Happy Birthday Marines
November 10th is the 236th Anniversary of the founding of the United States Marine Corps, ostensibly in a Philadelphia Tavern. I wish a “Happy Birthday” to all my fellow Marines, past, present and future. It was the honor of a lifetime to wear the same uniform as you. I try every day to be worthy to stand in your ranks, even if only at the rear.
I will be out of pocket most of Thursday, all day Friday and Saturday and most of Sunday, so limited digests again. Sorry. Life intrudes. ~Bob.
Kids with better things to do than OWS
Ohio votes for higher taxes, bad economy
Time to flee that state too. ~Bob
Premature blast kills suicide bomber in Pakistan
Excerpt: Police say a suicide bomber targeting the country's Shiite minority has killed himself in a premature explosion in southwestern
. Hamid Shakeel, deputy inspector general in Pakistan , the capital of Balochistan province, says the Saturday incident took place on the outskirts of the city. He says a man in his twenties was heading toward a Shiite mosque when his explosive-rigged suicide vest went off prematurely, a little short of his apparent target. In recent years, Al Qaeda-linked Sunni militant groups have targeted the country's Shiite minority in suicide bombings and in shootings. Quetta Baluchistan has recently been a center of this violence, with at least four major attacks against Shiites since May.
Excerpt: First they banned mosque minarets. Now, the Swiss are tightening their laws on foreign lawbreakers and freeloaders. Convicted criminals will have to leave. But even relatively minor offenses like breaking and entering or welfare fraud will suffice to forfeit a residence visa.
Clearing Senescent Cells From Mice Leads To Delay In Age-Related Conditions, Scientists Find
Excerpt: Scientists have come just a little bit closer to stopping aging -- even if it is, so far, just in mice. Reporting in the journal Nature, researchers from the Mayo Clinic have found a way to clear away what are called senescent cells, which are cells that have stopped dividing and build up as people and animals age. (...) By clearing out these cells, scientists were able to either stop or delay aging (and the conditions that come with aging, like cataracts and muscle loss) in mice, according to the study. "There's been a question of whether senescent cells are important, since they're only a small proportion of cells," study researcher Dr. James Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D., who is the head of Mayo's Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging, told Discover magazine. "Our work indicates that a small number of these cells can have a big impact." Scientists exposed genetically engineered mice to a drug that activates a molecule called caspase 8 that kills senescent cells. Then, they looked at how this lack of senescent cells manifested in terms of delaying or preventing age-related conditions. They found that there was a delay in the mice developing typical age-related conditions like muscle loss, weakness and cataracts, and a slowing down of other age-related disorders later on in life. (It’s difficult to tell how much importance to attach to this. Since at least the 60s, it has been known that many living cells have “built-in clocks” to tell them when to die, which isn’t quite the same as senescence (that’s more a loss or reduction of function). Still, it would be a big step forward for mice and men. Larry Niven solved the problem in at least one of his stories by teleporting the “impurities” out of each cell. Ron P.)
Someone's not paying attention by America's 1st Sgt.
Excerpt: This may come as a surprise to some, but as a Lance Corporal in the infantry I was considered somewhat of a wise ass (GASP!). This occasionally got me in trouble with SNCOs and NCOs who perceived my remarks as possibly disrespectful or "unmotivated" when in fact I was merely making light of lousy situations. I used to joke that things like logic had to be suspended once you joined the Corps. Being a good Marine was like becoming a Jedi : "You must unlearn all that you have learned." I pinned on Corporal way back in 1995. It was while I was a student at the Marine Security Guard School in
(pre-pepper spray). I had just come from 1st Bn 3D Marines and had a been a Lance Corporal squad leader during my time there. Being a squad leader (an NCO billet) as a Lance Corporal just may be one of the best jobs in the Marine Corps. You have all the authority and none of the responsibility. Upon being promoted to Corporal I knew the jig was up. Now I was expected to know better and my Lance Corporal shenanigans would not hold up to scrutiny. It was a scary realization. (Huh. I pinned on Cpl. in 1966. Boot. ~Bob.) Quantico
Is the Tide Turning for OWS?: Local residents abandon political sympathies in favor of law and order.
Excerpt: With a little help from the residents of Lower Manhattan and a little more from the denizens of
Occupy Wall Street
’s tent city, significant parts of Community Board 1 (CB1) and the legislature seem finally to have realized that they have been had. “We have had twelve meetings,” one member said last night during a CB1 session in City Hall, “and now we’ve given up.” It is about time. To most clear-thinking people, it has been painfully obvious for some time that the powers that be have credulously indulged a group that is simply playing games with the democratic process. Now those powers may have caught on, too. New York State
Welcome to the
Third World, Part 3: Disappearing Pensions
Excerpt: One of the things that separate the “rich” world from the rest of humanity is the expectation that a lifetime of work is rewarded with a comfortable retirement. Whether through an employer’s pension or 401(K), or government plans like Social Security and Medicare, citizens of the
US, Canada, Europe and take it for granted that some baseline income and healthcare benefit is out there waiting for us when we need it. And we plan our saving and investing accordingly, presumably putting away less than we would if our retirement had to be completely self-funded. So imagine our surprise when it turns out that pension plans, from company-specific to federal, don’t have nearly enough money to keep their promises. 9one of the factors I cite in Collapse. ~Bob.) Japan
UK and U.S. are drawing up plans to attack Iran amid growing tensions in the Middle East, it was claimed last night. Barack Obama and David Cameron are preparing for war after reports that now has enough enriched uranium for four nuclear weapons. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s hardline regime in Iran Tehran has been linked to three assassination plots on foreign soil, according to senior officials in . 9Hard to believe Obama has the stones. We are not talking Whitehall here. ~Bob.) Libya
Thai police say insurgent bomb kills 6 in south
If only the Buddhists would stop supporting
, this kind of thing wouldn't happen from members of The Religion of Peace. ~Bob. Excerpt: Police say suspected Muslim insurgents in southern Israel killed six civilians in a bomb attack on their vehicle in the south. Police investigator Heraman Chedi says the explosion occurred Wednesday in Narathiwat's Ra-ngae district, and attackers raked the vehicle with machine-gunfire afterward. Heraman says the victims were Buddhist hunters headed to a nearby forest, and one survived and was taken to a local hospital. A rescue worker who came later to the scene was also injured when he stepped on land mine. Thailand
Shining More Light on Income Inequality Myths
Excerpt: 1. Is income growth becoming more unequal? Chittum, Drum, and O’Brien (CDO) say I have misused the work of economist Robert Gordon. Hey, I report, you decide. Here’s Gordon in his own words from his own 2009 paper: "The rise of American inequality has been exaggerated in magnitude, and its impact is now largely in the past. … Not only has the increase of inequality been exaggerated, but it has ceased. The excess growth of mean relative to median income reversed itself after 2000. The income shares of the top one percent and of CEOs, which had exploded before 2000, went down and back up with stock market gyrations between 2000 and 2006 but did not rise on balance. … Other measures suggest that the rise of inequality ceased well before the year 2000." So get a time machine, Occupy Wall Street!
You Want More Equality? Support More Capitalism
Excerpt: Over the past half-century, in fact, the wages of the middle class have captured a remarkably consistent share of gross domestic product. And the most important fact that eludes protesters and progressives is that the poorest 5 percent of Americans are still richer than nearly 70 percent of the world -- with a lot more opportunity to change that situation. [Emphasis mine. - Kate] But let's concede that, thank goodness, some inequity will exist and will as long as we remain a largely meritocratic society. (My six years here in LA could have been so much more prosperous if LA were not one gigantic failed social program. It's like an octopus; everywhere you turn there's another tentacle, eg, You want to work in childcare? Take 6 units at the college this summer and we might find you childcare work. Or we might not. But you definitely won't get childcare work if you don't take the units. It's all connected. Everything is subsidized. It's all hand-outs from the highest to the lowest level. But I do eat well, because, three times a week, Trader Joe's delivers more than I can carry away from the food pantry around the corner. Arugula, anyone? Kate in LA)
The Whole World is Watching: OWS Protester Talks About Assaults Inside Camp
Excerpt: Remember, according to the Daily News, the NYPD is actually steering drunks and derelicts to
to make life more dangerous for protesters in hopes that they’ll leave. OWS would have a problem with that regardless, as word’s bound to get around among the city’s homeless that there’s free eats and warm blankets downtown, but Bloomberg seems perfectly happy to let it go on and on. At best, he’s negligent about a threat to public safety; at worst, he’s complicit in it. What you’re looking at here, potentially, is an exhibit in the inevitable lawsuit against the city. And things are getting worse. Even according to a lefty outfit like HuffPo: There have been multiple incidents of assault, drug dealing and drug use, rape and attempted rape, according to conversations with numerous protesters. And the problem, they say, is getting worse. Zuccotti Park
Options for Social Security Reform
Excerpt: A new study by Andrew Rettenmaier, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis, and Liqun Liu, a research scientist at the Private Enterprise Research Center at Texas A&M University, compares the implications of maintaining Social Security's current benefit schedule with three changes that would reduce spending in different ways and one that would raise revenues immediately. The study analyzes the extent to which each provision would reduce the program's long-run deficits, affect spending, and change the distribution of benefits and taxes. The four reforms considered are: … Progressive price indexing would substantially reduce the long-run funding gap to $3.2 trillion from the current law funding gap of $16.1 trillion. Thus, it would only require a modest solvency tax increase equal to 0.6 percent of taxable payroll. In terms of long-run spending, it would result in the second smallest program, about 82 percent of the size of the current program. … Changing the benefit formula would essentially eliminate the long-run funding gap and require no additional solvency tax. It also would produce the most dramatic reduction in spending on benefits, equal to 23 percent of long-run spending under the current benefit formula. In addition, it would retain the progressive nature of the benefit formula, but reduces the degree of progressivity relative to the current formula. … Raising the retirement age would reduce Social Security's unfunded obligations for retiree benefits to $6.3 trillion and require a solvency tax of 1.3 percent of taxable payroll. It would result in the third-largest program, with about 87 percent of the current law spending. Moreover, though the distribution of net taxes would still be progressive, of the four potential changes considered it would reduce the degree of progressivity the most relative to current law. Eliminating the taxable maximum. This provision would reduce Social Security's unfunded obligation for retiree benefits to $8.3 trillion and require a 1.3 percent payroll tax increase. It would result in the largest program in terms of long-run spending, and would increase the progressivity of the program.
Study Raises Questions About ‘Bundling’ To Pay Doctors
Excerpt: But a new study published in Health Affairs raises questions about the feasibility of bundling. The researchers, from the Rand Corporation and the Harvard School of Public Health, looked at three sites that were trying to implement a bundling methodology developed by the nonprofit Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute. (The method is called Prometheus.) The short version of their findings: the efforts moved along slowly. In two to three years of trying, none of the providers or insurers actually made or received a bundled payment, or even implemented a contract to start them. That “lagged months or years behind their planned milestones,” notes the study, which reflected results up to May of this year. One challenge faced by the sites was analyzing historical medical data to develop payment rates, because of software errors and problems with the claims databases. Another issue was meshing the bundling methods with insurers’ processes for processing claims. The study said the historical data problem was ultimately resolved, but “no site succeeded in modifying its claims processing methodology” to work with bundles. Still, the
Rand researchers said the attempts had some good effects, including stimulating efforts to coordinate and improve care. They also suggested that future efforts might go more smoothly due to technical improvements to the Prometheus methodology, which includes a range of software tools.
Cadillac Pay in the
Land of Lincoln
Only fair. Government employee unions contribute campaign dollars, political works and votes to elect Democrats, and expect to be rewarded by the taxpayers for doing so. ~Bob. Excerpt: But my main point was that public sector benefits are a lot more generous than those in the private sector. Let’s say you had an
state employee who retired at age 65 with 30 years of service and a final salary of $60,000. His annual pension benefit would be around $29,160. For this, he contributed about 4 percent of his working salary, although I understand that in some cases the contribution is “picked up” by the employer. From 1992 to 2003, it seems that most Illinois state employees paid no pension contribution, and many still do not. My main point was that public sector benefits are a lot more generous than in the private sector. Now let’s see what that same worker might get from a 401(k), which most private sector workers have. Let’s assume he contributed the same 4 percent of pay and his employer contributed 3 percent, which is fairly typical in the private sector. Let’s also assume he invested in government bonds, since he wants a guaranteed benefit to match the public sector defined-benefit plan. This would provide him with a retirement annuity of around $4,450. In addition, he would receive a Social Security benefit of around $22,700, for a total of $27,150. Illinois public employees generally don’t participate in Social Security. About even, right? Except that to get the Social Security benefit a private sector worker has to pay an additional 6.2 percent of his wages. So the private worker contributes 10.2 percent of pay for a pension of $27,150 while the Illinois government worker contributes 4 percent (and sometimes less) for $29,160. Illinois
Three Dangerous Myths about Monetary Policy
Excerpt: As one of the most powerful influences on the
economy, the Federal Reserve is bearing the brunt of significant criticism during this global economic crisis. Though some of this criticism is certainly justified, other suggestions about monetary policies the Fed should pursue to boost the economy are counterproductive. Many critics have taken issue with the Fed’s current accommodative stance, but an increase in interest rates or reserve draining could ultimately cause greater harm to the already faltering economy. Key points in this Outlook: As fears of another recession have mounted, so too have criticisms of the US Federal Reserve, including some irresponsible assertions that could endanger world markets if followed. Myths about the Fed include beliefs that (1) its highly accommodative posture will trigger higher inflation or even hyperinflation; (2) it enables expansionary fiscal policy and larger budget deficits; and (3) a gold standard would be the best policy to ensure price stability. Though higher inflation is a concern, the threat of deflation in this economic environment is far more worrisome, which explains the Fed’s sensible focus on price stability. US
(CAIN ) Accuser filed complaint in next job
Excerpt: A woman who settled a sexual harassment complaint against GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain in 1999 complained three years later at her next job about unfair treatment, saying she should be allowed to work from home after a serious car accident and accusing a manager of circulating a sexually charged email, The Associated Press has learned. Karen Kraushaar, 55, filed the complaint while working as a spokeswoman at the Immigration and Naturalization Service in the Justice Department in late 2002 or early 2003, with the assistance of her lawyer, Joel Bennett, who also handled her earlier sexual harassment complaint against Cain in 1999. Three former supervisors familiar with Kraushaar's complaint, which did not include a claim of sexual harassment, described it for the AP under condition of anonymity because the matter was handled internally by the agency and was not public. To settle the complaint at the immigration service, Kraushaar initially demanded thousands of dollars in payment, a reinstatement of leave she used after the accident earlier in 2002, promotion on the federal pay scale and a one-year fellowship to Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, according to a former supervisor familiar with the complaint. The promotion itself would have increased her annual salary between $12,000 and $16,000, according to salary tables in 2002 from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Kraushaar told the AP she considered her employment complaint "relatively minor" and she later dropped it. (Serial victimhood, the new trial-lawyer-driven American Dream. ~Bob.)
The Revelation. "A stand-up guy" with "close ties to President Barack Obama's cabinet."
Excerpt: A politically-connected U.S. Attorney who resigned in August over the Operation Fast and Furious gunrunning probe acknowledged through his lawyers on Tuesday that he leaked a memo as part of what lawmakers say was an effort to smear a federal law enforcement agent who publicly criticized the probe's tactics. Dennis Burke, who stepped down as U.S. Attorney in August as part of a Justice Department reshuffle of personnel involved in Fast and Furious, acknowledged to internal department investigators weeks earlier that he released the memo written by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Agent John Dodson. Dodson testified publicly at a House hearing in June about his unsuccessful attempts to persuade ATF higher-ups to abandon the tactic of gunwalking, in which government agents deliberately passed up opportunities to intercept suspicious shipments of weapons believed destined for Mexican drug cartels.
Combative Eric Holder Still Evading Responsibility for Operation Fast and Furious
Excerpt: Reporting from Capitol Hill--Attorney General Eric Holder gave testimony today about topics ranging from terrorism, cyber security, CIA interrogation investigations, GITMO, gay/lesbian bullying and even his baby boomer status, but Holder’s remarks surrounding the Obama Justice Department’s Operation Fast and Furious were highly combative. In his opening statement, Holder said he wanted to clear up and “correct some of the inaccurate and irresponsible accusations surrounding Fast and Furious.” The problem is, the only person or department that has been inaccurate and irresponsible surrounding Fast and Furious accusations are officials within the Department of Justice, headed by Attorney General Eric Holder, and ATF management officials. Every lie that the Obama Justice Department has thrown out surrounding Fast and Furious has been proven false by the House Oversight Committee, Senator Charles Grassley’s office and alternative media outlets up to this point. Considering his past testimony about when he originally knew about Fast and Furious, Holder was today questioned about his testimony timeline surrounding the scandal. He said in May 2011 he had only known about the program for “a few weeks,” yet memos addressed directly to him detailing the program are dated July and August 2010.
U.S. Court Challenges New Texas Districts
Excerpt: A federal judicial panel here said the Texas legislature used "improper" standards in drawing its congressional districts, meaning the job of setting the state's electoral map for the 2012 election is likely to fall to federal judges. Tuesday's decision was the latest to roil a state known for bitter redistricting fights. It could influence how many Hispanic lawmakers Texas sends to Congress in 2012. Attorney Nina PeralesOwing in large part to the growth of Texas' Hispanic population, the state's delegation in the U.S. House will increase by four next year, to 36 representatives. Critics including the Justice Department say the redistricting plan Gov. Rick Perry signed in June provides no additional Hispanic, or "opportunity,'' districts, generally defined as having a majority of voting-age Hispanics. During arguments last week before a three-judge panel designated to hear election-law cases, the Justice Department said the map drawn up by the state legislature would unfairly limit minority representation. Texas said the department's criteria for fairness were too vague and difficult for well-intentioned state legislators to navigate.
Worth reading: A Time for Statesmen
Excerpt: Now is a particularly dangerous moment for American national security interests. Not just because threats are growing. Not just because the current administration is making a historic bungle from China to Iraq to Iran to Russia to Europe to Mexico to our historic allies in the Middle East -- both Jewish and Muslim. All that would be bad enough. But the greatest threat to our national security, at the moment, is the manifest indifference of the voting public to these foreign threats -- and the silence on them from our alleged leaders. It's understandable. The devil has our economy by the throat, and Americans (when they think about politics) are focused on what Washington should do -- or should stop doing -- to defeat our domestic economic threat. Obviously, the public is in no mood to go looking for foreign devils. Every 27-year-old junior Washington political operative knows this is a political season to advise candidates to talk about jobs, jobs, jobs. And they should. (JFK supposedly said, "A statesman is a dead politician." I just read a terrific book on statecraft, Advice to War Presidents by Angelo Codevilla. He bashes everyone equally. ~Bob)
51% Now Say Allegations Against Cain Likely to Be Serious and True
If you throw enough mud, some sticks. He’s probably damaged beyond repair. That may be a good thing—I’d hate to go into the election with a candidate who didn’t know China was a nuclear power! ~Bob. Excerpt: Most voters now say that the sexual harassment allegations made against Herman Cain may be both serious and true. At the same time, two-thirds believe Cain’s ethics are at least as good as most politicians. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 51% of voters nationwide say it is at least somewhat likely the allegations against Cain are both serious and true.
The Corporate Welfare State
Excerpt: The Occupy Wall Street protesters aren't good at articulating what they want, but one of their demands is "end corporate welfare." Well, welcome aboard. Some of us have been fighting crony capitalism for decades, and it's good to have new allies if liberals have awakened to the dangers of the corporate welfare state. Corporate welfare is the offer of special favors—cash grants, loans, guarantees, bailouts and special tax breaks—to specific industries or firms. The government doesn't track the overall cost of these programs, but in 2008 the Cato Institute made an attempt and came up with $92 billion for fiscal 2006, which is more than the U.S. government spends on homeland security. That annual cost may have doubled to $200 billion in this new era of industry bailouts and subsidies. According to the House Budget Committee, the 2009 stimulus bill alone contained more than $80 billion in "clean energy" subsidies, and tens of billions more went for the auto bailout and cash for clunkers, as well as aid for the mortgage industry through programs to refinance or buy up toxic loans. This industrial policy model of government as a financial partner with business can sound appealing, but the government's record in picking winners and losers has been dreadful. Some of the most expensive flops include the Supersonic Transport plane of the mid-1970s, Jimmy Carter's $2 billion Synthetic Fuels Corporation (the precursor to clean energy), Amtrak, which hasn't turned a profit in four decades, and the most expensive public-private partnership debacle of all time, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have lost $142 billion of taxpayer money. A few other illustrative industry handouts: (The corporate state was a main feature of fascism and today’s China. ~Bob)
Ignorance Exploited by Walter E. Williams
Excerpt: Many Wall Street occupiers are echoing the Communist Party USA's call to "Save the nation! Tax corporations! Tax the rich!" There are other Americans, on both the left and the right -- for example, President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner -- who call for reductions in corporate taxes. But the University of California, Berkeley's pretend economist Robert Reich disagrees, saying, "The economy needs two whopping corporate tax cuts right now as much as someone with a serious heart condition needs Botox." Let's look at corporate taxes and ask, "Who pays them?" Virginia has a car tax. Does the car pay the tax? In most political jurisdictions, there's a property tax. Does property pay the tax? You say: "Williams, that's lunacy. Neither a car nor property pays taxes. Only flesh-and-blood people pay taxes!" What about a corporation? As it turns out, a corporation is an artificial creation of the legal system and, as such, a legal fiction. A corporation is not a person and therefore cannot pay taxes. When tax is levied on a corporation, who pays it? There's an entire subject area in economics, known as tax incidence, that investigates who bears the burden of a tax. It turns out that the burden of a tax is not necessarily borne by the party or entity upon whom it is levied. For example, if a sales tax is levied on a cigarette retailer, the retailer does not bear the full burden of the tax. Part of it will be shifted forward to customers in the form of higher product prices. The exact amount of the shifting depends upon market supply and demand conditions.
Blame It on Brokaw by Jonah Goldberg
Excerpt: You know who I blame for the terrible tone in American politics? Tom Brokaw. No, not the man himself, but what he represents. Since Dan Rather famously beclowned himself, Brokaw stands as the last of the respected "voice of God" news anchors (CBS News executive Don Hewitt's phrase). These were the oracles who simply declared what was news and what wasn't. Walter Cronkite, the prize of the breed, used to end his newscasts, "And that's the way it is" -- as if he were speaking not just with journalistic but also epistemological and ontological authority. You can still find this sort of hubris on the masthead of the New York Times, which proclaims "All the news that's fit to print" -- a claim that would be subjected to truth-in-labeling laws were it not for the First Amendment. Brokaw, an honorable and industrious man, is now playing the role of elder statesman while touting his new book, "The Time of Our Lives." In it, he writes: "Slashing rhetoric and outrageous characterizations have long been part of the American national political dialogue ... but modern means of communications are now so pervasive and penetrating they might as well be part of the air we breathe, and therefore they require tempered remarks from all sides. Otherwise, the air just becomes more and more toxic until it is suffocating." There's much wisdom here. But blaming the new media environment for what ails us is an awfully convenient alibi. It suggests that the old media, of which Brokaw was a master of the universe, played no part in losing the trust of so many Americans.
What If Herman Cain Did It?
Excerpt: We still don’t know what Herman Cain did or didn’t do, and there’s a good chance we never will. But this much is for certain: the story is no longer what it used to be. It used to be a story with unnamed sources and unnamed allegations. What did Herman Cain supposedly do? Who knows? Then Sharon Bialek came forward. Now we have a real person publicly making what she says are real allegations. If true, this is bad news for Herman Cain. Unless, of course, his conservative supporters suddenly don’t care about such things. Herman Cain says it’s all a lie. And he says it with conviction. But then, Bill Clinton also said it was all a lie. And he also said it with conviction.
OccupyWallStreet Leftist: "I wouldn’t give a f*ck if 9/11 happened 911 more times"
If so, let us hope he is in the first building hit. Above the plane strike. ~Bob.
Didn’t get the “Islam is a Religion of Peace” memo. ~Bob. Excerpt: Gunmen shot dead three Hindus in Shikarpur in a dispute over a dancing girl with a local Muslim tribe, officials said on Tuesday. The incident took place on Monday in Chak town near Shikarpur city, 400 kilometres north of Karachi, the capital of southern Sindh province. “Two men riding a motorbike opened fire at a clinic, killing three Hindu doctors and wounding a paramedic seriously,” Pakistan Hindu Council chief Ramesh Kumar told AFP.
Shaykh al-Huwayni: The Penalty for Apostasy Is Death; Only "Boozers and Druggies" Say Otherwise
Excerpt: In this Health Alert, we want to consider some policy implications.
Complex Systems Cannot Be Managed from the Top, Down. Precisely because knowledge about the system is limited, even the best models are highly imperfect and interventions always produce unintended consequences, top-down management of a complex system never works. The best you can do is to remove perverse incentives faced by those at the bottom — leaving people free to cooperate and solve problems from the bottom-up. Consider a notorious violation of this principle. At one point, leaders in the Soviet Union thought they could understand enough about their country’s entire economy that they could manage the whole thing from a central command post. Today, even the Russians admit they were wrong.
President Obama walks on both sides of Wall Street
Excerpt: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gets grief from a lot of conservatives for having changed his position over the years on important issues like abortion and government-run health care. But Romney is a rank amateur compared to the doubletalk coming from President Obama on the topic of Wall Street. On the one hand, there is the former community organizer Obama. This Obama has made it clear in recent weeks that he is at one with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, saying, for example, when ABC asked how he viewed the demonstrators, that "the most important thing we can do right now is those of us in leadership letting people know that we understand their struggles and we are on their side. ..." Obama coming down on the side of demonstrators carrying signs demanding the arrest of investment bankers and other "masters of the universe" shouldn't come as a surprise because bashing "the rich" and "the one percent" has been among the chief executive's favorite rhetorical gambits. Readers may recall the December 2009 tongue-lashing that the president delivered right before meeting with a delegation of Wall Street and big bank executives: "I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street," Obama said. "They're still puzzled why is it that people are mad at the banks. Well, let's see. You guys are drawing down $10, $20 million bonuses after America went through the worst economic year that it's gone through in -- in decades, and you guys caused the problem. And we've got 10 percent unemployment." Such comments are of a piece with Obama's virulent class warfare rhetoric about "millionaires" and "corporate jets." But then there is the Obama who is more than happy to accept high-dollar contributions from every Gordon Gecko on Wall Street.
Anti-Jewish indoctrination in Spanish public school: Andalusia is Here
Excerpt: Caroline Glick posted this monstrous video of child abuse of Spanish children (with a big happy smiley face, of course.) This pure evil. Al Qaeda (translation- headquarters ie Centcom) has said it's next goal was to liberate Spain from the Infidels. Mission accomplished.
Occupy DC Smelled Bad by Mollie Hemingway, Ed.
Excerpt: OK, so I finally got the opportunity to visit Occupy DC. I am drawn to protests like my kids are drawn to new episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba! -- strongly. So a friend and I headed down there and visited the little tent city and talked to the occupiers. We chose perhaps the worst time to visit -- pretty late at night -- so most of the people who were out and about were either pretty tired or pretty inebriated. … But when I read this story ("Man found dead in Occupy New Orleans encampment") about a man dead for two days being discovered in the Occupy zone, I wondered whether DC didn't have a similar problem. I'm not saying the encampment smelled of death, exactly, but it really did smell bad.
#OccupyPortland Protesters Show Solidarity With Islamic Terrorists
Excerpt: Portland police said an improvised incendiary device was set off outside the World Trade Center at 121 SW Salmon and they're investigating a possible link to the Occupy Portland camp. Lt. Robert King said a Molotov cocktail caused minor damage Tuesday night on an external stairwell. The building is located one block east of the two parks where Occupy Portland demonstrators have been camped since Oct. 6. King said "there's preliminary information available that indicates a connection" to Occupy Portland.
After series of missteps, calls grow for Cain chief of staff to resign
Excerpt: Conservative pundits and former Cain staffers are calling for the resignation of Herman Cain’s chief of staff, who they say has damaged the GOP candidate’s credibility. The calls for Mark Block to resign come as Cain’s campaign deals with sexual harassment allegations that threaten to ruin his candidacy. Block originally fingered a rival campaign for the story (before walking that back), and made accusations against a reporter Tuesday night on cable television that proved to be false. Those moves come on top of accusations Block broke election laws in Wisconsin and reports he was arrested for drunk driving.
Blame It On Cain
Excerpt: Are there any pure women on the liberal side any longer? Most appear to be androgynous, if not downright mannish, such as Janet Napolitano, Janet Reno, and Elena Kagan. (Mmmm, I can't tell those three apart. Kate in LA.) And what about Hillary Clinton? If it weren’t for Chelsea, there might be a lot more scrutiny on her. These ladies remind me of a hyena clan: strong, powerful females with the male genitalia to prove it. So why are they suddenly setting the women’s movement back to the 1950s by wilting like flowers in the face of “sexual harassment”? Maybe even NOW knows that the media’s so-called exposés on Cain are ridiculous?
No Messing: Bid To Occupy Trafalgar Square Nipped in the Bud as Students Protesting Against Fees are Outnumbered by the Police
Excerpt: Protesters carried placards which read 'Scrap Tuition Fees' and 'Free Education'. There were chants of 'No ifs, no buts, no education cuts' and 'David Cameron **** off back to Eton' while demonstrators slowly made their way through the streets.
Estimates that 10,000 people would attend the march appeared to be an exaggeration, according to a policeman who said he thought there were around 2,500 demonstrators.
Veteran’s Day Thanks Video
Penn State President Graham Spanier Will Either Quit Or Be Fired Today
Excerpt: Spanier was made aware in 2002 that a graduate assistant coach had seen former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky allegedly sexually assault a young boy in a shower in the Penn State locker room, according to grand jury testimony. Spanier did not involve police, according to testimony. Spanier has not been charged, but there have been many calls for his resignation. Sandusky has been charged with 40 counts of sexually abusing children.
Personal Foul at Penn State
Excerpt: Paterno was told about it the day after it happened by Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant coach who testified that he went into the locker room one Friday night and heard rhythmic slapping noises. He looked into the showers and saw a naked boy about 10 years old “with his hands up against the wall, being subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Sandusky,” according to the grand jury report. It would appear to be the rare case of a pedophile caught in the act, and you’d think a graduate student would know enough to stop the rape and call the police. But McQueary, who was 28 years old at the time, was a serf in the powerfully paternal Paternoland. According to the report, he called his dad, went home and then the next day went to the coach’s house to tell him. “I don’t even have words to talk about the betrayal that I feel,” the mother of one of Sandusky’s alleged victims told The Harrisburg Patriot-News, adding about McQueary: “He ran and called his daddy?”
Excerpt: Most Americans are puzzled and, of these, most are angry that Tim Geithner and Obama keep forking over our cash to a failing Europe via the IMF. In fact, these politicians are some of the few who realize that the US Left actually triggered the world economic crash and therefore, in a sense, owes Europe and everyone else an apology at the very least. It is interesting that even the most conservative authors, writing on the economy, rightfully blame the banks, the Fed and the 1999 repeal of Glass-Steagall for the economic crash, but most of them fail to look back at the prime cause, the bleeding heart giveaway policies of the CRA (Community Reinvestment Act). True, these other factors were absolutely key and no one is denying that. But without the CRA, it would not have happened, at least not in the same way. “Most people do not realize this, but derivatives were at the center of the financial crisis of 2008,” states an article at theeconomiccollapseblog.com. Nothing wrong with that statement. (This blog is in fact one of the best sources available on the progress of the West’s current economic suicide attempt.) Indeed, neither party noticed the enormous destructive power of these instruments back when the market was bearish. But let’s be more specific. In the case of the current crisis, it was not just any old derivatives that caused the initial tremor in the markets. It was mostly a derivative known as MBSs, or mortgage backed securities, that got the avalanche rolling. And the repeal of Glass-Steagall (which had denied banks the right to act as both investment houses and banks) was the enabler.
Cain Lost in the Labyrinth: Cain’s authenticity versus Obama’s metrosexual cool
‘Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here,” is the placard that Herman Cain must have read last week when he descended into the Sexual Harassment Inferno, from which he has not yet emerged. I thought it was only a matter of when, not whether, Gloria Allred, the leftwing billboard lawyer, would show up at a press conference with more “evidence” of Cain’s “serial” transgressions against the meek and defenseless of yesteryear. All the usual Allred landmarks were there: her crass quip, “stimulus package”; the “no-questions” evasion of cross-examination; the long-distant, heretofore-dormant act of harassment some 14 years in the past, whose graphic details were not shared at the time even with close friends, but are now oddly to be disclosed to 300 million. As of now, Cain has confessed only to expressing admiration for a female worker’s height, as best he can remember that remark and perhaps others some years back. Most establishment conservatives — perhaps mindful of the fates of Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle — don’t necessarily disbelieve Cain but do feel that four or five “victims” are too many and that Cain’s responses are too sloppy. He thus should confess at least to a married roving eye, or perhaps even leave the race — and thereby ensure that a Ross Perot–like tea-party candidate without any political experience won’t blow an otherwise good Republican chance to unseat Barack Obama.
The Coming of Age Wars
Excerpt: I have no idea whether the Occupy DC crowd intentionally targeted the 78-year old woman they pushed down the stairs, but, either way, it’s a useful reminder of who’s most at risk when social tranquility starts to fade.
The Public-Union Albatross: What it means when 90% of an agency's workers retire with disability benefits
Excerpt: The indictment of seven Long Island Rail Road workers for disability fraud last week cast a spotlight on a troubled government agency. Until recently, over 90% of LIRR workers retired with a disability—even those who worked desk jobs—adding about $36,000 to their annual pensions. The cost to New York taxpayers over the past decade was $300 million. As one investigator put it, fraud of this kind "became a culture of sorts among the LIRR workers, who took to gathering in doctor's waiting rooms bragging to each [other] about their disabilities while simultaneously talking about their golf game." How could almost every employee think fraud was the right thing to do?
Excerpt: The recent release of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) study, which showed a worldwide temperature increase of about 1°C since 1950, was heralded by many as proof of global warming. Some skeptics, however, noted that the BEST data also showed that temperatures had remained unchanged for the past decade, suggesting that any warming trend had ended around the turn of the century. Meteorologist and climate-science blogger Anthony Watts has gone those skeptics one better. Having analyzed U.S. temperature data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center, Watts declared in a column for the Daily Caller: “The trend for the continental United States for the past 10 years is not flat, but cooling.” Watts broke the data down by winter, summer, and annual temperatures in each of nine designated regions in the continental United States. For wintertime he found that “every region … has a negative temperature trend for the last decade,” ranging from -1.3°F in the Western Region (California and Nevada) to -8.74°F in the East North Central Region (Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan). Meanwhile, he noted, “five of the nine regions have a negative summertime trend,” with temperatures falling as much as 1.95°F in the Northwestern Region (Washington, Oregon, and Idaho). “Only one of the nine regions (the Northeast) has a positive decadal trend for its annual mean temperature,” Watts observed, with the overall trend, as mentioned above, being one of cooling. Watts then raised an interesting question: So according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, it seems clear that for at least the last 10 years, there has been a cooling trend in the annual mean temperature of the continental U.S. While this is not the standard 30-year period used by climatologists to determine climate for an area, it does beg the question: If carbon dioxide is in control of our climate, as many advocates claim, how could this happen? (Won’t stop the media from blaming every event on Global Warming. ~Bob.)
Excerpt: Newly obtained emails released by House investigators suggest that George Kaiser, a billionaire Obama donor and chief investor in bankrupt solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, discussed the company with White House officials, directly contradicting earlier accounts. In a letter to the White House, House Energy and Commerce committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich, and oversight panel chair Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., disclosed the emails including one from March 5, 2010 between Kaiser and Steve Mitchell, Kaiser’s venture capital firm Argonaut. "BTW, a couple of weeks ago, when Ken and I were visiting with a group of Administration folks in DC who are in charge of the stimulus process (White House, not DOE) and Solyndra came up, every one of them responded simultaneously about their thorough knowledge of the Solyndra story, suggesting it was one of their prime poster children." Yet both Kaiser and the White House previously denied Solyndra was ever discussed in any of his 17 visits to the White House.