Saturday, January 31, 2015

Truthiness and proofiness

A legion of the politically correct who make a living from the alleged oppression of women were gleeful and almost goofy with proofiness this week. The incident is a window into how statistical myths are created. Charles Seife, a journalist and a professor at New York University, coined the term proofiness as a corollary to an earlier term coined by comedian Stephen Colbert: truthiness. Truthiness was defined as "the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true." It became the American Dialect Society's 2005 Word of the Year because it embodied a cultural zeitgeist that haunted the socio-political narrative of our time.

Source

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Obama's fake drilling plans

So Obama is opening up the East Coast for drilling...

First, the proposed plan is exactly thatproposed. The plan covering the years 2017-2022 will need to go through an environmental impact statement process required by the National Environmental Policy Act, as well as comment periods before it is finalized. During this process, proposed areas can be dropped from the final plan, but no new areas can be added. In other words, there is no guarantee the final plan will look like what the administration has proposed.

Second, although there is strong support for oil and gas exploration along the parts of the Atlantic proposed, the president’s plan would offer only one lease sale in the year 2021. Similarly, in Alaska sales would be limited to only one each for the Beaufort Sea (2020), Cook Inlet (2021), and Chukchi Sea (2022). Ultimately, according to the Institute for Energy Information, "Under President Obama’s direction, offshore lease sales have gone from 31 sales in President Bush’s last plan to 14 sales in this latest one. This plan proposes even fewer sales than his existing lease sale plan."

Further, the proposed plan comes on the heels of the administration’s call on Congress to lock up more than 12 million acres in Alaska and another order yesterday to withdraw another 10 million acres off the Alaskan coast for energy leases.

The fact remains that Obama has not supported growth of energy production on federal lands. Where he and his administration have not frustrated energy exploration and production, they have resorted to a "defeat-by-delay" strategy, racking up costs and uncertainty, which exacerbate the financial risks of oil and gas exploration. Meanwhile, state and private lands have attracted the business of oil and gas companies, outpacing development on federal lands on and off shore.

Source

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Sharia in Texas

An Islamic Tribunal using Sharia law in Texas has been confirmed by Breitbart Texas. The tribunal is operating as a non-profit organization in Dallas. One of the attorneys for the tribunal said participation and acceptance of the tribunal’s decisions are "voluntary."

Breitbart Texas spoke with one of the "judges," Dr. Taher El-badawi. He said the tribunal operates under Sharia law as a form of "non-binding dispute resolution." El-badawi said their organization is "a tribunal, not arbitration." A tribunal is defined by Meriam-Webster’s Dictionary as "a court or forum of justice." The four Islamic attorneys call themselves "judges" not "arbitrators."

El-badawi said the tribunal follows Sharia law to resolve civil disputes in family and business matters. He said they also resolve workplace disputes.

In matters of divorce, El-badawi said that "while participation in the tribunal is voluntary, a married couple cannot be considered divorced by the Islamic community unless it is granted by the tribunal." He compared their divorce, known as "Talaq," as something similar to the Catholic practice of annulment in that the church does not recognize civil divorce proceedings as ending a marriage.

More here
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Skull proves that homo sapiens and Neanderthals lived in close proximity

A partial skull retrieved from a cave in northern Israel is shedding light on a pivotal juncture in early human history when our species was trekking out of Africa to populate other parts of the world and encountered our close cousins the Neanderthals.

Scientists said on Wednesday the upper part of the skull, the domed portion without the face or jaws, was unearthed in Manot Cave in Israel’s Western Galilee. Scientific dating techniques determined the skull was about 55,000 years old.

The researchers said characteristics of the skull, dating from a time period when members of our species were thought to have been marching out of Africa, suggest the individual was closely related to the first Homo sapiens populations that later colonized Europe.

They also said the skull provides the first evidence that Homo sapiens inhabited that region at the same time as Neanderthals, our closest extinct human relative.

More here

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Pedophiles and the Boy Scouts

"Think scouting is a safe place for your boy? Think again," attorney Tim Kosnoff, said. "The Boy Scouts of America pays lip service to making necessary reforms. It remains in deep denial about the scope and severity of pedophiles in its ranks, and that places children at risk."

"The details are tragic," Dan Fasy, Kosnoff’s law partner, said. "This is a failure on a grand scheme that went on for too long and has affected many, many lives negatively."

"The injuries to our clients are astronomical. What was taken from them you can’t put a price tag on," Kosnoff said.

More here

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Clinton camp vs Obama camp

Rumors are circulating of an ever widening rift between the Clinton and Obama camps, most recently worsened by the president’s State of the Union address last week. Clinton operatives repeatedly asked to be allowed input into the SOTU messaging in the weeks leading up to the address. These requests were ignored entirely, by the Obama White House. Now with dissatisfaction regarding the general tone and content of Barack Obama’s SOTU, the Clinton Machine is said to be preparing a "talk right over them" offensive, which will further minimize the importance and influence of the now fading Obama presidency as the Clintons prepare to launch their 2016 campaign in earnest later this spring.

"They hate each other and it’s getting worse and worse between them every day."

So says a Capitol Hill source with ties to political operatives from both parties in Congress.

"They (the Clinton camp) wanted input, or at least a chance to review, the details of the State of the Union. Those requests were ignored. I’m told a direct call was made to Jarrett’s office within days of the president’s speech. No return call was made. This has the former president (B. Clinton) repeatedly reminding staff how disrespectful the Obama White House has always been to "…all of us. Not just me, but all of us. Congress, the whole thing. They sh*t on everyone."

More here

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Hostile environment

Around 2 a.m. on December 12, four students approached the apartment of Omar Mahmood, a Muslim student at the University of Michigan, who had recently published a column in a school newspaper about his perspective as a minority on campus. The students, who were recorded on a building surveillance camera wearing baggy hooded sweatshirts to hide their identity, littered Mahmood’s doorway with copies of his column, scrawled with messages like "You scum embarrass us," "Shut the fuck up," and "DO YOU EVEN GO HERE?! LEAVE!!" They posted a picture of a demon and splattered eggs.

This might appear to be the sort of episode that would stoke the moral conscience of students on a progressive campus like Ann Arbor, and it was quickly agreed that an act of biased intimidation had taken place. But Mahmood was widely seen as the perpetrator rather than the victim. His column, published in the school’s conservative newspaper, had spoofed the culture of taking offense that pervades the campus. Mahmood satirically pretended to denounce "a white cis-gendered hetero upper-class man" who offered to help him up when he slipped, leading him to denounce "our barbaric attitude toward people of left-handydnyss." The gentle tone of his mockery was closer to Charlie Brown than to Charlie Hebdo.

The Michigan Daily, where Mahmood also worked as a columnist and film critic, objected to the placement of his column in the conservative paper but hardly wanted his satirical column in its own pages. Mahmood later said that he was told by the editor that his column had created a "hostile environment," in which at least one Daily staffer felt threatened, and that he must write a letter of apology to the staff. When he refused, the Daily fired him, and the subsequent vandalism of his apartment served to confirm his status as thought-criminal.

The episode would not have shocked anybody familiar with the campus scene from two decades earlier. In 1992, an episode along somewhat analogous lines took place, also in Ann Arbor. In this case, the offending party was the feminist videographer Carol Jacobsen, who had produced an exhibition documenting the lives of sex workers. The exhibition’s subjects presented their profession as a form of self-empowerment, a position that ran headlong against the theories of Catharine MacKinnon, a law professor at the university who had gained national renown for her radical feminist critique of the First Amendment as a tool of male privilege. MacKinnon’s beliefs nestled closely with an academic movement that was then being described, by its advocates as well as its critics, as "political correctness." Michigan had already responded to the demands of pro-p.c. activists by imposing a campuswide speech code purporting to restrict all manner of discriminatory speech, only for it to be struck down as a First Amendment violation in federal court.

More here

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Friday, January 30, 2015

Hmmmmm

In a move likely to delight the oil and gas industry and upset environmentalists, the Obama administration plans to open up the Atlantic coast to drilling.

The decision is seen as the latest give-and-take strategy that President Barack Obama has employed to balance the interests of conservation and natural resource development. The announcement by the Department of the Interior also included a ban on drilling in some areas of Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas in an effort to please environmentalists.

The opening of oil and gas leases on the Atlantic seaboard would apply from the waters off Virginia all the way down to Georgia. This region is believed to contain at least 3.3 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 31.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. But those numbers are based on surveys performed in the 1980s, leading industry officials to suspect the amounts may be higher.

Obama previously discussed opening up just Virginia’s waters to drilling. But that idea, which came about in 2010, preceded the Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico that produced the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The administration abandoned the Virginia plan following the accident.

The New York Times noted that "opening the Eastern Seaboard to oil companies is a prize the industry has sought for decades and is a blow to environmental groups."

More here


(I wonder what kind of back door deals were made to accomplish this)

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Cuban shakedown

Cuban President Raul Castro demanded on Wednesday that the United States return the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, lift the half-century trade embargo on Cuba and compensate his country for damages before the two nations re-establish normal relations.

Castro told a summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States that Cuba and the U.S. are working toward full diplomatic relations but "if these problems aren't resolved, this diplomatic rapprochement wouldn't make any sense."

Castro and President Obama announced on Dec. 17 that they would move toward renewing full diplomatic relations by reopening embassies in each other's countries. The two governments held negotiations in Havana last week to discuss both the reopening of embassies and the broader agenda of re-establishing normal relations.

Obama has loosened the trade embargo with a range of measures designed to increase economic ties with Cuba and increase the number of Cubans who don't depend on the communist state for their livelihoods.

More here

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Chickens and California

The Wall Street Journal reported that the average price of a dozen jumbo eggs is $3.16 in California, nearly triple the price of a year ago, when such eggs were $1.18 a dozen. Retail egg prices in California are 66% higher than in other parts of the West, the Journal reported.

The reason? Californians keep electing Democrats to their state legislature, and having killed the goose that laid the golden eggs, California Democrats are killing the chickens that lay thee cheap ones.

From the Wall Street Journal:
The cause of these price gyrations is an initiative passed by California voters in 2008 that required the state’s poultry farmers to house their hens in significantly larger cages. The state legislature realized this would put home-state farmers at a disadvantage, so in 2010 it compounded the problem by requiring that eggs imported from other states come from farms meeting the same cage standards, effective Jan. 1, 2015.
Want to bet that none of these California legislators who voted for this awful law ever raised chickens?

More here

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Why doesn't Texas have laws like this?

Gun laws in Vermont.

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My kind of sheriff

Sheriff David Clarke, Milwaukee County’s tough-talking, outspoken law enforcement official, called the NAACP an irrelevant "propaganda" tool for the political left and said it was frequently the "behavior of black men," not racial injustice, that was the cause of much police-community consternation nowadays.

He made the comments during an interview on "Fox & Friends" about the recent St. Paul police shooting of a black suspect who reportedly pointed a gun at police as he fled their grip. Police shot and killed the man, and the NAACP, in response, called for an investigation, saying officers ought to have questioned and interviewed the suspect despite his show of armed aggression rather than shot him.

Sheriff Clarke called the shooting "a good shoot," a "justifiable shooting," and explained how the man who was shot and killed by police was actually reported to be stalking and making death threats to his former girlfriend. He then issued a sharp rebuke to the NAACP for its response.

"This once proud organization that was a force for good" hasn’t conducted any worthwhile campaigns since 1964, over the Civil Rights Act, he said during the broadcast. "[It’s now] nothing more than a political propaganda entity for the left."

More here

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Junk science

Huge retractions in the medical literature are, thankfully, pretty rare. In fact, they’re rare enough that I think I know of most of the big players in that area. My favorite is, of course, the infamous MMR vaccine and autism Lancet paper. But another pretty well known researcher who had many papers retracted is Anil Potti:
Chemotherapy can be a tough road for people with cancer, often debilitating and even dangerous. Which is why five years ago, when Duke University announced that it had an advanced, experimental treatment that would match chemotherapy to a patient’s own genetic makeup, it was hailed as the holy grail of cancer care. The scientist behind the discovery was Dr. Anil Potti, and soon Dr. Potti became the face of the future of cancer treatment at Duke, offering patients a better chance even with advanced disease. However, when other scientists set out to verify the results, they found many problems and errors. What our 60 Minutes investigation reveals is that Duke’s so-called breakthrough treatment wasn’t just a failure it may end up being one of the biggest medical research frauds ever.
What’s new is that it turns out that there was a whistleblower in 2008, even though Duke University claimed there wasn't one to an IOM panel later. the whistleblower was a medical student named Bradford Perez....

More here
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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Woodpecker

Dormant for a decade and a half, the Russian Woodpecker appeared to return in December 2013. Once, the notorious tapping of the massive Soviet over-the-horizon radar had frustrated and puzzled Western radio operators, who could discern neither the origin nor purpose of the strange signal. It was coming from somewhere behind the Iron Curtain; its frequency, 10Hz, made some think it was intended for mind control. In 1981, an NBC newscaster wondered, "Are they trying reduce us to a zombie stumbling and groping around and waiting to be told what to do?" And, no, he wasn’t hosting Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live.

Even after the fall of the Soviet Union, the 14,000-ton military radar installation in northern Ukraine, near the border with Belorussia, has remained a mystery to outside observers, largely because it sits right next to the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station, where a reactor meltdown in the spring of 1986 rendered the surrounding area uninhabitable for the next, oh, several thousand years. Then again, a nuclear wasteland is just the sort of thing to attract a jaded 21st century tourist who doesn’t want to hear about your wild week on Phuket, and the Exclusion Zone has recently seen a drastic increase in visitors, even if it remains a potential radioactive tinderbox.

More here
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When good intentions conflict with reality

Out here on the endless swamps, a harsh truth has been passed down from generation to generation: There is no fear but the fear of hunger.

With that always weighing on his mind, Mwewa Ndefi gets up at dawn, just as the first orange rays of sun are beginning to spear through the papyrus reeds, and starts to unclump a mosquito net.

Nets like his are widely considered a magic bullet against malariaone of the cheapest and most effective ways to stop a disease that kills at least half a million Africans each year. But Mr. Ndefi and countless others are not using their mosquito nets as global health experts have intended.

Nobody in his hut, including his seven children, sleeps under a net at night. Instead, Mr. Ndefi has taken his family’s supply of anti-malaria nets and sewn them together into a gigantic sieve that he uses to drag the bottom of the swamp ponds, sweeping up all sorts of life: baby catfish, banded tilapia, tiny mouthbrooders, orange fish eggs, water bugs and the occasional green frog.

"I know it’s not right," Mr. Ndefi said, "but without these nets, we wouldn’t eat."

More here

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Quote of the day


Guilty until proven innocent

When Long Island businessman Jeff Hirsch stepped up to the bank window to make a deposit one morning in May, 2012, the teller shot him a worried look. "You know, your account has been frozen," she told Hirsch. "I’m not sure you want to put any money in there this morning."

In fact, the disbelieving Hirsch soon learned, the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York had, without warning, seized the entire working capital $447,000 of Bi-County Distributors in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., the business Hirsch co-owns with his two brothers.

For Hirsch, it was one of those petrifying moments that could only elicit an incredulous, "This can’t be true!"

But it was true. Hirsch and his brothers, like thousands of other Americans in the past 10 years, had been targeted by law enforcement authorities on suspicion of a crime he had never heard of. His money had been seized as part of a federally sanctioned wave of "civil asset forfeitures," with citizens losing homes and automobiles and life savings merely because they were suspected of some crime.

The subject is likely to come up at U.S. Senate hearings this week to review President Obama’s nomination of Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as U.S. Attorney General, staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee say. It was Lynch’s office that inflicted the nightmare of disappearing funds on the Hirsches and refused to release the money even after overwhelming evidence that the brothers were innocent of wrongdoing.

Since 2008, police agencies have seized cash and property worth $3 billion, making more than 55,000 seizures, according to the Washington Post. Lynch’s office hauled in $113 million in civil forfeiture actions from 123 cases between 2011 and 2013, and a Wall Street Journal editorial described her office as "a major forfeiture operation."

More here

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Kinship

Kinship is the organizing principle of small human societies, such as bands of hunter-gatherers or small farming villages. This is seen in their notions of right and wrongthe same behavior may be wrong toward kin but right toward non-kin, or at least not punishable. Morality is enforced by social pressure from fellow kinfolk, which in extreme cases can lead to ostracism and banishment.

This kin-based morality breaks down as societies grow larger and as the circle of regular interaction spreads beyond close kin. Wrongdoers are less easily brought into line because they and their victims no longer share the same kinfolk. Wrongs have to be avenged through vendettas: my clan against yours. Since vendettas can go on indefinitely, causing much more harm than the initial wrongdoing, a society cannot be both large and orderly unless it can resolve disputes between unrelated individuals. Hence, the development of codified law and justice systems. Hence the prohibition of violence as a means to resolve personal disputes.

In much of the world, this is as far as cultural evolution has gone. The circle of trusting relationships extends no farther than one’s kinship ties; beyond, morality is enforced only by the force of law, and court justice is expensive, time-consuming, and not always impartial. So dealings with non-kin are kept to the minimum necessary. This low level of trust restricts trade, keeping it bottled up spatially and temporally in marketplaces and family businesses. A true market economy cannot self-generate.

More here

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

War on the family

The idea that the American left is engaged in a war against the family has always struck me as an exaggeration.

The claim might be good for direct-mail fundraising and talk-radio ratings. But I have enough friends with left-wing politics and lovely families to find the accusation of a war on family to be, frankly, at least a touch paranoid.

Alas, the events of the past week have caused me to reconsider.

First came President Obama’s State of the Union address. Four times, at the start of the speech and at its conclusion, Obama repeated the phrase, "We are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times." He said, "My fellow Americans, we, too, are a strong, tight-knit family. We, too, have made it through some hard times."

Second came Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address, in which the governor, a Democrat, quoted his father, Mario Cuomo, who recently died. Governor Mario Cuomo had said, "those who made our history taught us, above all things, the idea of family; the idea of mutuality. The sharing, the benefits and burden, fairly for the good of all, it is an idea essential to our success and no state or nation that chooses to ignore its troubled regions and people while watching others thrive can call itself justified. We must be the family of New York feeling one another’s pain, sharing one another’s blessings, reasonably, equitably, honestly, fairly, without regard to geography or race or political affiliation."

More here

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Pay up, sucker

Carnell Alexander is a wanted man. The reason? He refuses to pay child support for a child that is proven to not be his. As a result, a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

7 Action News told you about Carnell Alexander in October. He said he was looking for help clearing up a terrible mistake.

Alexander says he learned about the paternity case against him during a traffic stop in Detroit in the early 90s. The officer told him he is a deadbeat dad, there was a warrant out for his arrest.

"I knew I didn’t have a child, so I was kind of blown back," said Alexander during an interview in October.

He would later learn this happened because his ex needed help caring for her kids.

"I put him down as father to get assistance," she told 7 Action News.

She didn’t realize that would start a paternity case. The state would want to get reimbursement for welfare benefits from the child’s dad.

More here

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Our ally supports terrorism

President Obama should think before bowing to Saudi Arabia's new king in his Tuesday visit. King Salman has a history of funding al-Qaida, and his son has been accused of knowing in advance about the 9/11 attacks.

When it comes to jihadism, Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud is more of a hardliner than his older brother, King Abdullah, who died last week of a lung infection. As such, any commitment he makes to helping the U.S. destroy al-Qaida and Islamic State terrorists should be viewed with great suspicion.

The 79-year-old Salman once ran a Saudi charity tied to al-Qaida and has been named a defendant in two lawsuits accusing the Saudi royal family of helping the 9/11 terrorists, one of which the U.S. Supreme Court recently let move forward after years of being blocked by the State Department and the well-funded Saudi lobby.

Plaintiffs have provided an enormous amount of material to source their accusations against Salman. Here's why his ascension to the throne is not good news, especially as the terrorism threat grows....

More here

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Quote of the day

We have no religion; we have an ideology - secular democracy. But the Muslim world rejects secularism and will use democracy to free itself of us and establish regimes that please Allah. In the struggle between democracy and Allah, we are children of a lesser God. "The term 'democracy,'" wrote Eliot, "does not contain enough positive content to stand alone against the forces that you dislike - it can easily be transformed by them. If you will not have God ... you should pay your respects to Hitler or Stalin." --Pat Buchanan
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Russian mischief in the oil field

A shadowy Bermudan company that has funneled tens of millions of dollars to anti-fracking environmentalist groups in the United States is run by executives with deep ties to Russian oil interests and offshore money laundering schemes involving members of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

One of those executives, Nicholas Hoskins, is a director at a hedge fund management firm that has invested heavily in Russian oil and gas. He is also senior counsel at the Bermudan law firm Wakefield Quin and the vice president of a London-based investment firm whose president until recently chaired the board of the state-owned Russian oil company Rosneft.

In addition to those roles, Hoskins is a director at a company called Klein Ltd. No one knows where that firm’s money comes from. Its only publicly documented activities have been transfers of $23 million to U.S. environmentalist groups that push policies that would hamstring surging American oil and gas production, which has hurt Russia’s energy-reliant economy.

More here

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Temporary marriage, Islamic style

The Islamic State (IS) militants have executed seven women in Mosul for refusing temporary marriage, or ‘nikah’.

Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) official from Mosul Saed Mamuzini told BasNews that IS are demanding women accept nikah with insurgents. Nikah is a temporary marriage which permits the participants to have sex.

"Many women refuse to have sex with IS militants, in which cases they are arrested. The militants often kill them," said Mamuzini.

"Today [Saturday] seven women from Mosul were killed at the IS base of Ghazlan," he added.

More here

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All those for the New England Patriots raise your hands!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Anti-Islamic demonstrations in Germany

Wednesday night saw a flare of violence and an accompanying police operation on a scale without precedent in recent German history. A group opposing militant Islam in Europe has called a demonstration, the city is deafened by political slogans played over loudspeakers, property is vandalised, and explosives are thrown at police in colossal running battles that involve thousands of people.

If you got your news from the mainstream media, what is increasingly known in Germany as the ‘liar press’ (Luegenpresse), the story might very well end there. Then again, the report might also throw in salacious details about the former leader of this movement and his colourful past, or the tragic death of an immigrant man who was killed shortly after a demonstration in Dresden last week.

There is no doubt about what these reports are meant to leave you thinking. Germans actually taking pride in their country, and very soon after in the neighbourhood a young Eritrean is murdered with no apparent motive? Must be a racist attack. This has been a large part of the German establishment’s haughty dismissal of the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA) group: that they are cold, angry racists with hatred in their hearts.

More here

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We don't need an army, the Americans will protect us

The number of senior figures in the army is to be cut as part of the latest reforms, according to reports.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed an army command review will take place as part of the Army 2020 reform plans.

Up to a third of the force’s 500 colonels and 200 brigadiers and generals could be axed, according to the Times newspaper, which said plans by the army’s leader General Sir Nick Carter will be implemented from April.

More here

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I was big but now I am small

If you heard a child give detailed information about a dead man’s life that he could not seemingly have known through normal means, would you believe he is that man’s reincarnation?

Psychologist Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson, professor emeritus at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, has long studied reincarnation. He has highlighted a case he began investigating in 2000 in which a boy named Nazih Al-Danaf gave many correct details about his purported past-life incarnation.

Dr. Haraldsson worked with a local researcher, Majd Abu-Izzeddin, in Lebanon to interview the boy’s family members and the family of the deceased man Nazih may have been. All witnesses were interviewed multiple times several months apart, and the story remained by and large the same. The most striking testimony came from the dead man’s wife, who tested the boy’s knowledge of her life with her husband.

At the age of about one and a half, Nazih told his mother, "I am not small, I am big. I carry two pistols. I carry four hand-grenades. I am ‘qabadai’ (a fearless strong person). Don’t be scared by the hand-grenades. I know how to handle them. I have a lot of weapons. My children are young and I want to go and see them."

More here

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From China with Love

China obtained more than 50 terabytes of data from U.S. defense and government networks, notably the Joint Strike Fighter’s stealth radar and engine secrets, through cyber espionage, according to newly disclosed National Security Agency documents.

A NSA briefing slide labeled "Top Secret" and headlined "Chinese Exfiltrate Sensitive Military Data," states that the Chinese have stolen a massive amount of data from U.S. government and private contractors.

The document was made public by the German magazine Der Spiegel in a two articles detailing how NSA in the mid-2000s was capable of conducting global cyber intelligence-gathering by tapping into the networks of foreign intelligence services and stealing the data they were collecting from others.

The unique capability of spying on the spies was described in a series of documents that were stolen in 2013 by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, currently a fugitive in Russia.

More here

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Insanity masquerading as a university

I am compelled to write this letter about the Rolling Stone article (fall 2014) concerning a women raped at a fraternity party at University of Virginia by a number of men identified by one name and fact. It now appears that this is a false story perpetuated by people who have a bias against fraternities.

The university leaders at UVA acted precipitously against all fraternities without learning that the fraternity did not have a party at the time stated, that it did not have a member with the name used and that no member of the fraternity held a position at the natatorium at the time of the alleged rape.

Universities are led, in general, by liberal-minded, politically correct progressives who have little or no business, leadership or management skills or training. This leads to acting irrationally on preconceived notions and biases, as opposed to asking tough questions and evaluating information, data and the specific conditions. Along with the faculty and students, the university administration failed to evaluate this matter of the likely false misleading article.

More here

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Double standards?

When cartoonists at a French publication that had poked fun at the Prophet Muhammad were shot dead, millions around the world felt it as an attack on freedom of speech.

Since the rampage that left four dead at a kosher supermarket and 12 at the Charlie Hebdo offices, French authorities have arrested dozens of people including a comedian for appearing to praise the terrorists or encourage more attacks.

That has unleashed accusations of a double standard, in which free speech applies to those who mock Islam while Muslims are penalized for expressing their own provocative views. Many Muslims complain that France aggressively prosecutes anti-Semitic slurs, but that they are not protected from similar racist speech.

More here

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, panderess

Apart from Claire McCaskill, no senator has more aggressively advocated weakening due process protections for students accused of sexual assault than New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand. She continued her anti-due process crusade in two high-profile moves this week.

First, Gillibrand invited Columbia student Emma Sulkowicz as her special guest for the State of the Union address. Sulkowicz has attracted international media attention for her "performance art" project of carrying a mattress around campus to protest what she considers Columbia’s insufficient response to a student she claims sexually assaulted her. No evidence exists that the student did, in fact, sexually assault her: even under Columbia’s extraordinarily imbalanced sexual assault policy, which tilts nearly all procedures in the advantage of the accusing student, the disciplinary panel didn’t find Sulkowicz’s allegation credible. Why Gillibrand came to believe Sulkowicz remains unclear.

It’s also unclear what message Gillibrand intended to send in selecting Sulkowicz, whose approach to criminal justice issues appears to be precisely what members of Congress should not encourage. Sulkowicz found the time to speak about her experiences with MTV, the Guardian, a local TV station, and several other media sourcesbut she wasn’t able to spare the time to follow through with the police about her complaint. (Or at least so she impliedthe student she accused has suggested that actually the police looked into the matter and elected not to continue with the investigation, something that Sulkowicz never had previously admitted). It would seem that a senator would want to encourage actual crime victims to speak with police instead of the media, rather than the reverse. A cynic might suggest that the New York senator, like Sulkowicz, is more interested in public relations than in securing justice.

More here

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Democrat Panic in New York

Albany is terrified and in disarray after Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's arrest, with lawmakers and insiders fearing he’ll turn on them to save himself.

"People are scratching their heads and saying, ‘What did I say the last time I spoke to Shelly?’ " one veteran Albany lobbyist told The Post on Friday.

After Silver’s arrest Thursday, US Attorney Preet Bharara hinted at more to come, telling the public to "stay tuned."

Now legislators are questioning why Silver’s closest Democratic colleagues, including Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, have pledged support for him instead of calling for his resignation.

More here

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Getting real, Islamic style

SVT reporter Petter Ljunggren reported on Malmo antisemitism for the "Uppdrag granskning" show. There are 1,500 Jews in Malmo, and some told him that they're afraid to live there and afraid to go out the door.

They are regularly taunted, have eggs thrown at them, and otherwise attacked. Ljunggren wanted to know what it feels like as a Jew in Malmo, so he put on a kippah and Star of David, and went out to walk the streets.

He was followed by an undercover reporter who filmed everything.

Along the town's main road, Ljunggren was immediately confronted. One man told him he should leave if he was wearing that 'Jewish shit'.

Another shouted at him that he's a Jew-devil. People shouted at 'dirty Jewish pig' and "Jewish pigs, we'll kill you'. In the neighborhoods of Lindängen and Rosengård, he was harassed so much, he considered just leaving.

In Lindängen a guy warned him to just get out of there. In Rosengård they were attacked by a mob, and when they fled, people threw eggs at them from the windows.

More here

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Quote of the day

"Here's the main problem with feminism. Bat shit crazy broads: They hate men but they want to appear mannish. So men set their standards. They hate the feminine and motherhood so they mutilate themselves and murder their children. They aren't natural to any life form in existence. They have to create feminists since no woman would truly want to be one. Being feminist means being perpetually angry and sexually disoriented. Outside of the realm of the modern university there is no place for them."

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Keep 'em stashed away

Mothers invited to a Scottish Government-backed breastfeeding conference were left angry and bemused after being told that they would not be allowed to breastfeed their babies.

Organisers for the event, titled "Shifting the Curve - Sharing the Challenge Breastfeeding Summit", said it was "open to everyone who works with children and families" and aimed to "remove some of the barriers" about breastfeeding.

Yet when mothers asked if they could breastfeed their babies at next month’s conference at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium, they were told by officials that this would not be "appropriate".

Elise Stirling, who runs parenting consultancy Bond, Baby!, said she was "dumbfounded" when she was told by officials that the event was for "professionals" rather than breastfeeding mothers.

"Obviously it had not occurred to them that you can be both," said Ms Stirling, 31, from Falkirk.

More here

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Columba Bush

An illegal immigrant, warring parents, and a bitter rift with the father she did not see for 40 years the extraordinary story of Columba Bush as her husband bids to make her the first Hispanic first lady

Columba Bush was born and raised in Leon, 250 miles outside Mexico City, where she met Jeb Bush and married him when she was 20

Jeb is a Republicans presidential front-runner for 2016; if he wins she would be first Hispanic first lady and only the second born outside the US

Daily Mail Online can reveal her father was born to a peasant family and entered America illegally to work

He had a stormy marriage to her mother and the couple divorced but Columba's account differs from his and his relatives' in Mexico today

Columba was estranged from her father after her marriage and he twice reached out to the Bush family, including her brother-in-law, for contact

He went to his grave without meeting his three grandchildren and 'followed his daughter's life through newspaper clippings'

More here

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Deflated balls

Sarah Palin has called out Beltway Republicans for "deflated balls."

Pointing to the New England Patriots as a cautionary tale, the conservative starlet warned her party to stand up to President Obama’s agenda.

"That GOP leadership, that establishment, they’ve got to get their stuff together. I love what they believe in, I believe in it too. But they’ve got to get tough, man. You know what? It’s not just the New England Patriots who are dealing with deflated balls right now," the former Alaska Governor told The Blaze on Thursday.

Palin was referring to the controversy over whether the NFL team purposefully defeated footballs at their game last Sunday to gain an advantage over the Indianapolis Colts.

More here

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Criminal of the day, 37 minutes

A Canadian court heard that Solomon Zemichael Teklie carried out a carjacking and two bank robberies before police pulled him over and arrested him all in the space of 37 minutes.

More here

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Fact of the day

Of the 67,500 people currently behind bars in France, it is estimated that 70 per cent are Muslimwhen they comprise only eight per cent of the French public. It is illegal under France’s strict laicity laws to count the number of Muslim prisoners, but experts agree that the figure is an accurate averagewith some prisons, like those near Paris and Marseille, seeing an even higher percentage.
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Hidden in plain sight

What caused the financial crisis? How can we prevent another one from happening again? The answers you most often hear to those questions are (1) greed and deregulation and (2) the Dodd-Frank law.

But they're patently inadequate. Greed -- or the desire for monetary gain -- has always been with us and always will be. And no one has convincingly linked financial deregulation to the crisis. Dodd-Frank, enacted to increase regulation, confers too-big-to-fail status on very large financial institutions, which incentivizes unduly risky behavior and penalizes smaller competitors.

The real problem was housing finance, argues my American Enterprise Institute colleague Peter Wallison in his new book "Hidden in Plain Sight: What Really Caused the World's Worst Financial Crisis and Why It Could Happen Again." Without changes in housing finance policy, he says, there would have been no financial crisis in 2008.

Government policies encouraged the granting of mortgages to non-creditworthy homebuyers, and government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac funneled securities laced with high-risk mortgages into major financial institutions. When house prices suddenly and unexpectedly dropped in 2007, these mortgage-backed securities became unsellable and the financial crisis quickly followed.

More here

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Women in combat

Even among those who disagree about the issue of opening ground combat arms jobs to women in the military, I have found that there is a general consensus on one key point: That physical standards should not be lowered in pursuit of gender integration. Weakening standards in the pursuit of social justice would endanger troops and render meaningless the accomplishment of those women who would potentially serve in ground combat units. In a way, this consensus is very American: Equality of opportunity and a fair shot for all. Keep the standards high, as they’ve always been, and let the chips fall where they may.

The Department of Defense disagrees.

This may seem shocking, but consider the following Defense News interview with Juliet Beyler, director of officer and enlisted personnel management for the DOD and a retired Marine officer. Beyler is described as the "point person" of the Pentagon’s effort to open jobs to women and, in the middle of the interview, without any apparent shame or concern about what she is describing, details a systematic and elaborate effort to weaken standards in order to ensure that more women will be able to serve in ground combat arms jobs.

Of course, this is not the language that she uses. Her dialectheartbreakingly, considering that she was a Marine for 23 yearsis a dense bureaucratese that could not be improved upon by the villains of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. It is a mix of euphemism and circumlocution, with grace notes of outright dishonesty. According to Beyler, standards are not being lowered. Not at all! Instead, the services have been directed by the secretary of defense to "make sure that [standards] are correct and relevant." The services were told to "validate" their standards in order to "make sure that they’re current" and "reflective of what we do today" and "operationally relevant."

More here
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Zimbabwe to white farmers, get out

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe today told white farmers, defying orders to hand over their land, that he stands by an August deadline for them to clear out and pave the way for his black resettlement land reforms.

"We set ourselves an August deadline for the redistribution of land and that deadline stands,"

Mugabe said in a televised address during a funeral for a former finance minister.

Mugabe's government had ordered 2,900 of the remaining 4,500 white commercial farmers to surrender their lands without compensation to black settlers by midnight (2200 GMT) last Thursday, August 8.

"We, the principled people of Zimbabwe, we, the true owners of this land, shall not budge. We shall not be deterred on this one vital issue, the land. The land is ours," Mugabe told more than 15,000 supporters.

Farming sources have estimated that about 40 percent of the farmers had obeyed the instruction but others were holding on in the hope of a reprieve from the country's courts or from Mugabe.

Mugabe said the deadline would allow new owners of the land enough time to prepare and plant for the new crop season, which should start in October.

White farmers defying the order to leave their land face up to two years in jail.

More here

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Republicans like government handouts too

Joni Ernst, the new Republican senator from Iowa who delivered the GOP response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night, called in her address for cuts in government spending and described how her views grew out of her own "simple" upbringing, one in which her family diligently watched ever scarce penny, to the point where she owned only one pair of shoes.

But an investigation of public records by the Washington D.C.-based District Sentinel online news site showed that between 1995 and 2009, Ernst's family received nearly a half-million dollars in government handouts, payments targeted toward subsidizing farms with taxpayer funds.

More here

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Oregon, Whites Only

When Oregon was granted statehood in 1859, it was the only state in the Union admitted with a constitution that forbade black people from living, working, or owning property there. It was illegal for black people even to move to the state until 1926. Oregon’s founding is part of the forgotten history of racism in the American west.

Waddles Coffee Shop in Portland, Oregon was a popular restaurant in the 1950s for both locals and travelers alike. The drive-in catered to America’s postwar obsession with car culture, allowing people to get coffee and a slice of pie without even leaving their vehicle. But if you happened to be black, the owners of Waddles implored you to keep on driving. The restaurant had a sign outside with a very clear message: "White Trade Only -- Please."

It’s the kind of scene from the 1950s that’s so hard for many Americans to imagine happening outside of the Jim Crow South. How could a progressive, northern city like Portland have allowed a restaurant to exclude non-white patrons? This had to be an anomaly, right? In reality it was far too common in Oregon, a state that was explicitly founded as a kind of white utopia.

More here

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Does sunshine cause cancer?

An individual’s view of health determinants is directly correlated to their sources and how they process information. Regardless of its accuracy, when something is repeated a sufficient number of times, people will start to believe it.

The cancer and sunscreen industries have made it their mission to convince the world that sunlight is a primary cause of skin cancer, when it fact it has been shown to prevent it. In fact, considerable evidence shows that blocking the sun’s rays from reaching our skin with, for example sunscreen, significantly decreases our uptake of vitamin D levels, leading to higher mortality, critical illness, mental health disorders and cancer itself.

The southern hemisphere is currently experiencing record temperatures raising the mercury to levels many regions have never experienced. Some climatologists have stated that the trend will continue in the northern hemisphere come July. With these hot temperature come extreme warnings from public health officials to slather on the sunscreen to prevent skin cancer and specifically protect us from melanoma.

More here

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Pity Party

Kindness covers all my political principles, says President Obama. A prominent liberal writer asserts that the quality that really sets progressives apart is that they care about other people, not just themselves.

Conservatives shake their heads. Can liberals really be so fatuous as to believe that the profound challenges of politics, which have confronted and usually gotten the better of statesmen and philosophers for millennia, are in fact so simple that gentle admonitions to play nice are all we need to secure peace and justice? And are liberals really so self-righteous as to insist that opposition to, or even skepticism about, their project can be explained entirely in terms of their opponents’ greed, cruelty, and pathological mean-spiritedness?

The short answers are yes, and yes. A longer answer is that certain key features of modern liberalism, and of compassion, turn out to be made for each otherwhich is not to say that they’re necessarily good for each other, or America.

Consider three. First, liberals are in favor of the "modern bargain," which holds that the most basic political problem, getting people to live together peaceably, can be solved by a "social contract," a mutual non-aggression pact, where we agree to disagree about big, contentious questions, religion chief among them. Liberals are not alone in favoring the modern bargain. So do conservatives, and so do the large portion of the American population that doesn’t think about politics in left-right terms, or doesn’t think about politics much at all.

More here

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Trepanation

Over the past two years, I’ve been commuting from my home to my university. It’s about an hour drive each way (unless it’s snowing, and then it could be two hours each way), and honestly- it has gotten to be quite boring. Over the last semester, I’ve changed from listening to books on tape, or rather books on iPhone, to listening to podcasts. One of my favorites is Sawbones, a marital tour of misguided medicine. My own research into the dead often overlaps with the history of medicine, so it’s been interesting to hear the historical and folkloric side of medical past. One of the most interesting medical procedures throughout history, and that continues today, is trepanation. Trepanation is primarily known as the technique whereby a hole is drilled, cut or sawed into the head of a human being for medical purposes. But new evidence shows that this might not be limited to just skulls, in fact, the technique may have been used for other purposes when there was a buildup of pressure in the bone.

A new study by Toyne (2015) examines possible evidence for the use of the trepanation technique applied to lower leg bones. The sample was found in the Chachapoyas region of Peru, at the Kuelap site, which dates from 8001535 CE. The city was a powerful political and social center in this region, and was occupied by a large population. As Europeans began exploring this area of South America, they wrote about some of the surgical techniques practiced by these people. Numerous texts speak of the skills of the indigenous healers and note the presence of specialists who could deal with significant injuries, diseases and complicated medical treatments. Other bioarchaeological examples of surgery from this region and period show that they were able to do quite complex surgical interventions with success- the human remains show signs of amputations with clear healing of the bone. Trepanation of the skull was more common in this area, and many of the injuries show that the individual lived beyond their treatment, and in some cases lived for a long time.

More here
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Shifting the blame

The sense of perceived persecution in the Middle East is real analogous to Germany’s lamentations after the Versailles Treaty. The retreat into Islamic-inspired terror reflects a larger, complex stew of anger at the reach of Western globalization into traditional and conservative Islamic societies and of envy of the wealth and influence of the Western world, combined with an inability to offer self-critical analyses about the role of tribalism, statism, gender apartheid, religious fundamentalism, intolerance, autocracy, and anti-Semitism in institutionalizing poverty and instability.

For a sizable minority of Muslim immigrants to the West, a sense of inferiority is sometimes enhanced rather than diminished by contact with Western liberal society. The longer and further immigrants are away from the mess of the Middle East that caused them to flee or at least stay away, the more they are able under the aegis of Western freedom, prosperity, and security to romanticize what provides them with the sense of self that they have not earned in their adopted countries.

In the Middle East, when modern societies reach such a point, they prefer to blame "Jews" or "the decadent West" rather than their own pathologies for a perceived descent from the glories of a past and religiously pure age. Liberal internal reform would be the only lasting cure of their maladies, but, tragically, such an impetus is usually thrust upon them by forces from the outside, even if only a small but influential and activist minority is responsible for acting out such self-destructive agendas.

Source

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

A black female professor pisses off Muslims, good for her

A black Vanderbilt University professor’s op-ed critical of Islamic terrorism has touched off a wave of protest by Muslim students and other critics.

The op-ed author is Carol Swain, a longtime professor of law and political science at Vanderbilt and a self-proclaimed political conservative. Her op-ed, entitled "Charlie Hebdo attacks prove critics were right about Islam," appeared in The Tennessean (Nashville’s main newspaper) on Jan. 15.

Swain, who opposes burqas and advocates stronger efforts at assimilation for American Muslims, argued that radical Islam "poses an absolute danger to us and our children unless it is monitored better than it has been under the Obama administration."

In response, Muslim students, led by Vanderbilt undergraduate Farishtay Yamin, took great offense.

Yamin told the Vanderbilt Hustler, the campus newspaper, that she "could not believe her eyes" when she read Swain’s column. The student also quickly labeled Swain’s opinion as "hate speech."

More here

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As the worm turns

Has the worm turned, to apply gambling slang for luck changing from bad to good?

In less than two days, Duke University reversed its decision to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer once a week from the venerable (and Methodist) Duke Chapel bell tower. Ten miles away, the University of North Carolina Board of Governors terminated president Tom Ross, ordering him to vacate as soon as a replacement is found. In the Duke fiasco, Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, and agitation from women’s groups who object to all-male worship as practiced in Islam, are given credit for the volte face. In the UNC case, a new Board was impaneled, comprised of Republicans who acted swiftly and decisively to end Democrat rule. No matter the underlying reasons, it’s a new day in university politics.

Ross has presided over faulty decisions that bring to mind the sinking of the Titanic. Like the officers, crew and passengers of the so-called "unsinkable" luxury liner, UNC officials are oblivious, even in the face of a scandal that has torn a hole in its foundations. Everything they’ve done to save the sinking university is wrong-footed, ineffective and only adds to the inevitable disaster.

What began with disclosures from the NCAA that football players were enrolled in fake courses has twisted and turned to involve a department chair pleading guilty to profiting financially from the phantom classes. A chief fundraiser and former UNC football star was caught padding expense accounts and carrying on an affair with the mother of a highly regarded basketball player who worked for him. And data prove academic fraud has been going on for 22 years.

More here

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Muslims in decline?

Twenty-five nations from around the world have come together to build the space station. They include old enemies who fought each other for centuries over God and gold, Cold War rivals, small countries and large. But none are Islamic nations.

It has become a cliché to point out that science and reason once flourished in the Islamic world. Nonetheless, it is true. While Europe stumbled through the Dark Ages, Islamic scholars made dramatic advances in every field of science including mathematics, optics and experimental physics. Our modern world was built on the scientific breakthroughs of Islam. From the eighth century, mathematicians such as Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī, who helped develop algebra, there is a direct line of progress that ends with the space station itself. But we no longer associate Islam with progress. In fact, a Muslim astronaut would surprise us as much as a non-Muslim terrorist (although there are many examples of each).

When the Parisian police siege ended on the blood-smeared floor of a kosher supermarket, the Prophet had not been avenged. He was diminished. This terrorist attack, and the others before it, merely isolated the Islamic world further from the global mainstream. In its aftermath, we and our leaders repeat, again and again, "Not all Muslims"and yet we collectively treat Muslim nations as a threat that must be contained. Equal members of the global community? No. Partners in the space program? Impossible.

The Islamic world is in relative decline. Or, more precisely, a large number of countries with a Muslim majority are not developing as rapidly as the rest of the world, and in some cases, like Syria, they are even regressing.

More here

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GOP getting squishy already

Spending authorization for the Department of Homeland Security expires at the end of February. The House has already passed a bill to extend that authorization, but with important stipulations. It blocks implementation of the president’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (the "Dream Act by fiat"), which was begun in 2012; a series of enforcement directives called the Morton memos dating from 2011 and 2012; and the November 2014 executive amnesty for large swaths of adult illegal immigrants.

All of those presidential actions are distortions of laws passed by Congress. They all please liberal activists at the expense of legal immigrants and the American worker. But Congress cannot fight them effectively all at once, and shouldn’t try to.

The November amnesty is by far the president’s most dramatic arrogation of power and has attracted some wariness and opposition from Democrats. The DHS fight is a political effort on behalf of the Constitution, not a strictly legal one. It needn’t treat all the president’s trespasses equally. It can and should start on the most favorable ground politically.

Republicans will get a chance to rethink their strategy when the DHS funding bill is blocked in the Senate or vetoed by the president. Some Republicans are afraid that this fight might make them look irresponsiblethat they will be blamed for holding up DHS funding at a time of heightened concern about terrorism. Their squeamishness is to some degree understandable. Letting the Department of Homeland Security "shut down" is almost meaningless as a practical matter but politically risky. Still, that fear does not justify abandoning the fight.

More here

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38 percent

The Nasa climate scientists who claimed 2014 set a new record for global warmth last night admitted they were only 38 per cent sure this was true.

In a press release on Friday, Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) claimed its analysis of world temperatures showed ‘2014 was the warmest year on record’.

The claim made headlines around the world, but yesterday it emerged that GISS’s analysis based on readings from more than 3,000 measuring stations worldwide is subject to a margin of error. Nasa admits this means it is far from certain that 2014 set a record at all.

Yet the Nasa press release failed to mention this, as well as the fact that the alleged ‘record’ amounted to an increase over 2010, the previous ‘warmest year’, of just two-hundredths of a degree or 0.02C. The margin of error is said by scientists to be approximately 0.1C several times as much.

More here

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Methane

Contrary to persistent claims by environmentalists, Methane is not an important greenhouse gas (GHG); it has a totally negligible impact on climate. Attempts to control methane emissions make little sense; the just-announced [Jan 14] White House plan to reduce emissions by 40 to 45% by 2025 ignores well-established ‘text-book’ science.

Methane (chemical formula CH4) is the main component of natural gas. It may technically be defined as a greenhouse gas since it absorbs strongly in some portions of the infrared spectrum; but its impact on climate is insignificant. Its atmospheric level has been increasing because about half of the methane is produced by processes related to human activities, such as cattle raising, rice agriculture, landfills, and the production of oil and natural gas; it is also released in coal mining and from leaky natural gas pipelines. The major non-human sources include swamps and bogs.

Some decades ago I predicted [Nature 1971] anthropogenic methane production and estimated values that are roughly in accord with modern ones. At that time, I was primarily interested in what happens to methane once is diffuses into the stratosphere. We found that the current human-associated production of methane was equivalent to a fleet of 500 SSTs (supersonic transport aircraft) depositing water vapor into the dry stratosphere; these estimates have since been confirmed by balloon-borne radiosondes. Many will recall that in the early 1970s, fear of ozone depletion and increase in skin cancers led to the demise of the US-SST projectalthough economic arguments already showed that at that time SSTs made little sense.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

When schools fight back

Teachers from a Queensland, Australia high school were simply fed up that they were being the one’s to blame for students who were not doing well in school. They knew the high amount of school absences and missed homework assignments.

Rather than blame their kids, the parents began putting blame on the school and the teachers.

Well, the high school had enough. They knew the real reason why students were doing poorly and putting in repeated requests for "teacher changes" was not going to solve anything.

This is an epic and very bold move by the school. They recorded a new answering machine message which totally stuck it to the parents. You have to listen to this message, they do not hold back at all.

More here

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Sky burial

Sky burial (Tibetan: Wylie: bya gtor, lit. "bird-scattered") is a funeral practice in which a human corpse is placed on a mountaintop to decompose while exposing to the elements or to be eaten by scavenging animals, especially birds of prey. It is a specific type of the general practice of excarnation. It is practiced in Tibet and the Chinese provinces of, Qinghai, Sichuan and Inner Mongolia, and in Mongolia proper. The locations of preparation and sky burial are understood in the Vajrayana Buddhist traditions as charnel grounds. Comparable practices are part of Zoroastrian burial practices where deceased are exposed to the elements and birds of prey on stone structures called Dakhma. Few such places remain operational today due to religious marginalisation, urbanisation and the decimation of vulture populations.

The majority of Tibetan people and many Mongols adhere to Vajrayana Buddhism, which teaches the transmigration of spirits. There is no need to preserve the body, as it is now an empty vessel. Birds may eat it or nature may cause it to decompose. The function of the sky burial is simply to dispose of the remains in as generous a way as possible (the source of the practice's Tibetan name). In much of Tibet and Qinghai, the ground is too hard and rocky to dig a grave, and, due to the scarcity of fuel and timber, sky burials were typically more practical than the traditional Buddhist practice of cremation. In the past, cremation was limited to high lamas and some other dignitaries, but modern technology and difficulties with sky burial have led to its increasing use by commoners.

More here

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D.L.T.D.H.Y.A.O.T.W.O.

Marilyn Tavenner, the Obama administration official who presided over Obamacare’s worst debacles and most devious deceptions, has finally made an intelligent decisionshe resigned. Tavenner ran the government bureaucracy responsible for the inept rollout of HealthCare.gov, the promulgation of phony PPACA enrollment figures, and the handout of legally dubious waivers to Democrat-friendly donors. And, when Congress subpoenaed her emailsstop me if you’ve heard this one beforeshe discovered that they had somehow been deleted. Having thus committed as many blunders as can be reasonably expected of any incompetent apparatchik, she announced last Friday that she will depart next month.

The "news" media have represented Tavenner as a casualty of Obamacare’s disastrous launch, as if the mind-boggling mismanagement of its implementation can be attributed to some natural disaster. Her boss, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell, actually praised her handling of the botched rollout: "It’s a measure of her tenacity and dedication that after the tough initial rollout of HealthCare.gov, she helped right the ship." In reality, Tavenner and her underlings at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are responsible for running it aground. And, as Reuters reports, "a team of outside experts got the website working." Not coincidentally, the leader of that team will replace her as acting CMS administrator.

If the inept rollout of HealthCare.gov were the only blot on Tavenner’s escutcheon, it might be possible to have some sympathy for her. But her record of malfeasance is by no means limited to that exercise in bureaucratic incompetence. We are told by Jonathan Cohn (remember him?) that Tavenner’s legacy includes a commitment to "transparency." The former New Republic writer evidently has a short memory. Not only was Tavenner one of at least twenty Obama administration officials who "inadvertently" deleted emails sought by congressional investigators, she was actually dumb enough to instruct a subordinate in writing to delete emails to the White House relating to the HealthCare.gov disaster.

More here

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Not working

At every age, the chances of not working have changed in the last 15 years. Teenagers are far more likely not to work. Older people are retiring later and working more. In the ages in between the periods of life when most people work the changes have been smaller, but they are still substantial.

In the late 1960s, almost all men between the ages of 25 and 54 went to work. Only about 5 out of every 100 did not have a job in any given week. By 2000, this figure had more than doubled, to 11 out of every 100 men. This year, it’s 16. (People in the military, prison and institutions are excluded from these figures.)

Of course, the economy was stronger in 2000 than it is today, with a lower official unemployment rate the share of people not working and actively looking for work than today. But for prime-age men, the rise in official unemployment explains only about one-third of the increase in not working.

The remaining two-thirds is made up of those who are not working and not looking for work. Every month, the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics ask these men who are not in the labor force to describe their situation. Are they disabled, ill, in school, taking care of house or family, in retirement, or something else? Here are the trends within some of the larger of those categories....

More here

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Quote of the day

"One: You accept that you are in a war. Two: You name the enemy, Islamist terrorists. Three: You get the lawyers off the battlefield […] you accept there will be collateral damage and you do not apologize for it. You do not nation build, you don’t try to hold ground. You go wherever in the world the terrorists are and you kill them, you do your best to exterminate them, and then you leave, and you leave behind smoking ruins and crying widows. If in five or 10 years, they reconstitute and you gotta go back, you go back and do the same thing, and you never, never, never send American troops into a war you don’t mean to win." --Lt Col Ralph Peters
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

China's growth slowing

China’s annual gross domestic product growth slowed to its weakest rate in more than two decades in 2014, according to an AFP survey, projecting further deceleration in the world’s second-largest economy this year.

The median forecast in a poll of 15 economists saw the Asian giant’s GDP expanding at a rate of 7.3 percent last year, down from 7.7 percent in 2013. That would be the worst full-year result since the 3.8 percent recorded in 1990, the year after the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics will release official GDP figures for the fourth quarter and the whole of 2014 on Tuesday.

For this year, the economists surveyed see growth slowing further to a median 7.0 percent, as Chinese leaders proclaim a "new normal" of slower expansion and emphasize economic reforms.

More here

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Vagina Monologues down the hole

Mount Holyoke College, an all-women’s college in Massachusetts, is retiring its annual production of the Vagina Monologues this year because the play is not inclusive of transgender students.

The annual production of the play is part of a country-wide tradition to perform Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues on Valentine’s Day to raise awareness about gender-based violence and usually coincides with the V-Day campaign. The proceeds are donated to sexual assault prevention organizations or women’s rights organizations.

This year, however, Mount Holyoke’s Project Theatre Board is defying tradition by permanently retiring the play. In a school-wide email from the Theatre Board, a representative from the group, Erin Murphy, explained the problems with the play and the reasoning behind its discontinuation.

"At its core, the show offers an extremely narrow perspective on what it means to be a woman . . . . Gender is a wide and varied experience, one that cannot simply be reduced to biological or anatomical distinctions, and many of us who have participated in the show have grown increasingly uncomfortable presenting material that is inherently reductionist and exclusive," the email, obtained by Campus Reform, said.

More here

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Hacking cars, can't wait

Hacking is about to get more dangerous.

In recent years, a string of high-profile attacks on companies like Target and Sony Pictures has highlighted the importance of computer security. But almost all of the recent attacks have had one upside: they didn't kill anyone. Indeed, most hacks haven't done any physical damage at all.

But that could soon change. The recent Consumer Electronic Show was full of car companies promoting plans to build ever more sophisticated computers into automobiles. Cars are going to have sophisticated navigation and entertainment systems, they'll integrate better with our smartphones, and they'll have better and better self-driving capabilities.

That will make our cars more convenient, efficient, and safer. But it's also going to make it easier for tech-savvy troublemakers to cause serious harm or even car crashes.

More here

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What a tangled web...

As over-leveraged investment houses began to fail in September 2008, the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties, of major corporations, and opinion leaders stretching from the National Review magazine (and the Wall Street Journal) on the right to the Nation magazine on the left, agreed that spending some $700 billion to buy the investors' "toxic assets" was the only alternative to the U.S. economy's "systemic collapse." In this, President George W. Bush and his would-be Republican successor John McCain agreed with the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. Many, if not most, people around them also agreed upon the eventual commitment of some 10 trillion nonexistent dollars in ways unprecedented in America. They explained neither the difference between the assets' nominal and real values, nor precisely why letting the market find the latter would collapse America. The public objected immediately, by margins of three or four to one.

When this majority discovered that virtually no one in a position of power in either party or with a national voice would take their objections seriously, that decisions about their money were being made in bipartisan backroom deals with interested parties, and that the laws on these matters were being voted by people who had not read them, the term "political class" came into use. Then, after those in power changed their plans from buying toxic assets to buying up equity in banks and major industries but refused to explain why, when they reasserted their right to decide ad hoc on these and so many other matters, supposing them to be beyond the general public's understanding, the American people started referring to those in and around government as the "ruling class." And in fact Republican and Democratic office holders and their retinues show a similar presumption to dominate and fewer differences in tastes, habits, opinions, and sources of income among one another than between both and the rest of the country. They think, look, and act as a class.

Although after the election of 2008 most Republican office holders argued against the Troubled Asset Relief Program, against the subsequent bailouts of the auto industry, against the several "stimulus" bills and further summary expansions of government power to benefit clients of government at the expense of ordinary citizens, the American people had every reason to believe that many Republican politicians were doing so simply by the logic of partisan opposition. After all, Republicans had been happy enough to approve of similar things under Republican administrations. Differences between Bushes, Clintons, and Obamas are of degree, not kind. Moreover, 2009-10 establishment Republicans sought only to modify the government's agenda while showing eagerness to join the Democrats in new grand schemes, if only they were allowed to. Sen. Orrin Hatch continued dreaming of being Ted Kennedy, while Lindsey Graham set aside what is true or false about "global warming" for the sake of getting on the right side of history. No prominent Republican challenged the ruling class's continued claim of superior insight, nor its denigration of the American people as irritable children who must learn their place. The Republican Party did not disparage the ruling class, because most of its officials are or would like to be part of it.

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Nigerian genocide, Obama yawns

While Western newspapers were debating whether or not to reprint the Mohammed cartoons, in Nigeria as many as 2,000 people were massacred by the Islamic State in Nigeria, also known as Boko Haram, in what is being called the deadliest attack by the Muslim group to date.

Survivors described the Islamic State setting up efficient killing teams and massacring everyone while shouting "Allahu Akbar".

"For five kilometers (three miles), I kept stepping on dead bodies until I reached Malam Karanti village, which was also deserted and burnt," one survivor said.

There’s a word for that. It’s genocide.

The Islamic State in Nigeria had reportedly managed to kill 2,000 people last year. This year they did it in one week.

But we don’t pay much attention to what happens in Nigeria unless there’s a hashtag. No one has yet thought up a clever hashtag for the murder of 2,000 people. #Bringbackourdead doesn’t really work.

More here

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Gaming the system

Rand Paul accuses most recipients of Social Security disability payments of "gaming the system" and calls them "malingerers."

"What I tell people is, if you look like me and you hop out of your truck, you shouldn’t be getting a disability check," the Kentucky senator told New Hampshire voters earlier this week. "You know, over half the people on disability are either anxious or their back hurts. Join the club. Who doesn’t get up a little anxious for work every day and their back hurts? Everybody over 40 has a back pain."

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley calls the senator’s comments "insulting," "way out of nowhere," and evidence of "detachment from reality." He continued, "Paul is saying that 50 percent of those on disability are committing fraud."

The how-dare-you tone underscores the shift in the political winds. The controversy isn’t that our government pays able-bodied people to shirk but that an elected leader says that they should work. Dr. Paul didn’t suggest they should be executed or jailed or publicly shamed for getting paid to watch The People’s Court on their couches and smoke cigarettes on their porches. He wants them to get jobs. "Work" now strangely strikes ears as curse instead of blessing. When did the four-letter word become a four-letter word?

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Colonization

Because ultimately, "Je Suis Charlie" is not about free speech. It's about French people not wanting to be executed at gunpoint for saying what Islamists don't like. They aren't taking a strong stance on speech and expression but on fear and shock at the killings. So the core idea of multiculturalism and social justice held by the left is unchallenged and unchanged, just this particular specific aspect of it.

Yet there's an aspect to this that someone at Ace of Spades HQ brought up I think is worth repeating and considering. Posting under the name "Wheatie" she noted:
Let's call those 'No-Go Zones' what they are...they're Colonies.

It's not immigration if you are ceding them territory. It's Colonization.

And that's a key point here. See, in parts of Paris, as well as parts of different cities in England (Primarily London) and its getting that way in places such as Dearborn Michigan in the USA as well as elsewhere, Muslims are creating colonies.

They are "no go" zones that cops only enter in force and following careful Muslim-approved guidelines established at their headquarters. Areas that speak Arabic (or other native languages) and are Muslim-only. Areas that non-Muslims are attacked for entering, and women are treated as if they are in the depths of the most radical Muslim pockets of Syria and Pakistan. Areas where the liberties and structures of the surrounding society are denied.

These aren't areas like Chinatown or Little Italy, where the culture dominates the area with food and speech. You could always walk into these ethnic regions of cities such as New York City and Chicago, buy things, eat, do business, and leave. Not so these Muslim colonies.

Source

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Quote of the day

"Islam is a political system, NOT a religion, and unless and until humanity wakes the hell up and STOPS referring to it as a religion, there is no hope. Islam is a hyper-aggressive, militaristic, expansionist, totalitarian political system designed to create a super-rich micro-oligarchical ruling class with a massive, destitute, genetically handicapped underclass below. The paper-thin faux-religious facade was a conscious, specific con from the very beginning much like Mormonism and Scientology a pure racket using borrowed and piggy-backed religious motifs to lend credibility to a massive, loosely-knit network of crime syndicate cells." -- Ann Barnhardt
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Knock a bitch down

To her family, 16-year-old Zaria Estes is a "considerate and caring" girl who likes tuna fish and dancing and doesn’t always keep her room clean.

But to Abbey Luffey’s family, Estes is the cold and calculating monster who attacked Luffey, a Temple University student, last March as Luffey walked with her boyfriend on the edge of campus. As she and her friends hunted prey for their sadistic game of "knock a bitch down," Estes bashed Luffey in the face with a brick, leaving her with a broken jaw, palate and teethand a shattered sense of security.

Such dueling views of Estes prompted Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Erdos to acknowledge Wednesday the "difficult and delicate" balance required in deciding what punishment Estes should face for the unprovoked March 21 attack at 17th and Norris streets.

After a three-hour hearing, Erdos ordered Estes to serve two-and-a-half to six years in a state prison, followed by four years of probation for aggravated assault, conspiracy and possession of an instrument of crime. The sentence fell between the house arrest defense attorney Bill Davis had sought and the five- to 10-year sentence Assistant District Attorney Paul Goldman wanted.

More here

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