The nation’s state legislatures are about to become embroiled in a battle of epic proportions as they line up on either side of the debate over the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

The struggle could define the future of, and indeed the very existence of, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisc.), 49 members of the Wisconsin Legislature and the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin are part of a nationwide, state legislative backlash against the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

EPA officials proposed the plan in June 2014. It is designed to reduce carbon greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fuel fired power plants.

The EPA believes by 2030 this rule would cut CO2 emissions from the nation’s power plants by approximately 30 percent from emission levels in 2005.

“This goal is achievable because innovations in the production, distribution and use of electricity are already making the power sector more efficient and sustainable while maintaining an affordable, reliable and diverse energy mix,” according to an EPA press release.

Walker and the others on his side of the issue see the EPA plan, which strictly regulates emissions generated by the nation’s power plans, as typical of the agency’s overreach.

Another group of 14 states — California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, New York, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington — mobilized by the Georgetown Climate Center are on the other side of the debate, arguing the EPA’s Clean Power Plan will give them “the flexibility to build on proven policies to cost-effectively achieve meaningful carbon pollution reductions.”

Sydney Siege: Man Haron Monis ‘Slipped Through Legal Cracks’: Mark Coultan

THE gunman in the Lindt Café siege Man Haron Monis would not have been free to commit terrorism if the new Bail Act was in force, the NSW Attorney General Brad Hazzard says.

Mr Hazzard also said there would be inquiries into how Monis, who had a history of violence and known extremist views, managed to slip through state and federal anti-terrorism intelligence agencies’ net.

“We are asking state agencies and federal agencies to look very closely at how this offender slipped through the cracks. How did this offender not come to the attention of state and federal agencies for more urgent action? “ Mr Hazzard said.

Police raid home of gunman’s partner

He said that inquires were only beginning but early indications were there were aspects that needed investigation.

Mr Hazzard said if Monis, who was on bail for being an accessory to murder and for sexual offences, had been dealt with under the new Bail Act, he would have been forced to show cause why he should be released.

“It’s our intent that offenders involved in serious crime will not get bail.”

He said that he had been released on the old Bail Act which had been since amended. He said it the new laws were due to come into force on January 28.


In this article first published in 2009, ABC Religion broadcaster Rachael Kohn wrote about the “extreme attention-seeking behaviour” of Sheik Haron, the man behind the Sydney siege.

Almost two years ago, Richard Kerbaj [The Australian, Jan 28 2008] reported that the Melbourne based Shia Muslim leader, Kamal Mousselmani, urged the Australian Federal Police to investigate Sheik Haron, whom Mousselmani claimed was not a genuine religious leader.

Some Sydneysiders would remember Haron as the Iranian refugee Manteghi Boroujerdi, who chained himself to the front fence of the New South Wales Parliament in January 2001, insisting that the Federal Government bring his wife and children to Australia.

Then, as now, he is given to extreme attention seeking behaviour. The difference is that then he claimed to be a liberal and convinced Stephen Crittenden to describe him as such on ABC Radio National’s The Religion Report [January 31, 2001]. Now Sheik Haron is busy converting a property in Campsie, New South Wales, to a prayer hall and a book shop in a bid to teach his extremist form of Islam.

He has recently been charged by the AFP for unlawfully using the postal service to “menace, harass or cause offence” to the families of deceased Australian soldiers. If he’s convicted, we may be temporarily spared an outlet for views that many Muslims have been keen to disassociate from, especially since 9/11.

Islam, they say, is not about the violent jihad which terrorists espouse, it is about peace. Yet in Australia, the Muslim community missed an opportunity to expose, denounce and shut down the antics of a religious extremist, who for at least the past two years has been using the internet, CDs and other means justifying violent jihad.

The trouble is that Sheik Haron, as he calls himself, can seem a bit too loony to take seriously, but this is a mistake. The self-styled mufti is no shrinking violet when it comes to promoting hatred of the West and justifying violence in the name of Allah. Nor is he lacking funds to produce his elaborate propaganda.

Stephen T. Parente:A Lull Before the ObamaCare Rate Storm

Premiums this year are a nice surprise. It’s 2017 when hikes will kick in—‘bronze’ family plans alone could rocket 45%.

Americans visiting to purchase 2015 health-insurance plans are finding a nice surprise: Average premiums for the cheap “bronze” plans have increased only by 3.4% and premiums for the middle-of-the-road “silver” plans are rising by 5.8%, according to the American Action Forum. Where are the double-digit premium increases that so many predicted? Check back around this time in 2016. That’s when you’ll see the real spikes.

The Affordable Care Act includes two temporary programs that make compliant health-care plans temporarily appear far cheaper than they are: Risk corridors and reinsurance. Both programs will expire on Jan. 1, 2017. By November 2016, consumers will know how that sunset will affect their plan’s premium.

Risk corridors and reinsurance are simple concepts: They subsidize insurance companies with taxpayer money. With the former, the taxpayer is covering the difference when patients spend more on health care than insurance companies predicted. With the latter, taxpayers are paying for the most expensive patients—those that make more than $45,000 in claims annually. In a telling move, the White House quietly expanded the risk-corridor program earlier this year, implying that health-insurance companies are losing billions of dollars on ACA plans.

This is why premiums on are cheaper than many predicted. The taxpayer’s generosity allows insurance companies to hide the true costs of the plans.

But this will likely end when both programs expire in two years. At the same time, the exemptions issued by the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services—including the exemptions that allowed millions of consumers to keep noncompliant plans that would have been canceled—will also expire on New Year’s Day, 2017.

Taliban Militants Attack Pakistan School, 84 Dead More Than 80 Wounded Qasim Nauman And Safdar Dawar See note please

These jihadist savages are now called “militants” and “gunmen”….rsk

PESHAWAR, Pakistan—Taliban militants stormed a military-run school in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, killing at least 84 people, most of them schoolchildren, and wounded more than 80, hospital and government officials said.

Children remain trapped in the school as hostages, some four hours after the attack began, officials said.

Security officials said at least five gunmen entered the Army Public School on Warsak Road in Peshawar, capital of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, around 11 a.m. local time, and took control of the main building. The Army Public School is part of a military-run system of schools across Pakistan, offering education from the primary to high-school levels, and is open to children of military personnel as well as civilians.
Provincial government officials said at least 1,500 students, from preschool to high school, were present on campus when the attack occurred. Most of them have managed to flee the compound, according to the Pakistani military.

The provincial chief minister, Pervaiz Khattak, put the death toll at 84, from the bodies at Peshawar’s hospitals.

“These children were innocent,” said Mr. Khattak.


Dick Cheney says he would “do it again in a minute.” He’s right.

I am not sorry Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the operational mastermind of 9/11, was waterboarded 183 times. KSM also murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl in 2002. He boasted about it: “I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew,” he said after his capture.

I am sorry KSM remains alive nearly 12 years after his capture. He has been let off far too lightly. As for his waterboarding, it never would have happened if he had been truthful with his captors. It stopped as soon as he became cooperative. As far as I’m concerned, he waterboarded himself.

I am not sorry the CIA went to the edge of the law in the aftermath of 9/11 to prevent further mass-casualty attacks on the U.S. I am not sorry that going to the edge meant, as Sen. Dianne Feinstein put it in 2002, doing “some things that historically we have not wanted to do to protect ourselves.” I don’t suppose she was talking about removing our shoes at airport security.

I am sorry we weren’t willing to do those “things” before 3,000 people had their lives unnaturally ended on Sept. 11, 2001.

I am not sorry Osama bin Laden died by an American bullet. John Brennan , the CIA director, delivered a master class in rhetorical obfuscation masquerading as epistemology when he waffled last week about the quality of intelligence yielded by the interrogations of KSM and other high-value detainees. But several former directors and deputy directors of the CIA have all attested to the link between KSM’s interrogation and the identification of bin Laden’s courier.

I am sorry that the Feinstein Report, which failed to interview those directors and thus has the credibility of a Rolling Stone article, seeks to deny this. Maybe Sabrina Rubin Erdely, author of the discredited University of Virginia gang-rape story and a pro at failing to interview key witnesses, will find a new career in Sen. Feinstein’s office.


The Biblical Balaam knew what has escaped Ridley Scott.

Director Ridley Scott’s just released “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” is one of those rare movies in which everybody is miscast, but that is not my real complaint.

Here is one part this production did get right – the Land of Israel was promised to the Hebrews, a Binding Resolution that came directly from God Almighty. Scott deserves respect for standing against today’s scoffers. Yes, the Torah was the paper of record long before The New York Times came along.

But how did all these Brits get into the picture, and all of them speaking a different British dialect? The confounding of tongues is the first problem.

You know immediately that despite a $140 million budget, this is something that got cobbled together.

Only Christian Bale (“Moses”) shows up speaking American, too much as though he rushed straight from the set of “American Hustle.” Sigourney Weaver, it seemed, blundered onto the set from another sound stage, quickly got costumed, rehearsed, reminded what movie she was in, and off she goes to collect a paycheck.

The women in this flick, we have no idea who they are or what they want. They have practically no lines and no “faces.”

Somebody forgot that during the Exodus, the real one, our incredibly gorgeous but modest Hebrew women played a big part and that if it were not for Miriam, fuhgeddaboutit, we never would have made it those 40 years. This anti-epic production tries too hard to meet our generation’s hero-averse sensibilities and thus turns a story entirely sublime into a story entirely trivial.


‘Deluded’ hostage-taker saw himself as a martyr By Nick Perry

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 10: (AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND OUT) Man Haron Monis, gunman in the Lindt Chocolat Café siege in Martin Place, Sydney, is photographed outside the Downing Centre Court, Sydney, February 10, 2010. He was convicted in 2013 for sending hate mail to Australian war widows and was charged with sexual offences in October 2014 relating to his time as a self-proclaimed spiritual leader. (Photo by Kate Geraghty/Fairfax Media/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)
Man Haron Monis: Who was the Sydney siege gunman?
The self-proclaimed Sheikh was born in Iran but fled to Australia in 1996

Andrew Bostom ‏@andrewbostom

Sydney jihadist: “Islam is the religion of peace and a Muslim should be a peace activist.” …

Andrew Bostom ‏@andrewbostom

Sydney jihadist: “Islam is against oppression and any unfair violence.” …

The Stubborn Antisemitism of Yahoo and The Christian Century by Dexter Van Zile

Muslim and Arab hostility toward Israel and Jews was downplayed and ignored while Jewish wrongdoing was highlighted. Palestinian violence was depicted as an attempt to achieve sovereignty, and not as an attempt to deny the Jews their right to sovereignty. Palestinians’ actions were explained; Israelis’ actions were condemned.

When presented with evidence of James M. Wall’s factual errors, the publication declined to correct them.

Eventually some people in mainline churches started to realize that these overtures were causing more damage to mainline Protestantism than they were to Israel.

The crimes of The Christian Century continue unabated.

Yahoo, the well-known search engine company, has apparently decided that an antisemitic website, Veterans News Now [VNN], is a credible news source. People who rely on Yahoo’s news aggregator to view information about the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict will now find in their news feed links to articles published on this website, which traffics in Holocaust denial and displays articles that blame Israel for the attack against the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. This scandal was exposed last week by Gilead Ini, a colleague at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America [CAMERA].

Yahoo should not be mainstreaming a website that posts like this. Moreover, it is not the only entity helping to make VNN look like a respectable website.

James M. Wall, former editor of the The Christian Century, a magazine that caters to liberal (mainline) Protestants in the United States, is also helping to mainstream the website. He does this by having his articles published on the website and by agreeing to serve as an “associate editor” for the publication. During his decades-long career at The Christian Century, Wall was the standard-bearer for liberal Protestantism in the United States. As a result of his recent actions, Wall’s name and writings will be forever linked with virulent antisemitism.

The Name that “Does Not Matter” by Douglas Murray

Naturally, no one would be responsible for their parents’ choice of a name. Nor would they all be likely to emulate the men after whom they were named. But it would probably be reasonable to assume that the choice of names might be telling you something about whom large numbers of people in your country identify with. At least it would seem a question worth discussing.

If we were confident about most of the people involved going overwhelmingly the proud to-be-British way, then we would discuss it. But we aren’t, so we don’t.

Last week the news arrived that the most popular name given to boys in the UK in 2014 was “Mohammed.” The reactions and non-reactions to this story betrayed the deep unease and denial that are now part of the debate around Islam in modern Britain.

We have of course been here before. For some years now, there have been stories of “Mohammed” creeping up the list of most popular names in the UK. And each time the reaction has been similar.

First there come doubts over the sources of such stories, whether informal contributions from, for instance, new mothers’ websites, or official statistics. There is also now extensive discussion about the varied possible spellings of the name (Muhammad and Mohammad for instance). Each year this leads to a fruitful and interesting debate about whether the reason why this name has come so high up the list of most popular boy’s names is because all the different variants of the spelling have been clumped together or whether the name is lower down than it would be because they have been kept apart. This is a now traditional annual debate in Britain.

This year, the story came out with an added twist: whichever way you cooked it, it looked as if “Mohammed” had come out on top. This seemed to be the case with the Office for National Statistics official figures for England and Wales and this latest one, from the “Baby Centre.” It was the latter that garnered a particular amount of attention. In the war between “Oliver” and “Mohammed” to reach the top spot, this poll came to the conclusion that if you put “Muhammad,” “Mohammed” and “Mohammad” together, the variations brought the name to the top by a considerable margin.