Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Doctors against climate change, yes really

Doctors aren’t just worried about heart disease, diabetes, and obesity these days. Climate change is climbing to the top of their list of public health hazards, and that could have big implications in the political fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

Among the more than 310,000 demonstrators marching through Manhattan in last week's People's Climate March were contingents of physicians. And now the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the voice of the nation’s powerful medical establishment, has issued a call-to-arms to doctors, urging those in health and health-related fields to throw their weight behind climate change prevention efforts.

"Is climate change similar to poverty and war, best left to other scientists and politicians, or is it of such fundamental importancelike clean water, clean air, and adequate sanitationthat physicians should strive to further clarify the effects of climate change on health, educate themselves and the public, and mount a campaign to ensure that climate change does not lead to an epidemic of eroding health?" wrote Howard Bauchner, JAMA editor-in-chief, and executive editor Phil Fontanarosa.

Yes, they concluded.

More here

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Germany's military in poor shape, big surprise

Germany's military is in such a poor state it cannot currently live up to all its Nato commitments, the country's defence minister admitted on Sunday, warning it could take years to overcome equipment problems.

Ursula von der Leyen said in an interview that the Bundeswehr could not meet all of its pledges in responding to crises.

"With the airborne systems we are, at the moment, below the target figures announced a year ago on what we want to put at the disposal of Nato within 180 days in the case of an emergency," she told Bild am Sonntag.

Supply shortfalls on replacement parts for aircraft and the breakdown of naval helicopters are behind the problem, she said.

Last week, a small group of German military personnel sent to train Kurdish fighters battling Islamic State jihadists (Isis) arrived in northern Iraq days behind schedule due to technical problems with several transport aircraft.

More here

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Eric Holder's legacies

Eric Holder’s left many baleful legacies: being censured by the House of Representatives; withholding subpoenaed documents, proving untruthful about a failed gun-walking caper in Mexico; failing to enforce laws on the books, from immigration to the elements of the Affordable Care Act; illegally billing the government for his own private use of a government Gulfstream jet; snooping on Associated Press reporters; giving de facto exemptions to renegade IRS politicos; and trying to create civilian trials for terrorist killers like KSM, one of the architects of the 9/11 attacks. But he will be known mostly for re-teaching Americans to think of race as essential, not incidental, to our characters.

He accomplished that unfortunate legacy in a number of ways. Holder waded into the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown fatal shootings before all the facts were known in a manner no local public prosecutor would dare do so. He claimed that the unpopularity of Barack Obama was due to racial animosity, apparently forgetful that not long ago, in the era of Bush Derangement Syndrome, novels and movies were published and produced fantasizing about the assassination of George W. Bush, who was compared to Nazis and fascists, by everyone from Al Gore to John Glenn. I assume Holder was then quiet about such alarming disparagement of his president; and also I assume that when Obama in 2009 had near 70% approval ratings, for Holder the nation was anything but cowardly.

Of course, Holder infamously called Americans "cowards" for not being as obsessed in the same way with race as he was. He referred to African-Americans as "my people", a sloppy aside that might have gotten any other attorney general fired for such cheap ethnic chauvinism except that his own boss had once called for Latinos to punish "our enemies" and on the campaign trail had talked of "typical white person." Holder chose to drop the New Black Panther case in a way that highlighted racial matters apparently coming armed with clubs to a voting precinct is hardly unusual in the same way that he suggested that those states that might require an ID to vote (in the manner we produce IDs to write a check or use a credit card) were racist, in the same way that he suggested that states like Arizona that wanted federal immigration law enforced were acting out of racialist motives.

More here

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Quote of the day

Putting a woman in the White House will be every bit as effective in promoting female happiness as Obama has been in making blacks so deliriously happy. It will only highlight the fact that the state can't cure your misery.

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Drunken Zangi

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's attempt to blame western states for the rise of radical Islam in his speech to the UN General Assembly nearly backfired awkwardly when he used a racist Farsi expression - but was saved by a quick-thinking translator.

During the speech on Friday, Rouhani claimed that "certain Intelligence agencies have put the blade in the hand of the drunken Zangi" - a phrase referring to irresponsible and dangerous jihadi groups, which was translated simply as "madmen" by the translator.

But according to Iranian opposition blog azarmehr, the word "Zangi" is actually a derogatory term for black slaves from Zanzibar in Farsi.

His use of the term was apparently based on a line from a poem by ancient Persian Sufi poet Jalal al-Din Muhammad Balkhi: "It is better to put a sword in the hand of an intoxicated negro than 'that knowledge' should fall to a worthless fool."

More here

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Project Veritas strikes again

Battleground Texas (BGTX) may have failed to take any action regarding the "admission" of an undercover volunteer with BGTX that she had broken multiple election laws, according to a new video investigation by journalist James O'Keefe's organization Project Veritas. The allegations come on the heels of sting earlier this year that busted BGTX, a group attempting to turn Texas blue, for illegally copying voters' personal data for campaign purposes.

Project Veritas claims that BGTX personnel did not take action after being told by a volunteer that voters were registered by an individual who did not have the authority to do so, and that completed voter forms were lost.

Under Texas law, voter registration can only be performed deputized voter registrars. Volunteer deputy registrars must deliver completed forms to the registrar, and they must receive proper training.

These rules are "very important. It's a crime to handle a completed registration form without being officially certified as a [volunteer deputy registrar]," Mimi Marziani, the Voter Protection Director for BGTX says in a video on the organization's website.

"We wondered how seriously they took their own advice, and the laws of Texas," O'Keefe said.

More here
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Oddity of the day

George Reeves played Superman on television.

Christopher Reeve played Superman in the movie.

Meanwhile, Keanu Reeves played a similar "superman" type of character in The Matrix.

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The bear who almost started WWIII

The story is often told because it is a thrilling and terrifying one. In the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 a bear triggered an alarm at a US base leading personnel to believe that their airfield was under attack by Soviet saboteurs. US nuclear bombers on the airfield were scrambled and were racing for the skies when they were pulled back by a fast-thinking official who happily knew what a black bear looked like. Now is the story accurate? Beach is going to try and sort the historical grain from the legendary chaff and remind readers that humans will never let a good story be ruined by the truth.

More here

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Shooting at the White House in 2011

The gunman parked his black Honda directly south of the White House, in the dark of a November night, in a closed lane of Constitution Avenue. He pointed his semiautomatic rifle out of the passenger window, aimed directly at the home of the president of the United States, and pulled the trigger.

A bullet smashed a window on the second floor, just steps from the first family’s formal living room. Another lodged in a window frame, and more pinged off the roof, sending bits of wood and concrete to the ground. At least seven bullets struck the upstairs residence of the White House, flying some 700 yards across the South Lawn.

President Obama and his wife were out of town on that evening of Nov. 11, 2011, but their younger daughter, Sasha, and Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, were inside, while older daughter Malia was expected back any moment from an outing with friends.

Secret Service officers initially rushed to respond. One, stationed directly under the second-floor terrace where the bullets struck, drew her .357 handgun and prepared to crack open an emergency gun box. Snipers on the roof, standing just 20 feet from where one bullet struck, scanned the South Lawn through their rifle scopes for signs of an attack. With little camera surveillance on the White House perimeter, it was up to the Secret Service officers on duty to figure out what was going on.

More here
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Poverty in the Pacific

It’s a deeply troubled nation that has been plunged into a nightmare scenario, struggling with a failed economy, health crisis and the destruction of its natural beauty. But life wasn’t always like this in Nauru.

At just 21 square kilometres, it’s the smallest island nation in the world and has a population of just over 10,000. Yet this former British colony, which lies approximately 4000km from Sydney in the Pacific Ocean, was once so prosperous that it was the envy of the entire world.

And it was all thanks to bird poo.

We’re not kidding. The discovery of huge deposits of fossilised bird poo that had accumulated for over 1000 years changed this nation forever. It made for an excellent fertiliser and sparked a huge mining effort, first by foreign companies, then by the islanders themselves in 1968 when they achieved independence from Britain.

By 1980 Nauru had become the wealthiest nation on the planet, per capita. A monumental achievement for such a tiny, remote island.

More here
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Monday, September 29, 2014

Now we are all thought criminals, and violent, and abusive

The University of Michigan has released a list of relationship behaviors that it considers violent and abusive including "withholding sex."

"Discounting the partner’s feelings regarding sex," "criticizing the partner sexually," and "having sex with other people" are also examples of "sexual violence," according to the list.

The school also offers definitions of domestic abuse. Under the section for "verbal or psychological abuse," it states that not only is "insulting the partner" considered "abuse," so is "ignoring the partner’s feelings."

Janet Bloomfield, social media director for A Voice for Men, explained the dangers of such broad definitions of "violence" in an e-mail to the College Fix.

"When things like ‘withholding sex’ and ‘ignoring a partner’s feelings’ are framed as a pattern of behavior that is abusive, they are not only pathologizing normal relationship behaviors, but they are opening the door for vindictive or spurned partners to make allegations that can have profound effects for the accused," she said.

Source
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Beheading becoming popular in Oklahoma

In a bizarre coincidence, a fired Oklahoma City nursing home employee was arrested Friday after a co-worker reported he threatened to cut her head off.

Jacob Mugambi Muriithi, 30, is being held in the Oklahoma County jail on a terrorism complaint. His bail is set at $1 million.

"We take these threats very seriously," Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said.

The arrest came on the same day police in Moore revealed fired Vaughan Foods worker Alton Alexander Nolen beheaded a co-worker after he was fired Thursday. Nolen is a Muslim convert.

Muriithi was identified as a native of Kenya who is living in Oklahoma City. He worked at Bellevue Nursing Home in northwest Oklahoma City, police reported.

The co-worker reported Muriithi threatened her while they were both working at the nursing home Sept. 19, a police detective wrote in an arrest warrant affidavit.

More here
 
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Obama has strange friends

President Barack Obama favorably quoted and praised on Wednesday in his speech before the United Nations a controversial Muslim cleric whose organization has reportedly endorsed the terror group Hamas and supported a fatwa condoning the murder of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

Obama in his remarks offered praise to controversial cleric Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah and referred to him as a moderate Muslim leader who can help combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL or ISIS) radical ideology.

However, Bin Bayyah himself has long been engulfed in controversy for many of his views, including the reported backing of a 2004 fatwa that advocated violent resistance against Americans fighting in Iraq.

More here
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Quote of the day

NBC News’ Chuck Todd tipped his hat Thursday to outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, praising President Obama’s top law enforcer for being a "very non-political person."

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Incest is best?

With traditional sexual morality discarded, the last taboo is under attack by the fairness mafia. The UK Telegraph reports:
Laws banning incest between brothers and sisters in Germany could be scrapped after a government ethics committee said the they were an unacceptable intrusion into the right to sexual self-determination.

"Criminal law is not the appropriate means to preserve a social taboo," the German Ethics Council said in a statement. "The fundamental right of adult siblings to sexual self-determination is to be weighed more heavily than the abstract idea of protection of the family."

Their intervention follows a notorious case in which a brother and sister living as partners in Saxony had four children together. The couple had been raised separately and only met when the brother, identified only as Patrick S, was an adult, and his sister Susan K was 16.

More here

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Meet the newest version of Al Qaeda, renamed because Obama had them on the run

There is a reason that no one had heard of such a group until a nanosecond ago, when the "Khorosan Group" suddenly went from anonymity to the "imminent threat" that became the rationale for an emergency air war there was supposedly no time to ask Congress to authorize.

You haven’t heard of the Khorosan Group because there isn’t one. It is a name the administration came up with, calculating that Khorosan the Iranian–​Afghan border region had sufficient connection to jihadist lore that no one would call the president on it.

The "Khorosan Group" is al-Qaeda. It is simply a faction within the global terror network’s Syrian franchise, "Jabhat al-Nusra." Its leader, Mushin al-Fadhli (believed to have been killed in this week’s U.S.-led air strikes), was an intimate of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the emir of al-Qaeda who dispatched him to the jihad in Syria. Except that if you listen to administration officials long enough, you come away thinking that Zawahiri is not really al-Qaeda, either. Instead, he’s something the administration is at pains to call "core al-Qaeda."

"Core al-Qaeda," you are to understand, is different from "Jabhat al-Nusra," which in turn is distinct from "al-Qaeda in Iraq" (formerly "al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia," now the "Islamic State" al-Qaeda spin-off that is, itself, formerly "al-Qaeda in Iraq and al-Sham" or "al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant"). That al-Qaeda, don’t you know, is a different outfit from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula . . . which, of course, should never be mistaken for "al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb," "Boko Haram," "Ansar al-Sharia," or the latest entry, "al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent."

Source

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Eric Holder leaving, but why now?

In the late breaking development concerning the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder, the mainstream media news outlets failed to report the reason for Holder's departure. For example, although CBS News mentioned that Holder had been the only attorney general in U.S. history to be held in contempt of Congress, the network failed to cite this as a key reason Holder decided to bail. The omission speaks volumes.

Holder's resignation comes on the heels of a ruling today by a federal judge that the contempt of Congress citation against Holder can proceed to the next level. House leaders had been stymied by the refusal of Holder and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to comply with requests for appropriate documents in the ongoing investigations into the Fast and Furious debacle. The House further was thwarted by the refusal of DOJ personnel to cooperate with Congress in the ongoing investigations.

The Obama administration had argued that the courts should stop the contempt citation from moving forward in the courts. Thus, the ruling today is a victory for the U.S. House of Representatives, which had found itself unable to move forward in the Fast and Furious investigation due to stonewalling and the refusal to cooperate on the part of Holder and other top DOJ officials. The ruling, further, is a major setback for Holder and Obama, who had been hiding themselves behind "executive privilege" in refusing to cooperate with Congress.

Judicial Watch had taken the Obama administration to court in order to force the DOJ's hand in turning over the pertinent documents, which it had withheld from Congress. Now that the court has ruled against Holder and Obama, the House Committee can proceed to the next level of its investigation. And Obama and Holder can no longer claim executive privilege in continuing to withhold evidence.

More here

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New program to root out violent extremism, ignores Islam

With Islamic State threats mounting and at least 100 Americans known to have traveled overseas to train or fight with the brutal terror group, Attorney General Eric Holder this month announced a new program designed to identify and root out sources of "violent extremism" across the nation.

The problem? It isn’t a new idea. National security experts say the concept has already proven to be "a complete failure." And lacking from a description of the program is any reference to radical Islam.

"These programs will bring together community representatives, public safety officials, religious leaders, and United States attorneys to improve local engagement; to counter violent extremism; and ultimately to build a broad network of community partnerships to keep our nation safe," Holder said.

On the surface, it sounds reasonable. Shouldn’t we embrace every effort to combat homegrown terror? Jonathan Gilliam, a former Navy SEAL and former FBI special agent said yes. But, he told TheBlaze, programs like these get muddled because the politicians at the top of the food chain stop listening to the operators on the ground.

"How can you target something without a scope, without proper sights?" he said. The former special operator finds it especially frustrating that the Justice Department refuses to allow monitoring of mosques where known terrorists gather.

"When political correctness becomes your scope you probably aren’t aimed at the right target anymore," Gilliam told TheBlaze.

More here

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Quote of the day

This spring, the Black Star Project published findings that just 10 percent of eighth-grade black boys in the U.S. are considered proficient in reading. In urban areas like Chicago and Detroit, that number was even lower.

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More Luddite nonsense from Homeland Security

Protecting the infrastructure of American cities from the effects of climate change is rising on the agenda of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to a top agency official.

"Increasingly, we've moved not only from a security focus to a resiliency focus," said Caitlin Durkovich, assistant secretary for infrastructure protection at Homeland Security, an agency better known for its fight to curb terrorist threats.

Durkovich spoke Thursday on a panel at the Rising Seas Summit, a three-day conference organized by the U.S.-based Association of Climate Change Officers to discuss tools and ideas on building resiliency, particularly against rising sea levels.

In the aftermath of 2012's Hurricane Sandy, which devastated large swathes of the Northeastern U.S and caused over $60 billion in damages, Durkovich said her department reviewed the task of rebuilding with a new focus on "how to think about baking in resilience from the get-go."

More here

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Proficiency in English

Almost one in 10 adults of working age in the U.S. has limited proficiency in English, more than 2.5 times as many as in 1980, curbing their job prospects and ability to contribute to the economy.

Two-thirds of the 19.2 million people who have limited English are Spanish speakers. However, Asians and Pacific Islanders are most likely to have limited proficiency relative to their size of the overall population, according to a new report produced by the Metropolitan Policy Program of the Brookings Institution.

Immigrant workers and their children will account for most of the growth in the U.S. labor force in the coming decades, independent projections show. Therefore, investing in English instruction is "critical to building and maintaining a skilled workforce," the study by the progressive Washington-based think tank says. ...

About 45 million people in the U.S., or more than 20% of working-age adultsdefined as those 16 to 64 years oldspeak a language other than English at home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. While more than half of them speak English very well, many of them struggle.

More here

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Ousting Boehner, hopefully

For months, several clusters of conservative lawmakers have been secretly huddling inside and outside the Capitol, plotting to oust John Boehner from the Speaker’s office when House Republicans regroup after the November elections.

The strategy for now seems disorganized and fluid: Find a way to push the Speaker’s race to a second ballot, create turmoil in the conference, portray Boehner as highly vulnerable and offer up an alternative.

The behind-the-scenes effort is taking place as Team Boehner is projecting confidence he will coast to a third term as Speaker, pointing to his unrivaled fundraising prowess and ability to corral his rowdy caucus, for example, to keep the government open and provide arms to moderate Syrian rebels.

Boehner is "back on top," The Wall Street Journal declared.

Yet behind all the chest-thumping, the picture is less rosy for the 64-year-old Ohio Republican.

A number of conservative lawmakers, both in interviews on the record and on background, described enormous frustration with Boehner and his top lieutenants for taking too safe a political route ahead of the 2014 elections.

More here

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A higher calling...

Islamic State barbarians are raping thousands of women in Iraq and Syria to mass-produce spawn who’ll follow in their vile footsteps, The Post has learned.

Young militants are running wild to the chagrin of their more sophisticated and p.r.-savvy commanders, an Iraqi official told The Post.

The motivation of the rapists is twofold: They want to make ISIS babies and they are just plain out for twisted thrills.

"You have these young ISIS fighters carrying machine guns and they ... want to have sex," the official said.

But their commanders, who are focused on their savage war, have ordered the young fighters to keep their zippers closed.

"The ISIS commanders take a more official position," the source said. "They don’t want them to mess around with the women. They only want them to fight."

The young rebels, however, aren’t listening to their commanders; they claim that they’re answering to a higher calling.

More here

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Tsunami Bomb

The tsunami bomb was an attempt during World War II to develop a tectonic weapon that could create destructive tsunamis. The project commenced after US Navy officer E.A. Gibson noticed small waves generated by explosions used to clear coral reefs. The idea was developed by the United States and New Zealand military in a programme code named Project Seal.

Tests were conducted by Professor Thomas Leech, of the University of Auckland, in Whangaparoa off the coast of Auckland and off New Caledonia between 1944 and 1945. British and US defence chiefs were eager to see it developed, and it was considered potentially as important as the atomic bomb. It was expected to cause massive damage to coastal cities or coastal defences.

The weapon was only tested using small explosions and never on a full scale. 3,700 test explosions were conducted over a seven-month period. The tests revealed that a single explosion would not produce a tsunami, but concluded that a line of 2,000,000 kg (4,400,000 lb) of explosives about 8 km (5.0 mi) off the coast could create a destructive wave.

Details of the experiments codenamed "Project Seal" were released to the public by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1999 and are available at Archives New Zealand in Wellington and at the Scripps Institution Of Oceanography Archives in San Diego, California.

A 1968 research report sponsored by the US Office of Naval Research addressed this hypothesis of coastal damage due to large explosion-generated waves, and found theoretical and experimental evidence showing it to be relatively inefficient in wave-making potential, with most wave energy dissipated by breaking on the continental shelf before reaching the shore.

Analysis of the declassified documents in 1999 by the University of Waikato suggested the weapon would be viable.

No specific targets for the weapon were identified, but in 2013 New Zealand broadcaster and author Ray Waru suggested coastal fortifications in Japan ahead of an invasion of the Japanese home islands.

Egyptian magazine Al-Osboa claimed that the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami was intentionally caused by a nuclear weapon detonated in a strategic position under the ocean.

Source

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Quote of the day

If we take feminist ideology seriously, if we study the doctrines and objectives of the movement especially as manifested in the teachings of Women's Studies professors we must admit that these revolutionary goals are incompatible with everything most people take for granted about women, about men, about sex. Feminists have declared war on human nature. -- Robert Stacy McCain

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It all depends on what "peace" means

Shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US, President George W. Bush established a protocol still observed by politicians worldwide more than 13 years later. According to the Bush protocol, any mention of Islamic terrorism must quickly be followed by a disclaimer pointing out that Islamic terrorism is nothing to do with Islam.

"Islam is peace," Bush said six days after the attacks, which killed nearly 3000 people. "These terrorists don’t represent peace." Bush returned to that theme during his second term: "I believe that Islam is a great religion that preaches peace."

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tattoos

The motives for tattoos are many, but they all have a common subtext. A tattoo can mark a group identitysailors, soldiers, inmates, gangs, motorcyclists. It can memorialize a person or event, as in a virtual archive of snapshots of tattoos showing names and faces of deceased loved ones (I attended a presentation of the archive by two academics in Toronto last year). Sometimes they happen by blunt peer pressure, a set of 20-year-olds on Saturday night getting drunk, knowing not what to do until one of them blurts, "Let’s go get a tat and a ring!" (a good friend tells me of pulling out just as his turn came up).

Beneath the variety, though, is the same call: "Look at me." The bearer may think it’s cool or lovely or poignant, a certification of membership, a work of art, or a testimonial, but a selfish demand accompanies each message, not because of what they say but where they say it. Tattoos go on a person’s skin, and so they can’t be separated from the ego of that person. It’s always there as part of one’s being, and others must register it as much as they do one’s face and speech. A tattoo has form and color and meaning, but it also solicits a social recognition, a "This is me, check me out."

At least that’s how many people regard the sight of a tattoo on a nearby shoulder. Perhaps it’s an ungenerous attribution, but they can’t help finding tattoos obnoxious. The tattoo seems to summon their eyes, to draw their focus even if they have other things they wish to think about. In that sense, a tattoo is narcissistic, and narcissism is coercive. It lives off of others’ notice, and when the narcissist fails to draw attention, he feels disturbed and wounded.

Whenever we sense that need, we recoil from it. Unless you’ve learned to favor those forms of self-expressionand, certainly, a segment of our culture is now devoted to approval of such personal displaysthey strike you as distasteful no matter the overt details of the body art. The psychedelic arms of the NBA player at the free throw line aren’t benign or conventional. They’re aggressive.

More here

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Quote of the day

In 2007, Senator Barack Obama made remarks about the War Powers Act and the war in Iraq. He blamed Congress for giving the president the power to wage war that he later abused.
"The American people weren’t just failed by a president, they were failed by much of Washington. By a media that too often reported spin instead of facts… And, most of all by Congress, a co-equal branch of government, that voted to give the president the power to wage war that he uses to this day. Without that vote, there would be no war."
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Drug cartels stealing oil from Mexico

Mexico overcame 75 years of nationalist pride to reform its flagging, state-owned oil industry. But as it prepares to develop rich shale fields along the Gulf Coast, and attract foreign investors, another challenge awaits: taming the brutal drug cartels that rule the region and are stealing billions of dollars’ worth of oil from pipelines.

Figures released by Petroleos Mexicanos last week show the gangs are becoming more prolific and sophisticated. So far this year, thieves across Mexico have drilled 2,481 illegal taps into state-owned pipelines, up more than one-third from the same period of 2013. Pemex estimates it’s lost some 7.5 million barrels worth $1.15 billion.

Pemex director Emilio Lozoya called the trend "worrisome."

More than a fifth of the illegal taps occurred in Tamaulipas, the Gulf state neighboring Texas that is a cornerstone for Mexico’s future oil plans. It has Mexico’s largest fields of recoverable shale gas, the natural gas extracted by fracturing rock layers, or fracking.

Mexico, overall, is believed to have the world’s sixth-largest reserves of shale gas equivalent to 60 billion barrels of crude oil. That’s more than twice the total amount of oil that Mexico has produced by conventional means over the last century.

More here

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Chicago crony

Lee Cary at Doug Ross' blog did some investigation of Democrat Congressman Luis Gutierrez' (IL-4) campaign finances. As Cary writes:
Gutierrez’s reputation in Chicagoland’s politics is not untarnished. There’s that sweetheart deal he got from Tony Rezko in the purchase of a condo for his daughter. There’s the $500,000 plus he paid in taxpayer money over 10 years to a Chicago lobbyist to advise his congressional staff. And, the 2004 allegation that Gutierrez lobbied Mayor Daley for a residential development owned by a man who loaned Luis $200,000. The developer was later federally indicted concerning the same development.
Nowadays, Gutierrez seems to be making political fund-raising a family business.

More here
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Scrap the 2nd Amendment

NJ.com, a consortium of reliably left-wing newspapers in the Garden State, has published an op-ed calling for the scrapping of the Second Amendment:
Having fewer guns lying around could mean they won’t end up in the hands of a curious child, abusive spouse or suicidal person. Having a gun at home makes it three times more likely that you’ll be murdered by a family member or intimate partner, or successfully attempt suicide.

But let’s not kid ourselves: Gun buyback programs are not going to reduce murders in cities like Newark and Camden. Studies have found that buyback programs don’t have much effect overall on either gun crime or gun-related injury rates.

They don’t directly target the guns that are more likely to be used in violence, and in general, the guns collected haven’t overlapped much with crime guns. These are old weapons that some middle-aged guy found in his basement. What criminal is going to trade in his $700 Bushmaster for $250 from the state?

The biggest problem with this approach, though, is that it tiptoes around the one reform that could really make a difference, but that Americans would never accept: Mandatory gun buybacks. That’s what Australia did, after its own version of Newtown.

More here

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

No conscience, no shame, and no new ideas

Three things I’ve learned about my former political party: they have no conscience, no shame, and no new ideas. Confronted with serious competition from Republican candidates, they seldom show us any new, creative concepts in their television advertising. In fact, they could probably save a lot of bucks by simply running their old campaign ads and dubbing in the current names of the candidates. I’m serious: how many years now has the Democratic Party in the closing months of political campaigns trotted out the old political chestnuts that Republicans are going to eliminate Social Security and Medicare, in the hope they’ll terrify the old folks into voting a straight Democrat ticket?

Mark Pryor, the Democrat senator running for re-election, is in a very tough contest, as he should be. A senator from an essentially conservative state, Pryor has shown his constituents that in his eagerness to adhere to holy Democrat dogma, he is willing to be one of Father Reid’s all too eager altar boys. Any examination of his voting record shows that Mark votes Democrat, not Arkansas. His reward for that loyalty to the party and disloyalty to his constituents has brought him some serious backing from liberals in California, where he goes to raise campaign funds. I can just hear the behind-the-hands snickering by those Left Coast sophisticates as Mark offers up his pleas and promises in his best Arkansas lawyer delivery.

But all that aside, what truly pains this seasoned citizen is the Democrats’ willingness nay, eagerness to open up the graves of past campaigns and extract the malodorous corporeal remnants of their old poisonous lies buried there and try to prop them up as alive and well in 2014. They know it’s worked for them in the past, so who cares how bad it smells to the general electorate? It will scare the hell out of the old folks...and they always vote.

More here

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The U.S. is unstable

Unstable countries are unstable, this not always being obvious in those countries, and then comes a man on a horse. The United States, methinks, is not particularly stable.

That anything seismic might happen is an idea doubtless inconceivable to most Americans, who still remember the America of Reader’s Digest, but is daily less improbable. Weimar America is not stable. The cracks in the foundations, the social crumbling and virulent antipathies grow daily more evident.

The economy declines, jobs leave for other climes, the petroyuan looms, college graduates crushed by debt find no work, the middle class shrinks, and the young begin to live perforce with their parents. Times of diminishing expectations are dangerous.

City after city joins the ranks of the bankrupt, semiliterate, corrupt black Bantustans which by honest naming would be called Lower Third World. Their culture is utterly alien to that of Eurowhites. Across the open border to the south pour huge waves from the Latino slums, less alien to Eurowhites, less hostile, but nonetheless threatening to form yet another country within a country. The Third World proportion of America closes rapidly on a full third. Despite desperate attempts to impose multicultural harmony, experience shows that widely disparate peoples who do not like each other do not enjoy happy endings. My country ‘tis of three, sweet land of dystrophy….

America can no longer be called a democracy. The Constitution recedes in memory. Congress and the Supreme Court amount to nothing. Washington rests uneasily in the hands of a half-mad clique of geopolitical illiterates, warlike misfires playing dangerous games like little Kaiser Wilhelms in a sandbox. Presiding over the city is Septimius Severus, Bokassa III, a negligible pol from Chicago who doesn’t like whites or understand European norms of government. He will keep the borders open and civil liberties in retreat.

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Quote of the day

Local media is reporting that the Obama administration has taken control of access to two Ferguson, Missouri townhall meetings on the Mike Brown shooting being held Monday evening. The Department of Justice has limited attendance to Ferguson residents only and has ordered ID checks to gain entry. DOJ banned reporters. In a First Amendment irony, the meetings are being held in churches: Wellspring and Pour Lady of Guadalupe.

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Sober sex is rare in Australia

For most Australians, dating and drinking go hand-in-hand. Pubs and clubs set the scene for hook-ups, and first dates tend to be at bars where we turn to a glass or bottle of wine to take the edge off our nerves.

But what starts out as social lubricant can lead to sexual dysfunction. Sex therapist Jacqueline Hellyer told news.com.au that she’s seen a rise in the number of couples who have never had sober sex.

"It’s not unusual for me to meet couples who only ever have sex in substance-induced states," she said. "When they meet, they’re on alcohol or drugs, and when they first have sex they’re drinking or doing drugs. It develops into a relationship but they are still only having sex when they go out and drink or get on drugs."

Desiree Spierings, sex therapist from Sexual Health Australia, said it’s been an increasing problem in the past two years.

"We’re seeing an increase in couples who have only had sex with each other while using drugs or alcohol and cannot get aroused without it," she said.

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Shape shifter?

A recently translated, 1,200-year-old religious text written in the Coptic language tells the story of Jesus' crucifixation in a way that departs significantly from Biblical accounts.

The text was orginally from an Egyptian monastery that seems to have ceased operating in the tenth century. The manuscript resurfaced in 1910, and was purchased by New York financier J.P. Morgan. According to Utrecht University historian Roelof van den Broek, who translated the text, it is written in the name of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, a fourth-century saint.

Among other apochrypal claims, the text says that Jesus had dinner with Pontius Pilate before the crucifixation, and that Judas used a kiss to identify Jesus for those who came to arrest him because he was constantly changing his shape. Van de Broek says that while the Bible was canonized by the fifth century, apocryphal stories remained popular among Egyptian Christians long after that.

The manuscript is on display at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City.

Source

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