Briefs: On Yousef, McChrystal, Manning, ObamaCare, the Shroud, Etc.

Ross Mackenzie
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Posted: Aug 26, 2010 2:27 PM

Brief comments, direct or implied, on items currently in the news....

Mosab Hassan Yousef, eldest child of one of the founders of Hamas, turned on his father and the mindless terror of Islamofascism to become a majorly productive spy for Israel's domestic intelligence service, the Shin Bet. In 2007, Yousef moved to the U.S., converted to Christianity, and wrote about his tergiversation in a riveting book -- "Son of Hamas." On June 30, at a deportation hearing, the Obama administration belatedly dropped its legal effort to return him to Palestine and certain death. Question: Why on earth did the administration even consider extraditing Yousef -- an abiding friend of Middle East peace?

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(a) Virginia has won the first round in its legal case against the constitutionality of the "individual mandate" in ObamaCare legislation -- namely, the bill's stipulation that individual taxpayers must buy health insurance for themselves and their families. A federal judge now will hear the case on its merits. (b) In a referendum, 70 percent of Missouri's voters say they resent being told by the federales they have to buy anything -- whether health insurance or a bag of barbells. Ultimately, the Supreme Court will decide. Stay tuned.

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Fittingly in fatigues as opposed to dress blues, Gen. Stanley McChrystal has quietly retired from the Army. He had a stellar career, helping win the Iraq War and -- at the end -- commanding NATO forces in Afghanistan. Now, ambushed by a leftist freelancer for a rock magazine, he is gone. If Gen. McChrystal writes a book, perhaps he will explain the seemingly inexplicable -- i.e., why he gave the free-lancer even so much as the time of day, let alone even a nod that he exists.

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Another ambuscade of U.S. strategy and tactics in Afghanistan apparently was launched by Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, 22. He is alleged to have been the key player in the WikiLeaks email escapade. In case you missed it, the London Daily Telegraph reports Manning was moved to give WikiLeaks 91,000 classified military emails in part because (according to his own Facebook entry) he was "livid" over being "lectured" by an "ex-boyfriend." No, don't ask.

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Princeton prof, Nobelist, and New York Times economics columnist Paul Krugman: "In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We've all heard scare stories about how that works in practice. These stories are false." London's Sunday Times: "More than 3,000 staff, including doctors and nurses, have gone private at the taxpayers' expense in the past three years because the queues at the clinics and hospitals where they work are too long."

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Bulletin: A Mexican drug cartel has put a $1 million bounty on the head of Arizona's Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- an hombre tough on illegal immigrants in the Phoenix area. Repeat: a Mexican drug cartel, not the U.S. Justice Department. The latter lately has been busy litigiously hazing Arizona.

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And speaking of Arizona, here is one of its U.S. Senators, Republican John Kyl -- the Senate Minority Whip -- on Democratic legislative efforts to impede off-shore oil drilling in the wake of the undersea gusher in the Gulf of Mexico: Drill in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. "You're not in 5,000 feet of water," notes Sen. Kyl. "You've got a pipeline nearby, and you've got experience drilling in that area just a few miles away."

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Carbon-dating has judged the linen Shroud of Turin to be a 13th century creation requiring seven centuries and modern photography not only to discover but to label a fake. In May, saying the shroud bears the image "written in blood" of a crucified man, Pope Benedict XVI effectively declared the relic the burial shroud of Jesus. Despite the comfort fragmentary carbon-dating has given doubters -- prudence, faith, and common sense align with the Pope.

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Finally, yes, of course: (1) Mega-rich Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, who says he supports making the rich pay more in federal taxes, has chosen to moor his $7 million yacht Isabel not in Hyannis, Boston, or some other Bay State port, but in neighboring Rhode Island to save himself half-a-million in sales and excise taxes.

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(2) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has looked into claims that Toyotas suddenly and unintentionally accelerate out of control (causing the company to recall 8.5 million of its vehicles). Early NHTSA findings from a dozen analyzed Toyotas: driver error. On-board data recorders suggest accelerators were open and the brakes were not being used.

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And (3) longtime Obama family cook -- 29-year-old Sam Kass -- has won a promotion from assistant chef and "food initiative coordinator" for the White House residence to "senior policy adviser for healthy food initiatives." The New York Times helpfully describes Kass as a "bald, intense young man" who is "part chef and part policy wonk." So why doesn't Obama just dub him "food czar"?