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Fatah/Hamas conflict heating up again?

Tweet Yesterday, Hamas police broke into the house of Dr. Abdullah Abu Samhadana, a Fatah minister in Gaza, and left an arrest warrant (he wasn’t home.) This was only the most recent of a series of arrests by Hamas in Gaza, which are usually mirrored by arrests of Hamas members in the West Bank...

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Political Circus: Schwarzenegger drops $200 million

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 17-01-2011

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Washington (CNN) - Politics is serious business - but not all the time. From the halls of Congress to the campaign trail to the international stage, there’s always something that gets a laugh or a second glance.

Quite an expensive investment …

Arnold Schwarzenegger - bodybuilder turned actor turned politician - says his time as California’s governor cost him at least $ 200 million, Reuters reports.
Full Story


CNN Political Ticker

Oklahoma DA drops hate crime charges against man who made Qur’an-grilling video

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 16-01-2011

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Evidently the letter he sent to the mosque wasn’t as threatening as it was originally made out to be. There are still questionable freedom of speech issues about this case, but anyway Harrison is free. An update on this story. “DA drops Tulsa man’s hate-crime charges,” by Jerry Wofford for the Tulsa World, January 15:

The district attorney dropped hate-crime charges against a Tulsa man Friday afternoon after a jury decided the evening before that the defendant did not need involuntary mental-health treatment.

Jesse Quinn Harrison was charged Dec. 28 with transmitting a threatening letter and with malicious intimidation or harassment.

The charges were based on a package he had sent to the Peace Academy at the Islamic Society of Tulsa. The package included a letter and a video he had made of himself smearing a Quran and an image of an Islamic religious figure with pork chops and grilling those items.

A mental-health hearing ended Thursday with a jury’s deciding that Harrison was not “in need of treatment,” according to the verdict.

Because Harrison - who had been a patient at the Tulsa Center for Behavioral Health - still faced the criminal charges, he was arrested and booked into the Tulsa Jail after the verdict. After the charges were dismissed, he was released from jail Friday, records show.

Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris sat in on much of Harrison’s mental-health hearing Wednesday and Thursday and said it was a kind of preview of what would be presented in a criminal case. He said he could see how the evidence would be presented and heard Harrison’s explanation of the video and letter submitted as evidence for the first time.

“After listening to him - though I don’t agree with the jury’s decision - it does give you some insight into where he was coming from,” Harris said Friday.

Harrison testified Thursday that by posting the video - which he acknowledged was “horribly offensive” - to YouTube and Facebook, he hoped to show that Islam was a peaceful religion despite a prevailing stereotype to the contrary.

“I created this horribly offensive video, yet what so many people expected was for Muslims to act violent to me,” Harrison testified. “Despite this horrible offense, they continue to be a law-abiding, peaceful people.”

Harris said that although Harrison is “going about it in a way I don’t concur with,” it would be difficult to prove that he intended violence toward anyone but possibly himself.

“The issues to be litigated in the criminal case were addressed in the mental-health case,” Harris said.

He added that before he decided to drop the charges, he spoke with Islamic Society of Tulsa leaders, two of whom testified Wednesday.

“They did not believe Mr. Harrison’s incarceration would serve long-term purposes,” Harris said….

I.e., it would reveal too much about our war against the freedom of speech, so let the poor devil go.

Jihad Watch

Michael Steele Drops Out Of Race For RNC Chairman; Priebus Elected; CT’s Chris Healy Had Considered Race

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 15-01-2011

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Embattled Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele dropped out of the race today after the fourth round of balloting in a hotly contested race.

After three more rounds, Reince Preibus of Wisconsin was eventually elected as the new chairman.

Connecticut’s state chairman, Christopher Healy, had considered running but later dropped out.

 

Capitol Watch

UPDATED: Michael Steele drops out of RNC race, Wagner out too

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 15-01-2011

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UPDATE 3: Ann Wagner is now out of the running, too. BREAKING NEWS UPDATE:MSNBC is reporting that RNC chairman Michael Steele has withdrawn from his race for a second term. He had fallen to third place in the balloting behind the front-runner, Reince Priebus. No word on who is at number two. UPDATE: Saying “it’s [...]
The Reid Report

Michael Steele Drops RNC Chair Bid

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 15-01-2011

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Three ballots so far and no one has reached the 85 votes needed to win. Reince Priebus leads with 54 votes, but Michael Steele is reportedly telling his backers to throw their support behind Pfizer lobbyist Maria Cino.

Joe. My. God.

Afghan education minister says Taliban drops opposition to girls’ education

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 14-01-2011

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Knowing that “War is deceit,” and knowing the Taliban’s track record, suspicion of such an alleged U-turn in policy is only proper. But how about the poison gas attacks, the disfiguring acid attacks, and years of threats? Any second thoughts there?

No, no apology will be forthcoming, of course. In fact, if the Taliban does not deny the education minister’s claim, this gesture may yet be something to revoke in response to a grievance or alleged provocation to be named later. “Afghan Taliban ‘end’ opposition to educating girls,” from BBC News, January 14:

The Taliban are ready to drop their ban on schooling girls in Afghanistan, the country’s education minister has said.

Farooq Wardak told the UK’s Times Educational Supplement a “cultural change” meant the Taliban were “no more opposing girls’ education”.

Except on days ending with the letter “y?”

The Taliban - who are fighting the Kabul government - have made no public comment on the issue.

Afghan women were not allowed to work or get an education under the Taliban regime overthrown in 2001.

Making deals

Mr Wardak made his comments during the Education World Forum in London.

He told the TES: “What I am hearing at the very upper policy level of the Taliban is that they are no more opposing education and also girls’ education.

“I hope, Inshallah (God willing), soon there will be a peaceful negotiation, a meaningful negotiation with our own opposition and that will not compromise at all the basic human rights and basic principles which have been guiding us to provide quality and balanced education to our people,” the minister added….

Jihad Watch

Open Thread: Steele Drops Out of RNC Chair Race

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 14-01-2011

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The race is still ongoing, with four candidates remaining, but Steele made an emotional exit under an hour ago. Use this thread to share updates and for any discussion related to Steele or the RNC generally. You can watch a live stream of coverage of the race here, compliments of C-SPAN.

NewsBusters.org - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

DeMint Drops Names In Texas

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 14-01-2011

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South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint (R), whose Senate Conservatives Fund is a major Tea Party fundraising force, chimed in Friday morning on which candidates he may endorse in the open seat Texas Senate race.

In an e-mail to supporters less than 24 hours after Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) announced she won’t seek re-election, DeMint poured cold water on the potential candidacy of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) and touted potential contenders Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams (R) and former solicitor general Ted Cruz (R).

“Based on media reports following Senator Hutchison’s announcement, the Washington establishment appears to be lining up behind Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst,” DeMint said. “However, the two candidates we hear about most from conservatives are Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams and former Solicitor General Ted Cruz.”

DeMint’s quick draw email suggests he will try to play a significant role in what is expected to be a crowded Republican primary. DeMint waded in to several Republican primaries in 2010 and backed insurgent candidates who, in several cases, went on to beat establishment favorites. Those included now-Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).

The email also sets up another battle of sorts between DeMint and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. By wading into the Texas race, DeMint is encroaching on NRSC Chair John Cornyn‘s (Texas) home turf. And DeMint hasn’t backed away from that confrontation before. In 2009 when it looked like Hutchison would vacate her seat to run for governor, DeMint went ahead and endorsed Williams.

In his e-mail, DeMint sang Williams’ praises again, but stopped short of an endorsement.

“Michael is an outstanding conservative leader and he will be at the very top of our list as we consider candidates for an endorsement in the 2012 election,” DeMint said.

Hotline On Call

USA Drops to 9th

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 12-01-2011

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In the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom. The explanation:

The United States’ economic freedom score is 77.8, making its economy the 9th freest in the 2011 Index. Its score is 0.2 point lower than last year, reflecting deteriorating business freedom, trade freedom, government spending, and monetary freedom. The U.S. is ranked 2nd out of three countries in the North America region, and its overall score is well above the world and regional averages. …

… the national government’s role in the economy has expanded sharply in the past two years, and the federal budget deficit is extremely large, with gross public debt approaching 100 percent of GDP. Passage in March 2010 of a massive health care bill significantly expanded the federal government’s control of the health care industry ….

Draw your own political conclusions.




ProfessorBainbridge.com

Unemployment Rate Drops To 9.4%, But Job Growth Still Anemic

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 07-01-2011

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The Obama Administration is likely to focus on the fact that the unemployment rate in December dropped 4/10ths of a percentage point but, as always, the devil is in the details:

The United States economy ended the year by adding 103,000 jobs in December, the Labor Department said Friday, a number that missed expectations. In addition, the unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent last month from 9.8 percent.

The agency also revised estimates from the two earlier months, now saying that 210,000 jobs were created in October instead of 172,000, and 71,000 in November, instead of 39,000.

As with previous months, all of the gain in December — 113,000 jobs — came from private companies.

Federal, state and local governments continued to shed jobs — cutting another 10,000 last month after trimming 8,000 in November, revised from 11,000 mostly on the local level. States and municipalities dealing with tighter budgets may be faced with further cuts as they try to shrink their deficits.

While the overall picture showed improving job growth, the additions in the private sector in December were not enough to significantly reduce the ranks of the unemployed or keep pace with people entering the work force. The outlook remains bleak for many workers. More than 14.5 million people were out of work in December.

Still, economists noted that the jobs data is a lagging indicator and pointed to other signs of a turnaround, though their outlook for 2011 remained varied.

“The U.S. economy finally appears to be picking up steam and headed toward recovery,” said Steven Blitz, a senior economist for ITG Investment Research. “Several economic indicators — including manufacturing and services output, and sales of cars and consumer goods — have shown noticeable improvement over the last few months.”

It’s impossible to say we’re even anywhere close to recovery in the jobs market until the number of new jobs created, net of jobs eliminated, is at the 150,000 per month level and above. And that rate is going to have to be sustained for many, many, many months before the long impact of the Great Recession is really behind us.

So, yea, this is good news, but let’s not fool ourselves here. The jury is still out when it comes to jobs.




Outside the Beltway

Unemployment drops to 9.4%, but only 103K jobs added

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 07-01-2011

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Odd.


The nation’s unemployment rate dropped four-tenths of a point to 9.4% in December but the number of jobs added fell short of expectations.  According to the Department of Labor, the economy only added 103,000 jobs, an improvement over the previous few months, but short of the 160,000 economists had been expecting, and far short of [...]

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Hot Air » Top Picks

Unemployment Rate Drops to 9.4%

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 07-01-2011

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The U.S. economy added fewer jobs than expected last month but the unemployment rate fell to 9.4%, its lowest level in 19 months.
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

New York Radio Station WOR Drops Glenn Beck’s Radio Show From Its Lineup

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 05-01-2011

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Today, the New York radio station WOR announced that Glenn Beck’s nationally syndicated radio show will be dropped on January 17, 2011, and hate radio host Mike Gallagher, a familiar New York name, will be taking Beck’s spot. According to Scott Lakefield, the WOR program director, the reason is due to Beck’s drop in ratings. Scott explained that the “show wasn’t getting what we wanted”:

WOR (710 AM), one of the city’s two biggest talk radio stations, said this morning it is dropping Beck’s syndicated show as of Jan. 17 and replacing him with a familiar New York name: Mike Gallagher.“The reason is ratings,” said WOR program director Scott Lakefield. “Somewhat to our surprise, the show wasn’t getting what we wanted.”

Beck’s drop in popularity isn’t new, as seen by the plethora of major companies who have dropped advertising from Beck’s show on Fox News. Additionally, Beck’s show in the U.K. ran without any advertisements for five consecutive days during February 2010, and according to Color of Change, a total of 81 companies have withdrawn their advertising to date.

- Paul Breer

ThinkProgress

“Death panels” no more: HHS drops Medicare reg on end-of-life planning

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 05-01-2011

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Oh my.


Actually, there’s no panel involved. What we’re talking about here is paying doctors to remind elderly patients during the annual check-up that they might want to leave some written instructions in case they’re incapacitated and eager to avoid a Schiavo-esque family tug of war. You don’t need a doctor for that, in fact; you can [...]

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Hot Air » Top Picks

Beijing Drops the Other Shoe?

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 05-01-2011

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Yesterday, Heritage China expert Dean Cheng mused that something must be up. He wrote, “As the world rang in 2011, one of the lesser noticed events is the absence of a Chinese defense white paper for 2010. The biennial public explanation of Chinese military capabilities and intentions was due out by the end of December. Yet as of Tuesday morning, no report has been released. This is a striking omission, as the Chinese government and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been assiduous in producing these reports in a timely manner.”

Cheng thought maybe the Chinese had something to hide. There are a couple of high-level U.S.–Chinese meetings on the calendar: a visit of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates next week, followed by President Hu Jintao’s coming to America. So Cheng wondered that “there may be something to the report or its context that the Chinese are hesitant to highlight.”

Well, now a Japanese news network seems hot on the trail of what that might be, reporting that the “Chinese military will consider launching a preemptive nuclear strike if the country finds itself faced with a critical situation in a war with another nuclear state, internal documents showed Wednesday.”