Saturday, May 17, 2014

Shorter post, but interesting stuff

Book Recommendation: Small Wars, Faraway Places: Global Insurrection and the Making of the Modern World, 1945-1965 by Michael Burleigh 
This terrific book was given to me from my best friend from high school. By a British author, it is well-written, well-researched and well-balanced. It will be especially appreciated by military history buffs and political junkies, as it deals with not only the many conflicts in this period, but the international political decisions around them, how the "cold war" developed, and exposes the seeds of our present troubles. Those who tend to view history through a strict right- or leftwing prism will find details here to confirm their beliefs and details they will need to dismiss to prevent cognitive dissonance. Burleigh is even-handed in parceling out praise or sharp criticism to the historical figures involved, and does not go easy on the British ones, including icons such as Churchill. He is unsentimental about colonialism, detailing both the savagery of the "civilized" colonial powers and the brutality of the governments and leaders the colonials displaced. I rate this a must-read. This is not to suggest I endorse every opinion he expresses. In many areas, I do not have access to the facts he draws on. In areas I have read a lot about, like Vietnam, there are other interpretations that should be considered, for example: Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965 by Mark Moyar.  ~Bob

My letter to the ELCA Malaria Campaign

A Bit of Colored Ribbon by Robert A. Hall
My view of the future of Detroit and our other large cities, in a short "science fiction" story I published in 1998. Enjoy. ~Bob

Unfit for Office: Making mistakes is human, but lies and cover-ups are evil. By Ben Carson
Excerpt: T he recent escalating arguments over whether there should be further congressional hearings on Benghazi are troubling. The fact that there are substantial numbers of people who feel that there is nothing more to investigate when four American lives were lost and no one has answered for this crime provides an indication of how far our sense of justice has slipped.
This should not be a partisan issue, because the implications of ignoring or prevaricating about the underlying mistakes will have far-reaching consequences. 

42-year-old ID'd as wrong-way driver who killed Mesa officer
Excerpt: Officials have identified the driver of the vehicle that struck and killed an off-duty Mesa police officer early Monday after driving more than 30 miles in the wrong direction on Interstate 10. Raul Silva Corona, 42, has been identified as the driver of the vehicle that fatally collided with Officer Brandon Mendoza, 32, said Cari Gerchick, the communications director for Maricopa County. (Just a hard-working illegal taking his entitled path to citizenship on the wrong side of I-10. ~Bob)

Europe goes its own way. By Jennifer Rubin
Excerpt: France’s attempt to sell warships to Russia is both a “sell the rope to hang themselves” moment and a comment on U.S. stature these days. The New York Times: In a closed-door meeting in February 2010, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates urged his French counterpart not to proceed with the sale of two amphibious assault ships to Russia because it “would send the wrong message to Russia and to our allies in Central and East Europe.

The Insiders: Bernie Sanders vs. the Koch brothers. By Ed Rogers
Excerpt: We don’t hear too much from socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt). He is a low-key, reliable member of the left-wing majority in the Senate, a classic old-school liberal among liberals. The only noise he ever makes is the occasional golf clap in support of the growing entitlement culture. But on Friday, someone gave him a wacky Democratic talking point linking the Koch brothers to the Veterans Affairs scandal. That’s right: He suggests that the malicious neglect at the VA is somehow the Koch brothers’ fault. (It is to laugh. for the Left, the Koch Brothers have replaced George Bush and Global warming as the entity to blame for everything they see as evil. Their heavy hitters in money, of course, are above reproach. ~Bob)

The Big Immigration Problem No One's Talking About
Excerpt: But even those who are apprehended for additional crimes may not be held. Here is a big problem no one is talking about: Criminals are being released.
According to a recent report conducted by the Center for Immigration Studies, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released more than 30,000 convicted criminal aliens from custody in 2013. That’s right — the agency in charge of securing our nation’s border decided to set free 36,007 violent and incarcerated individuals back into society. Some of the changes levied against these individuals include homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, and aggravated assault, just to name a few.
Excerpt: Criminal illegal aliens released by the Obama administration between 2009 and 2011 went on to be charged with 19 murders, three attempted murders and 142 sex crimes, a House Judiciary Committee report previously documented.

The most segregated schools may not be in the states you’d expect
Excerpt: The Northeast was the only region where, on average, the share of black students in almost completely minority schools has risen since 1968, according to the report titled “Brown at 60: Great Progress, a Long Retreat and an Uncertain Future.” More than half — 51.4 percent — of black students in those states in 2011 were in schools whose student populations were 90 percent to 100 percent minorities. In every other region of the country — the Midwest, West, South and “border” states — black students today are less likely to be in heavily minority schools.

Only half of young Obama voters are prepared to vote for Democrats
Excerpt: In case there was any doubt that the youth vote could hurt Democrats in 2014, the following two charts should just about kill it. ... What's most notable here: Only half of young people who voted for Obama say there is even a chance that they'll vote in 2014 and that their vote would be for Democrats. (Guess they turned into racists. ~Bob)

Scientists in cover-up of ‘damaging’ climate
Excerpt: Research which heaped doubt on the rate of global warming was deliberately suppressed by scientists because it was “less than helpful” to their cause, it was claimed last night. In an echo of the infamous “Climategate” scandal at the University of East Anglia, one of the world’s top academic journals rejected the work of five experts after a reviewer privately denounced it as “harmful”. (Lennart Bengtsson is a  well known and very well qualified climatologist, who recently made some innocent comments about examing all the data on warming to as to be able to better judge what kind of scatter there is when estimating the temperatures were in the past and present.  This is just scientific rigor, so that you end up with a better idea of what you really know and what is more of a guesstimate. For this, he was instantly attacked, and driven from his position in the organization of climatologists.  There are assorted articles about this in a UK paper. "This bullying of climate-science sceptics must end" The whole story of Bengtsson and the "community" is utterly depressing.  By simply going on the board of the organization and representing a mildly dissenting view, he became Evil Incarnate, anathema, and lost friends and contacts by the boatload, came under enormous pressure, and finally, sensibly, resigned. This is how some people see free speech, the right (and value) of dissent, the idea of bringing in alternate views on a subject?  Things are indeed sad, very sad. --Del)

Great news from Jeb Bush: I’ll govern like Lyndon Johnson did
Excerpt: You’d think a guy who’ll be attacked endlessly for his brother’s policies on Iraq wouldn’t want to tie himself to the president responsible for Vietnam too. In fairness, he’s talking about governing style here, not policy substance. But why he’d feel obliged to mention LBJ at all in making this point, I have no idea.

Gender Pay Inequality on the Left: New York Times Fires Female Editor For Being Bossy And Demanding Equal Pay. By John Hayward
As always with liberals, it's "do as I say, not as I do." ~Bob. Excerpt: The entire point of Democrats’ dopey “War on Women” rhetoric, which the New York Times fully supports, is that nothing else matters when comparing the pay of men and women.  Only hard, cold dollars and cents paycheck totals are to be considered.  ... After enjoying a frothy mug of schadenfreude over the pickle the New York Times finds itself in, we might reflect that this is really a story about cloistered liberals growing up, and learning how their ideology is a poor fit for the real world, where complex situations cannot easily be reduced to cartoons about patriarchy, sexism, and racism. 

New York Times publisher Sulzberger fights back, weakly
Excerpt: As any crisis communications consultant will note, a company is in a crisis when it’s forced to publicly compare the compensation levels of key departed executives. And that’s precisely the situation in which New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. found himself today.

Jill Abramson And The Times: What Went Wrong? By Ken Auletta
Excerpt: Let’s look at some numbers I’ve been given: As executive editor, Abramson’s starting salary in 2011 was $475,000, compared to Keller’s salary that year, $559,000. Her salary was raised to $503,000, and—only after she protested—was raised again to $525,000. She learned that her salary as managing editor, $398,000, was less than that of the male managing editor for news operations, John Geddes. She also learned that her salary as Washington bureau chief, from 2000 to 2003, was a hundred thousand dollars less than that of her successor in that position, Phil Taubman.** (Murphy would say only that Abramson’s compensation was “broadly comparable” to that of Taubman and Geddes.)

The Inconvenient Truth about Climate Change. By Peter Morici 
Excerpt: Climate change cannot be denied. The inconvenient truth President Obama refuses to accept is that U.S. efforts to significantly alter its course are fruitless, and severely handicap America's ability to mitigate its consequences. The global climate has gone through profound cycles of cooling and warming since long before humans walked the earth. 

Mayor of Youngstown, OH, and two other crooked Democrats indicted for corruption
Excerpt: Yesterday brought the announcement that a handful of corrupt Ohio Democrats had been indicted for being, well, corrupt. And it also brought us another energetic round of “Name That Party,” a parlor game in which a corrupt official is arrested or indicted and we, the contestants, try to find a hint of which party to which they belong. (When a Republican is indicted, it's in the first paragraph. If it's a Democrat, often not mentioned in the story. Just as if a Marine vet or Vietnam vet who commits a murder, it's the first thing you learn, but if a Muslim, illegal immigrant or another minority does, it's often impossible to tell that from the news story. ~Bob)

Majority say Obama admin knowingly lied about Benghazi terrorist attacks. By Dan Spencer
Excerpt: A new Fox News poll finds that 51 percent think that Obama administration “knowingly lied” about the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya “to help the President Obama during his re-election campaign” against Mitt Romney.

In case you are the only person on Earth who missed this clip. ~Bob

What’s going on with the polar ice sheet? A Q&A. By Alexandra Petri

WaPo Fact Checker: Obama touts new efficiency rules in ‘Year of Action,’ after years of delays
Excerpt: Obama’s remarks might have left listeners with the impression that the Department of Energy is acting quickly to impose new efficiency rules, without waiting for Congress. But the reality is that these elements of the “Year of Action” came after years of inaction, at the behest of the White House. In this case, Congress mandated the rules — and the White House created the gridlock. Two Pinocchios.

Excerpt: The University of Queensland in Australia is taking legal action to block the release of data used by one of its scientists to come up with the oft-quoted statistic that 97 percent of climate scientists agree that mankind is causing global warming.

Excerpt: In the wake the NBA’s proposed lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine for Donald Sterling, a longtime reader reminded me that I’d written about another NBA owner, a Black man, who held a party in which Whites were refused entry and turned away. And, yet, the NBA did nothing. As I’ve already pointed out, Black racism and bigotry against Whites, Jews, Mormons, and gays is tolerated by the NBA. (Black racism is so prevalent that they have to deny it's possible. Frankly, I wouldn't be interested in attending a party either he or Sterling was hosting. Rather have a beer or six with some brother Marines, white, black, brown or yellow. They are my culture. ~Bob)

Inkster homeowner kills suspected intruder in shootout
Excerpt: The suspect reportedly pulled a weapon and shot at the homeowner, who then produced his own weapon and shot the gunman, who later died at a local hospital.

11 tips for keeping your home safe from burglars this summer

Standing up for human rights in Vietnam. By Cu Huy Ha Vu
Excerpt: Facing mounting pressure by the international community and seeking trade and security commitments, the Vietnamese government recently released five prisoners of conscience. I was one of them. Such releases are always welcome, but they should not be confused with actual human rights improvements. (Send John Kerry and Jane Fonda. ~Bob)

Common Core: Obamacare For Education: Making every kid a left-wing zealot. By Jeffrey Lord
Excerpt: Amid all the swirling controversies over campus commencement speakers, seemingly in a separate corner of the political universe another controversy swirls over Common Core. In fact? They are the same controversy. Not to mention the battle for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. You could, in fact, call Common Core Obamacare for Education. (I had not gotten around to examining the details of the Common Core arguments, too much else going on.  Then along comes this article, and suddenly things are in very sharp focus. Lesson plans on language usage that are all couched in political terms?  References that make bald political statements about past Presidents as if it's all authoritative history, like who won the Civil War? Goebbels would be overjoyed with this.  No American should be anything but shocked (as I was) and then really infuriated (as I am).  That they would DARE to use the educational system for grade and high school kids to do basic political indoctrination?  That is so un-American that it leaves one near speechless. And to my Liberal friends, if this had come out ten years earlier, and all the negative references were to previous Democrat Presidents, and all the indoctrination was for runaway capitalism, would it have been inappropriate and enraging then? Inserting the very least form of political indoctrination in the educational system should be grounds for near-riots all over, no matter what Party was in power.  Our children need to be exposed to the basics of the politics of our Founding, with all the discussions and conflicts of those times, and from there up to the Civil War, but by facts, facts, facts, not partisan interpretations. This is truly (sadly a grossly overused word) and outrage.  Time to tell your Congressmen, all of them, that this is utterly unacceptable, and shame on anyone who supports it in this form. --Del)

He's Made It Worse: Obama's Middle East
Excerpt: In the last days of George W. Bush’s presidency, the Economist delivered a damning assessment: “Abroad, George Bush has presided over the most catastrophic collapse in America’s reputation since the second world war.” In the view of the magazine’s editors, “a president who believed that America’s global supremacy was guaranteed by America’s unrivalled military power ended up demonstrating the limits of both.”

Obamacare News

States Begin to Face Overwhelming Obamacare Reality. By Amy Payne
Excerpt: California is figuring that out. The Los Angeles Times reports that “Enrollment is expected to exceed previous estimates by 1.4 million, and administration officials said it would cost the state $1.2 billion more than originally thought.” That means a lot of states may see budget-busting additions to earlier estimates, which already predicted that expanding Medicaid would be costly:

Obama OKs Caps on Medical Procedures
Excerpt: The Obama administration has approved “reference pricing” for insurance companies, which means they can put a cap on what health plans will pay for expensive procedures like knee and hip replacements.

California consumers say duped by Blue Shield's limited Obamacare plans. By Terry Baynes
Excerpt: Consumers who purchased new health plans from Blue Shield of California have sued the insurer, claiming they were misled into thinking the insurance would cover their desired doctors and hospitals. In their complaint filed in California state court on Wednesday, San Francisco residents John Harrington and Alex Talon accused Blue Shield of misrepresenting that their plans, sold on California's health exchange, would cover the full provider network advertised on the company's website.

Religion of Peace News

Christian in Sudan sentenced to death for faith; 'I'm just praying,' husband says
Interview with her husband. ~Bob. Excerpt: "I'm so frustrated. I don't know what to do," Daniel Wani told CNN on Thursday. "I'm just praying." His wife, Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, 27, was convicted by a Khartoum court this week of apostasy, or the renunciation of faith. Ibrahim is Christian, her husband said. But the court considers her to be Muslim. ... According to the rights group Amnesty International, she was also convicted of adultery and sentenced to 100 lashes because her marriage to a Christian man is considered void under Sharia law. ... Ibrahim is eight months' pregnant and is in custody with her 20-month-old son, according to Amnesty International, which considers her a prisoner of conscience.

Obama Administration Threatened Nigeria with Sanctions in 2013 for Fighting Boko Haram
Excerpt: Soon after John Kerry took over as Secretary of State, the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Terence P. McCulley, accused the Nigerian government of butchery during a confrontation with Boko Haram terrorists in Baga, a Nigerian town on the shores of Lake Chad, and in May 2013 threatened to withdraw U.S. military aid from the West African nation.

Excerpt: This is a great idea. I’m all for the public’s having a better understanding of the Qur’an. Nihad Awad of Hamas-linked CAIR lists a few of the Qur’an verses about Islam’s view of Jews and Judaism that people will encounter in their free Qur’an, but he left out a few. Here they are, from the translation (by Muhammad Asad) that CAIR is giving out. Don’t thank me, Nihad. I’m happy to help. 2:65 Allah transforms disobedient Jews into apes

The British face of Boko Haram: Man suspected of masterminding bomb attacks in Nigeria was radicalised in Glamorgan

Excerpt: A British-born man suspected of masterminding Boko Haram bomb attacks in Nigeria that left around 100 people dead became radicalised during his years at a Welsh university, it has been claimed.

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