The Hive – Please Talk Among Yourselves

Here is our usual weekend discussion thread, where comments on the general topics of the day are welcome.

But please remember to post and comment on specific news items in the ‘News Selected By Our Correspondents’ thread below or via the link found in the sidebar.



Selected News For The Week Mar 31 – Apr 6

This thread is for the busy bees of S&L to post news articles that might not warrant their own thread.

Posting Guidelines

To make the articles as readable as possible, please:

  • Only post news from established news media outlets.
  • Avoid editorials or opinion pieces unless they are truly newsworthy.
  • Avoid items that most people most likely have seen elsewhere.
  • Post articles that fit under the topic of a recent thread as a comment there.
  • Always spell out the name of the source and post a link to it.
  • Always post less than one quarter of the original article.
  • Posts of articles that do not follow these guidelines may be edited or deleted.



    News Media: Please Leak Supreme Court Vote

    From a dumb-founded Associated Press:

    Magnified view, click on image and drag to move.

    Justices meet Friday to vote on health care case

    March 30,2011

    WASHINGTON (AP) — While the rest of us have to wait until June, the justices of the Supreme Court will know the likely outcome of the historic health care case by the time they go home this weekend.

    After months of anticipation, thousands of pages of briefs and more than six hours of arguments, the justices will vote on the fate of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul in under an hour Friday morning. They will meet in a wood-paneled conference room on the court’s main floor. No one else will be present.

    And never mind that this is exactly how every Supreme Court case has been handled since the Court began to function more than 222 years ago.



    Bolton: WH Leaked Plan To Frustrate Israel

    From Fox News:

    Bolton accuses administration of leaking story on Israeli planning along Iran border

    March 29, 2012

    Former U.S. diplomat John Bolton alleged Thursday that the Obama administration leaked a story about covert Israeli activity in order to foil potential plans by the country to attack Iran’s nuclear program.

    Bolton, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in the George W. Bush administration, was responding to an article in Foreign Policy magazine that quoted government sources claiming Israel had been granted access to airfields in Azerbaijan — along Iran’s northern border.

    The article did not state exactly what the Israelis’ intentions were, but it suggested it could point to a possible strike on Iran. "I think this leak today is part of the administration’s campaign against an Israeli attack," Bolton claimed on Fox News.



    Bin Laden – 4 Kids, 5 Houses, 9 Yrs In Pakistan

    From an admiring New York Times:

    On the Run, Bin Laden Had 4 Children and 5 Houses, a Wife Says

    March 29, 2012

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Osama bin Laden spent nine years on the run in Pakistan after the Sept. 11 attacks, during which time he moved among five safe houses and fathered four children, at least two of whom were born in a government hospital, his youngest wife has told Pakistani investigators.

    And yet no one in Pakistan realized he was there? And we are supposed to believe them?

    After all, Bin Laden was 6′ 5," skeleton thin, and one of the most famous men on the planet.

    The testimony of Amal Ahmad Abdul Fateh, Bin Laden’s 30-year-old wife, offers the most detailed account yet of life on the run for the Bin Laden family in the years preceding the American commando raid in May 2011 that killed the leader of Al Qaeda at the age of 54.



    US May Let Gitmo Taliban Detainees Go Free

    From a joyous Reuters:

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    U.S. may accept less stringent controls for Taliban detainees

    By Missy Ryan and Mark Hosenball
    March 29, 2012

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration has signaled a willingness to accept less-stringent controls on former Taliban leaders who could be transferred to Qatar as part of a deal between the United States and the Afghan militants to kick-start Afghan peace talks, U.S. officials said.

    The administration, in negotiations led by the Defense Department, has indicated to Qatar that it would be willing to transfer five Taliban detainees now at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison to the Gulf emirate on condition that Qatari authorities provide assurances the men would not be allowed to leave Qatar, the officials said.



    Prior Week’s Jobless Claims Were Up By 9K

    From an unquestioning Reuters:

    Jobless claims fall to 4-year low in latest week

    March 29, 2012

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New claims for unemployment benefits fell to a fresh four-year low last week, according to a government report that showed ongoing healing in the labor market.

    Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 359,000, the lowest level since April 2008, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

    Last week the Department of Labor and our one party media reported that new jobless claims were down by 5,000. In fact, last week’s AP’s headline and lead from Charles Rugaber was: "US jobless aid requests hit 4-year low — The number of people seeking unemployment aid in the U.S. fell to a four-year low last week, bolstering the view that the job market is strengthening."

    In reality, none of that was true.



    Reuters: A Canadian ‘Pipeline Crisis’ Looms

    From Reuters:

    Analysis: Canada’s "Cushing moment": A northern pipeline crisis looms

    By Scott Haggett
    March 29, 2012

    CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – Oil traders still grappling with an unprecedented pipeline bottleneck in the U.S. Midwest that roiled global energy markets last year should beware: Canada may be next.

    The pipelines that carry crude from Alberta’s oil sands and the Bakken shale fields of North Dakota to U.S. refiners may run out of capacity as soon as 2015, some analysts now warn.

    2015 is years after the November elections. Why should we worry about it now?

    Fears that the export of Canadian crude will be constrained have risen recently as a result of pipeline project delays and the unyielding growth of North Dakota output. Any resulting glut could weaken Canadian oil prices, depress profits for producers like Suncor Energy Inc and Cenovus Energy Inc and choke growth in the largest source of U.S.



    House Votes Down ‘Obama’s Budget’ 414-0

    From a desperately spinning ‘journalist’ at The Hill:


    0-414 vote: House clobbers budget proposal based on Obama’s 2013 plan

    By Pete Kasperowicz – 03/28/2012

    The House on Wednesday night unanimously rejected an alternative budget proposal based on President Obama’s 2013 budget plan, dispatching it in a 0-414 rout.

    The vote came just hours after the White House cast the pending vote as a political "gimmick," an apparent attempt to downplay what many expected to be an ugly-looking vote for the White House.

    White House officials said Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), the sponsor of the alternative, was using Obama’s top-line spending and revenue numbers as a budget proposal, without any specifics. On the House floor, Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) agreed that Mulvaney’s amendment was not, in fact, Obama’s entire budget proposal.



    CNN Says: Not Everyone Hates Obama-Care

    From CNN’s Money.Com

    Not everybody hates health reform

    By Jose Pagliery
    March 28, 2012

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — You’ve heard it a thousand times: Health reform will stifle small business and kill jobs.

    But some business owners are telling another story — it just might make health insurance more affordable.

    "This is all about leveling the playing field so small businesses get a fair shake, so we can effectively compete against larger companies," said Mike Roach, co-owner of Paloma Clothing in Portland, Ore.

    Roach is a member of the National Federation of Independent Business, a powerful trade group that helped propel the case before the Supreme Court. He has also joined the American Small Business Majority, which is on a crusade against the idea that health reform is a job killer.



    NYT: Bad Economy Doesn’t Affect Elections

    From where else but the New York Times:

    Models Based on ‘Fundamentals’ Have Failed at Predicting Presidential Elections

    March 26, 2012

    The 1988 presidential election was a victory for political science. Michael Dukakis had led George Bush in the polls for much of the spring and summer. But Mr. Bush had some fundamental advantages — the economy was sound, and he was the vice president to a popular incumbent, Ronald Reagan. As the fall came, Mr. Dukakis’s numbers wilted, and Mr. Bush captured a decisive victory, winning 426 electoral votes and taking the popular vote by about nine percentage points.

    The election came at a time when political scientists and economists were interested in evaluating the relationship between economic performance — sometimes along with other “fundamental” (if harder-to-quantify) factors like war — and the fate of incumbent presidents.



    Poll: 68% Angry At Obama Over Gas Prices

    From an embarrassed (at their poll results) Reuters:

    Americans angry with Obama over gas prices

    By Patricia Zengerle
    March 27, 2012

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the way President Barack Obama is handling high gasoline prices, although most do not blame him for them, according to a Reuters/Ipsos online poll released on Tuesday.

    Sixty-eight percent disapprove and 24 percent approve of how Obama is responding to price increases that have become one of the biggest issues in the 2012 presidential campaign.

    They are "angry with Obama over gas prices," but they "do not blame him"? How does that work? (Only professional news media pollsters can distort the English language like that.)

    Still, they can’t hide the fact that this puts the lie to all of their previous polls that have claimed nobody holds higher gas prices against Obama.



    NBP Leader Arrested For Firearm Possession

    From the UK’s Daily Mail:

    New Black Panther Party leader who offered $10,000 reward for capture of Trayvon Martin’s shooter arrested on weapons charge

    27 March 2012

    A New Black Panther Party leader who offered a $10,000 reward for the capture of the man who killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida was himself behind bars in suburban Atlanta today on a weapons charge.

    Actually, that reward has been upped to $1 million dollars.

    Hashim Nzinga, 49, was arrested on Monday at the office of his probation officer and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, said Adrion Bell, spokesman for the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.

    Nzinga was convicted in February of deposit account fraud. In March while on probation for that felony, Nzinga allegedly sold a handgun to a pawnshop, Bell said

    Zimmerman, a white Hispanic, claimed self-defense and has not been charged with any crime in connection with the killing of the black teen and the case has prompted nationwide protest demonstrations and allegations of racial bias.



    Taliban Start A ‘Question & Answer’ Website

    From the Agence France-Presse:

    Taliban offer question-and-answer service online

    By Usman Sharifi
    March 28, 2012

    Worried about whether Islamic verses on Facebook are allowed? Or that suicide bombers kill innocent civilians? Afghanistan’s Taliban have set up a new question-and-answer section on their website to address such issues.

    The facility on Voice of Jihad, the official website of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan — the Taliban’s own name for their movement — allows readers to submit queries to spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid

    Though, you do have to wonder what would happen if you ask the wrong question.

    The Voice of Jihad site is packed with denunciations of the Kabul government as "slaves" or "puppets" of its Western allies — "infidels" and "enemies of Islam" — and often exaggerated claims of successes in the bloody, decade-long insurgency

    So how are they any different from Al Jazeera?



    US Corporate Tax Rate Is Now The Highest

    From CNN’s Money.Com:

    U.S. corporate tax rate: No. 1 in the world

    Japan’s cut in corporate tax rate, set to take effect April 1, will leave the U.S. corporate tax rate the highest in the world.

    By Chris Isidore
    March 27, 2012

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — On Sunday, the United States gets a distinction no nation wants — the world’s highest corporate tax rate.

    Japan, which currently has the highest rate in the world — a 39.8% rate on business income between national and local taxes — cuts its rate to 36.8% as of April 1. The U.S. rate stands at 39.2% when both federal and state rates are included.

    "The change in and of itself is not that important, but there’s some symbolism involved in being the highest in the world," said Eric Toder, co-director of the Tax Policy Center, a non-partisan think tank

    You see, it is just symbolism.


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