consumers. However, rather than letting the marketplace decide if too many people are entering a professional field, Big Labor uses its influence to make sure its own pastures remain green.
One major source of urban noise, that of motorcycles, is optional and totally unnecessary. In the Northern climate, it is clear that motorcycles are not an integral part of our transportation system for they cannot be operated during our long winter.I wonder what this putz thinks of electric vehicles which are useless on a winter day in Minnesota.
As pleasure vehicles, motorcycles tend to operate in groups and to concentrate in particular and limited traffic patterns. And, as pleasure vehicles, they are often operated in a manner that brings juvenile emotional satisfaction to their owners but distress to those who live nearby. The effect of all these behaviors is to saturate certain roadways of our city with high and excessive levels of noise.Tend. Nice generalization. I guess we'll all take your word for it.
I urge that we adopt a policy to limit the use of parkways by motorcyclists -- as we have for trucks -- and thereby distribute their noise over a larger area.Charles lives on a parkway. Charles doesn't like motorcycles. Charles want the government to take care of seemingly the only problem Charles has. I guarantee you that given the chance to investigate, I can find out something that Charles does out of pure folly or joy and make an equally compelling (and preposterous) reccomendation of why there should be a policy against it.
Further, as is done is some cities today, an ordinance should be established prohibiting the modification of original-equipment mufflers through modification or replacement if the result is to increase the level of emitted noise.Large Government solution - the only way for some people. Beyond the notion of loud motorcycles; good or bad, we've got an even better sign of the times: Here is the largest newspaper in the state of Minnesota publishing the selfish rants of one person who's 'got his' and wants to make sure no one else ruins it in his eyes.
An unpublished (!) federal report appears to undermine the belief that commercially available ethanol-blended fuel produces cleaner emissions than regular gasoline. The federal Conservative government committed $2 billion in incentives for ethanol, made from wheat and corn, and biodiesel in last week's budget. But based on Ottawa's own research, critics say the investment is based more on myth than hard science.I wonder how W's Big Oil Cronies "got" to Ottawa this time.
Bill Rees, an ecology professor at the University of British Columbia and longtime opponent of ethanol, has read the report and thinks Canadians need to know its conclusions. "I must say, I'm a little surprised at that, because it seems to fly in the face of current policy initiatives," he said. "People are being conned into believing in a product and paying for it through their tax monies when there's no justifiable benefit and indeed many negative costs."
01 April 2007
I just got off the phone with Steve Gottwalt, who had some shocking news from the Capitol. Today, at a committee hearing, Cy Thao told Steve “When you guys win, you get to keep your money. When we win, we take your money.” This was Thao’s explanation as to how the DFL plans on paying for all the spending increases they promised their special interest friends.Just another day in the annual siege/session that is the Minnesota Legislature.
There are some sane voices out there.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty proposes to spend about $34.5 billion - about $3 billion more than we'll spend during the current budget cycle. Legislative leaders, however, insist a 9.3 percent increase in spending is not enough to pay for priorities like education, property tax relief and health care.We can only hope that this sound thinking catches on, even in an environment where more and more citizens (and the leaders they elect) worship at the altar of government, and see the state as the only provider of life's bounty.
Yet legislative leaders insist they can't fund the priorities they campaigned on without first raising taxes. Leaders in the House, for example, say they need to raise taxes to increase funding for schools. The Senate can't cut property taxes for homeowners without raising taxes on employers. That's upside down.
Start with the priorities, and work down the list. Pay for those things that work - that deliver expected results - and stop paying for things that don't work. Don't measure success based on how much more the state spends. Instead, focus on getting the best value for our tax dollars. That's the way the rest of Minnesota lives on a budget.
The European Union declined last night to provide any substantial support to Britain in its standoff with Iran over the captured sailors and Marines. While the European foreign ministers called for Iran to release its captives, they refused to offer any sanctions on the Iranians.
Well, what a shock to see the French bail out on an ally for commercial gain! Once again, Europe shows that it has no sense and no courage. That fourteen-billion-pound trade with Iran will come in handy when the mullahs get the bomb. Perhaps they'll wait to invade Europe last. They have told Blair and the Brits that the Iranians are their problem, not Europe's.
George Bush stood up with the UK yesterday, after keeping a low profile on the crisis. Referring to the captives as "hostages", Bush emphatically supported Britain's assertion that Iran invaded Iraqi waters to carry out the capture.