March 1st, 2012
The Weather Channel
by Jonathan Erdman, weather.com Sr. Meteorologist
The unfortunate truth about spring weather patterns is they can lead to repeated severe outbreaks, sometimes in areas that were already hard hit. Such a situation is looking to unfold in parts of the Ohio, mid-Mississippi, and Tennessee Valleys Friday.
Tue/Wed severe recaps: Photos | Storm Reports Map
Friday's severe outbreak setup couldn't be more classic for this time of year.
The polar and subtropical jet streams "split", as you can see the image below. When this happens, vertical lift in the atmosphere is enhanced. This is occurring above a strengthening area of low pressure at the surface, drawing increasingly warm and humid air north from the Gulf of Mexico on the strength of a strong "low-level jet stream".
The severe thunderstorm "threat zone" Friday and Friday night is shown in the map below. Note the large areal coverage implicated, from the Ohio Valley to the Tennessee Valley and Appalachians.
Tornadoes, damaging straight-line winds, and large hail are all on the table with this setup Friday. TWC Severe Weather Expert, Dr. Greg Forbes (On Facebook | On Twitter) lays out which areas have the peak threat for tornadoes in his latest TOR:CON forecast. Simply put, the higher the index, the greater the threat of tornadoes within 50 miles of a point. (See TOR:CON explained)
The graphic below shows cities in which we're most concerned about the severe threat in the Friday afternoon/evening timeframe.
Similarly, the graphic below adds cities in which we're most concerned about the severe threat Friday night into the overnight hours of early Saturday morning. It bears repeating, nighttime tornadoes are 2.5 times more likely to kill as those during the daytime (Read article).
Did you know you can get severe weather alerts delivered to your phone via our "Notify!" service. Check out the link below for more information. It could save your life!
Stay tuned to The Weather Channel and check back with us at weather.com for the latest on this upcoming severe weather outbreak.
March 1st, 2012
Palm Beach Daily
A suspicious package mailed to conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh Thursday afternoon at his North End home contained nothing dangerous, the Sheriff’s Office bomb squad determined after opening it.
While the bomb squad checked the package, Palm Beach police blocked off North Ocean Boulevard and re-routed northbound traffic onto North Ocean Way. Palm Beach Fire-Rescue also was at the oceanfront Limbaugh compound.
“I didn’t know what it was, a fire or not," said a Limbaugh neighbor, attorney Maura Ziska. "I asked the Sheriff’s Office and they said, ‘We can’t tell you. You just need to go back in your house. There could be an explosion and the wind is blowing in your direction. So you need to go back into your house and be safe.'”
Palm Beach police spokesman Fred Hess said the 18-by-18-inch package was delivered late in the afternoon and was X-rayed, as is all mail sent to the Limbaugh home. When Limbaugh’s staff saw what appeared to be wires in the package through the X-ray, they called police. “In Palm Beach, people tend to be very cautious, especially an internationally known person,” Hess said.
The package was mailed by a man in the Wexford suburb of Pittsburgh, Pa., as a “business opportunity” for Limbaugh, Hess said. The man was not immediately identified, but when authorities called him he apologized, Hess said.
Law enforcement outside Rush Limbaugh's home Thursday night.
The package contained an electronic plaque commemorating the assassination of Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth, authorities said. No further details about the plaque were immediately available, and Limbaugh sent word through his property manager that the news media would not be allowed to photograph the package. Limbaugh and his wife, Kathryn, were at home throughout the incident, and sent word to the gathered media via Hess that they would make no comment.
The bomb squad took the package into an empty guest house on the property, decided to open it rather than blow it up, and found the plaque, authorities said.
Earlier in the day, ABC News reported that Limbaugh made national headlines when he rang in on his radio show with derogatory comments about a woman who had wanted to testify on Capitol Hill about the need for birth control coverage. He called a Georgetown University Law School student, Sandra Fluke, a "slut" during his radio show.
The Senate killed a proposal Thursday to throw out President Obama’s contraception mandate, ABC reported, and Limbaugh then opined about the ensuing backlash his remarks drew from House Democrats, reportedly saying, "I will buy all of the women at Georgetown University as much aspirin to put between their knees as they want."
No connection was made, however, between the package and Limbaugh’s comments. The man told authorities he merely meant to offer Limbaugh a business opportunity, and that the man was "very apologetic."
March 1st, 2012
NOTE: In case you missed the news conference of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s “Cold Case Posse,” WND plans to have the entire event available in 15-minute increments beginning Friday morning at this online location.
PHOENIX – An investigative “Cold Case Posse” launched six months ago by “America’s toughest sheriff” – Joe Arpaio of Arizona’s Maricopa County – has concluded there is probable cause that the document released by the White House last year as President Obama’s birth certificate is a computer-generated forgery.
The investigative team has asked Arpaio, who is at a news conference in Phoenix live-streamed by WND TV that began at 3 p.m. Eastern time, to elevate the investigation to a criminal probe that will make available the resources of his Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
The posse says it has identified at least one person of interest in the alleged forgery of Obama’s birth certificate.
Arapaio, known for his strict enforcement of immigration laws, commissioned the investigative team after local citizens presented him with a petition expressing concern that Obama might not be eligible for Arizona’s presidential ballot.
In addition to the live-streaming, WND is making available to the public a report distributed to media today by Arpaio’s investigators.
The posse, comprised of former law enforcement officers and lawyers with law enforcement experience, has interviewed dozens of witnesses and examined hundreds of documents. It also has taken numerous sworn statements from witnesses around the world.
Mike Zullo, Arpaio’s lead investigator, said his team believes the Hawaii Department of Health has engaged in a systematic effort to hide from public inspection any original 1961 birth records it may have in its possession.
“Officers of the Hawaii Department of Health and various elected Hawaiian public officials may have intentionally obscured 1961 birth records and procedures to avoid having to release to public inspection and to the examination of court-authorized forensic examiners any original Obama 1961 birth records the Hawaii Department of Health may or may not have,” Zullo said.
The investigators say the evidence contained in the computer-generated PDF file released by the White House as well as important deficiencies in the Hawaii process of certifying the long-form birth certificate establish probable cause that a forgery has been committed.
The investigation was launched after 250 members of the Surprise, Ariz., Tea Party, presented a signed petition to Arpaio in August 2011 asking him to undertake the investigation.
The Tea Party members petitioned under the premise that if a forged birth certificate was used to place Barack Obama on the 2012 Arizona presidential ballot, their rights as Maricopa County voters could be compromised.
Arpaio believes a congressional investigation might be warranted and has asked that any information relevant to the investigation held by other law enforcement agencies be forwarded to his office.
The Cold Case Posse advised Arpaio that they believe forgers committed two crimes. First, they say it appears the White House fraudulently created a forgery that it characterized as an officially produced governmental birth record. Second, the White House fraudulently presented to the residents of Maricopa County and to the American public at large a forgery represented as “proof positive” of President Obama’s authentic 1961 Hawaii long-form birth certificate.
“A continuing investigation is needed to identify the identity of the person or persons involved in creating the alleged birth certificate forgery and to determine who, if anyone, in the White House or the state of Hawaii may have authorized the forgery,” Arpaio said.
Among the evidence released at the press conference are five videos – which can be seen at the end of this article – to demonstrate why the Obama long-form birth certificate is suspected to be a computer-generated forgery.
The videos consist of step-by-step computer demonstrations using a control document. They display the testing used by the investigators to examine various claims made by supporters of the April 27 document.
The investigators contend the videos illustrate their conclusion that the features and anomalies observed on the Obama long-form birth certificate were inconsistent with features produced when a paper document is scanned, even if the scan is enhanced by Optical Character Recognition, OCR, and optimized.
Additionally, the posse says, the videos demonstrate that the Hawaii Department of Health Registrar’s name stamp and the registrar’s date stamp were computer-generated images imported into an electronic document, as opposed to rubber stamp imprints inked by hand or machine onto a paper document.
“That we were able to cast reasonable suspicions on the authenticity of the registrar stamps was especially disturbing, since these stamp imprints are designed to provide government authentication to the document itself,” Zullo said, emphasizing that if the registrar stamps are forgeries, the document itself is likely a forgery.
The investigators also chronicled a series of allegedly inconsistent and misleading representations that various Hawaii government officials have made over the past five years regarding any original birth records held by the Hawaii Department of Health.
“As I said at the beginning of the investigation, the president can put all this to rest quite easily,” Arpaio said. “All he has to do is demand the Hawaii Department of Health release to the American public and to a panel of certified court-authorized forensic examiners all original 1961 paper, microfilm and computer birth records the Hawaii Department of Health has in its possession.”
Arpaio emphasized that the Hawaii Department of Health needs to provide, as part of the full disclosure, evidence regarding the chain of custody of all Obama birth records, including paper, microfilm and electronic records to eliminate the possibility that a forger or forgers may have tampered with the birth records.
The sheriff said the president should also authorize Honolulu’s Kapi’olani Hospital, the birth hospital listed on the Obama long-form birth certificate, to release any hospital patient records for Stanley Ann Dunham Obama, his mother, and for the newly born Barack Obama, to provide corroboration for the records held in the Hawaii Department of Health vault.
“Absent the authentic Hawaii Department of Health 1961 birth records for Barack Obama, there is no other credible proof supporting the idea or belief that President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, as he and the White House have consistently asserted,” Zullo said.
“In fact, absent the authentication of Hawaii Department of Health 1961 birth records for Barack Obama, there is no other proof he was born anywhere within the United States.”
In addition, investigators say they have developed credible evidence that President Obama’s Selective Service card was a forgery, based on an examination of the postal date stamp on the document. Also, records of Immigration and Naturalization Service cards filled out by passengers arriving on international flights originating outside the United States in the month of August 1961, examined at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., are missing records for the week of President Obama’s birth.
Videos connected to the investigation:
March 1st, 2012
The Wall Street Journal / By LAWRENCE B. LINDSEY
Last week Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said that the "most fortunate Americans" should pay more in taxes for the "privilege of being an American." One can debate different ways of balancing the budget. But Mr. Geithner's argument highlights an unfortunate and very destructive instinct that seems to permeate the Obama administration about the respective roles of citizens and their government. His position has three problems: one philosophical, one empirical, and one logical.
Philosophically, the concept that being an American is a "privilege" upends the whole basis on which America was founded. Privileges are things granted to one individual by another, higher-ranking, individual. For example, in my house my children's use of the family car is a privilege. One presumes Mr. Geithner believes that the "privilege" of being an American is granted by the presumably higher-ranking, governing powers that be.
This is an age-old view that our Founding Fathers rejected. First, they argued that the basic rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (i.e., economic liberty) were natural rights, endowed by our Creator, not by government. Second, the governing powers do not out-rank the citizens. Rather it is the citizens who grant government officials their "just powers." As Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, governments are instituted among men based on their consent in order to secure the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The notion that a governing authority grants privileges to those it governs directly contradicts Jefferson's declaration.
But it is this same notion that recently allowed the Health and Human Services Department to order religious institutions to pay for things they find abhorrent. Religious freedom is presumably a "privilege" that can be revoked for some transient and novel public-policy reason.
The Obama Justice Department felt the same about religious institutions being able to give preference in hiring to those who shared their faith, and was unanimously overturned by the Supreme Court last month in the Hosanna-Tabor case.
Last year, the Obama National Labor Relations Board also seemed to believe that it was a privilege for an American company, in this case Boeing, to open a new plant in a right-to work state of its choosing, thus upending even the most rudimentary notion of economic liberty.
And of course the whole idea of ObamaCare is that we must buy a product from a private business that our betters in government have deemed necessary for our well-being.
This philosophical point is fundamental. But even if you accept Mr. Geithner's case that the well-to-do must pay more for their presumed "privilege" of being governed, his story ignores the empirical fact that they already do pay a record share of income taxes, even relative to their share of income. According to the Census Bureau, the share of income received by the top 5% of American households is now 21.5%, up from 21.4% in the 1990s. Their share of income taxes has risen to 59% under President Obama from 52% under President Clinton. This despite the fact that the top tax rate was five points higher in the Clinton years.
If you go further back to the pre-Reagan days, when the top tax rate was 70%, the story becomes even more dramatic. Under the four presidents of that era, the income share of the top 5% was 16.8% and their share of the income tax was 36%. In other words, the share of income received by the top 5% has risen 28% and their share of income taxes has risen 64%.
Stated differently, based on the data provided by the Census Bureau and the Internal Revenue Service, the relative tax burden of the top 5% of American earners compared with the remaining 95% has grown from roughly three-to-one prior to 1980 to almost six-to-one today.
One can always argue that this ratio should be 10-to-1, that the "privilege" of being governed is worth 10 times as much per dollar of income to someone who is rich than to someone who is middle-class. Once we give up our moral compass of government deriving its powers from the people. we must also give up any empirical compass of how much we must surrender to government. When you begin the argument that being a citizen is a "privilege" for which one should pay ever more, you very quickly find yourself on Friedrich Hayek's "Road to Serfdom."
This brings us to the third problem with Mr. Geithner's argument, a fundamental logical inconsistency. If being governed, or over-governed, is a privilege for America's citizens, shouldn't everyone pay for the privilege? Why are more than half of all American workers paying nothing at all in income taxes? And if the issue is the need to "pay more" for our privilege, why should only those making over $250,000 be the ones who pay more? If being an American really is a privilege, then certainly all who are thus privileged should pay something.
Still, the real problem with this whole privilege argument goes back to what the Founding Fathers were thinking. Being an American is a right, not a privilege. The privilege belongs to those who are temporarily allowed to serve this great nation in a decision-making capacity. When they turn this privilege into a right to distribute government largess in ever larger quantities—and in ways, to use Jefferson's phrase, a "wise and frugal government" would not—it is those in government, and not the governed, who bear the responsibility for our budgetary problems.
Mr. Lindsey, a former Federal Reserve governor and assistant to President George W. Bush for economic policy, is president and CEO of the Lindsey Group.
March 1st, 2012
Rolling Stone contributor Matt Taibbi used his RS blog today to spew more liberal venom after learning of Conservative Bulldog, Andrew Breitbart's death...