Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Terror-Lawyer Lynne Stewart Released from Federal Prison

I saw the headline "compassionate release" earlier today, but I didn't know they were talking about left-wing terrorist attorney Lynne Stewart.

Shameful. She should rot in jail.

At the New York Times, "Judge Orders Release of Dying Lawyer Convicted of Aiding Terrorism":
A federal judge in Manhattan ordered a “compassionate release” on Tuesday for Lynne F. Stewart, the former defense lawyer convicted of assisting terrorism who is dying from cancer in a federal prison in Texas.

Ms. Stewart, 74, who was convicted in 2005, sought release in 2013 under a Bureau of Prisons program for terminally ill inmates, but did so without the bureau’s support. The judge, John G. Koeltl of United States District Court, rejected the request in August, but indicated that he would look favorably upon such action if the Bureau of Prisons itself made such a motion....

Ms. Stewart, in a 12-page handwritten letter to the judge during the summer, said she did not want to die in prison, “a strange and loveless place,” as she put it. “I want to be where all is familiar — in a word, home.”

Judge Koeltl’s order says that Ms. Stewart shall be released “as soon as her medical condition permits, the release plan is implemented, and travel arrangements can be made.”
This woman is vile. Screw her.

See Sharon Chadha, at FrontPage Magazine, "Lynne Stewart, Jihadi Lawyer." And Michelle Malkin, "No Tears for Lynne Stewart":
The jihadists’ favorite American lawyer, Lynne Stewart, reportedly has stage-4 breast cancer. Her radical friends — ranging from the “Party for Socialism and Liberation” and “Workers World” to Pete Seeger, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal — want her freed from jail. There’s only one decent response to the Lynne Stewart Fan Club’s criminal-coddling demand:

No, hell, no....

This case remains a shining example of just how dangerous it is for America to give foreign-born jihadists the full panoply of American constitutional rights and all the attendant benefits of a civilian trial. Stewart’s treacherous collaboration with the Blind Sheik endangered — and cost — innocent lives.

Stewart remains unrepentant. She called 9/11 an “armed struggle.” Upon her initial sentencing, she boasted that she could serve the term “standing on her head.” After she was convicted of aiding and abetting Rahman, she told an interviewer she “would do it again.”

Now she wants mercy, medical comforts and freedom? No, hell, no. This messenger gal for murderous barbarians made her prison bed. Die in it.

2013: The Year Defiance of the State Became Cool

Well, to a point.

Too many libertarians are anarcho-nihilists, with no conception of legitimate security needs of the state. They form a civil liberties cult, elevating people like Aaron Swartz and Edward Snowden to hero status, and evincing a virtual sickness, according to Robert Stacy McCain, "a psychological complex we might call Post-Republican Anti-War Syndrome."

With that caveat, here's Reason, "The year saw many Americans rally behind rebels, explicitly siding with them over the government, in opposition to the powers-that-be":
Flipping the bird to the state doesn't guarantee universal acclaim. It certainly doesn't ensure personal safety. But more than at any time in recent memory, defying governments and their laws has a constituency—a large one—that sees such action as necessary and even heroic.


A great hash-tag, on Twitter.

And at Twitchy, "Rep. Steve Stockman, others hijack #LiberalismIn4Words":

2013: The Year of Mainstreaming Homosexual Depravity

At AmericaBlog, "2013 LGBT year in review: A great year for gay homosexual rights."

And from ABC News, "A Game-Changing Year for Gay Homosexual Rights, From the Supreme Court to the Soccer Field."

McDonald's photo BclUpfxCYAEAChu_zpsc57d6653.jpg

Same-sex fast food via Dr. Marty Fox, on Twitter.

Dr. Kate Stone, Transgender Cambridge Academic, Gored by Giant Stag

She's paralyzed.

At Telegraph UK, "Cambridge University academic 'fighting for life' after being gored by giant stag":
Kate Stone, 44, suffers life-threatening injuries in 'the most unlucky freak accident ever', after the stag appeared to single out the 6ft academic who was the tallest of the group.
And see London's Daily Mail, "Transgender Cambridge academic seriously ill after being gored through the neck by a STAG during holiday in the Highlands."

'A few years ago, when the company went to London, some of them were able to go to the factory and meet their maker...'

An interesting quotation, about dancers for New York's City Ballet, who have their point shoes custom-made by a London shoe company. And occasionally, they visit the factory to "meet their maker."

At NYT, "At City Ballet, Footwear Is Almost as Important as Feet."

A photo-slideshow at the link. David H. Koch, of the left's reviled billion Koch brothers, is a benefactor of the company.

London's St. James's Church in Piccadilly Builds 'Apartheid Wall' to Demonize Israel

This is something else. Bloody outrageous, you might say.

From Jack Engelhard, at the Washington Times, "London's St. James Church chooses Hitler as its savior, sparks outrage":

NEW YORK, December 29, 2013 —  Maybe it is time for British Jews to start packing again. Surely there are millions of Muslims ready to replace them.

Hundreds of churches and synagogues throughout Britain and the rest of Europe are already being supplanted by mosques.

This certainly ought to gladden the leadership at St. James Church, Piccadilly. They chose Christmas to prove their loyalty to Palestinian Arab terrorists, whose godfather will always be Adolf Hitler. To scorn the Jewish State, they have festively replicated the “wall” (Israel’s security fence) on Church grounds to symbolize Palestinian “suffering” and Israeli “occupation.”

In fact, the “wall” is a chain fence that only touches Bethlehem from where Muslim terrorists emerged.

Thousands of Israelis were murdered before the barrier went up.

That does not concern this particular Anglican Church, which was designed and built by Christopher Wren in the late 1600s. So it is famed and historic and sits in the heart of London. Worshippers and passersby are able to rejoice and fill their hearts, once again, with baseless hatred.

The Jew Jesus, would He approve this message of loathing against His kin?

The extravaganza will run until January 5. The replica, we are told, is as large as the Church itself and features anti-Israel images and slogans.

Britain’s finest singers have been assembled to joyfully denounce Israel.

The party includes dancing, as there was dancing in Gaza and Ramallah when New York’s Twin Towers were taken down.

St. James apparently does not object to Christians being ethnically cleansed out of existence by Palestinians in total control of Bethlehem. Why worry?

Nor do Christians being murdered in Egypt and elsewhere throughout the Muslim world trouble St. James. Why be concerned?

Within the region, only in Israel are all religions welcomed and protected. This obviously goes blithely without notice at St. James...
Keep reading.

And see Melanie Phillips, "A church of hate: An open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby":
Israel is currently the victim of a mind-bending campaign of demonisation and delegitimisation based on falsehoods, libels and gross distortions. Your church, Archbishop, has now become part of this sinister and wicked attempt to exterminate a country by reversing truth and lies in the minds of decent people.

You surely do not need me to tell you that this anti-Israel bigotry in your church – going far beyond St James’s, Piccadilly – is infused by a revival of the ancient Christian calumny that the Jews have forfeited God’s love and all the promises he made to them on account of their refusal to believe in Jesus, as a result of which they were to be considered in league with the devil.

This terrible doctrine of ‘supersessionism’, which was responsible for centuries of Christian persecution and mass murder of the Jews, has become resurgent in recent years through the influence of Palestinian Christians who have attempted to rewrite the Bible as a lexicon of hate to further the cause of Palestinianism. To that end, they have attempted to airbrush the Jews out of their own history, while seeking to appropriate the Christian story itself by depicting Palestinians as suffering the torments of Jesus. Cashing in on this trend, Mahmoud Abbas ludicrously referred in his own Christmas message to Jesus – the Jew from Judea ­– as a Palestinian.

The influence upon your Church, Archbishop, of this virulent cocktail of ancient theological bigotry and exterminatory Palestinianism cannot be exaggerated.

In a climate in which every Jewish communal or religious event, every Jewish school and institution in Britain has to be guarded against attack, and in which there is a direct correlation between the emotive lies told about Israel and attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions, for one of your churches to lend itself to such incitement is simply obscene.

The ‘wall’ is of course a stunt. But the damage it has done to the Church of England is immense. Because what it does is put the Church on the side of lies and hatred against truth and justice. It has put the Church of England on the side of evil.

The only purpose of Israel’s security barrier is to save life and prevent mass murder. The only purpose of the St James’s Church ‘Bethlehem Unwrapped’ stunt is to stir up hatred.

To stay silent is to make the rest of the Church an accessory to this obscenity. I therefore trust that you will take all necessary steps to counter the calumny promulgated by St James’s and prevent the stain upon the wider Church from now spreading.

And at Blazing Cat Fur, "An open letter to St. James’s Church at Christmas," and Israel Matzav, "London's Saint James Church promotes Christian torment in 'Palestine'."

Here's the website for the St. James's Church. Let them know how you feel.

The Top Washington Story of 2013?

What's your pick?

I say the Snowden NSA leaks and the disastrous ObamaCare rollout. A year's a long time in the frame of the daily news cycle.

But see WSJ, "Review & Vote: 2013′s Top Washington Stories."

The 25 Essential Reads of 2013

It's mostly long reads, of which I rarely have the time. (Or, I rarely take the time.)

At the Verge, "The best online writing of 2013":
Each week we round up some of the best writing on the web in order to cut through the flood and highlight the best original online reporting, interviews, and writing. 2013 saw fantastic coverage of the NSA leaks, Silicon Valley’s larger aspirations to change the world, DNA testing, and much more, and many publications continued pushing the boundaries of movement, video, illustration, and design. And so as 2013 draws to a close, we’re taking a look back at the stories, profiles, and characters that stayed with us: we’ve narrowed it down to 25 essential reads from Grantland, Mother Jones, domus, The London Review of Books, The Awl, Fast Company, and many more.
Well, get reading!

Animal-Rights Activists Bully Dying Italian Girl

I saw this piece when I was looking over there for Eli Lake's report on NYT's bogus Benghazi whitewash.

At the Daily Beast (now at Memeorandum).

And at the Sydney Morning Herald, "'I would have been dead at nine': Caterina Simonsen in hospital after backlash over defence of animal testing":
An Italian woman who received death threats after declaring in an internet posting that she owed her life to medicines developed from testing on laboratory mice has been admitted to hospital with a severe lung infection.

Caterina Simonsen, 25, last week appeared on Italian national television to answer abuse from animal rights militants who took exception to her Facebook post in which she defended the use of testing on animals for medical purposes.

In that post on December 21, she uploaded a photo of herself with a message: "I am 25 thanks to genuine research that includes experiments on animals.

"Without research, I would have been dead at nine. You have gifted me a future."

Ms Simonsen, who is studying to be a veterinarian at the University of Bologna and has several dogs, suffers from four rare genetic disorders and cannot breathe without the aid of oxygen tubes.

Since she made the controversial comments on social media, she claims to have received more than 30 "death wishes" and 500 abusive messages on her Facebook page.
Continue reading.

Stay classy progs.

FLASHBACK: "The Progressive War on Science and Reason":
"Of all of today's political philosophies, progressivism stands as the most pressing problem for science. Progressives, not conservatives, are the ones most likely to replace scientific research with unscientific ideology."

Britney Spears Lip-Syncing Two-Year Residency Concerts at Las Vegas' Planet Hollywood

Here's the story at the New York Daily News, "Britney Spears caught lip-syncing during 'Britney: Piece of Me' residency shows in Las Vegas, despite management denials."

And her problems don't stop there.

At LAT, "Review: Britney Spears offers just a 'Piece of Me' in Las Vegas":

Scheduled to run through 2015, with Spears playing approximately 50 shows a year at the 4,600-seat Axis, “Piece of Me” represents a potential pivot point for the singer and the state of entertainment on the Las Vegas Strip.

For Spears, 32, the steady gig promises a path out of the turmoil and disappointment that have surrounded her since 2007, when she attacked a paparazzo’s car with an umbrella after shaving her head at a Tarzana salon.

Though Spears’ personal life appears to have stabilized, her career is still hurting: This month her album “Britney Jean” opened with the lowest sales of the singer’s 15-year career; it sits at No. 27 on the Billboard 200, well behind records by Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus, both of whom showed up Friday night as a sign of respect to a trailblazer.

Filling the Axis, the thinking seems to go, might restore some of Spears’ luster without her having to engage in direct competition with her younger successors.

Las Vegas, meanwhile, stands the chance to further dismantle its reputation as a home for has-beens. Successful casino shows by the likes of Celine Dion and Elton John have advanced that effort, but with its jackhammering dance beats and recent-vintage radio hits, “Piece of Me” bridges the gap between those old-school extravaganzas and the superstar DJ sets that have increasingly come to define the city’s night life.

In terms of show-business strategy, it seems to make sense. Yet as a concert experience Spears’ opening-night performance came up awfully short....

Whatever the scale of the number though, the singer’s presence felt so diminished -- her dancing a tentative shadow of what it used to be, her vocals apparently lip-synced for the majority of the show -- as if to make the production’s title seem a taunt.

That was never more true than in the song “Piece of Me,” which on 2007’s “Blackout” -- perhaps Spears’ best album, released right in the thick of her public meltdown -- arrived like a searing indictment of the tabloid surveillance state. On record the track still stings, yet here it flat-lined, with none of the intensity, energy or strut that made Spears such a focal point of mainstream pop.

Well, maybe she's right for Vegas after all. A lot of performers have wound down their careers on the Strip.

Melissa Harris-Perry, Despicable @MSNBC Wretch, Apologizes for Racist Attack on Romney Grandchild

I knew this was coming. The only question was how long it would take her to apologize, and yet, she still botched it. Only a disgusting left-wing reprobate would launch a hash-tag while apologizing for a despicable racist attack on a baby.

Here's the apology, "An apology from Melissa Harris-Perry" via (Memeorandum).

Her tweets are embedded there, along with the selfish hashtag.

More at Twitchy, "‘Height of conceit!’ Pathetic Melissa Harris-Perry slammed for ludicrous hashtag-apology to Romneys," and "‘Lunatic!’ Melissa Harris-Perry ‘apologizes’ to Romneys (with self-serving hashtag); Do you buy it?"

Also, "Romney grandson-mocking racist progressives of pallor at MSNBC in a truth-boom nutshell," and "Katie Pavlich crushes Lamont Hill’s Romney grandson-mocking defense with shattering point."

Keira Knightley for British Harper's Bazaar

She's a classy woman.

The dearth of women in film is partly what makes her consider directing, she says – because things will only change when more women are in positions of genuine power. "Hollywood has a really long way to go. I don’t think that anybody can deny that, really, and I think as much as you are getting more women playing lead roles… they’re still pretty few and far between." After 20 years of experience (she started acting at the age of 7), Knightly wonders whether she might move behind the camera, and gain more control. "As I get older I get more interested by it… There is a lot of 'You do what you’re told' [as an actor]. After watching it and being part of it for so long, you start going, 'I wonder if there is a journey to the other side.' I don’t know if there is, but I’m interested in seeing people who have done it."
Hmm, more Hollywood hypocrisy, it turns out.

Keira Knightley photo 650x844xkeira-bazaar-cover1jpgpagespeedicpx6XzhidD6_zpsd52e94fe.jpg

Russia Still Vulnerable to Terrorism 14 Years After Putin Took Power

At WSJ, "The Volgograd Bombings" (via Google):

When Vladimir Putin became Russia's acting president on December 31, 1999, the country was reeling from terrorist bombings of apartment buildings in Moscow while it attempted to bring an insurrection in the Caucasus to heel. Fourteen years on, not enough has changed.

That's something the Russian president might consider following back-to-back suicide bombings in the Russian city of Volgograd (previously Stalingrad), which left 32 dead and dozens more wounded. Coming weeks before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi more than 400 miles to the south, the attacks are an unsettling reminder of how vulnerable Russia remains to terrorism.

So far no group has taken responsibility for the attacks, though in July an Islamist Chechen leader named Doku Umarov released a video calling on followers to use "maximum force" in anticipation of the Olympics. Chechen terrorists have also been responsible for the 2002 seizure of a Moscow theater, the 2004 attack against schoolchildren in Beslan, the 2010 attacks on the Moscow subway and the Domodedovo airport attack in in 2011. The potential for further attacks leading up to the Sochi Games is high.

Mr. Putin has pursued a policy of maximum repression in the Caucasus—the second Chechen war alone is thought to have taken 100,000 lives—so it's tempting to view these attacks as a reprisal. But the Chechen jihadists are not much different from the Somali jihadists who seized Nairobi's Westgate mall in September, or the Indonesian jihadists who blew up a nightclub in Bali a decade ago. Terrorists will justify their murders with whatever political alibi is convenient.

Then again, Mr. Putin also needs to reconsider the merits of creating a security state, especially when it fails to provide Russians with basic security. Fourteen years of Putinesque discipline have done little to improve a corrupt and inefficient police force and equally bad conscript army. In some cases Chechen terrorists have succeeded in bribing their way through security checkpoints.

In the short term, Russia will have no choice but to heighten security throughout the country while it attempts...
And see the Christian Science Monitor, "Russia suicide bombing: Is Doku Umarov the Kremlin's worst nightmare?"

Trey Gowdy BLASTS New York Times Benghazi Report and In One Question DESTROYS Video Narrative

That headline c/o the Right Scoop.

A great interview with Represenative Gowdy, on Greta's shnow, with Dana Perino sitting in.

At that link.

Emily Ratajkowski: American Power's Woman of the Year for 2013

I didn't blog her that much actually. Just a few rapid fire posts when she was in the news 24/7 a few months back. But certainly this woman had an impact and is going to be around for some time.

VH1 has this, "25 Reasons Why 'Blurred Lines' Emily Ratajkowski is the Breakout Music Video Vixen of 2013."

And at the Fashion Spot, "WTF? Both Esquire and GQ Named 'Blurred Lines' Model Emily Ratajkowski 'Woman of the Year'."

 photo Emily_Ratajkowski_Frederick_s_of_Hollywood_Lingerie_Photoshoot_05_zpsf927cc94.jpg

And from last year, "Kate Upton: American Power's Woman of the Year for 2012."

Monday, December 30, 2013

Why Obama Frets About Income Inequality, Not Family Breakdown

From James Pethokoukis, at AEI:
The Obama White House argues hard that rising US income inequality makes it tougher for Americans to climb the economic ladder. When President Obama gave a big speech on “social mobility” earlier this month – liberal pundits called it the “most important” of his presidency – he mentioned inequality more than two dozen times to pound the point home. And Team Obama has much publicized its chart illustrating the “Great Gatsby Curve” which suggests strong correlation globally between high income inequality and low earnings mobility.

How many times in such an important speech did Obama mention anything about American family breakdown perhaps impeding economic mobility? Just a couple of passing references.

Yet the issue of family breakdown deserves at least as much attention, if not more, from Obama than income inequality. Using data on local jobs markets from the Equality of Opportunity Project, e21 economist Scott Winship can’t find much of a statistical relationship between inequality – particularly of the 1% vs. 99% sort — and economic mobility. The EOP authors also find “a high concentration of income in the top 1% was not highly correlated with mobility patterns.”

What does seem to be highly correlated with mobility is family structure. In these communities, the share of families with single moms predicts mobility levels “quite well all by itself,” according to Winship’s analysis. Again, this result is not real surprising. Researchers on the left and right have found that kids raised by both biological parents fare better financially, educationally, and emotionally. And as the EOP scholars conclude: “Some of the strongest predictors of upward mobility are correlates of social capital and family structure.”
Some nice data plots at the post, so continue reading.

But seriously, leftists don't want to hear about family structure, because then the tangles of pathology that really drive poverty and structural unemployment for the underclass will blow up the left's lame inequality scam. It's all they've got to run on. The New York Times has more on that, "Democrats Turn to Minimum Wage as 2014 Strategy."

Miss Kennedy Summers

At Egotastic!, "Kennedy Summers Climax to the Year in Playboy."

The New York Times Revives Benghazi Video Lie to Save Hillary

From IBD on Twitter:

And see Eli Lake, at the Daily Beast, "Al Qaeda IS Linked to Benghazi."

Khodorkovsky and the Freedom Agenda

From Caroline Glick:
Until his arrest in October 2003, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the oligarch and oil executive, was the richest man in Russia. He might have still been the richest man in Russia today if he hadn’t started thinking about politics, and objecting to the fact that under President Vladimir Putin, Russia had abandoned all prospects for democracy.

With his billions, Khodorkovsky had the means to finance a challenge to Putin’s authoritarian rule. His arrest in 2003 and his 10-year imprisonment was ordered and orchestrated by Putin as a means of silencing and destroying the former KGB officer’s only potent challenger for power.

After 10 years behind bars, Khodorkovsky was suddenly released from prison last Friday, immediately after Putin issued him a presidential pardon. He held a press conference in Berlin the next day. There he showed that prison had changed his political thinking. Whereas in 2003, Khodorkovsky thought it was possible to transform Russia into a democracy by simply winning an election, after 10 years behind bars, he recognizes that elections are not enough.

“The Russian problem is not just the president as a person,” he explained. “The problem is that our citizens in the large majority don’t understand that their fate, they have to be responsible for it themselves. They are so happy to delegate it to, say, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and then they will entrust it to somebody else.”

In other words, until the Russian people come to the conclusion that they want liberty, no one can give it to them. They will just replace one dictator with another one. In his words, “If you have a ‘most important person’ in the opposition… you will get another Putin.”

So whereas George Washington was seen as the first among equals, an opposition leader who would succeed Putin, would be more like Robespierre in post-revolutionary France.

Khodorkovsky’s remarks show that you can’t instantly import democracy from abroad. The US defeated the Soviet Union in the Cold War. But the Soviet defeat didn’t make the Russians liberal democrats. Until the seeds of democracy are planted in a nation’s hearts and minds, the overthrow of its overlord will make little difference to the aspirations of the people...
In other words, Russia's authoritarian culture resists the freedom wave.

Continue reading. A great piece.

Ralph Peters: Sochi Olympics the 'Ugliest' in History

A great commentary.

And see Business Week, "The Biggest Olympic Security Risk May Not Be at Sochia":
Protecting visitors enroute to the Games from Feb. 7 to Feb. 23 could require beefed-up security at locations far away from Sochi. Unless they arrive on charter or private flights, foreign visitors can’t fly directly to Sochi, as the local airport has no service to destinations outside the former Soviet Union. Most scheduled flights arrive from Moscow and St. Petersburg. Trains to Sochi pass through dozens of Russian cities—including Volgograd, which is 700 kilometers (435 miles) northeast of the Olympic site.

The attacks in Volgograd, as well as a suicide bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport in 2011, have underscored weaknesses in standard security measures at public transport hubs. People entering the Volgograd train station had to pass through a metal detector, but the bomb was detonated outside the station. Likewise, the bombing at Domodedovo, which killed 37, took place in an international arrival hall outside the airport’s secured area.

@MSNBC Panel Mocks Mitt Romney's Black Grandchild

Stay classy leftist hate-mongers.

At Hot Air, "MSNBC panel: Hey, get a load of Mitt Romney’s black grandson." And at Twitchy, "Racism is hilarious! MSNBC panel mocks, belittles Romneys’ adopted grandson":
Few things are more hilarious than a mixed-race family. Just ask MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, who recently hosted a panel of doofuses picking at Mitt and Ann Romney’s adopted grandson Kieran.

Zero-Tolerance Stupidity at Schools

From Glenn Reynolds, at USA Today, "Educators can't distinguish between childish games and real threats":
Last week, the Wall Street Journal's Alison Gopnik reported on research from professors Jacqueline Wooley at the University of Texas and Paul Harris at Harvard that showed a surprising degree of sophistication among preschool kids. Apparently, though they spend a lot of time in fantasy pursuits, they're actually quite good at distinguishing fantasy from reality:
Children understand the difference. They know that their beloved imaginary friend isn't actually real and that the terrifying monster in their closet doesn't actually exist (though that makes them no less beloved or scary). But children do spend more time than we do thinking about the world of imagination. They don't actually confuse the fantasy world with the real one; they just prefer to hang out there.
On reading that, my first thought was that these kids are actually a lot better at distinguishing between fantasy and reality than the teachers and administrators in the schools that they attend.

At South Eastern Middle School in Fawn Grove, Pa., for example, 10-year-old Johnny Jones was suspended for using an imaginary bow and arrow. That's right - - not a real bow and arrow, but an imaginary bow and arrow. A female classmate saw this infraction, tattled to a teacher, and the principal gave Jones a one-day suspension for making a "threat" in class.

To be fair, it probably takes a lot of imagination to turn what sounds like a bit of old-fashioned cowboys-and-Indians play into a "threat." But while the principal, John Horton, gets an "A" for imagination, he deserves an "F" for distinguishing between imagination and reality. Sadly, he's not alone.
Continue reading.

Another example of far-left political correctness destroying not only basic decency, but creativity and imagination.

Homosexuals to Marry on Rose Parade Float — DURING THE ROSE PARADE!

I was just saying how great New Year's Day is in Southern California, although now parents will have to keep their kids from watching television as they try to preserve a little basic decency.

Who organized this bull? My God it's freakin' depraved.

At LAT, "Gay couple to marry on Rose Parade float."

And from the Mad Jewess, "“GAY” FASCISM -- Me & Mine REFUSE to Watch Militant LGBT FAGS Marry at Rose Bowl Parade."

More at ABC 10News San Diego, "San Diego woman calls for boycott of Rose Parade over plans for live gay wedding":

Gay Fascism photo y_zpsd713a9e5.jpg
SAN DIEGO - In a Tournament of Roses Parade first, two men will exchange vows live on a parade float, but a San Diego woman isn't happy about the parade's plans for the same-sex nuptials.

Karen Grube has called for a boycott of the annual Tournament of Roses parade over plans for two men to be married on top one of the parade's 46 floats on Jan. 1.

Grube told 10News the traditional family event is not the place for political agenda, and she said, "Growing up and being a part of that whole tradition in Pasadena was just incredible."

Grube said whether you're for same-sex marriage or not, the wedding is a slap to those that don't support it and the 30 states that haven't approved it.

"My stand is mainly to support the voters of California who have said no to this," said Grube.

Grube created a Facebook page asking people to not attend or watch the parade. She also has called parade sponsors asking them to pull their support from the parade, which draws a global audience of about 68 million viewers annually.

"It's an in-your-face political statement; it really is." said Grube, who has contacted the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the nonprofit group that organizes the parade.

In a statement, AHF President Michael Weinstein said boycotters should respect the law of the land and denied the organization is making a political statement saying, "Like all of our sponsors and float designers, AHF continues to help make the Rose Parade a premier event through original and creative expressions that connect to parade themes -- as this float does."

Grube is not alone, as Save California, an organization that promotes what it calls moral traditional values, has called on people to protest the parade.
Also atAmericans for Truth About Homosexuality, "Rose Parade’s Homosexual ‘Wedding’ Float Corrupts Children – AFTAH’s Seven Lessons for Christians."

At Least 10 Killed in Russia Trolley Attack at Volgograd

Man, those Chechens are really stepping up the terror.

At Reuters, "Second blast in Russia's Volgograd kills 10 on trolleybus."

And an analysis at the New York Times, "Bombings Jolt Russia, Raising Olympic Fears":

MOSCOW — A deadly suicide bombing at a crowded railroad station in southern Russia on Sunday, followed by a blast in a trolley bus on Monday in the same city, raised the specter of a new wave of terrorism just six weeks before the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

President Vladimir V. Putin’s government has worked to protect the Olympics with some of the most extensive security measures ever imposed for the Games. But the bombings, in Volgograd, underscored the threat the country faces from a radical Islamic insurgency in the North Caucasus that has periodically spilled into the Russian heartland, with deadly results, including several recent attacks.

Security has become a paramount concern at all major international sporting events, especially in the wake of the bombing at the Boston Marathon in April, but never before has an Olympic host country experienced terrorist violence on this scale soon before the Games. And would-be attackers may have more targets in mind than the Russian state.

Current and former American law enforcement and intelligence officials said Sunday that they were more concerned about security in Russia during the Sochi Games than they have been about any other Olympics since Athens in 2004.

Russian officials attributed the explosion on Sunday to a bomb packed with shrapnel, possibly carried in a bag or backpack. It was detonated in the main railroad station in Volgograd, a city 550 miles south of Moscow and 400 miles northeast of Sochi. The bomb blew out windows in the building’s facade and left a horrific scene of carnage at its main entrance. At least 16 people were killed, and nearly three dozen others were wounded, some of them critically, meaning the death toll could still rise.

On Monday morning a second blast struck a trolley bus in the city, killing at least 10 people, according to preliminary reports. Photographs posted by Russian news organizations showed that the force of the blast tore open the bus and shattered windows nearby. At least 10 others were wounded in what officials immediately described as another suicide bombing.
Continue reading.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

At Least 15 Killed in Russia Railway Suicide Bombing

This is interesting.

At the Sydney Morning Herald, "Sochi Olympics terrorism feared after Volgograd 'black widow' suicide bombing":

Moscow: A suicide bombing at a railroad station in central Russia killed at least 15 people Sunday, according to official accounts, raising the specter of a new wave of terrorism before the Winter Olympics in Sochi. More than two dozen were wounded, some of them critically, meaning the death toll could still rise.

The explosion, which officials said was caused by a bomb possibly carried in a bag or backpack, struck the main railroad station in Volgograd, a city about 550 miles (885 km) south of Moscow, at 12.45pm. It blew out windows in the building's facade and left a horrific scene of carnage at the station's main entrance.

The blast, captured on a surveillance video camera from across the central plaza in front of the station, occurred near the metal detectors that have become a common security fixture at most of Russia's transportation hubs, suggesting that an attack deeper inside the station or aboard a train might have been averted.

Vladimir I. Markin, a spokesman for the Investigative Committee, called the bombing an act of terrorism, though the exact motivation, target and perpetrator were not immediately clear. Within hours of the attack, the authorities blamed a suicide bomber, citing the gruesome discovery of a woman's severed head, which, they said, could aid in identifying her.

"Most likely, the victims could have been much higher if the so-called protective system had not stopped the suicide bomber from getting through the metal detectors into the waiting room where there were passengers," Mr Markin said in a statement on the committee's website.

It was the second such attack in Volgograd in two months. In October a woman identified as Naida Asiyalova detonated a vest of explosives aboard a bus in the city, killing herself and six others.
Also at the Los Angeles Times, "Suicide bomber kills at least 15 at southern Russian train station."

Sunday Cartoons

At Flopping Aces, "Sunday Funnies."

William Warren photo More_Coal_zps28861103.jpg

Also from Randy's Rountable, "Friday Night Funnies," and Reaganite Republican, "Reaganite's SUNDAY FUNNIES."

CARTOON CREDIT: William Warren.

Rule 5 Sunday — #Rule5

Let's get right to the roundup.

That's Rachel McDonald at the pic.

Rachel McDonald photo BRCyl1ECAAAbZR2jpg-large_zpsdb9ecc9c.jpeg
And see Pirate's Cove, "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup," and "If All You See……is a rising sea slowly destroying the beach-front, you might just be a Warmist."


At 90 Miles From Tyranny, "This Is for Voting for Obama ... Twice!"

From Dana Pico, "From Around the Blogroll."

At Odie's, "OLD ITALIAN LADIES ~OR~ Rule 5 Woodsterman Style."

And at the Hostages, "BBF–Girls with Guns."

And see Proof Positive, "Best of the Web* Linkaround," and "SF 49er's Vs. Arizona Cardinals!"

At Soylent, "T-GIF Friday."

AoSHQ, "Late Afternoon Football Open Thread."

More from Ms. EBL, "Joey Heatherton Rule 5."

Here's an "In the Kitchen" flashback from Orbitup.

Now at Wine, Women, and Politics, "'Red' Hot."

Also at Randy's Roundtable, "Thursday Nite Tart: A few Christmas babes tart it up tonight..."

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

Still more from Guns and Bikinis, "Blond on the Beach."

From Bob Belvedere, "Rule 5 Christmas Countdown: 24-Dec-13."

And at Barking Moonbat, "Old School Beauty."

At Blackmailers, "Friday Rule 5 with Shakira."

From Drunken Stepfather, "Steplinks of the Day."

And Popoholic, "Sofia Vergara Hits the Beach!"

Fan of Glamour brings "Rosie Jones."

At Diogenes' Middle Finger, "Fishnet Friday."

Theo has "Hot Smokin' Bedtime Totty..."

More at Knuckledraggin', "Totty Wakes Up."

At the Chive, "Some girls are just too cute for their own good (57 Photos)" (via Linkiest).

And from Egotastic!, "Cara Delevingne Bikini Booty Hotness in Barbados," and "Lady Victoria Hervey Goes Blue Bikini in Barbados."

And finally, from the Godfather, "Rule 5 Sunday: On Presuming to Be Modern."

And drop your links in the comments if I've missed you and I'll get you linked up at the next roundup!

Nothing Matches the Rose Bowl

When I was a kid, New Year's Day made me proud to be a Southern Californian --- especially because of the Rose Bowl. Pasadena was the center of the universe on that day, and back in the '70s, USC almost always played. Running back Anthony Davis was a household name. It's just tradition if you're from around here.

I'm reminiscing now with this excellent report at the Los Angeles Times, "For the best in bowls, the subject is Roses":
A popular national radio host, not from the West, recently wondered out loud why the Rose Bowl was so special. He should have asked Art Spander, the longtime Bay Area sports columnist, who this week will celebrate his 61st straight trip to the Rose Bowl.

Spander, 75, has attended every Rose Bowl since 1954.

The streak started innocently enough, when Spander was a boy growing up in Los Angeles and his father suggested Art could make extra money selling programs at the Rose Bowl.

Spander says he earned 10 bucks during Michigan State's victory over UCLA in the 1954 game. He kept the streak alive as a student at UCLA and then, for more than five decades, as a sportswriter in Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

"I just think sitting there is the greatest thing in the world," Spander said during a recent phone interview. "Watching the sun start to set about 4 o'clock, and the shadows falling, with the game going on. It's a great place to be. "

The Rose Bowl is special, first and foremost, because it was first. In fact, it was the only bowl game for decades.
RTWT. It's great.

 photo photo_zpsa319a0b5.jpg

The New York Times' Benghazi Whitewash

I concluded with a link to the Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn at my earlier entry: "New York Times Report Claims 'No Evidence' of al-Qaeda Role in Benghazi Consulate Attack."

And now Joscelyn has posted a rebuttal, "The New York Times Whitewashes Benghazi."

Basically, the Times report omits key actors who had links to the international al-Qaeda franchise. Or, as Joscelyn puts it:
In his Times piece and during an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, [the Times' David] Kirkpatrick claims that the Benghazi attackers were purely “local” actors.

This is simply not true – as evidenced by the Jamal network’s involvement and other pieces of evidence.
There's more push-back at Memeorandum. I expect we'll be talking about this for some time, and perhaps the New York Times will eventually disown its own reporting.

Irony: Climate Change Expedition Stuck in Record-Thick Ice in Antarctica

The ice is supposed to be melting down there, yet they crew is stuck in record ice.

At NewsBusters, "MSM Glosses Over Irony of Global Warming Scientists Trapped in Antarctic Ice."

Also at Instapundit, "WAIT, ISN’T IT SUMMER DOWN THERE? China icebreaker fails to reach stuck Antarctic ship."

New York Times Report Claims 'No Evidence' of al-Qaeda Role in Benghazi Consulate Attack

Look, at this point, who can believe anything on this story? It's a scandal of epic proportions. No one would be better positioned to disprove an al-Qaeda role in Benghazi than the White House, yet it's been a cover-up ever since.

And certainly the New York Times has a vested interest in rehabilitating the Democrats in time for the 2016 election. Who benefits? Hillary Clinton of course.

At Twitchy, "New York Times finds no Al Qaeda link to Benghazi terror attack; ‘fueled in large part’ by video."

I read the report. It's supposed to be so "complicated" you see. It's impossible for the rubes to understand. But read it for yourself. Pure convenience. A story-line cooked perfectly for a political party on the ropes and about to go down hard. Meanwhile, so much remains unanswered. See the Weekly Standard, for just a start, "Questions They Won’t Answer."

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Unreal: UFC's Anderson Silva Breaks Leg

Here's the GIF, "Anderson Silva gruesome leg injury GIF." (Via Larry Brown Sports.)

Video: "Anderson Silva Breaks Leg vs Chris Weidman UFC 168 - *GRAPHIC*."

Hat Tip: Doug Ross.

Three Ominous Signs for #Democrats Heading Into 2014

From Sean Sullivan, at WaPo:
With just days until the 2014 midterm election year is officially upon us, there are fresh signs of trouble for congressional Democrats.

A trio of findings spells bad news for Democrats in a new CNN/ORC International poll released Thursday: The generic ballot test has broken sharply toward Republicans, voter enthusiasm for Democrats is lower than it is on the GOP side, and President Obama is shaping up as an albatross for candidates who support him.

Let’s take a closer look at each one starting with the generic ballot test...
It's gonna be a bloodbath.

Continue reading.

PREVIOUSLY: "Democrats on Losing Side of 13-Point Polling Swing Since October."

'Military-Style' Raid on California Power Station Spooks U.S.

From Shane Harris, at Foreign Policy, "The Attack on Coyote Creek":
When U.S. officials warn about "attacks" on electric power facilities these days, the first thing that comes to mind is probably a computer hacker trying to shut the lights off in a city with malware. But a more traditional attack on a power station in California has U.S. officials puzzled and worried about the physical security of the the electrical grid--from attackers who come in with guns blazing.

Around 1:00 AM on April 16, at least one individual (possibly two) entered two different manholes at the PG&E Metcalf power substation, southeast of San Jose, and cut fiber cables in the area around the substation. That knocked out some local 911 services, landline service to the substation, and cell phone service in the area, a senior U.S. intelligence official told Foreign Policy. The intruder(s) then fired more than 100 rounds from what two officials described as a high-powered rifle at several transformers in the facility. Ten transformers were damaged in one area of the facility, and three transformer banks -- or groups of transformers -- were hit in another, according to a PG&E spokesman.

Cooling oil then leaked from a transformer bank, causing the transformers to overheat and shut down. State regulators urged customers in the area to conserve energy over the following days, but there was no long-term damage reported at the facility and there were no major power outages. There were no injuries reported. That was the good news. The bad news is that officials don't know who the shooter(s) were, and most importantly, whether further attacks are planned.

"Initially, the attack was being treated as vandalism and handled by local law enforcement," the senior intelligence official said. "However, investigators have been quoted in the press expressing opinions that there are indications that the timing of the attacks and target selection indicate a higher level of planning and sophistication."
Well, it's no doubt another crazed left-winger rising up against "the system," although you don't hear about this stuff that much. Doesn't fit the regressive narrative.

Chromebooks' Success Punches Microsoft in the Gut

My wife bought me a Chromebookfor Christmas.

I've been using my son's Macbook for the last year, and we didn't want to put out $1,000 for another one, so she picked up one of these inexpensive laptopsand it's working pretty well.

At Computer World:
Chromebooks had a very good year, according to retailer Amazon.com and industry analysts.

And that's bad news for Microsoft.

The pared-down laptops powered by Google's browser-based Chrome OS have surfaced this year as a threat to "Wintel," the Microsoft-Intel oligarchy that has dominated the personal-computer space for decades with Windows machines.

On Thursday, Amazon.com called out a pair of Chromebooks -- one from Samsung, the other from Acer -- as two of the three best-selling notebooks during the U.S. holiday season. The third: Asus' Transformer Book, a Windows 8.1 "2-in-1" device that transforms from a 10.1-in. tablet to a keyboard-equipped laptop.

As of late Thursday, the trio retained their lock on the top three places on Amazon's best-selling-laptop list in the order of Acer, Samsung and Asus. Another Acer Chromebook, one that sports 32GB of on-board storage space -- double the 16GB of Acer's lower-priced model -- held the No. 7 spot on the retailer's top 10.

Chromebooks' holiday success at Amazon was duplicated elsewhere during the year, according to the NPD Group, which tracked U.S. PC sales to commercial buyers such as businesses, schools, government and other organizations.

By NPD's tallies, Chromebooks accounted for 21% of all U.S. commercial notebook sales in 2013 through November, and 10% of all computers and tablets. Both shares were up massively from 2012; last year, Chromebooks accounted for an almost-invisible two-tenths of one percent of all computer and tablet sales.

Stephen Baker of NPD pointed out what others had said previously: Chromebooks have capitalized on Microsoft's stumble with Windows 8. "Tepid Windows PC sales allowed brands with a focus on alternative form factors or operating systems, like Apple and Samsung, to capture significant share of a market traditionally dominated by Windows devices," Baker said in a Monday statement.

Part of the attraction of Chromebooks is their low prices: The systems forgo high-resolution displays, rely on inexpensive graphics chipsets, include paltry amounts of RAM -- often just 2GB -- and get by with little local storage. And their operating system, Chrome OS, doesn't cost computer makers a dime.
Mine's just for blogging. There's no Microsoft software on a Chromebook, for example, a word processing program. Folks can use Google docs for free. But if you're planning to do major creative computing work, you'll need another device.

In any case, more at the link (via Techmeme).

Greenwald and Snowdon Promise More Stories to Come

Seems to me this story's peaked, but Greenwald's milking it for every penny he can get. And Snowden? Well, not so much, the sucker.

At Wired, "Glenn Greenwald: ‘A Lot’ More NSA Documents to Come."

BONUS: From Robert Stacy McCain, "If He’s Lost Lawrence O’Donnell … Edward Snowden’s status as progressive hero is over ...":
Edward Snowden never fooled me: From the get-go, I recognized this allegedly heroic “whistleblower” as another deluded anti-America traitor like Bradley — eh, Chelsea – Manning or perhaps even an outright paranoid kook like Barrett Brown. (Both Snowden and Brown are high-school dropouts, coincidentally or not.)

Manning, Brown, Snowden and, for that matter, Michael Hastings, all exhibited the symptomatic effects of a psychological complex we might call Post-Republican Anti-War Syndrome.

The tensions and frustrations of the Bush era — beginning with the disputed election of 2000, continued by the 9/11 attacks and on through the “War on Terror” and the invasion of Iraq — simply overwhelmed the fragile minds of some vulnerable people, and the election of Obama was insufficient to cure their madness. (Alabama moonbat blogger Roger Shuler is a textbook case.)

The anti-war movement of the Bush era summoned forth an army of kooks. It gave them a sense of purpose and focus for their alienated rage. When Bush (and “Bush’s war,” as the Left habitually called Iraq) went away, the malcontents and nutjobs were incapable of adjusting to the post-Bush reality because, in point of fact, they had never been very well-adjusted to begin with.

Hey, whatever happened to Cindy Sheehan?
Continue reading.

Top Political Quotes of 2013

At MRC, "Year-End Awards: The Best Notable Quotables of 2013."

Hat Tip: Doug Ross, "Please Congratulate Thomas Friedman of the New York Times for His Dumbest Quote o' the Year Award."

And a superfluous video from Right Sighthings:

@GLAAD Rages Against Phil Robertson's Return to Duck Dynasty

Sucks to be a GLAAD sperm butt-bag.

At Big Hollywood:
At first, the gay advocacy group GLAAD successfully urged A&E network to punish Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson for comments about homosexuals he made in GQ. But now that the network has relented and returned the elder Robertson to his reality show, the advocacy group is not very happy at all.

"Phil Robertson should look African American and gay people in the eyes and hear about the hurtful impact of praising Jim Crow laws and comparing gay people to terrorists," GLAAD said in a statement to the press. "If dialogue with Phil is not part of next steps then A&E has chosen profits over African American and gay people—especially its employees and viewers."

The cable network initially placed Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson on "indefinite suspension" for paraphrasing the Bible's listing of sins, one of which was the act of homosexuality. GLAAD immediately claimed that Robertson should be fired for "some of the vilest and most extreme statements uttered against LGBT people." The group also said that his comments were "littered with outdated stereotypes and blatant misinformation."

After the suspension, the gay advocacy group celebrated A&E's decision to punish the reality show patriarch, saying, "By taking quick action and removing Robertson from future filming, A&E has sent a strong message that discrimination is neither a Christian nor an American value."

It is interesting that GLAAD put Robertson's comments about African Americans first in its own statement about his comments on homosexuals. One might think that GLAAD feels it lost the battle on that issue and needed the cover of "racism" to add heft to its complaints.

Still, the statement takes Robertson's comments out of context and mischaracterizes them.

Robertson made no such claim that Jim Crow laws did not harm African Americans, nor did he "compare" homosexuals to terrorists.
In the end, the A&E network put itself in an untenable position with its hasty decision to place Robertson on "indefinite suspension."
More from Charles Hoskinson, at the Washington Examiner, "Who are the losers in the ‘Duck Dynasty’ flap?" (via Memeorandum).

Weekend Interview, Camille Paglia: A Feminist Defense of Masculine Virtues

This is great.

At the Wall Street Journal:
Ms. Paglia argues that the softening of modern American society begins as early as kindergarten. "Primary-school education is a crock, basically. It's oppressive to anyone with physical energy, especially guys," she says, pointing to the most obvious example: the way many schools have cut recess. "They're making a toxic environment for boys. Primary education does everything in its power to turn boys into neuters."

She is not the first to make this argument, as Ms. Paglia readily notes. Fellow feminist Christina Hoff Sommers has written about the "war against boys" for more than a decade. The notion was once met with derision, but now data back it up: Almost one in five high-school-age boys has been diagnosed with ADHD, boys get worse grades than girls and are less likely to go to college.

Ms. Paglia observes this phenomenon up close with her 11-year-old son, Lucien, whom she is raising with her ex-partner, Alison Maddex, an artist and public-school teacher who lives 2 miles away. She sees the tacit elevation of "female values"—such as sensitivity, socialization and cooperation—as the main aim of teachers, rather than fostering creative energy and teaching hard geographical and historical facts.

By her lights, things only get worse in higher education. "This PC gender politics thing—the way gender is being taught in the universities—in a very anti-male way, it's all about neutralization of maleness." The result: Upper-middle-class men who are "intimidated" and "can't say anything. . . . They understand the agenda." In other words: They avoid goring certain sacred cows by "never telling the truth to women" about sex, and by keeping "raunchy" thoughts and sexual fantasies to themselves and their laptops.

Politically correct, inadequate education, along with the decline of America's brawny industrial base, leaves many men with "no models of manhood," she says. "Masculinity is just becoming something that is imitated from the movies. There's nothing left. There's no room for anything manly right now." The only place you can hear what men really feel these days, she claims, is on sports radio. No surprise, she is an avid listener. The energy and enthusiasm "inspires me as a writer," she says, adding: "If we had to go to war," the callers "are the men that would save the nation."
Regressive leftism, all the way down.

Continue reading.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Today's Parallels with World War One's International Politics

An interesting commentary, at the Economist, "The first world war:Look back with angst":
Humanity can learn from its mistakes, as shown by the response to the economic crisis, which was shaped by a determination to avoid the mistakes that led to the Depression. The memory of the horrors unleashed a century ago makes leaders less likely to stumble into war today. So does the explosive power of a modern conflagration: the threat of a nuclear holocaust is a powerful brake on the reckless escalation that dispatched a generation of young men into the trenches.

Yet the parallels remain troubling. The United States is Britain, the superpower on the wane, unable to guarantee global security. Its main trading partner, China, plays the part of Germany, a new economic power bristling with nationalist indignation and building up its armed forces rapidly. Modern Japan is France, an ally of the retreating hegemon and a declining regional power. The parallels are not exact—China lacks the Kaiser’s territorial ambitions and America’s defence budget is far more impressive than imperial Britain’s—but they are close enough for the world to be on its guard.

Which, by and large, it is not. The most troubling similarity between 1914 and now is complacency. Businesspeople today are like businesspeople then: too busy making money to notice the serpents flickering at the bottom of their trading screens. Politicians are playing with nationalism just as they did 100 years ago. China’s leaders whip up Japanophobia, using it as cover for economic reforms, while Shinzo Abe stirs Japanese nationalism for similar reasons. India may next year elect Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist who refuses to atone for a pogrom against Muslims in the state he runs and who would have his finger on the button of a potential nuclear conflict with his Muslim neighbours in Pakistan. Vladimir Putin has been content to watch Syria rip itself apart. And the European Union, which came together in reaction to the bloodshed of the 20th century, is looking more fractious and riven by incipient nationalism than at any point since its formation.
Continue reading.

I think the U.S. is a far more dominant country than most people admit, and thus this idea of China playing the role of Germany (and it's bid for European dominance in the early 20th century) is a stretch to me. And the key technology today is nuclear weapons, which will prevent a great power war even if China catches up to the U.S. (which will be decades if not centuries from now).

An interesting piece, in any case.

GLAAD's Fascist Totalitarianism

After five years of blogging and activism on the homosexual rights issue I'm to the point where I throw my hands up sometimes in disbelief. Virtually the entire "gay rights" agenda is predicated on lies, but worse, most of the mainstream political establishment swallows them without the least bit of shame. It's disgusting. As I wrote years ago, homosexual marriage is not a civil right. A homosexual's preference that his behavior, which is a matter of choice and not biology, be considered a right is not just obscene but a crime against language. But those who many identify as "low information voters" simply have no clue, they have no knowledge of history or natural law or traditional morality. So, they suck up whatever lies the left peddles, and then they mindlessly sign up with the regressive left's totalitarian campaign to silence all disagreement and dissent.

Thus it's hard to disagree with the idiot Josh Marshall, at Talking Points Memo, when he argues that the left's depraved push for butt-ream acceptance is like the fall of the Berlin Wall. It's a done deal now, "It's Over" (via Memeorandum).

Frankly, it won't matter if it's "all over" or not. Last June's two rulings at the Supreme Court marked the national shift as far as I'm concerned. The left's corruption and lies in the Proposition 8 case were legion, but never came up on appeal to the high court. A majority of California's voters were swept aside like a spilled salt shaker. County clerks were marrying homosexuals that night, although the 9th Circuit was obligated to a weeks-long implementation delay under normal court procedures. None of it mattered. The law doesn't matter. Leftists literally leverage it to their desires as the go.

When the Duck Dynasty controversy broke last week it was just another event in the long line of criminalizing free thought by the left. Wilson Cruz, GLAAD's spokesman, summed it up when he issued the homosexual fatwa, "The country is changing and even the state in which Mr. Robertson lives is changing and he needs to get in line" (seen here at this Bill O'Reilly segment, at the one-minute mark). Wilson uttered those words with such a mien of contempt that I can see him now organizing a firing squad in front of all of those hold-out patriots who dare not toe the line to the left's fascism.

And it's truly fascism that drives this movement. I had no idea that GLAAD keeps an enemy's list for media distribution, which the organization uses to keep dissenting opinions from reaching mainstream news outlets. It's right here at the GLAAD homepage, "Commentator Accountability Project." Robert Oscar Lopez explains how it works, at the American Thinker, "Life on GLAAD's Blacklist," and note especially the conclusion:
GLAAD is hoping that the current surge of anger over Phil Robertson will begin and end with Duck Dynasty, and then the rest of us who have been erased and whose lives have been destroyed by this totalitarian organization can be out of the way again. Broom, meet rug -- sweep the human waste underneath, march on to the next court case, and proclaim victory.

There's only one way that GLAAD will come out of this kerfuffle unscathed -- if you, the conservatives of America, let them. Please don't. This is much bigger than one reality show.
Lopez concludes as if it's not actually all over, that conservative America will in fact turn back the tide of leftist indecency and totalitarianism.

I'm not so sure, for the reasons that I've outlined above. The cultural rot is carving down much deeper than the issue of homosexual rights. It's down to the very question of what counts as morality and truth. And thus it's down to the question of whether America will for long remain a nation under God. And I guess therein lies kernel of hope, for in the end all of us answer to a higher truth, because make no mistake we've reached high pitch in the battle of good versus evil. Around the world countries are refusing to make that stand against evil, and thus evil continues its march of triumph. Just look at the British government's official response to the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby and you know it's a long way before people decide to say enough is enough. Right now it's moral rot all the way down. Something's gotta break at a visceral level before it turns around. Maybe GLAAD's jihad against Duck Dynasty will be it. If not, folks better watch what they say before Wilson Cruz lines them up and shouts "fire!"

And now, perhaps some related hope at Twitchy, "Report: ‘A&E caves,’ Phil Robertson will be back on ‘Duck Dynasty’."

Deadly Bombing Rocks Beirut Near Parliament Building

At Telegraph UK, "Aide to Lebanese Prime Minister dies in Beirut car bomb."

And at the Los Angeles Times, "Huge Beirut blast kills 6 including former ambassador to U.S."

It Sucks to Be Mary Landrieu

I wrote about Senator Landrieu almost two months ago: "Running Scared: Mary Landrieu Introduces 'Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise Act'."

Well, despite all the goo-goo ga-ga Democrat talk about how the party's congressional candidates will be proudly running on an ObamaCare platform next November, clearly Landrieu's not circling the same orbit as the Democrat Beltway psychos.

At LAT, "Louisiana's Mary Landrieu adopts risky strategy in bid to keep Senate seat":
METAIRIE, La. — In the months before Congress passed the president's healthcare law, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu faced a deluge: The office phones rang off the hook, the mail was heavy and a few restive constituents — well aware of the cameras — showed up at her events urging her to vote against it.

The three-term Louisiana Democrat was one of the final holdouts, but ultimately she backed the bill. And now in this red state — where President Obama lost by 18 percentage points in 2012 — her opponents intend to make her pay the price.

As her poll numbers have plunged during the bumpy Obamacare rollout, Landrieu has rushed to contain the damage. When about 90,000 health insurance plans were canceled in her state because they did not meet the new law's requirements, she swiftly introduced a legislative fix and bucked the White House by enlisting other Senate Democrats to support it before the president announced his own adjustment.

She has distanced herself from the program's failures, sometimes by flinging darts in Obama's direction: "What I've said to the president is: 'You told them that they could keep it,'" she said of the canceled insurance plans in a news clip featured in her defiant new campaign ad. "I'm fixing it … and I've urged the president to fix it."

Landrieu is one of a small group of vulnerable Senate Democrats with the bad luck to be running in hotly contested races under the substantial shadow of Obamacare. The central question for Landrieu is a variation on what faces all of those incumbents: whether her rebukes of the president, and her intensive focus on local issues like flood insurance, will be enough to maintain her edge in suburban areas like Metairie, where she has built a winning coalition in her previous races by attracting Republican votes.

Landrieu's strategy is not without risk. While distancing herself from the law she must also avoid alienating black voters, whose solid support has been a key element in each of her narrow Senate wins. Complicating matters is Louisiana's complex "jungle" election system: She will not face voters until November, when to avoid a runoff she must vanquish two Republican opponents by winning more than 50% of the vote. Her current poll numbers show her well below that threshold.

Interviews with voters here suggest that Landrieu's biggest challenge is rebuilding her brand as a populist, and one who is less partisan than most Democrats on Capitol Hill. The secret sauce in each of her Senate races, political operatives here say, is the discipline she has shown in running essentially a governor's race, rather a Senate race — casting herself as a fighter for Louisiana on local issues that often carry greater weight with her state's voters than Washington's ideological battles.

Standing with the president on the healthcare law shattered that image for voters like Todd Stremlau, a Metairie Republican who said he had voted for her in the past because he believed she was independent, strong on national defense and influential on Louisiana issues because of her family name. (Her father, Maurice Edwin "Moon" Landrieu, was mayor of New Orleans, a post now held by her brother Mitch.)

With the healthcare law, "she should have known what was coming," said Stremlau, who was grocery shopping with his young daughter in this swing territory near the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. "She made a big mistake by toeing the line on the Democratic side for the healthcare law."

Democrat Zack Braud, a drugstore manager from LaPlace who has also voted for Landrieu in the past, said she had not been vigilant enough in overseeing the dispersal of federal funds after Hurricane Katrina. "They got all kinds of money from the government to do the levees and they haven't been done," Braud said, citing one example.

"Average," he replied when asked to rate Landrieu's performance.
Keep reading.

LAPD's Don Thompson Rescues Trapped Driver in Burning Car on 405 Freeway

Others also ran to help as well, but Officer Thompson, who was off-duty, was first to try and get the man out. I read this story on Christmas Day. Thompson cut the man's seat belt with a utility knife he carries, and he himself became overcome by flames and smoke as he was pulling the man to safety. That is heroism.

At LAT, "Off-duty officer likely saved life of motorist on 405, official says."

Video from ABC News, "Off-Duty Officer Rescues Man From Burning Car."

The Cross the Left Can’t Bear

At Michelle Malkin's, "Cruciphobia at Mt. Soledad":

Mt. Soledad Cross photo screen-shot-2013-12-25-at-12-04-25-pm_zps78a12a90.png
Consider this: Taylor Swift wasn’t even born yet when the fight over the Mount Soledad cross began. How much longer will it drag on? Disgruntled atheists first filed suit over the memorial at a veterans park in San Diego in the summer of 1989. The fringe grievance-mongers have clung bitterly to their litigious activities for nearly a quarter-century. It’s time to let go and bring peace to the city.

The historic 43-foot cross (29 feet tall on a 14-foot base) has stood atop Mount Soledad on public land since 1954. The Mount Soledad Memorial Association erected the monument to commemorate the sacrifice of American soldiers who died in the Korean War, World War I and World War II. The cross has long carried meaning for the city’s residents far beyond religious symbolism. “It’s a symbol of coming of age and of remembrance,” Pastor Mark Slomka of the Mount Soledad Presbyterian Church said years ago when the case erupted. The San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board explained that the cross is “much like the Mission San Diego de Alcala and the cross at Presidio Park, both of which also are rooted in Christianity but have come to signify the birth of San Diego.” I first started covering the case as an editorial writer at the Los Angeles Daily News in the early 1990s. A federal judge initially ruled that the landmark cross’s presence violated the California constitution’s church-state separation principles. The city of San Diego put the issue before voters, who overwhelmingly approved a practical solution in 2005: Sell the cross and the park to the veterans group for use in a national war memorial.

A pragmatic, tolerant resolution with 76 percent of voters’ support? Heavens, no! The extreme secularists couldn’t have that. They sued and sued and sued and sued. By 2007, the state Supreme Court — affirmed by a state appellate court — had rejected the atheists’ campaign. The courts affirmed the constitutionality of the San Diego referendum (Proposition A) and the sale of the cross to the Mount Soledad Memorial Association. The American Civil Liberties Union intervened to suppress and “de-publish” the ruling as a way to prevent its use in future litigation. They lost.

Lawyers for the Thomas More Law Center, which represented filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of the memorial association, were relieved: “This decision protects the will of the people and their desire to preserve a historical veterans memorial for future generations.” They’ve fought hard to remind America that the Founding Fathers fought for freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. [Correction: The memorial association is represented by the Liberty Institute. More info here.]

But still the cross-hunters press on. Fast-forward to Christmas week 2013. U.S. District Court Judge Larry Burns, who earlier had ruled in support of the cross, was forced to rule that it must come down in 90 days in the wake of a liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision overturning his prior decision. In anticipation of new appeals, Burns stayed the order. All eyes are on the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case last summer...
Continue reading.

And at the San Diego Union Tribune, "Soledad cross backers appeal."

I never cease to be astounded by the everlasting hatred of the secular left.

Barbara Branden Dies: Her Biography of Ayn Rand Sparked Rift in Objectivist Movement

A fascinating obituary.

At the New York Times, "Barbara Branden, Biographer of Ayn Rand, Dies at 84."

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Retailers Miss Christmas Delivery Deadlines Amid Surge of Online Shopping

I saw initial reports on this yesterday, and now here's WSJ, "Late Surge in Web Buying Blindsides UPS, RetailersSome Christmas Packages Aren't Delivered."

Via Robert Stacy McCain, who's got a recommendation for Thomas Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed, "...the best single-volume analysis of liberalism ever written and could cure the delusions of any liberal who reads it (assuming that the liberal is intelligent enough to understand it, admittedly a large assumption)."

Yep, #ObamaCare's 'Cementing in Place,' Which is Why Everyone's Planning for the Law's Unraveling

You gotta love the subliminal messaging at the New York Times, "As Health Law Cements Its Place, G.O.P. Ponders How to Attack."

That's clever headlining, especially how it implies that Republicans will have a hard time replacing ObamaCare once it's all "cemented in place." The piece even quotes Republicans who stress that any reform must account for those now covered by the ACA. At least Republicans care about people not losing their coverage. And as for that "cemented in" part, you'll have to ask the president himself, who treats little of the law as permanently settled. (See WSJ, "Flurry of Tweaks to Affordable Care Act Leaves Insurers Rattled," and "Health-Insurance Deadlines Keep Slipping.")

And interestingly, Phillip Longman and Paul Hewitt, at the far-left Washington Monthly, are looking well beyond ObamaCare with little expectation that the law will restrain healthcare costs. The authors double-down on government fail, however, saying that federal regulators should simply come in and set prices for the entire national healthcare system! See, "After Obamacare."

I don't know what's going to happen with the law, but I'm intrigued with the recent finding at the Reason-Rupe Poll, "Americans Want to Go Back to Previous Health Care System..."

Frankly, polls show that Americans think anything's better than ClusterCare.

But the left doesn't have a way forward. It's a holding pattern for the White House now, with the left hoping the bad news fades away in time to minimize Democrat midterm losses next November. And 2016's still a long ways off.

Meanwhile, some form of market-based reform's needed to get the healthcare system back on track towards quality and affordability. I think this piece by John Cochrane at WSJ is one of the best on this I've seen, "What to Do When ObamaCare Unravels":
The U.S. health-care market is dysfunctional. Obscure prices and $500 Band-Aids are legendary. The reason is simple: Health care and health insurance are strongly protected from competition. There are explicit barriers to entry, for example the laws in many states that require a "certificate of need" before one can build a new hospital. Regulatory compliance costs, approvals, nonprofit status, restrictions on foreign doctors and nurses, limits on medical residencies, and many more barriers keep prices up and competitors out. Hospitals whose main clients are uncompetitive insurers and the government cannot innovate and provide efficient cash service.

We need to permit the Southwest Airlines, LUV 0.00%  Wal-Mart, WMT +0.49% Amazon.com AMZN -0.22%  and Apples of the world to bring to health care the same dramatic improvements in price, quality, variety, technology and efficiency that they brought to air travel, retail and electronics. We'll know we are there when prices are on hospital websites, cash customers get discounts, and new hospitals and insurers swamp your inbox with attractive offers and great service.

The Affordable Care Act bets instead that more regulation, price controls, effectiveness panels, and "accountable care" organizations will force efficiency, innovation, quality and service from the top down. Has this ever worked? Did we get smartphones by government pressure on the 1960s AT&T T +0.60%  phone monopoly? Did effectiveness panels force United Airlines and American Airlines to cut costs, and push TWA and Pan Am out of business? Did the post office invent FedEx, FDX +0.92%  UPS and email? How about public schools or the last 20 or more health-care "cost control" ideas?

Only deregulation can unleash competition. And only disruptive competition, where new businesses drive out old ones, will bring efficiency, lower costs and innovation.

Health insurance should be individual, portable across jobs, states and providers; lifelong and guaranteed-renewable, meaning you have the right to continue with no unexpected increase in premiums if you get sick. Insurance should protect wealth against large, unforeseen, necessary expenses, rather than be a wildly inefficient payment plan for routine expenses.