Saturday, April 29, 2017

Odds and ends

Creeping Islam....Last week the Delaware state senate opened with a muslim prayer, the Imam then picked his nose during the Pledge of Allegiance.

French candidate (Macron) for president...."Terrorism is part of our daily lives, we need to learn to live with it."

Only two state capitals escaped from being invaded by Union troops in the Civil War. Austin and Tallahassee.

40 interesting facts about Argentina here.

Obama...."If You Had Pictures of Everything I Had Done When I Was in High School, I Probably Would Not Have Been President"

Mexico's foreign relations secretary called U.S. President Donald Trump's plan to build a border wall an "unfriendly, hostile" act, adding Tuesday that it is a "bad idea" that will not accomplish anything.

Based on the size of its unfunded pension liabilities, Chicago is in the worst shape, with more than $62 billion worth of unfunded pension promises. Chicago has less than 33 cents set aside for every dollar promised.

The Chicago Municipal Employees plan is estimated to run out of assets in seven years, since it is only 20.3 percent funded. The police fund (funded at 25.4 percent) and the firefighter's fund (funded at 21.7 percent) will not be far behind. The Public School Teachers' Pension and Retirement Fund is in slightly better shape with 51.6 percent funding...

The judge who blocked Trump's order to block funding to lawless sanctuary cities bundled $300,000 to Obama.

Flip-flopping....After a trial balloon went over poorly with Congress, President Donald Trump told foreign leaders Wednesday night that he wouldn't end the North American Free Trade Agreement just yet.

Winston Churchill...."The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter".

A confidential memo from the United Nations, sent shortly after Trump moved into the White House, made an "urgent appeal" to the Trump administration that a repeal of Obamacare could violate international law. Oh yeah, and it would also be racist as well. Unfortunately, this is not hyperbole.


Women rulers more warlike (just ask a married man)

From Elizabeth I of England to Isabella I of Castile, many of the most memorable rulers across Europe over the last 500 years have been female.

But far from being wallflowers, a new study suggests that these female rulers may have been feistier than their male counterparts.

Researchers found that over the past 500 years, queens have been more likely to wage war than male rulers and were more likely to win new territory.

A team of researchers from the University of Chicago studied the European rulers between 1480 and 1913.

Their findings suggest that Europe's queens were 27 per cent more likely than its kings to wage war.

And married queens were found to be especially war-like.

More here

Making sausage

There are many new commentators at CTH, and even more new people taking notice of politics for perhaps the first time in their lives. There is also some confusion noticed between two distinct groups who appear to be talking above and around each other. Two groups trying to communicate from two entirely divergent sets of understanding.

Perhaps it is valuable to reset the larger frames of reference and provide clarity.

Many, heck, most people think when they vote for a federal politician -a representative- they are voting for a person who will go to Washington DC and write or enact legislation. This is the old-fashioned "schoolhouse rock" perspective based on decades past.

There is not a single congress person who writes legislation or laws.

In 2017 not a single member of the House of Representatives or Senator writes a law, or puts pen to paper to write out a legislative construct. This simply doesn’t happen.

Over the past several decades a system of constructing legislation has taken over Washington DC that more resembles a business operation than a legislative body. Here’s how it works....

More here
 

Taking care of illegals

Acting Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced a new policy on Wednesday designed to protect illegal aliens who have committed additional crimes from being deported.

The policy aims to minimize the number of illegal alien criminals who end up facing deportation by encouraging prosecutors to charge them with lower-level offenses allowing them to fly under the radar of immigration authorities.

As the local newspaper, the Brooklyn Eagle, reports, the Brooklyn DA "has hired two immigration attorneys to train all staff on immigration issues and to advise prosecutors when making plea offers and sentencing recommendations on cases of non-citizen defendants in an effort to avoid disproportionate collateral consequences, such as deportation."

The policy states that "all staff must be alert to a defendant’s possible non-citizen status. If such possibility exists, the assistant district attorney must flag that fact to defense counsel and note that immigration consequences may be an issue."

More here
 

We're getting dumber

This is hard to know as we don’t have IQ exams from further back than last century. We have some ways to approximate IQ going back into the mists of time, but those will always get bogged down by debates over methods. Then you have the flat earth types who argue that IQ is not a real thing or that there are multiple forms of intelligence. Just sticking with the good data we have for the last 100 years or so, it does appear that the West is getting dumber. By how much and and how fast is the debate.

Why this could be happening is not much of a debate. There are three reasons related to biology. One is the Idiocracy example. The stupid are breeding like bunnies while the smart are reproducing at less than replacement levels. The high achieving man marries late and marries a high achieving women with a head full of feminist nonsense. They put off childbearing until she can only produce one child. Meanwhile, the guys that cut their grass are knocking up their girlfriends in high school and producing five kids.

Another reason is that stupid people are migrating into Western countries. This is an easy one as we just have to look at the news. The migrants flowing in from south of the equator into Western countries are bringing a mean IQ in the 80’s and sometimes, in the case of Somalis, the 70’s. They also breed like rabbits. A country full of 95-IQ white people that becomes 90% white and 10% Somali will lose almost ten IQ points. This is just an accelerated version of the above answer. It turns out that Magic Dirt is not real.

More here
 

A much younger Willie Nelson

Friday, April 28, 2017

Live in Mexico, go to school in U.S.

I was reading an article about a Calexico, California private school on the border with Mexico that has a lot of students who pay tuition and come across the border every day from Mexico, and this seemingly innocuous sentence caught my eye:
Every day, the students said, they stand in border lines made longer by Mexicali youths who are illegally attending free, public Calexico schools.
That’s right! Mexican children are crossing the border every day and getting a free public education in America, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. These are not legal residents of the U.S.; they are not even illegal residents of the U.S. These are people who currently live in Mexico, getting a free education in public schools in border towns.
Nearly three out of four students at Columbus Elementary, the school closest to the border, live in Palomas [Mexico] and were born to Mexican parents. The Palomas children are American because of a long-standing state and federal policy that allows Mexican women to deliver their babies at the nearest hospital, which happens to be 30 miles north of the border in Deming, N.M., the seat of Luna County.

In the 1950s, the Palomas children didn’t even have to be Americans to attend the Deming Public Schools. Twenty years later, the county began requiring U.S. citizenship, but students don’t need to live in Luna County, said Harvielee Moore, the school superintendent.

Do you want to bet that there are students who go to this school who are not U.S. citizens?

More here
 

Not all cultures use numbers

Numbers do not exist in all cultures. There are numberless hunter-gatherers embedded deep in Amazonia, living along branches of the world’s largest river tree. Instead of using words for precise quantities, these people rely exclusively on terms analogous to "a few" or "some."

In contrast, our own lives are governed by numbers. As you read this, you are likely aware of what time it is, how old you are, your checking account balance, your weight and so on. The exact (and exacting) numbers we think with impact everything from our schedules to our self-esteem.

But, in a historical sense, numerically fixated people like us are the unusual ones. For the bulk of our species’ approximately 200,000-year lifespan, we had no means of precisely representing quantities. What’s more, the 7,000 or so languages that exist today vary dramatically in how they utilize numbers.

Speakers of anumeric, or numberless, languages offer a window into how the invention of numbers reshaped the human experience. In a new book, I explore the ways in which humans invented numbers, and how numbers subsequently played a critical role in other milestones, from the advent of agriculture to the genesis of writing.

More here
 

Drugs and country music, who knew?

According to a recent study by Addictions.com, country music mentions drugs more than any other musical genre, with the most-referenced drug being marijuana.

Those results may come as a shock to some listeners who assumed that rap or hip-hop music might reference drugs more, but 1.6 percent of all country music surveyed by Addictions.com’s Song Meanings Application Programming Interface (API) references drugs on average, compared to less than 1.3 percent on average in hip-hop music.

Jazz music came in second place, although the study does not disclose the average percentage.

But what constitutes a drug reference? And what counts as "country" music for Addictions.com? For starters, alcoholic beverages are not classified as drugs in the study (or else, country music would win this by a landslide). According to the methodology of the study, Addictions.com "scraped song lyrics from Song Meanings API and analyzed drug mentions, what drugs were involved, and how it changed over time, and grouped drug slang words together in their respected drug categories."

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Paris Agreement is a bad deal

EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt has argued that the Paris Agreement on Climate Change is a bad deal for the U.S. because it doesn’t bind China and India. But that implies it could be fixed by imposing the same ruinous terms on developing countrieswhich would in fact just spread the damage. The real reason for pulling of the Paris Accord is that it is a futile gesture based on empty and dishonest premises.

The first thing to note is that the same computer models that say global warming is a problem also say that Paris will not fix it. If one were to graph the standard warming projections over the next century with and without Paris, the two lines overlap almost exactly. Whatever greenhouse gas (GHG) concentration we would have reached in the year 2100 without Paris, we will reach it shortly thereafter with. For all its costs, the Paris treaty will have almost no effect on global warming, and by depleting global income it will make it harder for countries to adapt and innovate in response to whatever changes occur. Thus not only does Paris not solve the problem, it arguably makes it worse.

This, by the way, was equally true of the earlier Kyoto Protocol: all cost and no benefit. Under current technology and economic realities we have only two options: do nothing and adapt to whatever changes the climate will undergo over the next century, or take a lot of costly and futile actions today and adapt to whatever changes the climate will undergo over the next century. There has never been a third option involving costly actions today that stop the climate from changing.

More here
 

Ban ritual slaughter

Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate in the French presidential elections, said she would ban halal slaughter of animals if she is elected, along with any other method of ritual slaughter without stunning.

Le Pen, who finished second with 21.5 percent of the vote in the first round of the elections Sunday, made the statement Tuesday on halal slaughter during a campaign visit at a meat market near Paris. She did not mention shechitah, the kosher slaughter of animals, but did say she wanted to outlaw any slaughter of animals without stunning.

"Slaughter without stunning, I’m sorry, it should have special labels," Le Pen said. "Furthermore, I think that slaughter without stunning should be prohibited."

Her National Front party’s showing on Sunday was the best electoral result in its history and the second time it made it to the second and final round, which will be held May 7.

Both halal and shechitah require animals be conscious when their throats are slit a practice that critics say is cruel but which advocates insist is more humane than mechanized methods used in non-kosher abattoirs. Muslims slaughter animals in a similar method to shechitah, albeit with fewer restrictions, to produce halal meat.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Get the Feds out of K-12 education

President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to start pulling the federal government out of K-12 education, following through on a campaign promise to return school control to state and local officials.

The order, dubbed the "Education Federalism Executive Order," will launch a 300-day review of Obama-era regulations and guidance for school districts and directs Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to modify or repeal measures she deems an overreach by the federal government.

"For too long the government has imposed its will on state and local governments. The result has been education that spends more and achieves far, far, far less," Mr. Trump said. "My administration has been working to reverse this federal power grab and give power back to families, cities [and] states give power back to localities."

He said that previous administrations had increasingly forced schools to comply with "whims and dictates" from Washington, but his administration would break the trend.

"We know local communities know it best and do it best," said Mr. Trump, who was joined by several Republican governors for the signing. "The time has come to empower teachers and parents to make the decisions that help their students achieve success."

More here
 

Indians don't like baby girls

Fewer girls than boys are born to Indian women who immigrate to Canada, a skewed pattern driven by families whose mother tongue is Punjabi, according to a new study.

One of the most surprising findings of the study, to be published Monday in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada, is that the preference for boys does not diminish, regardless of how long women from India have lived in Canada.

"It’s counterintuitive," said Marcelo Urquia, a research scientist at the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Health Policy and lead author of the study. "We know that the longer immigrants are in Canada, the more likely they are to align to the host country."

But for many Indian immigrants who express a strong desire for sons, the study found, the practice of sex selection remains entrenched. Women who already have two female children are most at risk for abortions in the second trimester, when parents can learn the sex of the fetus. The study builds on previous research led by Dr. Urquia that found a deficit in Canada of more than 4,400 girls over two decades.

More here
 

He's no longer black

A man refused to accept the results of his ancestry DNA test after it revealed he wasn’t black, according to a New York Times piece last week.

Two professors from West Chester University decided to do an in-depth analysis into various people’s ancestries and backgrounds. First they asked participants to guess the results. One of their participants, Bernard, came away very displeased when the test revealed he was mainly European and not at all black.

Bernard walked into the test identifying himself as "black." He informed the professors ahead of time that despite having a white mother, his mother raised him to identify as a black man.

"My mother said, ‘I know you are me, but no cop is going to take the time to find out your mother is white,'" Bernard explained before the test. "She was very specific about raising me as a black man."

More here

French elections are fascinating

The former French Prime Minister, Francois Fillon who lost in the first round of voting in the French election called for his voters to back Mr Macron.

Axelle Lemaire, a French Socialist politician, suggested Mr Fillon’s voters were likely to turn to Marine Le Pen in the second round of voting.

Speaking to Newsnight, she said: "I think it is a source of concern and it shouldn’t be underestimated. I am practically worried coming from the Conservative activists.

"François Fillon called for a vote in favour of Emmanuel Macron yesterday evening.

"But the reality is that his core supporters, they are anti-gay rights, they’re anti-abortion, they’re anti-islam.

"Some of them are closer in their position to Marine Le Pen than Emmanuel Macron."

More here
 

China getting tough on Muslims

Chinese authority has reportedly banned the nation’s Muslim parents from giving radical names to their children.

A list of 29 names including Jihad, Imam and Saddam are said to bear ‘separatist and religious tendencies’, and have been prohibited by the authority of Muslim-dominant Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, according to media.

Muslims in Xinjiang have already been banned from keeping ‘abnormal’ beards or wearing veils in public places as China hardens its rhetoric on Islam.

The children of those who break the new rule would be denied their legal identity by their local police station, reported Radio Free Asia.

An officer from a police station in Ürümqi, the provincial capital of Xinjiang, is said to have confirmed the rule to a reporter from Radio Free Asia.

The officer said any babies with a banned name would not be able to obtain their Hukou, the birth registration in China. Officers at the Hukou registration counters would receive relevant training to identify what names are allowed.

More here
 

Death of you

Try to imagine yourself alive during the early middle ages in Britain. It is not an easy thing, of course, as the world of 7th century Britain may as well have happened on another planet, compared to our age. The largest city at the time, for example, was probably Winchester. This was a city of a few thousand people, not tens or hundreds of thousands of people. By modern standards, it was a small village or what developers in America call a town center. Of course, it would have smelled like a restroom at a truck stop.

The Romans tried to recreate the cosmopolitan life they associated with civilization, but it never really took hold in Britain. After the Romans left, things quickly fell back to their natural order. People lived in rural villages. They spent most of their time working the land and tending to the things that agrarian life required. Britain was a tribal society and people lived among their kin, ruled by men who were their kin, or by men who had ruled over their kin for longer than anyone remembered.

Anyway, there you are, covered in dirt and filth, smelling like cabbage, when some weirdos show up and meet with the rulers. Maybe you saw them come down the road or maybe you heard about them. All you know is that foreign weirdos have shown up and the people in charge are entertaining them for some reason. Eventually, you and everyone else is rounded up and marched down to the local river where you witness the weirdos dunking the lord in the river, while making weird sounds and pointing toward the sky.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Turkey would rather fight Kurds than ISIS

Turkey stepped up its bombing campaign Tuesday against Kurdish militants outside its borders, killing as many as 20 U.S.-backed fighters in Syria and expanding its strikes in Iraq, an escalation that could complicate efforts to combat the Islamic State.

The predawn raids drew swift rebukes from the United States and Iraq, which accused Turkey of not properly coordinating the strikes. The government of the Iraqi region of Kurdistan described the strikes as "painful and unacceptable" after five of its peshmerga fighters were killed in an apparent misfire.

The Turkish military said the raids targeted "terrorist hotbeds" and supply routes used by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to smuggle ammunition, arms and explosive material into Turkey, where it is waging an insurgency.

But the PKK affiliate hit in the Syria strikes the People’s Protection Units (YPG) has played a key role in turning back Islamic State militants and is a major component of U.S.-backed forces preparing for an assault on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa. In a statement, the YPG said 20 of its fighters were killed.

More here
 

Russian stooge and fascist

Before Donald Trump won the election in November we were warned: He is a Russian stooge. He is a fascist. He will upend the protocols and traditions that make governing possible. This is not normal.

Now that we are approaching the 100-day mark, it's worth noting that the president is defying the expectations of his resistance. And while there is plenty to oppose in Trump's young presidency, he is neither the Siberian Candidate nor the second coming of Mussolini.

Let's start with Russia. The FBI is still investigating whether and how his campaign may have colluded with Moscow's efforts to influence the presidential election. And yet in terms of actual policy, Trump has settled on a much tougher line with Russia than how he campaigned or in his first few weeks.

In the first month of Trump's presidency, there were legitimate concerns he would attempt a grand bargain with Russia. He boasted that it was an asset that Russian president Vladimir Putin liked him. And he went out of his way to spare Putin from the harsh criticism he reserved for just about everyone else.

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Men suffer from domestic violence also

Philip Hunt is a domestic violence advocate, whose work primarily focuses on men.

One in three men are victims of sexual assault, family violence and abuse with 94% of perpetrators of partner violence against males being female.

A 2012 survey reveals that both men and women experience substantial levels of violence. Males make up a large portion of victims yet are excluded from anti-violence programs.

Hunt’s journey into advocacy began after surviving domestic violence at the hands of his estranged wife and being turned away from bodies who supposedly offer support, such as Bethany Geelong, Safe Steps Victoria, Minerva Community Services and Barwon CASA.

Considering more than 30% of domestic violence victims are men, Hunt was shocked to find the only assistance available to him was via phone counselling hotlines and none of these could offer further assistance as he wasn’t a perpetrator.

More here
 

Cleaning up the environment

The internal-combustion engine is widely believed to have been an environmental disaster. It has been accused of harming our health by reducing air quality and contributing to what is currently claimed to be the most threatening of all environmental problems, global warming. But long before carbon dioxide was declared a major pollutant, a car was smashed with sledgehammers by students in Seattle during the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. Al Gore called for eliminating the internal-combustion engine within 25 years in his 1992 book Earth in the Balance (only ten years left). Others, not worried about offending voters in Detroit, are less restrained in the criticism. Someone named Royce Carlson states in an Internet posting that because of "one hundred years of gasoline and diesel internal combustion engines . . . our air is polluted, . . . and we are destroying the environment." A 2006 article in the Vancouver Sun reported that "more than half of British Columbia drivers believe that cars are destroying the environment.

In fact, everyone concerned with a clean and healthy environmentand that includes far more people than those vocally claiming to be environmentalistsshould be enthusiastic fans of the internal-combustion engine because of the important contributions it has made to environmental quality. The environmental benefits we realize from the engine have long been clear to anyone who bothered to notice. And these benefits have become more obvious because of an article in The Independent, a respected British newspaper. The article was based on a study by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization ("Livestock’s Long ShadowEnvironmental Issues and Options"), which found, quoting the newspaper, that "livestock are responsible for 18 percent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together." The problem begins in the digestive systems of livestock and ends up as flatulence.

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Climate data manipulated, big surprise

A former member of the Obama administration claims Washington D.C. often uses "misleading" news releases about climate data to influence public opinion.

Former Energy Department Undersecretary Steven Koonin told the Wall Street Journal Monday that bureaucrats within former President Barack Obama’s administration spun scientific data to manipulate public opinion.

"What you saw coming out of the press releases about climate data, climate analysis, was, I’d say, misleading, sometimes just wrong," Koonin said, referring to elements within the Obama administration he said were responsible for manipulating climate data.

He pointed to a National Climate Assessment in 2014 showing hurricane activity has increased from 1980 as an illustration of how federal agencies fudged climate data. Koonin said the NCA’s assessment was technically incorrect.

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What spooked the USS Donald Cook?

The State Department acknowledged that the crew of the destroyer USS Donald Cook has been gravely demoralized ever since their vessel was flown over in the Black Sea by a Russian Sukhoi-24 (Su-24) fighter jet which carried neither bombs nor missiles but only an electronic warfare device.

On 10 April 2014, the USS Donald Cook entered the waters of the Black Sea and on 12 April a Russian Su-24 tactical bomber flew over the vessel triggering an incident that, according to several media reports, completely demoralized its crew, so much so that the Pentagon issued a protest.

The USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) is a 4th generation guided missile destroyer whose key weapons are Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of up to 2,500 kilometers, and capable of carrying nuclear explosives. This ship carries 56 Tomahawk missiles in standard mode, and 96 missiles in attack mode.

The US destroyer is equipped with the most recent Aegis Combat System. It is an integrated naval weapons systems which can link together the missile defense systems of all vessels embedded within the same network, so as to ensure the detection, tracking and destruction of hundreds of targets at the same time. In addition, the USS Donald Cook is equipped with 4 large radars, whose power is comparable to that of several stations. For protection, it carries more than fifty anti-aircraft missiles of various types.

More here
 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The naughty boys of the EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency has been riddled with employee misconduct, including workers who drink, smoke marijuana, and watch porn on the job.

Inspector general reports over the past few years detailing employee misbehavior could serve as ammunition for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who is seeking to eliminate 25 percent of the 15,000 employees at the agency.

Only 6.5 percent of EPA employees are "essential," according to the government's own calculations when it faced a shutdown in 2013. At the time, just 1,069 employees were deemed necessary to continue working during the 16 days the government closed.

The most notorious case of misconduct was the EPA official who earned $120,000 and performance bonuses after being caught watching pornography for up to six hours a day.

The geologist in the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation downloaded over 7,000 pornographic files on an agency server and admitted to masturbating at work. He received paid leave for nearly two years after being caught.

More here
 

Comey didn't trust Lynch

A New York Times report on Saturday claimed that FBI Director James Comey decided to reveal last year that he was re-opening the investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton because he suspected Attorney General Loretta Lynch was covering up for her and because an email found by Russian hackers seemed to support those suspicions.

The Times’ investigative report suggests that a U.S. intelligence agency managed to intercept some of what Russian hackers were stealing and that one document, "described as both a memo and an email, was written by a Democratic operative who expressed confidence that Ms. Lynch would keep the Clinton investigation from going too far."

According to the Times, Comey feared that Lynch who had insisted the Clinton probe be referred to as a "matter" and not as an "investigation," and who suggested it the investigation was not criminal when, in fact, it was would declare the case closed, and then Russian hackers would leak the document to undermine the FBI’s image of independence.

The Times notes: "Mr. Comey’s defenders regard this as one of the untold stories of the Clinton investigation, one they say helps explain his decision-making." And if a local news reporter in Phoenix had not caught Lynch meeting with former President Bill Clinton, she might have succeeded in sheltering the Clintons even more effectively than she had.

More here
 

Unsettled science

The journal Tumor Biology is retracting 107 research papers after discovering that the authors faked the peer review process. This isn’t the journal’s first rodeo. Late last year, 58 papers were retracted from seven different journals 25 came from Tumor Biology for the same reason.

It’s possible to fake peer review because authors are often asked to suggest potential reviewers for their own papers. This is done because research subjects are often blindingly niche; a researcher working in a sub-sub-field may be more aware than the journal editor of who is best-placed to assess the work.

But some journals go further and request, or allow, authors to submit the contact details of these potential reviewers. If the editor isn’t aware of the potential for a scam, they then merrily send the requests for review out to fake e-mail addresses, often using the names of actual researchers. And at the other end of the fake e-mail address is someone who’s in on the game and happy to send in a friendly review.

Fake peer reviewers often "know what a review looks like and know enough to make it look plausible," said Elizabeth Wager, editor of the journal Research Integrity & Peer Review. But they aren’t always good at faking less obvious quirks of academia: "When a lot of the fake peer reviews first came up, one of the reasons the editors spotted them was that the reviewers responded on time," Wager told Ars. Reviewers almost always have to be chased, so "this was the red flag. And in a few cases, both the reviews would pop up within a few minutes of each other."

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Japan's mysterious Ainu people

The world is a place bursting with a multitude of cultures and peoples, some of which have become the main driving forces of civilization and still others that have been regulated to the most remote corners of the world; forgotten and oftentimes not even in contact with outsiders. Modern anthropology has made great strides to understand the origins and cultures of even the most isolated tribes, but there are times when a people have proven to be a challenge to our understanding of human migration and history. These are the enigmatic tribes of the far-flung corners of the world that baffle us, challenge us, and pose potential questions about where we ourselves come from and indeed who we are. One indigenous people who have long been surrounded by mystery and misunderstanding are the native Ainu people of Japan’s far north. These are a tribe with a long, proud tradition and culture, yet who have managed to elude any easy categorization or deep understanding, and who have posed anthropological questions that continue to be debated to this day.

The Ainu are the indigenous people of Japan, inhabiting the Northern island of Hokkaido as well as the Kuril Islands and Sakhalin. Their name means "human", or more accurately the opposite of the gods that inhabit all plants, objects, and animals in their heavily animistic religion. Thought to once inhabit all of Japan, the Ainu were pushed northward by the influx of immigration from Asia that occurred primarily during the Yayoi period of Japanese history around 2,300 years ago until they inhabited only the farthest reaches of Japan’s north.

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Creator of Dilbert likes Trump

In January of this year, President Trump’s critics were marching in the streets because they believed he was about to go full-Hitler. Or maybe he was just crazy, and about to do something dangerously stupid.

Today their biggest complaint is that President Trump hasn’t shared his tax returns with the public.

How’s everything else looking?

The economy? Looking good.

North Korea? Looks like China is on our side. Good sign.

Syria? Those Tomahawk missiles were downright "Presidential"

Illegal Immigration? Already down 70% from Trump’s persuasion alone.

Supreme Court? Gorsuch is respected and qualified, even if you don’t like his ways.

Healthcare? No one said it would be easy, but the focus and energy are in place to get something done eventually.

Tax reform? Too slow for the country’s taste, but observers expect something good to come out of it. That’s why business optimism is high.

Climate change? Anecdotally, it seems to me that the debate has evolved from mindless bullying of non-believers to a lower confidence in both the climate models and the economic models (which are not science). That seems like a step toward clarity.

Generally speaking, if your critics are reduced to complaining about what might be in your tax returns, you already won.

Source
 

Lost city of Etzanoa

Make note of the name Etzanoa, a long-lost city. Donald Blakeslee says he’s found it.

The discovery could put south-central Kansas on the map as the second-biggest settlement of Native Americans found in the United States, Blakeslee said. And it’s now, finally, the known location of a 1601 battle pitting outnumbered Spaniards firing cannon into waves of attacking Indian warriors.

Etzanoa has remained a mystery for 400 years. Archaeologists could not find it. Historians thought reports of a permanent settlement with 20,000 Native Americans in it were exaggerated.

But here in Arkansas City, at the confluence of the Walnut and Arkansas Rivers, Blakeslee, an anthropologist and archaeologist at Wichita State University, has found evidence of a massive town stretching across thousands of acres of bluffs and rich bottomland along two rivers. What clinched it was the discovery, by a high school kid, of a half-inch iron cannon ball.

More here
 

Monday, April 24, 2017

There will be blood

Last week Trump supporters and leftist social justice warriors met on the political field of battle in Berkeley, California. Words were exchanged, as were punches. And while an alt-right leader was punched in the face, by all accounts even the social justice warriors admit that they got a major beat-down.

This prompted a reddit discussion among the left’s tolerant resistance movement, with many asking how they can more effectively go to war against anyone who disagrees with their social, political, and economic views.

The anti-Trump protesters at the rally were ill-prepared for what they came to Berkeley to confront and now they are trying to figure out ways to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

In short, as predicted, they are turning to militancy and mob action by mobilizing individuals and groups to attend combat training seminars, acquiring better equipment like baseball bats and helmets, and of course, if things really go bad… guns.

More here
 

Fake hate crime of the day

A Muslim professor at Indiana State University lied about receiving threatening emails and being attacked on campus, police say.

Azhar Hussain, 56, assistant professor of aviation technology, was arrested on Friday and charged with felony charge of obstruction of justice and misdemeanor harassment, according to Terre Haute's Tribune-Star.

On March 8, Hussain claimed to have received threatening emails containing anti-Muslim sentiments. And on March 24, Hussain claimed that he was attacked from behind while entering his campus office.

But the professor fabricated all of the incidents, police say.

More here

Quote of the day


Catholics....We can live with abortion if the money keeps coming

Last fall, America’s Catholic bishops needed a victory. Their credibility and their bank accounts had been battered as the clerical abuse and cover-up scandals endlessly dragged on. Donations from the faithful had tanked. Thirty million had simply left the church, now identifying themselves as "ex-Catholics." So many had left, in fact, that Hispanics were now the largest population of Catholics under 35.

For years the bishops had set moral teaching aside and placed all their bets on the passage of legislation conferring amnesty on "undocumented immigrants." It was a financially rewarding campaign, since the Obama Administration had been giving them hundreds of millions of dollars a year to harbor illegal aliens and Muslim "refugees." Bishops undoubtedly expected that funding to grow under President Hillary Clinton, and they needed it desperately. So they decided that Hillary Clinton was the horse they were going to ride. She was going to win.

Granted, Clinton and her fellow Democrats were the bedrock of support for abortion "rights," which the Church considers to be support of murder of the most innocent. But there’s no federal funding for the bishops in fighting abortion, or in calling out those Catholic politicians who support it. Moreover, those same pro-abortion Democrats were also the bedrock supporters of amnesty, and, like any other federal grantee, bishops don’t like to bite the hand that feeds them. So they put abortion on the shelf.

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Fifteen foolish forecasts

What was once Earth Day has now morphed into Earth Hour and Earth Week. The success of the celebration can only be explained by the fact that no one ever bothers to go back to check the accuracy of the eco-wackos’ past predictions.

For example, the predictions made at the first Earth Day in 1970 were wrong. No, wrong isn’t a strong enough word. They were spectacularly wrong. Let’s cover all the tenses and say they were wrong, they are wrong, and then make our own prediction and say they will be wrong in the future.

Need proof? Here are some of the hilarious, remarkably wrong predictions made on Earth Day 1970....

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Capitulation to fear

Maastricht, in the Netherlands, is the picturesque city that gave its name to the famous treaty signed in 1992 by the twelve nations of the European Community at the time, and which paved the way for the foundation of today's European Union and the single currency, the euro.

Maastricht, however, is also the home of "Tefaf", the most important art and antiques fair in the world. The art work "Persepolis" by the Italian artist Luca Pignatelli was already scheduled when the commission ordered it removed. The work, built in 2016, combined a Persian Islamic rug and a female head. "We are all humbled and speechless", Pitnatelli declared, pointing out that his work had initially aroused the enthusiasm of the commission. The fair's explanation was that Pignatelli's work was "provocative".

The officials of fair presumably did not want to offend Islam and possible Muslim buyers with Pignatelli's combination of the mat (used by Muslims for prayer) with the woman's face. "We are shocked, this is the first time this has happened and I think it is legitimate to talk about it", Pignatelli said. "If in Rome it can happen that you decide to veil art works to avoid offending foreign visitors, well, I do not agree". The reference is at the Italian government decision to veil the antique Roman statues to avoid offending Iran's visiting President Hassan Rouhani.

If Europe wants a future, it should be less ideological about Maastricht's treaty and more against Maastricht's capitulation to fear. The brave Algerian writer Kamel Daoud said:
"Those (migrants) who come to seek freedom in France must participate in freedom. Migrants did not come to seek asylum in Saudi Arabia, but in Germany. Why? For security, freedom and prosperity. So they must not come to create a new Afghanistan".
Right. But it is the European mainstream that is letting them turn our cultural landscape into another Afghanistan. The Taliban have killed artists and destroyed art works. The West used to be proud of being the land of the free.

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Odds and ends

According to environmentalists, if members of the EPA can't hide their data and refuse to show their calculations they'll be crippled. (or embarrassed)

Each person in the District of Columbia paid $37,000 in federal income, payroll, and estate taxes last year. Delaware was next highest at $16,000 per person. Meanwhile in West Virginia each person paid $3,600 per person.

Although the idea that a solid ice sheet covers the central Arctic has lingered stubbornly in the popular fancy, the northern cap of ice worn by our planet is actually a thin crust -- on the whole, only about seven feet thick -- over an ocean two miles deep in places.

The U.S. Postal Service lost $5.6 billion last year.

Baltimore has seen a 22 percent increase in violent crime in just the last year. While arrests in the city fell 45 percent based on some of these ill-advised reforms, homicides rose 78 percent and shootings more than doubled. Just in 2017, we’ve seen homicides are up another 42 percent compared to this time last year.

Associated Press says about 80 female officers and roughly 50 enlisted women are now serving on submarines, and their numbers are expected to climb into the hundreds over the next few years.

Maxine Waters denies she ever called for Trump's impeachment just days after chanting "Impeach 45."

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo made $783,000 in royalties from a book that only sold 3,200 copies.

Paris has now seen six terror attacks in the last three years.

New York City is going to raise prices for cigarettes to $13 per pack.

A lesbian teacher in Florida has prohibited students from wearing Christian cross necklaces because they are "gang symbols."

A professor at the University of Missouri says the NRA is more dangerous than ISIS.

Obama in 2012, "...we can't just drill our way to lower gas prices." Sarah Palin's answer to Obama, "Drill, baby, drill."

Three people have died as a result of the so-called "mother of all marches" taking place in Venezuela. Demonstrators are calling for the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro amid the country’s ongoing economic crisis. Massive rallies are being held in Caracas and other cities following weeks of violent demonstrations that had already left five people dead and resulted in clashes between anti-government demonstrators and security forces.

General Motors Co., the world's third-largest car maker, said it has stopped operating in Venezuela following the expropriation of its plant.

 

Violent behavior is ascendant

The uncanny power of words has featured prominently in recent news. Politico describes how Berkeley became "a hotbed of violence in the Trump era" in response to witches like Ann Coulter.

In canceling a planned speech by conservative author Ann Coulter at the University of California, Berkeley, school officials made a startling admission Wednesday: They could not guarantee the safety of the controversial speaker or her crowd. ... The entire episode, which follows a February riot and a melee in the city Saturday, served as a jarring acknowledgment that Berkeley, a one-time cradle of anti-war protests and the Free Speech Movement, has emerged as the leading theater of protest violence in the Trump era.

Apparently there are ideas, like the incantations that Coulter is likely to utter that are dangers in themselves, which summon devils from the vasty deep and provoke an involuntarily reaction in whoever is unfortunate to hear them. When Howard Dean tweeted "hate speech is not protected by the first amendment" he was warding a danger which does things to people from which they must be defended against. The need to block these spells has convinced the socialist leadership of Venezuela, until recently averse to civilian firearm ownership, to arm their supporters the better to gun down those who would invoke them. "The socialist leader of Venezuela announced in a speech to regime loyalists his plan to arm hundreds of thousands of supporters after a years-long campaign to confiscate civilian-owned guns."

"A gun for every militiaman!" Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro said to uniformed militia members outside the presidential palace, Fox News reported on Tuesday. The Bolivarian militias, created by Maduro's predecessor Hugo Chavez, already number in the hundreds of thousands and are being used to supplement the regime's armed forces. Maduro is boosting the number of armed supporters in hopes of keeping control over the country from what he labels "imperialist aggression."

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John Brennan, dirty

An article in the Guardian last week provides more confirmation that John Brennan was the American progenitor of political espionage aimed at defeating Donald Trump. One side did collude with foreign powers to tip the election Hillary’s.

Seeking to retain his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump’s candidacy. He used their phony intelligence as a pretext for a multi-agency investigation into Trump, which led the FBI to probe a computer server connected to Trump Tower and gave cover to Susan Rice, among other Hillary supporters, to spy on Trump and his people.

John Brennan’s CIA operated like a branch office of the Hillary campaign, leaking out mentions of this bogus investigation to the press in the hopes of inflicting maximum political damage on Trump. An official in the intelligence community tells TAS that Brennan’s retinue of political radicals didn’t even bother to hide their activism, decorating offices with "Hillary for president cups" and other campaign paraphernalia.

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Hate speech

Former Democratic National Committee chairman tweeted that "hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment." As Deanwho once ran for president of the United Statesshould know, this is completely wrong.

Dean's tweet was a response to another tweet from a former New York Times reporter who pointed out that Ann Coulter once joked about how Timothy McVeigh should have blown up The NYT instead of a federal building. Coulter is in the news because the University of California-Berkeley cancelled her planned visit to campus on grounds that administrators could not guarantee her safetyirate protesters have vowed mob violence if she speaks. The university has now reversed that decision, thankfully.

Coulter's history of engaging in hate speech might be a reason for students not to invite her to speak. But her speech, hateful though it may be, is not illegal. The Constitution does not exempt "hate speech" from First Amendment protection.

Similarly, the Supreme Court does not recognize "hate" as a category of speech outside the scope of the First Amendment. In the 2011 decision Snyder v. Phelps, the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church's right to picket a military serviceman's funeral and wave signs displaying such messages as "God hates you," "fag troops," and "You're going to hell." If this kind of speech is constitutional, it seems obvious that Coulter's joke is as well.

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Chelsea

Clinton's jobs have apparently valued her quite well. Clinton was first hired at 23 by top consulting firm McKinsey & Company, earning a $120,000 annual salary. She was their youngest hire and made as much as fellow employees with MBA degrees, even though she only had a bachelor's in history.

In 2006, she moved on to work at hedge fund Avenue Capital Group, run by high-powered Democratic billionaire Marc Lasry. Lasry has contributed more than $460,000 to Democratic causes since the 1990's.

Most infamously, Clinton was hired by NBC as a special correspondent to the tune of $600,000 annually, or approximately $26,724 for every minute she was on air. Among her most probing interviews was her grilling of the Geico gecko.

Clinton serves as a member of the board of directors at Expedia, netting her $250,000 a year. Clinton also serves on the board of directors of Internet giant IAC/Interactive Corp, earning $300,000 a year. Both companies are led by Barry Diller, who coincidentally happens to be friend and a prominent fundraiser for the Clintons.

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Dumb people fall for Call center fraud

An Indian national pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering for his role in liquidating and laundering victim payments generated through various telephone fraud and money laundering schemes via India-based call centers.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez of the Southern District of Texas, Executive Associate Director Peter T. Edge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Inspector General J. Russell George of the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and Inspector General John Roth of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) made the announcement.

Bharatkumar Patel, aka Bharat Patel, 43, an Indian national who had resided in Midlothian, Illinois, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge David Hittner of the Southern District of Texas. He also agreed to deportation following his sentence. Sentencing is currently set for July 7.

According to admissions made in connection with the plea, Patel and his co-conspirators perpetrated a complex scheme in which individuals from call centers located in Ahmedabad, India, impersonated officials from the IRS or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in a ruse designed to defraud victims located throughout the United States. Using information obtained from data brokers and other sources, call center operators targeted U.S. victims who were threatened with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they did not pay alleged monies owed to the government. Victims who agreed to pay the scammers were instructed how to provide payment, including by purchasing stored value cards or wiring money, and upon payment, the call centers would immediately turn to a network of "runners" based in the U.S. to liquidate and launder the fraudulently-obtained funds.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Venezuela issued passports to Middle Eastern citizens

A former director of Venezuela’s Office of Identification, Migration and Foreigners said that during his 17 months in the post, the socialist government gave at least 10,000 Venezuelan passports and other documents to citizens of Syria, Iran and other Middle Eastern countries.

In an interview with El Nuevo Herald, Colonel Vladimir Medrano Rengifo said the operation was headed by current Vice President Tareck El Aissami.

He said most passports and visas were granted in the Venezuelan Consulate in Damascus, Syria’s capital.

"Today we don’t know where these people are, nor what they are doing," said Medrano, who currently resides in the United States.

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German POW's in Texas

Some went to work as hospital orderlies. Others picked cotton, baled hay, or tilled soil, living in accommodations near farmland. They ate dinner with families and caught the eyes of single women, running off with them whenever and however they could.

The only thing separating the visitors from the locals of Hearne, Texas was the "PW" insignia stitched into their clothingthat, and the fact many couldn't speak English.

The men were Germans who had been captured by Allied forces, and from 1943 through 1945, more than 400,000 of them were sent to the United States for detention in barracks. Between 500 and 600 centers were set up across the country, but many of the prisoners wound up in Texas because of the available space and warm climate.

Almost overnight, the people of Huntsville, Hearne, Mexia, and other towns experienced a kind of cruel magic trick. Their loved ones had disappeared, sent overseas to contest World War II; captured Germans materialized in their place, taking on the role of laborer. Those that refused work peered from behind 10-foot tall fencing capped with barbed wire as teenagers drove by to stare at the faces of the enemy.

Whatever their imaginations had conjured up, it didn’t match the reality: The men behind the fence looked less evil than bored. And by the time the U.S. government was done with them, many would reconsider what they were fighting for.

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The hive minded

One of the many harms inflicted on us by the hive minded lunatics running our society is the binary world view. Everything is either all good or all bad. As such, everyone must either fully embrace something or completely reject something. Indifference, ambivalence and moderation are not permissible in a world run by zealous fanatics. The only things that matter, that can matter, are those things that require a moral position. Everything else falls outside the set of things that exist, at least to the hive minded.

The most obvious example is homosexuality. Like all normal men, I am mildly intolerant of homosexuals. I get that they cannot help themselves and I get that it is "natural" in the same way schizophrenia is natural. I’m fine with them doing what they must, just as long as they do it in private. Of course, that makes me a monster. In the hive, you must either fully embrace homosexuality and what comes with it, or you are a homophobe and not fit for decent company. There’s no room for indifference or mild intolerance.

Hive mindedness is much more of a female attribute, than a masculine one. That’s not to imply that all women are howling at the moon zealots. It’s just that the fairer sex is much more inclined to deal in absolutes. The reason is that men have ways to arbitrate disputes that do not require a transcendent set of rules. One chimp squares off with the other chimp and the winner is the one who was right about where to find the best bananas. Women don’t have that so they look for a set of rules to figure out winners and losers.

It’s why it was no accident, that as soon as the girls got the vote, and the boys were off fighting the Kaiser, the girls banned alcohol and prostitution. To quote Judge Roy Bean, "Drinking and gambling and whoring were declared unlawful. All those things which come natural to men became crimes." Morality, at least in the modern age, is the set of rules the girls use to control the boys, which is why the prim-faced moralizers of today are running around trying to stamp out anything that smacks of masculinity.

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Integration in Germany has failed

As painful as it is to write this, one cannot support an autocratic system, capital punishment, the arrest of critical journalists and the jailing of the political opposition and then turn around and complain that you are not accepted in Germany as a German. That’s unacceptable. It shows that integration in Germany has failed and that it isn’t just the Germans who are to blame for that.

A clear majority of Turkish voters living in Germany cast "yes" ballots for Erdogan’s autocratic presidential system. In Turkey, the result was so close that it’s possible that votes from Turks living abroad may even have proven decisive. Despite living in democracies and in freedom and safety, these people have essentially voted to eliminate democracy in Turkey.

Interestingly, many Turkish-Germans are now accusing me of "just trying to please the Germans," with my own criticism of Erdogan. I’m receiving hundreds of such emails right now. What they fail to recognize is that I am a German. They seek to deny my identity as a German in the same way that the right-wing populist, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and other right extremists do. In doing so, they also reveal their greatest problem: Namely that they constantly claim to be Turks and Germans, but that they have never truly felt themselves to be German and they haven’t sought to claim or ensure their right to a German identity.

They haven’t pushed back against those who have always dismissed them as "guest workers" or "migrants" who "should go back to where they came from." But it is precisely those individuals whom they should answer, self-confidently: We’re also German we help shape the country, we participate in society, we help mold German that is, our society, because we like Germany, even if it isn’t perfect. There is much to criticize in Germany and we also do that. But we value democracy and the fact that we even have the possibility of criticizing it without landing in jail.

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Hijab is for men also

In my day job, I’m a civil rights attorney fighting for Muslim women’s rights. So, when I saw #MuslimWomensDay trending on Twitter this week, I felt compelled to share my thoughts on hijab. The thread went viral, I believe, because it addressed an apparently novel point about hijab that too few people realise.

That is, when addressing hijab, the Quran does not address women first. It addresses men first. That’s not a typo. Islam places the primary responsibility of observing hijab not on women but on men. It’s critical to understand this point.

People often conflate "hijab" and "headscarf". Wearing the headscarf is one form of hijab, but men often forget that hijab is much more. And at the genesis of the hijab discussion, the Quran commands men to not stare at women and to not be promiscuous. The Quran 24:31 obliges men to observe modesty: "Say to the believing men that they restrain their eyes and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Surely, Allah is well aware of what they do."

This verse rebukes forced laws on women that claim "women must cover otherwise men are distracted". It destroys rape culture because it commands men to reform themselves first and exclusively. It demolishes complaints that what a woman is wearing is "too provocative", whatever that means, because it flat out forbids men from gawking at women.

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California, the sanctuary state

California governor Jerry Brown has pardoned "three veterans deported to Mexico," as the Sacramento Bee reported. Hector Barajas Varela, who came to the United States "without authorization," served more than year in prison for shooting at an occupied home. Brown also pardoned Erasmo Apodaca, who served 10 months in prison for burglary, and Marco Chavez, who spent 15 months in prison for reasons the report did not specify.

Brown issued the pardons as Easter approached, and shortly after President Donald Trump authorized more than $500 million in emergency relief for California, including $274 million for the damaged spillway on Oroville Dam. That federal largesse, after Brown’s tsumani of anti-Trump rhetoric, did not alter the governor’s determination to reinforce California as a sanctuary state for violent criminals. His pardon of criminal foreign nationals, after they had been deported, is merely the latest wave in the surge.

Major California cities and counties have long defied federal efforts to arrest and deport illegals, even violent criminals. Now San Francisco is appealing to a federal judge to block the Trump administration from withholding federal funds from such cities.

When repeatedly deported felon Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez gunned down Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier in July, 2015, that deadly act of gun violence had no discernable effect on Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, headquartered in San Francisco. The state’s Chief Justice, who like Brown has sworn to uphold the law, reserves her wrath for "meanspirited" ICE agents, whom she accused of "stalking" illegals in courthouses. As attorney general Jeff Sessions, explained, it is entirely legal and proper for federal agents to make arrests in public places.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Civility

Civility means to act as one would in a settled city wherein law and manners, not force and passion, guide the interchanges of the public order as well as the normal affairs of men within their homes and voluntary associations. Civility presupposes reason, but includes courtesy, compassion, and good taste. It usually involves a written or unwritten constitution that broadly defines the orders of procedure for ordinary human exchanges of opinions. It details, through proportionate sanctions, the degree to which the public order is violated by disordered actions. A constitution itself recognizes, at least implicitly, the possibility of a law higher than itself. A constitution’s own authority to be followed does not depend on itself, but on the citizens for whom it is intended. They in turn cannot will just anything. They too are subject to the reasonableness of the things that are, including what they are.

Incivility, by contrast, means the refusal to adhere to commonly accepted standards and customs. It indicates a breakdown, either minor or major, in the public order wherein differing opinions are normally and peacefully worked out among reasonable people who do not always agree with one another. Almost all incivility justifies itself by appealing to something higher than existing laws and customs. This "something higher" may be God, or one’s own will, a constitution, or a theoretical system we have usually come to designate as an ideology. An ideology is an idea or system of interrelated ideas that are self-justifying as the explanation of how things ought to be. They indicate a pattern or order that is to be put into effect as the solution to a given polity’s own inherent problems.

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Corruption in Mexico

Although Mexicans regard their government as "highly corrupt" they themselves accept having to pay bribes and avoid paying taxes and public transit fares, according to a study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Integrity Review of Mexico. Taking a Stronger Stance Against Corruption found that 33% of those polled had paid bribes in education, law enforcement, medical and health services, police, permits, taxes and public services sectors.

It also found that bribery is far more commonplace in Mexico than in other OECD member countries.

Ten per cent of OECD respondents had bribed police officers during the last year, but in Mexico the figure was 60%. The OECD average for bribes paid to law enforcement was 10%. In Mexico it was 55%.

The OECD also estimated that Mexico government revenues are between 20% and 38% lower as a result of tax evasion.

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Poor, pitiful me

A coalition of marginalized students at Pomona College are demanding that the president of Pomona (one of the Claremont Colleges) take disciplinary action against student-journalists who write for The Claremont Independent, a conservative paper.

That's not all. The students' letter to the president also stridently rejects the very mission of a liberal arts college. The search for truth is little more than an attempt to silence marginalized people, in the view of these students. Accordingly, the campus administration must revise its commitment to free speech such that no one who espouses hateful viewsas defined, in incredibly broad terms, by the offended parties themselvesis allowed to speak at Claremont.

"Free speech, a right many freedom movements have fought for, has recently become a tool appropriated by hegemonic institutions," the students wrote in their letter. "It has not just empowered students from marginalized backgrounds to voice their qualms and criticize aspects of the institution, but it has given those who seek to perpetuate systems of domination a platform to project their bigotry."

The students refer specifically to Manhattan Institute scholar Heather MacDonald's recent visit to campus. MacDonald, a conservative critic of the Black Lives Matter movement, was prevented from speaking by student protesters. The students surrounded the doors of the building and denied entry to other students who wanted to hear from her. Multiple news outlets, including Reason and The Claremont Independent, wrote critically about the students involved in the incident, and Claremont President Chiram Hodash expressed dismay about the censorship.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Obama's BFF Erdogan

Not all that long ago we were lectured that Obama, with his charisma and savvy, had won over Recep Tayyip Erdogan and formed a new partnership with him that would lead to Middle East stability and a new Turkish omnipresence as a force for good. So, for example, on December 7, 2011, in the Washington Post, Washington insider David Ignatius gushed about the emerging duo:

They are unlikely partners: a cool and unflappable U.S. president and a proud, sometimes hot-tempered Turkish prime minister. But they have developed a working relationship that is one of the most important but least discussed developments shaping this year of change in the Arab world.

If you’re looking for factors that can keep the Arab Awakening from turning into a nightmare, the U.S.-Turkey partnership is mildly reassuring. President Obama and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan have worked closely to manage events in Egypt, Libya, Syria, and, increasingly, Iran.

They have talked by phone 13 times this year, according to the White House.

At the time, it never occurred to Ignatius that talking 13 times a year to the likes of Erdogan (apparently, the Obama White House was eager to get that fact out to court reporters) was not proof of a "relationship that works" but evidence that an Islamic autocrat had found a willing superpower enabler.

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Dead in the water

The "world" -- a phrase we will return to later -- has seemingly become more dangerous ever since the the U.S. has stopped running from challenges, even as critics complain it turns on them without a strategy. The EU by contrast has kept running but is now at a dead end, penned in by Brexit secession to the West, a new czar in Russia to the East, and by the bold claims of a new sultan to the South.

Erdogan's claim to new dictatorial powers on the basis of a narrow and disputed referendum victory has put him on a "collision course" with Europe, according to the Wall Street Journal:
European reaction to the vote was cautious. In a statement, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and two other top officials said they had taken note of the reported results in Turkey but would await the assessment of international monitors on the vote including on "alleged irregularities."
It vote effectively a Turkish withdrawal from membership application in the European Union. Even Eurocrats can't justify admitting an Erdogan under the banner of multiculturalism.

The EU is dead in the water. ...

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It's okay for Muslim men to rape non-Muslim women

A female Islamic professor sparked a controversy when she claimed that Allah (God) makes permissible for Muslim men to rape non-Muslim women in order to ‘humiliate’ them. The astonishing claim was made by Suad Saleh, who is a professor from the renowned Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt during the interview on Al-Hayat TV.

According to The Inquisitr News report, in the video posted by LiveLeak, Saud Saleh said that the rape is allowed during times of "legitimate war" between Muslims and their enemies. "The female prisoners of wars are ‘those whom you own.’ In order to humiliate them, they become the property of the army commander, or of a Muslim, and he can have sex with them just like he has sex with his wives," Saleh was quoted as saying.

While speaking on purchase of slaves from Asian countries for sexual purposes, Saleh said that Allah allows Muslim men to have sexual relations with slave women and that is ‘legitimate’. Saleh suggested that the only time it is acceptable for Muslim men to enslave a woman for sexual purposes is during a ‘legitimate war’ between Muslims and their enemies such as that with Israel.

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Climate scientists should actually use real science

All too many alarmist climate scientists have received millions in taxpayer grants over the years, relied on computer models that do not reflect real-world observations, attacked and refused to debate scientists who disagree with manmade climate cataclysm claims, refused to share their computer algorithms and raw data with reviewers outside their circle of fellow researchers and then used their work to make or justify demands that the world eliminate the fossil fuels that provide 80% of our energy and have lifted billions out of nasty, brutish, life-shortening poverty and disease.

A recent US House of Representatives Science Committee hearing on assumptions, policy implications and scientific principles of climate change showcased this. Testimony by climate scientists Drs. John Christy, Judith Curry and Roger Pielke, Jr. contrasted sharply with that of Dr. Michael Mann.

Christy noted that Congress and the public have been getting biased analyses and conclusions that begin with and attempt to confirm the belief that human greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions drive climate change. He said government should "organize and fund credible ‘Red Teams’ that look at issues such as natural variability, the failure of climate models and the huge benefits to society from affordable energy, carbon-based and otherwise." He demonstrated how average global temperatures predicted by dozens of models for 2015 are now off by a full half-degree Celsius (0.9 F) from what has actually been measured.

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Carbon capture in Texas

The Trump administration remains committed to reducing greenhouse gases while promoting the energy industry, said Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Thursday.

Perry joined Texas Gov. Greg Abbott at NRG Energy’s Petra Nova carbon capture plant in Fort Bend County, where the two Texans heralded the plant’s official opening as a the dawn of a new energy era of innovation under President Donald Trump.

The plant, the world’s largest and the only one of its kind in the United States, started operating in late 2016. It captures carbon dioxide from a coal-fired power plant, runs it through a chemical process to extract carbon and sends it through a pipe 80 miles southwest to help with enhanced oil recovery, a process that injects carbon and water underground to force oil to the surface.

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Deny white men the vote

Some of the biggest blows to the progressive cause in the past year have often been due to the votes of white men. If white men were not allowed to vote, it is unlikely that the United Kingdom would be leaving the European Union, it is unlikely that Donald Trump would now be the President of the United States, and it is unlikely that the Democratic Alliance would now be governing four of South Africa's biggest cities.

If white men no longer had the vote, the progressive cause would be strengthened. It would not be necessary to deny white men indefinitely the denial of the vote to white men for 20 years (just less than a generation) would go some way to seeing a decline in the influence of reactionary and neo-liberal ideology in the world. The influence of reckless white males were one of the primary reasons that led to the Great Recession which began in 2008. This would also strike a blow against toxic white masculinity, one that is long needed.

At the same time, a denial of the franchise to white men, could see a redistribution of global assets to their rightful owners. After all, white men have used the imposition of Western legal systems around the world to reinforce modern capitalism. A period of twenty years without white men in the world's parliaments and voting booths will allow legislation to be passed which could see the world's wealth far more equitably shared. The violence of white male wealth and income inequality will be a thing of the past.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

OPEC cutting production, wants prices to rise

OPEC producers took another 153,000 barrels a day off the market in March as part of its bid to drain the world’s oil glut.

In the cartel’s monthly report released Wednesday, independent sources reported the group of oil-producing countries has cut output by 1.1 million barrels a day since December.

Last month, Libya’s output dropped by nearly 9 percent, and production edged lower in the United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Nigeria, Iran, Angola and other countries. Saudi Arabia raised production by 41,000 barrels a day.

That effort has pushed oil prices above $50 a barrel in recent months, breathing life into U.S. oil patches like the Permian Basin. U.S. crude rose 16 cents on Wednesday to $53.56 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, as traders reacted to media reports that Saudi Arabia, the cartel’s de facto leader, wants to see OPEC continue production cuts into the second half of this year.

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Texas disaster of 1947

On April 16, 1947, one of the largest industrial explosions ever killed an estimated 576 people in Texas City, about 40 miles south of Houston.

A cargo ship called the Grandcamp, which had previously been docked in Houston, was docked in Texas City. While there it was being loaded with ammonium nitrate fertilizer, an extremely flammable substance.

A fire broke out in the ship's cargo hold and despite efforts to extinguish the flames, the fire spread and at 9:12 a.m., the ship exploded.

The blast was so massive that it leveled or damaged more than 1,000 surrounding buildings, shattered windows in Houston 40 miles away, and in Denver, over 900 miles away, a seismograph registered the explosion as if it were an earthquake.

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McMaster and Soros affiliation?

National Security Advisor Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster’s past affiliation with the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) has created fresh concerns after research conducted by Disobedient Media revealed that the British think tank has taken funding from multiple governments in the Middle East and organizations tied to George Soros. McMaster’s former position with the IISS indicates a potential conflict of interest given the think tanks’ financial ties to sponsors who are anti-American and in some cases, states sponsors of terrorism.

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Trump effect, self deportation

Forty-plus years in financial journalism taught me that people aren’t really interested in economic data. They say they are, but (unless the sky is falling, as in 2008) what really grabs them is war, race, sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. Nevertheless, data does sometimes matter and now may be one of these timesit looks like immigration, and immigrant displacement of American workers, has finally hit the wall.

The evidence appeared in the monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics Household Survey, which was released last Friday. Most commentators grumped about the relatively low job growth rate. But I always look at the analyses prepared by economic consultant Edwin S. Rubenstein of ESR Research, previously of the Hudson Institute and National Review.

This month, Rubenstein points out that annualized growth in the foreign-born workforce has collapsed. It was only 56,000 over the 12 months through March, down from 1,711, 000 for the 12 months ended October 2016significantly, directly before the Presidential election.

Which is particularly interesting because annual legal immigration (the Household Survey doesn’t distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants) has been running at about a million a year. So this new foreign-born workforce total implies a really dramatic and accelerating exodus, which has been overwhelming any continuing inflow since Trump was elected.

Conversely, Rubenstein noted at the time that, beginning in the last year of Obama’s Presidency, the Household Survey showed immigrant workforce growth far in excess of the legal inflow. Obviously, an illegal alien stampede was underway, probably triggered by Democrat promises of Amnesty.

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Notes for a white kid

If you are a white student in college, you doubtless hear daily that white people are evil, the principal cause of everything wrong with the world. Whiteness is bad, white people are bad. We are to blame for everything.

If you believe this, you are being gamed. What you are being told is nonsense. If you have the intelligence and self-respect to think for yourself, ask:

"What have other races and ethnic groups accomplished in the world compared to what we white people have?"

This question will be shocking to you because you have been carefully programmed not to think such things. But ask. I think you will find that the groups who complain the most have accomplished the least. Check for yourself.

Look around you. Can you find anything with a moving part that was not invented by whites? Anything electronic? Cars, telephones, computers, aircraft, antibiotics, on and onall sprang from the minds of white people. You are not supposed to say such things, and could be run out of a university for itbut ask yourself, if you have the courage: Is it true? Do not think that because things are commonplace or easy to use that they are not products of fields of extraordinary difficulty.

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Sanctuary cities encourage illegals

Numerous cities have declared themselves to be "sanctuary cities," where local police are forbidden to cooperate with federal immigration authorities in enforcing our national immigration laws. Legislation is now moving through the California legislature to implement such a policy throughout that entire state. Why this energy to protect violators of our laws? Oddly, the answer goes back to the founding. Due to a residue of the notorious three-fifth compromise, sanctuary cities encourage illegal immigration because undocumented residents (to use the politically correct term) are counted in determining representation in the House of Representatives and state legislatures. The more undocumented a city has, the more seats it gets.

When the Framers were deciding how to apportion the House of Representatives, the southern states wanted to count slaves and the northern states wanted to only count free citizen residents. They compromised by counting three-fifths of the non-free population. To implement this, the House is apportioned on the basis of the gross total population rather than the citizen population. As illegal immigration was not a great issue in 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment simply carried forward this practice. As a result, the Census Bureau explicitly includes both legal non-citizen and undocumented residents in the census.

In our era of historically high immigration, this has a major impact on legislative apportionment because these immigrants are very unevenly distributed. The Census Bureau estimates that the proportion of non-citizen population in the states varies from 14% in California to less than 1% in West Virginia. This has a direct impact on the states’ political power. California, on its way to becoming the first sanctuary state, has five or six more members of the House (and consequently Electoral College votes) counting its non-citizen population than if House seats and Electoral College votes were based on only citizen population. No wonder California politicians favor illegal immigration.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Odds and ends

During a January 2017 interview with NPR, Susan Rice lauded the Obama administration for de-arming Bashar al-Assad. "We were able to find a solution that didn’t necessitate the use of force that actually removed the chemical weapons that were known from Syria, in a way that the use of force would never have accomplished. We were able to get the Syrian government to voluntarily and verifiably give up its chemical weapons stockpile."

Syrians are now calling Trump Abu Ivanka al-Amriki - meaning 'father of Ivanka' - to praise him for the airstrikes against al-Assad.

Headline....Columbus's first contact with 'native Americans' was with a cannibal tribe called the Carib.

A pro-illegal alien march and rally held in Dallas on Sunday called Mega March 2017 drew several thousand attendees, way short of the 100,000 planned for by organizers.

Kubota Tractor moving headquarters from California to Texas.

Haha. The governor of Alabama resigned because of being caught in an adulterous affair. He was previously known as the Republican who could not vote for Trump over his sexual comments about women.

Haha. The Democrat mayor of Seattle, who has sued Trump over his Sanctuary City policies, has been accused of decades-old sexual abuse of teenagers.

The wall has not been built yet but the flow of immigrants has already slowed down to a trickle. Arrests along the border in March were the lowest in 17 years. There were fewer than 12,000 people arrested while attempting to cross the border illegally in March 2017, a 64 percent decline from the same time last year, according to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Dead man's body found at the pipeline protestors camp.

In 1986, NASA's James Hanson said that global temperatures would be nearly 2 degrees higher in 20 years.

Meanwhile in Alaska, temperatures reached as low as 59 degrees below zero in several areas of the state on January 18.

Malaysian Member of Parliament Datuk Shabudin Yahya says 9 year old girls are "physically and spiritually" ready to marry.

Lois Lerner of the IRS is said to be charged criminally in the near future.

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Nemesis is always on the trail of Hubris

A Belgian psychologist and mother-of-one who worked with asylum seekers facing deportation has been named as the latest victim of Friday’s jihadi atrocity in Stockholm.

Maïlys Dereymaeker, 31, was waiting for friends from work on the corner of Drottninggatan and Olof Palmes gata when the terrorist struck.

She was the first victim to be hit by the speeding lorry and died instantly at the scene.

It took forensic experts two days to identify her mangled body from DNA samples.

Ms Dereymaeker, who was from the small town of Lembeek near Brussels and had an 18-month-old toddler, worked with illegal immigrants facing deportation like her killer, Rakhmat Akilov.

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