Friday, September 13, 2013

For your weekend reading

Feels like fall in Chicago this morning. Offline for the weekend and slammed today, so a limited amount for your reading pleasure. More next week—“if I’m spared,” as the Scots say. Syria at the end. Enjoy. ~Bob

Global Warming Primer: Second Edition
The National Center for Policy Analysis rereleased its global warming primer with updated graphs and information. The publication presents a factual analysis of the state of the climate, the threats posed by global warming, and the implications and results of the possible responses to warming. Presented in a graphical format, the primer is useful for readers from middle school through adulthood who want to understand what scientists and economists know about the earth's climate and what changes might mean. Divided into three sections, using peer reviewed data, the global warming primer first examines simple facts about the earth's climate and what the temperature evidence shows; second, it explores various threats posed by global warming, from increased hurricanes to polar bear loss and everything in between; third, it presents various estimates of the costs of preventing warming and its potential harms. "Today's global warming policies have no connection to climatological reality," says NCPA Senior Fellow H. Sterling Burnett, who compiled the facts and graphs presented in the primer. "Excuse the expression, but most opinions about global warming are nothing more than hot air. What this debate needs is fresh air, and the second edition of the NCPA Global Warming Primer provides it." (They are charging $10 for it, but do very good work and are an organization worth supporting. ~Bob.)

Romantic Germany risks economic decline as green dream spoils. By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Excerpt: The full implications of this may become clear over the next decade, just as Germany’s ageing crisis hits with maximum force and its engineers retire; and just as German voters discover - what they suspect already - that it costs real money to hold a half-baked euro together. The likelihood is that Germany will start to lose its economic halo soon, “de-rated” like others before it.

A 300-year history of banking and the rise of current [checking] accounts. By Rosie Murray-West
Excerpt: Banking has come a long way since the current accounts we have today began their evolution in Amsterdam in the early 16th Century.

The most and least lucrative college majors
Excerpt: Erin Ford graduated from the University of Texas two years ago with a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering. Recruiters came to campus to woo her. She got a paid summer internship, which turned into a full-time job after she graduated. Now, at age 24, she makes $110,000 a year

How Women, Hispanics, and Blue Collar Workers Defended Gun Rights in Colorado. By Matt Vespa
Excerpt: In Dave Weigel’s September 11 post on Slate, the spokeswoman for the recall, Jennifer Kerns, provided the information and showed that even Democrats love their guns. Granted, gun rights supporters have known this for quite some time. The only people who don’t get seem to get it are urban-based liberal elites.

New poll finds Americans actually prefer libertarianism, smaller government. By Katie LaPotin
Excerpt: Even younger voters said that they prefer a smaller government with fewer services but lower taxes. Half of all young voters between the ages of 18-24 favor a smaller government with fewer services but lower taxes; the number rises to 64 percent among those aged 25 to 32.

EPA to De Facto Ban All Construction of New Coal Power Plants. By Katie Pavlich
Excerpt: According to the Wall Street Journal, the Environmental Protection Agency will propose new rules next week banning the construction of new coal power plants in the United States that do not meet expensive new and ridiculous efficiency standards. The new standards will force power plants underground, literally.

Student at Elite Vermont College Destroys 9/11 Memorial. By Christine Rousselle
Excerpt: Middlebury, the fourth-ranked liberal arts college in the country, has displayed the 9/11: Never Forget Project on its campus for nearly a decade, as a joint project between the College Republicans and College Democrats. The event is decidedly non-political. This year, five people, including oneMiddlebury student, took it into their own hands to uproot the memorial, claiming that the area it was placed on was an Abenaki burial ground.

A Million Muslims and Two Million Bikers. By Doug Mainwaring
Excerpt: Just a stone's throw from the Million Muslim Rally Against Fear, Christian counter-protesters stood by, respectfully holding their banners and flags and speaking with any passerby who cared to stop and talk. Stationed between the two groups were U.S. Park Police who perhaps outnumbered both the Muslim ralliers and the Christian counter-protesters. A lone media helicopter circled overhead, no doubt getting disappointing footage of a very small rally and absolutely no violence or strife from counter groups

Wind Farms Are Killing Off Bald Eagles.
Excerpt: Green energy, a racket used by liberals to launder public funds for redistribution to campaign donors, to impoverish us, and to erode our liberty, is killing off bald eagles, the symbol of the once great nation that is being fundamentally transformed out of existence: 'Wind energy facilities have killed at least 67 golden and bald eagles in the last five years, but the figure could be much higher, according to a new scientific study by government biologists.'

Obama Expands the War on Coal to Gas-Burning Power Plants.
Excerpt: With only three years left to fundamentally transform America into a second-rate country, Obama is going straight for the jugular: our energy supply. In addition to throwing the war on coal into overdrive by effectively banning the construction of new coal-fired power plants, he is going after gas: 'This month, the Environmental Protection Agency will propose standards that will establish stricter pollution limits for gas-fired power plants than coal-fired power plants, according to individuals who were briefed on the matter but asked not to be identified because the rule was not public yet.' (Grind the poor with high energy costs. ~Bob)

Sources: US weapons stolen in Libya raids, fueling Special Forces pull-ou. By Adam Housley
Excerpt: Highly sensitive U.S. military equipment stored in Libya was stolen over the summer by groups likely aligned and working with terrorist organizations, State Department sources told Fox News -- in raids that contributed to the decision to pull Special Forces personnel from the country. 

British shocked at NHS hospital death rates — among the world’s worst and (gasp) far inferior to U.S. hospitals
Excerpt: Patients in NHS hospitals have death rates 45 percent higher than patients in U.S. hospitals (we were the best-performing by this measure out of the seven nations compared). Patients in NHS hospitals are also five times more likely to die from pneumonia than American hospital patients.

Excerpt: … our best fighting generals have been sacked, on one pretense or another, since the start of combat operations in the Af-Pak theater. … we have active hostiles serving openly in our Armed Forces. … we have a national security state that spies on us, reads our emails, taps our telephone calls, invades our computers, and data-mines our activities for “suspicious” behavior, in the name of “protecting” us. … we no longer have a functioning Fourth Amendment.

Excerpt: As lawmakers sent out their traditional 9/11 statements to mark the 12th year since the attacks on New York and Washington, some Republicans also somberly — and with frustration — remembered the attack on the Benghazi consulate a year ago. (Stonewalled on 9/11. It’s what they do. Look where it has gotten US. –Barb)

Billions to Spend: How a $5.7 billion program to rebuild L.A. community colleges went astray.
Excerpt: The trustees rely largely on contractors, college employees and unions to fund their election campaigns. Many political donors received contracts in the construction program. The searchable database shows the sources of political money and which donors have contracts. (Oh, look at this. All about my alma mater of eight terms Los Angeles City College et al. I could have told them all about this and more. They were throwing up one huge building after the next. The teachers didn't have any chalk. You couldn't hear yourself think, never mind speak, in our Spanish 3 class because of the bulldozers. Our lovely, decent Professor Jose Morin shouted out to us, "I can't ask them to stop! They could sue!" Kate.)

One of the Biggest Muslim Orgs in North America Recommends Fighting Crime by Chopping Off Hands. By Daniel Greenfield
Excerpt: What could it hurt? We keep being told that Sharia Law is so great. Why not give it a whirl followed by a prolonged scream and lots of bleeding?

'Many Afghan civilians' killed in attack targeting US Consulate
Excerpt: Many civilians were killed when Taliban insurgents launched a major attack on a U.S. Consulate in western Afghanistan early Friday, the American envoy to the country said. (I’m old enough to remember when BO said Afghanistan was a war of necessity, not of choice—a war we must win. Good times. ~Bob.)

‘Fell into My Arms.’ A police report contradicts Cory Booker on key, dramatic details. By Eliana Johnson
Excerpt: It wasn’t the bare outlines of Booker’s account of the shooting’s aftermath that piqued my curiosity — that Booker was nearby when it happened and helped on the scene — but the cinematic details. Booker has told several audiences that Miller fell into his arms after being shot and bled to death as they waited for an ambulance to arrive on the scene. (How long before they play the race card on journalists questioning Booker’s veracity? ~Bob)

VA’s reputation for health care takes a thrashing
Excerpt: The Department of Veterans Affairs’s reputation for providing good health care can’t stand many more thrashings like the one it took at a congressional hearing this week. (The Madison, WI VA has been terrific since UW Hospital moved my lung transplant efforts to them. My only grip about the VA is their “My Health Vet” website, which like all government websites is needlessly complex and user hostile. ~Bob. I agree, have had nothing but good experiences with the NJ VA. I can get an appt. almost as quickly with them as with my family Dr. The web site is impossible, how does someone with serious PTSD deal with it? I have no idea. SF, --Larry)

Somali crisis: Amnesty criticises evictions in Mogadishu
Excerpt: Amnesty International has denounced the forcible eviction of tens of thousands of homeless people from makeshift camps in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. The human rights group says the process has led to "large-scale human rights abuses" including the killing of two people during protests.

Two roadside bombs outside mosque kill 30 in Baquba: Iraqi police
Excerpt: Two roadside bombs exploded outside a mosque in the Iraqi city of Baquba killing 30 people, as Sunni Muslim worshippers were leaving following Friday prayers, police said.

Greece is collapsing, the Iranians (Persians) are getting aggressive, and Rome is in disarray. Welcome back to 430 B.C. -- John Cleese

The Grand Myth of Live-and-Let-Live Liberalism By Jonah Goldberg 
Excerpt: As a conservative resident of Washington, D.C., where registered Republicans are outnumbered by about 9 to 1 and where truly conservative Republicans are outnumbered on a scale comparable to the predicament faced by Frodo and Sam when they sneaked into orc-infested Mordor, I find such statements hilarious. There is a notion out there that being “socially liberal” means you're a libertarian at heart, a live-and-let-live sort of person who says “whatever floats your boat” a lot.

Pakistan, India spar in Kashmir in worst border violence in years
Excerpt: After a decade of relative quiet, Indian and Pakistani troops are shelling each other with vigor again along their disputed border, raising tension between the nuclear-armed nations and forcing hundreds of villagers to flee. Many fear there is worse to come. As the American military withdraws from Afghanistan, some Pakistan-based militants who had been fighting there have pledged to turn their attention to the Kashmir border region — and their old foe, India

An Israeli Strike on Iran Just Got More Likely. By Ben Birnbaum
Excerpt: John Kerry’s accidental diplomacy may have saved President Obama in Washington, but here in Israel, the White House’s indecisiveness of the last few weeks will cast a long shadow. Israel has kept a low profile in the Syrian civil war, launching anonymous strikes periodically to prevent the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah, but otherwise keeping mum—and with good reason.


Good Column: Syria - Just Another Obama Phony Scandal. By Andy Weddington
Excerpt: The President will bring audience after audience to climax. He'll label Syria a "phony scandal" - humbly citing his superior intellect and skillful gamesmanship outwitting even the clever Russians. Only he capable of understanding what he was doing.

Obama and Putin Match. Cartoon

'Peace' Plan That Is Impossible to Implement Hits First Obstacles. By Jim Geraghty, Morning Jolt
Excerpt: Is there a point where the Geneva talks becomes too much of a farce to continue? Thursday afternoon on CNN, Fareed Zakaria was ooh-ing and ahh-ing about the important, historic achievement of persuading the Syrians to sign the international Chemical Weapons Convention. Just how reliable is the signature of a dictator who used those chemical weapons against his own people, and who's still denying the attack? We're supposed to believe that a guy who's okay with gassing kids would neverlie? Because early indications are that the Syrians aren't behaving like they intend to turn over all their stockpiles…So how does Obama want to resolve this? I figured the new aim was to get the public to forget that the "red line" statement ever happened, that he ever wanted to fight a war over Syria's chemical weapons, that his best efforts to persuade Congress and the public fell flat, that he ever got himself entangled into this mess, and that the country of Syria exists.

Must Read: Putin Makes Obama Pay a High Price for Syria Escape
Excerpt: Kerry rose to power because of his leading role in the American antiwar movement of the 1970s. His testimony accusing, sometimes wrongly, American soldiers of atrocities in Vietnam launched a political career that took him to the Senate, the Democratic nomination for the presidency and, now, to the top post in President Obama’s cabinet. Vladimir Putin rose to power because of his service in the KGB, which in the 1970s was trying to exploit and manipulate the American antiwar movement. We know that while Kerry and others on the left were comparing American troops to Genghis Kahn and throwing their medals away, the KGB was working overtime to infiltrate antiwar groups and overtly propagandizing with the same messages embraced by American liberals.

Pivot!: Obama pedals away from Syrian debacle. By Neil Munro
Excerpt: President Barack Obama is pedaling away from his self-imposed Syrian debacle, telling reporters on Thursday that he’s leaving the issue to Secretary of State John Kerry, and is shifting his focus to domestic issues.
After seeing Iraq up close, top U.S. general wary Syria.
Excerpt: Dempsey acknowledged in 2011, the year he was appointed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that U.S. political and military leaders - including himself - had failed to fully grasp the strength of sectarian hatreds in Iraq. "I didn't understand the dynamic inside that country, particularly with regard to the various sects of Islam that fundamentally, on occasion, compete with each other for dominance," he told a hearing in the U.S. Congress.

Witness to a Syrian Execution: “I Saw a Scene of Utter Cruelty”
Excerpt: What follows is a harrowing series of photographs of Islamic militants publicly executing, by decapitation, a young Syrian in the town of Keferghan, near Aleppo, on August 31, 2013. (Our moderate allies. ~Bob.)

What Vladimir Putin didn't tell the American people about Syria. By Anna Neistat
Excerpt: It's not what Vladimir Putin's New York Times op-ed says that's so worrisome; it's what it doesn't say. As a Russian and as someone who has been to Syria multiple times since the beginning of the conflict to investigate war crimes and other violations, I would like to mention a few things Putin overlooked 

Obama Does The Impossible, Makes Congress More Popular: Gallop Poll Finds 5-Point Approval Rating Jump For Congress After Opposing His Attack On Syria.
Excerpt: Via The Hill: Congress’s approval rating rose to the highest level in nearly a year as lawmakers resisted President Obama’s call for military action against Syria. A new Gallup poll released Thursday found a 5-percentage-point increase in Congress’s popularity to 19 percent.

Kerry and McCain's Syrian Rebel Expert Fired For Faking Her Academic Credentials. By Daniel Greenfield
Excerpt: I’m sure all the Christians murdered by her Jihadist friends share her pain. Elizabeth O’Bagy has been getting a lot of attention for her Wall Street Journal op-ed which falsely claimed that most of the Syrian rebels were moderates. McCain and Kerry both cited her work.

Hostage to Foreign Extremists: Frightened Syrian minorities speak of brutal atrocities committed by rebel jihadists. By Andrew Doran
Excerpt: The Syrians, whose names are withheld for their safety, fear reprisal. The Syria they describe is a more complex place than that seen on the news by Americans. Prior to the outbreak of civil war in Syria, the Sunni majority, Alawi, Shia, Druze, Kurds, and Christians lived in peace.

Fast & Furious: Libyan Edition (Should say “Syrian Edition”)
Excerpt: If you were a big fan of Operation Fast & Furious, that stroke of genius masterminded by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives which sought to ensnare Mexican drug lords in a violation of the law (think about that for a second) by letting them buy weapons in selected states in the American Southwest and use them to kill their opponents, innocent bystanders, and the occasional U.S. Border Patrol agent, you are going to love what the Obama administration has come up with in Syria.

Residents of Ma'loula Write A Letter To The USA Congress: "What Will Happen When The USA Bombs Syria?"
Excerpt: "First, let us tell you what has happened today in Ma'loula and then explain what Ma'loula is like,” the letter said. “At 4.00 AM (Damascus time), gangs of the ‘Free Syrian army’, terrorists and killers... attacked the town, violating the security of houses, monasteries and churches, desecrating icons, and demanding that people renounce their faith and accept Islam.”

Syria Massacre? Nusra Front Fighters Reportedly Kill Women, Children, Elderly Men In Alawite Village
Excerpt: The death toll from an alleged massacre in an Alawite village in central Syria has risen to 22, including women, children and elderly men, a rights monitoring group said on Thursday.

These Two Men Allegedly Overheard Incredibly Explosive Skype Conversation While Being Held Hostage In Syria
Excerpt: Two Europeans who were allegedly abducted and held hostage for several months in Syria claim they overheard a conversation between their captors suggesting the Syrian rebels were behind the deadly chemical attack in Damascus. The men were released on Sunday. (I don’t necessarily believe this, but certainly both sides are capable of the worst atrocities. ~Bob.)

Congress Must Recapture Its Lost War Powers. By Patrick J. Buchanan
Excerpt: "It was a damn near-run thing," said the Duke of Wellington. The Iron Duke was speaking of Waterloo. And for the United States, it was a damn near-run thing that we are not now in a major war -- with an enraged Arab and Muslim world viewing sickening videos of dead and dying Syrian women and children from U.S. missile strikes.

Obama Makes Case for War, Then Diplomacy, Then War. By Ben Shapiro
Excerpt: On Tuesday night, President Obama delivered a hastily-cobbled-together speech, first making the aggressive case for action against Syria based on Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons, then careening to the case against action in favor of more diplomacy, before concluding with the warning that war was still on the table. (And then the usual pivot to domestic issues. ~Bob.)

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