December 2009


By Arthur Weinreb  

Shortly after Flight 253 landed in Detroit on Christmas Day, the White House issued a statement calling what happened during the last 20 minutes of the flight “an attempted terrorist attack”.  The use of the word “attempt” was dutifully picked up by the media and repeated ad nauseam to the point that whenever the incident will be referred to in the future it will be described as the attempted terrorist attack on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

Terrorism is one of those words that is easy to throw around without actually thinking about its meaning. There are several definitions but generally speaking terrorism is the use of violence or the threat of violence against people or property for the purpose of intimidating governments or societies. While the politically correct leave the definition at that, part of the full definition includes the fact that terrorist acts are those that are committed for political, ideological or yes, religious reasons. What separates an act of terror from an ordinary criminal act is that the intent to terrorize must be present in the former. Terrorizing is the essential element of the act; property damage and death are just the means by which the objective is reached.

What Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab did as the plane was making its final approach to the Detroit airport was not an attempted terrorist act; it was a terrorist act.

By use of the word “attempt” the media are following Obama and the Democrats’ playbook that what transpired was really no different than a crime. Terrorist acts such as the one that occurred on December 25 qualify as crimes as well. In order to be guilty of an attempted crime, the perpetrator must have the intent to commit the offence and carry out at least one overt act in furtherance of that intent. The “crime” in this case would be bringing down the aircraft and if viewed solely as a crime Abdulmutallab’s actions would have been properly classified as an attempt.    But what is necessary to qualify an action as a terrorist act is that there must be intent to terrorize as opposed to people simply ending up having been terrorized. Look at bank robberies for example. A robbery of the bank would naturally leave employees and customers feeling terrorized. It would also affect people who were not there but who became apprehensive the next time they visited a financial institution. But we don’t call bank robberies terrorist acts. That’s because those who rob banks do not do it with the intent to terrorize. As Willie Sutton once said, people rob banks because that’s where the money is. Bank robbers do not try to make all citizens vulnerable nor do they attempt to influence how governments operate for some religious or other ideological purpose.

Terrorism, Violence, Fawning Media

The definition of terrorism includes the threat of violence and this makes what happened on the Northwest Airlines flight a full blown terrorist attack, not simply an attempt to commit one. Major damage or deaths are not essential elements in terrorist acts. As proof that this terrorist act was successful, one only has to look at what the U.S. and other governments did in reaction to the attempt to down the aircraft. Policies were instituted to keep passengers in their seats with the hands folded on their laps during the last hour of the flight. Another policy is that people should not be shown where the aircraft is. Someone will eventually figure out that passengers can tell when they are over land and not water and probably order the blinds on the windows closed. Nothing showed that the terrorists achieved their objective than a picture in the National Post showing a woman awkwardly standing beside her wheelchair while she was being patted down. The terrorist (or as Obama prefers to call him, the alleged suspect) achieved the objective of committing an act of terrorism even though he was unsuccessful in bringing the plane down and reaching paradise. It is improbable that the United States government or any other government would have acted any differently in the wake of the attack had Flight 253 actually been brought down.

While it is doubtful that the fawning media has given any thought to the words that the White House and Obama use in describing what happened, the president knows what he’s doing. It’s nothing more than downplaying the threat that the United States and the free world is facing and his contention that people like Abdulmutallab are no different than common criminals.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab did not commit an attempted terrorist act. He committed an act of terrorism, plain and simple.

The Record

School districts that cater to a large immigrant population say that, increasingly, students are arriving from abroad with academic skills far below those of kids in their age groups.

Many of these students come from the poorest areas in their homelands, and had interrupted schooling – sometimes missing weeks, months, even years of studies in their native countries. School administrators say they routinely register new students in their teens whose last known completed grade, for instance, was second or third grade.

“These students are a very big challenge for us,” said Maria Santa, the principal of Paterson’s School 5, which is K-8. “We’ve registered 13-year-olds who’ve never been to school, 11-year-olds whose last complete schooling was second grade. Right now a Bengali family just registered three kids: one is a 17-year-old whose last grade was 7th grade.”

Many districts address the needs of such students – who exist largely on the margins of public awareness — through their bilingual education departments, whose staffs typically pick up on the gaps in schooling through testing or through a teacher’s observations. In recent years, several districts – such as Paterson and Hackensack, among others, have set up programs to provide extra help to such children.

School administrators say that parents of kids who have had interrupted or no schooling sometimes lie about it when enrolling their children, evidently out of fear that the children will be turned away or put in a class with much younger students.

And overseas school records that some parents present during enrollment here sometimes contain fabrications, created by school officials in their homeland at the request of the parent.

But often, administrators and teachers determine that bilingual education, or English as a Second Language programs, are far from enough for some of these students.

They not only must conquer language and culture barriers, but adjust to the idea of being in school for a longer period, following a schedule that changes often, doing more homework and ambitious projects than they ever have, and becoming comfortable with technology.

“Think of all the adjustment,” Santa said. “For these children, it’s a very big transition.”

When Ricardo Uben arrived from his native Dominican Republic five years ago, at the age of 14, his math skills were limited to adding and subtracting.

He wrote his letters with large, awkward strokes, like kids just learning penmanship. And the things that had become second nature to students far younger than Uben – like going from one classroom to another in a given number of minutes, even handling a combination lock – were daunting, and usually defeating, to Uben.

“I tried to follow the schedule, the paper they gave me with the class numbers and the time for each class,” said Uben, now 19 and a senior at Hackensack High School. “It was hard to figure it out. The lock was so hard. I’d never seen a lock. I’d never had a locker. I just decided to carry all of my books with me all the time every day.”

Khalique Uddin, a seventh-grader at School 5, and who said he attended school briefly in his native Bangladesh, in southeast Asia, remembers how confusing English was when he arrived four years ago. The school day – which lasted from 9 a.m. until about noon in his native village — seemed to go on forever here. And day to day life was so overwhelming.

“I came from a village, there were not many streets,” said Uddin, who now speaks English fluently, and names English as his favorite subject. “English sounded weird.”

The state Department of Education says it does not keep data on children who have experienced interrupted schooling in other countries.

And many school districts do not keep data on this specific population either; instead they tend to include them in records relating to their bilingual or ESL programs.

When school district officials asked Rosemary Marks, the director of bilingual education and ESL at Hackensack High School, what she thought the most pressing needs were, she cited among her priorities a program for helping students arriving in the country with interrupted schooling.

An outgrowth of her discussion with administrators was the “Port of Entry” program, designed for students who have limited skills in English as well as in their own language.

The Port of Entry program greatly helped Uden, who is scheduled to graduate with the senior class, and is hailed as one of the program’s shining successes.

“It helped me,” Uden said. “They gave me a lot of support. [Marks] was always there to encourage, to make sure I stayed on track. It is the kind of support that my mother wants to give me, but that many parents aren’t able to.”

Paterson has ACES, a program at the high school that serves about 65 such students, many of whom are at least 15 years old, are Spanish-speaking, and perform beneath their grade-level.

Santa plans to set up a program at her school that will target mainly Bengali students, who in recent years have been streaming into the district, especially into her school, which is in the neighborhood where many are settling. Of the roughly 200 children in School 5 identified as having limited English proficiency, about 100 are Bengali, district officials said.

Bengalis hail from a region that spans east India and Bangladesh.

“We may even need to set up a magnet school just for Bengalis,” Santa said. “Many come with interrupted schooling, and it’s very difficult to find teachers who speak Bengali.”

High school age students who arrive with interrupted education pose the greatest challenge – some have not been in school since the early elementary school years, some have never been in school at all.

“The older they are when they get here, the harder it is for the teacher and the school to close the gap,” said Celso King, vice principal at Jackson Avenue Elementary School in Hackensack. “When they’re in high school and behind, for a teacher it’s like climbing Mount Everest 10 times to try to close the gap.”

But many of the students, King and other administrators say, are hungry to learn, and many of the parents help to the extent that they – who themselves often have few academic skills – are able.

Uden would walk, sometimes for a half hour – in all kinds of brutal weather, and at night – to the homes of friends and relatives for help doing his homework.

His efforts, Marks said, have paid off. Uden’s mother will see the first of her children graduate from high school in 2010.

“That’s what is most important to me,” said Uden, who now helps his two younger sisters with their homework. “I want to make my mother proud.”

PATERSONSchool 5 is one of the lowest-performing schools in New Jersey.

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Dominick Says:Balkanization and third-world sh*thole status here we come! Ah, the joys of diversity, tolerance, and Political Correctness!

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By Kristin Bender
Oakland Tribune

OAKLAND — Rosa Valencia is standing in the front room of her dim and cramped home when she is handed a stack of personal checks from strangers.

"It’s eight," a Bay Area News Group photographer says to her in her native Spanish.

Valencia, 29, does not speak or understand very much English.

"Ochocientos?" she says, asking if the checks total $800.

"No, ocho mil," the photographer says, meaning $8,000.

Valencia’s face goes blank. She puts her hand on the arm rest of her beige sofa and slowly lowers herself to it. A smile, forced but genuine, crosses her face.

"Gracias," she says. "Muchas gracias."

Clearly, she was not expecting this much money to come to her from strangers.

The room is silent except for the noise of her daughters, ages 4 and 10, digging into four bags of toys, clothes and books, collected, in addition to the money, by the Oakland Tribune over seven weeks after the publication of a story in many Bay Area News Group papers about the plight of Valencia’s common-law husband, Salvador Recinos Mendez.

Mendez, 38, was shot in his chest in August while trying to help a stranger who had been stabbed in the ear at an East Oakland taco truck. The bullet tore through him and hit his spinal cord.

He remains in an Alameda County rehabilitation hospital, possibly paralyzed for the rest of his life. He cannot move his legs or his arms, though he can move his fingers a bit, Valencia says.

Mendez has no feeling in his legs but is regaining some feeling in his feet, she adds.

His spirits are up and down, Valencia says. The family has no insurance, and Valencia has taken a job as a cook in a Fremont restaurant to support the family. Mendez has said he did not know the man who shot him had a gun.

After the story ran, checks poured into the Oakland Tribune. One for $1,000 came from a family in New Zealand. An Oakland woman sent $11. An Oakland businessman sent $2,500, and a group of Pleasanton women collected several hundred dollars from members of their church.

People sent letters and cards — in English and Spanish — praising Mendez for his good deed and telling him that he was in their thoughts and prayers. Two women brought in bags of gifts for the girls.

A few days after the initial $8,000 delivery, about $500 in checks were mailed to the Tribune and given to Valencia. The Oakland-based nonprofit organization Loved Twice donated dozens of Christmas gifts to the girls.

The fire crew that responded to Mendez’s shooting also delivered holiday gifts to his daughters and will present the Oakland Fire Department Citizen Hero Award to Mendez after his release from the hospital. Firefighters also earmarked $1,000 for furnishings for the family once they relocate to a home that is wheelchair-accessible.

Joan Doran Row, a Bay Area native, read the story online in New Zealand, where she has lived for the past decade with her husband, a native of that country.

"What struck me the most was the goodness of this man who simply stops for tacos after work, witnesses the injustice of another person being mugged by thugs and is brave in trying to right the situation and ends up paying for it greatly," Row wrote in an e-mail after sending a $1,000 check for Mendez. "The ironic part is the murdering thugs got away and (Mendez) is now incarcerated unfairly in his own body, and his life and family will never be the same."

Police say the same men who shot Mendez had killed 36-year-old Adrienne Parker just minutes before while she was sitting in her car in the early-morning hours of Aug. 29 in a gritty area of the city’s Fruitvale district. No one has been arrested in connection with the crimes, but police continue to investigate.

The life the family had four months ago is a distant memory. What lies ahead for them is unknown.

Originally from El Salvador, Mendez and his family came to the Bay Area from Texas about two years ago because he has a brother in the region. They had lived in Texas for more than a dozen years before coming to Oakland. Here, Mendez and Valencia found work and a chance to make a better life for themselves and their children.

On the evening of Aug. 28, Mendez had finished his janitor shift in Pleasanton shortly before midnight and started back to Oakland. He was hungry and stopped at a taco truck at 44th Avenue and International Boulevard, where he bought four tacos. He had eaten two of the tacos when he saw four men grab a man and use a sharp object — neither Mendez nor the police are sure what it was — to cut the man’s ear.

Mendez called the police from a cell phone and told the 57-year-old injured man — whom he had met before — to get into his car. The Tribune is not using the injured man’s name because he was unavailable for comment. Then Mendez did something he said he likely will regret forever — he chased the four men, who were on foot, in his car to a supermarket parking lot at High and Bond streets.

Mendez said he wanted to identify the suspects to help police. It was there that one of men shot at his car, hitting Mendez in the upper left part of his chest near his shoulder.

Oakland police Sgt. Rachael Van Sloten, the lead investigator in the case, considers what Mendez did heroic, calling him a good Samaritan simply trying to help someone in need.

 

The Kern High School District on Wednesday morning will hold a public hearing and consider a petition for a new charter school named after the nation’s president.

The Barack H. Obama Leadership Academy aims to teach disadvantaged, at-risk teenagers and at the same time provide mental health services and substance abuse treatment, according to the petition.

The school board may vote on Wednesday to approve or deny the charter’s petition. The district would not comment on the petition pending the hearing and board discussion.

One of two petitioners, David McGuire, said Bakersfield would benefit from a charter school like this, which caters to those in danger of dropping out.

"We want to make a difference," said McGuire, who is from the Los Angeles area. "We want to come in and help. Together we can make progress and help people."

Health Care Dual Diagnosis, a nonprofit, would provide health care, McGuire said. They’ve provided counseling and services to various schools in Compton.

The school’s mission is to "focus on leadership development, technical integration, economic development, and social skills, along with workplace competencies." The school will be tuition free. It aims to enroll 300 students its first year; 500 by year five.

Earlier this month, Orange Unified School District in Orange County shot down a petition for a charter school with the same name and same petitioners, McGuire and Edna Miller.

Trustees said it failed to meet California Education Code standards for the establishment of a charter school. That district staff said the 400-page petition "presented an unsound educational program" and was "poorly prepared, inconsistent and even incomprehensible." It also contained many errors, according to The Orange County Register.

The petition, turned into KHSD earlier this month, incorrectly identified the district as "Kern County Unified School District" and also as Escondido Union High School District, which is in San Diego County. The 3-inch thick petition contained an introduction and recommendation written by Inglewood Mayor Roosevelt Dorn.

Charter schools are usually reviewed and sponsored by local school districts, and goals and procedures are detailed in an agreement between district boards and charter organizers. The district must legally hold a public hearing within 30 days of receiving the petition. If denied, appeals can be made to the county and state boards of education. Kern High School District must address the Obama academy because students from the district could potentially go there.

McGuire would not say why school officials decided to name the school after President Obama. Several schools throughout the nation have already been named after him. In California there are two: Barack Obama Charter School in Compton (formerly Qued Charter Elementary School) and Barack Obama Academy in Oakland (formerly Alternative Education School).

There are only six charter schools in Kern County with a combined population of about 2,000 students, according to the California Department of Education. Two of those — Valley Oaks Charter School and Kern Workforce 2000 Academy — are in Bakersfield.

A third Bakersfield charter school was proposed earlier this year in Greenfield Union School District. The petition for Smothers Academy, which focused on closing the achievement gap among black and Hispanic students, was retracted in November, but will be resubmitted in early 2010, school officials said.

The newest charter, Paramount Bard Academy in Delano, opened in August.

Nyra Constant, a prospective teacher for the Obama academy, said she thinks the school could help certain at-risk students.

"I believe the model they have set up could assist the community," she said.

For more information on the proposed charter school, go to barackcharter.com or attend the meeting at 8:30 a.m. at the district boardroom, 5801 Sundale Ave.

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"Trustees said it failed to meet California Education Code standards for the establishment of a charter school. That district staff said the 400-page petition "presented an unsound educational program" and was "poorly prepared, inconsistent and even incomprehensible." It also contained many errors, according to The Orange County Register"

Are they describing the proposed school or the actual Barack Hussein Obama?

By David Horowitz  

Two Guantanamo terrorists released in November were behind the Christmas Day attack in Detroit. Our security agencies ignored their own security measures and their own intelligence — including warnings from the terrorist’s father that his son was involved with terrorists.

The chief of our Department of Homeland Security is preoccupied with covering her ass, and conferring citizenship rights on enemy combatants. Instead of throwing the enemy in the darkest possible dungeon and extracting information on the next terrorist attack, both she and her president are referring to him as an “alleged” bomber and helping him to lawyer up because after all he’s only a criminal who deserves the presumption of innocence and every other right accorded to citizens of this country who might be interested in protecting it.

The answer to the question posed above is that liberals will be responsible when the next bomber actually succeeds in killing Americans. Liberals have fought the very idea that we are at war (and should use security measures appropriate in wartime)  although our enemies have declared war on us. Liberals have fought to close the Guantanamo Bay holding center and to release its terrorists back onto the battlefield.

Liberals have fought to deny us the basic security techniques — harsh interrogation measures, military tribunals, terrorist profiling (which would focus scarce security resources on Muslims and not on the  hundreds of millions of ordinary citizens who are traveling to do business and visit families, including for example, elderly Christians confined to wheelchairs whose prophet preached love rather than war.)

Liberals have advocated and pursued a diplomacy of apology and appeasement whose effect is to encourage our adversaries to have contempt for us and to deny support to the brave dissenters in the Muslim world who are struggling for their freedom. And liberals have conducted a relentless propaganda campaign designed to portray their own country as an unprincipled aggressor whose immediate consequence is to weaken its efforts to defend itself.

We expect this from the anti-American left. But we are getting it from the liberal “center” from the likes of Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, the late Senator Kennedy, institutions like the New York Times, and pundits ranging from Chris Matthews and Andrew Sullivan who should know better to Joshua Micah Marshall and Joe Klein who have lent cover and support to the neo-Communist America haters of the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Our country is about to pay a terrible price for the orgy of liberal derangement that made the Bush administration rather than Saddam Hussein the culprit in the Iraq war and whose collective effort over the last seven years has been to dig the graves of the innocent American victims of the next terrorist attacks.

By Rowan Scarborough

What was championed by Democrats a year ago as a high-minded endeavor to reform health care has instead descended into a grotesque piece of legislation larded with pork, payoffs, back room deals and huge tax increases, say Republicans and experts on Congress.

"We have former members of Congress in jail and a lobbyist  in jail for this sort of behavior," said David Williams, who has been tracking pork-barrel spending for 15 years for Citizens Against Government Waste. "People are really fed up with it."

The close-door deal making is just getting revved up. House and Senate leaders will hold private negotiations next month to reconcile their bills. Envious of the deals Democratic senators extracted from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House members are sure to demand their share of pork favors in exchange for floor votes.

"The wonderful conference committee where a lot of bad things happen," is how Williams described the upcoming process to HUMAN EVENTS. "We never see any good things happen in a conference committee. It’s always bad things. We’re just putting up the wood paneling getting ready for the January hurricane that is the conference committee because we just suspect it’s going to be a doozy."

Reid, the bill’s behind-the-scenes architect, used Medicare and Medicaid payments like just another round of pork projects, called earmarks. He handed out a hundred million dollars here and a few hundred million dollars there to secure 60 votes needed for cloture to vote on his bill.

"It’s hard to ignore the billions of dollars this is a giveaway for," Williams said. "On one hand, even a $100,000 earmark to get reelected has a huge corrupting influence on the process. But, oh my goodness, here are billions of dollars that were traded like monopoly money is just mind boggling."

The Senate version, and its more than 2,000 pages, is so studded in special favors to various states that Washington watchdogs groups, such as Williams’ pork fighters, are still mining new gems a weeks after Reid wrote the $400 billion in tax increases and $2.5 trillion in spending over 10 years.

"Unfortunately, Congress is getting smarter," Williams said. "It’s like when a cock roach builds up an immunity to bug spray. It figures out how to survive when it gets sprayed with that stuff. What congressmen do now is they will change a formula now for a state. So, it’s not the teapot museum. It’s not the ‘bridge to no where.’ But it’s still these spending issues that are driving people in this country insane. They are getting away from the traditional silly projects. There’s still pork in the appropriations bill. Don’t get me wrong. But this is kind of the new frontier in pork barrel politics."

The magnitude of Reid’s wheeling-dealing became so immense as his bill passed Christmas Eve on a party-line vote that some senators abandoned polite debate.

“Democrats have truly hit the bottom on their reckless pursuit of a government takeover of health care," said Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican. "The Democrat majority just voted to retain the culture of corruption in Congress. Just two years ago, Democrats bragged about draining the swamp, but now they’re endorsing political bribery. This is Washington at its worst.”

Over in the House, GOP leader John Boehner declared, “Senate Democrats have sunk to plenty of new lows to jam through this government takeover of health care, but putting their votes on the auction block tops them all.”

The Democrats’ legislative horse-trades are in addition to a whole pot of goodies President Obama handed out to doctors, hospitals, advocacy groups and drug makers to ensure they worked on behalf of a totally partisan bill.

Reid’s plan provides money to the uninsured  many of whom do not want health coverage  by raiding Medicare. It cuts a half-trillion dollars in payments to certain providers.

You would think the most prominent voice for seniors in Washington  The Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons  would be up in arms. But it is silent. Moreover, it actually supports Obama-care.

Why? Republicans say it’s because the bill will force more seniors to buy supplemental insurance. And AARP is a big provider of so-called "Medigap" plans, pulling in more than a half-billion dollars in 2008.

"Shame on AARP," Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, said on the Senate floor. "Take your AARP card, cut it in half and send it back. They’ve betrayed you."

Among the Reid handouts, the most infamous are hundreds of millions of dollars on Medicaid payments for the votes of Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Ben Nelson of Nebraska. The payments cover the state cost of Medicaid, which will go up under HarryCare. Other states will likely be forced to raise taxes to meet new enrollee demands.

Then we learned that Sen. Chris Dodd, who is in a tough reelection battle in Connecticut, received another big Reid favor: $100 million for a new hospital.

The deals have become known as the "Louisiana Purchase" and "Cornhusker Kickback." To lump the vote-buying process under one banner, someone coined, "Cash for Cloture," a reference to the Obama subsidy for car buyers.

Now, more deals are surfacing. Williams said his group will likely issue a report once it finishes combing through over 2,000 pages of taxes, mandates, government panels, earmarked projects and federal aid.

Other Reid deals:

•    A tax break for Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company (Nelson).
•    Federal money for ACORN, the left-wing activist group connected to phony voter registration lists (Sen. Roland Burris of Illinois).
•    Medicaid payments of $600 million for Vermont. (Patrick Leahy).
•    More than $10 billion for government health centers (Bernie Sanders of Vermont).
•    Florida seniors get to keep extra Medicare benefits that the elderly in other states will lose (Bill Nelson).
•    Higher Medicare payments for hospitals in North Dakota (Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad).
•    Extend Medicare benefits to a small group of miners in Montana sickened by asbestos (Max Baucus).

AARP is not the only organization who stands to reap more revenue under ObamaCare. The White House enticed drug companies (Big Pharma) with all sorts of favors. In fact, the industry is go gaga over the House and Senate bills it is spending well over $100 million on media ads.

(Some of that money has flowed to two Chicago political/media companies founded by David Axelrod, Obama’s closest White House adviser. Axelrod sold his interest to partners, and continues to receive the $2 million buyout in yearly installments. He has an interest in his former firm staying afloat.)

John Berlau of the Competitive Enterprise Institute is writing about one of the many favors the legislation gives drug firms. It has do with Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Savings Accounts (FSA). People can contribute pre-tax dollars to both and use the money to buy drugs. But under the pending bills, only prescription drugs  not over-the-counter medicines, as is the case now  can be bought with FSA or FSA money, Berlau told Human Events.

"I think this provision itself, in addition to the harm it does to consumers, is an example of egregious pork for Big Pharma," Berlau said. "By taking away the tax advantages for over-the-counter drugs in FSAs and HSAs, but leaving them in there for prescription medicine, this law encourages folks to go to prescription drugs when they’re sick even if OCT drugs will do the trick — a huge gift to pharmaceutical firms that make expensive prescription drug that will raise health care cost by the billions over time."

And for those who say HarryCare is simply good old fashion horse-trading, critics say the sheer magnitude of the voting buying for what was supposed to be largely a policy bill puts it in class by itself. Berlau said, for example, that Congress has never agreed to pay a state’s Medicaid bill in perpetuity, as it did for Sen. Ben Nelson.

Robert E. Moffit, a health care analyst at the Heritage Foundation, said there is an overriding issue that makes HarryCare pork unique.

Reid is handing out money and projects in a bill that affects 300 million Americans, as opposed to a yearly appropriations bill that hands out local bridge and highway projects. Thus, giving various states a special break on paying for Medicaid, means taxpayers elsewhere will have to make up the difference.

"I cannot recall a time where we had anything like this ever happen," said Moffit, a longtime Washington hand. "This transaction is being done to affected 300 million Americans. In other words, the project back home just doesn’t affect the people back home. It’s to further an agenda that affects every body in every state of the union."

To lawmakers, he said, "what’s happening back home, I really don’t care that they don’t like what I’m doing. I’m going to do it anyway. And in order to get it done, they are doing this horse-trading, trading away literally hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer dollars in these payoffs to Louisiana and Nebraska and other states in broad day light. It’s never been so blatant before for a lot of people and that’s why people are referring to this as legalized corruption and bribery in daylight."

Moffit said the dealing may produce a backlash. Nelson’s poll numbers have plummeted in Nebraska, according to a Rasmussen survey.

"The sense of fair play and the sensibilities of ordinary Americans are deeply offended by all this," he said.

 By Daily Mail Reporter

Peaches Geldof has caused outrage by posing pointing a gun at a friend’s head in a photograph she posted on Twitter.

The 20-year-old daughter of Boomtown Rats star Bob Geldof can be seen in an oversized T-shirt and patterned tights as she aims the toy pistol at friend AJ English’s forehead while he kneels at her feet.

In other photos, Peaches poses with a gun posed at AJ’s groin before AJ is photographed running down a street with the gun, wearing a dress.

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The picture above, which 20-year-old model AJ posted on his Twitter page with the caption ‘Happier times…peaches and I right b4 the lab got busted…’ before Peaches re-tweeted it on her page, has been criticised by members of anti-gun groups, who say Peaches is glamorosing gun crime.

Vanessa Hyman, whose 17-year-old son Anton was shot and killed in 2004, told The Sun: ‘For someone like her in the public eye to have her photo taken with a gun is disgraceful.

‘Guns are not toys. They aren’t something to be used as a prop in a fashion shoot.

‘It’s totally disrespectful and abhorrent to all those people who’ve lost loves ones to gun crime.’

Referring to Peaches’ 60,000 Twitter followers, Mrs Hyman added: ‘She has a lot of young fans. Her actions are glamorising guns – and there’s certainly nothing glamorous about getting shot.’

However, a source at the photoshoot where the snaps were taken said: ‘Peaches and AJ were referencing the film Bonnie and Clyde for the shoot for a clothing firm.

‘Peaches understands the images could be seen as offensive. That wasn’t the intention. She is sorry if she has upset anyone.’

Peaches’ spokesperson explained: ‘Peaches does not condone violence’ before adding that the gun was ‘a child’s plastic toy’.

This isn’t the first time Peaches has caused problems on Twitter.

Shortly before the sudden death of Brittany Murphy, Peaches posted a message on her Twitter page claiming that tween sensation Miley Cyrus had died – causing panic among Miley’s millions of fans worldwide.

Later Peaches apologised to her followers, saying: ‘Didn’t want to cause distress by Tweeting that I’d heard that Miley had died. Turns out it was thankfully a rumor. Glad to hear that.’

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Not familiar with this putrid Peaches and her equally worthless friend, nor am I into the Twitter thang, but enough of this nonsense.

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Washington Times Editorial

With reports appearing that former Guantanamo detainees played a role in the attempted Christmas Day bombing of Northwest Flight 253, President Obama’s plan to shutter the facility, putting detainees back on the streets, doesn’t look so popular. Nor should it. Every released detainee has the potential for political and literal blowback.

Details are sketchy, but this much we know. On Jan. 24, Guantanamo alumni Mohammed Atiq Awayd al-Harbi (aka al-Awfi, or detainee No. 333) and Said Ali al-Shiri (detainee No. 372), both from Saudi Arabia, appeared in a video announcing their leadership roles in the newly formed al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. This was the same organization that recruited Flight 253 bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

Under intense pressure, the Bush administration released the two men to Saudi custody in 2007; they went through Saudi jihadist deprogramming before being released into the population. It did not take. "By God, our imprisonment [in Guantanamo] has only made us more resilient and more committed to our principles that we had fought jihad and been taken prisoners for," al-Shiri said. The al Qaeda video was released within days of Mr. Obama’s ordering the facility closed and was viewed widely as a pointed rebuke of the president’s gesture.

It is unlikely that al-Awfi had anything to do with the plot because he turned himself back into Saudi authorities in February. Al-Shiri, however, may have had a direct role in the bomb plot because Mr. Abdulmutallab was in Yemen from August to early December, according to the Yemenis. Al-Shiri reportedly was killed in an American-assisted air strike there on Dec. 24, the second of two rounds of bombings in as many weeks personally ordered by Mr. Obama.

The Christmas Day bombing plot became al Qaeda’s attempt at payback. "We are carrying a bomb to hit the enemies of God," an al Qaeda member declared at a large public gathering on Dec. 21. It is possible that al-Shiri helped plan an operation that turned into revenge for his own death.

The Guantanamo connection to the Christmas Day attack has prompted some liberal commentators to blame President George W. Bush for the incident. Indeed, the Bush administration released hundreds of detainees, some because they were innocent people caught in the dragnet, some because they no longer had intelligence value, and some, like al-Shiri and al-Awfi, under determined pressure from the Democratic Congress. However, if Mr. Bush’s critics had their way, these characters would not have been rounded up in the first place.

Liberals are being forced to deal with the cognitive dissonance conjured by the inconvenient truth that Mr. Bush freed al-Shiri from detention and Mr. Obama hunted him down and killed him. We support the targeted killing program because it is the only aspect of Mr. Obama’s national security strategy that is reaping concrete benefits. The "blame Bush" mantra, however, is simply a way for Mr. Obama’s left-wing supporters to avoid asking hard questions about the future of terrorist detainees.

Meanwhile, potential reinforcements continue to flow to the region under the president’s detainee-release program. On Dec. 20, six Yemenis arrived in the country, shortly to rejoin the general population and perhaps later to capture global headlines. This is no way to run a war or, rather, as the Obama administration would have it, an "overseas contingency operation."

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