They're cutting military pensions and health benefits but the Pentagon found $750,000 for a new soccer field at Guantanamo for the terrorist detainees.
At a time of record deficits, a new soccer field for detainees at Camp 6 in Guantanamo Bay is just getting the finishing touches -- at a cost of $750,000 to taxpayers.
The project was the highlight of a tour Tuesday of the detention camp for reporters at the facility covering the arraignment in a military court of Majid Khan, a former Baltimore resident and the the only legal U.S. resident on trial at Guantanamo.
The project began in April 2011 and is due to finish this spring. The detainees will now have three recreation facilities at Camp 6, which is home to "highly compliant" detainees who live in a communal setting.
In addition to an indoor recreation field and the existing outdoor recreation field, the new soccer field -- selected because it is such a popular sport with detainees -- is half the size of an American football field.
The new field has been specially constructed so that the detainees "have maximum access" -- about 20 hours a day. Special passageways allow the detainees to pass into the new recreation yard without being escorted by the military.
On the tour, a military police representative who asked not to be identified by name said allowing high levels of activity outdoors helped reduce behavioral problems at the camps, and it also limited the amount of interaction between detainees and the guards.
An international law firm, which gave substantial political donations to President Obama and fellow Democrats over the last three campaign cycles, received its own significant stimulus award to advise on a controversial Department of Energy loan transaction with a struggling electric vehicle manufacturer.
The firm, Debevoise & Plimpton LLC, received $1,842,180 in Recovery Act funds to provide legal advice, conduct due diligence, and review documents for two loans from DOE's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. One $529 million loan award was to Fisker Automotive to develop and produce two lines of electric vehicles, with plans to create 2,000 new jobs at a renovatedGeneral Motors plant in Delaware. After receiving $193 million under that loan, DOE halted payments to Fisker in May 2011 after it failed to reach milestones set out in the agreement. Work on renovations to the Delaware plant was suspended, and the company let go about 65 employees "green jobs" earlier this month.
Debevoise provided the same services to DOE for its $5.9 billion loan to Ford Motor Company, to convert five of its factories in the Midwest so they can produce more fuel-efficient vehicles. DOE's Web site boasts that thanks to the Ford loan, nearly 33,000 employees at the plants will be converted to green jobs.
President Obama in a speech to the United Auto Workers union said that "trying to climb to the very top" was not what America is "about," saying that it was "greed" and that in reality "we're all in it together."
"America's not just looking out for yourself, it's not just about greed, it's not just about trying to climb to the very top and keep everybody else down," Obama said at the UAW's annual National Community Action Program Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.
Instead, Obama who climbed to the very top of American politics just three years ago said that instead America was about being "all in it together," and giving people "a hand up."
"When our assembly lines grind to a halt, we work together, and we get them going again," he said. "When somebody else falters, we try to give them a hand up, because we know [that] we're all in it together."
Bill Seeks Tax Breaks for Men (and Women) with Facial Hair
By Lauren Fox
February 28, 2012 RSS Feed Print The American Mustache Institute claims to have found an ally in Maryland Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. The 19-year congressman rocks a white stache of his own and has agreed to send down the legislative pipeline the so-called "Stache Act"a law that would give folks with mustaches up to a $250 tax credit every year.
"He sent it over to Ways and Means [committee] without any recommendation of any kind at all," clarifies Bartlett spokeswoman Lisa Wright.
The mustache lobby argues people with over lip hair deserve a tax break because they spend so much to keep them looking sharp. Call it "facial stimulus"with money spent on dying, trimming and waxing "contributing to the growth of the economy," proponents say. [Read the U.S. News debate: Should Mitt Romney Pay More in Taxes?]
Whisker proponents say Bartlett has promised to pass the "Stache Act" to the House Ways and Means Committee for study, a first step required for any tax legislation.
"There is a long road ahead for this important legislation," said AMI Chief Executive Officer Dr. Abraham Jonas Froman in a statement on the group's website. "We thank Representative Bartlett for stepping forward in the fight for fiscal parity for people of facial hair ”both women and men."
Bartlett spokeswoman Wright declined to characterize the lawmaker's help as an "endorsement" of the whisker write-off.[See a collection of political cartoons on the economy.]
"It is pretty common practice for advocates to portray that there is more than meets the eye," Wright says.
The "Stache Act" is based off of a white paper by Dr. John Yeutter, an Associate Professor of Accounting and Tax Policy at Northeastern State University, which states that the "social and environmental benefits to mustache growth and maintenance contribute to the growth of the economy."
"Given the clear link between the growing and maintenance of mustaches and incremental income ... mustache maintenance costs qualify for and should be considered as a deductible expense," Yeutter wrote.
The group is planning a "Million Mustache March" in Washington on April 1 where they hope to garner more attention for their legislation. [Five Ways to Spin Obama's Tax Plan.]
So far the group has sought to get their message out to Congress by hosting a news conference, meeting with the Congressional Committee on Taxation and teaming up with CATO, a libertarian tax reform group.
Shaving the beard is haraam because of the saheeh ahaadeeth that clearly state this, and because of the general application of texts that forbid resembling the kuffaar. One of these reports is the hadeeth of Ibn ˜Umar who said that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: œBe different from the mushrikeen: let your beards grow and trim your moustaches.
According to another report: œTrim your moustaches and let your beards grow.
There are other hadeeth which convey the same meaning, which is to leave the beard as it is and let it grow long, without shaving, plucking or cutting any part of it. Ibn Hazm reported that there was scholarly consensus that it is an obligation (fard) to trim the moustache and let the beard grow. He quoted a number of ahaadeeth as evidence, including the hadeeth of Ibn ˜Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) quoted above, and the hadeeth of Zayd ibn Arqam in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: œWhoever does not remove any of his moustache is not one of us.
(Classed as saheeh by al-Tirmidhi). Ibn Hazm said in al-Furoo ™: œThis is the way of our colleagues [i.e., the Hanbalis].
Is it haraam (to shave it)? Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: œThe Qur ™aan, Sunnah and ijmaa ™ (scholarly consensus) all indicate that we must differ from the kuffaar in all aspects and not imitate them, because imitating them on the outside will make us imitate them in their bad deeds and habits, and even in beliefs, which will result in befriending them in our hearts, just as loving them in our hearts will lead to imitating them on the outside. Al-Tirmidhi reported that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, œHe is not one of us who imitates people other than us. Do not imitate the Jews and Christians.
According to another version: œWhoever imitates a people is one of them.
(Reported by Imaam Ahmad) ˜Umar ibn al-Khattaab rejected the testimony of the person who plucked his beard. Imaam Ibn ˜Abd al-Barr said in al-Tamheed: œIt is forbidden to shave the beard, and no one does this except men who are effeminate
i.e., those who imitate women. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had a thick beard (reported by Muslim from Jaabir). It is not permitted to remove any part of the beard because of the general meaning of the texts which forbid doing so.
President Obama admitted today that he does not have a "silver bullet" solution for skyrocketing gas prices, but he proposed alternative energy sources such as "a plant-like substance, algae" as a way of cutting dependence on oil by 17 percent.
"We're making new investments in the development of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel that's actually made from a plant-like substance, algae - you've got a bunch of algae out here," Obama said at the University of Miami today. "If we can figure out how to make energy out of that, we'll be doing alright. Believe it or not, we could replace up to 17 percent of the oil we import for transportation with this fuel that we can grow right here in America."
The good news is that he clearly spends time thinking, because this isn't off the cuff, since there were unverifiable statistics attached to said outrageous proposition, meaning some researcher spent time doing calculations in preparation for this astounding moment.
And Wikipedia tells me it's called "Oilgae" and has a "lot of potential." It also tells me that "oilgae" is currently deliberately excluded from federal fuel standards in favor of biofuels whose production directly affects Congress, but private industry has been investing in it for almost a decade and had already figured out how to make jet fuel out of it, when Barack decided today that it would be the "next big thing."
The bad news is, obviously, that millions of federal dollars will now go to a doomed program that studies the use of algae as an alternative fuel, and then possibly billions to a small group of politically connected corporations who have no clue how, exactly, to produce a market-friendly algae-powered engine, but who hire Nobel laureates. Eventually, those corporations will go bankrupt, but not before repeatedly informing the federal government of their own stupidity and, accordingly, receiving large sums of taxpayer money each time.
A Canadian father was arrested and strip-searched Wednesday after his 4-year-old daughter drew a picture of a gun in her kindergarten class.
Ontario dad Jesse Sansone told the Toronto Sun his little girl's drawing was supposed to be him, getting monsters and bad guys. Her teacher apparently thought differently, and the school contacted child protective services. When Sansone arrived to pick his daughter up, three police officers were waiting to take him into custody.
"I'm picking up my kids and then, next thing you know, I'm locked up," he told the Waterloo Region Record. "I was in shock. This is completely insane."
Police questioned Sansone's daughter and his other children, who gave a "detailed description" of a firearm supposedly located in the house and easily accessible to them, Inspector Kevin Thaler of the Waterloo Regional Police said, according to the Calgary Herald.
"The kids were scared," Thaler. "It is a 4-year-old that we're taking the information from, but the fact is that this disclosure was very descriptive and very alarming to the officers investigating this."
He said the arrest was made "because it was the end of the school day" and officers felt they needed to "secure and locate the firearm."
When Sansone got to the school, he was told only that he was being arrested for possession of a firearm and given no additional details. At the police station, he was forced to remove his clothes for a full strip search. While he sat in a jail cell, police even brought his pregnant wife to the station for more questioning.
The "gun" his children told police about? A toy pistol that shoots foam darts, which police discovered during a search of his house.
"The child had every belief it was real," Thaler said. "The indication from the kids was that it was dad's [gun]."
Sansone was finally released after four hours. He said he's furious and that his name has been slandered.
"So many people dealt with this situation in the wrong way," he told the Sun. "I know the principal really well, how could he judge my character in this way? I drop off and pick the kids up every day, I always say hello, I sign every report card, I go to every parent teacher meeting, I am an active parent at that school."
But the school, police and child welfare officials all stand by their actions, according to the Record.
"From a public safety point of view, any child drawing a picture of guns and saying there's guns in a home would warrant some further conversation with the parents and child," said Alison Scott, executive director of Family and Children's Services.
The Sansone family is looking for a new school for their children to attend.
"The first thing my daughter said when I saw her was, 'Daddy are you mad at me?' Sansone said. "That sums it up to me."