Monday, November 30, 2015

Charles Krauthammer on Syria Ground Troops: 'I wouldn't do any operations of this scale under Obama because there's going to be a lot of needless deaths..." (VIDEO)

Oh man, that's harsh.

On Bill O'Reilly's earlier:



RELATED: At Politico, "Hillary Clinton: No troops in Syria or Iraq."

Another huge surprise there.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley Strips Down for Very Racy Burberry Fashion Campaign (PHOTOS)

She's a good lady!

At the Express UK, "Rosie Huntington-Whiteley strips NAKED for Burberry's 2015 Christmas campaign."



China Chokes on Smog as World Climate Change Talks Begin in Paris (VIDEO)

China just released some catastrophic report on the coming climate change apocalypse.

See, the Boston Globe, "Chinese assessment of climate change depicts grim scenarios."

But I think the Chinese should worry about their own backyard --- and refrain from lecturing the international community about catastrophic scenarios --- considering the literally unlivable conditions in Beijing, and I suspect the other major Chinese urban centers.

Watch this mind-boggling report from Beijing just today, from Seth Doane, at CBS News This Morning:



Developing Countries Announce 'Global Solar Alliance' to Combat Climate Change

Solar energy accounts for about 1 percent of global energy supply, so India's Narendra Modi has his work cut out for him.

At the Guardian UK, "India unveils global solar alliance of 120 countries at Paris climate summit":
India’s prime minister has launched an international solar alliance of over 120 countries with the French president, Fran├žois Hollande, at the Paris COP21 climate summit.

Narendra Modi told a press conference that as fossil fuels put the planet in peril, hopes for future prosperity in the developing world now rest on bold initiatives.

“Solar technology is evolving, costs are coming down and grid connectivity is improving,” he said. “The dream of universal access to clean energy is becoming more real. This will be the foundation of the new economy of the new century.”

Modi described the solar alliance as “the sunrise of new hope, not just for clean energy but for villages and homes still in darkness, for mornings and evening filled with a clear view of the glory of the sun”.

Earlier, France’s climate change ambassador, Laurence Tubiana, had called the group “a true game-changer”.

While signatory nations mostly hail from the tropics, several European countries are also on board with the initiative, including France.

Hollande described the project as climate justice in action, mobilising public finance from richer states to help deliver universal energy access.

“What we are putting in place is an avant garde of countries that believe in renewable energies,” he told a press conference in Paris. “What we are showing here is an illustration of the future Paris accord, as this initiative gives meaning to sharing technology and mobilising financial resources in an example of what we wish to do in the course of the climate conference.”

The Indian government is investing an initial $30m (£20m) in setting up the alliance’s headquarters in India. The eventual goal is to raise $400m from membership fees, and international agencies.

Companies involved in the project include Areva, Engie, Enel, HSBC France and Tata Steel...
Keep reading.

World Leaders in Paris Vow to Overcome Divisions on Climate Change

I'd like to see how they're actually going to overcome these divisions, because any global climate change agreement is going to suffer from a major collective action problem.

At WSJ, "President Barack Obama calls on countries to ‘rise to this moment’":
PARIS—World leaders on Monday vowed to finish a deal to curb greenhouse gases and overcome a thorny divide on financing, as they kicked off international climate talks against a backdrop of heavy security.

President Barack Obama called on governments to develop a long-term framework to cut greenhouse emissions, saying the time is coming when it will be too late. He pledged the U.S. would do its part to slow the warming of the planet, and urged other countries to “rise to this moment.”

“I’ve come here personally as the leader of the world’s largest economy and the second-largest emitter to say that the U.S. not only recognizes our role in creating this problem, we embrace our responsibility to do something about it,” Mr. Obama said.

At a heavily guarded airport complex just two weeks after terrorist attacks killed 130 people, other leaders from Russian President Vladimir Putin to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon underscored the urgency of addressing global warming in the two-week conference, dubbed the Cop 21.

Evidence of a long-standing divide quickly re-emerged. Developing countries said the richest nations that have emitted the most carbon dioxide must do more to finance a transition to greener energy and help prepare poor countries to stave off the early effects of a changing climate.

Developing countries want their highly industrialized peers to make good on pledges to mobilize $100 billion a year in public and private climate financing from 2020 onward. Some officials have warned they won’t support a deal in Paris that doesn’t deliver high levels of funding. Any agreement would require the consent of nearly 200 countries.

To help bridge the divide, several rich countries unveiled programs to boost funding. Germany, Norway and the U.K. said they would provide $1 billion a year until 2020 for payment based on emissions reductions from forests and improved land use.

Mr. Obama and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates unveiled a multibillion-dollar program involving 20 countries to boost green-energy research and development.

Yet another commitment Monday—from Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland—would provide $500 million for projects in poorer countries via the World Bank.

Emerging economies made it clear that to conclude a deal in Paris, they want to see more progress in the 2020 goal and perhaps even more funding afterward.

“Developed countries should honor their commitment of mobilizing $100 billion each year before 2020 and provide stronger support to developing countries afterwards,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said, adding that Beijing would also help finance poorer countries through its own funding vehicle.

South African President Jacob Zuma said rich countries have a “historic responsibility” to at least meet the $100 billion target.

Just before officials gathered, India slammed an October estimate on how much financing rich countries have provided to poorer countries, saying the “methodologies were inconsistent.” The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which produced the estimate, sees India’s criticism as “misjudged and inaccurate,” according to Simon Buckle, head of climate change at the organization representing highly industrialized countries.

Ahead of the Paris talks, most of the countries involved submitted their own plans for curbing emissions of greenhouse gases linked to climate change or boosting the share of green energy after 2020.

An accord clinched in Paris would codify those national plans, part of an original goal to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels...
Sounds like a pretty sophisticated shakedown scam to me. Jacob Zuma? The guy's a freakin' crook.

But keep reading, in any case.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Take 20% Off Cyber Monday Savings

At Amazon, Shop Fashion - Cyber Monday Savings.

Also, Deals in TV, Video & Audio.

And, a bestseller, Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W, Stainless Steel Cooking Pot and Exterior, Latest 3rd Generation Technology.

BONUS: From Jack Cashill, Scarlet Letters: The Ever-Increasing Intolerance of the Cult of Liberalism.

Scientists Dispute 2-Degree Model Guiding Climate Talks

Well, they're gonna get thrown out of the "tribe."

At WSJ:
The single most important benchmark underpinning this week’s talks in Paris on climate change—two degrees Celsius—has guided climate-treaty discussions for decades, but some scientists question the validity of the target.

Many researchers have argued that a rise in the planet’s average global air temperature of two degrees or more above preindustrial levels would usher in catastrophic climate change. But many others argue that is a somewhat arbitrary threshold based on tenuous research, and therefore an impractical spur to policy action.

“It emerged from a political agenda, not a scientific analysis,” says Mark Maslin, professor of climatology at University College London. “It’s not a sensible, rational target because the models give you a range of possibilities, not a single answer.”

Policy makers tend to assume the two-degree target expresses a solid scientific view, but it doesn’t. The exhaustive reports published by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are considered to be the most comprehensive analysis of the science of global warming. Yet the two-degree limit isn’t mentioned in a single IPCC report.

Still, many scientists are willing to back the goal because they see it as giving policy makers a clear-cut target to shoot at in the fight against global warming...
Okay, so far so good. But then you get this doozy:
Most climatologists agree that the earth is getting warmer and that the emission of greenhouse gases is the main driver of this change. But the question of when a catastrophic tipping point might be reached is up in the air...
Um, greenhouse gases are not the main driver. Frankly, we don't know what the main driver is. It could be anything. We're talking about the whole damned earth and the freakin' solar system. The number of possible variables is staggering.

But Professor Maslin's right: It's a political agenda, not a scientific program.

But keep reading.

Oxford University Women's Rugby Team Strips Down to Raise Money for Charity

Heh, these ladies are in great shape!

At WWTDD, "Oxford University Female Rugby Team Nude Calendar."

Also at London's Daily Mail, "Oxford University women's rugby players strip off ahead of Twickenham debut against Cambridge to raise money for charity."

Last Boeing C-17 Leaves Long Beach Assembly Plant (VIDEO)

End of an era.

At Boeing, on Twitter, "Last #Boeing C-17 Globemaster III departs Long Beach Airport TODAY noon Pacific."

Also, "I was here for the first 24 years and I am here for the last. Goodbye C-17. Thanks for the memories."

YouTube video here, "C-17 Beoing Last departure from Long Beach Airport."

Plus, reports at KTLA News 5 Los Angeles, "Last Boeing C-17 flight leaves Long Beach, ending era of California aircraft manufacturing," and LAT, "Last Boeing C-17 takes flight as California aerospace era ends."

Sunday Cartoons

At Flopping Aces, "Sunday Funnies."

Syria Fight Club photo CU3kmN6U8AEtPxB_zpsaaehenhd.png

More at Reaganite Republican, "Reaganite's SUNDAY FUNNIES," and Theo Spark's, "Sunday Cartoons..."

Still more at Legal Insurrection, "Branco Cartoon – Jihadist in a Box."

Cartoon Credit: The Economist.

'Physical' USC Beats UCLA 40-21 at Coliseum, Clinches Pac-12 South Title (VIDEO)

Everybody was using the adjective "physical" to describe USC's mauling of the virtually hapless UCLA Bruins in yesterday's citywide rivalry thriller.

At the O.C. Register, for example, "Physical, opportunistic USC beats UCLA, 40-21, clinches Pac-12 South title."

Also at the L.A. Times, "USC turns on the power to beat UCLA, 40-21, and advance to Pac-12 title game."

More, from Bill Plaschke, "This victory removes all doubt: Make Clay Helton USC's permanent football coach":

Every hit was a prayer. Every run was a plea. Every time a USC player punched a UCLA player in the mouth on a bruising, revealing afternoon at the Coliseum, there was a message.

Hire Clay Helton.

It was heard when Adoree' Jackson caught a punt, shrugged off a shot by Cameron Judge and raced 42 yards for a touchdown. It resounded when Claude Pelon racked Josh Rosen into a fumble that was carried 31 yards by Rasheem Green for a touchdown. It echoed when Darreus Rogers bullied through the grasp of Nate Meadors for a touchdown.

Hashtag Helton2016.

Pat Haden had to be listening. The Trojans alumni and boosters are surely understanding. There is absolutely no way anyone with any Trojans influence can argue against the reality of what is happening.

In the wake of USC's 40-21 blasting of UCLA on Saturday, it is clear that Clay Helton should be named the Trojans' permanent head coach, and it should happen now.

Don't wait for the outcome of the game against highly ranked Stanford in next week's Pac-12 Conference championship bout. How fair is it to judge an interim coach with a 6-2 record, a bowl victory, a win over UCLA and six decorated years on the USC staff on whether he can lead a team from the dregs of a distracted season to the Rose Bowl?

Save the announcement for after the game to avoid distraction, but get the news conference and paperwork ready now. The coronation occurred Saturday, when Helton's culture change was brutally evident in how the Trojans outmuscled, outhustled and simply outfought a Bruins team that had spent the previous three seasons beating them double-digit senseless...
Keep reading.

Holiday Toy List

At Amazon.

Also, Cyber Monday - Save on TV, Video & Audio.

Plus, from Alonzo Hamby, Man of Destiny: FDR and the Making of the American Century.

Nina Agdal Holiday Wrapping for Michael Kors (VIDEO)

I'm behind on my Nina Agdal blogging.

She's perfect.



BONUS: At WWTDD, "Nina Agdal Topless."

Robert Lewis Dear Registered to Vote as 'Unaffiliated Female'

This guy was a literal psycho.

At Gateway Pundit, "COURT RECORDS: Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooter NOT Republican, Identifies as Woman."

And ICYMI, "'Our society has been persuaded by liberals that the demented and deranged should never be criticized because criticism might hurt their feelings. Wackos and lunatics are very sensitive people, we are required to believe, and deserve our sympathy...'"

Brazilian Beauty Mariane Tarrafel Strips Down

At Egotastic!, "MARIANE TARRAFEL STRIPS OUT OF HER LINGERIE."

And bonus Rule 5 at Pirate's Cove, "If All You See……are greenery that will be decimated by too much carbon pollution, you might just be a Warmist," and "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup."

And at Drunken Stepfather, "STEPLINKS OF THE DAY."

Daniela Lopez Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Casting Call (VIDEO)

A nice Sunday treat.



'Our society has been persuaded by liberals that the demented and deranged should never be criticized because criticism might hurt their feelings. Wackos and lunatics are very sensitive people, we are required to believe, and deserve our sympathy...'

Heh.

Yeah, let's let all the wackos out of mental institutions. Wait. Leftists already did that.

But see Robert Stacy McCain, "Crazy People Are Dangerous":

Liberals tell us it is heartless and “mean-spirited” to suggest that public safety would be best served if mentally ill people with histories of dangerous behavior were locked up in psychiatric wards. Americans are told that it’s OK to let delusional and antisocial freaks roam around free in our society, because what could possibly go wrong?

When one of these dangerous kooks who roam among us finally commits the kind of crazy violence, however, liberals quickly rush to tell us that his insane actions have some kind of political significance and that the proper response to this atrocity is — wait for it — more liberalism. Another crazy killer, therefore, vote Democrat!

Liberalism would be laughable, if it were not so deadly...
More at the Washington post, "Alleged Colorado gunman was adrift and alienated."

And at the New York Times, via Memeorandum, "Robert Dear, Suspect in Colorado Killings, ‘Preferred to Be Left Alone’."

Liz Kelley, High School English Teacher in Ballwin, Mo., Has Accrued $410,000 in Student Loan Debt

That just seems impossible to me.

Do people even consider the possibility that they might have to pay this money back? I guess not.

At the New York Times, "Student Debt in America: Lend With a Smile, Collect With a Fist":
The American student loan crisis is often seen as a problem of profligacy and predation. Wasteful colleges raise tuition every year, we are told, even as middle-class wages stagnate and unscrupulous for-profit colleges bilk the unwary. The result is mounting unmanageable debt.

There is much truth in this diagnosis. But it does not explain the plight of Liz Kelley, a Missouri high school teacher and mother of four who made a series of unremarkable decisions about college and borrowing. She now owes the federal government $410,000, and counting.

This is a staggering and unusual sum. The average undergraduate who borrows leaves school with about $30,000 in debt. But Ms. Kelley’s circumstances are not unique. Of the 43.3 million borrowers with outstanding federal student loans, 1.8 percent, or 779,000 people, owe $150,000 or more. And 346,000 owe more than $200,000.

Ms. Kelley’s debt woes are also mostly a matter of interest, not principal, a growing problem for the nation’s student debtors. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the number of active borrowers enrolled in college has declined to roughly nine million today from about 12 million in 2010. Yet the total amount of outstanding debt continues to increase, because many borrowers are not paying back their older loans.

This is partly a function of continuing economic hardship. But it also reflects how the federal government has become the biggest, nicest and meanest student lender in the world.

Ms. Kelley, 48, first enrolled in college in 1990 at Maryville University, a private school near St. Louis. She was a nontraditional student, already married with children. She took out loans to help pay tuition, and by the time she graduated with a degree in English in 1994, the total was $26,278, which is the inflation-adjusted equivalent of about $42,000 in 2015. This is not an unusual sum. The typical private college graduate who borrows holds $32,600 in debt.

Then as now, the job market was not clamoring for English majors. Practicing law and teaching seemed like the best options, and Ms. Kelley chose the former. Entering law school also allowed her to delay repaying her undergraduate student loans. She again borrowed for tuition, $37,000 for the first three semesters, which is also a fairly typical amount. Law school graduates today often have six-figure loans...
You can see where this is going.

I think on the regular federal student loans you have deferred interest until 6 months after graduation, when you have to start making payments. That's what I did. But not this lady. She kept borrowing for more schooling while her old loans starting accruing.

Whoa.

More here.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Shop for Holiday Gifts

In televisions, at Amazon.

More, Holiday Gifts.

And for him and her, Amazon Fashion Gift Guide.

Plus, Braun Series 7- 790cc Pulsonic Shaver System, Silver.

BONUS: From David Horowtiz, The Black Book of the American Left - Volume 5: Culture Wars.

Climate Skeptic Judith Curry Says She Was 'Tossed Out of the Tribe...'

Heh.

At Instapundit, "TRIBALISM IS NOT SCIENCE. SO YEAH. ‘I was tossed out of the tribe’: climate scientist Judith Curry interviewed."

Photobucket

London Antiwar Protest Against Syria Airstrikes (VIDEO)

At the Guardian UK, "Syria airstrike protesters rally across UK - as it happened."


Black Friday Online Sales Far Outpace Brick-and-Mortor Shopping Numbers

At IBD, "Has Black Friday Jumped the Shark? Importance Fading?":
Black Friday's importance as the key shopping day of the year is ending, observers say, as Thanksgiving Day sales zoom and easy mobile shopping makes other days just as important.

The strong trend of online sales growth far surpassing offline sales continues, though.

Cowen analyst Oliver Chen estimates that while online traffic during Black Friday weekend will rise 20% vs. a year earlier, in-store traffic will fall 2% to 4%.

Online sales have enjoyed double-digit growth rates since the dawn of the e-commerce era.

Adobe Systems' (NASDAQ: ADBE) Adobe Digital Index, which says it measures 80% of all online transactions from the top 100 U.S. retailers, said sales between midnight and 11 a.m. ET Friday rose 15% from the year-earlier period, to $822 million.

Thanksgiving Day online shopping, however, jumped 25% vs. Thanksgiving 2014, to $1.72 billion.

Third-party sales even on top site Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) grew far greater year-over-year on Thanksgiving than they will on Black Friday, Scot Wingo, executive chairman of Channel Advisor (NYSE: ECOM), a firm that helps third parties sell on e-com sites, told IBD.

"Thanksgiving came on the scene two years ago, and it's really blown the doors off," Wingo said. Black Friday growth, on the other hand, was "OK," he said.

"This is the year we'll look back and say Black Friday jumped the shark," Stephen Baker, an analyst at NPD Group, told IBD...
Still more.

Enjoy Lauren Francesca's Behind the Scenes with Playboy (VIDEO)

Watch, "Now that you’ve seen the many sides of sexy YouTube star Lauren Francesca, it’s time to sit back and listen to what she has to say about the first video she ever made, teaching women to be good kissers, and her favorite thing on YouTube."

More, "Video Sensation Lauren Francesca Shows All Her Personalities."

And at Playboy, "We Dare You to Try and Keep Up with Internet Sensation Lauren Francesca (PHOTOS)."

Is Political Correctness Preventing the U.S. from Grappling with Root Causes of Islamic State?

Yes.

Next question?

At Foreign Policy, "The Democrats’ Problem with ‘Radical Islam’."

Maria Menounos Shows Off on Snapchat (VIDEO)

Heh.

At Egotastic!, "MARIA MENOUNOS SHOWS OFF CLEAVAGE ON SNAPCHAT."

Watch, "Maria Menounos CLEAVAGE - Snapchat - SUPER HOT."

Plus, she bares all here, "Debra Messing, Maria Menounos and More Pose in the Buff for Allure (VIDEO)."

FLASHBACK: "More Maria Menounos!"

Some Stores Temporarily Shut Down by Black Friday Protesters in Chicago (VIDEO)

From Lee Stranahan, at Big Government.

And more video from yesterday's protests:



Many Families Skipped Black Friday Shopping Altogether (VIDEO)

We're seeing something of a culture shift away from this monstrosity of a shopping day.

At CBS News 2 Los Angeles:



Winter Is Coming

This one's also on my Christmas list.

I love books!

At Amazon, Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped.

Garry Kasparov photo WinterIsComing.jpg-1-sm_zpsa1jrnq2u.jpg

Slovakia Gun Shop Was Source of Weapons in #ParisAttacks

Following-up from yesterday, "Planning for #ParisAttacks Hatched in Plain Sight."

And here's the latest on that, at WSJ, "Slovakian Shop Is Eyed as Source of Guns in Prior Terror Attacks":
PARTIZANSKE, Slovakia—For more than two decades, a store in the basement of a Soviet-style building here has sold deactivated weapons and replica Nazi uniforms to private collectors or for use as movie props.

This year, it has also been a source for weapons that European security officials say were later reactivated and used by jihadists in at least two terror attacks on the continent, a chilling exploitation of Europe’s fragmented gun laws.

European security officials said decommissioned guns purchased legally from the AFG store, owned by AFG Security Corp., have been transferred to safe houses in Western Europe, primarily Belgium, a known weapons-trading hub. Jihadists used weapons sold by AFG and reactivated in Belgium in a three-day spate of terror attacks in Paris in January, the officials said, as well as in an attack on a French high-speed train in August, foiled when the culprit was tackled by passengers after his gun misfired.

“The AK-47 type automatic gun used in the thwarted Thalys [train] attack came from the same provider as the guns used in January,” a French police officer close to the matter said. “The gunmen didn’t get the guns themselves directly in Slovakia, but from intermediaries in Belgium.”

In a recent interview from behind the counter at AFG, Frantisek Gajdos, the 24-year-old son of the store’s owner, said the business hadn’t broken any laws. “We sell these guns to many people, and some of them are foreigners,” he said. “But that’s legal.”

Slovakia’s laws governing decommissioned weapons have long been less restrictive than elsewhere in Europe. Until recently, these weapons were sold legally to anyone over 18 years old, no license required. Although it is illegal to restore them in Slovakia, doing so isn’t as difficult as it is with weapons bought in other European countries, according to gun experts and Slovak officials.

Denmark decommissions weapons by sawing them in half; Italy fills the barrels with lead. Guns sold in Slovakia had their barrels perforated with a pin, a step gun experts said could be defeated by changing the barrel.

In July, six months after the first Paris attacks, Slovakia’s government tightened the laws on selling and reactivating decommissioned weapons, which experts say will make it more difficult, but not impossible, to restore such arms. Last week, the European Commission said it would tighten legislation to ensure deactivated guns couldn’t be easily restored...
Well, more gun laws won't stop terrorism. There's a freakin' weapons pipeline from Eastern Europe into the EU nations. Expect more jihad terrorism.

But keep reading.

Don't Take Family Time for Granted — Ever!

From Michelle Malkin, "Have a Happy, Politics-Free Thanksgiving":
Many people naturally assume that since I work in political journalism, I must breathe, drink and eat politics 24/7/365 — including on the Thanksgiving holiday.

The thought of it gives me indigestion.

Self-absorbed creatures who have no life outside the Beltway world are the most tiresome ogres. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest advised Americans “sitting around the Thanksgiving table” to talk about gun control. The left-wing National Memo published “5 Things To Tell Your Republican relatives at Thanksgiving.” And The New York Times served up its own version of “How to Talk to Your Relatives About Politics at Thanksgiving,” stuffed with poll data and hyperlinks to other liberal sources of information.

Nobody needs tryptophan when you’ve got Pundy McPundit (amateur, professional or otherwise) at the table to bore your company to death with his or her insights on “climate-proofing” your holiday feast; bombard you with details about Bernie Sanders’ latest Web ad; regurgitate John Kasich’s latest attacks on critics of his massive Medicaid expansion; or champion Jeb Bush’s latest re-re-re-reboot (two exclamation points, new talking points, a fix-it toolbox, blah, blah blah).

Zzzzzzzz.

I feel sorry for rabid partisans on either side of the aisle who refuse to talk to family members, co-workers or friends who support a candidate they don’t like. Life’s too short — and 99 percent of all politicians are crapweasels, anyway.

I’ve encountered unhinged hotheads who yelled at me in front of my kids at IHOP over my appearances over the years on Fox News. Way to ruin a Funny Face Pancake moment, one-dimensional oafs.

And I’ve known people who shunned my left-leaning in-laws because they refused to denounce their conservative daughter-in-law. Gotta love the Tolerance Brigade.

Newsflash: Even amid a heated campaign season, global jihadist terror and economic insecurity, there is more to life than #WINNING political arguments.

It shouldn’t be a struggle to avoid yelling about Bush, Clinton or Trump as you pass the sweet-potato casserole. Don’t get mad. Get perspective. Here, let me help:

If your children are alive, free and healthy, count your blessings and say a prayer for all those parents spending the holiday week in hospitals, hospices, clinics, jails or funeral homes.

If you can’t think of something nice to say to the person sitting next of you, trade memories of the dearest, departed loved ones you share a connection with who are no longer sitting at the table at all.

Pick up an instrument and play music together or sing some old hymns of Thanksgiving (“We Gather Together” was always my favorite).

Take a walk, breathe fresh air, go out on the deck and make fire pit s’mores (or use the gas grill).
Show the young ones at your gathering how to make rubberband stars, advanced paper airplanes, origami hearts or crochet snowflakes.

Get silly. Play “Charades” or “Spoons” or “Balderdash.” Laugh at yourself and laugh with your relatives.

Don’t take family time for granted. Ever...
Well, I'm not forgetting.

I took my 14-year-old son to see "The Hunger Games" yesterday. We had fun, although those Katniss movies aren't the same without the actual "Hunger Games" in them, heh.

In any case, still more at Michelle's.

#UCLAvsUSC to Determine Line-Up for #Pac12 Championship Game — And More! (VIDEO)

Following-up from Thanksgiving, "UCLA Bruins Riding the Wave of College Football's Crosstown Rivalry in Los Angeles (VIDEO)."

See the O.C. Register, "USC-UCLA about more than bragging rights this year":

LOS ANGELES – Forget bulletin board material.

The lead-up to Saturday afternoon’s UCLA-USC rivalry game offered little as far as shots or verbal sparring between the players and coaches.

“I’m not too big into rivalries and hate for another school,” USC’s two-way star Adoree’ Jackson said. “I’ve got much love and respect for those guys over there.”

Among the Bruins, they hardly expressed love, but they avoided needling their crosstown counterparts. No one publicly said “Southern Cal,” a name unpopular among USC fans and officials, so much so that the school’s media guide explicitly requests it not be used.

During his first few years as UCLA coach, Jim Mora rarely turned down the opportunity to utter the term.

But the Bruins have moved on.

“We’re finger tips away from what we’ve worked so hard for,” UCLA sophomore linebacker Kenny Young said.

Both No.22 UCLA and USC go into this game knowing a win gives them the Pac-12 South title and a rematch with Stanford.

The winner advances to the Dec.5 conference title game in Santa Clara against the Pac-12 North champion Cardinal, which has been a thorn in the side of both programs lately. Stanford has won eight straight against the Bruins (8-3, 5-3 in the Pac-12) and five of the past seven against the Trojans (7-4, 5-3).

“It’s really not about the rivalry,” USC senior defensive tackle Antwaun Woods said. “It’s about fixing our errors. We’re not really worried about them or the rivalry.”

Clearly, much more than city bragging rights are at stake.

A win will be a narrative-shaping moment for either side, adding to USC interim coach Clay Helton’s case to take the reins on a full-time basis or putting Mora in position to win his first Pac-12 championship in his four seasons in Westwood. The former NFL coach has had little trouble putting away the Trojans, winning all three previous meetings by double-digits, but he has yet to beat either of the North Division heavyweights, Stanford and Oregon...
More.

Plus, at the Los Angeles Times, "UCLA and USC paths were filled with rocks but still could be strewn with roses."

Rocky Mountains Planned Parenthood CEO Says No Reason to Believe Colorado Springs Would Be Targeted (VIDEO)

Definitely a sad day in Colorado, and for the nation.

At the New York Times, "During Planned Parenthood Shooting, Fear and Chaos at Shopping Center."

Leftists were off the bat faster than a Mike Trout long ball, politicizing the shooting to advance the far-left extremist agenda.

See Leon Wolf, at Red State, "Planned Parenthood Shooter Finally Convinces Leftists that Beliefs Matter." And at Gateway Pundit, via Memeorandum, "COURT RECORDS: Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooter NOT Republican, Identifies as Woman."

Sounds like a leftist, heh.

More at CNN, "Rocky Mountains CEO Vicki Cowens says she has no reason to believe that their Colorado Springs facility would be targeted by a gunman":



Friday, November 27, 2015

Planning for #ParisAttacks Hatched in Plain Sight

This story is still front-page news, almost two-weeks later.

At WSJ, "Paris Attacks Plot Was Hatched in Plain Sight":
BOBIGNY, France—Three days before the attacks that ripped through Paris, Djazira Boulanger handed the keys to her row house, across the street from a kindergarten, to a guest who had booked it over the website Homelidays.com. His name was Brahim Abdeslam.

She didn’t know that Mr. Abdeslam was a central figure in plotting the deadly assault. As Ms. Boulanger tended to her two young children at home, authorities say Mr. Abdeslam and a band of cohorts were down the street preparing weapons for an assault on the Stade de France and Paris’s nightlife district.

“Did I suspect something was wrong? Not at all,” Ms. Boulanger said.

A day after he checked in, Mr. Abdeslam’s younger brother, Salah, pulled up to the roadside hotel Appart’City on the southern outskirts of Paris, according to staff, to claim reservations he made on Booking.com—also under his own name. The rooms were for another set of gunmen in the attacks: those assigned to mow down spectators inside the Bataclan concert hall.

Prosecutors suspect the brothers were preparing the logistics for Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the alleged architect of the massacres, to arrive in Paris and swiftly mount one of the deadliest terror attacks in French history. Brahim would later blow himself up during the attacks, while Salah is now the target of an international manhunt.

Mr. Abaaoud was the kind of adversary France had dreaded since the Syrian conflict began drawing European nationals in droves. Mr. Abaaoud—who would die several days after the Paris attacks in a police raid—drew on his experience as a battlefield logistical officer in Syria to launch a guerrilla-style ambush on unarmed civilians in the French capital.

The account emerging from French officials, witnesses and those who interacted with the suspected terrorists shows how the operation hinged on Mr. Abaaoud’s ability to use the tools of everyday modern life to lay the groundwork for the massacre. The ease with which he and his teams moved—all while avoiding detection by France’s security apparatus—suggests the challenges in identifying would-be terrorists and preventing further attacks in the fluid, digital and transnational world of today, especially when they are European citizens...
That doesn't inspire much confidence, now does it?

Keep reading.

Donald Trump Under Fire for Mocking Disabled New York Times Reporter (VIDEO)

At this point, who freakin' cares?

Donald Trump's going Donald Trump. All the outrage just keeps him in the news. It's brilliant, actually.

At the Washington Post, "Trump draws scornful rebuke for mocking reporter with disability."



Alessandra Ambrosio for Maxim (VIDEO)

Following up from earlier, "Alessandra Ambrosio Is Maxim's 'World's Sexiest Businesswoman...'"

Here's the video:



World's Sexiest Robot Steals the Spotlight at World Robot Exhibition

Well, flashback to September at Instapundit, "NOBODY TELL NOTORIOUS ROBOPHOBE MATT YGLESIAS: By 2050, human-on-robot sex will be more common than human-on-human sex, says report."

Well, I guess by then you'll have your pick of robot hotties, lol.

At London's Daily Mail, "The 'world's sexiest robot' revealed: Eerily life-like female android turns heads in China."


Laquan McDonald Found to Have PCP in His System

Well, there goes another angelic-black-protester-gunned-downed-by-racist-white-cops narrative.

See Robert Stacy McCain, "The #LaquanMcDonald Farce":
Laquan McDonald had PCP in his system on Oct. 20, 2014. We know this from the autopsy performed after McDonald, 17, decided to exercise his constitutional right to vandalize cars and stagger down the middle of Pulaski Road, brandishing a knife at the Chicago police officers who were trying to arrest him. The coroner’s conclusion was that the cause of Laquan’s death was institutional racism...
Keep reading.

RELATED: At the Chicago Tribune, "Protesters, joined by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union, marched down the Magnificent Mile on Black Friday in support of police shooting victim Laquan McDonald and called for the resignation of police Superintendent Garry McCarthy."

Plus, video at Ruptly, "Protesters disrupt Black Friday shopping demanding justice for Laquan McDonald."

Save 20% on Digital SLR Cameras

I don't know how well actual cameras go over these days, considering all the cellphones in use. (Frankly, I'm not all the photographer that I used to be either.)

In any case, shop for cameras at Amazon.

Plus, Canon EOS Rebel T5 Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm IS II plus EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Bundle.

Holiday Book Buying for 2015

Suggestions, at Free Beacon, "It’s Not All Doom and Gloom: Holiday Book Buying for 2015":
Politics, history, literature, sci-fi, fantasy, classics, and more.
I don't see it there, but check out Diary of a Minecraft Zombie Book 1: A Scare of A Dare (Volume 1).

Maybe I'll get that for my kid, heh.

More books at Amazon.

Violent Black Friday Shopping: Walmart 'Riot' (VIDEO)

I suppose I should update my last post at bit, here, "Black Friday Has Lost Its Edge."

Turns out Black Friday's been pretty violent so far, especially at Walmart. See the Syracuse Post-Standard, "Black Friday 2015 fights: Videos show Kentucky mall brawl, Walmart 'riot,' more." And at that link, "People Riot Over Black Friday Sales at Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas."



Black Friday Has Lost Its Edge

Well, it hasn't completely lost its edge, what, with all the Black Friday brawls.

But with fewer outlets participating in the super-duper early-bird crush of pre-dawn sales, it's getting to be less of a thing.

At the New York Times, "Black Friday Falters as Consumer Behaviors Change":
In 1939, the nation’s largest retailers sent Franklin D. Roosevelt an urgent plea. Thanksgiving fell on the last day of November that year, giving merchants too few days before Christmas to unleash the season’s sales.

The holiday might be a time-honored tradition, but wouldn’t Mr. Roosevelt consider moving the day up by a week?

The president’s acquiescence to retailers helped cement the pre-eminence of the post-Thanksgiving sales rush, now known as Black Friday. The day became an annual ritual, a family affair — a shopping orgy that delivered big profits for retailers, as well as a lift to the entire economy.

Seven decades later, Black Friday has lost its distinctive edge. Tens of millions of Americans will still hit the malls this Friday. But the relentless race for holiday dollars has blunted the day’s oomph, as stores offer deep discounts weeks before Thanksgiving and year-round deals in stores and online are causing sales fatigue. Some fed-up shoppers cheered this year when the outdoors retailer, REI, declared it was opting out of Black Friday sales altogether.

On the eve of yet another Thanksgiving weekend, retail experts and economists are asking the question: Is Black Friday over?

“It definitely matters so much less than it’s mattered in the past,” said John J. Canally, chief economic strategist at LPL Research. “The last couple of years, ‘Black Friday disappoints’ has been the usual story.”

But contrary to doom-and-gloom predictions this holiday season, dwindling sales for the long Thanksgiving weekend (which now begins Thursday afternoon) do not necessarily signal a cautious consumer. Americans are generally spending just as much of their hard-earned dollars as in the past.

Overall consumer spending since the beginning of 2014 has risen at a rate of 3 percent after lackluster gains in 2012 and 2013, and most stores achieve decent profits, on an earnings per share basis, during their holiday quarter.

The decline of Black Friday instead points to a shift in the way consumers spend their money.

“They’re online,” Mr. Canally said. “And they’re spending more on experiences. A day at the spa, a baseball game, the ballet — rather than a sweater or a pair of socks that no one wants.”

As a result, retailers rang up $51 billion on the day after Thanksgiving last year, down from a peak of almost $60 billion in 2012, according to the San Diego-based private equity firm LPL Research, which crunched data from the National Retail Federation and comScore...
More.

Family of Milagros Perez Gets $10,000 Donation to Replace 4-Year-Old Girl’s Specialized Wheelchair (VIDEO)

It's almost impossible to believe that someone would actually steal this little girl's custom wheelchair. It cost the family $1,500 and would have been difficult for them to replace.

But now they're received a charitable gift, just in time for the holidays. That's the spirit.

At the O.C. Register, "$10,000 donation made to replace stolen specialized wheelchair for girl, 4, born without legs":


A Beverly Hills philanthropist has given $10,000 to the family of Milagros Perez to replace the 4-year-old girl’s specialized wheelchair, which was stolen from her Santa Ana home over the weekend, police said.

Cpl. Anthony Bertagna of the Santa Ana Police Department said Thursday that Joyce Brandman gave the family a check, delivered through NBC4, which aired a story about Perez and the missing wheelchair.

Brandman is the president of the Saul and Joyce Brandman Foundation, which gives funding to medical, educational and Jewish causes and organizations, including Chapman University, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Perez was born without legs among several other medical issues. She wasn’t expected to survive. Her mother gave her a name which means “miracles” in Spanish.

After the story of Milagros’ missing wheelchair appeared on news outlets, donations began pouring in...

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Amid Tight Security, Millions Turn Out for Macy's Thanksgiving Parade (VIDEO)

Most excellent.

At WSJ, "Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Draws Millions":

Extra police officers lined the route of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, but the most visible first responder of the day was a firefighter: Harold, a 32-foot-tall balloon, guided by a contingent of New York’s Bravest.

With the Fire Department of New York celebrating its 150th anniversary, the department sent firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, fire inspectors and dispatchers to guide Harold from Manhattan’s Upper West Side down to Macy’s flagship store at 34th Street.

Among those holding Harold’s ropes were Mike Prior, of Merrick, N.Y., and his three sons, who are all firefighters.

For the Priors, the parade was a rare chance to collaborate, as on most days they are spread throughout the city. J.T., 28 years old, works in East New York; Kristian, 32, in Crown Heights; Matt, 36, in South Jamaica; and Mike, 62, works in Corona.

“It’s great, just being with my family,” said Kristian, who held the rope attached to Harold’s right heel.

The firefighter balloon was accompanied by a 1924 Ford Model T firetruck and the FDNY Pipes & Drums to celebrate the anniversary.

More than 3 million New Yorkers and visitors lined the parade route for the annual event, Macy’s said.

At a news conference before the parade began, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the turnout was evidence that New Yorkers wouldn't be intimidated by acts of terrorism abroad.

“The people of this city are voting with their feet,” he said.

In a lighter moment, the mayor joked that there is a tie for his favorite balloon: Snoopy and Underdog, who he said was “an inspiration for my political career.”

Police Commissioner William Bratton said Wednesday he believed the New York Police Department was sending a record 2,500 officers to the parade. Their presence was noticeable along the city blocks packed with families, as well as in the parade itself when a van containing armed personnel drove down Sixth Avenue.

Among those on the sidewalks for a view of the festivities was Orly Epstein, a 7-year-old who lives with her family on the Upper West Side.

“I think it’s the best parade so far,” she said. Her favorite balloon was Scrat, a saber-toothed squirrel from the “Ice Age” animated film franchise, a new addition to the 2015 parade...
More.

Enjoying Stephen Kotkin's Stalin

This book is incredible.

And it's supposed to be the first of three volumes!

At Amazon, Stephen Kotkin, Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928.

Stalin photo 11201866_10208431040516569_3693727945838748804_n_zpsgotupyem.jpg

Troops Get Hot Turkey Meal Overseas (VIDEO)

Generals served soldiers Thanksgiving dinner.

Via ABC News 10 San Diego:


Four New Laquan McDonald Videos Released

At the Chicago Tribune, via Memeorandum, "Four new Laquan McDonald shooting videos raise more questions."

And from last night, at CBS News 2 Chicago, "Additional Dashcam Videos Released Of Laquan McDonald Shooting."

Plus, ICYMI, "GRAPHIC: Police Release Video of Officer Shooting Laquan McDonald."

Families Host Camp Pendleton Marines Who Miss 'Hometown Chow' for Thanksgiving

So special.

At the O.C. Register:

They all have unique backgrounds, hailing from different states and serving in different fields.

But there is one thing that binds the men and women of the U.S. Marine Corps.

“They always love a good home-cooked meal,” said Cassie Craft, wife of Col. Joseph Craft, commanding officer of the Camp Pendleton’s Headquarters and Support Battalion. “The Marines always say, we miss the homemade chow.”

On Thursday evening, more than 40 Marines from the battalion will be bused to the Bear Creek community in Murrieta, where they’ll be matched up with families who will be providing a Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings.

Craft said 42 Marines had signed up for the trip as of Wednesday and more could be jumping on the 55-seat passenger coach, which was paid for by the Bear Creek Master Association.

The community, which counts a large number of retired military members as residents, did something similar last year, welcoming in 50 Marines from the base at the suggestion of Mary and Eddie Doidge.

The Doidges moved to the community from Corona about a year-and-a-half ago. After an October 2014 visit to the Vietnam Wall exhibit in Temecula, which found them reading names for two hours, they were inspired to do something more for the nation’s servicemen.

Mary Doidge is credited with coming up with the idea and she sent out a call for people to host.

Her neighbors -- a patriotic bunch that flies U.S. flags from the community’s light poles -- quickly backed the idea. It has grown this year to include 20 host families, each taking in two or four Marines.

Marilyn Spooner and her husband Roland Behny, a retired Marine, are hosting again this year and helping coordinate the community’s welcome party, which includes snack bags donated by Barons Market...
More.

Kelly Brook Has 'Marilyn Monroe Moment' at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards on Sunday

Whoo hoo!

The wind swept up and lifted her gown to reveal the tender under-areas, heh.

At London's Daily Mail, "Kelly Brook snaps a saucy selfie in her underwear... just days after suffering wardrobe malfunction on the red carpet."

At on Twitter, "Thank you @standardnews and @mrevgenylebedev for having me tonight!"

White House on Lockdown After (Another) Fence Jumper Caught (VIDEO)

At London's Daily Mail, "Obama Thanksgiving dinner put on lockdown as man draped in the American flag jumps the White House fence while the first family celebrate."

I guess this isn't the first time.

At CBS Evening News:



Holiday Gift Guides

In electronics, at Amazon.

More, Holiday Gifts.

And for him and her, Amazon Fashion Gift Guide.

Plus, Braun Series 7- 790cc Pulsonic Shaver System, Silver.

BONUS: From Perry Anderson, American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers.

#ParisAttacks Have Many in France Eager to Fight Back

Well, yes, when it really looks like they're about to kill you and your family, you'll fight back. Most people aren't suicidal, even Europeans, despite the suicidal policies of the European leadership.

At the New York Times, "Paris Attacks Have Many in France Eager to Join the Fight":
PARIS — The attacks by militants tied to the Islamic State less than two weeks ago in Paris have awakened a patriotic fervor in France not seen in decades.

Thousands of people have been flocking to sign up with the military. Those seeking to enlist in the French Army have quintupled to around 1,500 a day. Local and national police offices are flooded with applications. Even sales of the French flag, which the French rarely display, have skyrocketed since the attacks, which left 130 dead.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Col. Eric de Lapresle, a spokesman for the French Army’s recruiting service. “People are coming in and contacting us in droves through social media, using words like liberty, defense and the fight against terror.”

The surge in France, which no longer has conscription, mirrors what happened in the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks. In the two years after those terrorist assaults, the number of American active-duty personnel rose more than 38,000 to 1.4 million. The reasons many of those young Americans offered for volunteering to serve are echoed by some of their French counterparts today.

A few miles from where gunmen stormed restaurants and the Bataclan nightclub on Nov. 13, recruiters at the Fort Neuf de Vincennes in eastern Paris were deluged the next day with inquiries from young people, former military personnel and even retirees wanting to know whether and how soon they could take up arms.

Jeremy Moulin had been walking with friends near the Bois de Vincennes in Paris when the texts started flashing on his cellphone about the terrorist attacks. On Monday, 10 days after the mayhem, he went to Fort Neuf to ask how quickly he could be in uniform.

“These attacks motivated me even more to protect my country,” said Mr. Moulin, 23, a former legal intern who said he had often thought about joining the army but now is newly determined. “The terrorists struck in the heart of Paris. If we don’t stop them, they will do it again.”

The French Air Force, whose retaliatory airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Raqqa, Syria, were seen in images that went viral on the Internet, has likewise seen enlistment applications soar to about 800 a day from around 200, an air force spokesman said. And the French national police recruitment website was visited more than 13,500 times daily last week, compared with the usual 4,500, while applications jumped to 4,500 from 1,500.

“Young people especially identify closely with what happened,” Mr. de Lapresle said. “The targets at the Bataclan and elsewhere were French youth, and the young are saying they want to do something.”

A 17-year-old interviewed at Fort Neuf said the attacks had shaken him and his family, who live in a working-class Parisian suburb.

“I’m ready to go to war,” said the prospective enlistee, who asked to be called only by his first name, Jeremy, to protect his privacy. Dressed in a blue sports outfit, he had gone that afternoon to the military base for a rigorous physical test to determine his fitness. He applied a month before the attacks, but now, he said, “This has motivated me more than ever to be a soldier.”
Keep reading.

AoSHQ: Thanksgivingmanship

This is great, at Ace of Spades HQ, "Thanksgivingmanship: Your Guide to Surviving the Progressive Imbeciles Who Have Spent a Week Cramming on How to Survive You."

Plus, all in good fun. See, "On This Thanksgiving, I'm Grateful For the Gullible Goons of Salon."

Hat Tip: Ed Driscoll, at Instapundit, "HOW DOES IT HAPPEN THAT EVERYTHING HAS BECOME POLITICS? Dreading a Politicized Thanksgiving."

Timberland Men's Magic Glove with Touchscreen Technology

At Amazon, Timberland Men's Magic Glove.

Plus, GoPro HERO4 Session.

Also, Shop Holiday Home & Garden Gift Guide - Gifts for the Winter Decorator .

And from Michael Morell, The Great War of Our Time: The CIA's Fight Against Terrorism - From al Qa'ida to ISIS.

Holly Williams Reports: Turkey and Russia Attempt to Ease Tensions After Jet Shootdown (VIDEO)

Well, they're not completely "easing tensions," according to the Wall Street Journal, "Russia Takes Aim at Turkish Economy Amid Fighter-Jet Spat."

But check out Holly Williams, reporting last night, for CBS Evening News:



Hot Californian Hailey Clauson for Sports Illustrated

She pretty cool.

BONUS: "Hailey Clauson In Nothing But Body Paint - Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2015 (VIDEO)."



Also at Drunken Stepfather, "HAILEY CLAUSON NUDE FOR KENNETH WILLARDT OF THE DAY," and "HAILEY CLAUSON FOR SOME CATALOG OF THE DAY."

Retailers Brace for Massive Holiday Onslaught

A shopping onslaught. Not a terrorist onslaught, or at least we hope.

At the Los Angeles Times, "Target and other retailers brace for holiday shopping onslaught":
At the Target store in Eagle Rock, workers are sprinting to get ready for the retail world's equivalent of the Super Bowl: Black Friday.

The store will throw open its doors on Thanksgiving at 6 p.m. to welcome crowds of shoppers eager to score deals after stuffing themselves with turkey and pie.

"It's a huge day for us," store manager Gilbert Diaz said of the Thursday-into-Friday shopathon. "It's probably the best time of the year."

In recent weeks, consumers have been sending mixed signals about how spendy they're feeling for the holidays.

Consumer confidence rose sluggishly in November, according to the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index, released Wednesday. The increase to 91.3 from 90 the month before was less than economists had forecast and down from the preliminary estimate of 93.1 earlier in the month.

Consumer spending managed only a modest 0.1% increase in October, the second straight month of weakness, even though personal income jumped 0.4%, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

That means people are saving rather than buying, economists said, with the silver lining being that they might be saving to spend on presents and holiday fripperies. Consumer spending isn't a frivolous measurement because it accounts for about two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.

Macy's and Nordstrom said this month that slow shopper traffic led to disappointing third-quarter financial results and higher inventory levels. Retail sales in October edged up only slightly after two flat months, Commerce Department data show.

Target and other merchants need to do well on Black Friday, which traditionally kicks off the crucial holiday shopping season. Retailers can earn up to 40% of their annual revenue during the last few months of the year.

The National Retail Federation trade group forecasts that sales during November and December will climb 3.7% to $630.5 billion, slightly below the 4.1% growth of 2014.

To handle that kind of festive consumerism requires lots of planning at Target and retailers across the nation...
More.

Special Report's All Star Panel: Americans More Worried Than Ever About Terrorism (VIDEO)

Remember, "Fully 83 percent of registered voters say they believe a terrorist attack in the United States resulting in large casualties is likely in the near future..."

This is a very unusual period we're in, extremely reminiscent of the days and weeks after September 11th, 2001.

Here's a great segment from yesterday's Fox News Special Report:



UCLA Bruins Riding the Wave of College Football's Crosstown Rivalry in Los Angeles (VIDEO)

This is the time of year in college football I love the most. The college rivalries are awesome, and L.A.'s crosstown rivalry is more interesting than ever. The Pete Carroll era at USC is ancient history; the Trojans are corrupt shell of their former selves. Amazingly, I find myself warming up to UCLA's football program, and believe me, this is a first.

At the Los Angeles Times, "Beating USC turned tide for Jim Mora and UCLA, and Bruins are still riding the wave":


Security was sparse at UCLA's football practice Tuesday.

The workers the school employed to guard the practice field before the Bruins played rival USC in 2012 haven't been seen in a few years.

Even the rhetoric has been dialed back. Jim Mora, UCLA's coach, used to routinely refer to the Trojans as the team from "Southern Cal," a variation of University of Southern California that is universally disliked by the USC faithful.

He still slips in the term occasionally, though in recent days it has seemed like he was trying to avoid mentioning UCLA's next opponent by any name at all.

This is evolution.

When Mora arrived in Westwood, USC was firmly established on top in the crosstown rivalry. The Bruins were wannabes.

Since then, the momentum has flipped entirely. Mora-coached teams have three consecutive victories in series.

The teams meet again Saturday at the Coliseum, where two years ago Mora could be heard shouting "We own this town!" in the tunnel near the USC locker room.

"Beating USC validated Jim's position as the head coach," said Dan Guerrero, the UCLA athletic director who hired him. "It was important for him to flip that switch."

But ruling the home roost was only part of Mora's end game.

The winner Saturday advances to play in the Pac-12 Conference title game Dec. 5. From there, the Pac-12 champion goes to the Rose Bowl game...
More.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Black Book of the American Left — Volume 5: Culture Wars

The new volume's out from David Horowitz, The Black Book of the American Left — Volume 5: Culture Wars.

Turkey’s Warning Shot

At the Wall Street Journal, "Putin may be testing NATO’s resolve, and the Turks need U.S. support":
A pair of Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian Su-24 over Turkish airspace on Tuesday, and Russian President Vladimir Putin called it a “stab in the back” that would have “serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations.” This is what we mean when we say the last months of the Obama Administration will be the most dangerous since the end of the Cold War.

Turkish military officials said the Russian pilots ignored 10 warnings over five minutes to return to Syrian airspace before their plane was shot down. That rings true given Ankara’s warnings against previous intrusions. Russian planes twice violated Turkish airspace in early October, incidents NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said did “not look like an accident.” Around the same time a Russian MiG-29 locked its radar on a pair of Turkish jets patrolling the Syrian border for more than four minutes. Next a Russian-made drone entered Turkish airspace and was shot down. Moscow denies it was one of theirs.

More recently, the Turks summoned Russia’s ambassador to Ankara after an attack on ethnic Turkmen in Syria. “It was stressed that the Russian side’s actions were not a fight against terror, but they bombed civilian Turkmen villages and this could lead to serious consequences,” according to Turkey’s foreign ministry. This fits the Russian pattern of bombing enemies of the Assad regime except Islamic State—a useful reminder that Mr. Putin is not a fit partner in the coalition to fight ISIS.

The larger question is why Mr. Putin would risk provoking Turkey, with its powerful military and NATO ties. Part of the answer may lie with Moscow’s alliance with Iran and its Shiite Muslim proxies in Damascus and Beirut, who see themselves as competing with the Sunni Turks for regional dominance.

Mr. Putin may also be testing NATO cohesion. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an impulsive leader who has alienated his allies with his autocratic instincts and Islamist sympathies. If Russia continues to prick Turkey and NATO fails to support Ankara, it will expose the hollowness of NATO’s Article 5 collective-defense obligations.

The Obama Administration failed to invoke Article 5 on France’s behalf after the Paris massacre. And on Tuesday President Obama said that while Turkey had the right to defend its airspace, his priority is to “discourage any escalation.” But what if Mr. Putin retaliates against Turkey? Mr. Obama should have said that the U.S. will stand with its NATO partner...
Good luck with that.

More at that top link.

Radical Parents, Despotic Children

From Bret Stephens, at WSJ, "Sooner or later, Orwellian methods on campus will lead to Orwellian outcomes":
“Liberal Parents, Radical Children,” was the title of a 1975 book by Midge Decter, which tried to make sense of how a generation of munificent parents raised that self-obsessed, politically spastic generation known as the Baby Boomers. The book was a case study in the tragedy of good intentions.

“We proclaimed you sound when you were foolish in order to avoid taking part in the long, slow, slogging effort that is the only route to genuine maturity of mind and feeling,” Miss Decter told the Boomers. “While you were the most indulged generation, you were also in many ways the most abandoned to your own meager devices.”

Meager devices came to mind last week while reading the “Statement of Solidarity” from Nancy Cantor, chancellor of the Newark, N.J., campus of Rutgers University. Solidarity with whom, or what? Well, Paris, but that was just for starters. Ms. Cantor also made a point of mentioning lives lost to terrorist attacks this year in Beirut and Kenya, and children “lost at sea seeking freedom,” and “lives lost that so mattered in Ferguson and Baltimore and on,” and “students facing racial harassment on campuses from Missouri to Ithaca and on.”

And this: “We see also around us the scarring consequences of decade after decade, group after group, strangers to each other, enemies even within the same land, separated by an architecture of segregation, an economy of inequality, a politics of polarization, a dogma of intolerance.”

It is an astonishing statement. Ms. Cantor, 63, is a well-known figure in academia, a former president of Syracuse University who won liberal acclaim by easing admissions standards in the name of diversity and inclusiveness. At publicly funded Rutgers she earns a base salary of $385,000, a point worth mentioning given her stated concern for inequality. The Newark Star-Ledger praised her as a “perfect fit” for the school on account of her “exceptional involvement in minority recruitment and town-gown relations.”

Yet this Stanford Ph.D. (in psychology) appears to be incapable of constructing a grammatical sentence or writing intelligible prose. All the rhetorical goo about the “architecture of segregation” and “dogma of intolerance” rests on deep layers of mental flab. She is a perfect representative of American academia. And American academia is, by and large, idiotic.

That’s why I’m not altogether sorry to see the wave of protests, demands, sit-ins and cave-ins sweeping university campuses from Dartmouth to Princeton to Brandeis to Yale. What destroys also exposes; what they are trashing was already trashy. It’s time for the rest of the country sit up and take notice...
Well, the rest of the country that includes grownups might sit up and take notice. Remember, there aren't too many grownups on college campuses these days. Indeed, the conservative students at Claremont McKenna showed a lot more maturity than the school's administration.

But keep reading, in any case.

Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points Memo: Is World War Getting Closer? (VIDEO)

Last week a student asked me, in my American government class, whether the Paris attacks would bring on World War III. I gave the suggestion kind of a chuckle, and told her no, we'd be seeing a major escalation in the terror war, but we weren't yet quite near a world war.

Then yesterday morning as I was getting ready for classes, around 7:00am, I saw the news of the Russian fighter jet shot down by Turkey, and I thought, "Man, shit just got real over there." In class I spoke again to the student and suggested that if there was going to be World War III, it's crises like this, seemingly small at first, that have the potential to escalate into major conflict.

In any case, imagine my chagrin last night when Bill O'Reilly led off with the possibility of a world war. What a trip:


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Turkey Shoots Down Russian Fighter Jet (VIDEO)

There's a huge live blog at the Telegraph UK, "Putin's fury after Turkey shoots down Russian jet, killing at least one pilot before rebels destroy rescue helicopter • President warns of 'serious consequences' but Obama says Turks have right to defend airspace":
There are dark corners of the Internet where Russian nationalists will argue the toss with Americans about whether the Su-24 is better than an F-16. I guess that argument was resolved today.
Also at WSJ, "Skies Darken for Accord on Syria With Turkish Downing of Russian Fighter":


Fallout of fatal incident threatens to destroy chances for grand coalition of international powers to change course of chaos in war-torn country.

When Turkey destroyed a Russian warplane it had warned away from its airspace, the fallout threatened to destroy chances for any grand coalition of international powers to change the course of chaos in Syria, at least for now.

The fatal incident in the skies Tuesday immediately escalated, and complicated, what had already been an intensely difficult enterprise—trying to bridge divides and corral longtime adversaries into a pact to combat their one shared enemy, Islamic State.

The Turkish-Russian aerial altercation quickly hardened the positions held by all sides. While the U.S. and its ally France dug in on their demands on resolving the Syrian conflict, Russia and its ally Iran adhered to theirs.

Aggravating the conflict was a war of words, with Mr. Putin leveling charges that Turkey, an ally of the U.S. and France, finances terrorism—accusations widely aired on Russian television in a daylong propaganda blitz.

Amid the strife, President Barack Obama and French President Fran├žois Hollande presented a united front, speaking at the White House Tuesday after their first meeting since the Paris attacks. They outlined changes they said Russia must make to its military strategy in Syria and to its position on a political resolution to the conflict before the U.S.-led coalition, which includes Turkey, would cooperate with Moscow in the fight against Islamic State.

The demands made by the U.S. and French leaders—including the key issue of the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom Russia supports—now have set the stage for a tense meeting between Mr. Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin scheduled for Thursday.

The downing of the Russian jet is likely to redraw the lines of engagement in Syria and affect Russians’ perceptions of their country’s intervention, analysts say.

“Hollande’s mission was to reach some kind of coordination with Russia,” said Alexei Makarkin, deputy director at Center for Political Technologies. “Now it is very, very doubtful that it is even possible to coordinate actions. The maximum that we can talk about now is avoiding shooting each other.”

Mr. Hollande’s visit to Moscow this week was supposed to be a crowning moment for Mr. Putin’s plan to bring more countries into his antiterrorism tent, as well as any potential rapprochement with the West after isolation over his intervention in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.

But Mr. Obama, after expressing a new openness to coordinating with Russia since he met with Mr. Putin in Turkey last week, on Tuesday sought instead to isolate him.

“Russia right now is a coalition of two—Iran and Russia, supporting Assad,” he said. “We’ve got a global coalition organized. Russia is the outlier.”

At the same time, the U.S. and French leaders sought to demonstrate enhanced cooperation in their coalition.

Mr. Hollande said the immediate priority in the military campaign in Syria is to take back territory currently controlled by Islamic State and secure the border with Turkey.

Mr. Obama called on the European Union to implement an agreement that would require airlines to share passenger information.

“By targeting France, terrorists were targeting the world,” said Mr. Hollande.

Mr. Hollande’s stop in Washington was part of a whirlwind international tour to build a “single, grand coalition” of nations to take on Islamic State, which he called for last week.

French diplomats, however, have in recent days inched away from Mr. Hollande’s call for such a sweeping coalition. Instead officials in Paris have spoken of “coordination” in the strikes against Islamic State and have ruled out any shared command center for bombing targets in Syria...
And see, "Turkey Shoots Down Russian Military Jet Near Syrian Border."

New Books on the Salem Witch Trials

At Amazon.

See Benjamin C. Ray, Satan and Salem: The Witch-Hunt Crisis of 1692.

And Stacy Schiff, The Witches: Salem, 1692.

More, Books in Colonial History.

Ellie Goulding for Rollacoaster Magazine

At Studio Invisible UK, "ROLLACOASTER MAGAZINE: ELLIE GOULDING."

The photos are posted at Imgur, "Ellie Goulding Rollacoaster Magazine.