Saturday, October 25, 2014

It's not safe being a microbiologist

In light of the growing fear over the Ebola virus, it might be worthwhile to note that by mid-2009, nearly 100 scientists around the world most of them microbiologists had died, many under suspicious circumstances.

Researcher Mark J. Harper compiled the following list. "While some of these deaths may be purely coincidental and seem to pose no connection, many of these deaths are highly suspicious and appear not to be random acts of violence. Many are just plain murders," commented Harper.

While it is understood that not everyone on this list died an unnatural death, the sheer number and scope is breathtaking. This compilation of biologist and microbiologist deaths indeed causes one to wonder if someone, somewhere does not want men and women alive who may see through pandemic scare tactics and, worse yet from their standpoint, be able to produce effective antidotes.

More here

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Who says there's no good news?

NPR has gutted its staff dedicated to covering environmental and climate issues. Given the nation’s and world’s renewed focus on the threat posed by unrestricted carbon pollution, this baffling move is already receiving widespread criticism from scientists and media watchers. It is "a sad commentary on the current state of our media," as one top climatologist told me.

Katherine Bagley broke the story for InsideClimate News. She reports that earlier in 2014, NPR "had three full-time reporters and one editor dedicated" to cover environmental and climate issues within NPR’s science desk. Now, shockingly, "One remains and he is covering it only part-time."

More here

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British law is not valid in UK

RADICAL cleric Anjem Choudary sparked fury today by declaring he 'doesn't accept' that British law is valid in the UK.

Anjem Choudary has backed ISIS and claimed UK law is not valid in Britain[PA]

The 46-year-old hate preacher made the extraordinary statement when asked if jihadist fighters returning from Syria should have their passports confiscated and be charged under anti-terror laws.

Choudary blasted: "I don't accept British law. If you have a law, you need to apply it universally. These laws are only being applied against Muslims.

"This [anti-terror legislation] is purely being hyped-up to support the bombing campaign that is taking place in Iraq and Syria."

He also spoke of his support for Islamic State (ISIS) and claimed a ban on jihadists returning to Britain would 'alienate' the Muslim community.

More here
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Liars 'R Us

New records contradict the Obama administration's assurances to Congress and the public that the 2,200 people it freed from immigration jails last year to save money had only minor criminal records.

The records, obtained by USA TODAY, show immigration officials released some undocumented immigrants who had faced far more serious criminal charges, including people charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking and homicide.

The release sparked a furor in Congress. Republican lawmakers accused the Obama administration of setting dangerous criminals free. In response, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it had released "low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal records," a claim the administration repeated to the public and to members of Congress.

The new records, including spreadsheets and hundreds of pages of e-mails, offer the most detailed information yet about the people ICE freed as it prepared for steep, across-the-government spending cuts in February 2013. They show that although two-thirds of the people who were freed had no criminal records, several had been arrested or convicted on charges more severe than the administration had disclosed.

More here
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TB is new scare, WHO wants more money

Nearly half a million more people have tuberculosis than was previously estimated, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, adding to the 9 million people who developed the disease in 2013.

The epidemic killed 1.5 million people in 2013, including 360,000 people who were HIV positive, according to the WHO. The disease has been declining, however, by a rate of 1.5% per year, while its mortality rates have dropped 45% since 1990.

"Following a concerted effort by countries, by WHO and by multiple partners, investment in national surveys and routine surveillance efforts has substantially increased," said Dr. Mario Raviglione, director of the WHO’s Global Tuberculosis Program. "This is providing us with much more and better data, bringing us closer and closer to understanding the true burden of tuberculosis."

The WHO said $8 billion is needed each year to combat the epidemic, but there’s currently a $2 billion annual shortfall.

More here

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Global warming just won't die

Environmentalist attempts to showcase Republican support for "climate action" this summer may be backfiring because of one former political appointee. The Environmental Protection Agency’s first-ever chief administrator may have lied to a congressional committee about his ties to environmental groups.

William Ruckelshaus was appointed to be the EPA’s first administrator in 1970. He quickly gained renown among environmentalists for banning the chemical DDT, which he said could cause cancer.

In June, Ruckleshaus along with three other former Republican-appointed EPA chiefs, was brought before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to testify on the urgent need to address global warming.

During the hearing, Ruckelshaus and the other former EPA chiefs opined on the need to make major policy changes to stop global warming. Ruckelshaus later complained in an interview that global warming "is just so polarized." He told E&E News that "Republicans on that committee it’s a completely ideological position they take."

More here

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Conservatives outnumber Liberals?

Every national poll by every recognized polling organization shows that conservatives dramatically outnumber liberals in America. For a covertly leftist establishment media, complete with organs of subtle propaganda and selective misinformation, the best strategy for handling the uncomfortable fact of a conservative majority in America is to hide or at least contort it.

Treating conservatives like a despised minority is the very heart of leftist demonology. The left purports to represent America and claims vast powers because it is the champion of ordinary people. Terms like "radical right wing" and "extreme conservative" are the essence of leftist rhetoric. It is inconceivable that any establishment organization would deliberately inflate the perceived strength of conservatism in America. If conservatives are the majority in America, then the establishment will hide that fact or cover it up with as much meaningless glop as possible.

Witness the Politico poll just released in mid-October. Skim down to Question 31, asking respondents to identify themselves ideologically: "Liberal" 17%, "Moderate" 44%, "Conservative" 38%, and "Declined to Answer" 1%. If that is true, then the left is a small minority in America, but conservatives are not a majority. But Question 32 pushes the ideological envelope, asking moderates which way they "lean" "Liberal" 25%, "Moderate" 45%, "Conservative" 28%, and "Declined to Answer" 2%.

More here

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Secession in Florida?

When a region wants to break away from its state or from the U.S.whether we're talking about Texas, Vermont, or the former Confederate statesit's usually because of government, politics, and money. But for the city of South Miami, which earlier this month passed a resolution to separate southern from northern Florida, the main concern is climate change.

North and South Florida have had their differences for decades, says Walter Harris, vice mayor of South Miami. South Florida is largely urban and leans left, he says, whereas the northwhere the capital, Tallahassee, is locatedis mostly rural and much more conservative.

These long-standing political divisions are further fueled by an economic imbalance: According to the resolution for independence, 69 percent of Florida's 22 billion dollars of tax revenue comes from the 24 counties in the southern part of the state.

But the recent acceleration of climate change is what drove Harris, who put forward the resolution for independence earlier this month, to action.

More here

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Quote of the day

Change Washington Redskins logo to severely sunburned white person.
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Military transgenders, of course

Transgender military personnel from 18 countries across the world gathered today to talk about their experiences and discuss whether the US military could join them.

The conference attendees, who are all from militaries that allow transgender service, gathered in Washington, DC.

The gathering, Perspectives on Transgender Military Service from Around the Globe, is the first-ever and largest international conference of transgender military service members on US soil.

An estimated 15,500 transgender individuals currently serve in the US military, but they are banned by Pentagon rules from serving, and if their identity is discovered, the military is required to discharge them.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) supports the elimination of rules that ban transgender people from openly serving in the military, her office told the Washington Blade.

Drew Hammill, a Pelosi spokesperson, told the Blade on Friday she believes gender identity should not be a factor in prohibiting Americans from serving in the military.

'Leader Pelosi believes there is no place for discrimination in the U.S. Armed Forces, including on the basis of gender identity,' Hammill said.

Earlier this year a report found there is 'no compelling medical reason' for U.S. armed forced to ban transgender Americans from serving.

More here

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Cloward Piven

It is time to cast aside all remaining doubt. President Obama is not trying to lead America forward to recovery, prosperity and strength. Quite the opposite, in fact.

In September of last year, American Thinker published my article, Barack Obama and the Strategy of Manufactured Crisis. Part of a series, it connected then-presidential candidate Barack Obama to individuals and organizations practicing a malevolent stategy for destroying our economy and our system of government. Since then, the story of that strategy has found its way across the blogosphere, onto the airwaves of radio stations across the country, the Glenn Beck television show, Bill O'Reilly, and now Mark Levin.
The methodology is known as the Cloward-Piven Strategy, and we can all be grateful to David Horowitz and his Discover the Networks for originally exposing and explaining it to us. He describes it as:

The strategy of forcing political change through orchestrated crisis. The "Cloward-Piven Strategy" seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.

Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven were two lifelong members of Democratic Socialists of America who taught sociology at Columbia University (Piven later went on to City University of New York). In a May 1966 Nation magazine article titled "The Weight of the Poor," they outlined their strategy, proposing to use grassroots radical organizations to push ever more strident demands for public services at all levels of government.

More here

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

No voter fraud, eh? Big ass lie?

Many liberals are adamant there is no threat of voter fraud that justifies efforts to improve the integrity of elections. "There is no real concrete evidence of voter fraud," tweeted Donna Brazile, former acting chair of the Democratic National Committee, this week. "It’s a big ass lie."

James O’Keefe, the guerilla filmmaker who brought down the ACORN voter-registration fraudsters in 2010 and forced the resignation of NPR executives, politely disagrees. Today, he is releasing some new undercover footage that raises disturbing questions about ballot integrity in Colorado, the site of fiercely contested races for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, and the governorship. When he raised the issue of filling out some of the unused ballots that are mailed to every household in the state this month, he was told by Meredith Hicks, the director of Work for Progress, a liberal group funded by Democratic Super PACS.: "That is not even like lying or something, if someone throws out a ballot, like if you want to fill it out you should do it." She then brazenly offered O’Keefe, disguised as a middle-aged college instructor, a job with her group.

The video of O’Keefe’s encounters with other operatives is equally disturbing. He has a conversation with Greenpeace employee Christina Topping, and suggests he might have access to unused ballots from people who have recently moved out of college fraternity houses. "I mean it is putting the votes to good use," she responds. "So really, truly, like yeah, that is awesome."

More here

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Quote of the day

Today communist China is becoming more capitalistic and the US is becoming more socialist. As a result, socialist China is becoming more prosperous and the US is approaching a fiscal cliff. Poverty is being reduced in China and poverty is on the rise in the US under Barack Obama.
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Headline of the day

Headline of the day Most published medical research is FALSE -- 85% of research funding WASTED, says Stanford study
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Liberals against homeschooling

Between deciphering college financial aid awards and settling into a shoe-box sized dorm room with a perfect stranger or two, making the move from high school to college can be a shock to the system for even the most put-together teenager.

The transition, many may assume, would be even more jarring for students coming from a home-schooled environment.

"Transitioning from home school to college can be a daunting experience, especially with the lack of socialization that is associated with home schooling," says Los Angeles-based therapist Karen Hylen, who counsels people she says have not made the transition successfully.

But parents and students from the home-schooling community say the nontraditional method yields teens that are more independent and therefore better prepared for college life.

More here
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A doctor who likes Medicare

I know. I know. Medicare is the insurance that all of us love to hate. But being both an internist and geriatrician, I have learned to see the good side of the sometimes annoying government program for several reasons:

1. Medicare’s fee schedule. It’s bad, but not that bad. Sure, Medicare’s fee schedule has only increased 3.1% over the past 12 years, while practice costs (based on the Medicare Economic Index) have increased 30% during that period. But are other insurances that much better? For many insurance plans, the gap between Medicare and private insurance fee schedules is only 5-10%, and it is rarely more than 35%.

2. Medicare patients are nicer. Elderly patients, who make up 85% of Medicare, are generally felt to be more respectful, more compliant, and more likely to show up and be on time for an appointment. Since most elderly are retired, their schedules are flexible for appointments and they have more time to follow our recommendations, especially when it comes to diet and exercise.

3. Medicare patients have more interesting problems. The multiple chronic problems that elderly patients have can be challenging, but they are also more interesting to deal with than dozens of sore throats and URI’s. Good physicians respect a challenge.

More here 

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Calibration error

Early voting in Illinois got off to a rocky start Monday, as votes being cast for Republican candidates were transformed into votes for Democrats.

Republican state representative candidate Jim Moynihan went to vote Monday at the Schaumburg Public Library.

"I tried to cast a vote for myself and instead it cast the vote for my opponent," Moynihan said. "You could imagine my surprise as the same thing happened with a number of races when I tried to vote for a Republican and the machine registered a vote for a Democrat."

The conservative website Illinois Review reported that "While using a touch screen voting machine in Schaumburg, Moynihan voted for several races on the ballot, only to find that whenever he voted for a Republican candidate, the machine registered the vote for a Democrat in the same race. He notified the election judge at his polling place and demonstrated that it continued to cast a vote for the opposing candidate’s party. Moynihan was eventually allowed to vote for Republican candidates, including his own race.

More here

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hmmmm

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) employee in Ohio has been charged with stealing sensitive information from a federal database for the nation's dams and lying about the breach to federal agents, prosecutors said.

Xiafen "Sherry" Chen, 59, was arrested on Monday at the NOAA office in Wilmington, Ohio, about 50 miles northeast of Cincinnati, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Ohio said in a statement on Monday.

Chen was charged with theft, illegally accessing a federal database and two counts of making false statements to investigators. She could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison if convicted on the theft charge and five years each if convicted on the other charges, prosecutors said.

More here

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End of cable TV?

If you look at the economics of most cable channels, they can’t exist without cable fees. By that I mean without the buck per month or so they get from your cable bill, they go out of business. ESPN, for example, is on everyone’s cable service and the fee is something like $5 a month. They get close to seven billion a year from those fees, despite the fact only 20% of homes watch ESPN. If we ever went to a la carte pricing or pure pay per view, ESPN folds up shop. They only generate about two billion in ad revenue. If they survived, it would be a much different format. They would not be paying the NBA those enormous rights fees either.

A better example is MSNBC. This sob story in the Lunatic Times reports that their best shows draw fewer eyes than late night informercials.

Rachel Maddow, the biggest star on the MSNBC cable network, just posted her lowest quarterly ratings results ever.

"Morning Joe," MSNBC’s signature morning program, scored its second-lowest quarterly ratings, reaching an average of just 87,000 viewers in the key news demographic group.

And "Ronan Farrow Daily," the network’s heavily promoted new afternoon show, which stars a 26-year-old Rhodes Scholar with a high-profile Hollywood lineage, has been largely a dud.

Though it has mostly happened quietly, which may be a comment on the cable network’s larger status in the media landscape, MSNBC has seen its ratings hit one of the deepest skids in its history, with the recently completed third quarter of 2014 generating some record lows.

More here

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Still missing

Frank Lee Morris (September 1, 1926 missing since June 11, 1962) was an American criminal who escaped from Alcatraz prison in June 1962 and was never seen again.

Morris was born in Washington, D.C. He was abandoned by his mother and father at a young age and was orphaned at age 11. He spent most of his early years in jail serving lunch to prisoners. The associate warden's record card at Alcatraz Prison lists his "Crimes Involved" as "Juv. Deliq.-2; Runaways-2; Breaking & Entering-1; Burglary-1; Narcotics & Armed Robbery-1; Unlawful Flight, Mann Act, & Bank Robbery-1." Morris is said to have an IQ of 133, which is in the top 3%.

On January 3, 1960, Morris was shipped to Alcatraz, where he became prisoner AZ1441. Morris reportedly began devising his escape within a year of his arrival at Alcatraz. There were three others involved: John Anglin, his brother Clarence Anglin and Allen West (who may have masterminded the plot but was the only conspirator who did not participate in the escape, as he was unable to finish removing the ventilator grill in his cell in time to join the escape when it was eventually carried out). The escape was long and complicated. Over a period of two years, Morris, West and the Anglin brothers created a raft and lifelike dummies, and stole tools to dig with. So many escape materials had been used by the conspirators that they had created a workshop above their cell row.

Allen West was cleaning above their cell row and asked prison guards if he could cover the area with blankets. West explained his cleaning area was extremely dusty and dust was falling down on the prison floor. These blankets completely covered West's workshop area. By May 1962, they had dug through the vents at the back of the cells, working in shifts, with someone keeping lookout while others dug. On the night of June 11, 1962, the attempt went ahead. The group placed the dummies in their beds, escaped through the vents at the back of their cells and into the utility corridor. They then proceeded onto the roof and down to the bay. There they boarded the raft they had constructed and disappeared into the night.

More here

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Is the Western model outdated?

"So far, the 21st century has been a rotten one for the western model," according to a new book, The Fourth Revolution, by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge. This seems an extraordinary admission from two editors of the Economist, the flag-bearer of English liberalism, which has long insisted that the non-west could only achieve prosperity and stability through western prescriptions. It almost obscures the fact that the 20th century was blighted by the same pathologies that today make the western model seem unworkable, and render its fervent advocates a bit lost. The most violent century in human history, it was hardly the best advertisement for the "bland fanatics of western civilisation", as the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr called them at the height of the cold war, "who regard the highly contingent achievements of our culture as the final form and norm of human existence".

Niebuhr was critiquing a fundamentalist creed that has coloured our view of the world for more than a century: that western institutions of the nation-state and liberal democracy will be gradually generalised around the world, and that the aspiring middle classes created by industrial capitalism will bring about accountable, representative and stable governments that every society, in short, is destined to evolve just as the west did. Critics of this teleological view, which defines "progress" exclusively as development along western lines, have long perceived its absolutist nature. Secular liberalism, the Russian thinker Alexander Herzen cautioned as early as 1862, "is the final religion, though its church is not of the other world but of this". But it has had many presumptive popes and encyclicals: from the 19th-century dream of a westernised world long championed by the Economist, in which capital, goods, jobs and people freely circulate, to Henry Luce’s proclamation of an "American century" of free trade, and "modernisation theory" the attempt by American cold warriors to seduce the postcolonial world away from communist-style revolution and into the gradualist alternative of consumer capitalism and democracy.

More here

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Past leftist policies never undone

The issue is not about "making inroads into the middle class" but about set the political agenda and building support for a complete reversal of direction and re-establishment of the America we all grew up in. That is a big job but it is desperately needed. How does a big job get done by a cowardly party? How do you build support for a 180 degree turn by running on the platform that "we are not him"?

Robert Bork in Slouching Toward Gomorrah described how the country always moves left under Democrats and sometimes this halted temporarily when Republicans win the Presidency, but the prior leftist policies are never undone, just put on hold. Then the advance begins next time, like when Hillary is elected. And why shouldn't she be, since Republicans have put forth absolutely nothing in terms of a contrasting philosophy of governance. The best argument for a new Party to replace the Republican Party is the Republican Party. It stands for nothing except the destruction of the Tea Party. And this at a time when the only people speaking sensibly in the face of our current crisis are Tea Party people.

Source

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

One-party state

If I never hear the names Reza Aslan and Bill Maher again, that would be just fine with me, but nonetheless, this ongoing controversy is highly illuminating in numerous ways. One thing it exposes is how absolutely one-sided the mainstream media is: after Maher left the reservation, mainstream media publications vied with one another to condemn him, putting out an avalanche of articles about how he was wrong about Islam. Nary a single article appeared in any mainstream outlet saying yes, Maher is right, there is a problem with Islam. Nary a one. We ostensibly have a free press, and yet again and again on this issue and others it marches in absolute unbroken lockstep. The media storm over our latest AFDI bus ads was the same way: there was a blizzard of articles all over the world about our ads, and not a single one in any mainstream publication was favorable.

For whatever reason, we do not have a free press. On the issue of Islam and jihad the mainstream press is a one-party state, with a few dissenting voices allowed now and again on Fox. Another aspect of this is that what the mainstream does present about Islam is very often flatly false, as here. Aslan claims that "the very first thing that Muhammad did was outlaw slavery." Let’s look at the record....

More here

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Deceit and corruption at the DOJ

The New York Observer reports that two former Assistant United States Attorneys say the Holder Justice Department engaged in deceit and corruption of justice in connection with the DOJ’s litigation against Sierra Pacific Industries, a California lumber company.

As a result of the allegations, a federal district judge has ordered the recusal from the case of every judge in the Eastern District of California. He reasons that the court may have been defrauded by the government, thus requiring the appointment of an outside judge to handle the matter going forward.

The Holder DOJ brought the case against Sierra Pacific for allegedly being responsible for a wildfire that destroyed 65,000 acres in California. Sierra Pacific maintained that the fire started elsewhere and that state and federal investigators and DOJ attorneys lied about the origin of the fire so they would have a "deep pocket" from which to collect millions of dollars.

Nonetheless, as litigants confronted by the power of the federal government are wont to do, the company settled the case. It agreed to pay $55 million to the United States over a period of five years and to give up 22,500 acres of land.

More here

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Quote of the day

"It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled." --Mark Twain
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Filth

Since the beginning of time, the sentient, civilized person has strived to distance himself from filth, and for unarguably rational reasons. Filth is parasites, dysentery, disease, decay, putrescence all of which shorten lifespan and infuse what lifespan there is with misery.

More here

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Canada's summer of pension discontent

This summer, Montreal residents witnessed a strange sight: local police abandoned their traditional uniform pants and instead donned casual attire, ranging from camouflage and fluorescent-colored trousers to multicolored slacks. Some cops bizarrely even donned skirts. The dressing down was all done to show cops’ anger at the Quebec provincial government’s proposals to cut the costs of municipal pensions by getting workers to contribute more toward their retirement.

Call it Canada’s summer of pension discontent. Governments throughout the country are grappling with as much as $300 billion in unfunded government-worker retirement debt. In a country of just 38.5 million people, that’s a pension problem roughly equivalent to the one that California faces. And it’s widely shared.

Municipalities throughout Quebec, for instance, owe some $4 billion in retirement promises that have yet to be funded, prompting the province’s new Liberal government to demand this summer that workers pay more to bolster the system. A new report on the finances of Ontario’s government-owned utilities revealed their pensions to be unsustainable without deep subsidies from Canadian electricity customers. For every dollar that workers contribute toward their retirement, government-owned utilities now spend on average about four dollars, raised through electric billsthough the cost is even higher at some operations. The news is even bleaker at the federal level, where Canada faces more than $200 billion in total retirement debt for public workers, when the cost of future health-care promises made to public-sector workers is combined with pension commitments. One big problem is pension debt at Canada Post, whose budget is so strained that the federal government gave the mail service a four-year reprieve on making payments into its pension system, even though it’s already severely underfunded.

More here

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Abortion, the great equalizer

You would think, from reading the extensive debate about Facebook's and Google’s decisions to subsidize any female employee who wants to freeze her eggs, that the companies were trying to correct an error in nature.

Some might say that they are playing God and trying to correct a design flaw, but, for the purposes of this post, we will say that, from a feminist perspective, egg freezing corrects an injustice that is written into the natural order.

By all evidence, God is not a feminist.

For reasons that continue to escape me, feminists seem to believe that men and women cannot be truly equal until they are exactly the same. In part, this explains why they insist on abortion on demand. They are sorely offended to know that a man can walk away from the reproductive consequences of coital act far more easily than can a woman. Abortion on demand will, to their minds, even things out.

More here

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Rising electric bills, thanks EPA

Complying with the EPA’s proposed carbon emission rules would likely cost Dominion Virginia Power customers alone an extra $5.5 billion to $6 billion, the State Corporation Commission’s staff said in an unusually bluntly worded statement.

The EPA’s proposed regulations would "increase substantially" the bills that all 3.6 million Virginia electricity customers pay for their power, the commission staff said, and could significantly affect the reliability of electric service.

The SCC staff anticipates electricity bills would go up significantly because the federal rules would require much of today’s electricity production be replaced with costly generation and expensive programs to decrease energy use.

More here

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Dirty coal vs non-working renewables

Oh, this is precious. In Madison, Wisconsin, demonstrators gathered outside the Public Service Commission to protest against a requested rate structure change by the local utility company, Madison Gas and Electric (MG&E). During the protest, they decried the use of "dirty coal" and called for more renewable energy. To make their point, they had a blow-up coal power plant that was running on a fan powered by wind and solar charged batteries. Before the protest was over, however, the batteries died and their solar panel could not produce enough energy to keep the power plant standing upright.

More here
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In the Navy

Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden was discharged from the Navy in February after testing positive for cocaine, a person familiar with the case confirmed to ABC News.

The person said Biden had failed a urinalysis test administered in June 2013 before he was discharged from the Navy.

"It was the honor of my life to serve in the U.S .Navy, and I deeply regret and am embarrassed that my actions led to my administrative discharge," Hunter Biden said in a statement distributed through his lawyer. "I respect the Navy's decision. With the love and support of my family, I'm moving forward."

The person familiar with the case said he "was treated no different than any other sailor."

More here

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Recently seen on the net....

Edward Gibbon noted five signs that presaged the collapse of the Roman Empire...

1) Ostentatious displays of wealth.

2) A preoccupation with sex.

3) A huge gap between the rich and the poor.

4) Freakishness in the arts and outlandish enthusiasms pretending to be creativity.

5) A strong desire to live off the state.
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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Is there a difference between Islam and Islamism?

Thirteen years after 9/11, after some 24,000 terror attacks perpetrated by Muslims since that fateful date, after the atrocities carried out and still being carried out by Caliphate-aspiring terrorist militias, after civil wars, incursions, the mass extermination and eviction of Christian populations in Muslim lands and territories, hostage-takings, kidnappings, beheadings, bombings, missile barrages after all this, many Westerners still appear to endorse a strict distinction between Islam and Islamism. The former, we believe or have been led to believe, is a "religion of peace" whose doctrines have been twisted and misinterpreted by a cadre of extremists. Islam, according to this perspective, cannot be held accountable for a band of criminals willfully violating the tenets and premises of a venerable Abrahamic faith.

The claim is unsustainable. Where it is not advanced disingenuously for profit, power or position it is plainly a function of culpable or lazy ignorance or, at best, of a desire to be (or to seem) tolerant and supremely civil. I suspect that the majority of such Western apologists have not cracked a single page of the Koran or perused even a scattering of the ahadith and sirah, where the chasm on which they insist between Islam and Islamism is nowhere to be found. The Koran, in particular, brims with exhortations to violence against unbelievers, which the 1400-year imperial history of Islam has honored to the letter. The religious mandate as well as the empirical practice are undeniably Islamic, not "Islamist" a concept that has no meaning in the theological literature.

Far too many of us cannot bring ourselves to understand that the enemy we are facing is not some fringe minority of "radicals" who are abusing not only their victims but the principles of the faith they proclaim. For one thing, the jihadists and their enablers may be a "minority," but they number in the millions the lowball figure of 1% of the ummah yields 15-16 million; a not unreasonable estimate of 10% gives 150-160 million. Any way you look at it, that’s a lot of people determined to kill you. When one considers that this number amounts to half the population of the United States out for one’s blood, it puts the issue into perspective. For another thing, the shahids and mujahidin know perfectly well how to read their sacred texts, far better than their victims, dupes, extenuators and fellow-travelers who neglect to study either the scriptures or the history of Islam in order to gain a more acute and comprehensive knowledge of the enemy who plots their destruction. Others, of course, have been bought, suborned by donations or bribes and subsidized by petrodollars, or they are trimmers who have capitalized on business interests and opportunities.

More here
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Quote of the day

"Tell the infidels in public we respect your laws and your constitutions, which we Muslims believe that these are as worthless as the paper they are written on. ... The only law we must respect and apply is the Sharia." --Tariq Ramadan
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Rant from 1878

Something ought to be done to Mr. EDISON, and there is a growing conviction that it had better be done with a hemp rope. Mr. EDISON has invented too many things, and almost without exception they are things of the most deleterious character. He has been addicted to electricity for many years, and it is not very long ago that he became notorious for having discovered a new force, though he has since kept it care- fully concealed, either upon his person or elsewhere. Recently he invented the phone- graph, a machine that catches the lightest whisper of conversation and stores it up, so that at any future time it can be brought out, to the confusion of the original speaker. This machine will eventually destroy all confidence between man and man, and render more dangerous than ever woman's want of confidence in woman. No man can feel sure that wherever he may be there is not a concealed phonograph remorseless gathering up his remarks and ready to reproduce them at some future date. Who will be willing, even in the bosom of his family, to express any but most innocuous and colorless views and what woman when calling on a female friend, and waiting for the latter to make her appearance in the drawing-room, will dare to express her opinion of the wretched taste displayed in the furniture, or the hideous appearance of the family photographs ? In the days of persecution and it was said, though with poetical exaggeration, that the walls had ears.

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Amish science

"In the Second World War," Samuel Zook began, "my ancestors were conscientious objectors because we don’t believe in combat." The Amish farmer paused a moment to inspect a mottled leaf on one of his tomato plants before continuing. "If you really stop and think about it, though, when we go out spraying our crops with pesticides, that’s really what we’re doing. It’s chemical warfare, bottom line."

Eight years ago, it was a war that Zook appeared to be losing. The crops on his 66-acre farm were riddled with funguses and pests that chemical treatments did little to reduce. The now-39-year-old talked haltingly about the despair he felt at the prospect of losing a homestead passed down through five generations of his family. Disillusioned by standard agriculture methods, Zook searched fervently for an alternative. He found what he was looking for in the writings of an 18-year-old Amish farmer from Ohio, a man named John Kempf.

Kempf is the unlikely founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture, a consulting firm established in 2006 to promote science-intensive organic agriculture. The entrepreneur’s story is almost identical to Zook’s. A series of crop failures on his own farm drove the 8th grade-educated Kempf to school himself in the sciences. For two years, he pored over research in biology, chemistry, and agronomy in pursuit of a way to save his fields. The breakthrough came from the study of plant immune systems which, in healthy plants, produce an array of compounds that are toxic to intruders. "The immune response in plants is dependent on well-balanced nutrition," Kempf concluded, "in much the same way as our own immune system." Modern agriculture uses fertilizer specifically to increase yields, he added, with little awareness of the nutritional needs of other organic functions. Through plant sap analysis, Kempf has been able to discover deficiencies in important trace minerals which he can then introduce into the soil. With plants able to defend themselves, pesticides can be avoided, allowing the natural predators of pests to flourish.

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A long, full life

Hollywood tends to rehash the same old tales when there are so many amazing stories untold, so many lives unremembered, so many deeds that happened in a vacuum of time. This is one Hollywood missed.

I can’t really tell Bullard’s story here because it is too big. It is a story about a life lived so large, so bravely, so creatively that one would be hard put to find a more interesting one. So I want to introduce you a story not so much about a warrior, but of a man who lived a life uniquely, was so successful at so many things that he fit in with one historic crowd after another, and had skills from combat pilot, to jazz drummer, to boxer, to spy. The precise history of Eugene Bullard is still a mystery as the precise facts are in dispute. Did he shoot down five enemy aircraft or two? Was his father a French speaking slave from Martinique and was his mother a Creek Indian? Did he really travel with an English band of troubadores doing pickaninnie performances? Was he a professional boxer and a professional and influential jazz drummer? The answers are generally "yes" but also depend on whom you ask; but no matter the degree to which he participated in these activities, it is a testament to this Renaissance man.

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The new Luddites

Very few of us can be sure that our jobs will not, in the near future, be done by machines. We know about cars built by robots, cashpoints replacing bank tellers, ticket dispensers replacing train staff, self-service checkouts replacing supermarket staff, telephone operators replaced by "call trees", and so on. But this is small stuff compared with what might happen next.

Nursing may be done by robots, delivery men replaced by drones, GPs replaced by artificially "intelligent" diagnosers and health-sensing skin patches, back-room grunt work in law offices done by clerical automatons and remote teaching conducted by computers. In fact, it is quite hard to think of a job that cannot be partly or fully automated. And technology is a classless wrecking ball the old blue-collar jobs have been disappearing for years; now they are being followed by white-collar ones.

Ah, you may say, but human beings will always be better. This misses the point. It does not matter whether the new machines never achieve full human-like consciousness, or even real intelligence, they can almost certainly achieve just enough to do your job not as well as you, perhaps, but much, much more cheaply. To modernise John Ruskin, "There is hardly anything in the world that some robot cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this robot’s lawful prey."

Inevitably, there will be social and political friction. The onset has been signalled by skirmishes such as the London Underground strikes over ticket-office staff redundancies caused by machine-readable Oyster cards, and by the rage of licensed taxi drivers at the arrival of online unlicensed car booking services such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar.

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