Archive for June 20th, 2007

Hillary Booed Again

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

Hillary says the Bush administration has a “stunning record of secrecy and corruption”. That’s like the pot calling the kettle black, don’t you think?

Sen. Hillary Clinton was booed again this morning at the Take Back America conference, sponsored by the lefty activist group Campaign for America’s Future here in Washington. At this same conference last year, Sen. Clinton was booed for her position on the war in Iraq. This morning, she was enthusiastically received as she bashed the Bush administration — “a stunning record of secrecy and corruption” — but the crowd became less friendly when, at the end of her speech, she turned to Iraq.

“We’re going to end the war in Iraq and finally bring home the troops,” she said as a number of Code Pink protesters stood up in the audience. When she declared, “The American military has done its job,” boos began to be heard around the room. As the boos increased, Sen. Clinton raised her voice. “The American military has succeeded,” she said, to more boos. “It is the Iraqi government that has failed to make the tough decisions.” Still more boos.

At that point, there was a round of cheers. “I love coming here every year,” Clinton said. “I see the signs, ‘Get Us Out of Iraq Now.’ That’s what we’re trying to do.”

Original Link

Study Backs Up Feds’ Theory of Why World Trade Center Collapsed on Sept. 11

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

The people who continue to want believe that it was a government conspiracy that brought down the towers, will continue to do so, no matter how much logical evidence is given to them. They choose to believe Rosie O’Donnell’s “I do believe that it’s the first time in history that fire has ever melted steel.” and Michael Moore’s “See, I’m not very good at the physics and all that.”

In order to buy into the conspiracy theory, you would have to believe this:

Lou and George meet at the water cooler in their office in Trade Tower 1:
Lou: “Hi George.”
George: “Hi Lou.”
Lou: “Say George, what are all these holes in the Sheetrock with all this putty stuff and wires shoved in them?”
George: “I have no idea.”
Lou: “Think we should tell someone about them?”
George: “Naw, it’s nothing to be worried about. Say, Lou, who won the game last night?”

Sounds pretty stupid, doesn’t it?

INDIANAPOLIS — A computer simulation of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks supports a federal agency’s findings that the initial impact from the hijacked airplanes stripped away crucial fireproofing material and that the weakened towers collapsed under their own weight.

The two-year Purdue University study, funded in part by the National Science Foundation, was the first to use 3-D animation to provide visual context to the attacks, said Christoph Hoffmann, a professor of computer science and one of the lead researchers on the project.

“One thing it does point out… is the absolute essential nature of fireproofing steel structures,” Hoffmann told The Associated Press. “This is something that wasn’t done originally in the World Trade Center when it was built. It wasn’t code at that time.”

Mete Sozen, a professor of structural engineering and a lead investigator on the simulation, said Purdue researchers hope their work leads to better structural design and building codes to prevent similar collapses.

“In the unfortunate development that we shall have to design structures to survive such events, the methods we have developed and will be developing will be of great use to designers,” Sozen said.

The animation, intended in part to help engineers design safer buildings, begins with a map of lower Manhattan as it appeared on Sept. 11, 2001. The video then shows a plane slicing through several stories of the World Trade Center’s north tower and follows the disintegrating plane through the interior and out the opposite side.

The report concludes that the weight of the aircraft’s fuel, when ignited, produced “a flash flood of flaming liquid” that knocked out a number of structural columns within the building and removed the fireproofing insulation from other support structures, Hoffmann said.

The simulation also found that the airplane’s metal skin peeled away shortly after impact and shows how the titanium jet engine shafts flew through the building like bullets.

Ayhan Irfanoglu, a Purdue professor of civil engineering, said half of the building’s weight-bearing columns were concentrated at the cores of the towers.

“When that part is wiped out, the structure comes down,” Irfanoglu said. “We design structures with some extra capacity to cover some uncertainties, but we never anticipate such heavy demand coming from an aircraft impact. If the columns were distributed, maybe, the fire could not take them out so easily.”

A 2005 report following a three-year investigation by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a federal engineering agency, recommended that cities raise fire standards for skyscrapers and develop new materials that can better protect tall buildings from fire. That analysis did not blame the collapse on the steel or design of the towers, but instead focused on the damage to the fireproofing.

Shyam Sunder, the lead NIST investigator, said he was aware of the Purdue study and called it and his own agency’s study “among probably the most prominent analyses that have been conducted in the United States.”

The animation is the latest project by the Purdue team to assess the structural damage from the Sept. 11 attacks. The team also studied the impact of the crash into the Pentagon.

Original Link.

“Who Is Illiberal on Immigration” by Victor Davis Hanson

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

The collapse last week of a comprehensive immigration bill in Congress that called for a huge guest-worker program, fast-track visas and a sort of earned citizenship for illegal aliens has unleashed a backlash against those opponents of it who prefer to close the border first and legislate the details of illegal immigration later.

Washington pundits and Beltway politicians are furious at various critics of the bill, from radio talk show hosts and writers for conservative magazines to frontline congressional representatives and Republican presidential candidates like Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson.

These critics are dubbed cynical nativists — or racists — who have demagogued the issue and scapegoated hardworking illegal aliens. Even President Bush got into the fray when he alleged that conservative obstructionists were somehow not working in America’s best interests.

But who’s really being cynical when it comes to illegal immigration?

The government?

Of course.

It has caved to pressure groups for over a quarter-century. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 ensured neither reform nor control. Instead, the law simply resulted in millions entering the United States through blanket amnesty and de facto open borders.

In many cities, current municipal laws bar police officers from turning arrested illegal aliens over to immigration officials. So why should the public believe that the proposed new law, with hundreds of pages of rules and regulations, would trump local obstructionism or effect any real change?

Had the bill passed, could we really have expected that the first impoverished alien unable to pay the fee or fine under its provisions would have been sent summarily home? More likely, he would have appeared on the 6 o’clock news as a victim of American mean-spiritedness and racism — and thereby instead won a reprieve or an outright apology.

Congressional supporters of the present legislation are themselves often engaging in politics of the most cynical kind. Rare “bipartisan” cooperation on the bill, which brought Sen. Trent Lott from Mississippi to the side of Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, is hardly statesmanship or a sudden outbreak of civic virtue. Rather, it is a new public face to the old alliance between profit-minded employers (and those who represent their interests) and demographically obsessed liberal and ethnic activists.

The former want assurances that there will be millions of aliens available to work at wages that Americans will not — with the ensuing medical, housing, schooling and legal costs subsidized by the taxpayer. The latter can’t wait for more constituents in need of group representation who, it is hoped, will someday support them at the polls.

Most cynical of all, however, are the moralistic pundits, academics and journalists who deplore the “nativism” of Americans they consider to be less-educated yokels. Yet their own jobs of writing, commenting, reporting and teaching are rarely threatened by cheaper illegal workers.

Few of these well-paid and highly educated people live in communities altered by huge influxes of illegal aliens. Their professed liberality about illegal immigration usually derives from seeing hardworking waiters, maids, nannies and gardeners commute to their upscale cities and suburbs to serve them well — and cheaply.

In general, such elites don’t use emergency rooms in the inner cities and rural counties overcrowded by illegal aliens. They don’t drive on country roads frequented by those without licenses, registration and insurance. And their children don’t struggle with school curricula altered to the needs of students who speak only Spanish.

For many professors, politicians and columnists, the gangs, increased crime and crowded jails that often result from massive illegal immigration and open borders are not daily concerns, but rather stereotypes hysterically evoked by paranoid and unenlightened others in places like Bakersfield and Laredo.

So, what is the truth on illegal immigration?

Simple. Millions of fair-minded white, African-, Mexican- and Asian-Americans fear that we are not assimilating millions of aliens from south of the border as fast as they are crossing illegally from Mexico.

In the frontline American Southwest, entire apartheid communities and enclaves within cities have sprung up whose distinct language, culture and routines are beginning to resemble more the tense divides in the Balkans or Middle East than the traditional melting pot of multiracial America.

Concern over this inevitable slowdown in integration and assimilation is neither racist nor nativist. It grows out of real worry that when millions of impoverished arrive in mass without legality, education and the ability to speak English, costly social problems follow that will not be offset by the transitory economic benefits cheap wages may provide.

Those fretting about delays in sealing the border along with proposed fast-track visas, millions of new guest workers and neglect of existing immigration law are neither illiberal nor cynical.

But their self-righteous critics may well be both.

Original Link.

Hamas Lists Seized U.S. Weapons

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

As the President and Europe support one terrorist:

To bolster Abbas, the United States and the European Union said they were ending a 15-month embargo that cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in direct aid after Hamas won elections and formed a government.

Bush also called Abbas to offer his support, and Abbas said during the 15-minute conversation that he was ready to restart peace talks with Israel, according to an Abbas spokesman. Peacemaking stalled nearly seven years ago with the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising.

The others get the windfall:
Hamas lists seized U.S. weapons, claims over $400 million in munitions, equipment taken from compounds.

JAFFA, Israel – Hamas members today provided WND a preliminary list of what they claimed were hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. weaponry and equipment seized during last week’s coup against the U.S.-backed Fatah security organizations of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas vowed to obtain emergency U.S. aid slated for Fatah.

Last week, Hamas took complete control of all Fatah positions and U.S.-backed security compounds in the Gaza Strip, including Fatah’s major Ansar complex – where American-provided weapons were delivered and stored – and Abbas’ presidential guard complex.

The U.S. in recent years reportedly transferred large quantities of weaponry to build up Fatah forces against rival Hamas. Hamas officials told WND in multiple interviews they would seize the American weapons.

Top Gas Gouger? The Government!

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

One fact that most people do not understand is that the government adds up to 60 cents, in taxes, to the cost of each gallon of gas. Of this 60 cents, which most people are under the impression is used to improve our roads, only 60% of that actually finds it’s way to that purpose. Only 36 cents goes to road repair. Twenty-four cents per gallons goes to…??? That’s right, we really don’t know what it’s funding.
The average tank size is 10 gallons. That’s $2.40, every time you fill, that goes to what??
I don’t like high gas prices either, but let’s put the blame where it belongs.

WASHINGTON – With summer travel in full gear and motorists more conscious of the price of gasoline than ever before, few Americans realize that up to 60 cents of the cost per gallon is the result of local, state and federal taxes.

In fact, despite allegations of price-gouging, some retailers say they are actually losing money on every gallon they pump.

State, local and federal taxes make up about 20 percent of the cost paid at the pump, according to Conoco Phillips, an international, integrated energy company.

So, while many tend to assume major gas companies are hugely profiting when gas prices peak, this may not be the case. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, when the average price of regular unleaded gas peaked at $3 per gallon in 2006, most major companies were profiting only about 10 cents per gallon on refining and marketing options, while the federal tax alone is as much as 18.4 cents per gallon.

As of March, the national average gasoline tax is 45.8 cents. New York has the highest gas tax at 60.8 cents at the pump, with Hawaii just behind costing 60.2 cents per gallon, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

Gas taxes include federal, averaging 18.4 cents per gallon; state, averaging 18.2 cents per gallon; and additional taxes costing an average of 9.15 cents per gallon. The additional taxes include applicable sales taxes, gross receipts taxes, oil inspection fees, underground storage tank fees and other environmental fees.

New York assemblymen presented a proposal to the state legislature advocating a gas tax cut. However, concerns have been raised that a hole will open in the state’s budget that cannot be filled. Republican advocates argue that increased tourism caused by the ability to travel more cheaply because of lower gas prices will fill the $200-$300 million dollar gap.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry supported a proposal to lower the gas tax by 20 cents over the summer. The proposal passed in the state House of Representatives, but was pushed aside in the Texas Senate.

Another effort to decrease the amount paid is the so-called “tax holiday” at the pump. Several states have considered proposals for “tax holidays” that would be a period of time with no gas tax. A bill was presented to Congress last week that would suspend gas tax during price spikes above $3 per gallon. Rolling back tax breaks for major oil companies would make up for any lost revenue.

In Connecticut as well, a gas tax relief proposal was offered by the Republican minority but quickly swept under the rug by the Democrat majority, despite its support from Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

Taxes on gasoline vary from state to state. In Alaska, the gas tax is only 26.4 cents, the lowest gas tax in the nation. New York’s gas tax is more than twice as much. The gas tax isn’t the only element that increases prices at the pump. But it remains one of the most significant factors in high-priced gasoline.

California, for example, has extensive environmental restrictions that require the state to use an expensive blend of gasoline. At the same time, the cost in some Midwestern states is far higher because delivery costs are higher.

Original Link.

Immigration Bill ‘Loophole’ To Give Social Security to Illegal Immigrants

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

A senior citizens group warns the “comprehensive immigration reform bill” that’s been revived in the Senate contains a “loophole” that would allow over two-million illegal aliens who received Social Security numbers before 2004 to receive nearly a trillion dollars in Social Security benefits by 2040.

Backers of the so-called “grand compromise” immigration bill claim illegal workers would not be able to obtain Social Security benefits under the plan. However, the TREA Senior Citizens League (TSCL) argues that is untrue. Group spokesman Brad Phillips says illegal aliens who gained something called a “non-work” Social Security number — which entitled them to only things like food stamps or Medicare — prior to 2004, would be able to receive Social Security benefits if the bill passes.

“We’ve done some numbers on this and we found that, in total, that would allow more than two-million workers to receive approximately $966 billion in Social Security benefits between now and the year 2040,” Phillips explains. “That’s an important year because that’s about when the Social Security trustees estimate that Social Security will go bankrupt,” he notes.

Phillips says Americans are not allowed to benefit from their crimes, and neither should foreign nationals. As he explains, the Social Security system is a progressive system mostly benefiting low-income workers.

“In other words, because they are low-income, they would be the ones to pull the most out of the system,” he continues. “So people who earn the least pull the most out of the system — and the average American wage earner would, in essence, be subsidizing the lowest-income earners.”

According to Phillips, under the proposed immigration bill, illegal aliens would receive more than double in Social Security benefits what American taxpayers have spent so far on the war in Iraq.

The TREA Senior Citizens League is based in Alexandria, Virginia, and boasts 1.2 million members. TSCL executive director Shannon Benton testified yesterday about the loophole before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law.

Original Link.

Israel to Allow in Palestinians Fleeing Gaza

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

What?? You mean pali civilians are wanting to LEAVE Gaza? You mean they actually want to go to their archenemy, Israel, for protection from…?? Well, I mean, they did elect Hamas. Now they are fleeing from them? How is this possible? Could they be afraid of the very people they elected? Could they actually find more security and safety in their avowed archenemy? Could they actually be finding refuge in the very people they have sworn to destroy?
What an incredible irony.

JERUSALEM — Hundreds of frightened Palestinians spent another night in a tunnel leading to Israel, trying to flee the chaos and threats of violence in Gaza but trapped by Hamas militants on one end and Israeli forces on the other.

Israel’s defense minister ordered the army to allow an unspecified number of Palestinians fleeing the Gaza Strip to enter Israel, the Defense Ministry announced Wednesday.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed officials to let in “humanitarian cases,” according to the announcement. That apparently meant people needing urgent medical treatment.

Meanwhile, six Israeli tanks entered the southern Gaza Strip about a half-mile before dawn Wednesday and two militants were killed in an exchange of fire, Palestinian witnesses and militant groups said.

An estimated 200 Palestinians have been stranded for days at the Erez crossing from Gaza into Israel, fleeing the Hamas forces that took over Gaza last week but unable to enter Israel. Gaza and the West Bank are separated by about 30 miles of Israeli territory.

Ran Yaron, a doctor with the Physicians for Human Rights, told Israel Radio Wednesday that 15 Palestinians’ lives were in danger and that the necessary treatment was not available in the Gaza Strip.

Israel had allowed in two Palestinians wounded in a shootout at the terminal, the army and medical officials said. Three other people wounded in the Palestinian infighting last week also were allowed to pass. The army did not provide details of the identities of the wounded, who were taken to Israeli hospitals.

As the standoff stretched on, the scene inside the tunnel grew increasingly desperate Tuesday.

Women, children and young men sat between two high concrete walls, about 10 yards apart, looking tired and grimy. Suitcases and trash were strewn on the ground. Some families sat on mats, others on bare asphalt, including several men with bloody bandages on their legs. A breeze barely stirred between the walls, and the tunnel, which has no toilets, reeked of urine and sweat.

“It’s disgusting. People are using the walls as toilets. The women are suffering,” said one man inside, refusing to be identified out of fear for his safety. He said people’s nerves were frayed, and they were fighting over food.

Following the Hamas takeover of Gaza, the Palestinians now have two rival governments — Abbas’ Western-backed government in the West Bank and the Hamas rulers of Gaza. The international community has embraced Abbas, while the Islamic militant Hamas government has been shunned.

Original Link.

Hamas Kills Two Peace Demonstrators, Media Yawns

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

Among 26 people killed by Hamas as they continue to take over the Gaza strip, were two United Nations aid workers and two civilians participating in a peace demonstration. Can you even imagine the news stories and condemnation from the U.N. if Israel had been responsible? The outcry would be enormous. But since it’s only the terrorist of Hamas doing it, we can expect to hear almost nothing about it from anyone.

Hamas effectively completed its victory over Fatah in the Gaza Strip yesterday following a day of fighting in which 26 persons lost their lives. Most of the dead were affiliated with Fatah, although at least two civilians participating in a peace demonstration and two United Nations aid workers were also killed. Since the fighting began on Sunday, at least 67 Palestinians were killed in the internecine battles.

In Israel, the situation emerging in the Gaza Strip is lending greater urgency to the decision of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to promote an initiative for the deployment of a multinational force along the Philadelphi Route and for the construction of a barrier to combat smuggling of arms and weapons into the Gaza Strip. A strategy for the containment of the current situation will be on the agenda of talks between Olmert and U.S. President George Bush in Washington next Tuesday.

During yesterday’s fighting in the Gaza Strip, Hamas focused its military activity against the main Fatah headquarters in Gaza City, having completed the takeover of nearly all other parts of the Strip.

Many Fatah fighters surrendered and handed their weapons to Hamas gunmen, sources from Gaza reported yesterday.

Pockets of Fatah resistance have remained in Rafah, close to the Egyptian border, and in a number of compounds to the west of Gaza City.

Earlier, a Hamas spokesman offered a conditional ceasefire under which the interior minister, a post now held by Haniyeh, a Hamas leader, would command all of the Palestinian security services.

During the evening hours, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh issued a joint statement calling for an end to the fighting.

Jordan’s Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit yesterday blamed regional elements for encouraging the fighting in the Gaza Strip. He did not specify. (Of course he is blaming Israel. -ed.)

Original Link.