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Monday, September 30, 2013

Cameron Suggests that the UK Should Withdraw from Human Rights Convention

From the Daily Mail:
Britain could pull out of the controversial European Convention on Human Rights which stops dangerous terrorists from being ‘chucked out’ of the UK, David Cameron said today. 
For the first time the Prime Minister revealed he was ready to end the right of foreign courts to interfere with British justice. 
He said cutting ties with the Strasbroug courts could be the only way to ensure a future Conservative government can keep the people of Britain safe.


A Frank Discussion About Islamic Terrorism

Brendan O'Neill, writing at the Telegraph, urges us to consider that society and the media need to talk frankly about Islamic terrorism. The gist of his article is that political violence, even terrorism, has in the past had the purpose of advancing some political cause or attempting to gain territory; but modern Islamic terrorism has no such purpose--it's purpose seems to be to create terror for terror's sake. He argues it is fundamentally different from past political violence and needs to be recognized as such. O'Neill concludes:
What we have today, uniquely in human history, is a terrorism that seems myopically focused on killing as many people as possible and which has no clear political goals and no stated territorial aims. The question is, why? It is not moral masturbation to ask this question or to point out the peculiarity and perversity of modern Islamist violence. My penny’s worth is that this terrorism speaks to a profound crisis of politics and of morality. Where earlier terrorist groups were restrained both by their desire to appear as rational political actors with a clear goal in mind and by basic moral rules of human behaviour – meaning their violence was often bloody, yes, but rarely focused narrowly on committing mass murder – today’s Islamist terrorists appear to float free of normal political rules and moral compunctions. This is what is so infuriating about the BBC’s refusal to call these groups terrorists – because if anything, and historically speaking, even the term terrorist might be too good for them.
Read the whole thing.

I would contend that O'Neill is correct--the change in terrorism is a result of a crisis of politics and morality.

There are two ways to view this issue. First, this crisis is because Arab civilization is collapsing, and beginning to lash out like a mortally wounded animal. Islam preaches that it is superior and above all. Muslims are the chosen of Allah, destined to make all unbelievers their slaves. But it has not worked out that way. The Islamic world is backwards and stunted, and the terrorists know it, but cannot reconcile it with their beliefs. Their expectation is that they should rule the world; the reality is that they fall further behind every year. Islamic economies are, for the most part, collapsing. Their birth rates are plummeting. Conversions to Christianity are steadily increasing, notwithstanding the threat of death to converts. Like the arch-typical bullies, the terrorists have to hurt someone to make themselves feel better about their own failures.

However, it is interesting, particularly with the Nairobi mall attack, that we are seeing terrorist groups seemingly dominated by sociopathic predators. As O'Neill points out, many Islamic terrorist attacks seem more like the work of someone shooting up a mall. So, are we seeing fringe groups that brainwash participants to act like the criminally insane, or are we seeing fringe groups that are having to scrape the bottom of the social barrel?

(H/t Gates of Vienna)

A Conspiracy Nut's Dream (or Nightmare)

Could someone make you hear voices in your head? This article at Blacklisted News not only describes tests using microwaves to cause people to hear sounds, but suggests that Aaron Alexis (the Navy Yard shooter) may have been a victim of such attacks. (He did suffer from schizophrenia, though). Of course, that doesn't explain why he seemed to target white victims....

The real conspiracy in this case, though, may be why someone like Alexis was able to get a security clearance in the first instance.

A State of Denial

In a clear example of propaganda, Emirates 24/7 claims that 70% of population growth over the next 30 years will be in Muslim countries. European countries took decades for their fertility rates to fall to where they are now. Muslim countries are doing it in a decade. The book Why Civilizations Die goes into great detail on declining fertility rates in Muslim countries. I've more generally discussed declining demographics here.


This May Be A Replay of the Sequester....

The Boston Herald discusses the brinkmanship over the threatened shutdown of the federal government. However, there is this:
If lawmakers blow today’s deadline, about 800,000 federal workers would be forced off the job without pay. Critical services such as patrolling the borders, inspecting meat and controlling air traffic would continue. Social Security and Medicare benefits would continue
What if no one notices that the government has "shut down"?

(H/t Instapundit)

MIT Scientist Mocks UN Climate Report

From the Daily Caller:
A top climate scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology lambasted a new report by the UN’s climate bureaucracy that blamed mankind as the main cause of global warming and whitewashed the fact that there has been a hiatus in warming for the last 15 years. 
“I think that the latest IPCC report has truly sunk to level of hilarious incoherence,” Dr. Richard Lindzen told Climate Depot, a global warming skeptic news site. “They are proclaiming increased confidence in their models as the discrepancies between their models and observations increase.” 
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change claimed it was 95 percent sure that global warming was mainly driven by human burning of fossil fuels that produce greenhouse gases. The I.P.C.C. also glossed over the fact that the Earth has not warmed in the past 15 years, arguing that the heat was absorbed by the ocean. 
“Their excuse for the absence of warming over the past 17 years is that the heat is hiding in the deep ocean,” Lindzen added. “However, this is simply an admission that the models fail to simulate the exchanges of heat between the surface layers and the deeper oceans.” 
“However, it is this heat transport that plays a major role in natural internal variability of climate, and the IPCC assertions that observed warming can be attributed to man depend crucially on their assertion that these models accurately simulate natural internal variability,” Lindzen continued. “Thus, they now, somewhat obscurely, admit that their crucial assumption was totally unjustified.”
I think it is Al Gore and the other climate politicians. In order to spew out their hot air, they have to first suck in hot air. It is basic thermodynamics that they are not going to efficiently transfer heat from the hot air they suck in to the hot air they blow out, so they are basically removing excess heat from the atmosphere. I blame Al Gore.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Two Victories for Private Space Flight

A couple of notable stories in the history of private space ventures today. First, Space X successfully launched a Canadian satellite into orbit using its Falcon 9 rocket. Second, Orbital Science Corp. successfully docked its cargo spacecraft with the International Space Station.


So Who's the Terrorist?

The Democrats like to throw around a lot of hard rhetoric to "other" conservatives, including referring to Republicans in the House as terrorists. But while Democrats seem ready to deal with real terrorists, this is how they are responding to the House budget:

The Senate is expected to reject decisively a House bill that would delay the full effect of President Obama’s health care law as a condition for keeping the government running past Monday, as Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader, expressed confidence that he had public opinion on his side. 
Angering Republicans who lead the House, Mr. Reid kept the Senate shuttered on Sunday, declining to act on the House measure until Monday afternoon, just hours before the government’s spending authority runs out at midnight.
I wonder when Reid decided to sell his soul to Obama, and how much he received?

Obama's Choice...

... delay implementation of ObamaCare or face a government shutdown. 
The House sent the legislation to the Democratic-run Senate early Sunday by 231-192. 
The bill would delay much of the 2010 health care overhaul for a year. It would also repeal a tax on medical devices that helps finance the health care law.
(H/t Instapundit).

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Global Warming Models Deeply Flawed

Ross McKitrick notes at the Financial Post that the global warming models are deeply flawed as shown by actual temperature measurements. Since the 1990s, atmospheric carbon dioxide rose by 12% from 355 to 396 ppm. According to the models, global temperatures should have risen by 0.2 to 0.9 degrees Celsius over the same time period, but actually only increased by 0.1 C, which, McKitrick states was within the margin of error of zero. More damning, though, is that the tropics should show the most rapid greenhouse warming, but have had virtually no temperature change for over 30 years.

He concludes:
The IPCC must take everybody for fools. Its own graph shows that observed temperatures are not within the uncertainty range of projections; they have fallen below the bottom of the entire span. Nor do models simulate surface warming trends accurately; instead they grossly exaggerate them. (Nor do they match them on regional scales, where the fit is typically no better than random numbers.)

Global Warming Nut Wants Vasectomy

The Daily Mail reports:

A meteorologist who has covered weather for the Wall Street Journal tweeted that he has decided not to have children in order to leave a lighter carbon footprint, and is considering having a vasectomy. 
He also vowed to stop flying after the world's recent climate-change report made him cry. 
Eric Holthaus was reacting to the findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which released a report on Friday that found it was ‘extremely likely’ that humans are causing warming trends seen in the last several decades.
Evolution in action.

Patty Murray Laments On If Only Women Were In Charge

This is from a couple days ago, but the Huffington Post reports:
 If women ruled the country, the government wouldn't be on the brink of shutting down or defaulting on its debt, according to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
LOL! I have a one word reply to Democratic women being placed in charge of anything: Benghazi.

Bruce Schneier Discusses the NSA's Spying Program

From MIT Technology Review (h/t Intapundit). A couple of salient points:

We are seeing the NSA collecting data from all of the cloud providers we use: Google and Facebook and Apple and Yahoo, etc. We see the NSA in partnerships with all the major telcos in the U.S., and many others around the world, to collect data on the backbone. We see the NSA deliberately subverting cryptography, through secret agreements with vendors, to make security systems less effective. The scope and scale are enormous.
... The NSA’s actions are making us all less safe. They’re not just spying on the bad guys, they’re deliberately weakening Internet security for everyone—including the good guys. It’s sheer folly to believe that only the NSA can exploit the vulnerabilities they create. Additionally, by eavesdropping on all Americans, they’re building the technical infrastructure for a police state. 
We’re not there yet, but already we’ve learned that both the DEA and the IRS use NSA surveillance data in prosecutions and then lie about it in court. Power without accountability or oversight is dangerous to society at a very fundamental level.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sick...

Late term abortionist allows mothers, who are killing their babies, to celebrate the abortion by holding the dead baby, taking prints of the feet, and even putting together a memory box. At least they are not killing it with scissors, but the taking of trophies is still disturbing.

The Left is Finally Beginning to Notice...

The Guardian reports on Seymour Hersh's criticism of the MSM, including this gem:
Don't even get him started on the New York Times which, he says, spends "so much more time carrying water for Obama than I ever thought they would" ....

More Democratic Absurdities

I wonder if they ever consider how stupid they sound. The National Journal (h/t Drudge) reports that Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) is suggesting that Ted Cruz and the Tea Party have created a political divide as dangerous as that prior to the Civil War. This follows on numerous other Democrats comparing conservatives to terrorists and murderers.

Up to a certain point, talk like this can be considered as political hyperbole. But I think it has long passed mere rhetoric. What we are seeing is the process of "othering" -- dehumanizing an enemy to make it easier to attack them. Just like a military, terrorist group, or gang might do. Yes, these comments are designed to fire up the Democratic base, but not in a good way. This is to fire them up in a manner that allows--nay, encourages--violence. Because, to the Democratic leadership, conservatives like Ted Cruz are no longer another human being taking a different view of how government should be operated, but "murderers," "
terrorists," "rebels," or something else deserving to be attacked or killed.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rudolph Hess Offered Peace Plan ...

According to this article at the Daily Mail, Hess carried a peace offer when he parachuted into England in May 1941--an offer that Germany would withdraw from Western Europe in exchange for Germany being allowed to attack the Soviet Union without interference. The offer was reportedly rejected by Churchill.

There May Be More Water on Mars ...

... than thought even a few months ago.
Nasa’s Mars rover Curiosity has found water in the first soil sample taken from the red planet's surface. 
The first scoop of soil analysed by Curiosity revealed that fine materials on the surface of the planet contain two per cent water by weight. 
... Dr Leshin added: ‘We now know there should be abundant, easily accessible water on Mars. 
‘When we send people, they could scoop up the soil anywhere on the surface, heat it just a bit, and obtain water.’
(Full story here).

A New Form of Matter?

Hard light?

The Daily Mail reports:
A team of physicists were messing around with photons when they managed to get the particles to stick together and form a molecule. 
The molecule behaves, they claim, just like a lightsaber by moving the light particles around in a solid mass and is unlike any matter seen before. 
The discovery, reported in Nature, was made by Harvard physics professor Mikhail Lukin and MIT physics professor Vladan Vuletic after they blasted photons through a cloud of rubidium atoms. 
As the photons enter the cloud of cold atoms, Lukin said, its energy excites atoms along its path, causing the photon to slow dramatically. 
... When they sent more than one photon simultaneously, they noticed that the particles clumped together to form a molecule.
The researchers believe that it may have applications in quantum computing and optical routers. Also:
 "Lukin also suggested that the system might one day even be used to create complex three-dimensional structures -- such as crystals -- wholly out of light. 
‘What it will be useful for we don't know yet, but it's a new state of matter, so we are hopeful that new applications may emerge as we continue to investigate these photonic molecules' properties,’ he said.

Krokodil Spreads to the U.S.

Back in November 2011, I posted about the spread of Krokodil into Europe from Russia. The drug, a cheap, imitation heroin made by mixing codeine with substances like gasoline, paint thinner, oil or alcohol, has arrived on U.S. shores. Its name is derived from crocodile, because the drug can kill the flesh around injection sites, causing it to turn green and scaly before rotting off.

Ted Cruz's Plan

A lot of establishment Republicans, both in Congress and outside, have attacked or minimized Cruz's 21-hour speech against ObamaCare, because they are afraid of Republicans being blamed for a government shutdown. However, the House bill was designed to give the Democrats a choice in the matter--either accept defunding ObamaCare or shut down the government. 

Garth Kant explains at World Net Daily:

McConnell announced Monday he does not support the attempt by Cruz to defund Obamacare. 
The GOP Senate leader claimed he opposes Obamacare, but he refused to support Cruz’s effort to block a vote on cloture, which effectively doomed the House bill that would have defunded Obamacare. 
McConnell would have needed to get only 41 out of 46 Republican senators to vote to block cloture, but he would not support the effort. 
He, and other establishment Republicans, fear they would take the blame for any government shutdown, even though the House bill is specifically designed to force Democrats to be the ones to shut down the government, should they refuse to defund Obamacare. 
... Democrats favor the health-care law because they consider it the president’s signature achievement. 
Analysts believe GOP leaders refuse to mobilize their rank-and-file to fight Obamcare because they are afraid a government shutdown could cost them at the polls in the 2014 elections.
... The next vote, Friday or Saturday, Cruz said, is “the vote that matters.” 
That’s a vote on cloture, a proposal to cut off debate, and it will determine whether there will be a 50- or a 60-vote threshold for making changes to the bill. 
If it passes, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., could easily add language to the bill restoring funding for Obamacare, because he would need only 50 votes. Republicans have only 46 votes in the Senate, Democrats have 52 and there are two independents. Cruz wants to make sure the threshold to change the bill would be 60 votes. 
Cruz said, if the GOP goes along with Democrats and votes for cloture it will doom the effort to defund Obamacare.
So, if the Republican Senate leadership were to get behind the House bill, it would force the Senate to give a thumbs up/down vote on the bill.

However, the old-timers don't like that option. John Podhoretz writes at the New York Post:

His filibuster’s nominal purpose was to put pressure on the Senate to create the conditions under which funding for ObamaCare would be stripped from a budget resolution — or else force Democrats to shut down the government. 
Yet that was and is never going to happen; Democrats have the majority in the Senate. ObamaCare is their law, their passion and their president’s signature achievement. So much for the procedural hijinks Cruz was engaging in. 
But then the real passion in Cruz’s appeal and the passion among the Republican base and the conservative movement in this entire business isn’t directed against Obama and the Democrats — but rather against Republicans and conservatives who don’t see the purpose of creating a political crisis over funding the government with no possible positive outcome for the Right. 
Cruz has dubbed such people “the surrender caucus.” At the start of his marathon, he compared them to Neville Chamberlain, conceding Austria to the Nazis. 
 Every single one of those Cruz includes in the “surrender caucus” opposes ObamaCare and voted against it. The writers and talkers he includes in the “surrender caucus” have written or spoken tens of thousands of words against it and are as committed to stopping its harmful effects as Cruz is. 
They simply don’t see the value in this game of brinksmanship; in fact, they — we — see that it might be harmful to the cause of stopping ObamaCare. This disagreement is over tactics, not core convictions.
Do you see his explanation? The Democrats are going to win on this issue, so why fight it? This is a message of appeasement, and, unfortunately, the voters the establishment Republicans are trying to appease are the voters that were going to vote Democrat anyway.

If there was a time to block the implementation of ObamaCare, it is now. But the old-guard Republicans are throwing that opportunity away so they don't alienate Democrats.

Where is Obama On Negotiations with Iran

From the Debka File:

1. Iran’s nuclear capabilities will be preserved in their present state. Tehran has already pocketed respect for its right to enrich uranium and keep back in the country all accumulated stocks, including the quantities enriched to the 20 percent level (a short hop to weaponised grade). 
2. Tehran accepts a cap on the number of centrifuges enriching uranium at the Natanz facility. The exact number has not been decided. 
The number of machines for enriching uranium to 5 percent is still at issue. There are no restrictions on centrifuges generating a lower level of purity.  
Discussions on this point have not been finalized, since Washington wants to limit the number of advanced IR2 and IR1 centrifuges in operation and Tehran is holding out against this, 
3. Iran will sign the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty-NPT, which allows International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to make unannounced visits outside declared nuclear sites, when they are suspected of carrying out banned operations.
It will also allow the IAEA to install cameras in the chambers where the centrifuges are spinning and not just the areas where the enriched uranium is deposited.
 
Here too, it is not clear whether Tehran will also stipulated that Israel sign the same article and permit inspections of its reputed nuclear sites. 
4.  The US and European Union will gradually lift all sanctions. 
The linkage President Obama made between the Iranian and Palestinian negotiating tracks is puzzling: 
Does it imply that the more land Israel gives up on the West Bank for a Palestinian state, the more heavily he will lean on Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program? 
Was the president suggesting that if Israel is ready to evacuate settlements and reach a land swap deal with the Palestinians, he will be all the more ready to use force to preempt a nuclear-armed Iran? 
If that is the president’s thinking, he is giving the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, by accepting or rejecting the extent of Israeli concessions, the power to determine the endgame of US nuclear negotiations with Iran. 
Does that make sense?

Mike Walsh on the Republican Revolution

That is, the revolution occurring within the Republican party. He believes that the Republican party may be at a tipping point between the RHINOs, who participate in the Progressive agenda, and true conservatives (and libertarians). However, he also makes the following observations concerning ObamaCare:

... The Democrats’ fierce, desperate contortions to sneak Obamacare through the Congress should stand as a monument to how the system can be abused and manipulated by a group of unscrupulous politicians — and care needs to be taken that such a travesty can never happen again. 
This doesn’t mean, as the Left would have you believe, that the choice is between Orwell’s Big Brother and Oliver Twist’s workhouse. I can’t name a single Republican senator who opposes some kind of healthcare “reform” (a misnomer, since the law has to do with insurance, not healthcare). But the reforms on the Right mostly concern the liberated operation of free markets across the country, not a top-down, imposed, statist solution that only aggrandizes more power and wealth in Washington while doing little or nothing about medical care. Only a child, a moron, or a Democrat could believe that you could take a system as complex as medical care/insurance, impose a collectivist solution to a non-existent problem upon it, and expect the markets to function as before, only this time cheaper.
 And read this piece describing how ObamaCare contains a substantial marriage penalty, and could encourage divorce.

Global Warming as a False God

The Washington Examiner looks at the impact of the soon to be release U.N. report on global warming, which now has to try and explain 15 years without any warming. But it also notes how global warming has become less of a science, and more of a religion:

The religious analogy is appropriate because belief in global warming has taken on the trappings of traditional religion. 
Alarmists like to say the science is settled — which is nonsense, since science is a series of theories that can be tested by observations. When Einstein presented his theory of relativity he showed how it could be tested during astronomical events in the next decade. The theory passed. 
Saying the science is settled is demanding what religions demand, that you have faith.
Religion has ritual. Global warming alarmism has recycling and Earth Day celebrations.
Some religions persecute heretics. Some global warming alarmists identify “denialists” and liken them to Holocaust deniers.
 
Religions build grand places of worship. Global warming alarmists promote the construction of windmills and solar farms that produce uneconomic and intermittent electricity. 
Global warming alarmism even has indulgences like the ones Martin Luther protested. You can buy carbon offsets to gain forgiveness for travel on carbon-emitting private jet aircraft. 
Some religions ban vulgar pleasures, like the New England Puritan sumptuary laws banning luxuries. Some global warming alarmists want to force most Americans out of big-lawn suburbs into high-rise apartments clustered around mass transit stations. 
This last element seems to be dominant among many global warming alarmists. Stop the vulgar masses from living their tacky lifestyles driving those horrid SUVs. They must be made to repent, conform and be saved.
 And let me add another aspect, that is common to false religions and cults--preaching for sake of power and gain, without the shared sacrifice. Al Gore.

Now the Senate Doesn't Want to Negotiate

I saw several stories over the past several days about Obama's basic unwillingness to negotiate with House leaders over raising the debt ceiling. Now the Senate is refusing any negotiations:

House Republicans are preparing to roll out a debt limit proposal in advance of a floor vote as early as the end of this week, with sweeteners attached that are expected to include a one-year delay of the 2010 health law’s implementation, a blueprint for an overhaul of the country’s tax code and instructions to begin construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. 
The Democratic-controlled Senate isn’t expected to take kindly to such a package. 
“Apparently they’re now working on some Christmas tree-filled demands in order to raise the debt ceiling,” said Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., at a Wednesday event sponsored by The Atlantic. 
Upon receiving that bill, Murray continued, “With a whole laundry list of their favorite stuff … we’ll send it back clean because that is the responsible thing to do.”
(Underline added).

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

More Signs of a Coming Civil War in Afghanistan

I had previously written that signs are pointing toward a civil war in Afghanistan after U.S. and allied troops leave. Spiegel Online has an interview with a former Afghan warlord who believes that the militias need to be rearmed. The article notes, at the beginning:

Though NATO claims it will be leaving behind a pacified Afghanistan when it withdraws its troops next year, there are already increasing signs that the former mujahedeen are reactivating their militias. The mujahedeen were the main military force that resisted the Soviet occupiers and the communist Najibullah regime -- and later fought the Taliban. Their leaders, who represented diverse ethnic groups, were popular but also often notorious for their ruthlessness. Now, the mujahedeen want to arm their militias for renewed fighting and a possible civil war. 
The mujahedeen feel the Afghan army is incapable of providing security in the country after NATO's withdrawal. Despite the West's efforts to nurture this fledgling military force, over the past three years one out of every three soldiers has deserted -- a total of 63,000 men. 
Even leading politicians in Kabul -- including Vice President Mohammed Fahim, who is himself a former warlord -- are predicting that the mujahedeen will make a comeback in 2014. Ahmed Zia Massoud, the brother of legendary mujahedeen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, publicly proclaims that his supporters are in the process of rearming themselves. 
Furthermore, Ismail Khan, 65, a leader of Afghanistan's Tajiks, warns in a SPIEGEL ONLINE interview that the Afghan army trained by the West will never be capable of ensuring the country's long-term security. ...

Winning Hearts and Minds

Borderland Beat has an article on how the Gulf Cartel has been distributing food and supplies to victims of the recent flooding in Mexico, and posting propaganda video on You Tube.
The video was animated with captions such as, "They have been good people, in good times and bad times in Aldama", and they show when they begin to unload the groceries to distribute them among the affected citizens. 
"If they are helping, it's because they have heart", "There is no other motive seen here except to help", reads the text, while they record the distribution of groceries to hundreds of women, children and elderly men, who were affected by Ingrid.

North Korean Nuclear Threat

Robert Farley notes in the Diplomat that the real North Korean nuclear threat is an accident:

A 2012 Center for Strategic and International Studies presentation highlighted many of the difficulties associated with preventing a nuclear mishap in North Korea. Although the report focused on problems in production and in the fuel cycle, the difficulties associated with developing proper weapon handling techniques are even more challenging. The relatively early stage of North Korea’s nuclear program means that safety procedures remain in their infancy, and thus that the potential for accident is high. At the same time, in part because of the program, North Korea is isolated from the knowledge and expertise of the international community with respect to nuclear weapons handling and safety protocols. 
Moreover, the small size of North Korea’s arsenal and the apparent paranoia of Pyongyang’s military and political leadership may necessitate a nearly constant alert status, putting pressure on personnel and increasing the chances of an accident. And indeed, this same paranoia (even, to some degree, with respect to China) may make North Korea particularly unlikely to agree to any transparency in its nuclear program.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Predictions

Adam Rogers makes some predictions on where "Agents of SHIELD" will go (plot-wise, that is) this season.

Update on Nairobi Terrorist Attack

The Daily Mail reports that the current death toll is at 72, with an additional 175 injured. Also this:

The news comes as it was claimed today that the Islamic militants who stormed the mall rented a shop inside the complex apparently to store a cache of guns and explosives before the attack.
 
The Kenyan Interior Ministry said the terror group may have had control of the store for three months leading up to the siege. 
Law enforcement officials believe the arsenal of weapons used in the atrocity were smuggled in, which suggests they may have been kept inside the shop during that time.

U.S. Arming Terrorists One Way or Another

Fox News reports:
The recent theft of massive amounts of highly sensitive U.S. military equipment from Libya is far worse than previously thought, Fox News has learned, with raiders swiping hundreds of weapons that are now in the hands of militia groups aligned with terror organizations and the Muslim Brotherhood.  
The equipment, as Fox News previously reported, was used for training in Libya by U.S. Special Forces. The training team, which was funded by the Pentagon, has since been pulled, partly in response to the overnight raids last August.  
According to State Department and military sources, dozens of highly armored vehicles called GMV's, provided by the United States, are now missing. The vehicles feature GPS navigation as well as various sets of weapon mounts and can be outfitted with smoke-grenade launchers.
In addition, the article states that the terrorists haul included roughly 100 Glock pistols, over 100 M-4 carbines, and an undisclosed number of night-vision goggles. (They will own the night). No word on how much ammunition or other munitions may have been captured.

The article reports that terrorists have been acting increasingly bold, carrying out daylight attacks against targets (including, last month, an attack on the European ambassador).

The Kenya Mall was a "Gun Free Zone"

Obviously, they needed bigger and better signs so that terrorists would have known that. From PJ Media:
Reports from Kenya indicate that security wasn’t allowed to carry firearms in the upscale mall where the massacre occurred. At the end of the day, this was another mass shooting in a “gun-free zone.”  It would seem that someone forgot to tell the terrorists that weapons were not allowed.  Knowing terrorists, I’m sure if they had known about the restriction they would have dutifully complied.   Still, there is that chance that some terrorists are not the most upstanding, law-abiding folks in any given neighborhood.  Perhaps the better part of valor is making sure that “the gun free” zone goes the way of the dinosaur.  We all may be a lot safer.
And this note:
 In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, Resident Obama commissioned government to study the impact of guns on America.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was given $10 million to research gun violence.  What they found was a nearly complete repudiation of left-wing talking points on guns.  Among the findings were these little gems.  Armed citizens are less likely to be injured by an attacker.  How many times has some extremist progressive tried to convince us that we’re better off not having a gun when confronted by someone else with a gun?  Liberals have claimed that it’s more likely that victim would do more damage because of their assumed lack of experience and ability to wield a firearm.  The CDC also found that Defensive uses of guns are common.  Willfully ill-informed left-wingers consistently claim whine, “What does anyone need with a gun America anyway?”   According to the survey, “Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year.” 

Monday, September 23, 2013

How Obama Came Up with the Idea of Obamacare

"[H]e needed a killer line for one of his speeches and couldn’t let pass a golden opportunity to grandstand[.]"

Explosions and Fire at Nairobi Mall

The Daily Mail is reporting:

Kenyan special forces were today locked in a fight to the death with Islamic terrorists who have been barricaded inside a Nairobi mall with up to 40 hostages since Saturday. 
Witnesses described hearing four large explosions at the Westgate Shopping Centre followed by the sight of thick plumes of smoke and the sounds of fierce gunfire after the military tried to break the three day siege by gaining access from the roof. 
It is feared that some of the gunmen, who are from Al Qaeda affiliated group Al Shabaab, may have blown themselves up, though a Kenyan government minister said that militants had set fire to some mattresses in a supermarket as a decoy. 
Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said that two of the terrorists had been killed and that most hostages were now free. All of the militants were men, he added, although some were dressed as women. 'We think the operation will come to an end soon', he said. 'We are in control of all the floors, the terrorists are running and hiding in some stores... there is no room for escape'. 
The Red Cross has put the death toll at 62 - including four Britons - and say 63 are still missing. At least 175 were injured, including children.

NYC Mob Attacks Sikh Professor

USA Today reports:
Police say Prabjot Singh, a 31-year-old Sikh, was attacked just blocks from his home by a group of more than 20 young men on bikes who called him a terrorist and shouted "Get Osama!" Singh, who was saved when passersby intervened, was left with injuries including a fractured jaw, reports the Columbia Spectator. 
Gawker points out that Singh himself noted in a New York Times article on anti-Sikh violence last year that the turbans and long beards of Sikh men have often marked them out as targets for discrimination both in India and overseas.
A group of "young men on bikes"? According to the Village Voice:
 He was walking with a friend when they passed a group of what he estimates were 25 to 30 young men, most of them African-American, who began yelling "Get him," "Osama" and "terrorist." 
I looked through perhaps another half dozen articles concerning this incident, including from ABC News, New York Times, Fox News, Huffington Post, etc., and not one of them described the attackers as anything but "youths" or "young men." Have we now become Europe where violence by certain minorities is so problematic that the media dares not report ethnicity for fear of being labeled racist?

Homicide Rates and Guns

This will probably be taken down soon, but somehow this made it past the editors at NPR:
According to Gunpolicy.org, Russians have far fewer guns than Americans — and far more homicides. 
There are fewer than 13 million firearms in circulation in Russia, compared with an estimated 300 million in the United States. That works out to about 9 guns per 100 people in Russia and closed to 100 guns per 100 people in America. 
The most recent homicide statistics for Russia show that there were 21,603 killings in 2009. 
According to the FBI, the United States had 13,636 homicides in 2009 with a population that is more than twice as large. More than 80 percent of those killings were gun-related. 
It's difficult to make a direct comparison of gun homicides in the two countries because Russia doesn't break down its murder statistics.
Well, at least they are honest about their murder rates, unlike England, which I understand doesn't count it as a "murder" unless there is a conviction.

The RHINOs are Getting Desperate...

...they've now rolled out Alan Greenspan to criticize the "Tea Party" folks.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Angela Merkel Wins

The Telegraph reports that Angela Merkel has won a historic third term as German Chancellor, with the Christian Democrats winning 42.5 % of the vote.

Navy Yard Shooting an Example of Why ...

... its dangerous to have too many SWAT teams.

Another Brit Tries to Distract from the U.K.'s Crime Problem

Henry Porter writes at the Guardian:
That's America, we say, as news of the latest massacre breaks – last week it was the slaughter of 12 people by Aaron Alexis at Washington DC's navy yard – and move on. But what if we no longer thought of this as just a problem for America and, instead, viewed it as an international humanitarian crisis – a quasi civil war, if you like, that calls for outside intervention? As citizens of the world, perhaps we should demand an end to the unimaginable suffering of victims and their families – the maiming and killing of children – just as America does in every new civil conflict around the globe.
Porter then goes on to confound suicides with murders, and ignoring that most gun violence is confined to battles between inner-city gangs, and that the U.S. is actually a much safer country to live in than the U.K., for instance. C'mon Mr. Porter, please explain why your country is so much more violent than mine.

The Perils of Nuclear Disarmament

Foreign Policy has an article discussing why nuclear disarmament is dangerous for the United States. That being the case, Obama, of course, is pushing heavily for the United States to reduce or eliminate its nuclear arsenal.
Nuclear reductions and the heady dreams of abolition are driven in part by a belief that nukes are Cold War anachronisms. But it would be incorrect -- dangerous, in fact -- to assume that the conditions that have allowed the United States to de-emphasize its atomic arsenal will persist. Nuclear weapons are still the most potent military tools on Earth, and they will remain central to geopolitical competition. They have been relatively unimportant in the recent past not because humanity has somehow become more enlightened, but because we have been blessed with a temporary respite from great-power rivalry.

. . .

The writing is already on the wall. Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea are modernizing or expanding their nuclear arsenals, and Iran is vigorously pursuing its own nuclear capability. As Yale University political scientist Paul Bracken notes, we are entering a "second nuclear age" in which "the whole complexion of global power politics is changing because of the reemergence of nuclear weapons as a vital element of statecraft and power politics." Nostalgia for simpler times can be seductive, but the United States needs a nuclear force that can protect it from the challenges that lie ahead.

The Fruits of Socialism

Venezuela takes over toilet paper factory:

On Saturday, Vice President Jorge Arreaza announced the "temporary occupation" of the Paper Manufacturing Company's plant in the state of Aragua. The aim, he explained, is to review the "production, marketing and distribution (of) toilet paper." 
"The ... People's Defense from the Economy will not allow hoarding or failures in the production and distribution of essential commodities," the vice president said. 
By the "People's Defense," Arreaza was referring to a government agency created on September 13 by President Nicolas Maduro to "defeat the economic war that has been declared in the country," according to a report from state-run ATV. This group is charged with looking at inefficiencies across various industries in the nation, including foods and other products, and taking action presumably in the South American nation's best interests. 
Toilet paper is very much a part of the war. 
The bathroom essential is one of the basic goods and foodstuffs that have been disappearing from store shelves since earlier this year. In Caracas, for instance, long lines are common whenever new rolls come in. 
As the amount of TP and other products, such as rice and cooking oil, have lagged, the blame game has picked up. 
Businesses and the political opposition say the shortages stem from ill-conceived government policies such as price controls on basic goods and tight restrictions on foreign currency. These moves make it so many producers can't even break even, they say. 
But the government has said private companies aren't doing their part, accusing them of hoarding their products in hopes of selling it later at a higher price. 
They've also suggested the problem is tied to a broader conspiracy.
With socialists, it's never that they might have been wrong.

North Korea's Meth Trade

The Daily Mail reports that North Korea has become involved with manufacturing crystal meth, but it may be getting out of control:

A new study reveals vast quantities are being made for export by state-trained scientists in collusion with corrupt officials and criminal gangs in a country desperate for hard currency.
 
Inevitably, it has ended up creating a catastrophic epidemic back home. In some parts of the country up to 50 per cent of the population are reported to be hooked. 
The study discloses drug abuse has reached ‘remarkable proportions and keeps growing, engulfing new social groups and regions’. 
The inquiry, by two South Korea-based academics, is based on interviews with 21 recent defectors. It confirms earlier evidence from the US and China, where there are soaring levels of crystal meth addiction in border regions with North Korea. 
Perhaps most remarkably, the trade began as a state-sponsored exercise. 
The nation, hit hard by the collapse of the Soviet Union which supported it with aid, began making methamphetamine in large laboratories in its poorer northern regions for export.  
These were scaled down about eight years ago as the drug began flooding back into the country. 
But instead of slowing down production, this sparked explosive growth in crystal meth manufacture.  
Jobless scientists and technicians created their own ‘kitchen labs’, teaming up with smuggling gangs that blossomed during a deadly famine in the Nineties. 
‘They were rather old people and their lives were tough,’ one defector told the report’s authors. ‘Private entrepreneurs began to look for such people and employ them.’ 
Users include soldiers in the world’s most militarised state, women taking it for weight control and sick people unable to access medicines in a country with such chronic healthcare  that doctors use old beer bottles for hospital drips. 
‘People in North Korea do not realise what the side effects will be,’ said  Professor Kim Seok-Hyang, who co-authored the report. ‘They think it is a good thing to relieve their pain. A cure-all medicine.’ 
Parents even offer it to children to help them concentrate – with no inkling of the consequences.

"I am not leaving"

The Daily Mail reports:
White supremacists are gathering today in Leith, North Dakota, the tiny town that a neo-Nazi leader hopes to turn into a white-only haven for racism.  
But Leith's only black resident is defiant and say's he's staying put.  
The other residents of the dwindling town of 24 people are planning a counter-protest to oppose the meeting of white supremacists. Leaders from across the state are joining forces in an effort to show the hate groups that they aren't welcome.  
'We are deeply disturbed that one of the residents of our small community has invited hate groups to our town and to the state of North Dakota. One of these hate groups, the National Socialist Movement, is planning to hold a meeting in our city hall on Sunday afternoon, and raise neo Nazi flags on property around our town,' the town of Leith said in a statement.
There are successful methods to deal with this problem, although it may require exercising the Second Amendment.

Kenyan Standoff Nearing End


A large explosion today rocked the upmarket Kenyan mall where Islamic extremists are holding hostages after launching an attack which left at least 68 people dead. 
Witnesses at the Westgate shopping center in Nairobi said the explosion - which was followed by silence - is by far the largest as the siege nears the 36-hour mark. Up to 15 militant attackers were in the mall on Sunday night holding an unknown number of captives, said Kenyan officials, although estimates have been made at around 30 hostages. More than 175 people have been wounded. 
The Kenyan military stormed the four-story mall and there have been sporadic gun battles with extremists. Kenyan troops were seen carrying in at least two rocket-propelled grenades - and, earlier, military helicopters hovered over the mall. 
It came after the wife of a U.S. embassy worker was identified as one of the dead. Four Americans are among the 175 wounded in the attack by al Qaeda-linked extremists, who opened fire in the mall after reportedly allowing Muslims to flee. 
Reuters had earlier reported that Secretary of State John Kerry said the wife of a U.S. diplomat working for the U.S. Agency for International Development was killed. 
However the State Department said that it was in fact the wife of a national working for the U.S. embassy in Nairobi.
... Five hostages were released on Sunday at around 2am local time. It is thought that Israeli soldiers are assisting with the rescue mission: 'The Israelis have entered and they are rescuing the hostages and the injured,' a source told AFP. 
Two wounded Kenyan security forces officers were carried out of the mall this morning after a barrage of gunfire was heard. 
Two gunmen have been killed by authorities, but as many as eight remain, CNN reported. Is is believed that one of the militant fighters is a woman.  
Jonathan Maungo, a private security guard, told Reuters: 'They entered through blood, that's how they'll leave.'
... Al-Shabaab, also known as Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (HSM), claimed responsibility for the atrocity on Twitter.  
The terrorist organization said that it had previously warned the Kenyan government that, if they did not remove military forces from Somalia, there would be 'severe consequences'. 
'For long we have waged war against the Kenyans in our land, now it's time to shift the battleground and take the war to their land,' terrorists tweeted, before launching into a chilling account of the attack as it unfolded.  
The militant group wrote: 'The Mujahideen entered Westgate Mall today at around noon and are still inside the mall, fighting the Kenyan Kuffar inside their own turf.' 
The organization claimed it had killed more than 100 Kenyan 'kuffar', a derogatory term used to describe non-Muslims. 
'Since our last contact, the Mujahideen inside the mall confirmed to @HSM_Press that they killed over 100 Kenyan kiffar & battle is ongoing.' the tweets continued. 
'What Kenyans are witnessing today at #Westgate is retributive justice for crimes committed by their military, albeit largely miniscule in nature,' read the final tweet.
 The BBC similarly reports:

"The gunmen told Muslims to stand up and leave. They were safe, and non-Muslims would be targeted,'' Elijah Kamau told AP. 
British journalist Daniel Howden at Westgate told the BBC that one witness explained how he was released by the attackers after showing his ID with a Muslim-sounding name. 
An Indian man who was standing next to him was asked for the name of the Prophet's mother and when he was unable to answer, he was shot dead, the witness told him.
Some of the attackers were reportedly dressed in hijabs, but it was unclear whether they were men or women.
 
One man reported seeing a man who spoke Arabic change his clothes then leave the shopping centre amongst other people being rescued.
And then there is this:
Al-Shabaab is claiming that there are American gunmen among those still holed up in the Westgate mall in a standoff with Kenyan and Israeli special forces.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Hillary's Goons Commit Assault and Battery...

From the Miami Herald:
At one point, a member of the audience, Andrew Rothberg, had his Galaxy Note II smartphone taken from him by security, which removed his picture of Clinton onstage and then gave his device back in front of a Miami Herald reporter in the auditorium stands.
Well, couldn't have security stand down on such an important matter.

Obama Wanted to be an Architect...

Speaking at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Awards ceremony in the East Room, the first lady explained why "the president is so jealous right now" that she got to host the event."And every year, when I’m going over my briefing, he’s like, 'You’re doing that again?' " she said, prompting laughter from the crowd. "He’s like, 'Well, who’s there?'  Because really, deep down, he would have been an architect had he been as talented and creative as all of you."
Reminds me of another socialist:
Hitler was 18 when he applied to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, planning to make his life as an artist. He flunked the drawing test and was rejected. He later wrote in Mein Kampf, "That gentleman [the rector] assured me that the drawings I had submitted incontrovertibly showed my unfitness for painting." Hitler's ability lay instead in architecture, the rector told the young man. By 1910 the 20-year-old Hitler was working in Vienna as a draftsman and painter of watercolors. William Shirer wrote in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich that Hitler "sold hundreds of these pitiful pieces" to
"petty traders to ornament a wall, to dealers who used them to fill empty picture frames on display and to furniture makers who sometimes tacked them to the backs of cheap sofas and chairs after a fashion in Vienna in those days."
 
Hitler's biographers generally give short shrift to the dictator's years as a failing artist. Alan Bullock's classic, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, concludes that the future Fuehrer produced "entirely unoriginal drawings" and "grandiose plans." "He had the artist's temperament without either talent, training or creative energy." 
In Hitler: The Path to Power, Charles Bracelen Flood writes that "Hitler had a flair for drawing; filling the apartment at 31 Humboldtstrasse with his sketches, he dreamed of becoming a great painter." But for most historians, the only moment that matters in Hitler's artistic career is the art school rejection. The key text is from Hitler friend August Kubizek, who wrote that after receiving the rejection, Hitler launched into a tirade in which "his face was livid, the mouth quite small, the lips almost white. But the eyes glittered. There was something sinister about them. As if all the hate of which he was capable lay in those glowing eyes . . . Hitler never ceased to feel ashamed of what his dream of being a painter had become."

Special Forces Told to Hold in Place...

... rather than attempt  a rescue in Benghazi.

Political Leaders Told Climate Scientists to Cover Up Lack of Warming

From the Daily Mail:
Scientists working on the most authoritative study on climate change were urged to cover up the fact that the world’s temperature hasn’t risen for the last 15 years, it is claimed.
A leaked copy of a United Nations report, compiled by hundreds of scientists, shows politicians in Belgium, Germany, Hungary and the United States raised concerns about the final draft.
 
Published next week, it is expected to address the fact that 1998 was the hottest year on record and world temperatures have not yet exceeded it, which scientists have so far struggled to explain. 
The report is the result of six years’ work by UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is seen as the world authority on the extent of climate change and what is causing it – on which governments including Britain’s base their green policies.
But leaked documents seen by the Associated Press, yesterday revealed deep concerns among politicians about a lack of global warming over the past few years.
 
Germany called for the references to the slowdown in warming to be deleted, saying looking at a time span of just 10 or 15 years was ‘misleading’ and they should focus on decades or centuries. 
Hungary worried the report would provide ammunition for deniers of man-made climate change. 
Belgium objected to using 1998 as a starting year for statistics, as it was exceptionally warm and makes the graph look flat - and suggested using 1999 or 2000 instead to give a more upward-pointing curve. 
The United States delegation even weighed in, urging the authors of the report to explain away the lack of warming using the ‘leading hypothesis’ among scientists that the lower warming is down to more heat being absorbed by the ocean – which has got hotter.
Can't let the truth get in the way of the politician's desire to use global warming as a means to increase their power and control.

Al Qaeda Steels CIA Provided Weapons

Was anyone surprised this was going to happen? Other than McRhino...?
ISIS fighters [Al Qaeda] recently raided a council arms [Free Syrian Army] depot filled with lights weapons and ammunition, funded by the Gulf states and funneled to the council with the guidance of the Central Intelligence Agency, council members said.
(H/t Weasel Zippers).

Mass Shooting in Chicago--Media Yawns

From the Daily Mail:
A three-year-old boy is among 13 people who were shot after gunmen opened fire on a Chicago park on Thursday night. 
Shots rang out around 10.15pm and appeared to target a basketball court on the 51st Street side of Cornell Square Park in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, The Chicago Tribune reported. 
The boy, identified as Deonte Howard and known to his family as 'Tay-man', was shot in the jaw as he sat with his mother and was rushed to hospital, where he remains in critical condition. 
Twelve others - three females and nine males between the ages of 15 and 41 - were shot and emergency crews rushed them to hospitals. One of the victims was able to drive himself to hospital. 
Their injuries include gunshot wounds to the foot, buttocks, abdomen and back. 
Police said they believed the shooting was gang related. 
Julian Harris, 22, told the Chicago Sun-Times that dreadlocked gunmen driving in a gray sedan fired at him at the corner of Wood St and 51st before turning north and shooting up the park.
It doesn't fit the anti-gun or racist narrative.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Obama Invokes "Full Faith and Credit" to Raise Debt Ceiling

A warning shot across the bow. From a CNS article quoting Pres. Obama:
"Now, this debt ceiling -- I just want to remind people in case you haven't been keeping up -- raising the debt ceiling, which has been done over a hundred times, does not increase our debt; it does not somehow promote profligacy.  All it does is it says you got to pay the bills that you've already racked up, Congress.  It's a basic function of making sure that the full faith and credit of the United States is preserved."
(underline added). You see where he is going with this--that Congress is violating the Constitution, and it is up to him to make sure that the government complies with it.

Washington CERT Team First to Respond--Told to Stand Down


About 8:15 local time (12:15 GMT), Alexis entered Building 197, headquarters for Naval Sea Systems Command, which builds and maintains ships and submarines for the Navy, and opened fire. 
Armed with a shotgun and a pistol he took from a guard he had shot, he sprayed bullets down a hallway and fired from a balcony down on to workers in an atrium.
He fired on police officers who eventually stormed the building, and was later killed in the shootout.
 
Multiple sources in the Capitol Police department have told the BBC that its highly trained and heavily armed four-man Containment and Emergency Response Team (Cert) was near the Navy Yard when the initial report of an active shooter came in about 8:20 local time. 
The officers, wearing full tactical gear and armed with HK-416 assault weapons, arrived outside Building 197 a few minutes later, an official with knowledge of the incident told the BBC. 
... According to a Capitol Police source, an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), Washington DC's main municipal force, told the Capitol Cert officers they were the only police on the site equipped with long guns and requested their help stopping the gunman. 
When the Capitol Police team radioed their superiors, they were told by a watch commander to leave the scene, the BBC was told. 
The gunman, Aaron Alexis, was reported killed after 09:00.
 Rollcall reports:
“Stunned” and “embarrassed” were among the reactions overheard from officers posted around the Capitol complex discussing the allegations that one of the best-trained tactical units in the city was ordered to leave the scene of a mass shooting. 
In response to the revelations, the Capitol Police Board — Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer, House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving, Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers and Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine — on Wednesday established at Dine’s request a “Fact Review Team led by Michael Stenger, Assistant Sergeant at Arms for Protective Services and Continuity and former Assistant Director of the U.S. Secret Service” to get to the bottom of the questions, according to a release from the board. 
“The review team will conduct its work and report its findings and recommendations to the Capitol Police Board and Chief Dine no later than October 21, 2013,” the release said.
 I predict that the media will brush this under the carpet very quickly.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Navy Yard Shooter A Liberal

I had noted the other day that Aaron Alexis was reported to be an Obama fan. The Daily Caller has more information on this point ... and a prediction:
First we learned that Alexis didn’t use an evil AR-15 to kill all those people. Instead, he used a nice, friendly, Biden-approved shotgun: 
Now we learn that Alexis was a Prius-driving, African-American liberal who liked Obama. Facts aren’t much fun, eh, libs? 
So now the MSM narrative will magically transform this mass murder from “yet another damning indictment of gun-toting, right-wing racist America” to “the completely isolated actions of a misunderstood victim of society.” Just watch. It happens every time. And every time, they think we won’t notice. 
Meanwhile, their ratings and their circulation numbers continue to plummet, and they blame everybody but themselves.
And what about the second person of interest? Will the MSM ever follow up with that?

Earth's Inner Core ...

... spins in an eastward direction (i.e., opposite the direction of the outer core and mantle) at a slightly faster rate.

Gunman Kills 4 in Austria (Updated and bumped)

A gunman in Austria killed four people, including three police officers, and was firing sporadically Tuesday at police after barricading himself in a farm building, police officials said. 
SWAT teams blocked off the area around the farm in Melk, a central town in Lower Austria province some 70 kilometers (40 miles) west of Vienna. The standoff, which began early Tuesday, continued into the evening.
The report indicates that the gunman apparently hijacked a police vehicle, later killing the officer.

Update: Police have recovered the charred body of the suspect, Alois Huber, from the farmhouse where he had holed up.

First Photographs of Tibet

The Daily Mail has published photographs from a 1904 expedition to Tibet and the city of Lhasa.

First: This image shows the Tibetan Forbidden City of Lhasa, photographed from afar by British troops in 1904

Marines Claim They Could Have Cleared Building If They Had Only Had Some Ammo

Glenn Reynolds noted this story from CNS News:
"My son was at Marine Barracks -- at the Navy Yard yesterday - and they had weapons with them, but they didn't have ammunition.   And they said, 'We were trained, and if we had the ammunition, we could've cleared that building.' Only three people had been shot at that time, and they could've stopped the rest of it." 
He then compares this to the tower shooting at the University of Texas in 1966:

As [Officer Houston McCoy] drove, he made out the word "shooting," and that was all he knew when he arrived with a .38-caliber pistol and a 12-gauge shotgun. He made it to the base of the tower but, because of its design, couldn't pick out a doorway. He glanced up and saw the twenty-seven floors of windows and felt "like there was a radical with a machine gun behind each window." He left, stumbled into a student who said he had a high-powered rifle in his room, and drove the kid to get it. ... "I was confused, bewildered, and bumfuzzled," he allows. What he did notice was a round ripping through his friend Billy Speed. Houston handed the rifle back to the student, who asked if he should shoot to kill. Houston answered, "Shoot the shit out of him." It was now 12:08. 
... Meanwhile, Houston McCoy ferried another student to get guns and ammunition. After the first fifteen minutes, the sniper was pinned down by students and other civilians who'd spontaneously flocked to the university area with deer rifles. McCoy then found a university employee who knew the tunnels of the campus, and he plodded through them, with his shotgun off safety, to the tower. The sniper had been killing for more than an hour now.
The story goes on to note a couple of other civilians that assisted in taking the tower.

Some Advice to Generation Y

The Huffington Post destroys the dreams of many young workers and college students by noting that the reason they are unhappy is because their expectations exceed their reality. And why do their expectations exceed reality? According to the Huff Post, it is because Gen Y individually think that they are special when, in fact, they are not.
Paul Harvey, a University of New Hampshire professor and GYPSY expert, has researched this, finding that Gen Y has "unrealistic expectations and a strong resistance toward accepting negative feedback," and "an inflated view of oneself." He says that "a great source of frustration for people with a strong sense of entitlement is unmet expectations. They often feel entitled to a level of respect and rewards that aren't in line with their actual ability and effort levels, and so they might not get the level of respect and rewards they are expecting." 
For those hiring members of Gen Y, Harvey suggests asking the interview question, "Do you feel you are generally superior to your coworkers/classmates/etc., and if so, why?" He says that "if the candidate answers yes to the first part but struggles with the 'why,' there may be an entitlement issue. This is because entitlement perceptions are often based on an unfounded sense of superiority and deservingness. They've been led to believe, perhaps through overzealous self-esteem building exercises in their youth, that they are somehow special but often lack any real justification for this belief."
Like every generation before, success will require hard work, learning/experience, networking/connections, and a little bit of luck.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Obama To Implement Gun Control

More of trying to get around Congress. CBS News reports:

In the wake of the shooting at the Navy Yard, Obama spokesman Jay Carney said the president is implementing executive actions and reiterated his commitment to strengthening gun laws, including expanding background checks to sales online and at gun shows. 
“The president supports, as do an overwhelming majority of Americans, common-sense measures to reduce gun violence,” Carney said.
Here's a suggestion. Given the political proclivities of most of the mass shooters, how about a law prohibiting liberals from owning or possessing firearms?

Navy Yard Gunman Was Obama Supporter

Since the liberals will lie, cheat or steal to make it appear that violent gunmen are conservative, I would like to note that Aaron Alexis was liberal and an Obama supporter.

Chimeras in Humans

The New York Times has an interesting article on how a single person can have genomes from multiple sources:
Yet all these powerful tests are based on the assumption that, inside our body, a genome is a genome is a genome. Scientists believed that they could look at the genome from cells taken in a cheek swab and be able to learn about the genomes of cells in the brain or the liver or anywhere else in the body. 
In the mid-1900s, scientists began to get clues that this was not always true. In 1953, for example, a British woman donated a pint of blood. It turned out that some of her blood was Type O and some was Type A. The scientists who studied her concluded that she had acquired some of her blood from her twin brother in the womb, including his genomes in his blood cells. 
Chimerism, as such conditions came to be known, seemed for many years to be a rarity. But “it can be commoner than we realized,” said Dr. Linda Randolph, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles who is an author of a review of chimerism published in The American Journal of Medical Genetics in July. 
Twins can end up with a mixed supply of blood when they get nutrients in the womb through the same set of blood vessels. In other cases, two fertilized eggs may fuse together. These so-called embryonic chimeras may go through life blissfully unaware of their origins. 
One woman discovered she was a chimera as late as age 52. In need of a kidney transplant, she was tested so that she might find a match. The results indicated that she was not the mother of two of her three biological children. It turned out that she had originated from two genomes. One genome gave rise to her blood and some of her eggs; other eggs carried a separate genome. 
Women can also gain genomes from their children. After a baby is born, it may leave some fetal cells behind in its mother’s body, where they can travel to different organs and be absorbed into those tissues. “It’s pretty likely that any woman who has been pregnant is a chimera,” Dr. Randolph said.
 Read the whole thing.

(H/t Instapundit).

"Smart Mormons"

Mike Jensen writes at the Canada Free Press about a certain Mormon religious belief that (should) tie into political beliefs:

So here’s what I learned: Mormons ... believe that all humans lived a life before mortality.  They call this the pre-existence or pre-earth life.  ...
In this pre-earth life, we were all in the presence of God as His spirit children.  Jesus was there—the first-born of God’s spirit children, and a leader in the councils in Heaven.  Lucifer was also there, and was another leader among the children of God.  He was called a “son of the morning.” 
At some point in this existence, the Father called all of His children together to explain [that they] would have to leave His presence and come to earth for a period of testing.  The goal was to see if we would live a righteous life even when we had to live by faith, as we would no longer be able to remember God or heaven .... 
...  However, God knew that we would all make mistakes, so he would provide a Savior for the world.  This Savior would live a sinless life, and because of that, he would qualify to pay for the sins of the world through what would be called the “Atonement.”  If people would sincerely repent of their sins, then the Atonement would essentially erase their sins, and they could still return and live with God.  The Father called for volunteers to be this savior, and two stepped forward: Jesus and Lucifer. 
Lucifer said that he would be the savior and he would force everybody to live righteously, thus guaranteeing that all of God’s spirit children would return to Him in heaven.  Jesus said that He would follow the Father’s plan and allow God’s children their free agency.  They could choose for themselves whether to live righteously and take advantage of the Atonement or whether to live in sin and forfeit the opportunity to return and live with God. 
God rejected Lucifer’s plan, causing Lucifer to rebel and declare war on God.  One-third of God’s spirit children joined Lucifer in this rebellion.  In the end, the rebellion failed and Lucifer and his followers were cast out of heaven.  They came to earth without bodies and now, continuing the war they started in heaven, they tempt men to do evil to one another and lose out on the chance to return to God. 
PAY ATTENTION HERE; THIS IS THE GOOD PART 
... Most traditional Christians believe that Lucifer lived in heaven as an angel, but then declared war on God and was cast out.  However, the causes for that war are not necessarily clear in traditional Christian theology. 
That is where Mormon theology is so intriguing.  For Mormons, the greatest of all battles, the war in heaven, was fought over LIBERTY—or as they call it, “free agency.”  Lucifer wanted to take it away, while God demanded that humans have it.
I've discussed this with my children to distinguish good political beliefs from bad, noting that some government programs that may seem "good" or beneficial on the surface are, in fact, consistent with Lucifer's plan because they use force (i.e., the coercive power of the state) to require us to do "good". But, of course, if we are forced to be good, then we never actually develop the capability to do good, but are merely doing what we are forced to do. I've also noted that the modern tyrannical movements of socialism and communism often sell themselves as being good, while in fact relying on force to implement their policies, and removing free agency.

Unfortunately, many Mormons do not make the connection that Mr. Jensen has made.

More on the Navy Yard Shooter

Aaron Alexis, the man identified as yesterday's shooter at the Navy Yard in Washington, apparently was a civilian contractor who held a "secret" security clearance and was scheduled to start working at the Navy Yard. This same Reuters story also indicates that he had successfully passed a background check in July 2013 conducted by Defense Security Service.

Yet...Alexis had been arrested before: in 2004 in Seattle for shooting the tires of construction vehicles, in 2008 in Georgia for "disorderly conduct," and in 2010 in Fort Worth for a negligent discharge of a weapon. He also suffered from schizophrenia and a sleep disorder. He also felt that he was the victim of discrimination in relation to a contracting job in Japan--the same contractor he was to begin working for in Japan.

Notwithstanding the harping on his having an AR-15, that is not true. The FBI has confirmed that Alexis was armed with a shotgun and two handguns. He apparently was found next to an AR-15. However, surveillance video shows that he obtained the handguns from security guards which he killed. (See this story, which indicates that, according to the FBI, Alexis arrived carrying only the shotgun, which he had recently purchased).

Of course, we should remember that as a military facility, like Ft. Hood, it too was a gun free zone.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Navy Yard Shooting (Update)

Update: More information on Aaron Alexis.

Update: The white male is no longer a person of interest.

Update: Police appear to have discounted a possible third shooter:
Authorities spent much of the day searching for two other potential suspects, before deciding that at least one of the two men was “not a suspect or person of interest,” according to a police statement released on Twitter.

Update: Boston.com has an AP report on the identity of the dead shooter and indicates that 12 people have died:
Federal law enforcement officials say the man accused in a shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard that left at least 12 people dead has been identified as Aaron Alexis. 
... Alexis was a 34-year-old from Texas. He is believed to have a criminal record there and to be a holder of a concealed carry weapon permit. 
That official says Alexis is believed to have gotten into the Navy Yard by using someone else’s identification card.
I would note that it is the shooter should not have a valid concealed carry permit if he has a criminal record.

Update: CNN had previously reported that "[t]he suspect in the shooting is a 6-foot tall, bald black male of medium complexion, wearing a black shirt and jeans, said D.C. Metropolitan Police spokesman Chris Kelly."

Update: The Washington Post is now reporting that 7 are dead.

Update: Police looking for two other shooters:

D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier said in a news conference that authorities are looking for “potentially two other shooters,” with one shooter dead at the scene. 
“The big concern for us right now is that we have potentially two other shooters that we have not located at this point,” Lanier said. 
She said one shooter involved in the situation is dead following the shooting. 
Lanier said that one of the shooters was a white male seen at around 8:40 a.m. this morning with a khaki tan military uniform and a beret. He was last seen with a handgun, she said. And she said police are also looking out for a black man, approximately 50 years old, who may have been in possession of a “long gun.” That man was wearing an olive military-style uniform.

Update: The Washington Post indicates that the AP is reporting 6 dead.

Update: The Monroe News is carrying an AP report indicating that one of the shooters is dead.

Update: The Washington Post indicates that CNN is reporting two shooters "down."

Update: The LA Times is reporting 5 dead.

Update: The National Journal reports:
An active shooting is underway at Washington D.C.'s Navy Yard Monday morning. At least ten people have been shot, including two police officers, according to the MPD. A senior Navy official told NBC that at least a dozen people have been shot, with multiple people dead. As of about 10:40 AM, the scene was still being called active by D.C. police. 
A Metropolitan Police spokesperson told the Washington Post that three shooters are involved with the violence, one is down and two remain in the building. The Post later updated their report to say that police believe there were two shooters on the scene, not three. The Navy has not confirmed the reports of multiple shooters. NBC is reporting that there are at least two shooters, with at least one currently down. D.C. police have refuted reports of multiple gunmen to CNN. "We don't have a number of suspects right now," Officer P.J. Newsham told CNN. Newsham said that searching the area would take some time.

The facts are still hazy, but here is a roundup of some stories this morning:

An early report from Fox News reports:

Four people were killed and 12 were shot - two of the victims police officers - at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard Monday morning, and the shooter has not yet been apprehended, authorities confirmed. 

A senior Naval official confirmed the number of victims to NBC News.
One of those shot was a D.C. police officer, reported NBC News' Pete Williams. Another was a base security officer. 

The conditions of the victims are unknown, but George Washington Hospital reported that at least one victim has been transported to that hospital. 

The U.S. Navy says three shots were fired at 8:20 a.m. inside Building #197 at the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters, 1336 Isaac Hull Ave. in the Southeast section of the District. U.S. military officials say the gunman - armed with an AR-15, a military-style assault weapon - first shot the base security officer.
 However, the Washington Post has reported that there were 3 shooters involved:


Police say three shooters, including at least one in fatigues, have shot at least 10 people at the Washington Navy Yard. 
Police said at least one of the shooters is “down,” but it was unclear whether that means the suspect has been arrested or shot. Two remain at large, and police believe they have pinned down one between the third and fourth floors of one of the buildings on the installation in Southeast Washington. 
... Police on the scene said at least eight civilians were shot, along with the two police officers. One is a D.C. Metro Police officer who was shot two times in the leg and was evacuated on a helicopter that took off from a rooftop, police said. The other officer worked at the base. Except for the officer who was taken away by helicopter, all the other injured were being treated on the ground, police said. 
A Navy Yard employee reached by telephone shortly before 10 a.m. said employees are still being told to shelter in place. She did not hear the shots, but described sirens, SWAT teams, Marines and a helicopter responding. 
The U.S. Navy said that three shots were fired around 8:20 a.m. at the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building, where about 3,000 people work.
 (See also the Washington Post's live blog). But the Washington Post just updated its story:

Police now believe two shooters, including one in fatigues, have killed four people and wounded eight others at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday, throwing the region into fear and chaos during the morning commute.

The Washington Times seems to also be confirming multiple shooters:
Multiple media reports said at least two attackers were involved in the rampage, and officials remain on the hunt for additional “active” shooters.