Daily links 20/01/11

CNN Poll: Palin unfavorable rating at all-time high

Washington (CNN) — A new national poll indicates that 56% of all Americans have an unfavorable view of Sarah Palin, an all-time high for the former Alaska governor. That 56% unfavorable figure is up seven points from just before the midterm elections, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Wednesday morning. Thirty-eight percent of people questioned in the poll say they have a favorable view of the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, down two points from October. Link to full story.

19 Facts About The Deindustrialization Of America That Will Blow Your Mind

Tens of thousands of factories have left the United States in the past decade alone. Millions upon millions of manufacturing jobs have been lost in the same time period. The United States has become a nation that consumes everything in sight and yet produces increasingly little. Do you know what our biggest export is today? Waste paper. Yes, trash is the number one thing that we ship out to the rest of the world as we voraciously blow our money on whatever the rest of the world wants to sell to us. Link to full story.

Remain Watchful of China’s Ascent

Recent public disclosures, including the revealing article that ran in this magazine about China rolling out its first known stealth aircraft (AW&ST Jan. 3, p. 18), will keep military strategists and interested observers in the West busy for a long time trying to accurately establish the full implications—accurately being the operative word. U.S. intelligence knew about the J-20, but not that it would begin taxi tests in December. The twin-engine, single-seat aircraft bears a striking resemblance to the F-22. Moreover, it is considerably larger than the U.S.’s most advanced air superiority fighter, implying long range, a generous internal fuel capacity and heavy weapons loads. Still to be determined is whether the aircraft is a prototype or a technology demonstrator.

What we do know is that China attaches enormous importance to science and technology—it is educating many more engineers and scientists than any Western country, including the U.S.—and it is funneling huge amounts of money into defense. So it is not surprising that some people are unnerved by the idea that China is well down the path toward achieving a new level of technical maturity and military capability. Link to full story.

Welfare in Singapore

Our welfare system is stingy to the poor. The numbers speak for themselves. In FY2009, MCYS was allocated only $183.6 million (or 0.4%) out of an entire government budget of $43.6 billion to “assist vulnerable groups”, much of which went to fund self-help groups, and run programmes like active ageing projects, rather than placing cash in the hands of the needy. There are only 3,000 who qualify for Public Assistance of $360 a month. Is it really possible that there are only 3,000 people in Singapore with no sources of income? Link to full story

Traffic Camera Companies Renew Push in Indiana

Members of Indiana General Assembly leadership introduce legislation promoting photo enforcement. The residents of six cities with a combined population of over 2.7 million voted last year to outlaw the use of automated ticketing machines on their streets. The photo enforcement industry is now working overtime to make up for lost ground by expanding operations into states where neither red light cameras nor speed cameras have been well received. Lobbyists are hopeful that Indiana could be the next state to reconsider.

Powerful members of the General Assembly earlier this month introduced legislation to authorize the use of traffic cameras. House Majority Leader William C. Friend (R-Elkhart) introduced House Bill 1199 authorizing the widespread use of speed cameras. Senate Majority Caucus Chairman Jim Merrit (R-Marion County) authored a companion measure, Senate Bill 527, legalizing red light cameras. Photo ticketing vendor Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) has given lawmakers $51,650 with most of the funds directed to the House and Senate Republican campaign committees and Republican Governor Mitch Daniels. Link to full story.

Defending the English Defense League

Although defamed as a “neo-fascist organization” responsible for targeting “all Muslim people simply for being who they are,” nothing could be further from the case. The EDL warns of a dark and troubling future in which Shari’a courts become part of Western legal systems, no-go zones spread through our cities, and Islamic violence increasingly becomes a norm of daily life. In effect, the EDL sees Luton as the potential face of 21rst century Europe and a harbinger of the destabilization of Canada and the United States. This is a message that does not sit well with militant left-wing organizations, such as Unite Against Fascism in the U.K., so-called Human Rights groups such as the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and the ridiculously named Queers Against Israeli Apartheid in Canada, and even the TSA in the U.S. Link to full story

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