Meet the man who will try to keep Max Baucus' Senate seat Democratic, former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer:
[H[e was a popular Democratic governor in a red state and is no stranger to working the media and the national stage with his larger-than-life personality. This is a governor who, despite a gun ban in the state Capitol, kept one on his office wall. A governor who vetoed Republican bills byburning the word “VETO” onto them using a branding iron. A governor who can handle Letterman. … There is no love lost between the two Democrats -- they’ve long had a cold relationship, particularly since Baucus’s role in shepherding Obama's health care law through Congress. (Schweitzer is a vocal advocate of a single-payer health care system.) They also have vastly different styles -- Schweitzer is gregarious; Baucus is more introverted.
I like a freebie as much as the next person, but it is hard to justify why online retailers are not required to collect sales taxes.
Since before the dawn of Internet shopping, the basic rule was that as long as a retailer didn’t have a physical presence in the state where the consumer was shopping, the company wouldn’t have to collect a sales tax. Technically, shoppers are supposed to track these purchases and then pay the taxes owed in their annual tax filings. Few people, however, do this or are even aware of it.
The result: Online retailers have been able to undercut the prices of their non-Internet competitors for years. Over time, shoppers learned that they could browse products in the aisles of a Best Buy, only to click “purchase” on their smartphones for a tax-free deal from an Internet retailer.
Two of the most notable recent terrorism attempts by Canadian nationals, courtesy of the CBC:
In the summer of 2006, police carried out a massive anti-terrorism sweep in southern Ontario. Seventeen people — 13 adults and four youths — were arrested in a series of June raids. An 18th individual was detained two months later.
Normally referred to as one case, the so-called Toronto 18 in fact encompassed two plots, says Bill Gillespie, security correspondent for CBC News.
My CNN column: why Boston will change nothing:
Ten years ago, politicians and pundits liked to say, "9/11 changed everything." For a while, it seemed true.
Now it seems like a vanished era. Today, nothing changes anything.
No matter what happens, our thinking remains frozen exactly in place, impervious to new experience and new evidence.
On December 14 of last year, a deranged man fatally shot and killed 20 students and six teachers with an assault-style rifle, the second deadliest mass shooting in American history. In response, the country has done ... nothing whatsoever. No changes to gun laws. No changes in the treatment of the mentally ill. Last week, a Senate filibuster stopped the milk-and-water Toomey-Manchin proposal to tighten (slightly) background checks on would-be gun purchasers.
In the course of an entertaining harumph against Mayor Bloomberg in National Review, Mark Steyn concedes:
"And, indeed, there is something sad about a crusade for individual liberty over the right to waddle down the street slurping sickly sweet children's drinks out of giant plastic cups with oversized straws, as poignant an image of societal infantilization as anything."
The Globe & Mail reports that the Canadian train plot was exposed by a tip from a Toronto imam:
A tip from a Toronto imam sparked an investigation that culminated in the arrests of two men who allegedly plotted to derail a Via passenger train.
The imam alerted authorities more than a year ago about a person he regarded as an extremist who was corrupting youth in his community.
That single tip led to what the RCMP on Monday called the first-ever Canadian bust of an alleged al-Qaeda terrorist plot.
TheTower.org is emerging as an indispensable new English-language source on Israel and the Middle East.
Today's post on the descent of Israel's once-eminent Haaretz newspaper into a click-seeking sensationalist website is another must read:
On October 23, 2012, an article by Haaretz’s notoriously scandal-prone columnist, Gideon Levy, was published as the main story on the front page of the newspaper with the outrage-provoking headline, “Most Israelis Support Apartheid Regime in Israel.”
Yet a careful look at the survey on which the article was based revealed that neither the headline nor Levy’s analysis were supported in any way by the poll’s actual data. Following public criticism, Haaretz was forced to publish an apology five days later, as well as a correction, in small letters tucked away at the bottom of a page, that read:
AEI's John Makin studies the numbers and concludes that the United States has already achieved a sustainable fiscal path for the medium term. There's no need for further near-term spending cuts. Instead, Congress should go to work on longer-term tax and entitlement reform. Here's a quote with permission from an advance copy, the text will be available on the AEI site tomorrow.
The United States has actually made substantial progress toward deficit reduction in 2013 ...
On January 2, as part of an agreement to avert the sharpest austerity that would have been triggered by the “fiscal cliff,” Congress did pass a total of about $180 billion of annual tax increases. The result is that, by the 2014 fiscal year, the fully phased-in sequester, along with the January 2013 tax increases, will cut the US deficit—already on a downward path—from $1,089 billion in 2012 to $845 billion in 2013, and then further to $615 billion in 2014. In terms of the deficit-to-GDP ratio, that is 7 percent in 2012, down to 5 percent in 2013, and down further to 3.7 percent in 2014.
That is substantial progress, especially when compared with the G7 average ratio of deficits-to-GDP projected to be −4.0 for 2014.
What causes second-generation Muslim immigrants to turn to terrorism? In 2007, Britain's Prospect magazine published one of the very most interesting analyses of the question I've ever read, "My Brother the Bomber," based on interviews with the brother of the mastermind of the July 7, 2005, London terror attacks, Mohammed Sidiqui Khan.
[I]t takes about 30 years for a sizeable second generation to establish itself and then become frustrated with its status, both within its own community and the wider society.
This frustration arises in part from a question of identity. Whose culture and values do you affiliate with? Those of your parents or of your friends? Those of your community or of your country?
Hassan Butt, a former recruiter for the British jihadi network (the term violent Islamic extremists in Britain use to describe themselves), who twice met Sidique Khan, says that the reason radical Islamic movements in Britain have been able to recruit thousands of young Muslims is that they have managed to exploit this identity problem. ...
Jihadist terrorism, back in the news:
Canada's Royal Canadian Mounted Police has arrested two in a plot to bomb a passenger train. While news organizations are reporting police denials that the plot had anything to do with the Boston bombing, the Globe & Mail does add this detail:
The RCMP community outreach team has been in touch with local religious groups in Toronto, sources said.
In Friday's standoff between law enforcement and the Boston bombing suspect, David Henneberry's beloved boat was destroyed by bullet holes, blood, and bad juju. Now, a donation campaign on Crowdtilt is attempting to raise enough money to repair or replace the boat, ironically named the Slipaway II.
As the search for the 2nd bombing suspect raged on in the Boston area, Mr. Henneberry of Watertown noticed that there was someone hiding in his boat. He immediately notified authorities, who were able to capture the suspect alive.
As of 3 p.m., around $6,400 has been donated. The goal is $50,000, which is the value of his 22-foot Seahawk cruiser.
Sorry, Sen. Rand Paul, but this is nonsensical:
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Paul bluntly warned, "We should not proceed until we understand the specific failures of our immigration system. Why did the current system allow two individuals to immigrate to the United States from the Chechen Republic in Russia, an area known as a hotbed of Islamic extremism, who then committed acts of terrorism? Were there any safeguards? Could this have been prevented? Does the immigration reform before us address this?"
Two individuals didn't immigrate to the United States from the Chechen Republican in Russia. A family that included two sons immigrated. This, from CNN, is more accurate:
2002: Parents Anzor Tsarnaev and Zubeidat Tsarnaeva immigrate to the United States with their son, Dzhokhar. Their three other children -- Tamerlan Tsarnaev and two sisters -- stay behind in Kazakhstan with an uncle, his aunt told reporters in Canada this week.
A new sex guide to be published in Hebrew aims at teaching orthodox Jews the basics of sex. How basic? The book goes as far as outlining the anatomical differences between males and females. The author, Dr. David Ribner, has a doctorate in social work and is an ordained Rabbi. He has spent the last 30 years working with orthodox Jews in Israel, who often know absolutely nothing about male-female interactions.
In ultra-Orthodox Jewish society, sex is so taboo that an unmarried man will often keep his hands behind his back when on a date with a perspective bride. While their commitment to abstinence is admirable, it’s a problem when your wedding night is the first time you physically see the difference between men and women. It also means you may not quite understand how intercourse works, even in the most elementary sense. This sex manual aims to combat this problem.
Dr. Ribner’s book is groundbreaking, although it is much tamer than one would expect for a sex education book.