Friday, May 31, 2013

Topless Femen Protesters Storm 'Germany's Next Top Model'

At the Los Angeles Times, "Heidi Klum ambushed by topless women during 'Top Model' finale," and Der Spiegel, "Crashing the Catwalk: Femen Hijacks 'Germany's Next Top Model'."

RELATED: At the Economist, "Why are feminists going topless?"

U.S. Woman Killed Fighting for Rebels in Syria

At Fox News, "Michigan woman, 33, killed in Syria fight, family says."

And at the Guardian UK, "Nicole Mansfield 'just a regular American', says daughter.'

More video at Euro News, "Westerners 'killed in government ambush' in Syria," and CNN, "Daughter grieves mom killed in Syria."

Orange County Woman Wins $1 million on 'Wheel of Fortune'

This was last night. My wife was watching.

At London's Daily Mail, "Woman becomes second contestant EVER to win $1 million on Wheel of Fortune (and she did it with just four letters)."

Video here.

Celebrating 65 Years of Defense

The Israel Defense Forces, via Theo Spark:

Restoring Public Faith Will Require Full Investigation of IRS Politicization

From Peggy Noonan, at WSJ, "An Antidote to Cynicism Poisoning":
The Benghazi scandal was and is shocking, and the Justice Department assault on the free press, in which dogged reporters are tailed like enemy spies, is shocking. Benghazi is still under investigation and someday someone will write a great book about it. As for the press, Attorney General Eric Holder is on the run, and rightly so. They called it the First Amendment for a reason. But nothing can damage us more as a nation than what is happening at the Internal Revenue Service. Elite opinion in the press and in Washington doesn't fully understand this. Part of the reason is that it's not their ox being gored, it's those messy people out in America with their little patriotic groups.

Those who aren't deeply distressed about the IRS suffer from a reluctance or inability to make distinctions, and a lack of civic imagination.

An inability to make distinctions: "It's always been like this." "Presidents are always siccing the IRS on their enemies." There's truth in that. We've all heard the stories of the president who picked up the phone and said, "Look into this guy," Richard Nixon most showily. He got clobbered for it. It was one of the articles of impeachment.

But this scandal is different and distinctive. The abuse was systemic—from the sheer number of targets and the extent of each targeting we know many workers had to be involved, many higher-ups, multiple offices. It was ideological and partisan—only those presumed to be of one political view were targeted. It has a single unifying pattern: The most vivid abuses took place in the years leading up to the president's 2012 re-election effort. And in the end several were trying to cover it all up, including the head of the IRS, who lied to Congress about it, and the head of the tax-exempt unit, Lois Lerner, who managed to lie even in her public acknowledgment of impropriety.

It wasn't a one-off. It wasn't a president losing his temper with some steel executives. There was no enemies list, unless you consider half the country to be your enemies...
Continue reading.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Teen Driver Hit Speeds of Over 100 MPH in Fatal Newport Beach Crash

Lots a new details on the crash.

At LAT, "Teen driver in fatal O.C. crash may have been going 100 mph."

Also, "Teen driver in fatal Newport Beach wreck was unlicensed":

Irvine Teenagers photo newport-beach-teen-crash-oc_zpsa833b8b2.jpg
The 17-year-old high school student who was at the wheel when his car spun out of control in a horrific Memorial Day crash in Newport Beach did not have a valid driver's license, according to DMV records.

The crash left five teens dead, all high school students from Irvine. Two sisters were among the casualties.

Police said speed was a contributing factor to the wreck. Investigators didn't say how fast the teen's Infiniti was going, but the mayor in the beach city said he was told the car may have been traveling at 100 mph or faster.

The driver of the car, identified as Abdulrahman M. Alyahyan, received a citation in April for violating his provisional license, among other offenses, court records showed.

The high school junior, records show, was pulled over just blocks from his Irvine home and cited for making a prohibited modification to the exhaust system of his gray 2008 Infiniti — which bore the personalized license plate "KHASONA" — and having tinted windows that obstructed the driver's view.

Although the citation lists a driver's license number, a DMV official said that number actually corresponded with Alyahyan's application for a license.

The single-car crash occurred on a downhill stretch of Jamboree Road where the posted speed limit is 55 mph. It's less than a mile from the spot where the co-founder of mixed martial arts apparel company TapouT was killed in 2009 when his Ferrari was struck by a Porsche traveling at 100 mph.

Four in 10 Households Now Have Women as Primary Breadwinner

The fact that women are primary breadwinners is non-controversial, in itself. What's controversial is the number of women who are single parents, so that children are denied the benefits of a stable two-parent family with one mother and one father.

At the New York Times, "U.S. Women on the Rise as Family Breadwinner":

Women are not only more likely to be the primary caregivers in a family. Increasingly, they are primary breadwinners, too.

Four in 10 American households with children under age 18 now include a mother who is either the sole or primary earner for her family, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census and polling data released Wednesday. This share, the highest on record, has quadrupled since 1960.

The shift reflects evolving family dynamics.

For one, it has become more acceptable and expected for married women to join the work force. It is also more common for single women to raise children on their own. Most of the mothers who are chief breadwinners for their families — nearly two-thirds — are single parents...
At the clip, Erick Erickson makes the extremely politically incorrect statement that men should be the "dominant" partner in the family relationship, and this has folks in a fit at Memeorandum. See Amanda Marcotte especially, "Watch the Men of Fox News Freak Out Over Female Breadwinners."

More at the link.

The Fiscal Cost of Amnesty to U.S. Taxpayers

From Robert Rector, at the Heritage Foundation, "The Fiscal Cost of Unlawful Immigrants and Amnesty to the U.S. Taxpayer":

The governmental system is highly redistributive. Well-educated households tend to be net tax contributors: The taxes they pay exceed the direct and means-tested benefits, education, and population-based services they receive. For example, in 2010, in the whole U.S. population, households with college-educated heads, on average, received $24,839 in government benefits while paying $54,089 in taxes. The average college-educated household thus generated a fiscal surplus of $29,250 that government used to finance benefits for other households.

Other households are net tax consumers: The benefits they receive exceed the taxes they pay. These households generate a “fiscal deficit” that must be financed by taxes from other households or by government borrowing. For example, in 2010, in the U.S. population as a whole, households headed by persons without a high school degree, on average, received $46,582 in government benefits while paying only $11,469 in taxes. This generated an average fiscal deficit (benefits received minus taxes paid) of $35,113.

The high deficits of poorly educated households are important in the amnesty debate because the typical unlawful immigrant has only a 10th-grade education. Half of unlawful immigrant households are headed by an individual with less than a high school degree, and another 25 percent of household heads have only a high school degree.
Some argue that the deficit figures for poorly educated households in the general population are not relevant for immigrants. Many believe, for example, that lawful immigrants use little welfare. In reality, lawful immigrant households receive significantly more welfare, on average, than U.S.-born households. Overall, the fiscal deficits or surpluses for lawful immigrant households are the same as or higher than those for U.S.-born households with the same education level. Poorly educated households, whether immigrant or U.S.-born, receive far more in government benefits than they pay in taxes.

In contrast to lawful immigrants, unlawful immigrants at present do not have access to means-tested welfare, Social Security, or Medicare. This does not mean, however, that they do not receive government benefits and services. Children in unlawful immigrant households receive heavily subsidized public education. Many unlawful immigrants have U.S.-born children; these children are currently eligible for the full range of government welfare and medical benefits. And, of course, when unlawful immigrants live in a community, they use roads, parks, sewers, police, and fire protection; these services must expand to cover the added population or there will be “congestion” effects that lead to a decline in service quality.

In 2010, the average unlawful immigrant household received around $24,721 in government benefits and services while paying some $10,334 in taxes. This generated an average annual fiscal deficit (benefits received minus taxes paid) of around $14,387 per household. This cost had to be borne by U.S. taxpayers. Amnesty would provide unlawful households with access to over 80 means-tested welfare programs, Obamacare, Social Security, and Medicare. The fiscal deficit for each household would soar.

If enacted, amnesty would be implemented in phases. During the first or interim phase (which is likely to last 13 years), unlawful immigrants would be given lawful status but would be denied access to means-tested welfare and Obamacare. Most analysts assume that roughly half of unlawful immigrants work “off the books” and therefore do not pay income or FICA taxes. During the interim phase, these “off the books” workers would have a strong incentive to move to “on the books” employment. In addition, their wages would likely go up as they sought jobs in a more open environment. As a result, during the interim period, tax payments would rise and the average fiscal deficit among former unlawful immigrant households would fall.

After 13 years, unlawful immigrants would become eligible for means-tested welfare and Obamacare. At that point or shortly thereafter, former unlawful immigrant households would likely begin to receive government benefits at the same rate as lawful immigrant households of the same education level. As a result, government spending and fiscal deficits would increase dramatically.

The final phase of amnesty is retirement. Unlawful immigrants are not currently eligible for Social Security and Medicare, but under amnesty they would become so. The cost of this change would be very large indeed.
Continue reading.

And at WaPo, "What amnesty for illegal immigrants will cost America."

Pakistan Says U.S. Drone Killed Taliban Leader

Well, so much for that war on terror reset.

At the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Less than a week after President Obama outlined a new direction for the secret drone wars, Pakistani officials said that a C.I.A. missile strike on Wednesday killed a top member of the Pakistani Taliban, an attack that illustrated the continued murkiness of the rules that govern the United States’ targeted killing operations.

The drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal belt, along the Afghan border, was the first since Mr. Obama announced what his administration billed as sweeping changes to the drone program, with new limits on who would be targeted and more transparency in reporting such strikes.

But in the days since the president’s speech, American officials have asserted behind the scenes that the new standards would not apply to the C.I.A. drone program in Pakistan as long as American troops remained next door in Afghanistan — a reference to Mr. Obama’s exception for an “Afghan war theater.” For months to come, any drone strikes in Pakistan — the country that has been hit by the vast majority of them, with more than 350 such attacks by some estimates — will be exempt from the new rules.

American officials refused to publicly confirm the drone strike or the death of the Pakistani Taliban’s deputy leader, Wali ur-Rehman, even as Pakistani government and militant figures reported that he had been killed. Thus, the promise of new transparency, too, seemed to be put off.

Still, by one measure, Mr. Rehman would seem to fit the new road map for drone strikes: the threshold laid out by Mr. Obama that the target of the strike pose a “continuing and imminent threat” to United States citizens...
Yeah, that's a pretty convenient exception.

More from Max Boot, at Commentary, "Taliban Strike Exposes Flaw in Proposed Drone Guidelines."

Western Cultural Suicide

From VDH, at National Review:
Multiculturalism — as opposed to the notion of a multiracial society united by a single culture — has become an abject contradiction in the modern Western world. Romance for a culture in the abstract that one has rejected in the concrete makes little sense. Multiculturalists talk grandly of Africa, Latin America, and Asia, usually in contrast to the core values of the United States and Europe. Certainly, in terms of food, fashion, music, art, and architecture, the Western paradigm is enriched from other cultures. But the reason that millions cross the Mediterranean to Europe or the Rio Grande to the United States is for something more that transcends the periphery and involves fundamental values — consensual government, free-market capitalism, the freedom of the individual, religious tolerance, equality between the sexes, rights of dissent, and a society governed by rationalism divorced from religious stricture. Somehow that obvious message has now been abandoned, as Western hosts lost confidence in the very society that gives us the wealth and leisure to ignore or caricature its foundations. The result is that millions of immigrants flock to the West, enjoy its material security, and yet feel little need to bond with their adopted culture, given that their hosts themselves are ambiguous about what others desperately seek out....

At no time in our history have so many Americans been foreign born. Never have so many foreign nationals resided in America, and never have so many done so illegally. Yet at just such a critical time, in our universities and bureaucracies, the pressures to assimilate in melting-pot fashion have been replaced by salad-bowl separatism — as if the individual can pick and choose which elements of his adopted culture he will embrace, which he will reject, as one might croutons or tomatoes. But ultimately he can do that because he senses that the American government, people, press, and culture reward such opportunism and have no desire, need, or ability to defend the very inherited culture that has given them the leeway to ignore it and so attracted others from otherwise antithetical paradigms.

That is a prescription for cultural suicide, if not by beheading or by a pressure cooker full of ball bearings, at least by making the West into something that no one would find very different from his homeland.

Michelle Fields Just Eviscerates Tamara Holder Over Idiot Adam Levine's 'I Hate This Country' Comment

I love it!

And Sean Hannity bet Holder $100 to name one conservative how said "I hate this country."

Also at Twitchy, "Adam Levine caught on hot mic: ‘I hate this country’; Responds to backlash with douche-tweets; Update: Blames ‘frustration’ for comments."

Chinese Baby Flushed Down Toilet

This story is so unbelievably depraved...

At Mirror UK, "Chinese baby flushed down toilet: Mum tells police miracle boy FELL into sewage pipe."

Chinese Baby photo ChineseBabyFlushed_zps4a2d3e10.jpg

And at the Washington Times, "Chinese mom who flushed newborn down toilet won't be charged."

Stop Drinking the 'Haterade'

Via Theo Spark:

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Slams Obama With Epic New Campaign Ad

Via Legal Insurrection, "IRS targeting — Remember it in November 2014."

GOP Already Tried the Bob Dole Paradigm

From Jonathan Tobin, at Commentary:

To say that Dole passed his best-used date is not to mock him for his age or infirmity. The fact that he is wheelchair-bound and losing his sight should grieve us all. He is the exemplar of the “greatest generation” veteran who nearly died as a result of his wounds and then spent nearly four decades in public life in the postwar era. He deserves every possible honor that his country can give him. But let’s get real. Dole was also an apt symbol of the failures of the self-proclaimed Eisenhower Republicans in Congress. His get-along-to-go-along style in which compromise always seemed to be the keynote was never going to fix the out-of-control growth of the federal government, it just managed it. As much as the abrasiveness of Ted Cruz makes many of us long for the more easygoing style of partisanship Dole practiced, there was a reason the GOP abandoned it: it didn’t work.
Continue reading.

The Dems, of course, cream on that kind of pathetic concern trolling, at the clip, for example.

Saint Kate Updates

Robert Stacy McCain reports, at the American Spectator, "#FreeKate Insanity Intensifies: Is Teen Lesbian the Rosa Parks of Jailbait?"

Kaitlyn Mug Shot photo Kaitlyn_Hunt_Mug_Shot_Florida_Sex_Crime_Suspect_zpscf8aa53f.jpg

And at the Other McCain, "Quite Possibly the Most Eloquent Sentence of My Entire Journalism Career."

Obama Was Plotting Benghazi Cover Story Before Last Two Americans Were Dead

Via Noisy Room:

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Obligatory Blog Post on Michele Bachmann's 8-Minutes-Plus Congressional Retirement Video

Look, I love Michele Bachmann. She was my candidate for the Republican nomination in 2012. But this retirement clip is a bit much. She could have had as much to say in a couple of minutes. And frankly, the long spin on her congressional accomplishments highlights something of the lack thereof. Her most important impact has been as a media star, and she might have done better in the primaries had she avoided her Human Papilloma Virus gaffe of September 2011. I will say though, I think she's wise not to leave public life altogether. She's a powerful voice of dissent and we need as many of those as we can get.

Ed Morrissey has more, "Video: Michele Bachmann retires."

BONUS: Get a kick out of WaPo's report, which is basically a DLTDHYOTWO screed against the Minnesota Republican, "Rep. Bachmann will not run for reelection in 2014."

Africa's Economic Boom

An excellent piece, from Shantayanan Devarajan and Wolfgang Fengler, at Foreign Affairs, "Why the Pessimists and the Optimists Are Both Right":
Talk to experts, academics, or businesspeople about the economies of sub-Saharan Africa and you are likely to hear one of two narratives. The first is optimistic: Africa’s moment is just around the corner, or has already arrived. Reasons for hope abound. Despite the global economic crisis, the region’s GDP has grown rapidly, averaging almost five percent a year since 2000, and is expected to rise even faster in the years ahead. Many countries, not just the resource-rich ones, have participated in the boom: indeed, 20 states in sub-Saharan Africa that do not produce oil managed average GDP growth rates of four percent or higher between 1998 and 2008. Meanwhile, the region has begun attracting serious amounts of private capital; at $50 billion a year, such flows now exceed foreign aid.

At the same time, poverty is declining. Since 1996, the average poverty rate in sub-Saharan African countries has fallen by about one percentage point a year, and between 2005 and 2008, the portion of Africans in the region living on less than $1.25 a day fell for the first time, from 52 percent to 48 percent. If the region’s stable countries continue growing at the average rates they have enjoyed for the last decade, most of them will reach a per capita gross national income of $1,000 by 2025, which the World Bank classifies as “middle income.” The region has also made great strides in education and health care. Between 2000 and 2008, secondary school enrollment increased by nearly 50 percent, and over the past decade, life expectancy has increased by about ten percent.

The second narrative is more pessimistic. It casts doubt on the durability of Africa’s growth and notes the depressing persistence of its economic troubles. Like the first view, this one is also justified by compelling evidence. For one thing, Africa’s recent growth has largely followed rising commodity prices, and commodities make up the overwhelming share of its exports -- never a stable prospect. Indeed, the pessimists argue that Africa is simply riding a commodities wave that is bound to crest and fall and that the region has not yet made the kind of fundamental economic changes that would protect it when the downturn arrives. The manufacturing sector in sub-Saharan Africa, for example, currently accounts for the same small share of overall GDP that it did in the 1970s. What’s more, despite the overall decline in poverty, some rapidly growing countries, such as Burkina Faso, Mozambique, and Tanzania, have barely managed to reduce their poverty rates. And although most of Africa’s civil wars have ended, political instability remains widespread: in the past year alone, Guinea-Bissau and Mali suffered coups d’├ętat, renewed violence rocked the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, and fighting flared on the border between South Sudan and Sudan. At present, about a third of sub-Saharan African countries are in the throes of violent conflict.

More mundane problems also take a heavy toll. Much of Africa suffers from rampant corruption, and most of its infrastructure is in poor condition. Many governments struggle to provide basic services: teachers in Tanzania’s public primary schools are absent 23 percent of the time, and government-employed doctors in Senegal spend an average of only 39 minutes a day seeing patients. Such deficiencies will become only more pronounced as Africa’s population booms.

And then there’s the fact that African countries, especially those that are rich in resources, often fall prey to what the economist Daron Acemoglu and the political scientist James Robinson have termed “extractive institutions”: policies and practices that are designed to capture the wealth and resources of a society for the benefit of a small but politically powerful elite. One result is staggering inequality, the effects of which are often masked by positive growth statistics.

What should one make of all the contradictory evidence? At first glance, these two narratives seem irreconcilable. It turns out, however, that both are right, or at least reflect aspects of a more complex reality, which neither fully captures. The skeptics focus so much on the region’s commodity exports that they fail to grasp the extent to which its recent growth is a result of economic reforms (many of which were necessitated by the misguided policies of the past). The optimists, meanwhile, underestimate the degree to which the region’s remaining problems -- such as sclerotic institutions, low levels of education, and substandard health care -- reflect government failures that will be very difficult to overcome because they are deeply rooted in political conflict.

However, even if both narratives are reductive, the optimists’ view of Africa’s future is ultimately closer to the mark and more likely to be borne out by developments in the coming decades. Africa will continue to face daunting obstacles on its ongoing path to prosperity, especially when it comes to improving its human capital: the education, skills, and health of its population. But the success of recent reforms and the increased openness of its societies, fueled in part by new information and communications technologies, give Africa a good chance of enjoying sustained growth and poverty reduction in the decades to come.
Continue reading.

The authors argue that the continent is leapfrogging some stages of technological progress, going right to the cellular era --- "the so-called mobile revolution" --- bypassing a long, plodding period of telecommunications development.

Postal Service On its Last Legs

I was just talking about this yesterday during my lectures on the federal bureaucracy, at the Los Angeles Times, "Postal Service is on its last legs, with little help in sight":
WASHINGTON — With a wide grin and a quick step, letter carrier Kenny Clark brings more than the day's mail to the people on his route in suburban Maryland.

Clark, 49, greets nearly everyone he sees by name. He puts packages under eaves on overcast days to keep them dry, reminds people to retrieve keys they might have left in keyholes, and shouts a quick "You OK?" at the doors of seniors.

"He's a neighborhood icon — him and his truck," said Amy Dick, who lives on Clark's route.

But his future, and that of the U.S. Postal Service, is in doubt. The Postal Service lost $1.9 billion between January and March, and $15.9 billion last year. The 238-year-old institution loses $25 million each day, and has reached its borrowing limit with the federal Treasury. Daily mail delivery could be threatened within a year, officials say.

Americans increasingly go online to write letters, pay bills and read magazines, and mail volume has fallen by a quarter since 2006, according to the Government Accountability Office. The decline is expected to continue.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has reduced staff, consolidated mail facilities and lowered express delivery standards in an effort to cut spending. But the savings have not been enough to match the drop in revenue.

"We are in real trouble, and we need comprehensive postal reform yesterday," Mickey Barnett, chairman of the Postal Service Board of Governors, told a congressional committee last month.

The Postal Service is a government corporation, which means it is organized like a business yet subject to congressional oversight. Consequently, reform is difficult, said Mike Schuyler, a fellow at the Washington-based Tax Foundation who has studied postal issues for nearly two decades.

"The Postal Service has far too little flexibility when it needs to adjust, and it's really in handcuffs because of all the requirements Congress puts on it," Schuyler said.

Postal officials recently tried to end Saturday letter delivery, which could have saved $2 billion per year, but Congress blocked it. A legislative proposal to replace doorstep delivery with curbside delivery, which would save $4.5 billion, failed last year. A plan to close thousands of rural post offices was abandoned after postal officials deemed the closures would "upset Congress a great deal," Barnett said.
More problems mentioned at the link, like "pre-funding" of pensions for postal workers. Yeah. That oughta work.

Irvine Devastated After 5 Teenagers Killed in High-Speed Crash

I gave my son a special hug as he left the apartment this morning. Kids were to wear white to school out of respect.

Now it's on the front-page of this morning's Los Angeles Times, "Friends mourn 5 Irvine teens killed in violent crash." Also, "Speed a factor in Newport Beach crash that killed five, police say."

Newport Beach Crash photo photo212_zps2a606e09.jpg

Lakewood Honors Fallen Veterans on Memorial Day

From yesterday's Long Beach Press Telegram, "Memorial Day: Lakewood honors fallen veterans":

Lakewood Memorial Day photo photo115_zps0051ec2b.jpg
LAKEWOOD -- For many Americans, Memorial Day is a break from work, a day marked by barbecues and special sales.

Veterans, their families and others who gathered at Del Valle Park on Monday for Lakewood's annual Memorial Day ceremony see it differently, as a time to honor those who served their country and gave their lives so it may yet fulfill its promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Los Angeles County Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Chief Deputy Director Stephanie A. Stone noted a somber set of numbers from the last 100 years in her keynote address: more than 100,000 dead in World War I, 400,000 in World War II, 36,000 in the Korean War, 58,000 in Vietnam and 6,000 in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"This day is reserved for the men and women who were part of our lives," Stone said.

"The fathers and the mothers, the sisters and the brothers, the sons and the daughters who lived in our town, went to our schools, played with our children and prayed in our churches."

Lakewood Mayor Steve Croft suggested in his own remarks that the gratitude of the crowd should continue past the day's ceremony.

As a decade of war comes to an end, Croft said, the nation must support, encourage and nurture hundreds of thousands of veterans who need help restarting their lives.

"The challenges facing veterans today range from unemployment to homelessness, to mental, emotional and physical impacts that must be addressed," said Croft.

The mayor noted that many of Lakewood's earliest homebuyers in the 1950s were veterans who fought in World War II, and in a spirit of volunteerism, some founded the Lakewood Youth Sports program and did other work to build the city into what it is today.

"It's our turn now," Croft said, urging citizens to do what they can to ensure that veterans have access to education, jobs and other services so they may transition from war.

Too Much Money? Not With the Democrats in Sacramento There's Not

Governor Brown's purportedly holding out against the legislature's demands for even higher taxes, which the idiot Democrats covet for the further expansion of big government in the once-Golden State. But since state coffers are showing an unexpected surge in revenue, perhaps he'll be able to hold off the money grubbing leftists for now.

We'll see.

For now, here's the New York Times' report, "California Faces a New Quandary, Too Much Money":
LOS ANGELES — After years of grueling battles over state budget deficits and spending cuts, California has a new challenge on its hands: too much money. An unexpected surplus is fueling an argument over how the state should respond to its turn of good fortune.

The amount is a matter of debate, but by any measure significant: between $1.2 billion, projected by Gov. Jerry Brown, and $4.4 billion, the estimate of the Legislature’s independent financial analyst. The surplus comes barely three years after the state was facing a deficit of close to $60 billion.

At first glance, the situation should be welcome news in a state overwhelmingly controlled by Democrats, who have spent much of their time slashing programs they support. After last November’s elections, the party has two-thirds majorities in the Assembly and the Senate, relegating Republicans almost completely to the sidelines.

Instead, the surplus has set off a debate about the durability of new revenues, and whether the money should be used to reverse some of the spending cuts or set aside to guard against the inevitable next economic downturn.

At least seven other states — among them Connecticut, Utah and Wisconsin — have reported budget surpluses in recent weeks, setting the stage for legislative battles that, if not as wrenching as the ones over cuts, promise to be no less pitched. Lawmakers are debating whether the new money should be used to restore programs cut during the recession, finance tax cuts or put into a rainy-day fund for future needs.

The debate reflects uncertainty about whether the revenue is a one-time event, a result of state taxes on wealthy residents selling off investments at the end of last year to avoid increased costs as the Bush-era federal tax cuts expired. But it also illustrates philosophical differences about the role of government, about spending versus taxes and about the need, as Mr. Brown argued, to learn lessons from a decade in which many states saw the bottom fall out from their revenue collections.

“We’re seeing a change in conversation in state legislatures this year,” said Todd Haggerty, a policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures. “They’re not talking about how to close a budget gap anymore, which is a welcome relief after years of that during and after the Great Recession. Rather, states are having conversations about how to allocate increased revenues.”

Nowhere does that battle promise to play out with more force and intricacy than in California, the state that underwent perhaps the most severe retrenchments in the country.

Mr. Brown, a Democrat who has always had a fiscally conservative streak, is leading the don’t-pop-any-Champagne-corks brigade, saying that he would oppose significant increases in new spending and that the money should go into a rainy-day fund. His administration put out the lower $1.2 billion estimate.

“A good deal of the surge of revenues that we have seen since the beginning of the year is the result of higher-income individuals being able to realize some of their gains at the end of 2012,” said H. D. Palmer, the director of external affairs for the California Department of Finance. “We don’t believe it is prudent to budget on the capital gains. It wasn’t that long ago when we had the same experience during the dot-com boom. We don’t want to see that movie again.”
The idiot Democrats don't care about any of that. When you've got money coming in by the surplus, the left starts rummaging through is long buried list of "overdue" spending priorities. On this issue, I hope the governor wins.

Continue reading.

BONUS: At the Los Angeles Times, "California Assembly, Senate outline divergent budget plans."

#FreeKate — Kaitlyn Hunt is the Next Rosa Parks!

Hey, just hold back and let these idiots work themselves up into a frenzy of child molestation abominations. It's the new civil rights movement!

Via Jeanette Victoria on Twitter:

Rosa Parks! photo BLaA7IyCAAEM9X0_zps8794ec53.jpg

Right. I can just see Rosa Parks at the back of the bus fingering a 14-year-old.

Free at last!

Seriously, this is the caliber of "progressive" thinking on the left. We've got idiots like this in high office, so it's not very funny when you think about it.

BONUS: At Viral Read, "‘Beat Her Ass!’ Beach Fight Video Purports to Show Kaitlyn Hunt."

Pat Condell: 'Islam is a Religion of Violence and Terror...'

Via Sheik Yer'mami, "Pat Condell: We need an anti Muslim backlash":

China Hacks U.S. Missile Defense Computer Systems

Missile defense, and weapons systems computers, and...

It's not good.

At the Washington Post, "Confidential report lists U.S. weapons system designs compromised by Chinese cyberspies":

Designs for many of the nation’s most sensitive advanced weapons systems have been compromised by Chinese hackers, according to a report prepared for the Pentagon and to officials from government and the defense industry.

Among more than two dozen major weapons systems whose designs were breached were programs critical to U.S. missile defenses and combat aircraft and ships, according to a previously undisclosed section of a confidential report prepared for Pentagon leaders by the Defense Science Board.

Experts warn that the electronic intrusions gave China access to advanced technology that could accelerate the development of its weapons systems and weaken the U.S. military advantage in a future conflict.

The Defense Science Board, a senior advisory group made up of government and civilian experts, did not accuse the Chinese of stealing the designs. But senior military and industry officials with knowledge of the breaches said the vast majority were part of a widening Chinese campaign of espionage against U.S. defense contractors and government agencies.

The significance and extent of the targets help explain why the Obama administration has escalated its warnings to the Chinese government to stop what Washington sees as rampant cyber­theft.

In January, the advisory panel warned in the public version of its report that the Pentagon is unprepared to counter a full-scale cyber-conflict. The list of compromised weapons designs is contained in a confidential version, and it was provided to The Washington Post.

Some of the weapons form the backbone of the Pentagon’s regional missile defense for Asia, Europe and the Persian Gulf. The designs included those for the advanced Patriot missile system, known as PAC-3; an Army system for shooting down ballistic missiles, known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD; and the Navy’s Aegis ballistic-missile defense system.

Also identified in the report are vital combat aircraft and ships, including the F/A-18 fighter jet, the V-22 Osprey, the Black Hawk helicopter and the Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship, which is designed to patrol waters close to shore.

Also on the list is the most expensive weapons system ever built — the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is on track to cost about $1.4 trillion. The 2007 hack of that project was reported previously.
Also, at Foreign Policy, "DOD says don't worry about hackers accessing key U.S. weapons designs."

Well, it feels like we're back in the Cold War.

But no worries, the Obama administration has everything under control!

So-Called Leftist 'Hawks' Cower From Intervention in Syria

An interesting piece at WaPo, "Liberal hawks were vocal on involvement in Iraq but have been quiet on Syria":
The advocates for intervention argue that there are strong moral, geopolitical and national security reasons to intervene and that although there is no good option in Syria, doing nothing is the worst option of all. They’d like to see the destruction of Assad’s aircraft, heavy weapons and assets on the ground and have called for the creation of no-fly zones and the arming of rebels, as well as a naval blockade to prevent Syria from exporting oil. They also believe American firepower could create havens in rebel-controlled territory, giving a moderate opposition the chance to govern and to weaken extremists while easing the burden of refugees, and preventing further sectarian spillover into neighboring states.

They worry that Obama is sending the message to dictators that brutality will go unchecked and that he is ceding the battlefield to the United States’ more strategic enemies, including Iran. The advocates worry that Obama’s blurring of red lines over the use of chemical weapons weakened American credibility and moral authority and reduced any chance for a diplomatic solution.

Those who oppose armed intervention fear that U.S. involvement in Syria would only worsen the situation and fuel the kind of sectarian fury that was unleashed in Iraq.

They also believe that the administration has been wise to avoid ownership of the problem if it is not willing to make a long-term nation-building commitment.

The few prominent liberal hawks have taken their case to high-profile platforms. Bill Keller, a former editor of the New York Times, recently acknowledged his wariness but added that “in Syria, I fear prudence has become fatalism, and our caution has been the father of missed opportunities, diminished credibility and enlarged tragedy.” He was immediately attacked with echoes of the “Bush’s Useful Idiots” critique. Leon Wieseltier has incessantly demanded action from his perch at the New Republic. And Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former top State Department official who is president of the New America Foundation, has been consistently outspoken in favor of intervention.

Slaughter said she wants to hear more from the intellectuals who joined her in urging intervention in Kosovo, Rwanda and, most recently, Libya. “The place to look, I think, is not 10 years ago [in Iraq], it’s Libya,” she said. “Where’s the Libya coalition?” She blamed the Obama administration inaction in Syria for creating a climate of “despairing futility” that rendered her former allies moot.
Well, there's actually quite a few voices on the left pushing for intervention, although things might have been more propitious at an earlier stage of the conflict. At this point you're almost 100 percent certain to leverage Islamists to power there, and considering how the Egyptian revolution's working out, it's hardly attractive to extend the Arab Winter to Damascus.

Interesting, though, it looks like the administration is now pushing to expand the U.S. role in Syria. See the Daily Beast, "Exclusive: Obama Asks Pentagon For Syria No-Fly Zone Plan."

The Press Finally Wakes Up to the Obama Nightmare

From Congresswoman Candice Miller, at the Detroit Free Press (via Memeorandum):
Like many Americans, my initial reaction to recent reports that the Obama administration was aggressively investigating news media organizations (the Associated Press, Fox News & CBS News) involved in leaking sensitive national security information was mixed.

On one hand, this administration has had a troubling tendency to aggressively assert the power of the government into every corner of American life — from the federal takeover of our health care system to the job-killing, over-regulation of our economy. On the other, the target of the leaks investigations was the news media, which has served as the president’s amen chorus for most of that agenda. But like the blind pig and the acorn, news media moguls outraged over the wholesale seizure of reporter phone records (AP), the secret tracking of a journalist’s movements (Fox News) and the suspected hacking of a reporter’s computer (CBS) may be on to something.

At last, a scandal they can believe in.

This is not to minimize the legitimacy of any administration’s desire to protect important national security interests. As vice chairwoman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, I am acutely aware of the need to shield vital information about intelligence gathering methods and sources from our enemies. Nor am I in the habit of reflexively condemning every exercise of power by the Obama administration. But the potential criminalization of standard journalistic practices of source development, news-gathering and reporting on issues of undeniable public interest strikes at the heart of what it means to live in a free society.

The case of James Rosen at Fox News is especially troubling...
Continue reading.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Heather Graham Bikini Pics

She's been in the news a couple of times this week. Maybe she's making a comeback.

The babe who shagged me!

At London's Daily Mail, "Nice try boys! Heather Graham steals the show with her amazing bikini body as The Hangover boys wear tiny colourful trunks to the beach in Rio":
Heather Graham may not be one of the main characters in The Hangover Part III, but she was certainly the centre of attention on Tuesday.

The blonde bombshell hit the sand at the famed Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro followed by her Hangover cast mates.

Ensuring that all eyes were on her, the 43-year-old donned a revealing bikini that showed off her stunning beach body as her comedic male co-stars matched her in skimpy Speedos.

Five Teenagers Killed in Horrific Memorial Day Crash in Newport Beach

At the Los Angeles Times, "Five Irvine teens killed in fiery Newport Beach car crash."

Four of the five attended my son's school, Irvine High. See, "Two sisters among five teens killed in fiery crash":

The five teenagers killed in a car crash that Orange County officials said was one of the most violent they had ever seen included a pair of high school seniors and two sisters.

Authorities on Tuesday identified the high school students as: Abdulrahman M. Alyahyan, a senior at Irvine’s University High School; Nozad Hamawendi, a junior at Irvine High School; Cecilia Zamora, a junior at Irvine High; and sisters Aurora and Robin Cabrera, a sophomore and a senior, respectively, at Irvine High School.

"There are simply no words to convey the sorrow felt by our staff and our students and our community and nor are there sufficient answers to explain the loss of these vibrant young teenagers," said Terry L. Walker, superintendent of schools in Irvine.
My son knew one of the girls. I'm sure the next couple of weeks will see a number of memorial ceremonies, so I'll be updating.

Facebook Updates Policies on Harmful and Hateful Speech

Here's the statement at Facebook, "Controversial, Harmful and Hateful Speech on Facebook." (At Memeorandum.)

And see the Verge, "Facebook promises to crack down on hate speech after boycott campaign."

My previous comments are here, "Facebook Rape Pages."

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

At Cannes 2013, Palme d'Or for Lesbian Pedophilia in 'Blue Is the Warmest Color'

From John Hayward, at Breitbart, "More On the Mainstreaming of Pedophilia":

Let's hear some more about this "Blue is the Warmest Color" film...
"Blue Is The Warmest Colour" by Abdellatif Kechiche topped critics polls in trade magazines Screen International and Film Francais among the 20 contenders for the Palme d'Or.

The three-hour-long drama about a 15-year-old girl who falls for a French woman tracks their passionate affair and devastating separation.
Sounds like a great film to catch after spending the afternoon at a "Free Kate" rally. Hopefully they allow a bathroom break while this three-hour saga grinds on. And hopefully the bathrooms will be supervised.
Yes, pedophilia goes mainstream.

And see the Other McCain, "#FreeKate Lies Unravel; Roman Polanski Could Not Be Reached for Comment."

More at the Los Angeles Times, "Cannes 2013: Palme d'Or goes to 'Blue Is the Warmest Color'."

Monday, May 27, 2013

Hollywood Stars Go to War

At the Los Angeles Times, "Movie stars at war."

Also, "A trio of actresses who entertained troops in WWII."

Below: "Carole Landis: A pinup favorite, Landis spent more time visiting with U.S. servicemen than any other actress."

Carole Landis photo Carole_Landis_-_USN_zpse781b7e8.jpg

Photo Credit: Wikimedia.

Memorial Day

A fabulous photograph via Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers:

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And for some linkage, in no particular order:

* Black Five, "MEMORIAL DAY."

* Fox News, "Americans gather to honor fallen service members on Memorial Day."

* Leif Babin, at WSJ, "A Tradition of Sacrifice, From Yorktown to Ramadi."

* The Los Angeles Times, "CALIFORNIA'S WAR DEAD."

* Walter Russell Mead, "A Day of Dedication."

* Ralph Kinney Bennett, at the American, "Fallen Heroes, Never Forgotten."

* "Sebastian Junger, at the Washington Post, "Sharing the Moral Burden of War."

* Wall Street Journal, "Memorial Day."

Britain's Head in the Sand on Islamic Terrorism — And Ours

From the inimitable Melanie Phillips, at London's Daily Mail, "Until our leaders admit the true nature of Islamic extremism, we will never defeat it."

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Ever since the spectre of Islamic terrorism in the West first manifested itself, Britain has had its head stuck firmly in the sand.

After both 9/11 and the 7/7 London transport bombings, the Labour government promised to take measures to defend the country against further such attacks.

It defined the problem, however, merely as terrorism, failing to understand that the real issue was the extremist ideas which led to such violence.

Accordingly, it poured money into Muslim community groups, many of which turned out to be dangerously extreme.

When David Cameron came to power, his Government raised hopes of a more realistic approach when it pledged to counter extremist ideas rather than just violence.
This approach, too, has failed. The Government still has no coherent strategy for countering Islamist radicalisation.

Following last week’s barbaric slaughter of Drummer Rigby on the streets of Woolwich by two Islamic fanatics, the Prime Minister has announced that he will head a new Tackling Extremism and Radicalisation Task Force.

And the Home Secretary has said she will look at widening the banning of radical groups preaching hate.

But at the heart of these promises remains a crucial gap. That is the need to define just what kind of extremism we are up against.

The Government has been extraordinarily reluctant to do this — because it refuses to face the blindingly obvious fact that this extremism is religious in nature.

It arises from an interpretation of Islam which takes the words of the Koran literally as a command to kill unbelievers in a jihad, or holy war, in order to impose strict Islamic tenets on the rest of the world.

Of course, millions of Muslims in Britain and elsewhere totally reject this interpretation of their religion.

Most British Muslims want to live peacefully and enjoy the benefits of Western culture. They undoubtedly utterly deplore the notion that the kind of carnage that occurred in Woolwich should take place in Britain.

And let’s not forget that, worldwide, most victims of the jihad are themselves Muslims whom the extremists judge to be polluted by Western ideas.

Nevertheless, this fundamentalist interpretation of the Koran is what is being spouted by hate preachers in Britain and on the internet, and is steadily radicalising thousands of young British Muslims.

Now the Prime Minister says he will crack down on such extremism. Yet after the Woolwich atrocity, he claimed it was ‘a betrayal of Islam’ and that ‘there is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act’.

The London Mayor Boris Johnson went even further, claiming: ‘It is completely wrong to blame this killing on the religion of Islam’ and that the cause was simply the killers’ ‘warped and deluded mindset’.

Yet the video footage of the killers — who had shouted ‘Allahu Akhbar’ when butchering Drummer Rigby — records one of them citing verses in the Koran exhorting the faithful to fight and kill unbelievers, and declaring: ‘We swear by Almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you.’

Frankly, these comments by the Prime Minister and London Mayor were as absurd as saying the medieval Inquisition, for example, had nothing to do with the Catholic Church, but was just the product of a few warped and deluded individuals.
Well, speaking the truth about Islamic jihad takes courage. And so far British leaders haven't demonstrated they have it. And it's not just Britain. President Obama dismissed the London barbarity as "senseless violence" --- because, you know, if it's "senseless," it's random and not worthy of the outright condemnation that such leftist extremism requires.

More from Ms. Phillips at the link.

Meanwhile, never give into the terror apologists and appeasers, wherever they may be.

British Supermarkets Could Face Sexual Harassment Complaints Over Lads' Mags

Here's the latest in the ayatollah feminists' campaign to ban men's magazines in Britain, at the Guardian UK, "Lose the lads' mags or risk legal action, say lawyers" (via Memeorandum).

As I always say, the more progressives harass and intimidate over babe blogging (and Page 3 girls) the harder I'll be hitting the Rule 5.

From Toby Young, "First they came for the lads' mags… then they came for me" (via Memeorandum):

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Today's Guardian contains more proof, if proof were needed, that Harriet Harman's Equality Act poses a direct threat to free speech. It has published a letter from 11 lawyers, including a QC, threatening supermarkets with legal action unless lads' mags are immediately withdrawn from sale. "Displaying these publications in workplaces, and/or requiring staff to handle them in the course of their jobs, may amount to sex discrimination and sexual harassment contrary to the Equality Act 2010," it says. "Similarly, exposing customers to these publications in the process of displaying them is capable of giving rise to breaches of the Equality Act."

The letter is written in support of Lose the Lads' Mags, a campaign that's been launched by UK Feminista and Object, two Left-wing lobby groups with a history of opposing free speech. Indeed, Object was one of four "women's groups" to submit evidence to the Leveson Inquiry and was instrumental in persuading Lord Leveson to recommend that the new press regulator be empowered to investigate third party complaints "from representative women's groups", i.e. groups like UK Feminista and Object. (The basis on which a handful of Left-wing feminists claim to be "representing" half the human race remains unclear, though Leveson appears to have taken that claim at face value.) I blogged about the danger this posed to free speech here.

UK Feminista and Object assert that lads' mags "harm" women – a claim also made by those who want to ban Page 3 like Harriet Harman. In an article in today's Guardian pegged to the lawyers' letter, the founder of UK Femnista describes lads' mags as "deeply harmful" to women. Sophie Bennett, the Campaigns' Officer of Object, spells out in detail what form this "harm" takes:
Lads' mags dehumanise and objectify women, promoting harmful attitudes that underpin discrimination and violence against women and girls. Reducing women to sex objects sends out an incredibly dangerous message that women are constantly sexually available and displaying these publications in everyday spaces normalises this sexism.
Continue reading.

Violence against women in Britain has actually declined at the same time that access to lads' mags has increased. Protecting women isn't why the radical feminists are pushing this. The left wants to suppress speech it disagrees with, and giving people agency over what shops they frequent and what they read goes against the left's program to criminalize thought that deviates from the so-called progressive agenda.

More at Guardian UK, "Supermarkets could face harassment complaints over lads' mags, say lawyers."

IMAGE CREDIT: Laura'Jane Hollyman on Twitter.

Tea Party Gets Bump After Being Targeted by IRS

At Fox News:
The Tea Party movement is showing signs of a resurgence following the revelation that the IRS targeted groups and other politically conservative organizations for the past several years.

A recent poll shows Americans have a more favorable opinion of the less-government, anti-tax groups. And one of the biggest groups in the grassroots movement told this weekend that fundraising and donations have increased since news of the IRS targeting broke earlier this month.
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The Tomb of the Unknowns Will Always Be Guarded

Via AoSHQ:
21 steps. Hurricanes. Snowstorms. Or the brutal summer heat in Virginia.

This tomb will always have a guard.

Homosexual Activists and Their Lefty Supporters Have Been Going All Out to Defend Pedophilia

See Culture Watch, "Kate, Sex, Lies and the Truth":

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Here is another story you likely did not hear about in the lamestream media. And if you did, you would have gotten a terribly one-sided slant on all this. So how many of you know about Kaitlyn Hunt? Nope, didn’t think you would. However, a few of you may have heard something about a “Free Kate” movement.

So what is all this about, and why should Kate be freed? Well, the story is quite straight forward – except to the homosexual activists and a pro-homosexual MSM who are trying to pretend it isn’t. Kate is an 18-year-old lesbian who was caught out having a sexual affair with a child – a 14-year-old girl.

Now that is illegal in the state of Florida, where this sordid event occurred. So we have here a clear case of paedophilia: adults having sex with children. That should be the end of the story, except that the homosexual activists have turned Kate into a poster girl – and even a victim – for their cause.

They can find absolutely nothing wrong with this, and are bending over backwards to justify it to the world. Just imagine if a man was found to have had sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl: he would be in jail by now and the whole world would think justice had been served.

But because this is a lesbian affair, the media as a whole and a homosexuality-drenched West is having trouble finding anything wrong with this. Thus we have yet another clear indication that the granting of special rights to homosexuals simply opens the door to every other sort of sexual perversion – in this case paedophilia.
Well, yeah. It's been pretty clear for awhile.

Continue reading (via Jeanette Victoria).

More at Support Honesty, "A lie is halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on."

Also, at the Pink Flamingo, "Unpopular Morality."

And the latest at the Other McCain, "In Search of Liberal ‘Principle,’ and Also: Does #FreeKate Have a Larger Agenda?"

Expect updates...

Sunday, May 26, 2013

CNN Paints Kaitlyn Hunt, 18-Year-Old Lesbian Pedophile, as Sympathetic Victim Who Just 'Made a Mistake...'

Following up on my earlier entry, "The Left's Push to Normalize Pedophilia Finds Its Poster Girl."

Here's this shamelessly sympathetic CNN report, at the clip below.

Hey, an 18-year-old girl fingering the vagina of a 14-year old girl in the high school restroom?

No problem! Progressives for the normalization of pedophilia unite!

The Left's Push to Normalize Pedophilia Finds Its Poster Girl

That's Robert Stacy McCain's reporting at the American Spectator, "#FreeKate? Movement to Normalize Pedophilia Finds Its Poster Girl":
In January, Rush Limbaugh warned that there was “an effort under way to normalize pedophilia,” and was ridiculed by liberals (including CNN’s Soledad O’Brien) for saying so. But now liberals have joined a crusade that, if successful, would effectively legalize sex with 14-year-olds in Florida.

The case involves Kaitlyn Ashley Hunt, an 18-year-old in Sebastian, Florida, who was arrested in February after admitting that she had a lesbian affair with a 14-year high-school freshman. (Click here to read the affidavit in Hunt’s arrest.) It is a felony in Florida to have sex with 14-year-olds. Hunt was expelled from Sebastian High School — where she and the younger girl had sex in a restroom stall — and charged with two counts of “felony lewd and lascivious battery on a child.” The charges could put Hunt in prison for up to 15 years. Prosecutors have offered Hunt a plea bargain that would spare her jail time, but her supporters have organized an online crusade to have her let off scot-free — in effect, nullifying Florida’s law, which sets the age of consent at 16.

Using the slogan “Stop the Hate, Free Kate” (the Twitter hashtag is #FreeKate) this social-media campaign has attracted the support of liberals including Chris Hayes of MSNBC, Daily Kos, Think Progress and the gay-rights group Equality Florida. Undoubtedly, part of the appeal of the case is that Hunt is a petite attractive green-eyed blonde. One critic wondered on Twitter how long activists have “been waiting for a properly photogenic poster child of the correct gender to come along?”

Portraying Hunt as the victim of prejudice, her supporters claim she was only prosecuted because she is homosexual and because the parents of the unnamed 14-year-old are “bigoted religious zealots,” as Hunt’s mother said in a poorly written Facebook post. The apparent public-relations strategy was described by Matthew Philbin of Newsbusters: “If you can play the gay card, you immediately trigger knee-jerk support from the liberal media and homosexual activists anxious to topple any and all rules regarding sex.”
RTWT at the link.

And here's more at the Spectator, "The #FreeKate Narrative Melts Down: Lies Exposed in Florida Teen Sex Case."

And Robert's been blogging this case like a wild man. Check the search item for "Kaitlyn Hunt."

And speaking of leftist efforts to normalize pedophilia, disguised in faux-conservative sheep's clothing, recall: "Alex Knepper, FrumForum Blogger, Fired by Daily Caller Over Pedophile Controversy." (Knepper used to argue that it was perfectly natural for a 20-year old to be attracted to a 16-year old, while also arguing that it was legal.)

Sweden's Dream of Statist Utopia Goes in Smoke With Immigrant Riots

Here are two clips at Russia Today, "Paradise Lost? Immigrants fuel violent scuffles in Sweden," and "Swiss riot video: Police clash with protesters at techno rally."

And at Telegraph UK, "Stockholm riots leave Sweden's dreams of perfect society up in smoke":
A week of disturbances in Sweden's capital has tested the Scandinavian nation's reputation for tolerance, reports Colin Freeman.

Like the millions of other ordinary Swedes whom he now sees himself as one of, Mohammed Abbas fears his dream society is now under threat. When he first arrived in Stockholm as refugee from Iran in 1994, the vast Husby council estate where he settled was a mixture of locals and foreigners, a melting pot for what was supposed to be a harmonious, multi-racial paradise.

Two decades on, though, "white flight" has left only one in five of Husby's flats occupied by ethnic Swedes, and many of their immigrant replacements do not seem to share his view that a new life in Sweden is a dream come true. Last week, the neighbourhood erupted into rioting, sparking some of the fiercest urban unrest that Sweden has seen in decades, and a new debate about the success of racial integration.

"In the old days, the neighbourhood was more Swedish and life felt like a dream, but now there are just too many foreigners, and a new generation that has grown up here with just their own culture," he said, gesturing towards the hooded youths milling around in Husby's pedestrianised shopping precinct...
And as the "Paradise Lost" clip points out above, this is taking place in a country with perhaps the most generous social welfare system on Earth. Cradle to grave government services, health care, and universal education. But no. It's all going up in smoke like a tinder brush fire. Damned ingrate immigrants. And it's coming to a Western democracy near you. Cheers!

More from Telegraph at the link.

And at WND, "'Youth rioting' in Sweden? It's the Muslims, stupid."

The Know-Nothing Administrative State

From Jonathan Turley, at WaPo, "The rise of the fourth branch of government":

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There were times this past week when it seemed like the 19th-century Know-Nothing Party had returned to Washington. President Obama insisted he knew nothing about major decisions in the State Department, or the Justice Department, or the Internal Revenue Service. The heads of those agencies, in turn, insisted they knew nothing about major decisions by their subordinates. It was as if the government functioned by some hidden hand.

Clearly, there was a degree of willful blindness in these claims. However, the suggestion that someone, even the president, is in control of today’s government may be an illusion.

The growing dominance of the federal government over the states has obscured more fundamental changes within the federal government itself: It is not just bigger, it is dangerously off kilter. Our carefully constructed system of checks and balances is being negated by the rise of a fourth branch, an administrative state of sprawling departments and agencies that govern with increasing autonomy and decreasing transparency.

For much of our nation’s history, the federal government was quite small. In 1790, it had just 1,000 nonmilitary workers. In 1962, there were 2,515,000 federal employees. Today, we have 2,840,000 federal workers in 15 departments, 69 agencies and 383 nonmilitary sub-agencies.

This exponential growth has led to increasing power and independence for agencies. The shift of authority has been staggering. The fourth branch now has a larger practical impact on the lives of citizens than all the other branches combined.

The rise of the fourth branch has been at the expense of Congress’s lawmaking authority. In fact, the vast majority of “laws” governing the United States are not passed by Congress but are issued as regulations, crafted largely by thousands of unnamed, unreachable bureaucrats. One study found that in 2007, Congress enacted 138 public laws, while federal agencies finalized 2,926 rules, including 61 major regulations.

This rulemaking comes with little accountability. It’s often impossible to know, absent a major scandal, whom to blame for rules that are abusive or nonsensical. Of course, agencies owe their creation and underlying legal authority to Congress, and Congress holds the purse strings. But Capitol Hill’s relatively small staff is incapable of exerting oversight on more than a small percentage of agency actions. And the threat of cutting funds is a blunt instrument to control a massive administrative state — like running a locomotive with an on/off switch.
A good piece. But the argument's not new. Political scientists have long warned of the rise of an unaccountable administrative state. Still, despite the decline of accountability inherent in mass bureaucratization, the culture of corruption starts at the top. And this White House is among the most corrupt in American history.

IMAGE CREDIT: Reaganite.

Rule 5 Memorial Day Weekend

These patriotic bikini babes via Theo Spark, "Pic Dump..."

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More from Bob Belvedere, "Rule 5 Saturday: Hannah Claydon."

And at Pirate's Cove, "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup," and "If All You See……is a wonderful field (far from your home) that would be perfect for solar receptors, you might just be a Warmist."

Emma Green Rule 5

For the "lads," via Twitter:

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And check out Emma Green on Twitter.

Sunday Cartoons

At Flopping Aces, "Sunday Funnies."

A.F. Branco photo Axe-Man-Cometh-600-wLogo_zps9dbcb145.jpg

Also at Randy's Roundtable, "Friday Nite Funnies," and Reaganite Republican, "Reaganite's SUNDAY FUNNIES."

More a Theo Spark's, "Cartoon Round Up..."

Cartoon Credit: A.F. Branco.

British Army Wives' Terror Fears

At the Sunday Express UK, "Army wives' terror fear: military families plea for more guards after Rigby murder":

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The day after 25-year-old Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered outside Woolwich barracks, anxious mothers met Army chiefs to call for more protection.

The women asked for their views to be heard at the very top “because they are feeling so exposed to ­danger”. Highly trained MoD police would have been at the scene of the murder in minutes had they still been conducting patrols.

They are trained to deal with lifethreatening incidents on the perimeter of the barracks and have authority to shoot to kill, the Sunday Express can reveal.

One source claimed that had such officers been in place, they would have been able to deal with the situation last Wednesday quicker than the Met Police firearms officers who arrived at the scene within 14 minutes.

During the wait the two suspects spouted extremist propaganda to bystanders.

The source said: "MoD police radios were linked into the Met's so they would have been right on top of this within minutes and would have known exactly what to do...
Continue reading.

Facebook Rape Pages

Via Louise Mensch on Twitter yesterday, who linked to Jane Merrick:

Simple, Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

Here's a response to a flag report on Facebook.

I have a visceral dislike of radical left-wing feminism. That said, if anyone posted any sh*t like this at my blog or at my Facebook page, etc., I'd be reviled beyond comprehension. It's just not my reality. Ever. Never. I have two sisters and the rule was always, always that boys never hit girls and, hence, men never hit women.

Pricey Beef Puts Heat On U.S. Grilling Season

At the Wall Street Journal:

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As Americans prepare for Memorial Day—the official kickoff to a summer grilling season of burgers and T-bones—rising beef prices have some consumers balking in the grocery aisles.

Retail beef prices are widely expected to set new records in coming weeks after wholesale prices, or the amount meatpackers charge sellers for beef, hit an all-time peak this past week.

After achieving new highs for three weeks, choice-grade beef, the most common variety in the U.S., jumped to $2.1137 a pound Thursday, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That level broke a decade-old record for wholesale prices set in 2003, when a case of mad-cow disease in Canada led to a spike in export demand for U.S. beef.

Wholesale prices retreated slightly Friday afternoon, falling to $2.0887 a pound, confirming some market-watchers' suspicions that retailers may be unwilling to swallow the record-high beef costs.

The fat beef prices are the result of years of drought in major cattle-producing states, a trend that has shrunk the nation's cattle herd to its smallest level in six decades.

Higher beef prices are pinching food budgets for consumers already wrestling with a rise in gasoline prices, the expiration of the federal payroll-tax holiday and stubbornly high unemployment. They're also expected to drive consumers to other meats after the holiday weekend, one of the biggest beef-sales periods of the year. That could threaten high beef profit margins for meatpackers like Tyson Foods Inc. TSN -0.20% and Cargill Inc. and also pose a challenge for restaurants and grocery stores.

"Consumers may favor beef more, but they've got to feed their families," said Gary Morrison, an analyst with Urner Barry's Yellow Sheet, a meat-industry newsletter in Bayville, N.J.
Well, my wife's working on Monday, otherwise we'd be having a huge tri-tip roast, damn the prices!

Obama's Transparency Sham Unravels

Well, duh.

At the Los Angeles Times, "Transparency isn't coming easily to Obama White House":
Caught in a public relations crisis, the administration has released internal emails and details of closed-door discussions. But the sharing has still been selective.
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WASHINGTON — The White House decided to release internal emails about the deadly attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya — but only after summaries of the exchanges had leaked.

The president's spokesman disclosed details of closed-door discussions about a report that found the IRS targeted conservative groups — but did so in a drip-drip-drip fashion that only raised more questions.

And in a speech meant to expose the top-secret drone program to public examination, President Obama shrouded key details, such as whether the CIA would still use drones.

Caught up in a public relations crisis, White House officials have drawn open a few curtains, revealing once-secret documents and answering queries that they would ordinarily have dismissed with an eye roll.

But the sharing has been selective and done under duress. It has come in fits and starts to an administration that promised to be the most open in American history.

Many allies of the president think that with this burst of sunshine he has arrested the run of bad news and taken charge of the "narrative." Even in some Obama-friendly quarters, though, the sharing is seen as too little and too late, and all the more disappointing for the high hopes Obama had set for transparency at the outset of his presidency.

Civil liberties advocates are disappointed that Obama's drone speech glossed over some of the more difficult legal and moral aspects of targeted killings. The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, a Democrat, questioned the candor of former officials at the Internal Revenue Service.

Lanny Davis, who handled scandals for the Clinton White House, has been critical of the Obama administration.

"The nontransparency instinct of the Obama White House is more about not understanding effective, proactive crisis management," said Davis, who remains an Obama supporter. "The idea is to inoculate by being transparent."
Obama's a hypocritical asshole. A Muslin socialist interloper asshole loser. 2016 can't come soon enough.

IMAGE CREDIT: The Looking Spoon, "So This Must Be A Liberal Democrat's Greatest 'Virtue'."

Saturday, May 25, 2013

David Cameron Pledges Crackdown on 'Hate Clerics'

I'll believe it when I see it.

At London's Daily Mail, "I'll gag the hate clerics: Cameron to launch new terror task force to stamp out religious extremism":

Choudary photo Michael-Adebojalo-standing-behind-Anjem-Choudary-as-he-takes-part-in-an-Islamist-demonstration-in-2007-1907815_zps7b750fb5.jpg
David Cameron is planning new powers to muzzle Islamic hate preachers accused of provoking terrorist outrages such as the killing of soldier Lee Rigby.

The Prime Minister wants to stop extremist clerics using schools, colleges, prisons and mosques to spread their ‘poison’ and is to head a new Tackling Extremism and Radicalisation Task Force (TERFOR) made up of senior Ministers, MI5, police and moderate religious leaders.

The high-powered group will study a number of measures, including banning extremist clerics from being given public platforms to incite students, prisoners and other followers – and forcing mosque leaders to answer for ‘hate preachers’.
More at the link.

At the photo is prominent Muslim hate preacher Anjem Choudary at a demonstration with jihad killer Michael Adebojalo in 2007.

More at Pat Dollard, "Feel-Good Story of the Day: Anti-Muslim Actions Rise In Britain After Public Beheading."

Vin Scully and Jack Buck

I was tweeting about Vin Scully while watching the Dodgers game yesterday. The guys at Vin Scully Tweets picked up on 'em, and I saw this at their feed:

I don't ever recall hearing Jack Buck (1924–2002) call a game, but Joe Buck, his son and prominent Fox Sports announcer, is calling today's game at St. Louis right now.

Here's LAT's report on yesterday's game, "Cardinals, Lance Lynn too tough for Dodgers in 7-0 loss."