Anti-Romney Can Still Win GOP Race; Michael Moore Popular in Iran

Sunday, 15 Jan 2012 02:53 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Pundits: GOP Race Far From Over
2. Hackers Wage Israeli-Saudi Credit Card Cyberwar
3. Unemployment Far Worse Than Official Rate
4. Egyptian Tycoon Faces Mickey Mouse Charge — Literally
5. Cities Wasting Millions on Convention Facilities
6. We Heard: Chris Matthews, Michael Moore, Rupert Murdoch
 

1. Pundits: GOP Race Far From Over

Political observers were quick to anoint Mitt Romney as the prohibitive favorite in the Republican presidential race after his wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, and to predict that a Romney win in South Carolina will effectively end the GOP campaign.

Not so fast, say two elections experts.

"There is a group mentality after every election that something is decisive. And the reality is, it's not," said Michael McDonald, director of the elections project at George Mason University.

"These things can change and can drag on for a while," he told U.S. News & World Report's Washington Whispers column.

In fact, an InsiderAdvantage poll completed on Wednesday showed that Newt Gingrich has now surged to a statistical tie with Romney in South Carolina.

Only 368,495 people have taken part in the GOP caucuses in Iowa and the New Hampshire primary. John McCain received nearly 60 million votes in the 2008 White House election, so only .61 percent of the number who cast ballots for McCain have had a chance to vote for Romney.

"It's remarkable how the political community tries to shut down the nominating process after just a couple of unrepresentative small states have voted," said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

To illustrate how these two early states are unrepresentative of the nation as a whole, Washington Whispers pointed out that just 1 percent of New Hampshire residents are black and 3 percent are Hispanic, while nationally 12 percent are black and 16 percent Hispanic.

But Sabato says the rush to judgment after the very early votes "is par for the course every four years."

Editor's Note:



2. Hackers Wage Israeli-Saudi Credit Card Cyberwar

An Israeli teenager identified only as "OxOmer" has launched a cyberwar counterattack against Arab hackers who recently divulged tens of thousands of Israeli credit card numbers on the Internet.

The 17-year-old Israeli hacker has published hundreds of Saudi credit card numbers and threatens to publish many more if Israelis are victimized by Arab hackers again.

"This is just the beginning," OxOmer told The Jerusalem Post.

"We have over 300 Saudi credit card numbers in our possession and over 10,000 personal details of people in Saudi Arabia, including full names, emails, and addresses. If they publish one more little detail on Israel, we will attack in full force and publish all of the credit card details."

Israeli credit card companies and the Bank of Israel had to scramble to quickly disable credit card numbers compromised by a hacker claiming to be Saudi. Now Saudi banks will have to take the same steps to protect their customers, The Post reported.

OxOmer said he belongs to a four-member team of hackers who call themselves Israel Defenders.

The Israeli hackers at this stage are interested only in sending a warning to anti-Israel hackers, and have not provided credit card information that can be used to make fraudulent purchases, he added.

"I didn't publicize the three-digit number at the back of the card [necessary for online shopping]."

But he warned that if Israelis continue to be targeted, Israel Defenders will publish hundreds of credit card numbers along with the three-digit codes.

Editor's Note:



3. Unemployment Far Worse Than Official Rate

The method used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to calculate the official unemployment rate understates the real unemployment problem by a significant margin.

The official rate stood at 5 percent in January 2008, shot to a high of 10.1 percent in October 2009, and came down to the current rate of 8.6 percent — still 3 points above the 1948-2007 average of 5.6 percent.

"Unfortunately, the reality is even worse than these numbers suggest," according to American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Aparna Mathur and Matt Jensen, an economic researcher at AEI.

In an article on the RealClearMarkets website, they point out that the BLS defines the labor force as those who are employed or those who have actively looked for a job within the past four weeks. The rate calculation therefore excludes workers who have stopped seeking work, and employees who settle for part-time jobs because they cannot find full-time employment.

But the Bureau of Labor Statistics also publishes an alternative measure of unemployment, referred to as the "U-6 rate," that includes those who have looked for work in the past 12 months and those who work part-time even though they would like full-time jobs.

"The U-6 rate offers a clear picture of how precarious a situation we are in," the authors declare.

That rate has moved from 8.8 percent in December 2007 to 17.4 percent in October 2009 and 15.6 percent last November. So the gap between the official rate and the U-6 rate is a hefty 7 percentage points.

Also, more than 5.7 million Americans have been out of work for more than 27 weeks — 43 percent of all unemployed.

"The tremendous increase in long-term unemployment is one factor driving the unprecedented disparity between the official measure of unemployment and the alternative measure," the authors write.

Expectations of higher tax rates and uncertainty over new regulations are encouraging businesses to hold off hiring full-time workers and instead offer part-time and temporary jobs, they say, adding: "The main challenge facing the Obama administration is to improve the employment situation. An easy way to start is by restoring faith in the economy and providing certainty about the future in the minds of consumers and businesses."

Editor's Note:



4. Egyptian Tycoon Faces Mickey Mouse Charge — Literally

A Christian telecom tycoon in Egypt, Naguib Sawiris, faces a trial and possible jail sentence over a Twitter message he sent featuring images of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.

A prosecutor in Cairo on Monday ordered Sawiris to appear in court on a charge of contempt of Islam. Sawiris tweeted a cartoon of Mickey Mouse sporting a beard and Minnie wearing a face veil, sparking outrage among Islamist Egyptians who considered the tweet an insult to their religion.

Sawiris is the founder of the firm Orascom Telecom, which merged with a Russian company last year to form one of the world's largest telecommunications groups, the Financial Times reported.

The mogul — a critic of Islamist parties — apologized several times for the tweet, saying he had not intended to demean Islam or Muslims. He claims he has been singled out because he is a Christian.

Thousands of subscribers to the mobile phone operator Sawiris founded have switched to other companies to protest the cartoons.

Human rights activists view the decision to try Sawiris as an ominous sign. "These types of cases had stopped for many years," said Gasser Abdel Razek, associate director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. "It is worrying to see them resurfacing again. The Islamists now have a big presence in political life."

Sawiris founded Free Egyptians, a liberal party, after the ouster of longtime Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak last year, according to the Times.

But Freedom and Justice, the party of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Nour, an ultra-conservative Islamist party, have garnered two-thirds of the vote in the ongoing Egyptian elections.

Editor's Note:



5. Cities Wasting Millions on Convention Facilities

American cities have increasingly been spending tax dollars to build and expand convention center space — at the same time the number of convention attendees has been falling.

"The result has been a gigantic nationwide surplus of empty meeting facilities, struggling convention centers, and vacant hotel rooms," according to Steven Malanga, senior editor of City Journal and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

"Given the glut, you'd think that cities would stop. Instead, many are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to expand convention centers and open yet more dazzling hotels, arguing that whatever convention business remains will flow to the places with the fanciest amenities."

In 2000, conventions and meetings drew 126 million attendees, but that figure had dropped to just 86 million in 2010. Meanwhile, available convention space rose from 40 million square feet to 70 million over the past two decades.

Malanga cites the example of Boston, which spent $230 million to renovate its convention center in the late 1980s, then shelled out $800 million for a new center, projecting that it would produce about 670,000 hotel room rentals a year by 2009. The center opened in 2004, and the number of annual room rentals it has generated has barely topped 300,000.

Nevertheless, Boston tourism officials are now proposing to spend $2 billion to double the center's size and add a convention hotel.

Similarly, Baltimore opened a $300 million city-owned convention hotel in 2008. The hotel lost $11 million last year, but Baltimore is considering a $900 million public-private expansion that would include an arena, another convention hotel, and massive new convention space. The taxpayers' tab would be $400 million.

Malanga points to "the failure of publicly sponsored facilities to live up to exaggerated projections. As far as city officials are concerned, that failure is nothing that hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars can't fix."

Editor's Note:



6. We Heard...

THAT Chris Matthews may have been guilty of a Freudian slip during Wednesday's telecast of "Hardball" on MSNBC.

He told listeners: "First lady Michelle Obama pushes back against a new book she says tries to portray her as an angry black woman. We're going to listen to it. Here it is, รข€˜Hardball,' coming back in just a moment on M-BS-NBC."

The NewsBusters website observed: "Is Chris Matthews subconsciously starting to realize he represents a so-called cable news network that routinely plays fast and loose with the facts?"

THAT uber-liberal documentary filmmaker Michael Moore has fans in Iran — lots of them.

At a recent screening in New York of Asghar Farhadi's new movie "A Separation," the acclaimed Iranian director spotted the "Fahrenheit 9/11" gadfly in the audience and said: "Michael Moore is the most famous director in Iran."

He said everyone in Iran is familiar with Moore because his movies are shown on Iranian national TV.

THAT Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is seeking to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team — again.

News Corp., which owned the Dodgers from 1998 to 2004, on Tuesday signed a nondisclosure agreement with bankers handling the sale of the bankrupt franchise.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the media conglomerate doesn't want to regain full ownership of the Dodgers, and instead is looking to become a minority investor to better its chances of retaining the team's lucrative TV broadcasting rights. News Corp.'s Fox unit owns the sports network Prime Ticket, the Dodgers' current local broadcast partner, but that deal expires after the 2013 season.

Note: Newsmax magazine is now available on the iPad. Find us in the App Store.

Editor's Note:



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