Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Lots of Political News

Short Health Update from Monday's Surgical Bronchoscopy--the news was neutral. ~Bob

Book Recommendation: Apache: Inside the Cockpit of the World's Most Deadly Fighting Machine. By Ed Macy
A terrific combat memoir by a Brit chopper pilot in Afghanistan. The details on the Apache and flying it are fascinating, but the combat scenes are riveting. I literally couldn't put it down for the last few chapters, read late into the night. Well written; military history buffs will love it. ~Bob

Must Read: Demonizing the Helpers. By Thomas Sowell 
Excerpt: It is not easy to demonize people who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars of their own money to help educate poor children. But some members of the education establishment are taking a shot at it. The Walton Family Foundation — created by the people who created Walmart — has given more than $300 million to charter schools, voucher programs and other educational enterprises concerned with the education of poor and minority students across the country. The Walton Family Foundation gave more than $58 million to the KIPP schools, which have had spectacular success in raising the test scores of children in ghettoes

Worth Reading: Risky Hydraulic Fracturing? By Terry Anderson (John and Jean De Nault Senior Fellow) and Carson Bruno (Research Fellow)
Excerpt: The nation is experiencing a natural gas and oil boom due in no small part to hydraulic fracturing. In many states, hydraulic fracturing has been the driver behind economic growth. But the process is among the environmentalist movement’s top targets. However, the scientific research on the water-related concerns associated with fracturing suggests environmentalists’ concerns are overblown: although the risks are real, their occurrences are rare. (Ban fracking--support the Democrats #WaronthePoor. ~Bob)

Worth Reading: The Myth of Economic Immobility: Americans are actually more mobile than we've ever been. By Greg Beato 
Excerpt: Yet a month after Obama's speech, two Harvard economists, two Berkeley economists, and one U.S. Treasury economist failed to find decreasing economic mobility in a working paper they jointly published via the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research. "Contrary to the popular perception," the authors wrote, "we find that percentile rank-based measures of intergenerational mobility have remained extremely stable for the 1971-1993 birth cohorts." According to their research, a child born into the bottom quintile of income distribution in 1971 had an 8.4 percent chance to reach the top quintile as an adult. For a child born in 1986, that chance had risen to 9 percent. If anything, they concluded, "mobility may have increased slightly in recent cohorts."

where the other children are far behind in academic performance. D.C. Prep, in Washington, whose students are mostly poor and black, has also received grants from the Walton Family Foundation. Its test scores likewise exceed those of traditional neighborhood schools, as well as the test scores of other local charter schools. 

In California, a Fevered Rush for Gun Permits
Excerpt: Pete Alexander celebrated the news that a federal court in California had thrown out this state’s strict requirements for obtaining a concealed-handgun permit — among the toughest in the nation — by calling the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to apply for a permit he had long wanted. “I’m a gun enthusiast,” said Mr. Alexander, a construction contractor who lives in Fullerton. “Crime is encroaching on our neighborhood, and I don’t feel as safe as I used to. This is adding to the police force.” Mr. Alexander turned out to be the beginning of a flood. (Interesting... but this will be in courts for years. Meanwhile, in one place, the delay for getting interviewed for a permit is 30 months! But if you live in CA, now is the time to get your name out there for a permit. --Del)

The Democrats #WaronthePoor: The 'Unintended Effects' of Government-Mandated Ethanol
Excerpt: Moreover, the negative consequences of including corn ethanol in the fuel supply are enormous. In 2000, more than 90 percent of the corn grown in the United States went to feed people and livestock, including many people in undeveloped countries, and less than 5 percent was used to produce ethanol. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 dictated that gasoline contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels. By 2013, 40 percent of the corn crop went to produce ethanol, 45 percent fed livestock, and just 15 percent was used for foods and beverages, according to a report from Forbes. (Corn-derived ethanol has been a bad idea from Day One, but it SOUNDED so good to people and got sold by the environmental lobby, and the government made it a policy without ever really understanding what it meant. And it meant spending more energy to generate the alcohol than we get back from it, while raising the price of food all over the world. Another stupid move made on the basis of emotional response. And once in play, it makes the corn growers more money than corn for food does, so they have lobbied to keep it this wasteful way. And our politicians have mostly sold out to them. Now there are some congress people who are ready to kill the subsidy and void the rules requiring ethanol in fuel. Let's hope the rest of them climb out of the pockets of the lobbyists and finally do the right thing for the country. --Del)

Europeans detained in Ukraine, raising stakes
Excerpt: International negotiators rushed to eastern Ukraine on Saturday to seek the release of European military monitors who were captured Friday and promptly branded “spies” by the pro-Russia militia that seized them.

Ignorance And Cronyism Are The Only Settled Sciences. Derek Hunter
Excerpt: You’d have better luck getting a devout Scientologist to say L. Ron Hubbard was a horrible writer than you would to get a progressive to admit the “science” behind climate change is not all it’s cracked up to be. For one thing, it is based on models of what could happen in 100 years, even though those models are mostly unreliable when you use them to map what happened in the last 30. 

Janet Yellen is shocked that the Fed’s price models don’t work. By Nick Sorrentino
Excerpt: Ms. Yellen says doesn’t understand why inflation is running hotter in the US than her models say it should be and why it ran cooler in Japan recently than her models predicted. Models, it’s always the models with Keynesians.

Nancy Pelosi is a Power Hungry Monster
Excerpt: For many conservatives, one of the greatest problems in our country today isn’t necessarily a particular issue, but the people who make the decisions on those issues. Our politicians routinely push the country in directions that the majority of Americans disagree with. A few examples to provide evidence: Obamacare, abortion, gay marriage, raising taxes, sending money and aid to countries that hate us and so much more. In state after state, politicians prefer to legislate rather than to allow referendum or popular opinion to decide the many issues of our day. California Representative Nancy Pelosi is a perfect example of what so many of us hate about American politics today.

Some gun advocates are a bit more explicit about it than others. By Jim Geraghty, Morning Jolt
After beginning with the usual call for "common sense safety laws," Lucia McBath, national spokesperson for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, writes: No one said this fight would be easy and I fully understand that changing the current gun culture across the nation will not take place overnight. It will be a slow and sometimes emotionally taxing campaign, a crusade that our opponents will often deride and say can't be won. But I also understand that it a fight on which we must not back down. They want to change the culture of gun owners, not just the laws they must obey. I'm sure you can imagine other communities that would not react with warmth if you appeared one day and announced, "Hi, I'm here to change your culture!" I'm sure most of these progressive gun control advocates think that one of history's greatest crimes was the way that European colonists changed and in some cases eradicated the cultures of native peoples… but in the here and now, they see absolutely nothing wrong with going forth, encountering people who live differently from them, and declaring, "these savages have to be civilized!" In short, these progressives are intolerant of diversity.

The homophobic left: Straight talk about gay Republican Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio
Excerpt: For instance, DeMaio has been the target of homophobic attacks. But where are those attacks coming from? It’s not always from the far right social conservatives you’d expect; rather, it’s been from DeMaio’s left – the liberal and Democrat-affiliated groups that you’d think would be proud that an openly gay successful businessman has decided to run for office. One false attack drew the attention of the San Diego Ethics Commission. An anonymous left-wing group funded a SuperPac and sent mailers of DeMaio Photoshopped next to a drag queen to neighborhoods with a majority of elderly and African-American voters, knowing that such a photo would depress support for DeMaio. (The Left will be openly homophobic when it suits their purposes. They have no principles other than winning. -- Jim Geraghty, Morning Jolt)

Excerpt: In the course of his evangelizing, Mann has shown little tolerance for heretics. A recent op-ed he penned for the New York Times is illustrative. “If You See Something, Say Something,” the headline blares, mimicking New York subway warnings and suggesting a not-so-subtle parallel between the dangers of global-warming “denial” and the murderous terrorism that brought down the Twin Towers. In the opening paragraph of the piece, Mann castigates his critics as “a fringe minority of our populace” who “cling[] to an irrational rejection of well-established science.” These aristarchs, Mann contends, represent a “virulent strain of anti-science [that] infects the halls of Congress, the pages of leading newspapers and what we see on TV, leading to the appearance of a debate where none should exist.” Alas, such comparisons are commonplace. In the rough and tumble of debate, climate-change skeptics are routinely recast as climate-change deniers, an insidious echo of the phrase “Holocaust deniers” and one that has been contrived with no purpose other than to exclude the speaker from polite society.

U.S., Philippines Sign Defense Pact Amid China Tensions
Excerpt: The Philippines and the U.S. signed an agreement that will boost the American troop presence in the Southeast Asian nation, as President Barack Obama said America’s strategic rebalancing to Asia isn’t aimed at combating a rising China.

How Now White Cowman? By Mark Steyn
Excerpt: Like everyone else, Gavin McInnes has weighed in on Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy's observations on "the Negro". Mr McInnes concludes: "This isn't about some old guy's views on slavery. It's about government control. We're not saying Bundy is the messiah and we accept him as our personal savior. We're saying the government is wrong." Let's stipulate that Cliven Bundy is a racist. Let's also assume, if only to save time, that he's Islamophobic, homophobic and transphobic. So what? Does that make criticizing the Bureau of Land Management "racist" or "homophobic"?

How Blaming Bush Led to the Ukraine Crisis. By Daniel Greenfield 
Excerpt: For the Democratic Party, history began and ended with the election of George W. Bush. Nothing had happened before him. Every world crisis began with him and would only come to an end when the Democratic Party finally squeezed one of its own into the White House.
If there was a problem, Bush had caused it. If another country hated America, it was Bush’s fault. Bush alienated Europe, Russia, Asia, the Middle East and even parts of Antarctica.

New York Rep. Grimm arrested, facing federal charges
Excerpt: New York Rep. Michael Grimm was arrested Monday morning, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to Fox News, as federal prosecutors prepare to announce charges against the Republican congressman. 

What Fourth Amendment? Police Raids Go Beyond the War on Drugs. By Lucy Steigerwald
Excerpt: On April 15, seven police officers in Peoria, Illinois raided the home of Jon Daniel and his roommates. They took various electronics, and kept several residents of the house cuffed for hours. The reason for this raid? Any good student of the current state of American policing might have guesses – was it drug trafficking? Immigration issues? Terrorism? No. Nothing as disturbingly expected as all that. This particular raid was over a parody Twitter account made by Jon Daniel that mocked Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, portraying him as a Rob Ford-esque party animal and user of recreational substances. Though Daniel eventually marked the account as fake, and then Twitter suspended the damn thing anyway, that wasn’t enough for Ardis, who filed a complaint with the police department. And three different judgessigned off on the search warrant that permitted seizing electronics, computer equipment, and mysteriously, "cocaine, heroin, [or] drug paraphernalia." (This article comes from a very passionate antiwar website, not exactly one of my favorite places to go. But the particular article is one that should concern us all. The reports of excessive use of SWAT teams and militarized police and even federal bureaucracies have been climbing for years now, and we should all be upset about it. --Del)

Excerpt: Watts had some fairly beefy looking people around too. Gun control advocates wouldn’t be using armed guards, would they? Well, if you were expecting a large amount of hypocrisy from a group funded by a global warming alarmist with eleven homes and a private jet, give your instincts a pat on the back.

Unhealthy Trends in Nation Beg for Conservative Leadership. By Star Parker 
Excerpt: And young Americans are far more likely to likely to embrace non-traditional values such as same-sex marriage and out-of-wedlock childbirth than older Americans. So it should come as no surprise that over time, conjugal marriage is disappearing as a core American institution and that increasing numbers – now over 40 percent – of babies are born today to unwed mothers.

SWAT-ing Used by Liberals to Target Conservatives
Excerpt: What would you do if you suddenly realized that your house was surrounded by a heavily armed SWAT unit and they were calling for your surrender? If you don’t think it could happen to you, then put yourself in the shoes of a 17 year old computer gaming teenager in Long Beach, New York. He had his earphones on while playing the video game ‘Call of Duty.’ According to police, if you lose at the online game, your opponent uses your personal information, obtained during the game to make a false report to local police, claiming that you just killed someone. (This happened to conservative blogger Erick Erickson of Red States, among others. Anyone who does this should be charged with attempted murder, regardless of party orientation. That said, blaming all liberals for the actions of a crazy few is like blaming all gun owners for the murders by a few nut jobs, or blaming all white people for the racism of a few unhinged fringe folks. Ethically wrong and counter-productive. Bob)

Excerpt: Until recently, I thought that the latter attitude had become completely disreputable. The idea that we should tear down the good just because they are good or the successful just because they are successful is bad economics, bad ethics and an embarrassingly childish form of envy. But it has recently re-emerged in large part because of Thomas Piketty's new book, Capital in the Twenty First Century. Piketty argues that we have been experiencing and will continue to experience growing inequality of income and wealth. To prevent this he argues for punitive taxes on high incomes and a worldwide tax on wealth. Piketty's book has created near ecstasy on the political left, where it is taken as an unquestioned article of faith that inequality of income and wealth is bad. ... What is more interesting than the book itself is that the left now seems free to say things they previously would have been embarrassed to say.

The Piketty Phenomenon. By David Brooks
Excerpt: You go to fund-raisers or school functions and there are always hedge fund managers and private equity people around. You get more attention than them at parties, but your whole apartment could fit in their dining room. You struggle with tuition, but their kids go off on ski weekends. You wait in line at the post office, but they have staff to do it for them. You see firsthand the explosion of wealth at the tippy-top. ... The situation is ripe for the sort of class conflict the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu used to describe: pitting those who are rich in cultural capital against those who are rich in financial capital.

Taking on Iowa. By Erick Erickson
Excerpt: I had the pleasure of moderating the forum. I hate debates and I made that clear to the candidates. The modern American political debate consists of reporters with a liberal worldview asking gotcha questions to conservatives that, by intention or otherwise, try to put them in a bad light. When the conversation shifts to policy, the candidates try to micro-nuance their agreements to make it sound like they disagree.

The Good News about Racism in America. By Bernard Goldberg
Excerpt: And that so many Americans – of all races — have turned against him and his bigotry is a good thing. That’s what’s missing from coverage of the Donald Sterling story. And if you want to know how seriously we take Sterling’s racist remarks, consider this: CNN has finally ended its non-stop coverage of the missing Malaysian jetliner and now is going all out on Sterling. In a country of more than 300 million people there are always going to be some bigots. But they’ve become outliers in our culture – outcasts, actually.

Filipino Protesters Burn Effigy Of Barack Obama To Protest New Defense Deal
Excerpt: According to NBC News, the crowd paraded through the streets with several figurines that appeared constructed with the full detail of a parade float. The centerpiece of the protest, however, was a large dog with the face of the President of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino III. The dog pulled a chariot controlled by a figurine of President Barack Obama, which was burned in effigy while floating through the streets. The activists, many members of the Philippines' left wing political party, also threw rotten tomatoes and eggs at the effigies before they were burned, according to the Philippine Star. (Think a left-wing party might be pro China versus their own country, just a left-wing Americans opposed fighting Hitler when he was allied with Stalin? ~Bob)

Rep. Tom Mcclintock: Legal Immigrants Most Angry About Illegal Immigration
Excerpt: Speaking at The New York Meeting on Monday, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) took a firm stance against illegal immigration, saying massive illegal immigration angers legal immigrants and threatens to balkanize America. ... "A lot of immigrants that I talk to... are the maddest about illegal immigration because they're the ones who stood patiently in line, and obeyed all of our laws, came here with a sincere desire to become Americans, and they are watching 11 million people trying to cut in line and flout our laws," McClintock said. "I have found that legal immigrants, those people who came here in order to become Americans, are the angriest about illegal immigration and we need to appeal to them as well." (I met a black waiter from West Africa in DC, citizen, very bright guy, working on his second college degree, came here legally after years of effort and jumping through hoops. he was livid about illegals going to the head of the line. ~Bob)

Juan Williams Wife Robbed, Wishes She Had Gun
Excerpt: Williams said his wife's response was, "I wish I had a gun." Larson responded by saying, "God bless Mrs. Juan Williams," and said Juan should buy her a gun "at the next opportunity." (As the old joke goes, a conservative is a liberal who was mugged last night. ~Bob)

Toyota Heads for Texas. From The Patriot Post
For three decades, Toyota has called Torrance, California, home in the U.S. -- but no more. The world's second largest automaker announced plans to take 5,000 jobs and head for the freer markets of Texas, putting it closer to its manufacturing facilities. The LA Times reports that this is becoming a trend: "Occidental Petroleum Corp. said in February that it was relocating from Los Angeles to Houston, making it one of around 60 companies that have moved to Texas since July 2012, according to Texas Gov. Rick Perry." Why the exodus? Under decades of Democrat rule, California has become a land of high taxes and burdensome regulation -- the perfect formula for chasing business away. Texas has done the opposite, and it should serve notice to leftists that the Lone Star State is wooing all the gold from the Golden State.

The Democrats #WaronthePoor: Special Rules for Democrats. By Mona Charen 
Excerpt: Remember poverty? It was once a chief preoccupation of the Democratic Party. Lyndon Johnson made war on it. An entire ecosystem of federal, state and local programs has been created over the course of the past half-century to combat it, costing taxpayers more than $1 trillion annually. Yet the Democratic Party seems to have forgotten the poor.

Worth Reading: Foreign Policy: From Bad to None: Our enemies are gloating, and our allies are grimly deciding where to go from here. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: B arack Obama had a foreign policy for about five years, and now he has none. The first-term foreign policy’s assumptions went something like this. Obama was to assure the world that he was not George W. Bush. Whatever the latter was for, Obama was mostly against. Given that Bush had left office with polls similar to Harry Truman’s final numbers, this seemed to Obama a wise political approach.

Worth Reading. must be more Racists every day. ~Bob. ABC: Public Preference for a GOP Congress Marks a New Low in Obama’s Approval
Excerpt: Weary of waiting for an economic recovery worth its name, a frustrated American public has sent Barack Obama’s job approval rating to a career low – with a majority in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll favoring a Republican Congress to act as a check on his policies. Registered voters by 53-39 percent in the national survey say they’d rather see the Republicans in control of Congress as a counterbalance to Obama’s policies than a Democratic-led Congress to help support him. 

Worth Reading: Saving the System. By David Brooks
Excerpt: All around, the fabric of peace and order is fraying. The leaders of Russia and Ukraine escalate their apocalyptic rhetoric. The Sunni-Shiite split worsens as Syria and Iraq slide into chaos. China pushes its weight around in the Pacific. (apparently "leading from behind" works better in community organizing than in foreign policy. ~Bob)

Obamacare News

ObamaCare Provides Insurance, Not Care
Excerpt: New ObamaCare enrollees are going to find it difficult to access many prescription drugs, says Sally Pipes, president of the Pacific Research Institute.Those who enrolled in the health care exchanges may be in for a surprise once they start looking at their policies. Placing limits on drug coverage is seen as a way to keep insurance costs down. But if drug coverage is stingy, patients may simply forgo treatment altogether, turning treatable conditions into expensive problems that ultimately mean higher costs, for the individual as well as the entire health care system. According to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, cancer patients facing higher copayments were 70 percent more likely to simply stop taking their cancer treatment and 42 percent more likely to skip doses. This is not only a problem for patient health, but for health care spending as a whole. According to Frank Lichtenberg, professor at Columbia University, for every $1.00 spent on drugs, hospital spending is reduced by $3.65. All exchange plans must cover prescription drugs, and the average plan covers more than 50 percent of all medicines. However, prescription drug "coverage" does not mean that the drugs are affordable.

Much of Healthcare.gov is Still Under Construction. By Heather Ginsberg 
Excerpt: Behind the scenes the website’s system is made up of a tangle of workarounds moving billions of taxpayer dollars and premiums between the government and insurers. One of the major parts that still isn’t working properly is the function that accurately pays insurers. Experts say that the longer they lag the more likely they will see serious accounting problems that could lead the public to pay for higher premium subsidies or higher health care costs.

Religion of Peace News

Excerpt: Today Paul Weston, chairman of the party Liberty GB and candidate in the 22 May European Elections in the South East, has been arrested in Winchester. At around 2pm Mr Weston was standing on the steps of Winchester Guildhall, addressing the passers-by in the street with a megaphone. He quoted the following excerpt about Islam from the book The River War by Winston Churchill:

Liberty, human rights are godless and faithless ideologies, says Isma chief. By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
Excerpt: Equality, liberty and human rights are “godless” and “faithless” ideologies created by atheists to destroy Islam, hardline Islamic group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA) said today.

Lethal bombing hits Karachi amid Pakistan’s Taliban talks
Excerpt: A powerful bomb exploded Friday in an upscale residential area of southern Pakistan, killing at least four people and wounding 25, authorities said.

Bombing at southern Thai beach kills 3 policemen
Excerpt: An explosion at a fishing competition Friday in Thailand's insurgency-plagued south has killed three policemen and wounded 17 other people, police said. Police Col. Panya Karawanun said Muslim separatist insurgents are suspected of detonating a homemade bomb at a beach in Pattani province's Saiburi district.

Egyptian court seeks death sentence for Brotherhood leader, 682 supporters. By Yasmine Saleh
Excerpt: An Egyptian court sentenced the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and 682 supporters to death on Monday, intensifying a crackdown on the movement that could trigger protests and political violence ahead of an election next month.

Central African Republic crisis: MSF aid workers killed
Excerpt: Three aid workers are among 22 people killed in a rebel attack on a clinic in northern Central African Republic, officials have said. Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has confirmed that three of its local staff were killed but has not given any further details. Fifteen of the dead were local chiefs, according to the area's former MP. The attack has been blamed on the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels, whose 2013 seizure of power sparked the crisis.

Yemen begins southern offensive against AQAP
Excerpt: Yemeni media reported yesterday that the country's military is preparing for a new offensive against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula on the heels of the three successful US drone strikes last week that killed over 60 militants from the terrorist organization. Yemeni Popular Committees, local armed resistance groups who played a large role alongside the military in pushing out al Qaeda and its local affiliate Ansar al Shariah from Abyan province in 2011, claimed yesterday that this new offensive comes in response to information they received suggesting an AQAP attempt to filter into Lawdar district in Abyan and seize control of it.

Pakistani serial killer 'wanted to teach gays a lesson.' By Waqar Hussain, Issam Ahmed

Excerpt: The 28-year-old father-of-two was arrested last week and confessed to three brutal murders, saying he wanted to send out a message about the "evils" of homosexuality, though police insist he had sex with his victims first. The killings have sent shockwaves through the underground gay community of the eastern city of Lahore, which fears Ejaz could be lionised as a hero in a conservative Islamic society where homosexuality is stigmatised and sodomy is punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

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