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Alabama to ‘clarify’ illegals law December 10, 2011

The law required new training for Alabama’s police force

The governor of the southern US state of Alabama says he and legislators are working to clarify the state’s tough immigration law.

Governor Robert Bentley’s announcement comes after business groups argued that the law was harming Alabama’s international image.

The law allows police to demand proof of legal residency from anyone suspected of living illegally.

No possible changes were detailed, but a bill is said to be under preparation.

Mr Bentley says he expects a bill to be ready for the next legislative session.

In one embarrassing incident for the state, two foreign workers from the Honda and Mercedes car assembly plants were investigated under the law.

The cases were later dropped.

More than 30 groups and individuals challenged the law, but some provisions were allowed by a federal court.

Continue reading the main story

Analysis




Proponents of the law say illegal immigrants are taking jobs that should be going to those with the right to live and work in the country.

Employers in construction, agriculture and services tell a different story. Privately and sometimes publicly, they say that Alabamians are not prepared to do the jobs filled by immigrants – legal and illegal.

As a result, many immigrants have fled the state, and the US Department of Justice has asked an appeal court to block the law.

Other provisions, including requiring schools to check the legal status of new students and making it a crime to transport an illegal immigrant, are on hold because of legal challenges.

‘Devastating consequences’

“We recognise that changes are needed to ensure that Alabama has not only the nation’s most effective law, but one that is fair and just, promotes economic growth, preserves jobs for those in Alabama legally, and can be enforced effectively and without prejudice,” Mr Bentley said on Friday.

One of the legal challengers welcomed the statement and said it represented a significant change in thinking for the state.

“We are delighted legislators are recognising the devastating consequences of the law,” Mary Bauer, legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, told the Associated Press.

However, Ms Bauer added that the Center was concerned no examples of possible changes to the law were given.

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Presidential Supporters Take to Streets in Eastern Congo December 9, 2011

Within minutes after the announcement that Congolese President Joseph Kabila was re-elected, his supporters poured onto the streets in celebration.  Truckloads of soldiers and police in riot gear also immediately fanned across the eastern Congolese city of Goma.

Children are shouting “number three,” the number that represents their candidate for president, the winner, Joseph Kabila.  Unlike in the days of the campaign, no one is shouting for the other candidates.

This 13-year-old boy, Jim, says he came out in support of his president.  He is happy Mr. Kabila will extend his ten-year rule for another five years.

But even Jim’s support for Mr. Kabila is limited.  Jim says if Mr. Kabila does not keep his promises, he will call for him to step down.

Around the corner, a campaign office for Etienne Tshisekedi is closed, along with all of the shops along the main streets.  Tshisekedi has lost at the polls but remains adamant that he is the winner.

Nicholas Matabaro is a member of the party of Mr. Tshisekedi.  He says the ballot boxes were stuffed and the election was stolen.

He says his party plans to protest, and expects to be joined by supporters of the other candidates.  And although he doesn’t threaten violence, he says they are prepared to die for their cause.

Matabaro also blames the international community for sanctioning the elections – saying Kabila won because of support from outside.  International observers all noted flaws in the disorganized election process, but still called for the acceptance of the results long before they were published.

As night falls in eastern Congo, the streets are heavily guarded and many of Mr. Kabila’s supporters are heading home.  Opposition supporters have said they plan to protest by day, and in this war-torn province the fear of post-election violence is keeping many people behind closed doors.  

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Cain suspends US presidency bid December 4, 2011


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Herman Cain made his announcement in his home city of Atlanta

US presidential hopeful Herman Cain has said he is suspending his campaign for the Republican nomination.

He blamed political and media pressure on his family in the wake of “false” allegations of sexual harassment and a 13-year-long extra-marital affair.

“I am not going to be silenced and I’m not going away,” he told supporters in his home city of Atlanta, Georgia.

Next month, voters in Iowa will begin the process of choosing a Republican presidential candidate for 2012.

Mr Cain said the allegations against him had taken a toll on his family, but added: “I am at peace.”

“I am suspending my presidential campaign because of the continued distraction, the continued hurt caused on me and my family,” he told supporters at what had been billed as the opening of his campaign headquarters.

“These false and unproved allegations continue to be spinned in the media and in the court of public opinion so as to create a cloud of doubt over me and this campaign and my family,” he said.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

If Cain’s voters in the main go for Newt Gingrich, as pollsters think they will, it would be an important and significant boost to the Newt surge.”

End Quote




He said he would endorse another candidate at a later date but gave no hint of where he would direct his supporters to go.

Tweets of praise

On Friday Mr Cain discussed with his wife, Gloria, whether to press on with his campaign.

Last week, an Atlanta woman, Ginger White, 46, came forward to claim she had a 13-year affair with Mr Cain.

Speaking to MSNBC on Thursday, Ms White denied they had been in love, saying: “It was a sexual affair – as hard as that is for me to say.”

While rejecting any suggestion of an affair with Ms White, Mr Cain has acknowledged helping pay her monthly bills and expenses, and that his wife did not know about the friendship.

The BBC’s Marcus George, in Washington DC, says even before the questions arose about Mr Cain’s private life, there were doubts about his plans for tax reform and his understanding of foreign affairs.

The former pizza executive went from obscure longshot to unlikely frontrunner to tabloid fodder.

While Mr Cain’s ratings slumped, support for former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich has surged.

Mr Gingrich has now overtaken frontrunner Mitt Romney in some opinion polls on who should be the Republican candidate to challenge Barack Obama for the White House in November 2012.

Within minutes of his speech, rival Republican candidates – including Michele Bachmann and Mr Gingrich – had tweeted their praise for Mr Cain.

“Herman Cain provided an important voice. His ideas energy generated tremendous enthusiasm for the conservative movement,” Michele Bachmann tweeted.

Mr Gingrich’s tweet said: “I am proud to know Herman Cain and consider him a friend and I know he will continue to be a powerful voice for years to come.”

Tea Party

Mr Cain made his announcement before the series of state-by-state contests, known as primaries and caucuses, begins next month in Iowa to to choose the Republican nominee.

The former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive – who has never won an election – was propelled by conservative Tea Party support to the front of the Republican field in October.

Portraying himself as a business-savvy, anti-establishment outsider, he captured the spotlight with his folksy charm and catchy 9-9-9 tax reform proposal.

But supporters were also alarmed when he made confusing comments about abortion and badly fumbled a question on Libya policy in a recorded interview.

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The rise and fall of Herman Cain | Ana Marie Cox

There was a distinct lack of tension in the build-up to Herman Cain‘s announcement that he would be suspending his campaign for the GOP nomination. The conclusion was inevitable and yet mysteriously drawn-out, like when “Titanic” won Best Picture.

It’s tempting to elaborate further on that metaphor – what was the launch of “Women for Cain” a few days ago but some rapidly re-arranged deck chairs? – but the Cain campaign lacked the expectations and the budget of either the ship or the blockbuster movie.

When Cain surged ahead in the polls despite his negligible political experience and even tinier political operation, pundits scoffed: he had no ground game in Iowa, for heaven’s sake! But such derision, in the moment, did little to deter Cain’s fans. His bravado about his ignorance made political establishment figures shake their heads, but voters liked the guy who “sounds like me”. In the face of that unquestioning admiration, there were only two things that could bring down Herman Cain: a scandal or a short attention span.

I’m not sure which one actually did him in. Cain’s Fauxmney moment lasted about as long as any of the other candidates’. As news of allegations of sexual impropriety continued to dominate coverage, Cain grew more brittle and defensive – but who’s to say that the spotlight wouldn’t have revealed that side of his character even without the growing chorus of women with stories of ugly (or, at least, inappropriate) behavior?

Candidates can survive scandal; political figures can even profit from it – because American voters aren’t so much prudes as repressed adolescents, given to rapturous infatuations and instant dismissals. (In this respect, they may not be too different from Cain.)

And everyone knows Mitt Romney‘s the only one they can bring home to mom.

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Herman Cain suspends his campaign December 3, 2011


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Herman Cain made his announcement in his home city of Atlanta

US presidential hopeful Herman Cain has said he is suspending his campaign for the Republican nomination.

He blamed political and media pressure on his family in the wake of “false” allegations of sexual harassment and a 13-year-long extra-marital affair.

“I am not going to be silenced and I’m not going away,” he told supporters in his home city of Atlanta, Georgia.

Next month, voters in Iowa will begin the process of choosing a Republican presidential candidate for 2012.

Mr Cain said the “false” allegations against him had taken a toll on his family, but added: “I am at peace.”

“I am suspending my presidential campaign because of the continued distraction, the continued hurt caused on me and my family,” he told supporters at what had been billed as the opening of his campaign headquarters.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

If Cain’s voters in the main go for Newt Gingrich, as pollsters think they will, it would be an important and significant boost to the Newt surge.”

End Quote




He said he would endorse another candidate at a later date but gave no hint of where he would direct his supporters to go.

Doubts

On Friday Mr Cain discussed with his wife, Gloria, whether to press on with his campaign.

Last week, an Atlanta woman, Ginger White, 46, came forward to claim she had a 13-year affair with Mr Cain.

Speaking to MSNBC on Thursday, Ms White denied they had been in love, saying: “It was a sexual affair – as hard as that is for me to say.”

While rejecting any suggestion of an affair with Ms White, Mr Cain has acknowledged helping pay her monthly bills and expenses, and that his wife did not know about the friendship.

The BBC’s Marcus George, in Washington DC, says even before the questions arose about Mr Cain’s private life, there were doubts about his plans for tax reform and his understanding of foreign affairs.

The former pizza executive went from obscure longshot to unlikely frontrunner to tabloid fodder.

While Mr Cain’s ratings slumped, support for former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich has surged.

Mr Gingrich has now overtaken frontrunner Mitt Romney in some opinion polls on who should be the Republican candidate to challenge Barack Obama for the White House in November 2012.

Tea Party

Mr Cain made his announcement before the series of state-by-state contests, known as primaries and caucuses, begins next month in Iowa to to choose the Republican nominee.

The former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive – who has never won an election – was propelled by conservative Tea Party support to the front of the Republican field in October.

Portraying himself as a business-savvy, anti-establishment outsider, he captured the spotlight with his folksy charm and catchy 9-9-9 tax reform proposal.

But supporters were also alarmed when he made confusing comments about abortion and badly fumbled a question on Libya policy in a recorded interview.

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Herman Cain suspends GOP presidential campaign

Herman Cain has said he is suspending his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in order to avoid news coverage that is hurtful to his family.

Cain’s announcement came five days after a woman claimed she and Cain had an affair for more than a decade, a claim that followed several allegations of sexual harassment against the Georgia businessman. Cain, whose wife, Gloria, stood behind him on the stage, made the announcement to several hundred supporters gathered at what was to have been the opening of his national campaign headquarters.

Cain had performed well in polls until news surfaced in late October that he had been accused of sexual harassment by two women during his time as president of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.

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Herman Cain to make announcement

Herman Cain has been discussing his White House bid with his wife Gloria

US Republican Herman Cain is expected to announce on Saturday whether his run for the White House will continue.

The Georgia businessman has been under mounting pressure to quit following an adultery allegation, which he denies.

He discussed with his wife, Gloria, on Friday whether to press on with his campaign, which has also been rocked by sexual harassment claims.

The former pizza executive has gone from obscure longshot to unlikely frontrunner to tabloid fodder.

While Mr Cain’s ratings have slumped, support for former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich has surged.

Mr Gingrich has now overtaken Mitt Romney in some opinion polls on who should be the Republican candidate to challenge Barack Obama for the White House in November 2012.

‘Sexual affair’

Mr Cain’s campaign said there would be a “major announcement” on Saturday from Atlanta, Georgia, where he is due to open a campaign headquarters at 11:00 (16:00 GMT).

At a town hall meeting in South Carolina on Friday, Mr Cain – who led the Republican race barely more than a month ago – dismissed the stories about him as “garbage”.

But the 65-year-old also said: “I am reassessing because of all this media firestorm stuff.

“Why? Because my wife and family come first. I’ve got to take that into consideration.”

Mr Cain then went to his suburban Atlanta home for his first face-to-face meeting with Gloria, his wife of 42 years, since the adultery allegations came to light.

An Atlanta woman, Ginger White, 46, came forward on Monday to claim she had a 13-year affair with him.

Speaking to MSNBC on Thursday, Ms White denied they had been in love, saying: “It was a sexual affair – as hard as that is for me to say.”

While rejecting any suggestion of an affair with Ms White, Mr Cain has acknowledged helping pay her monthly bills and expenses, and that his wife did not know about the friendship.

New poll crash

His crunch decision looms a month before Iowa holds the first of a series of state-by-state contests, known as primaries and caucuses, that will help pick the Republican nominee.

Ginger White claims Herman Cain paid for her flights to meet him

A new poll by the Des Moines Register newspaper in that state shows Mr Cain’s support among Republican voters has plunged to 8%, from 23% in October.

The Cain campaign has been on damage-control mode since it emerged a little more than a month ago that a restaurant lobby group had paid settlements to two women who claimed he sexually harassed them while he was president of the organisation in the 1990s.

A third woman accused Mr Cain of making improper sexual advances, while another said he put his hand up her skirt in 1997 when she approached him for help finding work.

He has denied wrongdoing in all cases.

This week, his campaign unveiled a Women for Herman Cain webpage with testimonials from female supporters, led by Gloria Cain.

The former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive – who has never won an election – was propelled by conservative Tea Party support to the front of the Republican field in October.

Portraying himself as a business-savvy, anti-establishment outsider, he captured the spotlight with his folksy charm and catchy 9-9-9 tax reform proposal.

But supporters were also alarmed when he made confusing comments about abortion and badly fumbled a question on Libya policy in a recorded interview.

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Cain to announce decision in Atlanta Saturday


December 2, 2011

by legitgov

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Cain to announce decision in Atlanta Saturday 02 Dec 2011 Herman Cain said Friday he will announce his presidential campaign’s next steps in Atlanta this weekend amid uncertainty over whether he will stay in the race following allegations of an extramarital affair [not to mention, allegedly harassing/assaulting lots of other women]. The McDonough businessman said he would make the announcement at the grand opening of his Georgia campaign headquarters Saturday morning. Cain previously said he will return to Georgia Friday and, after gauging his wife’s support, decide whether to continue his presidential campaign.

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Supreme Court takes up challenge to health care reform law November 14, 2011

Washington (CNN) — As expected, the Supreme Court has agreed to decide the constitutionality of the sweeping health care reform law championed by President Barack Obama.

The justices made their announcement in a brief order issued Monday.

Oral arguments are likely to be held in late February or March, with a ruling by June, assuring the blockbuster issue will become a hot-button political debate in a presidential election year.

The high court agreed to hear two major questions: whether the law’s key provision is unconstitutional, and if so, whether the entire law, with its 450 sections, must be scrapped.

Five and a half hours of oral arguments have been scheduled. Other related cases are pending and may also be added to the docket.

The largest and broadest legal challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act comes from a joint filing by 26 states, led by Florida. It was that series of appeals the high court accepted for review.

At issue is whether the “individual mandate” section — requiring nearly all Americans to buy health insurance by 2014 or face financial penalties — is an improper exercise of federal authority. The states also say that if that linchpin provision is unconstitutional, the entire law must be also go.

Supreme Court to rule on health care law

Joining Florida in the challenge are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Virginia and Oklahoma have filed separate challenges, along with other groups and individuals opposed to the law.

“We know the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and are confident the Supreme Court will agree,” said White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer in a news release issued after the court made its announcement.

The justices made a calculated call to address the broader issues of the reach of federal authority and the power of Congress to enact this kind of legislation.

Toobin: Political implications could be huge

The National Federation of Business, a key player in opposing the law, said it is pleased the court will address the larger issues.

“For the small-business community, this comes not a day too soon,” said Dan Danner, the group’s CEO. “The health care law has not lived up to its promises of reducing costs, allowing citizens to keep their coverage or improving a cumbersome system that has long been a burden to small-business owners and employees, alike. The small-business community can now have hope; their voices are going to be heard in the nation’s highest court.”

Many provisions of the law have not yet taken effect, but the White House, in its release, said that under the provisions that have, “one million more young Americans have health insurance, women are getting mammograms and preventive services without paying an extra penny out of their own pocket, and insurance companies have to spend more of your premiums on health care instead of advertising and bonuses.”

Three federal appeals courts have found the PPACA to be constitutional, while another has said it is not, labeling it “breathtaking in its expansive scope.”

That “circuit split” all but assured the Supreme Court would step in and decide the matter.

Florida and other Republican-led states had urged the high court to intervene. “This health care law is an affront on Americans’ individual liberty, and we will not allow the federal government to violate our constitutional rights,” said the state’s attorney general, Pam Bondi. “Our country urgently needs a final ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.”

The states say individuals cannot be forced to buy insurance, a “product” they may neither want nor need.

The Justice Department had countered the states’ argument by saying that since every American will need medical care at some point in their lives, individuals do not “choose” to participate in the health care market. Federal officials cite 2008 figures of $43 billion in uncompensated costs from the millions of uninsured people who receive health services, costs that are shifted to insurance companies and passed on to consumers.

The coalition of states is asking the court to decide three fundamental questions:

–Whether the entire law must fail because its centerpiece — the individual mandate — is unconstitutional.

–Whether states can be forced by the federal government to expand their share of Medicaid costs and administration, with the risk of losing that funding if they refuse.

–Whether state employees can receive a federally mandated level of health insurance coverage.

The legislation was heavily promoted by Obama in his first year in office. Supporters say it would extend health coverage to about 30 million Americans. The White House argues the move is good for society and good for the economy.

Opponents claim it would overly burden states and small businesses, raise costs, and reduce individual choice. All sides agree the issue needs to be decided soon, with more provisions of the law set to come into effect in coming years.

Legal analysts say the health care cases are the biggest to be tackled by the high court in a decade, and will shine new political light on the role of courts to decide these kinds of huge social issues.

“The questions raised here are explosive, a kind of perfect storm for the justices to address in an election year,” said Thomas Goldstein, a Washington lawyer and founder of Scotusblog. “It will be impossible to take your eyes away from the Supreme Court.

Health care reform, a top Democratic priority since the Truman administration, was passed by the previous Congress in a series of virtually party-line votes. Obama signed the act into law in March 2010. The law is widely considered to be the signature legislative accomplishment of the president’s first two years in office.

Among other things, the measure was designed to help millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans receive adequate and affordable health care through the government-imposed mandates and subsidies. The federal government stated in court briefs that 45 million Americans last year were without health insurance, roughly 15% of the country’s population.

Critics have equated the measure to socialized medicine, fearing that a bloated government bureaucracy would result in higher taxes and diminished health care services.

Opponents derisively labeled the measure “Obamacare.” Republican leaders, who captured the House of Representatives in the midterm elections, have vowed to overturn or severely trim the law.

The cases accepted Monday are Dept. of Health and Human Services v. Florida (11-398); NFIB v. Sebelius (11-393); and Florida v. HHS (11-400).

CNN’s Alan Silverleib contributed to this report


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Billy Crystal to host his ninth Oscars November 11, 2011

Billy Crystal has announced that he is replacing Eddie Murphy as the host for the 2012 Oscars ceremony.

Crystal, who has already hosted the Academy Awards eight times, said on Twitter: “Am doing the Oscars so the young woman in the pharmacy will stop asking my name when I pick up my prescriptions. Looking forward to the show.”

At the age of 63, Crystal would be the oldest host of the show since Bob Hope in 1978.

The announcement dashed the hopes of an internet campaign to see the Muppets host the awards.

Murphy stepped down after director Brett Ratner resigned as the show’s producer following a furore over a homophobic slur in an interview. Ratner had brought Murphy in as Oscars host as part of his efforts to breathe new life into the ceremony following this year’s poorly received event.

Ratner, the director of Rush Hour and X-Men 3, resigned after he received widespread criticism for making a homophobic comment during a promotional interview for Tower Heist last week. Asked about using rehearsals before a film shoot, he replied: “Rehearsing is for fags.”

Ratner subsequently apologised, but gay rights groups and some members of the academy took issue with his use of the word.

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Keystone XL pipeline: US government set to pursue new oil sands route November 10, 2011

The Obama administration was preparing to bow to public pressure on Thursday and look into a new route for a pipeline that would pump tar sands crude oil across the American heartland.

The announcement on the Keystone XL pipeline, expected soon, follows emotional scenes in Nebraska this week from landowners desperate to stop the project.

It spares Barack Obama from having to make a decision on such a polarising issue before next year’s elections.

Environment groups that were briefed by State Department officials said the review would seek to move the pipeline away from environmentally sensitive portions of Nebraska, where the opposition to the project had been fierce.

The review could take between a year and 18 months, which would postpone a decision beyond next year’s elections.

It could also force TransCanada, the pipeline company, to scrap the $7bn project to pump crude oil from the Alberta tar sands across six states to refineries on the Texas coast.

“You can’t just erase a line on a map and draw one somewhere else,” Shawn Howard, a TransCanada spokesman told the Guardian before the announcement. “We have said that it would put the project in very serious doubt.”

The pipeline, which would pump crude from the Alberta tar sands across six US states to refineries on the Texas coast, had been awaiting approval from the State Department, which has authority over projects crossing the border.

But environmental groups had framed the pipeline decision as a personal test of Obama’s green credentials, holding a two-week sit-in and bringing thousands of protesters to the White House to demand that he stop the project.

Emotions were running even higher in Nebraska, where the state legislature was forced into a special session this week to try to find remedies for distraught farmers and ranchers, who feared a pipeline leak would destroy their livelihoods.

The pipeline route originally approved by the State Department would cross an important aquifer, which supplies irrigation and ground water to a third of the American midwest.

It also crossed an iconic region known as the Sand Hills, home of Nebraska cowboys.

Opponents of the pipeline had argued that the State Department, in its environmental review of the project, had failed to take account of the risks of pumping corrosive tar over such sensitive terrain.

They also accused the State Department of bias and a conflict of interest after it hired a contractor – that listed TransCanada as a major client on its website – to conduct the environmental review.

Obama addressed those concerns last week, flying in a reporter from a Nebraska television stateion for an interview.

“We need to make sure that we have energy security and aren’t just relying on Middle East sources.,” he told KETV television. “But there’s a way of doing that and still making sure that the health and safety of the American people and folks in Nebraska are protected, and that’s how I’ll be measuring these recommendations when they come to me.”

The State Department agreed this week to an independent investigation of its handling of the decisions on the pipeline.

Supporters of the project argued just as forcefully that the pipeline would lessen America’s dependence on Middle East oil, and would create jobs.

And it put Obama at odds with America’s neighbour and biggest trading partner: Canada. Canadian leaders have made regular trips to Washington to lobby for the $7bn project.

Alberta’s premier, Alison Redford, was due on another lobbying mission next week.

They have also warned that a decision to further delay, or block, the pipeline would just ship more tar sands oil to China.

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Israel to speed up settlement construction in Jerusalem, West Bank November 2, 2011


November 1, 2011

by legitgov

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Israel to speed up settlement construction in Jerusalem, West Bank –Official: Construction will take place in areas that are expected to be part of Israeli territory 01 Nov 2011 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday called for speeding up the construction of 2,000 housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The announcement from his office comes in retaliation for the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO’s vote, a day earlier, to accept a Palestinian bid for full membership. According to a senior Israeli official, the plan involves building 1,650 units in East Jerusalem and the rest in the West Bank settlements of Efrat and Maaleh Adumin.

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The Right Word: ‘sharia’ scare in Libya | Sadhbh Walshe October 27, 2011

As Nato ponders its withdrawal from Libya just a week after the announcement that all US troops are to be withdrawn from Iraq, conservatives are unsure if President Obama is deliberately trying to plunge the Middle East into chaos or just trying to get himself re-elected.

Sean Hannity


Sean Hannity has been deeply suspicious of the president’s involvement in Libya since the outset, and while he is not sorry to see the back of Gaddafi, who he acknowledges was a terrible tyrant, he seems to think the whole venture was a waste of time if Libya fails to become a western-style democracy overnight (view clip).

Just as hopes were running high that Libya would embrace its recent liberation and establish a democracy for the people, the transitional government declared that the nation will now be run as an Islamic state based on sharia law. Now, speaking to a celebratory crowd, the leader of the National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, announced over the weekend that Libya will legalise polygamy and throw out any existing regulations that do not conform to Sharia law.

Although Jalil attempted to assure the international community that “Libyans are moderate Muslims” and his comments regarding the role of Islamic jurisprudence in the new Libya were focused mainly on banning interest on loans and such, Hannity is convinced that what is in store for Libyans now is “full-on sharia”.

Here’s what sharia law will represent, at least in other states, Saudi Arabia being one, we know Iran’s a … requirement that women obtain permission from their husbands for their daily freedoms, beating of disobedient women and girls, execution of people that are gay, engagement of polygamy, forced child marriages, requirement of testimony of four eyewitnesses if a woman is to claim rape, stoning if you commit adultery, lashing of adulterers and amputation of body parts, in some cases, female genital mutilation. I can go on and on. This is sharia, as it is applied in many countries. Where is the outrage?!

If all of that came to pass, it would be a terrible thing for Libyans, but so far, there is no indication that this is what Jalil has in mind. And even if it is, unlike Gaddafi, Jalil is not a dictator and therefore does not have the power to impose whatever his will may be on his fellow citizens – or at least, that’s the idea of establishing a democracy.

Hannity discussed the situation with Brigitte Gabriel, president of Act for America Education, and Kirsten Powers, a political analyst for Fox News. Powers congratulated Hannity on being one of the few people who saw the Muslim Brotherhood for what they are (in his words, a “terrorist group”) and added that they have always been quite transparent about their goals of wanting to bring about a theocracy. Gabriel was even more distressed about the situation and she criticised the Obama administration for “relying on disinformation” and for failing to understand the dynamics of the Middle East and the role of tribal loyalty. Hannity lamented that George Bush was not in charge, so that he could apply the same sort of sensitivity he showed towards tribal loyalties in Iraq to Libya, and that way, we wouldn’t be in fear now of an empowered Iran.

Rush Limbaugh


Rush Limbaugh is equally disillusioned about the prospects for a post-Gaddafi Libya, and he now thinks it might have been better to have stuck with the devil we knew (Gaddafi) because we don’t know what the “devils we don’t know” may end up doing (listen to clip). Limbaugh is particularly concerned about Jalil’s desire to change marriage laws to make it easier for men to take on a second wife, apparently in an effort to accommodate all the “young ladies who lost their husbands in battle”. Limbaugh is disgusted by this provision and condemned the National Organisation for Women (or Nags, as he prefers to call them) for not taking a stand.

When I checked the Nags website, the National Association of Gals, and I don’t see any condemnation of the new Libyan leader’s vow to put Libya under sharia law. That includes the reinstatement of polygamy. Men will now be allowed multiple wives in Libya. Up to four. You can have harem after harem after harem!

Oddly, of all the problems Libya will face as it makes the inevitably rocky journey to democracy, it is this idea that “men will be free to take up to four wives without restriction” (Limbaugh’s interpretation) that most troubles the radio host – who has had four wives himself (although not all at the same time).

Limbaugh is equally disgusted with President Obama’s announcement last week that he will bring the troops home from Iraq by the end of the year, fulfilling his campaign pledge to “bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end”.

Although he has complained many times about the cost of the foreign wars we are involved in that Obama now owns, even though he didn’t start them, Limbaugh does not support the troop withdrawal because he believes that a continued military presence there is necessary to ensure Iraq’s security and stability. He would probably be relieved to know that there is likely be a significant troop presence in Iraq, after the so-called complete withdrawal, in the guise of security and training forces. But Limbaugh is convinced that there will be, as he puts it, “no vestige, no reminders that we were there” and he thinks this suits President Obama just fine because it will fire up his base .

Obama’s base, the Michael Moore crowd, would love it if we got shellacked, they would love it if we end up – quote, unquote – losing in Iraq. It would be a repudiation of Bush; they could say, “See, we never shoulda gone there in the first place, it didn’t make any difference.” Damn straight. Even after 4,500 American soldiers dead, damn straight. We’re not dealing with a rational bunch of people on the left. We’re dealing with people who have an abject hatred for this country, who believe this country needs to be taken down a peg or two or three, who believe we shouldn’t have gone to Iraq in the first place and we need to pay a price for going in there. And what would that be? Worldwide humiliation.

But worldwide humiliation aside, Limbaugh’s biggest fear is that allowing Libyans to determine their own fate and bringing an extremely unpopular war in Iraq to an end may serve President Obama well when seeking re-election in 2012.

Michael Savage


Michael Savage has moved on from being concerned about the rise of Islam in Islamic countries and now fears that thanks to President Obama’s failed policies in the Middle East, we are currently witnessing a radical Islamist takeover of America (listen to clip).

He discusses this with a caller, Mike from Indiana, who outlines his vision that we will soon be seeing New York Times columnists Maureen Down and Gail Collins walking through the streets of Manhattan four paces behind their Muslim husbands, dressed head-to-toe in burkas. Savage wasn’t sure that this is where we are immediately headed, but he did think that with the prevalence of drugs, alcoholism and liberalism in our society, the Muslims see that their time is now. Savage believes that it is God himself who has introduced radical Islam to America in order to save us from ourselves.

I believe God’s hand is behind this invasion of the west by radical Muslims. I believe God wanted us to see the weakness of liberalism and secularism and multiculturalism, and I then believe God insists that we either change our ways and either go back to God’s word, go back to the church, go back to the temple, try our best, take one step forward in a more dignified more Godlike life – or we’re going to lose our society completely.

Well, at least, for once, he’s not blaming President Obama.

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Iraqis Split Over US Troop Withdrawal October 23, 2011

Iraqis are expressing mixed emotions about President Barack Obama’s announcement to withdraw all U.S. troops from their country by the end of the year.  Some say they worry about continued fragile security, while many others say that nearly nine years after the U.S.-led invasion, it’s past time the Americans go home.

In the streets of Baghdad, Obama’s announcement was greeted with joy.  Resident Bilal says the U.S. decision was the correct one: the Americans leave behind destruction and sedition, but Iraqis will rebuild the country after the withdrawal.

While many Iraqis welcomed the U.S. invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, that soon faded as the oppression of the Saddam years was replaced by the unleashing of sectarian violence and near civil war.

The U.S. had promised three years ago to leave by the end of this year, so the decision did not take some people by surprise.

But Abdullah al Agili, also in Baghdad, says he thinks the American presence is still needed, arguing the Iraqi army is weak and divided on sectarian lines.

Sectarian violence still flares across the country, with bombings and shootings claiming dozens of lives each month.

American officials also worry that the continuing unrest may make it easier for neighboring Iran to gain a greater foothold in the Arab nation once the troops leave.

Iraqi and U.S. officials had long speculated that several thousand troops would stay beyond 2011.  But the matter came down, in part, to one of sovereignty – the talks on extending the mission breaking down over the U.S. demand of immunity from Iraqi prosecution for its forces.

Still, even after the announcement, Iraqi officials held open the idea that some U.S. military presence could still be needed, in particular for training the fledgling Iraqi army.

Iraqis are expressing mixed emotions about President Barack Obama’s announcement to withdraw all U.S. troops from their country by the end of the year. Some say they worry about continued fragile security, while many others say that nearly nine years after the U.S.-led invasion, it’s past time the Americans go home.

 

In the streets of Baghdad, Obama’s announcement was greeted with joy. Resident Bilal says the U.S. decision was the correct one: the Americans leave behind destruction and sedition, but Iraqis will rebuild the country after the withdrawal.

 

While many Iraqis welcomed the U.S. invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, that soon faded as the oppression of the Saddam years was replaced by the unleashing of sectarian violence and near civil war.

 

The U.S. had promised three years ago to leave by the end of this year, so the decision did not take some people by surprise.

 

But Abdullah al Agili, also in Baghdad, says he thinks the American presence is still needed, arguing the Iraqi army is weak and divided on sectarian lines.

 

Sectarian violence still flares across the country, with bombings and shootings claiming dozens of lives each month.

 

American officials also worry that the continuing unrest may make it easier for neighboring Iran to gain a greater foothold in the Arab nation once the troops leave.

 

Iraqi and U.S. officials had long speculated that several thousand troops would stay beyond 2011. But the matter came down, in part, to one of sovereignty – the talks on extending the mission breaking down over the U.S. demand of immunity from Iraqi prosecution for its forces.

 

Still, even after the announcement, Iraqi officials held open the idea that some U.S. military presence could still be needed, in particular for training the fledgling Iraqi army.

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How to introduce a new editor to the readers… October 20, 2011

Publishers often issue statements praising their incoming editors, but few are as fulsome and effusive as the one just published on his newspapers‘ websites by Eric Meyer.

He runs three weekly papers in Kansas – the Marion County Record (sales: 2,600), the Hillsboro Star-Journal (1,144) and the Peabody Gazette-Bulletin (1,165). And here is his announcement of his new appointment:

“We searched high. We searched low. All across the nation, for nearly four months, we have been running a talent hunt rivalling that of any TV realty show in an attempt to find just the right leaders for our three newspapers.

We brought in veteran publishers from as far away as North Carolina. We tried out newspaper editors from Georgia, magazine editors from Utah, even a talented veteran sports magazine designer with ties to the county.

But in the end we found the best candidate to take on the role of news editor of the Record, Star-Journal and Gazette-Bulletin was someone already in our newsroom — a familiar, reliable source of information to thousands of Marion County readers.

Effective today, reporter Adam Stewart is being promoted to news editor, responsible for coordinating reporting, editing, design, and the editorial page of all three Hoch Publishing newspapers.

An extraordinarily conscientious and dependable member of our team since arriving here three years ago from Blackfoot, Idaho, Adam, an Eagle Scout and K-State graduate, will replace Amanda Ayers, who departed Tuesday…”

Isn’t that a wonderful way to introduce an editor to his readers?

Source: Peabody Gazette-Bulletin

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Insurers Review Whether to Still Pay for Routine Screening October 15, 2011

Some insurers said they intended to continue paying for the test, while others said they would revisit their policies.

Both Aetna and Kaiser Permanente said it was unclear whether they would continue paying for the test. “We are currently reviewing the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s recent announcement on prostate cancer screening,” Jason Allen, a spokesman for Kaiser Permanente, said in an e-mail. “For our members who may have questions about the Task Force’s announcement, we encourage them to discuss the matter with their physicians.”

Other companies were quick to affirm support for the test — at least for now. United Healthcare said that it planned to continue paying for the test, which typically costs less than $50. WellPoint also said it would continue to pay for the test.

“Our coverage of P.S.A. testing remains unchanged at this time,” said Jill Becher, a spokeswoman for WellPoint. “However, we will be carefully following the American Cancer Society recommendations” in addition to those from the government panel.

The American Cancer Society has recommended against routine screenings since March 2010.

WellPoint and other insurers said that the recommendations would have no effect on payment for prostate biopsies and surgeries, the value of which were not addressed by the task force.

The doctors who must decide whether to continue administering the test may be less swayed by the panel’s recommendations, which will be open to public comments before they are finalized next week.

Those who believe in the P.S.A. test’s value said the task force’s recommendation would do little to shake their faith.

“I think the conclusion is misguided and wrong,” said Dr. Peter Carroll, chairman of urology at the University of California, San Francisco. While the P.S.A test should not be used in isolation, he said, “in conjunction with other risk factors like age, ethnicity and family history, it can help you give a man the best information about his personal risk.”

Indeed, the risk with the P.S.A. test is that it too often leads men to treat otherwise nonlethal prostate problems with aggressive chemotherapy or surgery. But some doctors insisted that the test was an important part of the diagnostic process.

Dr. Eric Klein, head of urology at the Cleveland Clinic, said he remained a believer in P.S.A. tests and would still encourage men without symptoms of prostate cancer to get them.

“Their recommendation won’t change our practice at all,” Dr. Klein said. “We’ll still recommend routine screening.”

In Dr. Klein’s opinion, the panel’s decision was based on an incorrect reading of the available data. “There’s clear data based on randomized trials, primarily from Europe, that shows P.S.A. testing reduced mortality,” he said.

Dr. J. Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, said men should consult with their doctors.

“But we are on record as having drawn similar conclusions” as the task force, he noted.

At least one clinician saw an upside to the new recommendations.

“Patients should not be lined up and blindly going and getting these blood tests without knowing the limitations of the test, as well as the benefits,” said Dr. Jeff Karnes, a urologist with the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

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Sarah Palin: the end of an error October 6, 2011

Long past the time many had ceased caring, Sarah Palin announced on Wednesday night that she was not running for the presidency in 2012. Fox News alone of America’s cable networks thought her announcement was more significant than the death of Steve Jobs. Everyone else reacted with a quick shrug and moved on.

It had become obvious that Palin was not going to be a candidate. The reality is that Palin didn’t stand a chance, so badly has she squandered her political capital within the Republican party over the past year with cheap stunts, such as an on-again, off-again grandiose national bus tour. Her career in national politics as a candidate is over.

The most straight-forward implication of Palin’s decision – along with the announcement by New Jersey governor Chris Christie that he would not be running – is that the Republican field is set. There is now no prince across the water. That means Republican voters will either have to come to terms with Mitt Romney or the alternative, most likely Rick Perry.

But for Palin and her supporters, the announcement ends any serious opportunity Palin may have had. The weakness of the 2012 Republican field was such that had Palin chosen to make a serious effort, she could have done well. She could have won the nomination. Now she almost certainly never will.

Even if Republicans don’t regain the White House in 2012, the GOP has a rich crop of potential candidates in 2016: Christie, Perry, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker. By 2020, Palin will be a distant memory, just as if Al Gore was running for the Democratic nomination in 2012.

In reality Palin’s career was effectively killed off when she decided to quit midway through her term as governor of Alaska back in 2009. From that moment on her unfavourability ratings climbed to toxic levels. When the Tea Party movement arose she quickly embraced it, backing herself further into a shrill corner of the Republican party, speaking in the code of talk radio and appealing to an ever-shrinking fan base.

What beckons instead is a career as a political quasi-celebrity on the conservative right, alongside the Oliver Norths, Ann Coulters and J Gordon Liddys. But without the attraction of being a potential presidential candidate, Palin will find the spotlight and the crowds have moved on.

Over on her supporters’ websites, there is much gnashing of teeth and a good deal of denial. No wonder, because only a week ago her supporters were being solicited for donations to help convince Sarah to run.

On Mark Levin’s radio show, where she made her announcement, Palin was full of perky plans for helping elect conservatives in 2012. Like a Broadway show that lost an audience, she plans a tour of the provinces.

Many Republicans will be glad to see her go since she drives away the moderates and independents that the GOP needs to win over to hold the White House. In a memorable recent blog, RedState’s Erick Erickson described Palin’s cult-like supporters as “unhinged” and saying of Palin’s prevarication: “Enough is enough”.

Finally, it was.

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Iraq Completes Deal to Buy F-16s September 27, 2011


September 26, 2011

by legitgov

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Mission accomplished! Iraq Completes Deal to Buy F-16s 26 Sep 2011 Iraq has finalized a deal to buy advanced U.S. fighter jets, officials said. Iraq has yet to publicly announce completion of the deal to buy 18 F-16s, but officials in Washington said an initial payment of $1.5 billion has been received. The deal is considered sensitive in Iraq, and the Pentagon and State Department have declined to comment until Baghdad makes a formal announcement.

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