Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pussyfoot

Congressman Alan West of Florida doesn't pussyfoot around...

"We need to let President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and my dear friend the chairman of the Democrat National Committee, we need to let them know that Florida ain’t on the table. Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America."

Offshore charade

The Obama administration announced today that the Department of Interior will hold a consolidated lease sale for the Central Gulf of Mexico region, thus concluding the lease sales scheduled in 2007 and required by law. The timing of the announcement and the high profile the administration is giving it appears designed to make the American public think that President Obama is fulfilling his State of the Union pledge to "open up more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources." The facts, however, tell a different story. Consider the following:

1. The Obama administration claims that this sale is a component of the President’s desire to "promote safe and responsible domestic oil and gas production as a part of a comprehensive energy strategy."

FACT: President Obama imposed a job-killing moratorium on offshore energy development in the Gulf of Mexico that cost America at least 12,000 jobs and more than $2 billion over the course of the first six months of the moratorium. The only reason the Administration is holding a new lease sale for the Central Gulf of Mexico is because the sale is required as a part of the Congressionally-sanctioned 2007-2012 Five Year Plan, according to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1978 (OCSLA). If the administration did not hold this sale before June 30, 2011, it would not be fulfilling the intent of the law.

2. The Obama administration claims that this lease sale will open up new offshore lands for energy development.

FACT: Today’s announced lease sale does not open any lands for exploration that were not already scheduled two years before President Obama took office. The 2007-2012 Five Year OCS Lease Plan included 16 sales in 6 offshore areas. Of these 16 sales, the Obama administration cancelled or delayed a number of them. Of the 2 that remain in the Central Gulf, the administration has scheduled them for simultaneous sale, which means that only one sale will actually occur. The Obama administration also cancelled a lease sale for areas off the coast of Virginia, and permanently removed 5 sales off the coast of Alaska. In 2010, the Obama administration did not hold a single lease sale, the first time this has happened in many years.

3. The Obama administration claims that this sale is a part of its strategy to "increase responsible domestic production and reduce dependence on foreign oil."

FACT: Even once the remaining 2007-2012 sales are complete, the administration has shown little interest in reducing America’s oil imports. The reductions in imports that have occurred in recent years owe more to the sluggish economy and reduced demand from American consumers than administration energy policy. Moreover, in recent weeks, the president single-handedly denied the Keystone XL pipeline permit, which would have made up to 830,000 barrels of North American oil available daily to U.S. markets.

4. The Obama administration claims that the terms of this sale will "ensure that taxpayers receive a fair market value for offshore resources."

FACT: U.S. taxpayers received 258 times less revenue from offshore lease sales last year than they did under the last year of the Bush administration. Revenue from offshore lease sales has plummeted from nearly $9.5 billion in FY2008 to paltry $36.7 million in FY2011.

5. The Obama administration claims that it is developing a new Five Year Plan for 2012-2017 that will "make more than 75 percent of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas estimated on the OCS available for development."

FACT: The United States currently has leased a mere 2.2% of available lands on the Outer Continental Shelf. The amount of un-leased lands that are not currently leased for energy development is equal to ten times the acreage of the entire State of Texas. Currently, limits on offshore production keep annual production to only 588 million barrels of oil — or less than 1/10th of our annual demand — even though the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement estimates that the U.S. has about 86 billion barrels of undiscovered oil in the Outer Continental Shelf. Nevertheless, the Obama administration continues to block exploration of the vast majority of America’s offshore resources.

Furthermore, the current Five Year Plan expires on June 30, 2012. The law mandates that the administration to present to Congress a new Five Year Plan, which requires a 60-day review period before final authorization. This means that the Obama administration must present the new Five Year Plan to Congress before May 1, 2012. If the administration does not produce a plan before then, the United States runs the risk of having no legal framework to develop the Outer Continental Shelf for the first time since the passage of OCSLA in 1978.

Source

Monday, January 30, 2012

Throw 'em all out

Fifty-six percent of registered voters say they would vote out every member of Congress if there were a place on the ballot to do so. That’s the highest response in favor of the question since it was first asked in March 2010. Story

Elsewhere, here's a photo essay on dismantling a grounded ship on a beach in France.

Egypt is in dire straits...they import half of its caloric consumption...nearly half of its citizens are functionally illiterate...nine tenths of adult women have suffered genital mutilation...almost a third of Egyptians marry first or second cousins...about half live on less than $2 a day...and the Muslim Brotherhood recently won the majority of elections...and investors are fleeing the economy.

U-2 spy planes are still in use and will not be replaced by drones anytime soon. Story

434 Iraqis have been killed since U.S. left. Story

So, did Ron Paul edit those flaky newsletters after all? Story

Three European countries have banned the burka...France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

True or False?...Mitt has all the things people look for in a president: better hair, better body and height.

A Knoxville man is suspected of threatening an Arizona sheriff who is investigating claims that President Obama was not born in the United States. Story

George Soros is referred to as the "Spooky Dude" by Glenn Beck. Ha.

You aren't tough, these guys are.

President Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday underwhelmed by one significant measure: with 37.8 million television viewers, it was the least watched of the three he has delivered since 2010. And according to a new analysis of viewing patterns during the speech, interest was on the decline from the beginning. More than a quarter of the people who started watching on network television at 9 p.m. Eastern tuned out within the first five minutes — before the president even began speaking. Story

The Global Warming meme has fallen so miserably off the scale that I can't even recall any mention of it by Republicans or Democrats in at least six months or so.

More than a quarter (28%) of Italians between 16 and 24 are unemployed. Others are struggling to get by on unpaid internships or poorly paid jobs with little security....It's not just Italy, of course. Eurozone unemployment is at a record. According to Eurostat, the EU's statistical office, 16.3 million people are out of work in the 17 countries that joined the euro. The story of a lost generation is becoming the scandal of a continent. In Spain, 51.4% of those aged 16-24 are jobless. In Greece, the figure is 43%. Story

The temperature at Fairbanks International Airport hit 50 below zero Saturday morning for the first time since 2006, while a low of 57 below was reported in nearby North Pole.

The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years. The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century. Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997. Story

Americans see the War of 1812 as a second war for independence from England. Canadians see it as a victory over American encroachment. Story

Okay, Democrats sometimes show a little bit of humor...After hearing of Arizona Governor Brewer's remark that she felt treatened by Obama's attitude at the airport, a NAACP official asked..."Did she think he was going to steal her purse?"

New York's finest?...Deemed a danger to kids, the typing teacher with a $10 million real estate portfolio hasn’t been allowed in a classroom for more than a decade, but still collects $100,049 a year in city salary — plus health benefits, a growing pension nest egg, vacation and sick pay. Story

As a rising young Chicago politician in 1995, no one campaigned more actively than Mr Obama for an amendment to the US Community Reinvestment Act, legally requiring banks to lend huge sums to millions of poor, mainly black Americans, guaranteed by the two giant mortgage associations, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It was this Act, above all, which let the US housing bubble blow up, far beyond the point where it was obvious that hundreds of thousands of homeowners would be likely to default. Yet, in 2005, no one more actively opposed moves to halt these reckless guarantees than Senator Obama, who received more donations from Fannie Mae than any other US politician (although Senator Hillary Clinton ran him close). Story

Banality of evil...A Canadian jury has found an Afghani-Canadian father, mother, and son guilty of murdering three daughters and the father's second wife. Honor killing with so little honor.

Defense spending

Stimulus

The stimulus was supposed to work like this: First, a flood of money in tax cuts, food stamps and unemployment checks would get consumers spending. A deluge of education and health-care money would stanch the bleeding in state budgets.

Then, a wave of "shovel-ready" infrastructure projects would kick in, creating new jobs repaving roads and making homes more energy efficient. As the economy got churning again, new investments in wind farms, solar panel factories, electric cars, broadband and high-speed rail would lead America out of the recession and into a 21st century economy competitive with the rest of the world.

But it didn’t happen like that. The White House’s economists, like nearly every forecaster, misread the recession. The state assistance wasn’t enough to plug the budget holes and, in many cases, the school aid merely delayed rather than prevented teacher layoffs. Infrastructure projects took months longer to break ground than the public had been led to believe.

More here

Texas sues DOJ

Texas is suing the Department of Justice (DOJ) in federal court for blocking the implementation of a state voter identification law—passed to deter and detect election fraud—the Obama Administration claims discriminates against minorities.

The Texas Legislature passed the measure in 2011 and six months ago it was submitted to the DOJ for approval. More than a dozen states—including Kansas, Indiana, Tennessee and Wisconsin—have similar laws that require voters to show government-issued photo identification at the polls and the Obama Administration has launched a campaign to challenge them all.

Liberals claim the laws are discriminatory because many minorities are too poor or too ignorant to get a valid identification—provided free in most states that have passed voter ID laws—that proves they are who they say they are. In fact, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida congresswoman who chairs the Democratic National Committee, says voter ID laws are a "full-scale-assault" on minority voters designed to "rig" elections for Republicans.

With that said, the administration is utilizing the DOJ as a political tool to challenge voter ID measures like one already upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in 2008. In that case SCOTUS upheld Indiana’s voter ID law, ruling that the state’s interest in protecting the integrity of the voting process outweighed the insufficiently proven burdens the law may impose on voters. "There is no question about the legitimacy or importance of the State’s interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters," the nation’s highest court said in its decision.

This hasn’t deterred the DOJ’s mission to eliminate voter ID laws. In the Texas case, the agency must approve the measure because the Federal Voting Rights Act prohibits changes to election laws in certain states without federal clearance. The Texas Secretary of State’s Office has been waiting for the DOJ preclearance since last July, but the feds continue stalling, essentially blocking the law’s implementation.

More here

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Conservatives are ignorant and racist

It's been a year or so since the last story like this from the mainstream media...

Children with low intelligence are more likely to grow up to be social conservatives and racists, researchers found in a study published out of the U.K. The study, which appeared in the journal Psychological Science and was written up by Life Science, built upon previous research linking low education with prejudice, using data from two studies testing IQ and then political beliefs.

Story 

Best comment by a reader..."What a brilliant article. And since blacks score the lowest on intelligence tests we can conclude that they therefore are the most racist. Right libs? And they also must be more attracted to conservative istitutions also. What? Is that racist to say? As racist as that picture of Larry the Cable Guy?"

Mother of all bombs

Pentagon war planners have concluded that their largest conventional bomb isn't yet capable of destroying Iran's most heavily fortified underground facilities, and are stepping up efforts to make it more powerful, according to U.S. officials briefed on the plan.

The 30,000-pound "bunker-buster" bomb, known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, was specifically designed to take out the hardened fortifications built by Iran and North Korea to cloak their nuclear programs.

A crew loaded a 'bunker buster' at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in 2007; the military hopes to make the bomb more powerful.

But initial tests indicated that the bomb, as currently configured, wouldn't be capable of destroying some of Iran's facilities, either because of their depth or because Tehran has added new fortifications to protect them.

Doubts about the MOP's effectiveness prompted the Pentagon this month to secretly submit a request to Congress for funding to enhance the bomb's ability to penetrate deeper into rock, concrete and steel before exploding, the officials said.

The push to boost the power of the MOP is part of stepped-up contingency planning for a possible strike against Iran's nuclear program, say U.S. officials.

The Defense Department has spent about $330 million so far to develop about 20 of the bombs, which are built by Boeing Co. The Pentagon is seeking about $82 million more to make the bomb more effective, according to government officials briefed on the plan.

More here

Trust funds

Electric car fail

For electric vehicle enthusiasts with the "if you build it, they will come" mentality, who endorse endless taxpayer subsidies for plug-in automobiles and infrastructure to charge them, there’s bad news this week.

The Daily Mail reported that sales of electric cars in the United Kingdom have fallen so sharply that there are now more charging stations than there are vehicles. If you thought the flaccid U.S. sales of the Chevy Volt (7,671 units) and Nissan Leaf (9,674 units) were a letdown – despite significant government funding for research and development, batteries, charging systems, and a $7,500 tax credit for buyers – the signs from Europe won’t lift spirits.

"Just 2,149 electric cars have been sold since 2006, despite a government scheme last year offering customers up to £5,000 (about $7,700 U.S. dollars) towards the cost of a vehicle," the U.K. newspaper reported. "The Department for Transport says that around 2,500 charging points have been installed, although their precise location is not known."

That’s just 430 cars sold per year. In addition, Britain has spent £30 million on charging points for public and business locations, and EV buyers have taken advantage of only £3.9 million of the £300 million in government grants made available for EV purchases, according to The Daily Mail.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has predicted that Leaf sales in the U.S. will double in 2012, and he believes electric cars will make up 10 percent of all vehicles sold by 2020. Meanwhile at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last week, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood defended the Obama administration’s $7,500 tax credit for EV buyers in the U.S., despite the fact that mostly wealthy buyers have received the incentive. The secretary said the taxpayer subsidy "is real money and people have utilized it." EV advocates crowed that the Volt outsold the Leaf in December – its best month – and cited it as an sign of positive momentum for sales in 2012.

But parallel indicators to the U.K. experience foretell potential disinterest. In Tennessee an aggressive test program for EVs is being rolled out with a $2,500 tax rebate from the state (in addition to the $7,500 federal tax credit); a $1.4 billion U.S. Department of Energy loan to Nissan to retrofit its Smyna plant to build Leafs; and part of a $115 million grant from DOE going to Ecotality to establish a network of charging stations, many at Cracker Barrel restaurants alongside Tennessee Interstates. But so far only 228 Leafs were sold in the Volunteer State, using up only 20 percent of the tax rebate fund that’s available.

More here

Friday, January 27, 2012

SOTU

Wasn't Obama's campaign State of the Union speech a doozy? He wants "a return to American values of fairness for all, and responsibility from all." Good luck, Barry. Responsibility is not a virtue in certain grievance communities, and fairness is often expected of everyone but themselves.

So, did Newt Gingrich really "resign in disgrace" from the House of Representatives back in the 90's? Story

Fidel Castro has lambasted the Republican presidential race as the greatest competition of "idiocy and ignorance" the world has ever seen, and also criticised the news media and foreign governments for seizing on the death of a Cuban prisoner to demand greater respect for human rights. Story (Castro is the last person on Earth who should be using "idiocy and ignorance" in a sentence)

Rumor has it that the mole on the left side of Obama's nose get's a little bigger with each lie he tells.

A pet serial killer is on the loose in the Houston area. Seven dogs were found dead, six of them pit bulls, over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. Three of those pit bulls were fatally shot, while the other four dogs suffered blunt trauma to the head. Story

So how much does Warren Buffet's secretary make? Story  Rush Limbaugh points out that if she was paid in stocks, she'd have the same Capital Gains tax rate as Buffet and Romney.

Former congressman Tom DeLay is not a Gingrich fan..."He’s not really a conservative. I mean, he’ll tell you what you want to hear. He has an uncanny ability, sort of like Clinton, to feel your pain and know his audience and speak to his audience and fire them up. But when he was speaker, he was erratic, undisciplined."

Gov. Rick Perry's ill-fated presidential campaign left a sour taste with many Texans and damaged his standing with Republican voters, according to a new poll commissioned by the American-Statesman and other state newspapers. Story

Two decades after evicting U.S. forces from their biggest base in the Pacific, the Philippines is in talks with the Obama administration about expanding the American military presence in the island nation, the latest in a series of strategic moves aimed at China. (good news for the ladies in Olongapo)

According to NBC News, Newt Gingrich is the face of "resentment, racism, and angry white male rage."

Edith Starr Miller wrote in 1932..."Today, most of the good people are afraid to be good. They strive to be broadminded and tolerant. It is fashionable to be tolerant -- but mostly tolerant of evil -- and this new code has reached the proportions of demanding intolerance of good."

Sometimes I can't figure out if something is good or bad...must be the gray area the liberals are always talking about.

Governor Jan Brewer says Obama is thin skinned. Well, duh, aren't all narcissists thin skinned? It goes with the territory.

Score one for the geriatric crowd...A 65-year-old man shot one teenager dead and wounded another after they pushed him off his bicycle and tried to rob him in Pennsylvania, police said. Story

Georgia to keep Obama off the ballot in 2012? Story

Oops, here's another one...After months of financial turmoil, an Energy Department-backed lithium ion battery company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company, Ener1, received a $118 million grant from DOE in 2010 as part of the president’s stimulus package. The money, which went to Ener1 subsidiary EnerDel, aimed to promote renewable energy storage battery technology for electrical grid use. Story

Dozens of the same business and residential addresses were used repeatedly by people to obtain driver's licenses in New Mexico in a pattern that suggests fraud by immigrants trying to game the system, an Associated Press investigation has found. Story

Shaun Casey, the religious affairs adviser to presidential candidate Barack Obama in 2008, said at a discussion on Tuesday about "God and Politics" that the demise of religious society in the United States is a good thing. "I, frankly, am glad American civil religion is dying," said Casey, who is an associate professor of Christian Ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. Story

Democrat Governor Bev Perdue of North Carolina has decided not to seek reelection in 2012. She's the one who said the 2012 elections should be canceled because of the huge losses the Democrats suffered in the 2010 midterm elections. Good riddance.

In a country sharply divided on almost every issue, most Americans agree on one thing: they don’t like Congress, and they would vote to replace every single member -- even their own -- if they had the option. Hear, hear.

Dumbing down

President Obama's 2012 State of the Union address again rated at an 8th grade comprehension level on the Flesch-Kincaid readability test — the third lowest score of any State of the Union address since 1934.

The University of Minnesota's Smart Politics conducted an analysis on the last 70 State of the Union addresses and found that President Obama's three addresses have the lowest grade average of any modern president. "Obama's average grade-level score of 8.4 is more than two grades lower than the 10.7 grade average for the other 67 addresses written by his 12 predecessors," they conclude.

"The Flesch-Kincaid test is designed to assess the readability level of written text, with a formula that translates the score to a U.S. grade level. Longer sentences and sentences utilizing words with more syllables produce higher scores. Shorter sentences and sentences incorporating more monosyllabic words yield lower scores," the University of Minnesota's Eric Ostermeier explains.

Obama's use of simple language is in part a reflection of his audience: the American voter in an election year. And it's part of a larger trend in simpler State of the Union language as the speech as transitioned from a simple address to Congress into a prime-time televised event.

Source

Alabama

Alabama’s unemployment rate continues to drop amid state-wide enforcement of a new immigration law, despite Democratic efforts to block and stigmatize the popular reform.

December’s unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent, down from 8.7 percent in November and 9.8 percent in September.

"In the last three months alone, we’ve seen an unprecedented drop of 1.7 percentage points," noted Alabama Republican Gov. Robert Bentley in a Jan. 20 statement.

"Our rate is once again below the national average, and over 41,000 more Alabamians are employed now than at the beginning of the year… but we still have work to do," said Bentley.

The drop began after a bipartisan 2011 law toughened the state’s immigration enforcement policies.

The reform prompted many low-skilled illegal immigrants to leave the state, and was slammed by advocates for illegal immigrants, including Tom Perez, the chief of the Justice Department’s civil regulation division.

Many established media outlets have highlighted the departing illegals and controversial portions of the law — which forced schools to verify the immigration status of students, while downplaying the employment gains and the law’s popularity.

Source

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dodd-Frank

Tuesday's GOP debate moderator was shocked by the front-runners' broadside against Dodd-Frank banking rules. He seemed to think they were hyping their damage. They weren't.

The media elite are under the assumption that all government regulations are good. So when both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich took shots at Dodd-Frank, NBC News anchor Brian Williams was flabbergasted. He expressed skepticism that its new rules posed any problem.

Gingrich straightened him out, arguing the media and the public don't know how "bad" the Democrats' law is.

"If you could repeal Dodd-Frank tomorrow morning, you would see the economy start to improve overnight," Gingrich asserted. "It is crushing independent banks" by clamping down on lending for both housing and small businesses.

Indeed, the American Bankers Association predicts the law will shutter 1,000 banks by 2020.

"The Dodd-Frank Act and the related burdens are threatening not just our industry but our very banks," outgoing ABA chair Stephen Wilson last year wrote to FDIC chief Sheila Bair. "The most conservative estimates that we have seen predict that by the end of the decade there will be 1,000 fewer banks in the United States than there are today."

Williams wasn't buying it. "Do you really think the financial system is overregulated?" he pressed. "That's the second mention of Dodd-Frank tonight."

More here

Gingrich is doomed

Just two years after the Tea Party exploded onto the national stage and one year after Republicans won back the House, conservatism finds itself in the midst of an existential crisis.

At the risk of sounding maudlin or apocalyptic, the conservative movement is poised to become irrelevant or simply extinct. If the next few weeks go the way the last one did, conservatism may as well hang up a sign that says "Closed for Business (apologies to Ronald Reagan)."

Like many in the Tea Party, I first felt this nagging anxiety concerning fiscal conservatism, when, in 2008, a Republican administration enacted the Troubled Asset Relief Program and started bailing out banks. I felt it again on social issues, when I saw that nearly 56% of the Catholic vote inexplicably went to Barack Obama. And now, as one particular Republican candidate for President continues to gain momentum, the feeling has only metastasized.

Newt Gingrich, according to South Carolina conservatives and many national polls, appears to be a serious contender for the GOP nomination. That tells me, first, that conservatives don’t really want to win the White House. It also tells me that they don’t care much about down-ballot races, either. And it tells me that our conservative values — limited government being foremost — are easily discarded to satisfy a momentary lust for entertainment.

In short, conservatives are in dire need of a come-to-Jesus-moment, the likes of which even Tim Tebow cannot inspire.

Let’s take this first as a matter of strategy: Nominating Gingrich is tantamount to reelecting President Obama. He simply cannot win a general election. According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, Obama beats Gingrich by a whopping 53% to 38%.

More here

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday

Gabrielle Giffords has finally resigned...In case you’re wondering about the timing of her resignation, and why she might have waited so long to resign a job for which she was completely incapable of doing…well…she might be an incredible survivor, but she’s still a Democrat at heart. She had to be in office for at least 5 years to get the lifetime pension of $139,200 per year plus COLA, along with the Congress’s health policy. Since she didn’t take office until January, 2007, she had to serve until January, 2012 to meet the lifetime benefits package benchmark. Source

America is not a Center-Right nation. That ceased being true at the end of Reagan's second term. America is a place where Gays serve openly in the military, gay marriage is the law of the land in most places, Whites have no Civil Rights (according to the first Black Attorney General), Black Panthers can run voter intimidation campaigns with impunity, illegal aliens can vote in many places, and get preferential admission and tuition rates, along with college financial aid. That's not a Center-Right nation. That's not a Center nation. That's not even a Left Nation. That's a Hard Left Nation. And that's America. Today's America celebrates non-Whites, views White guys as inherently "racist" (unless they are a dominant, Alpha A-hole hottie) and engages in regular PC jihads. Source

On Friday, you could buy a barrel of light, sweet crude oil produced in North Dakota for less than $81. On that same day, oil refiners in Port Arthur on the coast of Texas were paying around $110 to import a similar grade of oil produced in Nigeria. That's $30 worth of incentive to you to try to figure out a way to transport oil from North Dakota to Port Arthur in order to replace a barrel of imported Nigerian oil with Williston sweet. As a nation, if we could divert some of the resources we are currently devoting to pay for oil imported from Nigeria, and use them instead to enable the Port Arthur refinery to get its oil from North Dakota, we will become richer. Story

Victor Davis Hanson on Obama...What a strange fellow: damning the 1% only to hire three-in-a-row multimillionaire "fat-cat" ex-Wall-streeters as his chiefs-of-staff, while he lives a life indistinguishable from those he caricatures. Obama brags of killing bin Laden, without the slightest concession that he employed protocols to do it that he once smeared, or that he got the troops home for Christmas, without a peep that he followed the Bush-Petraeus plan and not his own that once called for complete flight by March 2008. Poor conservatives: should they praise him for get-real flip-flops or damn him for his hypocrisy and the damage he once did as a critic of what kept us safe? He is a figure right out Aristophanes, a polypragmon scoundrel, a demagogic genius, who can bomb Libya without congressional authority, claim it was not military action — and all the while keep the Michael Moore left silent if not proud of their guy’s duplicity, while begging the right to dare argue that Libya is not better off without the nightmare of Gaddafi.

Ozone hole above the Arctic has actually been caused by COLD weather, say scientists after high-altitude aircraft survey. Story

Tom Brady's new house...The mansion, which is 22,000-square feet and boasts eight bedrooms, has a six-car garage, a lagoon-shaped swimming pool with spa, a weight room forn Tom to train in and a wine cellar. Story

Ever wonder what climatologists really think about global warming when they think they are talking among themselves and let their hair down? Well, Tom Nelson has plowed through the latest pile of Climategate e-mails released late last year, and reading them shows that the scientific consensus on global warming is that it is a cash cow and whatever you do, don’t risk it by casting any doubt whatsoever. Story

15 Questions The Mainstream Media Would Ask Barack Obama If He Were A Republican. Story

The standing ovation for Newt’s remarks were not an endorsement of his behavior — many conservatives are troubled by Gingrich’s past and character does matter to them, while other conservatives are remembering their own sins and falling back on what they know of mercy, for the time being. No, that ovation was an endorsement of Gingrich’s disdain for the mainstream media, which they share, and a declaration to that same media that their playbook is played-out. Source

Bill Maher supports Ron Paul. And he says his audience are brainwashed liberals. Good example of the pot calling the kettle black.

The blogger, Robert Godwin, doesn't like atheists...That Darwinism can satisfy the cramped and barren intellect of contemporary timedwellers and ideobots is a statement about their desiccated intellect, not about Truth. At the very least, these spiritual ungreats have no idea what religion has done for them, because it has all been done collectively and subliminally through a kind of cultural and historical osmosis. But to be unaware of the extraordinary spiritual sacrifices others have made in order to make your otherwise insignificant life possible is to live as a barbarian. Your whole miserable life is lived in borrowed -- no, stolen -- Light, which you cannot even acknowledge.

Moody’s recently downgraded Illinois state debt to A2 from A1, the lowest among the 50 states. That’s worse even than California.

Demi Moore gets no sympathy by readers of this story.

Enemies list

Education fail

The Department of Education spends about $200 million a year on research intended to improve educational practice. No evidence exists that these expenditures have done any significant good.

As far as I can determine, the Department of Education has no track record of positive accomplishment—nothing in the national numbers on educational achievement, nothing in the improvement of educational outcomes for the disadvantaged, nothing in the advancement of educational practice. It just spends a lot of money. This brings us to the practical question: If the Department of Education disappeared from next year’s budget, would anyone notice? The only reason that anyone would notice is the money. The nation’s public schools have developed a dependence on the federal infusion of funds. As a practical matter, actually doing away with the Department of Education would involve creating block grants so that school district budgets throughout the nation wouldn’t crater.

Sadly, even that isn’t practical. The education lobby will prevent any serious inroads on the Department of Education for the foreseeable future. But the answer to the question posed in the title of this talk—"Do we need the Department of Education?"—is to me unambiguous: No.

More here

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Donkey Whisperer

Here

Budget fail

The last time the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate passed a budget was April 29, 2009 — 1,000 days ago. It's no mystery why: They don't want taxpayers to know about the trillions they're wasting.

A published budget would be an election-year death warrant for Senate Democrats, because Republican Senate candidates would stuff its highlights into every mailbox they could.

As Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., points out, going budget-less for so long has devastated our economy as Democrats have spent "$9.4 trillion and added $4.1 trillion to the national debt," plus over $1 trillion in deficits.

Is insisting on a budget just Republican carping? Back on April, 29, 2009, in his 15th week as president, Barack Obama expressed "how gratified I am that the House and the Senate passed a budget resolution today that will serve as an economic blueprint for this nation's future."

He made it a point to "thank Leader Reid, Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi, all the members of Congress who worked so quickly and effectively to make this blueprint a reality."

A budget, according to the president 1,000 days ago, is necessary "to lay a new foundation for growth." He praised Reid's 2009 budget for its massive new spending, like "new investments in renewable energy that will create millions of jobs and new industries, new investments in health care that will cut costs for families and businesses, and new savings that will bring down our deficit."

Since Obama gave those assurances, the jobs haven't materialized, health insurance premiums have risen significantly in expectation of ObamaCare and the deficit has skyrocketed.

More here

Best Buy fail?

In case you aren’t aware, Best Buy made a point a few years ago to start celebrating Muslim holidays while simultaneously removing Christmas from its December advertising — replacing it with "Seasons Greetings" or "The Holidays".

As a company, Best Buy also decided Thanksgiving wasn't going to be featured in its ads either as of 2009 — but they’d make a big deal about celebrating something called Eid al-Adha instead.

2009 was the last year I ever bought so much as a soda pop or stick of gum at Best Buy.

I hope you don’t shop there either.

But, if you do, you won’t have much longer to celebrate Ramadan or "Mutilate Young Girls With Female Circumcision Day" (however Best Buy phrases that in Arabic on its in-store promotions) because FORBES analysts have realized that Best Buy is in the beginning states of bankruptcy and closure.

More here

Newt

Newt Gingrich’s rise has a lot to do with Newt Gingrich’s debate performance. But it has just as much to do with a party base in revolt against its thought and party leaders in Washington, DC. The base is revolting because they swept the GOP back into relevance in Washington just under two years ago and they have been thanked with contempt ever since.

Adding insult to injury, the party and thought leaders now try to foist on the base a milquetoast moderate from Massachusetts. Newt Gingrich can thank Mitt Romney and more for the second look he is getting. Base hostility will now be exacerbated by Mitt Romney’s backers now undoubtedly making a conscious effort to prop up Rick Santorum to shut down Newt Gingrich.

Source

Monday, January 23, 2012

Destroying inventory and other outrages

The head of a House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee investigating the collapse of solar panel maker Solyndra said Friday that tapes showing company workers destroying inventory were "an outrage." "First we learn of the ridiculous request for $500,000 in Solyndra bonuses. Now we find out that these employees are apparently destroying millions of dollars worth of equipment," said Rep. Cliff Stearns, Florida Republican and chairman of the committee’s investigations panel. Story

Elsewhere...For years, the Left has asked why the Obama administration hasn’t pursued prosecutions against lenders who arguably engaged in fraud when foreclosing on mortgages in the wake of the housing-bubble collapse. It turns out that these lenders had friends in high places in the Department of Justice. Reuters reports that both Attorney General Eric Holder and his lieutenant Lanny Breuer, who ran the DoJ’s criminal division, were partners in a law firm that worked on behalf of those very same firms. Story

The Wall Street Journal reports...France suspended its training and combat-support operations in Afghanistan and threatened to pull its troops from the country after an Afghan soldier opened fire on a group of French service members, killing four and seriously wounding eight. "The French army isn't in Afghanistan to be shot at by Afghan soldiers," President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a speech to diplomats in Paris. (unintended comedy from surrender monkeys)

And speaking of Sarkozy...French leader Nicolas Sarkozy faces a battle to avoid a shock first round exit in April presidential elections, a poll showed on Thursday, after far-right candidate Marine Le Pen closed to within two points of the incumbent.

Rush Limbaugh on the past week's events..."We haven't had a week like this since the salad days of the Clinton Administration. We've had everything. We've had class envy, charges of adultery, adultery, people defending adultery. It's no wonder the soap operas are going off the air. They can't compete with American politics! They have no hope."

The mere possession of an eagle feather by a non-Indian can result in fines and imprisonment, even if the feather came from a bird butchered by a wind turbine: up to $100,000, a year in prison or both for a first offense. Poisoning or otherwise killing common bats that have nested in one’s attic can cost homeowners thousands of dollars in fines. Wind turbine companies, officers and employees, however, are immune from prosecution, fines or imprisonment, regardless of how many rare, threatened, endangered or migratory birds and bats they kill. In fact, FWS data show that wind turbines slaughter some 400,000 birds every year. If "helter-skelter" applies to any energy source, it is wind turbines, reflecting their Charles Manson effect on birds. Story

Barack Obama’s 2008 Iowa New Media Director was arrested Friday for attempting to use the identities of Secretary of State Matt Schultz, and/or his brother Thomas, with the intent to falsely implicate the Secretary Schultz in illegal or unethical behavior. Zach Edwards, 29, of Des Moines, currently works for Link Strategies, a Democrat-affiliated organization with ties to Iowa Senator Tom Harkin. Edwards is the Director of New Media for Link Strategies. Story

A judge has ordered President Barack Obama to appear in court in Atlanta for a hearing on a complaint that says Obama isn't a natural-born citizen and can't be president. It's one of many such lawsuits that have been filed across the country, so far without success. A Georgia resident made the complaint, which is intended to keep Obama's name off the state's ballot in the March presidential primary. Story

Obama's new reelection slogan is..."Change Is". Yes, that's it, Change Is. But I suppose it depends on the definition of "is" whether change is or is not, right?

Headline of the week..."New York Times Writer Goes to Israel, Declares His Ambivalence About Judaism, Visits a Few Churches, Gets Drunk, Leaves" Story

So how's the Republican race for delegates adding up so far? GOP delegate tracker here.

She blasted her ex-husband for cheating on their vows, but Marianne Gingrich reportedly carried on a prolonged affair of her own with a married man with three kids. Story

Newt Gringrich's Quote of the Week..."I want America to become so energy independent that no American president ever again bows to the Saudi king."

The cruise ship, Costa Corcordia, decks were named after the 13 EU nations. According to this story the sinking may be an omen for the collapse of the EU. 

South Carolina's Attorney General, Alan Wilson has notified the U.S. Justice Department of potential voter fraud. Wilson says an analysis found 953 ballots cast by voters were people who are listed as dead. He has asked the State Law Enforcement Division to investigate. Source

Iraq reverting back to authoritarianism? Come on, really? Who would have guessed? Story

Digital simulation of Costa Concordia's path. Here

Nine myths about the Tuskegee Airmen.

Wikileaker

Assange sits on a tattered couch, wearing a wool sweater, dark pants and an electronic manacle around his right ankle, visible only when he crosses his legs. At 40, the WikiLeaks founder comes across more like an embattled rebel commander than a hacker or journalist. He's become better at handling the media – more willing to answer questions than he used to be, less likely to storm off during interviews – but the protracted legal battle has left him isolated, broke and vulnerable. Assange recently spoke to someone he calls a Western "intelligence source," and he asked the official about his fate. Will he ever be a free man again, allowed to return to his native Australia, to come and go as he pleases? "He told me I was fucked," Assange says.

More here

Education spending

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Fed takes Fifth

The chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona is refusing to testify before Congress regarding Operation Fast and Furious, the federal gun-running scandal that sent U.S. weapons to Mexico.

Patrick J. Cunningham informed the House Oversight Committee late Thursday through his attorney that he will use the Fifth Amendment protection.

Cunningham was ordered Wednesday to appear before Chairman Darrell Issa and the House Oversight Committee regarding his role in the operation that sent more than 2,000 guns to the Sinaloa Cartel. Guns from the failed operation were found at the murder scene of Border Agent Brian Terry.

The letter from Cunningham's Washington DC attorney stunned congressional staff. Last week, Cunningham, the second highest ranking U.S. Attorney in Arizona, was scheduled to appear before Issa‘s committee voluntarily. Then, he declined and Issa issued a subpoena.

Cunningham is represented by Tobin Romero of Williams and Connolly who is a specialist in white collar crime. In the letter, he suggests witnesses from the Department of Justice in Washington, who have spoken in support of Attorney General Eric Holder, are wrong or lying.

More here

Communization

Karl Marx’s ten point agenda for the communization of society...

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.

6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of wasteland, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.

10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc., etc.

Source

Christian King

Four days after police arrested Rosa Parks for refusing to surrender her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Ala., bus, the young Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. explained the Christian foundation of the civil rights movement he was about to lead.

"I want to say that we are not here advocating violence," King said in a Dec. 5, 1955, speech at the Holt Street Baptist Church.

"I want it to be known throughout Montgomery and throughout this nation that we are Christian people," King said. "We believe in the Christian religion. We believe in the teachings of Jesus. The only weapon that we have in our hands this evening is the weapon of protest."

King, a Baptist minister and American patriot whose organization would be called the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, wanted the nation to know that the civil rights movement was rooted in fidelity to Judeo-Christian morality and to America’s founding documents.

"And we are determined here in Montgomery," King said that day in 1955, "to work and fight until justice ‘runs down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.’"

In these last words, King was quoting from the Bible — Amos 5:24.

A visitor to the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., will find 16 statements from King carved in granite there. One is from his 1955 Montgomery speech. In its entirety, it reads: "We are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs ‘down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.’"

This is as close as the memorial gets to acknowledging that King was a Christian clergyman who passionately argued that discrimination was wrong because it violated God’s law.

The words "God," "Jesus" and "Lord" — ever-present in King’s speeches and sermons — are carved nowhere in the stones of the memorial dedicated in his name.

King’s name is repeatedly carved into the memorial. But none of these carvings refer to him as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. In all cases, he is called simply "Martin Luther King Jr."

More here

Friday, January 20, 2012

Economic warfare

Evidence outlined in a Pentagon contractor report suggests that financial subversion carried out by unknown parties, such as terrorists or hostile nations, contributed to the 2008 economic crash by covertly using vulnerabilities in the U.S. financial system.

The unclassified 2009 report "Economic Warfare: Risks and Responses" by financial analyst Kevin D. Freeman, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times, states that "a three-phased attack was planned and is in the process against the United States economy."

While economic analysts and a final report from the federal government's Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission blame the crash on such economic factors as high-risk mortgage lending practices and poor federal regulation and supervision, the Pentagon contractor adds a new element: "outside forces," a factor the commission did not examine.

"There is sufficient justification to question whether outside forces triggered, capitalized upon or magnified the economic difficulties of 2008," the report says, explaining that those domestic economic factors would have caused a "normal downturn" but not the "near collapse" of the global economic system that took place.

Suspects include financial enemies in Middle Eastern states, Islamic terrorists, hostile members of the Chinese military, or government and organized crime groups in Russia, Venezuela, or Iran. Chinese military officials publicly have suggested using economic warfare against the U.S.

More here

Copper

All's well that ends well...Two guys tried to steal some copper wire...and the wire is juiced up with 13,200 volts. Photos

Fortune cookies originated in Japan? Story

Romney's chances of being elected president probably dropped somewhat over revelations that he only paid a 15% tax rate on his income. It's perfectly legal (Capital Gains Tax) but adds to the perception that the rich don't pay their fair share. Romney says, "My income comes overwhelmingly from some investments made in the past." Oh, and he's also got millions of dollars stashed in the Cayman Islands.

And what's left to say after Gingrich's ex-wife says he was enamored of his mistress and would be amenable to having an open marriage? Where does the Republican Party find all these losers? Get used to it...Obama will be here for four more years.

You've probably noticed that after the 2010 elections, the Tea Party Movement became much quieter. For over a year, there were rallies, protests, letter writing campaigns, fundraising efforts and more by this group, then once the election happened, not much has happened. Story

What border?...Three beheadings in two different states and they happened here in the United States, not Mexico. Former DEA supervisor Phil Jordan says all three beheadings have cartel written all over them. They happened in Arizona and Oklahoma in the past year. A murder mystery is now unraveling on a stretch of North Reservation Road in Tucson, Ariz. County workers found a headless man lying on the side of the road Jan. 6. The man's hands and feet were reportedly missing, too. Story  (Coming soon to your hometown)

A study published today in the journal Cancer Cell has put forward something terrifying — that one of our current way of fighting tumors might make them more deadly. The researchers examined anti-angiogenic therapies, or those treatments which cut off blood supplies to tumors, thus making them shrink in size. Story

Voter fraud in Wisconsin...Perhaps the most egregious example was discovered when one man admitted signing a recall petition 80 times because he thought President George W. Bush cheated in the 2000 election. He seemed to have no problem rationalizing his abuse of the process and the petition carriers were happy to let him do it. It wasn’t just one bad apple that signed multiple times. Liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now actively encouraged people to sign recall petitions more than once. Story

Mitt Romney has spent more than 20 years in private enterprise, making thousands of business decisions affecting hundreds of companies that led to more than 100,000 new jobs and billions of dollars for employees and investors. So you can see why the left despises him. Among Romney's thousands of business decisions, the one I gather his opponents consider his absolute worst was the decision to close a paper plant in Marion, Ind. Which wasn't his decision at all. Story

Rush Limbaugh says Mitt Romney should have responded to questions about his tax returns by saying..."I'll show you my taxes when Obama releases his academic records."

People who use pseudonyms - as opposed to remaining anonymous or using their real identity - are more likely to leave high-quality comments on blogs and other Web sites, according to data released by Disqus. In addition to leaving more comments, people using pseudonyms are more likely to leave comments that get "likes" from other readers, according to Disqus, which operates blog commenting platforms for about one million Web sites, including ReadWriteWeb. Story

Bob Beckel, the ultimate liberal, now says this about welfare and public housing..."We made a dependent society because we thought we were doing the right thing."

Ever wonder why the mainstream media goes through Sarah Palin's trash, interviews Newt's ex-wife on national TV, discovers Mitt's offshore accounts but can't find the time to investigate Obama's college grades, his alleged birth certificate, or seem interested in his far left wing friends and associates?

In the days following Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's admission that he pays around 15 percent in federal income taxes, the Obama-loving media have been in a full-court press claiming this is less than what most Americans pay. According to last year's report from the Internal Revenue Service, as a function of Adjusted Gross Income, 97 percent of 2009 filers paid less than 15 percent....Story 

Are blue states smarter than red states? Story

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Costa Concordia

One needn't fail to feel genuine sympathy for the victims of a stupid showboating Italian cruiseship captain to nevertheless be amused at the complaints from women who suddenly find they aren't so keen on that all-important equality when push comes to shove:
Survivors from the Costa Concordia spoke angrily yesterday of the nightmare evacuation from the stricken ship as women and children were left behind. In the terrifying moments after the giant vessel began to list, fights even broke out to get into the lifeboats. Men refused to prioritise women, expectant mothers and children as they pushed themselves forward to escape. Crew ignored their passengers – leaving ‘chefs and waiters’ to help out.

In heart-rending footage, recorded on mobile phones, British children could be heard shouting ‘Daddy’ and ‘Mummy’ in the melee. As she waited for a flight home from Rome, grandmother Sandra Rogers, 62, told the Daily Mail: ‘There was no "women and children first" policy. There were big men, crew members, pushing their way past us to get into the lifeboats. It was disgusting.’
This was not so much predictable as predicted. Women have methodically attacked the concept of male duty and honor through every possible means for the past ninety years, and now they are whining that they don't get special treatment simply because a ship happens to be sinking. Why, exactly, should any man "prioritise women, expectant mothers and children"? On what grounds can they be reasonably expected to do so, those outdated traditional grounds that the schools teach is hateful, sexist, and bigoted?

Those big, burly crewmen shoving aside women as they prioritized their own escape should have been wearing t-shirts that said "this is what a feminist looks like". Enjoy the crash.

Source

I have a dream

Train to nowhere

Critics began panning the first leg of California’s futuristic high-speed rail network as a "train to nowhere" soon after officials decided to build it not in the major population centers of Los Angeles or San Francisco, but through the state’s Central Valley farming belt.

Since then, things have only gotten worse. Spiraling cost estimates and eroding political and public support now threaten a project crucial to a 21st-century vision of train travel that President Obama promised would transform U.S. transportation much as interstate highways did more than a half-century ago.

A national high-speed rail network would not only support tens of thousands of construction and manufacturing jobs, but it would get Americans out of their cars, revitalize struggling downtowns, and spare the environment millions of tons of carbon emissions and travelers untold hours wasted in traffic or in airport terminals waiting out delays.

Obama set a goal of providing 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years. But that lofty vision is yielding to the political gravity generated by high costs, determined opponents and a public that has grown dubious of government’s ability to do big things.

Virtually none of the projects has gotten off the ground, and the one that has is in trouble.

For Obama, the political stakes are high going into the 2012 election. Republican front-runner Mitt Romney has accused him of putting too much faith in government to build the economy. The president, Romney says to the delight of Republican partisans, "does not know" how business, or the economy, works.

More here

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Turkey

Governor Rick Perry is catching flack for calling Turkey’s leadership "Islamic terrorists." While I would not go so far as Governor Perry, had he simply called Prime Minister Erdoğan an enabler for Islamic terrorists, he would be 100 percent correct. I’ve previous charted Turkey’s path from ally to adversary. But here are a couple factoids which Perry might know, but many journalists and analysts may not....

Story

Private equity

Mitt Romney and his GOP rivals are engaged in a fruitless argument in South Carolina over whether private equity creates more jobs than it destroys. The debate is fruitless because voters and politicians don't believe jobs should ever be destroyed.

The American voter is not about to become sophisticated about the place of private equity in American life. But the American voter can become inured to it. So let backers of Newt Gingrich's flaming candidacy run a "King of Bain" video savaging Mr. Romney's leveraged buyout career on South Carolina TV.

All such productions are but poor reprises of a story that appeared in this paper on May 16, 1990, written by a reporter named Susan Faludi, later to become famous as an angry feminist author.

In 7,770 words, Ms. Faludi described the buyout of the Safeway supermarket chain, and if anybody suffered a layoff or pay cut or got depressed and committed suicide, she did not hesitate to blame private equity. You would think that firing had been unknown in the economy until private equity invented it.

Most damning, she claimed Safeway was a profitable company when private equity went to work trying to make it more profitable. What neither she nor Safeway's investors could have known was that the fat in the supermarket industry would soon be the target of Wal-Mart, Costco and other revolutionary discounters, so competitive change was coming in any case. The lesson? When private-equity investors sniff a profit opportunity, they are probably just one step ahead of someone else.

As a rule, private equity takes on the most troubled companies because turning them around offers the biggest profit opportunities. That's why private equity tends to generate more than its share of traumatic headlines. Look no further than Ripplewood Holdings' decision to put the maker of Twinkies into bankruptcy this week. It's the kind of decision that, were Ripplewood's principals ever to run for office, would get them savaged in an ad.

More here

VW

At the Berlin Auto Show in February 1939, Adolph Hitler delivered a speech decrying the increasing number of car accidents on the streets of Germany. For a man planning annihilation and world-wide domination, traffic safety would seem an odd preoccupation, but such was the Führer's enthrallment with all things automotive and his dedication to motorizing a German public poised at the starting line of the Thousand Year Reich.

That Hitler promoted or, rather, insisted on the development of a small, affordable, everyman's car—a volkswagen—is well-known. What's not clear is who exactly came up with the nuts and bolts of what would become the ingenious Volkswagen design. Two new books—"The Extraordinary Life of Josef Ganz" by Paul Schilperoord and "Thinking Small" by Andrea Hiott—are both diligently researched, but they differ in their conclusions about who deserves credit. Mr. Schilperoord's chronicle, whose subtitle is "The Jewish Engineer Behind Hitler's Volkswagen," is the more controversial and enlightening.

In 1934, Adolf Hitler drew a sketch for Ferdinand Porsche of a 'people's car,' which bore a striking resemblance to the Standard-Superior.

Josef Ganz was the kind of guy they don't seem to make much anymore. He was born in Budapest in 1898, the son of a German diplomat. When young Josef wasn't mastering the violin, he tinkered . . . and tinkered. He applied for his first patent, a streetcar safety system, at 9 years of age and invented an automatic aiming device for antiaircraft guns at age 17.

It wasn't until he was convalescing from a shrapnel wound during World War I that he truly got busy. He patented everything from board games to gearboxes and began taking particular interest in automobile design and construction. A few years and one serious motorcycle accident later, he became beguiled by designer Edmund Rumpler's Tropfenwagen, the bulbous, streamlined "car of the future" that was featured in "Metropolis" (1927), Fritz Lang's classic film.

More here

Note:  I had a Beetle in the mid 60's, a Karmann Ghia in the early 70's, and a Rabbit in the late 70's...all were excellent cars.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ice free

In 2007, the former Vice President, Al Gore, said in a speech..."Some of the models suggest that there is a 75 percent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during some of the summer months, could be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years." So how's that prediction coming along, Al?

Standard & Poor's downgraded the credit ratings of nine euro zone countries, stripping France and Austria of their coveted triple-A status but not EU paymaster Germany, in a Black Friday 13th for the troubled single currency area. "Today's rating actions are primarily driven by our assessment that the policy initiatives that have been taken by European policymakers in recent weeks may be insufficient to fully address ongoing systemic stresses in the eurozone," the U.S.-based ratings agency said in a statement. Story

One of Rick Perry’s leading financial supporters in South Carolina is defecting to Mitt Romney – and he told CNN Thursday that Perry’s sharp criticisms of Romney as a "vulture capitalist" were the main factor in his decision. Both Perry and Newt Gingrich recently began hammering Romney as a predatory capitalist who looted companies and fired workers when he was running the private equity firm Bain Capital in the 1980s and 1990s. Story

Rick Perry forgets agains...For the second time of his presidential campaign, he messed up his list of three federal Cabinet departments he’d like to eliminate. Story

More violence in Iraq...A suicide bomber killed at least 55 Shiite Muslim pilgrims Saturday in southern Iraq in the latest violence that has shaken the nation since U.S. forces withdrew in December.

Affirmative action programs in France are referred to as "positive discrimination."

Some are questioning why the Democrats are attacking Romney for running businesses that actually made profits while their hero, Obama, wants another $1.2 Trillion added to the national debt.

Annual flu shots might soon become a thing of the past, and threats such as avian and swine flu might disappear with them as a vaccine touted as the "holy grail" of flu treatment could be ready for human trials next year. Story

Bill Maher on his show Saturday night said he would have peed on the dead Taliban soldiers too. Okay, Bill, I'll give you credit for that one. Maybe there's hope for you after all.

The Broncos were overwhelmed by the Patriots on Saturday. Tebowmania will be set aside until next season. Give him credit for taking a mediocre team to the playoffs. The game would have been closer had he passed for 316 yards instead of 136.

Monday was Martin Luther King day. Big deal. In my opinion he failed his own "content of character" test by his numerous infidelities, his plagiarism, and his acceptance of money from Communist backed entities. Some critics say that Detroit is the ultimate result of King's dream. And isn't it odd that FBI files on King have been sealed until 2027? And isn't it odd that King's niece, Dr. Alveda King says that had her uncle lived, he'd be considered a pro-life, social conservative.

Supposedly, according to the latest research, 40% of Americans describe themselves as conservative. 35% describe themselves as moderate. 21% describe themselves as liberal. But isn't it odd that the liberal agenda has been prevailing for the past 40 years in slow, deliberate steps? Chip, chip, chip. Can you hear them chipping away?

Newsweek asks on its latest cover..."Why are Obama's critics so dumb?" Somebody's totally clueless...and it isn't me.

Instead of worrying about Global Warming, this story ought to keep you awake at night...For certain kinds of bacteria, we have reached the end of the line. No new antibiotics have been developed for decades, and some superbugs are now resistent to all those we have. There is no one solution to the problem of antibiotic resistance, but we desperately need new antibiotics. Far from helping, though, drug regulatory agencies are discouraging the development of new antibiotics.... Story

An extensively peer-reviewed study published last December in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics indicates that observed climate changes since 1850 are linked to cyclical,
predictable, naturally occurring events in Earth’s solar system with little or no help from us. Story

Isn't it odd that two of our greatest presidents, Washington and Lincoln, never went to college?

Rush Limbaugh..."Democrats and liberals think that we, conservatives, are racists, sexists, and all those other things. In fact, it is they who are those things. It is liberals who look at a human and first notice a skin color, or gender; then they get into sexual orientation, then segment into all kinds of groups. This is the way they see people. They also use projection quite commonly and regularly, and so it is us, they think, who are racists and sexists."

The Spanish judge who became an international human rights hero by indicting former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet went on trial Tuesday over his handling of a domestic corruption probe in a case that could end his career. Story  (Ever wonder why he never indicted Fidel Castro, too?)

Defense

Monday, January 16, 2012

Soft landing

Ben Bernanke believed that the U.S. economy would have a 'soft landing' in the wake of falling house prices in 2006.

Instead, the next year saw the start of a credit crunch, which became a financial crisis, which became the Great Recession.

The extraordinary delusion of those who ran the world's biggest economy, from the chairman of the Federal Reserve downwards, has been laid bare by the release of transcripts of Fed meetings from the year before the crash.

Mr Bernanke predicted that the end of the housing bubble would be 'at worst an orderly decline', rather than the widespread disaster it became.

But his prediction that the bubble would pop gently was in fact one of the least wrong guesses about the future of the economy.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, then a Fed official, said there was little risk of 'collateral damage' from the housing market.

And Susan Bies, a Fed governor, even suggested that a fall in the housing market could benefit the rest of the economy.

The officials' optimism came despite glaring signs of the damage to the market, which were discussed in Fed meetings - for example, they mentioned that some builders were giving away cars to home-buyers, while others were disguising empty houses as occupied to encourage people to move to the area.

More here

U.S. government duds

Solyndra, the solar-panel maker that received more than half a billion dollars in federal loans from the Obama administration only to go bankrupt this fall, isn’t the first dud for U.S. government officials trying to play venture capitalist in the energy industry.

The Clinch River Breeder Reactor. The Synthetic Fuels Corporation. The hydrogen car. Clean coal. These are but a few examples spanning several decades — a graveyard of costly and failed projects.

Not a single one of these much-ballyhooed initiatives is producing or saving a drop or a watt or a whiff of energy, but they have managed to burn through far more more taxpayer money than the ill-fated Solyndra. An Energy Department report in 2008 estimated that the federal government had spent $172 billion since 1961 on basic research and the development of advanced energy technologies.

What does Washington have to show for these investments? And should the government even be in the business of promoting particular energy technologies?

More here

So little bang

So the assumptions of the last 60 years are over — and not just because of the cost. If America’s responsible for 43 percent of global military expenditure, why doesn’t it feel like that? Why does the United States get so little bang for the buck? It is two-thirds of a century since this country won a war (and please don’t bother writing in to say what about Grenada? or Panama?). In the days after 9/11, many Bush-administration officials assured us that this time it would be different, and even liberals believed them. A decade later, Washington can’t wait to get the hell out of the Hindu Kush, and the day after they do it will be as if they never set foot on that benighted sod. Illiterate goatherds with string and fertilizer have tied down the hyperpower for twice as long as it took America to win the Second World War. Something is wrong with this picture.

More here

Document drop

On Friday... there was another White House document dump regarding Solyndra’s bankruptcy filing just after the 2010 elections. While Solyndra is the crown jewel in the Department of Energy’s "you can’t make a green omelette without breaking a few hundred million taxpayer eggs" trial-and-error initiative, there are many other examples.

CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson — who was one of the first reporters on the Solyndra trail — featured 11 other DoE loan recipients that either have or probably will take a Solyndra-style plunge and suck down $6.5 billion of taxpayer loans with them.

More here

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Gold

Red line

The Obama administration is relying on a secret channel of communication to warn Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that closing the Strait of Hormuz is a "red line" that would provoke an American response, according to United States government officials.

The officials declined to describe the unusual contact between the two governments, and whether there had been an Iranian reply. Senior Obama administration officials have said publicly that Iran would cross a "red line" if it made good on recent threats to close the strait, a strategically crucial waterway connecting the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, where 16 million barrels of oil — about a fifth of the world’s daily oil trade — flow through every day.

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said this past weekend that the United States would "take action and reopen the strait," which could be accomplished only by military means, including minesweepers, warship escorts and potentially airstrikes. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta told troops in Texas on Thursday that the United States would not tolerate Iran’s closing of the strait.

The secret communications channel was chosen to underscore privately to Iran the depth of American concern about rising tensions over the strait, where American naval officials say their biggest fear is that an overzealous Revolutionary Guards naval captain could do something provocative on his own, setting off a larger crisis.

"If you ask me what keeps me awake at night, it’s the Strait of Hormuz and the business going on in the Arabian Gulf," Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, the chief of naval operations, said in Washington this week.

More here

Italy fail

As the Italians scrambled to unify their country during the 19th century, Italian governments made promises to one European power after another in order to gain support. How can you possibly keep all those promises to all those governments, the Italian prime minister was asked.

"Italy will astound the world," he replied, "with its ingratitude."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel seems to be the latest foreign statesman to discover just how astounding Italy statesmen can be. Her intervention in Italian politics is widely credited for forcing Silvio Berlusconi (who had called her something that sounds like ‘unflappable’ but is not nearly as nice) out of office and paving the way for Mario Monti, Italy’s current PM.

Merkel’s astounding discovery ,as the German magazine Der Spiegel reports, is that the Italians are no more interested than they ever were in behaving like good Germans. They want big European bailouts. They want the European Central Bank to print money. They want to give easy money politicians more control over eurozone economic policies and take power away from Teutonically minded technocrats. Italy, in other words, is going to back France in one economic dispute after another as both countries work to ensure that the euro is a mechanism by which Latin Europe conquers the north, rather than the other way round.

Prime Minister Monti may be, as people have called him, a "technocrat", but he is also, and more profoundly, an Italian. He is going to fight for his country’s interests as he sees them, and he is prepared to be tough.

Conventionally, people assume that well managed France has a stronger hand to play politically in Europe than semi-chaotic, debt ridden Italy. That is true in some ways, but in the battle to decide the future of the eurozone, Italy has the equivalent of a nuclear weapon. Italy’s economy is so big, and its debts are so large, that it can always threaten to blow up the eurozone by collapsing.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Honorable discharge

Last Friday, it was quietly announced that Holly Graf gets to retire in grade and with an Honorable Discharge. Women throughout the military should be ashamed for their acceptance of favoritism, because we all know a man would have been long gone from the military for similar offenses. Story

In other news...Salt Lake City, Utah, is known for breathtaking mountain scenery, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the 2002 Winter Olympics. But today it was also named the Gayest City in America by The Advocate magazine. The Advocate ranked cities according to its own admittedly nonscientific criteria, including the number of gay and lesbian bookstores, elected officials who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, and some edgier metrics like the number of International Mr. Leather competition semifinalists and the presence of nude yoga classes. Story

Television ratings for the Bronco's victory over the Steelers was...what else could it be?...31.6, of course. Meanwhile, a blogger asks, Are we living in a sports movie? Story  Still another critic says Tebow should read Matthew 6:5.

It's come to this...Twinkies in deep doodoo...Hostess Brands Inc., the maker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread, is seeking bankruptcy protection, blaming its pension and medical benefits obligations, increased competition and tough economic conditions. Story (I blame Obama)

Scotland's most senior lawmaker has set a date for a referendum on whether the nation should seek independence, a vote that could bring to an end its 300-year-old union with the rest of the U.K. Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party and First Minister in Scotland's parliament, told supporters in a message posted on the party's website that a referendum on Scottish independence will be held in autumn 2014, not long after Scotland will celebrate the 700th anniversary of a famous Scottish victory over the English at Bannockburn. Source

There's nothing particularly new about Quinnipiac's new Florida numbers showing President Obama struggling, but they do underscore how badly the president has slipped - both with white voters and Hispanic voters in the demographically-diverse Sunshine State. The poll shows Obama's job approval rating among white voters at just 33 percent, and his approval with Hispanic voters at 46 percent. Obama trails Romney by 21 points among white voters, 55 percent to 34 percent, and only holds a one-point lead among Hispanics, 46 to 45 percent. Source

CNSNews reports...Federal spending bills approved by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives have increased the national debt by more than $1 Trillion in just 10 months. Republicans won a majority in the House in the November 2010 elections and took control on January 5, 2011, when the chamber convened and elected Rep. John Boehner as speaker.

Sarah Palin on Michelle Obama's defense of her husband's failed policies..."Oh Lord. Oh Lord! Are we just numskulls out here in the heartland of America? Just a bunch of numskulls who can't read the unemployment numbers and see that 5 trillion dollars in new debt under her husband...we still have fewer jobs today than before he took over. But, we're numskulls out here and we just don't understand what these numbers mean...."

Meanwhile, Michelle is tired of being characterized as an angry black woman. Hey, if the shoe fits....

David Axelrod claims, with a straight face, that Obama's preacher friend, Jeremiah Wright, was a victim of selective editing.

More than 26 feet of snow has fallen in Valdez, Alaska since November. That is FEET not INCHES. 26 FEET.

It must be getting close to election time...Obama will ask Congress to give him authority to significantly shrink the federal government by merging six agencies dealing with trade and commerce. Don't believe it, Democrats don't ever shrink government, ever.

The United States plans to withdraw about 7,000 US troops of the 81,000 troops based in Europe, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has announced. That's a good start. Bring them all home. Let those effeminate Europeans defend themselves

Lots of outrage over the video of Marines peeing on some dead Taliban. Wouldn't it be nice to hear more outrage for the beheadings and honor killings by those same Taliban?

Illegals deported

France expelled more illegal immigrants last year than ever before, its government announced today.

Interior minister Claude Gueant told a press conference that the French authorities removed 32,912 illegal immigrants in 2011, up 17.5 per cent from 2010.

'This result is 5,000 higher than the initial objective decided upon at the start of the year. It is the highest result ever achieved,' he said.

Mr Gueant, a close ally of President Sarkozy and a well-known hardliner on immigration, said he wants the number of expulsions to rise to 35,000 this year.

He also vowed to significantly reduce legal immigration.

Mr Gueant added that immigrants who want to stay in France will have to shed traditions which contradict French values, saying: 'We reject ... cloistered lives lived along ethnic and religious grounds, those that live by their own laws.

'The foreigners that we welcome here must integrate themselves. It is up to them to adapt to us, not the other way around.'

Source

Gulf oil spill

A fortuitous combination of ravenous bacteria, ocean currents and local topography helped to rapidly purge the Gulf of Mexico of much of the oil and gas released in the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010, researchers reported on Monday.

WSJ's Gautam Naik has details of study showing that more than 50 species of microbes consumed much of the oil and gas plume in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the 210 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

After spewing oil and gas for nearly three months, the BP PLC well was finally capped in mid-July 2010. Some 200,000 tons of methane gas and about 4.4 million barrels of petroleum spilled into the ocean. Given the enormity of the spill, many scientists predicted that a significant amount of the resulting chemical pollutants would likely persist in the region's waterways for years.

According to a new federally funded study published Monday by the National Academy of Sciences, those scientists were wrong. By the end of September 2010, the vast underwater plume of methane, plus other gases, had all but disappeared. By the end of October, a significant amount of the underwater offshore oil—a complex substance made from thousands of compounds—had vanished as well.

"There was a lot of doomsday talk," said microbiologist David Valentine of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and co-author of the study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. But it turns out "the ocean harbors organisms that can handle a certain amount of input" in the form of oil and gas pollutants, he said.

A year ago, Dr. Valentine and other scientists published a paper describing how bacteria that feed on naturally occurring oil and gas leaks underwater had apparently devoured much of the toxic chemicals released in the BP spill. That federally funded study, published in the journal Science, triggered disbelief among other researchers who questioned whether microbes could gobble up that much gas and oil so quickly.

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