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Update: Qatari Diplomat Recalled Home

Via AP:
WASHINGTON — A Qatari diplomat who sparked a bomb scare after sneaking a smoke in an airplane’s bathroom will be sent home or transferred to another country, U.S. officials said Thursday. The officials said that as a result of his recall, the U.S. government would not take any formal action against the diplomat. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said they expected Mohammed Al-Madadi to leave the United States later Thursday or Friday in accordance with assurances given to them by the Qatari embassy in Washington and authorities in the Qatari capital of Doha.
Don't let the door. . . - Greg Pollowitz

Panic: Illinois Going Red

Via Rasmussen Reports:
Republican State Senator Bill Brady now leads Governor Pat Quinn 45% to 38% in Illinois’s gubernatorial contest, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters in the state. Seven percent (7%) prefer some other candidate, and 10% are undecided.
Like with Mark Kirk who is running for Senate in Illinois, I will only care about Brady's positions on issues after he wins. - Greg Pollowitz

K-Lo’s Summary Of The Denver False-Alarm And The Qatari Diplomat

Via Twitter:
so either we have a diplomat from qatar who is an attempted terrorist or who thinks terrorism is something to joke about?
Well said, but couldn't the air marshals have at least Tasered the guy? In any event, the U.S. should declare him persona non grata and send him back to Qatar on the next flight. - Greg Pollowitz

Breaking: Penn. Voters Still Bitter, Clingy And Hate Obamacare. Toomey Leads.

Via Quinnipiac:
Republican Pat Toomey is back on top 46 – 41 percent over Sen. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania’s seesaw U.S. Senate race, while Attorney General Tom Corbett, the leader for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, remains ahead of each of the three top Democratic contenders by double digits, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Gov. Ed Rendell’s job approval rating is 45 – 45 percent, up from a negative 43 – 49 percent last month, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey finds. But President Barack Obama’s approval is a negative 45 – 49 percent, down from 49 – 46 percent. Disapproval of the President’s health care plan, 53 – 39 percent, is unchanged from a 52 – 37 percent disapproval March 2. Pennsylvania voters say 39 – 20 percent they are more likely to vote against a lawmaker who supported the health plan.
Penn. will look great on election night colored in a bright red color. - Greg Pollowitz

It’s The Economy Stupid 2.0

Via Gallup:
PRINCETON, NJ — Fifty-seven percent of registered voters say the economy will be extremely important to their vote for Congress this year, making it the top issue in the 2010 elections. Healthcare, unemployment, and the federal budget deficit rank behind the economy in importance, with the environment the least important of the seven issues tested in the March 26-28 USA Today/Gallup poll.
Interesting that immigration reform didn't make the list, no? - Greg Pollowitz

Left Starting To Ask If Obama Has The Legal Authority To Kill Terrorist Americans Overseas

Via Washington Independent:
. . .The administration may very well be making the correct evaluation of the threat al-Awlaki poses. But if citizenship means anything, it means that a citizen can’t be killed because the government uses secret evidence to say he or she is an intolerable threat. Al-Awlaki is certainly exploiting his American citizenship. But CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano told the Post’s Greg Miller, “This agency conducts its counterterrorism operations in strict accord with the law.” We at least have the right to know the legal basis the Obama administration reached to order the extra-judicial killing of an American citizen, and so I’ll be spending my morning filling out FOIAs.
This will be real interesting to see what happens if the U.S. does kill al-Awlaki. It will bring up the mother-of-all "if George Bush had done it" debates. - Greg Pollowitz

DARPA To Congress: We Need More Nerds

Via Popular Science:
In last week’s testimony before Congress, Dr. Regina Dugan, director of DARPA, warned the House Armed Services Committee that the US was facing a lack of a critical resource — a lack so severe that it endangers the security of the nation. Dugan wasn’t talking about oil, or rare earth minerals, or plutonium, but something far more important to America’s defense: nerds. Yes, according to Dugan, the lack of emphasis on science and engineering education in America has resulted in possible future manpower shortages for an agency that Dugan herself called “the nation’s elite army of futuristic technogeeks.” Dugan said the coming shortage is pinching DARPA at both ends. Over the 2000s, DARPA saw its funding cut by half, making it harder to recruit new scientists. Simultaneously, US colleges graduated 43 percent fewer science and computing students, shrinking the pool of potential scientists for DARPA to choose from.
I remember reading a "WSJ" piece a few years back on the children of the tech heroes of Silicon Valley and how these kids were choosing non-scientific majors in college. Not an easy undertaking to just wave your hand and have intelligent kids who want to do science just appear. - Greg Pollowitz

Good News: Apple Has A Fix For The iPad Wi-Fi Problems That 99% Of Americans Don’t Understand

Via Telegraph:
. . .Apple said that dual-band Wi-Fi routers that support both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz protocols were a particular problem. Apple recommends splitting dual-band routers in to two separate networks with different names but the same security settings. “Under certain conditions, iPad may not automatically rejoin a known Wi-Fi network after restart or waking from sleep,” said Apple in a statement. “This can occur with some third-party Wi-Fi routers that are dual-band capable when using the same network name for each network, or using different security settings for each network.” If these changes don’t improve the strength and quality of Wi-Fi connections, Apple has recommended that iPad users reset the network settings on their device.
I was going to get one of these for my mom to replace her Kindle. Maybe I'll wait a few weeks 'till all the suckers buy the broken ones left in inventory. - Greg Pollowitz

The WikiLeaks Defense: Everyone In Iraq Has An AK-47

Via Fox News:
. . .Julian Assange, a WikiLeaks editor, acknowledged to Fox News in an interview Tuesday evening that “it’s likely some of the individuals seen in the video were carrying weapons.” Assange said his suspicions about the weapons were so strong that a draft version of the video they produced made specific reference to the AK-47s and RPGs. Ultimately, Assange said, WikiLeaks became “unsure” about the weapons. He claimed the RPG could have been a camera tripod, so editors decided not to point it out. “Based upon visual evidence I suspect there probably were AKs and an RPG, but I’m not sure that means anything,” Assange said. Nearly every Iraqi household has a rifle or an AK. Those guys could have just been protecting their area.”
In this history of man, no army has done more to minimize civilian casualties than what's gone on in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'd expect that hundreds, if not thousands of American lives have been lost because the R.O.E. are as strict as they are, not the opposite as WikiLeaks claims. - Greg Pollowitz

Panic: Dems Now Worried Stupak Won’t Run For Re-Election

Via MSDNC First Read:
Stupak to call it quits? With just a few days to go before the end of this recess, House Democrats are cautiously optimistic that they could get through it without a single retirement announcement. That said, there is still a concern that some important incumbents in districts that they are uniquely suited could call it quits. At the top of the concern list this week: Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak. The Democrat best known this year as the Democrat who delivered the winning margin of votes for the president’s health-care reform bill is said to be simply exhausted. The criticism he received — first from the left, and then from the right — has worn him and his family out. And if he had to make the decision now, he’d probably NOT run. As of this writing, a bunch of senior Democrats (many of the same ones who twisted his arm on the health care vote) are trying to talk him into running. The filing deadline in Michigan is still a month away, but veterans of that state’s politics are skeptical anyone other than Stupak can hold that district in this political climate.
I hear Stupak's holding out for another Executive Order, this one titled, "President Obama declares Bart Stupak to be totally awesome." - Greg Pollowitz

Panic: Michigan Going Red

Via Detroit Free Press:
A new poll of Michigan voters’ preferences in the governor’s race has troubling results for Democrats. The two leading Democratic candidates would lose to any of the three top Republican challengers if the election were held today, according to the poll by EPIC/MRA of Lansing released exclusively to the Free Press, WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) and three outstate TV stations. [...] Among Republicans, U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Holland has a lead of six percentage points over Attorney General Mike Cox.
Red governors in November would be good news going into 2012. - Greg Pollowitz

Volcker: Hey, Let’s Try The Value Added Tax

Via Fox News:
Acknowledging it would be a highly unpopular move, White House economic adviser Paul Volcker said yesterday the United States should consider imposing a “value added tax” similar to those charged in Europe to help get the deficit under control. A VAT is a national sales tax that, like state and city sales taxes, would be collected by retailers. Volcker, at the New-York Historical Society, told a panel on the global financial crisis that Congress might also have to consider new taxes on carbon and energy.
Sure, tax it all! - Greg Pollowitz

Shocker: Public Confused by Obamacare

Via McClatchy:
Two weeks after President Barack Obama signed the big health care overhaul into law, Americans are struggling to understand how — and when — the sweeping measure will affect them. Questions reflecting confusion have flooded insurance companies, doctors’ offices, human resources departments and business groups. “They’re saying, ‘Where do we get the free Obama care, and how do I sign up for that?’ ” said Carrie McLean, a licensed agent for The California-based company sells coverage from 185 health insurance carriers in 50 states.
Yeah, where's the free coverage the Dems promised us??? - Greg Pollowitz

Poll: Parties Even in Congressional Midterm Preferences

Via Gallup:
Gallup Daily tracking for the week ending April 4 finds the two major parties tied at 46% in the congressional voting preferences of registered voters nationally. In the two weeks since Congress passed healthcare reform on March 21, Democrats have tied or trailed the Republicans, after having at least a slight advantage in the weeks prior. Given Republicans’ typical voter turnout advantage in midterm elections, even Republican parity with the Democrats in the candidate preferences of registered voters could translate into significant Republican gains on Election Day.
Cross your fingers. - Greg Pollowitz

A Big Win For Maker’s Mark

Via AP:
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The dripping red wax seal on a bottle of Maker’s Mark is not only distinctive, it’s now exclusive legal property of the bourbon company. A federal judge on Friday issued an injunction preventing a rival liquor company from using a dripping wax seal on its tequilas sold in the United States, ending a seven year legal battle over the bottle topper. The ruling by U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II comes in a long-running lawsuit between Maker’s Mark and competitors Diageo North America and Casa Cuervo over the Fortune Brands trademark on the wax seal. Deerfield, Ill.-based Fortune Brands owns Maker’s Mark. “The Court considers the red dripping wax seal inherently distinctive, because it is a unique mark used in an unusual way to draw in the consumer,” Heyburn wrote.
A celebration is in order, no? - Greg Pollowitz

John Stossel: Why I’m A Libertarian

Via Real Clear Politics:
. . .By contrast, libertarians want government to leave people alone — in both the economic and personal spheres. Leave us free to pursue our hopes and dreams, as long as we don’t hurt anybody else. Ironically, that used to be called “liberal,” which has the same root as “liberty.” Several hundred years ago, liberalism was a reaction against the stifling rules imposed by aristocracy and established religion. I wish I could call myself “liberal” now. But the word has been turned on its head. It now means health police, high taxes, speech codes and so forth.
I like this quote he includes from CATO's David Boaz: "Five hundred years ago, there weren't rich countries in the world. There are rich countries now because part of the world is following basically libertarian rules: private property, free markets, individualism." - Greg Pollowitz

CATO: Nuclear Posture Review Signals Business As Usual

On balance, the Obama administration’s Nuclear Posture Review (PDF) signals more continuity than change. The review wisely clarifies the limited but essential role that nuclear weapons play in safeguarding U.S. national security through deterrence. Unfortunately, it fails to set the stage for dramatic and necessary changes to a bloated and outdated force structure because it reaffirms the U.S. commitment to other countries that imposes a huge burden on our military and on U.S. taxpayers.
A good read. - Greg Pollowitz

The Chicago Way: $410 Million For O’Hare Airport

Via Chicago Tribune:
The expansion of O’Hare International Airport got a $410 million boost today as federal officials announced money to help build three runways. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman from Peoria, joined Mayor Richard Daley, Gov. Pat Quinn and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin at the airport to discuss the federal windfall. The airport expansion has been running low on money because the major airlines at O’Hare are not on board with paying for the second phase.
Stimulating. - Greg Pollowitz

Polling The Capone State: Kirk (R) Ahead

Via Public Policy Polling:
The last two months have not been good for Alexi Giannoulias, and Mark Kirk now leads him 37-33 in his bid to be the next Senator from Illinois. A PPP survey taken a week and a half before the primary found Giannoulias up 42-34 on Kirk. But the closing stretch of the campaign did not go well for the Democratic nominee, with the attacks on him resulting in a final margin of victory that was a good deal less than what he had shown in earlier polls. Since then most of the news for him has been bad. The main reason Giannoulias is behind is that he’s getting only 54% of the Democratic vote while Kirk is winning 77% of the Republican vote. It’s not that a lot of Democrats are planning to cross over and vote for Kirk, but 36% of them are undecided right now compared to just 16% of Republicans. That suggests Democratic voters don’t really know what to make of Giannoulias’ problems right now so they’re just taking a wait and see approach to the race.
I've typed this before - I don't care about a single position of Mark Kirk's until after he wins President Obama's old seat. - Greg Pollowitz

When Will Harry Reid Condemn His Egg-Throwing Supporters?

Via Big Government:
Remember our Rogues’ Gallery of Reid supporters from last week? Let’s call them “The Searchlight Four”. They were the highest profile members of the “Rent-a-Thug” protest in support of Sen. Harry Reid on Saturday, March 27th. Their preferred method of showing support for the Majority Leader of the United States Senate? Throwing eggs at a bus full of private citizens assembling in the Senator’s hometown to exercise their 1st Amendment rights.
Not likely any time soon. - Greg Pollowitz


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