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Kick Assiest Blog
Sunday, 14 May 2006
Bush Tax Cut Worked Better Than Expected
Mood:  party time!
Topic: News

Democrats hate reality, more than George W. Bush because reality belies everything they believe in...

Bush Tax Cut Worked Better Than Expected

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: (Wall Street Journal) "The Federal government ran a monthly budget surplus of $118.85 billion in April as tax receipts came in stronger than the same period last year." In fact... (AP) "A flood of income tax payments pushed up government receipts to the second-highest level in history in April, giving the country a sizable surplus for the month. In its monthly accounting of the government's books, the Treasury Department said Wednesday that revenue for the month totaled $315.1 billion as Americans filed their tax returns by the April deadline. The gusher of tax revenue pushed total receipts up by 13.4% from April 2005."

Now, a question. How can this happen? How can this happen when we had tax cuts? How can it possibly happen when we have had tax cuts, ladies and gentlemen? Well, it happens because of the way we've always told you it happens: Tax cuts produce more revenue because they create more jobs equaling more taxpayers, and more taxpayers contribute more tax revenue while the aggregate tax payment per person comes down.

It works every time it is tried, if the top rate that you are reducing is not too low. You reach a point where you are not going to raise revenue if your tax rate is zero. There is a formula for this. It obviously works, especially with capital gains coming down to 15%. So this leads me to another question. What do liberals hate more than our president? Now, I'll give you a hint: it is one word. I'll give you another hint: it begins with "R." No, it is not Rush. It is not me. It has seven letters. Liberals hate more than our president, one word.

It begins with "R", and has seven letters. Don't bother figuring it out. I'll tell you. What liberals hate more than our president and me is R-E-A-L-I-T-Y. The tax cuts worked, and according to today's media, the Wall Street Journal and others, they worked better than advertised. Yet, only 15 Democrats in the house broke ranks with Pelosi and supported the extension of these tax cuts! Only three in the Senate! Only three Democrats broke ranks and supported the extension. Despite the evidence, the liberal rally cries the tax warfare cry. "Tax cuts favor the rich."


It turns out tax cuts favor the economy. Tax cuts favor the employment figures. Tax cuts work! Reality sets in. What is the left going to do but try to continually rewrite history. You know how they are doing it? ABC sent one of their Good Morning America reporterettes out there to some mall. Her name is Kate Snow. They sent her out there waving a $20 bill, claiming $70 billion tax cut would only represent a $20 tax cut to the kind of people that run around in the malls, and then they went out and found a Democrat who just conveniently was able to mouth Democrat talking points!

Yes, well, these tax cuts only favor the rich."

I swear, folks, tax cuts favor the country and they favor the economy. Let me give you a hint. If you are going to get a tax cut, you have to be paying taxes, and the more in taxes you pay, the bigger your tax cuts are going to be. It's a hard fought mathematical calculation to make, but if you're not paying many taxes to begin with, you are not going to get a huge tax cut and we know -- you can go to my website, the statistics are always there. You can take a look at who is paying the lion's share of taxes in this country. It is impossible to not have those people get a tax cut if you are going to have a tax cut!

END TRANSCRIPT

Read the Background Material... (WSJ: U.S. Recorded a Budget Surplus in April)
(NB: Profiles in Class Warfare: Kate Snow Flashes $20 to Demagogue Tax Cut)
(AS: Wild on the Supply-Side)
(WSJ: Senate Set to Pass Tax-Cut Bill)
(NRO: Extending the Boom)
(Washington Post: GOP Hopes for Boost From $70B Tax Cut)

Only the Rich Pay Taxes!
The Top 50% pay 96.54% of All Income Taxes
The Top 1% Pay More Than a Third: 34.27%
(New EIB Numbers Breakdown...here)
(IRS Excel: Latest Data Calendar Year 2003)
(NY Times Buries Truth on Taxes: tscript)
(CBO Report: Effective Federal Tax Rates Under Current Law, 2001 to 2014)
(CY 2001 Posted Forever: here)
(Myth Buster: Democrats Get More Campaign Cash from "Rich")
*Note: Links to content outside Rush Limbaugh.com usually become inactive over time.

Rush Limbaugh.com ** Bush Tax Cut Worked Better Than Expected

Posted by yaahoo_2006iest at 5:49 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 14 May 2006 6:00 AM EDT
Saturday, 13 May 2006
IAEA Finds Near Arms-Grade Uranium Traces in Iran
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: News

More Uranium Reportedly Found in Iran

VIENNA, Austria -- The U.N. atomic agency found traces of highly enriched uranium at an Iranian site linked to the country's defense ministry, diplomats said Friday, adding to concerns that Tehran was hiding activities aimed at making nuclear arms.

The diplomats, who demanded anonymity in exchange for revealing the confidential information, said the findings were preliminary and still had to be confirmed through other lab tests. But they said the density of enrichment appeared to be close to or above the level used to make nuclear warheads.

Still, they said, further analysis could show that the traces match others established to have come from abroad. The International Atomic Energy Agency determined earlier traces of weapons-grade uranium were imported on equipment from Pakistan that Iran bought on the black market during nearly two decades of clandestine activity discovered just over three years ago.

Uranium enriched to between 3.5 percent and 5 percent is used to make fuel for reactors to generate electricity. It becomes suitable for use in nuclear weapons when enriched to more than 90 percent.

Iran's refusal to give up enrichment ambitions has led to involvement by the U.N. Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions but remains split on how firmly to pressure Tehran.

Key U.N. Security Council members agreed Tuesday to postpone a resolution that would have delivered an ultimatum to Tehran, giving Iran another two weeks to re-evaluate its insistence on developing its uranium enrichment capabilities.

Iran's hard-line president said Friday that his country was not afraid of possible U.S. military action over its enrichment program, but added that he thought any such strikes were very unlikely. Washington has said it favors a diplomatic end to the dispute, but it hasn't ruled out military force.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also told a local TV station that Iran would cooperate with the Security Council if it makes a decision on the escalating standoff as long as the world body acts "in line with international rules."

The Islamic republic denies accusations it wants to make nuclear arms and says it is only interested in uranium to generate power.

To argue that it never enriched uranium domestically to weapons grade, it cites the IAEA's tentative conclusion last year that weapons-grade traces collected from other sites within the country with no suspected ties to that military came in on equipment from Pakistan.

The origin of the samples now under perusal created some concern in that regard.

One of the diplomats told The Associated Press that the samples came from equipment that can be used in uranium-enriching centrifuges at a former research center at Lavizan-Shian. The center is believed to have been the repository of equipment bought by the Iranian military that could be used in a nuclear weapons program.

The United States alleges Iran had conducted high-explosive tests that could have a bearing on developing nuclear weapons at the site.

The State Department said in 2004 that Lavizan's buildings had been dismantled and topsoil had been removed in attempts to hide nuclear weapons-related experiments. The agency subsequently confirmed that the site had been razed.

In an April 28 report to the U.N. Security Council and the IAEA's 35- nation board of governors, agency head Mohamed ElBaradei said the agency took samples from some of the equipment of the former Physics Research Center at Lavizan-Shian. The diplomat said the evaluation of those samples revealed the traces in question.

Ahmadinejad's remarks on possible U.S. military action were made in Jakarta during a discussion with Indonesian Islamic leaders.

Asked whether his country was prepared to face an attack by the United States, he said "that is very unlikely because they know the Islamic Republic of Iran is a strong country."

"They are trying to frighten our country by waging a propaganda campaign using strong words. The people of Iran and the country are not afraid of them," he said to applause from the audience.

The Chinese and Russians have balked at British, French and U.S. efforts to put the resolution under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter. Such a move would declare Iran a threat to international peace and security and set the stage for further measures if Tehran refuses to suspend its uranium enrichment operations. Those measures could range from breaking diplomatic relations to economic sanctions and military action.

Breitbart.com ~ Associated Press - George Jahn ** More Uranium Reportedly Found in Iran

Posted by yaahoo_2006iest at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 14 May 2006 4:15 AM EDT
Thursday, 11 May 2006
Study: Rush Limbaugh Dominates Talk Radio
Mood:  special
Topic: News

Study: Rush Limbaugh Dominates Talk Radio

Talk-show host Rush Limbaugh still dominates the radio talk show business, a new study finds.

According to a recently released survey by the Benchmark Company, Limbaugh was "the most widely identified radio talk-show host" in America - with some 94 percent of Americans indicating they know who he is.

Satellite radio shock jock Howard Stern was a close second, with 89 percent of Americans saying they could identify him.

But the Benchmark study also noted a general decline in the ability of regular talk radio listeners to identify other nationally syndicated hosts.

"With the exception of a few, well-established icons like Limbaugh and Stern, it may well be that the number of nationally syndicated radio hosts has gone past the point where the average listener can absorb all the names," said Dr. Rob Balon, CEO of Benchmark.

The study of 1120 regular listeners of AM and FM talk radio was the third installment in the Benchmark series on talk radio that began in 1994.

In addition, the study found that there were more listeners who classified themselves as political moderates and fewer who identified themselves as conservatives.

Another surprising finding was the perceived importance of local radio talk hosts. Sixty-nine percent of respondents mentioned a local host when asked who their favorite radio personality was.

"Local hosts talk about things that impact folks on their own turf," explained Balon. "Sometimes it is politics, sometimes water cooler stuff, but it is what the listener relates to."

The study also addressed the role of the Internet and of technology in talk radio. 49 percent of respondents said they'd consider a monthly subscription if their favorite host went to a satellite station. And 65 percent mentioned visiting their favorite talk station's Web site while 19 percent said they at least occasionally listened online.

News Max.com ~ Carl Limbacher ** Study: Rush Limbaugh Dominates Talk Radio

Posted by yaahoo_2006iest at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 12 May 2006 6:58 AM EDT
Saturday, 6 May 2006
Surge in Tax Revenue Cuts Federal-Deficit Projections
Mood:  cheeky
Now Playing: BUSH'S FAULT
Topic: News

Surge in Tax Revenue Cuts Federal-Deficit Projections

WASHINGTON -- A surge in federal tax revenue, mainly in payments from rich Americans, is driving down government and private-sector projections of this year's federal deficit to as low as $300 billion, well below current forecasts that are near or over $400 billion.

The Congressional Budget Office "now expects that the 2006 deficit will be significantly less than $350 billion, perhaps as low as $300 billion," it said yesterday in a monthly budget report that reflected April's tax-time receipts. The CBO previously projected a deficit for this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, of $371 billion. The Bush administration's Office of Management and Budget, which had forecast a $423 billion shortfall, also will be reducing its estimate, government analysts say.

The fiscal revisions, reflecting the economy's higher-than-expected growth, suggest a 2006 deficit coming in closer to last year's $318 billion, or even below it. That would be good news for President Bush and the Republican-led Congress. Preliminary reports of lower deficit numbers were being hailed in emails among Capitol Hill offices. But the brighter short-term outlook doesn't change long-run forecasts of unsustainable deficits as more Americans age and draw Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits.

In its annual long-term outlook in January, the CBO wrote that spending for those programs "will exert pressures on the budget that economic growth alone is unlikely to alleviate. A substantial reduction in the growth of spending and perhaps a sizable increase in taxes as a share of the economy will be necessary for fiscal stability to be at all likely in the coming decades."

The data indicate the gains from a strong economy are going largely to those at the top of the income scale. The revenue growth stems from nonwithheld taxes -- not federal taxes automatically withheld from most workers' paychecks. Nonwithheld tax payments mostly come from wealthy taxpayers with income from stocks, bonuses and other sources from which federal taxes aren't immediately withheld.

Private-sector analysts, tracking the same monthly Treasury tax-collection data as government analysts, have been making similar revisions. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, in an economic update yesterday, reduced its deficit forecast to $325 billion from $370 billion. It also cited a surge in nonwithheld tax payments with the April 15 income-tax filing deadline.

"Much of the revision appears to be concentrated in income from the exercise of stock options," J.P. Morgan analyst Robert Mellman wrote in an investors note. He said a similar but smaller surge occurred a year ago at tax-filing time in April.

Wall Street Journal Online ~ Jackie Calmes **
Surge in Tax Revenue Cuts Federal-Deficit Projections

Related story with oodles of links reporting more good economic news:
This Blog *** Worker Productivity Rises in 1st Quarter

Posted by yaahoo_2006iest at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 7 May 2006 6:32 AM EDT
Thursday, 4 May 2006
Ozone layer shows signs of recovery
Mood:  bright
Topic: News

Ozone layer shows signs of recovery: scientists

LONDON - The ozone layer is showing signs of recovering, thanks to a drop in ozone-depleting chemicals, but it is unlikely to stabilize at pre-1980 levels, researchers said on Wednesday.

Depletion of the earth's protective ozone layer is caused by the chemical action of chlorine and bromine released by man-made chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are used in aerosol sprays and cooling equipment.

Ozone-depleting chemicals were banned by the 1987 Montreal Protocol which has now been ratified by 180 nations.

"We now have some confidence that the ozone layer is responding to the decreases in chlorine levels in the atmosphere due to the leveling off and decrease of CFCs," said Dr Betsy Weatherhead, of the University of Colorado in Boulder.

"Not only is the ozone layer getting better, we feel it is due to the Montreal Protocol," she added in an interview.

The depletion of the ozone layer, which absorbs most of the harmful effects of the sun's ultraviolet radiation, increases the risk of skin cancer and cataracts in humans and may harm crop yields and sea life.

Despite the signs of recovery, Weatherhead, who reported the findings in the journal Nature, said people should still protect themselves from harmful ultraviolet rays.

Weatherhead and Signe Bech Anderson of the Danish Meteorological Institute in Copenhagen analyzed data from satellites and ground stations and information from 14 modeling studies.

They found that ozone levels have stabilized or increased slightly in the past 10 years. But full recovery is still decades away.

The researchers said depletion has been most severe at the poles and to a lesser extent at mid-latitudes covering bands of North America, South America and Europe.

Shifting temperatures, greenhouse gases, nitrous oxide (N20) and atmospheric dynamics, which can influence ozone levels, are going to change in the future, they added.

"Therefore we really don't think ozone is going to stabilize back to its pre-ozone-depleting-substance levels," Weatherhead said.

Volcanic activity on Earth also has an impact. The 1993 Mount Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines caused ozone levels to backslide for several years, according to the researchers.

My Way News ~ Reuters - Patricia Reaney ** Ozone layer shows signs of recovery: scientists Related:
Duke Researchers Debunk Apocalyptic Global Warming Bullshit Libetardation
Global-warming alarmists intimidate dissenting scientists into silence
There IS a problem with global warming... it stopped in 1998
FLASHBACK: February 13, 1998: Scientists blame sun for global warming
New City-sized Iceberg Created Near Antarctica
Greenhouse theory smashed by biggest stone
Sun's next 11-year cycle could be 50% stronger, yet NO mention of global warming

Posted by yaahoo_2006iest at 12:51 AM EDT
Wednesday, 3 May 2006
Ken Blackwell Wins GOP Nod for Ohio Governor
Mood:  bright
Topic: News

Blackwell Wins GOP Nod

for Ohio Governor

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell won the GOP nomination for governor Tuesday after campaigning as the best candidate to deliver his party from a year of political scandals and infighting.

With more than half of precincts reporting, Blackwell had 257,531 votes, or 55 percent, compared with 208,481, or 45 percent, for Attorney General Jim Petro.

The gubernatorial primary was seen as a test of voter dissatisfaction that could foreshadow the party's prospects in November.

"The Republicans have a problem," said Carl Rullmann, a GOP voter who said he supported Blackwell.

Two other states also held primaries Tuesday, including North Carolina, where the district attorney prosecuting the Duke University rape case fought off two challengers, and Indiana, where congressional incumbents easily won their party nominations.

Blackwell's prominence as a leading black voice in the GOP could be pivotal to Republicans. He is the first black candidate to run for governor in Ohio. His ads sought to taint Petro with connections to the state's investment in rare coins that went awry and to tie him to Gov. Bob Taft, who pleaded no contest to four ethics violations last year involving a failure to report free golf outings and gifts.

Petro hammered Blackwell as a hypocrite who opposes abortion and gambling even though some of his multimillion-dollar stock portfolio is invested in those interests.

The GOP disunity may have turned off some voters.

"I saw a lot of backstabbing, name-calling, character assassination. I don't go for that kind of stuff," said James Martin, 66, leaving a polling place in the Cleveland suburb of Strongsville. He said the negative campaigning influenced his choice in the Republican primary, but he would not say who that was.

The Ohio scandals also emboldened Democrats who hope to end the Republicans' 15-year hold on the governor's office.

The winner of the primary will face Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland in November. Strickland is viewed as the Democrats' best chance to regain some control over a state government where Republicans control all three branches, as well as statewide offices and a majority of congressional seats.

Strickland handily defeated a former state legislator for the nomination. With 60 percent of precincts reporting, he had 331,823 votes, or 78 percent.

Republicans targeted the House seat Strickland leaves open as one of its best shots nationally to gain a Democratic congressional spot. They have been helped by the fact the Democrats' leading candidate must run as a write-in due to a filing mistake. National Democrats and Republicans have spent roughly $1 million in the race, more than they have for any primary in the past decade.

Ohio's U.S. Senate race will also be closely watched in the fall, but incumbent Sen. Mike DeWine and his Democratic rival, U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown, easily emerged from the primary.

In North Carolina, the allegations against Duke athletes turned what might have been a low-key election into a referendum on Mike Nifong's performance.

In unofficial results, Nifong had 45 percent of the vote, with challenger Freda Black close behind with about 42 percent. There are no Republicans running in the general election, and Nifong needed only 40 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff.

In Indiana, all nine congressional incumbents advanced to the November election. Most challengers were short on money and party support. Sen. Richard Lugar, one of the most popular politicians in state history, had no Republican opposition.

News Max.com ~ Associated Press ** Blackwell Wins GOP Nod for Ohio Governor

Posted by yaahoo_2006iest at 4:10 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 3 May 2006 4:17 PM EDT
Sunday, 30 April 2006
UN (Not George Bush) Says Iran Is Defying World
Mood:  loud
Topic: News

Full Image: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gestures to the crowd during a public gathering in the city of Khorramdareh, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) west of the capital Tehran, Iran, Friday, April 28, 2006. Ahmadinejad vowed Thursday that no one could make Tehran give up its nuclear technology, and he warned that the United States and its European allies will regret their decision if they "violate the rights of the Iranian nation." >>>>>

Nuclear Agency Says Iran Defying U.N.

VIENNA, Austria - The International Atomic Energy Agency said Friday that Iran has defied a U.N. Security Council call for a freeze on enriching uranium and its lack of cooperation with nuclear inspectors was a "matter of concern."

<<<<< Full Image: Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, speaks to laborers on International Laborers Day in Tehran, Iran on Wednesday April, 26, 2006. Khamenei said Wednesday that if the United States attacked Iran, U.S. interests around the world would be harmed and Iran will respond "double-fold" to any attack, state-run Tehran television reported.

President Bush said "the world is united and concerned" about what he called Iran's "desire to have not only a nuclear weapon but the capacity to make a nuclear weapon or the knowledge to make a nuclear weapon."

The eight-page report, obtained by The Associated Press, said that after more than three years of an IAEA investigation, "the existing gaps in knowledge continue to be a matter of concern."

"Any progress in that regard requires full transparency and active cooperation by Iran," said the report, written by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei.

The finding set the stage for a showdown in the U.N. Security Council, which is expected to meet next week and start a process that could result in punitive measures against the Islamic republic.

But Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said no Security Council resolution could make Iran give up its nuclear program.

"The Iranian nation won't give a damn about such useless resolutions," Ahmadinejad told thousands of people Friday in Khorramdareh in northwestern Iran before the IAEA report was issued.

"Today, they want to force us to give up our way through threats and sanctions but those who resort to language of coercion should know that nuclear energy is a national demand and by the grace of God, today Iran is a nuclear country," state-run television quoted him as saying.

<<<<< Full Image

Bush said he was not discouraged by Iran's vow to continue despite global pressure. "I think the diplomatic options are just beginning," he said in Washington.

John Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said "the United States is ready to take action in the Security Council to move to a resolution. ... We hope that we can get council action just as soon as possible."

Bolton said the resolution should be under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter "making mandatory for Iran the existing requirements of the IAEA resolutions, and particularly the resolution the board passed in February." Chapter 7 resolutions can be enforced by sanctions, or militarily.

He said the IAEA report shows that Iran "has accelerated its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons although, of course, the report doesn't make any conclusions in that regard."

"I think the evidence of Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, its extensive program to achieve a ballistic missile program of longer and longer range and greater accuracy constitutes a classic threat to international peace and security, especially when combined with Iran's long status as the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism," Bolton said.

He added that Washington's priority was to resolve the issue "through peaceful and diplomatic means."

<<<<< Full Image: Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, waves to laborers on International Laborer's Day in Tehran, Iran on Wednesday April, 26, 2006. A photo of Iran's late leader Ayatollah Khomeini, hangs on the wall. Khamenei said Wednesday that if the United States attacked Iran, U.S. interests around the world would be harmed and Iran will respond "double-fold" to any attack, state-run Tehran television reported.

The report said Iran's claim to have enriched small amounts to a level of 3.6 percent - fuel-grade uranium as opposed to weapons-grade enriched to levels above 90 percent - appeared to be true, according to initial IAEA analysis of samples it took.

In one of the few new developments in the IAEA's more than three-year investigation, the report concluded that Iran used undeclared plutonium in conducting small-scale separation experiments.

"The agency cannot exclude the possibility ... that the plutonium analyzed by the agency was derived from source(s) other than declared by Iran," the report said. Plutonium separation is one of the suspect "dual use" activities that could be used for a weapons program.

<<<<< Full Image: Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech at a conference in Tehran in this file photo from April 14. Khamenei said his country was ready to transfer its nuclear technology to other countries.

But the agency was stonewalled by Iran's refusal to give more information on other key issues - details of its centrifuge programs that are used to enrich uranium, information on drawings that show how to form fissile uranium into warheads, and apparent links between Iran's military establishment and what it says is a civilian nuclear program.

The Security council is likely to consider punitive measures against the Islamic republic. While Russia and China have been reluctant to endorse sanctions, the council's three other veto-wielding members say a strong response is in order.

The report formally served notice that Tehran had shrugged off a 30-day deadline to meet council demands. As such, it opened the way for further council steps, including the potential threat of sanctions and military action if Iran continues to defy the international community.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice won broad support from NATO allies for a tough diplomatic line on Iran.

However, NATO foreign ministers meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria, did not offer any specific threat of sanctions against Iran, in part to avoid a rift with Russia and China. While Russia and China have been reluctant to endorse sanctions, the council's three other veto-wielding members say a strong response is in order.

"On Iran, there was unanimity," Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos told reporters. "Although the clear message to the Iranian authorities is one of firmness, we have to continue with the diplomatic path."

Rice said it was time for the Security Council to act if the world body wished to remain credible.

"The Security Council is the primary and most important institution for the maintenance of peace and stability and security and it cannot have its word and its will simply ignored by a member state," Rice said.

Iran's U.N. ambassador, Javad Zarif, said Thursday that Tehran will refuse to comply even if the council request is turned into a demand through a resolution because its activities are legal and peaceful. Enrichment can be used to generate fuel or make the fissile core of nuclear weapons.

"If the Security Council decides to take decisions that are not within its competence, then Iran does not feel obliged to obey," he said in New York.

As late as Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin questioned the primacy of the council, insisting the U.N. nuclear watchdog should continue to play a central role in the dispute. "It mustn't shrug this role from its shoulders and pass it on to the U.N. Security Council," Putin said.

But a top French diplomat laid out a starkly contrasting position that also reflects U.S. and British views: The Security Council should not only have the main say in dealing with Iran but also should start considering how to increase the pressure. But, the diplomat said, a U.N. resolution enforceable by military action would not automatically mean resorting to such action.

The Security Council statement a month ago gave Iran until Friday to suspend all activities linked to enrichment because it can be used to make the highly enriched uranium used in the core of nuclear warheads.

Instead of complying, Iran - which says it seeks the technology only to generate electric power - has upped the ante in recent weeks, announcing it had for the first time successfully enriched uranium and was doing research on advanced centrifuges that would let it produce more of the material in less time.

Western concern has grown in the more than three years since when Iran was found to be working on large-scale plans to enrich uranium.

While the IAEA has found no "smoking gun" proving Iran wants nuclear arms, a series of reports have revealed worrying clandestine activities - like plutonium processing - and documents, including drawings of how to mold weapons-grade uranium metal into the shape of a warhead.

On the Net: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

My Way News ~ George Jahn ** Nuclear Agency Says Iran Defying U.N.

Posted by yaahoo_2006iest at 11:33 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 30 April 2006 11:37 PM EDT
Friday, 28 April 2006
Economy rebounds with 4.8% annual growth; inflation weakens
Mood:  party time!
Now Playing: BUSH'S FAULT
Topic: News

Economy rebounds with 4.8% annual growth rate in Q1; inflation weakens

WASHINGTON -- Casting off an end-of-year lethargy, the economy bounded ahead in the opening quarter of this year at a 4.8% annual pace, the fastest pace of growth in 2 1/2 years.

The latest report on the economy, released by the Commerce Department on Friday, showed that consumers, businesses and government all did their part in terms of robust spending and investment to spur a healthy pace of growth in the January-to-March quarter.

The 4.8% increase in the gross domestic product marked a vast improvement from the feeble 1.7% annual rate registered in the final quarter of 2005, when fallout from the Gulf Coast hurricanes, including high energy prices, prompted people and companies to tighten their belts.

The GDP measures the value of all goods and services produced within the United States and is considered the best barometer of the economy's fitness.

"The economy is off to a strong start in 2006 and has fully rebounded from the fourth quarter's setback," said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group

The first quarter's performance -- the best showing since the third quarter of 2003 -- was close to economists' expectations. Before the report was released, private analysts were forecasting the economy to clock in at a 4.9% growth rate.

Even with the economy zipping ahead in the first quarter, inflation moderated.

An inflation gauge closely watched by the Federal Reserve showed that core prices -- excluding food and energy -- rose by 2%, down from 2.4% in the fourth quarter.

The inflation reading, however, was taken before oil prices zoomed to a record high of more than $75 a barrel last week. Although prices have retreated since then, they still remain high.

A separate report from the Labor Department suggested that the strengthening job market isn't fanning inflation. Employers' cost to hire and retain workers -- wages and benefits -- rose 0.6% in the first quarter, the slowest pace in seven years. That mostly reflected less generous benefit packages.

To keep inflation at bay, the Fed is expected to boost interest rates again at its May 10 meeting, which would mark the 16th increase since June 2004. But after that, the central bank could take a break -- perhaps temporarily -- in its 2-year-old rate raising campaign, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested Thursday.

Bernanke and other Fed policymakers indicated that they want to proceed with caution because they don't want to hurt economic activity by pushing rates up too high.

In the first quarter, consumers -- critical players in the shape of the overall economy -- got their spending back in a more-normal groove. They boosted spending at a brisk rate of 5.5%, compared with paltry 0.9% pace in the fourth quarter. The first quarter's increase, the biggest since the third quarter of 2003, was led by spending on big-ticket goods such as cars.

But a third report showed that consumer sentiment fell in April as concerns about higher gasoline prices overshadowed a buoyant stock market and strong job growth.

The University of Michigan's final index of consumer sentiment for April was 87.4, down from March's final reading of 88.9 and April's preliminary reading of 89.2, said sources who saw the subscription-only report.

"Sentiment is finally beginning to show that consumers are getting a little bit unnerved about higher gasoline prices," said Brian Fabbri, chief economist at BNP Paribas in New York.

The median forecast of Wall Street economists polled by Reuters was for a 89.0 reading on the University of Michigan survey, according to a poll of 53 economists.

Another force helping the economy in the first quarter was business investment. Business spending on equipment and software grew at a whopping rate of 16.4%, the largest gain since the first quarter of 2000. Businesses also ratcheted up investment on buildings and plants. Such capital investment is another key to the economy's continued good performance.

With businesses feeling better about the economy, hiring has picked up. In March, the unemployment rate dropped to 4.7%, matching January's -- the lowest in 4 1/2 years.

Government spending also supported economic growth in the first quarter. This spending went up at a 3.9% pace, a turnaround from a 0.8% dip in the fourth quarter. Spending was strong at the federal level for both defense and non-defense. At the state and local level, government spending was flat.

Elsewhere in the GDP report, Americans' personal savings -- savings as a percentage of after-tax income -- dipped to negative 0.5% in the first quarter as consumer spending outpaced income growth. In the prior quarter, the savings rate stood at negative 0.2%.

Looking ahead, Bernanke said he expects the economy's growth to moderate in coming quarters but still be sufficiently strong to generate decent job growth. Risks to the mostly positive outlook, he said, could come from any prolonged runup in energy prices and sharp drop in housing activity. For now, neither scenario is envisioned.

Contributing: Reuters --- USA Today ~ Associated Press **
Economy rebounds with 4.8% annual growth rate in Q1; inflation weakens

Also at:
NY Times ~ David Leonhardt and Vikas Bajaj ** U.S. Economy Still Expanding at Rapid Pace

Posted by yaahoo_2006iest at 1:51 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 28 April 2006 1:58 PM EDT
Wednesday, 26 April 2006
New Home Sales Rebound Strongly in March
Mood:  party time!
Now Playing: BUSH'S FAULT
Topic: News

New Home Sales Rebound Strongly in March

WASHINGTON - Sales of new homes soared in March by the largest amount in 13 years, reflecting a rebound from bad weather in February. But the median price of the homes sold last month actually declined, providing evidence that the nation's five-year housing boom is slowing.

The Commerce Department reported that sales of new single-family homes rose 13.8 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual sales rate of 1.213 million units. The increase represented a recovery from a 10.9 percent plunge in sales in February.

But the median price of homes sold in March dropped to $224,200, down 2.2 percent from what homes were selling for in March 2005. It marked the first time home prices dropped over a 12-month period since December 2003.

The median price, the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less, also showed a decline in March when compared to February, falling by 6.5 percent.

Home prices last year were soaring as anxious buyers bid more to get into a sizzling home market. However, analysts believe that sales, which set records for five straight years, will decline in 2006 as the housing boom cools under the impact of rising mortgage rates.

Home sales were up in all areas of the country led by a 35.7 percent surge in the West. Sales rose 10.9 percent in the Midwest, 6.9 percent in the South and 4.7 percent in the Northeast.

In other economic news, the government reported that orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods soared by 6.1 percent in March, the largest amount in 10 months, as heavy demand for new jetliners by foreign countries helped boost the manufacturing sector.

The 6.1 percent increase in orders for durable goods followed a 2.7 percent rise in March and was the biggest advance since a 7.3 percent increase in May 2005. It was more than three times the 1.8 percent increase that Wall Street had been expecting. Two-thirds of the gain reflected a 71.1 percent jump in demand for commercial aircraft.

The manufacturing sector has been powering ahead in recent months, helped by efforts to restock lean inventories and a desire on the part of many companies to purchase new equipment to expand and modernize.

In contrast to the big surge in new home sales in March, sales of previously owned homes edged up a much smaller 0.3 percent, according to a report Tuesday from the National Association of Realtors. The number of existing homes remaining for sale at the end of March hit an all-time high, which analysts believe will be a factor further depressing prices in coming months.

The number of new homes remaining on the market in March also hit a new high, climbing to 555,000, up 2.8 percent from February. That represents 5.5 months' supply at the March sales pace.

The 6.1 percent rise in durable goods orders reflected an increase of $13.3 billion, which pushed total new orders to $230.6 billion last month. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders would have risen by 2.8 percent.

Economists believe that the overall economy rebounded strongly in the first three months of this year after a lull in the final three months of 2005 with part of the momentum being supplied by the manufacturing sector.

Many economists believe the economy grew at an annual rate approaching 5 percent in the January-March quarter, up from a modest 1.7 percent growth rate in the October-December period. The government will release its first look at first quarter growth on Friday.

Demand for all transportation items rose by 14 percent, an increase that was powered by the 71.1 percent jump in orders for civilian aircraft. Boeing Co. reported that it had booked orders for 112 new planes during the month.

Orders for motor vehicles and parts rose by 2.8 percent while orders for military aircraft fell by 0.7 percent.

Breitbart.com ~ Associated Press - Martin Crutsinger ** New Home Sales Rebound Strongly in March

Posted by yaahoo_2006iest at 10:51 PM EDT
Thursday, 20 April 2006
Afghani Taliban commander shot in night raid
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: News

Libtards all over America are suffering in silent mourning...

Taliban commander shot in night raid

QALAT, Afghanistan (April 18) -- A Taliban senior commander has been killed and two other militants have been captured during a raid by police in the southeastern Afghan province of Zabul.

The police, having received a tip that the militants were planning an attack on Qalat, the provincial capital, surrounded the band Monday night, shooting Mohamad Haleem and arresting two of his accomplices, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

Local authorities said Haleem and his men were responsible for many attacks on government officials and schools in the province.

Zabul province, which borders Pakistan, has been the site of numerous attacks in recent months and even now has many Taliban supporters. Mullah Abdul Salim "Rocketi," a notorious Taliban commander, ran and won a seat in Parliament from Zabul province.

United Press International ** Taliban commander shot in night raid

Posted by yaahoo_2006iest at 1:58 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 20 April 2006 2:00 PM EDT

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