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The Right of the People to be Secure in their Persons, Houses, Papers, and Effects,
Against Unreasonable Searches and Seizures,
Shall Not Be Violated


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Longfellow's Christmas

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On Christmas Eve In America?

I'm not sure what the date is for the following from Bloviating Zeppelin, who works in law enforcement:
By Dr. LaMaurice Gardner
Oakland County (Mich.) Sheriff’s Office

What would you do if in the middle of Catholic Mass, on one of the holiest days of the year, someone yelled out “Allahu Akbar?”

It was late Christmas Eve and my 17-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son were preparing to leave for midnight Mass at Shrine of the Little Flower Catholic Church in Royal Oak, Mich.


This midnight Mass was typical of previous years: song, ceremony, apostolic readings, a reading of the gospel. After the gospel, with everyone seated both in the audience and at the altar, there was a brief lull, then suddenly, from nowhere, came a shout: “Allahu Akbar!”

My world froze....
Read the rest HERE. There is much more!

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Merry Christmas from the always unsatisfied Villager, except maybe a few days

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If A Muslim Wishes You "The Best" At Christmas

Know what he really means (hat tip to Jihad Watch for the first video below:

So, when a Muslim says to me, "Happy holidays," what is he really saying?

There's also this:

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It’s still Europe, stupid …. W. Euro countries have quietly upgraded Syria’s military

Excuse me, but am I chopped liver? Isn’t removal of a Syrian Iran ally a GOOD IDEA? Even if a Muslim Brotherhood takeover ensues? In this case? This remind anyone of France and Germany working with Saddam in the 70’s and 80’s on nuclear reactors and weapons?
LONDON — Certain West European and other nations are quietly arming the Syrian military despite its alliance with Iran.
Amnesty International has identified a range of NATO and other suppliers to the military of President Bashar Assad. In a report, the London-based human rights organization asserted that the Assad regime has received heavy weapons and upgrades from such Western countries as Austria, France and Italy.”Obtaining arms data for Syria is difficult as few governments officially report on their arms trade with the Syrian government,” stated the report, “Arms Transfers To The Middle East And North Africa: Lessons For An Effective Arms Trade Treaty.”
Authored by arms trade researcher Helen Hughes, the report said Austria and India have supplied millions of dollars’ worth of armored vehicles to the Syrian Army. France is said to have allowed the sale of more than $1.2-million worth of unidentified munitions.
“Italy permitted for fire control systems — probably as part of the Italian upgrade 122 T-72 main battle tanks with the Tank Universal Reconfiguration Modular System T-series tank fire-control system,” the report said.
In 1998, Italy’s Galileo Avionica signed an estimated $200-million contract to modernize 122 T-72 MBTs for the Syrian Army. A decade later, Italy approved the export of 2.8 million euro worth of fire control systems for the T-72 project.
“It appears that only Austria and Italy licensed the sale of weaponry, munitions and related equipment to Syria during the period of 2005 to 2009, according to national and EU data, under the broad categories of small arms, ammunition, riot control agents and armored vehicles,” the report said.
The report said the Assad regime has used some of the Western military equipment to battle its opposition. Damascus has used its Russian-origin MBT fleet, including the T-72, in operations to quell the growing revolt.
Amnesty identified Russia as the biggest arms supplier to Assad. The report said Syria was procuring 10 percent of Moscow’s defense exports, including anti-tank missiles and MiG fighter-jets.
“Russia also allowed the supply to Syria, but does not publish an annual report on its arms exports so it is impossible to know what weaponry, munitions and other equipment the government has allowed sold or supplied,” the report said.
Egypt was also identified as a military supplier to Syria. Amnesty said Egypt supplied nearly $1 million worth of firearms and munitions from 2005 through 2009. 
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Y'know, when I worked retail as an assistant manager at a Spencer Gifts it was at the height of the Cabbage Patch Kid craze (damned ugly ass dolls). People would line up hours ahead of time on shipment day just to get the half dozen or so we would get in.

As time went on they got more unruly and impatient.

Then one day they knocked down the big glass doors just to get inside. Nearly trampled the manager, no small fellow himself.

After that we always unlocked the doors on shipment day with Louisville Sluggers visible and handy.

Never had another problem.

Just sayin'. . .

CBS Detroit:

Shoppers Waiting For Shoe Release Riot, Break Into Mall

Here is the Nike Air Jordan Retro XI that drove sneakerheads crazy when they were released Friday morning. (WWJ Photo/Pat Sweeting)

Here is the Nike Air Jordan Retro XI that

drove sneakerheads crazy when they were

released Friday morning. (WWJ Photo/Pat Sweeting)

TAYLOR (WWJ) - Hundreds of shoppers who lined up before dawn to buy one of the season’s most wanted new shoes became unruly and began forcing their way inside Taylor’s Southland Mall on Friday.

A crowd of about 100 people planning to put a pair of limited edition Nike basketball shoes under a gift tree, or on their own feet, forced open a pair of doors almost three hours before the 8 a.m. opening and stormed inside. Another 200 people were gathered outside.

Southland Security called for Taylor police, who then summoned assistance from Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Southgate and Brownstown Township to restore order. Once inside, police say there was some minor interior damage to decorations and benches that were toppled over during the scuffle.

A 21-year-old Detroit man was arrested for inciting a riot. Nobody was hurt.

This isn’t the first time that Nike has done a special limited release of a popular style of sneakers. But at the Finish Line store at Southland Mall, manager Deron Mason told WWJ’s Pat Sweeting he had hundreds of customers rushing in to buy the store’s 40 pairs of Nike Air Jordan Retro XI — which cost upwards of $180.

“That shoe, you know what, it was popular then back when Jordan dropped it in ’95. It was a shoe that was popular then after he came back from retirement and it came back out five years later and it sold out again. So, it’s been 10 years since it dropped and everybody wants that shoe like it’s a culture that everybody has got to have it,” said Mason.

The shoe sold out within 20 minutes at the store and Mason said he was offered everything from several hundred dollars to the title of someone’s car just to reserve a pair for them.

NBC Bay Area:

Mall Gunfire Over New Jordan Shoes

Malls across the country were flooded with customers.

Everybody wants a nice pair of shoes. So much so, that when the new Nike Air Jordan's went on sale this morning, people were willing to fire off weapons to get to them.

The SFist reports, around 6 a.m. this morning, shots were fired at the Hilltop Mall in Richmond, where around 3,000 were people were waiting in line for the latest Air Jordan 11 Retro Concords.

No injuries were reported.

The new Jordan's retail for $180. Some shoppers hope to resell them for twice that price. Friday was the first time the classic shoes were available in nearly 10 years.

The Richmond incident wasn't the only reported problem surrounding the new shoes. Malls all over the country experienced rowdy crowds waiting for the shoes.

Police were called to a shopping center in Redondo Beach, as well as Pineville, N.C., Atlanta, Seattle and Indianopolis.

A lot of people were unable to get the new Jordans. Some shoppers told NBC Miami they were maced by police and trampled by other shoppers.

"You can probably see by my face that I didn't even go to sleep last night just for these shoes," said Arthur Jean-Louis, who had waited more than 24 hours.

At least six people were arrested in the Washington area.


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Merry Christmas Infidels

h/t Literature.org

A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens


I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.

Their faithful Friend and Servant, C.D.

December, 1843.

Chapter 1 - Marley's Ghost

Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don't know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain.

The mention of Marley's funeral brings me back to the point I started from. There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet's Father died before the play began, there would be nothing more remarkable in his taking a stroll at night, in an easterly wind, upon his own ramparts, than there would be in any other middle-aged gentleman rashly turning out after dark in a breezy spot -- say Saint Paul's Churchyard for instance -- literally to astonish his son's weak mind.

Scrooge never painted out Old Marley's name. There it stood, years afterwards, above the ware-house door: Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley, but he answered to both names. It was all the same to him.

Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.

External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn't know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often came down handsomely, and Scrooge never did.

Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, ``My dear Scrooge, how are you. When will you come to see me.'' No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o'clock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the blindmen's dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, ``No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master! ''

But what did Scrooge care! It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing ones call nuts to Scrooge.

Once upon a time -- of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve -- old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house. It was cold, bleak, biting weather: foggy withal: and he could hear the people in the court outside, go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavement stones to warm them. The city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already: it had not been light all day: and candles were flaring in the windows of the neighbouring offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air. The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense without, that although the court was of the narrowest, the houses opposite were mere phantoms. To see the dingy cloud come drooping down, obscuring everything, one might have thought that Nature lived hard by, and was brewing on a large scale.

it's ALL below the fold

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Blackmore's Night
Christmas Eve

Good King Wenceslas

I Saw Three Ships

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EDL's Tommy Robinson Attacked

As Anonymous pointed out in a comment to a different thread here at IBA:

Tommy Robinson violently beaten up to shouts of "allah ackbar" and "Merry Christmas Tommy".

Gates of Vienna has the story, including more photos.

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Merry Christmas, Infidels

From Europe's post-Christian Choir

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Krauthammer at WaPo:

The GOP’s payroll tax debacle
By Charles Krauthammer

Now that Congress has reached agreement on what must be one of the worst pieces of legislation in years — the temporary payroll tax holiday extension — let’s survey the damage.

To begin with, what even minimally rational government enacts payroll tax relief for just two months? As a matter of practicality alone, it makes no sense. The National Payroll Reporting Consortium, representing those who process paychecks, said of the two-month extension passed by the Senate just days before the new year: “There is insufficient lead time to accommodate the proposal,” because “many payroll systems are not likely to be able to make such a substantial programming change before January or even February,” thereby creating “substantial problems, confusion and costs.”

The final compromise appears to tweak this a bit to make it less onerous for small business. But what were they thinking in the first place? What business operates two months at a time? The minimal time horizon for business is the quarter — three months. What genius came up with two? U.S. businesses would have to budget for two-thirds of a one-quarter tax-holiday extension. As if this government has not already heaped enough regulatory impediments and mindless uncertainties upon business.

But making economic sense is not the point. The tax-holiday extension — presumably to be negotiated next year into a 12-month extension — is the perfect campaign ploy: an election-year bribe that has the additional virtue of seizing the tax issue for the Democrats.

When George McGovern campaigned on giving every household $1,000, he was laughed out of town as a shameless panderer. President Obama is doing exactly the same — a one-year tax holiday that hands back about $1,000 per middle-class family — but with a little more subtlety.

Obama is also selling it as a job creator. This takes audacity. Even a one-year extension isn’t a tax cut; it’s a tax holiday. A two-month extension is nothing more than a long tax weekend. What employer is going to alter his hiring decisions — whose effects last years — in anticipation of a one-year tax holiday, let alone two months?

This is a $121 billion annual drain on the Treasury that makes a mockery of the Democrats’ reverence for the Social Security trust fund and its inviolability. Obama’s OMB director took Social Security completely off the table in debt-reduction talks under the pretense that Social Security is self-financing. This is pure fiction, because the Treasury supplies whatever shortfalls Social Security faces. But now, with the payroll tax holiday, the administration openly demonstrates bad faith — conceding with its actions that the payroll tax is, after all, interchangeable with other revenue and never actually sequestered to ensure future payments to retirees.

The House Republicans’ initial rejection of this two-month extension was therefore correct on principle and on policy. But this was absolutely the wrong place, the wrong time, to plant the flag. Once Senate Republicans overwhelmingly backed the temporary extension, that part of the fight was lost. Opposing it became kamikaze politics.

Note the toll it is already taking on Republicans. For three decades Republicans owned the tax issue. Today, Obama leads by five points, a 12-point swing since just early October. The payroll tax ploy has even affected his overall approval rating, now up five points (in six weeks) to 49 percent.

The Democrats set a trap and the Republicans walked right into it. By rejecting an ostensibly bipartisan “compromise,” the Republican House was portrayed as obstructionist and, even worse, heartless — willing to raise taxes on the middle class while resolutely opposing any tax increases on the rich.

House Republicans compounded this debacle by begging the Senate to come back and renegotiate the issue, thus entirely conceding the initiative to Majority Leader Harry Reid. But Reid had little incentive to make any concessions. House Republicans would have taken the fall for 160 million shrunken paychecks. Every day the White House would have demanded, in the name of the suffering middle class, that Republicans return from vacation and pass the temporary extension.

Having finally realized they had trapped themselves, House Republicans quickly caved, with help from a fig leaf contrived by Sen. Mitch McConnell.

The GOP’s performance nicely reprises that scene in “Animal House” where the marching band turns into a blind alley and row after row of plumed morons plows into a brick wall, crumbling to the ground in an unceremonious heap.

With one difference: House Republicans are unplumed.


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Front Page Mag:

Iran, Venezuela, Cuba and the Cyber Threa
Posted by Ryan Mauro

Cuban, Iranian and Venezuelan officials have been caught actively considering cyber attacks on the U.S., including ones that would be “worse than the World Trade Center.” In the frightening documentary, the U.S.-based Spanish language Univision also exposes subversive operations by Iran in Latin America.

The undercover operation began after a former computers instructor at Mexico’s National Autonomous University was recruited by another professor in 2006 for a cyber terror plot requested by the Cuban embassy in Mexico City. The instructor, Juan Carlos Munoz Ledo, turned the tables on the Cuban government and later, its Iranian and Venezuelan allies. He said he’d go along with the plot and get some students involved to carry it out. In reality, he and his partners were starting a seven-month investigation that would expose the evils contemplated by these governments against the U.S.

Ledo and his team approached Mohamed Hassan Ghadiri in 2007, who was then Iran’s ambassador to Mexico. They discussed a plot to hack into American computer systems at nuclear power plants, the White House, the CIA, the FBI, the NSA and other critical sites from Mexico. A “digital bomb” would be implanted that would be “worse than the World Trade Center.” The footage of Ghadiri shows his excitement over the plot. He emphasized that the hackers should retrieve classified information because Iran needed to know if the U.S. was planning an attack. Ghadiri admits to having met with the students but claims that the Iranian regime rejected their offer to attack the U.S.

In 2008, the team approached Livia Acosta, the cultural attaché of the Venezuelan embassy in Mexico City. Like Ghadiri, she was interested in the cyber plot. She promised to put any information they provide into the hands of Hugo Chavez. She was particularly pleased when the team claimed it could access the computers of nuclear power plants, specifically Florida’s Turkey Point and Arkansas’ Nuclear One.

The documentary also revealed covert Iranian activities in Latin America. The journalists obtained footage from a failed terrorist attack against New York’s JFK Airport in 2007. It is widely known that Al-Qaeda was tied to the plot, but the involvement of Iran and Venezuela is less known.

The film reveals that the Iranian regime is still using Edgardo Ruben Assad, an operative involved in the 1992 bombing of Israel’s embassy in Argentina that killed 29 and the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Argentina that killed 85. Ghadiri worked to try to get this terrorist operative into Mexico. One team member was recruited by Ghadiri to go to Iran to study Islam for two months so he could come back and preach the regime’s ideology. He bravely went there and he met Muslim converts from Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina and Bolivia who all arrived for the same reason.

The filmmakers found out that Iran is financing mosques in Venezuela and Islamic terrorists are being trained in camps in the country. In 2010, Antonio Salas traveled to Venezuela by posing as a Palestinian jihadist. He learned of six camps in Venezuela and joined a Hezbollah branch in the country. He even met members of FARC, Hezbollah and Hamas in these camps. Univision’s investigators found out that the Iranian-backed terrorists in Venezuela engage in money-laundering and drug trafficking.

More evidence recently came out that Hezbollah and the Mexican and Colombian drug cartels have a three-way partnership in narcotics. A judge unsealed the case against Ayman Joumaa, who is accused of being involved in dealings between Colombian and Mexican cartels, specifically the Zetas. Joumaa used the Lebanese-Canadian Bank to launder money, which the Treasury Department has sanctioned for its Hezbollah ties.

The State Department said it found the documentary’s information “disturbing” but that the U.S. government doesn’t have any proof to confirm its allegations. President Obama has not commented on the matter, but did criticize Chavez’s alliances with Cuba and Iran in an interview with a Venezuelan newspaper. He said that Chavez is too busy “revisiting the ideological battles of the post.” Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Western Hemisphere subcommittee, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, say they will hold hearings on Iran’s activities in Latin America.

The cyber plot may date back to 2007, but Iran’s interest in cyber warfare did not end then. Iran has decided to spend $1 billion bolstering its cyber warfare capabilities. Earlier this year, an Iranian defector reported that the Revolutionary Guards assessed that the U.S. power grid would be the best potential target for a cyber assault.

Apologists of Chavez and Iran will point to the fact that they did not conceive of the terror plot, but they did entertain it. This demonstrates a keen interest in doing harm to the U.S. through non-state proxies. If these are the types of actions being considered by Iran, Venezuela and Cuba that we know about, then what are they doing that we don’t know about?


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Obama's "Accomplishments"

Yet another reality check (hat tip to The Conservative Lady):

Will the American electorate understand that truth about the Obama administration, or will the American electorate believe the sycophantic swill that the media keep dishing out?

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The Obamabots' Sacrilege Of Christmas

(With a hat tip to Matt of Conservative Hideout 2.0)

Note this accompanying blurb at YouTube:
This coming holiday start a conversation with your friends and family members about why you support President Obama. Whether you're heading out of town or crashing at your parents' house, this holiday season is the perfect chance to talk to your friends and family about why you're working to re-elect President Obama.

Now the video:

As one YouTube commenter said:
That's funny, they want you to "Spread the good news of President Obama", doesn't there have to actually BE some good news, before you can spread it?

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David Benoit Quartet
Linus and Lucy

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake?

Daily Mail:

Is Michelle Obama's spending 'spiralling out of control'? First Lady 'insisted on $4m trip to Hawaii when her husband wanted local vacation'

Barack Obama 'wanted trip to Camp David, Maryland'
But his wife 'didn't want to disappoint their daughters'
'Had a pre-holiday shopping spree': National Enquirer

By Mark Duell

Michelle Obama insisted on a pricey holiday to Hawaii when her husband would have rather gone to a presidential retreat, according to reports.

She allegedly wanted the taxpayer-funded $4million trip when Barack Obama sought instead to make the short trip to Camp David in Maryland.

Political sources told the National Enquirer that the 47-year-old’s spending is rocketing and she even went on a shopping spree before the Hawaii trip.

Disagreement? Michelle Obama, left, reportedly wanted the $4million Hawaii trip when Barack Obama sought instead to go to Camp David in Maryland

Disagreement? Michelle Obama, left, reportedly wanted the $4million Hawaii trip when Barack Obama sought instead to go to Camp David in Maryland

‘The President’s advisers have told him that Michelle’s spending has spiralled “completely out of control”,’ one source told the National Enquirer.

‘Barack read his wife the riot act, but his words fell on deaf ears. Michelle said there was “no way” she was going to disappoint her daughters.’

The First Family has already attracted criticism as their annual vacation in Hawaii this year is likely to be their most expensive ever.

The President will travel separately to his family this time because he wants resolve the payroll tax cut issue before leaving Washington D.C.

Holiday: Security keep watch behind a house overlooking the beach at Kailua Bay not far from where Mrs Obama and her daughters are staying in Kailua, Hawaii

Holiday: Security keep watch behind a house overlooking the beach at Kailua Bay not far from where Mrs Obama and her daughters are staying in Kailua, Hawaii

First Family: President Barack Obama, Mrs Obama, left, and daughters Malia , right, and Sasha, second left, are pictured this month in Washington D.C.

First Family: President Barack Obama, Mrs Obama, left, and daughters Malia , right, and Sasha, second left, are pictured this month in Washington D.C.

He is expected to travel later this week and was seen buying Christmas presents on Wednesday at PetSmart and Best Buy in Alexandria, Virginia.

'The President’s advisers have told him that Michelle’s spending has spiralled "completely out of control"'

National Enquirer source

Mrs Obama took Malia and Sasha to MA'O Organic Farms in Hawaii for pizza earlier this week where they were joined by healthy eating advisors.

Mr Obama himself was seen buying pizzas from the Del Ray Pizzeria back in Alexandria as he spends time at home without his family.

Mrs Obama took the children last weekend in a flight that cost an extra $100,000 - and her husband’s round-trip journey will be $3,271,611.

Presents: President Obama shopped for Christmas gifts for his family, who have already flown to Hawaii, at Best Buy on Wednesday in Alexandria, Virginia

Presents: President Obama shopped for Christmas gifts for his family, who have already flown to Hawaii, at Best Buy on Wednesday in Alexandria, Virginia

The bill for the trip went up last week when Mrs Obama decided to take Sasha and Malia herself while her husband tries to save the U.S. economy.

'Barack read his wife the riot act, but his words fell on deaf ears. Michelle said there was "no way" she was going to disappoint her daughters'

National Enquirer source

His flight was estimated by the Hawaii Reporter as the largest expense of the holiday trip, which will cost more than $4million in total.

But his family is covering the cost of a private beach front residence in Kailua, Oahu, which costs up to $3,500 a day, or $75,000 a month.

It is not yet known exactly when President Obama will fly out to Hawaii, with the death of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Il likely delaying his trip further.


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GQ's webcomic about the bin Laden termination

Gentleman's Quarterly published a webcomic about Team 6's justified termination of bin Laden earlier this year. I'll note that the writer, Matt Fraction, is a disturbing leftist himself, but this is one this he might've done right for a change. However, when writing about this, Comics Alliance's moonbat Andy Khouri has done something subtly fishy:
The short piece concludes in a manner that some readers might find objectionable: a closeup of Bin Laden taking a bullet to the head. While that is indeed how the al-Qaeda leader was killed, the U.S. government's refusal to release a photograph of Bin Laden's body was a media controversy for a short time following the operation. Proponents of releasing the photo argued that doing so would squash conspiracy theories that Bin Laden was still alive and provide a kind of catharsis for Americans who'd seen 3,000 people murdered as a consequence of Bin Laden's actions. Opponents of releasing the photo argued that such an image could inflame already bitter sentiment towards the U.S. in some Muslim countries. Others suggested that those who desired to see such a grisly photo were succumbing to ghoulish tendencies, and that a civilization such as ours ought not to take any form of satisfaction in the death of another human being.
I do believe I spot 3 things wrong here: one, just who is it who's supposed to find the slaying of bin Laden "offensive"? Two, just who is it he's talking about who're white flagging to "ghoulishness" over the death of a tyrant who led, plotted and instructed the deaths of many innocents in the name of violent jihad? And three, how dare he imply that bin Laden is "human"? This loser Khouri sure knows how dabble in moral equations and ultimately fails to specify just what kind of people he's talking about.

Another comic book retelling of the Team 6's raid on bin Laden's hideout, if done well, can be something we're all looking forward to. Too bad little Mr. Khouri's got to spoil everything by injecting needless ambiguity into the mix.
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This Week On The Gathering Storm

Listen to The Gathering Storm Radio Show, hosted by WC and Always On Watch. The show broadcasts live every Friday beginning at noon, Pacific Time, for 30 minutes.

The call-in number is 646-915-9870.

Our scheduled guest is Z!.

Listen to the December 23, 2011 edition of The Gathering Storm Radio Show, live or later, by CLICKING HERE.

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Wave of Baghdad Bombings Kills Dozens

BAGHDAD — A wave of bombings ripped across Baghdad on Thursday morning, killing at least 63 people and injuring nearly 200 in the worst violence Iraq has seen for months. The bloodbath comes just days after American forces left the country.

The blasts also came on the heels of a political crisis between Iraq's Sunni and Shiite factions that erupted this weekend. The political spat, which pits Iraq's Shiite prime minister against the highest-ranking Sunni political leader, has raised fears that Iraq's sectarian wounds will be reopened during a fragile time when Iraq is finally navigating its own political future without U.S. military support.

While the string of explosions was likely not a direct response to the political Sunni-Shiite confrontation, it will ratchet up tensions at a time when many Iraqis are already worried about security. If continued, it could lead to the same type of tit-for-tat attacks that characterized the insurgency years ago.

Iraqi officials said at least 14 blasts went off early Thursday morning in 11 neighborhoods around the city. The explosions ranged from blasts from sticky bombs attached to cars to roadside bombs and vehicles packed with explosives. There was at least one suicide bombing among the attacks.

Most of the attacks appeared to hit Shiite neighborhoods although some Sunni areas were also targeted.

The spokesman for the Iraqi health ministry put the death toll at 57 and said at least 176 people were also injured. He did not have a neighborhood by neighborhood breakdown for where the fatalities and the injuries occurred.

Earlier reports indicated that the worst of the violence occurred in al-Amal neighborhood where seven people were killed in a blast that appeared to target rescuers and officials who came to the scene after a previous explosion. At least four people were killed in one western Baghdad neighborhood when two roadside bombs exploded.

All the information came from police and hospital officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

In the southwestern neighborhood of Karrada, where a blast ripped through a side street near the Integrity Commission headquarters, sirens could be heard as ambulances rushed to the scene and a large plume of smoke rose over the explosion site.

"My baby was sleeping in her bed. Shards of glass have fallen on our heads. Her father hugged her and carried her. She is now scared in the next room," said one woman in western Baghdad who identified herself as Um Hanin. "All countries are stable. Why don't we have security and stability?"

While Baghdad and Iraq have gotten much safer over the years, explosions like Thursday's are still commonplace. They come at a precarious time in Iraq's political history, just days after American troops pulled out of Iraq.

The government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has accused the Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi of running a hit squad that targeted government officials. Al-Maliki is also pushing for a vote of no-confidence against another Sunni politician, the deputy prime minister Saleh al-Mutlaq.

Many Sunnis fear that this is part of a wider campaign to go after Sunni political figures in general and shore up Shiite control across the country at a critical time when all American troops have left Iraq.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the morning's violence. But the coordinated nature of the assault and the fact that the attacks took place in numerous neighborhoods suggested a planning capability only available to al-Qaida in Iraq.

Many of the neighborhoods were also Shiite areas which are a favorite target of al-Qaida. The Sunni extremist group often targets Shiites who they believe are not true Muslims.

Al-Qaida in Iraq is severely debilitated from its previous strength in the early years of the war, but is still able to launch coordinated and deadly assaults from time to time.

U.S. military officials have said they're worried about a resurgence of al-Qaida after the American military leaves the country. If that happens, it could lead Shiite militants to fight back and attack Sunni targets, thus sending Iraq back to the sectarian violence it experienced just a few years ago.


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Humpday Jingle Blues

Earl King
Santa Please Don't Let Me Down

William Clarke
Please Let Me Be Your Santa Claus

B B King
Back Door Santa

Otis Redding
Merry Christmas Baby

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Front Page Mag:

Iraq’s Christians Near Extinction

Posted by Raymond Ibrahim

A recent Fox News report tells of how “a rash of attacks on Christian-owned businesses in northern Iraq has raised troubling questions about the future safety of the country’s shrinking Christian community, particularly as U.S. forces withdraw completely from the nation they’ve refereed since 2003.”

In fact, “questions about the future safety of the country’s shrinking Christian community” have been raised ever since the U.S. toppled secular strongman Saddam Hussein, thereby unloosing the forces of jihad previously corked. The report continues:

The attacks, which have received little international attention, raged through northern cities following a sermon last Friday by a local mullah. Video purportedly from the riots posted online shows mobs burning and wrecking businesses, which included liquor stores, hotels and hair salons.

Note the two important facts here that play over and over whenever Christians are persecuted under Islam: 1) Despite their frequency and severity, they “receive little international attention” (indeed, only the most spectacular of terrorist attacks on Christians—such as the 2010 Baghdad church attack which left some 60 dead—ever receive mainstream media attention); and 2) as usual, the attacks followed “a sermon last Friday by a local mullah” (in other words, are Islamic in nature).

As if the situation wasn’t bad enough, after pointing out that “Iraqi Christians … are living in fear,” U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf said:

“Now with the [U.S.] forces leaving … I think the Iraqi Christians are going to go through a very, very difficult time.” … He urged the Obama administration to do more to speak up on the issue. “They know this is a problem. Our government ought to be advocating and ought to be pushing.”

It ought to, but it’s not. After calling the U.S. government’s silence concerning the blatant persecution of Iraq’s Christians “disturbing,” the founder of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council added: “We’re on the verge of extinction.”

Writer Kenneth Timmerman, who recently returned from Iraq, was asked in an interview “what if anything is the U.S. doing to alleviate the plight of Christian minorities … in Iraq?” His response:

Under President Obama the U.S. is doing nothing. They are putting no pressure on Al-Maliki in Iraq. … I just returned from Northern Iraq … I can tell you that this is a community that is on the verge of extinction. The Assyrian Chaldean Syriac community in Iraq [i.e., the Christians] constitutes the indigenous people of Iraq. They have been there for millennia. They are being driven out by Jihadi Muslims on the one hand and by Kurdish Nationalists on the other.

Worse, whereas Iraq’s Christians were in the habit of fleeing to neighboring countries for refuge, in light of the so-called “Arab Spring,” these countries are no longer safe, as their own Christians are increasingly targeted.

In fact, by pushing for “democracy” and “elections, the Obama administration has helped unloose some of the most anti-Christian—not to mention anti-Western, anti-Israel, in a word, anti-infidel—forces in the region. Consider Syria, for instance, where many Iraqi Christian refugees have fled to:

As the Assad regime comes under mounting international pressure, Christians, who comprise around ten per cent of the population, are particularly concerned about what the future holds for them and Iraqi Christian refugees living in the country. Should Assad fall, it is feared that Syria could go the way of Iraq post-Saddam Hussein. Saddam, like Assad, restrained the influence of militant Islamists, but after his fall they were free to wreak havoc on the Christian community; hundreds of thousands of Christians were consequently forced to flee the violence. Many of them went to Syria. Most of the Iraqi Christians living in Syria are worried because they do not want to see Syrian Christians passing through the same path as happened with them in Iraq.

As if all this was not enough, Pamela Geller reports that “Christians are being refused refugee status [in the U.S.] and face persecution and many times certain death for their religious beliefs under Sharia, while whole Muslim communities are entering the U.S. by the tens of thousands per month despite the fact that they face no religious persecution.”

Such is the increasingly surreal world we live in.


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Human Events:

Congress in Stalemate Over Payroll Tax Cut, Unemployment Checks

The House set in motion a high stakes game of chicken with the Senate after blocking a short-term proposal to extend unemployment checks for the jobless and a tax break for workers and then left town while the stalemate simmers.

The measure objecting to the Senate deal Tuesday prevailed on a mostly party line vote 229 to 193, and requires that Congress now resolve its differences in a conference committee.

House Republicans originally sent the Senate a bill extending the provisions expiring Dec. 31 for one year, plus a two-year extension for Medicare reimbursement for doctors, and language requiring President Barack Obama to make a decision on the XL Keystone pipeline within 60 days.

The Senate responded on Saturday by passing a two-month extension instead, then adjourned until Jan. 23 angering House Republicans who are insisting the Senate return to Washington and renegotiate the differences in a conference committee.

However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D. - Nev.) is refusing to reconvene the Senate and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D. - Calif.) says she will not appoint Democrats to a conference committee leaving the Congress in a standoff that threatens to kill the tax break and unemployment extension on New Year’s Eve.

“Our economy is too weak and the American people have been struggling for far too long for Congress not to work out our differences,” said Rep. Dave Camp (R. - Mich.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

“This is not a difference over policy, but the House deciding to act and the Senate not deciding to act on so many policies,” Camp said.

Pelosi blamed the impasse on “radical Tea Party Republicans (who) are holding up this tax cut for the American people and jeopardizing growth.”

Moments after the House action, President Barack Obama made a surprise appearance at the White House press briefing and called on House Speaker John Boehner (R. - Ohio) to pass the Senate’s two month version.

“Let’s not play brinksmanship,” Obama said.

Read more »


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EXCLUSIVE: Beset By Strife at Chemical Security Office, DHS Internal Report Claims Anti-Terrorism Program Now In Jeopardy

A federal program aimed at securing potentially dangerous chemicals is now in jeopardy after being beset by a series of deep-seated problems, including wasteful spending and a largely unqualified workforce that lacks "professionalism," according to a scathing internal Department of Homeland Security report obtained exclusively by Fox News.

In 2007, Congress established the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program, which directs DHS to collect and review information from U.S. chemical facilities to determine whether they present a security risk. It is overseen by the Infrastructure Security Compliance Division -- or ISCD.

As the Congressional Budget Office describes it, CFATS' mandate is to ensure that facilities deemed a high threat develop a security plan, and in turn, DHS "conducts inspections to validate the adequacy of" and compliance with the plan.

But that's not how it is happening. The report, which suggests that administration officials are possibly being misled about the program’s success, says the office has yet to conduct a "compliance inspection" and it only recently began approving security plans.

The report identifies several human resources problems, including inspectors who see their jobs within the context of prior law enforcement careers, which the report says has hindered effectiveness, and office employees who are unduly bound by union shops.

The report says several of the challenges identified "pose a measurable risk to the program." A top-ranking DHS official characterized that conclusion as "very true."

"The question here is whether or not we can move this program to a level of completion and sustainment," Rand Beers, undersecretary for DHS’ National Protection and Programs Directorate, told Fox News in an interview Tuesday. Beers has overseen the program since 2009. "As long as I'm here, I'll certainly strive to do that."

Read more »


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Diana Krall
Christmas Time Is Here

I'll Be Home For Christmas

The Christmas Song

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Hanukkah

ברוך אתה ה' א‑לוהינו מלך העולם, שהחינו וקימנו והגענו לזמן הזה.

"Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season"


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A No Depression Updated Rant On Citidiots

So I called Citibastards today after the post below. My mom, a 73 year old widow, was going to try to hit her home equity line of credit to help hold off the wolves a little longer.

The woman told me that she didn't see anything that would indicate this had gone to litigation.

This after I was initially told they couldn't find an account with my name on it.

No kidding.

This is the same Citidiots where daughter #1 has some small college loands.

And they call her when they are a couple days past due. Never mind that they don't see the payment she made 3 days ago online. "Oh, it may take up to a week to see that" she's told.

And when she is legitimately past due (she, too, is unemployed at the moment) we have both been given up to 4 different amounts to bring the account current.

Now, that's four different amounts within the same phone call. Call back again and those four different amounts change.

These are the same Citidiots that have both my mortgages. Who told me that I didn't qualify for mortgage modification even though I'm unemployed because I make to much money. on unemployment.

Wonder how they feel about that now?

The same Citidiots who asked if I could pay $xxx dollars at zero interest a month. Sure, when I get a job, maybe. Okay, but what about now? Don't you have any other income? Well, how are you paying your bills?

Do you still have your business?

I DON'T HAVE A BUSINESS (for the umpteenth time). When you upgraded this car years ago you made it a Citibusiness card. I called and questioned it and your rep at the time said it was fine I could/should still use it.

Oh, we wuldn't have done that.

Oh but you most certainly did. Just like you told me this was going to litigation and now you're saying you don't see that.

The same Citidiots who told me I either was or wasn't in litigation for my credit card that I received - JUST TODAY -- a nice note from on a Gordon's Jeweler's card I hold with them (no balance) telling how wonderful I am as a customer and that they appreciate my business.

The same has happened with my Sears card through Citidiots (small balance). Appreciate your business etc.

So for now, I am assuming this is still going to litigation. Assume the worst, hope for the best.

You want to know why our economy is in shambles? Why all these banks needed taxpayer bailouts?

Multiply what I just described over and over and over again for so many Citi customers and you'll begin to understand. One hand has no idea what the other is doing and the other has no idea why they are doing it.

This is a bank that should have been, and should be, allowed to fail.

Any private business that ran itself this would would have gone under years ago.


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No Depression

For 25 years I have had a credit card with Citibank.

25 years.

And my credit was always good.

At times there were big balances, small balances, no balances.

And they always got their payment every month.

Usually more than but always at least the minimum.

Since the unemployment streak began in 2008 the balance has been run up a good bit. Couldn't be helped.

And still I made the payments.

That ended in October when it became a matter of pay the mortgage (to Citimortgage of course) or pay the credit card.

So I have not been able to make a payment on the card since October.

Two missed payments.

And it's not like they didn't know this was coming. I've made a number of calls over the last 2-1/2 years, explaining the situation.

Nothing they could do unless I was delinquent.

But I kept paying.

Now I have missed two payments in 25 yrs.

2 payments out of 300.

Today I'm ready to walk out the door for my 13 year old daughter's Honor s Orchestra concert at the mall. An event I enjoy very much and look forward to every year.

The phone rings. I make the mistake of answering it.

Citibank. Verifying my situation has not improved since our last conversation 2 weeks ago.

And informing me they plan to begin litigation for the full 45K owed.

Because of 2 payments out of 300.

A half hour before the kid's concert. 5 days before Christmas.

This is fucking ridiculous. I can't even breathe anymore.


Fuck Obama and his Hawaiian vacations. Fuck Congress and their Christmas recess. They can shove their pomegranate trees deep up their ass. And fuck the banks and their bosses who took the bailouts and did nothing NOTHING to pass it on to their customers. I hope they all choke on a turkey bone this Christmas.

And fuck yer hope and change.


Go ahead.

I don't care.


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And from #occupy Syria….

Gives one pause to think.
I cannot see invading Syria in any circumstance, but taking Assad off the board, harming Iran, helping those people and sticking a thumb in the eye of those seeking to stick their thumb in ours (VLAD, baby, come on) might do a bit for  … well …
At worst.
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Obama comes down strong on Venezuela!



about the government’s actions, which have restricted the universal rights of the Venezuelan people, threatened basic democratic values, and failed to contribute to the security in the region,” Obama said in an interview with the Venezuelan daily El Universal.
That will fix them!
God, I feel better now! We no longer have to worry about Chavez’ cooperation with Iran, Russia and Cuba!
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Say, epa, what's it really like living in Maine?

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Pipeline? Pipeline?

CNBC (Isn’t it informing that the business arm of NBC says one thing while the political arm is worried about blasting anything republican):

Missing $4,155? It Went Into Your Gas Tank This Year

It’s been 30 years since gasoline took such a big bite out of the family budget.
When the gifts from Grandma are unloaded and holiday travel is over, the typical American household will have spent $4,155 filling up this year, a record. That is 8.4 percent of what the median family takes in, the highest share since 1981.
Gas averaged more than $3.50 a gallon this year, another unfortunate record. And next year isn’t likely to bring relief. (PRICE ON JAN 20, 2009, the day of Obama's inaug? ~$1.85)
In the past, high gas prices in the United States have gone hand-in-hand with economic good times, making them less damaging to family finances. Now prices are high despite slow economic growth and weak demand.
That’s because demand for crude oil is rising globally, especially in the developing nations of Asia and Latin America. But it puts the squeeze on the U.S., where unemployment  is high and many people who have jobs aren’t getting raises.
The trap has caught Michael Reed of Charlotte, N.C. He hasn’t been able to find work since he lost his computer-support job in 2009. Now high gas prices are claiming more of what he has left. He and his wife won’t exchange gifts this Christmas.
“I try to drive as little as possible so it doesn’t take such a chunk out of my wallet,” he says.
In 1981, when the economy was sliding into recession and oil prices were high because of Middle East turmoil, gas ate up 8.8 percent of the typical family budget, says Fred Rozell of the Oil Price Information Service.
Over the past decade, gas has taken up 5.7 percent of the family budget. If families had spent only 5.7 percent this year, they would have saved $1,300.
For this year, gas should average $3.53 per gallon. That’s 76 cents more than last year. It’s 29 cents per gallon more than 2008, when gas last set an annual record, $3.24. That year, the price of oil hit a record in the summer but collapsed when the financial crisis struck in the fall.
Besides leaving families less money to eat out and go to the movies, high gas prices take a disproportionate toll on consumer confidence. People are more aware of small changes in gas prices because they drive past the signs all the time.
And a buck spent on gas has less bang in the economy than, say, a dollar spent at a restaurant. The U.S. is an oil-importing country, so many of the dollars spent on gas ultimately leave the country instead of being invested here in new ventures and jobs.
James Hamilton, an economics professor at the University of California, San Diego, who studies energy prices, estimates that high gasoline prices reduced economic growth by about 0.5 percent for the year — a substantial hit for an economy only growing at an annual rate of about 2 percent.
Still, it could be worse. The U.S. economy is much more fuel-efficient than it was during the oil spikes of the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1980, for every $1,000 of economic output, 1.07 barrels of oil were consumed. By 2010, it took half that — 0.53 barrels, says Judith Dwarkin, chief energy economist at ITG Investment Research.
Today, the U.S. uses almost no oil to generate electricity. The percentage of households using heating oil has fallen. And vehicles are less thirsty than ever — 20 percent more fuel-efficient than they were in 1980.
Also, the low price of natural gas has kept heating and electricity costs down for the same households spending more on gas.
Relief from high gas prices is nowhere in sight, though. Ed Morse, head of commodities research at Citibank, expects oil to average $100 per barrel next year, which would eclipse 2011’s average of about $95 per barrel.
Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at OPIS, expects gasoline prices to approach $4 per gallon again next spring.
Drivers are keeping gas guzzlers in the driveway, combining trips and buying more efficient cars. Compared with the year before, American gas consumption has been down every week for more than nine months, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse, a spending survey.
If consumption is down and prices are up, then ASSUMING no market diddling is going on, the ONLY WAY to fix this is to INCREASE SUPPLY.
Battery technology does NOT yet allow electric cars. Solar power technology cannot do it. Fuel cells have not panned out
Oil, natural gas… THAT’S IT RIGHT NOW.


It’s not a great answer, but it’s the only one, and it sucks less than the alternatives. No ideology can change the physical reality.
Science can. Invest there.
The other techonologies ARE NOT READY
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