Monday, March 31, 2014

Bullseye! British Sniper Kills Six Taliban with One Bullet!

He hit a suicide bomber's trigger switch and blew all the f-kers the Allah's kingdom.

At Telegraph UK, "British sniper in Afghanistan kills six Taliban with one bullet":

Welsh Sniper photo HQUKTF-2010-028-079_2_zpsc5a38f11.jpg
Lance Corporal in the Coldstream Guards hit trigger switch of suicide bomber whose device then exploded, Telegraph learns.

A British sniper in Afghanistan killed six insurgents with a single bullet after hitting the trigger switch of a suicide bomber whose device then exploded, The Telegraph has learnt.

The 20-year-old marksman, a Lance Corporal in the Coldstream Guards, hit his target from 930 yards (850 metres) away, killing the suicide bomber and five others around him caught in the blast.

The incident in Kakaran in southern Afghanistan happened in December but has only now been disclosed as Britain moves towards the withdrawal of all combat soldiers by the end of the year.

Lt Col Richard Slack, commanding officer of 9/12 Royal Lancers, said the unnamed sharpshooter prevented a major attack by the Taliban, as a second suicide vest packed with 20kg (44lbs) of explosives was found nearby.

The same sniper, with his first shot on the tour of duty, killed a Taliban machine-gunner from 1,465 yards (1,340m)...
Continue reading.

PHOTO: Helmand Blog, "Welsh snipers show courage and constraint."

California Extends #ObamaCare Deadline After Delays

I'm sure it's just a "limited number" of applicants (wink, wink).

At LAT, "California gives Obamacare applicants more time after online delays."

Miranda Kerr Strips Down for GQ Britain

Wow. Sure beats fat feminist communists, lol.

At Egotastic!, "Miranda Kerr Strips Down for Hot Almost Nekkid Shoot in GQ UK."

And going right to GQ, "Miranda Kerr Covers GQ!"

'Trigger Warnings' Are Antithetical to College Life

You can't bubble wrap students against any and all possible moments of discomfiture.

At the Los Angeles Times, a rare outstanding editorial, "Warning: College students, this editorial may upset you":
The latest attack on academic freedom comes not from government authorities or corporate pressure but from students. At UC Santa Barbara, the student Senate recently passed a resolution that calls for mandatory "trigger warnings" — cautions from professors, to be added to their course syllabi, specifying which days' lectures will include readings or films or discussions that might trigger feelings of emotional or physical distress.

The resolution calls for warnings if course materials will involve depictions and discussions of rape, sexual assault, suicide, pornography or graphic violence, among other things. The professors would excuse students from those classes, with no points deducted, if the students felt the material would distress them; it is left unclear how students would complete assignments or answer test questions based on the work covered in those classes.

The student resolution is only advisory, a recommendation that campus authorities can turn into policy or reject. They should not only choose the latter course but should explain firmly to students why such a policy would be antithetical to all that college is supposed to provide: a rich and diverse body of study that often requires students to confront difficult or uncomfortable material, and encourages them to discuss such topics openly. Trigger warnings are part of a campus culture that is increasingly overprotective and hypersensitive in its efforts to ensure that no student is ever offended or made to feel uncomfortable...

Keep in mind that this development is something that derives entirely from the radical feminist left.

For more on that, see Robert Stacy McCain, "‘Fat Justice’ Feminists Blame Reagan, Praise ‘Communism and Socialism’."

Los Angeles Country: At Least 1 Million to Remain Unenrolled in #ObamaCare

Mostly the people the law was supposedly intended to help, the freakin' idiots.

At LAT, "L.A. County grapples with healthcare for remaining uninsured":
One long period of Obamacare hand-wringing in Los Angeles County will end Monday, as the window for residents to enroll in mandatory healthcare coverage comes to a close.

But less than 24 hours later, county elected officials will be confronted with another politically sensitive facet of the nation's healthcare overhaul: how to manage roughly a million people, many of them poor or undocumented, who will remain uninsured either because they aren't eligible or failed to enroll.

Unlike some other counties in California, which are sidestepping the issue and leaving the problem largely to nonprofit free clinics, Los Angeles has committed to providing residents without coverage some system of government-supported medical care.

But the debate over what that care will look like — and how it will be funded — is only now getting started.

The county plans to set up a managed-care-like system for some uninsured residents, but advocates question whether the effort to get patients assigned to community clinics — and out of emergency rooms — will be enough. They plan to gather Tuesday before the county Board of Supervisors' weekly meeting and push for additional funding to expand the program.

"People want to sign up," said Tom Holler, co-executive director of One LA, a coalition of churches, synagogues and nonprofits that has been working to increase access to healthcare. "That's why we have to ask the county for more money."

Researchers at UCLA and UC Berkeley have estimated that 3 million to 4 million Californians will remain uninsured five years after the Affordable Care Act is implemented.

Anthony Wright, executive director of the advocacy group Health Access California, said that a third to one-half of L.A.'s million uninsured won't have documentation of legal residency. That means they won't be eligible for federally subsidized healthcare programs such as Medi-Cal and Covered California...
So, the kind of outreach that will be undertaken over the next months and years is the kind of outreach to the disadvantaged that idiot Democrats have should have undertaken from day one. Instead, the damned ghouls had to reorganize one sixth of the U.S. economy, throw healthcare markets into utter disarray, and basically destroy their own electoral coalition in the process. Shoot, perhaps Obama's The One after all. It'd normally take some act of divine intervention to bring about that much pain and political destruction. But hey, from where I'm standing it's all good, lol.

#IDF Selfie Over Tel Aviv

I love it!

Hey, Earthquake Preparedness Is Cool Again in California

At Instapundit, "WELL, YES: For Californians, 2 Quakes Put Preparedness Back on the Map."


Hey, there's a 46 percent chance that the "big one" (7.5 or above) hits in the next 30 years. Personally, I've actually felt most of the big quakes in the last few decades, from Loma Prieta to Northridge. I fully expect a big one to hit, since there's no way to predict precisely when it's coming. That's life on the precipice in the once Golden State.

Prime Minister of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, Calls for Destruction of Israel (VIDEO)

And so it goes in the Middle East.

And at JPost, "75% of Palestinians: Chances for state in 5 years ‘nonexistent’":
A total of 62 percent of Palestinians would oppose US Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposed framework agreement if it includes a request to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, a public opinion poll published on Monday showed.
Because peace.

The Demographics Behind Dems' 2014 Troubles

From Andrew Kohut, at WSJ:
Early national polling is supporting the prevailing view in Washington that Democrats are in trouble in the 2014 midterm elections. While Democrats are more popular than the GOP among the general public, the party faces a number of challenges in November.

First, there's an enthusiasm gap. Typically, but not always, Republicans vote at higher rates than Democrats in congressional elections. And at this early stage, that seems likely to happen again, perhaps at an even greater rate than usual. One telling indicator came in December, when the Pew Research Center found that Republicans are much more optimistic about their party's electoral prospects than Democrats are. Fully 55% of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters expect the GOP to do better in 2014 than the party has in recent elections, while only 43% of Democrats expressed such confidence.

Recent national surveys of registered voters by the Pew Research Center, the Washington Post/ABC News and the New York Times/CBS News show congressional voting intentions about even. But if these polls were narrowed to likely voters, they might find a strong GOP lead. It could be a replay of 2010, when Pew's final congressional poll of registered voters showed a one-point Democratic lead, but among likely voters Republicans held a six-point advantage, which was about their margin of victory when they retook the House.

Another challenge for Democrats is winning independents, who typically decide election outcomes. Democrats trail Republicans among independents by 38% to 44%, according to Pew's February survey. Democrats also lost the independent vote in the 2012 presidential election, 45% to 50%, according to national exit polls. In other words, President Obama owed his re-election victory to his base. This is an important indication of how lagging Democratic engagement could sway 2014.

A third challenge is the white vote. While winning whites is not as essential as it once was, they will still make up close to 80% of this year's midterm electorate. Democrats have consistently lost the white vote in recent decades, even in the 2006 congressional landslide. The early polls in 2014 don't show a changing tide. The Pew Research Center's February poll showed the GOP with a 53% to 38% advantage in congressional voting intentions among white registered voters.

Then there are the millennials. While support for Democratic candidates among African-Americans and Latinos remains high, young people are less enthusiastic. The Pew center's in-depth surveys of those ages 18-34 indicate that this generation, a voting bloc so important to Mr. Obama's two victories, is growing more disillusioned with the president. Millennial self-identification as Democrats has edged down to 50% from a high of 58% in 2009. Pew also found Mr. Obama's job approval among millennials has fallen to 49% in early 2014, down from 70% in the honeymoon months of 2009, his highest rating among any generation.

Opinion of the president is probably the greatest problem for Democrats this year. At 44%, Mr. Obama's overall approval rating about matches President Bush's rating in early 2006 when Republicans lost Congress. And it is not too different from Mr. Obama's own approval in 2010—45%—when the GOP regained the House.

Mr. Obama's image as a leader is at a low point, thanks to discontent with the Affordable Care Act and a pessimistic view of economic conditions...
The Dems are going to get hammered. A bloodbath in November!

But hey, respondents "like" the president (who the hell knows why?). And how about that ObamaCare website?!! Winning!

'Officer Bledsoe, meet the Streisand Effect...'

At Instapundit, "KNOW YOUR PLACE, PEASANT! Man ordered to take down police officer’s name and picture from Internet."

Yep, the video's here.

New IPCC Report Warns of Floods --- And Earthquakes, Locusts, Tsunamis, Tornadoes, Volcanoes , AAAHHHHH!!!

We're doomed.

At the Sydney Daily Telegraph, "Floods, drought, heatwave ... climate change already happening says IPCC." And Business Week, "World Ill-Prepared for Global Warming Impacts, UN Panel Says (3)."

Also at the Guardian UK, "Climate change is a threat to food, security and humankind as a whole." And at Metro UK, "Thousands more ‘face floods risk in Britain’: Climate warning in new global report."

And Telegraph UK, "IPCC report: 'no one will be untouched by climate change'":
Flooding, storm surges, droughts and heatwaves are among key risks of global warming that will pose growing threats to humans.
More at Pirate's Cove, "Climahysteria: Alarmist Warns “Climate Change” Could Make Humans Extinct." And back at the Guardian, "James Lovelock: environmentalism has become a religion."

FLASHBACK: At the Wall Street Journal, "No Need to Panic About Global Warming."


Thank God, Baseball is Back

From Mike Barnacle, at the Daily Beast, "The Timeless Beauty of Baseball":
Put on a glove, watch a game, and the years fall away, time stands still, and the joy of baseball reminds you again of life’s eternal sweetness.

U.S., Russia Talks Fail to Ease Crisis

At WSJ, "Kerry's Talks With Russia's Lavrov Fail to Ease Ukraine Crisis: Kerry Pressed his Russian Counterpart to Pull Troops Back From the Ukrainian Border":

PARIS—Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart appeared to make no major advances Sunday in a four-hour meeting aimed at easing the standoff over Ukraine, raising the specter of a prolonged crisis that threatens to bring broader instability to Europe.

Mr. Kerry, in remarks after the negotiations, said he received no assurances from the Kremlin that it would pull back thousands of Russian troops amassed on Ukraine's eastern border.

The chief U.S. diplomat and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also didn't appear to reach any major common ground on discussions aimed at revamping Ukraine's political system. Mr. Kerry said his counterpart pledged Russia's desire to de-escalate tensions over Ukraine but offered no specifics.

"Any real progress in Ukraine must include a pullback of the very large Russian force that is currently amassing along Ukraine's border," Mr. Kerry said. "Tonight I raised with the foreign minister our strong concern about these forces."

Mr. Kerry said he would bring back to Washington proposals laid out by Mr. Lavrov on behalf of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After the talks, Mr. Lavrov told Russian television that although the U.S. and Russia disagreed on the causes of the Ukrainian crisis, they agreed to "seek common ground to resolve the situation in Ukraine."

The Russian diplomat said he and Mr. Kerry had discussed "constitutional reform, in favor of which we stand together with the Americans."

Sunday's meeting was viewed by the U.S. as a test of whether Russia's surprise overture on Friday, when Mr. Putin called President Barack Obama to discuss a diplomatic resolution, was a genuine effort to start talks or a delaying tactic before another assault on Ukraine's borders. The outcome appeared to leave Russian intentions no less clear...

The Geopolitical Consequences of the Shale Revolution

From Robert Blackwill and Meghan O'Sullivan, at Foreign Affairs, "America's Energy Edge":
Only five years ago, the world’s supply of oil appeared to be peaking, and as conventional gas production declined in the United States, it seemed that the country would become dependent on costly natural gas imports. But in the years since, those predictions have proved spectacularly wrong. Global energy production has begun to shift away from traditional suppliers in Eurasia and the Middle East, as producers tap unconventional gas and oil resources around the world, from the waters of Australia, Brazil, Africa, and the Mediterranean to the oil sands of Alberta. The greatest revolution, however, has taken place in the United States, where producers have taken advantage of two newly viable technologies to unlock resources once deemed commercially infeasible: horizontal drilling, which allows wells to penetrate bands of shale deep underground, and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which uses the injection of high-pressure fluid to release gas and oil from rock formations.

The resulting uptick in energy production has been dramatic. Between 2007 and 2012, U.S. shale gas production rose by over 50 percent each year, and its share of total U.S. gas production jumped from five percent to 39 percent. Terminals once intended to bring foreign liquefied natural gas (LNG) to U.S. consumers are being reconfigured to export U.S. LNG abroad. Between 2007 and 2012, fracking also generated an 18-fold increase in U.S. production of what is known as light tight oil, high-quality petroleum found in shale or sandstone that can be released by fracking. This boom has succeeded in reversing the long decline in U.S. crude oil production, which grew by 50 percent between 2008 and 2013. Thanks to these developments, the United States is now poised to become an energy superpower. Last year, it surpassed Russia as the world’s leading energy producer, and by next year, according to projections by the International Energy Agency, it will overtake Saudi Arabia as the top producer of crude oil.

Much has been written lately about the discovery of new oil and gas deposits around the world, but other countries will not find it easy to replicate the United States’ success. The fracking revolution required more than just favorable geology; it also took financiers with a tolerance for risk, a property-rights regime that let landowners claim underground resources, a network of service providers and delivery infrastructure, and an industry structure characterized by thousands of entrepreneurs rather than a single national oil company. Although many countries possess the right rock, none, with the exception of Canada, boasts an industrial environment as favorable as that of the United States.

The American energy revolution does not just have commercial implications; it also has wide-reaching geopolitical consequences. Global energy trade maps are already being redrawn as U.S. imports continue to decline and exporters find new markets. Most West African oil, for example, now flows to Asia rather than to the United States. And as U.S. production continues to increase, it will put downward pressure on global oil and gas prices, thereby diminishing the geopolitical leverage that some energy suppliers have wielded for decades. Most energy-producing states that lack diversified economies, such as Russia and the Gulf monarchies, will lose out, whereas energy consumers, such as China, India, and other Asian states, stand to gain.

The biggest benefits, however, will accrue to the United States. Ever since 1971, when U.S. oil production peaked, energy has been construed as a strategic liability for the country, with its ever-growing thirst for reasonably priced fossil fuels sometimes necessitating incongruous alliances and complex obligations abroad. But that logic has been upended, and the newly unlocked energy is set to boost the U.S. economy and grant Washington newfound leverage around the world.


Although it is always difficult to predict the future of global energy markets, the main effect the North American energy revolution will have is already becoming clear: the global supply of energy will continue to increase and diversify. Gas markets have been the first to feel the impact. In the past, the price of gas has varied greatly across the three largely distinct markets of North America, Europe, and Asia. In 2012, for example, U.S. gas prices stood at $3 per million BTU, whereas Germans paid $11 and Japanese paid $17.

But as the United States prepares to generate and export greater quantities of LNG, those markets will become increasingly integrated. Already, investors have sought government approval for more than 20 LNG export projects in the United States. However many end up being built, the exports flowing from them will add to major increases in the flow of LNG that are already occurring elsewhere. Australia is soon set to surpass Qatar as the largest global supplier of LNG; by 2020, the United States and Canada together could export close to Qatar’s current LNG capacity. Although the integration of North American, European, and Asian gas markets will require years of infrastructure investment and the result, even then, will not be as unified as the global oil market, the increased liquidity should help put downward pressure on gas prices in Europe and Asia in the decade ahead.

The most dramatic possible geopolitical consequence of the North American energy boom is that the increase in U.S. and Canadian oil production could disrupt the global price of oil -- which could fall by 20 percent or more...

Not the kind of baloney you hear from the sky-is-falling leftists, the dummkopfs.

But keep reading.

Angelina Jolie Moved to Tears on Bosnian Visit

At the Independent UK, "Angelina Jolie moved to tears during Bosnia visit to campaign against war rape":

Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie was reduced to tears on Friday as she paid tribute to the thousands of women raped during the Bosnian War.

The Hollywood star was accompanied by British Foreign Secretary William Hague on a visit to the country to promote a campaign to end sexual violence against women in war.

"There can be no peace while women in conflict or post-conflict zones are raped with impunity," Jolie said in Sarajevo.

The pair, who will co-host a global conference in London in June on preventing rape being used a tactic in war, hailed Bosnia’s decision to include prevention of sexual violence in military training...

Molly Ball: Democrats Like 'Chickens With Their Heads Cut Off...'


Too bad it's just a metaphor.

Republicans to Scale Back Hours and Days for Voting in Key Battleground States

Oh boy, the race-baiting progs are going to be all batshit over these developments.

At NYT, "New G.O.P. Bid to Limit Voting in Swing States":
CINCINNATI — Pivotal swing states under Republican control are embracing significant new electoral restrictions on registering and voting that go beyond the voter identification requirements that have caused fierce partisan brawls.

The bills, laws and administrative rules — some of them tried before — shake up fundamental components of state election systems, including the days and times polls are open and the locations where people vote.

Republicans in Ohio and Wisconsin this winter pushed through measures limiting the time polls are open, in particular cutting into weekend voting favored by low-income voters and blacks, who sometimes caravan from churches to polls on the Sunday before election.

Democrats in North Carolina are scrambling to fight back against the nation’s most restrictive voting laws, passed by Republicans there last year. The measures, taken together, sharply reduce the number of early voting days and establish rules that make it more difficult for people to register to vote, cast provisional ballots or, in a few cases, vote absentee.

In all, nine states have passed measures making it harder to vote since the beginning of 2013. Most have to do with voter ID laws. Other states are considering mandating proof of citizenship, like a birth certificate or a passport, after a federal court judge recently upheld such laws passed in Arizona and Kansas. Because many poor people do not have either and because documents can take time and money to obtain, Democrats say the ruling makes it far more difficult for people to register.

Voting experts say the impact of the measures on voter turnout remains unclear. Many of the measures have yet to take effect, and a few will not start until 2016. But at a time when Democrats are on the defensive over the Affordable Care Act and are being significantly outspent by conservative donors like the Koch brothers, the changes pose another potential hurdle for Democratic candidates this year...
There's a Memeorandum thread on this, with some left-wing idiots calling these reforms "voter suppression" efforts. But California, a blue state with a liberal Democrat majority across the board, has never had Sunday voting or early voting days. And if one looked around the rest of the states, no doubt places like Ohio and Wisconsin are in fact returning their state voting-practices to the norm of Tuesday (election day) voting --- which is by no means an effort to suppress the vote. And of course the idea that it's a burden on the voter to show proof of identification is one of the biggest scams of the current era. The requirement for ID prevails in all other aspect of life, like buying alcohol or cigarettes, or making a purchase on a credit card. Leftists simply want the ineligible to cast a ballot and they'll call you "racist" if you're not down for that lawbreaking.

Moral reprobates and f-king morons, all of them.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka Epitomizes the Japanese Approach to Baseball

A big front-page report at today's New York Times, "A Passion to Pitch":
ITAMI, Japan — Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees’ $155 million import, grew up in a nation where joining a baseball team was like entering a religious order. The field was hallowed ground, the equipment sacred gear. Coaches were obeyed with bowed heads.

A baseball-centered life required absolute devotion to the team. Practice made perfect, so the young athletes trained year round with seldom a day off, their after-school drills commonly lasting seven hours. Pitchers sometimes threw 300 times in a single day; hitters took 1,000 swings. And then the team finished its work by picking up stray baseballs and raking the dirt to cleanse it of cleat marks.

Tanaka’s success or failure will be among the biggest story lines of the baseball season that begins in earnest Sunday night, but the fuller narrative is about the step-by-step making of a 25-year-old pitcher and the impassioned approach of the Japanese toward America’s national pastime.

Tanaka comes from Itami, near Osaka, in western Japan. But he chose to play baseball at a high school in the nation’s far north, 900 miles away. The field froze during the winter months, and suffering the numbing cold was among the ordeals meant to build an athlete’s stalwart character. The boys stamped on the persisting snow, attempting to level the slippery surface for a truer roll of ground balls.

A tall teenager, growing his way toward a husky 6 feet 2 inches, Tanaka had close-cropped hair and a wide, expressive smile. He attended special classes for athletes and lived in a dormitory with 40 teammates. Gatekeepers enforced a curfew and strict rules: no smoking, no drinking, no mah-jongg. Baseball provided its own family. Tanaka rarely went home.

“I lived so far away,” he said with a shrug in a recent dugout interview.

He seemed to his friends like two people in one: shy and good-natured off the field, yet so fierce and determined while on it that he could appear possessed. He roared as he threw a pitch. He pumped his fist after striking someone out. He scolded teammates for sloppy play.

Every young ballplayer shared a dream, to compete in the national high school tournament, known to most as the Koshien, an event in Japan as compelling as March Madness, as consequential as the World Series. Each August, 49 regional champions vie in the single-elimination tourney. Each game is nationally televised. The best players are plucked from obscurity and elevated to celebrity, as famous as any movie star.

The Koshien dates to 1915, and the 2006 tournament stands out as a classic. Two exhausted pitchers — Tanaka and another phenom, Yuki Saito — carried their teams to the final in an epic display of grit...
Keep reading.

Jerry Brown for President?

Better than Oprah Winfrey, I guess.

Well, he's a little old actually (at 75), but Jack Ohman makes the case, at the Sacramento Bee, "Jerry Brown is running for president?"

Mentioned there is MoDo's interview with the governor, which is interesting, "Palmy Days for Jerry."

And from last summer at the New York Times, "Brown Cheered in Second Act, at Least So Far."

Again, he's too old. But I'll give him credit for his recent comments on fracking and marijuana. That said, as long as far-left Kamala Harris is in office, California's screwed on civil rights and social issues.

FLASHBACK: "Back to the Future with Jerry Brown at the Helm in California."

Sunday Cartoons

At Flopping Aces, "Sunday Funnies."

Branco Cartoons photo Black-Hole-Theory-590-LI_zpsc040aee9.jpg

Also at Randy's Roundtable, "Barry's Bracket," and Reaganite Republican, "Reaganite's SUNDAY FUNNIES."

CARTOON CREDIT: Legal Insurrection, "Branco Cartoon – Theory of Irrelevancy."

Long Overdue #Rule5 Sunday

I think it's been a month at least since I've done this, so stand clear!

Starting things off from last week's roundup from Wombat-socho at the Other McCain, "Rule 5 Monday."

Hottest Selfies photo 12_zpsc2920790.jpg
More from Dana Pico, "Rule 5 Blogging: United States Marine Corps."

And now over to Blackmailers Don't Shoot, "Rule 5 Linkfest: Touch Me I’m Sick." (E.C. Hackett's got a bad cold. Get better dude --- and keep the Rule 5 flowing!)

Also at Goodstuff's, "Here lies a monumental photo dump of Sophia Loren and metablog of all the neat and groovy stuff found this last week."

Now at Pirate's Cove, "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup," and "If All You See……is a horrid evil dog causing a terrible flood world, you might just be a Warmist."

And at Odie's, "The Bikini ~OR~ Rule 5 Woodsterman Style."

At Randy's Roundtable, "Thursday Nite Tart (On Friday)...Natalia Paris."

From Bob Belvedere, "Rule 5 Saturday - Tibby Muldoon Breastacular!"

At Knuckledraggin', "‘Random’ pat down coming up."


At Proof Positive, "Best of the Web* Linkaround," and "Friday Night Babe: Katee Sackhoff!"

Now check Soylent, "Still No Football, But..."

Also at Wine, Women, and Politics, "Open Them Up!"

Heh, at Evil Blogger Lady, "Proof demanded Spring Break Rule 5 and edutcher demanded wet tee shirts…"

Drunken Stepfather, "STEPLINKS OF THE DAY."

And from A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, "The Friday Pin Up."

More at Diogenes' Middle Finger, "North Korean Leader Has Perfect NCAA Bracket."

And from 90 Miles from Tyranny, "Hot Pick of the Late Night," and "Morning Mistress."

Subject to Change has "Hump Day."

At Egotastic!, "Nicole Aniston Shows Off Her Bikini Body In Malibu."

Hey Man Hustle, "Claudia Galanti Bikini Beach Vacation Makes Her an Instant A-Lister in Miami" (via Linkiest).

BONUS: At Blazing Cat Fur, "Parrot put on Prozac after being left in garage for three years for repeating name of owner's dead wife."

Washington Post Pushes Jeb Bush for President

If establishment Republicans are that hard up for a nominee, we're obviously screwed.

From Jazz Shaw, at Hot Air, "The inevitable “draft Jeb” campaign shifts into high gear."

And don't miss Robert Stacy McCain, "Stopping the Bush Bandwagon":

Even before the 2008 campaign had ended, it became apparent to me — from the rumblings about certain aides to the McCain/Palin campaign, especially Nicolle Wallace — that Sarah Palin was being sabotaged by Bushies, so that one could perceive at that early date the stealthy moves toward a dynastic restoration via former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. As I said at the time, however, the lesson was obvious enough: “Lie down with Bushes, wake up with Democrats.” That is to say, electing a Bush to the White House is always the foreshadowing of a future Democrat victory, and therefore the urgent task of conservatives since 2008 has been to rid the GOP of its doomstruck taint of Bushism. Thus to explain my horrified reaction at this Washington Post story:
Concerned that the George Washington Bridge traffic scandal has damaged New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s political standing and alarmed by the steady rise of Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), prominent donors, conservative leaders and longtime operatives say they consider Bush the GOP’s brightest hope to win back the White House. . . .
(The reported “alarm” toward Rand Paul is ill-founded. If Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker can get re-elected in November, he will immediately emerge as the likely 2016 GOP nominee, based on his success in fighting Big Labor in an industrial Midwestern state.)
One bundler estimated that the “vast majority” of Romney’s top 100 donors would back Bush in a competitive nomination fight. “He’s the most desired candidate out there,” said another bundler, Brian Ballard, who sat on the national finance committees for Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008. “Everybody that I know is excited about it.” . . .
(Obviously, the idiotic big-money GOP Establishment would be “excited” to repeat the doomed campaigns of 2008 and 2012.) ...
Keep reading.

Raising Sled Dogs in Manhattan

I wish I had a sled dog, heh.

At NYT, "Planes, Dog Sleds and Automobiles":
Samantha Brooke Berkule and Scott Stuart Johnson were married Saturday evening in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. Cantor Jill E. Abramson officiated at the Acqualina Resort and Spa on the Beach.

The bride, 35, is an assistant professor of psychology at Marymount Manhattan College and a research assistant professor of pediatrics at New York University. She graduated from Cornell and received a master’s in psychology and a doctorate in developmental psychology from Yeshiva University. Her previous marriage ended in divorce. She is the daughter of Andrea S. Berkule of Yonkers and the late Lloyd I. Berkule.

The groom, 41, owns SJ Partners, a New York investment firm, and is an adjunct professor teaching entrepreneurial finance at Columbia Business School. He graduated from Columbia, from which he also received a Master of International Affairs and an M.B.A. He is the son of Cindy S. Johnson and Tod S. Johnson of Scarsdale, N.Y.

Dr. Berkule and Mr. Johnson became acquainted in 2012 after she reached out to him through
Interesting. The world of dating is enormously different from when I was on the market, lol.

More, including video, here.

Students Riot in Arizona Wildcats Loss to Wisconsin Badgers

At Fansided, "Arizona fans riot, get pelted with tear gas after loss to Wisconsin Badgers (Video)," and Deadspin, "Arizona Loses to Wisconsin; Students And Riot Police Face Off."

And especially at the Daily Wildcat, "Fans riot on University Boulevard after Elite Eight loss." Added: From the comments, heh:
Many students are taught to believe in progressive academia that they are entitled to free education, free health care, free birth control, free Ipads, and free everything in this increasingly socialist nation, so maybe these sore losers thought they were entitled to a guaranteed trip to the Final Four as well?
Cops went a little overboard, it looks like.

Here's the game report at the New York Times, "Final Shift in Momentum Puts Wisconsin in Final Four."

Time-Warner's 'Dodgers Network' Leaves Most L.A. Fans Out in the Cold

I'm still shaking my head over the decision by the Dodgers' owners to enter into a stupid television deal that's so far been universally panned as unnecessary and fan-unfriendly.

At LAT, "Dodgers channel still not available to much of Los Angeles":
Good news for Dodgers fans. This Sunday's regular-season game against the San Diego Padres is on ESPN, which means everyone with a pay-TV service will be able to see it.

The bad news for Dodgers fans is that Tuesday's game against the Padres is on SportsNet Los Angeles, the team's new channel that is being distributed by Time Warner Cable. Unless there is some last-minute deal-making, subscribers of DirecTV, Charter, Dish, FiOS, Cox and AT&T U-Verse will have to whip out their AM radios to keep up with the action.

Time Warner Cable, which shelled out billions to handle carriage of SportsNet LA, has been unsuccessful at closing deals with other area distributors. Such tense negotiations over sports channels has become commonplace. A few years ago Time Warner Cable didn't complete its distribution deals for SportsNet, the home of the Lakers, until after the regular season started.

DirecTV is the key for the Dodgers and Time Warner Cable. With more than 25% of the market, DirecTV is the second-largest distributor in the area after Time Warner Cable, which has over 30% reach here.

Not everyone can get Time Warner Cable but anyone can subscribe to DirecTV. That's why a deal with the satellite broadcaster would help Time Warner Cable and the Dodgers put pressure on other distributors to sign deals.

Conversely, if all the other distributors agreed to carry the channel, DirecTV would have to sign on or risk a mass desertion.
On Thursday, Dodgers President Stan Kasten said he was not pleased with the SportsNet LA situation.

"I am disappointed that deals haven't been closed yet," Kasten said. "And I have to tell you with the first regular-season game coming on Tuesday, I am now concerned that some fans at the start will not be able to see games. And that's disappointing and it shouldn't be happening."
Also, "For Dodger fans, new channel is a rude awakening," and "Most Dodger fans to be shut out from viewing games on opening day."

Added: WSJ has a big background report, "Pay TV Balks at Price of the Dodgers" (via Google).

The End of College Sports as We Know It?

At the Arizona Republic, "Brave, new, unionized college football world":

It’s almost as if colleges and universities were inviting the stunning ruling by the regional director for the National Labor Relations Board, who last week affirmed that football players at Northwestern University have the right to unionize.

Anticipate appeals and lawsuits galore. But as it stands now, Northwestern University football players can organize a union, collectively bargain with college officials for a portion of their program’s revenue, and go on strike if negotiations falter.

A strike. Or, for that matter, a “management” lockout. Ponder, all you Northwestern Wildcats fans, the resulting spectacle: replacement players wearing the purple and white going up against those Wolverines in the Big House. How much might you pay to not see that happen?

The very thought of it violates classic notions of students exchanging their expertise on the field for a valuable education. Exchanging athleticism for four unforgettable years of college life.

To that, labor negotiators and union organizers would observe that universities abandoned those ancient, leafy notions of “student athletes” when they began signing billion-dollar TV deals and started frantically reorganizing into ever-expanding super conferences. All in pursuit of more revenue.

It can scarcely come as a shock to university officials that their athletes might at last find support for getting a piece of that pie.

This NLRB decision is a stunner, all right. It well may mark the end of college athletics as we know them.

Or, it might simply mean that wealthy organizations end up paying their employees fairly. Sometimes, after all, that is what forming into unions can do.

Major League Baseball Players Leave Autograph Collectors Scratching Their Heads

I have a 1969 Dodgers autographed baseball in my closet. It's signed by Manager Walt Alston, and pitchers Don Drysdale, Claude Osteen and Don Sutton, and Jim Brewer and Bill Singer; and outfielder Andy Kosco as well --- not to mention some other names I don't recognize. Some of the other signatures are faded or pretty much illegible. A great collector's item, in any case. My dad got it for me. I'll take a couple of pictures of it later.

Meanwhile, here's this at the New York Times, "In an Era of Squiggles, You Can’t Tell the Players Without a Handwriting Analyst":
The walls of the steakhouse at Yankee Stadium are decorated with signatures of past Yankee greats. David Robertson, the team’s young closer, marvels at the fact that he can read the names.

“All the old-time autographs are really neat,” Robertson said. “It’s a lost art.”

Robertson, 28, is the heir to the retired Mariano Rivera, who leaves behind a legacy of brilliance in the bullpen and precision with a pen. Rivera may have spent more time on his signature than any of his peers, meticulously crafting his M’s and R’s and all the lowercase letters that followed.

Few modern players take similar care. In the last generation or so, the classic script of Babe Ruth, Harmon Killebrew and Rivera has largely deteriorated into a mess of squiggles and personal branding.

It is not just baseball, of course. The legible signature, once an indelible mark of personal identity, is increasingly rare in modern life. From President Obama, who sometimes uses an autopen, to patrons at a restaurant, few take the time to carefully sign their names...
Keep reading. Lots of photos of players' signature, mostly illegible. Heh.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Vladimir Putin's New World Order

One heckuva cover story last week at the Economist, "Diplomacy and security after Crimea: The new world order":
“IN PEOPLE’S hearts and minds,” Vladimir Putin told Russia’s parliament this week, “Crimea has always been an inseparable part of Russia.” He annexed the peninsula with dazzling speed and efficiency, backed by a crushing majority in a referendum (see article). He calls it a victory for order and legitimacy and a blow against Western meddling.

The reality is that Mr Putin is a force for instability and strife. The founding act of his new order was to redraw a frontier using arguments that could be deployed to inflame territorial disputes in dozens of places around the world. Even if most Crimeans do want to join Russia, the referendum was a farce. Russia’s recent conduct is often framed narrowly as the start of a new cold war with America. In fact it poses a broader threat to countries everywhere because Mr Putin has driven a tank over the existing world order...
Putin's New World Order photo bjlbskhiuaau5gr_zpsbb9b7348.png

Gawker's Adam Weinstein: Arrest Climate-Change Deniers!

I saw folks engaging this idiot on Twitter yesterday, but I wasn't online very long, and didn't see what the fuss was all about.

Well now I do, at Gawker, "Arrest Climate-Change Deniers."

This isn't satire. The depraved ghoul Weinstein's making a purportedly serious argument, and was rightfully eviscerated for it.

At Twitchy, "Douchetastic! Gawker writer: Climate-denying ‘malcontents’ should be arrested."

Finished Reading A Soldier of the Great War Yesterday

One of Bird Dog's great pearls of wisdom, long ago (so long, I've no interest in searching for a link), suggested that bloggers need to frequently unplug from the Internet and enjoy the real beauties of life, which are of course offline.

I don't take that advice enough, despite telling myself I should on a daily basis. But yesterday, except for a couple of overnight posts and one mid-day update, I spent the whole day reading, making love to my wife, and enjoying the evening with my youngest son.

I finally finished Mark Helprin's epic novel of World War I, A Soldier of the Great War, which I started last year, in May or June. I read the book on and off again, and of course interspersed reading fiction with all the other stuff I'm normally reading, non-fiction books, and especially political science and policy journals. And that's to say nothing of my daily newspaper reading, especially online, and blogging.

But Helprin's an amazing writer. I indeed took to this book from the opening pages. Occasionally you start a new book and it just doesn't grab you. I've put a few novels back down over the last couple of years because they just didn't do it for me. But I knew I liked A Soldier of the Great War from the opening pages. And then, this last few weeks, when I was down to the last few hundred pages of the book, I just buckled down to finish it. In the old days, when I was an undergraduate especially, I used to read a lot of fiction. I didn't do a whole lot else. I didn't watch as much television. I worked a lot, attended my college classes, went to the gym and hung out with my younger sister (not to mention my mom). Sometimes I would read a novel in just a few days. I can remember reading massive tomes like War and Peace back in the day, and The Fountainhead. With the exception of my schoolwork, there weren't as many distractions as we have today, especially with the Internet and social media. Plus, I have a family nowadays, so that takes a lot of time, lol.

In any case, be sure to read this wonderful novel. Mark Helprin's a conservative who occasionally posts op-eds to the Wall Street Journal (or at least he used to). Here's the book blurb at Amazon:

Mark Helprin photo photo9_zpse937d300.jpg
Alessandro Giuliani, the young son of a prosperous Roman lawyer, enjoys an idyllic life full of privilege: he races horses across the country to the sea, he climbs mountains in the Alps, and, while a student of painting at the ancient university in Bologna, he falls in love. Then the Great War intervenes. Half a century later, in August of 1964, Alessandro, a white-haired professor, tall and proud, meets an illiterate young factory worker on the road. As they walk toward Monte Prato, a village seventy kilometers away, the old man—a soldier and a hero who became a prisoner and then a deserter, wandering in the hell that claimed Europe—tells him how he tragically lost one family and gained another. The boy, envying the richness and drama of Alessandro's experiences, realizes that this magnificent tale is not merely a story: it's a recapitulation of his life, his reckoning with mortality, and above all, a love song for his family.

Ebony Magazine Apologizes to Black Conservative Raffi Williams

You might have seen this depraved blowup over the last couple of days, at Twitchy, "Ebony editor assumes RNC staffer Raffi Williams is a ‘white dude,’ tells him to shut up."

Also, "Ebony Magazine Apologizes to Black Conservative Raffi Williams," and "‘SELLOUTS’! Jamilah Lemieux’s supporters seethe after Ebony apologizes for her ‘lack of judgment’."

And from Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, "RNC chair to Ebony magazine: Apologize; Update: Ebony apologizes," and "Video: Juan Williams, Raffi Williams on diversity of thought":
Daily Caller founder Tucker Carlson hosted an interesting tête-à-tête this morning on Fox between a staunch conservative and a well-known liberal on the lack of tolerance for diversity of thought demonstrated again this week, this time by a senior editor for Ebony Magazine. The two squared off — or actually supported one another as son and father, respectively and respectfully. RNC deputy press secretary Raffi Williams joined his father Juan Williams to blast the pervasive notions that ideology has to be linked to ethnicity, and Juan urged everyone to open their minds to new ideas rather than dismiss people out of hand:

Extreme leftist intolerance, everywhere you go. That's how we live under the Obama regime.

Radical leftists = scum-sucking dirtbag totalitarians.

Lots more at Memeorandum.

Senate Dems Flailing Helplessly to Save Their Majority

What to do?

Blame the Kochs, of course!

At WaPo, "Senate Democrats struggle to define a message that can save their majority":

Democrats are going into the 2014 midterm elections with their control of the Senate greatly imperiled and with the prospect of an Obama presidency completely hobbled in its final two years.

In response, the president and his party are struggling to come up with a broad economic message that can rebut, or at least deflect, the continued GOP assaults on the president and his new health-care law.

Thus far, what they have produced is a smaller, more targeted approach — one that seeks to gin up the enthusiasm that has been lacking in key parts of their base, but that strategy is a gamble since it targets many voters who historically spurn midterm elections.

Senate Democrats’ latest effort in that regard is a 10-point plan for legislation they intend to bring to the floor over the spring and summer.

The issues are familiar ones for Democrats, and poll well among Americans generally.

Yet they are top priorities to narrower slices of the Democrats’ constituency — particularly those who showed up to vote for President Obama in 2012, but who do not have a history or voting in off-year contests.

The first items up for Senate debate will be increasing the minimum wage, from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour, and a bill to assure paycheck equity between male and female workers.

Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said that those are measures that would have their greatest impact on young people, unmarried women, Latinos and African-Americans — all of whom can be difficult to turn out in years when there is no presidential election.

“This doesn’t replace a broader economic message. In the long run, we have to do that. But in the short run, this is very helpful,” said Lake, who has warned that the Democrats face a large turnout disadvantage in a year when Republican voters appear to be more motivated.

GOP pollster Neil Newhouse said the Senate Democrats’ targeted strategy echoes that of Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, where he emphasized a number of “niche group” issues such as the Dream Act, mandatory contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act, student loan expansion and support for same-sex marriage.

“This is all about turnout. They’re not doing this to win swing voters,” Newhouse said.”They’ve got to do this. Otherwise, they’re totally doomed.”
Yes, and what better way to gin up turnout than by attacking --- wait for it! --- the diabolical Koch Brothers!! At Fox News, "Facing tough Senate races, Reid, fellow Dems turn their attack on Koch brothers," and National Journal, "Why Democrats Are Going All In on the Koch Brothers."

F-king morons.

VIDEO HAT-TIP: Puff Ho, "Mark Begich Goes After Koch Brothers In First Campaign TV Ad."

Magnitude-5.1 Earthquake Rocks Orange County and Los Angeles

Actually, there was a swarm of quakes last night. Turns out I'm upstairs reading and my wife comes up to tell me there was an earthquake, about 3.6 on the Richter scale, sometime around 8:00pm. I didn't feel it, but I was just saying that there've been a lot of quakes lately, and boom! Another one hits. First we started to laugh at the coincidence but the quake kept shaking our apartment --- a long roller, I called it --- and we stepped beneath the door frames until it passed.

So, that'll be good temblor line over beers during family get-togethers!

At LAT, "5.1 earthquake: More than 100 aftershocks, scattered damage":

More than 100 aftershocks have been reported since a magnitude 5.1 earthquake rattled Southern California on Friday night.

Most of the aftershocks have been small, but some were strong enough to be felt in the areas around the epicenter in northwestern Orange County.

Meanwhile, officials surveyed the damage, which for the most part was considered minor.

Fullerton police said early Saturday that as many as 50 people had been displaced by the quake. Several buildings are being investigated for possible structural damage, including some apartment buildings.
Photos: 5.1 quake rattles L.A., Orange County

The quake, centered near La Habra, caused furniture to tumble, pictures to fall off walls and glass to break. Merchandise fell off store shelves, and there were reports of shattered plate glass windows.

Residents across Orange and Los Angeles counties and the Inland Empire reported swinging chandeliers, fireplaces dislodging from walls and lots of rattled nerves.

The shake caused a rock slide in Carbon Canyon, causing a car to overturn, according to the Brea Police Department. Several people suffered minor injuries, officials said. Carbon Canyon Road was closed.

Fullerton reported seven water main breaks, and police received reports of windows shattering, but primarily had residents calling about burglar alarms being set off by the quake.

Third-grade teacher Barbara Castillo and her 7-year-old son had just calmed their nerves after an earlier 3.6 temblor and sat down in their La Habra home when their dogs started barking and the second, larger quake struck, causing cabinet doors to swing open, objects to fall off shelves and lights to flicker.

"It just would not stop, it was like an eternity," said Castillo, an 18-year La Habra resident.

At Disneyland in Anaheim, all rides were halted as a precaution but no damage or injuries were reported -- other than ceiling tiles falling in the police station, Sgt. Daron Wyatt said.

The first of a swarm of earthquakes hit the border of La Habra and Brea shortly after 8 p.m. with the 3.6 temblor. About an hour later, at 9:09 p.m., the 5.1 shock hit, followed by at least two more aftershocks in the magnitude-3 range in the next half hour. At least 20 aftershocks had been recorded by late Friday.

U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones said the 5.1 quake has a 5% chance of being a foreshock of a larger temblor.
More, "5.1 earthquake hit on fault that caused deadly 1987 Whittier quake."

And at Fire Andrea Mitchell, "5.1 earthquake La Habra, California."

Friday, March 28, 2014

Will Brooke, GOP Hopeful in Alabama's 6th Congressional District, Takes Aim at #ObamaCare in New Ad

At iOWNTHEWORLD, "Let’s Kill Obamacare."

And Politico, "Alabama Hill hopeful shoots ACA":
One congressional candidate is literally taking aim at Obamacare in a new ad, shooting at a paper copy of the law with various firearms.

“We’re down here to have a little fun today and talk about two serious subjects: the Second Amendment and see how much damage we can do to this copy of Obamacare,” Will Brooke, a congressional candidate running in the GOP primary for Alabama’s 6th district says in a new video posted Wednesday to YouTube.

Planned Parenthood Presents Nancy Pelosi with Award Named After Eugenicist Margaret Sanger


At Twitchy, "Nancy Pelosi presented with Margaret Sanger Award."

Seriously, this is an award that no one in their right mind would want to accept. If you haven't yet, do yourself a favor and pick up Rober Zubrin's, Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism. You will literally cringe at the depravity of Margaret Sanger's racist eliminationism, which is situated today smack dab in the middle of the Democrat Party left.

Denmark Urges Citizens to 'Do It' to Boost Country's Population

At Blazing Cat Fur, "Denmark's call to arms..."

French School Teacher, Survivor of Vicious Anti-Semitic Attack by North African Islamists, Breaks Down on Camera While Retelling the Evil

At Algemeiner, "Victim Breaks Down in Footage From Aftermath of Brutal Anti-Semitic Attack in France (PHOTOS/VIDEO)."

Also at Israel, Matzav, "Jews - it's time to leave France. Please come home!"

America's Dereliction of Duty

That sound you're hearing is America's international standing dissipating.

At the Economist, "America and the IMF":
ANYONE who doubts the importance of the International Monetary Fund should look at Ukraine. Every Western nation is talking about helping the Ukrainians resist Vladimir Putin. In terms of immediate cash, America has come up with $1 billion of loan guarantees, while the European Union has found €1.6 billion ($2.2 billion) of budget support. The IMF, meanwhile, is discussing lending Ukraine’s government about $15 billion. It is the only outfit capable of mobilising large sums fast. That is why, for the past 70 years, the fund has been the world’s financial firefighter. And it is why Congress’s refusal to support reforms to strengthen it is shockingly shortsighted.

The reforms in question concern the IMF’s system of “quotas”. Each country’s quota determines how much it pays in, its clout in the organisation and how much it can borrow if it gets into trouble. America’s quota is the biggest, giving it veto power. But today’s system gives excessive heft to small countries in Europe and too little to emerging economies. And, at $370 billion, the total value of the quotas is modest compared with the scale of global capital flows. That is why, during the 2008-09 financial crisis, the fund’s resources were topped up with temporary credit lines from big economies. And it is why, in December 2010, at America’s instigation, the fund’s members agreed to a bolder reform that would double the quotas and raise the emerging economies’ voting power.

More than three years later, Congress has still not endorsed this reform. It failed to do so once again this week, and in a particularly galling manner. The Obama administration tried to attach quota reform to the legislation approving America’s bilateral aid to Ukraine. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate refused to include it. Just as the fund is promising billions for a country that America is desperate to support, Congress has undercut it.

This is a shameful outcome, driven largely by ignorance. The fund’s most vociferous congressional critics, mainly Republicans, misunderstand both the organisation and its reforms. They argue that the quota change would put more taxpayer money at risk and weaken America’s influence within the fund. Both claims are bogus. America will retain its veto power. The larger role for emerging economies comes at the expense of European countries. Nor does a larger quota add to America’s overall exposure, not least because its credit lines to the fund will be commensurately cut.

The real risk to Americans lies in Congress’s failure to support the reforms that its technocrats championed. This has infuriated the fund’s other member countries, making them less inclined to support America’s priorities. Big assistance packages, such as that for Ukraine, could be a casualty of their anger at America’s unwillingness to live up to its promises. And with a smaller quota and greater reliance on credit, the fund’s finances will be less secure that they should be. America’s arsenal of economic diplomacy will be the emptier for it.

Unravelling Bretton Woods, one vote at a time

Depressingly, few politicians in Washington seem to care. The sense of hegemonic responsibility that led America to create organisations like the IMF and World Bank in 1944, and to nurture them in subsequent decades, is eroding fast. Republicans, particularly the isolationist tea-party sort, deserve much of the blame. But so, too, does the White House...
I can't stand isolationism, from whatever the source. And the Bretton Woods institutions are among the most important financial and monetary organizations in world politics. America needs to lead them or the liberal international order will lie vulnerable to erosion and eventual collapse.

U.N. Backtracks on Climate Predictions

Another blow the warming hoax industry.

At Der Spiegel, "U.N. Backtracks: Will Global Warming Really Trigger Mass Extinctions?":
In 2007, the IPCC predicted that rising global temperatures would kill off many species. But in its new report, part of which will be presented next Monday, the UN climate change body backtracks. There is a shortage of evidence, a draft version claims.

The last remaining passenger pigeon, Martha, died a century ago in a Cincinnati zoo. The bird's downfall was having tender, tasty meat so pleasing to the human palate.

Hundreds of species have suffered the same fate in modern times. The last Tasmanian wolf died in an Australian zoo in 1936. Two years later, the final remaining Schomburgk's deer met its end as a pet in a Thai temple. The Chinese river dolphin hasn't been sighted for years either. In total, 77 species of mammal, 130 birds, 22 reptiles and 34 amphibians have vanished from the face of the earth since 1500, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Humans have shrunk the habitats of many life forms, through unsustainable agriculture, fishing or hunting. And it is going to get even worse. Global warming is said to be threatening thousands of animal and plant species with extinction. That, at least, is what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been predicting for years.

But the UN climate body now says it is no longer so certain. The second part of the IPCC's new assessment report is due to be presented next Monday in Yokohama, Japan. On the one hand, a classified draft of the report notes that a further "increased extinction risk for a substantial number of species during and beyond the 21st century" is to be expected. On the other hand, the IPCC admits that there is no evidence climate change has led to even a single species becoming extinct thus far.

'Crocodile Tears'

At most, the draft report says, climate change may have played a role in the disappearance of a few amphibians, fresh water fish and mollusks. Yet even the icons of catastrophic global warming, the polar bears, are doing surprisingly well. Their population has remained stable despite the shrinking of the Arctic ice cap.

Ragnar Kinzelbach, a zoologist at the University of Rostock, says essential data is missing for most other life forms, making it virtually impossible to forecast the potential effects of climate change. Given the myriad other human encroachments in the natural environment, Kinzelbach says, "crocodile tears over an animal kingdom threatened by climate change are less than convincing."

The draft report includes a surprising admission by the IPCC -- that it doubts its own computer simulations for species extinctions. "There is very little confidence that models currently predict extinction risk accurately," the report notes. Very low extinction rates despite considerable climate variability during past hundreds of thousands of years have led to concern that "forecasts for very high extinction rates due entirely to climate change may be overestimated."

In the last assessment report, Climate Change 2007, the IPCC predicted that 20 to 30 percent of all animal and plant species faced a high risk for extinction should average global temperatures rise by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit). The current draft report says that scientific uncertainties have "become more apparent" since 2007.

It notes that key environmental processes and life form characteristics were given scant consideration in the models -- the ability of plants and animals to adapt to new climatic conditions, for example. Consequently, the new assessment report will not include any concrete figures regarding the percentage of species that could become extinct as a result of global warming.
Well, you can't perpetuate a scam like this forever. Sooner or later, common sense --- and decency --- catch up to you and you gotta come clean. Of course, die hard warmists will come up with some new auxiliary hypothesis to keep all the "climate change" scams going. Wouldn't want to lose all that government "science" funding, and all that.


HMS Queen Elizabeth

At Telegraph UK, "Onboard the Royal Navy war ship of the future, HMS Queen Elizabeth (Video)."

And at London's Daily Mail, "HMS Queen Elizabeth in all her glory: Astonishing graphic shows the decks of new 65,000-ton Royal Navy warship that will be as long as TWENTY EIGHT London buses and can carry 2,300 crew."

Deaf Woman Joanne Milne Hears for the Very First Time

I love this. So wonderful

At Telegraph UK, "Deaf woman hears for the first time (Video)."

And London's Daily Mail, "Watch: The moving moment a deaf woman is overcome by emotion as she HEARS for the first time after having her cochlear implants switched on."

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Add Iowa to the GOP's Senate Pickup List

At Power Line:
The Democrats’ candidate for the Iowa Senate seat being vacated by Tom Harkin is Bruce Braley. Until Tuesday, Braley was the favorite. But then this video surfaced: Braley raising money from a group of big-ticket plaintiffs’ lawyers in Texas. Apparently a Republican sneaked into the gathering with a camera. Two can play that game! Braley assures the Texas lawyers that he is one of them; he has been “fighting tort reform” for thirty years! Whereas, if Republicans gain control of the Senate, Iowa Senator Charles Grassley will be chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Grassley is only “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school.” The horror! Here it is; watch and enjoy. And don’t forget to notice the table with booze on it–a nice touch:

More (via Instapundit).

Democrats Have Screwed Themselves With Increased Reliance on Younger Voters

I touched on this issue yesterday in my post on Republican Party electoral competitiveness.

Democrats simply can't rely on the youth demographic to carry their progressive coalition. For one thing, young people are simply not reliable voters compared to older Americans, who have higher rates of voter turnout relative to any other cohort.

So I thought this piece was interesting, at Sabato's Crystal Ball, "Putting Their Eggs in the Wrong Midterm Basket" (at Memeorandum):
Barring significant changes in group voting habits, many commentators have argued that “The Coalition of the Ascendant” is positioned to give Democrats a notable edge in elections in the near future. There may be some truth to that supposition: The country is clearly getting more diverse, and nonwhite voters tend to vote strongly Democratic.

A key cog in this coalition has been young voters — often called Millennials — who are more diverse than their elders. Exit poll data in 2012 suggest that young people were vital in securing President Barack Obama’s second term in the White House. He garnered 60% of the 18-to-29 vote (after winning 66% of it in 2008), by far the highest percentage Obama won among any age group. Estimating from exit poll data, all else equal, it’s possible that Obama would have narrowly lost the popular vote (and perhaps the Electoral College vote, too) had he won the same percentage among 18-to-29 year olds as he did among 30-to-44 year olds (52%). Continued strong support for Democratic presidential candidates in the future among younger voters could spell trouble for the GOP as generational replacement occurs (yes, that’s a euphemism).

However, one aspect of this trend is anything but rosy for Democrats: Since the first national exit poll was taken for a midterm election in 1978, only once (in that first survey) has the 18-to-29 age group made up a larger portion of a midterm electorate than voters who were 60 or older. And not only have young people almost always been the smallest part of midterm electorates in this period, their participation has usually been much smaller compared to presidential years. With Democrats more reliant on young voters to win elections, drop-off among that group could make it harder for Democrats to find success in midterm cycles...
Keep reading.

The main implication here is that Democrats are likely to suck in midterm election, when there's likely to be a huge drop off of younger voters. Interesting too is that baby boomers, a massive demographic cohort, are living much longer than previous generations, and it's likely their cohort will provide the Republicans with a huge base of votes for decades. Even younger voters today are not guaranteed to remain faithfully Democratic, unlike, say, voters who cut their political teeth during the New Deal-era of Democrat hegemony.

So, while leftists make funny headlines about how the GOP coalition's a bunch of old fogies, the demographic trends are extremely problematic for the regressive boneheads.

More at Memeorandum.

'Wild Night'

From Van Morrison, heard during drive-time the other day at the Sound L.A., although I can't remember just when so I don't have the full playlist. (Sorry, I'll try to do better, lol.)

As you brush your shoes
Stand before the mirror
And you comb your hair
Grab your coat and hat
And you walk, wet streets
Tryin' to remember
All the wild night breezes
In your mem'ry ever

And ev'rything looks so complete
When you're walkin' out on the street
And the wind catches your feet
Sends you flyin', cryin'

Wild night is calling, alright
Wild night is calling

And all the girls walk by
Dressed up for each other
And the boys do the boogie-woogie
On the corner of the street

And the people, passin' by
Stare in wild wonder
And the inside juke-box
Roars out just like thunder

And ev'rything looks so complete
When you walk out on the street
And the wind catches your feet
And sends you flyin', cryin'

Wild night is calling

Wild night is calling, alright

The wild night is calling
The wild night is calling

Come on out and dance
Whoa, come on out and make romance
Yes, indeed

Come on out and dance
Come on out, make romance

(Instrumental & horn solo)

The wild night is calling, alright
The wild night is calling

Come on out an dance
Yeah, come on out 'n make romance

Come on out and dance, alright...

Ukraine's Loss of Crimea Has NATO Examining Its Core Mission

At the Los Angeles Times, "NATO member nations are split over how aggressively to respond to Russia's takeover of the Crimean peninsula":

BRUSSELS — Last fall, nearly 6,000 NATO troops, mostly in Eastern Europe and the Baltics, trained to repel an invasion by a fictional country that bore an uncanny resemblance to Russia.

Five months later that scenario no longer seems so remote.

The reality of tens of thousands of Russian troops assembled along Ukraine's border has forced the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to confront long-deferred issues about its capability — and collective will — to respond to aggressive moves by Moscow.
The recent ouster of Ukraine's pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich and Russia's belligerent response has the 65-year-old alliance thinking again about its core mission of common defense at a time when its resources, including those of the U.S., are stretched thin.

That reflection has exposed a deep division among NATO's 28 member nations.

In a visit to Belgium on Wednesday that included a stop at NATO headquarters, President Obama vowed the alliance would "uphold" its commitment to defend its members. In a clear warning to Moscow, he called for stationing more forces in NATO countries "that may feel vulnerable."

Some experts say that if Moscow began to seriously threaten NATO members, the U.S. would need to at least partially rebuild its military presence in Europe, which once included more than 250,000 troops, hundreds of tanks, fighters jets and other equipment for rapid response against the Soviet army. The number of U.S. troops in Europe now stands at about 70,000 and dropping.

For now, that remains a distant possibility. Obama has all but ruled out direct U.S. military involvement in Ukraine, noting that the country is not a NATO member and therefore outside the alliance's collective security umbrella...

And at the New York Times, "Obama Renewing U.S. Commitment to NATO Alliance."

Also, from Stephen Walt (yes, that Stephen Walt, FWIW), "Would You Die for That Country?"

Harsh Life of Missing 8-Year-Old Relisha Rudd Comes Into Focus

An almost unbelievable story of bureaucratic incompetence and incomprehensible evil.

At the Washington Post, "Relisha Rudd’s difficult past comes into focus":
Relisha Rudd’s absences piled up at Daniel A. Payne Elementary School, topping 30 days this year before someone notified the D.C. Child and Family Service Agency on March 13.

But it took an additional six days before the city agency took action. By then, Relisha, 8, had gone missing.

Police believe Kahlil Malik Tatum, 51, a janitor at the homeless shelter at the old D.C. General Hospital, where Relisha lived, killed his wife and now has the girl. They are looking for them up and down the East Coast.

With the search now into its eighth day with no breaks, Relisha’s difficult past is coming into focus. Guardians, social workers and employees at the subsidized shelter had extensive contact with Relisha but missed or ignored repeated opportunities to intervene weeks or even years ago, records show. And her mother, who allowed Relisha to be with Tatum, told school officials her daughter was missing school because she was sick, an explanation that authorities say delayed their ability to respond...
Keep reading this sorry-assed report.

I mean really? Who lets their 8-year-old child spend the days with a janitor at a homeless shelter? This dude Tatum took the child "swimming" and bought her presents. Hey, no hints something's awry there. Nope, not at all. And child protective services? No clue. Can you say city-agency clusterf-k?

This is not good. Not good at all. Ima say a prayer now.