Saturday, January 31, 2015

Scott Walker Surging in Iowa Poll as Jeb Bush Struggles


This is the best news on the GOP nomination front I've seen yet.

At Bloomberg:
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is surging, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is an also-ran and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is dominating in a new poll of Iowans likely to vote in the nation's first presidential nominating contest.

The Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll, taken Monday through Thursday, shows Walker leading a wide-open Republican race with 15 percent, up from just 4 percent in the same poll in October. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky was at 14 percent and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucuses in 2008, stood at 10 percent.

Bush trailed with 8 percent and increasingly is viewed negatively by likely Republican caucus-goers. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is in even worse shape, with support from just 4 percent. More troubling for Christie: He's viewed unfavorably by 54 percent, among the highest negative ratings in the potential field. At 9 percent, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson pulls more support than either Bush or Christie...

Statement by President Barack Obama on the Death of Kenji Goto

Well, at least they got the word "terrorist" in there.

Via Politico:
Office of the Press Secretary


January 31, 2015

Statement by the President on the Death of Kenji Goto

The United States condemns the heinous murder of Japanese citizen and journalist
Kenji Goto by the terrorist group ISIL. Through his reporting, Mr. Goto courageously
sought to convey the plight of the Syrian people to the outside world. Our thoughts are
with Mr. Goto’s family and loved ones, and we stand today in solidarity with Prime
Minister Abe and the Japanese people in denouncing this barbaric act. We applaud
Japan’s steadfast commitment to advancing peace and prosperity in the Middle East
and globally, including its generous assistance for innocent people affected by the
conflicts in the region. Standing together with a broad coalition of allies and partners,
the United States will continue taking decisive action to degrade and ultimately destroy
PREVIOUSLY: "Islamic State Beheads Japanese Hostage Kenji Goto."

White House Idiots NOW Worried About Harsh Blow of #ObamaCare Tax on Uninsured

Now they're worried.


At the New York Times, "White House Seeks to Limit Health Law’s Tax Troubles":
WASHINGTON — Obama administration officials and other supporters of the Affordable Care Act say they worry that the tax-filing season will generate new anger as uninsured consumers learn that they must pay tax penalties and as many people struggle with complex forms needed to justify tax credits they received in 2014 to pay for health insurance.

The White House has already granted some exemptions and is considering more to avoid a political firestorm.

Mark J. Mazur, the assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy, said up to six million taxpayers would have to “pay a fee this year because they made a choice not to obtain health care coverage that they could have afforded.”

But Christine Speidel, a tax lawyer at Vermont Legal Aid, said: “A lot of people do not feel that health insurance plans in the marketplace were affordable to them, even with subsidies. Some went without coverage and will therefore be subject to penalties.”

The penalties, approaching 1 percent of income for some households, are supposed to be paid with income taxes due April 15. In addition, officials said, many people with subsidized coverage purchased through the new public insurance exchanges will need to repay some of the subsidies because they received more than they were entitled to.

More than 6.5 million people had insurance through the exchanges at some point last year, and 85 percent of them qualified for financial assistance, in the form of tax credits, to lower their premiums. Most people chose to have the subsidies paid in advance, based on their projected income for 2014. If their actual income was higher — because they received a raise or found a new job — they will be entitled to a smaller subsidy and must repay the difference, subject to certain limits.

“If the advanced premium tax credit amount is too high, the taxpayer could have an unwelcome surprise and owe money,” said Nina E. Olson, the national taxpayer advocate at the Internal Revenue Service.

Many people awarded insurance subsidies for 2014 did not realize that the amount would be reviewed and recalculated at tax time in 2015.

Consumers are sure to have questions, but cannot expect much help from the tax agency, where officials said customer service had been curtailed because of budget cuts.

The 2015 filing season could be the most difficult in decades, officials said. Ms. Olson said new paperwork resulting from the Affordable Care Act would probably exacerbate problems with customer service, which “has reached unacceptably low levels and is getting worse.”

“The I.R.S. is unlikely to answer even half the telephone calls it receives,” she added. “Taxpayers who manage to get through are expected to wait on hold for 30 minutes on average and considerably longer at peak times.”
Maybe Obama will waive the whole dang thing in time for the 2016 election, heh.

More (via Memeorandum).

Lily Aldridge Super Bowl Party: We get 'like HUNDREDS of chicken wings, chips and salsa, and Coronas...'

That's my kind of woman!

At GQ, "The GQ+A: Model Lily Aldridge on the Hottest Super Bowl of All Time."

Plus, Brian Kilmeade had a sweet interview yesterday at Fox News, "Lily Aldridge talks Victoria's Secret Super Bowl ads."

And at London's Daily Mail, "Behati Prinsloo and Lily Aldridge attend Leather and Laces Super Bowl party."

She's a smokin' hot babe!

Oliver North Slams Obama as 'Acting Like a Petulant Child...'

This is great.

From Megyn Kelly's show last night.

Watch: "Deadly Fighting Between Hezbollah and Israel."

Iran — Unafraid and Undeterred

From Carolyn Glick:
Israel’s reported strike January 18 on a joint Iranian-Hezbollah convoy driving on the Syrian Golan Heights was one of the most strategically significant events to have occurred in Israel’s neighborhood in recent months. Its significance lies both in what it accomplished operationally and what it exposed.

From what's been published to date about the identities of those killed in the strike, it is clear that in one fell swoop the air force decapitated the Iranian and Hezbollah operational command in Syria.

The head of Hezbollah’s operations in Syria, the head of its liaison with Iran, and Jihad Mughniyeh, the son of Hezbollah’s longtime operational commander Imad Mughniyeh who was killed by Israel in Damascus in 2008, were killed. The younger Mughniyeh reportedly served as commander of Hezbollah forces along the Syrian-Israeli border.

According to a report by Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shimon Shapira, a Hezbollah expert from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, the Iranian losses included three generals. Brig.- Gen. Mohammed Alladadi was the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps liaison officer to Hezbollah and to Syrian intelligence. He was also in charge of weapons shipments from Iran to Hezbollah. Gen. Ali Tabatabai was the IRGC commander in the Golan Heights and, according to Shapira, an additional general, known only as Assadi, “was, in all likelihood, the commander of Iranian expeditionary forces in Lebanon.”

The fact that the men were willing to risk exposure by traveling together along the border with Israel indicates how critical the front is for the regime in Tehran. It also indicates that in all likelihood, they were planning an imminent attack against Israel.

According to Ehud Yaari, Channel 2’s Arab Affairs commentator, Iran and Hezbollah seek to widen Hezbollah’s front against Israel from Lebanon to Syria. They wish to establish missile bases on the northern Hermon, and are expanding Hezbollah’s strategic depth from Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley to the outskirts of Damascus.

On Wednesday night, Yaari reported that the Syrian military has ceased to function south of Damascus. In areas not held by the al-Qaida-aligned Nusra Front and other regime opponents, the IRGC and Hezbollah have taken control, using the Syrian militia they have trained since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

The effectiveness of Hezbollah’s control of its expanded front was on display on Wednesday morning. Almost at the same time that Hezbollah forces shot at least five advanced Kornet antitank missiles at an IDF convoy along Mount Dov, killing two soldiers and wounding seven, Hezbollah forces on the Golan shot off mortars at the Hermon area.

While these forces are effective, they are also vulnerable. Yaari noted that today, three-quarters of Hezbollah’s total forces are fighting in Syria. Their twofold task is to defend the Assad regime and to build the Iranian-controlled front against Israel along the Golan Heights. Most of the forces are in known, unfortified, above ground positions, vulnerable to Israeli air strikes...
Keep reading.

And see Jonathan Tobin, at Commentary, "Is Iran Preparing for a Two-Front War Against Israel?"

The Far-Left, Obama-Coddling Media Gives Jeb Bush the 'High School Bully' Treatment

This is the same treatment the Obama-coddlers gave Mitt Romney.

So pathetic.

At Legal Insurrection, "Leave it to the media to get me to defend Jeb Bush." (Via Memeorandum.)

Althouse is not impressed, "The cruelty that is Jeb Bush." And see Ed Morrissey, at Hot Air, "Boston Globe: Hey, Jeb was a bully and pot-smoker in high school!" (at Memeorandum):

 photo bcf91a9e-2feb-4f66-8e98-0be0f72a1730_zpsyzoz8cic.png

In 2012, the national news media that couldn’t be bothered to look up the college records or classmates of a first-term Senate backbencher running for President suddenly found the high-school life of teenage Mitt Romney utterly fascinating. The media painted him as a rich-snob bully, a meme that continued even after the source admitted he was passing along third-hand hearsay, and after the family of the high-school prank victim ripped news outlets for exploiting the story about the now-deceased young man, and called the narrative “factually inaccurate.” Romney ended up in the ridiculous position of being a man in his sixties apologizing for pranks in his teens, but the aftereffects lingered … not coincidentally, during the summer when Team Obama conducted a massive character assassination campaign against the Republican nominee.
Well, Republicans aren't just running against the Democrat nominee. They've got to topple the entire MSM media complex as well.

More of the same, exactly.

Measles Outbreak Fears Plague the Super Bowl

A race against the clock.

At ABC News, "Super Bowl Alert: Race to Contain Measles Outbreak at the Super Bowl."

PREVIOUSLY: "California Measles Outbreak: 107 Cases, Latest in Affluent Far-Left Marin County."

Mitt Romney, Foreseeing Third Defeat, Decides Not to Run in 2016

More on Mitt Romney, at the New York Times, "Support Waning, Romney Decides Against 2016 Bid."

The moneyed power-brokers were bailing out on him. Indeed, they took him at his word he wasn't running again and glommed onto Jeb Bush's emerging campaign.

Again, I think it's good Mitt bowed out, although the prospect of a Bush/Clinton general election battle in 2016 gives me the creeps.

VIDEO: Eddie Elguera, Tony Hawk, and Christian Hosoi, et al., at 'El Gato Classic'

This is phenomenal.

Tony Hawk especially is shredding like it was yesterday. Amazing.

Plus, at Thrasher, "The El Gato Classic."

Santa Monica's 'Vidiots' Movie Rental Store to Close

I'm surprised it's still open, heh.

At LAT, "Vidiots movie rental store in Santa Monica is closing after 30 years":
The shelves at the Vidiots movie rental store are covered with dozens of messages scribbled by filmmakers on the covers of faded VHS and DVD containers. Notes from "Chinatown" writer Robert Towne, reclusive "Thin Red Line" director Terrence Malick and others praise the Santa Monica store's brainy staff and the mammoth film selection that has made it famous among film buffs worldwide.

One message, from Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone, stands out now: "What would life be like without Vidiots?"

Its patrons and fans will soon find out. Vidiots is closing in April after years of struggling to survive the onslaught of Internet rentals, streaming services and online piracy.

Rentals have dropped 24% in the last six months and are down 60% from the store's peak years in the early 2000s, co-owner Cathy Tauber said.

The store tried being a nonprofit, soliciting donations and hosting in-store events with directors. It even auctioned off a lunch with actress Laura Dern and a pitch meeting with an executive producer of the TV series "Homeland" to raise funds.

Tauber said the store also considered launching an online crowdfunding campaign but thought that it wouldn't be a long-term fix.

"We are just bleeding money. We just can't do that anymore," she said. "We didn't want to do something and end up right back where we were in six months."

Video rental stores have been suffering for years after reaching a peak in the late 1990s and early 2000s as DVDs took off, said Mark Fisher, chief executive of the Entertainment Merchants Assn.

There were about 20,000 locations that got at least 50% of their revenue from renting films in 1999 compared with the 3,900 independent and supermarket outlets that rented discs in the U.S. in 2013, he said. An explosion in movie rental kiosks like Redbox, which has more than 35,000 locations in the U.S., has also hurt stores such as Vidiots.

The stores that survive have found ways to supplement their revenue with other retail sales, Fisher said.

One chain in the Midwest, Family Video, owns and develops the land it is on and has actually expanded locations in recent years by integrating a pizza chain into its stores, according to a report from the Entertainment Merchants Assn.

But independent stores like Vidiots have struggled to find a model that works...

I saw some lady renting videos out of one of the Redbox machines are Ralph's the other day. Seems like so last century, despite the automation.


Israel Yinon, Renowned Conductor, Dies After Collapsing Onstage in Lucerne, Switzerland

You never know when you're going to go.

In this case, at least he died with his conducting boots on, doing what he loved to do. RIP.

At the Times of Israel, "Renowned Israeli conductor dies on stage during concert," and London's Daily Mail, "Internationally renowned conductor drops dead in front of screaming audience and musicians during a symphony in Switzerland."

Amedy Coulibaly Made GoPro Video of Attack at Hyper Cacher Market in Porte de la Vincennes, France - #ParisAttacks

Jake Tapper reports, at CNN, "French Terrorist Taped Rampage in Kosher Grocery Store with Chest Mounted GoPro."

Friday, January 30, 2015

California Measles Outbreak: 107 Cases, Latest in Affluent Far-Left Marin County

If your child is unvaccinated, not only are you reducing scientific herd immunity, you're putting your child at risk of catastrophic illness or even death.

Leftists are anti-science that way, though. Vile crackpots and Utopian ideologues, frankly.

At LAT, "Measles outbreak grows to 107 cases, latest in Marin County."

PREVIOUSLY: "Affluent Leftists Dominate the Ranks of Anti-Vaxxers, Overwhelmingly Voted for Obama."

Live Audio from Mitt Romney's Call to Supporters

There's a lot of fresh, talented faces in the GOP field. A bid for the nomination was gonna be no Sunday stroll.

It's better Romney's not running, mainly so that the GOP can present a fresh, more diverse face to the electorate in 2016.

Listen to Romney's call to supporters, at CNN, "Romney: It's for the best that I step aside."

Plus, at Hugh Hewitt's, "The Romney Statement: Not Running" (via Memeorandum).

Still more, at Bloomberg (via Memeorandum), "New Iowa Poll: Romney Would Have Faced Many Campaign Hurdles," and "How Mitt Romney Made His Decision Not to Run."

Let's Stick Together

I can't resist, heh.

Some Bryan Ferry:

Super Bowl Tickets Selling for More Than $10,000 on StubHub (VIDEO)

Hey, if you've got the money...

At CBS News This Morning, "Inside StubHub's Super Bowl Ticket Operation."

When Bread Bags Weren't Funny

From Megan McArdle, at Bloomberg:
Last week, in her State of the Union response, Joni Ernst mentioned going to school with bread bags on her feet to protect her shoes. These sorts of remembrances of poor but honest childhoods used to be a staple among politicians -- that's why you've heard so much about Abe Lincoln's beginnings in a log cabin. But the bread bags triggered a lot of hilarity on Twitter, which in turn triggered this powerful meditation from Peggy Noonan on how rich we have become. So rich that we have forgotten things that are well within living memory:

I liked what Ernst said because it was real. And it reminded me of the old days.

There are a lot of Americans, and most of them seem to be on social media, who do not know some essentials about their country, but this is the way it was in America once, only 40 and 50 years ago:
America had less then. Americans had less.

If you were from a family that was barely or not quite getting by, you really had one pair of shoes. If your family was doing OK you had one pair of shoes for school and also a pair of what were called Sunday shoes -- black leather or patent leather shoes. If you were really comfortable you had a pair of shoes for school, Sunday shoes, a pair of play shoes and even boots, which where I spent my childhood (Brooklyn, and Massapequa, Long Island) were called galoshes or rubbers. At a certain point everyone had to have sneakers for gym, but if you didn’t have sneakers you could share a pair with a friend, trading them in the hall before class.

If you had just one pair of shoes, which was the case in my family, you had trouble when it rained or snowed. How to deal with it?

You used the plastic bags that bread came in. Or you used plastic bags that other items came in. Or you used Saran Wrap if you had it, wrapping your shoes and socks in it. Or you let your shoes and socks get all wet, which we also did.
I am a few years younger than Noonan, but I grew up in a very different world -- one where a number of my grammar school classmates were living in public housing or on food stamps, but everyone had more than one pair of shoes. In rural areas, like the one where Joni Ernst grew up, this lingered longer. But all along, Americans got richer and things got cheaper -- especially when global markets opened up. Payless will sell you a pair of child's shoes for $15, which is two hours of work even at minimum wage...
Keep reading.

My dad was born in 1913, in Jim Crow Missouri. He faced a lot of hardship in life, to say nothing of racism. Stories like Joni Ernst's were a staple of the dinner table around my house growing up. Thriftiness wasn't just some noble virtue, it was a way of life. And we weren't bad off at all. My dad drove a Mercedes. It's just once you do things a certain way, you don't change when things get better for you.

And yes, we are an extremely affluent society these days. Even the poorest Americans have access to the kind of basic commodities that the poor of the developing world can only dream about.


'A Muslim allowed a topless Jew to sit on his camel. And we say we can't live side by side?...'

Heh, at Truth Revolt, "Chelsea Handler Goes Topless....Again."

Those Star of David doilies are the best!

Germaine Greer Slams 'Trannies' as 'Delusional' — No 'Such Thing' as 'Transphobia'

Heh, at Kathy Shaidle's, "Germaine Greer calls trannies ‘delusional’ — Plus: 3D printing to create vaginas?":
Greer was uncompromising in her rhetoric, condemning from the beginning of her speech the “pressure on women to be clean, sweet, perfumed and submissive” and later suggested that trans women do not know what it is to “have a big, hairy, smelly vagina”. Greer was robust in her championing of the woman as an autonomous person and was anxious not to be diverted into what she described as “side issues”.
Keep reading.

This was Greer during her appearance at the Cambridge Union Society.

Apparently, the talk didn't go over too well with the trans community.

At the Independent UK, "Germaine Greer 'should not be invited back' to Cambridge University after appearing to deny the existence of transphobia":

Germaine Greer photo Germaine_Greer_28197229_zpsleoaww0e.jpg
Germaine Greer’s views on transwomen have long been the subject of controversy.

In the Nineties, at her Cambridge college of Newnham, the famed feminist attempted to block the appointment of transgender colleague Rachel Padman to a fellowship. Her opposition, she claimed, was not down to her gender identity but instead the method of her appointment to the college.

In 2012, she was glitter-bombed at a book signing in New Zealand by LGBT activist group Queer Avengers for comments she made in a column in 2009. She wrote that transwomen “seem to us ghastly parodies” and claimed the idea of being trans was a “delusion”.

Greer faced similar protests ahead of her address at Cambridge Union Society this week. A counter-event was staged against what one student called Greer’s “hate speech” by student activist group CUSU LGBT+. And it turns out her talk contained as much potentially inflammatory material as they predicted.

Speaking about her Newnham college opposition, the Cambridge Student quoted her as telling the Union: “I didn’t know there was such a thing [as transphobia]. Arachnaphobia, yes. Transphobia, no.”

She went on to suggest that trans women are not women because they do not know what it is like “to have a big, hairy, smelly vagina”.

Elsewhere, she argued that allowing individuals to undergo surgical procedures during transitioning was “unethical” because they “remove healthy tissue and create lifelong dependence on medicine”.

Greer continued that she hoped there would be more opportunities for people to exist within their own orientations and sexualities in the future without reliance on medical assistance.

“To invite Germaine Greer back to speak in Cambridge condones her transmisogny,” CUSU LGBT+ said.

But-Heads! Mindless Leftist Zombies Lurking in the Shadows!

I had to giggle out loud a couple of times.

At Theo Spark's, "Andrew Klavan: Attack of the But-Heads!"

Return of Eliminationist Anti-Semitism in Europe is Return to the Norm

Once again, from the awesome Charles Krauthammer, "Do we really mean ‘never again’?":
Amid the ritual expressions of regret and the pledges of “never again” on Tuesday’s 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a bitter irony was noted: Anti-Semitism has returned to Europe. With a vengeance.

It has become routine. If the kosher-grocery massacre in Paris hadn’t happened in conjunction with Charlie Hebdo, how much worldwide notice would it have received? As little as did the murder of a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse. As little as did the terror attack that killed four at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.

The rise of European anti-Semitism is, in reality, just a return to the norm. For a millennium, virulent Jew-hatred — persecution, expulsions, massacres — was the norm in Europe until the shame of the Holocaust created a temporary anomaly wherein anti-Semitism became socially unacceptable.

The hiatus is over. Jew-hatred is back, recapitulating the past with impressive zeal. Italians protesting Gaza handed out leaflets calling for a boycott of Jewish merchants. As in the 1930s. A widely popular French comedian has introduced a variant of the Nazi salute. In Berlin, Gaza brought out a mob chanting, “Jew, Jew, cowardly pig, come out and fight alone!” Berlin, mind you.

European anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem, however. It’s a European problem, a stain, a disease of which Europe is congenitally unable to rid itself.

From the Jewish point of view, European anti-Semitism is a sideshow. The story of European Jewry is over. It died at Auschwitz. Europe’s place as the center and fulcrum of the Jewish world has been inherited by Israel. Not only is it the first independent Jewish commonwealth in 2,000 years. It is, also for the first time in 2,000 years, the largest Jewish community on the planet.

The threat to the Jewish future lies not in Europe but in the Muslim Middle East, today the heart of global anti-Semitism, a veritable factory of anti-Jewish literature, films, blood libels and calls for violence, indeed for another genocide.

The founding charter of Hamas calls not just for the eradication of Israel but for the killing of Jews everywhere. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah welcomes Jewish emigration to Israel — because it makes the killing easier: “If Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.’’ And, of course, Iran openly declares as its sacred mission the annihilation of Israel...
These are just plain facts, spoken plainly.

Keep reading.

PREVIOUSLY: "Pat Condell: Jews in Europe Report Surge in Anti-Semitism."

VIDEO: Katy Perry Super Bowl Press Conference

Highlights here, via the NFL:

Watch the full clip here, "Katy Perry's Pepsi Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show Press Conference."

Video Shows Kristiana Coignard Allegedly Wielding Knife Before Killed by Police

It's hard to see anything in the surveillance video, but the woman does lunge at one of the officers, apparently just after she'd pulled a butcher's knife out of her knapsack.

At LAT, "Video shows girl pull knife on Texas police before they shoot her."

And the full police video is here: "Video of Longview Police Department Lobby on night teen was fatally shot by officers." (The kill shot is just after 11:00 minutes. )

Hayat Boumeddiene, Jihad Wife in #ParisAttacks, Fled France with Help of Syria Terror Network


Jihadists literally can flow in and out of Europe like a summer breeze.

At the Wall Street Journal, "Underground Terror Network Said to Benefit Would-Be Jihadists in Europe: Officials Say Wife of Paris Gunman Used Resources to Reach Islamic State Territory in Syria":

Hayat Boumeddiene photo 150112-hayat-boumeddiene-suspect-640p_ce8368d74a6d2ff154319d14c64b9f2a_zpszev1wyar.jpg
PARIS—When a young Frenchwoman showed up early this month at an Islamic State border checkpoint in northern Syria, the extremists controlling that arid expanse were expecting her.

They waved her right through and let her bodyguards accompany her, according to Western counterterrorism officials.

The militants had been told to give Hayat Boumeddiene special treatment by the network of chaperones who had arranged her travel. The reason would soon be clear: The same day she crossed the border, her husband, Amedy Coulibaly, unleashed his terror spree in Paris, and she became the most-wanted woman in France.

No charges have been filed but authorities are eager to question Ms. Boumeddiene. “She is the prize—a high-value asset—because she knows a lot about the preparation of the attack,” said a counterterrorism official.

Her journey from the gritty suburbs of Paris to the Syrian border followed a circuitous route that—much like an underground railroad—allowed her to slip away covertly.

Islamic State’s ability to provide safe harbor to friends and family removes potential obstacles for would-be attackers in the West. They no longer need to be part of a terror group’s rank-and-file to benefit from its resources, according to Western counterterrorism officials and people close to militant networks.

There isn’t any evidence Mr. Coulibaly took orders from Islamic State, although he pledged his allegiance in a video that circulated online after his death.

But he didn’t act in isolation either. Instead, he tapped into a grass-roots network that grew along with al Qaeda and has begun to reconfigure around Islamic State. “It’s a new operating mode. The logic is different,” said Daniel Fellous, a French lawyer specializing in terror cases.

Years before Mr. Coulibaly took to the streets of Paris armed with AK-47s—killing four hostages at a kosher grocery and a policewoman—the people suspected of shepherding his wife to Syria were cutting their teeth on a narrower mission: recruiting and sending French nationals to fight U.S. troops in Afghanistan, according to court documents.

French authorities thought they had dismantled the network.

In July 2014, a French court convicted nine members on charges of assisting an Afghan jihadist network suspected of planning terrorist attacks. Some, however, were released due to time served while awaiting trial. And some group members had logistical expertise that French police now suspect was put to use in helping Mr. Coulibaly.

Phone taps, interrogations and other documents compiled as part of that trial and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal portray a homegrown network that spread tentacles across continents.

It included Yassine Bouzid, who navigated Alpine byways to reach Italy’s Adriatic coast; Zahir Chouket, whose myriad contacts in Turkey could move people through to Afghanistan; and Mohamed Belhoucine, a lanky computer programmer who went by the handle “oussama911.”

During the trial, Mr. Bouzid acknowleged helping militants reach Afghanistan. For a while, he said, he viewed jihad as similar to the brigades of international volunteers during Spain’s civil war in the 1930s, but would have never supported attacks on civilians.

Police recently questioned him in connection to Mr. Coulibaly’s attacks, according to Mr. Fellous, who represents Mr. Bouzid. No charges have been brought against him, Mr. Fellous said.

Mr. Chouket was convicted in absentia and remains on the run. Police updated an existing arrest warrant to include suspicions he was involved in Ms. Boumeddiene’s escape. His legal representation is unknown.

Mr. Belhoucine dropped out of one of France’s top engineering schools because—as he wrote in a letter contained in the court documents—“multidisciplinary teaching doesn’t correspond to my professional ambitions.”

According to the court documents, Mr. Belhoucine fielded emails from Afghanistan, reporting on the status of French militants bearing nicknames like “Call of Duty 4,” based on the warfare videogame. “I was in charge of passing on messages from the men on the front,” he told police...
Still more.

Pitbull-Dachshund Mix

A wiener dog with a bite pounds-per-square-inch that would crush your throat.


At Blazing Cat Fur, "‘I Can’t Stop Looking At This Pit Bull-Dachshund Mix’."

Economic Growth Slows to 2.6 Percent in Fourth Quarter

Click through especially for the graph on quarterly GDP since 2000. The fourth quarter of 2008 was almost negative 9 percent. Man, talk about a crash.

Here, "U.S. Economic Growth Slows to 2.6% in Fourth Quarter: GDP Underscores Obstacles Facing Recovery as Troubles Mount Abroad."

Anti-Vaccine Parents Boost Measles Comeback

From the editors, at USA Today:
The outbreak of measles that started at California's Disneyland last month and spread to 10 other states demonstrates how misinformation, misguided celebrities and lax state laws can have tragic consequences.

In the 1960s, measles killed about 450 people a year and disabled many more. By 2000, it was virtually eliminated in the United States, thanks to almost universal use of an effective vaccine. But last year, the U.S. saw 644 cases of measles and now, less than a month into 2015, more than 70 cases have been linked to the Disneyland outbreak.

The numbers might sound small, but they are the outgrowth of a frightening trend, as more parents have fallen under the influence of an anti-vaccine movement. The movement has been fueled by irresponsible celebrities who've spread word of a British study, now thoroughly debunked, that suggested the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine might be linked to autism.

When vaccination rates are very high — as they still are in the U.S. as a whole — everyone is protected by what's known as "herd immunity." It protects the most vulnerable, including a small number of children who for medical reasons should not be vaccinated, infants too young for their first shots, and rare individuals on whom the vaccine doesn't work.

But when individuals selfishly refuse to vaccinate their children, seeking a free ride on the rest of the herd, immunity breaks down and innocents are put at risk...
Selfish indeed.

Selfish, anti-science leftists. See, "Affluent Leftists Dominate the Ranks of Anti-Vaxxers, Overwhelmingly Voted for Obama."

Democrat-Funded Law Firm, the 'Bronx Defenders', Involved in Rap Video Calling for Police to Be Killed

At the Los Angeles Times, "New York City-funded law firm involved in video calling for police to be killed":
Bronx law firm that receives city funding has been linked to a controversial music video that called for police officers to be killed, according to findings made public Thursday.

According to a report released by the New York City Department of Investigation, at least two attorneys with the Bronx Defenders appear in the video, titled “Hands Up,” which contains images of two singers pointing handguns at the head of a man dressed up as a police officer.

One of the artists raps early in the video “for Mike Brown and Sean Bell, a cop gotta get killed,” referring to two police killings involving the Ferguson, Mo. and New York City police departments.

The entire video, which was released by rappers Uncle Murda & Maino in conjunction with the website WorldStar Hip Hop in December, can be viewed here.

Portions of the video were shot at the offices of the Bronx Defenders, a law firm that provides criminal defense attorneys to low-income defendants, and receives roughly $20 million in city funding each year, according to the report.

The law firm is described as a sponsor in the closing credits of the clip. Two attorneys, identified as Kumar Rao and Ryan Napoli, suggested the agency become involved in the video and can be seen in the final cut. A third Bronx Defenders employee was present for the video's filming but was not on camera.

The Department of Investigation, a city government watchdog panel, also accused Bronx Defenders Executive Director Robin Steinberg of failing to adequately discipline the staff members involved in the video. The panel has submitted its findings to New York Mayor Bill De Blasio’s office and the city attorney for review.

“The Bronx Defenders abhors the use of violence against the police under any circumstance. We have always been an organization that is committed to preserving life, dignity and respect for all people,” read a statement posted to the law firm's website on Thursday. “The Bronx Defenders never approved the music video 'Hands Up,' and never saw it before it went online. We deeply regret any involvement with this video.”

Steinberg told city investigators her office did not see a final version of the video before it was released, according to the report. Investigators contend the law firm made no effort to obtain a copy of the video to review before it was released.

Attorneys Rao and Napoli could not be reached for comment.

The report marks the latest in a series of police-related controversies in New York City. In December, a grand jury declined to indict white Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the apparent chokehold death of Eric Garner, a black Staten Island man. The decision set off weeks of protests from thousands who believed Pantaleo should face criminal charges.

Weeks later, New York City police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot and killed in an ambush by 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who had promised to kill cops as revenge for the deaths of Garner and Brown in a rant on social media that same day.

Patrick Lynch, head of New York City's largest police union, called for the city to immediately stop funding Bronx Defenders on Thursday.

“It is clear that Bronx Defenders, who knowingly participated in this despicable video calling for the murder of police officers, have violated their oath as officers of the court and should be disbarred as a result,” Lynch said in a statement.
This is the Democrat Party ideology in action. Killing cops. "Hands up" has been a lie and a scam the whole time, and leftist disinformation has gotten people killed. This goes all the way up to the Obama administation, according to the Daily Signal:
Bronx Defenders, which received at least $1.5 million from the Obama Justice Department since 2009, says on its website that assistance from Emery’s firm, Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, “makes the work we do possible.”

The Daily Signal first reported the series of federal grants last week...

'Young loving may be oh so mean ... Will I still survive the same old scene...?'

Some Roxy Music:

Kendra Sunderland, Former Oregon State University Student, Arrested After Making Porn Video in Campus Library

Anything goes these days, I guess.

No doubt she has some public exhibitionist streak.

At London's Daily Mail, "Former Oregon State student arrested after making a porn video in campus library."

And at Scallywag, "Pictures: Kendra Sunderland, former Oregon State student arrested after making video in campus library."

Obama's Haphazard Foreign Policy Makes the World More Dangerous

From Peggy Noonan, at WSJ, "America’s Strategy Deficit":

Something is going on here.

On Tuesday retired Gen. James Mattis, former head of U.S. Central Command (2010-13) told the Senate Armed Services Committee of his unhappiness at the current conduct of U.S. foreign policy. He said the U.S. is not “adapting to changed circumstances” in the Mideast and must “come out now from our reactive crouch.” Washington needs a “refreshed national strategy”; the White House needs to stop being consumed by specific, daily occurrences that leave it “reacting” to events as if they were isolated and unconnected. He suggested deep bumbling: “Notifying the enemy in advance of our withdrawal dates” and declaring “certain capabilities” off the table is no way to operate.

Sitting beside him was Gen. Jack Keane, also a respected retired four-star, and a former Army vice chief of staff, who said al Qaeda has “grown fourfold in the last five years” and is “beginning to dominate multiple countries.” He called radical Islam “the major security challenge of our generation” and said we are failing to meet it.

The same day the generals testified, Kimberly Dozier of the Daily Beast reported that Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a retired director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, had told a Washington conference: “You cannot defeat an enemy you do not admit exists.” The audience of military and intelligence professionals applauded. Officials, he continued, are “paralyzed” by the complexity of the problems connected to militant Islam, and so do little, reasoning that “passivity is less likely to provoke our enemies.”

These statements come on the heels of the criticisms from President Obama’s own former secretaries of defense. Robert Gates, in “Duty,” published in January 2014, wrote of a White House-centric foreign policy developed by aides and staffers who are too green or too merely political. One day in a meeting the thought occurred that Mr. Obama “doesn’t trust” the military, “doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his.” That’s pretty damning. Leon Panetta , in his 2014 memoir, “Worthy Fights,” said Mr. Obama ”avoids the battle, complains, and misses opportunities.”

No one thinks this administration is the A Team when it comes to foreign affairs, but this is unprecedented push-back from top military and intelligence players. They are fed up, they’re less afraid, they’re retired, and they’re speaking out. We are going to be seeing more of this kind of criticism, not less...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pat Condell: Jews in Europe Report Surge in Anti-Semitism

Muslim anti-Semitism, a unique form of hatred.

America's Two-Tiered Economy Reshaping Markets — And Politics

There's been some leftist talk about how with the economy picking up steam Republicans won't have their most potent issue to hammer the depraved Democrats in 2016.

Don't believe it for a second.

The Democrats are the party of the rich new "liberal gentry" class. Especially on the West Coast, in the rich technology sector, wealthy new gentry liberals have been enjoying the benefits of a top-tier economy while giving overwhelmingly to Democrat Party candidates, especially President Obama. Meanwhile, the poverty rate under the Obama administration has skyrocketed to levels not seen in 50 years. And the rolls of Americans dependent of food stamps for their daily food survival is unprecedented in U.S. history.

In short, the affluent have prospered enormously under the Democrats these last few years, while those on the bottom rungs have become increasingly marginalized and dependent of government welfare programs. For those made worse by Democrat failure to expand the economy for all, the idea of an "opportunity society" is a cruel joke.

The GOP presidential field would be wise to adopt Bill Clinton's mantra from 1992: "It's the economy, stupid."

A smart, talented Republican nominee should be able to eviscerate Democrat Party inequality politics, making the case for the expansion of the economy to benefit everyone, not just the rich gentry leftists connected to the far-left, Democrat-insider crony regime.

In any case, at WSJ, "How a Two-Tier Economy Is Reshaping the U.S. Marketplace":
WOODINVILLE, Wash.—Five years ago, Quadrant Homes churned out starter houses in the Seattle area with an average sales price of $269,000 and the marketing slogan, “More House, Less Money.”

But facing a debt-burdened middle class and rising land prices, Quadrant has since exchanged entry-level buyers for customers free of credit worries and ready to splurge. Its new slogan, “Built Your Way,” accompanies homes with vaulted ceilings and gourmet kitchens that last year sold for an average price of $420,000. “We used a lot of market research to tell us that our old model wasn’t going to work,” said Ken Krivanec, Quadrant’s chief executive.

The emergence of a two-tiered U.S. economy, with wealthy households advancing while middle- and lower-income Americans struggle, is reshaping markets for everything from housing to clothing to groceries to beer.

“It’s a tale of two economies,” said Glenn Kelman, chief executive of Redfin, a real-estate brokerage in Seattle that operates in 25 states. “There is a high-end market that is absolutely booming. And then there’s everyone in the middle class. They don’t have much hope of wage growth.”

The recession blew holes in the balance sheets of all U.S. households and ended a decadeslong loosening of credit for middle-class borrowers. Now, credit is tight, and incomes have been flat or falling for all but the top 10th of U.S. income earners between 2010 and 2013, according to the Federal Reserve.

American spending patterns after the recession underscore why many U.S. businesses are reorienting to serve higher-income households, said Barry Cynamon, of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Since 2009, average per household spending among the top 5% of U.S. income earners—adjusting for inflation—climbed 12% through 2012, the most recent data available. Over the same period, spending by all others fell 1% per household, according to Mr. Cynamon, a visiting scholar at the bank’s Center for Household Financial Stability, and Steven Fazzari of Washington University in St. Louis, who published their research findings last year.

The spending rebound following the recession “appears to be largely driven by the consumption at the top,” Mr. Cynamon said. He and Mr. Fazzari found the wealthiest 5% of U.S. households accounted for around 30% of consumer spending in 2012, up from 23% in 1992.

Indeed, such midtier retailers as J.C. Penney , Sears and Target have slumped. “The consumer has not bounced back with the confidence we were all looking for,” Macy’s chief executive Terry Lundgren told investors last fall.

In luxury retail, meanwhile: “Our customers are confident, feel good about the economy in general and their personal balance sheets specifically,” said Karen Katz, chief executive of Neiman Marcus Group Ltd., last month. Reported 2014 revenues of $4.8 billion for the company are up from $3.6 billion in 2009.

Revenue for such luxury hotel chains as St. Regis and Ritz-Carlton rose 35% last year compared with 2008, according to market research firm STR Inc. Revenues at midscale chains such as Best Western and Ramada were down 1%.

On grocery aisles, the recession and its aftermath boosted sales of economy brands. At the high end, Whole Foods Market Inc. reported record sales per gross square foot last year.

“Demand bifurcated,” said Jason Green, chief executive of the Cambridge Group, a growth strategy firm that is part of Nielsen NV. “The familiar stuff my middle-class family had in the pantry, those are under significant pressure.”

In the grocery market’s middle tier, Safeway Inc., the second-largest supermarket chain in the U.S. was purchased last year by the private-equity group that owns Albertsons, the fifth-largest grocery retailer. Company officials said the deal would allow the companies to reduce costs—and lower prices for customers—as they fend off competition from low-price outlets and high-end stores.

In the cold case, sales of premium lagers are up 16% since 2007 after adjusting for inflation, while sales of economy brands grew 8%, according to research firm Euromonitor International. Sales of midprice beers are down 1%.

The trend hit auto makers some years ago, when BMW AG ’s former chief executive Helmut Panke described the U.S. market as an hourglass: lots of demand for budget and luxury brands but little in between.

Steve Bates, general manager of BMW Seattle for the past 12 years, said new-car sales at his dealership were up 25% last year, while used-car sales were flat. The M4 series, a sporty coupe priced from $64,000, has been “selling out as soon as it touches the ground,” he said.

Then there are consumers like Vicki Oliver, 68 years old, of Temecula, Calif. She bought a used Hyundai Sonata last year to replace a wrecked 1995 Ford Explorer. Ms. Oliver and her husband, a real-estate agent, added onto their home two years ago so her daughter and son-in-law, a general contractor, could move in with their family.

“That was a way to make things work in hard times,” Ms. Oliver said. Caribbean cruises and trips to Florida are now memories. “We haven’t done that for years,” she said...
Keep reading.

CNN's Kyra Phillips Discusses How Privileged White Career Women Can Have it All

CNN's Kyra Phillips talks to CNN's Brooke Baldwin, two attractive, successful white women, about conception and fertility for career professionals who're past their prime child-bearing years.

Interestingly, Brooke Baldwin's frozen her eggs (Kyra Phillips calls that putting your "beautiful" eggs "on ice").

Actually, I'm kidding about the "privileged white women" bullshit. I think it's awesome the Ms. Phillips and her husband, former CNN anchor John Roberts (who's now at Fox News) were able to start a family. It's just as I was watching these two women I could imagine deranged Imani ABL (Angry Black Lady) or any untold numbers of unhappy progressive SJW harpies going off about the white privilege of professional women's fertility issues.

Police Say Waze Traffic App Could Put Cops at Mortal Risk

You'd have to be a real asshole to use this Waze app, "notifying Wazers" of cops in your area by "driving social."

No doubt leftists really like the app, since they want cops dead. Indeed, Ismaaiyl Brinsley used Waze to locate the vehicle of the two New York officers he gunned down in cold blood.

You go progs.

At CBS News, "Police say Waze traffic app could put officers at risk."

Also at the Los Angeles Times, "LA police chief goes public with concerns over Google Waze app."

'Staggering' iPhone Demand Helps Lift Apple's Quarterly Profit by 38 Percent

So, Apple's pretty much the top titan of the titans of 21st century industry.

At WSJ, "Profit Hits $18 Billion as 74.5 Million iPhones Are Sold":
Apple Inc. surpassed even the most bullish Wall Street expectations for its holiday quarter with an improbable trifecta: selling more iPhones at higher prices—and earning more on each sale.

The Cupertino, Calif., company said it sold 74.5 million iPhones in the quarter, 46% above a year earlier, while lifting the average selling price of the devices by $50 from the prior year. The total equates to more than 34,000 phones an hour, around the clock.

“Demand for iPhone was staggering,” Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook told analysts. “This volume is hard to comprehend.”

Results were remarkable, even for a company that has increased revenue more than tenfold in the past decade. They recalled the Steve Jobs heyday when iPhone demand routinely topped forecasts. In some ways, the gains are more impressive because Apple today faces many more competitors and because smartphone growth is thought to be slowing.

Consumers snapped up Apple’s two new larger-display phones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which made their debut in September, after years in which Apple ceded the large smartphone market to rivals. Apple encountered supply shortages for weeks in traditional strongholds like the U.S., as well as faster-growing markets like China.

pple had predicted that the new iPhones would prompt many existing customers to upgrade. Mr. Cook said in an interview that Apple also is luring customers from smartphone manufacturers that use Google Inc. ’s Android operating system.

“We brought on more new people to iPhone than ever before,” Mr. Cook said. “Many of those are switching from Android, and we couldn’t be happier about that.”

Apple posted net of $18.0 billion for its fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 27, up 38% from $13.1 billion in the same period a year earlier. That is more than 435 of the companies in the S&P 500 index each made in total profits since 2009, according to S&P Capital IQ.

Earnings per share rose more sharply, up 48% to $3.06 from a split-adjusted $2.07, because of Apple’s share buyback program. Revenue increased 30% to $74.6 billion from $57.6 billion.

The results soared past analysts’ expectations. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters estimated that Apple would post earnings of $2.60 a share on revenue of $67.7 billion...

Deranged Lefties Want Boehner Tried for Treason for Inviting Netanyahu to Speak to Congress

Some epic afternoon lulz.

At Jammie Wearing Fools.

Chino Residents Rise Up Against Proposed Islamic Mosque

"It's just not right for the neighborhood," says one woman interviewed at the clip.

Heh, Islam's just not right for America, but I must say she's on the right track. I imagine San Bernardino County could do well enough without a growing supply of homegrown Amedy Coulibalys.

At CBS News Los Angeles, "Mosque Plans Get Cold Reception In Chino."

Code Pink Tries to Arrest 91-Year-Old Henry Kissinger for 'War Crimes,' Get Smacked Down by 94-Year-Old George Shultz

John McCain's response is the best, heh.

From Bridget Johnson, at Pajamas Media:

Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he would call recess until Capitol Police removed Code Pink from the room.

“I’ve been a member of this committee for many years, and I have never seen anything as disgraceful and outrageous and despicable as the last demonstration that just took place,” McCain said, which led to shout-backs from the protesters.

“You know, you’re going to have to shut up, or I’m going to have you arrested. If we can’t get the Capital Hill Police in here immediately… Get out of here, you low-life scum,” McCain added.

“So Henry, I hope you will — Dr. Kissinger, I hope on behalf of all of the members of this committee on both sides of the aisle — in fact, from all of my colleagues, I’d like to apologize for allowing such disgraceful behavior towards a man who served his country with the greatest distinction. I apologize profusely.”

Homeowners in Poland Borrowed in Swiss Francs, and Now Pay Dearly

Poles borrowed in loans denominated in Swiss francs, but they have to pay back the loans on the local currency, the zloty. With the franc appreciating against the Euro, payments on Polish mortgages are skyrocketing.

And they thought the low rates on the Swiss loans, with a "stable" currency, was such a good deal.

At the New York Times, "Swiss Franc Rises, and Poland’s Mortgages Go With It."

Israel Vows Retaliation After Hezbollah Kills Two IDF Soldiers

At LAT, "Deadly Hezbollah-Israel border clash raises specter of new conflict":

A fresh spasm of violence Wednesday along contested terrain between Israel and Lebanon looks ominously like the scenario that sparked the 2006 war between the two bitter adversaries, raising the prospect of another major conflict in the heart of the Middle East.

Israel acknowledged that a flurry of antitank missiles fired by Hezbollah had killed two of its soldiers and wounded seven, in the Lebanese militant and political movement's most lethal assault on Israeli forces since 2006.

Also killed, apparently by retaliatory Israeli fire into Lebanese territory, was a Spanish peacekeeper serving in the 10,000-strong United Nations force along the “Blue Line” separating Lebanese and Israeli lands.

But though the risk of a larger conflagration prompted international concern, with the U.N. urging all parties to exercise “maximum restraint” to avoid escalation, analysts in both countries said it appeared unlikely that Wednesday's attacks would morph from a limited border incident into a broader conflict.

The 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006 erupted with a Hezbollah ambush on an Israeli patrol that resulted in the deaths of three Israeli soldiers and the capture of two others.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that those responsible for the latest attack will “pay the full price,” citing the Israeli onslaught against the Gaza Strip last summer that claimed the lives of 73 people on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers, and more than 2,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, according to international agencies.

“To those trying to challenge us on our northern border, I suggest looking at what happened not far from here in the Gaza Strip,” said Netanyahu, speaking in Sderot in southern Israel.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is visiting China, said that Israel must react with “a harsh and disproportionate response” to any fire on its territory.

But analysts generally predicted that this time around Israeli and Hezbollah officials would endeavor to avoid having the incident deteriorate into a 2006-style conflict, an inconclusive war that caused considerable damage and loss of life, especially on the Lebanese side.

Many Israeli observers were doubtful that the nation's leaders, just months after the bloody Gaza conflict and weeks before national elections scheduled for March, would plunge the country into what probably would be a prolonged war with a battle-tested foe much more formidable than Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rules Gaza.

“Israel must retaliate but in a way that will keep the escalation under control,” Amos Yadlin, a former army intelligence chief, told Israel Radio. “This is not an easy formula, but this is the art of strategic thinking.”

The strike Wednesday was not as lethal as the 2006 Hezbollah assault. That incident also resulted in the deaths of five additional Israeli soldiers in a failed rescue attempt.

The latest attack was widely seen as Hezbollah's calibrated response to a presumed Israeli airstrike in southern Syria on Jan. 18, in which the casualties included six Hezbollah members and an Iranian general, whose presence highlighted the Lebanese group's close ties to Tehran. Among the Hezbollah casualties was the son of Imad Mughniyeh, a storied commander killed in Damascus, Syria, in 2008 in a suspected Israeli car bombing.

After such a humiliating blow, experts said, Hezbollah's leaders felt obliged to strike back in a fashion that was muscular but not unduly provocative...

Marshawn Lynch's Defiance is All About Cynical Self-Promotion?

I don't know.

This Deadspin piece was pretty interesting --- and enlightening, "Marshawn Lynch Already Explained Why He Hates Talking to the Media."

But see Bill Plaschke, at LAT, "Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch's crass act is all about him":\

The most popular man at the Super Bowl walked into media day Tuesday like a prizefighter swaggering toward the ring, fans screaming, reporters staring, smile glistening.

Marshawn Lynch stepped through the crowd, climbed onto a small podium, carefully adjusted a microphone, and began the battle with a warning.

"You can sit here and ask me all the questions you'll want to, I'm going to answer with the same answers, so you all can shoot if you all please," he said.

Then he reared back and knocked the stuffing out of decorum, took 29 questions, gave essentially the same answer for every one, jabbed again and again, reporters rolling their eyes, the crowd at US Airways Center roaring in delight.

"I'm here so I won't get fined," he said.

"I'm just here so I won't get fined," he said.

"Hey, hey, I'm here so I won't get fined," he said.

"I'm just here so I won't get fined, boss," he said.

He would turn his head to face a questioner, then give that answer. He would lean down and cup his ear to better hear a question, then give that answer. Once he even climbed out of his seat to retrieve a reporter's fallen tape recorder, placed it back on the podium, and then gave that answer.

With fans now standing and howling at every similar syllable, Lynch ended the fight with the commanding pronouncement of a referee standing over a prone and helpless body.

"Time!" he shouted as the scoreboard clock ticked off five minutes, at which point he stood up, climbed down, and disappeared behind a barrier even though there were 55 minutes left in the session.

Time, indeed. Money time. Fame time. Me time.

Marshawn Lynch, the Seattle Seahawks running back who does constant battle with the NFL over his refusal to follow league rules and speak to the media, couldn't have choreographed his first act of Super Bowl XLIX any better if he had provided everyone with scripts.

"There's a great deal spoken in his silence," Seattle Coach Pete Carroll said.

Initially, that statement was sold as shyness and fear. But increasingly, it seems that through his tight lips, Lynch is shouting about the value of painting yourself as a rebel to separate yourself from your colorful teammates and cash in on your fleeting fame.

Lynch's refusal to speak during the regular season has cost him $100,000 in fines, and his refusal to speak for all of Tuesday's required interview session could result in another huge penalty. But consider: How much is it worth to be the most popular man at the Super Bowl?...

Social Conservatives Won't Let Republican Candidates Dodge Homosexual Marriage

Seems to me by the time the 2016 campaign kicks off the Supremes will have already announced a constitutional right to homosexual marriage. I mean, what? Social cons want the GOP to push for an amendment to the Constitution? Ain't gonna happen.

At Politico, "The gay marriage litmus test."

Joey Fisher and Stacey Poole

At Zoo Today, "Babes in Bed: Joey Fisher and Stacey Poole Together at Last!"

Plus, earlier at Egotastic!, "Joey Fisher and Stacey Poole Topless Together Nuts Outtakes July."

Popular Oakland Cafe Bans Laptops on Nights and Weekends

It's the Actual Café in Oakland. Maybe this is the beginning of a trend.

At CBS News San Franciso, "Oakland Cafe Bans Laptops on Weekends - And Survives."

Sierra Nevada Red Fox Photographed at Yosemite


He's a cute little bugger.

At LAT, "First confirmed sighting of rare fox at Yosemite in nearly 100 years."

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Arsonist Throws Burning Container of Fuel Into Yorba Linda Home; Police Search for Suspect (VIDEO)

This is freakin' crazy.

Looks like the perp caught himself on fire too --- and he's a black mofo!


Heidi Klum Launches Intimates Lingerie Collection in Melbourne

At Egotastic!, "Heidi Klum Launches Her Lingerie Line In Melbourne With Long Legs and Veteran Hotness."

Plus, "Heidi Klum Lingerie Line Self Pimping Hotness, The HK Intimate Photos Are Here!"

Reaction to Jonathan Chait's Essay on Political Correctness Instantly Proves Chait's Thesis Correct

Yes it does.

Heh, at Free Beacon, with the riotous recommendation to read Angry Black Lady's "whole" Twitter feed. No doubt Chait hit a nerve with that idiot:

Yeah, go wade over there for awhile. Some excellent lulz.

One American Dead in Islamic State Attack on Tripoli's Corinthia Hotel

As noted previously, we're seeing major terrorist attacks nowadays on almost a daily level.

And of course, since this is Libya, we'll see little sustained media attention on this attack beyond the initial reporting. Wouldn't want to shine the light on the Obama administration's ultimate clusterf-k in toppling Gaddafi.

At WSJ, "Gunmen Stage Deadly Attack on Libyan Hotel: American Is Among Dead After Assailants Claiming Affiliation With Islamic State Storm Tripoli Hotel":

An attack on a luxury hotel in Libya’s capital killed nine people, including an American, and stoked fears that the Islamic State militant group is expanding beyond the Middle East toward North Africa and Europe.

A group calling itself Islamic State-Tripoli Province claimed responsibility over Twitter for the attack Tuesday morning on Tripoli’s Corinthia Hotel, a seaside complex popular with foreign businessmen, diplomats and journalists.

The apparent international nature of its authors and target makes Tuesday’s attack stand out from the usual violence afflicting the North African nation, which has seen almost continuous factional fighting since longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi was killed in a popular uprising in 2011.

A posting Tuesday on a Twitter account thought to be connected to the central Islamic State organization in Syria and Iraq described two of the attackers as their own. That claim is difficult to authenticate, but if further evidence surfaces that the self-proclaimed caliphate played a role, the attack could point to a growing footprint for a group whose rapid advance has unsettled much of the Middle East and drawn U.S. forces back into Iraq.

Among those killed Tuesday was an American security contractor, David Berry, employed by the Virginia-based security firm Team Crucible LLC. The 34-year-old former marine sergeant, a native of Arizona, had been in Libya since last year and was fluent in Arabic, his father, James Berry, said.

“My son is a warrior, he always wanted to do what he’s doing right now, or what he did up to this day,” Mr. Berry said. “He was a man who had more respect and honor for this country than you would believe.”...
Also at Telegraph UK, "'Four foreigners killed' as Isil storm Libya hotel."

Laurie Burchfield Testimony on Idaho's HB 2 Homosexual Rights Bill

At Idaho's Spokesman-Review, "Testimony: 'Ramifications upon my church,' questions on bathroom use, 'parading their genitalia'."

Here's the bill:
“Our laws are designed to protect and keep safe the citizens of Idaho… Everyone should be free to go to a public restroom without fear of people with confused sexual orientation exposing themselves to our children or flagrantly and unnecessarily parading their genitalia in the locker rooms of our YMCAs and gyms.”
I'm surprised she wasn't arrested right then and there for thought crimes and hate speech.

Blogging's Not Dead

Following-up on RAWMUSCLEGLUTES, here's Instapundit, "IN JOHN CARTER’S WORDS, I STILL LIVE: Andrew Sullivan is going to stop blogging. No, blogging isn’t dead":

And InstaPundit gets more pageviews than pretty much everyone who’s calling blogging dead. But I can understand Andrew quitting. For me, the real strain isn’t the blogging, but having to pay close attention to the news all the time. The news is usually depressing, when it’s not angering, and that’s doubly true for the Obama years. But I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.
I like paying attention to the news all the time. It's pretty much my job anyway.

And hey, punk's not dead either:
Say to me that punk is dead
I wish you even more contempt
Don’t like the music, don’t like the words
You can all piss off tha the punks not dead

Punk’s not dead, I know
Punk’s not dead, I know
Punk’s not dead, I know
Punk’s not dead, I know it’s not

We’re all punks and we don’t care
We’re boot boys who dye our hair
Leather jackets, jeans and boots
Run about every night

[Chorus x2]

we refuse to hear their lie
Have no fear till the day I die
Swearing at yooz who walk around
Don’t like it, I’ll hit you to the ground

[Chorus x2]

RAWMUSCLEGLUTES to Quit Blogging: Will Devote Full Energies to 'Getting Healthy...'

Headlining currently at Memeorandum, "A Note To My Readers."

A strangely fascinating man, I couldn't care one whit about his blogging retirement. Lots of people are getting a kick out of this, no doubt.

I'll turn it over to AceofSpadesHQ for the gloating smackdown. Here: "Andrew Sullivan Will Stop Blogging 'In the Near Future'."

Now Sully can invest the time needed for "getting healthy." Whether that includes more intellectual repose than rim-station repose remains to be seen. He denies he's dying of AIDS, but the hard-life of homosexual abandon and licentiousness catches up with you.

Rim Chairs photo rimming_chairs_hepatitis.jpg

House Democrats Brace for Potentially Tense Retreat

"Potentially tense."

Well, as long as Pelosi's in charge the only tension will be whether to even speak. Time to throw water on that witch.

At Roll Call:

Melt the Bitch photo nancy-pelosi-wicked-witch-west-wizard-of-oz-im-melting-witch-melts-sad-hill-news2_zps1jczsb6w_1.jpg
The official theme of the House Democrats’ annual “issues conference” this week is “Grow America’s Economy, Grow American Paychecks.”

But the three-day retreat in Philadelphia, which kicks off Wednesday afternoon, could be a test of whether leaders and rank-and-file members can return to Washington, D.C., having found some common ground.

For House Democrats, the months since the demoralizing midterm elections have been characterized by several public episodes of party infighting — about the culture of the caucus, the “brand” and the perceived lack of opportunities for younger members to climb the ranks.

Power struggles and friction between factions are old story lines for the Republicans who came to power in the House in 2010, while Democrats have long been envied for keeping it together. But midterm losses that relegated the party to the biggest House minority in nearly a century have fueled some second-guessing among Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s troops.

“When you lose, the warts come out,” a House Democratic aide said of lawmakers’ sudden nitpicking of caucus politics. “Winning is what cures everything.”

One target of frustration has been the minority leader herself. As the most nationally recognized House Democrat, many members see her as the face of the caucus’s electoral woes and for ambitious lawmakers, she is an obstacle in the way of new blood flowing into senior leadership ranks...
The very personification of defeat and decay. Boil the bitch.

Outspoken, Marxist and Anti-Austerity: Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras Unveils His Cabinet

Heh, the Independent UK calls out Greek Prime Minister Tsirpas on his Marxist radicalism.

See: "From a political economics professor to the Marxist head of Syriza's far-left: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras unveils the members of his new cabinet."

Language Policing Doesn't Pervert Liberalism, It Is Liberalism

To be fair, I think Chait was genuinely trying to differentiate a genuine "liberal" politics of the left. But the left isn't "liberal." Today's "liberalism" is commensurate with ideological hostility to difference. So-called "liberals" --- routinely mislabeled in most mainstream political coverage --- are in fact radical leftists in the Marxist dialectical orientation. These cadres stand against so-called liberal tolerance and respect for ideational interplay as privileging unequal discourses of power. Chait would have saved himself some trouble be simply identifying leftists for what they are and reminisced approvingly for some long lost era of anti-communist liberal politics.

In any case, folks are going to keep using "liberalism," since it's ingrained in the cultural superstructure.

With that, here's Sean Davis, at the Federalist:
In a widely praised piece for New York Magazine, liberal writer Jonathan Chait says the leftist language police are perverting liberalism. Chait is wrong. The politically correct language police don’t pervert modern liberalism; they embody it. And amateur leftist thought cop Jonathan Chait himself is proof.

In his piece, Chait catalogued numerous discussions within a large Facebook group called “Binders Full of Women Writers” to show the toxic effect that language and thought crime policing can have on basic political discourse. At times, members of the overwhelmingly liberal group would demand that certain sentiments not be shared. Sometimes, members declared that certain people weren’t even allowed to have opinions on a subject on account of their color, gender, or sexual orientation. Here’s a small selection from Chait’s piece:

[Long block quote here.]

One of Chait’s main points — that speech codes are inherently corrosive and antithetical to a free society — is impossible to argue. He’s correct. They are. Speech codes are a widely used tool taken right out of the fascist toolbox. If they can’t control how you act, then they’ll control how you speak. If they can’t control how you speak, then they’ll control how you think. And if you act, speak, or think contrary to their demands, you will be punished. To the energetic little fascists of the online Left showcased by Chait, wrong thoughts lead to wrong words, and wrong words can incite wrong behavior. You will submit, or you will pay the price.

I’m glad Chait has suddenly decided that speech policing is a terrible idea. He’s only a couple hundred years behind the times, but better late than never, I suppose. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’s all that sincere about it. In fact, I think he just opposes speech codes when they’re used against him or his fellow travelers. And the reason I think that is because I’ve actually read what Jonathan Chait has written about people on the right who disagree with him. It’s one thing for Jonathan Chait to oppose the practice of using speech codes against Jonathan Chait and his friends, and another thing entirely for Chait to oppose speech codes used against his political opponents.

For example...
Keep reading.

And poor Jonathan Chait. He's stuck in the middle and he's got no friends!

PREVIOUSLY: "I must say, I've gained newfound respect for Jonathan Chait: Leftist 'language police' destroying liberalism. Heh, thank you."

Justin Colby, 33, Accused of Running Over Pregnant Girlfriend: 'Ready for your abortion?'

Well, the death penalty's not available for non-capital cases, but this idiot deserves it.

At the Tampa Bay Times, "Cops: Pregnant woman's boyfriend asks, 'Ready for your abortion?' — then hits her with car (w/video)."

And here's the surveillance video, "Attempted Murder Surveillance."

U.S. Spies on Millions of Drivers

You know, who isn't being spied on nowadays?

And cars? Our cars are being surveilled? Okay, but did anyone even know about this?

At WSJ, "DEA Uses License-Plate Readers to Build Database for Federal, Local Authorities":
WASHINGTON—The Justice Department has been building a national database to track in real time the movement of vehicles around the U.S., a secret domestic intelligence-gathering program that scans and stores hundreds of millions of records about motorists, according to current and former officials and government documents.

The primary goal of the license-plate tracking program, run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, is to seize cars, cash and other assets to combat drug trafficking, according to one government document. But the database’s use has expanded to hunt for vehicles associated with numerous other potential crimes, from kidnappings to killings to rape suspects, say people familiar with the matter.

Officials have publicly said that they track vehicles near the border with Mexico to help fight drug cartels. What hasn’t been previously disclosed is that the DEA has spent years working to expand the database “throughout the United States,’’ according to one email reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Many state and local law-enforcement agencies are accessing the database for a variety of investigations, according to people familiar with the program, putting a wealth of information in the hands of local officials who can track vehicles in real time on major roadways.

The database raises new questions about privacy and the scope of government surveillance. The existence of the program and its expansion were described in interviews with current and former government officials, and in documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union through a Freedom of Information Act request and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. It is unclear if any court oversees or approves the intelligence-gathering.

A spokesman for Justice Department, which includes the DEA, said the program complies with federal law. “It is not new that the DEA uses the license-plate reader program to arrest criminals and stop the flow of drugs in areas of high trafficking intensity,’’ the spokesman said.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the government’s use of license-plate readers “raises significant privacy concerns. The fact that this intrusive technology is potentially being used to expand the reach of the government’s asset-forfeiture efforts is of even greater concern.’’

The senator called for “additional accountability’’ and said Americans shouldn’t have to fear ”their locations and movements are constantly being tracked and stored in a massive government database.’’

The DEA program collects data about vehicle movements, including time, direction and location, from high-tech cameras placed strategically on major highways. Many devices also record visual images of drivers and passengers, which are sometimes clear enough for investigators to confirm identities, according to DEA documents and people familiar with the program.

The documents show that the DEA also uses license-plate readers operated by state, local and federal law-enforcement agencies to feed into its own network and create a far-reaching, constantly updating database of electronic eyes scanning traffic on the roads to steer police toward suspects.

The law-enforcement scanners are different from those used to collect tolls.

By 2011, the DEA had about 100 cameras feeding into the database, the documents show. On Interstate 95 in New Jersey, license-plate readers feed data to the DEA—giving law-enforcement personnel around the country the ability to search for a suspect vehicle on one of the country’s busiest highways. One undated internal document shows the program also gathers data from license-plate readers in Florida and Georgia.

“Any database that collects detailed location information about Americans not suspected of crimes raises very serious privacy questions,’’ said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the ACLU. “It’s unconscionable that technology with such far-reaching potential would be deployed in such secrecy. People might disagree about exactly how we should use such powerful surveillance technologies, but it should be democratically decided, it shouldn’t be done in secret.’’

License-plate readers are already used in the U.S. by companies to collect debts and repossess vehicles, and by local police departments to solve crimes.

In 2010, the DEA said in internal documents that the database aided in the seizure of 98 kilograms of cocaine, 8,336 kilograms of marijuana and the collection of $866,380. It also has been connected to the Amber Alert system, to help authorities find abducted children, according to people familiar with the program.

One email written in 2010 said the primary purpose of the program was asset forfeiture—a controversial practice in which law-enforcement agencies seize cars, cash and other valuables from suspected criminals. The practice is increasingly coming under attack because of instances when law-enforcement officers take such assets without evidence of a crime.

And related, at Reason, "Cops Are Still Robbers."

Anderson Cooper Talks to Timothy Mannix, Massachusetts Fisherman Injured When Storm Surge Crashed Into His Home

I was watching this last night. Mr. Mannix got stitches and his "nose was broken in half-a-dozen places."


At CNN: "Fisherman taken to ER after battling storm surge."

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Two Weeks After Zuckerberg Said 'Je Suis Charlie,' Facebook Begins Censoring Images of Prophet Muhammad

Well, he's a classic Silicon Valley prog. Totally politically correct.

So this is no surprise.

At WaPo:

Zuckerberg photo zuckpost_zpsfimy4trf_1.png
Only two weeks after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a strongly worded #JeSuisCharlie statement on the importance of free speech, Facebook has agreed to censor images of the prophet Muhammad in Turkey — including the very type of image that precipitated the Charlie Hebdo attack.

It’s an illustration, perhaps, of how extremely complicated and nuanced issues of online speech really are. It’s also conclusive proof of what many tech critics said of Zuckerberg’s free-speech declaration at the time: Sweeping promises are all well and good, but Facebook’s record doesn’t entirely back it up.

Just this December, Facebook agreed to censor the page of Russia’s leading Putin critic, Alexei Navalny, at the request of Russian Internet regulators. (It is a sign, the Post’s Michael Birnbaum wrote from Moscow, of “new limits on Facebook’s ability to serve as a platform for political opposition movements.”) Critics have previously accused the site of taking down pages tied to dissidents in Syria and China; the International Campaign for Tibet is currently circulating a petition against alleged Facebook censorship, which has been signed more than 20,000 times...
Keep reading.