Saturday, March 30, 2013

No longer your country

A loose alliance of business and political groups has spent almost $1.5 billion since late 2007 to rewrite the nation’s immigration law according to a new report.

The flood of money hired 3,136 lobbyists at 678 lobbying groups to pass one or more of 987 small or large bills, said the March 25 report from the Sunlight Foundation.

"[I]n the five years (2008-2012) since the reform last died on the Senate floor, we count 6,712 quarterly lobbying reports filed by 678 lobbying organizations in 170 sectors mentioning 987 unique bills, associated with more than $1.5 billion in lobbying spending," the Sunlight Foundation’s Lee Drutman and Alexander Furnas write.

The report corroborates lobbyists’ recent comments to The Daily Caller that business and progressive groups are spending very heavily to pass a joint "comprehensive immigration bill" this year, which could include enhanced guest worker program and some form of amnesty.

One lobbyist said he had been given a surprise offer to promote the new bills, while another said that meetings of experienced immigration lobbyists are crowded with new advocates who know little about immigration law.

More here

Robbery in plain sight

There are many reasons that the fate of Cyprus is being followed so closely in Britain. One is sympathy for those who are about to pay the price for the sins of a banking sector that was at one point seven times the size of the island’s economy. Another is shock at how the island, to which Britain granted independence just 53 years ago, now finds itself caught between Berlin, Moscow and Brussels. But the real lesson of Cyprus can be applied closer to home: when governments run out of money, they come after other people’s. Everyone is looking at Cyprus and asking: how safe are my savings?

In Cyprus, at least, when the government decides to help itself to people’s savings, it’s called theft. In Britain, it’s called ‘quantitative easing’. It may have been shocking for Cypriots to wake up and find the government proposing to steal 6.75 per cent of their savings — but at least the ploy was declared in advance, then defeated in parliament. The new idea — seizing about a third of accounts worth more than €100,000 — is similarly transparent, albeit still shocking. But in Britain, though no one likes to admit it, the state purloins the wealth of its citizens to an extent which makes the deal that Cypriots rejected look quite mild. It just does it less conspicuously.

It’s all down to the games played with interest rates, and a policy — QE — which sounds so mind-numbingly dull that you may be tempted to stop reading as soon as you encounter the letters. John Maynard Keynes had an apt description for what is happening. ‘By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens,’ he wrote. ‘The process … does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.’

More here

Little Crappy Ship

The U.S. Navy’s troubled Littoral Combat Ship, a vessel intended to be small and speedy for use in shallow waters close to shore, lacks the firepower it needs, a top U.S. navy commander said in a classified memo.

Vice Admiral Tom Copeman, the commander of naval surface forces, called on the Navy to consider a ship with more offensive capability after the first 24 vessels are built, according to a Navy official who asked not to be identified discussing the confidential document.

Copeman’s memo, prepared late last year at the request of Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations, indicates the Navy may be starting to re-examine the $37 billion program. The ship has been beset by troubles, including cracks and corrosion, its price has doubled since 2005 to $440 million per vessel and a decision to build two versions will add to longterm operating costs.

A review could lead to an eventual redesign of the ship or the development of an entirely new vessel.

"He’s raising issues which no one with active-duty stars on their shoulders has said before," said Norman Polmar, an independent naval analyst and author who’s spoken to Navy officials about Copeman’s memo. "He’s not playing the total party line. I think it will have an impact on people expressing their views."

Producing a ship that can accommodate larger guns or Harpoon anti-ship missiles "would be a major redesign," Polmar said in an interview. "It will be real work to put major weapons on the ship."

The two versions of the Littoral Combat Ship -- derided by critics inside the Navy as the "Little Crappy Ship"-- are being built simultaneously.

More here

Neither affordable, nor caring

Three years after the Affordable Care Act passed, it's proved to be neither affordable nor caring.

Insurance premiums are skyrocketing. Seniors are losing health care choices. Millions of Americans are being pushed into a struggling and ineffective Medicaid system. Americans are grappling with scores of new taxes. Employers are slashing jobs and hours to avoid complying with Obamacare requirements.

This isn't what was promised. Americans were told if Obamacare was made law, they would be able to keep their health plans, taxes wouldn't go up, premiums would go down, and more jobs would be created. But the law isn't living up to its label. And it's hurting working families, young people, poor minorities and seniors the most.

Before Obamacare was adopted, President Barack Obama pledged that American families would pay $2,500 less for their insurance premiums by the end of his first term. Today, they are paying $3,000 more - a $5,500 swing between what was promised and reality. Young people will be particularly impacted, with the Energy and Commerce Committee estimating that recent college graduates with entry-level jobs who are struggling to pay off student loan debt could see their premiums increase between 145 and 189 percent on average.

As health costs are going up, jobs are becoming harder to obtain - a double dose of economic pain for those worrying about making ends meet. The Federal Reserve recently reported in its annual "beige book," which analyzed economic data from across the country, that "employers in several districts cite the unknown effects of the Affordable Care Act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff."

This is terrible news for Americans already suffering from disproportionately high unemployment rates. Currently, the unemployment rate for people who didn't graduate from high school is more than 12 percent. Hispanics have an unemployment rate of nearly 10 percent, and the African-American unemployment rate is over 14 percent.

More here

Friday, March 29, 2013

More carbon nonsense

President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Energy Department said the U.S. should put a price on carbon dioxide emissions to push more clean energy use in the country.

The Washington Examiner reported that MIT professor Ernest Moniz said putting a price on carbon would be necessary to double or even triple the price of carbon, which would push the U.S. to use more clean energy technologies and increase energy security.

"Ultimately, it has to be cheaper to capture and store it than to release it and pay a price," Moniz told the Switch Energy Project last year. "If we start really squeezing down on carbon dioxide over the next few decades, well, that could double; it could eventually triple."

More here

War on men

The feminists have ratcheted up the laws against men to such an outrageous level that paternity fraud is not just ignored, but routinely rubber stamped by the courts. Whether one agrees with the concept of child support or not, virtually everyone can agree that jailing men for child support over children who are not theirs is morally wrong. Men are routinely sent to jail for falling behind on paying child support, even though debtors' prisons in the U.S. were mostly eliminated in the mid-nineteenth century.

The family courts and laws are set up in such a way that makes it very easy for a mother to collect child support, and very difficult for a man to avoid it. If a couple was married, the default law is that the man will be required to pay child support for any child born while they were married. In order for a man who isn't the father to escape this outcome, he must obtain a paternity test and take a series of legal steps in court. Most states only allow a short window of time for a man to do this. If a man is not aware of the child, which he may not be if his wife or former wife doesn't notify him of the child right away, he loses all chance to fight the child support, and will be on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars for the next 18 years until the child becomes an adult.

Courts routinely order these judgments even if the man is unaware what is going on. A March 2003 Urban Institute study commissioned by the California Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) found that "most noncustodial parents appear to be served by 'substitute' service, rather than personal service, which suggests that noncustodial parents may not know that they have been served."

More here

Best of times, worst of times

On one end of the Panama Canal, the nation’s capital gleams with new skyscrapers; a subway, the first in Central America, is under construction; and new malls and restaurants fill with patrons. The city fancies itself a mini-Dubai on the Pacific.

Forty miles away on the other end of the canal, in the city of Colón by the Caribbean, rotting buildings collapse, sewage runs in alleyways, water service is jury-rigged, and crime and despair have sent protesters into the streets. Recently, Hollywood filmmakers made Colón, Panama’s second-largest city, a stand-in for Haiti, the poorest country in the hemisphere.

Panama is booming, with an average economic growth of 9 percent in the past five years, the highest in Latin America. Banking and financial services and big public works projects like the subway and multibillion-dollar expansion of the canal have fed the good fortune.

Panama City, the capital, has the tallest building in Latin America, a 70-story Trump hotel and condo tower, and its skyscraper forest reflects the rush of foreign investment, real estate speculation, well-heeled foreign transplants and, American officials have said, some measure of drug money.

But Panama can also lay claim to some of the starkest disparities of wealth in Latin America, according to the World Bank, and the persistent poverty in Colón, an hour’s drive from the symbols of wealth in Panama City, remains a glaring, festering example inflaming friction here.

More here

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Something is wrong with society

ExxonMobil pled guilty to killing about 85 protected waterfowl, hawks and owls in five states over the past five years. The birds died from exposure to the company’s natural gas well reserve pits and waste water storage facilities.

Exxon has already spent $2.5 million safeguarding its facilities and is being fined an additional $600,000 — a total of $3.1 million for 85 bird deaths. That works out to about $36,470 per bird death.

Let’s put this in some perspective.

The "death gratuity," as the U.S. military calls it, is only $12,420 for active duty personnel, jumping up to $100,000 for combat-related deaths.

Poultry give their lives to feed us for about $2 per pound — chickens and turkey existing at a level far below their "protected" bretheren.

There’s something very wrong about a society that values some dead birds on a par with dead soldiers — not to mention a Department of Justice that actually spends time and taxpayer money prosecuting the deaths of 85 birds.

More here

Petraeus

From September, 2007....

In sharp contrast to the lionisation of Gen. David Petraeus by members of the U.S. Congress during his testimony this week, Petraeus's superior, Admiral William Fallon, chief of the Central Command (CENTCOM), derided Petraeus as a sycophant during their first meeting in Baghdad last March, according to Pentagon sources familiar with reports of the meeting.

Fallon told Petraeus that he considered him to be "an ass-kissing little chickenshit" and added, "I hate people like that", the sources say. That remark reportedly came after Petraeus began the meeting by making remarks that Fallon interpreted as trying to ingratiate himself with a superior.

More here

Liberal policies

Liberal politices result in the following....

Almost 50 years ago, when the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed, the national out-of-wedlock birthrate was 7%. Today it is over 40%.

According to the CDC, the out-of-wedlock birthrate for white children was just 2% in the 1960s. Today it is 30%.

Among black children, the out-of-wedlock birthrate has skyrocketed from 20% in the 1960s to a heartbreaking 72% today.

The Hispanic out-of-wedlock rate, which has been measured for a much shorter period, was below 40% in 1990 and stands at more than 50% as of the 2010 census.

Obama's economy

America's unemployment rate has come down significantly from its peak of 10 percent in late 2009. That may seem to suggest a steady improvement in the employment picture, but the impression is misleading.

We recently pointed out that workers age 25 to 54 are experiencing a jobs depression that has gotten slightly worse since the end of the Great Recession of 2007-2009, with nearly all job growth since the downturn's end coming among older Americans. But also statistically concealing the dire reality are labor force dropouts. A smaller percentage of Americans now work or seek work than at any point since the Carter era. Jim Pethokoukis, of the American Enterprise Institute, has calculated that if labor force participation had not declined so much since Obama took office, the unemployment rate for January would have been 10.8 percent.

What happens to the workers who drop out of the labor force? Some retire, some become full-time parents, some go on welfare. But here's an important answer that is often overlooked: In 2011, on average, one net person has been added to Social Security's Disability Insurance rolls (and 3.3 to its retirement program) for every five net new jobs created. Since 1970, the number receiving DI has grown sixfold (from 1.4 million to 8.8 million), and the program expenses have grown tenfold, which is unsustainable. The federal government now spends more on disability than food stamps and welfare combined. In 2009, DI began paying out more in benefits than it took in from payroll taxes. By 2016, it is set to run out of money.

More here

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The knock out games

By now, almost everyone has seen one of the semi-amusing videos of black teen mobs rampaging through a store. Maybe we've even seen the non-amusing pictures of the victims, or heard their stories. Most Americans have heard of recent violent "flash mobs," which are the bands of black teens that attack mostly white victims and white businesses, as even the New York Times once noted.

But the flash mobs, which are more accurately called "race riots" or "racial mob violence," are not the only interesting topic to cover in our national conversation about race. There is also the "knockout game," which is stunning in its brutal simplicity and stark racial significance.

The knockout game involves "unprovoked attacks on innocent bystanders," according to police who have had to deal with it. A retired officer explained, "Normally it was a group of black males, one of which would strike him as hard as he could in the face, attempting to knock him out with one punch," says retired Sgt. Don Pizzo. The victims are typically not robbed, but simply punched with no provocation. Such attacks have been reported in Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, and New Jersey.

More here

Disability scams

In Hale County, Alabama, 1 in 4 working-age adults is on disability. On the day government checks come in every month, banks stay open late, Main Street fills up with cars, and anybody looking to unload an old TV or armchair has a yard sale.

Sonny Ryan, a retired judge in town, didn’t hear disability cases in his courtroom. But the subject came up often. He described one exchange he had with a man who was on disability but looked healthy.

"Just out of curiosity, what is your disability?" the judge asked from the bench.

"I have high blood pressure," the man said.

"So do I," the judge said. "What else?"

"I have diabetes."

"So do I."

There’s no diagnosis called disability. You don’t go to the doctor and the doctor says, "We’ve run the tests and it looks like you have disability." It’s squishy enough that you can end up with one person with high blood pressure who is labeled disabled and another who is not.

More here

Phony reality

Because the mainstream media lobbied every bit as hard as Obama to win passage of ObamaCare, they are every bit as invested in doing whatever is necessary to see that it is perceived as a success. Unfortunately for Americans who expect truth from their media, this means the media are having to manufacture a false reality that says ObamaCare is, to steal a phrase, "doing fine."

In order to manufacture this phony reality, the media must further sell their blackened soul by violating one of their most cherished principals: reporting on how government policy hits America's weakest the hardest. It's just a fact that the worst fallout of ObamaCare is already landing hard on the working class, who are losing work hours, jobs, and their insurance.

Usually when a government policy hits the working class, the media will fall all over themselves to "tell their personal stories." But not these people. The media perceives these poor souls as sacrifices to a bigger cause known as The State.

More here

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Britain's coldest winter in 50 years

Liberals are insane on both sides of the Atlantic....

'Britain faces gas supply crisis as storage runs dry’, warned Reuters last week. Unseasonably cold weather has meant that demand for gas has shot up just as it should be going down with the arrival of spring. Just to add a little spice to the warnings, tens of thousands of homes were left without power as blizzards knocked out power lines in Northern Ireland and Scotland. A taste of things to come?

As it goes, the claim that gas supplies could run out by 8 April is very much a worst-case scenario. There is normally plenty of supply, from a combination of the North Sea, Europe and shipments of liquefied gas coming from countries further afield, particularly Qatar. Nonetheless, it is daft that a modern, highly developed economy like the UK should even be discussing such things. That we are is the product of years of inertia in central government and an obsession with self-imposed greenhouse-gas emissions targets.

So perversely, just as a set of circumstances was emerging that showed how close to the wind the UK is sailing on energy security, Britain has been closing power stations. For example, on Friday, Didcot A power station in Oxfordshire was disconnected from the National Grid after 43 years. The 2,000-megawatt plant got the chop because it burns coal. Older coal plants are being phased out under EU regulations. Indeed, according to Alistair Buchanan, the boss of energy regulator Ofgem, 10 per cent of the UK’s electricity generating capacity is due to be switched off this month.


More here

Coldest winter in Britain in 50 years

No new refineries since the 60's

As crude oil production in the United States continues to grow, the back-ups it is creating for domestic refineries are becoming more apparent.

Booming production in new plays, like the Bakken Shale in North Dakota, have led to record storage at Cushing, Ok., one of the major hubs for crude oil.

Crude oil production increased almost 14 percent in the last year alone, according to the American Petroleum Institute. But domestic demand is dropping and US crude cannot be shipped to foreign refineries because of an export ban.

While many are calling for more pipelines to solve the storage issue, the best long-term solution is to build new refineries, said Bernard Weinstein, associate director of Maguire Energy Institute, at a Thursday morning breakfast.

"I think the ultimate solution to Cushing is to build more refining capacity," Weinstein said, noting that there has not yet been a major new refinery built in the US since the 1960s.

The challenge for new refineries is both political and economic Weinstein said, listing a range of local, state and federal regulatory requirements a new refinery must meet in order to operate, from air emissions to required use of biofuels to water quality issues.

Finding a location is another difficulty, given community opposition to new refineries, Weinstein noted.

More here

Texas wants its gold back in Texas

Call it the Rick Perry gold rush: The governor wants to bring the state’s gold reserves back from a New York vault to Texas.

And he may have legislative support to do it. Freshman Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, is carrying a bill that would establish the Texas Bullion Depository, a secure state-based bank to house $1 billion worth of gold bars owned by the University of Texas Investment Management Company, or UTIMCO, and currently stored by the Federal Reserve.

The idea isn’t entirely new. Some Republican members worked on a gold bill last session that was never filed. And gold-standard-backing Ron Paul, the former Texas congressman, has raised repeated concerns about the safety of states' gold supplies.

"If you think gold is a hedge, or a protection, you always want it as close to the individual and the entity as possible," Paul told the Tribune on Thursday. "Texas is better served if it knows exactly where the gold is rather than depending on the security of the Federal Reserve."

More here

American deaths

Revolutionary War - 4,435 deaths.

Civil War (both sides) - 498,332 deaths.

World War I - 116,708 deaths.

World War II - 407,316 deaths.

Korea - 25,604 deaths.

Vietnam - 58,168 deaths.

Iraq - about 3,900 deaths at present

Afghanistan - about 3,000 deaths at present

Abortion - total killed since 1973 - over 35,000,000 deaths.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Fisker, and other stupid things

Fisker is an electric car company, founded in 2007, which holds the dubious distinction of producing the only car to ever break down during its Consumer Reports test drive. It was supposed to be an American leader in new technologies, with a revamped factory in Delaware and all the jobs that come with it. It ended up producing cars in Finland— cars that caught on fire and konked out due to the company’s use of faulty batteries from another taxpayer-funded company, A123. Facing recalls and possible bankruptcy, Fisker's CEO Henrik Fisker stepped down while the company searched for buyers. All this colossal failure could be chalked up to doing business in new technologies if it had been done with the $1 billion or so in private funding Fisker got. Sadly, the company also blew through $193 million from us, via the Department of Energy.... Story

Brent Bozell unloads on the Republicans... "John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Kevin McCarthy, you said all the right things to conservatives to propel the GOP back to the majority and you to the top three leadership positions in the House. You, like virtually every single other Republican elected to Congress solemnly vowed to rid us of Obamacare, which you can do simply by refusing to fund it. Why haven't you done so? You've done nothing for over two years but give us excuses and more commitments that tomorrow, yes tomorrow, you'll honor your promises. Gentlemen, where promises are concerned, you are not what you promised to be."

Hey, it's only money...The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded $2.7 million to study why lesbians are at a higher "risk for hazardous drinking." The University of Illinois has received grants since 2009 for its project, "Cumulative Stress and Hazardous Drinking in a Community of Adult Lesbians," which aims to develop "culturally sensitive" strategies to prevent lesbians from being drunks. Story (Who knew that lesbians were lushes?)

I'm surprised that Iraq has survived as a country this long. Recent bombings killed 56 people and wounded hundreds more. The Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds are simply not interested in sharing a common government. I predict a breakup into 3 separate countries sometime in the future.

N.J. family: Facebook photo of boy holding gun brought social workers to home. Police wanted to inspect family's guns. No search warrant. Story

Attention ladies...Shaving the pubic region causes ‘micro-trauma’ of the skin, boosting the chance of a pox virus called Molluscum contagiosum, say the French experts. The virus causes water warts, small pink bubbles which can break out over the body. These warts are relatively common in children as the virus can be spread by normal skin-on-skin contact. Story

The former chief scientist at a Kentucky defense contractor has been sentenced to a year in prison for buying pirated software from Russian and Chinese hackers and using it to design components for military helicopters. Wronald Best, 55, of Owensboro, Kentucky, purchased the modeling and design software, with a retail value of more than $2.3 million, for use at his job with MPD, a manufacturer of military and law enforcement equipment, the US Department of Justice said. Story

Vice President Joseph R. Biden and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi both received Communion during the Mass to celebrate the installation of Pope Francis in spite of their pro-choice position on abortion. The vice president’s office confirmed Tuesday night that both he and Mrs. Pelosi took Communion during the Mass at St. Peter’s Square in Rome. Some Catholics argue that politicians whose positions on abortion and contraception conflict with church teachings should not receive communion. Story (they are known as Cafeteria Catholics)

At the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, more than $40 billion a year are going to compensate veterans and survivors from the Spanish-American War from 1898, World War I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the two Iraq campaigns and the Afghanistan conflict. Story

What a doofus....James Holmes, the gunman behind the Dark Knight massacre in Colorado last July, has reportedly turned Muslim and prays five times a day. The killer showed off a lengthy, thick beard during a court appearance earlier this month, and a prison source has claimed it is a symbol of his new-found faith. The source said Holmes has turned to Islam as a way of justifying his horrific murder spree in an Aurora, Colorado cinema on July 20 which left 12 people dead and 58 people wounded. Story

Racism in Louisiana...The Winnsboro woman who police say set herself on fire in October and reported she had been the victim of a racially-motivated attack is now facing criminal charges. 20-year-old Sharmeka Moffitt was rushed to the Regional Burn Center at LSU Hospital back on October 21, after a 911 call brought police to Civitan Park. In the call, police say Moffitt reported that she had been attacked by three men in white hoodies. State police also later confirmed that "KKK" had been smeared on the hood of Moffitt's car in a paste-like substance, with a racial slur underneath. Story

Bad day for females in the military....A female assigned to the USS Essex in San Diego was shot and killed on Thursday. A female at the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia was also shot and killed on the same day.

An article in Salon online magazine is calling Big Soda a "mass killer."

Irony of the day...While Obama was visiting the West Bank this week, Palestinians were lobbing missiles into the southern Israeli town of Sderot.

Ode to the GOP....These nitwits need to go. Boehner and Rove may have hundreds of millions of dollars at their disposal, but they don't have us. They're losers. Failures. They were swept into power in 2010 on a tidal wave of Constitutional Conservatism. And instead of embracing it, they spit on it. The dinosaurs in the GOP need to go. Don't give the RNC a penny. Don't give American Crossroads a cent. Donate only to candidates who embrace First Principles, who adore the Constitution, and who readily admit our dire predicament. Story

Headline of the day....Obama Compares Israeli-Palestinian Conflict to Arguments Between U.S. and Canada

Remember when Obama promised to close Guantanamo back in 2007? Things have changed since then because now he wants to spend $150 million to upgrade the place.

Recent clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in Burma resulted in at least 20 deaths. Mainstream Media overlooks these storiess because they don't fit into their agenda of bashing Christianity. They only publicize stories like this if Christianity can be blamed.

Harry Reems (aka Peter Long) has died at age 65.

Brunswick, Georgia (CNN) -- Two teen boys in this coastal city were charged with murder Friday, accused in the fatal shooting of a 13-month-old boy who was in a stroller being pushed by his mother. Story

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey testified to the House Armed Services Committee last month that he can’t keep doing what we are doing around the world with additional cuts, so what is the White House proposing they stop doing?

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in 2007, "People want to make everything about race. The only colors that matter here are red, white and blue."

Krauthammer's Razor...."In explaining any puzzling Washington phenomenon, always choose stupidity over conspiracy, incompetence over cunning. Anything else gives them too much credit."

Lecomte du Nouy in his book "Human Destiny" hypothesizes that humans who will move evolution forward are mutants; that is, the mass of humanity is primitive (in many ways) and only those who are endowed with special sensitivities (talents, as it were) are capable of evolving the human species and civilization in a beneficial way. The problem for humanity or the problem of humanity is that it is palpably obvious that the bulk of the human population is insane; that is, humanity, in general, is non compos mentis.

Accused by a female MP of being drunk during World War II, Winston Churchill replied, "Madam, you are ugly. But in the morning I will be sober."

Ted Turner's son mostly watches Fox News, he admitted recently. He says the other networks are leftist.

Nine percent of Yale University students who participated in a recent survey on sexual behavior reported having been paid for sex at least once. Three percent said they had participated in bestiality, and more than half said they had "engaged in consensual pain" during sex. Story

"Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past." March, 2000. Story

The Boston School Committee announced last week that it will finally end almost 40 years of forced busing — long after the policy effectively wrecked local schools. Forced busing in Boston and elsewhere presumed that schoolchildren are cannon fodder for the visionary schemes of judges, politicians and others. While the era of forced busing is coming to an end, politicians and bureaucrats retain far too much power over schoolchildren. Story

Democratic New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich founded an environmentalist group with a convicted eco-terrorist in the 1990s. Story

Hopefully the week ahead will get better.



Saturday, March 23, 2013

Benefit of being a woman

Last week, we reported the data gathered by Fathers and Families member Terry Brennan on the number of men and women incarcerated from Massachusetts Probate and Family Courts for incomplete payment of child support. We found that 95% to 98.5% of those incarcerated in Massachusetts for this violation from 2001 through 2011 were men.

I then took Terry’s data and compared it to national data on rates of child support payment. I found that mothers in arrears are incarcerated at lower rates even though they have higher rates of incomplete payment, pay a smaller percentage of their child support order, and have larger arrears than fathers. In fact, mothers with child support arrears in Massachusetts are incarcerated at approximately one-eighth of the rate that would be justified by their numbers if fathers and mothers in arrears were treated equally.

More here

Cancer clusters

This week in a piece for Slate about cancer clusters, like the one made famous by the movie Erin Brockovich, I describe how they almost always turn out to be illusions — examples of what the epidemiologist Seymour Grufferman called "the Texas sharpshooter effect." Here is how I described it in my article: Stand way back and blast the side of a barn with a shotgun and then find some holes that are crowded together. Draw a circle around them and you have what looks like a bull’s-eye.

The pollution that was blamed for the malignancies may be very real — the Brockovich case involved a metal called hexavalent chromium or chromium 6 that had been discharged during the 1950s and 60s into the drinking water of Hinkley, a small town in the Mojave Desert. The people who lived there were naturally afraid of what the chemical might be doing to their health. But long after the movie was gone from the theaters and the residents and their lawyers had received a $300 million settlement, a 12-year epidemiological study was completed. No elevation of cancer was found.

More here

Minority hiring

Silicon Valley tech companies, including Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Microsoft, seem to be actively trying to hide how many minorities work for them.

In a one-and-a-half year long investigation, CNNMoney probed 20 of the most influential technology companies in the U.S., CNNMoney's Julianne Pepitone reports.

But in the end, they only received diversity information from five companies: Cisco, Dell, eBay, Ingram Micro, and Intel.

What they found: racial minorities and women are generally underrepresented in management roles. And those roles are typically dominated by white and Asian men.

But CNNMoney had to jump through lots of hoops to get that data.

"Our investigation demonstrated how difficult -- and sometimes impossible -- gaining any insight into Silicon Valley's employee diversity can be," Pepitone writes. "It shows a general lack of transparency in an industry known for its openness."

In CNNMoney's first attempt, they asked 20 tech companies for information about the race and sex makeup of their staff. But only three complied: Dell, Ingram Micro, and Intel.

More here

Friday, March 22, 2013

The glory of Obamacare

Wondering why the unemployment rate has been near or above 8 percent for nearly four years? The Federal Reserve has an answer for you: Obamacare.

Earlier this month, the Fed released its latest "beige book" – a monthly report on economic conditions across the country. The book noted that employers across the country have "cited the unknown effects of the Affordable Care Act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff."

The more businesses learn about the president’s health reform law, the more they’re coming to realize that "affordable care" is the last thing it will provide. And that’s in large part due to the multibillion-dollar tax that Obamacare is set to levy on health insurance companies.

Starting next year, insurance companies will have to remit $8 billion to the federal treasury. The tax climbs to $11.3 billion in 2015 and 2016, to $13.9 billion in 2017, and to $14.3 billion thereafter.

Insurance companies will pay based on their share of industry revenues in a given year — the more revenue, the bigger the hit.

And although insurers are responsible for paying it, there’s no question that the tax will "be largely passed through to consumers in the form of higher premiums for private coverage," as the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office put it.

More here
 

Natural gas too expensive in Europe

Three years ago, Germany's largest utility spent 400 million euros ($523 million) building a natural gas-fired power station. Later this month, the company may close the plant because it’s losing so much money.

EON SE’s Irsching-5 in Bavaria last year operated less than 25 percent of the time as slumping power prices made burning natural gas unprofitable by record margins. As Europe’s weak economy holds back electricity demand, cheaper coal, requirements to buy renewable energy and the collapsing cost of carbon permits are undercutting gas-fired plants.

The pattern is repeated throughout Europe as utilities including France's GDF Suez SA and Centrica Plc mothball gas plants. The impact is both environmental and commercial. Switching to coal increases emissions, while it lowers profit for gas plants, which generate almost a quarter of European power, and shrinks the market for suppliers led by OAO Gazprom (GAZP).

"Gas-fired plants are stopped three days out of four," Gerard Mestrallet, chief executive officer of GDF Suez, France’s former gas monopoly, said at a briefing on Feb. 28. "The thermal industry is in crisis. There is overcapacity."

The difference between the cost of fuel and the price paid for the power generated reached a record low today. The so- called spark spread for the month ahead fell to as low as minus 18.35 euros a megawatt-hour ($23.87). Gas plants are also unprofitable in France, the Netherlands, Spain and the Czech Republic, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In the U.K., they’re barely breaking even.

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Dumbing down

Many Americans are wondering how their country, a supposed "center-right" nation, reached the point of electing and reelecting the most radical leftist administration in its history.

Indeed, a long chain of events giving rise to a confluence of societal changes had to occur for such a fundamental reordering to take place.

What exactly were they? How did this happen? Here's how:

First, when the liberal Democrat establishment, manifested by the teachers unions, decisively gained control of public education in the U.S. over four decades ago, the perpetrators may or may not have been conscious of setting the process in motion.

But that they did, regardless.

You may recall how American public schools gradually abandoned values and lowered standards — the former having the effect of diluting the nation's public morality and the latter achieving the mass dumb down of our populace. Attitudes of the U.S. citizenry today would have been very foreign to our population of even 20 or 30 years ago.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Crime along the border not being reported

Violence along the southern border has gotten so out of control that both Mexican and American journalists have stopped reporting it out of fear that drug cartels will retaliate against them and their families.

This means Americans will be kept in the dark about the crisis along the porous and increasingly dangerous Mexican border. We certainly can’t expect the truth from the government. Remember that the nation’s Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, insists that the region is "as secure as it has even been." This delusional assessment has been repeated by Napolitano over and over again in a seemingly desperate effort to make people believe it.

Without accurate information—say, from the media—to counter the Obama administration’s version, the public is likely to swallow the government’s less than accurate assessment. First Mexican journalists dropped like flies, either as victims of drug-cartel violence or out of fear, and stopped reporting crime in the region. U.S. journalists located in American border cities soon followed and have stopped reporting on drug-related violence.

"Mexican journalists, because of fear for their own lives and the safety of their families, are increasingly reluctant to cover drug cartels’ violence and mayhem," according to Lee Maril, the director of the Center for Diversity and Inequality Research (CDIR), a university group that studies human diversity and social inequality. Maril recently published a piece on the topic in a Homeland Security news site. "What has occurred in recent months is that American reporters located in American border cities also have stopped reporting on drug-related violence across the border for the same reasons as their Mexican counterparts."

That means no one really knows the true magnitude of the violence, though it’s apparent that the U.S. government is downplaying it. "It would seem that drug violence only stops at the Mexican border in the imaginations of Washington politicians," Maril says, offering a recent example in Reynosa, the twin border city of McAllen in south Texas. A small local newspaper reporter dared to publish this: "Fear and panic filled the streets as rival gunmen battled during a three-hour firefight that saw automatic weapons and grenades used."

More here

340 sheriffs

Including Sheriff John Cooke of Weld County, Colorado, 340 sheriffs have publicly stated they will not enforce gun laws they believe are unconstitutional.

In response to the passage of two new gun control bills in Colorado last week, Sheriff John Cooke told the Greeley Tribune that he "won't bother enforcing the laws."

One bill requires gun buyers to pay for their own background checks, a service that was previously free and now estimated to cost the buyer $10-$12 per purchase. The second bill puts a 15-round limit on magazines.

Cooke says of the new laws: "They're feel-good, knee-jerk reactions that are unenforceable."

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Homegrown terrorists

Years ago while writing for Neithercorp Press I penned an article entitled "One Day Soon, We'll All Be Homegrown Terrorists". In that piece I described a not so far off future in which martial law, economic collapse, and the destruction of civil liberties stood imminent. I related my views on the propaganda rhetoric of the SPLC, and how they were using false association to tie liberty groups to any deviant organization they could think of, including racists and domestic terrorists, in order to condition the American public to react to our message with immediate contempt.

It became clear to me then that the SPLC, which had become the propaganda wing of the widely reviled Department Of Homeland Security, was helping set the stage for a paradigm shift in the U.S. This shift would obviously include economic and social disruption, as well as political turmoil beyond anything our nation has seen for over 150 years. But most importantly, it would pave the way for certain elements of the American populace, namely those who are awake, aware, and outspoken, to be labeled "enemy combatants" dangerous to the state.

Though posing as an anti-racist monitoring institution, the SPLC’s primary concern has never been the KKK or "White Identity". Rather, the SPLC’s job has been and always will be to marginalize and defame those who stand against centralized federal power, regardless of how corrupt that power has become. They are not anti-racists, or liberals, or concerned citizens; they are STATISTS, who only care about maintaining the superiority of a government that has been bought and paid for many times over by a gaggle of international financiers with delusions of godhood.

The SPLC, of course, has so far utterly failed in their efforts to stop the rise of Constitutional activists. By their own admission, "patriot groups" have expanded exponentially since 2008, and continue to develop freely even in the face of wildly absurd character attacks taken from the amoral (immoral) guidebook of Saul Alinsky himself. The truth, once realized, is difficult if not impossible to stop.

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Autopsy report

They don't even know how to name a report. The autopsy report. Here's the deal, folks: Reince Priebus was ahead of the Republican National Committee when Romney lost. Why hasn't he been fired? Why hasn't he been fired? Karl Rove ran the biggest independent PAC in America, or one of them. He won 1.3% of his races. Why do people keep promoting him? On TV, donors, and so forth. These losers are not going to save the Republican party.

A year ago, a poll was done, it's not every year, except this year so far, and I believe it's Gallup, the political ideology of the American people. 'While 47% of Americans continue to describe their views as conservative, 35% moderate, 21% liberal. For the third straight year, conservatives outnumber moderates, after more than a decade in which moderates mainly tied or outnumbered conservatives. I'm giving you this information for a reason.

February, 1, 2013, Gallup did another poll of the individual states. Which ideology outnumbers which ideology in the states? Conservatives outnumber liberals in 47 out of the 50 states. So what's the problem here? Well, the word conservative can be a little ambiguous. But what's the real problem here? If you're going into elections and your political party, where every survey and poll shows that Americans identify themselves more as conservatives than liberals, and you can't beat Barack Obama, what's the problem here?

The problem is execution. The problem is your being outworked, you're being outsmarted. The problem is you're not standing on "conservative principles." You're not believable. You're not an alternative to Obama. You're not an alternative to Pelosi and Reid. Less and less people view you that way. I mean, I'm amazed by this. When we look at the last thirty years, who was the most successful Republican president electorally? Ronald Reagan. Of course the times have changed, but the principles haven't. Just apply them, wisely.

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All cultures are equal?

Abdallah Al-Khilaf: First, we’d like to show you a fatwa, which appeared on the Lions of Sunna Internet forum. One Wahhabi wrote: "Dear Sheik, may Allah grant you martyrdom and black-eyed virgins in Paradise, I wanted to commit a martyrdom operation. I turned to Sheik Abu Dimaa Al-Qassab, who told me that they had invented a new and unprecedented form of martyrdom operations – explosive capsules are inserted into your anus.

"In order to train for this method of Jihad, you must consent to being sodomized for a period of time, so that your anus becomes wider, making room for the explosives.

"My question is whether I am permitted to allow one of the mujahideen access to my anus, if my intentions are honorable, and the purpose is to train for Jihad by widening my anus."

The sheik praised Allah and said: "In principle, sodomy is forbidden. However, Jihad is more important. It is the pinnacle of Islam. If sodomy is the only way to reach this pinnacle of Islam, then there is no harm in it.

"The rule is that necessity makes the forbidden permissible. Something that is required in order to perform a duty becomes a duty in and of itself. No duty takes precedence over Jihad.

"Therefore, you must be sodomized… After you have been sodomized, you must ask Allah for forgiveness.

More here

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Get your money out while you can

In Nigel Farage's first TV appearance since the Cypriot wealth tax was announced, the Englishman pulls no punches. In all his years and all his experience of the desperation of the European Union's leadership "never did [he] think they would resort to stealing money from people's savings accounts." The simple fact is that they know they cannot let any country leave, no matter how small, for "once one country goes, the whole deck of cards will come tumbling down." There is now "clear irreconcilable differences" between the North and the South of Europe and now that they have done this in one country, "they are quite capable of doing it in Italy, Spain and anywhere." The message that sends to people is "get your money out while you can." As far as his British constituents, he strongly recommends George Osborne (UK Chancellor) urge ex-pats to remove all their money and do monthly transfers from home. "Do Not Invest In The Euro-Zone," he concludes, "you have to be mad to do so - as it is now run by people who do not respect democracy, the rule of law, or the basic principles upon which Western civilization is based."

"They are propping up a Eurozone that, in the end, will collapse in disastrous failure and they are prepared to do anything to do so."

More here
 

 

Partnership with Mexico

Salmonella outbreaks. E. coli outbreaks. Millions of dollars in economic losses.

These are among the scenarios the Obama administration warned about last month as it claimed the sequester would force the U.S. Department of Agriculture to furlough meat inspectors.

But while the administration prepares to take that step, it continues to pursue a "partnership" with the Mexican government to "raise awareness" about food stamps among immigrants from that country. When a top Senate Republican proposed cutting off funds for that program last week -- in the form of an amendment to a budget resolution -- Democrats on the Budget Committee shot it down.

It's hard to put a firm price on the cost of the partnership, which was launched under the George W. Bush administration. But an aide to Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who has railed against the partnership for months, said it could easily be in the millions. Since 2004, the program has blossomed to include dozens of meetings and conferences and health fairs with Mexican officials -- all of which cost money, not to mention the cost to the food stamp program of new enrollees brought in as a result of this partnership.

More here

Penis snatching

Elaborate greetings are the norm, I’ve found, when one enters a Central African village. So it was a surprise when I noticed that many people weren’t shaking hands the morning I arrived in Tiringoulou, a town of about 2,000 people in one of the remotest corners of the Central African Republic, in March 2010. I soon found out the reason: the day before, a traveler passing through town on a Sudanese merchant truck had, with a simple handshake, removed two men’s penises.

As best I could reconstruct from witness accounts, the stranger had stopped to purchase a cup of tea at the market. After handing over his money, he clasped the vendor’s hand. The tea seller felt an electric tingling course through his body and immediately sensed that his penis had shrunk to a size smaller than that of a baby’s. His yells quickly drew a crowd. Somehow in the fray a second man fell victim as well.

Hearing all this, I was less shocked than intrigued. As an anthropologist who studies the region, I was familiar with the problem of penis snatching. What surprised me was that the phenomenon—or, depending on your perspective, the rumor—had made it as far as Tiringoulou.

Reports of genital theft have spread like an epidemic across West and Central Africa over the past two decades, in tandem with what appears to be a general resurgence of witchcraft on the continent. Anthropologists have explained this rise as a response to an increasingly mystifying and capricious global economy. Which is to say that when the workings of capital are as genuinely obscure as they are in today’s Africa, proceeding behind a veil of complexity and corruption, rumors of "occult economies"—often involving a trade in human organs—offer a less mystifying explanation for the radical disparities in wealth on display.

That said, genital theft is neither new nor confined to Africa. Similar panics afflicted Central Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. (Malleus Maleficarum, a book-length jeremiad against the dangers of witchcraft from 1486, includes a discussion of sorceresses who "take away male members" and keep them in birds’ nests.) And in 1967, an outbreak of koro—the belief that the penis is retracting into the body—overwhelmed hospitals in Singapore.

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Race and politics

Since the November election, in which President Obama won huge majorities among minority voters, it’s been taken as gospel that the Republican Party must, for its own survival, seek to appeal to those groups by moving to the left on topics such as immigration reform. But as the nation becomes more diverse, the demographic shift can cut the other way, too: Some Democratic voters are likely to move to the right.

It’s assumed that, as the United States becomes increasingly non-white, white Democrats will continue to support the party. But a substantial amount of social-science evidence suggests a different conclusion: As the United States becomes more racially and ethnically diverse, liberal whites might start leaning Republican.

Consider a straightforward experiment I conducted last year: Over two weeks, I sent pairs of Latino men in their 20s to ride commuter trains in the greater Boston area, often cited as one of the nation’s most liberal regions.

These people were not asked to do anything out of the ordinary, just to wait for the train and ride it. The pairs I sent were native Spanish speakers, so when they spoke to each other, it was probably in Spanish. To gauge other riders’ attitudes about Latinos, I surveyed them before the experiment and two weeks into the tests. In each case, the trains and times were randomly selected and were later compared with a control group of riders on different trains. These trains originated in communities with very few Latino residents, and the men I sent to ride the trains were often the only Latinos at those stations on a day-to-day basis. In this sense, the experiment was testing how people react when a very small group of Latinos moves to a new community.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Eshewing air conditioning, and other horrors

New research finds households headed by Democrats use less electricity than those headed by Republicans, apparently due to lower use of air conditioning. It’s easy to preach about the importance of energy conservation. But are people in the left really willing to sacrifice personal comfort in the name of environmental protection? Story

Sequester missed this plum....The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded $1.5 million to study biological and social factors for why "three-quarters" of lesbians are obese and why gay males are not, calling it an issue of "high public-health significance." Story

Short video...Dog vs Cat

Residents of the Falkland Islands voted almost unanimously to stay under British rule in a referendum aimed at winning global sympathy as Argentina intensifies its sovereignty claim. The official count on Monday showed 99.8 percent of islanders voted in favor of remaining a British Overseas Territory in the two-day poll, which was rejected by Argentina as a meaningless publicity stunt. Story

A researcher with ParaScience International flew to Oklahoma this week to get more information on a suspicious death in Sequoyah County. Autopsy results are pending, but experts say it could be a case of spontaneous human combustion. Story

There is no doubt who is responsible for the Newtown school massacre. The shooter is dead and the prosecutor handling the case has said he does not expect any charges. Yet authorities are continuing to keep search warrants and police records secret. Media outlets have pressed for the release of more records, which could shed light on a crime that has revived the national debate over gun control and could change the way guns are regulated. Story

Wow, check out the U.S. Debt Clock.

The blogger Robert Godwin says....unhappy people are responsible for most of the world's problems. Happy people don't become activists, utopians, and ideologues.

Free lunches for students courtesy of the USDA's National School Lunch Program....2.9 million in 1969. 18.7 million in 2012.

Firefight on our border....Fear and panic filled the streets of Reynosa on Sunday night as rival gunmen battled during a three-hour firefight that saw automatic weapons and grenades used. Surprisingly, Mexican authorities were absent for most of the melee. Story

Lieutenant Governor of Florida resigns...involved in a charity that only dedicated 2 percent of $290 million in revenue to charity in past 5 years. Story

A newly deciphered Egyptian text, dating back almost 1,200 years, tells part of the crucifixion story of Jesus with apocryphal plot twists, some of which have never been seen before. ... "Sometimes he is ruddy, sometimes he is white, sometimes he is red, sometimes he is wheat coloured, sometimes he is pallid like ascetics, sometimes he is a youth, sometimes an old man ..." Story

Bigfoot Capital of Texas near Houston. According to the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy, Liberty and Montgomery Counties have had 28 sightings in recent years. It is the most of any region in Texas. Story

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Thursday that she would like to see a balanced budget, "in a number of decades." Story (Thanks, bitch)

In a 1990 dissertation while she was at Oxford, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice praised the 1979-1980 British peacekeeping operation that led to the rule of Zimbabwean dictator, Robert Mugabe, as "a model and a masterpiece in the evolution of international peacekeeping" missions while journalists on the ground were condemning Mugabe’s mass murder of political opponents and dictatorial control. Story

Any child born on U.S. soil is granted citizenship. Hundreds of expecting moms from Mexico have been crossing the border into Arizona to deliver their babies for years as a result. Now, a growing number of pregnant Chinese women are flying to the U.S. to secure their child that prized U.S. birth certificate, and Southern California has become a hot bed of what’s called "birth tourism." Story

Rush Limbaugh...."The media looks at the pope, and they see the pope as a Supreme Court justice that they can't turn. They see the pope as a Supreme Court justice they can't intimidate."

Quote of the day...."Detroit is a microcosm of what's going on in America, except America can still print money and borrow."

It's only money....With few options available for financing his clean-energy ambitions, President Obama on Friday proposed diverting $2 billion in revenue from federal oil and gas leases over the next decade to pay for research on advanced vehicles. Story

Photo from 2010 of Gabby Giffords holding an AR-15 "assault" rifle here

Kim Jong-un's impassioned calls for war could be explained after reports have emerged of an assassination attempt by his own disgruntled people in Pyongyang during a power struggle. Story

You knew it was coming....The surprise decision by euro zone leaders to part-fund a bailout of Cyprus by taxing bank deposits sent shockwaves through financial markets on Monday, with shares and the bonds of struggling euro zone governments tumbling. Story

The Catholic Archbishop of Durban, Wilfrid Fox Napier, has said that people who were abused as children and became paedophiles were not criminally responsible for their actions in the same way as somebody "who chooses to do something like that". Cardinal Napier, who was among the 115 cardinals in the conclave at the Vatican that elected Pope Francis earlier this week, called paedophilia a "psychological disorder" on told BBC Radio 5 live. Story (This guy needs to resign and stay away from children for the rest of his life)

China has performed at least 336 million abortions in the past 40 years because of their one-child policy. 336 million!

California unemployment rate holds at 9.8%, highest in U.S. The state's jobless rate, unchanged in January for the second straight month, is tied with Rhode Island. But California is No. 2 in payroll job growth. Story

Rush Limbaugh...."The euro zone is run by a bunch of leftist aristocrats who have no more idea what they're doing than leftists in this country do."

True or False? The purpose of ... most all of the EPA rules is to transfer control of energy from the private owners to the government, from the folks to know how to run a business to those in Washington who only think they can. More government control means poorer energy availability and more disasters in the future.

Coming soon to your hometown...Without warning, the Cypriot government has imposed a surtax on bank accounts in Cyprus of between 6.75% and 9.9%, depending on the balance in the accounts. The unprecedented action was taken under pressure from the EU....

Chews barbed wire, spits out rust

Sarah Palin addresses the CPAC....

Sarah Palin Compares Obama to Bernie Madoff, Sips From a Big Gulp and Jokes About Her (Gun) 'Rack'

On gun ownership: "You should have seen what Todd got me for Christmas. Well, It wasn't that exciting. It was a metal rack, case for hunting rifles to put on the back of a four-wheeler. Then though, I had to get something for him to put in the gun case, right. So, this go around, he's got the rifle, I got the rack."

On Mayor Michael Bloomberg's large soda ban: Palin held up a Big Gulp, sipped from a straw and said, "Bloomberg is not around, our big gulps are safe. We're cool. Shoot, it's just pop with low-cal ice-cubes in it."

On the current state of politics in Washington: "We don't have leadership coming out of Washington, we have reality television."

On young conservatives: "My only piece of advice to our young college Republicans is you've got to be thinking Sam Adams, not drinking Sam Adams. And that's just a joke. I don't want to know hear from the CEO of some brewery accusing me of being an anti beer-ite."

On freshman Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who introduced her: "We need more Americans like Ted Cruz. Coming from Texas, Ted Cruz comes to town, chews barbed wire, and spits out rust."

On Obama administration transparency: "Barack Obama promised the most transparent administration ever. Barack Obama, you lie."

Full story here

Labor Secretary nominee in trouble

If President Obama thinks he can get away with appointing an obvious prevaricator to be Secretary of Labor – and a radical, race-baiting one at that – he has lost all touch with reality. Even a group as confused and fractious as the caucus of Senate Republicans is sure to find the collective backbone to block the (expected) appointment of Thomas Perez.

As I described in detail last August, Perez is one of the most loathsome figures in the thoroughly loathsome political ranks of Obama’s Justice Department.

He has led the administration’s racial scaremongering against voter ID laws, but got smacked down hard by the U.S. District Court for the D.C. Circuit, so that elections in South Carolina this week will go ahead with the law in effect. (This wasn’t a partisan decision: The unanimous three-judge panel included Clinton appointee Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.)

Indeed, Perez doesn’t even seem to be a very good lawyer at all: His positions also have been rebuked by courts in Arkansas (about the Civil Rights for Institutionalized Persons Act), again in the D.C. District Court, in New York on an education case (U.S. v. Brennan), in a Florida abortion case where Perez’ team was abusively prosecuting peaceful protesters, and most particularly in a major Perez loss in Florida when trying to force the state not to remove non-citizens from its voter rolls.

More here

Friday, March 15, 2013

Star catalogues

Ancient star catalogues that give both the position and magnitude of stars date back many centuries. The most famous and influential was compiled by Ptolemy around 140 BC and contains listings for 1028 stars. Modern astronomers have long admired the accuracy with which Ptolemy measured the position of stars but have paid surprisingly little attention to the magnitudes.

That changes today thanks to a study by Bradley Schaefer at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Schaefer has analysed the magnitudes in Ptolemy’s ancient star catalogue and compared them to modern values, find them to be extremely accurate.

But he has another finding that is puzzling: Ptolemy’s magnitude are not just accurate, they are also corrected for the fact that a star appears brighter overhead than it does near the horizon, a phenomenon called extinction. "This is startling and without precedent," says Schaefer.

The physics behind extinction is straightforward. Starlight has to travel a certain distance through the atmosphere to reach an observer, a process that causes scattering and absorption. This distance is minimised when the star is overhead. However, the light from a star close to the horizon has to travel more than twice as far through the air and this dramatically increases the amount of light lost. For this reason, stars that are low in the sky can appear more than a magnitude dimmer than they really are.

More here

Chavez not the only rich Socialist


A huge network of secret slush funds owned by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un have been discovered during a joint US-South Korea investigation, Seoul-based newspaper Chosun Ilbo reports.

As much as $5 billion linked to Kim was found in foreign bank accounts in other people's names, the paper reported. Intelligence agencies reportedly believe that North Korean accounts exist in Austria, China, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Russia, Singapore and Switzerland.

"Since the launch of the Lee Myung-bak administration in February of 2008, South Korea and the U.S. have been tracking more than 200 North Korean accounts that appear to be linked weapons of mass destruction and export of drugs, counterfeit money and cigarettes," one diplomatic source told the newspaper.

Another source elaborated on the scheme, saying that "the regime uses minor banks that are relatively less stringent in screening their account holders or opening accounts using the names of foreigners or companies."

The Chosun Ilbo had previously reported that dozens of accounts linked to Kim were found in Shanghai and other parts of China.

These accounts are thought to contain hundreds of millions of dollars, but Beijing reportedly refused to allow them to be included in the new UN sanctions adopted last Thursday.

More here

No secrets allowed

Last month, we found out that two NASA facilities—Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, and Ames Research Center near San Francisco, California-were gorged with Chinese national engineers, who had access to top secret defense technology, who then took this information back to their handlers in communist China.

Congressman Frank R. Wolf, through information gathered from whistleblowers, not only found that secret defense information was stolen, but that the Obama administration, including DOJ, may have shut down the investigation.

More here

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Free cell phones to the poor and dead

Dead people don’t need cell phones.

That’s the message Rep. Tim Griffin of Arkansas wants to send Congress, after he says a controversial government-backed program that helps provide phones to low-income Americans ended up sending mobiles to the dead relatives of his constituents. Griffin has introduced a bill that targets the phone hand-out program, which has ballooned into a fiscal headache for the government.

"This program demands reform," Griffin told FoxNews.com on Monday. "There is a lot of waste in it and we need to be asking ourselves, ‘Where do we draw the line? Do we give everybody an iPad next? A computer? Is that the role the federal government should be playing?’"

Griffin said the story of dead relatives receiving cell phones was relayed to him by constituents. He added: "I’ve also gotten calls from people who say their employees were bragging about having 10 phones."

The program in question provides limited phone service to people on government assistance. Ideally, Griffin says he would like to get rid of the program created in the mid-80s altogether, but he knows he lacks the support to kill it -- and instead is asking Congress to scale it back. Griffin’s plan would get rid of the cell phones and provide only landline service and phones.

Started in 1985, the Lifeline program was created to make sure people with low income levels weren’t cut off from emergency services, job searches or communication with family members. The program is funded by charges that appear on the monthly bills of every wireless and landline phone customer in the country. The money goes into a Universal Service Fund that pulls its revenues from fees that show up on most telephone bills as the "federal universal service charge." The fees range but can go up to $3.22 a month.

The cost of the program has tripled to $2.2 billion in 2012 from $819 million in 2008. The risk of abuse has also risen.

More here

Oil production

'I'm proud of the fact that under my Administration oil production is higher than it has been in a decade or more."
—President Obama, February 20, 2013

President Obama does a neat John D. Rockefeller imitation these days, taking credit for soaring domestic oil and gas production as if he planned it that way. Not quite. As a new Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports shows, "All of the increased [oil] production from 2007 to 2012 took place on non-federal lands."

The research outfit reports that thanks to the innovation of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling on private and state lands, the U.S. in fiscal 2012 produced 6.2 million barrels of oil daily, up from 5.1 million barrels as recently as fiscal 2007. Private industry's technological advances, operating under state regulation, increased U.S. production last year at the fastest rate in the history of the domestic industry, which drilled its first commercial well in 1859.

The story on federal lands is the opposite. The CRS study finds that federal oil production fell more than 23% from fiscal 2010 to fiscal 2012 and is today below what it was in 2007. The federal share of total U.S. oil production has slid under Mr. Obama to 26% in fiscal 2012 from 31% in fiscal 2008.

More here

It doesn't matter what is true

Proponents of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis are cornered. They made a political choice to prove rather than disprove the hypothesis, as the scientific method requires. It failed, as IPCC projections (range of predictions?) indicate, but instead of abandoning or modifying the hypothesis, as normal science requires, they’ve reverted to tactics they think worked in the first place.

One of these was a return of the "consensus argument" in a survey by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) that said "98% of all scientists believe in global warming". It was a contrived result that wasn’t really a consensus. It didn’t matter to proponents because the headline was the objective. They know the rejoinder is not news and rarely gets reported, especially in the mainstream media. As Greenpeace co-founder Paul Watson said "It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true."

More here

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lotus land

The U.S. Pacific Forces top commander warned that the region’s greatest threat is not North Korea or China, but climate change. Navy admiral Samuel J. Locklear III said in an interview that he sees rising sea levels as the top threat, predicting that the sea levels would "cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about."

Locklear added that he has reached out to other military forces in the region, including China and India, to urge them to "get military capabilities aligned [for] when the effects of climate change start to impact" those countries.

Similar sentiments have been raised by other leading American officials: Secretary of State John Kerry has warned that global warming is a leading global concern on a number of occasions, and has said that it poses a threat as dire as Iran’s effort to acquire nuclear weapons.

Source

Taxes

In their dogged pursuit of sensational headlines, media companies love to make a big deal about the largest US company by market capitalization, a title that ExxonMobil and Apple have traded for the past few years. Exxon recently reported its fourth quarter and full-year 2012 financials and on net income of roughly $45 billion last year, which is slightly higher than Apple's approximately $42 billion, the oil company paid about twice as much in income taxes.

Exxon paid about $31 billion in "income taxes" and Apple paid about $14 billion in what it reports as "provision for income taxes."

Now clearly Exxon and Apple have very little in common as far as companies go and they maintain different fiscal reporting periods, so there is little on which to make direct comparisons and this is part of the reason for the income tax discrepancy.

More here

Antibiotic misuse

As a society, we hand out antibiotics like candy, tossing one life preserver here, one there, assuming the supply is never ending. But it turns out we are, in fact, running out of antibiotics. This will in turn affect our son, who has never taken an antibiotic in his life.

Every year, more and more children with viral illnesses are given unnecessary antibiotics, and as a result, the bacteria floating around in our bodies get exposed to those antibiotics and evolve, gaining resistance to even our most powerful antibiotics. Reports of these drug resistant bacteria are increasingly alarming. Take for instance the recent reports of worldwide spread of completely drug resistant infections from E. coli and related bacteria that have afflicted patients in hospitals and nursing homes. If that's not scary enough, there are now cases of nearly-untreatable sexually transmitted infections from drug resistant gonorrhea in the United States, and their numbers are increasing. Fast forward a few years and many fear there will be no life preservers left to toss to our kids, at which point we could be back where we were 100 years ago, watching people die from what are currently nuisance illnesses easily cured with a pill.

While scientists search the ends of the earth on shoestring budgets to find new, effective antibiotics, we can all help make sure we aren't wasting them at home. Here are five facts you can use to protect everyone from what has been called the "antibiotic apocalypse:"

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Solar is setting, and other trends

The solar bubble has burst. Suntech, the world’s highest-selling producer of solar panels, has just fired its founder and chairman as it scrambles to pay a $541 million bill. The Chinese firm has been struggling to turn a profit for years due to an oversupply of solar panels in the global market. Story

Hello? Are there still Republicans in Congress? Is someone going to ask why DHS needs 2,700 armored vehicles and billions of rounds of ammo? Story

Oberlin College was up in arms last week over a student claiming to have seen a KKK member walking about in sheets. Turns out it was most likely someone with a blanket wrapped around them for warmth. Shows us what the Liberals are afraid of, right? Years ago I read a story which said that the KKK was down to about 3000 members, of which half were FBI infiltrators. Big threat, right? Speaking of witch hunts, has anyone ever noticed that there were no hysterical witch hunts in the South?

Is Obama's brother a wife beater? President's sibling is accused of attacking two of his TWELVE wives and seducing a schoolgirl. Now he's using his White House links to launch his own bid for power. Story

Contrary to the claims of industry lobbyists, H-1B workers are no more distinguished than their U.S. peers. Instead, employers prefer to hire foreign workers over similarly qualified U.S. workers, because legal loopholes in how the "prevailing wage" is calculated let them save on labor costs. The H-1B visa also ties workers to their employer, effectively rendering them captive for the duration of their visa. The H-1B program does not encourage U.S. employers to hire outstanding talent or the best and brightest workers. Story

The good news: Nancy Pelosi wants to reduce spending. The bad news: She thinks tax increases are spending reductions. Story

Privacy experts say that a pair of new mobile privacy bills recently introduced in Texas are among the "most sweeping" ever seen. And they say the proposed legislation offers better protection than a related privacy bill introduced this week in Congress. Story

Nearly 80 percent of New York City high school graduates need to relearn basic skills before they can enter the City University’s community college system. Story

Will Los Angeles Join Detroit As a Fiscal Zombie City?

Photo essay of Putin vs Obama here

Meet the Aussie commando who strangled a Taliban commander here.

Officials who pursue truants argue that it is "for the children's good." They point to the alleged benefits of a public school education but another justification emerged. Truancy is called a "gateway crime" that leads to more serious ones and, so, it puts children on the fast track from public school to prison. The real motive for the war on truancy is money, however. Public schools receive funding for every child who attends at least 60% of the school day.... Story

I received this quote in an email from one of my readers...."Isn't it strange that during revolutions, the mobs never attack the bankers, their mansions or banks?"

And have you noticed that Democrats hardly ever attack another Democrat while the RINO Repubicans always attack their conservative members?

"I was recently contacted by whistleblowers who provided me with a report alerting me to a very potential situation at NASA Langley Research Center involving a Chinese national who was allegedly provided access and information he should have otherwise been restricted from receiving," said Wolf in a press conference. "It is my understanding that this Chinese national is affiliated with an institution in China that has been designated as an 'entity of concern' by other U.S. government agencies." Story

A new study shows that certain organisms can undergo reverse evolution, that is, go back to the way they were living before evolving new traits. The study challenges the idea that evolution is uni-directional and an organism can't undo changes. Story

Lesson for the day....National Socialism (Nazism) is bad, International Socialism (Marxism) is good. Any questions?

The tolerati are [people] who claim to be tolerant until they run into someone they don’t agree with—primarily a conservative or a libertarian or anyone who doesn’t hold their liberal assumptions. If you have anything that deviates from that belief, you are considered a bigoted, inconsiderate monster. Story

N.J. Mother Arrested, Guns Confiscated - By Attending Property Tax Dispute Forum. Story

It is not easy to ruin the American economy; doing nothing usually means it repairs itself and soon is healthier than before a recession. But don’t despair: there are plenty of ways to slow down even an inherently strong economy. History offers plenty of examples. But as more contemporary models, take your pick of successfully ruined economies — the Venezuelan, the Cuban, the North Korean, the Greek, the Italian, the Portuguese, or pretty much any from Mediterranean Africa to the Cape of Good Hope. There are certain commonalities about why and how they fail. Let’s review some of them. Story

She admitted voting twice in the presidential election last November, and now, Obama supporter Melowese Richardson has been indicted for allegedly voting at least six times. She also is charged with illegal voting in 2008 and 2011. Story

Liberal mantra....Vote early and often.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Odd story of the day

Mark Kelly, husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords and a co-founder of a prominent gun control group, recently purchased an AR-15 rifle from a gun store in Tuscon. AWR Hawkins, writing for Breitbart, tracked down a tip that Kelly had purchased the weapon, along with a semi-automatic pistol and "high capacity" magazines....

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Benghazi down the memory hole

For some reason, the Obama administration has been hiding the identities of the Benghazi attack survivors since the attack took place, last September. Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said a parent of one of the survivors currently at Walter Reed, told him, "if you had called into the hospital previously, you would never have found that person because they changed his name on the hospital records."

Frustrated that Congress has not made any headway on this matter after six months, Greta Van Susteren asked Chaffetz why they haven’t put the whisteblowers under oath and gotten the answers?

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Bathhouse Barry

In 2007, when Donald Young was murdered in his home around Christmas I was already working on the Hillary Clinton campaign and was told repeatedly by my black friends that Young was killed because he started talking to people about Barack Obama being gay. Hillary’s campaign knew about Obama’s antics on the Chicago gay scene where he was jokingly known as "Bathhouse Barry". What conservatives don’t understand is that Hillary couldn’t use anything salacious she had on Obama because she needed the black vote behind her if she won the nomination. Hillary’s hands were always tied when it came to nuking Obama with his homosexuality because if it was tied back to her then blacks would be alienated from the Clintons forever since they "went there" and "ruined" the first viable black presidential candidate. There’s another reason that Hillary Clinton would never out Barack Obama and it’s simply that — despite what the obsessive Hillary-haters have felt for twenty-odd-years — the woman is actually a very nice person who just never wanted to go nuclear on anyone. That right there might mean she wouldn’t have made a good President, if she isn’t willing to dump her biggest weapons on an enemy…but I will leave that up to you to decide for yourself.

To this day, people in Chicago are still scared about being murdered for talking about Barack Obama being gay or about what goes on at Trinity United with the still-active "Down Low Club". Young, gay, black men are mentored into the club and are eventually paired up with often unattractive and difficult to deal with straight black women who never have boyfriends (since guys don’t want to have anything to do with them). A friend of mine in the "Think Squad" of prominent black professionals I talk to regularly calls these women "heifers" and says it’s very common for "cake boys" to be paired up with "heifers" so that "dummies are fooled" into thinking they are straight. Besides the Obamas, famous examples of this are Steadman Graham and Oprah Winfrey (he’s gay, while she’s just plain nasty and conceited), Star Jones and her gay husband whatever his name was, Terry McMillan and Jonathan Plummer (who eventually came out and left her), and Will Smith and Jada Pinckett (who are actually both gay…which is really rare in these arranged marriages because typically gay guys are not married to lesbians for some reason).

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