Monday, June 30, 2014

Zero percent photoshopped

I'm not a cat person, but I would want this cat.

Okey dokey. Some explanation for last week. Dad was in the hospital but he's home now. There will be some adjusting to do there but for now, things are okay.  Pretty much back to normal this week here.

I'm currently reading ON BASILISK STATION by David Weber. This is 1st of 14 in series featuring Honor Harrington, an officer in the Royal Manticoran Navy. Here's a description:
Commander Harrington is at the helm of her first serious starship, the HMS Fearless. But her excitement quickly fades--political maneuvering by top brass in the Manticoran navy has left her light cruiser outfitted with a half-baked experimental weapons system. Against all odds (just the way Honor likes it), she still manages a clever coup in tactical war games, a feat that earns her accolades--and enemies. The politicians she's offended banish her to a galactic backwater, Basilisk Station. But that outpost soon proves to be a powder keg, and it's up to Harrington and the Fearless crew to thwart the aggressive plans of the Haven Republic.

Published in 1993, it has 432 pages. I was in the mood for a space opera with an intelligent gutsy female. Perfect.

Tomorrow after work, the new Anna Lee Huber book will arrive. Woot! I'll give the description on Wednesday.

And in the category of no good deed goes unpunished: I mowed the back yard on Saturday -- because someone else wasn't doing it -- and it was such a windy day, the grass kept blowing back on me ... and  I got pink eye in both eyes by Saturday night. Luckily, I had some drops for that at home and I'm 95% better. Plus the mower ran out of gas halfway through so I had to get some help from you-know-who. Bah.

Nothing really on TV tonight so I will hopefully read.

We're having fireworks after dark already (we're outside city limits). Ryker is afraid and will either cuddle with me or hide in my closet. Last night I gave him a Benedryl with the vet's okay. He hid in the basement with Steve so I couldn't really observe how that went. I'll try again tonight but give it to him earlier.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Current Events - June 30, 2014


White House week ahead: Obama tries to limit Veterans Affairs headache

By Brian Hughes

President Obama will unveil his pick Monday to lead the problem-plagued Department of Veterans Affairs, tapping a former chief executive at Procter & Gamble to tackle deadly lapses in medical care at the overwhelmed agency.
The unorthodox selection of Bob McDonald, who most recently served as chairman of Procter & Gamble, breaks from the tradition of selecting a senior military leader for the post. However, the administration hopes that McDonald, a Republican who donated money to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012, will garner bipartisan support a deliver badly needed customer service to veterans.
...In addition to the VA announcement, Obama on Monday will meet with Chile's president, Michelle Bachelet, at the White House. And he will host a reception to honor LGBT Pride Month.
The president on Tuesday will hold a Cabinet meeting and give an economic speech at the Georgetown Waterfront Park in Washington.
Obama on Wednesday will host a lunch for top economists at the White House.
And on Friday the president will celebrate the July Fourth holiday with a barbecue and concert for veterans and their families.

SCOTUS: Private contractors don't have to pay union dues even if union bargains for them

By Rick Moran

This is a partial victory for non-union workers who are employed in the public health system. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that a group of Illinois private contractors who supplied home health care services under Medicaid, were not obligated to pay dues to SEIU.
CBS News:
In a split decision, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that under the First Amendment, private health care contractors are not obligated to pay public sector union dues even if they are paid by public health care programs.
The 5 to 4 decision does not eviscerate the "fair share" fees that public unions collect from all public sector workers, regardless of whether they are in the union or not. However, it does cut off public unions from tapping into the growing market of private contractors who work in public health care systems.
...The ruling affects a very narrow group of employees who recieve compensation from Medicaid disbursements. But it leaves the door open for a broader ruling involving other private workers later.
...SEIU is breathing a sigh of relief, but it may be shortlived. Other cases involving non-union workers being forced to pay for the privilege of a union negotiating on their behalf are working their way up the court system. Any one of them may result in unions losing millions in dues and being cut down to size. 

Hobby Lobby 1, Obamacare 0

By Thomas Lifson

The Supreme Court upheld the religious freedom rights of Hobby Lobby, the closely-held corporation owned by believing Christians who objected to being required to supply the abortion pill to their employees. Steve Ertelt of Life News reports:
…the U.S. Supreme Court today issued a favorable ruling in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a landmark case addressing the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of business owners to operate their family companies without violating their deeply held religious convictions.
Writing for the 5-4 majority, Justice Samuel Alito handed down the decision for the high court, saying, “The Supreme Court holds government can’t require closely held corporations with religious owners to provide contraception coverage.”
“HHS’s contraception mandate substantially burdens the exercise of religion,” the decision reads, adding that the “decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to mean that all insurance mandates.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion saying that government itself could provide the coverage for contraception and the abortion-causing drugs if a company declines to do so.
The Hobby Lobby decision only applies to companies. Non-profit groups like Priests for Life and Little Sisters are still waiting for a ruling about their right to opt out of the mandate.
Note that this ruling only applies to closely-held corporations, but does not rule out applying the same religious freedom reasoning to publicly-held firms and nonprofits.

Only 40 Percent of Liberals Are ‘Proud to Be American’

If you are a “solid liberal” in the United States, you are unlikely to be “proud to be American,” according to a new Pew Research poll.
The Washington Post explains:
According to a new Pew Research Center study, only 40 percent of consistently liberal Americans say they often feel proud to be Americans.
The other 60 percent say that doesn’t describe them. [...]
By contrast, more than seven in 10 “steadfast conservatives” and eight in 10 “business conservatives” say they are generally proud to be Americans.
The poll results also show that only half of liberals see themselves as “typical Americans.”
The poll also shows many liberals don’t liken themselves to your average American. Just 51 percent say they feel as though they are ”typical Americans” — as compared to three-quarters of conservatives and at least two-thirds of all the other groups.

By Ed Driscoll
Jonah Goldberg, in his latest G-File, has a brief rundown on “Scandalclipse”....
Have you noticed that basically the only way this White House can get out from under one scandal or controversy is by getting crushed by another? The White House was reeling from the VA scandal, which is why they rolled out the Bergdahl news. They didn’t expect that the Bergdahl story would become so controversial; fortunately they were rescued by the June 6 news of thousands of immigrant children showing up at the border. Hey, quick question: I can’t get my kid out of an airport without her getting messy. Isn’t it strange that all of these kids seem to show up, after a 1,000-mile journey looking so spiffy? Anyway, the immigrant-kid story was pretty brutal for the White House; fortunately they were rescued three days later by the news that ISIS had taken Mosul. The “Who Lost Iraq?” narrative isn’t great for the White House either, which is why it might have been a relief when the IRS announced on June 13 that they lost Lois Lerner’s e-mails.
In an article a year ago in the New York Post, Glenn Reynolds added up the IRS scandal alongside the Obama administration’s other debacles, including Benghazi, its journalist-snooping scandal, and Kathleen Sebelius’ shakedown of the healthcare industry before asking, “Tired already?”
I don’t blame you, and I haven’t even mentioned the Pigford scandal, involving payments out of the Treasury’s “Judgment Fund” as part of a settlement scheme that seems rather iffy, even to The New York Times.
I’m reminded of the old “dense pack” missile-basing idea from the 1980s: The idea was to put missile silos close enough together that if one was hit by an atomic bomb, the mushroom cloud would protect the other silos from incoming attacks.
Likewise, it’s argued, by bringing all these scandals out at once — the IRS scandal actually first hit the news thanks to a question planted by IRS official Lois Lerner — the Obama administration may have a few bad weeks, but ensures by the sheer proliferation of scandal that no one of these will get the attention it deserves.
That might work, if you think of scandals as things that, like Watergate, knock out a presidency. But most don’t. The proliferation of scandal in most administrations — think George W. Bush or Bill Clinton — is more like acid rain. There’s no knockout, just an erosion of popularity and clout.

Al Qaeda Breakaway Group, ISIS, Names Leader of New Caliphate, Formally Declares Islamic State

 By Dave Urbanski
The Al Qaeda breakaway group that has seized huge tracks of Iraq and much of neighboring northern Syria has named the leader of the new caliphate and formally declared the creation of an Islamic state in the territory under its control.
The spokesman for the group, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, made the announcement in an audio statement posted online Sunday.
Abu Mohammed al-Adnani said the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is the head of the new caliphate — a term used to describe a medieval Islamic state. Al-Adnani called on those living in the area under the group’s control to swear allegiance to al-Baghdadi.
Islamic extremists have long dreamed of recreating the Islamic caliphate that ruled over the Middle East for hundreds of years

ISIL Aims to Create ‘Launching Pad for Attacking U.S. Homeland’

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) plans to use the territory it has recently secured as a launching pad for attacking the U.S. homeland, according to a new congressional report that cites comments by the leader of the al Qaeda-linked militant group.
The Washington Times reports:
The CRS [Congressional Research Service] report, delivered to members of Congress, makes the point that ISIL is a well-organized, well-funded terrorist group with definite goals to take territory and kill people it considers nonbelievers.
“Several leading representatives of the U.S. intelligence community have stated that [ISIL] maintains training camps in Iraq and Syria, has the intent to attack the United States and is reportedly recruiting and training individuals to do so,” says the June 20 report.
It quotes al-Baghdadi threatening the U.S.: “Know, O defender of the Cross, that a proxy war will not help you in the Levant, just as it will not help you in Iraq. Soon, you will be in direct conflict — God permitting — against your will.”
What makes ISIL even more dangerous is its ability to raise, and steal, money. Wealthy Sunni sheiks in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar have funneled money to ISIL to help it bring down the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who is an Alawite, an offshoot of Shia Islam. Mr. Assad aligns himself with Shiite-dominated Iran, and its proxy in Lebanon, the militant group Hezbollah.
Official Al Qaeda Rebel Unit in Syria Joins ISIL

By Bill Gertz
A Syrian rebel group closely aligned with al Qaeda’s official central leadership has switched sides and is now supporting an ultra-violent offshoot, following the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant’s blitzkrieg attack on Iraq, according to U.S. officials and reports from the region.
A local unit of the Al Nusra Front—the official rebel group of al Qaeda in Syria—agreed to back the ISIL on Wednesday.
The merger of one portion of al Nusra with ISIL is being viewed by government intelligence analysts and others as a troubling indicator that the inner battle between the two groups may be shifting in ISIL’s favor.
Sebastian Gorka, a counterterrorism specialist and military theorist at the Marine Corps University, said the defection of the Nusra group to ISIL, also known as ISIS, is very significant.
“ISIS and al Nusra have fought each other in the past,” Gorka said. Nusra’s swearing loyalty to ISIL “is a clear sign that ISIS is now more important than the original al Qaeda,” he said.

Congress to Cut Key U.S. Missile Defense System

By Adam Kredo
Congress is poised to significantly cut funding for a key U.S. missile defense system that is slated to be deployed against threats in the Washington, D.C., area, prompting outrage from former military leaders and defense industry insiders.
Congress is seeking to slash $25 million from JLENS, or the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor, an advanced missile detection radar system capable of finding and intercepting missiles, drones, and planes far before they reach the homeland.
Major cuts to the system are coming down the pike just as JLENS is to be deployed in the nation’s capital and integrated into the region’s air defense system.
Former military leaders and defense experts warn that the funding cut will jeopardize the JLENS program at a key juncture and potentially prevent the military from employing the advanced defense system in global hot spots.
The cuts come as rogue nations such as China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran significantly boost investments in their own cruise and ballistic missile programs, a threat that JLENS is specifically meant to detect and combat.

5 New Signs of the West’s Myopia About the Jihad Threat

By Robert Spencer
...1. “Middle East security analyst”: rise of global jihad “has nothing to do with Islam”
The Daily Mail also quoted Andreas Krieg, a Middle East security analyst at King’s College London in Qatar, absolving Islam of blame for the current global crises involving Islamic jihadists. “All the empirical evidence shows that it is on the rise,” he acknowledged. “You’re seeing it in all the headlines, then you’re looking at Iraq, you’re looking at Syria, you’re looking at Nigeria.” However, “in all three cases this has nothing to do with Islam. I think people in the West may think it is because they feel alienated by Islam. There is a lot of Islamaphobia.”
Krieg added: “When communities become disenfranchised – and lot of them are Muslim – they use Islam to further their particular cause. They adhere to a radical interpretation of Islam, but it has nothing to do with the religion.”
How could a “radical interpretation of Islam” have “nothing to do with the religion”? How is it that these groups that uniformly explain and justify their actions on the basis of Islam have nothing to do with Islam? How is it that a group that calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant and another that calls itself the Congregation of the People of the Sunnah for Dawah and Jihad have nothing to do with Islam? Why is it that study after study has shown that jihadis are actually generally wealthier than their peers, and yet Krieg asserts that the jihadis are “disillusioned by austerity” and thus turn to Islam?
Why is it also that this palpable nonsense gets printed in the mainstream media without a murmur of dissent? Why does the Daily Mail quote only Krieg and no one who looks at the available evidence and says that the rise of the global jihad has everything to do with Islam? Why does the Daily Mail not ask Krieg to give anything more than the barest explanation for his counterfactual claims? Why does the mainstream media always rush to exonerate Islam of all responsibility for the ever-mounting number of atrocities done in its name and inspired by its texts and teachings, instead of confronting the ideology that jihadis say motivates and inspires them and formulating positive and effective ways to limit its power to incite to violence?
Unless and until this self-imposed myopia is cured, and as long as counter-jihadists remain enemies of the people, there will only be more jihad attacks.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Do it again! Do it again!

I managed to stay awake and watch Motive last night. Always a plus. Tonight, we will probably watch The First 48. Otherwise, I hope to get some reading in. So what's new, right? I know. I know.

I'm about halfway through the book on Elizabeth of York; I need to finish that. I've the BLOOD FEUD book. And I've got a romance one from digital loan to read rather quickly. I'm looking forward to Tuesday way the new Anna Lee Huber book arrives, A GRAVE MATTER. Woot! I will probably finish it before the week ends but it IS a long weekend with Independence Day. Double woot!

Dark and rainy today -- totally wasted by being at work. Perfect napping and reading weather.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Current Events - June 26, 2014

PK'S NOTE:  Personal stuff going on keeping me away from the computer for big chunks of the day. Will just have headlines here today for you to click on to read more if you like. There's a lot of news going on today to keep up with.



Yes, Lois Lerner’s Threats To Investigate Grassley Should Terrify You

Supreme Court unanimously rejects Obama recess appointments

SCOTUS unanimously rejects 35 foot no-free-speech buffer zone for abortion clinics

The high cost for the establishment of beating the Tea Party

Court Rules NYC Soda Ban Will Not Be Reinstated Because Gov’t ‘Engaged in Law-Making Beyond Its Regulatory Authority’


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

And he hasn't even had the caffeine yet

Quiet Coffee Time is Over

I'm currently reading BLOOD FEUD: The Clintons vs the Obamas by Edward Klein. Here is a description:
In this highly anticipated follow-up to his blockbuster New York Times bestseller The Amateur, former New York Times Magazine editor-in-chief Edward Klein delves into the rocky relationship between the Obamas and the Clintons. An old-school reporter with incredible insider contacts, Klein reveals just how deep the rivalry between the Obamas and the Clintons runs, with details on closed-door meetings buttressed by hundreds of interviews. Blood Feud is a stunning exposé of the animosity, jealousy, and competition between America’s two most powerful political couples.

Published in 2014, it has 320 pages. I read THE AMATEUR and it was not bad at all.  The author is apparently very connected therefore the things in the book are believed to be true.

And now that I've finished The Testing trilogy, I'll be going back the Alison Weir book as well.

Tonight I have Motive on TV at 9.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Current Events - June 25, 2014

PK'S NOTE: I'll be away from my computer again today. 


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ya know, a beer would do just as well

Do You Even Have to Ask?

I'm currently reading GRADUATION DAY by Joelle Charbonneau. I had to finish the trilogy because of a damn cliffhanger. Here's a description:
The novel picks up right where book two left off and finds Cia trying to make heads or tails of who is friend and who is foe. When she's tasked by the President with a major project that will help end the Testing forever, she must decide who she can trust and whether or not she's willing to go through with it at all.

Published in 2014, it has 296 pages.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Current Events - June 24, 2014

PK'S NOTE:  Couldn't be at my computer today, but here's something real quickly:

Monday, June 23, 2014

True self or just having a Monday?

We're All a Little Wild on the Inside

A hold from the digital library coming available took precedence over the reading schedule. INDEPENDENT STUDY by Joelle Charbonneau. This is 2nd of THE TESTING young adult dystopian trilogy. Here's a description:
In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. And though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her wish to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. Now Cia is drawn deeper into the political machinations of Tosu City as she enters the University. She is accepted into the Government course of study, much to her disappointment. Now, joined by students from the City who did not have to endure the Testing, she must go through a hazing process that forces her to once again rely on her wits to survive. Cia must win an internship to continue on at the University; the alternative will be her death.
 Published in 2014, it has 323 pages. 

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Current Events - June 23, 2014



White House week ahead: The future of Iraq hangs in the balance

By Susan Crabtree
The future of Iraq and just how far the President Obama is willing to re-engage there will loom over the White House for a third week as Obama juggles a mix of domestic, foreign and sports-related events on his calendar.
....Obama sent Secretary of State John Kerry to Iraq to try to persuade the country's sectarian leaders to join forces to fight the al Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which has taken control of large swaths of the north over the last few weeks.
....On the domestic front, Obama on Monday will participate in a summit on working families that will focus on employment policies and ways to help families balance their commitments. First Lady Michelle Obama will also attend, along with Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden.
On Tuesday, Obama will host golfing's 2013 President's Cub teams at the White House.
And Wednesday he will lunch with Israeli President Shimon Peres before welcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson.
In the evening, the president will address the League of Conservation Voters Capital Dinner.
On Thursday, Obama plans to travel to Minneapolis, Minn. for a yet-to-be announced schedule, and on Friday he and Michelle will attend the Marine Barracks Evening Parade in Washington.

House takes up energy production bills this week

By Susan Ferrechio

The House this week will take up legislation that would speed up interstate pipeline projects, increase domestic oil production and expedite natural gas exports.
In the Senate, spending bills have stalled due to partisan infighting, leaving the chamber with little to do but clear a backlog of judicial nominations and debate a hunting and recreation bill.
....This week, senators will likely begin debate on the Sportsmen’s Act, which would increase access to federal land by those who hunt and fish and would require the federal government to factor in how land management impacts recreational access.
With the summer driving season about to kick into full gear, House Republicans aim to put the spotlight on energy with a series of familiar bills that would increase domestic oil production.
The “Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act” won’t win over many Democrats, who favor green energy policies that reduce the nation’s dependency on fossil fuels.
But the Republican majority will easily pass the legislation, which would expand offshore drilling on both coasts and Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, speed up oil and natural gas lease sales and put steps in place to improve accountability, safety and efficiency in offshore energy operations.
....The House will also vote on legislation that would speed up American exports of natural gas. Proponents of the North American Energy Infrastructure Act, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, say the legislation would boost the economy and help countries like Ukraine lessen its dependency on Russian oil.
Opponents say the measure would require years of infrastructure development and would raise U.S. energy prices by cutting the supply available domestically.
In addition to floor legislation, the House Judiciary Committee will spotlight the mass border migration of unaccompanied children with a hearing titled, “An Administration Made Disaster: The South Texas Border Surge of Unaccompanied Alien Minors.”

The week ahead in economics: How much did the economy shrink, and how is housing really doing?

By Joseph Lawler

Two big questions about the U.S. economy will be answered this week.
The first is just how deeply the economy contracted in the first quarter.
The second revision of gross domestic product from the Bureau of Economic Analysis put growth at negative 1 percent for the quarter. Analysts now expect the third and final revision to show that the economy shrunk at a negative 2 percent annualized rate.
Both private-sector and government economists expect growth to accelerate in the coming quarters, based on other indicators like inflation and job growth. Goldman Sachs, for instance, projects growth picking up to near 4 percent in the second quarter. Nevertheless, a steeply negative first quarter would mean, as a matter of arithmetic, that growth for the year is likely to disappoint.
The second question is whether the slight housing market rebound in April was real and a sign that the sector will continue to recover and contribute to growth in the months ahead.
On Monday, the National Association of Realtors will report on existing home sales for May. Home sales totaled 5.4 million last July, but came crashing down after the Federal Reserve began the "taper" of its mortgage-backed securities and mortgage rates began rising. ....On Tuesday, there will be three other new data points for housing: Home prices for April, from the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the S&P/Case-Shiller housing index, and sales of new homes. All three are expected to show increases.
One number to watch in particular is the inventory of new houses for sale. Rising inventories would be an indication of a broader housing recovery, with rising sales volume and moderate price increases in the months ahead.
One other item to watch this week: On Thursday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis will release May data on personal income and spending. That report will include the personal consumption expenditures price index, which is the price index that officials at the Federal Reserve watch most closely.

IRS canceled e-mail back-up service – weeks after Lerner hard drive crash

By Ed Morrissey
The coincidences just keep on a-rolling in the IRS targeting scandal. It turns out that the IRS didn’t just pay some low-level schlep to recycle backup server tapes on a six-month basis to maintain their e-mail records. They paid an outside firm, Sonasoft, to archive that data for long-term retrieval — or at least they did. That contract got canceled just weeks after Lois Lerner’s hard-drive failure, the Daily Caller learned:
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) cancelled its longtime relationship with an email-storage contractor just weeks after ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s computer crashed and shortly before other IRS officials’ computers allegedly crashed.
The IRS signed a contract with Sonasoft, an email-archiving company based in San Jose, California, each year from 2005 to 2010. The company, which partners with Microsoft and counts The New York Times among its clients, claims in its company slogans that it provides “Email Archiving Done Right” and “Point-Click Recovery.” Sonasoft in 2009 tweeted, “If the IRS uses Sonasoft products to backup their servers why wouldn’t you choose them to protect your servers?”
Sonasoft was providing “automatic data processing” services for the IRS throughout the January 2009 to April 2011 period in which Lerner sent her missing emails.
But Sonasoft’s six-year business relationship with the IRS came to an abrupt end at the close of fiscal year 2011, as congressional investigators began looking into the IRS conservative targeting scandal and IRS employees’ computers started crashing left and right.
Oddly, this doesn’t appear to have come up in testimony from officials at the IRS. John Koskinen’s opening statement at the House Ways and Means Committee hearing of how hard the IRS worked to retrieve that data didn’t include any effort to restore a Sonasoft backup from the servers, or mention any outside contractor at all. The existence of this contract appears to have been a better-kept secret than NSA snooping through Internet service providers.

Supreme Court Dials Back EPA’s Global Warming Rules

By Liz Klimas
The Supreme Court on Monday placed limits on the sole Obama administration program already in place to deal with power plant and factory emissions of gases blamed for global warming.
The justices said that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks authority in some cases to force companies to evaluate ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This rule applies when a company needs a permit to expand facilities or build new ones that would increase overall pollution. Carbon dioxide is the chief gas linked to global warming.
Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the opinion of the court that EPA including greenhouse gases in its interpretation “would place plainly excessive demands on limited governmental resources [and] is alone a good reason for rejecting it; but that is not the only reason.”
“EPA’s interpretation is also unreasonable because it would bring about an enormous and transformative expansion in EPA’s regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization,” Scalia continued. ” When an agency claims to discover in a long-extant statute an unheralded power to regulate ‘a significant portion of the American economy,’ […] we typically greet its announcement with a measure of skepticism. We expect Congress to speak clearly if it wishes to assign to an agency decisions of vast ‘economic and political significance.’”
“An agency has no power to ‘tailor’ legislation to bureaucratic policy goals by rewriting unambiguous statutory terms,” Scalia wrote later in the decision.
...The outcome also preserves EPA’s authority over facilities that already emit pollutants that the agency regulates other than greenhouse gases.
“EPA is getting almost everything it wanted in this case,” Scalia wrote.
The agency wanted to regulate 86 percent of all greenhouse gases emitted from plants nationwide. The agency will be able to regulate 83 percent of the emissions under the ruling, Scalia said.

Former ICE Director on Illegal Immigrant Children: 'They Almost Never Go Home'

By Caroline May
...While the Obama administration has started to combat the rumor mill of “misinformation” by stressing that the new arrivals are not eligible for current policies shielding illegal immigrants from deportation such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), according to the AP, many of the unaccompanied minors will be allowed to live in the United States, attend free public schools, and perhaps work for years regardless of government rhetoric.
"They almost never go home," Gary Mead, former ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Director, told the AP. "It's not a process that ultimately ends in easy resolutions or clear-cut resolutions.”
According to the AP, while the youths are subject to deportation, the system makes it difficult to deal with them hastily. Much of the reason for this is a slow immigration process that finds the courts backed up and immigrants allowed to stay in the country for years as their immigration cases crawl through the system. 
Additionally, the AP notes, a 2002 law requires unaccompanied minors to be reunited with parents, relatives, or sponsors in the United States after they are apprehended and turned over to Health and Human Services.
Further, the process requires the immigrants return for their trial dates, something about one-fourth of the immigrants fail to do, the AP reports.
"The longer the process goes, the less likely it is that people will return," Doris Meissner, a former head of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, told the AP.

Doctors Warn of Looming Health Crisis Due to Flood of Young Illegal Immigrants

 By Dr. Susan Berry
Many of the thousands of illegal immigrant children and teens crossing the United States border are carrying deadly contagious diseases that could easily create a major health crisis in this country, doctors say.

In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, Dr. Jane Orient, an internal medicine specialist and the Executive Director of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), said that by admitting these huge groups of children who come from countries where medical screenings are minimal and hygiene is poor, the United States is at risk for epidemics of serious diseases and viruses that the nation has not seen in years.

“Tuberculosis (TB) is the single most dangerous disease because it is highly contagious and can be easily picked up at the mall, at a school, or on the bus,” Orient told Breitbart News. “Cases coming from south of the U.S. border can be very resistant to medications. They don’t respond to traditional antibiotics, and the few drugs they may respond to are often toxic, with lots of side effects.”

“Legal immigrants have always been required to undergo health screenings,” Orient continued, “but these kids coming have no medical screenings and no vaccine records. They’re likely coming here with a number of infectious diseases that will spread like wildfire.”

Norovirus is also an extremely contagious virus with symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea,” she explained. “All we need is one outbreak of that virus and we would have an overwhelming public health crisis.”

Common Core Issue Highlights Huge Role of Federal Government in Education

 By Dr. Susan Berry
...McDaniel’s comment zeroes in on one of the main problems with the U.S. Department of Education – the fact that funding funneled to states comes with “strings” attached.

Emmett McGroarty, education director at the American Principles Project, agrees with McDaniel.

“The U.S. Department of Education is not necessary to make a mere transfer of money from the federal government to a state,” McGroarty told Breitbart News. He continued:

What the Department bureaucracy does enable is conditional funding and waivers. The Department provides money or, as with Race to the Top, the possibility of money to a state in return for obedience to the federal government’s policy whims. And now, as with the No Child Left Behind waivers, the Department is offering regulatory flexibility - that is substituting one set of burdensome regulatory requirements for another set - in exchange for the state’s obedience to the federal government. 

 ...“Another problem with conditional funding is that the state education bureaucracy tends to act as advocates for the federal policies and view legislators and citizens with paternalism and hostility,” McGroarty explains. “This weakens a state’s system of checks and balances and undermines citizen-directed government.”
“The elimination of the U.S. Department of Education and the prohibition of conditional funding and waivers would mean that the citizens of a state could truly make their own decisions about education policy and spend all their money as they see fit—whether that money came from state taxes or the federal government,” he said.

Neal McCluskey, associate director of Cato’s Center for Educational Freedom, agrees with McGroarty, and then observes the results of decades-long interference in education by the federal government.“The U.S. Department of Education is unconstitutional – the Constitution only gives Washington specific, enumerated powers, and authority over education is not among them – but it also has a decades-long record of failure,” he told Breitbart News. “Test scores have been stagnant throughout its lifetime, while spending has skyrocketed. Its oodles of higher education dollars mainly translate into rampant tuition inflation and waste.”“And it doesn’t create new money,” McCluskey asserts. “It takes it from taxpayers, burns a bunch off in bureaucracy, then offers the remainder back with politicized, stultifying rules attached.”The issue of the Common Core standards in the U.S. Senate primary race in Mississippi has raised a small-scale version of the conversation Americans are ready to have about the role of the federal government in education.

US ties 'worthless' under Obama says Polish FM

By Rick Moran
Poland's Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski was secretly recorded saying that during the Obama administration, the Polish-US alliance "isn't worth anything."
Poland's Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski called his country's ties with the US "worthless", a Polish news magazine says, giving excerpts of a secretly recorded conversation.
The magazine Wprost is already at the centre of another scandal over leaked tapes involving the Polish government.
Mr Sikorski called Poland's stance towards the US "downright harmful because it creates a false sense of security", according to the new leak.
He has not denied using such language.
According to the excerpts, Mr Sikorski told former Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski that "the Polish-US alliance isn't worth anything".
Using vulgar language, he compared Polish subservience to the US to giving oral sex. He also warned that such a stance would cause "conflict with the Germans, Russians".
'Total suckers'
He also used a racially loaded term to describe the Polish stance - "murzynskosc", which suggests a slave mentality.
``(We are) suckers, total suckers. The problem in Poland is that we have shallow pride and low self-esteem,'' Mr Sikorski was quoted as saying.
Earlier this month Mr Sikorski, a conservative and leading critic of Russia in the current Ukraine crisis, was nominated by the Polish government to replace Baroness Ashton as EU foreign policy chief.
Baroness Ashton, known as the EU High Representative, will step down in November, but EU leaders have not yet decided who will replace her.
The Polish government says it will not comment on the excerpts until Wprost publishes the full transcript.
This is a common refrain around the world from our allies. Our enemies don't fear us and our friends don't trust us. That's a combination almost guaranteed to bring about chaos in the world.

How US and Britain were warned of Isis advance in Iraq but 'turned a deaf ear'

Exclusive: Kurdish intelligence chief says information was passed on to CIA and MI6 about grand plan to take Baghdad

By Richard Spencer
Five months ago, a Kurdish intelligence "asset" walked into a base and said he had information to hand over. The capture by jihadists the month before of two Sunni cities in western Iraq was just the beginning, he said.
There would soon be a major onslaught on Sunni territories. 
...."We had this information then, and we passed it on to your (British) government and the US government," Rooz Bahjat, a senior lieutenant to Lahur Talabani, head of Kurdish intelligence, said. "We used our official liaisons.
"We knew exactly what strategy they were going to use, we knew the military planners. It fell on deaf ears." 
...He warned that the Isis leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was now a greater threat to western countries than Osama bin Laden had been in 2001.
He and his boss, Lahur Talabani, head of Kurdish intelligence, both said that a lack of resolve by the West to finish what they had started in removing Saddam Hussein was responsible for the current crisis, rather than the 2003 invasion itself.
Their claims about the intelligence they provided the West are partly an attempt to increase the pressure to provide more support now.
"Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is now something bin Laden could only dream of being," Mr Bahjat said. "The sleep of reason produces monsters. It's the lack of resolve in the West that is the most important thing.
Reason has been sleeping and now we have lots of monsters."
The Kurds officially cannot appeal for more arms to defend themselves except through the federal government, but Mr Talabani said more could have been done.
"I have completely lost hope in America after listening to President Barack Obama," Mr Talabani said. "I blame him personally for what has happened in Syria, in the Middle East, in Iraq at the moment. I have no hope any more.

The Left Reboots for Total War

 By Mike Flynn
....America is a center-right country. Yet, the left has been able to project its political power far more effectively than conservatives. It understands far better how to organize people and to frame issues in a way that more immediately touches on their lives. 
Before its collapse from internal corruption, the leftist group ACORN had perfected the community organizing model of building political power. Its internal manual on building an organization advised activists to begin with long-simmering local needs, rather than tackle national issues. New chapters would organize for a stop sign at a dangerous intersection or speed bumps in a residential neighborhood, for example. Only after individuals had been identified, recruited and organized would the organization more on to larger, more political, issues. 
The writers participating in the "symposium" at The Nation are resurrecting this model. The left is organizing at the state and local level, focusing on issues like local minimum wages, paid leave and new workplace regulations. It is pushing cities and states to ensure workers have a minimum number of hours, not just minimum wages. Businesses would be required to give existing workers more hours before they were "allowed" to hire more part-time workers. 
The left is also pushing for a "bad business fee," which would penalize companies that don't pay high enough wages or benefits. Of course, funds raised by such "fees" would be spent by the left. 
In other words, while the national political climate seems to favor conservatives and Republicans, the left is rebooting at the state and local level. It is also planning an almost entrepreneurial approach to organizing that is, sadly, foreign to much of the conservative movement.

Hillary presses the self-destruct button again over money

By Thomas Lifson
....Now, she’s done it again. In an interview with the Guardian, as friendly a publication as one could imagine, she’s gone and stuck her foot in her mouth again.
She has claimed that despite the reported hundred million dollars she and her husband have raked in since the time since they were “dead broke,” they are not “truly well off.”
…with her huge personal wealth, how could Clinton possibly hope to be credible on this issue when people see her as part of the problem, not its solution?
"But they don't see me as part of the problem," she protests, "because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we've done it through dint of hard work," she says, letting off another burst of laughter. If past form is any guide, she must be finding my question painful.
For 99.9% percent of the public, receiving a hundred million bucks over the course of 14 years, even if you pay half of it in income taxes, makes one “truly well off.” she and her husband climbed the ladder of social status, and achieved the  heights  acquired through elective office, they started associating with really, really rich people. So rich that, in fact, no matter how much money she and Bill earned, they were still among the less well-off members of their social set.  Whereas she knows many people with their own private jets, she and Bill cannot afford one. You might think that this would not matter, since she can readily borrow one from a friend, or require the dispatch of one as a condition of speaking at some function. But once you are in a social set where that is a dividing line, it becomes a painful mark of inferiority to have to depend on the kindness others for what has become an essential convenience. If you add on the scars of a childhood and adolescence where she felt humiliated by her parents’ middle class status, this form of comparative deprivation becomes a burden, and phrases like “truly well off” just tumble out in unguarded moments.
It is clear that Mrs. Clinton’s greatest enemy is her subconscious mind, full of resentments and arrogance. When she is on guard, as in her Fox News interview, these mistakes don’t happen. But when she is in friendly territory, they just slip out.
Has there ever been a presidential campaign without an unguarded moment? If she does indeed run for president, Hillary had better plan on never relaxing and letting the real Hillary out.  Ever.

Hillary is Conservatives' Dream Opponent

 By Bruce Walker
Leftists are tone-deaf.  Their whole lives are immersed in a surreal reality of ideological rhetoric and self-adulation pampered by sycophant press, sympathetic professors, and similar propagandists.  This means that leftists routinely miscalculate, and this accounts for the macabre obsession that leftists have today with Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton.
This unpleasant, dishonest, and utterly unappealing woman now offers her party two bad options.  First, reject her and throw the Democrats into a real dogfight for the nomination, which will make it very hard to hold on to the White House.  Second, take a deep gulp, crown this terrible candidate, and run the risk of suffering a political tsunami in 2016.
Just how bad might Hillary be for Democrats in a presidential election? 
Consider first her unlikeability.  Successful presidential candidates almost always are likeable, whether this seems fair or not to us.  Ike, Reagan, Clinton, and, yes, Obama – those two-term presidents since the end of the Second World War – seemed like nice guys.
The contrast between Mr. and Mrs. Clinton is particularly stark.  Although Bill Clinton’s policies failed and his administration was pocked with scandals, Bill always seemed friendly and relaxed.  In the presidential debates in 1992 and 1996, Clinton’s engaging personality trumped the staid and dry George H. Bush and Bob Dole.
Hillary, by contrast, never seems anything but vain and testy.  That comes across on television.  No presidential candidate in the last half-century appears so unpleasant.  Moreover, that image is pretty well fixed in the public mind, and every effort Hillary makes to counter that image has the additional problem of looking phony.
...Hillary is also rightly perceived as the ultimate Washington insider.  Her whole resume is being Bill Clinton’s wife during the 1990s, and she has been hanging around, leeching on her husband’s popularity, writing puerile books, doing nothing really but to acquire power and influence and money since 1992.  By 2016, Mrs. Clinton will have been a fixture in Washington for one quarter of a century – without, however, a single true accomplishment.
Any American who wanted change in Washington would have to choke hard before voting for Hillary, who represents the status quo as well as any politician in America.  With a crummy economy and a crumbling foreign policy, the frustration level most Americans feel about Washington could be toxic for any candidate, but a candidate so closely connected with the Washington establishment may simply be unelectable.
As if this were not bad enough, Hillary is a dreadful campaigner.  She won election to the Senate in New York, one of the most leftist states in America, but polls showed that had either Governor Pataki or Mayor Giuliani run for Senator Moynihan’s open seat in 2000, either would have crushed Hillary.  The only other campaign she waged was for the Democrat nomination in 2008, and her performance in that race was weak indeed.   

....The left seems to genuinely believe that Hillary would be a strong candidate in the 2016 election.  She would be, instead, the conservatives’ dream candidate.

ByEd Driscoll
Fanfare for the common man, 21st century style, as Democrats weep for the hardworking salt-of-the-earth chap who cheerfully runs the IRS while it upends the lives of millions of Americans and routinely “loses” its own documents. 
...As Mary Katharine Ham adds at Hot Air, “Through every second of this montage, please remind yourself that these people fancy themselves anti-establishment. They are the fighters of the Man, the afflicters of the comfortable. Pathetic.”
Actually, I’m pretty sure that the left dropped that particular modified limited hangout right around January of 2009. These days, they’re simply in the business of the naked acquisition of as much power as possible, and don’t really care who knows it, as the above clip helpfully demonstrates.
PK'S NOTE: Unable to post clip; click on link in title to view.