Monday, December 31, 2012
Sunday - 12/30/2012, 11:16pm ET
Kathy Stewart, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - The Manassas News & Messenger is no more. The paper printed its final edition after 143 years of covering the news in Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park Sunday.
The paper's parent company, the Warren Buffet-owned World Media Enterprises, decided to close the paper and its websiteInsideNoVa.com in November, saying the paper was losing money, was in a competitive news market, and "had a tough time finding the sense of community that a community newspaper needs to prosper."
World Media Enterprises purchased the paper, as well as several others, from Media General in June. The News & Messenger has been the only paper closed after the purchase so far.
All employees lost their jobs, and 72 other jobs have been cut in the company.
Two local weekly print newspapers were created within weeks of the announced closing to fill the void left by the News & Messenger.
Times Community Media will launch the Prince William Times on Jan. 9, 2013. Prince William Today will print its first edition on Jan. 10, 2013.
Northern Virginia Media Services, which owns Prince William Today, now owns the InsideNoVa website and Facebook page.
It's okay for Mr. Buffet to obey the rules of economics but don't you dare try.
The rest here.Given that hypocrisy is an important part of diplomacy, and diplomacy is necessary to foreign policy, allow me to congratulate you on winning a second term.I wish I could also congratulate you on your conduct of international affairs. I do thank you for killing Osama bin Laden. It was a creditable action for which you deserve some of the credit you've been given. Of course the intelligence was gathered, and the mission was undertaken, by men and women who, although they answer to your command, answer to duty first. And it is difficult to imagine any president of the United States who, under the circumstances, wouldn't have ordered the strike against bin Laden. Although there is Jimmy Carter. Thank you for not being Jimmy Carter.But even though it violates the insincere amity that creates a period of calm following national elections, no thank you for the following, and it is only a partial list:• Telling the Taliban to play by the rules or you'll take your ball and go home;• Leaving Iraq in a lurch (and in a hurry);• Watching the EU go down the sink drain and into the Greece trap and wanting to take America along on the trip;• Miscalculating human rights and strategic engagement in the Chinese arithmetic of your China policy;• Being the personification of bad weather during the Arab Spring with your chilly response when you encountered its best aspects and your frozen inaction when you encountered its worst;• Playing with Russian nesting dolls, opening hollow figurine after hollow figurine hoping to find one that doesn't look like Vladimir Putin;• Sitting and doing nothing like a couch potato watching a made-for-TV movie as the Castro and Chávez zombies continue their rampage;• Hugging the door on your date with Israel;• Putting the raw meat of incentives in your pants pocket when you go to scold the pit bulls of Iran and North Korea;But the worst thing that you've done internationally is what you've done domestically. You sent a message to America in your re-election campaign. Therefore you sent a message to the world. The message is that we live in a zero-sum universe.There is a fixed amount of good things. Life is a pizza. If some people have too many slices, other people have to eat the pizza box. You had no answer to Mitt Romney's argument for more pizza parlors baking more pizzas. The solution to our problems, you said, is redistribution of the pizzas we've got—with low-cost, government-subsidized pepperoni somehow materializing as the result of higher taxes on pizza-parlor owners.In this zero-sum universe there is only so much happiness. The idea is that if we wipe the smile off the faces of people with prosperous businesses and successful careers, that will make the rest of us grin.There is only so much money. The people who have money are hogging it. The way for the rest of us to get money is to turn the hogs into bacon.Mr. President, your entire campaign platform was redistribution. Take from the rich and give to the . . . Well, actually, you didn't mention the poor. What you talked and talked about was the middle class, something most well-off Americans consider themselves to be members of. So your plan is to take from the more rich and the more or less rich and give to the less rich, more or less. It is as if Robin Hood stole treasure from the Sheriff of Nottingham and bestowed it on the Deputy Sheriff.But never mind. The evil of zero-sum thinking and redistributive politics has nothing to do with which things are taken or to whom those things are given or what the sum of zero things is supposed to be. The evil lies in denying people the right, the means, and, indeed, the duty to make more things.Or maybe you just find it easier to pursue a political policy of sneaking in America's back door, swiping a laptop, going around to the front door, ringing the bell, and announcing, "Free computer equipment for all school children!"However, domestic politics aren't my first concern here. The question is whether you want to convince the international community that zero-sum is the American premise and redistribution is the logical conclusion.I would argue that the world doesn't need more encouragement to think in zero-sum terms or act in redistributive ways.Western Europe has done such a good job redistributing its assets that the European Union now has a Spanish economy, a Swedish foreign policy, an Italian army, and Irish gigolos.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
In an attempt to seize total control over national security and bypass congress, a frightening new step by the Obama Administration is coming into play. As noted in Friday’s Wall Street Journal in an op-ed by John Bolton and John Woo, a State Department advisory group that is run by former Secretary of Defense William Perry is advising that the U.S. and Russia both reduce nuclear weapons without a treaty, as a treaty would require ratification by Congress. This would allow Obama and his executive branch to unilaterally cut our nuclear weaponry and ignore the treaty clause of the Constitution.
"In Russia we believe that resolutions must be observed and UN decisions must be implemented. We think that North Korea has the right for space explorations but only after all the issues linked with the UN sanctions banning rocket launches with the use of ballistic technologies are settled. It is necessary to divide two aspects - we support the discussion of the rocket launch issue by the UN Security Council but we don’t think that this must automatically mean tougher sanctions against Pyongyang.”
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Militants in Pakistan have killed at least 20 of the paramilitaries they seized from checkpoints near Peshawar, officials say.
Two men are said to have escaped. One is reportedly in a critical condition.
The troops, from the tribal police force, are reported to have been shot by their captors, who are thought to be from the Pakistani Taliban.
The men were seized following attacks on three checkpoints south of Peshawar, close to the border with Afghanistan.
About 200 armed militants had overrun two of the positions on Thursday, seizing the troops, taking weapons and setting fire to the buildings.
Two tribal police officers were killed in the attacks.
The Pakistani military launched an operation to recover the men and convened a meeting of local tribal elders.
A local government official, Naveed Akbar, said the bodies had been recovered about 4km (3 miles) from where the troops had been abducted.
It is the third attack on targets around Peshawar this month. Suicide bombers launched a raid on the city's airport two weeks ago, killing four people.
Last Saturday a senior politician of the Awami National Party was killed in an attack on a political rally. Seven others died in the blast.'Peace talks'
On Friday the head of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, released a video in which he offered to open negotiations with Islamabad.
But he refused to lay down his weapons and demanded that Pakistan break ties with the United States before talks could start.
The Pakistani Taliban operates mainly from within the semi-autonomous tribal region along the border with Afghanistan.
The Pakistani government says more than 35,000 people have been killed in attacks blamed on Islamic militants since the attacks of September 11.
It launched an offensive against the group in 2009 in the Swat Valley and South Waziristan, since when attacks by the Pakistani Taliban have decreased.
The site where Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting is building a new meetinghouse was damaged by arsonists during Christmas week, and police are now "absolutely" sure the attack was the result of a dispute between members of a Philadelphia construction union and the project's nonunion contractor.
Although no suspects have been identified in the Dec. 21 incident, Lt. George McClay of Northwest Detectives said Friday that he was certain the small Quaker building on East Mermaid Lane was targeted because it is being built with nonunion labor.
"I absolutely think it is a union issue," McClay said.
If union members were involved, the attack would be the second violent incident in Philadelphia this year related to the use of nonunion construction workers. This spring, union protesters clashed with nonunion workers renovating the former Goldtex factory tower at 12th and Wood Streets for Post Bros., an apartment developer.
Unlike that high-profile development, the meetinghouse is a modest undertaking. The total cost for the building, which will include a work by the nationally recognized light artist James Turrell, is expected to run just over $6 million. Of that, about $3.5 million is being spent on construction.
Employees arriving for work Dec. 21 said they found the site in disarray. The cab of a large, mobile building crane had been completely burned. Vandals had also used the torch to shear off the steel bolts on nearly a dozen columns. Three others were hacked halfway through at the base, as if someone were trying to cut down a tree.Police nevertheless believe that it is unlikely that a random vandal carried out the attack on the Chestnut Hill site, where the steel outline of the future meetinghouse is visible. The vandals used an acetylene torch, which requires a skilled operator who must wear a special mask and gloves.
McClay said police had no leads. "There is not a whole lot to go on. There were no witnesses, no video," he said. The attack has been declared an arson.
Contractor Robert N. Reeves Jr. said he was convinced union members were involved.
"I don't think this was a spontaneous group of kids who did this," he said during a tour of the site Friday. "We're really talking about the bad behavior of union bullies."
He estimated that the cost of the damage could run over $500,000.
His company, Abington-based E. Allen Reeves, is one of many suburban firms that maintains an open shop, hiring both union and nonunion subcontractors. He said he had tangled with union members over his hiring practices.
There had been no organized picketing at this site, Reeves said. But several days before the attack, he said, representatives of several construction unions appeared at the site to discuss hiring their members. They were rebuffed, and afterward the representative from the ironworkers union "basically said to the superintendent that 'he would do what he had to do,' " according to Reeves.
Ed Sweeney, business manager for the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers, could not be reached for comment Friday. He told the Philadelphia Daily News last week that he had not heard about the arson.
"I was up there last week and said hello to the guy, and asked if he wanted to hire any ironworkers, and he didn't even talk to me," Sweeney said.
The project is believed to be the first new Quaker meetinghouse in Philadelphia in more than a half- century. A statement by Chestnut Hill Friends said that the project was insured and that the damages were likely to be covered.