If This Is Monday, It Must Be Jihadi Time

Is it just me or is there a pattern emerging involving a certain religion and terrorism?

New Jersey Men Arraigned On Terror Charges

Shortly after two New Jersey men were arraigned Monday on terror-related charges in Newark, N.J., Paul J. Fishman paused briefly on the steps of the U.S. District Courthouse in Newark. The top federal prosecutor in the state conceded that once again they had been lucky, this time with a pair of bumblers who allegedly pledged for jihad in Somalia but were being shadowed for years by FBI agents.

Indeed, it marked the third time in six months that terrorists were tripped up by their own ineptness.

But, Fishman said, “sophistication is not necessarily a measure of danger.” And, he warned, “we would be remiss if we didn’t pay attention to anyone who has the intention of do what these folks are alleged to have done.”

Mohamed Mahmood Alessa, 20, and 24-year-old Carlos Almonte, also known as Omar, were arrested Saturday night at JFK Airport in New York, reportedly hoping to join an extremist group in Somalia linked to the terror network Al Qaeda.

But they never had a chance. For three and a half years FBI agents followed their tiny cell in the New Jersey suburbs, sending an undercover operative in who even at one point won their approval to search their computer. It turned up documents promoting Osama bin Laden and violent jihad. And still, the FBI said, the young men continued to boast and train and arm themselves for war.

See also:
2 New Jersey Terror Suspects Appear in Court
US men accused in terror plot appear in court
N.J. Men Tied To Al-Shabaab, Awlaki
N.J. terrorism suspects weren’t secretive of their plans, federal authorities say
New Jersey Jihadist wanted to mutilate gays, blow up high school as troubled teen
New Jersey terror wannabees Alessa, Almonte are jihadis because they can’t land hotties
School: NJ terror suspect was dangerous as student
North Bergen terror suspect was danger to students, staff at high school, officials say
North Jersey terror case: Warning signs came early in “angry young man”
Jersey ‘jihadi’ school ordeal
Terror suspects yearned for fame, documents allege
Undercover Unit Key in NJ Terror Arrests
Would-be New Jersey Terrorists Listened to Tapes of Anwar Al-Awlaki
Neighbor paints different picture of North Bergen terrorist suspect

Houston, we have a problem.

/and it seems that we’re only catching the really dumb jihadis too

The New Pig Book Is Here, The New Pig Book Is Here!

It’s a bipartisan effort, Republicans are just as bad as Democrats. Take a look at who’s flushing your hard earned tax dollars down the hog trough.

Cochran Leads Congress in Earmarks, $16.5B Total Set Aside for Pet Projects in 2010

Drumroll, please.

And the king of pork is … Sen. Thad Cochran. The Mississippi Republican ranks at the top this year of the Citizens Against Government Waste’s list of congressional earmarkers.

Cochran, the ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, is typically a leading pork-seeker and in 2010 had his name on 240 projects worth $490.2 million The runner-up was Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, with 151 projects worth $387.5 million.

Taken together, earmarked projects in fiscal year 2010 accounted for $16.5 billion of the federal budget. Leading the the 50 states was Hawaii, which enjoyed $251 per capita, thanks in large part to the help of Inouye. On the House side, Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., took home the gold with 50 projects worth $148.4 million.

Citizens Against Government Waste President Tom Schatz said Cochran has earned the nickname of “Thad the Impaler” for his persistent earmarking.

“Senator Cochran has been number one for three years in a row and his total exceeds $2 billion during that three-year period of time,” he said.

The good news was the number of earmarks declined — the 9,129 projects listed marked about a 10 percent decline from last year. But that’s still more than 15 times the number of projects when Citizens Against Government Waste first started tracking in 1991.

And according to the annual “Congressional Pig Book” released Wednesday by the watchdog group, some oddball projects were on the receiving end. Shrimp research, local museums and military projects that even the Pentagon didn’t want were among the beneficiaries this year of billions of dollars in pork-barrel spending, according to the guide.

Here’s a look at some of the more peculiar projects on the extensive “Pig Book” list:

— Shrimp must be in vogue this year. The budget set aside $2.9 million in seven states for shrimp aquaculture research. Elsewhere in the budget was $700,000 requested by several senators and representatives for fishing research by the Southern Shrimp Alliance.

— Five senators and four representatives across four states requested $2.6 million for potato research. Along those lines, several lawmakers also set aside $775,000 for the Institute for Food Science and Engineering, which, as CAGW notes, has a program for researching “Pickle Science and Technology.”

— The wool industry has attracted millions in funding over the past decade and 2010 was no different. Montana, Texas and Wyoming were the recipients of $206,000 for wool research.

— Talk about a war on drugs. Among the projects requested by Cochran was $500,000 for the University of Southern Mississippi for a cannabis eradication program.

— The Camden Police Department, which reportedly was not eligible for stimulus funding because of prior grant violations, was awarded $200,000 in earmarks from New Jersey’s two senators, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, for a Mobile Communications Center.

The Pentagon was awarded billions for programs Defense Secretary Robert Gates spoke out against as unnecessary. One earmark worth $2.5 billion was for 10 C-17 cargo jets. Another was worth $465,000 for development of a Joint Strike Fighter alternative engine. Lawmakers fought administration attempts to cut those programs out of concern over lost jobs.

— Somehow, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate also made its way into the defense budget. The institute is expected to include exhibits, classrooms and a replica of the U.S. Senate chambers — at a price of $18.9 million.

— Local museum and educational center funding was also popular this past year. The budget included $100,000 for the Cabot’s Pueblo Museum in Desert Hot Springs; $250,000 for the Wistariahurst Museum in Massachusetts; $500,000 for the Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and another $500,000 for the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa.

— Several educational campaigns also received funding. Among them was $250,000 for an anti-steroids awareness program at the I Won’t Cheat Foundation in Salt Lake City.

And that’s just the tip of the pork iceberg. Read The 2010 Pig Book for yourself and pick out your own favorite nauseating examples of tax money wasted on hog[expletive deleted].

The Congressional Pig Book is CAGW’s annual compilation of the pork-barrel projects in the federal budget. The 2010 Pig Book identified 9,129 projects at a cost of $16.5 billion in the 12 Appropriations Acts for fiscal 2009. A “pork” project is a line-item in an appropriations bill that designates tax dollars for a specific purpose in circumvention of established budgetary procedures. To qualify as pork, a project must meet one of seven criteria that were developed in 1991 by CAGW and the Congressional Porkbusters Coalition.

Complete Pork Database: Search all 9,129 projects by keyword, member, state, party or appropriations bill.

Features: Oinker Awards | State Rankings | Historical Trends | All About Pork

See also:
2010 Pig Book Summary
Citizens Against Government Waste
Earmark Spending $16.5 Billion in CAGW’s 2010 Congressional Pig Book
“Pig Book” released today details members of congress’ pork requests
The 2010 Congressional Pig Book: 20 Years at the Trough
68M For Ind. Among Earmarks Flagged In ‘Pig Book’
Rep. Yvette Clarke Wins Award in CAGW’s 2010 Pig Book
Pig book shows earmark reduction
Watchdog group finds smaller servings of congressional pork

Okay, so $16.5 billion is hardly a drop in the overall budget bucket and it’s good that the Congressional hogs pigged out on fewer earmarks than last year. But damn it, $16.5 BILLION IS REAL MONEY, IT’S YOUR HARD EARNED TAX MONEY, OR BORROWED FROM THE CHINESE, AND THESE CORRUPT MORONIC BASTARDS ARE SPENDING IT ON RIDICULOUS, UNNECESSARY BULL[EXPLETIVE DELETED]!

/inform yourself, pay attention to who’s wastefully spending America into economic oblivion, and vote accordingly in November

Get Out And Vote Republicans!

Especially if you live in New Jersey, let’s try and keep the results out of the margin of fraud.

Christie leads

Chris Christie leads Jon Corzine 47-41 in PPP’s final poll of the New Jersey Governor’s race, with Chris Daggett at 11%.

Corzine had pulled to within a point of Christie on our poll three weeks ago after trailing by as many as 14 points over the summer, but his momentum has stalled since then and Christie’s built his lead back up to 4 points last week and now 6.

But, of course, if you’re a Republican in New Jersey, you already know that a six point lead against a Democrat candidate might not be safe.

Chris Christie’s Next Case: Who Stole My Election?

The race for governor in New Jersey is so close in final polls that it may well end up in a recount — the 1981 election did and was decided by less than 1,800 votes. If there is a recount, you can bet disputes about absentee ballots will loom large. Moreover, if serious allegations of fraud emerge, you can also expect less-than-vigorous investigation by the Obama Justice Department — which showed just how seriously it takes such allegations when it walked away from an open-and-shut voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia earlier this year.

Plenty of reasons exist for suspecting absentee fraud may play a significant role in tomorrow’s Garden State contests. Groups associated with Acorn in neighboring Pennsylvania and New York appear to have moved into the state. An independent candidate for mayor in Camden has already leveled charges that voter fraud is occurring in his city. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party in New Jersey is taking advantage of a new loosely written vote-by-mail law to pressure county clerks not to vigorously use signature checks to evaluate the authenticity of absentee ballots, the only verification procedure allowed.

The state has received a flood of 180,000 absentee ballot requests. On some 3,000 forms the signature doesn’t match the one on file with county clerks. Yet citing concerns that voters would be disenfranchised, Democratic Party lawyer Paul Josephson wrote New Jersey’s secretary of state asking her “to instruct County Clerks not to deny applications on the basis of signature comparison alone.” Mr. Josephson maintained that county clerks “may be overworked and are likely not trained in handwriting analysis” and insisted that voters with suspect applications should be allowed to cast provisional ballots. Those ballots, of course, would then provide a pool of votes that would be subject to litigation in any recount, with the occupant of New Jersey’s highest office determined by Florida 2000-style scrutiny of ballot applications.

The cheaters are making a full court press.

ACORN Aims to Tip New Jersey Election in Corzine’s Favor

Fearing a potentially devastating Democratic loss, the highly controversial Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) group and its affiliated organizations are gearing up to tip the scales and re-elect embattled incumbent in the hard-fought New Jersey gubernatorial race, sources tell Newsmax.

“Acorn is heavily involved in Gov. Jon Corzine’s get-out-the-vote operation, but is maintaining a low profile at the insistence of the Corzine campaign,” Matthew Vadum, senior editor of the conservative Capitol Research Center think tank, tells Newsmax. “If Corzine manages to win reelection, he doesn’t want the victory tainted by his close association with Acorn.”

Wall Street Journal columnist and author John Fund wrote Tuesday that “Plenty of reasons exist for suspecting absentee fraud may play a significant role in tomorrow’s Garden State contests.”

See also:
GOP challenger edges ahead of Corzine in NJ
Bettors Split Between Corzine-Christie in New Jersey
Can Christie Beat the Other Boys In Jersey?
President Obama Robocalls for Gov. Corzine in New Jersey

And don’t forget to vote in New York 23.

Hoffman Leads in Upstate N.Y. House Race, but Many Undecided

In the upstate New York House race that has attracted national attention, Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate now embraced by the GOP, leads Democrat Bill Owens by 41 percent to 36 percent with 6 percent backing Republican Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, who dropped out of the race on Saturday, according to a Siena College poll conducted Nov. 1. Eighteen percent are undecided, The margin of error is 4 points.

The number of undecided voters is now double what it was in Siena’s last poll, when Scozzafava was still in the race.

“Hoffman continues to demonstrate momentum, picking up six points since Scozzafava pulled out,” said Siena’s Steven Greenberg. “It appears, however, that the majority of Scozzafava’s supporters have gone to neither Hoffman nor Owens, but rather into the undecided column.”

Showdown Alarms

The NY-23 special election on Tuesday has the attention of the White House at the highest levels, with White House sources saying that the endorsement of Democrat Bill Owens by “Republican” Dede Scozzafava came only after a call from White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel asking that she throw her support behind the Democrat.

NY 23, are you going to let the Obama White House control your Republican candidates?

See also:
GOP watch: Chaos in NY-23
Congressional Roundup: NY-23 edition
Last-minute NY 23rd poll: Conservative Doug Hoffman surges, but …

Ain’t but one Republican still in the NY 23 race, vote accordingly.

And, if you live in Virginia, you can phone the win in, but you still have to actually get off your collective Republican asses and vote for McDonnell, nuke the election from orbit, just to make sure.

/finally, if you’re a Democrat, remember, you get to vote on Wedbesday, 11/4/09

Unfair Advantage

This shouldn’t be allowed, period.

SEC Probes Flash Orders to Ensure Fair Access to Data (Update3)

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is examining so-called flash orders to ensure equity markets aren’t putting investors at a disadvantage by giving some brokerages advance knowledge about trades.

“The SEC staff is specifically examining flash orders to ensure best execution and fair access to information for all investors,” John Nester, a spokesman for the regulator, said today.

Charles Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate, told the SEC to review flash orders in a July 24 letter. Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., Bats Global Markets, Direct Edge Holdings LLC and the CBOE Stock Exchange give information to their clients about orders for a fraction of a second before the trades are routed to rival platforms. The systems are meant to give investors an additional opportunity to complete a trade.

Last month, SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro said the agency is concerned that electronic indications of bids and offers are being disseminated to a select group of brokerages. She also said it would examine dark pools, private electronic markets operated by brokerages that don’t publicly post quotes.

The review appears unlikely to lead the SEC to impose curbs on other forms of high-speed trading, NYSE Euronext Chief Executive Officer Duncan Niederauer said today, citing discussions with regulators. NYSE Euronext, the world’s largest owner of stock exchanges, told the SEC in May that flash orders result in most investors getting worse prices.

No Fear

“I don’t think there is any fear of them doing something that would severely damage the displayed liquidity on U.S. equity markets,” he said today in a conference call with analysts to discuss the New York-based company’s second-quarter results. “High-frequency trading is actually the most consistent source of liquidity.”

NYSE is building facilities in Mahwah, New Jersey, and near London to boost its capacity to handle high-speed trades. The company is spending about $500 million, the Wall Street Journal reported today, citing people familiar with the matter.

Analysts including Raymond James Financial Inc.’s Patrick O’Shaughnessy said this week that regulators’ response to flash orders might result in restrictions on computer-driven trading, which could hurt profit for exchanges.

Bats, Nasdaq Support

Bats CEO Joe Ratterman said today in an e-mail to clients that the Kansas City, Missouri-based exchange would support an industrywide ban on flash orders. Nasdaq CEO Robert Greifeld told Schumer July 28 that his company would also support a prohibition, according to a statement issued by the New York senator’s office.

Both introduced the systems over the past three months to compete against Direct Edge, the trading platform that has gained market share through its three-year-old Enhanced Liquidity Provider program.

Direct Edge, which is not a registered SEC exchange, more than doubled its market share since November to 11.9 percent of the total volume in the U.S. in June by using revenue from its ELP program to cut other trading fees. The ELP program accounted for 8 percent of the shares handled by Direct Edge.

“If regulators get rid of it, or do anything to significantly circumscribe the program, it will hurt Direct Edge and help Nasdaq and NYSE,” Justin Schack, vice president of market structure analysis at New York-based Rosenblatt Securities Inc., said in an interview. “It takes away a big competitive weapon that Direct Edge used to gain market share.”

Wall Street and the World of Flash Stock Trades

High Frequency Trading

The computers have become traders in just the last few years, say market people. One particularly visible part of what they do is called High Frequency Trading, in which machines, programmed to look for market trends, may buy or sell a stock in milliseconds.

A subset of this phenomenon is known as “flash trading,” in which stock exchanges let firms place super-fast orders to buy or sell stocks — often based on information they receive a fraction of a second before the rest of the world does. Large firms pay fees for the advance information, and may be able to profit by moving so quickly.

See also:
ICE says it doesn’t allow ‘flash’ trading
Nasdaq backs ban on “flash” trading: Schumer
High-Frequency Trading Faces Challenge From Schumer (Update1)
Schumer wants to ban flash trading
SEC Examines ‘Flash’ Trading
BATS CEO Ratterman supports ban on flashed orders
BATS Exchange Supports Ban On ‘Flash’ Orders – CEO

And people wonder why the average investor distrusts Wall street.

/apparently all trades are equal, but some trades are more equal than others

Cars, Trains, What’s The Difference?

Biden Mistakenly Claims New Hudson River Tunnel Project Will Accomodate Cars

Vice President Joe Biden, on a conference call Monday with reporters, mistakenly claimed that the planned Hudson River tunnel between New Jersey and Midtown Manhattan would provide a much-anticipated route for automobiles.

Problem is, it’s for trains.

The $8.7 billion tunnel is among the largest new projects to be funded in the Obama administration’s $787 billion stimulus package.

“Look, this is designed, this totally new tunnel, is designed to provide for automobile traffic,” Biden said, according to The Record of Bergen County. “It’s something, as you know, up your way, that’s been in the works and people have been clamoring for for a long time.”

The Record, which asked Biden the tunnel-related question on the call, called the vice president out on the error. The north Jersey newspaper noted that the tunnel would accommodate more New Jersey Transit trains during peak hours — cars are not part of the equation.

See also:
Biden mistaken that cars could use rail tunnel
Joe Biden update: Now, he thinks N.Y. train tunnel is for cars
Biden Bungles N.J. Tunnel Description
Today’s Biden gaffe
Biden Gaffe: VP Says New Rail Tunnel Being Built For Cars (Audio)

And this is the jackass in charge of overseeing the “Stimulus” spending? Joe Biden, you can’t stop him from making gaffes, hell, you can’t even hope to contain him.

/but remember, he has a much higher IQ than you do and he’s one heartbeat away from the presidency, how scary is that?