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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 29,876

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Court Upholds Requirement That Gun Store Owners In Southwest Border Report Some Sales

By Associated Press,

WASHINGTON — A federal judge has dismissed a firearms industry association’s lawsuit seeking to block the Obama administration from requiring gun store owners in Southwest border states to report when customers buy multiple high-powered rifles.

U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives properly limited its requirement to purchasers of two or more semi-automatic rifles greater than .22 caliber within five days in the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico or Texas



Tea Party's Pamela Geller Reacts To Marines Urinating On Afghan Corpses

Kabul - Outrage over the U.S. Marines video of soldiers desecrating the bodies of dead Afghans has been further stirred by the controversial words of Tea Party leader Pamela Geller: "I don't care," she wrote recently.

The video, which Digital Journal reported allegedly shows U.S. Marines urinating over the corpses of Afghans, has stirred outrage, provoking strong condemnation from the Pentagon, CAIR and Afghans. Further shock waves were sent out when outspoken Tea Party speaker, Pamela Geller applauded the actions of the Marines.

CAIR also condemned the video, but suffered further outrage when anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller reacted favorably to the video and unfavorably to CAIR's condemnation of it. Geller wrote on Atlas Shrugs "I love these Marines. Perhaps this is the infidel interpretation of the Islamic ritual of washing and preparing the body for burial." In reaction to CAIR's criticism of her words she retaliated by writing "let me be perfectly clear. I DO love those Marines. We are at war with an enemy that means to slaughter us and overthrow the United States of America. I don't CAIR that these Marines wee wee'ed on murderous savages."

Geller's words are not only controversial but likely to add to the outrage the video itself has created, further damaging how America is perceived from the Muslim perspective. Notably the video will stir up anger over disrespect for the Muslim dead, recalling memories of the Abu Ghraib images which still prevail.



Guest Lineups For The Sunday TV News Shows

ABC's "This Week" — To be announced.

NBC's "Meet the Press" — 2012 GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C.

CBS'"Face the Nation" — 2012 GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum; Gingrich; Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.

CNN's "State of the Union" — 2012 GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry; Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; David Axelrod, political adviser to President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.

"Fox News Sunday" — Santorum.

Anti-Union Group Challenges Recess Appointments

By SAM HANANEL, Associated Press – 13 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — An anti-union group has filed the first legal challenge to President Barack Obama's controversial recess appointments.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation argues Obama cannot legally bypass the Senate to appoint three members to the National Labor Relations Board.

The group makes the argument in federal court, where it's already suing the labor board over a requirement that businesses to put up posters telling workers about their right to form a union.



The Growing Influence of the Ultra-Orthodox in Israel

By Juliane von Mittelstaedt

Outside is the Judean Wilderness, the Dead Sea shimmers in the distance. Naomi Machfud is sitting inside the self-built house, dreaming about making the world disappear. She wants to cover up her face with a veil, she says, her mouth, her nose and her eyes. A black veil, without even a vision slit, one that swallows every glance and submerges the world in darkness. The veil is the pinnacle of zniut, or modesty, the closest a person can get to God. But, she says with a sigh, "unfortunately I'm not that far yet."

But Machfud, a 30-year-old woman with six children, has already created an insulating layer of material between herself and the outside world. She is wearing a wool robe, an apron, a blouse, three floor-length corduroy skirts, a black skirt and trousers. She has a piece of black wool material wrapped loosely around her head. Underneath it is a tight, black veil, and underneath that is a pale pink veil. Not a single hair is visible. She is wearing a pair of earrings, but she takes them off when she leaves the house.

Machfud is a Jewish woman married to a Jewish man. They live in a settlement in the West Bank, but she dresses as if she lived in Afghanistan. In Israel, the veiled women are referred to as the "Taliban," while they refer to themselves as women of the shawl. Machfud claims that there are thousands of women like her, but it is more likely that they number in the hundreds. They are usually seen in Jerusalem's ultra-orthodox Me'ah She'arim neighborhood, black, shapeless figures, holding the hands of their daughters, who look like miniature versions of their mothers.

One could call these women crazy. Or one could see them as the product of a religious community that is becoming more and more extremist.

Gender Separation in Public



Housing Recovery to Give U.S. Economy Modest Push in ’12, Fannie Mae Says

By Prashant Gopal and Jody Shenn - Fri Jan 13 14:00:00 GMT 2012
Enlarge image Housing to Give U.S. Economy Modest Push in ’12

A "sold" sign stands in the front yard of a new home under construction at the Toll Brothers Inc. Photographer: Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg

Home sales and construction will improve this year, contributing “modestly” to economic expansion after acting as a drag on growth since 2006, according to a Fannie Mae (FNMA) forecast released today.

Sales of new and existing homes are likely to increase 3.5 percent and housing starts are projected to rise 16 percent, fueled by improvement in apartment development and a rebound in single-family house construction, according to the report by Douglas Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist, and Orawin Velz, a director in its Economics and Mortgage Market Analysis group.

“With an expected improvement in housing activity in 2012, residential investment should start contributing to growth, albeit only modestly initially,” Duncan and Velz wrote.

The housing market has been held back by weak demand as high unemployment and concerns about job security prevent buyers from taking advantage of falling home prices and borrowing costs, Duncan said in an interview yesterday at Bloomberg’s New York offices.



Russia Says Would Be Threatened By Iran Military Action

BRUSSELS | Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:36am EST

(Reuters) - Russia would regard any military intervention linked to Iran's nuclear program as a threat to its own security, Moscow's departing ambassador to NATO warned on Friday.

"Iran is our neighbor," Dmitry Rogozin told reporters in Brussels. "And if Iran is involved in any military action, it's a direct threat to our security."

Rogozin was speaking two days after the killing of a nuclear scientist in Tehran by a hitman on a motorcycle.

Kremlin Security Council head Nikolai Patrushev, who is close to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, said Israel was pushing the United States towards war with Iran, according to the Interfax news agency.



Feds Crack Down On Colorado Medical Pot Dispensaries

DENVER (Reuters) – Federal prosecutors in Colorado launched a crackdown on Thursday against nearly two dozen medical marijuana dispensaries located within 1,000 feet of schools, giving the proprietors 45 days to cease operations or face civil and criminal penalties.

U.S. Attorney John Walsh issued the ultimatum in letters to 23 dispensaries and landlords he said were in violation of federal and state law, a statement from the U.S. Justice Department said.

The move makes Colorado the latest battleground pitting federal prosecutors against storefront distributors of pot in states that have decriminalized marijuana for medical purposes.

“When the voters of Colorado passed the limited medical marijuana amendment in 2000, they could not have anticipated that their vote would be used to justify large marijuana stores located within blocks of our schools,” Walsh said.



Americans Clueless Paying Wall Street $20 Billion for Bad Swaps

By Darrell Preston and Aaron Kuriloff - Fri Jan 13 05:01:00 GMT 2012

The $294 million bond deal to refurbish the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina was one of many times Louisiana taxpayers have been tapped for what may total $2 billion of subsidies to keep Saints owner Tom Benson from moving the team out of state. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images
Chart: Interest-Rate Swaps Deals Gone Bad

Seven months after Hurricane Katrina ripped holes in the Superdome’s roof in 2005, Louisiana State Bond Commission members made what they were told would be “the best of a bad situation” in financing the stadium’s renovation.

Acting against the recommendation of their staff, the commissioners voted for a Merrill Lynch & Co. plan to use debt and interest-rate swaps to pay for the job. While the deal helped keep the National Football League’s New Orleans Saints from leaving town -- and the arena got new scoreboards while 12,000 seats were converted to luxury class -- taxpayers became the losers for supporting a winning team.

The cost of financing the work has reached $42 million, almost a quarter of the $187 million spent on Katrina-related repairs and enhancements and three times as much as expected. The deal became so expensive that the state repurchased the debt sold by the New York investment bank to stop the bleeding.

“It was a flawed idea out of the gate,” said Robert Brooks, who teaches financial management at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.



US Consumer Sentiment Strongest Since May

By Shannon Bond in New York

US consumers were more optimistic at the beginning of the year as the outlook for the labour market improved.

Consumer sentiment rose for a fifth straight month to 74 from 69.9 in December, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index. That was the highest level since May and higher than the 71.5 reading economists had expected. The survey is still well below the average reading of 89 in the half-decade before the recession that began in late 2007, however.

“More frequent mentions of rising employment lessened income uncertainty and prompted more favourable buying attitudes as well,” Richard Curtin, survey director, said. “The data suggest a stronger consumer spending outlook, rising to about a 2.1 per cent gain in 2012.”

Consumers’ willingness to open their wallets firmed in the final months of last year, with consumer credit surging by $20.4bn in November, the biggest rise in a decade. Stronger than expected job creation in December suggested economic growth is picking up, and sentiment will probably be boosted by the continued fall in the unemployment rate.


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