Saturday, May 30, 2015

More bad behavior by the high IQ people

Fifteen Chinese citizens have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh in a scheme to take college entrance exams on behalf of others, who then were able to obtain student visas.

The indictment announced Thursday says the alleged conspirators scammed tests run by Educational Testing Service and the College Boardsuch as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SATunder false pretenses.

The indictment clearly identifies six suspects as students and five as test-takers, but isn’t clear on the role of the othersincluding three whose names remain under seal.

The indictment says some students paid nearly $6,000 to have the tests taken in their name.

That was done by forging passports with the students’ personal information next to a picture of the conspirator paid to take the tests.

Source

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Obama wants to do to immigration what he did to healthcare

President Obama’s overhaul of the nation’s immigration system, which he announced in a prime-time speech to the nation last November, may remain under a cloud of legal uncertainty until months before he leaves office in 2017, legal experts and administration officials said Wednesday.

Officials from the Justice Department said in a statement that they would not ask the Supreme Court for permission to carry out the president’s immigration programswhich seek to provide work permits and deportation protection to millions of undocumented immigrantswhile a fight over presidential authority plays out in the lower courts.

That legal battle may extend for a year or more, officials said, undermining any hope of putting the president’s plan into effect until right before the 2016 election.

"The timing is critical," said Stephen H. Legomsky, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis. "If the process drags on until the summer of 2016, then implementation becomes very difficult."

More here

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FAA's hiring practices

FOX Business’ "Trouble in the Skies," a six month investigation of the FAA’s new hiring practices, uncovered changes that may put the nation’s flying public at risk as well as allegations that the newest air traffic control recruits had access to answers on a key test that helped them gain jobs with the FAA.

Lawmakers are taking notice, in a statement to FOX Business Correspondent Adam Shapiro U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL) said. "The latest report elevates the need to dig deeper to find out what the FAA is hiding. What is clear is that the FAA’s lack of transparency and disturbing agenda puts the safety of our skies at risk. I repeat: it’s time to compel the FAA to come before Congress to answer for their actions."

Also uncovered was an FAA effort to promote diversity that discarded 3,000 qualified college graduates with degrees in air traffic control despite their following FAA procedure and obtaining FAA accredited degrees.

Millions of Americans are about to fly to summer vacations unaware that some of the air traffic controllers guiding their planes may have cheated on a key test to get their jobs. A six month investigation by the FOX Business Network into the hiring and training of air traffic controllers raises troubling questions about the nation's air safety and the men and women the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, hires to staff airport control towers.

More here

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Open carry

Texas will soon be an open carry state.

The state House and Senate on Friday gave final approval to the legislation, which starting on Jan. 1 will allow those with a concealed carry license to openly tote their handguns in a shoulder or hip holster.

In a tweet immediately after the bill's passage, Gov. Greg Abbott promised to sign it into law as soon as possible: "Next destination. My pen."

The House gave final approval to the bill by a vote of 102-43; in the Senate it passed 20-11 along party lines.

More here

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San Francisco is racist

Somebody needs to help me understand this. "Black Women in San Francisco Arrested Way More Often Than White Women, Report Shows -- Black women in San Francisco are disproportionately arrested compared with their white counterparts, according to a new analysis of state arrest data from the Center on Criminal and Juvenile Justice. Black women represent 5.8% of the city’s female population, but accounted for --" are you ready? "-- 45.5% of all female arrests in 2013."

Now, they've got my mind trained on this kind of stuff. So when I see, for example, a story that shows the black male population in the US is 8%, but the incarceration rate, the percentage of prisoners in the criminal justice system, the prison system, that are African-American is 70%, then I am led to believe that there is some kind of bias or prejudice against African-Americans. They're such a small percentage of the population and yet so many of 'em are in jail. It's got a to prove white racism, right? This is what the left wants us to believe. It's what the Drive-By Media wants us to believe.

There's no way that all of those African-American guys in jail are really criminals. It's just happening because there's a bunch of racist cops and a bunch of racist judges, and a bunch of racist juries. Everybody knows this, right? That's the attempt. That's what they want all of us to conclude.

More here

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Friday, May 29, 2015

Alamo back in the news

As budget writers prepare to sell fellow lawmakers on a $209.4 billion two-year state spending plan before the legislative session ends Monday, "Remember the Alamo" may serve as a selling point.

The final version of the budget negotiated by teams from the House and Senate includes a significant boost for the state’s most famous landmark, including up to $25 million for the General Land Office to upgrade the site of the famed 1836 battle deeply etched in the state’s identity.

The proposed increase in state funds comes amid a turbulent period for the Alamo. In March, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush fired the site's longtime managers, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, effective July 10, citing multiple contract violations.

Amid the management shakeup, the Alamo has also seen a boost in publicity, due in large part to Phil Collins, the British music legend who recently donated a treasure trove of Alamo artifacts from his personal collection to the state. That donation, which includes Davy Crockett’s bullet pouch, Jim Bowie’s sword and Sam Houston’s snuffbox, helped spark lawmakers' interest in increasing the landmark’s funding, according to Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound.

More here

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Hurricane season

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season will likely be below-normal, but that’s no reason to believe coastal areas will have it easy.

For the hurricane season, which officially runs from June 1 to November 30, NOAA is predicting a 70 percent likelihood of 6 to 11 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 3 to 6 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including zero to 2 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). While a below-normal season is likely (70 percent), there is also a 20 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 10 percent chance of an above-normal season.

More here
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Quote of the day

Islamic theology and law refer to the time preceding Islam as the jahiliyyah, the age of ignorance. Everything that existed before Islam is worthless; none of it is worth saving. In fact, all evidence of the jahiliyyah is offensive to Allah, and must be destroyed. That’s why the Islamic State burned the library in Mosul. That’s why the Taliban blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan.

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Banning sharia

Once again the nation looks to Texas for the way things ought to be. This time the Texas Legislature has passed a law permanently barring Muslims from trying to institute their own sharia-based savagery on their own communities in the Lone Star State.

Shoebat.com reports that the anti-sharia law was passed this week.
State Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) doesn’t mention Islamic Koranic law, or ‘Sharia Law’ in her bill. She simply says it guarantees that no laws fro ‘foreign courts’ will be adopted by Texas civil court judges.
"It’s just to provide some belt and suspenders to make sure that, with judicial discretion, we don’t trump Texas law, American law, with a foreign law regarding family law," Campbell said.

Muslim groups say the bill is a ‘solution looking for problem, and claim that the bill has its genesis in an anti Muslim demonstration on the steps of the Texas Capitol in January in which the proposal was cheered.

More here

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Spies like them

Temple University said Friday that Xiaoxing Xi has been temporarily suspended as chair of Temple University’s physics department, pending the outcome of federal charges that he schemed to provide sensitive U.S. defense technology to China.

"The concern is this certainly will affect his ability to do administrative duties," Temple Provost Hai-Lung Dai said.

No decision has been made on whether he will be permitted to teach in the fall if the case has not been resolved, Dai said. Jim Napolitano, associate chair, has been named acting chair of the department.

More here

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Polar ice caps not receding

Updated data from NASA satellite instruments reveal the Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded at all since the satellite instruments began measuring the ice caps in 1979. Since the end of 2012, moreover, total polar ice extent has largely remained above the post-1979 average. The updated data contradict one of the most frequently asserted global warming claims that global warming is causing the polar ice caps to recede.

The timing of the 1979 NASA satellite instrument launch could not have been better for global warming alarmists. The late 1970s marked the end of a 30-year cooling trend. As a result, the polar ice caps were quite likely more extensive than they had been since at least the 1920s. Nevertheless, this abnormally extensive 1979 polar ice extent would appear to be the "normal" baseline when comparing post-1979 polar ice extent.

Updated NASA satellite data show the polar ice caps remained at approximately their 1979 extent until the middle of the last decade. Beginning in 2005, however, polar ice modestly receded for several years. By 2012, polar sea ice had receded by approximately 10 percent from 1979 measurements. (Total polar ice area factoring in both sea and land ice had receded by much less than 10 percent, but alarmists focused on the sea ice loss as "proof" of a global warming crisis.)

More here

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Drinking habits and health outcomes

Compared with no alcohol consumption, sensible levels of drinking have correlated with better heart health. However, a new analysis has revealed that a cardioprotective link from moderate drinking is not the same for people of African ancestry as it is for white ethnicity, and nor across the sexes.

The findings are drawn from the national health interview survey, run by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the analysis of data from 152,180 adults has been published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Data were available for numerous ethnicities and this analysis looked at drinking habits and health outcomes specifically across participants describing themselves as either white or black. Results were also compared between the two sexes.

The relationship of overall death rates from any cause with levels of alcohol consumption varied by both groupings. The researchers, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, found the following correlations.

More here

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Climate change is blamed for everything

State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf was widely ridiculed in February for saying of the Islamic State (ISIS):
We cannot win this war by killing them, we cannot kill our way out of this war. We need, in the longer term, medium and longer term, to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs.
On Wednesday, Barack Obama made it clear that Harf’s ridiculous analysis did not originate with her; rather, she was reflecting the company line. Said Obama:
Climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate threat to our national security. It will impact how our military defends our country. We need to act and we need to act now. Denying it or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security. It undermines the readiness of our forces.
This was just a slightly more sophisticated restatement of Harf’s argument, for Obama went on to explain exactly how climate change threatened America’s national security:
I understand climate change did not cause the conflicts we see around the world, yet what we also know is that severe drought helped to create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by the terrorist group Boko Haram.
More here

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When blacks did best

George Soros spent $33 million trying to incinerate Ferguson Missouri, but the little city is still there. The problem is that he bet on a weak horse. While Ferguson is a vibrant example of post-racial America in the era of Obama, it lacks the sort richness and diversity of other cities. Try as they might, the locals just can’t take down a city, even a small one.

Soros should have invested more heavily in Baltimore where the locals really know how to put on a show. Since the police have went on an unofficial strike after the Freddy-Poo Gray incident, the locals have been celebrating diversity with a vengeance. This long weekend has seen 26 shootings and 9 murders. Granted, it is a three day weekend, but it has been unseasonably mild of late so the murdering season is late starting.

What no one wants to say, but everyone knows is that the cops are now in their cop houses filling out paperwork and doing as little as possible. They see no reason to risk prison for a city government that would rather arrest cops than criminals. The gangsters know it is open season so they are doing what they do and that means taking over the streets, without fear of the cops.

Fundamentally, this is the problem with race relations in microcosm. Blacks did best when whites were completely intolerant of black culture. The talented tenth took the lead in keeping order in the black community, but quietly welcomed help from white society. It was not ideal, but black crime rates, literacy rates, illegitimacy rates and addiction rates were their best in the years before the Civil Rights movement.

More here

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No one kills more than a communist

It was twenty-five years ago, but it feels like yesterday. When seeing the images of the fall of the Berlin Wall, I cried with joy, took out my best bottle of French wine, left the television on, and listened to Beethoven’s Ninth over and over and over. If you didn’t live through it, know that there was nothing like it. What we need to be reminded of, however, are the stakes and what didn’t happen in the wake of the fall.

In addition to the tyranny, the torture, and the assault upon the human spirit, the slaughtered victims of communism were not the thousands of the Inquisition, not the thousands of Americans lynched, not even the six million dead from Nazi extermination. The best scholarship yields numbers that the soul must try to comprehend: scores and scores and scores of millions of individual human bodies, which is what makes the work of Lee Edwards in keeping alive in our minds the victims of communism so morally essential, so morally vital.

Alexander Yakovlev, Gorbachev’s right hand man, who examined the archives for the last Soviet leader and who came away a deeply changed and heroic man, let us know that 60 million were slain in the Soviet Union alone. The Chinese author Jung Chang, who had access to scores of Mao Zedong’s collaborators and to the detailed Russian and local archives, reached the figure of 70 million Chinese lives snuffed out by Mao’s deliberate choices. If we count those dead of starvation from the communist ability and desire to experiment with human interaction in agriculture20 million to 40 million in three yearswe may add scores of millions more.

More here

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Debt, and more debt

The world is sinking under too much debt and an ageing global population means countries' debt piles are in danger of growing out of control, the European chief executive of Goldman Sachs Asset Management has warned.

Andrew Wilson, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), said growing debt piles around the world posed one of the biggest threats to the global economy.

"There is too much debt and this represents a risk to economies. Consequently, there is a clear need to generate growth to work that debt off but, as demographics change, new ways of thinking at a policy level are required to do this," he said.

More here
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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Freedom Feminism

Lately, there’s a lot of talk among feminists about the need to keep women safe. The rape culture is allegedly inescapable, and trigger warnings are appended to college syllabi to protect sensitive souls from reminders of any past cause of pain, from "neuro-atypical shaming" to mention of "how much a person weighs." But it turns out that if you dare to debunk feminist myths, you’re the one that really needs protection.

For years now, Christina Hoff Sommers, author of Who Stole Feminism? and The War Against Boys, has been promoting what she calls, in the title of her latest book, Freedom Feminism. This view, she writes, "stands for the moral, social, and legal equality of the sexes," but also for women’s freedomincluding the freedom to embrace traditional femininity. "Efforts to obliterate gender roles can be just as intolerant as the efforts to maintain them," she writes, and "theories of universal patriarchal oppression or the inherent evils of capitalism are not in [freedom feminism’s] founding tablets." Above all, Sommers’s approach is moored in reality, not utopian notions of social justice.

Sommers’s efforts to spread her gospel have annoyed many academic feminists for years, but recently the response to her has gone from confrontational to hostile. "I have never stopped going to campuses, and I’ve been going to law schools. But I have rarely faced protests," she tells The Weekly Standard. "I used to face vigorous debate, and the young women would come ready to argueand that was fine, that’s what I was there for. But this is different, and it only started happening this year."

More here

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Is it diversity or not?

The New York Times published an article about mostly White dotcommers moving into a Hispanic neighborhood of San Francisco called the Mission District. But nowhere in this article did the Times ever use the word "diversity." This is puzzling, because in every other article where they talk about adding more Blacks or Hispanics to a white population, they always celebrate that as the merits of diversity. But not this time:
Luxury condominiums, organic ice cream stores, cafes that serve soy lattes and chocolate shops that offer samples from Ecuador and Madagascar are rapidly replacing 99-cent stores, bodegas and rent-controlled apartments in the Mission District, this city’s working-class Latino neighborhood.
The food-snobby NY Times loves to write about soy lattes, as one of the favorite pretentious drinks of the left-wing cultural elite. But in this article soy lattes take on an unaccustomed role, as the drink of the evil rich white elite.

More here

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EPA on a regulatory expansion into water sources

The Obama administration is about to unveil an ambitious and hotly disputed plan to strengthen its authority over minor water bodies like wetlands, streams and ponds.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) "waters of the United States" regulation, expected to be issued in the coming days, has become one of the most controversial environmental regulations of the Obama presidency, with some of the strongest lobbying forces in Washington staking out positions.

The rule dubbed WOTUS in environmental and business circles could indelibly change how the federal government fights pollution and protects water for drinking, navigation, wildlife and other uses under the 1972 Clean Water Act.

At the center of the debate among regulators, Congress, industry and green groups is how far upstream and into the lives of people and operations of businesses the EPA can and should go to keep safe and clean the nation’s prized waterways.

There is also sharp disagreement over what the EPA’s proposed rule, unveiled last March, would actually do.

The EPA, Democrats and their supporters frame it as a clarification that would only add 3 percent to the area of its jurisdiction. Meanwhile, the agency would protect important wetlands, headwaters and other water bodies whose statuses have become unclear after a pair of convoluted Supreme Court decisions.

More here

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Invasion of the U.S.

The United States and Canada have been described as the closest of allies, though tensions between the two countries as recently as 80 years ago saw Canada mock up invasion plans against its southern neighbor.

The beginning of the 20th century saw both the US and a Canadian lieutenant colonel formulate plans to send soldiers into each other's heartlands in the event of war.

A new book titled War Plan Red by Kevin Lippert details the long history of conflicts between the two North Americans nations, which included spy missions flown by famed aviator Charles Lindbergh.

More here

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Hate crime

Most Americans support expanded federal hate crime laws, but are divided on banning hate speech

Since 1994 people convicted of federal crimes motivated by the 'actual or perceived' identity of victims have faced tougher sentences. Many other states had passed 'hate crime' statutes in earlier years, and in recent years many states have been adopting laws which make crimes motivated by the victim's sexual orientation of gender identity hate crimes which face tougher sentences, something the federal government did in 2009. Unlike much of the rest of the developed world, however, the United States does not make it a criminal offense for people to make statements which encourage hatred of particular groups. For example a prominent British columnist, Katie Hopkins, is being investigated by the police for referring to African migrants crossing the Mediterranean as 'cockroaches'.

YouGov's latest research shows that many Americans support making it a criminal offense to make public statements which would stir up hatred against particular groups of people. Americans narrowly support (41%) rather than oppose (37%) criminalizing hate speech, but this conceals a partisan divide. Most Democrats (51%) support criminalizing hate speech, with only 26% opposed. Independents (41% to 35%) and Republicans (47% to 37%) tend to oppose making it illegal to stir up hatred against particular groups.

More here

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Obamatrade

Senator Sessions’s floor speech against Obamatrade on Friday could go down as one of the most important Senate speeches ever. Already it is getting rave reviews:
Rush Limbaugh hailed it (Odds are Obamatrade screws America): "Jeff Sessions had a massive op-ed piece and floor speech in the Senate about this."

Michelle Malkin gushed: "I wish that Sen. Jeff Sessions would run for president, because I would sign up in a heartbeat."

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon set the stage for Sessions’s speech by lauding Obamatrade as "the most progressive trade policy in our country’s history" because it regulates much more than just trade:
Yesterday we talked about the labor and environmental issues once again, a very dramatic set of changes, and it’s why the president and I have said this is the most progressive trade policy in our country’s history.
More here
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Headline of the day

ISIS: MICHELLE OBAMA Worth About 40 BUCKS in the Slave Market

Source

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Immigration corruption

Federal agents have arrested an Irvine attorney on suspicion of trying to spirit a Chinese woman out of the U.S. in violation of a court order that she remain in the country as part of an investigation into illegal immigration of pregnant women, authorities said Monday.

Ken Zhiyi Liang, 38, was taken into custody on Friday and faces a charge of attempted witness tampering. During a court appearance Monday, a magistrate judge set bail for Liang at $100,000, despite a request from prosecutors that he be kept in custody, said a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office. {snip}

The arrest stems from an ongoing investigation into so-called maternity tourism in Southern California. In March, scores of federal agents raided properties associated with three alleged operators, who typically bring pregnant Chinese women into the country on tourist visas so their children will be born U.S. citizens.

After searching apartment complexes in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties where operators were suspected of housing pregnant women, authorities named several people as material witnesses in the case and barred them from leaving the country.

Four of the witnesses hired Liang to represent them. In early April, two of thema husband and wifefled back to China, evading detection by purchasing tickets shortly before takeoff through a Chinese travel company, according to court records.

More here

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U.S. is candy store for foreign spies

Two Chinese professors, who for years worked as engineers in the USA, are among six Chinese nationals accused by federal prosecutors of economic espionage sponsored by their home government in the alleged theft of radio frequency filter technology developed by two U.S. companies.

The professors, who attended the University of Southern California, allegedly obtained the trade secret informationdesigned in part to limit interference in mobile phone reception and other devicesas part of a "long-running effort" to benefit universities and companies controlled by the Chinese government.

Tianjin University professor Hao Zhang, 36, was arrested Saturday in Los Angeles shortly after stepping off a plane from China. Fellow professor Wei Pang, 35, and four other alleged co-conspirators are believed to be in China.

More here

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Stripping citizenship

Australia plans to strip citizenship from Australian-born children of immigrants who become fighters for the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in its crackdown on homegrown jihadis, a minister said on Thursday.

The government wants to change the Citizenship Act to make fighting for ISIS a reason for losing citizenship, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said.

The government also wants to adopt the British legal model by revoking the citizenship of extremists who are Australian-born children of immigrants or an immigrant, forcing them to take up citizenship in the birth country of their parents, or parent, Dutton said.

It also would apply to dual citizens. "The principle for us, which is very important, is that we don’t render people stateless," Dutton told Sydney Radio 2GB.

Australia can currently only revoke citizenship in cases of fraud in the citizenship application or where an Australian citizen joins the armed forces of another country to fight Australia.

More here

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Relocating to Texas

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has successfully moved yet another California Company to Texas. Abbott announced on Thursday that Kubota Tractor and Credit Corporation is relocating its corporate headquarters to Texas. It is expected the move will create at least 344 new Texas jobs and $51 million in capital investment in the Lone Star State. The State has made a grant offer of $3.8 million to Kubota from the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF).

"I’m proud to extend a warm Texas welcome to Kubota and I know their investment in Texas will allow their company to grow, prosper and create even more jobs in the coming years," said Governor Abbott in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. "Thanks to our low-tax, low-regulation environment that allows all businesses to thrive, we are able to bring job creators like Kubota to Texas. As the top state in the nation for agriculture, Kubota is sure to find fertile ground for its products and distribution network."

Kubota will be moving from Torrance, California to Grapevine, Texas. A team effort that included the City of Grapevine, the Dallas Regional Chamber and the Governor’s Office worked together to convince the tractor manufacturer to move to Texas.

More here

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Discrediting charter schools

Bereft of arguments to discredit charter schools on their merits, education bureaucrats are resorting to one of their favorite go-to arguments in a jamaccuse the opposition of racism and re-segregation.

Although this renewed offensive is unfolding on a national scale, North Carolina has become an epicenter for the conflict, as school-choice advocates and education establishment interests cross swords. The battle came to a head recently when a Duke University study claimed that charter schools don’t live up to their promise of attracting and retaining minority students.

Eager to jump on the bandwagon and generate a national story, the Washington Post spun a headline claiming the Duke study is proof that white parents in North Carolina are using charter schools to "secede" from traditional public schools, resurrecting age-old claims that any conservative reforms are tantamount to re-segregation.

North Carolina might be a hotbed for the current conflict, but the battle remains heated in states across the nation where charter schools have made inroads—Connecticut, for example, where charter schools are accused of being "hyper-segregated." Leftist reporters have even gone so far as to criticize the Obama administration for seeking to expand charter schools nationwide. (The juxtaposition is oddthe first black president supports schools that supposedly discriminate against minorities?)

More here

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America's debt

Did you know that if you took every single penny away from everyone in the United States that it still would not be enough to pay off the national debt? Today, the debt of the federal government exceeds $145,000 per household, and it is getting worse with each passing year. Many believe that if we paid it off a little bit at a time that we could eventually pay it all off, but as you will see below that isn’t going to work either. It has been projected that "mandatory" federal spending on programs such as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare plus interest on the national debt will exceed total federal revenue by the year 2025. That is before a single dollar is spent on the U.S. military, homeland security, paying federal workers or building any roads and bridges. So no, we aren’t going to be "paying down" our debt any time in the foreseeable future. And of course it isn’t just our 18 trillion dollar national debt that we need to be concerned about. Overall, Americans are a total of 58 trillion dollars in debt. 35 years ago, that number was sitting at just 4.3 trillion dollars. There is no way in the world that all of that debt can ever be repaid. The only thing that we can hope for now is for this debt bubble to last for as long as possible before it finally explodes.

More here

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Bubble, again?

It is a wild time in Silicon Valley. Two-year-old companies are valued in the billions, ramshackle homes are worth millions and hubris has reached the point where otherwise sane businesspeople muse about seceding from the United States.

But the tech industry’s venture capitalists the financiers who bet on companies when they are little more than an idea are going out of their way to avoid the one word that could describe what is happening around them.

Bubble.

"I guess it is a scary word because in some sense no one wants it to stop," said Tomasz Tunguz, a partner at Redpoint Ventures. "And so if you utter it, do you pop it?"

A bubble, in the economic sense, is basically a period of excessive speculation in something, whether it is tulips, tech companies or houses. And it is a loaded, even fearful, term in the tech industry, because it reminds people of the 1990s dot-com bubble, when companies with little revenue and zero profits sold billions in stock to a naïve public.

More here

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Checks are in the mail

Were the Ferguson protests a spontaneous expression of community outrage or an orchestrated campaign with paid "protesters"? It's looking more and more like the latter.

Early on, there were signs that protests over the shooting of an unarmed black man by a white cop were less than meets the eye.

In December, IBD noted that most of the protesters getting arrested weren't local residents but people bussed in from groups like the New Black Panthers, the U.S. Human Rights Network and the ANSWER Coalition.

Later, after the riots in Baltimore erupted, Fox News reported that as many as 50 social media accounts were tied to both those and the Ferguson protests, suggesting the presence of "professional protesters."

Now some of the "protesters" themselves are complaining that they never got paid.

More here

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Ain't Nobody Be Learnin' Nothin'

Caleb Stewart Rossiter, a college professor and policy analyst, decided to try teaching math in the D.C. schools. He was given a pre-calculus class with 38 seniors at H.D. Woodson High School. When he discovered that half of them could not handle even second-grade problems, he sought out the teachers who had awarded the passing grades of D in Algebra II, a course that they needed to take his high-level class.

There are many bewildering stories like this in Rossiter’s new book, "Ain't Nobody Be Learnin' Nothin': The Fraud and the Fix for High-Poverty Schools," the best account of public education in the nation’s capital I have ever read. It will take me three columns to do justice to his revelations about what is being done to the District’s most distracted and least productive students.

Teachers will tell you it is a no-no to ask other teachers why they committed grading malpractice. Rossiter didn’t care. Three of the five teachers he sought had left the high-turnover D.C. system, but the two he found were so candid I still can’t get their words out of my mind.

More here

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Nuclear energy is reliable, clean, safe, and affordable

Fossil fuel electricity could be replaced with nuclear power in just 25 years, cutting worldwide human carbon emissions by half, a new analysis published to PLoS ONE finds.

Climate change is widely recognized as a global threat, but thus far there's been little effective resolve to curtail carbon emissions, which are largely responsible. A world powered by carbon-free renewable energy would undoubtedly be a better place, but getting there is the tricky part. The combined power of solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower cannot feasibly electrify the world at this time. In a number of years, when energy storage technology improves and solar panel efficiency increases, that could very well change.

But there is a solution available right now that's reliable, clean, safe, and affordable: nuclear energy.

Staffan Qvist, a physicist at Uppsala University in Sweden, and Barry Brook, a Professor of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania, wondered how long it would take for nuclear power to be deployed in order to replace all fossil fuel electricity, which primarily comes from coal and natural gas. So they analyzed the cases of Sweden and France, two countries that successfully completed large-scale expansions of nuclear power.

More here

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tesla, fail

A new car shouldn't have problems when you’ve owned it for less than a month. Yet Consumer Reports' brand-new $127,000 Tesla Model S P85 D, with the fancy retractable door handles refused to let us in, effectively rendering the car undriveable.

After we'd owned the P85 D for a mere 27 days, with just over 2,300 miles on the odometer, the driver-side door handle failed. The door handles in the Model S retract electrically so they rest flush with the sides of the car when they’re not in use. Walk up to the car with the key fob in your pocket, and the handles move out to allow you to grip them.

Except this time, the one on the driver’s door of our P85D didn’t pop out, leaving us no way to open the door from the outside. And significantly, the car wouldn't stay in Drive, perhaps misinterpreting that the door was open due to the issue with the door handle. We have observed other vehicles likewise prohibiting driving with a door open.

We’re far from the first Tesla owners to experience this problem. Our car reliability survey shows that doors, locks, and latches are the biggest trouble areas with Teslas and that the Model S has far higher than average rates of such problems.

More here

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Angel of Peace

I hate to get into a public disagreement with a colleague here, but the outrage du jour seems to be based on a translation that may or may not be deliberately wrong. As the BBC and the Associated Press are at the root of it, I’m leaning towards the former.

A BBC reporter in the room claimed that Pope Francis said "you are an angel of peace" while presenting a gift (which is Vatican tradition) to Abbas.

The Vatican reporter for the Italian newspaper La Stampa has it differently:
As is tradition with heads of State or of government, Francis presented presented a gift to the Palestinian leader, commenting: "May the angel of peace destroy the evil spirit of war. I thought of you: may you be an angel of peace."
Calling someone something and exhorting him to be that something are two entirely different things.

More here

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Undaunted, unshamed, unreal

BIOLOGISTS EXPLAIN how organisms adapt to their physical environment, but ideologues also adapt to their social environment. The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work. Therefore we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive.

The academic world is the natural habitat of half-baked ideas, except for those fields in which there are decisive tests, such as science, mathematics, engineering, medicine;and athletics. In all these fields, in their differing ways, there comes a time when you must either put up or shut up. It should not be surprising that all of these fields are notable exceptions to the complete domination by the left on campuses across the country.

In the humanities, for example, the test of deconstructionism is not whether it can produce any tangible results but whether it remains in vogue. So long as it does, professors skilled in its verbal sleight-of-hand can expect to continue to receive six-figure salaries.

You might think that the collapse of communism throughout Eastern Europe would be considered a decisive failure for Marxism, but academic Marxists in America are utterly undaunted. Their paychecks and their tenure are unaffected. Their theories continue to flourish in the classrooms and their journals continue to litter the library shelves.

More here

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Marriage rates are falling

Millennials are poised to become the nation’s largest living generation this year. As they grow as a percentage of the population, more of them will reach the age at which Americans historically have gotten married.

But, according to new research, millennials are not showing many signs of interest in getting hitched as they get older, and as a result, the marriage rate is expected to fall by next year to its lowest level on record.

That is a finding by Demographic Intelligence, a forecasting firm with a strong track record.

"Millennials are such a big generation, we’re going to have more people of prime marriage age in the next five years than we’ve had at any time in U.S. history. For that alone, we’d expect an uptick in marriage rates," said Sam Sturgeon, president of Demographic Intelligence. "That’s not happening."

In the firm’s new U.S. Wedding Forecast, compiled from demographic data, Google searches and a host of other variables, Sturgeon projects that by next year, the marriage rate will fall to 6.7 per 1,000 people, a historic low. That includes people getting married for the second or third time.

More here

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Rick Perry wants to be embarassed again

Think of it as Rick Perry's Evel Knievel moment.

When last the former Texas governor hit the throttle and hurtled into the void of a presidential race, his rapid fall to the canyon floor was a painful sight.

After months of revving his engine, on June 4 Perry is expected finally to pop the clutch and take another run at jumping that canyon.

Can he make it across this time? Maybe, maybe not.

More here

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Monday, May 18, 2015

de Blasio's agenda

Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a 13-point national "Progressive Agenda" that is being touted as the liberal "Contract with America."

The aim is for the "Progressive Agenda" to become the basis for the Democratic Party’s main economic policies, including those of its 2016 presidential candidate.

De Blasio has compared his plan to the "Contract with America," a document released by the Republican Party during the 1994 congressional election and drawn up by future House Speaker Newt Gingrich to serve as the GOP policy agenda.

Now WND documents that most of the 13 points in de Blasio’s "Progressive Agenda" can also be found in the manifestos and literature of the Communist Party USA and the Socialist Party USA.

More here

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One at a time

Most of us have watched movies where a mysterious threat attacks an unsuspecting community. They may be vampires ravaging an Alaskan town or a blob-like being swallowing a town. Typically the defenders, at first confident, are rapidly dismayed when they find that police firearms have little effect against the creatures. With that realization the characters go from complacent to desperate in a few minutes of movie time until the hunted survivors are forced by desperation to try an outlandish theory from a crackpot who has a peculiar insight into the nature of the monsters.

Sometimes real life resembles a horror movie, as in the present instance when Westphalian states find to their surprise that the state-killing bullets in their arsenal can’t kill Islamic extremism. Perhaps the epitome of such weapons is the precision guided missile-firing drone or its equivalent, the special forces raiding team directed by the signals intelligence wizardry of the NSA. This targeted force is like Zeus’ thunderbolt; it is inconceivably potent, almost unimaginably effective. Surely such a thing can destroy what the president of the United States aims it at.

The United States has killed Saddam Hussein, Abu Mussab Al-Zarqawi, and Osama bin Laden. It was instrumental in the death of Imad Mughniyah. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the current head of ISIS, is probably lying crippled in some safe house never to walk again from the effects of a March 18, 2015 airstrike. And now a US special operations team has killed one of the next in line, the chief of ISIS’ oil smuggling business, its "chief financial officer", a Tunisian with the nom de guerre Abu Sayyaf.

More here

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Under what authority?

It seems like a case of mass hypnosis. People claiming they can’t say what’s in the TPP trade agreement. And mainstream media accept this premise.

"That’s right. Congress must stay silent."

Pop quiz: who says the text of the TPP must remain secret?

Under what authority?

Members of Congress are scuttling around like weasels, claiming they can’t disclose what’s in this far-reaching, 12-nation trade treaty.

They can go into a sealed room and read a draft, but they can’t copy pages, and they can’t tell the public what they just read.

Why not?

If there is a US law forbidding disclosure, name the law.

Can you recall anything in the Constitution that establishes secret treaties?

More here

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Boko Haram on the run?

They’re Nigeria’s unlikely saviors most being white, in their 50s and 60s and combat veterans of the former South African apartheid regime.

But, tainted resumes notwithstanding, they’ve been getting the job done in northern Nigeria, hitting the Islamist terror group Boko Haram hard enough to send the jihadists into retreat, liberating dozens of villages and freeing hundreds of women and girls held as slaves and "bush wives" during a six-year-long reign of terror, reported the London Telegraph.

Boko Haram recently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. In recent years, Boko Haram has slaughtered entire villages, burned countless churches and targeted Christians and moderate Muslims for death. It received global attention last year for abducting nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls.

The squad of mostly-white bush-warfare experts is employed by Specialized Tasks, Training, Equipment and Protection, a private army run by Colonel Eeben Barlow, a former commander in the South African Defense Force, where he defended the regime against insurrection and fought border wars 30 years ago in neighboring Angola and Namibia.

More here

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Fighting back, EPA is the target

In their first attempt to stop the Obama administration’s plan to address climate change by imposing additional regulations on coal-fired power plants, U.S. Senate Republicans introduced a bill on Wednesday to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.

Lead sponsor Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said the bill will be the "principal legislative vehicle" to halt proposed greenhouse gas emission regulations that she and other Congressional Republicans claim will cost billions and jeopardize hundreds of thousands of jobs.

"We’re asking for a common sense agreement that assures reliable and affordable energy, protects our economy and jobs and allows states to make their own decisions," she said Wednesday during a call with reporters.

The EPA’s plan, which was proposed last June and is expected to go into effect this summer, calls for nationwide cuts to greenhouse gas emissions over the next five years. It also requires states to gradually reduce emissions 30 percent by 2030. Opponents claim those requirements will purposefully shift the nation’s energy market away from coal, which is used to produce about 40 percent of electricity in America.

More here

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Microaggression

According to a new report released by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, just "walking into or sitting in" a classroom full of white people is a microaggression in itself.

"Students of color reported feeling uncomfortable and unwelcomed just walking into or sitting in the classroom, especially if they were the only person of color, or one of a few," stated the report, which designated the experience a microaggression.

"People do not necessarily say I do not belong, but I feel as if I do not when I am in a classroom and I am the one non-White person," said one student, identified as a Latina female, who is quoted in the report.

The report, titled "Racial Microaggressions," was based on an online survey of more than 4,800 students of color during the 201112 academic year, and it found more than 800 examples of such microaggressions on campus. Now, that may seem like a lotbut it’s important to recognize that this high number could signify the prevalence of a tendency to assume that almost anything is racist rather than the prevalence of racism itself.

More here


 

Jade Helm and Texas

As readers know who’ve been following LU coverage of the Jade Helm saga, I don’t believe the exercise is a pretext for invading Texas or violating U.S. law.

I do think it sets a bad precedent by putting U.S. soldiers in local communities, to hold an exercise that will involve running around on private and local public property. This is not something the American people should ever get used to or agree to accept. No training requirement trumps the importance of maintaining our non-militarized public environment. No training requirement, period. A non-militarized public environment in our communities was a core goal of the American Revolution, and has remained indispensable to our national understanding of liberty. It will never not be a latent threat to the conditions of liberty, for the military to treat civilian community spaces as available venues for warfare exercises.

So I think Texas Governor Greg Abbott is doing exactly the right thing by ordering the Texas State Guard to observe the exercise and report to him what’s going on. I hope, frankly, that the exercise is so hemmed about by skeptical observation of all kinds that the Department of Defense thinks better of ever doing it again. There are sometimes more important things than what military planners decide they need at a given time, and this is one of those cases of a higher priority. Our trust in the good intentions of military planners should not lead us into policies that are bad for other reasons.

More here

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Quote of the day


Religion of War

ISIS’ Al-Furqan media today released new audio of an address by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, with written translations in English, Russian, Turkish, French and German.

The release comes as rumors of the caliph suffering a debilitating injury in a coalition airstrike have been circulating.

In the speech, Baghdadi calls on "every Muslim in every place to perform hijrah to the Islamic State or fight in his land, wherever that may be."

"Do not think the war that we are waging is the Islamic State’s war alone. Rather, it is the Muslims’ war altogether. It is the war of every Muslim in every place, and the Islamic State is merely the spearhead in this war. It is but the war of the people of faith against the people of disbelief, so march forth to your war O Muslims," he says. "March forth everywhere, for it is an obligation upon every Muslim who is accountable before Allah. And whoever stays behind or flees, Allah (the Mighty and Majestic) will be angry with him and will punish him with a painful torment."

Baghdadi stresses that "whoever thinks that it is within his capacity to conciliate with the Jews, Christians, and other disbelievers, and for them to conciliate with him, such that he coexists with them and they coexist with him while he is upon his religion and upon tawhīd (monotheism), then he has belied the explicit statement of his Lord."

"Islam," he adds, "is the religion of war."

More here

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What should happen to these people?

The European Union forged ahead Wednesday with a plan to ease pressure on nations dealing with an influx of Mediterranean migrants by requiring other countries to share the burden, despite some strong opposition.

The proposed system would set maximum refugee limits for each country in the EU based on population, employment levels and other factors. The exact details have not been hashed out, but the general idea is that once a country reaches its maximum, migrants seeking asylum there could be sent to other countries, which would have to take them in.

"It is not acceptable for people around the EU to say, ‘Yes, stop people dying in the Mediterranean,’ and at the same time remain silent when the question is raised, ‘What should happen to these people?'" European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said.

Countries including Hungary, Slovakia and Estonia have already rejected the plan, meaning it is unlikely to pass without major caveats and concessions.

More here

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Your papers, please

If someone says anything mean-spirited at the University of Colorado Bouldercampus administrators want to know about it. Not only thatthey want to know the offender’s name, age, email address and more.

University of Colorado-Boulder has launched a new campaign encouraging students to report any "bias" they come across to campus authorities, who collect details including offenders’ names, birthdays, genderseven social security numbersalong with a description of the "incident."

The "Bias Incident Reporting" effort aims to "address the impact of demeaning and hurtful statements as well as acts of intolerance directed towards protected classes," CU Boulder’s website states.

More here

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Friday, May 15, 2015

It's no longer your country

If the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 is approved, it would shrink the United States military under the pretense of frugality, namely by "pink slipping" career service members who’ve endured combat. Meanwhile, it could possibly use the military to grant amnesty to illegals.

According to a summary of the NDAA, the House Armed Services Committee supports a 20 percent cut in personnel by the Department of Defense to reduce headquarters’ budgets and workforce.

Breitbart News previously reported the proposal contains language that would use the military to grant amnesty to thousands of illegal aliens if they enlist in the militaryessentially meaning that in addition to the cuts of Americans from service, Congress and the administration would be allowing illegal aliens to take scarce service jobs from Americans.

More here

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Pidge's Rules

Lt. T.C."Pidge" Robinson, Texas Ranger ....

15) Forget about knives, bats and fists. Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns. Bring four times the ammunition you think you could ever need.

14) Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammunition is cheap - life is expensive. If you shoot inside, buckshot is your friend. A new wall is cheap - funerals are expensive.

13) If your shooting stance is good, you're probably not moving fast enough or using cover correctly.

12) If you are not shooting, you should be communicating, reloading, and running. Yell "Fire!" Why "Fire"? Cops will come with the Fire Department, sirens often scare off the bad guys, or at least cause then to lose concentration and will.... and who is going to summon help if you yell "Intruder," "Glock" or "Winchester?"

11) Accuracy is relative: most combat shooting standards will be more dependent on "pucker factor" than the inherent accuracy of the gun.

More here

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Chinese spies, I mean students

The latest Pentagon report to Congress on the "Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China" specifically highlights the national security risks to the United States (and other Western nations) from Chinese students and researchers studying and working abroad:
China continues to leverage foreign investments, commercial joint ventures, academic exchanges, the experience of repatriated Chinese students and researchers, and State-sponsored industrial and technical espionage to increase the level of technologies and expertise available to support military research, development, and acquisition. China’s long-term goal is to create a wholly indigenous defense industrial sector, augmented by a strong commercial sector, to meet the needs of PLA [People’s Liberation Army] modernization and to compete as a top-tier supplier in the global arms market.
Despite these concerns being voiced over many years inside and outside the education and R&D sectors, Chinese nationals and emigrants continue to make up a substantialif not nearly dominant in some casesportion of undergraduate and graduate student, postdoctoral fellow, and faculty member/technician/research scientist populations in many colleges, universities, and government departments.

More here

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When racism isn't considered racism

A student who banned white people and men from a students’ union equality event has insisted that she can’t be racist because she is an "ethnic minority woman".

Publicity for event claimed that it aimed to be all about "challenge the white-centric culture of occupations", "diversifying our curriculum" and building a "cross-campus campaign that puts liberation at the heart of the movement".

But when Bahar Mustafa, Goldsmith University’s Students Union Welfare and Diversity officer, took to Facebook to invite people to the event, she insisted that it was for "BME Women and non-binary people" only, adding "if you’ve been invited and you’re a man and/or white PLEASE DON’T COME".

More here

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The most lawless federal agency

President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has earned a reputation as the most lawless agency in an administration infamous for its abuses of the Constitution and the rule of law. The EPA, for example, implemented a "cap and trade" regime that Congress rejected, brought criminal actions against citizens for "wetland" violations as it sought power over more landowners, and declared a "war on coal" that will put thousands out of work, drive up the price of electricity, and render its delivery unreliable. Now, the EPA may set a convicted killer free.

In late 2013, the EPA declared over a million acres in west-central Wyoming, including the town of Riverton (pop. 10,000), as part of the Wind River Indian Reservation that is, "Indian country." Purportedly, the EPA’s action is required by a Clean Air Act provision allowing tribes to obtain the authority available to states to regulate their air-quality programs; but, in doing so, the EPA subjected land long known to be outside the reservation to the tribal jurisdiction of the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone. The tribes had sought for years to get jurisdiction over the land, but with President Obama in office, they saw their opening with the Clean Air Act provision, which is why the tribes used 82 pages of their 87-page application to argue that Riverton and the other acreage was "Indian country."

More here

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Who's broke? Almost half of U.S. states, that's who

Last month, we documented the case of Louisiana State University, the large, well-known public institution whose 2014 enrollment totaled nearly 31,000 students. LSU, it turns out, is facing funding cuts of as much as 82% which, if realized, would likely force the school into financial exigency, the college equivalent of bankruptcy. The reason for the cuts: the sharp decline in oil prices and fiscal mismanagement have conspired to blow a $1.6 billion hole in the state’s budget.

Bloomberg has more:


With tax revenue from the oil industry falling short of projections, the deficit has swelled to $1.6 billion for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s say they may lower Louisiana’s credit rating if officials don’t come up with sustainable budget solutions.


Louisiana paid the price when it sold $335 million of general obligations Wednesday, its first deal this year. Borrowing costs jumped compared with an issue in November, with the yield spread more than doubling on some maturities.
"They have to make significant cuts across the board -- it’s almost a foregone conclusion they’ll be downgraded," said Tom Metzold, co-director of municipal investments in Boston at Eaton Vance Management, which oversees $25 billion in local debt.

Lawmakers are grappling with the state’s finances in part as the price of crude oil, which along with natural gas generates 13 percent of its revenue, is down about 40 percent from mid-2014. The mounting fiscal strains threaten to pinch funding for programs such as higher education, contributing to a buyers’ revolt last month against a bond sale from the state’s flagship university…
More here

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Prejudicial conduct

Marilyn Mosby, the Baltimore City State Attorney in charge of prosecuting six police officers for the death of Freddie Gray, Jr., is coming under increasing criticism from defense attorneys and legal scholars who think she is politicizing the case and using her prosecutorial power to create her own celebrity.

Ms. Mosby has raised eyebrows in several quarters with a media blitz that has spanned from a CNN interview that focused on her courtship with her city councilman husband to her decision to appear on stage with Prince during a rock concert for a song dedicated to Mr. Gray.

The legal experts say Ms. Mosby is in danger of running afoul of the Maryland Bar standards barring prejudicial conduct by prosecutors, or at the very least traveling down a well-worn path of failed celebrity prosecutions like those involving O.J. Simpson, George Zimmerman or the Duke lacrosse players.

More here

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Young love, a la Islamists

Families in Isis’ stronghold in Libya are being forced to marry off girls as young as 12 to jihadists in exchange for protection, local doctors and networks have claimed.

Activists say the number of underage marriages is escalating in the city of Derna as foreign fighters continue to infiltrate the area after jihadists pledged allegiance to Isis in October.

Worryingly, clinics are also recording growing numbers of miscarriages and complications during labour and birth as children are taken by fighters as second or third wives.

Asmaa Said, a Libyan women’s rights activist for the 1325 Network, which is located outside of the city, has been collecting data on girls being forced into unions with fighters. Ms Said said establishing how many girls are being married off is complicated by the presence of Isis members in clinics which have been taken over by the group.

More here

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Quote of the day

"It is a sin to believe evil of others, but it is seldom a mistake."

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How to resist federal tyranny

Nullification is based on the view that states are the final authority in determining the limits of federal power. It embodies the concept expressed by Thomas Jefferson: "Whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force."

This view is backed up by the Tenth Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

It should be remembered that ratification of the Constitution by the states was dependent upon adoption of the Bill of Rights, so the Founders knew exactly what they were doing: limiting the general or national government to specific, enumerated powers. If it stepped outside of those bounds, then its rules, laws, regulations and other mandates and restrictions were automatically and immediately "void and of no force."

It wasn’t until Professor Thomas Woods put flesh on those bones back in 2010 with the publication of his book Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century that nullification began to gain traction. The inside flap of his book reads, "Nullification … could become a movement to restore the proper constitutional limits of the federal government." But that would happen only if enough people especially lawmakers concerned about federal overreach read it.

It’s apparent that they have. According to the Tenth Amendment Center, more than 200 separate bills are pending in the various states to nullify or otherwise work around unconstitutional federal mandates. Twelve states are challenging federal surveillance authority illegally granted to the National Security Agency (NSA), while another 12 states are considering bills to legalize marijuana, be it medical or recreational, or both.

Source

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Liberation Theology

Espionage deep in the heart of Europe. Secrets in the KGB. Defection from a communist nation. Ion Mihai Pacepa has seen his share of excitement, serving as general for Communist Romania’s secret police before defecting to the United States in the late 1970s.

The highest-ranking defector from communism in the ‘70s, he spoke to CNA recently about the connection between the Soviet Union and Liberation Theology in Latin America. Below are excerpts of the interview. All footnotes were provided by Pacepa.


In general, could you say that the spreading of Liberation Theology had any kind of Soviet connection?

Yes. I learned the fine points of the KGB involvement with Liberation Theology from Soviet General Aleksandr Sakharovsky, communist Romania's chief razvedka (foreign intelligence) adviser and my de facto boss, until 1956, when he became head of the Soviet espionage service, the PGU, a position he held for an unprecedented record of 15 years.

On October 26, 1959, Sakharovsky and his new boss, Nikita Khrushchev, came to Romania for what would become known as "Khrushchev's six-day vacation." He had never taken such a long vacation abroad, nor was his stay in Romania really a vacation. Khrushchev wanted to go down in history as the Soviet leader who had exported communism to Central and South America. Romania was the only Latin country in the Soviet bloc, and Khrushchev wanted to enroll her "Latin leaders" in his new "liberation" war.

More here

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Socialist or Fascist?

It bothers me a little when conservatives call Barack Obama a "socialist." He certainly is an enemy of the free market, and wants politicians and bureaucrats to make the fundamental decisions about the economy. But that does not mean that he wants government ownership of the means of production, which has long been a standard definition of socialism.

What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector.

Politically, it is heads-I-win when things go right, and tails-you-lose when things go wrong. This is far preferable, from Obama's point of view, since it gives him a variety of scapegoats for all his failed policies, without having to use President Bush as a scapegoat all the time.

Government ownership of the means of production means that politicians also own the consequences of their policies, and have to face responsibility when those consequences are disastrous -- something that Barack Obama avoids like the plague.

More here

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Michelle Obama, agitator

First lady Michelle Obama may know the names of the world’s most famous clothes designers, and she may even know how to dance the Uptown Funk, but judging from her commencement speech to the graduates of a historically black university in Alabama, America’s race-baiting FLOTUS knows nothing about great American civil rights leader, accomplished scholar, and founder of Tuskegee University, the late Booker T. Washington.

Michelle Obama’s remarks at the commencement sounded more like she was paying homage to W.E.B. DuBois, who believed in civil rights via agitation and political activism, than DuBois' adversary, ex-slave Booker Taliaferro Washington, who wrote in 1911:
There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.
In a message that smacked of thin-skinned ungratefulness and hostility, Obama complained about the emotional toll she’s endured as America’s first black first lady. If Mrs. Obama had taken the time to read Booker T.’s autobiography, Up from Slavery, she would have known that stirring up racial animosity is an approach the author shunned.

More here

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Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

When Republican leaders rationalized confirming Loretta Lynch as attorney general notwithstanding her stated commitment to facilitating President Obama’s lawlessness they mumbled about how the country needed to end the tenure of Eric Holder. You may remember him as the original Obama attorney general whose confirmation Republicans strongly supported despite extensive evidence of his unfitness.

As a number of us countered, and as anyone with a shred of common sense knows, major Justice Department policy is and has always been set by President Obama. While Ms. Lynch is temperamentally different from Mr. Holder, her confirmation portended no change of direction.

And so . . . no sooner has Attorney General Lynch been sworn in than she has continued Mr. Holder’s crusade against state and local police departments. She announced on Friday that the Justice Department has opened a "pattern or practice" investigation of the Baltimore Police Department to determine whether actually, to pave the way for the preordained conclusion that the BPD systematically violates civil rights. The pretext for the investigation is the death of Freddie Gray in police custody on April 12.

It is important to understand that Holder’s crusade was never Holder’s alone. To repeat, Obama dictates Justice Department policy.

More here

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Last battle of Civil War was in Texas

It's common knowledge that the four bloody, thunderous years of the American Civil War came to a solemn end when Southern Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox but it's not true.

The final land battle of the war wasn't fought until more than a month later, 150 years ago Tuesday and Wednesday, on a barren, wind-swept coastal plain at the southern tip of Texas.

And the Confederates won.

How the battle of Palmito Ranch came about involves a tale of one officer's ego and another's stubborn refusal to yield.

More here

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Catholic universities honor abortion supporters

As The Cardinal Newman Society has been monitoring for years, through Catholic Education Daily, there are Catholic universities and colleges, which despite their Catholic identity, have had pro-abortion speakers, or have awarded such persons with honorary degrees.

Further problematic, is that, such universities and colleges would honor such persons when Catholic Education Daily points out that in 2004, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) put forth a document, Catholics in Political Life, which stipulates that such persons who are in public violation of church teachings should not be honored in such a way.

Just this past Saturday, on May 9, Xavier University of Louisiana gave honors to former Senator Mary Landrieu and former Attorney General Eric Holder. Landrieu was defeated in a run-off election by pro-lifer Bill Cassidy, who was endorsed by National Right to Life Committee. Landrieu claims to be Catholic, and yet has a 0 percent rating from NRLC. Despite this record, the university’s website referred to Landrieu as "…one of the most moderate Democrats in the Senate, often opposing her own party’s positions."

The university also honored former Attorney General Eric Holder, appointed by pro-abortion Barack Obama. Holder is known for his own pro-abortion politics. His wife and sister-in-law co-own a building also used by abortionist Tyrone Cecil Malloy, who was accused of Medicaid fraud and killing a patient in a botched abortion, and has been reprimanded twice. Holder has also shown bias, with failing to bring suit against abortionists, and his lack of familiarity with the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, while targeting peaceful pro-life protestors. One specific case was not only blocked, but Holder was forced to pay legal fees.

More here

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A strange battle in Austria during WWII

Seventy years ago one of the most unlikely battles of World War Two took place, at Itter in the Austrian Alps.

In early May 1945, American and German soldiers fought together against the Nazi SS to free prominent French prisoners of war. It is believed to be the only battle in the war in which Americans and Germans fought as allies.

Hans Fuchs remembers how Itter Castle was converted into a prison by the Nazis in 1943.

"We saw everything from our school window," he said, "a double barbed-wire fence… and floodlights so that the whole night was lit up like day."

Schloss Itter, which dates back to the Middle Ages, was a sub-unit of the Dachau concentration camp.

It was used for VIP prisoners, prominent politicians and military figures that the Nazis wanted to use as bargaining chips.

More here

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Brit Hume on Baltimore

Brit Hume slams Baltimore’s mayor in this epic monologue. The left isn’t gonna like this one.
BRIT HUME: In announcing that she’s calling in the Justice Department to investigate her own police department. Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said that despite major progress already made, quote, Baltimore continues to have a fractured relationship between the police and the community.
By community she means the mostly black, crime and drug infested areas of the inner city. Her entire emphasis, like that of the Obama administration is on reforming the police. The idea that the people in the community need to do any reforming is never mentioned

But as Jason Riley of the Wall Street Journal has noted, blacks account for roughly 13% of the U.S. population but commit about half the murders, and are charged with violent crime at a rate twice to three times their share of the population. The major contributors to these grim statistics are young black men of the sort we watched throwing rocks and bricks at the police last week.

Source

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Quote of the day


Cry, The Beloved Country

Story from 1998....
I am leaving South Africa. I have lived here for 35 years, and I shall leave with anguish. My home and my friends are here, but I am terrified. I know I shall be in trouble for saying so, because I am the widow of Alan Paton.

Fifty years ago he wrote Cry, The Beloved Country. He was an unknown schoolmaster and it was his first book, but it became a bestseller overnight. It was eventually translated into more than 20 languages and became a set book in schools all over the world. It has sold more than 15 million copies and still sells 100,000 copies a year.

As a result of the startling success of this book, my husband became famous for his impassioned speeches and writings, which brought to the notice of the world the suffering of the black man under Apartheid.

He campaigned for Nelson Mandela's release from prison and he worked all his life for black majority rule. He was incredibly hopeful about the new South Africa that would follow the end of Apartheid, but he died in 1988, aged 85.

I was so sorry he did not witness the euphoria and love at the time of the election in 1994. But I am glad he is not alive now. He would have been so distressed to see what has happened to his beloved country. [Without Apartheid]

I love this country with a passion, but I cannot live here any more. I can no longer live slung about with panic buttons and gear locks. I am tired of driving with my car windows closed and the doors locked, tired of being afraid of stopping at red lights. I am tired of being constantly on the alert, having that sudden frisson of fear at the sight of a shadow by the gate, of a group of youths approachingalthough nine times out of 10 they are innocent of harmful intent. Such is the suspicion that dogs us all.

Among my friends and the friends of my friends, I know of nine people who have been murdered in the past four years.

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A leftist for deregulation

The rent is too damn high, charges Matthew Yglesias in his recent book bearing that title, and he knows why: government regulations, including zoning, which amount to "draconian central planning." "High rent is not a fact of nature," he contends. "It’s the result of bad public policy." Government red tape limits new supply, drives up rents on the inadequate number of apartments available, and makes building new housing uneconomical for developers. "It all goes back to the question of return on investment," Yglesias reminds us.

Yglesias wants to see a major rollback of regulation to create a freer market in land use. He admits that "any change is bound to be somewhat discomfiting to some people," but neighborhood complaints over new construction should be overridden in the name of the greater good of lowering costs. "If people have strong feelings about not wanting to live on the same block as a tall building, they can move," he saysor pay up to buy out their neighbors’ right to build.

Yglesias must be a hard-core libertarian, right? Well, no. In fact, he’s a left-wing writer and activist who published his book while writing for the very liberal Think Progress. He states unabashedly, "I’m for higher taxes, income redistribution, universal health care, cap and trade, and so on." Nevertheless, Yglesias says, "here I am, largely making the case for deregulation."

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Hate speech?

I keep hearing about a supposed "hate speech" exception to the First Amendment, or statements such as, "This isn’t free speech, it’s hate speech," or "When does free speech stop and hate speech begin?" But there is no hate speech exception to the First Amendment. Hateful ideas (whatever exactly that might mean) are just as protected under the First Amendment as other ideas. One is as free to condemn Islam or Muslims, or Jews, or blacks, or whites, or illegal aliens, or native-born citizens as one is to condemn capitalism or Socialism or Democrats or Republicans.

To be sure, there are some kinds of speech that are unprotected by the First Amendment. But those narrow exceptions have nothing to do with "hate speech" in any conventionally used sense of the term. For instance, there is an exception for "fighting words" face-to-face personal insults addressed to a specific person, of the sort that are likely to start an immediate fight. But this exception isn’t limited to racial or religious insults, nor does it cover all racially or religiously offensive statements. Indeed, when the City of St. Paul tried to specifically punish bigoted fighting words, the Supreme Court held that this selective prohibition was unconstitutional (R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul (1992)), even though a broad ban on all fighting words would indeed be permissible. (And, notwithstanding CNN anchor Chris Cuomo’s Tweet that "hate speech is excluded from protection," and his later claims that by "hate speech" he means "fighting words," the fighting words exception is not generally labeled a "hate speech" exception, and isn’t coextensive with any established definition of "hate speech" that I know of.)

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Odd story of the day

University police are searching for a man wanted for writing hateful speech in chalk on the wall of Kaufman Hall in late April.

According to a UCPD statement, a witness saw the man tear down flyers from the glass doors of Kaufman Hall about the migration of Africans to Europe. The man then chalked language on the wall about stopping migrant boats and keeping Europe white, UCPD spokeswoman Nancy Greenstein said in an email statement.

The man was described as Asian, 5-feet-9 and 125 pounds. He was wearing a dark green knitted sweater, khaki pants and dark brown boat shoes.

Source

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Australia getting tough on illegals

In April, after the deaths of nearly 900 migrants attempting to reach Europe by boat, Australia’s conservative prime minister, Tony Abbott, urged European governments to adopt his country’s hard-line stance. The sentiment echoed a comment he’d made weeks earlier: that only his administration could resist "the cries of the human rights lawyers."

The Abbott government’s strategy is to treat asylum-seekers who arrive by boat so terribly that they simply give up. Unconstrained by a bill of rights, Canberra has implemented a suite of harsh policies to this end. And now Parliament is considering two bills that could further toughen the country’s stance.

Central to Australia’s policies is the navy’s authority to intercept and return boats carrying asylum-seekers to countries like Indonesia, where they live in legal limbo, and Sri Lanka, where they may face government prosecution or worse. Those who do reach Australian territory are sent to privately run detention centers on the impoverished Pacific island states of Papua New Guinea and Nauru, where conditions are notoriously poor. As of March 31, 124 children were in immigration detention in Australia; 103 on Nauru.

Canberra spends millions publicizing these policies abroad: Newspaper ads, posters and even a TV movie warn those desperate enough to attempt the hazardous boat journey that they "will not make Australia home."

More here

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